Three Bottles, One Shop is a series in which we take a peek into a Los Angeles wine shop and ask the owner to pick and describe three great bottles on offer. Have a shop you'd like to see featured? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Lincoln Fine Wine has the feel of a wine shop that's been around for ages. The storefront space is crammed with wine - every inch of floor taken up with boxes, every inch of wall crowded with bottles. It's reminiscent of the kinds of stores you'd stumble upon in New York City or Paris, down some old city street, that's been there seemingly since the dawn of time.
But Lincoln opened only in 2008, in what used to be a down-and-out liquor store. Since then it's grown to be a fantastic neighborhood wine shop, with a selection that's impressive in more than one way. In the back of the store, a glassed-in cellar holds bottles from all over the world that a serious wine collector might be thrilled to come across in such a setting (many of them hard to find elsewhere). Out front, the sheer volume of choices, at every conceivable price point, guarantees that you'll find something to your liking.
The next evolution in the life of the shop is happening right now, as Lincoln unveils its new tasting bar. The bar, to the back right of the shop, will hold wine tastings, events with winemakers, and give people the chance to sip something new while shopping.
What kinds of things might you be tasting - or buying - at Lincoln these days? We asked wine buyer Matt Miller to choose three bottles he's particularly excited about right now in the Lincoln inventory.
Ramosceto Lacrima di Morro d'Alba: Marche, Italy $13.99
"The Lacrima is unique. It's old world, but at the same time it's fruit-forward with unmistakable notes of baked blueberries, pipe tobacco and bit of plum skin towards the finish. Fruit like that isn't common in Old World wines, which tend to lean more towards earthier notes and brighter red fruit. I thought it would be a good bottle for those die-hard California wine drinkers who have always wanted to test the waters of another country without stepping too far out of their comfort zone, taste-wise.
"We've been carrying the Ramosceto Lacrima di Morro d'Alba for a couple of months now and it has become one of our top selling wines."
Eric Kent rosé: Sonoma Coast, California $18.99
"When I first saw the Eric Kent rosé I was skeptical. It's a dark, unfiltered, hazy rosé of Pinot Noir. Not at all like the delicate rosés of Southern France. I was amazed by the soft idea of fruit and mineral on the palate, along with the acidic structure. Since we brought it in it has become one of our best-selling rosés.
"The label is the first draw to the bottle. It's by an artist named Yellena James. All of the Eric Kent labels are done by up-and-coming artists. I was told that this year there's going to be a group show of all of the artists whose paintings and drawings have been on the bottles over the years."
Babcock PSI Clone: Sta. Rita Hills, Central Coast, California, $44.99
"We aren't the sort of shop that specializes in only organic, or only small production. We have wine that people want to drink, everything from Highway 29 Napa cabs and chardonnay to DRC [Domaine de la Romanee-Contee].
"We're a very hands on shop. We talk to each customer and offer assistance in selecting wines. Often, the best way to communicate what is so special about a wine to a customer is to tell the story of that particular wine. And Babcock PSI Clone is one of those great stories.
"As the story goes, the vines that grew the fruit for the PSI Clone came from a suitcase-smuggled vine cutting that was stolen by Josh Jensen of Calera from either DRC's Romanee Conti or La Tache. When I explain that a bottle of La Tache can usually run about $3,500 and a bottle of Romanee Conti can go $15,000, the $44.99 suddenly sounds pretty reasonable to try wine made from the same vines."