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.

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

 Sip Great Wine While SIP(sheltered in place)

 

Today we are seeing winemakers and wineries rise to the challenge and offer special wines, special deals.

First up, the Napa Valley Vintners Association decided to focus on older vintages or library wines. Love it!

Here’s the announcement:

“In response to the doors of our wineries being closed, we’ve decided to open up our libraries online. Shop almost 200 NVV members as they #openthecellar and offer something rare for you. It’s a win-win-win as you support the employees and small family businesses in wine country, get a rare wine, and you don’t have to leave your couch!”   https://napavintners.com/wines/openthecellar.asp

Library wines are normally held for special occasions or for club members.

So this is pretty special. Not evey wine on the list is “rare” by my definition. But 2011 Cabernets from Vineyard 29 and Paul Hobbs To Kalon are definitely rare. So too is the 08 Phelps Insignia.

Others that made my fantasy list are the 07 Pine Ridge Fortis, 09 Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc, 2010 La Sirena Cabernet and 05 La Sirena Syrah. 

In addition to specific wines, a number of wineries offer multiple wines, including Corison, Hunnicutt, Paradigm, and Juslyn. All super wineries.

So if you have the bucks, check out the list and go crazy!!!

But act fast. The offer end tomorrow.

Also, kudos to wilsonartisan wines, owner of 11 wineries, for its special offer.

“our Social Distancing Sale! We just added several new wines to this sale, so take a look.

Save 40% on select wines*. (There is even one wine in there for 60% off, don’t miss it!) Complimentary shipping on $300+ orders. If you are local, we are offering no-contact pickup on Wednesday 4/2 & Thursday 4/3 in Downtown Healdsburg at Rockpile Vineyards. This option is available in our store.”

www. wilsonartisanwines.com

Free shipping on $300 or more

Look for great prices from my favorites: Jaxon Keys, Rockpile Vineyards, and Greenwood Ridge.

Not to be overlooked, Bonny Doon Vineyards came up with an enticing offer.

Le Cigare Volant Vertical, 2015, 2016, 2017

2 bottles each vintage

The 2017 is made in a different style, so these 3 vintages are exciting to taste.

6 bottle vertical for $216. 20% discount

Order 12 bottles, free shipping

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.

Today’s Best Online Wine Deal

 

Wine Buy of the Day: Sheltered In, Day #2

offered by    http://www.garagistewine.com

2017 Matthews Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $19.94

Perfect example of high-quality Columbia Valley Cabernet and why this region is one of Washington’s best.  Winery bottle price is $34.

 

More About this Site

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 was way ahead of the competition by offering Wind Gap wines months before the others.

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

Here’s what he says about this  Matthews’s wine: ”This is a coddled, “handmade” wine that deserves to be tasted and enjoyed. It’s on the same level (easily) as $50-75+ Napa/Sonoma bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon with a drive, energy and intensity (plus a downright regal stature) reserved for upper-tier examples. In other words, this is not some $19+ plonk, this is serious wine.”

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 these 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 or Parker types

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.

And 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.”

Check out garagistewine.com for this Cabernet and look for Loire wines.

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

 

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?

 

Stunning Wine Deal

Byington’s Thanksgiving to CYBER MONDAY Sale

From Byington, a proven, high-quality family winery in the Santa Cruz Mounain appellation.

 

Best known for its Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.

But lately on a roll with all wines.

Byington’s well-established Estate vineyards are real mountain, high elevation sites.

And the winery is 100% solar!!

The deal is 40% off all wines, minimum purchase of $72 and FREE shipping within California.

I have long been a big fan of the Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bates Ranch, full price of $47 but around $30 a bottle during this Cyber sale. Go with the 2014 vintage.

After the discount, the 2015 Chardonnay is a steal.

I recently tasted Byington wines at the Wine Bar within the San Jose airport. Great bar and excellent way to relax during a flight delay!

Other Byington Wines that top our highly recommended list:

2015 Chardonnay Tin Cross Vineyard

2016 Pinot Noir Estate

2014 Pinot Noir Block 4

2014 Syrah Pigoni Ranch

Here’s the Deal:

  • What: 40% OFF ALL WINE – $72 minimum purchase – at byington.wine
  • When: Thanksgiving Thursday-Monday (November 28, 29, 30, December 1)
  • Extra Perk: Free shipping within California (standard UPS delivery; not next day)

Byington Vineyard & Winery
21850 Bear Creek Road
Los Gatos, CA 95033
Santa Cruz County

 

What are you waiting for?

Full disclosure: happy to say this blog is cleaner than Snow White!

Introducing An Exciting New Wine Site

 

www.lastcase.com

This relatively new site appeared on my radar screen about 6 months ago. Turns out while also based in the town of Napa, it is unrelated to similar sounding sites, lastbottle.com and firstbottle.com.

I’ve been following it closely and it now deserves your attention.

Why I like  http://www.lastcase.com 

Professional and unpretentious format: no gimmicky taste profiles, no hype, no silly descriptions, no subscription box mentality.

Ratings are reliable: Chris Sawyer is a real sommelier with genuine credentials

Real wines from real wineries: No custom-made, private label rip-offs.

Serious searching is evident in the selection (curating) of many, small, hard to find wines: Good example is the “One” Cabernet Franc from Knight’s Valley, only 3 barrels made.

A few other points:

While the offerings are limited in number, the wines are not your usual suspects. In fact, some of my favorite CA brands are included such as Robert Craig, Madrigal, MacPhail, and Walt. Also, some wines from Biale, Clos du Val, Mira, and Miner Family have recently been highlighted.

Secondly, discounts are attractive, especially for the daily deals. You can pay close to full fare for the likes of Opus One and Jordan.

But most wines are discounted.

Thirdly, shipping costs are reasonable. Typically the fee is $6 for a flat shipping rate. Or, shipping is free on order of $120 or more.

Here are 4 stellar examples, all at 30%-50% below retail:

2016 Robert Hall Cabernet Sauvignon, Artisan Collection, Paso Robles,  $24.99

2016 Foris Winery Estate Pinot Noir, Rogue Valley, $13.99

2013 Madrigal Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $29.99

2017 MacPhail, Pinot Noir, “The Flyer,” Sonoma Coast, $34.95