Fresh off the Truck: 2018 Editorial Reserve Napa Cab

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

A batch of Wine Access NDA Cabs arrived today. This Editorial Reserve was the one I was most looking forward to tasting. Let's get right into it...

Main clue:
The man who helped fashion a mega-hit Cab blend that won Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year Award (beating out landmark bottlings from Opus One and Robert Mondavi).
14.9% Alcohol
$37 (less in quantity)
Free shipping on $120+

First impression: High toned fruit and racy acidity. 80% opaque in an elegant ruby/magenta hue, it clings formidably to the glass.

Aromas of tart cherries and graphite give way to tightly wound but powerful fruit that triggers puckering when enjoyed without food.

Finishes pleasntly with fine, chewy tanins.

91/100 WWP: Outstanding

This wine is a departure from most of the Wine Access NDA wines that seem to favor round extraction over edgy acidity, which makes me think this wine in particular would benefit from aging.

Could the winemaker mentioned in the clue be Tod Mostero from this year's Wine Spectator Wine of the Year Dominus? Something about the style here paired with the way they say he helped fashion the Wine of the Year has me thinking in this direction even though it's perhaps too obvious with Dominus having won the honor so recently.

If you were targeted for the Wine Access $30 off $100 Amex Offer it's a good time to pair it with $50 off your first $150 order through referral.

If you can't decide what to get at the moment but want to lock in the Amex Offer, you can always buy Wine Access GCs. Throughout the month of Decmber 10% Of All Wine Access Gift Card Sales Donated to No Kid Hungry.


10% Off GCs

Monday, December 20, 2021 is offering 10% off gift cards 12/20-12/24//2021 with promo codes:

  • $10 off $100 w/LASTMIN10
  • $15 off $150 w/LASTMIN15
  • $20 off $200 w/LASTMIN20
Direct link to buy gift cards

Once you've bought the discounted gift card you can get $30 off your first $100 order through referral:


Targeted and Stackable: Zachys $30 off $150 + Free Shipping

Friday, December 17, 2021

There's been an Amex Offer for Zachys out there for a while.
It's $30 off $150+ and expires 1/16/2022.
I didn't think it was worth mentioning because Zachys because their shipping costs are so high.

But today only they've offering free shipping on $99+ orders with code: HOLIDAYFREESHIP

Zachys does participate in shopping portals if you're into that. They've got a couple different listings on Cashback Monitor and some are a fixed-price rather than a percentage, which could be a compelling addition.

What to Buy

I think the play here is to get more interesting wines than what you see at large retailers like or even Total Wine.

Like, how many Beaujolais does your local supermarket offer?

Here's a few ideas to get you started:


[DEAD] Targeted and Stackable: 8,400 AA Miles for Spending $100 at

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Update: AA Simply Miles has pulled the 5x portion of this deal, making it far less compelling. We'll see if they pay out on the 5x for orders submitted while this was live.

The American Airlines SimplyMiles card-linked program is offering two overlapping promotions at the moment.

The first is targeted, and you earn 1,400 AA miles for spending $100 at This ends 12/31/2021.
The second is available to everyone in the program: They're offering 5x (five times) the rewards that each promotion would earn. So a $100 purchase would earn 1,400 + (5 * 1,400) = 8,400 AA miles. This ends 12/27/2021.

I was skeptical when I first heard of this "5x" promotion thinking it would be 1,400 + just 500 for spending $100. But evidently they've run this promo in the past and this is indeed how it works. In fact, some people are using this as a way to buy AA miles for around 0.4 cents a piece by donating to a charity that's featured in the program.

Keeping it wine-focused here, this is a tremendous offer that should stack with other opportunities.

Here's how I'll play it...
Gift card purchases should work. I don't see them excluded and I can confirm they worked for the $30 back on $100 Citi offer. I'd do this to lock in the savings while avoiding overshoot when ordering.

It's unclear from the SimplyMiles T&Cs, but I'm hearing is single use. Other merchants explicity state how many times the offer can be triggered.

If you're not targeted, or you just want to maximize the opportunity, be sure to create SimplyMiles accounts for each member of your household. That way you can get the 8,400 per $100 multiple times.

Quite an opportunity when you stack it all together.


Fresh off the Truck: 2019 Stay Home Napa Cab

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Most of the Wine Access NDA Cabs go for $30-$40. Here's one that's half as much. 

The clues mention Chappellet, which immediately make me think Pritchard Hill. Beyond that I don't think there's enough info to pin it down. Once you've tasted enough of these NDA Cabs I think you start to realize it doesn't really matter. You just have to go off whether you like what's in the bottle.

Let's get right into it...

15.2% Alcohol
$18/btl 12+
Free shipping on $120+ or 6+ bottles

Bold, brawny and luscious this wine is visually thick. 95% opaque and it clings to the glass for dear life.

Ripe fruit leaps from the glass. There's nothing complicated about the aromatic profile: It's a fastball right down the middle. Pure unadulterated Cabernet absent of any menthol, cedar, herb, or woody notes.

Chewy ripe tannins dominate on the palate with grippy lingering finish.

Great value here.

92/100 WWP: Outstanding

Of all the Wine Access NDA Napa Cabs, this one is most similar to the well-regarded Yesterday bottlings with a touch of Moundsman. That's a favorable association, especially with the price of this Stay Home roughly half of those other wines.

I thought the "Stay Home" name might have something to do with the point where Covid lockdowns were in place and the notion of "Stay Home/Save Lives" was all the rage. 

Turns out the tagline is simply: "This wine is so good, you'll want to stay home."


Fresh Off the Truck: 2015 Varner Los Alamos Santa Barbara Pinot Noir

Thursday, December 2, 2021

I cracked another bottle from a recent Wine Access shipment. Let's get right into it..

The write-up:
Vinous founder Antonio Galloni to say their “deep, resonant Pinots remain some of the most compelling wines being made in California.”

Wine Advocate called Varner “one of the stars of the Central Coast,” and this is exactly why.
My thoughts:
2015 Varner Los Alamos Vineyard Pinot Noir
13.5% Alcohol
$19/btl before discounts

30% opaque visually, light-medium bodied on the palate.

Fruit on the nose is muted by "rubbery" off notes. Satisfying enough on entry, and on the palate, and while there is some mildly appealing aspects here the wine is haunted by a dour, tired aftertaste.

Disappointing given the prose.

79/100 WWP: Mediocre

They can't all be zingers...


Fresh Off the Truck: 2017 Etude Fiddlestix Pinot Noir

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

A new batch of wines arrived from the recent Wine Access Black Friday sale. Many of these are still in stock so I'll likely taste through them and write a post about the good ones, and this is a good one.

After visiting Santa Barbara wine country this summer I was interested in exploring the area more.

I'll admit: I'm a sucker for a good vineyard name. Combined with Etude's elegant label I'm drawn to this bottling.

Add on recent news that the Fiddlestix Vineyard was very recently sold to Tyler winemaker Justin Willett and we've got quite the situation on our hands. Let's get right into it...

14.1% Alcohol
$50 Release Price
$36 at Wine Access before discounts

35% opaque with an attractive ruby/magenta hue.

Spot on aromas of strawberry, raspberry, and supporting brambly underbrush. Smooth, silky entry with satisfying palate-flooding presence. Silty tannins finish the experience. Not an off note in the glass.

Flavorful, racy, vibrant and luscious.
This is a really nice bottle of California Pinot Noir that more than carries its price.

93/100 WWP: Outstanding

The Wine Access Black Friday 20% off deal is over, but there's always another deal around the corner. And there are always promos you may have squirreled away in the past that might still work.

At minimum you can stack it with this $30 off $100 off that's executable three times for 30% off $300 worth of wine.



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