The smartphone revolution has come to wine shopping, too, with the spread of QR code labels that, with a quick scan, launch a multimedia extravaganza about the bottle you're holding in the store aisle.
Too often, though, those labels are just portals to another form of promotional advertising. When an old-school, hand-sell retailer like Moore Brothers takes hold of the technology, though, the results - drawn from 900 original entries built by the store over 16 years - can be downright educational.
There are personal videos with the small-scale Euro winemakers that David and Greg Moore have visited over the years, information on pairings, great details on the wine's history and style, and tasting notes.
I learned, for example, that this week's featured bottle - a 2010 Domaine du Chateau de Larroque Cotes de Gascogne - comes from an 18th-century cellar just outside of Madiran in the Armagnac region, where the famed Charolais cattle contribute to the compost in the natural growing cycle, and the wine supposedly smells like "cherries . . . crushed violets and dried autumn leaves." (Personally, I tasted black raspberries and pipe smoke in this fantastic value wine for veal or duck.)
It might also have been nice to learn this wine was predominantly made of the black tannat grape - a detail that David Moore shared in a phone interview. But it's somehow reassuring to know it's still essential to get a dose of Moore's famous service in person - even as the bottles themselves begin to tell their stories, too.
- Craig LaBan
Domaine du Chateau de Larroque Cotes de Gascogne, $16, Moore Brothers locations (7200 N. Park Drive, Pennsauken; 1416 N. DuPont St., Wilmington.)