Cakebread Wine Dinner at Longfellow's Wayside Inn Sudbury, MA

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Longfellow's Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA is offering a $75 paired wine dinner on Thursday February 18th, 2010.  This is a very reasonable price considering the cost and scarcity in MA of Cakebread wines, and Wayside Inn is a very cool historic place to visit.

Click here for more details.


Behind The Smoke: 5 Questions with Victor Gallegos of Sea Smoke Cellars

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Last week I shared my praise for the 2004 Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir, calling it my "Wine of the Year". Today, we've got an interview with Sea Smoke's General Manager and Director of Winemaking Victor Gallegos.

I found an excellent 10-question interview Victor did for another online publication a few years back. To get to know Victor and Sea Smoke a little better, and to build a foundation for these remaining questions I'd recommend reading that first and then continuing with the interview below. Click HERE to open that other interview in a new window. Go ahead- I'll wait for you.

Okay, on with the show...

Q: What characteristics of Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir differentiate it from Pinot Noirs from Northern California or Oregon?

Victor Gallegos: The character of Pinot Noir from the Sta. Rita Hills AVA depends quite a bit on location, soil type and winemaking style, but as a generalization…we find a dusty, dark fruit character in many of the wines.

Q: How do you differentiate your 3 Pinot Noirs (Botella, Southing, and Ten) stylistically?

Victor: Our three Pinot Noir bottlings are not from specific locations in the vineyard, but are distinct styles or expressions of Pinot Noir. Botella is light bodied, fruit forward and immediately drinkable. The style objective for Southing is complexity with elegance. Ten is a richer expression of Pinot Noir….big and brooding. Both Southing and Ten have the tannin structure and acidity necessary for them to age well.

Q: How has the economic downturn affected sales at Sea Smoke? Is the wait to get wines via your mailing list a little shorter than it may have been in the past?

Victor: We have been very fortunate and are thankful every day for having such amazingly loyal List members. The economic downturn has in some ways been a positive for Sea Smoke, as those accounts and List members who did not buy their full allocations in 2009 allowed us to offer allocations to folks who had been patiently biding their time on our waitlist (which is still about 3 years). As a result, in 2009, our direct-to-consumer sales increased from 52% to 76% of total sales.

Q: A bottle of Sea Smoke Botella appears in the movie “Sideways”. Given how successful and influential that movie has been, I’d love to hear the story of how your wine wound up in the movie. Would you mind sharing?

Victor: The director of Sideways – Alexander Payne – had been a Sea Smoke List member for a couple of years, when we received a phonecall from a production assistant saying that Mr. Payne wanted to use Sea Smoke in an upcoming movie and hopefully to shoot some scenes in our estate vineyard. Filming in the vineyard was not going to work out, as their timing was too close to harvest….so we sent them a couple of bottles of Sea Smoke Botella with an apology…..and then with the need to focus on harvest, sort of forgot about the whole thing. Who knew!?

Q: Any tips for someone wanting to try your wines who can’t find them locally and is waiting to receive an allocation on your mailing list?

Victor: Unfortunately, we are not able to match production to the demand for our wines: we do not buy grapes, we always farm meticulously for vine balance, and there is no more plantable land at Sea Smoke. So the supply is not likely to change except in years when mother nature is kind to us (like 2009)…..and even then, not very much. That said, our wines are in many restaurants and fine wines shops just after general market release each year in October, so are easier to find around that time. We also do our best to get an allocation to some of our waitlist each year…..and in the meantime, we offer thanks to everyone for being so patient.

I'd like to thank Victor for taking the time to share this insight with us.

Further Reading:
Looking to buy some Sea Smoke Pinot Noir in the Boston, Massachusetts area? Try Upper Falls Liquors in Newton. I hear they may have some in stock:

Upper Falls Liquors
150 Needham Street
Newton, MA 02464-1506
(617) 969-9200

Question of the Day: Any questions for Victor about Sea Smoke?


Legal Sea Foods Presents: Sonoma-Cutrer Wine Dinner

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Join expert winemakers Terry Adams and Michelle McClendon at Legal Sea Foods in Park Square for a very special evening of unparalleled Legal Sea Foods’ cuisine accompanied by Sonoma-Cutrer wines. Legal Sea Foods has teamed up with Adams and McClendon to combine their respective expertise and create this unforgettable night to tantalize all of your senses:

Trout Rillette, Smoked Salmon Canape
With Dill Crème Fraiche, Pickled Oysters
Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast 2006

First Course
Pan Seared Scallops
Potato Gnocci, English Peas, Roasted Garlic Cream
Sonoma-Cutrer “Russian River Ranches” Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast 2007
Sonoma-Cutrer “The Cutrer” Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, 2005

Second Course
Rack of Dover Sole
Truffled Mashed Potatoes, Lemon Beurre Blanc
Sonoma-Cutrer “Les Pierres” Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley, 2005
Sonoma-Cutrer “Founders Reserve” Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley, 2005

Third Course
Vande Rose Pork Chop
Wild Mushroom Risotto, Roasted Shallot Demi Glace
Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, 2006

Cheese Course
Morbier, Ash Brushed Goat Cheese and Manchego
Sonoma-Cutrer “Founders Reserve” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, 2003

Legal Sea Foods - Park Square Wine Cellar
26 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116

Monday, February 1st at 6:30pm

$75.00 (excluding tax & gratuity)

Reservations are required. For reservations, please call (617) 530-9397.

For more information click here

Further Reading:
A write-up of a visit to Legal Sea Foods focused on their wine program


WBZ-TV Interview on Massachusetts Wine Shipping Laws

Friday, January 15, 2010


WBZ-TV channel 4, our Boston CBS affiliate station, stopped by the house to interview me about the Attorney General's appeal being denied in the Family Winemakers vs. Jenkins case.  It was a bit surreal having a camera crew in the kitchen and it was a lot of fun.  Most of all it was an honor to be able to talk to so many people about an issue I'm passionate about.

I talked about the same points that I shared in a blog entry here yesterday.  This is good progress, but there's a long way to go until it's easy to have wine shipped to Massachusetts from out of state.

Head on over to their site where they've got a text summary of the 2 minute segment they ran on the 6 o'clock news (and the video embedded on the right side of the page).  And here's a link to just the video:

Thanks to Ken Tucci, Mo, and Peg Rusconi for their work on the piece.  I thought they did an excellent job summarizing the most important points of this issue.


Coakley Appeal Denied: Large Wineries Should Be Able to Ship to Massachusetts

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A few months ago, I was lamenting the fact that Attorney General Martha Coakley was appealing a court ruling that would open up shipment of wine from out of state for wineries that produce more then 30,000 gallons annually.  These wineries, which some estimate represent 98% of all wines sold, are currently unable to ship wine to Massachusetts.

Fortunately, a court decision came down that would lift that restriction and allow out of state wineries of all sizes to ship to the state.  Unfortunately, Martha Coakley appealed that decision and things were held up in court for a few months.  Fortunately, that appeal has been denied and it appears as if this law could become a reality and out of state wineries of all sizes could legally ship to Massachusetts.


"Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit sustained the district court's ruling in Family Winemakers of California v. Jenkins.  The ruling by the three-judge panel of Lynch, Stahl and DiClerico means that Massachusetts' discriminatory production cap law that prevents wineries production more than 30,000 gallons from directly shipping to Bay State residents is unconstitutional."

Here's a link to the full ruling.

What does this mean?  Where do we go from here?

Well there may be another appeal and this could drag on for a while.  But if this goes through, it means that a couple of additional laws need to be resolved in order for wineries to have confidence they're not breaking the law when shipping to Massachusetts.

See, wineries consult firms like Ship Compliant in order to determine whether it's legal to ship to a state.  Currently, they say "no" it's not safe to ship to Massachusetts.  So do UPS and FedEx.  The additional laws that need to be addressed (per-truck licensing requirements -and- per-consumer volume cap verification) are described in this blog entry from Ship Compliant.

These changes are being worked on!  Read more about proposed legislation in this area that is slated to be heard May 5th, 2010 HERE.

Does this mean I can order from out of state retailers?

No, I don't think it does.  This scuffle has been all about wineries, not retailers.  We'll need further changes in laws to allow out of state retailers to ship to the state.

Want to keep up to date on progress in Massachusetts wine shipping laws?  I'd love it if you subscribed to The Wellesley Wine Press.

In conclusion, this is good progress, but we've got a long ways to go before the grapes have been completely freed.


2009 Wine of the Year: The 2004 Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Well, it's that time of the year.  Time to look back on 2009 and think "What was the one wine I had last year that rocked my world?"

I wrote CellarTracker tasting notes for 154 wines last year with a median rating of 88 points.  The highest rating of 96 points went to a wine I already wrote up- the 2006 Kathryn Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  The lowest rating of 68 points went to the 2006 Hangtime Cellars Pinot Noir Bourgogne. It was interesting to see what others thought of each of these wines after adding my tasting notes.

The second highest rating of 95 points went to a wine from Sea Smoke Cellars, a highly regarded Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir producer.  It was their 2004 Southing bottling that really caught my attention and made me want to learn more about their brand and taste more of their wines.

What I Mean When I Say "Wine of the Year"

I like to feature a wine from a producer that I've not tried before that made me say "Wow- that's good stuff. I want to find out more about this wine and the people who produced it."  I look at the whole picture- the wine itself, the label, the bottle, the brand, prior awareness, positioning in the industry, the story behind the wine, the wine's ability to stand up and over-deliver on expectations.  All kinds of stuff.

2004 Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir

We were having a friend over who was visiting from out of town (@QPRKings
on Twitter- you should follow him!).  Anyway, we were meeting him for the first time after getting to know him through a common interest in wine and baseball.  A great opportunity to break out a nicer bottle.

In scenarios like this, I'm always worried that a wine is going to be "sort of off".  If it were corked in an obvious way (what's that? read more HERE) you just move on to the next bottle.  But if you suspect it to be corked and it's not clear you end up spending a half an hour discussing whether or not it's corked instead of enjoying the wine.

Fortunately, the 2004 Sea Smoke Southing was up to the challenge.  I opened it a couple of hours before our guest arrived.  I had a taste about an hour after it opened.  WOW.  This wine was on point.  Really good.  What I liked about it, as compared to similarly sought-after wines from Kosta Browne was the earthy/mushroom characteristics in the Southing.  Maybe this had something to do with bottle age, but I really enjoyed this wine.

Here are my notes:

"The first Sea Smoke I've ever had, and it didn't disappoint. Really enjoyed the balance this wine presented. It's a big wine, don't get me wrong, but it balanced earth with fruit and tons of flavor without being jammy. Thoroughly enjoyed this wine and looking forward to a bottle of 2006 Sea Smoke Ten."

95 Points/WWP: Outstanding/Classic

Wine Spectator: 93 Points
Wine Advocate: 90+ Points
CellarTracker: 92 Median

Production: 2,400 Cases
Release Price: $50
Current Price: around $90 on Vinfolio
Availability: Mostly mailing list and restaurants, with limited retail

Further Reading:
My 2008 Wine of the Year: The 2006 Zepaltas Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Looking to buy some Sea Smoke Pinot Noir in the Boston, Massachusetts area?  Try Upper Falls Liquors in Newton.  I hear they have some in stock:

Upper Falls Liquors
150 Needham Street
Newton, MA 02464-1506
(617) 969-9200

Question of the Day: What was your "wow" wine of the year last year? Why?


Bordeaux and Baseball Cards

Thursday, January 7, 2010

When I was a kid, me and my friends would get on our bikes and ride over to Sonny's Baseball Card Shop in Tempe, Arizona.  We'd spend hours there talking about upcoming prospects and getting a jump on cards that were sure to be worth a fortune in the future.  Each month when the Beckett price guide arrived announcing changes in card prices I'd count my paper gains. It was pure folly, but I was convinced I was making a wise investment.

Given that background, I see so many parallels between wine and baseball cards- or fantasy baseball for that matter.  Baseball seasons are vintages in wine.  Rookie cards are hot new releases of cult Cabs.  The Beckett Price Guide is eerily similar to Wine Spectator. I could go on and on.

The height of the sport card industry in the late '80s signaled the peak of overproduction and led to widespread devaluation of a generation of baseball cards.  I see striking similarities between  that peak and what the wine trade is going through right now.  2009 is either going to be remembered as the year of the deal -or- the beginning of a long steady decline.

Recently, I've been doing a bit of writing for a new online publication called Corkd Content- a new component of the wine tasting note sharing site  My latest contribution goes further into this Bordeaux and Baseball Card analogy.  I'd love it if you headed over and had a look:

Is 2005 Bordeaux the "1990 Score Factory Set" of the Wine World?

Thanks for Rob Sobon from Sobon Family Winery for sharing his thoughts on this piece prior to publication.  There are more baseball and wine fans out there than you realize!


7-Way Wine Aerator Blind Tasting

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Since I started writing this blog, the most popular entries by far have been wine aerator reviews.  I started off reviewing the market-segment-leading Vinturi.  From there, I branched out to the Soiree, the Respirer and others.  Now, I've got a half-dozen wine aerators with more on the way.  It's a very competitive market segment.

I strongly believe in blind tasting to test these devices.  It sets you free of bias associated with the theatrics associated with each device, and it sets you free of bias associated with past experience with the devices.

I've been meaning to wrangle some friends together for various head-to-head tastings (Vinturi vs. Respirer, etc) but that's hard to pull together so I decided to sit down and blind taste the same wine through the following six aerators and share the results.  Here are the devices I tested for this tasting:
  • Respirer
  • Soiree
  • Vinturi
  • Bev Wizard
  • Decantus
  • MetroKane Rabbit
  • Plus a non-aerated control glass

How I Tasted

I used the 2005 Chateau Greysac Bordeaux.  I've never had the wine before.  Wine Spectator rated it 89 points and it's available at the Wine Cellar of Stoneham for $12.99.  A fine wine from a highly rated vintage, I chose it because it was young relative to its ideal drinking window according to James Suckling from Spectator and likely to be tight and have tannins that could stand some softening.

I got out seven Riedel Restaurant Cabernet/Merlot glasses and poured a small glass of the wine through each of the devices into one of the glasses.  I then created a key for the glasses (A through G) and marked each on the underside of a piece of paper attached to each glass.  I then asked my wife to randomly mix up the glasses to taste:


First off, I want to acknowledge a few things:
  • Blind tasting is challenging.  When you take away the label and the bottle, or in this case the wine aerator and its operational characteristics, the red wine in the glass tends to be more similar than you'd expect.
  • There wasn't a huge level of differentiation in the wines I taste, but groups of preferences emerged.  Some seemed average, others were above average and the remaining were below average.  Once I had an opinion on my favorite glasses, I spent more time analyzing them to determine a rank-order for the Top 3 wines.
  • These results are just one person's opinion of the performance of these devices on a given night with a given wine.  If I tried a different wine tonight, or heck, even the same exact wine I doubt I'd replicate the exact same finish order.  I'll have some links at the end of this piece for others who have done similar comparative tastings for you to triangulate and draw conclusions from.  My goal here is to provide useful, unbiased, and understandable information that you might be able to use to help decide which wine aerator to purchase.
What I Was Looking For

My first assessment was based on aromatics.  Wine aerators are supposed to accelerate the natural process of wine combining with air to release aromas.  I'm looking for wine to have a higher level of aromatics and further to smell deeper and richer rather than more closed, bitter or unpleasant.

My second assessment was based on taste.  Specifically at tannins and how I perceive each aerator's ability to soften tannins and deliver a smoother taste and finish.

Finally, I re-smelled and re-tasted each wine I liked best based to see which I found most satisfying overall.

The results below are my notes as tasted blind, rank ordered in terms of preference.


  1. Soiree bottle-top Wine Decanter & Aerator Top pick.  Tobacco and earth on the nose.  Light plum on the palate.  Smooth tannins.  Very good.  Bold.  Present.  Deep. Full review HERE.
  2. BevWizard Magnetic Wine Aerator, Smoother, Enhancer, Dripless Pourer Top Three.  Classic Bordeaux. Tied for best nose with #3 finisher.  Full review of this magnet-based device coming soon.
  3. Respirer Next Generation Wine Aerator  Top Three.  Pronounced fruit aromas.  Classic Bordeaux pencil lead.  Tied with #2 finisher on the nose.  Smooth tannins. Nice.  Full review HERE.

    The following 4 were collectively average or below average in my opinion.  Once I decided on my top 3 favorites, I didn't meaningfully compare the following to determine rank-order amongst the bottom 3.  They're listed here in order of the relative favorability of the tasting notes I took:
  • Decantus Slim Wine Aerator Light plum aromas mixed with some iron.  Lacked presence.  Smooth finish.  Average.  Full review coming soon.
  • Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator Plum. Some fruit, little else.  Smooth tannins.  Below average.  Full review HERE.
  • Metrokane Rabbit Wine Aerating Pourer Simple fruit.  Bitter.  Not favorite.  Below average.  Lacking flavor.  Full review coming soon.
  • Unaerated More bitter aromas.  Cold blood on pavement/iron.  More apparent tannins.  Still bitter after some time passed.  Bottom three.

Honestly, when I turned over the card on my top pick I was surprised to see it was the Soiree.  Why was I surprised?  Because the aerating nature of some of the other devices are so obvious and the Soiree is more subtle.  This marks the second time the Soiree has taken the top spot in a head-to-head blind tasting I've conducted, the first as part of a 4-way vs. Vinturi, a traditional decanter, and a pop 'n pour control.  Click HERE to read that review.

The BevWizard is an intriguing aerator that combines magnet-based technology with the aeration process.  I'll do a complete video review with an interview with its inventor hopefully, Master of Wine Patrick Ferrell, soon.

The Respirer is based on a similar operating principle as the Vinturi with some additional usability features.  My review of the device has been the most popular page on this site the past few months.

Further Reading
Are you a wine aerator manufacturer who would like to send me a sample for review?  Have a look at my sample policy and then contact me.  Thanks in advance!  With the exception of the Vinturi, all of the wine aerators in this review were samples.

Have a question about this review or want to connect real-time?  I'm on Twitter: @RobertDwyer

Question of the Day: What do you think of these results and of wine aerators in general?


Where I Bought Wine in 2009

Monday, January 4, 2010

"Where do you buy your wine and why?" is one of the most common questions people ask me.  I enjoy talking about this with fellow wine consumers, retailers, distributors, and salespeople.  Towards the end of 2008 I started using CellarTracker which supports easily reporting purchase and consumption trends by store over time.  For the longest time I thought "I don't need no stinkin' CellarTracker- I can remember which wines I bought!"  While that's true, as my wine collection has grown (I only have around 170 bottles right now) it's become more interesting to be able to track wine purchases and consumption.  For these reasons, I'd recommend CellarTracker even to people who have as little as a case or two of wine on hand.

The average bottle I bought cost $21.63.  I spread my purchases out across 29 stores and wineries, most of which are in the metro Boston area and tend to be close to our home base in Wellesley.  (Click on the chart above to enlarge.)

What I'm Looking for in a Wine Shop

I tend to buy from retailers that make it convenient to do business with them based on the way I like to shop. For me, this means I can keep in touch with them via E-mail (or better yet on Twitter) and take advantage of deals they're offering.  They either offer low-cost/free shipping -or- make it easy to buy over E-mail/online and then pick-up in store.  I'll admit- I'm a value-hunting cherry picker to an extent, but retailers I've done business with know that when I come in to pick up my order I like to look around the store and I usually buy more while I'm there.  A smart technique for retailers, I think, is when they offer a 10% off coupon when you buy online and pick-up additional items in-store.

I like stores that are fun places to hang out and talk about wine.  The best stores remind me of baseball card shops I used to visit as a kid.  They've got copies of wine magazines lying around, the people who work there like to chat about wine trends, and they've always got wines open to try and talk about.

Events are very effective.  I particularly like ones where you can try a bunch of wines offered at special pricing without having to buy too many bottles of any single wine.

Above all, the retailers I favor tend to have a good nose for value wines at all price points and they sell wine at competitive prices.  Most of them limit the number of wines they choose to stock, instead focusing on important categories and specific wines to get the best pricing possible.

The top stores I shopped at last year blended aspects of all of these things to earn most of my business.

My Top Shops of 2009
  1. Blanchards West Roxbury, MA
    Strong E-mail deals with in-store pick-up, grand tastings/focused educational events, and competitive pricing on well-selected wines combined to land Blanchards the top-spot on my list.  Knowledgeable and helpful people like Steve Grant, Eden Stone and others regularly selected wines I liked.
    Outlook: Strong.  Relatively close to my house and they keep giving me a reason to get in the car and go over there.
  2. Hingham Wine Merchant Hingham, MA
    Dick Graham's editorial sort might be the sharpest in town.  Strong E-mail offers, amazing events, and a kids play area combined to make this a great place to shop for wine.
    Outlook: Over 30 miles from my house, so I find myself making the trip less frequently.  I still keep in touch for deals and events.  No web site.
  3. Bin Ends Wine Braintree, MA
    I haven't found a retailer who uses social media more effectively than Craig Drollett at @BinEndsWine.  Between their TasteLive! events, monthly fine wine flea markets, short-burn deals, and my personal favorite bargain bins (where they offer 50% off a random assortment of sometimes-incredible wines) they continue to innovate at a high level and earn my business.  John Hafferty and the rest at Bin Ends are running a very cool wine store.
    Outlook: Fantastically helpful in guiding me towards specific wines in categories I'm exploring, and so easy to do business with.  I can't imagine this store falling in ranking in 2010.
  4. Wine Cellar of Stoneham Stoneham, MA
    Mike Reardon's well-selected, limited-SKU, low-priced model within the BJ's Warehouse stores (no membership required) in Danvers and Stoneham was the beginning.  Stepping in and offering an amazing price on our 2007 Paul Autard CdP case club was the next step.
    Outlook: Holding steady and could rise higher with more E-mail offers and an improved online presence.  No web site, but follow @WineCellarsMA on Twitter.
  5. Upper Falls Liquor, Newton, MA
    Combined with Post Road in Wayland and Auburndale Liquors in Newton, the Upper Falls model is to offer 20% off 6 mixed bottles on a different category each month.  I appreciated getting some hard-to-find bottles of Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc and 2005 Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet when they first came out.
    Outlook: Haven't been in lately.  Could improve with E-mail specials to get me in the door and look around.
  6. Lower Falls Wine Co. Newton, MA
    I don't know why it's taken me a while to warm up to this store, but their stock really rose with me later in the year especially.  They're able to find wines others don't seem to be able to, and their free tastings are the best I've seen.  I'm really growing to trust their guidance on more expensive and difficult to navigate categories.
    Outlook: Rising star in my book and close to home. I expect to do more shopping there in 2010.
  7. Wine ConneXtion, North Andover, MA
    Just opened two months ago but has already established itself as the low-price leader on brand name fine wines.  Razor-thin margins on everything they sell, and you don't need to buy more than a single bottle to get their best pricing.
    Outlook: Far away from my place.  E-mail offers would convince me to make the drive more often.
  8. VinoDivino, Newton, MA
    Full review HERE.  They offer a focused selection of highly rated wines at reasonable pricing combined with excellent service.
    Outlook: Holding steady.  More closeout deals could catch my interest.
  9. Bounty Hunter, Napa, CA
    Scooped up a couple of bottles of Kosta Browne Pinot Noir and a bottle of Lewis Cab.  High per-bottle cost lands them in the top 10.
    Outlook: Probably won't buy from here frequently unless I'm in Napa looking to one-stop-shop hard to find wines.
  10. Costco, Waltham, MA
    Despite my impression that their shelf talkers are shady, we shop at Costco and I swing through the wine area while I'm there.
    Outlook: Their assortment seems stagnant lately, and their prices are being matched or beaten by other retailers.
  11. Whole Foods (Wayland, MA and now Dedham, MA)
    They relocated their MA liquor license from Wayland to Dedham and expanded their wine operation.  The new store has some interesting wines -and- they appear to be price matching Costco on wines they both carry.
    Outlook:  Wait-and-see.  I'm not sure how much we're going to shop in Dedham-it feels a little farther out of our way than Wayland.
  12. Table and Vine (Springfield, MA and online)
    This subsidiary of the Big Y grocery chain distinguished themselves by listening on Twitter and fulfilling our inaugural Case Club on some Cakebread Cab.  They're making a play to reach the Boston market via free shipping offers.
    Outlook: They're always an option I price-check online.  More closeout deals could trigger more purchases.
  13. San Diego Wine Co. (San Diego, CA)
    Full review HERE.  One of my favorite shops in the country for their incredible prices on wines in categories I shop.  Extremely shrewd selections. Love their business model.
    Outlook: I'll be stopping in any time I'm in San Diego this year.
  14. Other
    There's another 16 retailers/auction sites/wineries that collectively account for 25% of the money I spent on wine in 2009.  Notably out of the Top 13: Trader Joe's.  We just haven't been shopping at TJ's as much lately, but I continue to think they're a good place to buy wine.  Other sources are a random collection of retailers and wineries across the country.
Want another opinion on the best wine shops near Boston?  Here's a piece from The Passionate Foodie listing some of his favorites: Check it out HERE
    Question of the Day: What are some of your favorite shops in the Boston area?  Why?



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