So I stop at a "wine shop" that is on my way home from work since my wife asked me to pick up a mass marketed wine that she likes and this store is on my way and does not offer any temptation for me to deviate from the provided plan. As I am browsing this establishment to confirm that they still do not have what I would call a wine selection worth any significant consideration, a women approaches me and asks me "Do you know anything about wine?" First thought is to say no and immediately look back down but instead I say "A little, what do you need?"
She proceeds to tell me she wants to buy a nice bottle of wine for a friend who really loves wine for under $20. When asked what this friend likes, she replies sweet red, but after some discussion I am convinced that it is not sweet red but we are avoiding anything that is big and tannic. She then adds that the last time she was there someone brought this friend a $100 bottle of wine that was wonderful. Alright I thinkm we have a starting point but unfortunately she has no idea what the wine was she drank.
A little more about the store selection. Small selection to begin with with over half of it being domestic and almost all of that is from California. This is equally divided between Cab, Merlot and Zin. There is no domestic Pinot to be found. Chateau St. Jean and Simi are probably the best names here. Very limited French selections although there is a bottle or two of village burgundy from Jadot. A single bottle of 99 Cos is the only Bdx. Italian selection is only a little better in that besides Chianti there is also a primativo and a Morgante Nero d'Avola on the shelf. There are also all the standard animals from Australia and a small selection of wines from Chile.
By this time, I would have prefered to turn her over to a sales rep except there is only the one guy behind the counter that a.) doesn't know wine and b.) can't leave the counter as all the locals are in for their nightly refill of bud light. I ended up pointing her to the Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Merlot but it has been years since I have had this wine. I would have preferred to send her off with the Morgante Nero d'Avola but thought after our discussion about sweet and bitter wines that may be too much.