Tuesday, August 02, 2016
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.