tiny wine blog: In Portland, small delis often have huge collections of Bordeaux and Sauternes

There we were in Portland
I’d never been to Portland (OR) until last week. We met up with a pal from college who works as a photographer there. On the way back from dinner with her and her husband, they are giving us a tour of the great stuff in downtown Portland and near our hotel (the fun Ace Hotel) they point out a few cool shops including an Italian looking deli called Martinotti's.

The next morning we are walking around and thinking about a pre-lunch/post-breakfast/second-breakfast snack and wander into this deli. They have a cooler with some wine in it. I look at the cooler. To the left is a shelf with a lot of wine as well. I look at those.
To the left of that is a box with some wine in it. To the left of that box is another box. And then another. And then we realize that almost half the shop is full of cases of wine. Just randomly stacked making a fun little maze to get through.

The wine belonged to the original owner of the store. We were told that he had passed away a few years ago and his family (who ran the store) were selling off the collection of wine he had been amassing. It was primarily right-bank Bordeaux and Sauternes (not a bad thing to specialize in) but also had wine from every major region in France and Italy.

The amount of wine was a bit breathtaking. Going through a case of Sauternes, I realized that the case I was looking at was atop eight more cases.
The vintages ranged from the 1960’s and on.
Is that a Cheval Blanc 1971 sitting on a table? Yes it was.
How many vintages of Chateau Rieusse are there? Many.

It was dizzying.

Cellar Condition
8:17pmI assume these wines had been kept in a proper cellar of some point. With the wines he was buying, he would of had to know what he was doing. In the store, some of them are near windows (but this Portland, so I guess that is OK) and many of standing up instead of being laid on their side. Probably not the ideal conditions for many of these older wines. If I had my way, I’d go back and buy more.

We opened a bottle of Chateau La Serre 1988 that I had bought there last night at a dinner party. From a condition point-of-view it seemed well. The cork was in great shape and it didn’t look like the level of wine had dropped. Underneath the foil, all seemed well. The wine didn’t seem baked or off in any way - but it was probably a few years past it’s prime with a lot of earth and barnyard aromas happening.

Here are some snaps I snapped:





Martinotti's Cafe & Deli
404 SW 10th Ave
Portland, OR 97205

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