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Posts Tagged ‘value wines’

Daily Glass: Portugal Still A Value Champion

April 4, 2017 1 comment

If you drink wines every day, I’m sure you can appreciate a great value. Heck, I’m sure you hunt down value as much as you can, not only appreciate it. Even at a modest $20 per bottle, the cost of this hobby/passion quickly adds up.

All of us, wine lovers, greatly appreciate good value. But – it is equally important to note – not at the expense of the taste. It is great if the bottle is reasonably priced, however, the content still has to deliver the pleasure – as this is why we really drink the wine in the first place.

So let me ask you – what is your “go to” value region? I personally have many. In the $10 – $12 range, you can often look at Georgia and Spain (even though Spain is slowly edging itself out of that category); sometimes Italy and France can surprise you too – more as an exception, though. Add a few dollars – move to the $12-$15 range, and you got Spain very reliably there, with more of French and Italian options, and even some wines from the US; South Africa might play a supporting role there as well.

But – to sneak under $10, or even get as close as possible to $5? With the wines people will drink and enjoy? Reliably? I know of only one country which delivers here – Portugal.

I visited Portugal for the first time back in 2013, and when I saw the $3 – $4 wines at the supermarket, my thought was – this is most likely not drinkable at all. And I was dead wrong – here is one example. And I was proven wrong lots and lots more times, both in Portugal and in the US (I’m talking about place of buying the wine).

What prompted this post was a quick stop at one of my favorite wine stores – Bottle King in New Jersey. I didn’t have much time, just enough to grab a few bottles. One of them was 2014 Quinta do Vale Sub-Região Serra da Estrela Dão DOP (13% ABV, $5.98, 40% Tinta Roriz, 35% Alfrocheiro, 25% Jaen) – yes, at a whopping $5.98. To be entirely honest, I opened the bottle, poured and glass and proceeded to sip directly, without paying much attention to the appearance or the nose. The very first sip delivered the “wow” reaction. The aromas jumped from the glass – fresh, supple, juicy, with crunchy young fruit, lots of aromatic herbs (sage, tarragon), clean, smooth, medium body, touch of earthiness, fresh acidity and excellent balance. There was nothing extra in that glass – just a pure indulgence.

After that first sip (and then second, third and so on), it was evident that Portugal over-delivered again – an outstanding QPR, excellent wine at more than excellent price – clearly worthy of a “case buy” recommendation.

There you have it, my friends. What was your recent “best value” experience? What is your “go to” value wines region or a country? Cheers!

Holiday Madness! Holiday Madness! Last Bottle Holiday Marathon Madness, December 15th

December 14, 2016 2 comments

LastBottle Marathon LogoIt is time to flex your fingers and make sure they are in the perfect shape, as tomorrow you will have to do a lot of clicking. Last Bottle, the purveyors of the fine wines at value prices, in its traditional just-in-time, ready-or-not-here-I-come fashion, announced its widely anticipated Holiday Marathon Madness.

Tomorrow, December 15th, starting at 9 AM Pacific/12 PM Eastern, Last Bottle website will be featuring amazing wines at amazing prices, disappearing faster than you can say “wine”, never mind  clicking the “buy”  button – this is where you will need that index finger strength and agility, if you want to acquire any of those treasures, instead of just watching them pass by.

No announcements of any kind, no emails, no tweets – just keep clicking that “refresh” browser button to see the new offers. No minimums to buy (single bottles are perfectly fine) to get free shipping. All orders will be combined together and shipped at once in January. That’s it – no more special rules.

Just a little advice – be sure to be logged in into your account before you start great deal hunting – split seconds will separate success and failure of your order. Don’t believe me? Prepare to be disappointed then – I’ve been in that boat way too many times.

Before we part: when I mention Last Bottle, in case you don’t have an account with them already (and you need one if you want to buy the wines), I always offer an opportunity to sign up – if you will sign up using this link, you will get $10 off your first purchase, and yes, I will get $30 after your first purchase. The beauty is that moving forward, you can sign up your friends, and now you will be the one to get $30 after they will buy the wine from the Last Bottle – plus, all of a sudden, you fill find yourself all so much more popular!

Okay, enough reading – go back to that finger exercise, you should be in a perfect shape for tomorrow.

Happy [great value wine] Hunting!

Trader Joe’s Merlot Run

October 31, 2016 12 comments

As some of you might know, I can never pass on visiting the local Trader Joe’s when traveling – as long as it offers wine (which seems to be the case so far in the most places I visit). Last week I was in Santa Clara in California, so the trip to the nearby Trader Joe’s was unavoidable.

trader joe wines californiaDeciding on what wine to buy at Trader Joe’s is difficult. I always take price into account, but then there are lots of wines in the same, super-reasonable prices range of $5 -$8. The next option is the label – yes, I’m a sucker for creative labels, and then, of course, the region comes to play.

As I slowly walked along the wine shelves, the label of Jebediah Drinkwell’s caught my eye – it was strangely attractive – plus I like Meritage wines, so it was an easy decision.  I picked up Trellis Merlot because it was a Merlot (and October is a Merlot month) – and I was really curious to see what $4.99 can buy you from Sonoma. Cecilia Beretta was the third bottle I got – wanted to go outside of California, and “Partially dried grapes” always sounds like a music to me.

Looking at the wines later on, the idea  of #MerlotMe dedication came along – would all these wines be Merlot based? To my delight, in addition to the 100% Merlot from Sonoma, two other wines also had substantial Merlot content, so here you go my friends, a Merlot run at Trader Joe’s.

Here are my notes:

NV Jebediah Drinkwell’s Meritage Red Wine Paso Robles ($5.99, 37% Petite Verdot, 31% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec)
C: dark Ruby
N: touch of smoke, roasted meat,
P: soft fruit, blackberries, tobacco, good acidity, medium-long finish
V: 7+/8-, quite enjoyable

2014 Trellis Merlot Sonoma County (14.5% ABV, $4.99)
C: garnet
N: restrained, distant hint of cassis, herbs
P: soft, round, cassis, good acidity
V: 7+, excellent QPR

2014 Cecilia Beretta Soraie Veneto IGT (14% ABV, $7.99, 40% Merlot, 30% Corvina, 20% Cabernet, 10% Croatina, grapes dried for a few weeks before pressing)
C: dark garnet
N: touch of blueberry pie, quite restrained
P: touch of blueberries, tobacco, hint of dried fruit, good power but round, soft tannins, medium finish
V: 7+, will work well with food – pasta with some hearty tomato sauce would be perfect

As you can tell, it is pretty amazing what $18 can buy you at Trader Joe’s. Also, it is my second experience with non-vintage wine at Trader Joe’s, and I’m definitely impressed with the quality of that wine.

Do you buy wines at Trader Joe’s? Any interesting finds you care to share? Cheers!

Last Bottle Wine Harvest Marathon Madness 2016 – August 25-26

August 24, 2016 Leave a comment

LastBottleWinesMarathonHarvest 2016 is under way in many wine regions in the Northern hemisphere, causing lots of people to lose their sleep until every last grape will make it onto the processing belt. Not to be outdone, in their typical fashion of the last second (seriously) announcements, the Last Bottle, a purveyor of fine wines at a great value, just announced their Harvest Marathon Madness 2016.

For the next two days, Last Bottle will be offering lots of value-priced fine wines at their web site, changing in the rapid succession (some deals might be there only for a few seconds). The event will start at 9 AM Pacific time, and will continue for two days or until they will run out of wines. There are no minimums to buy to get the free shipping (that is what I like the most – you can try lots of wines). All orders will ship few weeks later.

I can’t resist the urge to quote the description from the Last Bottle Wines web site:

This REALLY is our biggest, best, craziest and most absurd Marathon ever. We know: “you say that every time!” but it really is true. Why? Because every month, every year, we keep getting bigger (literally and figuratively, ha ha). That means more selection, more opportunities for us to score killer deals, and WAY more small batches of things we’ve been saving for just this event!!! *** And yes, back by popular demand from the hardcore collectors, we WILL be having an EXTRA-SPECIALHour of Power” from 1-2pm PST!! ***

Starting tomorrow at 9AM sharp (Napa time), we are embracing the madness of harvest and HAVING OUR BIGGEST BLOWOUT EVER — HUNDREDS, POSSIBLY THOUSANDS, of unbelievable bargains from every corner of Planet Earth. Seriously – more BURGUNDY, cult Cabs, and Bordeaux than ever, not to mention large formats, older vintages, and hot-off-the-press goodies…all at market-crushing prices. Plus, FREE GROUND SHIPPING on ALL ORDERS (contiguous states)! TRUE Madness.

You should have an account to buy wine at the Last Bottle. If you don’t have one yet, make sure to sign up before the event will start. Better yet, I will be glad to be your reference – you will get $5 credit during your first purchase, and yes, I will make money on you – I will get $20. Once you are signed up though, you will be able to earn money the same way, by signing up your friends.

Here is the link you can use to sign up with the $5 bonus:

http://www.lastbottlewines.com/invite/4618917ef4f90628fb70367611992bc630d41515.html

Have fun and happy [great wine great value] hunting! Cheers!

Star Wars Last Bottle Wines Marathon – Starting Thursday, December 17

December 15, 2015 6 comments

Finding great wine at even greater price is one of my favorite pet peeves, so I have to share this with you: Chrismukkapalooza (after publishing the post I learned that it was actually a Star Wars themed marathon, which coincides with the release of Star Wars flick #7) Last Bottle Wine Marathon is starting this Thursday, December 17th!

LastBottleWinesMarathon

Yes, you heard me right – free up the room in your cellars, people. Last Bottle Wines is one of the very best purveyors of the fine wines at value wine prices, so their marathon events are not to be missed.

Starting at 12 pm US Eastern tine, the new wines will be offered at neck-breaking – sorry, rather finger-and-wallet-breaking – speed. You will have only split seconds to buy the wines, or they will be gone. There are no notifications of any kind during marathon, so all you can do is to hit refresh in your browser over and over again to see the new deals. Make sure you will be logged into your account during the process, because this will make a difference between “yes!” and “damn it!” (been there, done that many times). There are no minimums to get free shipping – all your orders will be accumulated and shipped at once a few days after marathon is over. The marathon will last for 2 days, but it can be shorter or longer, depending on how quickly all the wines will be sold out – and we are talking about 500 wines and 50,000 bottles. You will be also earning 2% back on every purchase, as usual, but not the $25 on the very last bottle.

Now, I’m sure many of you are already aware of Last Bottle wines and already have accounts with them. But for those of you who don’t have an account (and you need one to be able to buy the wines), you can use the link below to sign up:

http://www.lastbottlewines.com/invite/4618917ef4f90628fb70367611992bc630d41515.html

If you sign up using this link, you will get $5 credit on your first order. Yes, I will also get $20 bonus for signing you up – but remember that it will be you who will get $20 next time around when you will sign up your friends – and believe me, your friends will be thanking you profusely.

Happy Fine Wine hunting! Cheers!

 

 

Following Wines Til Sold Out – Anything Goes Marathon, September 2015

September 23, 2015 3 comments

WTSO logo 2012It was a while since I posted one of these, but when I saw the announcement for the Wine Til Sold Out “Anything Goes” marathon, somehow I felt inclined to collect the data and create this post. As nobody has time to constantly watch all the wines been offered, the table below presents all (I hope) wines which were included in the marathon, so you can ponder at your own leisure – sorry, that might lead to some regrets too, but I can’t help you with that.

The fact that I didn’t do this in a while shows in the quality of data below, unfortunately – quite a bit of information is missing. I had to recreate the script, and the computer went to sleep right in a middle of a data collection and I lost it all on the wake up. But I hope you will still find it useful as limited as it is. You can see below the prices, the ratings and at what time the wines were offered and for how long they lasted.

Without further ado, here is the table with all the wines offered during marathon (including super-beauty double Barolo package offered right after). If you took part in the marathon, I’m curious to know what you got. And if you missed some wines – well, you can rant in that comments space below. Happy Wine Wednesday and cheers!

Here is the guide to the rating abbreviations (this list is ever inclusive – not all of them are used below): WS – Wine Spectator, WA – Wine Advocate, ST – Steven Tanzer, WE – Wine Enthusiast, WRO –  Wine Review Online, W&S – Wine and Spirits, JS – James Suckling, RP – Robert Parker, JHN – Jonathan H. Newman, D – Decanter Magazine, rating goes in stars ( 5 stars is max), JH – James Halliday, TRR – The Rhone Report, BH – Burghound, IWR – International Wine Report, TLC – The Library Collection, PR – Pinot Report, TWN – The Wine News, LM – Luca Maroni, Sn – Snooth.com.

Time Wine Rating MSRP Price %off
12:00a Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano 2005/2007 2-Pack WA95, ST95 $520.00 $199.99 62%
11:45p Sullivan Vineyards Rutherford Estate 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon JHN93 $70.00 $29.99 57%
11:29p Podere la Regola ‘La Regola’ Super Tuscan IGT Red Blend 2008 WA93 $46.00 $22.99 50%
11:13p Achaval-Ferrer ‘Finca Mirador’ Mendoza Malbec 2008 WA96, 93WS $150.00 $59.99 60%
11:00p Col d’Orcia ‘Il Veltro’ Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2008 $50.00 $23.99 52%
10:44p Clarendon Hills ‘Liandra Vineyard’ Clarendon Syrah 2007 JH95 $85.00 $33.99 60%
10:35p Casalvento ‘Janus’ Toscana 2011 Half Bottle (375.00ml) JS93 $60.00 $19.99 67%
10:20p Giacomo Borgogno et Figli Barolo Riserva DOCG 2004 Special Edition JS93 $110.00 $39.99 64%
10:06p Chateau Luchey-Halde Pessac-Leognan Red Blend 2009 IWR92+ $95.00 $29.99 68%
9:50p Philippe LeClerc Gevrey-Chambertin Les Champeaux 1er Cru 2011 JHN92 $120.00 $49.99 58%
9:36p Champagne Tendil & Lombardi Cuvee Rose NV WS90 $69.00 $29.99 57%
9:30p Domaine de Beaurenard Chateauneuf-du-Pape Boisrenard 2011 WS93 $75.00 $39.99 47%
9:15p Eagles Trace Winery Estate Grown Napa Valley Merlot 2007 $45.00 $22.99 49%
9:00p Barolo 2009 Single Vineyard Cru Ciabot Berton Roggeri WRO94, JS93 $90.00 $32.99 63%
8:45p Marques del Puerto Bentus Reserva 2005 WE92 $60.00 $19.99 67%
8:36p Rancho Zabaco Monte ‘Toreador’ 2010 Rosso Vineyard Sonoma Valley Zinfandel WA93 $60.00 $26.99 55%
8:23p La Esquina Torrontes 2014 $22.00 $9.99 55%
8:09p Corte Campagnola Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Gli Archi 2004 WE92 $54.99 $29.99 45%
8:00p Krutz Family Cellars Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2011 $74.00 $39.99 47%
7:49p Lisini 2009 Brunello di Montalcino 93 rating and 53% IWR93, WS91 $78.00 $36.99 53%
7:34p Sancerre 2013 ‘Les 7 Hommes ‘ 100% Sauvignon Blanc By Cherrier Pere & Fils IWR90+ $39.00 $17.99 54%
7:26p Quinta Seara d’Ordens Vintage Port 2011 WE92 $90.00 $37.99 58%
7:16p Colle Lungo Campo Cerchi Chianti Classico Riserva 2006 $50.00 $24.99 50%
7:04p Domaine du Grand Tinel Chateauneuf du Pape 2012 WS91, WA91 $60.00 $26.99 55%
6:52p Robert Young Estate Winery ‘Red Winery Road’ Chardonnay 2013 $35.00 $17.99 49%
6:41p Piper Heidsieck Champagne Brut Rose Sauvage NV WRO93, WS92 $69.99 $39.99 43%
6:31p Tempranillo ‘Valnuevo’ Toro 2006 Bodegas y Vinedos Tardencuba WA93+ $70.00 $39.99 43%
6:23p Eagles Trace Wines ‘Latitude 38’ Estate Grown Napa Valley Red Blend 2011 $85.00 $34.99 59%
6:12p Gaston and Pierre Ravaut Aloxe-Corton Vieilles Vignes 2009 Cote de Beaune WS90 $70.00 $35.99 49%
5:58p Citille di Sopra ‘Poggio Ronconi’ Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2010 JS97 $95.00 $46.99 51%
5:50p Encantado Rutherford 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon $50.00 $22.99 54%
5:38p Ernest Meurgey-Perron Meursault Premier Cru White Burgundy 2013 JHN92 $100.00 $39.99 60%
5:24p Champagne Philippe Prie Cuvee Archange NV WS92 $95.00 $34.99 63%
5:15p Mendoza Vineyards Gran Reserva Malbec 2011 WA92 $60.00 $19.99 67%
4:58p Fontanafredda ‘Varej’ Barbera Piedmont DOC 2013 $17.99 $9.99 44%
4:48p Champagne Henri Abele Rose NV WS91 $55.00 $27.99 49%
4:42p Long Meadow Ranch Rutherford 2013 Reserve Red Blend JHN93 $100.00 $29.99 70%
4:36p Antolini ‘Moropio’ Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2010 WE93 $79.00 $27.99 65%
4:22p Domaine Roger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Prestige 2011 WS93, WA93 $80.00 $39.99 50%
4:16p Sojourn Cellars ‘Campbell Ranch Vineyard’ Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2012 PR94 $45.00 $39.99 11%
4:08p Fattoria Scopone Brunello di Montalcino ‘Olivare’ DOCG 2010 JS95 $80.00 $36.99 54%
3:56p Super Tuscan ‘Marchesale’ Terre del Marchesato Toscana IGT 2007 WE94 $80.00 $33.99 58%
3:44p Ribera del Duero 2009 ‘Antonio Izquierdo’ Vendimia Seleccionada Bodegas Izquiredo WA93 $120.00 $45.99 62%
3:28p Keating Wines ‘Buchignani Vineyard’ Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2012 WE91 $35.00 $19.99 43%
3:14p Burgess Cellars ‘Library Release’ Napa Valley 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon $150.00 $89.99 40%
3:11p Antonin Rodet Macon-Ige ‘Le Chaillou’ Chardonnay 2011 JHN91 $35.00 $14.99 57%
2:55p Domaine Louis Cheze Cuvee ‘Anges’ Saint-Joseph AOC Syrah 2007 WS93 $75.00 $29.99 60%
2:42p Sullivan Vineyards Rutherford Estate 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon JHN93 $70.00 $29.99 57%
2:29p Bodegas Bioenos Gorys Crespiello 2010 91 rating and 72% WA91 $100.00 $27.99 72%
2:18p Fontanafredda ‘Lazzarito’ Vigna La Delizia Barolo DOCG 1999 WA92 $170.00 $49.99 71%
2:08p Guillaume Baptiste ‘L’Evidence’ 2014   Pouilly-Fume JHN91+ $35.00 $15.99 54%
1:58p Pannier Egerie Champagne 2002 WE92 $100.00 $39.99 60%
1:52p Casalvento Vineyards and Winery Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2010 94 47%
1:46p C. Donatiello Winery Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2012 92 56%
1:34p Eagles Trace ‘Latitude 38’ Estate Grown Napa Valley Red Blend 2009 51%
1:26p Chateau Moulin de la Rose Saint-Julien 2008 WE92 59%
1:16p Clarendon Hills ‘Blewitt Springs’ Clarendon Grenache 2007 93 46%
1:08p Valentina Cubi ‘Morar’ 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella 93 59%
1:01p Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford 2012 94 43%
12:50p Tenimenti Soprani Barolo DOCG 2010 56%
12:37p Jamieson Ranch Vineyards ‘Reata’ 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 92 56%
12:24p Buoncristiani Family Winery ‘O.P.C.’ Napa Valley 2010 Proprietary Red Blend 92 40%
12:16p Loacker Corte Pavone Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2008 93 59%
12:09p H. Blin Champagne Brut NV 91 59%
11:50a Maroon Winery Spring Mountain District Reserve 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon 50%
11:39a Prosecco Bosco dei Cirmioli Veneto NV 50%
11:24a Lisini 2009 Brunello di Montalcino 93 53%
11:16a Vintage Port Wine and Soul ‘Pintas’ 2011 96 38%
11:07a Gran Reserva Rioja 2001 Bodegas Lar de Paula Gran Baroja 90 47%
11:02a Encantado 2012 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon 62%
10:55a Joseph Mellot Vigne de la Demoiselle Sancerre Rose 2014 44%
10:47a Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco DOCG 2005 50%
10:41a Pinot Noir Premier Cru Beaune Perrieres 2007 Maison Louis Latour 90 57%
10:26a Champagne Veuve Doussot Brut Rose NV 100% Pinot Noir 90 63%
10:17a Robert Stemmler Winery Estate Grown Carneros Pinot Noir 2011 91 55%
10:08a Groth Vineyards and Winery Reserve 2010   Cabernet Sauvignon 94 36%
9:53a Barolo DOCG Cascina Adelaide ‘Fossati’ 2008 WS93 $125.00 $39.99 68%
9:44a Domaine Roger Sabon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Prestige 2008 93 63%
9:34a Sancerre 100% Sauvignon Blanc   Vieilles Vignes 2012 Domaine Raimbault 91 62%
9:29a Cru du Rhone Gigondas Vieilles Vignes 2011 Domaine du Grand Montmirail 91 64%
9:22a Casa Brancaia ‘Ilatraia’ 2009 Maremma Toscana IGT 94 56%
9:15a Beaulieu Vineyard ‘Tapestry’ Napa Valley Reserve Red Blend 2011 54%
9:00a Piper-Heidsieck Vintage Brut 2006 92 33%

 

Just When You Least Expect It – Last Bottle Festivus Marathon Madness, December 18th!

December 17, 2014 4 comments

LastBottle Marathon LogoIn its typical style, when you least expect it (meaning – the day before the event), Last Bottle, a purveyor of the fine wines at the value prices, announced yet another “Madness Marathon”. The promise is to make it the most over the top ever, and considering that at 1 PM Pacific time Last Bottle plans to offer Domaine de la Romanee Conti (yep, the sacred DRC!), that might not be an empty threat.

Here is all you need to know:

The event takes place on Thursday, December 18th, starting at 9 AM Pacific time (Noon Eastern), the wines will be offered at a neck-breaking (hmmm, may be, finger-breaking? ) speed at the Last Bottle web site. No notifications of any sort, not even on twitter – you have to click “refresh” all the time. No minimums, all the wines you will buy will ship free, shortly after the event will be over. The event will last for two days or until all the wine will be sold out.

You will need to have an account with Last Bottle, and I also highly recommend to be logged into your account all the time during the event, with your payment information filled it – if you are not fast enough, you are not getting that amazing wine at an amazing price – there is always someone who clicks faster than you.

As usual, when I mention Last Bottle, in case you don’t have an account with them already, I always offer an opportunity to sign up – if you will sign up using this link, you will get $5 off your first purchase, and yes, I will get $20 after your first purchase. The beauty is that moving forward, you can sign up your friends, and now you will be the one to get $20 after they will buy the wine from the Last Bottle.

Okay, enough reading – go make some room in your cellar – you will need it. And if you will be the one to buy the DRC, can you please at least leave a comment here, so I will be able to envy you?

Happy [great value wine] Hunting!

Another Wine Marathon – Last Bottle Marathon Madness – Starting Today!

April 24, 2014 6 comments

Yes, I know – this is a last minute note – but I just got an e-mail about it…

Only yesterday the dust settled after the WTSO Magnum Marathon, yet another one of my favorite [amazing] value wine purveyors is throwing in a challenge to our wallets and our storage spaces (who had been threatened recently by the significant other to go live outside of the house “if you only…” on one or both counts  – raise your hand!) – Last Bottle Madness Marathon will be starting today (04/24) at 12 PM Eastern/ 9 AM Pacific time, and continuing for the next 48 hours, or until the Last Bottle cellar will be empty.

LastBottle Marathon LogoAll the wines will be offered in the rapid succession, without any notifications – no twitter, no e-mails, no text messages. The only way to follow the madness is by constantly refreshing your browser window. There are no minimum requirements – you can buy 1 bottle at a time, it is fine. All the wines you will buy will be shipped together 2-3 weeks after the event.

You will need to have an account with Last Bottle wines, and I suggest that in that account you will have all the information ready to go – speaking from the experience, the wine you want might be well gone by the time you will finish putting in expiration date for your credit card. In case if you don’t have a Last Bottle account already, I will be glad to be your reference – if you will sign up using this link, you will get $5 credit on your first order (yes, I will get $20 credit after your first purchase – but once you are in, now you will be the one who will tell friends about it). In case the link doesn’t work, feel free to send me an e-mail to talkavino-info (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Happy [amazing wine at great value] hunting!

A Bit of Everything for Sunday – Wine Review, a Fun Video and Wine Infographics

December 8, 2013 12 comments

It is Sunday, and I have rather a hodge-podge mix for you here. I have a few things a wanted to share, and while they are all not connected (or may be they are), I think it all make sense in the format of Sunday time. Here we go.

The first one belongs to the Daily Glass category, which is intended for the simple daily wines I drink, well, daily – and I’m always looking for value. This time, the search for value lead me to  Kirkland Signature Médoc.

Kirkland Signature MédocI love value wines. Of course we can remove the word “value” from the previous sentence – yes, I’m an oenophile, also often known as a wine snob. At the same time, I think the word “value” is important. “Value wine” means you get disproportional amount of pleasure compare to the amount of money you invest into that bottle of wine. A €1.29 Portuguese red and white are ultimate examples of the value wines. Trader Joe’s carries a lot of outstanding value wines at $5.99 or less. I remember amazing Montepulciano wines at $5 per bottle I was buying by the caseload. Well, La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza at $30 will also perfectly fit the bill, but this is the whole other story. Okay, I’m sure you got my point.

So here comes Costco. Value is a whole premise of huge warehousing operation of Costco’s chain, and of course it extends into the wines. To deliver ultimate value (supposedly, at least), Costco even has its own brand, called Kirkland.

When I visit Costco which has a wine section (not all the warehouses have it – the one I usually go to does not), I always have to explore it. And yes, I’m looking for value. This time around, I decided to extend my quest for value to the ultimate heights, and got a bottle of Kirkland Signature Médoc, which I found for $8.99 at Costco in Massachussets.

Médoc wine for $8.99? How good can that be? Finding palatable wines from Bordeaux (not even talking about good wines) at that price is mostly a mission impossible. And this wine is not even designated as a whole Bordeaux, it is Médoc AOC, which theoretically means the grapes should be better-  but again, at under $10? Well, let’s  see if Costco can actually do it.

2011 Kirkland Signature Médoc AOC (13.5 ABV, $8.99, 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot) had dark garnet red color in the glass. The nose didn’t exhibit much of the fruit. On the palate, there was a hint of raspberries, and may be a whiff of tobacco, otherwise the wine was rather flat, lacking the mid palate weight and substance. Drinkability: 6. This was the wine without sense of place – you know you are drinking wine, but otherwise it completely fails to solicit an emotional response. Was that the worst wine I ever had? No. Was that the wine I would recommend to someone? No. Was that the wine I would ever buy again? No. Can you buy this wine if you must have Bordeaux on the table?  Yes. Would that wine benefit from aging or aggressive decanting? Maybe, but we will need to establish it first. Is it possible that you actually might like this wine? Of course! And I would love to hear from you if you do.

Next up – the Holiday Dinner Party video. No, this is not the wine video, but instead, it is a great video dedicated to all of you cooks out there. This was sent to me by a friend, an avid cook herself (if the recipe doesn’t require at least a stick of butter, she is not making it). With the holidays, and all the festivities, friends and families getting together, I’m sure all of you can relate to what you are about to hear. But enough words – here is the video:

And last, but not least for today – the wine infographics. I’m an information junkie, and I love processing of the lists of all sorts. Continuing the theme of value wines, below is a very interesting infographics presenting 10 great wines for $10. Well, yes, “great” is a very personal characteristic, but it is always fun to align the opinions and see what the other person thinks – definitely a fun for me. To be honest, I don’t remember tasting any of the wines below. So please take a look, and of course, comment away – I’m very curious about your opinion.

10 Great Wines for $10 or Less
Courtesy of: SelfStorage.com

That’s all I have for you for today! Enjoy the rest of your weekend and cheers!

Trader Joe’s Wines – Again Exceeding Expectations

November 24, 2013 24 comments

Every time I get in a close proximity of the Trader Joe’s stores which sell wine, I always have to go and check out what is happening there – and, of course, try some wines. This time it was in November in California.

I don’t get to visit the Trader Joe’s wine section all that often – yes, we have Trader Joe’s here in Connecticut, but the only type of alcohol the stores can sell here is beer. My last experience with the wine section in Trader Joe’s was about a year ago. This time, I thought that the selection of wines and hard liquors expanded quite a bit, even though it was rather substantial even before. This time I saw a number of large format bottles, including 3L Italian wine for about $20! More spirits, including Calvados for $19.99 (I challenge you to find a Calvados for such a price at any wine store you frequent). I don’t know how Trader Joe’s can do this, but this is pretty remarkable.

Usually, when you see a cheap bottle of wine, the thought is – is that any good? So clearly in the spirit of research, I willingly subjected myself to the scientific drinking experiment – what $20 can buy for you? Okay, I have to be honest with you – I spent more money. A whole $3 more. So the experiment should be officially called “What wine $23 can buy for you at Trader Joe’s”. You can see my tasting line up in the picture below, and the notes follow right after.

What $23 can buy you at Trader Joe's

What $23 can buy you at Trader Joe’s

And here are the notes:

2012 Cosmia Pinot Noir Sonoma County (13.5% ABV, $7.99) – ruby red in the glass, sweet cherries with a touch of smokiness on the nose, dark sweet cherries on the palate with some mushroom notes, round, simple, medium to long finish. Probably [one of] the best Pinot Noir wines the money can buy for $8. Drinkability: 7+

2013 Trader Joe’s Vinas Chilenas Chardonnay Reserva, Valle Central, Chile (13% ABV, $2.99) – light straw color in the glass, white apples, vanilla and touch of tropical fruit on the nose, crispy apple on the palate, vanilla, nice acidity, very round and balanced. Note that most of the notes are taken on the day number 4 after the bottle was opened – stored with the regular cork in the fridge. Pretty spectacular considering the price. Drinkability: 7+

2010 Cala de Poeti Maremma Toscana IGT, Italy (13% ABV, $5.99) – A super-Tuscan for $5.99, huh? Should be pretty laughable, you think? Not at all! Dark garnet color in the glass, nose of dark plums and herbs, dark cherries, eucalyptus, tart raspberries and dark chocolate on the palate, firm structure, still present tannins (on the day 4!), excellent balance. I’m duly impressed. Drinkability: 8-

2012 Black Mountain Vineyard Zinfandel, California (12.5% ABV, $5.99) – dark garnet color in the glass, gunpowder (!) and cherries on the nose (yep, I know, sorry), raspberries and blueberries on the palate, but not overly sweet, with balancing acidity, more of tobacco and gunpowder note on the palate (is that “too much sulfites”? No idea, the wine didn’t give me any adverse reaction). Quite an unusual rendition of Zinfandel, but very, very enjoyable. Drinkability: 7+

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That’s all I have for you for today. Have you tasted these Trader Joe’s wines? What do you think of them? What do you think about Trader Joe’s wines in general? Comment away! Cheers!