One evening last weekend we stumbled into a little wine shop in Munich for the sole purpose of buying a cheap bottle of red to mix with Coca Cola. (Yes, you read that correctly – it’s a real thing, called a Calimocho or Kalimotxo. It’s a Spanish cocktail, especially popular in the Basque region. Please, no judgment – I happen to love them.)
What we found when we went inside was a wonderland of mostly Italian wines, with a few other European wines represented as well. We easily found an inexpensive Merlot for 5 Euro, but because we tend to drink a lot of Italian wine we browsed the selections for fun to see which ones we may have tried. While we were browsing a gentleman named Tjeerd approached and asked if we had any questions, and we got into a pleasing discussion about the price of Barolo compared with other Italian wines, corks vs. screw tops, how winemakers tend to have mothers who cook, etc.
The conversation was lovely, and before we knew it we were enjoying a generous sample of Aglianico, a southern Italian red, along with another store patron. We swirled, sniffed, drank, and enjoyed. But then Tjeerd stopped us, saying that there was something wrong. The wine had a flaw, imperceptible to us, but detectable to him. He explained that something had happened during production, bottling, or shipping that caused the wine to turn off your taste buds. I had just thought it was an exceptionally dry wine, but then he opened another bottle of the same exact wine, and it was different. It tasted more alive, fruitier, and just better. I’d trust him to pick out my wine any day.
We had already chosen a few bottles to purchase prior to the tasting, so I know Tjeerd wasn’t trying to sell us anything. He just really wanted us to understand the wine and how it should taste. That’s what a good wine shop should offer – excellent wine, tastings, a little bit of education, and a staff that really enjoys wine and knows what they are selling. And that’s why we’ll definitely go back to Garibaldi on our next trip to Munich.