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.

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 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

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

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.

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

 

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

 

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. 

7 Top Websites for Wine Gifts

Where do Wine Shoppers Shop?

Wouldn’t we all like to know where Jeff Bezos shopped for holiday gifts and what he purchased?  Well, though the main thing I have in common with Jeff is lots of visible scalp, many of you are probably wondering where this self-proclaimed, indisputable leader of the online wine shopping world ended up buying wine gifts this year.

And because a list is now the primary form of communication, here is a list of my 7 Top  E-commerce wine sites:

But before I do, here are the 3 Basic Reasons why lists are becoming so popular:

  1. Little or no thinking required, especially for original ideas, so much beloved by influencers.
  2. No need for writing complete sentences, whatever they are or, ugh, paragraphs
  3. Easy as sin because you can borrow from other lists or re-work you old ones, and since words are not that necessary you can attached favorite pics of your awesome canine or self.

Ok, enough toying with you, listen up.

Here’s my “list-icle” of 7 Best Wine Websites fror wine gifts going into 2020:

  1. http://www.wine.com
  2. www.sommselect.com
  3. www.invino.com
  4. www.wineaccess.com
  5. www.garagistewine.com

    6. www.lastbottlewines.com

  1. www.wtso.com

For detailed reviews of these 7 Top websites see www.robywine.com