I occasionally duck into the local Grocery Outlet to shop for wine bargains. This 400-store chain operates mostly on the West Coast and in Pennsylvania, offering discounted, overstocked and closeout foods and beverages.
Everyday white wines are what I usually look for. Among dozens of labels are reasonably priced bottles from producers I respect that are a few years past their initial release. I select a few to bring home. After sampling, I head back to buy a larger quantity of the ones that were good.
One gratifying discovery was a five-year-old Chalone Vineyard Estate Grown Chardonnay from the grape growing district of the same name in the Gavilan Mountains of California for $15, about half the usual price. Known for its age-worthy Chardonnay, Chalone is one of the state’s iconic vineyards. This one tasted perfect. In addition to nervy mineral and citrus flavors, it was showing the subtle almond, marzipan and lanolin nuances that develop in Chardonnay over time.
While not expensive or rare, it still showed the magical benefits that time can bring to one’s enjoyment and appreciation of wine.