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.

Today’s Top 5 Online Wine Deals

The first offer came in at 6:30 am and, wow, what a day it is turning out to be for those needing to stock up on wines during these sheltered in days.

Here are the top 5 picks of the day based as usual on high quality, good discounts, and special shipping offers.

Act quickly they won’t last. You can thank me later.

Cheers!

  1. 2016 Dashe Cellars Bedrock Vineyard Ancient Vines, Sonoma Valley

(Old vine Zin, Carignane, and Mourvedre)

www.winespies.com

$29 with free shipping on 4 or more

2. 2016 Fog Crest Pinot Noir, Laguna West, Russian River Valley

www.wineaccess.com

$30 a bottle

3. 2011 Qupe Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard Hillside Estate

www.wtso.com

$16.99

4. 2017 Pedroncelli Zinfandel, Mother Clone, Dry Creek Valley

www.cawinecluib.com

$14.99, $1 shipping on 6 or more

5. 2017 Clark Estate Upper Awatere Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand

CinderellaWine.com 

 $13.88, plus free shipping on orders of 4 bottles or more!

 

 

 

Shopping the Best Wine Shipping Deals

 

Several online wine sellers are making a special pitch for buying a case of wine to be delivered to your door during the shelter in time.

Not every offer presented new or exciting wine deals, however. The only reason why I’d suggest buying wines by the case is when shipping is free and the wine is excellent and discounted at least 25%.

Better advice is to find those wine sellers offering free shipping on a few bottles. Besides, you dont need to stock up on one wine, unless you truly love it.

With that in mind, I studied the aptly named website, finalcase.com and found a few good case deals. However, the most appealing wine was the 2014 Miner named “The Oracle” which sells for $84.97. Buy 2 bottles and shipping is free.

The current hot website www.winespies.com is still coming up with great surprise deals. Now it is offering the 2015 Aiken Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast for $25. That’s $50 off! And there’s free shipping on 4 bottles.

Winespies also has a great Rose from Marlborough, the 2018 Spy Valley for $14.99, that would nicely fill out an order.

Sommselect.com just announced free shipping on any 6 bottles or more. This site is not a discounter, but focuses on finding super, high quality gems from around the world.

Listing several fine wines from Italy this week, www.wtso is holding firm to a free shipping on 4 bottles policy.

Saying it will ship free any order over $50, vivino caught my attention. While still over-hyping every new wine, www.vivino.com every now and then stumbles upon a great deal. Most recent is the 2015 Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, $39.99. 

For a super deal on an everyday wine, vivino has the 2013 Gregory Graham Crimson Ranch Syrah, Lake County for  $17.99.

Vivino’s $50 offer of free shipping is definitely a big deal!

But with wine by the case, it is more difficult to locate a comfort zone.  After studying numerous online sellers, I kept coming back to one site, www.napacabs.com which despite its name, sells wines from all major parts of the wine world.  Free case shipping, it turns out, applies to 939 wines. Happily, it was easy to skip over the many supermarket wines like Cupcake, Josh and Fat Bastard. These along with the Kendall Jackson and 19 Crimes silly wines are pretty ordinary for getting through tough times.

Here are the best by the case deals from napacabs.com:

 All prices are by the case with free case shipping to CA, WA, AZ, OR, NV

2016 Niner Red, Paso Robles $184.97

2017 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico $269.98

2017 Argyle Winery Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley $287.98

2015 Carpe Diem Pinot Noir Anderson Valley $304.98

Better yet, napacabs just added a great Cabernet deal: 

 2017Domaine Bousquet Gran Cabernet for $17.97 a bottle.

Happy shopping these great shipping offers

Heads Up: Sales Alert

 

Vintage wine estate sale

With some wines offered 50% below retail, vintage wine estate is worth checking out this Tuesday.

It is a one-day sale, February 25, 2020

Many wineries/brands are in the company’s  portfolio. Here’s a partial list:

Vintage Wine Estates includes Clos Pegase, Cosentino Winery, Girard Winery, B.R. Cohn Winery, Swanson Vineyards, Viansa Sonoma, Windsor Vineyards, Cameron Hughes, Firesteed, Tamarack Cellars, Cartlidge & Browne, Sonoma Coast Vineyards…

I’ll be looking to see which wines, if any, will be from Qupe, Swanson, Clos Pegase, Sonoma Coast and Kunde.

The teaser mentioned the 2018 Kunde Chardonnay for $10.80 a bottle and

2014 Clayhouse Malbec from Paso Robles for $9.00

Added incentive: one cent shipping on case orders.

If interested,

Go to: www.vintagewineestates.com

5 Best Somm Sites & Free Wine Education

Somms have come a long way since my years as a wine teacher. The new breed study hard and pass rigorous exams. Whether full on MS scholars or those having attained certain WSET levels, they have soaked up tons of information about the many facets of wine.

Knowing a subject inside and out is essential as a starting point but it does not make one a good or excellent teacher.

 How to organize and convey information is what sets good teachers apart from the bad and the boring.  Motivating students to continue learning after the class is another key.

That holds true for everyone imparting information on every subject.

Somms and MWs are no exception. 

Focusing on free stuff on the internet is like returning to the Wine Library at UC Davis  Or for me, the Healdsburg Library where I spent many hours.

Oh well, enough nostalgia. I’ve recently been following Somms and a few MWs online. I’ve read numerous background articles, wine reviews, and have viewed too many videos and Podcasts featuring Somms. Yes, I’ve seen the movies as well. 

Regarding wine podcasts, I checked out many, including  “Drunk Bitches” and “Wine to Five.” Neither made my list.

As of now based on the latest, five websites backed by Somms lead the field in free online wine education. All 5 should be approached as team teachers, since each brings a special area of expertise and strength to the immense subject.

In other words, no one stands alone in my mind as “the” wine educator. There is no Kevin Zraly among today’s SOMMS.

But here are the 5, each bringing something powerful and rewarding to wine education:

www.winefolly.com 

Begin here: Best on how to taste and talk about wines.

Madeline Puckette, a certified Somm and member of the Guild of Sommeliers is the outfront personality. She and her partners stated Wine Folly in 2011. As she explains, “The goal of Wine Folly is to share wine knowledge in a way to encourage and inspire new drinkers. “

And she does that. She is not, thankfully, talking to wannabe sommeliers, and she focuses on making wine tasting enjoyable.

 Often relying on blind tasting wines side by side, she brings tremendous enthusiasm to the subject. She is basically teaching viewers how to taste and identify wines, and manages to make it lively, if not exactly entertaining. Other than having the credentials, she comes across, and this seems important to me, as a normal person, not a twit or nerd.

I liked her tasting of 3 under $20 Cabernets purchased at a supermarket. It immediately breaks the association of price and quality so common among new wine lovers. As the wines are evaluated, she tends to focus a lot on the appearance, not just color but the overall appearance. Love her use of the wine aroma wheel!

www.guildsomm.com

Second step: Know your grapes and wine regions.

GuildSomm is “a nonprofit international membership organization for sommeliers and wine professionals that promotes education, collaboration, and healthy debate while maintaining the key values of the sommelier profession: integrity, humility, and hospitality. We’re here to help you expand your knowledge of the wine world.”

MS Geoff Kruth launched the GuildSomm website in 2009, joining his career in wine with his early background in technology. He manages the organization, hosts the GuildSomm podcast, develops content, and leads masterclasses. Feature articles, podcasts, and videos are publicly available and cover varied topics on the world of wine. 

The only drawback with guildsomm is information overload. Some articles go too far in depth and and seem to be factoid upon factoid. We have all had teachers who don’t know how to pace a lecture and keep the student’s interest.  

So, for example,  when reading the article on Merlot which is crammed full of information, I suggest you step away from the screen every so often.

But, that aside, there a wealth of information available here and it is accurate and up to date.

www.sommselect.com

Best for Buying and Enjoying Wines

Although this is an e-commerce, wine club site, the head sommeliers, Ian Cauble and David Lynch share many fantastic, personal insights about wines, wine styles, regions, and the people behind the wines.  

For Italian wines, Lynch is the man. For Burgundy, Cauble is hard to beat. For Pinot Noir, he recently wrote: Let’s not forget that Germany has nearly the same deep history with the grape as Burgundy, and that Germany ranks third in the world (behind France and the US) in total Pinot Noir planting.

For a fresh perspective on lesser grapes, you hear this from him: “Be it Tuscan, Ligurian, Sardinian, or Corsican, Vermentino is a distinctively ‘Mediterranean’ grape we all need to get to know better.” 

www.napawineacademy.com

Best for reminding everyone that wine is about people. Real people.

This online site focuses on classes for students of various interests and levels. You can enroll in these classes and attend at several locations in addition to Napa. Or you can enroll online.

The catch is that these classes are offered on a fee basis, meaning you pay. Yes, this is serious and the major part of the program consists of classes for different WSET levels.

The Wine 101 Foundation course is widely appealing and the fee is $125. That’s a bargain for the price.

But why I include these folks here is that there are free podcasts, audio only. But they are wonderful interviews with wine people, winemakers, winery owners, 

and marketing types. About an hour long, the Cathy Corison audio is wonderful and typical of the others offered.  You can also read the blogs, basically well-researched timely articles on grape varieties, regions, and events.

www.vinosity.com

This site wraps it all up nicely.

The wine world is immense, but wine is all about people and places as well as wine. At vinosity, over two dozen writers report from regions around the world.

The trick here is to be alert and sign up for a two week free trial. Then immerse yourself in articles from writers around the world. Several authors are MWs.

This is Steven Spurrier’s new pet project to revive wine journalism. He has two articles online that are brilliant, one on Okanagan wines and the other on the most recent San Francisco International wine competition.

South Africa’s leading expert, Michael Fridjhon, contributed a lively, insightful view of Stellenbosh. Don’t miss the conversation about Wachau, one of Austria’s amazing wine regions.

And, of course, the update on California Rhone wines goes off the charts.

So, to sum up:

Use these 5 websites offering free stuff to learn as much as you want to about wine. 

Super Pre-Christmas Wine Sale

Going into the weekend before Christmas,  we checked out the deals from  all major websites and came up with a clear winner: http://www.wineExpress.com

Billing the sale as “Red Friday,” http://www.wineexpress.com offered  5 deeply discounted red wines.

And came up with these 4 winners:

  • 2014 HW Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi $12.47
  • 2017 Syrah Cowan Cellers, Bennett Valley $12.47
  • 2016 Chateau Violette, Moulis en Medoc, $19.47
  • 2015 Belle Fiore Red Blend (Cabernet, Malbec, Merlot), Rogue Valley, $12.47

Shipping is free on orders over $149.00

These four first-rate wines are offered at 40-50% off.

We know them well.

The only odd thing is the recurring “47” cents in all prices.

Read the detailed review ofwineexpress at http://www.robywine.com

 

 

Two Day Holiday Mega Marathon starts December 12

 

at www. lastbottlewines.com

This two-day marathon promises to be excellent for bargain hunters.  These folks usually offer wines 50% below full price, but sometimes are closer to 70%.

lastbottlewines.com is a highly-rated, reliable site rated in my top 5 online wine sites.

This is a flash-sale. Starts at 9:00 West Coast time. NSFW.

To hear more about flash sales and to mentally prepare yourself for this marathon, see my detailed review at www.robywine.com.

Remember I’m not an affiliate out for easy, sleazy commissions. Or any kick-back deal.

And I’ll be following it for sure, looking for Rhone and Bordeaux wines along with Napa Cabs and Pinots from CA. Also, Zinfandels from Sonoma.

But there is one important point that you should be aware of:  the wines wont be delivered until after the New Year.

If that’s okay with you,

Here’s the lastbottlewines.com pitch:

 “In addition to hoarding small batches of killer wines for the past 6 months, we just received a container from Europe with a mind-bending amount of great bottles. The madness truly does get bigger and better every year — we promise. Oh, and Happy Holidays.”

“PLUS — FREE GROUND SHIPPING on ALL

And this: “We will require several weeks to stage and coordinate all the shipping (begins January 6th)”

But hey, after the holidays, who among us will not need to replenish our wine cellar?

 

Go Big on Cyber Mega Magnum Monday

 

http://www.WTSO.com is one of the very few e-commerce sites offering magnums for sale every so often.

And tomorrow, it goes all out with nothing but magnums. And a few double magnums.

Big bottles for big occasions!

Wines to look for are 2016 and 2016 Bordeaux ( St. Emilion, Côtes de Bordeaux, and Medoc) and wines from the Southern Rhone.

Also some killer Spanish reds.

Maybe a Champagne or two will be offered.

If so, Champagne, the real bubbly made in Champagne, develops more complex flavors and richer texture when fermented in a magnum or bigger bottle. Honest!

WTSO has been coming up with top notch California wines lately.  Keep an eye out for Caymus Cabernet and wines from Cuvaison, Cornerstone, Maroon, Saintsbury, Blackbird, and Encantado.

For a detailed review of WTSO, go to http://www.robywine.com/wtso

The Essential Facts:

Date & Time: Monday, December 2, 2019 8am-8pm EST (12 hours)

Bottles: A variety of red, white, and sparkling large-format bottles between 1.5L and 3L

Deal: 10-15 new bottles every hour for 12 hours — all bottles available on the home page. No other shopping options will be available on Marathon day.

Shipping Details: FREE shipping with all orders, no minimum required. Orders placed at different points in the day are able to be combined and shipped together. All orders ship Monday, Dec. 9

Free shipping on magnums is a big deal!

And, yes, wines age slower in magnums.

And, as mentioned, Champagne taste better…if you believe in science.

 

 

 Black Friday & Wine Affiliates 

Be an affiliate: No experience or expertise required. 

My last post introduced you to affiliates, behind the scenes bloggers/influencers making money.

These affiliate wine programs are not limited to a few small-time bloggers making a few bucks. The popular Wine of the Month Club has numerous, and, of course, everyone wants to have a link that leads to a commission from Amazon.

For example, Vinepair which I like and regularly follow tries to downplay it this way: 

  • “From time to time we work with various partners to highlight wine, beer, spirits and other products that we believe you, our readers, will be interested in learning about. When we link to Amazon and other 3rd parties with affiliate programs (and remember to tag those links) we earn a small commission.”

FYI: Amazon is said to pay a commission in the 1%-10% range, depending on the product. And should you check my review of Amazon’s wine selection at www.robywine.com, you’ll see the selection is vast.

 I recently clicked on a review of wine clubs published by CNET. Now we have definitely left the small world of wine bloggers, and CNET lays out an interesting background for why it, of all websites, is reviewing wine clubs:

“So which is the best wine of the month club or subscription for you, your budget and habits in 2019? If all of these choices seem overwhelming, we get it. It’s like being in wine country. That’s why we canvassed the wine club landscape to uncork the best memberships for you.” 

Setting aside the bizarre use of the word “canvassed,” if you read the fine print you are told: “CNET editors pick the products & services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.”

The assumption is that wine and wine clubs are just another product worthy of review and compensation when reviewed favorably. One day you review fitness watches and hotspots, the next wines or wine clubs.

BUT NO. Not so fast. 

As CNET noted, 

“Wine can be “overwhelming.” 

Well, for most people, except for the editors of CNET who can canvass the landscape, wine is complicated and both knowledge of and personal experience with the subject are essential before passing judgment.

But this brings me to the main point: wine continues to intimidate people, unlike shoes, fitbits, appliances, and most other products and personalized services. 

Can’t recall how many people once hearing what I did as a profession would then apologise for some reason for not knowing much about wine.

When buying wine, people still need good, reliable, and unbiased advice. 

It is pretty obvious that most publications mentioned with affiliates are targeting the millennial audience.

Millennials are targeted because, among many reasons, they might subscribe to a wine club. 

One website focuses on financial advice for millennials also explored wine clubs and ended this way:

“You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article.”

“Trust, “integrity,“”independent” and then maybe”compensation “?  

Wine to today’s bloggers and their colleagues is more lucrative than say shoes  and fitbits because it is meant to be consumed and replaced fairly often.

Wine can also be an expensive product, so affiliates can earn much more money through commissions.

And of all possible revenue sources, wine club subscriptions are the most attractive for obvious reasons, the main one being regular repeat sales. 

A commission is paid for the duration of the membership that originated in the blogger/affiliates review.

It is all about the money.

You can google “wine affiliates programs” and, yes. there are lists of the best ones for commissions and financial gain. 

You’ll also read that wine club subscriptions offer a great opportunity to make serious money.

Be an affiliate: No experience or expertise required. 

Looking for honest, non-affiliated reviews? Go to www.robywine.com

The New #1 Wine Website

Wines Til Sold Out or wtso.com was one of the first and has made so many recent improvements that it has broken away from the pack and has emerged as a leader in this fast-paced, competitive world of online wine selling.

Over its 13 year history, Wtso.com has experienced a few ups and downs, and I have been critical at times.

But as one of the oldest wine websites, it just may be the #1 place to buy wines online today.

It has matured and is now more than a flash sale.

Here are 3 top deals featured this week that won me over:

2016 Torii Mor Pinot Noir Reserve Selection, Willamette Valley, $14.99

with free shipping on 4.

2016 La Croix Saint-Christophe, St. Emilion, $19.99

2016 Faite Pinot Noir Paraiso Springs, Santa Lucia Highlands $14.99

These two Pinots are excellent values from super producers and vintages.

Tasted side by side, they display the best features of each appellation.

But the Torii Mor Pinot is an absolute killer deal!

The Grand Cru St. Emilion which is Merlot and Cabernet Franc is one of my favs in an extra-special vintage. Oh yeah, famed consultant Michell Rolland also blessed it. Did I mention the price is 70% below retail?

Also, fyi–the 2016 Encantado Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville offered by wtso.com at $24.99 is made by Pine Ridge which sells an Oakville Cab for $100 a pop.

Learn more at http://www.robywine.com