Deal Alert: 5% off Gift Cards at Table & Vine

Thursday, November 27, 2014

West Springfield, MA retailer Table & Vine is back with an offer they run each year around this time: 5% off Gift Cards with code GIFTCARD

5% may not seem like a ton (and in reality it isn't enough to go out of your way for). But here's why I might consider this and how I'd maximize its value...

First, the gift cards don't expire now so you can order them now (for yourself of course!) then use them later when you see they have a deal on a wine you're looking for.

Second, since they're gift cards you can stack the 5% with other savings like 10% off a straight case. Table & Vine's pricing model doesn't employ case discounts as significantly as other retailers because they don't mark up base prices as much as other retailers.

Third, since Table & Vine is owned by Big Y (a grocery store) purchases at Table & Vine code as grocery which can get you 5% or more if you've got a credit card that bonuses grocery spending. You can use this nifty utility to see which category specific retailers code as for Visa. I see Table & Vine coding as a grocery store. Nice!

Here's an example if you roll this all together...

Take the 2011 Clio they have in stock for $39.99/btl.

First, buy enough gift cards to cover the majority of your purchase. This saves you 5% on the gift card purchase and another 5% if you've got a credit card that bonuses grocery spend.

To be fair the 5% advantage depends on your current credit card profile and should be compared to the best card you could use at a wine shop. So it's not a full 5% better than your next-best card. But it is beneficial to generally consider the advantage of buying wine from retailers that code as grocery I think.

Later, once the gift card has arrived, buy a straight case of a wine you want they've got at a good price and cover the overshoot with the same credit card that bonuses grocery spend.

This brings the per-bottle price down to $32.48/btl - theoretically cheaper than the amazingly-low $33.33/btl price I mentioned a couple days ago.

Then, pick up the wine in-store next time you're passing through Springfield. Like on your way to Cooperstown or while visiting the Basketball Hall of Fame. They do ship in-state at not-so-terrible prices but that diminishes the savings and Table & Vine is a fun place to visit (trip report) anyway.

All in all, it's a bit complicated and involves buying a straight case (and visiting in-store) to maximize. But hey - if you're in the area and have your eye on a straight case of wine they stock at a reasonable price I say go for it.

Go here to take advantage of the deal

Offer ends December 1st, 2014

Subscribe to the WWP for future deal alerts!


25% Off and Free Shipping from Dion's with code GIVETHANKS [MA Only]

Waltham, MA based Dion's (formerly D&L Liquors evidently) is offering 25% off mixed 12 bottle cases with code GIVETHANKS. Offer expires 12/4/2014.

They also offer free shipping to MA addresses on $100+ orders. With no tax on wine in MA these offers can be stacked for some compelling deals.

"Net" items are excluded but do count towards the 12 bottle minimum.

Of  note:
2012 Alto Moncayo $49.99 before discount (drops to $37.49 fully loaded)
2012 Elk Cove Mount Richmond Pinot Noir $54.99 (drops to $41.24, 94WS)
2012 El Nido Clio $49.99 (drops to $37.49, but it's cheaper here)

They've also got a good assortment of "net" priced items like Caymus for $54.99 and Belle Glos Pinot Noir for $39.99 that might be worth considering.

And check out their sub-$10 Spanish reds like this one and others for filler wines to get to 12 bottles.

These are some nice buys that can be had without venturing out in the snow/holiday shopping traffic. With a solid discount on great wines, free shipping, and no tax, this is one to consider.

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Happy Thanksgiving!


2012 El Nido Clio for $33.33/btl fully loaded [MA only]

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Newton-MA based Marty's Fine Wines is offering the newly released 2012 El Nido Clio for $200 for a 6-pack. In-store pickup and local delivery are free and they can ship to other MA addresses for a fee.

With no tax and potentially free shipping this is a tremendous buy on a tremendous wine year in and year out. Read more on why this is one of my favorites. If you like bold fruit-forward Napa Cab, but you haven't tried Clio you owe it to yourself to seek some out and try it.


Wineries: Get your MA direct shipping applications in now!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Here's some great news for Massachusetts wine enthusiasts and out-of-state wineries alike. Ship Compliant reports that wineries can now apply for a Massachusetts direct shipping license.

Go here for the full story

They also offer this interesting tidbit about the remaining sticking point of FedEx/UPS fleet licensing:
An early concern over the new Massachusetts wine shipping law was that it did not address the issue of common carriers having to license each and every truck that delivers wine. However, a bill to allow common carriers to obtain a fleet license for the delivery of alcohol is pending in the Massachusetts legislature. It seems somewhat unlikely that the fleet license bill will move this session. But, we believe that at least one of the common carriers will begin to license each of their trucks and therefore will be able to deliver wine to Massachusetts addresses as early as the beginning of February.
Can you believe it? Will 2015 be the year we can actually receive direct shipments from wineries?


No 8 on Wine Spectator's Top 100: 2012 Brewer-Clifton Sta Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Saturday, November 22, 2014

When Wine Spectator revealed the 2012 Brewer-Clifton Sta Rita Hills Pinot Noir as their Number 8 wine of 2014 I jumped right on Wine-Searcher and tracked down a half case.

The category and metrics are right up my alley: A California Pinot Noir with a proven track record. 94 WS/$40/1,226 Cases Produced.

All of Spectator's Top 100 wines are worth considering, but the Top 10 in particular are very thoughtfully selected. They always seem to have that elusive confluence of quality and broad appreciation given the vetting process Spectator employs.

And given that the winemakers behind each of the Top 10 wines is invited to New York each fall for the Spectator Wine Experience they seem to think about whether they'd, y'know, like to have the folks behind the wine "over to their house" so to speak.

Spectator's landing page for this wine captures its essence very nicely. Check out the video where James Laube describes why they selected it.

Greg Brewer is the winemaker. He's also winemaker at Melville so you may already be familiar with his style even if you haven't yet tasted Brewer-Clifton. Wines under both labels showed very well for me at this blind tasting of 2009 Pinot Noirs.

Here are my notes:

2012 Brewer-Clifton Sta Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% Alcohol
1,226 Cases Produced

This wine leaps from the glass with gorgeous, pure aromatics. At first they're fresh and primary. With time, ripe stem inclusion becomes evident and adds complexity. Translucent vibrant ruby color. Sweet cherries and pipe tobacco on the palate. The mouth feel reveals medium-full viscosity. Really quite spectacular and worthy of inclusion in the WS Top 10.

94/100 WWP: Oustanding

QPR-wise (though not necessarily stylistically) this wine reminds me of the 2008 Paul Hobbs RRV Pinot Noir. Great price point given the quality, and a wine that would be hard to over-purchase.

I'd highly recommend tracking some down while you still can (the Top 10 wines seem to disappear rapidly). I'm also inclined to check out other 2012 bottlings from Brewer-Clifton and Melville as well. Although 2012 was a tough vintage for California Pinot Noir overall quality winemakers like Brewer were able to produce tremendous wines. has the 2011 and 2012 Melville Pinot Noirs in stock in MA for $29.99 and $39.99 (affiliate links):

Massachusetts friends: I see this retailer has it for $44.99 and eligible for 20% as part of a mixed case purchase (add some affordable filler wines) and free shipping on $100+ orders.

Find it on Wine-Searcher
Learn more at
Follow @BrewerClifton on Twitter

Question of the Day: Have you had any of the Brewer-Clifton or Melville 2012s? If so what did you think?


No 26 on WS's Top 100: 2011 Emeritus Hallberg Ranch Pinot Noir

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Landing at Number 26 on Wine Spectator's recently released Top 100 list is the 2011 Emeritus Hallberg Ranch Pinot Noir.

The wine immediately jumped out at me not only for its favorable metrics (93 WS/$42/11,100 cases produced) but for the Hallberg Vineyard fruit source.

The first time I tasted a wine with the Hallberg name on the label was at this Gary Farrell wine dinner at Blue Ginger in Wellesley. I tasted a bunch of great wines that night but the Gary Farrell Hallberg Pinot blew me away.

A few months later while on vacation in Michigan my cousin brought along a bottle to share at our family cottage. Wouldn't you know it was again a Gary Farrell Hallberg Pinot and it was once again absolutely spectacular.

Then earlier this year I was tasting at Radio-Coteau. I first discovered the greatness of Radio-Coteau's Pinot Noirs in the form of the 2006 Radio-Coteau La Neblina Pinot Noir. That wine was so amazingly pure and clear of any off notes I was astounded. I've enjoyed many subsequent vintages of RC La Neblina since but it wasn't until talking with winemaker Eric Sussman that I discovered the fruit source for the wine: Hallberg Ranch.

So when I spotted the 2011 Emeritus Hallberg Pinot on the Wine Spectator Top 100 list I did some searching and found this awesome vintage Wine Library TV appearance from Emeritus founder Brice Jones where we come to find out he was behind Sonoma-Cutrer before launching Emeritus.

I found the 2011 Emeritus Hallberg Pinot at a local retailer via Wine-Searcher and placed an order, picked it up today, and cracked it open tonight.

2011 Emeritus Hallberg Ranch Pinot Noir
11,100 Cases Produce
13.8% Alcohol

Textbook California Pinot Noir with layers of classic aromatics and complexity. Baked cranberries, strawberries, orange oil, and brambly fruit. Silky complexion. Wonderfully pure.

92/100 WWP: Oustanding

I'd highly recommend tracking some of this down if you an find it and I'd have little hesitation accepting vintage substitution. I've got a feeling these guys know what they're doing.

I'm adding Emeritus to my list of producers to visit. Brice seems like an amazing personality and the wines speak volumes for themselves.

Find it on Wine-Searcher
Follow @EmeritusWines on Twitter

Question of the Day: Have you had Emeritus Pinot Noir before/ If so, what did you think? If not, how about wines sources from Hallberg Ranch?


Heads Up: Billecart-Salmon Tasting at The Urban Grape

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Urban Grape is having a free Billecart-Salmon tasting at their locations in the South End (Wednesday November 19th) and Chestnut Hill (Thursday November 20th).

I went to a tasting they offered in Chestnut Hill over the weekend and was reminded why they're one of my favorite retailers. I discovered some really delicious wines from Slovenia. We got to try Vallin wines for the first time.

Remember, in 2010 I said the 2005 Cigliuti Serraboella Barbaresco was my wine of the year? Well the 2010 is out now, and they had it at an amazingly good price. Seriously - I bought everything they had in Chestnut Hill. Definitely check on the shelves in the South End if they have it (and let me know if they do!).

As I was perusing the shelves I found tons of wines that are among my absolute favorites. Kosta Browne Chardonnay. El Nido. Radio-Coteau. Littorai. More than anything, since they opened their doors in 2010 (first look) I find I leave the store with a tremendous mixed case of wine that's both reliably delicious and interesting.

Anyway - Billecart-Salmon is seriously amazing stuff and this is a tremendous opportunity to taste it. I remember when I was interviewing local wine experts for this piece on Celebratory Holiday Wines - Billecart-Salmon (specifically the brut rosé) was a name that came up again and again.

I served Billecart-Salmon to guests as part of a blind tasting comparing it to a much more affordable domestic sparkling brut rosé. Guests with familiarity with sparkling wines could definitely tell which was the more expensive wine. Hint: Look for the fine bubbles, silky mouthfeel and overall elegance.

So head on over to The Urban Grape tonight or tomorrow if you're in the area. Keep tabs on their events page for upcoming tastings.

And follow @UrbanGrape on Twitter for more information.


Ways for Wine Consumers and Retailers to Maximize AmEx Small Business Saturday

Sunday, November 16, 2014

American Express Small Business Saturday is coming November 29th, 2014.

Here's how it works:

First, you have to register each American Express card you have in order to take advantage of the offer. Do this now because registration will fill up before the 29th.

Once registered, each American Express card can receive a $10 statement credit for up to 3 in-store transactions of $10 or more at qualified small businesses on November 29th. That's a total of $30 per card.

Keep in mind that each American Express card can and needs to be registered. This is where this can potentially be quite a bonanza. Authorized user cards qualify. And certain prepaid cards (like Serve and Bluebird) qualify. I just registered 10 cards so I'm positioned to spend (and receive statement credits for) $300.

Once you've got your cards registered, search for qualified retailers near you.
Make sure you confirm retailer participation
Not all wine retailers are small businesses!

Wine retailers: This is where you come in!

The way this offer is set it up conjures up images of families strolling down main street visiting one little shop after another, spending $50-$100 or more at each with their precious American Express card. And earning $10 statement credits for each of these larger purchases.

But that's not the best way to play it. What I'd like to do is spend all of the money at a single retailer that I really like rather than driving all over town. To do that I need retailers to make it easy.

First, be willing to split a transactions across multiple cards. For example, if I bought $32.40 worth of wine I'd like to split it up into 2 $10 transactions and one $12.40 transaction, effectively paying just $2.40 for $32.40 worth of wine after statement credits.

But even better than allowing split transactions is if a retailer sells $10 gift cards that can be combined on future orders. Set up a cash register or two just to process gift card sales. If a retailer I like is willing to do that (many are!) I'd drive straight there and swipe my 10 cards 3 times each for $300 worth of gift cards I could use on future transactions.

And wouldn't it be nice if retailers offered some sales to coincide with this deal? Like for example having a bunch of wine for sale at exactly $10? With no tax in Massachusetts this could be a terrific way to optimize the deal.

Here are the terms:

Note that the terms say the purchases need to be in-store (not online).

Two Questions of the Day...

Consumers: Where/how are you shopping on the 29th?
Retailers: What are you doing to make it easy for consumers to shop with you this Small Business Saturday?


Quick Deal: $50 Zachys Gift Card for $250 Purchase

Monday, November 10, 2014

New York wine retailer Zachys is offering a $50 gift card towards a future purchase when spending $250 with code ZACHYSBUCKS.

I think the best way to play this would be to find well-priced wines like the 2012 Rivers-Marie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir to get to $250. Then use the $50 gift card at some point in the future when they're running a free shipping promo.

They've also got some of the Wine Spectator Top 10/100 wines that are being revealed this week at fair prices.

Offer runs November 10-13 2014.

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Quick Deal: 20+% Off at The Capital Grille and Seasons 52

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Via Fat Wallet Rite Aid is offering a coupon to buy Olive Garden & Longhorn Gift Cards for $5 off on their Facebook page. I'm pretty sure these gift cards can be used at any Darden restaurant which includes The Capital Grille (review) and Seasons 52 (review), though I've never tried this personally. You can always print out the coupon before redeeming it if you indeed want to confirm you can use the gift cards at other Darden restaurants.

This offer is only valid in-store so you have to have a Rite Aid near you. But if you do you can buy the gift cards with a credit card. And there are a lot of credit cards that bonus drugstore purchases at 5% cashback. So this is a terrific opportunity to save up to 25% at these restaurants.

The coupon must be redeemed by 11/10/2014.

Note that the offer requires providing an email is limited to "one coupon per computer" - even if you use different email addresses. Try using your web browser's incognito feature.

The coupons are limited to the first 10,000 uses so I'd expect this to sell out quickly. I'll update this post when I hear the deal has expired.

Once you've run the gauntlet of these restrictions you'll just have to face the shame of plopping down a pile of Olive Garden Gift Cards at the end of your meal. But by then you'll hopefully have enjoyed a great meal. And everyone loves a bargain so I'm sure your server will be happy to accept them along with a tip commensurate with service quality.

Subscribe to the WWP for future complicated deals like this one. ;)


Trader Joe's Dishes up Amazing $14.99 California Pinot Noir Value

Sunday, November 2, 2014

When we were down in Orlando visiting Disney World last month we had dinner one night at Il Mulino in the Swan hotel. A group of six of us started off the night with a sparkling brut rosé, then enjoyed a bottle of Crognolo. We were right on the edge of whether we should order a third bottle.

We were on vacation, the kids were at Camp Dolphin [great deal - 2 hours of childcare for 2 entrees!] and nobody was driving so I felt confident we could collectively polish off a third bottle. I had a look a the list and, wanting to go with something that would readily enjoyable by all I ordered a 2012 Laetetia Estate Pinot Noir.

See also: Four Seasons Orlando Review

Especially since the wine was featured as part of a resort-wide Food & Wine Festival selection I was fairly certain it would be a solid play. However, unfortunately, the wine took forever to show up. Evidently they didn't have any in-house and they needed to fetch it from another restaurant.

By the time it arrived at the table we were almost entirely done with our meal. In restaurant wine service gaffes this ranks pretty high on the list of no-nos. No wine with the entire entree course? For shame!

Oh well. When the bottle arrived I declined it since we were done eating and avoided the typical resort restaurant mark-up on the bottle. I think they offer it for around $75.

I'd mostly forgotten about the wine (heck I can't even pronounce the producer) until I saw it today at Trader Joe's in Framingham for $14.99. $15 vs. $75 in-restaurant certainly seemed like favorable terms. And I figured if the sommeliers at the Dolphin/Swan felt it good enough to feature it would be a solid bottle of wine. And it is.

Here are my thoughts...

2012 Laetitia Estate Pinot Noir Arroyo Grande
$25 Release Price
$14.99 at Trader Joe's
13.9% Alcohol

Brilliant translucent ruby red. Medium bodied. Nose of sweet cherries and an appealing hint of dusty briar patch. Satisfying plush fruit flavors on the palate with a round disposition and silky tannic structure. Totally legit California Pinot Noir. Very very good.

89/100 WWP: Very Good

Find it on Wine-Searcher

We can all use some enjoyable daily drinkers at a more affordable price point. And this one, for me, fits the bill. Compared to nationwide averages this one is being offered at a terrific price point at Massachusetts Trader Joe's. Consider tossing a couple of these [at least!] in your cart next time you're at TJ's.



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