Two Day Marathon Wine Sale

wine lovers looking for some distraction should tune in to the 2 day marathon at http://www.lastbottlewines.com

Just keep refreshing the page to keep up.

They call it “Marathon Madness.”

I call it exciting and entertaining, especially if you are sheltered in place.

The two-day marathon got off to a great early morning start with a fantastic 2017 Chateauneuf-du-Pape. At half price!

Watch for your favorite wine but dont hesitate.

This is a flash sale.

Items move fast.

But there’s an excellent chance to find real bargans. These guys really come up with deep discounts.

I’ve bought from them and can verify they do deliver.

Also, this time around, they too are going the extra yard.

Here’s some background on the occasion:

“we have gone hyper-uber-over-the-top this time. We all need wildly well-priced wine now more than ever and we have risen to the challenge. WE. GOT. YOU.

We’re donating $1 per order over the next 2 days (last year was 29,000 orders for context) to the Napa Food Bank and the Napa Valley Community Foundation, two organizations helping those in need, frontline health-care response teams and supporting Emergency Financial Assistance. Thank you for all you do.”

Happy marathon shopping!

I do this for fun.

You can thank me later.

Cheers

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

 

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!

 

 

 

How Some Wineries are Countering the Shut Down

Sheltered: Sip fine wine, Save on shipping & Support a family Business

This week we are focusing on wineries rising to the challenge and making it easier for you to enjoy their wines at home. Without question, it is rough on all small, family wineries that have been developing clubs, events and direct sales programs to suddenly be forced to close their doors.

But some are seizing the opportunity to make new friends and to keep the family business afloat.  And make your days sheltered in place much more tolerable.

http://www.trentadue.com

You gotta love what Trentadue Winery is doing.  Located in Alexander Valley with a highly regarded estate vineyard, Trentadue is best known for Zins, Petite Syrah and the house red blend, La Storia. Arguably, this is one of the most underrated wineries. 

This week, Trentadue announced a super six bottle deal with $1 shipping. The price for this 6 bottle pack is $171 for non-members and $133 for members. Also, you can order any case of their wine for a flat $5 shipping fee. That’s terrific. And the winery is even making personal home deliveries to its Sonoma County neighbors.

Trentadue Home Wine Tasting 6-Pack

California Champagne

2017 La Storia Cuvee 32

2018 Shoestring Sangiovese

2017 Victorian House Zinfandel

2017 La Storia Cabernet Sauvignon

2017 Heart’s Desire Petite Sirah

That sets the bar high, but here are some others you need to explore for yourself.

 Terre Rouge and Easton in Amador County

www.terrerougewines.com

It’s no secret that Terre Rouge is one of the best names for bigtime Syrah, and other rhone red and whites. Easton is the label for Barbera and Zinfandel. The Ascent Syrah was recently rated 100 points by a respected writer. 

But here’s the “stay at home” deal details.

First, the winery is offering 25% off ALL Easton and Terre Rouge Wines (excluding library wines), when you order 12 bottles or more. Feel free to mix and match them however you would like to create your own custom case.  When you buy a case and use promo code “CODE19” you pay flat shipping of only $12.

Even more impressive, Terre Rouge has put together some specially priced 3 bottle, 4 bottle, and 6 bottle packs where shipping is included such as: 

ZinFull Trio $110 (normally $125)

Home But Not Alone 4-Pack  $119.19

Stay Home, Get Rhôned 6-Pack $165 (normally $211)

Social Distanced Terroir 6-Pack $150 (normally $188)

Goosecross Cellars, Yountville

www.goosecross.com

Showing the way for its Napa Valley neighbors, Goosecross, known for its Sauvignon Blanc and several high-end, high quality Cabernets, is offering this option: shipping is $1 on orders of any 3 bottles and you can select from the entire roster of wine.

You may be unfamiliar with Goosecross mainly because it has been so successful with its wine club and sells almst every bottle direct.

Eden Rift Vineyards

www.edenrift.com

Just when this winery was about to break out of the pack, it had to close its tasting room. The March preview of its rare Old Vine Zinfandel was cancelled. But that didn’t stop Christian Pillsbury and winemaker Cory Waller. They created a virtual tasting video of the 2018 Dickinson Block Zinfandel. I suspect the Zin would have been sold out during the preview event. But now you can get it online.

This is a rare Zin made from 2 acre planted in 1906 Head pruned, the vines are still producing rich, velvery smooth Zin.  

Normally selling for $45, the Zin is offered at 15% off and includes ground shipping with orders of 6 or more bottles until 4/15 with code: STAYIN

Also, look over the other wines. I think Eden Rift’s Pinot Noirs are right up there with the very best. The 2017 “Terraces” Pinot is a real standout.

Testarossa Winery, Los Gatos

http://www.testarossa.com

With two very popular tasting rooms in Silicon Valley and another in Carmel contributing to an amazingly successful wine club, Testarossa responded to the closures by offering deep discounts and free shipping. 

Some 25 years ago Ron and Diane Jensen launched Testarossa from their garage in Sunnyvale. Today they make 9 differnet single vineyard Chardonnays and 5 distinct vineyard Pinot Noirs. The 2017 Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir is a collector’s item. 

My friends at Connoisseurs Guide voted Testarossa the Winery of the Year in 2019, so feel confident about any wine in the lineup. They placed the Diana Chardonnay and Niclaire Pinot Noir in the top ten wines of the year.

The deal: Members: 30% off 4+ bottles; 35% off a reorder by April 30th

Non-Members: 15% off 4+ bottles; 20% off a reorder by April 30th

Shipping included.

Greenwood Ridge, Mendocino

http://www.greenwoodridge.com

A special for shut-in Zin lovers:

2018 Greenwood Ridge Zinfandel, Mendocino Estate

Sale price is $17 a bottle, $204 a case.

(regular price $29 a bottle.)

 

Byington Vineyards

This just came in from Byington:

Free Shipping with Minimum Order

“We are offering free shipping for all orders $75 and over. Check out our online store at Byington.wine. Enjoy some Byington wine to tide you over. We have a range of prices from our Blanc ($18) to Merlot ($33) to Pinot ($47) – described above – to Italian Sangiovese ($61).” 

What I love about Byington is their ongoing support of  the community. On May 5th, for example, they had scheduled a Teacher Appreciation event. 

And, of course the wines are excellent. My fav is the Santa Cruz Cabernet.

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

Today’s Best Online Wines for Those Sheltered In

Wish this occasion didn’t exist, but happy to share my experience of following and rating online wine retailers who will ship directly to your home. 

As usual, my wine suggestions are based on high quality, generous discounts, and free or very attractive shipping.

And, no, I’m not an affiliate or sleazy influencer getting a commission…just happy to share what I’d be stocking up today.

www.wtso.com stood out in a big way today. 

Free shipping for 4 bottles

all at 35-65% below retail

The best wines offered by wtso:

2018 Pedroncelli, Dry Creek Chardonnay, no oak $13.99

2017 Bernardus Chardonnay, Monterey $19.99

2017 Michel-Schlumberger Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $16.99

2017 Double Canyon Ciel de Cheval, Red Mountain, Red $24.99

 

www.winespies.com

When it comes down to finding unusal West Coast wines, seldom offered elsewhere, this website is one to follow daily. Great site for Rhone wine lovers.

2016 Summerland Winery Paso Robles Syrah $19.99

Free shipping on 3 bottles

 

5 Ways Calera Wines Remain Exceptional

 

In August, 2017, after reading the daily wine news headline announcing that Calera, one my favorite wineries followed since day one, was bought by a big company, my gut feeling was, ‘“oh crap, another one bites the dust.” 

The all-too familiar and disturbing pattern is that invariably about a year after the acquisition of a small, quality-minded winery, production will be ramped up, key people depart, and what’s left is yet another brand. Only the name will be the same.

 It happened to St. Clement in Napa which is now home to Faust, and St.Clement is just another brand discounted at Trader Joe’s. Matanzas Creek, another favorite, is now stacked high with other Jackson Family brands at many Safeway Stores. I could list a dozen or more once proud family wineries than have been converted into big volume corporate brands. 

But to move on. There were two good reasons why Calera might not follow that pattern.

First, Josh Jensen who founded Calera in 1972 never went with the crowd, always took the road less travelled.  In 1972 he focused on Pinot Noir, not Cabernet, explored regions to the South, not Napa and Sonoma, and looked for vineyards with special soils, not cool climates.

Secondly, Calera’s new owners, TSG Consumer Partners, control the Duckhorn Wine Company and they quietly fine-tuned Goldeneye after taking it over. Today, as part of the Duckhorn portfolio, Goldeneye is a Pinot Noir superstar.

So in 2020, I’m happy to report Calera is another rare exception and appears to be in very good hands.

Tasting the 2007 Calera Jensen Vineyard Pinot Noir alongside the 2016 Calera Ryan Vineyard made a strong case even stronger.

For more, check out the wine club membership at http://www.calerawine.com

Brief Background

In 1972 Josh Jensen who worked a few harvests in Burgundy returned to locate a vineyard site in California that first and foremost had soils rich in limestone and chalk that distinguish the best Burgundy vineyards.

This was a time when Pinot fanatics were rare and those few looked for cooler sites in Sonoma, Carneros, Monterey and Oregon.  Trust me, soil types were only of passing interests to other newcomers to the wine scene throughout the 70s.  

Yes, after phylloxera hit in the 80s, soil considerations became a hot topic. But Jensen and his soil emphasis were way ahead of the times.

The search eventually led Jensen to Hollister where he developed 85 acres on what’s now known as Mt. Harlan. Where is Hollister? Wow, that would be a great question on Sommelier tests. And I’d bet most candidates would flunk.

Hint: it is south of San Jose, east of Gilroy in San Benito County. Hollister is the road to nowhere in the Central Coast. From another direction, Mt Harlan is located in the Gavilan Mountains 25 miles east of Monterey Bay. 

Or in other words: remote and in the middle of nowhere. You approach the area on Cienega Valley Road, so poor the potholes have potholes and you suspect your GPS is messing with you.

The barren, remote mountain site had just what Jensen wanted: limestone soils and ideal climate. A nearby quarry sells dolomite or limestone to many North Coast wineries.  Calera means limekiln in Spanish, and the winery is built into the hillside.

At an average elevation of 2,200 feet it is among the highest and coolest vineyard sites in California.  Cooler than the Carneros region by 5-6 degrees.

Three vineyards were developed in 1975. Today, Calera consists of 6 separate vineyard blocks, each with unique growing conditions and each bottled as a vineyard designated Pinot.  

Chardonnay also grows here and there is a 6-acre block planted to Viognier. Looking back, it was Calera’s early vintages of Viognier that made me hold out great hope for Viognier in California. Oh well!

Back to Calera Pinot Noir Tasted in February 2020:

The 2007 Calera Jensen, made from vines planted in 1975, was showing beautiful maturity and grace, not old age. Smooth, silky, and harmonious with subtle strawberry, lavender, earthy notes. At a peak, but can still be cellared. 

Side notes: this was one of the first vineyards planted, and 07 was the first vintage for Mike Waller at Calera.

The 2016 Calera Ryan Vineyard Pinot Noir gradually unfolds and changes in the glass. It begins with ripe fruit and spice, shows a little earthiness and leather, then round, fine grained tannins balanced by acidity, all leading to a long finish. Powerful, yet polished…hallmarks of classic Pinot. 

Sidenote: Ryan was planted in 1998 and enjoys the highest elevation at 2, 500 feet.

5 Reasons why Calera will remain a Rock

  1. The 6 Pinot vineyards are old, well established and cant be expanded.
  2. Mike Waller, who grew up in Hollister, is now the winemaker after serving as assistant winemaker with Josh Jensen.
  3. Mike’s brother, Cory is now the winemaker at Eden Rift, the up and coming Pinot Noir winery a mile away. The competition is healthy.
  4. The winery, a renovated rock crushing facility is built into the hillside and works by gravity flow.
  5. The vineyards and winery are very close to the San Andreas faultline. Yes, earthquakes. Nobody wants to shake things up there.

Back to the Future: Wine Travels

 

Just because you have enjoyed a Sangiovese or Nebbiolo doesn’t mean you have explored the full range of Italian-inspired wines.

Ever tasted a Charbono, Dulcetto, Grignolino, or Vermentino? Well, if you are still nodding “yes “ to all four, how about a Sagrantino? That one caught my attention during a visit to the Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill. 

Guglielmo is a family owned winery that has been making wines for close to a 100 years. It was founded in 1925, in the early stage of Prohibition, which tells you what one Italian-American family thought of that crazy experiment.

Sagrantino is a new addition to the family’s estate holdings and the vines border the imposing brick winery. This red wine grape is at home in Umbria, in Central Italy. It is the grape used for Montefalco wines. Janics Robinson mentions it in her definitive book, and one other California winery grows the grape.

But back to Guglielmo Winery, now run by the fourth generation.

That in itself is amazing for California wine but not that unusual in Italy.

The only other California wineries that have been in family hands longer are Wente and Concannon. The Mondavis bought Charles Krug in the 1940s and for those curious, Gallo started up in 1933.

Guglielmo is a great winery to visit, not only for its history but for its current wines. You feel like you are going back in time, seeing what wineries were like in Santa Clara County before trophy Napa wines and Silicon Valley.

Before Apple and Google, Santa Clara was a major wine region, with more history and vineyards than Napa Valley.

I love the fact that the winery and the 80 acre estate vineyards are surviving today as urban life moves into the neighborhood and Google buses are circling the area.

Tasting five wines will set you back $10. And all of $15 if you want to taste the Reserve line. My favorites are the Barbera, one of the very best, Dolcetto, Grignolino, Sangiovese, and the Sagrantino which was first produced in 2016. 

 It is richly flavored with ripe dark fruit…sort of like Zinfandel with more structure and balance. “Zinfandel without the flab” was my note.

And, Guiglielmo’s Grignolino Rose is a thing of beauty. Old-fashioned Rose in the good sense, meaning best with food.

The winery also makes Teroldego and Charbono which I plan to taste on my next visit. 

If you like history, enjoy trying new wines, and want to travel back in time, then, check out the winery and its wine club.

Guglielmo Winery:

 located at 1480 East Main Avenue, Morgan Hill, CA. The winery is less than 20 minutes south of San Jose, 1.5  hours south of San Francisco and 45 minutes north of Monterey.

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

3 Ways Costco Wine Beats the Competition

 

Every wine drinker should try the 2019 Kirkland Sauvignon Blanc, “Ti Point” from New Zealand.

Not any other vintage, the 2019 which I bought for $6.99.

The 2018 is quite different. Not bad, just different. 

Why try the 2019? Well, primarily because the 2019 is an excellent example of Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc. It would be a “perfect” example, but that word is over-used.

The 2019 displays both the good and typical aromas and flavors fans like me look for and it also has the attributes others may find sharp, thin and off-putting.

Another good, even better, reason: it is made by a real winemaker at a real winery.

Tracy Haslam, is a 3rd generation winemaker. Google her. 

And, finally, unlike several popular brands of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc lining shelves everywhere,  it is made and bottled there.

Yes, several big volume Kiwi Sauvignon Blancs are literally shipped to California in giant containers to be unloaded and trucked off to Napa, Acampo, Lodi or Sonoma, and then pumped from the truck to the facility and, finally, bottled. 

Hardly a romantic journey or conversation topic over a glass of wine.

Not saying that the wines shipped and trucked are bad. 

Just saying read the back label.