Consider these three things, which happened more or less at the same time that I wrote the Sept. 13 post about cheap wine:
• The Dallas Morning News, which usually doesn’t do things like this, ran a story about $4 wine, using consumers instead of experts for a tasting panel. (An original idea, no?) The piece got 16,000 hits in one day, which is more than many wine blogs get in a year. It was also the most highly visited post on the newspaper’s website that day, which speaks to how much trouble the newspaper business is in. And a tip o’ the Curmudgeon’s fedora to the Italian Wine Guy, who sent this my way.
• Trader Joe’s, which pretty much invented the ultra-cheap wine category with Two-buck Chuck, said it would not sell wine at its new Boulder, Colo., store. The reaction was not surprising. One resident said that when she lived in Ann Arbor, Mich., she would to go Trader Joe's about once every two weeks -- often to buy wine. "A lot of the reason people went there is the inexpensive, good quality wines," she said. Another, so distraught, used the word bummer.
• My local Whole Foods has the Rene Barbier rose ($5, purchased), which we don’t often see in Dallas and which always delivers more than $5 worth of rose – not quite ripe strawberry fruit, no flaws, and dry as can be. I bought two bottles, and was quite surprised when the 20-something man at the checkout counter asked me if it was any good. Yes, I said, as are the Rene Barbier red and white. That’s super cool, he said, adding that he wanted to try something other than the Whole Foods private label cheap wine; he said he was getting tired of it. I don’t need any fingers or toes to count how many times that has happened to me when older people check me out. Or how rarely anyone my age talks to me about the wine I’m buying.