Thursday, January 10, 2008

Que Syrah?

Nestled deep into the suburbs of Richmond, I have a client who runs a pretty neat little coffee shop by day/wine bar by night, complete with the cuvee systems that gas the wines, and a decent little by the glass selection. As many are wont to do, right after the New Year they were looking to switch things up a little bit, so the other day we tasted a few things.

They have a regular who deems himself pretty important to the operations of the place. Slightly creepy older gentleman, but completely harmless, so I have no problem with allowing him to feel important and taste with us and offer his skewed, but again harmless, opinions. I generally feel that it is in my best interests to agree with whatever the client or people that I am tasting with say, because validating their egos and making them feel right is good for relationship building.

"This wine is great! So smooth!" the regular declared of the Castle Rock Sonoma Syrah.

"Yeah, I'm glad you like it!"

"I mean, this is perfect for anyone who comes in here and asks for a smooth Syrah!"

Domestic Syrah is one of those notoriously impossible sells. It's the wine that buyers and wine geeks love, but for some reason consumers can't wrap their mind around. Every client that I have could sell Shiraz all day long, but couldn't get a Syrah in people's hands if their life depended on it. So while nice of him to say, the thought that someone would come into this little wine bar and verbally request one is just... well, it would never happen. And I couldn't help myself.

With a big fake smile plastered on my face -

"Well, you're right, it would be perfect for that. But I've got to tell you, if someone walked in here and actually made that request, I would pass out right on the floor!"

The other tasters gently laughed in understanding, and the man wasn't insulted or anything, just maybe a little confused. Afterwards, I considered my response, and wondered if I should have said it. Usually I would have stopped after the first sentence. Maybe I'm getting a little more cynical, or a little less patient.

Que sera, sera, I suppose.


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