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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Last week, when I received the "Best of Italy" Wine Spectator issue, two things jumped out at me.

First, they profiled Lake Como- one of my favorite places on earth. When we were planning a trip that included a stop in Bellagio in 2003, we booked a room at Hotel Silvio (which we thought was a little run of the mill 2 star hotel.) We were actually a little apprehensive about the accommodations given the rating and the fact that it was relatively affordable. However, it turned out to be an incredible hotel that we'd go back to in a second:



Check out the view from the balcony. Not bad for just over $100 a night!




Here is a link to the Trip Advisor review of the property.

The second thing that I noticed in the magazine was the wine ratings- and one wine in particular. I've found it difficult to find good, affordable Italian wine in the US. I'm not saying Italian wine isn't good- I'm just saying it is very hard to find an enjoyable bottle for less than $20.

However, in "James Suckling's Recommended Values from Tuscany" one wine stood out. The 2006 Villa Pillo Toscana Borgoforte received 92 Points with a release price of $12. Now *that* is a Quality-to-Price Ratio (QPR) I can get behind! I also received an email from Wine Spectator this morning which featured this wine as part of their free "Sips 'n Tips" newsletter.

Here's the label in case you find it at your local shop:



I placed a few phone calls to local shops asking if they could get it in. None could. With 10,000 cases produced, it would seem that the wine should be readily available. Maybe it just hasn't arrived in the US yet?

I also tried searching the web. Vinquire.com and Wine-searcher.com are my current favorites for wine searching. The only place in the US that had this wine according to those sites is Zachys and they've jacked the price up to $19.99. There goes the QPR. I'll keep my eye out for it though- hoping that it shows up in shops later this fall.

Update! (10/19/2008): I received a return call from Route 9 Wine & Spirits in Framingham, MA last week letting me know that they had the 2005 vintage of this wine in stock. I stopping in today and picked up 2 bottles for $20. The 2005 received 87 points from Spectator, so theoretically not as great a wine as the 2006, but I thought it was worth trying since it would be more similar than not. I have to say- though the wine was good, it was not great (in my humble opinion). The nose reminded me of the rind of Brie cheese- rather funky and austere. On the palate the wine tasted better than it smelled fortunately and overall it was quite smooth and relatively enjoyable. I dunno- maybe I'm simply not an old world kind of guy. I compared this side by side to a glass of Napa Cab and I far preferred the Cab in every way.

Update (12/2/2008): This wine has been turning up at many stores in the US recently. Read more here.

Question of the Day: Do you have a hard time finding highly rated Wine Spectator wines?

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Three Great Whites

Monday, September 29, 2008

Well, it is officially autumn. Did you get everything done this summer you wanted to? Don't feel bad- neither did I. However, I *did* get a chance to try some great white wines!

Like most all things I buy, I started the search for these wines with extensive research. I then supplemented that research with recommendations from trusted local retailers. Finally, I tasted the selections in a consistent manner, and kept notes for the season. Here are my top picks for the summer of 2008 (with my ratings beside them):

3. 2006 King Estate Signature Collection Pinot Gris 91 Points WWP

I've had this wine 2 or three times this summer. The first time I had it, I thought I'd discovered a varietal (Pinot Gris) I really liked. However, after tasting some other Pinot Gris (Willakenzie comes to mind at an business dinner at The Grill in San Jose) I'm currently of the mindset that I primarly like *this* Pinot Gris. They've got it at Trader Joe's: TRY IT!

2. 2007 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 90 Points WWP

This is a quintessential high production wine with a very fair price tag. I love high production wines- why would I care how ubiquitous a wine is if it is good and affordable? That is exactly what I'm looking for!

1. 2006 Kendall-Jackson Camelot Highlands Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay 92 Points WWP


I had a couple of bottles of this one over the course of the summer, and boy was it a good one. *Really* good. To date, I've found Chardonnay to be less differentiated than other varietals so it takes a lot for me to be enthusiastic about recommending a Chardonnay that costs more than $25. Take this advise seriously and if you see a bottle in a store, give it a whirl.

Question of the Day: Value a consideration, what was the best white wine you discovered this summer?


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Comments for "Favorite Wine Publications"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

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Comments for "Favorite Wineries to Visit"

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Comments for "Ones That Got Away"

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Comments for "Wines I'm Searching For"

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General Comments

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Comments for "Recent Wine Reviews"

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Sample Policy

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'd be honored to accept a sample of your wine or wine accessory for review. I can't guarantee a positive review, but I can promise a thoughtful, respectful, and authentic assessment.

For wine, I will generally post my thoughts in a short tasting note on a site like CellarTracker. If I find the wine extraordinary, or if I find a story related to the wine, I will write about it in a blog entry and disclose that I received it as a sample. Here are some examples of pieces I've written about wine samples I've received:

I tend to enjoy new world red wines, but I'm also interested in trying new things.

Be aware that I live in Massachusetts- a state with arcane and restrictive wine shipping laws. It can sometimes be difficult to ship here. In cases where it is difficult to ship here, it may be possible to ship to me in a neighboring state.

For wine accessories I usually do a video review of the product, along with written commentary. I also post the video on Amazon.com if your product is available there. Here are some of the reviews I've done in the past:
I look forward to hearing from you. I can be reached at: wellesleywinepress@gmail.com

Thanks for your interest.

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Advertising Policy

Yes, I accept ads. The Wellesley Wine Press provides an opportunity to reach thousands of wine-loving, affluent, educated, value-minded consumers each month.

One catch: If I accept your direct advertisement I'd find it difficult to objectively discuss your business on the site. Therefore I won't publish pieces that assess your business at all, positively or negatively, for the duration of the time we run your ads on the site.

If you'd like to discuss directly advertising your business on The Wellesley Wine Press on a pay-per-impression, pay-per-click or affiliate basis, feel free to drop me an E-mail. Rates are reasonable and provide a targeted way of connecting with wine consumers online.

I can be reached at: wellesleywinepress@gmail.com

Thank you for your interest.

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This is the web site of The Wellesley Wine Press.

We can be reached via e-mail at wellesleywinepress@gmail.com

For each visitor to our Web page, our Web server automatically recognizes only the consumer's domain name and IP Address.

We collect your e-mail address if you subscribe via e-mail -or- if you send us an e-mail. Your e-mail address will never be given to a 3rd party. If you'd like us to discard your e-mail address, unsubscribe -or- send an e-mail asking us to discard your e-mail address.

The information we collect is used for internal review and is then discarded, and is used to improve the content of our Web page.

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From time to time, we may use customer information for new, unanticipated uses not previously disclosed in our privacy notice. If our information practices change at some time in the future we will post the policy changes to our Web site to notify you of these changes and provide you with the ability to opt out of these new uses. If you are concerned about how your information is used, you should check back at our Web site periodically.

Upon request we provide site visitors with access to all information [including proprietary information] that we maintain about them.

Consumers can access this information by e-mailing us at the above address.

If you feel that this site is not following its stated information policy, you may contact us at the above e-mail addresses.

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I'd love it if you subscribed to The Wellesley Wine Press. Subscribing means you'll receive future updates automatically without needing to come back to the site. I typically add new content 2 to 3 times a week.

The easiest way to get future updates to this site is to subscribe via E-mail. Each morning, if there have been any new entries on the site, you will receive a single E-mail with the new content. If there's no new content that day you won't get an E-mail. E-mails are administered by Google's Feedburner so trust that your E-mail address will never be used in any way other than to send you updates to The Wellesley Wine Press. If you change your mind, you can cancel at any time.

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Contact

I can be reached via E-mail at: wellesleywinepress@gmail.com

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I welcome your inquiry. E-mails I've been happy to receive in the past include:

  • Requests for help deciding which wine aerator to choose.
  • Tips on where to buy wines I'm looking for/talking about.
  • Local wine shops requesting I stop in and check them out.
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I look forward to hearing from you!

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About

Welcome to The Wellesley Wine Press - A consumer's view on finding, enjoying, and sharing great wines at great prices.

My name is Robert Dwyer. I am a value minded wine lover living in Wellesley, Massachusetts- a suburb about 15 miles west of Boston. I first became interested in wine around the year 2000, and my interest in the subject has gradually built since then. The past 4 companies I've worked for have been based in San Jose, California so I've been fortunate to visit Napa and Sonoma wine country while on work trips. I have been blogging since 2003 and in 2008 I started The Wellesley Wine Press to focus exclusively on wine.

I carry a Wine & Spirit Education Trust Level 2 Intermediate Certificate in Wine and Spirits and I've trained as a mixologist.

I write this blog to help others enjoy wine more while spending less money. For me, it's all about value. I frequently perform reviews of wine accessories and wine retailers and I try to pass along useful information about compelling wine deals. Occasionally, the deals are local, but for the most part I hope the content is relevant and interesting to anyone interested in wine. I tend to think and write with a consumerist mentality.

I typically post new entries 2 to 3 times a week.

Thanks for stopping in.

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