A Personal Wine Shopper’s One Stop Shopping Plan

 

In this era of online shopping and home deliveries, we all tend to prefer one stop shopping. It is simply easier, less annoying and frustrating. And studying several websites and going over lists will only add a little more stress to daily living. We dont need that.

If you share these beliefs, then allow me to share where I would go online for one-stop wine shopping. Since my choice may surprise you, let me explain my reasoning. 

First, I prefer more than bargain wines, I want wines with some excitement and sizzle. Small production, distinctive wines, not wines or brands owned by giants like Gallo and Treasury which will always be available.

I also look for wines that before discounts, I would normally find way over my budget.

And right now, I am going all out to take advantage of the temporary market which has many restaurants unable to take showcase wines allocated to them. 

For instance today the Flowers 2016 Sonoma Coast, Seaview Ridge Pinot Noir is offered at $55, but it retails for $80 and is usually on wine lists for around $125.

As for timing, I’m looking for more lively, refreshing wines to drink over the summer, not blockbusters or age-worthy monsters.

So, here’s this weekend’s shopping list for one-stop wine shopping. Within a monthly wine budget of $250, I would buy 3 bottles each of the following:

2019 Private Property by Caraccioli, Rosé Santa Lucia Highlands, $14.00

2017 Le P’tit Paysan, Chardonnay Jack’s Hill Monterey, $14.00

2018 Cotes du Rhone, Domaine L’Abbe Dine, $15.00

2018 Brassfield Estate Malbec, Volcanic Ridge $18.00

2018 Tank Garage Winery Fast Machine Red Blend Sierra Foothills $20.00

So, there you have it.

And, yes I expect most have not heard about these wines. These are all limited production wines normally sold direct and/or destined for restaurant wine lists.

The lovely Rose is from a region famous for Pinot noir. The racey Chardonnay is a single vineyard version made by Ian Brand, noted sommelier. The Rhone is made by a famous winemaker. The pure, balanced Malbec is from Lake County which is known for red wines, and Tank Garage in Calistoga was on its way to becoming a hot wine destination for the in crowd. 

You can find these wines at  www.invino.com which is based in Napa County.

Any Disclaimers? 

None. I’m not an influencer auditioning for free samples. I’m not an affiliate working on a commission. I have no personal relationship with anyone at invino.com. 

Next week, new selections.

I drink wines and I know things.

 

 

 

4 Cult Wine Wannabes Now Available Online

 

Restaurant trophy wines are now surfacing in the online wine world. Wines like Dominus, Silver Oak, and Caymus Cabernet are being offered nationally at slightly discounted prices. You could always find these wines at a few select retail outlets if you looked hard enough.

But when I saw today’s offer from www.invino.com, lots of thoughts came together.

The wine is 2017 Domaine Santa Duc,  Habemus Papam, Châteauneuf du Pape, priced at $42. The announcement mentioned it had 15 cases available. 

This fabulous Santa Duc Chateauneuf, a personal favorite, is often a highlight on many upscale restaurant lists. My theory is that 5 restaurants had to decline the usual 3 case order. So a wholesaler turned to the invino folks.

A few minutes later, the winespies.com daily offer came in with another Heidi Barrett wine. This time it was from Amuse Bouche which has a cult-like, well-deserved reputation built over 20 vintages. The winery’s other label is Vin Perdu. It too is a wine list super-star conveying special status on the restaurant or sommelier.

Both wines are from 2017, meaning current release, not old stock.

Not to be outgunned, lastbottlewines.com is selling a 2017 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from Stewart Cellars. Yes, 2017 is the current vintage. And yes, Stewart is on many Napa wine lists and also sells from its cozy tasting room in tourist-oriented Yountville. At $30 a bottle, half off, this is another stellar deal. 

Stewart is relatively new, but with Paul Hobbs as a consultant it was on a course to join the cult Cab circle until recent events.

And the clincher, vivino.com struck a deal to sell another near cult wine:

Erikson & Caradin 2018 Ivy & Thistle Cabernet Sauvignon, Atlas Peak.

In only its third vintage, this wine was selling for about $125. But vivino has it for $39.99.

Think of me as your personal wine shopper.

Now go shop!

Two Correctly Curated Pinot Noirs

Two online wine sellers recently reappeared on my radar and today they did not disappoint.

Funny thing is that both have uncovered an excellent Pinot Noir for the identical discounted price of $29.00. 

The primary difference is the vineyard location: cool North Coast versus cool South Coast.

www.wineaccess.com  offered the 2016 Long Meadow Ranch Pinot Noir Anderson Valley, $29.00

www.invino.com came up with the 2015 Ryan Cochrane Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard,  $29.00

The choice is between Anderson Valley and the Sta Rita Hills. Not a bad choice at all.

And both Pinots were rated 93 points by The Wine Enthusiast.

These days both sites may lack the sizzle and bombast of the flash sale, deal of the day guys.

But in my recent research, each one offers a wide selection of first-rate wines at good prices.

My detailed review of these two sellers and buying suggestions will soon follow.

But for now, better to suggest you act fast if you are looking for super Pinot Noir.

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 Wine: More Steals & Deals

 

“Free shipping anywhere in the US and 35% off retail.

Now that’s a headline that caught my attention. We all need to have something to look forward to during these sheltered in place weeks.

And to know we are helping small, independent wineries (the only ones I

focus on) stay in business during the closure adds to the enjoyment.

Turns out the headline was for the 2018 Greenwood Ridge Syrah, Mendocino. Heck of a deal on a case.

A longtime follower of Mendocino wines, I was thrilled to discover dozens of other Mendocino wineries had stepped up their game, suggesting while you stay at home they are offering “more steals and deals.”

Here is the website to explore….https://mendowine.com/taste-mendo-at-home

Many excellent offers but each is a little different. Some highlight low or no shipping; others push discounts. A few toss in an herb or plant. Pennyroyal offers a lovely Farm Box. Cakebread pitches a new Rose.

As an added bonus, the website’s photos are gorgeous. 

In Mendocino, because it is such a large county with so many micro-climates, you can find many, many super wines. Add in the fact that the winemakers tend to be rugged individualists “doing their thing,”  and you have lots of different wines in different styles.

For those seeking a little inside information, here’s my tip sheet:

Barra Family: one of the oldest and most highly regarded family vineyards. The Barra Petite Sirah is one of the best made anywhere.

Husch Vineyard: all about value, value, value. The Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc are of superior quality at everyday prices. The Pinot is a real steal.

Fathers & Daughters: Never heard of them? Well, the family’s vineyard is coveted by Williams Selyem and many others. So go with the Pinots but this vineyard makes super Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer.

Graziano Family: Look for Monte Volpe and Enotria labels. An amazing roster of Italian wines from Greg Graziano who if he lived in Napa would be an icon. Dolcetto is my fav. But the whites are top notch as well.

Saracina: John Fetzer’s beautiful winery makes one of my favorite Sauvignon Blancs. The Malbec is a pleasant surprise.

Maggy Hawk: A relative newcomer to the Anderson Valley Pinot scene. One gorgeous Pinot is labeled “Unforgettable.” It is that and is included in the attractive 3-pack offering.

Scharffenberger: Still so underrated for its bubbly. Excellent value. Go with the Brut or Rose.  A case ships for $1.

Waits Mast Family Cellars: This Pinot specialist is my current exciting discovery. Now you too can explore this cult wine candidate with a 6 bottle pack or a 4-bottle vertical. Painless with a $5 shipping rate. 

Navarro Vineyard:  This is the family winery that pioneered direct shipping to consumers. It also makes terrific wines. It is offering Spring Samplers with savings up to 23% as well as One-Cent Ground Freight on all 12 bottle orders of wine or juice until May 31st. Pick any one sampler and you will be thrilled.

Goldeneye: Needs no introduction.  Just look at what is currently offered and go for it.

With such tiny, limited production wineries like Fathers & Daughters, Waits Mast and Maggy Hawk, this might be the time to join a club or two.

And yes, neither Goldeneye nor Scharffenberger are family owned. But they

are key players within the Anderson Valley family.

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

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!

 

 

 

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.