Friday, January 18, 2008

Small Importers Keep Wine Inflation-Proof

Inflation-proof might be a slight over-statement, but not by much and the 2005 Chateau Moutte Blanc Bordeaux is a great example.

Before I get to this wine in particular it might be useful to explain why small importers are such a treasure trove of spectacular values. The average wine in the average big box retailer goes through 3 or 4 companies (broker, importer, distributor, and then retailer) before getting into the hands of a consumer. That means even if the retailer sets a low margin on the product, as they do for national brands like Yellowtail and well recognized premium brands like Veuve Cliquot, the wine still has to be marked up sufficiently to compensate everyone along the way.

Enter the direct importer. We deal with several in Virginia and have found that even with the Euro beating the crap out of the dollar we have been able to find superb wines with very reasonable pricing. These importers travel to France, Spain, Italy, South America and develop relationships with directly with vintners. Since they play the roles of broker, importer, and distributor the cost savings is immense and it allows independent retailers to showcase true small production gems to the consumer.

One of these wines is the Chateau Moutte Blanc which is a blend of 50% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 30% Petit Verdot. The prestigious publication Revue Du Vin De France said, "It shows a gorgeous dark color, a nose of excellent ripeness, offering notes of red fruits, and spices. The palate is marked by a perfect concentration, very well balanced, combining power and finesse. Tannins are fat and the finish very long and expressive. Age worthy."

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