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

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

 

 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.

Great Wine Club Discovery

 A Winemaker Rising Above the Radar

Just discovered a winery/wine club that makes high quality wines and, as a bonus, is a two-for-one operation. Located in Paso Robles, winemaker Tyler Russell had created two brands: Nelle and Cordant. As he explains, “Two brands. One mindset.”

Cordant focuses on Pinot Noir and Nelle offers wines from Rhone varietals.

Long story short: the Nelle Syrahs stole the show in my most recent update and tasting.

The mindset seems to be to locate the best vineyards in the Central Coast and then listen to the vineyard. In a Shaksperian aside, the vineyard will say: “to vineyard designate or blend. That is the question.”

In 2017, considered to be an outstanding year, Russell made three Syrahs that should help us understand this mindset.

One is the 2017 Nelle Syrah, “Coastview Vineyard” which occupies one of the high elevation sites in Monterey County. This highly regarded vineyard is part of the Gabilan Mountain Range. 

This Syrah is a deep, dark wine, rich, multi-layered with ripe dark plum

 fruit, that displays the thyme, lavender notes associated with great Syrah. It needs to be decanted/aerated, but keeps on unfolding over time.

115 cases were produced, and the price is $52. My score: 94

Second up is the 2017 Nelle Syrah, Reserve, “The Terraces,” a barrel selection of 50 cases. Well, simply put: this Syrah is amazing. Up there with the best I’ve ever tasted. Reminded me of some great Cornas when I tasted new vintages in the Auguste Clape cellars.  Dense, spicy, leathery, peppery and loaded with flavors but structured and balanced, not over the top, hedonistic style. 

It takes us back to that mindset. As Russell explains:

“The 2017 Reserve Syrah, which we call “The Terraces” happened by chance. We had small few rows at Coastview in a section they call the casita terraces. That we just let hang for a while. The stems developed perfectly with fruit. So we fermented whole cluster. Fermented slowly in the cold room. Put the wine in some nice barrels. I really think this wine is a testament to the vintage. At least for us. My intention was not to make a reserve wine… it just turned out really good so went ahead and did it.” 

115 cases produced. $72. My score: 98

Third, the 2017 Nelle Central Coast Syrah is a blend of fruit from 6 vineyards. Working with grapes from cool climate and warm climate sites, it comes across with only a hint of Paso Robles ripeness and chocolate tones nicely complemented by bright fruit and spice from cooler sites. Make no mistake, this is serious stuff that can be cellared. But, as the French say, “It drinks well.” Sorry, they say this: “Ca boire bien.”

500 cases produced. $40. Score: 93

Contact:

Nelle/Cordant Winery

3310 RAMADA DRIVE SUITE A

PASO ROBLES

(805) 369 – 2313

INFO@CORDANTWINERY.COM

Introducing Vinosity

 

Happy to say I’ve joined the team of writers for a new online wine magazine, “Vinosity.”

When asked, I didn’t hesitate, odd for somewhat usually over-thinking everything.

So what is Vinosity?  

Well, first, it is part of a book publishing website named “L’Academie du Vin Library” which Is based in the UK. 

Secondly, behind both is Steven Spurrier, the British writer who I got to know  when we both had columns in Decanter Magazine.  Mine ran for 15 years or so; his continues to this day.

Wine drinkers under 40 likely never heard of him.

Those over 40 should know him as the wine merchant who came up with that crazy idea of having French wine experts compare  big-named French wines against some California Cabernets and Chardonnay as part of the Bicentennial in 1976.

That event is known as the “Judgment of Paris.” Google it!

Will the Library and Vinosity prove to be Spurrier 2.0, another shock wave to change the way people think of wine?

Probably not…then again, who knows.

The major premise laid out in a recent interview is this:

“The books that taught me about wine were as much about places and people as they were about the wines themselves, and those were the stories that stuck in my mind.” 

People and places, not points, prices and  hype.

Stories, not lengthy tasting notes.

And Spurrier notes there definitely is an audience today among those who want to learn more about the pleasures of wine:

“More people are taking up the serious study of wine than ever before, especially in the US and Asia. The WSET alone has more than 100,000 students worldwide in any one year, and there are record numbers of people studying for their Master of Wine/Master Sommelier exams.”

So to make it clear that these programs are more forward-looking than retro, he

explains a little more about Vinosity:

“Vinosity – which is a kind of ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ for wine lovers  – is really close to my heart. Every month we get people who really know what they’re talking about to report in from around the world on what’s uppermost in their minds. Anything from sustainability, to quotas, to the emergence of a new grape variety.

Many of these people are friends of mine, and have absolutely no agenda other than to tell it like it is, so to speak. But we’re also hoping that Vinosity will become a platform for a new generation of wine writing talent,…”

To this veteran wine writer, a platform for a new generation is a pretty cool concept. We need to get people talking about wine again as part of a shared community of wine thinkers, not ratings-lovers and label drinkers.

Read the full interview at:

http://www.the-buyer.net/people/steven-spurrier-on-celebrating-wine-literature-with-academie-du-vin-library/

Setting the Bar High for Wine Clubs

  • Yes, there is one wine club that is near perfect and it is the Silicon Valley’s best kept secret.

  • It is family-owned, and has been a successful winery since 1992.

  • The winery setting is fantastic and, for added points, it is Certified Sustainable.

  • And, for me, the clincher is the wide range of excellent wines, all nicely priced

Clos LaChance is the winery and is located in the Historic Santa Clara Valley

In addition to several visits, I was recently there for the membership pick-up and special tasting day.

Even on an overcast Sunday, the place was bustling, people were happy, and the live music only added to the atmosphere.

Typically three levels of membership are offered. But you can enjoy most of the perks in the basic Platinum Club, with 4 wines shipped 4 times a year and 25% discounts.

The setting, once you drive passed the long, unexciting entry road, is beautiful. Frequently, a site for weddings, it has super vineyard views with a golf course and mountains off in the background.  

It is the setting for a summer music series which I’ve attended and, along with the sold-out crowd, enjoyed the lively, fun-filled event.

But I’m a wine guy and here’s where Clos LaChance scores bigtime.

(All prices quoted are before member discounts.)

The 2016 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon($25) and the 2015 Reserve Cabernet ($40) are richly flavored and are on a par with Napa’s at only half the price.

The 2016 Viognier Reserve ($20) and 2014 Syrah Reserve ($30) are excellent Rhone-types.

The 2016 Malbec Reserve and 2015 Cabernet Franc Reserve, both at $36 are stunning examples of  each varietal.

For casual entertaining and fun sipping wines, the Grenache Rose and Sauvignon Blanc are hard to beat.

I could go on about other wines, but by now the point has been made: if you are thinking about signing up for a highly-rated wine club, you should visit and check out Clos LaChance.

Clos LaChance

1 Hummingbird Lane

San Martin, CA 95046

(408) 686 1050

www.clos.com

International Pinot Noir Day!

Those 6 or 12 bottle sets of wine deals organized around some theme are best ignored. They are featured by most of those wine clubs sending wines 3 or 4 times a year.

The wines are most likely being unloaded for good reason and usually are not much of a deal at any price.

In my coverage of the top 20 online wine sellers, I routinely suggest wine lovers with any brains avoid these themed deals like the plague or a STD.

Well, one 6 bottle set came along that includes excellent wines at an attractive price. 

And yes, this is International Pinot Noir Day!

The theme is “6 Pinots from our Favorite Growing Regions.”

From wineaccess.com which selected 6 excellent Pinots from top vintages.

the price of $149, shipping included, is excellent.

The Pinots are from Scribe (Sonoma Valley), Bernardus (Santa Lucia Highlands) Withers Hill, (Dundee, Oregon), Domaine de la Cote (Santa Rita Hills) Karo-Kahn (Carneros)  and Solena Estate (Willamette Valley).

The website:

www.wineaccess.com

 

A Cool Pinot Noir Event for You

The International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon got underway this past week, and it is one of the best wine events held anywhere. It is also a popular one that sells out early.

For those Pinot lovers who were not enjoying copious quantities of Pinot in the heat at McMinnville, the festival’s headquarters, don’t feel left out.

Remain inside by the air conditioner and check out the exciting Pinot sales festival at this site:

www.invino.com

They call it the “Pinot Palooza Wine Shop.” I call it a terrific opportunity to experiment with Pinots from around the world.

Most are priced below $25 a bottle.

Look over the list and you might discover an exciting new to-you growing region for your favorite and so sensitive to climate, Pinot Noir.

 Once a trip to New Zealand to review Sauvignon Blanc, I fell in love with kiwi Pinot Noir in general and those from Central Otago in particular.

So you can always expect to learn something when tasting Pinots from different places.

Here are the regions represented in the Palooza package:

Russian River, Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, Bennett Valley, Central Otago, the Willamette Valley and, of course, Burgundy. There is even a German and a Loire Valley Pinot to challenge the true Pinot fan.

Here are my top 5 recommendations:

  • 2014 Waipara Hills, Central Otago, NZ, $13.99
  • 2013 Champs de Reves, Anderson Valley, $24.99
  • 2013 Frostwatch, Bennett Valley, $19.99
  • 2014 Cardwell Hills, Willamette Valley $14.99
  • 2014 Banshee Sonoma Coast, $54.99

There are other good Pinots, so scroll through the entire list.

For a detailed review of http://www.invino.com, go to my website:

http://www.bestonlinewineshopping.com