Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Customer Disservice.

Yesterday was International Albariño Day.  Yay!
A few months ago I began my search for an Albariño that I might not have tried before. Then, just recently, in the Napa Register, I read of a new wine label, Eighty Four.  Eighty Four is a new project by Elias Fernandez and Doug Shafer (of Shafer Vineyards).  It just so happens that they produce an Albariño, so I thought it would be a good candidate with which to laud the upcoming festivity.
I called Shafer to find out if the Albariño was available for sale to the general public (sometimes these faddy wines aren't).  I was helped (and I say helped in the loosest possible sense of the word) by a woman who answered my questions with one syllable words only. Okey-dokey. I supposed she was just having a bad day.
I had a similar experience when I drove up to Shafer on my day off.  I wasn't greeted upon entering the winery although there was a person in the reception area.  The gentleman, at a desk staring into his computer screen, only acknowledged me when I ventured, "Hello" in my cheeriest voice.  I told him what I wanted, handed him my business card, I made some idle chit-chat and then paid for the wine (no inter-winery discount at Shafer, by the way).  Our entire interaction was conducted with having barely any eye contact at all.  He was that disinterested, very bizarre.  I suppose all Shafer employees continually have bad days.
The wine itself went something like this; the wine was very yellow in the glass; strong lemon and candy floss (cotton candy) on the nose; first sip was a little briny; the taste was of pineapple chunks and apple tarts (two sweets, candy, from my childhood).  And the wine was very tart, like it had been acidulated with citric acid.  Now, I consider myself the 'Queen of Tart' as I generally like an elevated acidity in my wine, but this was a little over the top.  Overall the wine, whilst not unpleasant, seemed a little tired. It wasn't oxidised, but all that candied stuff going on just made the wine seem a little over-worked.
An average wine, served with bad customer service, sigh.  I can't get my $28.00 back, but I can make sure that I never spend another penny of my hard earned wages at Shafer.  If one feels inclined to waste some time, one can read the Register article here.  Enjoy.  Or not.


Thomas said...

When will they ever learn?

$28! I won't say the obvious, but here are some comparisons: http://www.winemag.com/varietals/albarino/

Dennis Tsiorbas said...

Thomas: I can understand the $28 though there are plenty of others for $10, but why this happened I can't. Sometimes I see this behavior as a process of dehumanization, and something that happens all the time; I try at all times to see clerks or whoever as a REAL persons. I did a post about this very kind of thing last weekend.
I'm going to send this post and my disappointment with Shafer Vineyards to Doug Shafer.

Vinogirl said...

Tomasso: That is a great list of Albariños - I see the Eighty Four is one of the most expensive!!! I wanted to do a post about a domestic Albariño; the Artesa was sold out and I'd had the Hill Family (which was delicious) last January. The Shafer wasn't horrible, it just wasn't great (after all of the hype).

NHW: So chivalrous :) But, seriously, why bother? Shafer have firmly placed themselves in the 'our poop doesn't stink' category of Napa Valley wineries. To coin an American phrase, I will just "vote with my pocketbook"...it is obvious that they want my money, but not my goodwill.

Thomas said...

Money replaces good will...reminds me of a presidential candidate.

Alana Barton said...

I like the Hess Albarino. Great blog.

Vinogirl said...

Tomasso: Tut, don't speak of America's first female president that way.

AB: Welcome to Vinsanity.

I will take your suggestion and purchase a bottle of The Hess Collection's Albariño, tout de suite. After all, I need something to wash away the sour taste that Shafer has left on my palate.