A friend recently remarked to me that what she likes about shopping on Lot18 is the sense of curation – that there are people searching the larger wine world to find selections that are right for her. And, ultimately, she forges bonds of loyalty with the wineries she’s introduced to by a Lot18 specialist. It’s sort like a trusted friend introducing you to Whit Stillman movies: Years later, you may or may not remember the friend, but you still remember that you love The Last Days of Disco (1998), and will eagerly embrace whatever film comes next (rumor has it the wait is finally over later this year).
Of course, the thought occurred to me that my friend was simply stroking my ego a little bit. Do our members make a connection with the winery or with Lot18?
That question was answered when I got a surprising letter in the mail a couple days ago. The Williams Selyem winery in California was writing to let me know that I’m now on the mailing list. As soon as the new vintage is released this year, I get a crack at buying some more Williams Selyem wines.
The reason I got on the list is that I bought Lot18’s offer of the 2008 Williams Selyem Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir long before I entertained a thought of working for Lot18. I rarely succumb to cult-wine hype, and even less often do I drink California Pinots. But the offer was simply too good to pass up: When was I ever going to get another chance to buy Williams Selyem for a reasonable price? The wine is highly allocated and is usually only found for triple-digit prices on restaurant wine lists.
But I’m now a true fan of Williams Selyem, in large part because the wine far exceeded its reputation. I brought one of the bottles to a special celebration dinner with my wife and parents and, ever since, I’d been trawling the winery’s Web site to find out more and more about the wines, and how I can track down others that the winery makes.
For the life of me, I can’t remember who at Lot18 introduced me to Williams Selyem. I just know that I’m a fan now, and that I can trust my coworkers to introduce me to other wines I’m sure to love. (Most of them, anyway.)
Will I buy more Williams Selyem? Depends. That celebratory dinner at which I opened the first bottle had to do with my wife going back to school this fall to pursue another degree and change her career. So throwing down a few Benjamins for wine – I have enough to get me by until the government gets its AAA credit rating restored – isn’t exactly high on the budget list.
Then again, we do need a great wine to open for when graduation comes around…