Blanchards blithe spirits

Shop Girl by Kitty Kaufman

Wine shopping! This is an adventure with a fruitful outcome: a bottle or two, but more often a case of old favorites and new tastes with great pointers from the wine expert. He says you don't need to be a wine pro, you just need to know what you like. Although it's more fun shopping with a friend, a wine seller's expertise can work wonders. At Blanchards the wine staff asks the right questions: what do you like, what are you serving, how much do you want to spend? Christine Elder, director: "Every bottle comes with a story that includes the weather, the vines, and what the wine maker was doing that year."

"Australian wine is still the number one imported region," Elder said. "Spain and South Africa offer excellent value." The wine team pours Saturdays with an eye "to wines that are not in the mainstream." I spoke with West Roxbury's wine manager, Abe Lerner, one afternoon about an upcoming party. He asked about the meal (lemon chicken and pasta) and the budget (open) and then suggested Champagne (Perrier Jouet, Pommery) and Feudi di San Gregorio Fiano.

© April 20 and June 27, 2005 for The City Shopper
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