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Vino Volo Experience – Mostly a Rant

December 9, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

Rant? Vino Volo? Really? There must be something wrong with this picture, right?

Yes, on a number of occasions I confessed my love to the Vino Volo wine sanctuaries at the US airports. This time, I was yet again very happy that the ride to the Newark airport in New Jersey was quick and uneventful, and I had enough time to visit Vino Volo. In case you are not familiar with the Vino Volo concept, please take a look here.

Now, I don’t know how the Vino Volo stores are operating. I would assume that the local stores have some freedom to select the wines, based on their locality and, of course, their clientele. It is quite expected that the Vino Volo’s selection at the Seattle airport will be slated towards Washington wines, and San Francisco location will be California-heavy, and the store in Austin will have a flight or a few of the Texas wines. In the Newark store, there was nothing local – no New Jersey, no New York wines. There were a few of the “international delights” and few of the “value delight” flights – none of them generated any excitement. Then I saw a Sommelier Selection flight – two wines at $25, both wines supposedly high end.

To be entirely honest, first I made the mistake I make quite often when it comes to the wine lists – I don’t pay attention to the small details – as an example, one extra word in the name can take the wine from the first growth to the second label. So below is what I thought was in the flight (yep, I was hoping for the coveted Opus One):

Opus OneWell, there was no Opus One in the flight – instead, it was an Opus One Overture (see, one extra word!):

Overture by Opus OneOkay, fine. You don’t expect me to rant about my own mistake, do you? Of course not. Let’s continue.

The flight arrived, and it looked like this:

Vino Volo Sommelier flight winesJust so you can actually read the “official” description, here is the same – without the glasses:

Vino Volo Sommelier flightOkay, so I tasted the first wine, which was a non-vintage second label from Opus One, supposedly made with the surplus Cabernet Sauvignon grapes which were disqualified from the Opus One production. A bit thin, nice profile with touch of cassis, a bit green but palatable (but with the expectation of a lot more at the price  of $145). While I understand that it is a non-vintage, I would assume that it is a young wine, and if it anything like the other top Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon wines, it should be decanted to show best. Okay, let’s put it aside and let it breath, and let’s try the second wine, shall we?

Barolo from 2010. I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider 4 years old Barolo drinkable, unless it will spend good 3-4 hours in the decanter. I didn’t see a decanter at the bar, so I must assume that it was poured straight from the bottle. But even before that, if you want to really showcase the sommelier-selected wines, why would you put Barolo next to Cabernet Sauvignon? Wouldn’t you go to the Super Tuscan as the very least, showing California versus Italy? Okay, never mind all that, the proof is in the pudding, taste, right? Swirl, sip – there was nothing remotely reminiscent of Barolo in this wine – well, at least within my experience with Barolo and my expectation with “king of wines”. Very limited fruit expression, herbal nose, some tannins, very tart. Had it been decanted for the 3-4 hours, it would probably be a totally different experience – and should the folks, the professionals at Vino Volo known better?

Well, may be it was a root day after all. Or not. But there you have it, my friends – my first unsuccessful experience at Vino Volo. Let’s hope it was the last. Cheers!

P.S.  I have my “formal” tasting notes – but I’m withholding them as I don’t think they will be of any use here.

P.P.S. If anyone had the 2010 Mauro Veglio Barolo and wants to say I have no idea what I’m talking about, please be my guest – your feedback will be greatly appreciated…

  1. Gene Castellino
    December 9, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    i recently drank the overture. i thought it was great!!

    • talkavino
      December 10, 2014 at 1:44 am

      Gene, I have nothing against Overture – I have a problem with the way this flight was constructed and served. Putting Barolo together with California Cabernet doesn’t make a lot of sense – I would be glad to see a flight of Italian wines which would include Barolo, but in this combination – it was strange. And the second part is that both wines were supposed to be served decanted. Again, as you can see, I didn’t rate the wines – they simply had not been served properly… Because of that, the simple fact remains – Overture was okay, and Barolo was really not enjoyable at all.

  2. December 9, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Your experience aside this is a cool concept. Dallas is one of the largest and busiest airports in the US and I have never seen a Vino Volo. I will definitely investigate this further. Cheers.

    • talkavino
      December 10, 2014 at 1:45 am

      This experience has nothing to do with the concept, of course – Vino Volo are great and I will still do my best to visit them in the future.

  3. December 9, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    I found it; Terminal A, a very slow terminal. But, next time I am at A I will check this out for sure. Thanks.

    • talkavino
      December 10, 2014 at 1:46 am

      Looking forward to your comments. By the way, they also have a loyalty program – download their app on your phone and scan all the receipts – they have different perks available based on the location.

  4. December 9, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    I think Vin Volo is a fantastic concept, too bad you had a bad experience. Next time I’m in the airport going to look for them. As much as you travel one bad experience is not bad given how many times you have most likely had a good experience.

    • talkavino
      December 10, 2014 at 1:49 am

      Suzanne, by all means Vino Volo is a great concept, which I continue to endorse enthusiastically. My honest hope that someone from Vino Volo will read this post and think more about their high end pairing next time. Similar Sommelier Selection level flight of Washington wines in Seattle was outstanding…

  5. December 10, 2014 at 10:49 am

    I love Vino Volo as well, but I am usually with my boys, which is less than optimal. In fact, I am starting to resent VV since it seems to be there mocking me when I am with the boys….

    • talkavino
      December 10, 2014 at 11:48 am

      well, that is a whole other issue – I don’t think I would take my kids there either…

  6. December 12, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Always fun to have a good old fashioned rant now and again, well played sir!

    • talkavino
      December 15, 2014 at 6:04 am

      thank you! 🙂

  7. December 14, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Sounds like this was a poorly thought out tasting! Seems like the “mostly a rant” was deserved haha.

    • talkavino
      December 15, 2014 at 11:32 am

      yes, it was a strange tasting set. I guess they wanted to showcase “serious wines” – but then they should’ve known that Barolo have to be treated differently…

  1. August 11, 2022 at 10:18 pm

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