10 Wines to Buy Now at Deep Discount from Wine.com

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Turns out the deal I mentioned recently from Wine.com is even better than I thought. Hit the comments on this post to see exactly what I'm talking about. I intentionally don't want to spell it out too clearly for fear of killing the deal.

Update: 4/17/2015 Orders now need to total $100+ to get $30 off. Still a decent deal but not nearly as exciting. We'll see if orders are fulfilled...

This presents an amazing opportunity to get some great wines at mind bogglingly good prices.

I always like to look at a deal from the perspective of what I really want then work my way back from there to see how to get the best price possible for what I want.

The hot categories I'm shopping for right now are 2012 Oregon Pinot Noir and 2010 Brunello. Since it's spring I'm shopping for rosés and Sauvignon Blanc. And for daily drinkers I'm always in the market for juicy Spanish reds.

Here are two 90+ point rated 2012 Oregon Pinot Noirs for around $30:

2012 Adelsheim Pinot Noir
2012 Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir

2010 Brunello is hot. Casanova di Neri is a favorite and Felsina Rancia (not actually Bruenllo) is terrific as well.  95+ ratings from various sources on these fantastic producers:

2010 Casanova di Neri Brunelloicon
2010 Felsina Rancia

For rosé you might want to try the Jolie-Pitt Miraval. I had it the other night and thought it was a little thin. I probably won't buy this vintage again. I bet this one from Borsao is much more to my liking and less than half as much:

2014 Miraval Roseicon
2014 Borsao Rosado

Sauvignon Blanc hits the spot for me this time of year, and one of my favorites in a long time is this one from Presqu'ile. Fantastic. And Honig Sauvignon Blanc is always delicious. Love it.

2013 Presqu'ile Sauvignon Blanc
2013 Honig Sauvignon Blanc

Spain continues to be my go-to source for value and these two are sure-fire winners. The Castano Solanera got 94 points from Parker (which is a little overblown, but still - it's good wine). And Juan Gil is, well, no post here is complete without mentioning Juan Gil. Not the greatest price in the world, but consider the discount.

2012 Castano Solanera
2012 Juan Gil Monastrell

Remember, read the comments in this post. And review the finer details of the deal in this post to maximize the savings.


Two Costco White Wine Value Picks

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I find that when I haven't been for a while, a family trip to Costco can be a ton of fun. The massive flat panel TVs, rotating food samples, and random finds combine to make it one unique competitive shopping experience.

Even if I'm not particularly interested in buying more wine [I'm trying to drink down my stash rather than add more bottles on hand] it's fun to browse the wine area for new finds. Even though winter has held on for dear life here in Boston we're finally seeing signs of spring. And for me that signals the brief time of year where my tastes veer over to white wines and rosés.

Last time we were at Costco I picked up a couple bottles that totally delivered on their modest price points. I thought to mention them here for your consideration.

2013 Buehler Vineyards Russian River Valley Chardonnay
20,000 Cases produced
13.9% Alcohol

Buehler is the first winery visit in Napa Valley that comes to mind when people ask for suggestions (read more...) because their wines are outstanding yet affordable, and though they produce at high enough volume to be featured at Costco a tour often involves a ride around the vineyards in owner John Buehler's SUV.

I first gravitated to their Cabenet Sauvignons, but this Chardonnay - from vineyards in the Russian River Valley - is an amazing value.

Aromatically generous but not overly heavy. Ripe crisp apples, poached pears, and a hint of lime zest. Bright and focused on the palate. Very satisfying wine. A delight to drink.

90 Points WWP: Outstanding

2013 Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling
716,000 Cases produced
11.5% Alcohol

For me, Chateau Ste Michelle's Riesling is the white wine value equivalent of Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot. Which shouldn't be surprising because they share similar ownership history and are now part of the same conglomerate: Altria. Add them to your addiction-driven portfolio!

Chateau Ste Michelle has been a pioneer in domestic Riesling production, partnering with well-regarded German producer Dr. Loosen. They know what they're doing, especially with Riesling, and this uber-available stunningly affordable white is a great example of that.

I tried this recently at PF Chang's because a) it was surprisingly affordable at like $20 in a restaurant setting and b) I really like Riesling with Asian food.

Aromatically, it's pitch perfect Riesling with lime/citrus softened by peach/pear notes the come together brilliantly for that hard to describe "Riesling" flavor profile. They should really make a Riesling flavored jelly bean. I'd peg this for German Riesling if I didn't know better and that's a huge compliment for this $8 wine.

Labeled as being between medium-dry and medium-sweet this is in line with the tendency with Riesling that the lower the alcohol, the sweeter it is. Riesling can driven down south of 8% so while this isn't sweet in my book, it's certainly not bone dry. I think it's flavorful and crisp. Also check out their Eroica bottling at $15.99 if you like this one. Always terrific.

90 Points WWP: Outstanding

Both of these wines pair brilliantly with Asian food and spicier dishes. Or to enjoy while watching a ball game on their own. I picked up some rosés on our most recent trip to Costco as well. I'll follow-up and let you know about them if they're noteworthy.

Wine Spectator rated both of these wines 88 points. I think they're a little better than that, and given how much enjoyment they delivered for me, and their modest price points, I think they're wonderful values.

Question of the Day: What are some of your favorite value-driven wines to kick off the spring season?


Deal Alert: $30 off $100+ at Wine.com with AMEXSPRING

Sunday, April 5, 2015

American Express is running an offer for $30 off $100+  at Wine.com with code AMEXSPRING. This appears to be very similar to an offer they ran last summer and it's a good one, but you've got to play it just right to maximize the savings.

For example, with this offer you can get a bottle of 2010 Silver Oak Napa Cab for $69.99 fully loaded, delivered to your doorstep in Massachusetts (no sales tax on wine here). The best price I see for this wine nationwide is $84.95 and that doesn't include shipping costs.

The offer can be used for any $100 order so I'll probably use this to restock on some daily drinkers Wine.com sells at decent prices.


Refer to this post I wrote last summer for tips on how to best take advantage of this offer.

Summarizing the key points:

First you've got to select wines that aren't heavily marked up vs. the best price you can get them otherwise. Use Wine-Searcher.com to check whether Wine.com's prices are inflated. Some wines are, others aren't.

Second, you've got to minimize shipping costs. The best way to do this is sign up for a free Steward Ship trial and then cancel it before being billed.

Third, make sure your order lands as close to $100 without going over too much. This way you'll maximize your percentage savings. If you want to order more than $100 worth of wine, break it up into separate orders. If you want to orders wines less than $100 add some "filler" wines (daily drinkers) to get to $100.

Offer expires 6/5/2015.

Complete terms below. Click to enlarge...
Question of the Day: What are some of the best buys you see available now to take advantage of these deals.


10 Amazing Producers Pouring at Wine Spectator Grand Tour

Friday, February 27, 2015

Dates are set for Wine Spectator's 2015 Grand Tour. This is a stand-up/walk around wine tasting with stops at 3 cities in the US this year where hand-picked wineries each pour one signature wine. And it's usually a really good one. Winemakers and winery owners are often the ones pouring and Wine Spectator editors are in attendance so it's a great chance to chat these folks up.

The event also provides an opportunity to meet up with other wine enthuisiasts. I've made some friends through the blog and on Twitter I'm looking forward to meeting at the Dallas event. If you're on the fence about which location to attend maybe Dallas would fit your schedule? Here's a post on how to get there for nearly free using points & miles. If you're coming let me know! I'd love to say "hi" and I'm hoping to pull together a small [but hopefully VIP] pre-tasting meetup at the Hyatt if we can pull it off.

Here's a list of wineries pouring at the Grand Tour. I thought it would be useful to scan the list and share some of my favorites that I know from past experience. Events like these are good for tasting aspirational wines and developing a relatable framework for benchmark producers. I'll be on the lookout for new categories and producers but here are some of my aboslute favorites and why...

Alto Moncayo

They scored a winner with 2 recent vintages garnering 100 point ratings from Parker. Their Grenache-driven and surprisingly affordable blockbusters can get boozy at times but there's so much delicous flavor it's hard not to adore.

Likely wine: Alto Moncayo proper
Hope they pour: Aquilon


Black Kite

I haven't written about Black Kite as much as I should have considering how reliably outstanding I've found their fruit-forward [yet balanced] California Pinot Noirs.

Likely wine: Kite's Rest
Hope they pour: Something I haven't tried but like more


Casanova di Neri

They produce Brunello in a modern but elegant style. If you're new world leaning [like I am] but interested in breaking through to the other side check them out for sure.

Likely to pour: Tenuta Nuova
Hope they pour: Tenuta Nuova


Elk Cove

Another producer I consistently enjoy but don't write enough about. The 2012 Oregon Pinot Noir vintage has been crushing it for me lately. So good. I popped a bottle of 2012 Elk Cove Clay Court Pinot Noir the other night and it was amazing. 93+ points with ease. And their more affordable appellation bottling is always outstanding.

Likely to pour: 2012 Elk Cove Pinot Noir Mount Richmond
Hope they pour: 2012 Elk Cove Pinot Noir La Boheme


Their Fontalloro stikes a perfect balance between modern and old world. Fantastic place to visit with affordable prices relative to their quality. Highly recommended benchmark Italian producer.

Likely to pour: Fontalloro
Hope they pour: Rancia



I once [wrongly] thought of Flowers as a ripe, fruit-forward, steakhouse Pinot Noir producer. Their wines are actually beautifully balanced. Kind of like a Patz & Hall, Radio-Coteau or Gary Farrell. Not too ripe, not too lean. Just right.

Likely to pour: Sea View Ridge Pinot Noir
Hope they pour: Something else I haven't tried yet and like even more


Kosta Browne

This hits the sweet spot of wines you can taste at a Spectator event you're not likely to see at many other tastings. Wine Spectator's ratings have been favorable to KB over the years and the guys at KB recognize this and represent, giving fans a chance to taste their wines even if they can't crack their mailing list. Definitely one to try early when your palate is sharp and can appreciate it.

Likely to pour: Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Hope they pour: Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir


El Nido

Absolutely without a doubt one of my favorite producers. So consistently wow - outstanding. Semi-related someone shipping me a couples bottles of 2012 El Nido Clio this week. Popped one right open and it was right on the money. How do they do it vintage after vintage? If Loren Gil is pouring definitely chat him up. He's a wealth of knowledge about Spanish wines and other world class wines of similar style as his.

Likely to pour:  Clio
Hope they pour: El Nido proper


Chateau Pontet-Canet

Bordeaux representation at this year's events seems slightly less than in the past. I dunno - maybe I'm just not looking for them given that Bordeaux isn't particularly in my wheelhouse. Pontet-Canet is a winner though. Definitely make time to taste this one.

Likely to pour/hope they pour: 2010 Chateau Pontet-Canet

Tenuta Sette Ponti

Amazing producer who uses traditional grape varieties to produce wines in a slightly more modern/international style. At least that's what my palate tells me. So good.

Likely to pour: Oreno
Hope they pour: Crognolo (great wine, more affordabe, but Oreno is what they'll pour)

Read more..


I've always said these Wine Spectator are the best way I've found to quickly develop a relatable frame of reference for benchmark wines in important categories. The familiar producers listed here are ones I'll look forward to trying again, but I'll pick another category or two (maybe Portugal?) to branch out and explore.

Question of the Day: What producers jump out at you? Any chance you can join in Dallas?

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