Wine Dancing Coyotes

Forget “Dances with Wolves” and “Dancing with the Stars,” wine lovers will be more impressed by a small winery I’ve recently discovered named Dancing Coyote.

Here are three reasons why:

  1. It is a real family winery focusing on great value, not on getting big scores for over-ripe, over-worked, and over-priced wines.
  2.  This winery is exploring non-mainstream wines such as Albarino, Gruner Veltliner, Verdelho, and one I bet nobody has ever heard of, Loureiro, It also makes a fabulous Tempranillo and Rose of Pinot Noir.
  3. And the quality is high with all wines showcasing the variety in a balanced, polished style. Even the Petite Sirah shows great restraint.

Dancing Coyote makes my new go-to summer white, the Albarino, from vineyards in the Delta region and its winery is based in Lodi.

Yes, you heard right.  Lodi, best known for full-throttle old vine Zins and massive Cabs and Petite Sirahs.

Albarino, the pride of Spain that does not get nearly as much attention in California as it deserves. Does anyone else make a Gruner Veltliner, the main white of Austria?

Dancing Coyote, the winery that dares to be different, is actually located in Acampo with its tasting room in nearby Lodi. It produces most of its wines from the McCormack family farmed vineyards In the Clarksburg-Delta wine region.

It also reaches out to locate Tempranillo grapes from Lodi. And the Dancing Coyote Tempranillo will have you dancing in the streets it is so right on the mark for varietal character. With no sign of oak barrels or oak chips to blur its focus.

The winery facility is known as McCormack Williamson Cellars and they do have a wine club for online sales.

And, did I mention the family produces wines in cans?

As for prices, all of these wines retail for less than $15. I’ve found the whites for as low as $7.99. But I refuse to identify that source because the summer has several more weeks to go.

But here’s the good news for those with no plans to visit Lodi soon: the winery has a wine club: www.dancingcoyotewines.com

I suggest the 4-bottle sample package for $45 for starters.

The back label explains the dancing coyote name.

Also, the wines are available at the independent online site:

www.cawineclub.com  So you can include a bottle or two in your cart if you shop there.

 

Is Amazon Primeday a Wine Day?

Surprise, Surprise! Amazon Primeday is on for July 10th

Amazon was previewing its wine selections and special packs over the weekend. An early Celebration.

And so I spent many hours over the weekend evaluating Amazon’s wine offers.

The Pitch: “Up to 40% off” on many selections

The Good News:

Many wines have special 1 cent shipping promotions

Over 8,000 wines and specials listed

And Amazon is the most trustworthy online presence

The Bad News:

The vast selection is vastly ordinary

The 1 cent shipping often applies only to case orders, 12 bottles

The best wines are NOT heavily discounted ( often less than 20%) and many are not discounted at all.

Many wines are mass-produced brands, starting with Barefoot, that are widely available

Overall, Amazon’s wine site has that supermarket feel to it which may be intentional.

It offers hundreds of made in America wines, but is weak when you look at French wines and South American wines.

It seems to be unloading many French wines from lousy vintages, such as 2011 and 2013.

The Detailed Update

Now that everyone is pumped for the special Amazon Prime Day on Monday the 10th, here are my thoughts.

Amazon has a large wine department. Not the biggest in the online world but close enough as the most recent listing of available wines exceeds 8,000.  Amazon is a little different from other online wine sellers because it loves to assemble wine packs of 2, 4, or 6 bottles. And toss in a few 12 bottle packs as well.

There seem to be more combinations of Game of Thrones wines (listed as the #1 best seller) than there are episodes of that show. The label art is quite detailed.

So that 9,000 wine items listed includes the various packs.

That said, now let’s get back to the details. About two-thirds of the wines on Amazon are US in origin, mostly California, but Washington State (1,500) is well-represented as in New York (550). These last two states have earned the recognition, so bravo Amazon.  French wines offered hover around 1,000, and Italy shows up with 485 offerings.

Maybe my expectations were too high, but after the first few hours of checking it out, I felt like I was browsing the wine section at Rite­Aid or Target with so many Barefoot wines and others found in most supermarkets and drugstores with a wine dept.

And yes, I check out the wine selection of every store visited. It is a habit.

And, yes I have tasted many Barefoot wines. NOT a habit, a duty.

When you begin hunting for deals and discounts, Amazon surprisingly is not exactly a savvy wine shopper’s paradise.  In fact, as is often pointed out in their customer’s reviews, quite a few of the wines can be bought at better prices at grocery stores like Safeway and at Costco and similar stores.

Apothic, Menage a Trois, Dark Horse, Smoking Loon, Pepperwood Grove,  Barefoot and a large number of other Gallo-owned brands may actually be cheaper at Rite-Aid, Safeway, Target and CVS.

Two of my favorite bargains, Columbia Crest Cabernet and Merlot, are cheaper at Costco and other outlets.

(Note to Amazon brass: you often get many negative reviews from your wine customers for this reason.)

As for small, family owned wineries, the choices are few. I did note that Brophy Clark wines are available as are a few from Hartwell, Peju, Anthem, Dry Creek Vineyard, Zaca Mesa, Qupe, Leeuwin from Australia, Ojai, and Chateau Diana.

All of Parducci brands are listed as are many Coppola wines. But both Parducci and Coppola which offer reliable wines are ramping up production in a big way and are widely available.

To summarize:

Shopping on Amazon Prime is appealing for three reasons: convenience, better pricing, and locating things not readily available from real stores.

When it comes to wine, Amazon scores big on convenience. Only convenience.

Best Tips:

First, check out the “Best Deals” by category.

Also, click on the 1¢ Shipping deals

And, go to the 20% off list and look for those items that are also part of the 1 cent shipping for the truly best deals on Amazon.