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

Best Deal Ever on Fabulous Pinot Noir

Today’s Top Deal

2013 Marimar Estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast,  Mas Cavalls, Dona Margarita Vyd. $23.99

Why We Love This Deal

Lovely, classy Pinot Noir from a time-tested winery offered at $23.99,

50% off the real retail price.

This is an outstanding single-vineyard Pinot that can be enjoyed now or cellared 3-4 more years.

Almost too good of a deal to be true!

Free shipping on 6 or more bottles

But there it is at http://www.vivino.com

Read more about vivino at  http://www.bestonlinewineshopping.com

Red Wines for Those Dark & Stormy Nights

Focusing on Red Wines offered in Special January Sales, and came up with a stunning deal from a great winery now featured on my website. Too good not to share here.

Available through January but  wines like the Enigma will disappear quickly. And yes, the Viognier is a big-boy white and suitable for January drinking.

check out the sale at http://www.terrerougewines.com

Online Sale of Terre Rouge & Easton

2010 TERRE ROUGE Enigma ~ $25 reg./ $13.25 sale

  • 2009 TERRE ROUGE Viognier ~ $25 reg./ $13.25 sale
  • 2012 EASTON Cabernet Franc ~ $28 reg./ $17.50 sale
  • 2006 TERRE ROUGE Syrah, Sentinel Oak  ~ $40 reg./ $20 sale
  • 2009 TERRE ROUGE Syrah, Wilderotter ~ $32 reg./ $17.50 sale
  • 2005 EASTON Zinfandel, Rinaldi ~ $30 reg. /$15 sale
  • 2007 EASTON Zinfandel, Estate ~ $35 reg./ $18.75 sale

Case purchases only, but can mix and match.

The Top 10 Online Wine Clubs of 2018: The Countdown Begins

Well, this past weekend we eliminated a few more teams competing for the Super Bowl of online wine clubs.

2017 was a crazy year for many reasons.

However, we at www.bestonlinewineshopping.com stayed the course and have been faithfully following 36 candidates, each claiming to have the best hand curated deals for members, exclusive offerings of super values, rare wines and great vintages and the next cult wine.

Or all of the above. Along with free corkscrews, aprons, and super-duper introductory offers.

As the suspense builds toward our final field of 10, let’s begin the year with some necessary house cleaning. Time to remove web retailers who played like the Cleveland Browns this year.

So, to mix metaphors, let’s begin by throwing the following wine clubs off the island:

www.wineinsiders.com  A no-brainer here because the prices are simply ludicrous, unless you think $29.99 for a Gascogne white or $39.99 for a common Bordeaux Superieur are awesome deals. Neither coupons or Groupon offers with a 15 bottle introductory cases can save this one.

www.marthastewartwine.com   Yes, we are throwing Martha, our much-beloved entertainment expert, to the sideline. To be frank, there is no evidence her good taste is invoked here. The wines selected are common and appear on several other sites. And there are a number of over-priced private label wines  with cute names. This is a sad case of a celebrity branding a wine club and then allowing others to take over and opt for ordinary, over-priced wine.  No way Martha could have chosen or hand curated such mediocre wines. Sad, but a fail.

www.vinesse.com.  Has been around for 20 years, but has failed to keep pace. No discounts on the few, real wines offered. Sad CA selection (3 Zins, 0 Sauvignon Blanc) and no wines rated over 90 by anybody. Something named Plank Walker is your top Napa Cab? Really? Prices start at $19.99 a bottle. Gone!

While we are at it:

Almost all airline wine clubs. The United Airlines wine club uses vinesse for its member wine deals. So does Alaskan Airlines. Unless you are totally desperate for miles and mediocre wines, forget these clubs.

http://www.virginwines.com  is not as bad as the others, but still doesn’t soar high enough to make our final cut.

www.wsjwines.com  This site once offered members well-chosen wines. But now the Wall Street Journal seems to have outsourced the wine selection process to another website and the wines are quite unexciting. Best advice is to sign up for the 15 bottle introductory offer for $69.59. Then cancel the minute the box arrives.

And before we close, we have also dismissed as losers the wine clubs from wine of the month club, national geographic, AARP, Walmart, Hound & Hare, and my local pet store.

Best Wine Sites On Cyber Monday

As the dust settles on Cyber Monday, only 4 wine websites showed any real effort to compete for our attention. The others seem to sleepwalk through the 4-day weekend, offering a super deal or unusual wine among a long list of the usual suspects sold online year-round.

There was one clear-cut winner offering 10 exciting values: www.wineaccess.com, while the three other active sites hung in there with solid efforts.

See my picks and more details at http://www.bestonlinewineshopping.com

Top Ten Values from wineaccess.com:

2014 Three Wine Company, Zinfandel, Contra Costa $23

2013 Bouchaine Pinot Noir Carneros $20

2015 M. Sarrazin Bourgogne Rouge, Vieilles Vignes $24

2015 Akarua Rua Pinot Noir, Central Otago $21.99

2015 Domaine de la Colline, Vacqueyras, $24.99

2015 Albert Bichot Vire Clesse $19.00-30

2016 Lioco Chardonnay, Sonoma County $22

2015 Domaine Roger Sancerre, $20

2015 Richmond Plains Sauvignon Blanc, Nelson, NZ $17

2015 Silkman Semillon Hunter Valley $22

Discounts were as high as 60% on several wines with free shipping. There were other added incentives for bigger orders.

This site is now well-balanced and includes many of the big names for the big spenders such as: Caymus, Amuse Bouche, Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne, Laurent Perrier Rose, Lagier Meredith Syrah, Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot, Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet

www.wine.com was active all weekend and wrapped it up with 1 cent shipping on orders of $29 or more on Monday.

www.invino.com continues to impress as it picks up new wines from around the wine world. I liked the rarely seen Meyer Family Anderson Valley Chardonnay at $19.99, and all Foppiano wines, especially the 2014 Estate Zinfandel at $15.99.

www.cinderellawine.com kept coming up with intriguing deals over the weekend.The most amazing was the 2015 Chateau Saint Roch Chimeres, Cotes du Roussillon, $13.99 and free shipping on 6 bottles. In the Roussillon, Minervois regions, 2015 is an excellent vintage and this is one major league deal!

The other sites I monitor kept a low profile and seemed to have decided to lay low and let Amazon enjoy the spotlight.

Power to the (Wine) People!

 

Or, what Happens when 26 Million People Vote for Best Wines

Vivino just published its 2018 Wine Style Awards which it describes as  “the only awards within the industry wholly decided by the public.”

Here is how it works: “Over 26 million wine lovers from around the world have chosen the 1,490 winning wines, that span 149 wine style categories, by rating them on Vivino over the past 12 months.”

The full winners can be viewed at  www.vivino.com/awards.

Vivino founder and CEO, Heini Zachariassen, commented:

“The Vivino Wine Style Awards showcase the democratization of the wine world, by putting the power into the people’s hands.”

“Through our 26-million strong community, we’re not only able to deduce which are the best wines in the world, but also a host of other interesting wine trends…”

If you don’t know  much about vivino, see my review at www.bestonlinewineshopping.com   which is generally favorable.

Vivino is certainly one of the most dynamic online wine sites. 

A few business articles have suggested it is trying to become the Amazon of the wine world. No harm in trying.

But let’s try to figure out what this list is and whether it has any real value to consumers or the wine trade. Is this a list of “the best wines in the world” or simply the “most popular” to vivino’s subscribers? Or are they one and the same?

Having read through all 1,490 wines listed, I came away thinking it is primarily a re-listing of the most famous, most expensive wines in the world.

With few exceptions. This is especially true of all French and most Italian and Spanish categories. But also of California. And Argentina led by high-end wineries such as Via Cobos and Catena.

I was hoping for some exciting trends to emerge, breakaway producers, dozens of new wineries pushing the old guard aside. But this was not the case. Instead you get all the oldies from Antinori to Petrus to Chateau d’ YQuem with only minor shuffling within categories.

I’m not opposed to ratings from the wine community, consisting of people with widely different levels of expertise. I’m supportive of anything that might be more useful than the 100 point system.

Posting notes and comments empowers some people and makes wine tasting fun. It also forces them to focus on the wine and to develop a vocabulary to support their opinions.

Best of all, it frees wine lovers from relying on ratings from any and all professional critics.

So why didn’t this concept of “putting the power into the people’s hands” yield some amazing newsworthy or at least some totally new stuff?

Too many categories? Too many reviewers? Something clearly did not click when the top White Rioja is one from 1986 priced at $899.99 and when the best Amarone will cost you $546 a pop.  

And for one more example: the best northern Italian white is the 2011 Gaja Chardonnay at $241 a bottle!

Maybe the answer lies buried in the French Burgundy categories. One has to wonder did 194 Vivino members taste and review the 2006 DRC “La Tache?

And did 127 taste the 2012 La Romanee which retails for $14,962?
So how does any of this high priced stuff, to quote from the press release “help producers better understand consumer behavior and demand”? 

The news release mentions the inclusion of Tannat from Uruguay and the growing interest in Cremant as a sparkling choice. Both wines consumers should know better.

The ten best New Zealand Pinot Noir list is excellent with several newcomers to join oldtimerFelton Road. Also found some excitement in the Chilean Malbec list and in the Spanish Syrah list.

In the various California categories, it was newsworthy to see such solid names as Frank Family, Rombauer, and Cakebread continue to be recognized.

And, yes there were a few new names such as Garguilo for its Cabernets, Robert Lloyd for Chardonnay and Arkenstone for Sauvignon Blanc. They google very well.

So what is the takeaway after studying this list of “The Year’s Best wines chosen by 26 million people?

One idea that keeps coming back is that since one assumes these amateurs actually bought the wines with their own money, 

It is normal to want to love the most expensive wine. Especially if you bought it.

Who wants to  shell to out $795 for the Harlan Estate or $1,4962 for the DRC only to admit to friends and family that the wine really wasn’t that great?  And then rate them both 3 out of 5.

Not gonna happen!

Nor am I going to slip in a comment about the occasional failure of the democratic process to come up with the best.

It is an imperfect system.

Awesome Wines Under $15

The Wine Enthusiast magazine just released its Top 100 Wines under $15, and I found the list absolutely fascinating.

To its credit, the web page identifies those wines listed that are also sponsors, as in paid advertisers. So all is above board.

But can you trust the people behind the reviews?  

Well, I happen to know several of them quite well. Two in particular are excellent tasters who cannot be compromised: Roger Voss and Jim Gordon.

The wines from Oregon and Washington State mentioned in this list are also chosen by another highly regarded critic.

Voss is the magazine’s expert reviewer of French wines from Bordeaux, Loire Valley, the Southwest as well as the best reviewer of wines from Portugal.

Gordon is the West Coast reviewer who can be trusted for his ratings of wines from Mendocino, Sonoma, and Napa.

Back to the Top 100

The #1 wine was made by Columbia Crest.  No big surprise there.

Its Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay make most top values lists.

But the top ranked wine turned out to be the winery’s 2015 Grand Estate Syrah at $12 which is also one of my discoveries.

Sad. Now, everyone will know and it will disappear quickly.

Bargain hunters can check out the entire list at

http://e.winemag.com/219S-154XX-706QMTTT8B/cr.aspx

To me, the following wines are the Other Awesome Deals under $15:

2014 Bogle “Essential Red,” Old Vine, Clarksburg (often sold under $10)

2016 Gnarly Head  Zinfandel, Lodi

2016 San Pedro Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Chile

2015 Mas des Bressades  Cuvée Tradition Syrah-Grenache (Costières de Nîmes)

2016 Cline Cellars Viognier, North Coast

2015 Château le Payral, Bergerac Rouge

2016 Foris Dry Gewürztraminer Rogue Valley

2014 Hogue Red Columbia Valley

2015 Wines & Winemakers Lua Cheia em Vinhas Velhas Red Douro

2016 Dry Creek Vineyards, Dry Chenin Blanc (Clarksburg)

2016 Domaine des Carteresses, Tavel (a Rose)