What’s New?

Please use comments here to alert everyone to interesting wines you’ve seen at which stores, but which have not yet been reviewed.  Please post any tasting notes in Guest Contributions, or as a comment on a main-page review, as comments here older than six weeks or so will be deleted.

You can check out what reviewers have at home to review at this sub-blog:

GrossOutWine Review Queue

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4,647 thoughts on “What’s New?

  1. seedboy

    Has anyone tried the Chateau St Jean cab, pinot, sauv blanc or chardonnay seen lately at the stores?
    On another note, the selection at the Oakland store has been really bleak recently. Anyone out there agree?

    Reply
    1. Sebastian

      I just opened a bottle of the cab, and all I can say is that it’s OK. There’s nothing that really stands out about it, but there is nothing wrong with it either. I talked with a fellow shopper in the wine aisle tonight, and he said that he had recently gotten a bottle at Costco for $12, so it’s a decent value at $7. I’ll let you know if it brings any surprises on the 2nd night.

      And I completely agree about the selection lately in Oakland. I spent 15 minutes scouring the shelves for something interesting and didn’t find much. The one thing I got that I’m hoping is a dark horse winner is a Yakima Pinot Gris called Topsail. At $3.99, it seemed worth taking the chance.

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        I think we should say something to store management about how the wine selection has deteriorated since the store manager Bob went on leave.

        Reply
      2. lim13

        In regard to the Topsail PG (another precept Brands product), I commented under What’s New on April 22: “The Pinot Gris was very soft and lacking in well defined flavors and mouth feel; don’t bother! My search for white wine (non-Chardonnay) values at GO continues. Whatever happened to the tasty German Rieslings they used to get?”

        Reply
  2. seedboy

    Sometime before Labor Day Weekend I need to buy a case of Prosecco or a similar wine for an event. I am looking for something fairly dry. I’m also open to other sparkling wines (no Lambrusco though). If any of you runs across such a thing at GO do let me know.

    Reply
  3. flitcraft

    Wines possibly of interest seen at the Seattle Crown Hill GO:

    With the SODO GO in-between wine buyers, Crown Hill has resumed its place as having the best wine selection in Seattle. (Note, though, they will only take wine back if you have the receipt!)
    I stopped by this morning looking to buy lamb shanks and pasture raised eggs (success there!) and thought I’d check out the wine department. Here’s what I found:

    3 Horse Ranch Snake River AVA (Idaho), 3 wines, all 7.99 a bottle:
    A 80/20 Syrah/Mourvedre, a pure Syrah, and a Chardonnay. Nice looking bottles. Supposedly sold elsewhere for 17.99.

    Castle Rock Columbia Valley Red Wine Cuvee, 2014, for 7.99.
    Castle Rock has a good reputation as a negotiant selling good wine at reasonable prices.

    Divinis Garnacha Rose, from Bodegas Marin (Spain) 2017, for 5.99.
    Bodegas Marin has gifted GO with any number of entirely serviceable Spanish wines in the past few years. Their Divinis range appears to be their entry level wines. The back label calls this “a funny wine;” I suspect something was lost in translation.

    Lake and Vine, 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County, for 5.99. This wine has made successive vintage appearances at GO. Like its past incarnations, it blends some Sauvignon Musque along with the Sauvignon Blanc, going for a softer, slightly floral note. I’ve enjoyed past versions.

    Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Zinfandel, 2012, 14.5% ABV, Sonoma Ct. 10.99.
    I’m not a fan of California Zins, by and large, but if you are, this one is well priced.

    Shimmon Canyon Vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010, Paso Robles, 13.7% ABV, 5.99. Seems to be by a real winery, other than that I know nothing about it.

    Enlace Pinot Noir, 2014, Monterrey, 5.99, 14.5% ABV.
    The back label instructs us to pronounce it “En-lah-say;” I say if you’re going for a pretentious pronunciation, the least you could do is put an accent over that last e. It’s made by Liparita, and they say it’s “pure Pinot Noir.” I think I recall somebody during the sale wrote that they liked it.

    Davey Estates, Shingleback Shiraz, McLaren Vale Australia, 2012, 14.5% ABV; 10.99
    The following vintage got labeled as Shingleback, with Davey Estates getting second billing. I guess the marketing folks at Precept can’t decide which way to go with it. It’s pricey by GO standards, but I tried and liked the 2013, which I got during the sale.

    Q Collection Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, 2015, 13.8% ABV, 5.99. Made by Winepress Vintners, a negotiant known for value pricing. I liked the bottle. Know nothing about the contents.

    And finally, they still have a few bottles of the Alder Springs Row Five Red Blend for 7.99. It’s a Syrah dominated blend that I really, really liked–so much so that I bought a half case six months ago. If you missed out, you can rectify that decision by stopping by the Crown Hill GO–it’s long, long gone from the other Seattle GOs I frequent.

    I can’t vouch for any of these wines, and I didn’t pick any up, though I could easily change my mind about that decision. If you’ve found them and tried them, I’d love to hear impressions.

    Reply
    1. BeerBudget

      Ditto on the Alder Springs. Really liked the Shingleback I had last year – I think it was 2011 – I recall concentrated boysenberry and blackberry, clean without the Shiraz pepper and spice.

      Reply
    2. flitcraft

      Today the Crown Hill GO had a wine tasting, and the 3 Horse Ranch Syrah was included. Though the taste was in a tiny plastic cup, I still was impressed enough to pick up a bottle. Maybe a little over-extracted, but worth trying in a proper wineglass! The only other pour of interest was a wine #Cabernet, made by a young winemaker, with grapes from some pretty good Columbia Valley sites like Wahluke Slopes. It wasn’t terribly memorable, but the stemware may have had something to do with that! 75% Cab and 25% Syrah…

      Reply
  4. Doug Green

    Carrington Family Estate Syrah 2012 Mendocino County $5.99 pre 20% discount

    This was bought during the Fall 2016 wine sale, and I only now got around to opening it. Short answer: It’s delicious, and no need to hurry and drink it up, with layers of depth and intensity, without any astringency or flaws to note. Shame I only bought the one bottle. I would not have batted an eye if I spent $14-18 for a California Syrah of this caliber. If you have any of this, consider yourself fortunate – alas, I only have about 2/3 of an opened bottle remaining. More structure than most Aussie shiraz wines, and definitely a quality California offering. I hate it when one finds a gem at the Grossout price and it’s long gone by the time one realizes it. This is certainly in the top 10% of all the wines I’ve had from Grocery Outlet.

    Reply
  5. RB

    For those who didn’t find any of the 2012 Alleromb Grenache during the recent sale, the Olympia store has some back in stock. Well worth the non-sale $9.99 in my book.

    Reply
  6. Flitcraft

    Volkhardt Estate Merlot 2014 5.99

    This wine is made by GV Cellars, so I took a chance on it. GV sent some nice food friendly wines to GO a few years back, some of you may recall. A report will follow once it is consumed.

    Reply
  7. Zoel

    Took a chance on the ‘17 Cerro Brava Reserva Merlot from Chile. Nice packaging…but alas, not a winner. Subdued nose, then thin and light on the palate, with a distinct medicinal edge…perhaps some VA as well. Ok in the pasta sauce, the remainder went down the drain…obvious pass

    Reply
    1. Doug Green

      Too bad. I picked up one of the Cerro Bravo ’16 Reserva Cab at the November sale and I’m hoping for more than that. I also enjoyed the 2011 Carmen Merlot enough to buy a few more. My experience with cheap Chilean Cabs and Merlots (and especially Carmeneres) and blends of the above has been pretty good so far, but Carmen is a much better known winery.

      Reply
    2. Darrell

      On “the remainder went down the drain,” this tends to go into the vinegar generator. From the generator, a portion of this is decanted to a second stage bottle because this tends to have a bit too much ethyl acetate. Then later some of this is poured into the final vinegar bottle.

      Reply
        1. Darrell

          Most gets converted to vinegar, but in a side by side with commercial red wine vinegar, it is still detectable.

          Reply
    1. lim13

      Found this today at the Bremerton store and bought myself three. Have yet to try it. Also bought one Topsail 2014 Yakima Valley Pinot Gris for $4.99. Another Precept Brands product.

      Reply
      1. lim13

        The Pinot Gris was very soft and lacking in well defined flavors and mouth feel; don’t bother! My search for white wine (non-Chardonnay) values at GO continues. Whatever happened to the tasty German Rieslings they used to get?

        Reply
        1. flitcraft

          I’ve been moaning about the same thing. The only German Riesling I’ve seen currently (and the only one in the last couple of years) is the Moselland Rheinhessen Landmark series Riesling. A few years ago there was one with the Golden Gate Bridge printed on the back of the bottle to be viewed through a window in the front of the frosted bottle; this one does the same trick with the Statue of Liberty. Alcohol is a tad high at 9.5%, and I’d like a bit more acid to complement the sugar. But, given the drought of these wines, I picked up a few for the summer. This one was at the Kenmore GO, and is now out of stock, but is still available at the Crown Hill store.

          Reply
          1. lim13

            I’ve seen that wine over the course of the last few weeks at Bremerton and it was still there on Sunday. I also saw a similar German wine with flowers all over the bottle (can’t remember the name). Online reviews were decent, but said it lacked in sufficient acidity…something I cherish in off dry Rieslings

            Reply
    2. lim13

      My take on the Three Rivers Rose’ : Extremely pale brilliant salmon color; lightly perfumed subtle floral aromas with hints of white pepper; light and lilting in the mouth; bone (and I mean bone) dry with decent acidity; lemony, slightly peppery flavors; definitely not a fruity, forward rose’; decent food wine with lighter fare, but a bit understated for my taste and could use a tad more residual sugar. To be fair, the light and wispy rose’s are just not my preferred style. A matter of personal preference.

      Reply
      1. seedboy

        Sounds like I would like this wine. I doubt we will see it in California though. Fortunately I bought half a case of Bandol rose right before the sale (it did not last long enough to get any in the sale).

        Reply
  8. flitcraft

    Canyon Springs 2012 Barbera, Sierra Foothills appellation, 13% ABV. $5.99 at Lake CIty GO.

    I was gifted with this by a dinner invitee, who hadn’t tried it yet. I wasn’t sure it would work with a mess of Chinese pork and vegetable dumplings, but why not?
    Split of opinions on this one: My take? A nice raspberry-ish nose, fruit-forward but not overly extracted. In fact, kind of light in body. A little flabby–I would have welcomed more acidity and tannins. Still, it slid down easily with the slippery dumplings. The other three opinions? Well, my other half pronounced it “okay,” which I think is a shorter version of my take. The wine donor apologized for bringing it–which was completely unnecessary–and called it grapey and simple. (Ouch–the worst insult for a wine is to call it grapey!) His other half thought we were all being mean, and she said she’d happily finish the bottle if we weren’t interested. (Though we pulled up our socks and all took our fair share in the end…) Not a purchase, for me.

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      I liked this wine well enough but did not buy any more because of space considerations. The job of Barbera is to be simple and refreshing, a pleasant mouth rinse with a meal. Don’t judge it next to Cabernet, or even Chianti. And certainly not Barolo.

      Reply
  9. BdB

    I appreciate all the sale posts, thank you, I wrote a few down, it’s great though mostly above my budget. So I’ll report on a couple of reds I picked up at the Santa Cruz store Thursday in the 5/7 $ range pre sale price. One I like, California Karma Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Paso Robles (6$), my type of wine, fruity but dry and robust,13.9% alc. I’ll get a few more Monday. The other I think some would like a lot but is a bit too sweet for me though I find it has character, some flavor is a first for me, sorry I’m unable to pin it down ; the 2014 Volkhart estate Merlot from Solano county/Green Valley, 14% alc., 5$. I just started the bottle and it may grow on me. It has a nice nose too. I think if one likes a red on the sweet side this would be a good purchase. I also bought a Fat Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 from South Africa (Stellenbosh) on recommendation from Ramon but haven’t tried it yet, it was getting to the last bottles so I got one. I think it’ll be good, if it is I’ll report later 7$, 13.5 % alc.

    Reply
  10. Doug Green

    Found a couple of interesting things in Poway that weren’t there at the beginning of the week: Luke Donald Napa red wine 2012. $9.99 pre-sale price. This is a Rutherford Meritage with good write-ups that I thought was sold out prior to the sale, but they got some more of it and I snagged the last bottle. Also they got in a small quantity of the Woodenhead 2013 Humbolt County Pinot Noir $11.99 pre-sale, which I grabbed a couple of bottles.

    Reply
  11. Zoel

    GO Sale Update…due to some business travel, hit 3 stores on Friday…
    SRosa – record sale for them, Tom shared they have moved tons of vino. Out of most of the Acacia and other sought-after goodies.
    RPark – bingo – plenty of the Acacia Kick Ranch Syrah, along with two other single-vineyard PN (Lone Tree) and two new Chards (Yellow Road). Also well-stocked on the Balverne offerings. Picked up a mixed case.
    Oakland – pretty depleted shelves, he was waiting for restock. Picked up a ’15 Esterlina Cole Ranch Riesliing (the Dry Creek winery is long gone, this must have been their last juice), Also saw a unique NZ Pinot, ’11 Mondillo, good reviews so took a chance at $14…will let ya’ll know how it tastes…

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      I was in the Watsonville store yesterday. It had the 2012 Acacia Winery Lake pinot. First I’ve seen or heard of it. I bought 2 bottles and wish I’d bought more. Really lovely wine with good body but not overdone.

      Reply
      1. seedboy

        Yesterday the Oakland store had a 2014 Enlace pinot noir. From Monterey County fruit, this is varietally correct and nicely balanced. For $5.99 before the discount, this is a good deal for a pinot lover.
        Has anyone tried any of the Italian sparkling wines made by Feudi Di San Gregorio?

        Reply
        1. Darrell

          Also, there is a whole bunch of PN under the Soldier of Fortune label with at least 3 AVA’s, Monterey, Carneros and some Sonoma AVA. It is distributed all over and has anybody tried any of them?

          Reply
          1. Zoel

            Hi D – I tried one Soldier of Fortune (don’t remember which one, was $10) and wasn’t impressed. Weak compared to the plethora of alternatives (Acacia being far better).

            Reply
  12. Zoel

    Chardonnay on sale…time to stock up for the Ms…bought 1.5 cs of the Acacia (3 different bottlings) – only opened the Thorton thus far, and was pleased. It is a bigger/richer Chard, with lotsa oak, so it may turn some purists off. We enjoyed it…looking forward to the other two as well…at $8 for single vineyard quality Chard, tough to beat.

    Also tried the ’13 Twelve Barrel Chardonnay, a non-designated region (California…caveat emptor!)..bottled in Buelleton (Central Coast…not promising)…label in French as well (destined for the Quebec market?)…at $4, quite the risk-taker I am…guess -what – it is quite palatable. Fruit is decent (but pales to the Acacia). Nice balance and structure (whomever made this knew their stuff, or got lucky). The Ms. proclaimed it a very nice sipping/cooking wine (that is, she quaffs it while preparing gastrometric delights). At $3 on sale, I’m going back for more…will not disappoint a Spring/Summer crowd, classy label…ah, the joys of GO hunting.

    Reply
  13. Doug Green

    Finally got down to the National City GO today. They had some of the Lake Sonoma Pinot Noir, so I picked up a couple more bottles. Also, picked up the Tres Hijas Sabrosso Rojo 2013 Sonoma field blend. Both of these were $6.99 pre-sale price.

    Reply
  14. RB

    Not picking up much during this current sale, but between the Olympia and Lacey stores I did get some:
    2012 Alleromb Grenache (Columbia Valley), $9.99 pre-sale
    http://www.washingtonwineblog.com/blog/2016/11/16/alleromb
    Canoe Ridge 2012 Cherry Street Reserve Red (Horse Heaven Hills), $8.99 pre-sale
    https://www.winemag.com/buying-guide/canoe-ridge-2012-cherry-street-reserve-red-horse-heaven-hills
    – there is also some 2013 vintage of this wine mixed in out there, so I got a few to compare.

    Looking to stock up on rosé I tried both:
    Gilbert Cellars 2016 Rosé (Whaluke Slope) and Louis Bernard 2015 Côtes de Provence, both $4.99 pre-sale. The first I found a little thin. The LB was more rounded out and more my style, but maybe not enough to buy in bulk.

    If I could find more of the Pacific Rim 2014 Wallula Vineyard Dry Riesling (not the ‘J’ or the straight DR) I’d probably put a case in the cellar.

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      I have not bought much either. I’ve bought some of the Acacia wines, and one Bandol Rose, and one Tuscan red (can’t think of its name, starts with an M, 2013 vintage, $6.99 before discount, Bordeaux blend with some Sangiovese from Bolgheri).

      Reply
      1. BeerBudget

        No luck on finding the Bandol Rose’s in the Southbay. Acacia Kick Ranch Syrah is a straight up winner despite being heavy on the licorice tones the second day. Was more pronounced when tasted alongside the restrained Balverne Chalk Hill Estate Red – completely in agreement with Expat’s notes below. Woodenhead Humbolt Pinot is another thumbs up.

        Reply
        1. Expat

          Glad to hear the Acacia syrah is solid. I bought a bottle, a little concerned about the high alcohol but it sounds like it might still be balanced.

          Reply
    2. Expat

      I tried the Balverne Estate Red Chalk Hill (2012, pretty sure). $15 before discount. About $50 on their site. Only place Ive seen it is San Luis Obispo. Really nice, classy wine. 14.5% but feels more restrained. Mostly cab, some merlot and a dash of malbec. Dry, deep, great with food. It was a 6 bottle buy for me. Tastes like a legit Sonoma Cab blend.

      Reply
      1. seedboy

        I’ve been wondering about that wine. I’m tempted.
        The Richmond store still has 2009 Ardente, for you cab fans.

        Reply
      2. Doug Green

        I’ve been back and forth on whether to buy that Balverne Chalk Hill Estate Red., just because I have more mid-high end Californiia Cabs than I know what to do with. But for $12 on sale, how bad could it be from one of the genuinely best vineyard sites for Cabernet in all of Sonoma county. I’ve seen it in a couple of places in San Diego.

        Reply
    3. rgardner2

      The Alleromb Grenache was out (Lakewood WA) when I when back for more. I’d say $30 wine. I didn’t see any Canoe Ridge (not much Precept Brands other than the loathsome Chocolate Shop). The Cascade Ridge is apparently a Met Market label (high end Seattle grocery store, likely Precept from the Waterbrook facility). The Syrah is good, the Red Blend is just OK.

      Reply
    4. flitcraft

      I was out of town for most of the sale–only returning to the Left Coast on Friday. Since I have a full cellar, I was mainly interested in education-project purchases, but they were thin on the ground in the Seattle-area GOs. Two interesting purchases on spec were the Josh Cellars 2014 Oregon Pinot Noir and the Soldiers of Fortune 2014 Monterey Pinot Noir. No idea about either one, except to say they appear to be from actual wineries. I did pick up a bottle of the Canoe Ridge Cherry Street Reserve Red Blend–the 2012 iteration–and we opened it this evening. It’s very fruit-forward, but it has enough stuffing to avoid a ‘fruit bomb’ hashtag. It does have a lovely lingering finish–probably the nicest aspect of the wine. I wish it had a tad more acid and tannins, but it’s head and shoulders over most of the reds found these days at Northwest GOs.

      And, on that subject–I’ve been disappointed the last few times I stopped by the SODO GO and checked out the wine department. Over the past year or two, this has been by far the most dependable GO in the Seattle area for selection. No more, though. My last three visits I bought nothing at all in the wine department. Well, on my last visit, I discovered that the wine guy there, Michael, no longer works for that GO. (Astute readers might recall that he posted here from time to time about wines he’d discovered.) A great pity, since there is currently no one with any wine knowledge at that store. Apparently the wife of a current employee is in line to become the new wine guy–wine gal??–but in the meantime, the pickings are sadly rather slim.

      Reply
      1. RB

        I know the sale is over, but if you run across the 2013 bottling of the Canoe Ridge Cherry Street Reserve red blend you may want to give it a try. It still has fruit, but has a little more backbone than the 2012. Both are tasty and IMO still a good buy at $9, but given a choice I’d drink the 2013.

        Reply
        1. lim13

          Hey…remember me? Used to write reviews for this here blog. I don’t visit the local GO’s much anymore. The Silverdale, WA store selection still sucks…but the Bremerton store tries really hard to maintain a decent selection. So for the first time in many months I stopped by there to see if the Spring sale brought much of interest…and I still need non-Chard whites for my cellar. I’ve done a tremendous job of drinking my cellar…and not compulsively filling any holes when I bring a bottle up. I still have a ton of reds, but I’m lacking whites other than Sauv Blanc…and my GO trip isn’t helping much in that area.

          I bought 12 different bottles at Bremerton last week, so thought I’d report. The 2012 Alleromb Grenache ($9.99) is excellent. The 2012 Canoe Ridge Cherry Street Red ($8.99) isn’t particularly complex, but quite flavorful and showing decent balance. The 2014 Pacific Rim Dry Riesling ($3.99) is o.k., but needs more acidity for me. The 2014 Eufloria Aromatic White Blend ($4.99) has a very pleasant nose and is off dry, but lacks enough acidity. Both the Pacific Rim and Eufloria are from the Banfi portfolio (which I didn’t previously know). The 2016 Chateau Grand Escalion Rose’ Costieres De Nimes ($5.99) to me was totally flavorless for a day and a half, then began to show some strawberry fruit. If you enjoy NZ Sauv Blanc, the 2014 Sacred Hill ($5.99) is quite typical and tasty with great acidity. I grabbed a Buehler Chard ($6.99) (against my better judgement) because the front label says it’s a 2011 Cab Sauv, while the back label says it’s a 2012 Russian River Chard (that’s likely why GO got this wine). It’s a Chardonnay…damn! Chard lovers might like it; I don’t. 2014 Crucible GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) ($4.99)…a tad stinky perfumey, pretty tannic and doing nothing for me. An Impressive bottle with less than impressive contents. 2014 Apex Columbia Valley Sauv Blanc ($6.99) is delicious with lots of extract and concentrated fruit, giving it wonderful texture. 2016 Ridgetop Vineyards Yakima Valley Gewurz ($5.99) is drier than most WA Gewurzes and there’s no doubt it’s Gewurz, but for someone like me who considers himself a bit of a Gewurz afficinado…this doesn’t cut it. What happened to the occasional great buys at GO on Alsatian Gewurz & German Rieslings?? 2011 (pushin’ the vintage envelope here) Willow Crest Yakima Valley XIII Rhone Style Red ($6.99) is too light for me…totally lacks guts. And finally, 2014 Santa Barbara Unbridled Pinot Noir ($6.99) from Wild Horse (a wine club I belonged to for years); very varietal, flavorful and an excellent buy. O.K. I’m gonna’ go have dinner now and pass out in my mashed potatoes! Nice talking to you; hope you’re all doing well. BTW, I’m assuming no one has carried the torch on the blog? Haven’t seen an “actual” post since December 2017 and I have no idea what BargainWine is up to these days. Got too expensive for me…buying wines to review…with no donated product! GO got lots of press from us; they should have offered to pay for the wines we reviewed.

          Reply
          1. Darrell

            Lim, nice to see what you are trying and hear from you. I remember my first quantity purchase from GO, the 2008 Sacred Hill SB reviewed by Grossout. I believe I bought the wine in 2012 on the sale, making the price $2.40 a bottle. The present bottle price $5.99/ btl., is twice the 2008 bottle price, more than inflation I’d say. A few commenters try to take up the slack of an “actual” post by giving short comments on interesting wines tried. I wish I had the interesting selections others have in the East Bay or San Mateo Peninsula.

            Reply
          2. JoelA

            Lim, I know what you’re going through, trying to drink down your cellar while resisting temptation to buy more, especially during a sale. We had to do the same thing, except we had to drink UP our cellar before moving to Israel. No way was I going to try to send our wine to Israel by ship. It was hard work but we succeeded in doing it, except for a couple of bottles of 1977 port, which we brought in our suitcases and which I know will still be fine for many years. Had a lot of very good wine during that time. Meanwhile, until our place will be ready (hopefully sometime next year) I am back to buying a bottle at a time because we have no place to lay down any wine.

            Congratulations on your success in bringing the size of your cellar down from totally unreasonable to only somewhat unreasonable.

            Reply
          3. flitcraft

            Hi Lim, Nice to hear from you! Your posts have been much missed, and your updates on your sales finds are most welcome, since the PNW doesn’t see many of the wines that our California colleagues report on. Like you, I have a brimming cellar to deal with, so I purchase a few bottles from time to time for what I euphemistically call ‘educational purposes.’ This sale, I bought very little, even for educational purposes, since there didn’t seem much of interest. Unfortunately, the downside of GOs being locally and independently owned is that wine selection turns out to be a function of how much any particular GO owner cares about and knows about wine. So, as owner-managers come and go, so does the choiceness of that store’s wine department. Right now, the Seattle area doesn’t really have a go-to GO for wine. Maybe the SODO GO will pick up once they have a real wine person on board, but it’s a pale shadow of what it had been the last couple years.

            You’re right that donating wine to reviewers would have been a good strategic move for GO. Though, would they have permitted/encouraged posts critical of the donated wines? I think one of the benefits of the site is that readers get frank opinions from reviewers–both raves about bargains and pans about wine better avoided. This is particularly important, given the high proportion of poor to undrinkable wines at GO. A consumer who randomly picks up a bottle there is most likely to conclude, you get what you pay for, and stop shopping for wine there. In the end, blind shopping likely doesn’t help GO’s bottom line.

            Reply
            1. lim13

              Point well taken, flitcraft. Though BW always assured us that his honest opinions remained unchanged after he hired on with GO…and that he was never “directed” to make sure his reviews favored GO. Anyone know if he’s still working at GO in CA?

              If there’s any left locally, I will be rebuying very limited quantities of the Alleromb, Canoe Ridge, Sacred Hill, Apex and Eufloria that I mentioned.

              And JoelA…you’re my hero! You drank up one entire cellar!! : ~)

              By the way, Darrell…I think having “contributors” run the blog by providing abbreviated reviews is the way to go; should have happened a long time ago.

          4. seedboy

            BargainWhine still works at the Richmond store. He’s a busy guy with a young family so I imagine he does not have much time to spare for blogging. I know he is pretty active in evaluating the wines there and that store is one of the better GOs for wine buying, and, for that matter, for grocery shopping. I go in once or twice a week, and go to Oakland maybe 4 times a week.

            Reply
          5. rgardner2

            Welcome Back Lim13. I tried to get more of that Alleromb in the Tacoma area, all out. I also bought the Pacific Rim always decent Riesling maker but I can’t do their sweet stuff.

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            1. seedboy

              So I have a question for folks who post here regularly: do the folks at the GOs where you shop know you post about GO wines on this blog?

            2. BeerBudget

              Responding to Seedboy. Joe in Palo Alto knows I read the blog; I’ve not met any other wine buyers.

            3. Darrell

              Robair and Bennie probably do. SF Geary and others don’t. If I gripe about a store, I don’t want anybody to know the griper. On the other hand when I hand out kudos, Palo Alto and Novato for instance, they won’t know either. Unless asked, I try not to dispense knowledge or opinion to customers as some bloggers/commenters do.

            4. Expat

              I don’t volunteer that I post on this site to the GO owners/wine guys I talk to. I’m not really hiding it but I don’t announce that I’m commenting on this site. We talk about comments on “the site” sometimes and I often wonder how bummed they are about the name. They shouldn’t worry about it – it’s a term of affection. Bottom line is that it drives business to their store. The critical reviews make this site worthwhile, otherwise it would be a shill site.

            5. lim13

              If you end up wanting more of the Alleromb, RG2 and you’re ever headed toward Bremerton, call the GO there on the east side; ask for Chris (the woman “wine steward”). They still had quite a bit of it last Tuesday when I returned for a couple of bottles. Number is 360-377-1142.

          6. Expat

            lim13, great blast from the past. I, too, have a swollen cellar with the wife not drinking much wine anymore at all. We make whiskey drinks much more often than popping a cork these days. Also, with GO’s expansion there seems to be a watering down of quality wines. So much $4 detritus, so little gems like the Grgich Hills Cab I got for $10 at the first GO wine sale I experienced. Hopefully you’ll post again when you have the chance. I always appreciated your notes.

            Reply
            1. seedboy

              This is the same phenomenon that Trader Joe’s went through when it expanded out of California. It, at one time, got a lot of the wines that we go to the GO for, but that supply just does not stretch over all those stores. I think that in TJ’s case they just moved to their own label stuff plus “grocery store” wines. Right now GO is still buying this stuff, but it is allocated to just a few stores, and, the Pacific NW stores get different stuff than we do in No Cal.

            2. lim13

              Thanks for the kind remarks, Expat. I suspect I’ll be back to post something…at least for the next sale (in November?) if not before. Grgich Hills Cab for ten bucks…WOW!

          7. Flitcraft

            I ended up stopping at the Kenmore GO at about 8:30 pm yesterday, just under the wire. Based on your notes, I picked up a couple of the Sacred Hills SBs and the Wild Horse Unbridled PNs. Thanks for the recommendations! We opened them both tonight, and they are both well worth the tariff, even off sale. That pinot is particularly good, not one of those funky, earthy pinots, but more purity of fruit in its style. Really excellent if you like that style, and I would guess comparable to a 20 dollar pinot easily. The New Zealand Sacred Hill is a classic gooseberry and lemon pie delight. I have found that they age surprisingly well in general; not that they need age but they do seem to tolerate it well. So don’t let the 2014 vintage scare you.
            Incidently, the Kenmore GO was the only Seattle area store I saw the Sacred Hill at, and also the only place I saw the Los Haroldos Malbec Reserva.

            Reply
            1. lim13

              Glad you found those two wines, Flit. Wild Horse has been doing PN on the Central Coast for quite a few years now. I believe the Unbridled series is their sustainable wine collection. They were just starting that up when I left the club. My favorite wine of theirs was a bone dry Malvasia Bianca…one of few produced in this country. We visited Sacred Hill in 2011 while visiting NZ and couldn’t believe the prices as compared to GO. I’ve enjoyed their SB ever since. I always liked visiting the Kenmore GO, but haven’t stopped in a few years now.

          8. flitcraft

            If you find the time, Lim, it would be great to hear your reviews of previous GO wines from your cellar as you’re drinking them and letting us know how they’re doing now. I’d put bottles on death-row sooner if I know it was ‘drink up’ time, or conversely, let them sleep a bit longer if there was no hurry in popping the cork.

            Reply
            1. lim13

              Fine idea, FC…and I know we’ve discussed that before. I just need to move that suggestion to front brain…and then remember it’s there! I’m sure I’ve consumed a number of those wines in the last couple of years.

  15. Doug Green

    After my initial buying trip in Poway, I checked out several other GOs to see if they had anything different and interesting that wasn’t in Poway. I picked up one of each of the following:
    Titan Cabernet Franc 2012 Columbia Valley $7.99 pre sale.
    Morande Carmenere Reserva,2013 Maipo Valley $4.99 pre sale
    Morande Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Gran Reserva $9.99 pre sale
    Topel Pinot Noir Winemaker’s Reserve 2013 Russian River Valley $9.99 pre-sale
    Lake Sonoma 2013 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast $6.99 pre sale
    Blakeslee Late Harvest Reisling 2014 Willamette valley 375ml $7.99 pre–sale
    Clos d’Argentine 2013 Winemaker’s Selection Malbec Reserva $5.99 pre-sale.

    I popped the Clos d’Argentine because there is obviously some bottle variation with this wine based upon the huge spread of tasting notes. My take is that it’s a slightly austere, varietally true Malbec with sufficient acidity that it is a food wine. I thought it was well worth the sale price, but I have to say that the 93 point Wine Enthusiast score is quite generous. More like an 88 pointer from me, but certainly a better and more complex wine than one normally gets for $5-6 a bottle.. Compared to the Los Haroldos 2015 Estate Malbec I had the other day that cost $1 more, I’d say that the Los Haroldos was smoother and easier to enjoy on it’s own, but the Clos d”Argentine is more complex, more ageworthy, and better with rich foods due to the acidity that would cut through fats and cleanse the palate.

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      I like that Lake Sonoma pinot, surprised you can still find it. I’ve not seen any of the Topel wines priced that low, they’ve tended to be about $5 more and I’m not touching them given what I’ve heard about them.

      Reply
      1. Doug Green

        All of the vineyard-designated Topel wines were $14.99 pre-sale, but I saw a Napa Petite Sirah, a Mendocino Syrah and that Russian River Pinot for $9.99 and that’s the one I figured I’d try. I actually got the last bottle in Santee of that Lake Sonoma PN.

        Reply
    2. delmartian1

      Opened the Los Haroldos 2015 Reserva de Familia 2015 Malbec last evening, paired with tri tip roast cooked sous vide and then grilled at the last minute with chimichurri sauce to make things as Argentinian as possible. Wow…a perfect match with the Los Haroldos being beautifully smooth. None in Oceanside or San Marcos to drove back to Escondido for a case this morning. This will be my choice as the best wine of the sale.

      Reply
  16. Doug Green

    Made my first pass through the Poway store during the sale, and bought the following – none tried yet:
    Los Haroldos 2016 Estate Malbec $6.99 pre sale.
    Los Haroldos 2015 La Familia Reserva Estate Malbec $9.99 pre-sale
    Agapanthus 2013 Barossa Valley Shiraz $14.99 pre-sale. The tasting notes I’ve seen on this are off the chart. They also have the 2014 available for the same price, which also gets nice reviews, but not quite as stellar as the 2013
    Theory 2015 Zinfandel, California $5.99 pre sale
    Valley of the Moon 2013 Sonoma Zinfandel $6.99 pre-sale
    Chill House 2015 California Zinfandel $5.99 pre-sale, this is a label of Peachy Canyon, who is a top tier Zin producer
    Maturo 2016 Primativo $4.99 pre-sale
    Quadrant 2012 CdR, Paso Robles $4.99 pre-sale
    Cameron Hughes Collection 2013 Monterey Pinot Noir $7.99 pre-sale
    Pacific Rim 2015 Riesling, J $3.99 pre-sale

    There seem to be several potentially interesting pinot noirs around, from good pinot locations, including some reserve and single vineyard wines in the $15-20 range, but I was almost uniformly unimpressed by the tasting notes that exist on most of them other than the Cameron Hughes,

    Reply
    1. Zoel

      Doug – the Los Haroldos Reserva is clearly worth the extra $3…I’m buying more myself. The Theory – no brainer! Let us know about the Agapathus – I was curious as well .

      Reply
      1. Doon

        Just had the ’15 Los Heraldos Reserva tonight and was quite happy with it at the price point. Decanted for 1 hour before pouring, it shows good fruit on entry and moderate tannins, maybe a little closed in as the finish did not linger. point scores I have found on line (88-89) seem fair, notwithstanding the price. Agreed that at $8 it is worthy of mid-size purchase.
        I have yet to see any reaction on this thread to the Morande wines; I believe the Carmenere to be an absolute steal at $4.99 pre-sale, so I stocked up today and it will serve as my house red for some time to come. Perfect for anything coming off the grill except white fleshed fish.
        The Morande Cabernet needs additional ageing, but I defy anyone to find a better made Cab at a price comparable to the $8 sale price here. Solid fruit, moderate oak, reasonably complex; from the texture I am guessing it is unfined and unfiltered. I have had prior vintages of this wine 8 to 10 years from the vintage and in that window it really sings. not the steal that the Carmenere is, but very solid.
        Interested in other folks opinions on other wines on the floor, e.g Acacia Pinots and Chards (somebody cleaned out the Acacia Anniversary Pinot mags before I could get to GO today 😦 but there were still others left), Argentine Malbec, or any of the plethora of Bordeaux — plonk or no?

        Reply
        1. Doug Green

          I have yet to see any Morande Carmenere here in San Diego. I’ve seen their Pinot Noir, which got mediocre reviews, and Sauv. Blanc, which is not my favorite varietal in general, unless it’s either a dessert wine or dirt cheap. I’ve enjoyed both their Syrah and late harvest SB in prior years, and I enjoy good Carmeneres, so I would certainly keep my eye out for that.

          Reply
          1. Darrell

            The Carmenere is varietally true and enjoyed it tonight. It might be a tad too green for some. I like it better than the Echeverria Carmenere from a couple of years ago.

            Reply
        2. robert Crisell

          Bought case of 2012 Acacia Kick Ranch Syrah. Decanted for 1 hr. Excellent. I bought a case and one other sold to buddy and it was gone from Fallbrook GO. Acacia Chard Lake Vineyard is best Chard. Didn’t like Farina or Thornton. Too oaky. Son likes Blakeslee Pinot Noir. Bought him another 6 bottles. That one will be gone.

          Reply
        3. Darrell

          I agree the Morande Carmenere is a steal of a deal and the only one bought from this sale. Will drink with game and beef. I bought enough to age and will last for some years with all that pyrazine in it. The rest have been samplings. The Los Haroldos 2015 La Familia Reserva Estate Malbec is good value as a red and well distributed in Northern CA plus Reno, but it didn’t float my boat as a Bordeaux grape cultivar. Instead it came across as Charbono like. The Agapanthus 2013 Barossa Valley Shiraz is fine, but won’t buy more for the money. Have spent $20/ btl. at GO for a cool weather, Aussie Syrah before. Couldn’t believe I did that.Those looking for the Agapanthus 2013 can find it in San Mateo while Palo Alto has just a few bottles of the 2014 and no 2013 that I could see. The Woodenhead Humboldt Pinot is also well distributed in N. CA and is quite good but not for my money and would rather save for a gem of a PN with a better QPR that might occur off sale. Couldn’t find any Lake Sonoma PN or Acacia Creek PN to try. There is much GO whites in the cellar and probably won’t buy any on this sale, but did check out the Acacia Creek Chard, Winery Lake out of curiosity and would buy if the whites weren’t so burgeoning. The Blakeslee Riesling dessert wine seems to be gone. Like to thank all the GO sale wine scouts since I wasn’t so active in this sale.

          Reply
          1. Doug Green

            The Blakeslee late harvest Riesling was OK for the money, but not one to stock up on. It’s only about 5.5% residual sugar, and not a botrytis wine, so fairly simple in character. I was hoping for more. Not bad at under $7 for a half bottle, but not a screaming deal either. I never saw any Acacia reds in San Diego, just 3 different vineyards of 2013 Chardonnays (Marsh, Thornton, and Winery Lake), and I don’t bother with California Chardonnay anymore.

            Reply
            1. Darrell

              Thanks for the warning and taking one for us GOer’s since I definitely would have been disappointed. I knew it was low in sugar, but expected some botrytis especially it being from the PNW.

            2. Doug Green

              Well, I popped the Blakeslee Late Harvest Riesling because I was trying to decide whether to grab a bunch of it (like six bottles or so) while I could. I was glad I did even though the wine disappointed me, because I saved the money. If I took one for the team, I am part of that team.

          2. Expat

            The only other sale wine I bought, @ $15, was the Agapanthus Shiraz 2014 (the only year San Luis Obispo had). The online reviews intrigued me, as did their legit website. It was clearly a well made wine but reminded me of why I haven’t bought a “shiraz” for at least 5 years. Just too much about the fruit and no depth, tannin, dryness or structure. It did not stand up to the grilled rib eye I had it with tonight. If I had to articulate it I’d say strawberry/red fruit with some green stalk notes. Redwood City had a great cool climate Syrah from Australia a few years ago but I’m gun-shy about wines down under because of their juiciness and Agapantha just confirmed my misgivings. Modern wine drinkers would like it but not my cup of “tea”.

            Reply
          3. Darrell

            Expat, I guess you were visiting the Bay Area when you picked up that Aussie Syrah in Redwood City. Maybe it was the same bottle I purchased, https://www.cellartracker.com/notes.asp?iWine=1320183&searchId=6B74E4D8%23selected%253DW1320183_8_K6d9f86073a92415c4ba2db90b2ce1b11&UISource=list . Like you, I’m a bit gun shy when it comes to Shiraz. It was serendipity I visited the Oakland store and they had this bottle open; tasted several bottles, but this one stood out though expensive by GO pricing. Bought what little they had, minus what Mark wanted. Combed the surrounding Bay Area stores for more, but most had only the 2011 vintage which wasn’t quite as nice as the 2010. Reading the above link is making me hanker for a bottle.

            Reply
            1. Expat

              That was indeed the wine – Luke Lambert. I only got one bottle and then it was gone. All my family is in the Bay Area and I lived there for many years so I take several trips north every year. I usually hit the Palo Alto and Redwood City stores. Palo Alto seems to have the best selection on the Peninsula. I’ve only been to the Oakland store once but was impressed.

    2. Happybaker

      The Los Angeles/SoCal ad has Lunatic Red for $3.99 (after discount).

      Judging by the label, it’s the 2014 and reviews seem to be decent. I hope to pick a test bottle up today as well as the Callie Collection Chardonnay. It’s a central coast chard, distributed by the same folks – constellation brands – who do Robert Mondavi Central Coast Chardonnay (an everyday fav of the hubster) so I’m hoping this will hit some of the same notes. https://www.calliecollection.com/#varietals

      Wish me luck!

      Reply
    3. Zoel

      Doug – I was able to snag some of the ’13 Agapanthus, based solely on your note….SRosa had three bottles. I’m a huge Shiraz fan but picky – this one is pretty solid. Good structure, not too over-the-top yet very distinct fruit. Entry is better than finish, and enjoying the mid-palate lush of Oz shiraz. Good buy at $15, better on sale, but not a case buy.
      I did buy more of the Theory, which I’ve been drinking all month and continue to be pleased with…very together Napa Zin (which is, by nature, a different bear than RRiver or DryCreek or other appls…). At $5, tough to beat this bottle!

      Reply
  17. Darrell

    I happened to be in Santa Rosa and needed a wine for dinner with a friend and decided to check out the inventory at GO. The store seemed ready and well stocked with wine for the upcoming sale. Decided to try a bottle of 2012 Sunce SB, $5.99. I usually drink a lot of NZ SB, but one evening my wife and I went out to dinner and had to order a white, in this case a Honig SB from Napa Valley and I had forgotten how good a Napa or CA SB is. Well this bottle of RRV SB from Sunce disappointed I’m afraid to say. I also bought a bottle of 2013 Sunce Gewurztraminer, $4.99, and will give this a try.

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      There are other vintages of the Sunce SB around, I have seen 2015 and 2016 recently. Some of the stores have gotten Acacia wines including some vineyard designated Chards ($9.99) and Pinots and a Reserve Pinot ($12.99). The SF stores do not have them, I understand Oakland has some of the pinots in the back but not on the store floor, and it definitely has some of the Chards. Richmond yesterday had Chards, no pinots. Pleasant Hill was selling pinots briskly, don’t know if there are any left.

      Reply
      1. Doon

        I have had the 2012 SB from Sunce, showing its age but still drinkable. The ’16 is at Redwood City and I had tasted the wine at the winery; classic RRV SB, i.e. not grassy a la New Zealand, and in my view a solid buy at $6 pre-sale.

        Reply
        1. Darrell

          I perhaps should have mentioned the 2012 Sunce SB lacked varietal character of any kind which is the reason I disliked it. I appreciate all forms of SB fruit from around he world. Could be the bottle is a bit old, but I suspect the wine never had much SB character.

          Reply
          1. seedboy

            The 2015 (or was it 6) had plenty. And if your store has the Alta, I like it too, it is more like a white Bordeaux.

            Reply
  18. BeerBudget

    Empire Napa/Calistoga Petite Sirah is pure sawdust. An over-oaked mess that blows off a little on the second day, but still overwhelming.

    Reply
      1. Doug Green

        Actually, 2 days later, the Empire Calistoga PS is much improved. Still significantly oaky, but not nearly as aggressively so as when it was opened, and the fruit has held up well. It was nearly undrinkable a couple of days ago. Today it’s actually pretty decent.

        Reply
  19. Seedboy

    Kate Arnold 2015 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Richmond, $5.99 or maybe a buck more? If you think of Oregon as the source of austere pinots, well, not this one. Lots of primary fruit, not sure there is much else here.

    Reply
  20. flitcraft

    Gerard Bertrand 2015 Les Perles de Sauvignon Blanc, Languedoc 12% ABV, 3.99

    It’s cheap. It’s French. It’s closed with a glass stopper. There’s no New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc at my local GOs. So I bought one. Report to follow once we finish the steak and kidney pie we’re eating the next couple of days–it would do no favors to SB.

    Reply
    1. flitcraft

      Don’t bother on this one. Little varietal character–in fact, darned little flavor at all. Nothing off about it, but nothing to like, either. Not worth even 4 bucks…

      Reply
  21. seedboy

    Word is the Spring sale will be the week before Easter. Folks at the Oakland store tell me that they expect some interesting things to come in this next week.

    Reply
  22. Zoel

    Been a while, have a bunch of reviews to share…I’ll start with some winners…

    ’12 Sonoma Oaks Chard – Sonoma County – $4 – gave it a shot, as wifee loves da chard for cooking. This is a winner – turns out it is the second wine of Balletto Vineyards,..no surprise that GO has their chard also on the shelves, but at $12. The Sonoma Oaks is a better QPA, IMHO. Nicely balanced, good Sonoma fruit with enough wood to make it interesting without being cloying. Decent acids hold up to food, nice spices, touch of vanilla. Went back to SRosa store and grabbed a case.

    ’14 (?) Tierra y Mar Chard – Russian River – $8 – nice heavy bottle, well-presented and well-made chard, tasty without being overdone. Not for the shy, but solid structure and profile. At $8, perhaps I’m in the too-cheap GO mode…not demonstrably better than the Sonoma Oaks at 1/2 the price, but a nice contrast of good vino.

    The ’14 Tierra y Mar Pinot was also pretty decent, in at $12 or $14. Didn’t capture any notes, but remember it as solid, but not dramatic.

    Reply
    1. Don Bevins

      Could not agree with you more. The Sonoma Oaks is a steal. Probably not a lot of life left in it but for near term drinking it is a great buy especially if you find it in stores which do not do much wine business and have it now in stock and I am sure that we all have some of those on our radar as the sale approaches. Sorry, but I will not reveal my sources.

      Reply
      1. Happybaker

        Okay, you guys are killing me. I need to find that Sonoma Oaks to drink NOW! ; )
        Will start making calls and visits to the LA stores…

        Reply
      2. Zoel

        Now, now Don – that’s mighty selfish of you. This site/blog is devoted to sharing finds and mutually rewarding snags for those of us that read it regularly. To withhold locations/sources isn’t fair nor in the spirit of this site. While I’m sure there are “lurkers” on here who simply follow the notes and then pounce to get great deals, they will suffer significant Karma deficits and their world will be filled with corked bottles and TCA. Don’t screw with Bacchus and the other wine gods.
        :Loosen up and enjoy the sharing…you’ll smile more…

        Reply
          1. Zoel

            Thx Darrell – didn’t mean to presume otherwise…I suspect we all may delay sharing sources from time to time. Glad his reviews are worthwhile – and our palates agree

            Reply
  23. flitcraft

    Seen around in more than one Puget Sound GO:

    Among things well-like around here: Goss Creek Chenin Blanc is back. Forgot to check year and price.

    Alder Springs Row 5 Syrah-based red blend at 7.99, but supplies are dwindling.

    Fara Vivace, Cantina di Solopaca, IGP Italy 11.5% ABV, 5.99. The label says it balances sweetness with acidity. Sounds like a summer sipper, assuming it ever gets warm again around here.

    Chateau Grand Escalion rose, 2016, Costieres de Nimes, Domaine Gabriel Meffre. 4.99
    It’s a lovely pale salmon color. I bought one on spec and will report back.

    I meant to buy but forgot: Louis Bernard 2015 Cotes de Provence rose. The back label description was a bit of a red flag, touting “sweet English candy flavors.” Jelly babies? Smarties?? Maltesers??? Still, Louis Bernard brought GO some awesome Rhone wines some time back around 2011 or so, so I would definitely have bought some to try, except that I got chatting with another customer about apples and I forgot to go back to the wine section. If anyone gets to try it before I get back and buy some, a review would be awesome.

    Reply
  24. BdB

    Bought a red blend I like today at the Santa Cruz store, 2013 Hyatt Windmill red from Rattlesnake hills, Washington. I paid 5$ (regular price 13$?). It’s a peculiar blend of Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Syrah and Malbec with a little Tempranillo and Petite Syrah. It’s not sweet, even a tint of bitterness I like, probably the tannins, yet it’s fruity. It has berry flavors mainly blackberry, maybe red currant and some difficult to pin down, what comes in my mind is blackcurrants, elderberry, licorice . I found it delicious right of the bottle and one hour later it opened more. Ramon the wine manager pointed it to me, he’s recommended many wines I loved. The thing is there’s also a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Merlot for 6$ from Hyatt (I don’t remember the year) which he likes a lot too, so I guess I’ll have to try them, I’m curious now.

    Reply
    1. RB

      This wine is at the Olympia store now, also for $4.99. Completely agree with your tasting notes. Just after opening it was a little more spicy and went really well with potato leek soup. After about 3 hours it tastes mostly of not-too-sweet blackberry jam. Tasty, if not particularly exciting to me.

      Reply
  25. Seedboy

    2 wines I’ve seen the last couple of days. First, Repeat, yes that is the name, South Australia, 2012, 70% Shiraz 30% Zinfandel (a bit of it is grown there). This wine is tasty and too easy to drink (14% alcohol) and a bargain at $3.99. The label is super colorful and loud, if you see it check it out. Didn’t seem to be a lot of it, buy it now.
    On the other hand, Oakland has 2011 Mondillo Central Otago Pinot Noir, $14.99. This is a good pinot noir, nicely balanced between acidity and earth and cherry and a bit of citrus rind. It is currently sold by wine.com for $45. They have a bunch of cases of this and if it is around for the sale (I ran into BargainWhine the other day and he tells me there is no word yet when it will be) I might just buy a couple of bottles of it, but if the Ardente cabs are still around (Richmond still has both vintages) that is where my money is going. If I’ve not said so before I also like the Intertwined Willamette Valley pinot I’ve seen for a bit over half the price, and the Valley of the Moon pinot noir fights above its weight class at, I think, $5.99.
    I feel like the buyers are doing a good job bringing in a variety of worthy wines at various price points. This is not exactly the golden age of GO wines but better than say at the time of the last couple of sales.

    Reply
    1. flitcraft

      I wish I’d seen your review before buying a bottle of the Primitivo. Also corked. And not much in the way of goodness hiding under the TCA either. Avoid…

      Reply
      1. flitcraft

        I didn’t realize my husband had picked up a bottle of the Feudi Primitivo before the sale and just stuck it away in the cellar. I came across it last night looking for something else. After the corked bottle experience for me and from RB, I was figuring that I’d need to bring it back.
        But no! I opened it, swirling my glass vigorously to summon up any corked aromas–and none at all. And it was pretty darn nice. Fruity but with zingy acidity, and a little underlying tannins just to let you know it’s designed for food. The label claimed flavors of wild cherry, but since my only knowledge of wild cherry is cough drops, I’ll have to demure and say, no, more like pie cherries. Quite delicious with chicken mole, and a reasonable buy even post-sale.

        So, given the tale of three bottles, do you feel lucky? Well, do you?

        Reply
    2. flitcraft

      I liked the Rubrato Aglianico, too. But the cork was pushed proud of the lip of the bottle by about a half inch. I noticed today that one of the Primitivo’s in the store seemed to have the same issue–the capsule was straining to retain the cork. So I suspect that these wines suffered some kind of abuse in transit, which may explain their appearance at GO.

      Reply
  26. Seedboy

    Richmond has a new Oregon pinot I like, Intertwined by Dobbs, 2016, $7.99. This has lovely cherry fruit with some Oregon earthiness and grit. There are also Cabs and Pinots from Topol, $14.99 apiece and I’m not getting good reports.

    Reply
    1. Doon

      I tried all three of the Topol wines at an informal tasting and was unimpressed by the Pinot and the Mendo Cab. However I did think the St. Helena Cab was worthy of punchase. After an hour or so of air it had solid fruit with medium length finish and no notable flaws. Not exciting @ $15 but useful for the right meal. At $12 I might prefer the ‘09 Ardente.

      Reply
      1. seedboy

        That sounds consistent with reports I’ve heard. I should also note that Richmond still has both Ardente cabs. I just finished a 2008, it has the perfume of a Margaux (not Chateau but the appellation) and I believe it has life ahead of it.

        Reply
        1. delmartian1

          I agree that the bouquet of the 2008 Ardente was quite similar to Margaux (my favorite wine region of all) but not the taste…a bit too bold. I preferred the 2009 Ardente. Oceanside has about 3 cases of the 2009 and less than a case of the 2008 as of this past weekend.

          Reply
  27. Seedboy

    A couple of new pinot noirs at Richmond, both 2013 bottlings from Blakeslee. Estate Reserve, $19.99 (SRV $46) and Estate Reserve Sheila $24.99 (SRV $75)

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      The Blakeslee Sheila is a lovely wine. It had the loveliest bouquet I’ve smelled on a pinot in some time. In the mouth it was a bit tannic with plenty of red cherry and dark fruit balanced with good acidity. If you are looking for a splurge wine to put down a couple of years this is the bottle for you.

      Reply
      1. BeerBudget

        I recall this being $24 right? Previous Blakeslee offerings have been mixed so I avoided this, but I’m glad this one is worth the price.

        Reply
  28. seedboy

    I saw some new wines at Richmond yesterday. Two wines from Slovenia, a Chardonnay, and Colliano Cuvee White, ($6.99) see description here http://www.laureateimports.com/wines/colliano/colliano-cuvee-white/. I really like the latter wine, crisp and refreshing (wished I’d had some oysters), I have not tried the former but will. Also, 2015 Melrose Pinot Noir, Umpqua Valley Oregon. Nice light bodied pinot noir from a real winery. http://www.winemag.com/buying-guide/melrose-2015-pinot-noir-umpqua-valley/
    A couple of the stores have Alpha Domus Pilot Chardonnay 2013, New Zealand. I’ve drunk this over a couple of days. My style of Chardonnay, crisp and refreshing with crisp apple notes and some minerality, for a second thoughts of Chablis flashed through my mind. Sorry about the lack of prices on most of these, I’ve forgotten them, but they did not break the bank.

    Reply
      1. Sebastian

        I found a different Slovenian white at the Oakland store tonight–2014 Quercus pinot grigio. I bought a bottle out of curiosity but haven’t tried it yet.

        Reply
        1. seedboy

          That wine is from the same label as the Chardonnay at Richmond. My bottle of the Pinot Grigio was corked so I cannot comment on it.

          Reply
          1. seedboy

            I tried out a bottle of the Quercus Chardonnay with friends at a Super Bowl party yesterday. Nice, crisp, flavorful, no oak or butter but white flowers and fruit and a bit of the bitter almond flavor I often detect in the northeastern Italian white wines I like. At $3.99 a bottle this is a repeat purchase for me. Also seen yesterday, 2015 Alta Napa Sauv Blanc, $5.99. This wine was grown in the Atlas Peak AVA. Reminds me of a good Bordeaux Blanc from Pessac Leognan. I will buy a few of these to put down.

            Reply
            1. Happybaker

              I picked up a bottle of this wine today, in Burbank. The label seemed to hint at fruit and that that to was a richer wine then the clambake chardonnay I also picked up. We shall see! Both $3.99.

              My husband is an oak bomb guy, I am not, keep trying to find that happy medium!

            2. Happybaker

              Yikes! Forgot to be specific and say – I picked up a bottle of the Quercus Chardonnay.

              We do like a nice white Bordeaux so, I am hopeful thanks to your info!

  29. Happybaker

    Two wines from the Burbank SoCal GO.

    Grey Mountain Chardonnay… No. $5.99 and it tasted kind of harsh. The $1.99 Adobe White blend is a similar taste – but better.

    The good news? 2014 Holding Thumbs Chardonnay (Napa). $3.99. Very buttery but not the fake tasting buttery, you know? And a surprise bit of acid at the end – worked well.

    Price ranges from $19.99 to $5 – to $4.

    https://www.vivino.com/wineries/holding-thumbs/wines/chardonnay-2014

    Next on my GO wines to try? “Previous Chardonnay” $5.99 and, Tangent Chardonnay, $3.99.

    Reply
  30. BdB

    I tried the 2016 Mt Hector Matahiwi Pinot Gris I bought at the Santa Cruz store for 5$ (or was it 4$?) and liked it a lot, nice nose and taste, fruity with pear and apple and flower, easy to drink. Would be quite nice in the summer. Also I drank another bottle of the 2013 Tres Hijas blend from Sonoma and was again very pleased with it, I find it elegant. The manager at the store is ordering enough and thinks there will be some left for the sale in March. Didn’t know there were other vintages at some GO stores, I hope they come to my store, especially the 2014 I read about.

    Reply
      1. Doug Green

        I just saw both of these Mt. Hector wines in Poway, and they sure look interesting, but I haven’t yet tried either one.

        Reply
  31. seedboy

    I was just at the Santa Rosa store, which has two wines I’ve not seen at any of the other GOs I haunt: Buona Vita Nebbiolo, Russian River Valley, 2010 and 2011, $5.99 or $6.99 per bottle. I opened one and without much air it sure tastes and drinks like a Barbaresco.

    Reply
  32. seedboy

    Yesterday I was in the Petaluma and Oakland stores. Both of them expect two or three vintages of Ardente Cab to come in this weekend; 2008, 2009, and one other. Oakland has a new Sonoma Coast pinot made by Lake Sonoma Winery that is a pretty good mouthful of pinot that that is balanced, seems authentic, and should cellar well.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      The Lake Sonoma is $6.99 and is also at Richmond. Recently sold by wine.com for $23.99 (now sold out, I suspect that is where the GO got it).

      Reply
    2. Seedboy

      Pleasant Hill has received 4 to 6 cases of Ardente 2008 and 9. Expects it will be gone by the end of the weekend.

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        Oakland has the Ardente cabs. $11.99 per bottle. They are selling it out of the back room so find one of the wine folks and tell them I sent you.

        Reply
          1. Darrell

            I picked up a bottle of the 2009 Ardente and tried it last night and am not as enthusiastic about this bottle as you. I picked this bottle up in Novato at $11.99 which is expensive for me at this quality level. It is fruitier in the nose than the 2008 and much less tannic, but doesn’t have the intensity of aromatics of the 2011. The 2009 is somewhat similar to the 2011, just not quite as round in the mouth or as aromatic. Since the 2011 was purchased on the Fall Sale, I probably won’t pick this one up.

            Reply
            1. Darrell

              The above evaluation was from just opening the 2009 and from memory of the 2011 which I have been drinking frequently since the Fall Sale. Decided to try the two side by side since the Ardente is being advertised by some GO stores, mostly 2009. Not that it matters, the 2011 was a bit darker. The tannin and acid level are close, but the 2009 is rounder and goes down just a mite easier. The biggest difference is in the aroma and bouquet. The 2011 nose is stronger with more berry and fruit. One thing I hadn’t noticed about the 2011 that came out from side by side sniffing was a slight varietal herbaceousness, so that was a plus. The nose of the 2009 was mostly barrel aging. The 2009 may be worth the $11.99 since Ardentes are quality bottlings ie., very good corks and should age well. The Fall Sale price of the 2011 and cellar space preclude the purchase of the 2009 though.

            1. Doon

              Has anyone tried the 2008 Ardente? The only comments I have noticed are to the ’09 and both are available at the Redwood City shop.

            2. Darrell

              Doon,, I looked up an earlier post of mine during the Fall Sale concerning the Ardente 2011 and 2008: ” I first tasted the 2011 in the parking lot which I would normally spit out, but somehow this wine slipped down my gullet it was so inviting. It had a smooth mouth feel and a sweet entry, probably why it slipped down the gullet. The nose was fruity with nice oak. The 2008 wasn’t as inviting, being more tannic with a weedy, oaky nose and less fruit.” The 2008 is just drier and tannic than the available 2009 Ardente. SB liked the 2008 better than the 2011. I you like a drier, Old World type red, then this might be for you. Hope this helps.

      1. RB

        Yes! (Sorry for the delayed reply – been on vacation). I liked this wine enough that I bought a few more bottles, but it had been awhile since I initially tasted it, so in the name of research I opened another one tonight. It’s definitely a hearty wine. Lots of dark fruit flavors and not too tannic. Peppery as well (Petite Sirah?). It weighs in at 14.5% and there is a little bit of alcoholic heat. To me it seems that the Zinfandel is the most pronounced component, but I don’t have much experience with some of the less common grapes in there, so who knows? It went really well with leg of lamb and plum sauce. Maybe I should see if there is any more still around.

        Reply
        1. seedboy

          I’ve been in four bay area stores in the last few days (Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Richmond, Oakland) and have not seen the Ravenswood. What I do see is the Ardente is selling slowly, new Valley of the Moon Zin, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir (the latter is from Carneros and is pretty tasty), the Fritz zin (good in a restrained style) is disappearing (I think Richmond still has some), and various vintages of the Tres Hijas Sonoma red blend continue to hang on. The 2014 is a nice wine and drank well over a few days, plummy fruit hanging in until the end.

          Reply
            1. seedboy

              The pinot blanc was $5.99. The zin and the pinot were $6.99 I think. I agree that in the past the zin has been tasty. I did not notice the vintage on this one.

            2. philinoakland

              That first (?) shipment of Valley of the Moon Pinot Blanc mist’ve gone quickly from the Oakland store, as I didn’t get to participate. Today, Mark made a point of recommending it. 2013, $5.99. Had a glass with lunch – make that two glasses. Delicious, lots of body and, while the alcohol content is stated to be 13.9%, felt like a little more to me, although didn’t make my enjoyment any less. Very crisp and a nice change from Sauvignons and even the Goss Creek Chenin blanc. This is worth the two dollars more.

        2. flitcraft

          It’s still around at the SODO GO, here in Seattle. We opened a bottle last night, and it’s a wine stuffed with fruit and enough backbone to prevent it being just another fruit bomb. If you ever wondered what California wine was like when wine was made from random field blends, this is it. It reminds me a lot of some of the Coturri wines of the early 1980’s–rough around the edges, but with so much power that you forgive the boots-on-the-table rustic character. The color is, I suspect, courtesy of the Alicante Bouschet. I’d take this over most GO Zinfandels, which I find are too often one-dimensional. This one is a lot of fun.

          Reply
  33. Sebastian

    Happy holidays to all my fellow cheap winos!

    I’m staying in Carlsbad (near Legoland) for a few days and see that there a couple of Gross Outs near by. Any local opinions on which has the best wine selection?

    Reply
      1. robert Crisell

        Oceanside is ok. Escondido may be better. Saw a Concannon Petite Sirah there recently. Pt Loma near San Diego has best buyer.

        Reply
    1. Darrell

      Sebastian, I think Delmartian is correct since you are in Carlsbad. I judge the level of wine sophistication of the locals by visiting the nearby Costco wine section, if you are a member, to see what kind of bottles are carried in their glass cases. Carlsbad Costco has nice bottles. The nearby GO’s might correlate with this. I visited the downtown SD store years ago when it was new and wasn’t impressed. I’ve always wanted to visit the Point Loma GO, being the neighborhood it’s in. A caveat to what I have just written is that I live in a wine drinking county with a good level of wine knowledge, but my local GO selection sucks.

      Reply
        1. Darrell

          SB, that’s great to know so when I enter Costco’s entrance, all I have to say is “I’m buying wine or liquor only.” My wife carries the membership card. Thanks to GO and other more upscale wine shops, I never buy any wine there.

          Reply
  34. BdB

    I’ve been on a budget, buying cheap wines lately and haven’t posted anything about them even though some were nice, but I bought a couple of more expensive wine a couple of weeks ago at the S Cruz store, advised by the wine manager and it’s a winner, actually one of the best wines I got there. It’s the 2013 Sabroso Rojo “Tres Hijas”, I paid 7$ and the regular price is 35$, so a nice bargain. It’s an old style co-fermented blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Zin, 11% Mourvedre and 9% Tannat.. I let it air 1/2h and it struck me right away as a very well made wine. I went on to enjoy every sip of it. I won’t put many tasting notes, just that’s it’s full body, fruity though dry and nicely balanced. They still had it last Thursday and I’m hoping to get a few more today.

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      I have seen two or three different vintages of this wine at various GO stores. The ones I have tasted have been quite good.

      Reply
        1. seedboy

          I’ve seen him fairly recently. He has two young kids that I am sure take up a lot of his time. He still works the wine section at the Richmond GO, which is a fine place to shop now that Berkeley is closed.

          Reply
    1. seedboy

      That wine is listed at $30 at Wine.Com but that is still a good price for a good wine. At that price I’d probably buy a bottle or two if I found it.

      Reply
        1. seedboy

          Well, not in a long time. During the sale maybe 5 years ago they had Gonet Medeville Premier Cru Tradition Brut for $14.99. I bought at least 10 bottles. I wish I’d bought more but that sale had so many goodies.

          Reply
          1. Darrell

            I had forgotten about that, but I think it was more than 5 years. Everything within the last couple of years have been $20 and not quite as good.

            Reply
      1. Kathleen M Mason

        None at the Oakley store–I stopped in yesterday and the shelves were bare (although the cashier said that the new delivery had just arrived).

        Reply
  35. Zoel

    Saw the ’13 Bonneau Estate Carneros Chard – Catherine’s V – for $12. Any takers yet? Gets decent reviews, looks promising.

    Also saw the ’14 Hunter Hill Estate PN – Santa Cruz Mtn – at $10 (from $34)…looks very promising as well. Any one try yet?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      I like the Hunter Hill PN. I think it needs at least an hour of air to hit its stride but when it does it is an antidote to the thin watery pinots the GO has gotten since Bailiwick disappeared. The Merlot is pretty good, too. I also like the new Quadrant red blend. It is mostly Grenache, and tastes of cooler climate G at that.

      Reply
    2. Bob Crisell

      Picked up the Bonneau Chard at Fallbrook GO. Wife is an expert. She loved it! She is old school and likes oaky type. Her go to Is Butternut at $13 a copy. So at $12 we went back and bought a case. I tried and it is classic. Saw it online for $34. Anyone try the Sequoia Petite Verdot? Son liked it.

      Reply
  36. seedboy

    The Richmond store has 4 or 5 vintages of York Creek Vineyards port for $19.99 a bottle. Has anyone tried any of them? Seen them elsewhere?

    Reply
    1. Doon

      I have tried the ’02, ’05 & ’07, all in half bottle, sharing with friends for their input. These resemble vintage-character ports, and reflect the quality control Fritz Maytag has shown in all endeavors (Anchor Steam Beer (now sold off), Maytag Blue Cheese, York Creek Vineyards). While in line with the quality of other York Creek wines, K&L Wines has been selling older vintages of York Creek Cabernet and Meritage recently; I was surprised to see these ports at GO and not at K&L. I think the the ports are not as consistent across vintages as the table wines, and GO seems to have every vintage from ’00 to ’08.
      Of the three I tried, I personally prefer the ’05; it was seamless from entry to long finish, albeit not as robust as the ’07; the ’02 is throwing a bunch of sediment, but has nice fruit too. If I were scoring: ’05 = 91; ’07 = 90; ’02 = 88. My friends liked the ’02 best, then ’05 & ’07. I gravitated to the blends that were heavier with Napa fruit, all vintages being a blend of Sonoma and Napa grapes.
      IMHO these ports are more than fairly priced v. the market; I’d rather drink the ’05 than any non-vintage or tawny Portuguese Port I can think of.

      Reply
      1. flitcraft

        We probably won’t see these in the Pacific Northwest, but just in case, I have a question or two. Are these made with Portuguese varietals? What port style are they emulating–ruby or tawny? Are they made to age or best consumed young? There hasn’t been any Port or even any reasonable faux Port seen at the GOs in these parts in a long while… and my stash of 2008 single quintas from GO are still in a dumb phase.

        Reply
        1. flitcraft

          And one more question: are these really 20 dollars for a half bottle? If so, I can get a Dow’s crusted port or a Warre’s unfiltered LBV for less than that, and a 20 year tawny for not much more. If it’s 20 dollars for a 750 ml, I’d be willing to bite.

          Reply
          1. Darrell

            Flit, from what I have heard, only the ’08 is in bottle size and costs $20 while the half bottles of the other vintages are $10.

            Reply
            1. Zoel

              Saw the same layout in Santa Rosa this am. Also several interesting PN – only remember the Et Fille – both the single vineyard (Heredity) @ $12 and the Willamette V @ $7. Both were the ’13 vintage, and get solid reviews. Anyone try ’em yet?

        2. seedboy

          They appear to be port varieties. Thanks for the review, 2005 is my son’s birth year and wines from that vintage have always been spendy.

          Reply
  37. Zoel

    Hi GO knurdsters – this is a slightly different post – intended only for NBay/EBay folks. A local (Napa) custom-crush is having a killer “garage sale” in early Dec (12/9). You can taste before you buy…I went last week, found some bargains akin to the best GO – think killer PN and Syrah at $35-$60/cs.
    Note – I have no connection to these guys besides being a wine geek.
    If interested, you can email me direct at joel@chateauhr.com and I’ll share their flyer privately.

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      I bought some of an earlier vintage of the Merlot and liked it. Shah Napa Cab was recently at the Oakland store but did not last long and at $25 a bottle was steep for me.

      Reply
  38. rgardner2

    I haven’t posted in awhile from the Washington South Sound, mostly because there hasn’t been much to post about. In the past sale I snagged a couple of bottles of the Clos Du Bois Sonoma Reserve Pinot Noir (from the previous sale, and the last bottles at the store) and some, oh, that looks like something I should try. A case total (so under a month’s supply) from three stores (in the past 2+ cases per store, 3-4 stores).

    So on the last day of the sale I see an ugly label wine in the front of the store, $3, NV Cloudcap Red Wine, Surrey BC (Vancouver suburb where zero wine grapes are grown), imported by Precept Brands (WA). Almost no Canadian juice goes south of the border. Precept Brands is #2 in WA after Ste Michelle Estates and provide many of the NW wines to GO (Years back I got their Waterbrook Reserve from GO, outstanding)
    As for the wine, little on the interwebs. One article from the Wenatchee newspaper (buying it at GO in April). My taste says:
    Merlot blend (+Cab?). Drink soon, browning slightly. Decent, not complex. Some tannin/leather, berries. Tastes like a $15 bottle. This one surpassed my expectations. Not plonk.

    BTW, seeing a Brazilian Merlot, AVOID!

    Reply
    1. flitcraft

      Ah, your advice on the Brazilian Merlot came too late for me. I picked up one during the sale, mainly for educational purposes, because I can’t remember ever having a Brazilian wine before. Something tells me this one will be memorable, but not in a good way!
      One of my wine-buying regrets is that, many years ago, when the Washington State Liquor store near me had a half case of Ethiopian wine, I didn’t buy any. I’ve always wondered what story I’d have to tell if I had…

      Reply
  39. Sebastian

    I was in the Oakland store tonight and saw a couple of interesting new arrivals. One that a bid on was the 2013 Judson Hale Pinot Noir from Yountville (Mendocino County) for $7.99. I vaguely remember this showing up a year or two ago, but I don’t remember if I bought or if was the same vintage. There was not much out on the floor – maybe a case.

    One that I didn’t buy but am intrigued by is the Shah Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It is listed at $25 with an other store price of $150 (substantiated here: http://www.winemag.com/buying-guide/shah-estate-2011-cabernet-sauvignon-napa-valley-212143/). The burden of proof for me to drop $25 on a Gross Out wine is really high, so curious to know if anyone else has tried this.

    Reply
    1. Darrell

      The Judson Hale PN first showed up at the Spring 2017 sale and was a 2012, llRC, and that bottling was from the Yorkville Highlands AVA in Mendocino County. I hope the 2013 you bit on is better than the experience with my 2012.

      Reply
    2. Seedboy

      I’ve not tried the Shah. There is a lot of the 2011 there, considering the price. I saw a good review of it. Tempted to buy a bottle or two but . . .

      Reply
      1. Expat

        I wish the Shah would show up at one of the central coast GOs. If it did I could relay later that IRAN to it and grabbed a bottle (couldn’t resist).

        Reply
  40. Bebe WineGO

    We managed to pick up more of the Sunce Chardonnay 2014 from the Oakland Store which was a bargain at 6 bucks a bottle. We have also been impressed with the 2016 Giselle Chardonnay from Sonoma County. Its very refreshing – hints of stone fruit, apple and a nice lingering finish. A very small amount of diacetyl (butter) actually helps to attenuate the finish rather than dominate. If anyone else has tried it what did you think?

    Reply
  41. Doug Green

    Happened to pop a bargain wine that I bought at a GO sale a year ago: The St. Francis 2011 Red Splash blend (a mix of Merlot, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Zin). This was a good bargain when I bought it for $3.99 less 20%. It’s a major bargain now, as the extra year has given it some more flesh and roundness, and it’s just delicious, and it would be delicious if I had paid $12 for it. I wish I had bought more than the three bottles I did grab, of which this is my last. This points to the wisdom of buying lesser wines from known wineries, as St. Francis is a top producer in the Kenwood area of Sonoma, and this stuff is obviously mostly made up of stuff that they de-classified and thinned out from their very highly regarded $30+ Merlots and Zinfandels.

    Reply
    1. BeerBudget

      Been a fan of Red Splash since Vaynerchuk recommended it as a value pick almost a decade ago. It was a bargain at $15 back then, though it had a Sonoma County designation that last year’s didn’t. I was new to GO wines then and immediately suspicious of the $4 price tag, so I grabbed only 2 and not a case. Wish I had. I’m finding that you have to drink your way through a lot more sub-$5 bottles to find a winner than you do at the $7 level.

      Reply
      1. flitcraft

        Boy, is that ever true! That’s one of the real values of this site–you don’t have to drink through all of them yourself! But, yes, I’ve kissed a lot of frogs before finding some princes in the lower price point realm.

        Reply
        1. Expat

          I third that sentiment. I’m done with sub $7 bottles (of reds) at GO unless I hear from several of the brethren here that there’s a true gem in the rubble. I’m so overloaded now that I pretty much just look for special ones like Ardente or a St Emilion.

          Reply
          1. Doug Green

            Well, if you run into the Chilean Gillmore Mariposa 2013 Red Blend at $4.99, that’s certainly no frog, and it tastes like a quality St Emilion that costs 4-5x the price.

            Reply
            1. BeerBudget

              Been looking out for this one. Other sub-$5 picks Ive enjoyed – Ano Verde Pinot Noir, Adobe Red, Street Cred Shiraz, Sylvester Sangiovese, and the Qupe. Probably had to plow through 2 cases of frogs to find them. Funny enough, all but the Qupe have labels that would lower my expectations – like they were made for a supermarket demographic.

            2. Doug Green

              BeerBudget, I’ve actually been pretty successful at finding a high rate of winners in the $4-5 range. Here are my very specific tips:

              1) Look for wines from REAL, KNOWN high quality wineries, such as the Qupe or St. Francis or Beringer Clear Lake zin. They have brand reputations to protect, and if they make something that’s crap, and they know it, there won’t be any sign of it’s true origin on the label.

              2) Look for SPECIFIC, narrowly defined geographical origin, and grapes that are known to do well in those regions. I tend to avoid anything that’s just labeled “California”, unless it’s from a known good winery, or there are multiple good tasting notes around for the specific wine.

              3) Don’t be afraid of regions of the world that are outside your comfort zone, in particular, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, and Washington State, are generally better value and quality in the lesser price ranges than California, France, and Italy.

              4) Don’t be afraid of exotic varietals: A $4 Torrontes or Albarino or Vermentino is almost guaranteed to be better than a $4 Chardonnay. Similarly, a $4 Tempranillo or Grenache is almost guaranteed to be better than a $4 Cabernet or Merlot (there are exceptions, such as some of the Chilean cabs)

            3. Darrell

              Doug, great tips on what to look for in under $5 bottles especially tips # 3and 4. I tend to look for “PRODUCED AND BOTTLED BY” also. On the Chilean Gilmore Mariposa 2013 Red Blend, I am not getting the St. Emilion experience you are getting from my bottle. Nice wine and well worth the price though.

            4. Seedboy

              I want to make sure folks know I am responding to Doug Green November 13, 2017 at 1:18 pm, I pretty much agree with him. I also have a prejudice against most anything that looks like it is from the Central Valley (yes this includes Lodi) or the “winery” is in Graton or American Canyon or Santa Rosa, unless it is a current, recognizable winery

            5. JoelA

              Also replying to comments by Doug, SB, etc., with which I concur. Usually the better California wines at GO are made by wineries in the region of the one named on the label. For example, Lodi wines can be OK but usually not when made by a winery (or seeming winery) outside Lodi. Some Italian wines can be good but so far my experience was that wines made by a producer identified by letters and/or numbers rather than an actual name are mediocre.

        2. Happybaker

          It’s not often you get to thank folks for frog kissing…

          But yes! I’ve had ti kiss far fewer frogs myself, now that I can see which frogs have been kissed – and reviewed – before me ; )

          Thanks GO Peeps!

          Reply
  42. TonyS

    I had a new experience at one of the San Jose stores during the sale. I went once last week and got 5-6 bottles. I tried a couple of the reds, but nothing was worth getting more. I was in the area again and couldn’t find anything that was recommended so got a bottle of the Concannon PS and one of the La Merika 2014 Central Coast Cabs, both marked $4.99 ($4 on sale). We tried the Cab and liked it enough to get more, but saw it had rang up as Notte Monferrato at a dollar more.

    So I drove the 8 or 9 miles back to the store on the last day of the sale and talked to the guy stocking the wine about it. He scanned one and it showed as Notte Monferrato. I went back to display still marked $4.99 and got a few bottles of it and an 2016 Eagle Canyon Cab (another Delicato brand as it La Merika) and went to checkout figuring they would take care of it. The person checking out ahead of me needed the manager and I told the checker I probably also needed one – the wine guy had disappeared.

    The manager was not very helpful so I went to show her the sign and apparently the wine guy, who had returned, had taken it down since it was incorrect. The manager wanted to charge me scanned price and I said when I got it it said $4.99 and that is what she should charge me and she should correct the one charged wrong on the previously. She said I could get one at $4.99 and would not correct yesterday’s purchase. But the wine guy gave me two bottles at $4.99 before discount so I guess he did correct it, but I think I should try another store in the future.

    Reply
    1. Darrell

      You said that there was a drive of 8-9 miles and I was wondering if you are north or south of the San Jose GO store. If you are north of it, you might try the Palo Alto GO store because of a more interesting selection and the owner is quite knowledgable about wine. Lucky for me there has been a change in ownership where I live and I hope returning wine for a refund won’t be a hassle as before. If there is difficulty, I will buy wine elsewhere.

      Reply
      1. TonyS

        Palo Alto is a long way for me, but if I’m in the area I’ll try to check it out. There are a lot of GO stores in San Jose. I’m in SE San Jose and my closest store is Monterey Rd/Tully but I’ve never been very impressed with their wine selection. I’ve had better luck finding wine at Capitol Ave/McKee. I started going to Grocery Outley when my son went to grammar school almost 20 years ago near the store at Williams/Winchester. The store where I had problem is between these three and usually has homeless sitting on wall outside.

        The best wine selection I’ve found is at South Lake Tahoe store.

        Reply

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