Props to my roommate for inviting me to places. I’d probably never leave the apartment otherwise.
My city — and Washington state in general — is well-known for its wine and coffee production. I chose a good spot in my life to bolster my business writing focus, as my location is more than ready to meet me halfway. According to the Washington State Wine Commission, there are around nine hundred wineries in the state of Washington alone: that’s the second highest in the country and an impressive number right after California’s chokehold. As such, I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone and giving some of these locations a try these past few months, all in favor of a (slightly) more adventurous 2020.
(slightly being the keyword here, I’m still a full-time introvert with a PhD in curmudgeonly isolation and now the coronavirus has given me even more ample reason not to step foot outside)
When we swung by Wanderlust Delicato back in February I was taken aback by its lovely decor, greeting me with shiny wooden floors, box crate walls and countless rows of wine varieties. A quintessential and classic choice for wine shops, sure, but with a homeliness that hearkens to the organized chaos of an attic or storage shed (if it were far cleaner). It’s a proverbial repurposed forest, inviting in a cozy atmosphere and rewarding the wandering eye.
And wander I did.
Wanderlust Delicato‘s deceptively simple appearance hides a thoughtful and highly accessible wine store. Wine bottles are put on display and categorized in a way that tells you everything you need to know: by region, by price, by type and the choices of the week. They’re further supplemented with local foodstuffs, such as tiny jars of marmalade and a display case of homemade pastries. The store also offers cooking classes and a wine box delivery system, the latter of which my roommate’s parents are apart of. I wasn’t kidding when I said I chose a good time and place.
The shop also offers local craft beer and hard cider, which is just as well. I’ve been keeping a close eye on the shifting perception of alcoholic beverages in the United States — unique craft beer varieties are expected to rise in popularity, in response to the general consensus shifting toward lower alcoholic content, fewer calories and more variety. It’s an opinion I share. I’m watching my own waistline and liver, both set to be less forgiving as I hit the thirty mark later this year. Luckily for me, wine is chock full of healthy antioxidants.
(that’s a good enough excuse, right)
Just as important as a polished store and varied selection? I want to stack up as many positive memories as I can. That’s just what we proceeded to do.
Since we were going to hit up Birds Of Prey in an hour and a half, the both of us decided to go light and share a charcuterie: we enjoyed a smooth and light red blend (the imported Frontier) paired with tasso culpa (a dried and smoked ham) alongside salami, proscuitto and a dash of nuts. While the sour tang of salami doesn’t much do it for me, the tasso culpa was the right amount of savory. The highlight of the evening, easy.
Seeing a (pretty humorous) resurgence on Twitter as of late, charcuterie is a delicious indulgence that’s easy to go hog wild with. It is, by nature, an easel you dollop with treats instead of paint. Want a sweet treat that leans toward healthy? Throw on some dark sea salt chocolate. Need a salty contrast for your sweet wine? Add a few blocks of artisan cheese. Sprinkle on some nuts, too, because once the wine hits you’re going to start chewing on the table otherwise. I’m tempted to try out the store’s cheese tour, if only to give my monthly cravings a slightly more dignified veneer.
Although the setting is a touch on the minimalist side, it still found a way to fuel conversation. My roommate spent a year and a half in Italy when she was a child — it was quite a journey seeing her poke around the table’s map of Italy and recalling memories that ranged from quaint to humorous (such as her mother spending an hour searching for a store that never existed). I’ve yet to travel out of the country and it’s a goal that nests solidly in the back of my mind.
All these details are important, because if a setting doesn’t do the work to add to an experience, I can just as easily (and more cheaply) enjoy myself at home.
Places like these go a long way in keeping wine relevant. Beer remains the proverbial everyman in the alcohol world, followed close behind by spirits (tequila Fridays, anyone?). To contrast, wine has held its nose well above the general masses both for its fine aging and higher price point, much to its detriment in the modern day. It’s reputation isn’t holding strong in a country that is starting to lean away from alcohol for health purposes, including, yes, the primary audience of Baby Boomers.
Wanderlust Delicato provides a much-needed service to make wine more accessible with its smart interior design and friendly service. A delivery service and bevy of classes certainly don’t hurt (though, again, I offer an interovert’s perspective on the matter).
All in all, I’m glad I crawled out of the cave of my room and went. I’m not quite at the point where I want wine bottles delivered to me by crate, but I’m enjoying the chance to learn more about my niche up front and personal. You can find Wanderlust Delicato‘s website here.
If you enjoyed reading about Washington wine stores, check these out:
I recently reviewed five Pacific Northwest wines for $25 or less, from delicious floral white wines to run-of-the-mill red wines.
There was an interesting news report over in Italy concerning a boozy plumbing problem, lending credence to the phrase ‘the truth is stranger than fiction’.
One of my favorite wine pieces to be published lately is this cathartic essay over on The Vox, exploring why the wine industry has an accessibility problem and why it could use a marketing overhaul.