I have been frequenting wine shops since I was in high school, and let us say that it was a few years ago, since I am close to retirement. Through the use of social media, I discovered a wine shop that has been in existence since 1991 and I had missed this shop in all of my travels. I am not sure when or how we became “friends” on Facebook, but I am glad that we did. Elie Wine Company completely amazed me. When we first became acquainted I ascertained that he was in the midst of closing one shop to reopen another shop, so I decided to wait until the new shop was opened and I am still in a state of Nirvana. I have told several people first hand already about this shop, and two of them are avid wine buffs like myself, but unlike myself are very well heeled, and neither of them had heard of the shop, so I gave them detailed directions to the shop.
As my Bride and I entered into the new store, we were greeted by a gentleman behind the counter who emitted the aura of the old world on many levels. I introduced myself to him, and I was going to offer further discussion of who I was, and how I came to enter his store; before I could go into any of that, he made mention of a photograph that I had recently posted and we were in a conversation as if we were old friends that just recently met again. Elie Boudt is a wine maven, in the best use of the term, and the funny thing is that he posts thought pieces about literature, the arts, philosophy, almost anything but wine. He made the both of us feel as if we were the most important people at the moment and he was thrilled to show us around his new shop, though it wasn’t completely arranged and set to his liking. He was still expecting some custom racks, and there were wooden cases stacked upon each other almost to the ceiling. These were not just cases of wine, but had the imprints of Lafite, Margaux, Latour, Haute-Brion, Petrus, d’Yquem, Chambertin, Grands-Eschezeaux, Romanee-Conti, and Le Corton and on and on and on.
Until this day, every wine shop that I had ever entered offered popular price wines by the cases and then in a very defined and usually controlled area there would be a selection of wines that most people have heard of, but have never tried and in fact very seldom encounter. Elie explained that the world of wine was so vast, that he could never do it justice, so he only sells what he knows, and what he knows, he knows in depth. He says that he is searching for new stars to feature from some of the areas that at one time were only considered Vin du Pays. His knowledge flowed so gently that I was amazed that I was in the shadow of wine greatness. I mentioned a dinner that I attended that Harry Waugh was the guest speaker and we discussed the Burgundy wines of the evening, and Elie was naming the firms that handled each of the communes that I mentioned.
He was giving us a grand tour of the shop that were set up geographically by regions, and you can tell that he still had ideas formulated that had not been done, as he was explaining that each crate opened had mixed collections of communes or shippers and that the rest were still in cases. We toured the great wine regions of France. And every step forward I took, I was in awe and yes envious to see these great names. Then we turned down one aisle and there were wooden cases of not only magnums of great wines, but perhaps jeroboams and methuselahs. I was that child in the greatest candy store in the world, which they speak of.
I have to apologize as I am using the photographs that Elie has posted on his site, as when we got to the shop, my phone was red-lining and I did not have a power cord with me to charge it. I had hoped to return the next day as he was having a tasting featuring Burgundy wines, and that would have been wonderful. Alas the best laid plans of mice and men; after being stuck in several traffic jams and on the road for an hour and fifteen minutes and still at least a good half hour away (with no guarantee of getting there for the one hour tasting event) I never made it to the shop, either for the tasting, taking photographs and perhaps the biggest faux pas – I did not get a business card from Elie. The next day I was hit with a bug and between the bug and the antibiotics I was of no use to go back there that week.
Even though Elie was passionate about the French wines and with his offerings how could he not, he has also started a passion about some wines from Spain. As we were discussing this area, we had the good fortune to meet his charming wife and his daughter. My Bride and I almost felt bad keeping him away from the two women in his life. So we bought six bottles of Spanish wines that he was excited about and we bid him adieu, and I promise that I will get back to his shop to take some pictures, not that I am a great photographer, but to see the shop as I saw it in my eyes.