Risen from the ashes

OK, maybe that's hyperbole. Maybe Esquin wasn't in ashes. But I can tell you there were many times I wished it was. Esquin always had a good selection of wines from around the world, but it had the single most depressing atmosphere of any wine shop I've seen. The owner scowled and skulked around the store, and the checkout procedure was even weirder than at Trader Joe's—very amateurish and inconvenient. Despite the good selection, I stopped going there. Fortunately, the store has since been sold and moved to Fourth and Lander (2700 Fourth S, 682-7374). They continue to offer an excellent inventory, and the shop has a new, friendlier feel. Is it my imagination or is it Chile in here? Do wine lovers have ADD? If not, why do we always need to turn our attention to a new grape variety or a new growing region? Ten years ago, I perked up when I heard about the "wonderful, inexpensive wine" being produced in Chile. They got it half right; it is inexpensive. And largely awful. Here's an exception. The tasty '98 Casa Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon is a steal at $10, with nice jammy blackberry and mineral flavors. Hey wine guy, For my 40th birthday, each of my friends brought me a great bottle of wine. My pleasant problem: How do I determine which bottles are best to set aside for a few years and which I should drink right away? Marty, Seattle Marty, I'm so very, very sorry about your age. But I'm glad to hear you have thoughtful friends. You've asked a tough question, because every wine is unique. So I'm going to give you two answers. The first is to buy multiple bottles of the wines you have high hopes for. Drink one each year to see how it evolves. The other method is to get a copy of Parker's Wine Buyers Guide, and look up your wine. I can tell you, the first way is a lot more fun. Ask Dennis! wine@seattleweekly.com

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