Fall 2021 Wine Sale 20% Off

The Grocery Outlet fall wine sale this year will be from Wednesday, November 3, through Tuesday, November 9. In contrast to some previous sales, I’m seeing a number of promising-looking new wines show up to make this sale more interesting. What interests others may not interest you, and vice versa, but please take a look at the conversation in What’s New? to see what has been discussed lately.

Please use comments below to describe what you’d like to get, what you got where, how much was left, etc. Myself, I’m planning to get at least the following: 3 Sunce Pinot Noirs, a couple of the Moillard rosés, another True Myth Chardonnay, and a Mas Meyrac Syrah and a Boom Boom! Syrah to mix together for fun. Thanks and happy hunting!

Spring 2021 Wine Sale 20% Off

The Spring 2021 Wine Sale will be Wednesday, April 7 through Tuesday, April 13, when any and all wine, but not beer or liquor, will be 20% off. Please use comments here to say what you’re finding of interest, and where. After the sale, the conversation will probably mostly go back to the What’s New page. In fact, do scan the conversation there to see what wines folks have been liking recently.

Myself, I usually get about a case for myself of recent favorites that I want to drink over the next few months or years, but this time I’m so far planning to get just a couple of the Vienot 2017 Beaujolais-Villages ($7 regular price). GO lately has had good values in interesting every day wines, but not a whole lot that I’d want to stock up on to age for another 6 months to three years. I expect that my need for tasty every day wines will be met largely by new arrivals in the months to come.

I’m relieved that, so far, no one at my store has gotten sick from COVID-19. However, the battle is hardly over, between increasing vaccinations and now-increasing cases in many areas fueled by the more contagious and lethal variants (mutations from the original Sars-Cov-2 strain). Even if you are fully vaccinated (as I am), when in stores, please continue (as I do) to use masks that make a good seal around your mouth and nose, and to keep interactions as brief and distanced as feasible. This should be the norm in public indoor spaces until the vaccination rate is much higher. In my previous sale post, I linked to a couple articles by Zeynep Tufekci, who has been one of my most important guides during the pandemic, and who has been consistently right, early. Let me end with her latest:

The Fourth Surge Is Upon Us. This Time, It’s Different.

A deadlier and more transmissible variant has taken root, but now we have the tools to stop it if we want.

Fall 2020 Wine Sale, 20% off all wine

The Spring 2020 wine sale was canceled due to caution around the corona virus pandemic, but the show will go on for the Fall sale from Wednesday, November 4 through Tuesday, November 10: 20% off any and all wine.  Then, sorry, it’s back to GO’s regular exorbitant wine prices.

That said, I exhort and plead with everyone to prioritize corona virus safety over getting that last case of your favorite wine.  My understanding is that it is primarily spread through small droplets from the mouth small enough to float and linger in the air for a long time, that are then inhaled through and bind to receptors in the nasal / sinus tissue.   The statistic I read from a study in Italy is that “70% of people under 70 have no symptoms,” but are quite capable of spreading it if infected, and symptoms and mortality rise rapidly with age after that.  So wear a mask with a good seal around your mouth (to protect others, especially family) and nose (to protect yourself, and also family).  The more we get cases down, the sooner we can re-open schools, businesses, etc.  But also, don’t panic.  If everyone is well masked and talking calmly, your brief encounters in a grocery store are unlikely to spread this virus.  For example, no one at the store where I work has gotten sick (fingers crossed).

Sorry to keep going on about this, but here are two popular articles that contain most of the basis for my understanding:

We Need to Talk About Ventilation
How is it that six months into a respiratory pandemic, we are still doing so little to mitigate airborne transmission?

This Overlooked Variable Is the Key to the Pandemic

And here is an article written by someone who thought it was no big deal but wound up spreading it among his family:

Ok, let’s get back to wine.  Please use comments here to write about what you’re scoping out, looking for more of, where you found it, and what you would up getting and liking or not liking.  After the sale, the discussion will probably mostly return to the “What’s New?” comments.  Thank you!!!

Spring 2020 Wine Sale Postponed

Greetings, everyone!  Because of the rush on food preceding the Novel Corona Virus shutdown, the Spring 2020 20% off wine sale has been postponed indefinitely for now.  Certainly, in my store, most of the shelves were pretty empty. Meat, eggs, rice, beans, and other staples, and even many not-so-staples, were completely wiped out.  At regular rates of deliveries and customer purchases, it will take at least a month to re-stock the store.  I expect the wine sale will happen some time after that.

Also, now that I’m back at work, I’m too busy to post much.  What’s left of the discussion has moved to comments on What’s New?  Thanks.

A Few Current Wines

I posted new reviews while I was off work for a while, but now that I’m back, finding the time to post reviews in my usual thorough style is much more challenging.  I thought I’d switch instead to brief comments here on what I’ve liked lately.  (I probably won’t say much about wines I didn’t like.)  Let’s see how it goes.

Domain Sumeire 2017 Côtes de Provence rosé, $4. Light, smooth, crisp.  Delicious and went down like water during the recent heat wave.

Pavi 2013 Dolcetto, Napa Valley, $7.  At first, this wine didn’t seem like much: thin and acid.  However, after being decanted for 2.5 hours, the wine filled out in flavor and complexity, becoming dark-fruited, even sweet-tasting, with more oak than the Italians use.

Infinito 2014 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, $10.  The first day, it aired to be pretty tasty after a couple hours, but still a bit reserved and acid.  The saved bottle was delicious, with full, ripe, dark blue / black fruit.  Maybe if it had been sitting at home for a couple weeks to get over shock of transit to the store, it would be good on the first day after a couple hours.

Gérard Bertrand 2017 “Cote des Roses’ Languedoc white

Grenache (presumably Grenache Blanc), Vermentino (Rolle), Viognier; 13% ABV
Appellation Languedoc Protégée, Sud de France
imported by USA Wine West LLC, Sausalito, CA
$7 at the Richmond, CA, store on 31 May

This wine’s unusual bottle and blend intrigued me but also made me a little skeptical.  Would it be just hype, or actually good?  It is actually good.  The wine benefits from a few minutes of air, allowing the fruit to emerge and integrate.  Its smoothly blended flavors are of honeysuckle, yellow and white pear, moderate lemon, perhaps yellow melon or peach.  The fruit is full and ripe, but not sweet, decently complex, with lively ripe acid and structure that more guiding than restraining.  It’s not in a style that I recognize, but it is yummy, and stood up well to various strong-ish flavors.  That’s a glass stopper on top, and the bottom of the bottle is rose-shaped.  Seedboy liked it, too.

This bottle was courtesy of Richmond Grocery Outlet.

Verum 2014 Pinot Noir

Alto Valle del Rio Negro, Patagonia, Argentina; 13.7% ABV
imported by Vino del Sol, Corralitos, CA
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 17 May

I’ve often found Argentine Pinot Noirs good values, and this is no exception.  On the first night, it seemed to be pretty good, but never fully open.  On the second night, it was excellent.

I liked it right away, at first pour, when it tasted of lighter cherry / raspberry, root beer or cola, and sappy stem. Over two hours, more fruit and complexity emerged to include darker red fruits of cherry, raspberry, perhaps light strawberry, root beer, orange, and stemmy earth, with a silky texture.  It reached its peak about 2:15 after decanting, when it filled out with some purplish red plum.  Then, however, it somewhat shut down, never quite delivering on all it seemed to promise.

Some other wines got in the way, so it was probably about a week before I opened the saved screw cap bottle of this wine.  After two hours of air, it was delicious!  The flavors had integrated nicely, perhaps with added complexity, in a smooth, viscous texture.  The nose was of the usual earthy dark cherry / plum, root beer, orange, but also blueberry, hint of prune and sometimes licorice.  I found it an unusual Pinot Noir, not obviously like Pinot from anywhere else, but an interesting and very tasty example.

This bottle was courtesy of Richmond Grocery Outlet.

Chateau Petit-Freylon 2011 “Cuvée Sarah” Bordeaux Supérieur

Bordeaux, France
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot; 13.5% ABV
imported by Misa Imports, Inc., Dallas, TX
$7 at the Richmond, CA, store on 17 May

It’s not that often that GO gets a somewhat older Bordeaux like this one, so I was eager to try it out.  I think it’s yummy, but don’t wait to drink it.

The wine needed about 2.5 hours in a decanter to start opening, and was fully open at 3, showing flavors of darker red cherry, some plum and maybe cassis, pencil lead, brown earth / stem, and perhaps a hint of mint, in a medium body.  I think it’s a good example of Cabernet-based Bordeaux for this price.

The next day, the other half, stored in a 375ml screw cap bottle filled to the top, was softer and fruitier, and still needed an hour of air for the pencil lead and earthiness to return.  Although it never returned to the elegance of its first night, it was still decently tasty.

This bottle was courtesy of Sopheap Yin at Richmond Grocery Outlet.

Louis Bernard 2015 Côtes du Rhône Villages

Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Appellation d’Origine Protégée, France; 13.5% ABV
imported by Boisset America, St. Helena, CA
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 1 April

After liking the Louis Bernard 2007 Crozes-Hermitage so well, I felt I should try this Côtes du Rhône in time for the sale, too.  It’s somewhat similar to, but also quite different from, the C-H, and also quite lovely.

My first small sip right after opening the bottle seemed promising, but I didn’t really taste the wine until it had been decanted for over two hours.  Even then, it felt pretty closed, not yet showing all it had.  When I finally sat down to taste the rest of it, it had been decanted for over four hours.  It was smooth, elegant, and still restrained, with earthy, tangy, flavors of black cherry, black raspberry, purple plum, black olive, hint of rosemary, grape stem, and acid that reminds me of pomegranate.  There are some flavors similar to the C-H, but some different, and this wine is still rather young.

The next day, the saved 250ml screw cap bottle still needed a couple hours of air to smooth out, with its fruit finally more forward, but still with a noticeably tannic finish.  The wine should age well for at least a few more years.  If you like this kind of wine, this is an excellent value.

That circular sticker on the left side of the photo announces that this wine was awarded 90 points by the Wine Advocate.

Blass 2016 “Reserve Release” Red

South Australia; 13.5% ABV; screw cap
imported by TWE Imports, Napa, CA
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 29 March

This wine immediately showed (what I think of as) a typical Australian style of dark, ripe fruit, quite dry, with stronger acid.  It was pretty tasty, but as usual, I thought it took a while in a decanter to fully air, about three hours.  Then, the fruit thickened, somewhat submerging the acid and, in addition to the tangy purple plum, boysenberry / black raspberry, red / purple cherry, it developed a pruney finish.  On the first night, at least, it was good wine for the price, but nothing I was especially excited about.  I’d guess the grapes are mostly Shiraz, with at least some other grape(s), likely Cabernet.

The next day, the saved 250ml screw cap bottle still needed a little air to smooth out and integrate, with the fruit smoother but redder than the first night, and a little more pruney.  Overall, it’s good wine for the money, especially if you like this style.