A Personal Wine Shopper’s One Stop Shopping Plan

 

In this era of online shopping and home deliveries, we all tend to prefer one stop shopping. It is simply easier, less annoying and frustrating. And studying several websites and going over lists will only add a little more stress to daily living. We dont need that.

If you share these beliefs, then allow me to share where I would go online for one-stop wine shopping. Since my choice may surprise you, let me explain my reasoning. 

First, I prefer more than bargain wines, I want wines with some excitement and sizzle. Small production, distinctive wines, not wines or brands owned by giants like Gallo and Treasury which will always be available.

I also look for wines that before discounts, I would normally find way over my budget.

And right now, I am going all out to take advantage of the temporary market which has many restaurants unable to take showcase wines allocated to them. 

For instance today the Flowers 2016 Sonoma Coast, Seaview Ridge Pinot Noir is offered at $55, but it retails for $80 and is usually on wine lists for around $125.

As for timing, I’m looking for more lively, refreshing wines to drink over the summer, not blockbusters or age-worthy monsters.

So, here’s this weekend’s shopping list for one-stop wine shopping. Within a monthly wine budget of $250, I would buy 3 bottles each of the following:

2019 Private Property by Caraccioli, Rosé Santa Lucia Highlands, $14.00

2017 Le P’tit Paysan, Chardonnay Jack’s Hill Monterey, $14.00

2018 Cotes du Rhone, Domaine L’Abbe Dine, $15.00

2018 Brassfield Estate Malbec, Volcanic Ridge $18.00

2018 Tank Garage Winery Fast Machine Red Blend Sierra Foothills $20.00

So, there you have it.

And, yes I expect most have not heard about these wines. These are all limited production wines normally sold direct and/or destined for restaurant wine lists.

The lovely Rose is from a region famous for Pinot noir. The racey Chardonnay is a single vineyard version made by Ian Brand, noted sommelier. The Rhone is made by a famous winemaker. The pure, balanced Malbec is from Lake County which is known for red wines, and Tank Garage in Calistoga was on its way to becoming a hot wine destination for the in crowd. 

You can find these wines at  www.invino.com which is based in Napa County.

Any Disclaimers? 

None. I’m not an influencer auditioning for free samples. I’m not an affiliate working on a commission. I have no personal relationship with anyone at invino.com. 

Next week, new selections.

I drink wines and I know things.

 

 

 

Two Correctly Curated Pinot Noirs

Two online wine sellers recently reappeared on my radar and today they did not disappoint.

Funny thing is that both have uncovered an excellent Pinot Noir for the identical discounted price of $29.00. 

The primary difference is the vineyard location: cool North Coast versus cool South Coast.

www.wineaccess.com  offered the 2016 Long Meadow Ranch Pinot Noir Anderson Valley, $29.00

www.invino.com came up with the 2015 Ryan Cochrane Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard,  $29.00

The choice is between Anderson Valley and the Sta Rita Hills. Not a bad choice at all.

And both Pinots were rated 93 points by The Wine Enthusiast.

These days both sites may lack the sizzle and bombast of the flash sale, deal of the day guys.

But in my recent research, each one offers a wide selection of first-rate wines at good prices.

My detailed review of these two sellers and buying suggestions will soon follow.

But for now, better to suggest you act fast if you are looking for super Pinot Noir.

You can thank me later

5 Great Deals for Restocking Your Wine Cellar

When anyone can buy Heitz Cellars Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon online with free shipping,  there seems to be no  end in sight for online wine deals.

All you need to buy one bottle of the Martha’s is $299.

The following personal picks are for normal people on a normal wine budget:

www.vivino.com

2016 Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Estate $54.99

Normally selling for $70, Grgich’s Cabs age long and well. This is the Estate, not the pricier Yountville bottling. Vivino is not always clear on such details. At wine.com, this wine is listed for $69.99.

www.lastbottlewines.com

2018 Edict Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley $19.00

This is not Goldeneye Pinot in terms of depth, complexity and pedigree, but it is simply delicious Pinot from the Anderson Valley

www.wineaccess.com

2018 Joyce Tondré Grapefield Syrah Santa Lucia Highland, $30.00

From one of the rising stars in the Central Coast, this is intense Syrah from a prized vineyard.

www.wtso.com

2016 Château de Macard Réserve Bordeaux Supérieur $13.99

A well-known, reliable chateau, this is a terrific deal for a wine to enjoy over the next few years.

More Cab Franc than typical, giving it more character.

http://www.cinderellawine.com

2016 Wrath Fermenta Chardonnay. $19.99.

Wrath had been developing quite a following and selling from its Carmel Valley tasting room. This is part of the winemaker’s series exploring different techniques. For you geeks, fermenta refers to partial malo-lactic.

Best Daily Wine Deals

Ever wanted to act like a wine snob and drop a few famous names like a Puligny Montrachet or try a wine from Heidi Barrett,  Napa’s most celebrated cult wine winemaker?

Or perhaps you simply are curious and want to see what these wines are all about but couldn’t find them?

Either way, it is now time to act and explore wines that possibly won’t be available in the future. 

For obvious reasons,  the wine market has changed. For the moment at least as more and more cult-like, hard-to-find wines are being offered by specially online wine sellers. Usually these are one-time, daily deals.

Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet? No problem. It is now for sale on several sites. My guess is that this Cabernet which has been a featured item on high-end restaurant wine lists now needs to be sold by other means.

Whitehall Lane Cabernet? Well, it too has recently surfaced online. Until now, it was sold to tasting room visitors and wine club members. 

As was two of my all-time favorites, Pride Mountain Cabernet Franc and Nickel & Nickel Cabernet Sauvignon.

As restaurant wine sales grind to a halt, rare French wines like a Grand Cru Alsatian Riesling or a French red from Cabardes are now showing up.

Let me share my game plan for checking out and stocking up on a few normally hard to find wines.

These are the 6 best websites to view daily:

 www.wineexpress.com   Just added a Pahlmeyer Chardonnay for $99 to join other celebrities like Heitz Cellars, Nickel & Nickel and Pride Mountain. It also has the Enroute Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley. These are not widely discounted,wines just seldom available.

www.winespies.com  These guys just offered Heidi Barrett’s 2015 La Sirena Pirate Red.

www.sommselect.com  teased up all this week with a 1998 Puligny Montrachet ($120). And also a terrific 2017 Alsatian Grand Cru Riesling.

www.finalcase.com  is the first to offer the 2016 Whitehall Lane Napa Cabernet for $33.95

www.wineaccess.com  came up with an absolute gem with the 2015 Chateau Auzias, “Gloria Mundi, Cabardes for $32. This is a Syrah/Cabernet wine from a great vineyard most French have never heard of.


www.lastbottlewines.com  uncovered the 2014 Beringer Vineyards Napa Cabernet Sauvignon for $29.00.

Today’s Mind Boggling Wine Deals

Today’ big decisions: should I buy the 2015 Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc, my all-time favorite for only $14 or should I go with another fav, 2015 Sbragia Monte Rosso Cabernet for $59.00 or the Robert Craig Merlot for $49? 

Oh wait, two websites are offering the 2017 Ridge Gerserville, a classic, another offers the new vintage of the rare Dominus and even a few wines from Rams’ Gate are available online. 

The choices are fascinating. But the real deals wont last long.

As winery and restaurant doors begin to open, the window featuring fine wines rarely offered online is beginning to close. 

With restaurants basically on hold now for 3 months, wine producers have been forced to find outlets for their often allocated wines. Mostly small wineries from California and Oregon have turned to online sellers. But also quite a few imports, usually favorite restaurant exclusives, have also been showing up online. 

Many but not all of the wines are discounted by 10% to 60%. A few are not discounted, but these are normally severely allocated.

Since it is crucial to act quickly, here are the best 6 wine sellers working hard to offer unusually great, often impossible to find wines during these most unusual times. 

The following are the current leaders and the wines /wineries I’m considering:

www.wineexpress.com Heitz Cabs, Silver Oak, Caymus Cab, Flowers Pinot, 2015 Bordeaux

www.vivino.com Sullivan Vineyards, Rams Gate, Chateau St. Michelle Ethos Reserve

www.winespies.com  Dash Cellars, Robert Craig, Spy Valley from New Zealand, Morgado Cellars

www.wineaccess.com 2015 Burgo Viejo Palacio de Primavera Rioja Reserva, and Cabs from Rudius, Anderson Conn Valley, Larkmead, Coho Headwater

www.wiredforwine.com 2019 Domaine Ott Rose, Booker, and Pinots from Big Basin, Anthill Farms and Cakebread.

www.firstbottlewines.com   Williams Selyem Pinots and Zinfandel, Ridge Geyserville, Bergstrom Pinot Noir, Von Strasser Cab, Turnbull Cabernet, Scherrer Vineyard Zinfandel and Dutton Estate Pinot.

Time’s up. I hit the “Buy” button.

And you?  Better get moving. You can thank me later.

Serious Red Wines at Super Prices

On “International Chardonnay Day,” the trending story within online wine sales was….great deals in bigtime red wines.

Seeing many collectible reds quickly made me forget about Chardonnay.

Researching many, many special offerings during the week leading up to Memorial Day weekend, I discovered the time was ripe to buy serious red wines not to sip, but to savor and stash away.

The background that helps make sense is that the closure of so many restaurants and wine bars has famous reds not being re-ordered. Producers and importers have seen inventories stagnate. 

So the leading online wine sellers are being offered rare wines that normally would not be seen online at discounted prices.

It hit me when I saw Paradigm Cabernet offered way below normal at winespies.com. Paradigm, Heidi Barrett’s longtime client, normally sells for big bucks and mainly to mail list clients.

Today, another site offered the 2015 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon for $109 a pop. 

Another featured a 2010 Chateau Lascombes, a coveted Margaux for $99.

Yes, culty wines usually snapped up by collectors and high-rollers are backing up in warehouses.

 So make room in your wine cellars and wait for the home deliveries to begin arriving.

Here are 10 great examples of serious red wines that caught my eye.

The web addresses are provided and represent the best sites for finding these or similar wines over the next few days:

2010 Château Lascombes, Margaux $99 at  www.wtso.com

2015 Beringer vineyards Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $109.00 at http://www.lastbottlewines.com

2015 Robert Craig Howell Mountain Merlot, $49.00 at www.winespies.com

2017 Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $36.95 at www.finalcase.com

2015 Anthill Farms Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast $40.00 at www.sommselect.com

2015 Seghesio Family Vineyards, Old Vine Zinfandel $29.00 at www.wineaccess.com

2014 Saxon Brown Zinfandel Parmelee Hill, $26.99 at www.vivino.com

2015 Domaine Du Grand Montmirail  Gigondas, Cuvée Vieilles Vignes, $28.47at www. wineExpress.com

2016 Cos Pegase Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $29.99 at www.vivino.com

2017 Vina Robles Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, $21.97 at www.napacabs.com

With wineries and restaurants beginning to open to some degree, the high-end red wines wont be offered at reduced prices for too long.

The window will soon be closing.

So act fast.

You can thank me later.

SIP Wines at Home: Sonoma Wineries Have You Covered

 

Sonoma County wineries have recently come up with two remarkable wine offers designed for home delivery. The special offers originate from two associations: Sonoma County Vintners Association and the Wineries of Sonoma Valley.

Each organization came up with lengthy lists filled with many hard to find, high quality wines as well as just downright delicious, priced-right wines to buy by the case.

What’s also noteworthy is that quite a few wines are from small wineries selling, until recently, exclusively via club membership. So you can test drive, say, a wine from “Three Sticks” or Kamen to see if the reputation is deserved.

Here’s the first website to browse, followed by the premise:

https://sonomavalleywine.com/sonoma-valley-wine-collective/

“In this unprecedented time, The Sonoma Valley Wine Collective offers access to wines typically only offered at the wineries with limited availability or production. Your purchase not only enhances your wine library, it supports the many family owned Sonoma Valley wineries and their employees who look forward to welcoming you back when we are able.

A percentage of sales generated from The Sonoma Valley Wine Collective will be donated to the La Luz Crisis Fund to meet the unmet and urgent needs of our community.”

Being able to sort by varietal and by region makes this site so easy to browse.

And of course, that’s what I’ve been doing all day. 

Here is my handy tipsheet and quick guide by wine type.

The Best Picks:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: Kamen, Tin Barn Vineyards, and Laurel Glen Vineyards
  • Pinot Noir: Auteur, Donum Estate, Robledo, Walt, and Schug
  • Zinfandel: Jeff Cohn Cellars
  • Syrah: Kamen
  • Sauvignon Blanc: Beltane Ranch, Tin Barn Vineyards
  • Chardonnay: Bonneau Wines, Schug Cellars

The second awesome list is from the Sonoma County Vintners who opened with this background:

“Sonoma County Wineries have created a variety of special offers to alleviate the cost to ship wine directly to your doorstep. You can still purchase wines from hundreds of Sonoma County wineries that will deliver to you. Below is a list of shipping offers to consider during this difficult time. Consider a virtual wine happy hour with your friends and family to stay connected.”

check this one out at  https://sonomawine.com/sip-from-home/

Many many wineries are participating. A few are on both lists.

But the offers on this one focus more on shipping, pick up, and various delivery options. 

So you have to find a winery that interests you, and go from there.

Free shipping on Silver Oak Cellars and Sojourn Cellars are eye catching examples.

 Carol Shelton offers $5 case shipping but great discounts, such as:

2018 Rendezvous Rose, regularly $17 for 50% off, just $8.50/bottle

2018 Wild Thing Chardonnay, regularly $19 for 30% off, just $13.30/bottle

2013 King Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, $40 regularly for 50% off, now $20/bottle (Only 6 cases left)

Several offer virtual tastings only.

Because there are so many variables, I’m listing my favorite wineries on this list that deserve your attention. Otherwise, good luck finding what you prefer.

Top 10 Wineries that stand out on this list:

  • Acorn
  • Alexander Valley Vineyards
  • Benovia
  • Carol Shelton
  • Collier Falls
  • Crossbarn by Paul Hobbs
  • Donelan Family Wines
  • Lynmar Estate
  • Freeman
  • Trentadue Vineyards

Franky, these are all so solid, it is hard to pick a favorite.

But if I had something like a birthday coming up, I would go with Donelan, so hard to find in normal times.

But have fun going over these choices.

Remember, I do this for fun.

You can thank me later.

Real Winemakers & Great Wines for SIP Home Deliveries

 

Silver lining? Purple Lining?

The longer we are sheltered in, we are seeing better and better offers coming our way from some of California’s super winemakers.  I don’t mean ego-driven winemakers hyped by the likes of parker wannabes. I mean real winemakers who know how to prune and drive a tractor. And make fabulous wine!

First up Jeff Runquist. Based in Amador, Jeff is best known for Zinfandel and Barbera, but he has the touch with all wines. Best Barbera from anywhere!  He also makes super Grenache from Paso and Viognier. A real sleeper is the Runquist Dolcetto.

The deal:  Jeff Runquist Wines is offering FREE SHIPPING on online orders of 6+ bottles, and half price shipping on orders of 1-5 bottles. This offer is valid for ground shipping to the 48 contiguous United States. Simply order online and they will adjust the shipping charges when the order is received. https://www.jeffrunquistwines.com

Scherrer Winery: Fred Scherrer, one of the best winemakers in Sonoma and anywhere for that matter, has put together a special Nepenthe 2020 collection at 50% below retail.

He explains:

“These wines offer different uses and  no need to cellar them in order to realize their potential, yet they will be in prime shape for years to come.  Just enjoy these in the weeks and possibly months to come and let some of the younger additions to your cellar creep into their adulthood. 

  • 2018 Dry Rosé  We sat down and tasted a vertical of 2017-2019 Dry rosé and were blown away by how lovely they all are.  While different kinds of good, we think the 2018 is perfect for drinking right now and during the next 20-30 months.  
  • 2012 Russian River Syrah  The 2012 Russian River Valley Syrah will have a very long life, being Syrah of course.  Yet this has opened up to a beautiful spot just like the Pinot Noir and will satisfy needs for richer red wines.
  • 2013 Russian River Pinot Noir The 2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir has emerged from its cocoon just over the past months.  I cannot think of a more gratifying glass to pop and pour before, during and after dinner.  It is our main Pinot Noir and prioritized production-wise as if it was our estate wine.

So here it is: Fred’s Nepenthe of 2020.  50% off regular price with free ground shipping* on 12 or more bottles.  You can always fill out the case or two or three with our other wines normally available.  While those additional wines won’t discount more than the usual rate of 10%, they will ship free with an order of 12 or more bottles.”

My assessment: a rare opportunity to enjoy wines absolutely impossible to get in normal times. Cant  make up your mind? Go with 4 of each.

Papapietro Perry Winery began in 1990 and has carved out a stunning reputation for small batch Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.  The 777 Clone Pinot Noir is on every collector’s radar. The winery is offering $5 shipping for 1 to 12 bottles AND they are donating $2 per bottle to Redwood Empire Food Bank.

 Alexander Valley Vineyards has been a personal favorite for, well, many, many years. The Wetzel family has always been all about quality starting in the vineyard. Highlights here are the estate wines, the Cabernets and the surprisingly terrific Cabernet Franc. For spring sipping, the Sangiovese Rose is hard to beat. Several lovely older Cabernet vintages are offered.

The deal: Order 2+ bottles and ship to your home for $1 per bottle + $1 order processing fee. Plus, there are numerous case special on their top wines: https://shop.avvwine.com

ACORN Winery

This unusual winery is offering  10% off 4-11 btls, with $10 shipping, and 15% case discounts, with $5 shipping. Continental US, ground only.

Looking for something different, while here’s your chance to see what Acorn Winery is all about.Owners Bill and Betsy Nachbaur have been farming their famous Alegria Vineyard since 1990. Winemaking is handled by Bill Nachbaur & Clay Mauritson.

In their words: “Our production remains small, at about 3,000 cases each year. All our wines are made from grapes we grow ourselves at Alegría. Every wine is a field blend, following the ancient tradition represented in the mixed planting that is our original 129-year old vineyard. Every wine is made by co-fermenting multiple varieties. We like to say that our wines are blended from the day they are picked. This is what sets ACORN wines apart.”

Look for the Super Tuscan, ‘Acorn Hill.”

There you have it.

Act fast.

You can thank me later.

 

SIP Wine: More Steals & Deals

 

“Free shipping anywhere in the US and 35% off retail.

Now that’s a headline that caught my attention. We all need to have something to look forward to during these sheltered in place weeks.

And to know we are helping small, independent wineries (the only ones I

focus on) stay in business during the closure adds to the enjoyment.

Turns out the headline was for the 2018 Greenwood Ridge Syrah, Mendocino. Heck of a deal on a case.

A longtime follower of Mendocino wines, I was thrilled to discover dozens of other Mendocino wineries had stepped up their game, suggesting while you stay at home they are offering “more steals and deals.”

Here is the website to explore….https://mendowine.com/taste-mendo-at-home

Many excellent offers but each is a little different. Some highlight low or no shipping; others push discounts. A few toss in an herb or plant. Pennyroyal offers a lovely Farm Box. Cakebread pitches a new Rose.

As an added bonus, the website’s photos are gorgeous. 

In Mendocino, because it is such a large county with so many micro-climates, you can find many, many super wines. Add in the fact that the winemakers tend to be rugged individualists “doing their thing,”  and you have lots of different wines in different styles.

For those seeking a little inside information, here’s my tip sheet:

Barra Family: one of the oldest and most highly regarded family vineyards. The Barra Petite Sirah is one of the best made anywhere.

Husch Vineyard: all about value, value, value. The Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc are of superior quality at everyday prices. The Pinot is a real steal.

Fathers & Daughters: Never heard of them? Well, the family’s vineyard is coveted by Williams Selyem and many others. So go with the Pinots but this vineyard makes super Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer.

Graziano Family: Look for Monte Volpe and Enotria labels. An amazing roster of Italian wines from Greg Graziano who if he lived in Napa would be an icon. Dolcetto is my fav. But the whites are top notch as well.

Saracina: John Fetzer’s beautiful winery makes one of my favorite Sauvignon Blancs. The Malbec is a pleasant surprise.

Maggy Hawk: A relative newcomer to the Anderson Valley Pinot scene. One gorgeous Pinot is labeled “Unforgettable.” It is that and is included in the attractive 3-pack offering.

Scharffenberger: Still so underrated for its bubbly. Excellent value. Go with the Brut or Rose.  A case ships for $1.

Waits Mast Family Cellars: This Pinot specialist is my current exciting discovery. Now you too can explore this cult wine candidate with a 6 bottle pack or a 4-bottle vertical. Painless with a $5 shipping rate. 

Navarro Vineyard:  This is the family winery that pioneered direct shipping to consumers. It also makes terrific wines. It is offering Spring Samplers with savings up to 23% as well as One-Cent Ground Freight on all 12 bottle orders of wine or juice until May 31st. Pick any one sampler and you will be thrilled.

Goldeneye: Needs no introduction.  Just look at what is currently offered and go for it.

With such tiny, limited production wineries like Fathers & Daughters, Waits Mast and Maggy Hawk, this might be the time to join a club or two.

And yes, neither Goldeneye nor Scharffenberger are family owned. But they

are key players within the Anderson Valley family.

Attention Oregon Wine lovers! 

Love Oregon wines? 

Just found this great site listing special offers on  prices, shipping, and home delivery during the sheltered in place period.

https://www.oregonwinepress.com/buy-local-wine

 

The list includes dozens of wineries ranging in size and reputation. Quite a few are offering shipping out of state. 

I like that it shows how wineries are trying to keep alive but also how they are willing to go the extra yard.

The 3 samples below are typical. 

Browse through the complete list and you might see your favorite winery.

Ponzi Vineyards 

We are currently offering a 20% discount on all bottles (excluding library and single-vineyard wines), curbside delivery and $10 flat-rate ground shipping through April 30 with promo code PONZIATHOME. Beginning the first week in April, we will be offering same-day local delivery service included on purchases of six bottles or more within a 30-mile radius of our winery.

19500 S.W. Mountain Home Road, Sherwood

503-628-1227 • www.ponzivineyards.com 

 

Kramer Vineyards

Shipping included on orders of three bottles or more to Oregon, Washington and California; $10 flat-rate shipping on six or more bottles to the rest of the U.S. Delivery to the Gaston and Forest Grove area. Half-case and case discounts apply.

26830 N.W. Olson Road, Gaston

503-662-4545 • www.kramervineyards.com 

Kristin Hill Winery

Offering 20% off all half-case purchases and 25% off all case purchases. Can be mixed cases.

3336 S.E. Amity-Dayton Highway, Amity

503-835-1277 • www.kristinhillwinery.com 

Hope you find something here that improves your day.

I dont get kickbacks or commissions. Just liking sharing discoveries.

You can thank me later.

Cheers