Saturday, December 17, 2011

New Kid In Town

I've been living in Merida now for five years and I've been drinking wine in Merida now for five years. 

Until recently the best access to wine that I knew about was either Costco, Sam's, or Covi.  Yes, there were some smaller neighborhood stores but they don't carry much of a selection. 

Merida is an infant in the wine scene.  Don't get me wrong, there are wine drinkers here and some with discerning tastes but for the most part they drank red or white.  Ok, what others are there besides roses?  None, without getting technical!  But there was little concern to the varietal (type of grape) that the red or white wine was made from. 
Over time the wine culture here has changed and is still changing and I hope it continues.......forever!
I see three main things that have made these changes come about.  One, the influx of people moving here to live from the northern parts of the country.  They bring with them a better level of knowledge and a more discerning palate.  Two, more and more gringos moving here also with a broader base of knowledge and desires for wines they want to have access to.  Three, the locals growing knowledge of wines and with that the desire to try other varietals. 
I think this is great for numerous reasons with the two biggies being a much wider variety and lower costs. 

Things are changing here and not only in regards to wine but many other things associated like food items and restaurants.  Go Merida Go!!!!

For a couple of years I have heard about and then came to know people that would drive to Cancun and/or Playa del Carmen to access a liquor store called La Europea.  Seems that they are a big chain in MX and they have a variety of wines, liquors, deli items, oils and nuts that puts all other similar stores to shame.

Well guess what?  Yep we have one!  It just recently opened at City Center.

You may remember my last post about going there but it being closed.  It did have a bit of a rough start and even though it is open now it isn't functioning at full capacity.
There is still some construction going on.............

and there is construction dust every where and there are prices missing..........

but it is a work in progress and it will be a great addition when it is finished!
These next two pictures are of the yet to be finished deli area.  From the looks of it it'll be quite large.  Who doesn't like a big deli!

It really gives me the feel of the large liquor stores in the states. 

They have all sorts of gift baskets and gift sets for sale too!

Plus they have oils, and nuts and all sorts of stuff!

So go, browse, snoop, check it out!  Who knows what you might find!

I can't wait to see it when it's running on all cylinders.  They do have wines I've never seen here before and they have some of the old reliable ones too.  However, I was impressed by them not being inundated with the wines you see very where else.  Ye they have some bu not shelf after shelf of things like Concha y Toro.  Ok, don't anyone get their knickers in a twist!  I like some of C yT's wines but I don't need to see them dominating the aisles and shelves. 
Give something new a chance.

Last, the prices were disappointing overall.  I thought when a big chain store came in that the competition would get a kick in the pants.  Not so much.  Of course I had to go on the same-o same-o and they seemed to be priced the same as other places. 
But, the variety was better than anywhere else in the city so I guess I'll  be learning about some new wines!  I love it!

Now I have been led to believe that there are case discounts but I failed to ask when I was there.  But you'll be going in to see the place I'm sure, so you can ask when you get there.  FYI: Roberto's name has been dropped as the go to guy for his knowledge and recommendations.  

Regardless, it's worth the trip just to see the place.  Kinda' gives you the feeling that Merida is growing up!

PS: I might mention that Cavit Italian Pinot Noir at 150p per bottle is a good wine at a decent price!


WilliamLawson said...

Well I think they should:
a) define their target market;
b) open when they're ready

Nice post though; best of the season to you and Ms Debi!

luluinmerida said...

Hi - Just found your blog. Is this still open and where is city center?

Tom said...

Yes, it is still open and now fully operational. Their deli area is quite nice too!
It would depend on where you are coming from but from centro go North on Montejo to Calle 21 (aka Bolio/major intersection with a light and Office Depot) East (right) on 21, go to first glorietta and go North (left) on Calle 21, stay on it all the way to City center which will be on your left just before you get to the Periferico. FYI: there's a dog leg by the casinos at which point the Calle changes from 21 to 32 but just stay on the main road. Then you will continue straight through the next glorietta at Calle 49. (FYI: Calle 49 connects with Prolongation de Montejo at the intersection on Montejo with the 7-11 right before you get to Home Depot) After going through the glorietta Calle 32 will change into Ave Andres Garcia Lavins. Almost there!
Watch for Calle 29 on your left and once you go past it make sure you are in the left hand lane because the left you take to get into City Center is not marked well. The left is Calle 43. However if you miss it do not worry because you'll just need to go to the periferico and circle under it and come back and then turn right into the entrances available to you on that side.
La Europea cannot be seen from the street or parking area. It is located in the interior courtyard area in the center of the complex. Have fun!

Margo said...

Just came across your blog! Attracted immediately by the "drinking wine for 5 yrs in Merida!" LOVED IT. We've been drinking wine in Quintana Roo for 16 yrs (, and since 2009, when we bought a retirement house (2nd time to retire), we've been drinking wine in Merida (6 months each year)! THRILLED YOU FOUND La Europea too. I had been praying for an extension of the Cancun store (where we purchase supplies for our Quintana Roo life). I shall read yr excellent writing more thoroughly, but felt I should shout HURRAH. Margo

Tom said...

Thanks Margo for the kind words, much appreciated.
Things are still changing for the better with the wine scene here and I hope it continues.