Weekend Wine Deals: Sonoma

Heading To Sonoma Wine Country This Weekend?

Check out the exciting deals at www.invino.com this weekend.

Maintaining its #1 ranking in my top 7 web retailers, invino is holding a Warehouse sale both Friday and Saturday in Sonoma, just off the Plaza.

For more buying tips and a detailed review of invino.com, go to: www.bestonlinewineshopping.com

 

Weekend Update: Top 7 Online Wine Sellers

(Online only and does not include flash sales.)

1. www.invino.com

Excellent finds/discounts in CA wines and direct imports.

Recent selections demonstrate a serious effort to find hidden gems. Moved to the top with new Italian wines and super California wines like Cuvaison Pinot and the unusual Marsanne from Mendocino’s Campovida. Offering 2013 “Prime Solum” Napa Cabernet from Bill (William) Hill tipped it for me.

  1. www.garigistewine.com

Totally eccentric, often brilliant selection of imports.

Upgraded this week after securing excellent wines under $10 and super older wines like Qupe 09 Syrah. Provides excellent background on Bordeaux vintages.

  1. www.wine.com

Most complete and reliable site with decent discounts.

Showed well this week with 1 cent shipping option and much improved Bordeaux selection.

4.www.wineexpress.com

Solid, all-purpose site, part of the Wine Enthusiast.

Broke into the top 7 list this with several exciting offers.

Among them, Ferrari Carano’s Siena under $20 and lovely, all-purpose Primal Roots red for under $10.

5.www.cinderellawine.com

Solid for discounted Italian and Spanish wines.

Enjoyed a strong week with exciting Barolo and Brunello deals,and specials on imported  Roses. A double magnum of lovely Rose? Worked for me.

6.www.wineaccess.com

Rapidly improving. Best for CA wines.

Added hard to find wines from Tor and Jones Family, and Vermillion from Keplinger. Not all wines are discounted, this is more like a specialty online wine shop.

7.www.winespies.com

A go-to site if you love exploring new, small wineriesfrom Sonoma County. Added a Sauvignon from Bodkin and a new red from Jigar this week.

This site recently showed remarkable versatility with good deals on McLaren Vale Grenache, RustRidge Napa Zin and Phelps Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Setting the Bar High for Sauvignon Blanc

WINE OF THE DAY

2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley $20.00

Score: 94

Overview: Sets a new Standard for Sauvignon Blanc.

My Tasting Note:

This lively beauty is not your typical Sauvignon. Enhanced by the inclusion of the rare Sauvignon Gris clone and the Musque clone, it is mouth-watering delicious. Lively on the palate, smooth and long in the finish, it sets a new standard and will blow away the competition from New Zealand or anywhere else by combining rich texture with zesty fruit. Emphasizes melon, quince, and citrus flavors. No oak but still mouth-filling.

Note: not to be confused with the winery’s lovely Fume Blanc.

Why Else do I love this Wine:

  • Sauvignon Blanc is my favorite wine and I’ll never miss an opportunity to try one.
  • This easily passes all of my criteria for a great version, and I’m a tough critic.
  • Equally important: It is made by a family-owned winery, the same family that founded it in 1972.
  • Dry Creek Vineyards, along with Robert Mondavi Winery, was a Sauvignon Blanc, Fume Blanc pioneer.

Other info:

There are two other Sauvignon Blancs from Dry Creek. Wine club members have access to all versions at 25% off.

Available online:

www.wine.com   $17.99, reasonable shipping rates

www. k&lwine.com $14.99, limited and shipping extra

 

INSIDER’S GUIDE TO WINE CLUBS OFFERING POINTS AND/OR MILES

Last week, sitting on top of a delivery from Macy’s was a $160 voucher to purchase 15 bottles of wine for $89.99 and free shipping. Two days later, Alaskan Airlines sent a voucher for $130 for 15 bottles of wine. But it included 2,000 bonus miles, and the cost was $69.99 with a shipping fee of $19.99.

Clearly, somebody sensed my wine cellar was shrinking. But before I could decide what to do, my United Airlines card hit me with an offer of 5,000 bonus miles with a purchase of 6 bottles for $41.94, plus 1 cent shipping.  Possibly sensing my dilemma and weakness at basic math, it explained that these “hand-picked wines” would save me $117.

Flush with 3 potential savings opportunities, I did something unusual: I read the fine print and did  heavy-duty research based upon what I read. I then checked out 20 other wine clubs.

Happy to share what I learned.

First of all, these are introductory offers, teasers of sorts, and enticements to get us to join a wine club. Typically, wines are shipped to members’ door several times a year, depending upon your preference. And of course, the per bottle price is 2-3 times higher than that of the introductory offer. Shipping is another add-on.

Knowing that, it becomes important to be able to cancel your membership anytime. Of the two dozen wine clubs I researched, they all had a cancellation clause. However, some, as you discover from the Yelps, are easier to drop out of the others.

What I soon discovered is that the key point to all of these tempting, money-saving offers is the actual source of the wines. That turned out to be far less complicated than it sounds because there are three major suppliers used by most of the airlines, most corporations,  major newspapers, and most organizations from AARP to the NRA offering a wine club.

It is like companies presenting a wine club basically outsource to another company to supply and service their wine clubs.

The three are Laithwaiteswine.com, vinesse.com and tastingroom.com also known as Lot 18.

Over the past year, I’ve reviewed all three in great detail on my website and follow them on a daily basis. Check out www.bestonlinewineshopping.com for more details

Spoiler alert: the best offers are Alaskan if you want the bonus miles and Macy’s if you don’t and prefer free shipping.

Why the tie? Well, they both use Laithwaites and the wines offered are basically the same. Sure there are some minor differences if you select all reds, or whites, or a mix. But the deals are the same.

The more important answer: of the big three, Laithwaite simply has better quality wines and a much wider selection for those who remain members. It is strong in French, Spanish and Italian wines, and shows some depth in its California selections.

Continue reading “INSIDER’S GUIDE TO WINE CLUBS OFFERING POINTS AND/OR MILES”

The Greatest Pinot Noir Deal Ever?

 

Leave it to Jon Rimmerman, the unpredictable guy behind www.garagistewine.com to issue this challenge.

His pick: the 2015 Trinity Hill Pinot Noir, White label, Hawkes Bay for $9.98.

That’s right…under $10.

The average price is $15.00.

You can order up to 20 cases, so he has a sh…or make that boatload on hand.

And yes, this is delicious Pinot from one of New Zealand’s best producers.

It sure beats Cupcake’s Pinot Noir. Or Smoking Loon.

Is there a better deal now?

Ever?

 

 

 

 

March Madness: Crazy Wine Deals

The month begins with several unusually attractive wine deals coming our way.

 One website, invino.com, is offering two high quality Chardonnays for less than $20 a bottle. Both in fact are selling for $19.99, so you can check the full story and decide for yourself.

The Chardonnays are:

2013 Chateau St. Jean, Durell Vineyard, Sonoma County, $19.99

2015 Saddleback Cellars, Napa Valley Barrel Ferment, $19.99

Both wineries have developed a strong track record for Chardonnay and they do not disappoint in these vintages. Neither is your everyday sipping Chardonnay.

Check out the details at:

www.invino.com

Another website is offering two excellent Rhone reds from 2015 for under $30.00 a bottle. This is one of the best vintages for Rhones in several years.

2015 Crozes-Hermitage, Domaine des Entrefaux, $26.00

2015 Le Clos du Caillou, Cotes du Rhone, Vielles Vignes, $27.00

The website is  www.wineaccess.com

And shipping is included with 6 bottles or more.

Zinfandel fans are also in luck with a pair of Zins to celebrate March madness.

2014 Pedroncelli, Mother Clone Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, $13.99

2015 Rucksack Cellars Zinfandel Sierra Foothills, $19.99

Shipping is $1 a case. See the offer at

www.cawineclub.com

 

Best Deal on a 2015 St. Emilion

Based upon today’s prices, St. Emilion appears to be the hot region for 2015 Bordeaux. The so-called second tier wines being offered on a pre arrival basis are well over $50, averaging closer to $70.

So, here is today’s recommendation for a steal of a deal:

2015 Chateau Haut Brisson St. Emilion Grand Cru, $28.99 offered by

www.winelibrary.com

Brisson, a real chateau with a long but uneven history, is making a strong comeback under its present owner.

The reviewers are talking this one up and throwing high scores around, so better act fast.

Looking for a talking point, I enjoyed this odd comment from a report published by James Suckling:

“The sign of a great vintage in Bordeaux is when even bad producers make excellent wines,” quips Alain Vautier, the owner of St.-Emilion’s great Château Ausone.”

Suckling adds, “But it’s no joke. They are so many excellent wines in 2015, from the top classified growths to simple bottlings.”

 

 

Today’s Best Value Bordeaux

 

2015 Chateau Poitevin Cru Bourgeois Medoc

$14.99, with free case shipping at

www.cinderellawine.com

First of all, this is a good price, but I wouldn’t pay much more. You may see it for slightly less over the next few weeks. Buy now or wait: Your decision.

Second, a real OMG moment for me when I read something intelligent and on point from one of the Wine Advocate folks. On 2015 Cru Bourgeois Medoc wines:

“They are not for label hunters. They are not investor catnip. They are straightforward, no frills, delicious expressions of Cabernet and Merlot cultivated in the region that does it best, frequently bursting with freshness and vitality, structured and complex.”

Wow!  Nicely said.

Today’s Insider Tips:

In St. Emilion, the “Grand Cru Classe” designation means very little these days. However, if  you are a big fan of  St. Emilion, check out wines from the Montagne St. Emilion appellation, always less expensive and often of surprising quality. Also consider wines from the Castillon region, Cote de Castillon.

If you prefer the Medoc, style with more Cabernet in the blend, consider wines from the Graves District of Pessac-Leognan or those simply labeled Bordeaux.

But if you are a real maverick always thinking outside the box, venture a little east of Bordeaux and explore the reds from Bergerac. About 28,000 acres are planted in Bergerac and its two top appellations, Pecharmant and Montraval. Here you’ll find wines from the same varieties grown in the same climate with one main difference: they can be incredibly delicious for the price.

Domaine Haut-Pécharmant and Château Tiregand are great examples I was fortunate to discover when living nearby.

 

 

 Super Deals on Bordeaux to Bowl You Over

 

2015 Chateau Larroque, Bordeaux Superieur, $18.00 with free shipping 

A lovely, solid, beautifully balanced authentic Bordeaux. This is a direct import from:

www.wineaccess.com

Here is another personal favorite known to deliver real value in outstanding vintages:

2015 Chateau Lanessan, Haut-Medoc

Savvy shoppers will snap it up in the $15-22 price range.

This 2015 does not disappoint, delivering refined black fruit

in a supple package. The 2010, as a reference point, is wonderful right now.

Shop the 2015 online at these sites:

www.garagistewine.com has it for $15.97  a bottle and it is ready to be shipped.

The following will ship it in a few months:

www.wine.com has it for $16.97

www.finewinesinternational.com has it for $18. With free shipping on 6

www.lawineco.com for $17.95

Tip of the Day

Who can you trust for Bordeaux ratings and scores?

Decanter Magazine, especially the magazine. Not so much the medals awarded at the annual judging. A positive review from Decanter is well-earned.

The Wine Enthusiast, if the wine is rated by RV, Roger Voss.

James Suckling–more reliable than Parker’s Wine Advocate which has lost its focus.

Writer Jane Anson for on the scene, accurate information and assessments.

February is Best Buy Bordeaux Month

merlotgrapes
Merlot in St. Emilion, 2015

The floodgates are beginning to open for terrific deals, even genuine bargains for 2015 red Bordeaux and a few remaining 2014s.

And we at www.bestonlinewineshopping.com will be alerting you to those unbeatable deals throughout the month. And providing insider buying tips.

So you can be amused by those stories about $500-$1,000 bottles of Bordeaux. And you can pass on the chance to buy “Futures” of 2015 and take delivery (if you are lucky) several months from now.

Time for a reality check and be prepared to ignore online retailers hyping offers of big named châteaux. Unless you want to pay $500 or more for a bottle of Cheval Blanc, or Margaux, or Lafite.

If you are not truly a compulsive collector which we respect or a totally insecure name-dropper, there is no reason to shell out big bucks for 2015 Bordeaux.

To us, “Bargain” does not mean cheap or lower quality. Or lowering your standards. It means high quality wines at honest, down to earth prices.

Though it is just beginning, we have already seen excellent deals of quality Bordeaux under $25 a bottle. And super, age-worthy wines below $50.

Not just attractively priced ordinary stuff, but 2015s that are authentic and capture that special quality that defines Bordeaux.

The following websites are the early pace-setters:

www.cinderellawine.com

www.wineaccess.com

www.garigistewine.com

www.invino.com

www.wtso.com

www.wineexpress.com

www.wine.com

www.vivino.com