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.

Clueless No Longer

 

Wine Sleuthing 2.0

2020 has quickly provided a great, unexpected surprise. No, I’m not going political on you. This discovery relates to the online wine world.

The clues were there but I just kept getting sidetracked by the silly name and seemingly casual attitude. 

 Then this week with the offer of a fabulous Châteauneuf-du-Pape and special Zinfandel,  it was impossible yto ignore the clues.

Winespies, a wine merchant that I’ve been hesitant to write about,  has totally won me over with its exciting daily specials throughout January.

It meets and often now exceeds my 5 basic criteria:  

  1. Sourcing under the radar, first rate wines from non-corporate wineries

    2. Discounting in the 25-50% range, closer to 50%

   3. Providing informative background material about the wine and people

   4. Avoiding over-hyped, point scores and fake reviews

   5. Offering good free shipping options with temperature control

The standout wines in January that helped make me a new fan are an Oakville Cabernet, Napa Valley Merlot, Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, Brut Premier Cru Champagne and a knockout Zinfandel blend from the Sierra Foothills.

For more detail about http://www.winespies.com go to: www.robywine.com

 

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

 

 

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.

 

 

The Best Online Wine Shop?

So, I have to confess my picks for the Sweet 16 college teams did not fare well. Each one has, alas, gone home.

My game is online wine shopping, and here is my choice for one of the Final Four

http://www.garagistewine.com

garagistewine.com is the most peculiar online retailer I follow. One reason is that its founder Jon Rimmerman who has been offering wines for over 20 years often presents his daily offers late at night.  He is based in Washington State which may explain some things.

He sometimes seems a bit chatty and becomes so excited and enthusiastic that he might belabor a point about a particular wine or region.

He is also insistent about when he will ship your wines and specifies the required temperature and humidity for proper shipping.

But these minor quirks are greatly offset by the pluses.

  • He seeks out wines that are organic, biodynamic and farmed sustainably  
  • He favors small artisan producers and family owned wineries
  • He obtains many wines direct so truly cuts out the middleman
  • He doesn’t use inflated scores from Somms
  • His wines are attractively priced
  • And he is unpredictable, sometimes offering olive oil, nutella, or food items. All high quality.

I enjoy reading his detailed notes because he truly knows his stuff. His background insights about vintages and regions are extremely useful. He is particularly on top of the vintage variations in France’s Burgundy and the Rhone.

He provided a detailed report on 2016 and 2017 based on travels and tastings throughout France and it is spot on. His remarks about 2015 and 2016 Bordeaux are the most reliable in the wine trade.

His analysis of 2016 in Burgundy and of the 2017 Northern Rhone are some of the best I’ve read.

And to this fellow Loire Valley lover, he has the inside track on Loire Valley wines:

“2018 is one of those “pinch me, this can’t possibly be true?” red wine vintages in the Loire. I can’t really compare it to anything else – it has the ripeness of a vintage like 1989 but the freshness of 1996 (another classic year.”

He also looks closely for super wines from Washington, of course but also Oregon. A recent Washington Tempranillo was remarkable.

He often locates super wines under $15 a bottle.

Here are examples of recent offerings:

  • 2018 Bourgueil, Domaine Cotellergie, $16.76
  • 2016 Scott Paul Pinot Noir, Chehelam Mts, $19.71
  • 2014 Rioja Riserva, Burgo Viejo, $13.98
  • 2017 Sancerre, Dezat $19.99
  • 2016 Renvoise “Jasmieres,” dry Loire Valley Chenin Blanc $16.70
  • 2015 Domaine de Cambes, Bordeaux $33.71
  • 2016 Ribbonwood Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough $7.99

He recently offered a lovely Provence Rose for sale at $9.99.

He found “the best Bordeaux you’ve never heard of” from 2011.

He comes across as frank, as in these recent notes:

“This is fastidiously produced Chardonnay without a smidge of pretense but the stuffing and expression to, well, pummel just about any other example from outside the Burgundian reach under $30. In addition, the impact is from fruit, stone and clarity, not from alcohol, wood or from winemaker strategic manipulation/enhancement.”

Or

“If you think “bargain” wine is devoid of potential pleasure or cannot be in the league of top-drawer entrants, guess again. This wine can easily compete with Sauvignon Blanc at 2-3 times the $ and many of its competitors are not as delicious to drink.”

Sometimes to keep prices low, he suggests buying 6 or 12 bottles or more which may seem like hype and hustle, but I think he is sincere and honest in his emphasis on offering value.

A maximum number of bottles a person may purchase is always listed, ranging from 6 to 60.

Pros:

Wildly eclectic selection not found elsewhere.

Excellent prices

Seeks out biodynamic and other green products.

Cons:

Complicated shipping procedures and delivery dates but only to assure wines arrive in fine condition.

Great Deal from St. Emilion’s Neighbor

2016 Chateau Canon Montsegur Côtes de Castillon, Bordeaux, Direct Import, $14.99

An exclusive offering from:  www.invino.com

Having visited this château when I lived nearby, this has to be one of the best deals from this exciting vintage. Mostly Merlot (pictured above) with a touch of Cab Franc,  this is one Bordeaux to enjoy over the next several years.

The vineyard in Castillon site is ever so close to St. Emililon.

And, yes, $14.99 a bottle. At this price, your friends will think you have insider information. 

And you do: for more about invino and other online wine deals, go to www.bestonlinewineshopping.com

 

Wine Sale Alert

Best Fall Sale this Week

With free shipping on select wines www.wtso.com is one to check out.

Act fast because a few sold out within hours.

Still available is an excellent Chardonnay: 2014 Cuvaison Estate Carneros, $15.99

And an excellent red: 2014 Chateau Hoyot Reserve Cotes de Bordeaux, $13.99

Another super Chardonnay with free shipping on 4: 2014 Iron Horse Estate Chardonnay, $16.99

Learn more about wtso at http://www.bestonlinewineshopping.com

 

Thinking About Buying 2015 Bordeaux: Start Here

 

Yes, 2015 is an excellent vintage for most of Bordeaux. I was there during the early harvesting.

The vine in the close-up photo is Merlot at Chateau Monbousquet a few days before the harvest. The best winemakers have sorting devices (often people) that remove the raisined grapes prior to fermentation, in case you were curious.

And yes, 90+ scores are so plentiful as reviewers went crazy when the wines were sampled early on. So there’s little meaningful guidance if you go by the scores.

My buying strategy is to prefer the 2015s from St. Emilion by a slight margin. The growing season favored Merlot which made St. Emilion and, of course, Pomerol, the hit of the year.

www.wine.com just announced its first big offering of the 2015s. No discounts but plenty of choices and shipping options. This is a major, well-established, and reliable seller. See my detailed review at http://www.bestonlinewineshopping.com

My focus, as always, is on wines that are authentic, true to their region, can be enjoyed over the next few years and represent excellent value.

My top 5 picks of 2015 Bordeaux under $35.00 at http://www.wine.com:

Chateau de France, Pessac $24.99

Château Haut Brisson, St. Emilion $31.99

Tour Saint Christophe, St. Emilion $34.99

Château Cantemerle, Haut Medoc $34.99

Château Fombrouge, St. Emilion $34.99

A Dozen High Quality, Highly Discounted Wines Under $20

 Looking for truly outstanding wines under $20, wines that you can enjoy on a daily basis without compromising your standards?

Not to worry: we got big news for you.

This week, wine.com has gone all out to offer wines for under $20 that have been rated 90 points or more. If you act fast, you may be able to enjoy a special one cent fee for shipping a case or some other promo.

This website is ideal for one stop shopping. However, not all the wines are as good as they sound and not all are discounted. It is a long laundry list with over 900 wines.

However, we are happy to make your life easier by slogging through the list and highlighting the best of the best.

And we are happy to share a few buying tips to make the process less bewildering.

First, after going to “Wines Under $20” on wine.com, click on the sort by “Savings” feature to find the biggest discounts.

Our rule of thumb is buy wines online that are at least 20% below average retail. Otherwise, you might be better off at a supermarket or a Wal-Mart or Costco.

A good way to check prices, if you are concerned, is to go to www.winesearcher.com which is the best for showing average prices.

Also, try to obtain a special shipping price. Without it, you can end up paying $35 or more to ship a case. That likely wipes out any discounts.

What wines are most likely to deliver in the under $20 category?

Start with Argentinian Malbec, a no-brainer, but you still can get burned with a lightweight style. For instance, I’ve been disappointed recently by the Norton Malbec. Dont overlook Cabernets and red blends from Argentina.

Otherwise, for Cabernet, consider those from Australia and places like Paso Robles and Lake County before automatically thinking Chilean. Washington’s Columbia Valley Cabs can be fabulous deals. It is possible to find tasty and on point Bordeaux, especially from 2015.

For white wines, check out those from Russian River, New Zealand of course, and also Pinot Gris from Oregon and Gruner Veltliner from  Austria.

Finding quality, discounted Chardonnay is a real challenge. Of the 86 listed on wine.com, only two appealed to me, the MacRostie and Terlato Family.

If you want wines with those tiny bubbles, Gloria Ferrer is still reliable but see our selection of Alsatian sparkling wine, surprisingly rich and delicious.

As for vintages, go with 2015 for wines from France, Italy, and Spain. Avoid those from 2011 and 2013.

Dont forget old favorites, tried and true places. For instance a 2015 Moulin-a-Vent, Cotes de Rhone, or Bordeaux Medoc can come through as super deals.

A word about point scores and critics.  Honestly, a wine rated 92 is not better than one rated 90.  Rating wine has become a silly game not to be taken too literally.

With these things in mind, we have cherry picked the lengthy list of under $20 wines offered by wine.com.

All of our top wines are sold for at least 20% below retail.

Our list is a mix of whites and reds, and one sparkler to enjoy this Spring. These are wines to buy and enjoy.

Our Recommended top 12 Under $20 wines from wine.com

  • 2012 Columbia Crest Grand Estates Red, Columbia Valley $7.98
  • 2016 Giesen Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ  $10.99
  • 2015 Barossa Valley Estate Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia $11.98
  • 2015 Torres 5G Garnacha, Spain $12.98
  • 2014  Antinori Villa Toscana  $14.98
  • 2016 Domane Wachau Gruner Veltliner, Austria $14.99
  • 2014 Vinacious Raconteur Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, Australia $15.99
  • 2014 Terlato Family Chardonnay, Russian River, $14.99
  • 2016 High Valley Zinfandel, Lake County  $16.99
  • NV Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut $18.99
  • 2014 Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles Estate $19.99
  • 2013 Seven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley $19.99