Best Deal Ever on Fabulous Pinot Noir

Today’s Top Deal

2013 Marimar Estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast,  Mas Cavalls, Dona Margarita Vyd. $23.99

Why We Love This Deal

Lovely, classy Pinot Noir from a time-tested winery offered at $23.99,

50% off the real retail price.

This is an outstanding single-vineyard Pinot that can be enjoyed now or cellared 3-4 more years.

Almost too good of a deal to be true!

Free shipping on 6 or more bottles

But there it is at http://www.vivino.com

Read more about vivino at  http://www.bestonlinewineshopping.com

Red Wines for Those Dark & Stormy Nights

Focusing on Red Wines offered in Special January Sales, and came up with a stunning deal from a great winery now featured on my website. Too good not to share here.

Available through January but  wines like the Enigma will disappear quickly. And yes, the Viognier is a big-boy white and suitable for January drinking.

check out the sale at http://www.terrerougewines.com

Online Sale of Terre Rouge & Easton

2010 TERRE ROUGE Enigma ~ $25 reg./ $13.25 sale

  • 2009 TERRE ROUGE Viognier ~ $25 reg./ $13.25 sale
  • 2012 EASTON Cabernet Franc ~ $28 reg./ $17.50 sale
  • 2006 TERRE ROUGE Syrah, Sentinel Oak  ~ $40 reg./ $20 sale
  • 2009 TERRE ROUGE Syrah, Wilderotter ~ $32 reg./ $17.50 sale
  • 2005 EASTON Zinfandel, Rinaldi ~ $30 reg. /$15 sale
  • 2007 EASTON Zinfandel, Estate ~ $35 reg./ $18.75 sale

Case purchases only, but can mix and match.

Naked Truth About Nakedwines

NakedWines may well be the biggest, most successful wine club. But it is also not your typical wine club.

Some might find it a little weird.

Founded by British entrepreneur Rowan Gormley in December 2008, Naked Wines “operates as a crowdfunded business that has grown to over 300,000 subscribers.These subscribers, known as ‘angels,’ help fund more than 130 independent winemakers across 14 countries in exchange for access to exclusive wines at reduced prices.”

It was purchased in 2015 by Majestic Wines, the mega UK superstore. Majestic Wine trades from more than 200 outlets with 640,000 active customers. The firms said the combination would give Naked Wines access to a nationwide store network in the UK to allow a click-and-collect delivery option for its customers.

Founder Roman Gormley is no newcomer to online sales and wine clubs. He was a force behind Virgin Wines which was part of Virgin Air. He was pushed out at some point by the UK-based Laithwaite’s wine company.

Dont know any of the details, but it is interesting to note that the Laithwaite family now operates a major online wine retail site and wine club in the US and Australia.

nakedwines.com  has an office and warehouse in southern Napa and operates in both the UK and Australia.

But let’s Enjoy a WTF pause here.

How does crowdfunding work, you ask? Well, each month subscribers deposit $40 into their account and they can apply funds from that account to purchase wines. Before you say, “This is stupid,” read on because there are a few steps along the way.

The first step is to sign up for the introductory 6-wine pack which costs $59.99 and includes shipping. You can look over a large list made up of specific winemakers around the world. Often, each will offer two or more wines.

These are many established winemakers such as Daryl Groom, the Aussie, who came to turn Geyser Peak around years back. Rick Boyer, Ken Deis, Ernie Weir, Jonathan Maltus are other names very familiar to me.

Next, after your wines arrive, you rate them with tasting notes and that puts you on…a waiting list.

Not to worry, I was on a waiting list.

Amazingly, my prayers were soon answered and my name moved up that list rather quickly. Guess there’s plenty of room in angel land

Winging It

But, I was only an angel for a few days. Though I was de-winged, over the next few weeks I somehow managed to purchase a case for $60 bucks. It was part of a holiday introductory deal.

So along with 6 other wines I obtained earlier, my experience with nakedwines is 18 different wines. I tasted wines from South Africa, Australia, France, Spain, Chile, Argentina and California.

My Assessment:

All wines were sound, without defects, and most offer adequate varietal and/or regional character. This is not a snobby comment because, as you’ll read later, the imported wines travel long distances before being bottled.

The red wines emphasize fruitiness and show little or no oak influence. They lack complexity and should be consumed young. Only the Chilean Cabernet displayed youthful tannic edges.

The 2 CA Chardonnays tended to be buttery with oak notes. Ordinary.

Wines I’d like to try again include the Spanish Tempranillo, South African Sauvignon Blanc (Carmen Stevens), Minervois (Darnault),  Eponina Brut, and the Torrontes from Argentina.

Wines that I’d like to try from their stocks: 2014 Le Lastau St. Emilion, the 2015 Michaud Merlot from Columbia Valley, and Ken Deis Napa Cabernet.

Other Things to Know

Nakedwines positions itself as a company that supports artisan winemakers. Big plus there. Not sure how it works.

Nakedwines says it offers members the lowest possible prices by eliminating the middleman. But since 99% of its wines are sold to members, sorry to angels, the non-member prices are arbitrary.

Nakedwines encourages interaction between angels and the winemakers. There is lots of activity on the website to verify this. No way to verify if the responses from winemakers are actually written by them or by another hired angel.

Members’ prices range from $9.99 to $29.99 a bottle.

There are about 150 wines available at any one time.

Members, angels, rate the wines they have bought, and group scores are posted.

Nakedwines has the option of substituting wines ordered with similar wines.

Nakedwines gives a free bottle for every case ordered.

Delivery is included in orders over $100. $9.99 for others.

Delivery was on time and the wines were shipped in a holiday themed box.

Nakedwines regularly offers $100 vouchers and coupons for the introductory case offer.

But here’s something BIG you need to know.

Nakedwines in the USA bottles its imported wines at several facilities in California. Yes, wines from Chile, South Africa, France and elsewhere are literally shipped to CA in containers. Then they are trucked to and bottled in places like Healdsburg and Kenwood in Sonoma and Acampo, Lodi’s neighbor.

This is one way to “keep prices down by saving on shipping,” explained a rep.

And it is not unique. Gallo imports New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and bottles the wine in Sonoma County. Smoking Loon bottles a Chilean Cabernet in Lodi.

However, it does raise all kinds of flags relating to quality control, authenticity, and methods used to protect the wines during shipping and trucking.

 Finally Should You Go Naked?

Ultimately, it comes down to value. Since most wines are in the $9.99-$29.99 range, are they better values offered than what is widely available elsewhere?

Of the 18 I tasted,  only 2 wines appealed to me as reasonably good deals: the Tempranillo and the Eponina Brut

But there are many others I am curious about,

Just not enough to join the club.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New High in the Wine World

With great sadness, today I bid farewell to a longtime faithful companion. One that was always there for me.

I’ll always remember its adoring puppy-like features: weedy, grassy, flinty, herbal, flowery, spicy, smoky, earthy, grassy, stony, smooth.

Did I mention weedy?

Its passing was announced earlier this week with these touching words:

“Rebel Coast Winery have introduced THC-infused sauvignon blanc, which will go on sale in January 2018 to California residents.

Each bottle, costing $60, contains 16 milligrams of THC, adding up to around four milligrams per serving.”

Its alcohol was removed by reverse osmosis. SAD!

Farewell SB! You will always be just Sauvignon to me.

But wait. Maybe I can get product samples and feel happy again.

 

The Top 10 Online Wine Clubs of 2019

USA Today with its popular Top Ten Lists has appointed itself some sort of force in the wine world. So earlier this year, it had several wine categories open for voting for one of its top ten candidates.

One category that got my attention was the best wine subscription clubs.

Dont know who is responsible but the candidates, the choices made by USA Today, are pretty lame.  The shows an East Coast bias and apparently nobody ever checked out the clubs and looked at what each offers. Like the wines for example. And the prices.

However, the crack team at www.bestonlinewineshopping.com  has been faithfully following 36 candidates, each claiming to have the best hand curated deals for members, exclusive offerings of super values, rare wines and great vintages and the next cult wine.

Or all of the above. Along with free corkscrews, aprons, and super-duper introductory offers.

Looking over the feeble lineup of candidates from USA Today, my vote goes to wineaccess.com.   It was a tough decision. I have mixed feelings about this site.

But most of the time, the wines offered are real, not custom made, and the prices are good.  But, yes, the hype can get thick and, yes, they over-rate wines.  And the sales pitch runs on and on.

Too bad the other candidates were mostly from the subscription box world, only a part of the online wine selling world.

Visit my site at http://www.robywine.com for info about other sites offering much more exciting deals and real wines.

But spoiler alert: here are the best, most exciting sites as we end 2019:

http://www.invino.com

http://www.wtso.com

http://www.lastbottlewines.com

http://www.cawineclub.com

http://www.garagistewine.com

http://www.sommselect.com

http://www.wineExpress.com

http://www.laithwaits.com

http://www.wine.com

www. wineaccess.com

My top 10 wine club sites offer real wines.

Wines from most subscription box clubs, like nakedwines.com are special, custom made wines.  Not available elsewhere.

Looking over the other USA candidates, it is time to remove web retailers with subscription boxes who have nothing much to offer. Martha Stewart?  Yes, she has to go. 

So, to mix metaphors, let’s begin by throwing the following wine clubs off the island:

http://www.somMailer.com  This one is new and has no track record. I dont think much of the wines selected. But USA Today must believe because the guy is French, he must know wines inside and out.

www.wineinsiders.com  A no-brainer here because the prices are simply ludicrous, unless you think $29.99 for a Gascogne white or $39.99 for a common Bordeaux Superieur are awesome deals. Neither coupons or Groupon offers with a 15 bottle introductory cases can save this one.

www.marthastewartwine.com   Yes, we are throwing Martha, our much-beloved entertainment expert, to the sideline. To be frank, there is no evidence her good taste is invoked here. since she sold the brand. The wines selected are common and appear on several other sites. And there are a number of over-priced private label wines  with cute names. This is a sad case of a celebrity branding a wine club and then allowing others to take over and opt for ordinary, over-priced wine.  No way Martha could have chosen or hand curated such mediocre wines. Sad, but a fail.

www.vinesse.com.  Has been around for 20 years, but has failed to keep pace. No discounts on the few, real wines offered. Sad CA selection (3 Zins, 0 Sauvignon Blanc) and no wines rated over 90 by anybody. Something named Plank Walker is your top Napa Cab? Really? Prices start at $19.99 a bottle. Gone!

While we are at it:

Almost all airline wine clubs. The United Airlines wine club uses vinesse for its member wine deals. So does Alaskan Airlines. Unless you are totally desperate for miles and mediocre wines, forget these clubs.

http://www.virginwines.com  is not as bad as the others, but still doesn’t soar high enough to make our final cut.

www.wsjwines.com  This site once offered members well-chosen wines. But now the Wall Street Journal seems to have outsourced the wine selection process to another website and the wines are quite unexciting. Best advice is to sign up for the 15 bottle introductory offer for $69.59. Then cancel the minute the box arrives.

And before we close, we have also dismissed as losers the wine clubs from  national geographic, AARP, Walmart, Hound & Hare, and my local pet store.

Oh, and the NRA, can you believe it, also has a wine club.  This is no cheap shot: the wines offered are way off target.