Fresh Off the Truck: 2017 The Phoenix Cabernet [100 Point $500/btl Estate wine for $45?]

Thursday, June 17, 2021

This is a wine that Wine Access has offered before but is back for a return engagement.

$45/btl is pushing the limits of what a mystery/NDA wine can fetch. The prose is quite striking and the price per bottle from the associated winery is astronomical. Let's see if we can figure out who this one is from...


Food & Wine has profiled as “one of the valley’s most exquisite small gems.”
This article supports this as being Dana Estate (pronounced Dah-nah).

We’ve celebrated birthdays in the grand, raftered dining room
and sipped wines at the long oak table
Sounds like this could be Dana Estate.

14.8% Alcohol
$45 1-5 bottles
$43 4% off 6-11 bottles
$40 11% off 12 + bottles
Free shipping on $120+
$50 off first $150+ order through referral

Medium to full-bodied visually. About 70% opaque.

An array of ample ripe fruits dominate the aromatic profile. Melted red licorice, poached plums, and just a hint of eucalyptus in the background.

Satisfying weight on the palate.  Pleasantly brooding with formiddable but ultra-plush velvety tannins with the slightest bit of grip.

Not an off note in the bottle.

93/100 WWP: Outstanding

No doubt about it, this wine is a joy to drink. I would have rated it higher if it had more acidity, more structure. It's a "drink now" kind of wine for better or worse which is surprising given the lofty price points of the associated winery.

For what it's worth Dana Estate wines really do retail for $500+ a bottle and the scores from Spectator, while impressive, don't exactly convey value.


It's worth keeping in mind that a lot of these Wine Access NDA wineries and vineyards also have second labels of their own.

I think that's a more reasonable comparison point than to the flagship wine.

Dana Estate has a second label in VASO which Wine Access has offered before and I was similarly impressed with. But at a price point of $85/btl there's still relative value to be had in this Phoenix NDA wine.

It's in stock and ships quickly in the northeast. 

The Phoenix label could use some improvement but I'd say it's worth a try if you, like me, appreciate a fruit-forward Napa Cab that's ready to go.


Grand Reserve Rewards Vault Replenished [Act Fast]

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Grand Reserve World Mastercard has replinished its most lucrative reward option.

"The Vault" was refreshed with four new options, two of which are still availbale as of now.

If you already have a Grand Reserve card with rewards go here to vist The Vault and make a redemption.

If you don't have a Grand Reserve card go here to read (and listen) to more about it. The Grand Reserve World Mastercard is a credit card focused on wine enthusiasts, and The Vault represents the highest value redemption in their rewards catalog.

These redemption options go quickly so I'll update this post when the options have sold out.


Fresh Off the Truck: 2019 Moundsman St. Helena Cab [$200+ for $36 or less before discounts]

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

After a bit of a dry spell, Wine Access is back with some compelling known offerings and some NDA Cabs as well. 

This 2019 is not to be confused with other Moundsman offerings like this one from Rutherford. Or this one from St Helena.

Let's get right into it...

  • Called "drop dead gorgeous" by Vinous
    Antonio Galloni referred to Joseph Phelps and their St. Helena estate using that phrase here
  • Called "just about perfect" by Jeb Dunnuck
    Jeb Dunnuck called Schrader Beckstoffer To Kalon this way here.
  • "tiny-production $200+ wines"
    That description would seem to apply more to Schrader than Joseph Phelps. But could this really be grapes from a vineyard otherwise allocated to Schrader? One of the very few Napa Cabs to earn a 100 point score from Spectator? Seems hard to believe. Let's try to debunk or support the Schrader theory keeping in mind that we're talking about a vineyard source more than anything...
  • Galloni uses this phrase quite a bit, but I can't seem to find a situation where he directly referred to Schrader as "drop dead gorgeous" by way of Google searches.
  • I get the feeling this one winds up as "lofty rumored vineyard source, different winemaker, is it good?" Let's find out...
Jammy and effusive, this wine is ready to go.

80% opaque, it clings to the glass with authority. Chocolate covered cherries, strawberry preserves, and milk chocolate. It's both forbidable and refreshing at the same time. Luscious. An impressive combination.

A quickly emptied bottle says it all...

93/100 WWP: Outstanding

This wine is in stock and ships quickly in New England, so maybe elsewhere as well? If you're seeing slow delivery maybe try excluding other wines that have a longer lead time.

High temperatures are a concern in the summer but temps look moderate in the Northeast for the coming week.

The wine arrived after a short journey with an ice pack and styrofoam. I'm comfortable ordering for immediate shipment under these conditions.

Check back later this week as I'll try some other new offerings from Wine Access...


eGifter: $50 Total Wine Electronic Gift Cards for $45

Thursday, June 3, 2021

eGifter has $50 Total Wine electronic gift cards for $45.

Click on the Total Wine eGC link which should auto-populate the WINE621 promo code.

Key Terms
  • Limited to 5 Promos per customer
  • Offer Ends 6/25/21 or while supplies last
  • Total Wine eGCs cannot be used online (only in-store)
You can goose it a little more by shopping with eGifter through a portal.

Bottom Line

It's hard to say whether stockpiling 10% off gift cards for Total Wine is worth the hassle. Gift cards are a nuisance compared to swiping a credit card but every bit helps.



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