This week Alder at Vinography is hosting Wine Blog Wednesday. In honor of the second year anniversary of WBW, Alder chose the theme: Loire Valley Whites. However, being that we are sitting in the dead center of Spain, I had to search far and wide for wines that were not from the Tempranillo drinking and olive eating country. And if you have ever been to Spain, you would know that the task of finding a foreign wine in a local wine shop can be a tricky task, whereby forcing me to resort to the megalith of wine stores in Madrid called Lavinia. After perusing aisle upon aisle of international wine, I settled upon a Sauvignon Blanc from Cheverny along with a Sauvignon Blanc from Rueda to add a bit of contrast.
I’ll leave my comments on the wine to the podcast that accompanies this post, but will add a few thoughts here about my experiences with Lavinia. Centrally located in major cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Paris, Lavinia is huge with wines and vintages that would make any wine lover drool. They go out of their way to supply people like me great wines that you can’t normally find in Spain. Unfortunately, I have continuously found that their expansive wine selection is shadowed by their lack of customer service. I have consistently found their staff to be either be indifferent to my existence in their store, or generally unfriendly whenever I have asked a question. Having run a wine store where I prided myself on the customer service I gave, it drives me crazy every time I visit their store. Businesses need to realize that by offering a smile to accompany an open receptive attitude towards every customer, their repeat business will skyrocket. I don’t feel that this is a question of cultural differences, I feel this is a question of respect for every human interaction. Wine can be a daunting topic for many, and when the people who you rely on for information make you feel even more ignorant, discovering wine becomes more of a chore than a passion. Simply put, if I – the customer, need help, please help me.
To sum up, if you want to find that exact wine from a specific vintage, go to Lavinia for their amazing selection, but if you want to actually learn about wine or create a relationship with someone, go elsewhere. I might get lucky and find that the store in Barcelona is quite different, priding itself on customer service, but I am honestly a bit skeptical. For now though, enjoy the podcast and let us know what you think!