My entire career has been as a clothier and not in the wine industry, though they can go hand in hand. I have met customers over the years that have impeccable taste, not only in clothes, but in food, wine and travel. I have taken the time to listen and read about many varied subjects, so that I could speak with some intelligence with these customers and to try to offer assistance in many different aspects. I often likened my position as similar to a concierge in a five-star hotel, to keep abreast of the theater, cinema, restaurants and wines. My breed of salesmen is a thing of the past for many people, like button-hooks for shoes. The concept of casual Friday that became slovenly days, has permeated our society. There are times when my Bride and I are the only ones dressed for dinner and I am not talking about the all too popular chain restaurants, but fine establishments that even pride themselves on having a fine wine selection. Today, one encounters clerks who have no interest in being there and God forbid if you have a question, or you encounter someone who feels that they are the epitome of knowledge, because they have a title. There are still some clothiers left on the face of the earth, and even some fine clothing stores as well. There is still a group of men who still wish to dress for business and they do not want to try to imagine what a cashmere garment may feel like on the web, so brick and mortar stores are their preference. They also want a proper fit, and don’t want to look like they have a spandex suit that is two sizes too small.
Where once every community had a clothing store, and depending on the city, there may have been five or six fine clothiers within walking distance of each other. I was there in the midst of all of those stores and what an industry it was. People dressed to please themselves and for where they were going and it was a more genteel era. There was a sense of decorum and deference. In the waning years of my career, I am working, not full time, and I view my current situation as a kind of clothing consultant, both to the store and to the customers. Some of my suggestions may take time to be absorbed, which is fine, because I am not a proprietor. My favorite maxim that was handed down to me, which I have always followed, is that a buyer cannot buy for his tastes, but for his customers, while it sounds easy to comprehend, the ego of many feel that they should dictate, instead of suggesting. A curious situation that I have observed has occurred in the past decade or two, for the surviving clothiers, is to be able to offer a glass of wine, beer or a simple cocktail to the shopper and his spouse. Your humble Raconteur has mentioned the concept and abetted the concept, as I could see it coming to fruition, but I was not asked for any suggestions, but I am glad to see it happening.
While I am no maven on beverages, over the years I have had my share of tastes. The ability to have some beers for a customer is quite easy and I can recite several excellent imported beers that would please most men, not to mention some of the newer craft beers that have been making excitement in that industry. As for liquors, I was glad to see that there were a couple of fine Bourbons, a Canadian, a Brandy and a Gin, though I think a Vodka and a fine blended Scotch is needed to finish off the selection. One must remember that this a convenience for the customer and not a watering hole. I did take a look at the two of the red wines that the store started off with, while not in the caliber of the Bourbons, it is much better than most of the box wines. The first red that I saw was Chateau Les Grand Thibaud 2012, which is a negocient wine from the Bordeaux region of France. I could not find much about the wine, but I would be willing to say that it is a blend of some or all of these grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and or Carmenere. The other red caught my attention as it a Spanish wine from a recognized, but not yet popular area of Almansa in the Castilla La Mancha district. Bodegas Atalaya Laya 2015 is from a newer winery that was founded in 2003, but the family has three generations of vine cultivation to their credit. The wine is seventy percent Garnacha Tintorerea, the local name for Alicante Bouschet and the balance is Monastrell, also known as Mourvedre. These two grapes are some of the workhorses of the area, and this wine spent four months in French Oak. The winery is affiliated with the much larger Gil Family Estates, which I am sure helps them get some representation on the shelf. Onward and upward to keep customers well dressed and happy while they do some shopping.