Friday, April 6, 2012

The snootiest wine store ever.

When I was a bitsy little troglodyte seeking my inner cave, it so happened that I lived a short time near this place, Zachys Wine in NY. My father was a casual wine collector and responsible for providing my first meaningful wine memory, something French and amazing, a warmth and flavor experience I will both never forget and have never since re-discovered. I entirely understand the quest.
When I first came to The Cave I had no idea Zachys was in its own way legendary; this I discovered sort of early on when a customer was taking a good chunk of boxes to auction, indeed to Zachy's Auction here in North Hollywood. In this new world of wine I knew nada about, I knew what Zachy's was.

So I recently decided to go there. I needed some wine. So I went. Now - just back up a second here. In the few years I've been here, Zachy's is still the only thing I know about wine. Also, if you've been paying attention at all, and I find that hard to believe, you might recall that wine snootiness is exactly what's wrong with wine and why I undertook the (yet to be completed) Wine Spelunking for the 99% series at all. Be snooty about wine, not about your own exclusively tremendous all powerful wine brain.

So I go into this place and god bless these people, their poor computers were down so for the forty minutes I was there it was two associates having the the most banal, inane duet of monologues I'd recently been privy to. It was very funny, and also relieved them of any customer service whatsoever.

I finally got the courage to ask for help. I am not afraid to be ignorant, but being made to feel like I am...not so much. I was looking to complete a mixed less-than-half case to be shipped nearby, and wasn't sure how to proceed. He stared at me. I'm still not sure what happened there. I completed it on my own.

When the same gentleman later took my order, he was good to let me know that three of the bottles were, combined, the same price as the sole fourth bottle. I thanked him for telling me that.

However, a small redemption occurred: as much as we in Glendale are aware of Zachy's, Zachy's is aware of Glendale. When providing my info the the gentleman, address included, he looked at me and said, "You don't look Armenian."

Ah-ha, I get it!

I went to quite a few wine stores in NY, just to see what they were like, how they differ, if at all. Astor Place Wines is now a Walgreens, but around the corner from it on Lafayette is the adjustedly named Astor Wines. Like most stores, there is less focus on and variety of California wines. Lots of French stuff. I probably could have figured that out, but finding out for sure was much more fun.

Worst Wine Website Ever: Topline Wines here in Glendale. I never spend much money in there and they talk to me like I'm human. They'll talk to you about the history of LA punk music, or wine, or, mostly, they'll just be yelling at each other. I'll take it.