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
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.”
“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.
Wildly eclectic selection not found elsewhere.
Seeks out biodynamic and other green products.
Complicated shipping procedures and delivery dates but only to assure wines arrive in fine condition.