When in Yountville

There is a wineshop named Groezinger’s. 6484 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599. Groezingers.com. 800-356-3970.

When it comes to wine I can only say I’m an enthusiast. A fan and someone who’s drunk some really good wine. I do know good from bad because it’s like right and wrong. It really can be that simple. Yeah, yeah, there’s lots of grey, but that’s about flavor and varietal and other subjectve stuff. There is good wine, and there is shitty wine.

I’ve been to the Napa Valley a handful of times. Summer and fall. In the fall, after the crush, it is sublime. Not only do the trees burst gold and crimson but the vines do too. The entire valley smells like a cellar.

There’s these guys, Rick and Justin. Me and my formerly betrothed met them one day when hot on the trail for some Turley Zin. Some dickhead from another wineshop suggested they might have it while patronizing the shit out both of us.

I’m no snob. I’d read about Turley Zinfandels and we dined at a very cool restaurant that had a bottle on the list for a fair price. I got all seduced by it’s cooked plum , smoke and cedar as did my fiancee’, so we went looking for some the next day.

We ended up at Groezinger’s. Right place at the right time. I’m almost positive Sin City by AC/DC was playing when we walked in. The walls were purple and festooned with album and concert posters. The floor was littered with outgoing cases to be shipped. Turns out they had a robust mail order business.

This guy Rick walked right up and asked said something overtly pleasant. That kind of friendliness on a tourist who’s been snobbed upon all over backed me up a little. Flags went up.

I wasn’t sure what to make of it.

Was I gonna have to punch a bitch?

I looked him in the eye and understood he was a little crazy. I began to feel a little better. Then another guy walks up and hands me a glass of wine. Not a tasting, but a full pour. I look at his eyes. He’s crazy too. His name is Justin and the wine is pretty fucking good.

Later there would be banjo. No shit.

My formerly betrothed looks at me with a fat glass of juice in her long fingers and a wicked grin only she can pull off. I will tell you, she was one gorgeous bitch. We spend the next three or four hours there at Groezinger’s. We met winemakers and locals, we tasted some serious art. They even told us where to to taste.

Rick and Justin. Two happy go lucky dudes in the unlikliest of places. Main Street in Yountville. Serious about very little other than fermented grape juice. Their acumen in that particular venue was immediately evident and unmistakable. They were very good to us.

If I leave you with nothing else, I need to impress this upon you. These guys know what they’re doing. They are at it’s center. In an afternoon we met winemakers from all over the valley with wines that were as different as any two red liquids can be. There was at least one instance where my girl and I were each asked to describe exactly what we were looking for. I tell you they served up an open bottle of what we imagined.

That’s how I remember it anyway.

I spent two or three hundred dollars that day. Rick and Justin are salesmen but they didn’t care what we were spending. Two well informed amateurs walked into their lair and they took us to school while the sun beamed in the western facing windows. I figure we drank somewhere close to what I spent and we walked with a case of excellent hooch. It was the best afternoon of juice I’d ever experienced and it wasn’t our first rodeo.

Go to groezingers.com. Read the newsletters. These guys are fomenting a culture. 800-356-3970. Call, ask for
Rick, tell him brainspank sent you. Tell him what you have to spend and ask him to mix a case for you. Tell your friends.

Drinks for my friends.

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