By Gina Trippi
How do you get started down the long and winding road of wines? When there are thousands of grapes with foreign names from locations you have only dreamed about, undecipherable labels and winery names that mean nothing to you, how can you choose?
Over the years, price and well-known grapes such as Chardonnay, have been the starting point for most Americans. Big retailers offer big selection. So, yes, there may be wines representing a sincere attempt to follow tradition, but how would you know? And, still, without a lot of research, you have no selection guidelines.
“Supermarket aisles are stocked with inexpensive, cunningly branded wines, packaged not to educate consumers about what’s inside the container but to appeal to one’s predilections, whether cute animals, titillation, desserts or an air of gloomy mystery,” says wine critic Eric Asimov in The New York Times.
But it gets worse. Some retailers try to take advantage of a consumer’s lack of knowledge and appeal to the trend of the day. Wines, for example, might be advertised as gluten-free. Surprise! Almost all wines are gluten-free. And there is no standard definition of “natural.”
The solution is to find an importer you trust.
“Enter Mary Taylor, a wine entrepreneur, who has made it her business to fill this void,” Asimov says. “She offers a simple, elegant solution, one that does not pander, condescend or dumb down.”
A Mary Taylor label presents the region first, followed by the winemaker, with the grapes listed on the back label. Why? She believes the grape tells only part of the story. What is missing, according to Taylor is “place,” what the French call terroir. In essence, terroir is a “sense of place” and all that makes that place, including climate, soil, elevation—in short, the origin of the wine.
“Terroir explains why Pinot Noir from one village in Burgundy will taste noticeably different from the same grape grown in the next town, or even the next vineyard over,” says Taylor. This is why most European wineries do not label their wines by the grape but rather with the location where the grapes were grown. Each area presents its own singular identity. No two are alike.
“I created Mary Taylor Wine because I don’t think you should have to be a serious wine expert to experience the kind of honest, authentic wines that the Europeans have been enjoying for centuries,” Taylor says.
Recently, we offered four Mary Taylor wines for customers to taste, including one from Spain that Asimov recommends. “One of these, a juicy, balanced, uncomplicated yet delicious red from Castilla y León, a large region northwest of Madrid, is terrific, made entirely of prieto picudo, an obscure grape grown virtually nowhere else in the world,” he says. “It’s a great deal.” At Metro Wines, we can access 32 Mary Taylor wines for you!
One of our customers summed up the experience saying, “Mary Taylor is really onto something!”
Gina Trippi is the co-owner of Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte Street in Asheville. Committed to the community, Metro Wines offers big-shop selection with small-shop service. Gina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828.575.9525.