after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

my beef with Moore Bros.

with 2 comments

t says:  This post might hurt my credibility among wine enthusiasts in the Philly-SoJo area, but I have to do it …  Here goes nothing …

I, like many others, frequent a cool little wine store called Moore Brothers.  Right across the Ben Franklin Bridge, tucked away in an office park in Pennsauken NJ, is an entire store that is kept at “ideal wine temperature” (~55/56 degrees).  It’s a pretty cool idea, and it gets the proprietor major points from wine geek customers.  On top of that, co-owner Greg Moore has a lot of Philadelphia-centric history, having been sommelier at Le Bec-Fin back in its hayday, when it was the super-awesomest-restaurant-in-all-the-land.  Then when he and his brother opened up Moore Brothers, it had this kitchy little shtick where it was going to sell little-known wines that offer bang-for-the-buck and were the exclusive product of sincere relationships with the growers/producers/winemakers.  It was almost like you were directly supporting the farmers, themselves – kinda like a CSA … for wine … from other countries …  And the staff is always very courteous and willing to help out in anyway they can, especially because the selection is so limited and there are no shelf-talkers.

a and his dad are big Moore Bros (MB) fans, and I have to say that I, too, have been known to buy quite a bit from MB (at current count, I have 7 bottles from them on hand).  The cause of our addiction is those accursed emails … you see, if you get on the mailing list, your inbox gets filled to the brim with these lovely messages from Greg Moore.  He talks about such-and-such vintner with whom he’s sharing a rack of lamb in Loire, or so-and-so farmer with whom he’s walking up and down the rows of vines in Bordeaux.  Other times, he talks about eating at Philly restaurants like Russett and Bistro St. Tropez, so it’s like he’s “one of us” (except we’d never go to Bistro St. Tropez).  And the descriptions!  The descriptions!  I swear that every wine he has ever sold has been the best wine ever made …

Want an example?  You know you do.  This one is probably my favorite example of a “gregmoore” (this is a new noun that we’ve made – let’s see if you can define it by the end of this post.)


gregmoore part 1: All MB emails like to open with something that makes you wish that you were Greg Moore.  Wouldn’t you, too, like to visit a chateau and dine in the glorious outdoors with winemakers?  Of course you do!  So do I!  And then maybe there’s a subconscious implication that gets buried in your brain: if I buy this wine, I can be like Greg Moore.  I could be dining with the people in the picture!  I could capture their happiness with a single glass of this wine.  And who doesn’t want a glass of pure happiness? …  Oh – wait – the wine!  Yes!  That’s right!  This email is about wine.  Note how nothing is actually mentioned about the wine or vintage or anything … not yet … all that gets saved for the second half of his email – you know – just in case you were planning on drinking the contents of the bottle and not just rubbing it to wait for a genie to pop out so you can wish for that magic carpet to get you to Provence ..


gregmoore part 2:  Ah, there we go – the second part.  Whereas the first part’s goal was to get you in the mood, the second part is where he puts on the moves.  The words begin to fly, making you lust for the wine in question.  “Cowboy dreamer” turned winemaker.  “Incredible, park-like estate”.  Perfect “physiologic maturity”.  “Organic” practice, with a twist of “biodynamics”.  And then the bolded words: “polished copper in candlelight” “wild strawberries” “apricot skin”.  I mean, while I may be guilty of picking weird flavors in my descriptions, Moore’s descriptions are more elaborate than that for a J. Peterman Himalayan Walking Shoe (Seinfeld, anyone?).

But you know what – I’m actually ok with gregmoores like the above.  I like the romanticism, the enthusiasm, the fun.  I even loved it when MB would take pot-shots at other wine critics, especially Parker, as it meant that at least they had a firm opinion on what they felt were good wines, and what they felt were overrated wines.  And even as I grew weary of the gregmoores in my inbox over the years, I was still a fan of their tastings and great meet-the-maker visits (when I could make them), so it was worth keeping in the loop.  Plus, I have to say that MB does have some great wines (e.g. every Riesling that a picks up from them) that justify all of the other verbosity.

There is one thing that has made me swear off MB – and I’ve seen it time and time again:

the 2012

Greg Moore’s take on the 2012 Chablis b Domaine Pinson …


… is identical to his take on the 2011 Chablis from Domaine Pinson!  Someone went through the effort to change the date of the Greg Moore tasting note, but not actually any of the description!  For Shame!  If it’s just recycling the vintner’s note, then say so (but even still, the vintner’s note shouldn’t be the same from year to year!).

Electronic gregmoores are also similarly recycled!  I must have read the same frickin’ grain-of-salt email 4 times over the years (those who are on the email list know exactly what I’m talking about).  And should he be writing about a new vintage from the a producer written about in the past, much like the above, they reuse the SAME tasting note!  I understand that producers try to carry forward very similar styles of wine from year to year, but not every year is going to have “Braeburn apples, hazelnuts, apricots, and brioche moving in and out of the foreground”.  Maybe one year it’ll be a Pink Lady apple, or a Gala apple, or a frickin’ Red Delicious!  All this has made me sad.  I trusted MB to be on my side.  Yes, that’s naive as hell (MB is a business, after all), but I at least wanted honesty out of the relationship.  You may have some great wines in your store, sir, but it doesn’t change the fact that you lied to me.  It’s over.  I’ve unsubscribed from your emails, moved all of your past emails to my spam folder, scorned you on my blog, and deleted your number from my iPhone.  (And I’m keeping your wine.)

Written by afterdinnersneeze

26 February 2014 at 11:16pm

Posted in Happenings

Tagged with

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. T: Just happened upon this, and wanted to give you some feedback.

    This has been an issue since we opened Moore Brothers, and it’s a tech problem more than anyone trying to pull one over on you. We have, since we opened, relied on the flower of 1999 technology (I know it was 1999, because I helped build it) to generate our e-commerce site. The relationship to the company which has provided that capability is a long (over thirty years) personal and professional relationship. In December of last year (2013) all involved (finally) agreed to our building our own e-commerce platform.

    This has resulted in a rebuild of the entire technology infrastructure from in-store to web-based. Changing tasting notes has been one of hundreds of issues this rebuild addresses. If you’re not already too ticked off at us, drop me a line, and I’ll walk you through it.

    David Moore

    24 May 2014 at 2:33pm

    • t says: I’m surprised you happened upon this website – it’s an honor and a pleasure. I’m happy to know that you guys are upgrading things to more accurately reflect the service and care that we expect from one of the “great” wine stores like Moore Brothers. I’m sure my friends, who are still avid MB readers, will be all too happy to let me know when things get upgraded … and then I’ll come crawling back for more …


      25 May 2014 at 6:09pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: