I am always impressed when I have the chance to visit a local market like PCC Natural Makets.  In classic Seattle-fashion, this small chain of cooperative-run markets is fueled by the desire to build a community that offers local, healthy, sustainable food choices to its members and customers.  This is the kind of progressive,self-governing attitude you’d expect from a Seattle institution.  However you might be surprised to find that PCC has one of the most interesting and compelling wine selections.  Ever.

I stopped here with a colleague for a quick bite to eat, but was waylaid by the wine department’s extensive and esoteric selections.  These PCC markets have the feel of your neighborhood grocer, but their beverage selection rivals some of my favorite specialty wine shops.

I was especially excited to see the wines of Lo Triolet, a funky little Val d’Aosta wine producer who, in addition to selecting extremely difficult vineyard sites at over 900 meters above sea level, is doing some fun projects with unexpected grape varietals as well.

Lo Triolet was born in 1993 when the Martin family had the idea to replant old Petit Rouge vineyards, high on the craggy, impossible mountainsides, with earlier-ripening varietals such as Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

The resulting wines are strictly mineral, full of acidity and verve, but fleshed out by the cold, penetrating rays of sunshine afforded these terraced vineyards.  They are magical, delicate, and extremely food-friendly wines.

It’s easy to see how this wine department came about- Jeff Cox, self-described “wine guy”, has had almost 30 years in the business and clearly knows a thing or two about sourcing awesome vino.  He’s also a fantastic writer- check him out on the PCC Wine Blog where Cox elaborates on a recent trip to Spain.  If this doesn’t inspire you to get your passport renewed, I don’t know what would.

If all of this isn’t enough to convince you of the merits of a co-operative run neighborhood market, PCC is also responsible for some of the best-tasting, healthiest “fast food”  I have ever tasted.

What more could you ask for- except maybe a glass of crisp, delightful, vino valdostano?