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

 

 

 

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

 

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