Carluccio's Conundrum

OK, 'conundrum ’ is a bit dramatic a description, but here’s my question…

After reading a Decanter review of a Planeta Nero d’Avola, which listed Carluccio’s deli as a stockist, I promptly headed to my local Carluccio’s (after swimming, mind you! Deferred reward) and bought said bottle, as well as another Planeta (a white blend).

In the car I started wondering how well these wines were kept in the deli. They were certainly not in the window - but placed in a dedicated shelf with other lovely wines. But the red is a 2011 and the white 2014… and who knows how long they’ve been displayed there for.

Any experience with wines bought from the jolly Italian’s deli? :thinking:

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Or from any shop for that matter. I should imagine that at the temperatures many shops are kept at anything stored in the showroom would be in severe danger of being ‘cooked’ if there for too long. After all I suspect most shops are maintained around 22C at least.

This is something that has always worried me about buying any expensive wine for laying down from a shop shelf.

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I think that’s what suddenly hit me on the way home… And although the bottles were not terribly expensive, and I certainly don’t plan to keep them for too long - I’m still unsure whether it was a good move.

The funny thing is that I don’t have any such worries buying wine from my local wine merchants - there are at least three I regularly use, and never had any issues (even with older bottles)…

I guess I’ll only know once I tried them…! :grimacing:

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I share that fear… I have two bottles of Haut Brion ‘86 that I bought from the top shelf of an Oddbins branch in Norwich around 1991. The price was attractive - £29.99 a bottle “to clear” according to my old notes - but it seemed such a risk. The most expensive bottle I’d ever bought at that point.

It could have been there for months, even years. In the full glare of the fluorescent lighting… Let alone heat. Yet the lure of a first growth pulled me in…

It might be brilliant, it could be awful. I just fear opening one. If it is a dud it will be such a disappointment after almost 30 years of patience…


How about you open / drink / report back ?

There is so much possibility for variance that only you will know how your bottle turns out. Another bottle, same year, in CL in another city might be totally different. I would never however age it further.

This XMAS I opened a 2012 Blason d’Issan (2nd wine from ch. Issan) and it was awful - not an age fault but should never have been bottled in the 1st place, over concentrated fruit & tar. Moral of this story is: Buy 2, open one. Then decide if the 2nd is worth keeping - or buy from TWS and you get your money back whatever…

I promised in another thread to make 2019 the year I finally re-visit the Bordeaux shelf in my Eurocave. Lots of 80’s wines that need drinking.

I will broach a Haut Brion - perhaps at one of the community BYO lunches if I can ever make one. Seems an appropriate setting.


My favourite example of this is still the grocery store near my first place of residence in Beirut. No air-conditioning, ambient summertime temperature of 35°C or so, and up on the top shelf, unboxed and sweating under a bright light, were two bottles of Dom Pérignon, I kid you not.


I purchased the Planeta Nero D’Avola and Alestro white wine from the Windsor branch recently and whilst I’ve not opened them yet I’ve had them before and they were fine. I do share your concern and generally stay away from the more expensive wines that I suspect sit on the shelves for some time.

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Brian Fantana: We got a sauna in the kitchen. A lot of people think that’s weird, but uh…I keep wine in it. I’m not a wine guy, but I know you gotta keep it hot.
Ron Burgundy: Right.


These are the two bottles I bought too! I also wanted the Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria, but it was sold out.
I guess I can treat this as an experiment; if it becomes apparent that they were badly kept when I open them - then at least I know for sure not to bother again. The amount spent won’t break the bank in any case.

  • then take it back!

Wine is a lot more robust than many give it credit for.

BTW, the only connection the jolly Italian has with the chain that bears his name is an ethereal one as he sadly died 14 months ago.

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I often think that, but it’s easy to get caught up in worries about wine storage. I have to say I can only think of two occasions in the last few years when I had faulty wine.

As for the man himself - I didn’t realise he died recently! I liked his convivial jollity.

Peter is right regarding temperature - that wine is more robust than many think.

But I would be concerned about lightstrike for wine that have been on display for a few years.

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If I have to buy from a shelf I burrow down to get the bottle at the back. But again, red wines are in dark green bottles to protect them from light.

And if the wine is spoiled, TIB!

(Take it Back)

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Bit disappointed with the Planeta NdA myself. Certainly not as good as the best producers - Gulfi, Montoni… Oh, and of course, COS!

But then, while Planeta make good, technically faultless wines, they aren’t to my mind as exciting as many of those from more local producers.

Ah! Shame… I’ll see what we think when we open ours- and report back.

I recently had their Fiano (Planeta), which had left me speechless it was so complex and delicious. If the Nero d’Avola excites even half as much I’d consider it a good result…! :wink:

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Ah. Maybe we have different tastes, then :slightly_smiling_face:

I found the Cometa a rather overworked wine. Or maybe I’m just too used to the leaner, mineral fianos from the grape’s native Irpinia! Should maybe give the Cometa another try - something I’d never say of their Chardonnay!

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Sounds like it! :blush: but that’s the beauty of different palates! I thought the Cometa was faultless, and definitely not overworked - rather well-structured and elegant. Then again, I have no other Fiano example to compare it to, so you are certainly more in the know than I am!..

Maybe I should try it again, yes. Which is certainly more than I could say for their Chardonnay :slight_smile:

You should try some of the Campanian Fianos though. Like many grapes associated with volcanic terroir, I think it’s hard to understand it outside that terroir. I think Planeta are the sole Italian winery growing it elsewhere (though as always there are a few Aussies doing it!)


Thanks for the tip, @suiko! I am definitely curious about other examples of Fiano, so will look out for ones from Campania. Any particular producers you can recommend?..

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