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

6,744 thoughts on “What’s New?

  1. 5-StarBar

    I have really been enjoying the 2017 Motte Petit Verdot. It is a very well made, balanced wine for those that enjoy and appreciate an unusual varietal and a more European style. It is very rare that one finds this varietal bottled as a stand alone (75% +) since it is usually relegated to a minor role as a blending grape in Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style blends made elsewhere. This is produced by the Giguiere family at their winery Matchbook Cellars located in the Dunnigan Hills AVA in Yolo County, CA. The Giguieres founded and formerly owned the R.H. Phillips Winery before selling it to Vincor in August of 2000. This is the nicest Petit Verdot I’ve yet tasted, graceful with both restraint and finesse. Dark and inky it is reminiscent of Tannat but is a bit softer and not quite as tannic. Dried Blackberry and savory herbal notes on the palate, this wine brightly shines when very slightly chilled to perhaps 55° or so.
    Alas I have only seen this at the GO San Francisco / South Van Ness. A screamin’ deal at only $5.99.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi 5-StarBar! I’m pretty sure that’s Botte, not Motte, and I also liked it, and a number of other wines from JL Giguiere, including the Goodnow 2015 Tempranillo, although not the Syrah (can’t remember the name).

      Reply
      1. 5-Star Bar

        LOL I stand corrected sir. It was late, I was tired, but I wanted to get the word out prior to the sale. Yes indeed it is Botte which, as it turns out, is a double entendre. In French fencing terminology it means a thrust or hit hence the sword fighters on the label. In Italian it translates as barrel. The Giguiere family founded R.H. Phillips back in 1984 and included Petit Verdot as a varietal in their iconic Toasted Head Cabernet Sauvignons (you may recall that it featured a distinctive firebreathing bear on the label). Anyway you slice it’s name the 2017 Botte Petit Verdot is definitely a “hit”.

        Reply
      2. flitcraft

        It was Flying Feet Syrah. I thought the first vintage that came through GO was serviceable, but the later vintage was serviceable-minus.

        Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          Hi flitcraft! I saw it today, and the Syrah I was thinking of is Sawbuck. I think there was a Sawbuck Chardonnay from JL Giguiere that I liked a lot, but that Syrah, not so much.

          Reply
  2. BargainWhine Post author

    Ok, cool GO find: Kenneth Volk 2013 Negrette (Négrette), Calleri Vineyard, San Benito, CA, $6, 14.3% ABV, still on sale at the winery web site for $28. Fully mature, delicious right away, but holds up well over (at least) 3 hours. Dry, ripe but quite tangy (and not at all jammy) fruit of dark purple cherry, plum, black raspberry, earthy spice (black pepper?). Aromatic, nicely structured, but also quite supple. I really don’t know what other wine to compare it to. It strikes me as almost Italian or French.

    Reply
    1. lim13

      Back in the 70’s and early 80’s, a number of CA wineries used to produce Negrette under one of it’s other names, Pinot St. George. Had no idea it was still being grown in CA. We sold Inglenook’s rendition in our stores, but Sebastiani and Christian Brothers also produced it. Due to the dark color and pepperiness, those wines always reminded me of much tamed versions of Petite Sirah. Would love to try the Volk, but I suspect we’ll never see it up here in WA.

      Reply
      1. Zoel

        Stopped into Richmond, picked up a bottle of the Volk Negrette – per other posts. Reminded us of PS, without as much acid backbone but a-ok. We paired it with chicken enchiladas- perfect match! Not a wine for all, means more for us others. Really well- made (as are all of Ken V’s wines) and killer deal.

        Reply
      2. BargainWhine Post author

        I decided this morning that the Volk Negrette most reminded me of the Trenel 2015 Beaujolais Villages that GO had recently. Wouldn’t mistake one for the other, but it was the best I could do.

        Reply
      3. Darrell

        The Negrette is nice in the aromas and smooth in the taste. Dark in color. The name Pinot St. George is no longer allowed for this grape. Bought some and will evaluate with food to see if additional purchase is warranted.

        Reply
    2. Seedboy

      Yesterday Richmond had Volk Albariño 2017 for $4.99 I think. Mouthful of wine, white peach with a bit of pineapple, good acid, not quite sure it is fully dry, the sweetness might be from the abundant fruit.
      I keep on forgetting the name, but Richmond also has an Italian white blend that is quite cheap. It is made up of Vermentino, Chardonnay, and a couple of other varieties, from various parts of Italy. The flavor seems dominated by Vermentino, which is just fine with me. I went back for four bottles. Caution: it was quite oxidized after a night in the fridge. [ed. note: I believe the brand on this white blend is Piccini, and it is $2.99]

      Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          I also recommend the Albariño. There might be some bottle variation, but it ranges from “very good” to “outstanding,” so not that much to really worry about. Dry, California-fruited quince, medium-ripe pineapple, honeysuckle, green apple, typical Albariño bitter almond finish. Long, even taste balanced with plenty of acid.

          Reply
    3. BargainWhine Post author

      I opened the saved single-glass screw-cap bottle of the Negrette last night. It was still tasty, and not tasting too old at all, but had lost the nice structure it had, so for me this is definitely a “drink now” wine.

      Reply
    4. bretrooks

      I found some of the Ken Volk wines in the SLO store today – a 2012 Enz Zinfandel, the 2013 Negrette, and the 2017 Albarino. I picked up two of the zin and the last Negrette on the shelf. Out of curiosity, I also bought a crown-capped non-vintage Seppelt “The Drives” sparking wine made of roughly 2/3 pinot & 1/3 chardonnay. Might open that this evening to see what it’s like.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi bretrooks. I have been curious about that Seppelt “The Drives.” It looks quirky enough, e.g., is closed with a bottle cap, that it might be good.

        Reply
        1. bretrooks

          We did open it yesterday evening – not bad at all. Subtle carbonation, decent balance (fresh and user-friendly), no great complexity but no complaints at $5.99. We’re not big sparkling wine drinkers in the first place, so YMMV if you are.

          Reply
  3. weinish

    Is the GO Party Over?
    I’ve been looking at their wines for MONTHS, and since I’m mostly a Euro-drinker, I’ve noticed the same bottles over and over. Rarely anything new hits the floor. Maybe it’s because of the tax consequences levied by Trump? I don’t know what it is, but as someone pointed out, maybe they want to have the same, consistent bottles on the floor for repeat customers, like Trader Joe’s has. It’s really too bad if that ends up being the case.

    Reply
    1. Zoel

      Methinks we are seeing the impact of the departure of the head buyer – he retired a few months ago..,selection has been challenged. Also a bit of up/down in the marketplace as well…should eventually improve

      Reply
      1. Weinish

        Finding American wines is probably relatively easy. Wish they had someone with a European background, maybe who had connections to Italy, France, Spain and beyond.

        Reply
        1. flitcraft

          I have to wonder whether Europe’s coronavirus issues are preventing the kind of relationsip-building that facilitates GO getting dibs on wine.

          My second ‘have to wonder’ question is, why we aren’t seeing discounted middle-tier wines from the US showing up at Grocery Outlet? I would think that with restaurant wine sales virtually nil for a year, the wineries that would be hurting most would be those selling wine at retail for 20-35 dollars, without fancy names of reputations and missing being featured on wine lists where a restaurant diner might take a shot at trying them. I know that alcohol consumption has gone up in Pandemica, but I would have guessed that wine at that price point from wineries that aren’t household names would not have benefitted. So why hasn’t GO swooped in to make those deals? (I’m not and never have been in the industry, so I might be completely wrongs about this…)

          Reply
          1. JustAnotherWineSnob

            Yeah, you’re pretty off about this East West (royal carribean), A bunch of French and Spanish wines from InterVine Inc(all delta & american airlines), Canvas (Marriot). They’ve been all over that stuff.

            Reply
            1. BargainWhine Post author

              Well, sure, lower-end stuff for airlines and cruise lines, but flitcraft was mostly wondering about mid-range wines that, although not specially made for restaurants, would have been served at restaurants. I’ve wondered this, too, although I have no connections to the industry beyond working in a GO store.

            2. weinish

              Are you suggesting these wines are showing up at GO? A lot of the airlines and other travel outlets have been using other third parties to sell their excess. And a lot of it isn’t what I want to be drinking anyway.

              But the point stands: GO has been stagnant.

          2. Dana

            A local winery has been having weekend sales for those restaurant bottled wines that they couldn’t sell or restaurant sent them back. $9.60 a bottle. If you are familiar with the winery you will know what’s inside. So once you find a winery like that get on their email list. Granted not GO prices but solid wine.

            Reply
    2. delmartian1

      I agree with Weinish. Was in San Marcos (north SD County) last Friday and nothing new at all. Was hoping to see some new wines coming in for the upcoming sale. Staff seemed not to know it was even on the schedule.

      Reply
      1. JustAnotherWineSnob

        I know those guys in the office and I can guarantee you they all have connections with Europe and can buy European wines. I don’t know if you’ve been following what’s going on with the ports, but they’re congested AF and it’s taking 2,3,4 & sometimes up to 6 weeks extra to receive product. So bringing European wines, or any imported wines for that matter, at the moment has come to but a stand still on a national level. I’ve had containers I’ve ordered from Argentina for my small distributorship sitting off the port of Long Beach for 3 weeks waiting to get an appointment to dock…It’s pretty maddening. So yes, the low hanging fruit (pun intended) would be to stock up on CA wines until the ports get straightened out. At least that’s what they’re telling me.

        Reply
        1. WineJosh

          Some things I’ve seen as a producer in the industry…..

          Domestic wineries are actually selling those wines direct or through expanded grocery chain avenues. They’re being aggressive in their pricing so they are more attractive to the consumers at the register by allowing the store to offer a greater discount based upon their “typical” retail price. The balance of the range are being aggressively pushed through online sites like Garagiste, Vivino, WTSO, etc… for known and unknown brands. I know a bunch of places (in CA and OR) which reduced their 2020 amounts to almost zero. With the smoke and slow down in depletions from the pandemic for some of the non-household names, they’re hoping they made enough (money and previous volume) to bridge the gap and come out in 2021 as though 2020 didn’t exist, without potentially hurting their branding by offloading at GO.

          There is also an interesting undercurrent of some larger reaching SKUs buying small bulk volumes from “higher end” wineries. Basically, they’re able to pick up a little bit of wine from a bunch of places, supplying revenues the producer uses to cover operating expenses, and adding them to their base volume of 2019 vintages so they, too, can also skip the 2020 vintage. I’ve seen quite a few colleagues having to balance the increase they want in ’19, in order to skip ’20 with ensuring they also hit the 85% vintage requirement.

          Again, not de-facto across the board but far more prevalent than in any other year outside of maybe the 2008 economic crash or the tough vintage of 2011

          Reply
          1. Zoel

            WineJosh – spot on and similar to what I’m seeing as well. The one factor to add in – money/debt. As much as wineries – esp those with a sizable in-premise biz (down dramatically everywhere) would like to skip a vintage, they risk loan/covenant issues with their bankers…

            Reply
    3. Expat

      I like Euro wines best and it’s always slim pickings for better quality stuff. I have liked the St Emilion and the Pomerol at several stores for $15 per. If they’re still around when the sale hits Ill snatch a couple. Beyond that the european offerings are tired and weak. BTW, when is the sale?

      Reply
    4. GOwinelover

      I don’t believe it to be over but to be a lull. My local wine guy in SD said stores are not getting any more inventory for the sale and that the main warehouse is overstocked – that they ordered too much wine as a company.

      I will stock up on what’s stock-upable that are still what I consider to be good [enough] values for everyday wines even though it would be nice to find more interesting and higher end wines:
      – Various white cooking wines, rose’s and some of the good Sauv Blancs if still around
      – Cavalieri d’Oro Toscana
      – Owl Block and Rocklin Ranch Pinot Noirs and the Latitude 38 2017 if it’s findable
      – That Spanish Red Blend (Jalumba? Cannot remember)
      – Portuguese Red Blend I liked a lot – juuuust enough acid to keep it in check – Quinta de Sao Sebastiao Forte do Cego

      A few others as people comment.

      Reply
  4. BargainWhine Post author

    About 5 days ago, I opened a bottle of the Shooting Star (has the Jed Steele name on the label) 2017(?) Merlot, Lake County, CA, $6. I immediately put away nearly all of it in 375ml and 275ml screw-cap bottles, leaving the rest in a glass to taste over 45min or so. This first portion seemed to open a little, but always had that rough raspberry acid that indicates to me that it’s too young.

    Tonight, I decanted the saved bottles. It was okay right away, was pretty good after 2 hours, and now, after 4.5 hours, it has finally evened out, showing Bing cherry, blackcurrant, hint of blackberry, mocha, mature stem, medium-grade oak. Despite my description of how tough it is, it doesn’t strike me as really built to last that long. Maybe buy it now and try it in the fall?

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      Jed Steele is the winemaker who created the Kendall Jackson Chardonnay. He left that empire a long, long time ago, opening up Steele near Lakeport. Shooting Star was, years ago, his second label.

      Reply
      1. lim13

        He also consulted on a few wines with Columbia Crest here in WA state and for a number of years produced a very tasty Blue Franc/Blaufrankisch/Lemberger from WA grapes, though I imagine sales were slow due to general unfamiliarity with the variety. Thurston Wolfe in Prosser, Yakima Valley continues to produce a delicious Lemberger, as does Kiona on Red Mountain.

        Reply
        1. flitcraft

          I remember that Shooting Star Lemberger–a fine version of an unjustly overlooked varietal that does well in Washington State. I recall that Powers did a great version of Lemberger that I once won ‘wine of the night’ with in a blind tasting of red wines under 10 dollars. (OK…it was a while back; today it would be under 15 probably.) It ended up in the state liquor stores for 6.99…and then Powers tore out the wines because they couldn’t sell the stuff for the cost of production. I prefer the Thurston Wolfe to the Kiona, but haven’t had either in some time.

          Reply
          1. lim13

            I feel the 2018 Thurston Wolfe Lemberger was the best they’ve ever made, but it appears from their website that it’s gone now and the 2019 is yet to be released.

            Reply
  5. KirstyThirsty

    Seen at the 52nd St GO in San Diego. The can of Primary Wine Co caught my eye for 99c a can. Well, it proved to be a terrific buy and value. Went back and bought a whole 24 can flat. Looking forward to bringing on summer outings.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi KirstyThirsty and welcome! The only canned wine I recall seeing at GO was a super-cheap rosé that sold quickly but got, um, mixed reviews from customers. I don’t think it was from Primary, though, so I may be curious enough to try one if I see it locally. And what kind of wine was this?

      Reply
  6. flitcraft

    Seen at Kenmore: Latitude 38 Pinot Noir, 2017. I recall that the 2016 version of this was much appreciated here, so I thought a note about the availability of a newer vintage might be useful.

    Reply
        1. Seedboy

          I will. Cellartracker has a review of a 2017 Sonoma County Private Reserve. Reviewer really liked it too.

          Reply
          1. lim13

            Saw the 2017 Latitude 38 Sonoma County Private Reserve Pinot Noir at the Silverdale, WA GO today for $6.99. Found this review: https://www.tastings.com/Wine-Review/Latitude-38-Wine-2017-Private-Reserve-Pinot-Noir-Sonoma-County-USA-04-04-2021.aspx What is it you like about it, SB?

            Also picked up a bottle of 2016 Anne Amie (the old Chateau Benoit winery property and building) Estate Dry Riesling (Oregon) for $4.99. In checking the winery website, I thought it a bit odd that they show the 2015 vintage of this wine as their current release. Had a slight spritz at first (which I find in many domestic Rieslings) and a slightly weird nose. Didn’t taste dry to me either. Had great mouth feel and acidity, but bitter on the finish. My wife hated it! So likely won’t buy more.

            Reply
            1. lim13

              One last note on the Anne Amie Riesling. The more I sipped, the more astringent it became…like a mouthful of tannin in a white wine. Serious skin contact before fermentation? Oak? (Though I didn’t detect oak in the flavors). Ends up feeling totally out of balance with the fruit. So, definitely no more for me.

            2. Winerunner

              The latitude 38 pinot noir from Sonoma is delicious.

              Fruit flavors like cherry & strawberry combined with a spiciness.

              Excellent value

      1. JJ

        We did have lots of the 2016 previously here in Olympia, and now we have stocked up on the 2017 Latitude 38 PN, and also the Rocklin Ranch PN as well. Yay for the sale!!
        Note: Olympia is out of the Latitude 38, but I stopped in Chehalis store this week, and they still have it. They also interestingly still had the Mudhouse SB, and a couple others which disappeared up here awhile ago.

        Reply
        1. lim13

          As of yesterday around 4, Silverdale was on their last 10 bottles of the Latitude 38 and the manager didn’t expect to get any more.

          Reply
  7. BargainWhine Post author

    I opened a couple good $5 2016 California Pinot Noirs last night:

    Rocklin Ranch, California. Front label makes reference to “foothills of California’s coastal ranges,” and back label describes “driving winds, white fog, and a long growing season.” Produced and bottled by Rocklin Ranch, Greenfield, CA. Outstanding Pinot for the price. Nicely delineated, balanced fruit of medium-red cherry / strawberry, orange, mild fresh herb, greener stem.

    Ryder Estate Pinot Noir, Monterey County. Produced and bottled by Ryder Estate, Greenfield, CA. Ripe red cherry and pomegranate, texture just slightly syrupy compared to the Rocklin, hints of cola, orange, mature stem. This is the more fruity and slightly sweeter of the two, so I preferred the Rockin, but these are both good Pinots for the money, and you might prefer the Ryder.

    Both as good or better second day.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      Those are both trademarks of Scheid Vineyards, a large winemaking operation in the Salinas Valley west of the 101. Warmer there than in the Sta Lucia Highlands.

      Reply
    2. DARRELL

      After investigating the two PN labels, the Ryder has a Central Coast appellation which is totally meaningless since it is a HUUUGE area if one is interested delimiting the source of grapes. The Rocklin Ranch has an Arroyo Seco source for their PN where Wente pioneered the Salinas Valley as a good area for wine grapes. Personally never bought Wente wines except for an exceptional 1972 Riesling Auslese. Arroyo Seco is just down the block from Scheid Vineyards, so the grapes can be immediately brought to Scheid.

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        I tried out the Ryder, which drinks like the better-quality pinots we get at the GO in this price range. The Latitude wine is a step above for another buck or so. Perfectly nice every-day wine, but neither of them would be a quantity purchase for me because I’d get tired of either fairly soon.

        Reply
      2. DARRELL

        Finally checked the two above PN’s and found the Rocklin Ranch PN has a Central Coast appellation. My mistake was checking the Rocklin website.

        Reply
    3. lim13

      Opened a bottle of the 2016 Rocklin Ranch Pinot Noir tonight. Clear pale ruby with a bit of brick tone (orange); slightly skunky, mushroomy, forest floor nose; flavors pretty much match that nose; for me, it shows somewhat Burgundian style aromas (dirty socks) and more savory than fruity flavors; actually, I pick up little black cherry fruit. It’s just not my preferred style of Pinot, so I really didn’t care for it. I much preferred the 2017 Latitude 38.

      Reply
      1. JJ

        Interesting….we thought the Latitude 38 and the Rocklin were so similar to one another. Both great value (though Rocklin has gone up in price in Olympia–probably now matching Latitude price), both nice drinking Pinots….we have quite a bit of each.
        Discovered a great summertime way to use red wines that are starting to fade, or which you try and then don’t care for…..Sangria!

        Reply
  8. lim13

    Picked up a heavy glass punted bottle of 2018 Saturnino Negroamaro Rosato for $4.99 at the Bremerton store. I’ve had many red Negroamaros, but never a rose, so wanted to check it out.

    Reply
    1. flitcraft

      That sounds really interesting…I look forward to a report on it. The lovely Provencal and West Coast roses have been much appreciated, but a bit of rose variety would be delightful.

      Reply
    2. lim13

      I would label the 2018 Saturnino Negroamaro Rosato more of an orange wine in appearance in the glass. Doesn’t smell or taste oxidized, but it is disgustingly “unique”, particularly in the aromas. I suspect there is something unsound about the wine as it has a really foul nose. Don’t be lured in by the heavy glass bottle, as I was. Of course there’s always the chance that I got a bad bottle, but I’m not interested in trying another.

      Reply
      1. flitcraft

        And I had a similar experience with the Casamatta Rosato, also a 2018, also a pronouncedly orange wine. Only I think I would have said oxidized as well, despite it not being all that old. Something went terribly wrong with this wine, despite its pedigree and despite the fact that the white Casamatta appears to be just fine. It is rare that we don’t find something to do with a wine that we don’t care for. This one went right down the sink, though.

        Reply
        1. lim13

          I did end up getting a bit of oxidation the next day in the Saturnino, FC. I just corked up the remainder and will try a return/exchange for a different wine next time I’m near the Bremerton store (which isn’t very often). If they won’t bite for that, I’ll leave it with them or bring it home and do a sink deposit, as you did.

          Reply
  9. flitcraft

    Another cellared wine: 49 Crows Tempest Red Blend, 2013, Mendocino. I think about 7 or 8 dollars, but I got it at the wine sale a couple of years ago, so 20% off whatever it was originally. It’s made by the Alder spring Winery, which graced us with their Row 5 red blend some time in the Before Times, which I thought was an outstanding wine for the tariff.

    This bottle is drinking beautifully now. It’s deep and dark red, with a very slight bricking on the rim, and slightly hazed. The nose is blackberry, plum, and savory notes of thyme and bacon fat. No hurry on this if you have this one. No indication of the grapes involved, though I would be shocked if it wasn’t majority syrah. Why in the world I didn’t buy more I can’t remember. But lucky you if this is in your cellar.

    Reply
    1. GLENN

      2018 Bibbi Graetz Casmatta at Lemmon Valley, NV. Vermentino, Trebbiano and Muscat Tuscan blend for $5.99. Dry and crisp with a moderately complex nose. My new house white. We get some of the Foley wines such as this here, probably from a local wholesaler.

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        Oh I hope to find that Casamatta in Northern Cal. I loved the nonvintage Casamatta white that appeared maybe 3 years ago.

        Reply
  10. GOwinelover

    Really enjoyed the 2017 Cavaliere d’Oro (made by Gabbiano – don’t run away yet) Rosso Super Tuscan. There is a 2016 Primitivo but the Super Tuscan is the better wine while the Primitivo I thought was the better food matcher.

    Both wines are $3.99 and I think the Toscana Rosso is a screaming deal. Of course it doesn’t have fully integrated texture and tannins in mouthfeel but that’s okay. It tastes great, it is still well made and is highly enjoyable without being soft or sweet.

    Reply
  11. lim13

    What I grabbed at the Silverdale, WA store today: 3 of the Dunham Four Legged White and one each of 2018 Kuentz-Bas Alsace white (reputable Kermit Lynch selection) at $7.99…Sylvaner, Muscat, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Blanc & Chasselas blend, 2018 Owl Box Pinot $6.99 that some seem to like and 2017 Three Rivers Rose’ $3.99. Like flitcraft, we drink rose’ year ’round and older ones don’t concern me. Had my last bottle of 2016 Malene last night (that I bought from GO) and it was dee-lish!

    Reply
    1. lim13

      Tasted all but the Four Legged White. I’m trusting flitcraft’s notes, so will open one later. As for the other wines I bought, the most disappointing was the one I had the highest hopes for…the Kuentz-Bas Alsatian. Brilliant pale straw; subdued, but typical nose of litchi, pear and light spice; tastes “sweet” on the front of the palate, but quickly moves to bone dry; spicy, typically Alsatian flavor profile; while it’s interesting, it’s like there are so many varieties in the blend, that nothing shows concentration of fruit. Back label describes the wine as delicate and graceful and says it needs 3-5 years of bottle ageing to develop. Not sure I’ll experiment with that idea. Just not enough in-your-face fruit for me.

      I really enjoyed the other two wines. I found the Owl Box PN to be clear pale to medium ruby; no mistaking the varietally correct cherry nose; fruit forward…no skunkiness or forest floor; soft and smooth on the palate with tons of cherry and cinnamon fruit; very nice acidity and light but structured tannins; well rounded and delicious; I like it! Seems more Oregon than CA.

      As for the Three Rivers Rose’ (which seems like it has been in GO a year or more ago), I found it to be brilliant very pale pink; a whiff of sulfur in the nose followed by strawberry rhubarb aromas; bone dry with good concentration of fruit, giving it texture and mouth feel; lots of engaging flavor of more strawberry, raspberry and watermelon; very tasty and refreshing; excellent summer sipper, but tasting fine now too.

      Reply
      1. JJ

        Completely agree about the Kuentz-Bas….had great hopes for that since it was a Kermit Lynch wine, AND because my sommelier bro has had great Kuentz-Bas. Unfortunately this one is thin and as Lim says…not enough in-your-face fruit; I kept straining to believe there was more there than there actually was.
        Hope I can find that Rose in Olympia, thanks.

        Reply
      2. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi Lim13! I’m glad and relieved to hear you liked the Owl Box Pinot since I had recommended it. 🙂

        Reply
        1. lim13

          Appreciate the recommendation, BW. Just hoping it’s still around for the sale. Seems to be a fair amount in both Silverdale & Bremerton. But even at $6.99 it’s a great buy.

          Reply
      3. lim13

        Opened the 2018 Dunham Four Legged White Riesling tonight. My notes: Brilliant pale golden; tart, lemony nose with just the slightest diesel hint; aromas are somewhat subdued compared to many domestic Rieslings I’ve had over the years; medium weight and concentration of fruit and leaning more toward the dry side than sweet; flavors of lemony citrus and pear rather than the customary green apple and stone fruit; while likely more versatile than the sweeter versions of Riesling, I prefer more forward fruit in the drier Rieslings I tend to buy.

        Reply
        1. lim13

          FWIW, flitcraft shared a (incredibly delicious) chicken recipe with me that I cooked tonight, using the Four Legged Riesling in an effort to assist me in using up some of my remaining two bottles…and the wine tasted much better (bottle variation or human variation??). So thanks again, FC. I’ve got another bottle…and another chicken. :~)

          Reply
  12. Jimmie

    Handpicked s.blanc Marlborough N Z. 6.99. Wow. I am done with Kim Crawford forever. Medium/light bodied. Balanced minerality. Very much on the dry side. Would be a great hot weather quaffer. Going back for more but thinking they will be sold out. I am starting to love screw top whites.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Second the opinions on the Handpicked Sauvignon Blanc and on screwcap whites in general.

      Reply
          1. BargainWhine Post author

            Is this wine the “Versions” Chardonnay from Handpicked Selections, with a label very similar to the “Versions” Shiraz? (I haven’t tried it, nor have I even seen any other Handpicked Chardonnay.)

            Reply
  13. BargainWhine Post author

    Owl Box 2018 Pinot Noir, Carneros, Napa, is pretty good for $6. The body is lighter for Carneros Pinot, but the fruit is still ripe and supple, okay complexity.

    Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Owl Box. The bottle’s labels don’t say it, but the GO price label attributes it to Saintsbury.

        Reply
        1. Seedboy

          Owl Box is light and clean and correct. I suspect that if one blended a bottle of this with a bottle of the Hunt and Ryde you’d end up with a pleasant medium bodied pinot.

          Reply
  14. BargainWhine Post author

    A couple of new cheap, tasty, “drink now” wines:

    Vintales 2018 Shiraz (Syrah), Wine of Origin Western Cape, South Africa, $4, screwcap. Decanted 3 hours, tastes of tangy black raspberry, blueberry, darker red cherry, Syrah funk, white pepper, hint of green bell pepper, typical SAfr rusty earth.

    James Wilkins 2013 “Cuvée 24,” Central Coast, CA, 50% Syrah, 35% Tempranillo, 15% Merlot, $5. Decanted 2 hours, tastes of soft dark cherry, tangy plum, blueberry, aged complexity, balancing bitterness of plum pit and acid of hibiscus tea. Has the Central Coast ripe fruit, but is not sweet or syrupy. Decant the wine off some gritty sediment, or just be wary of it in the final pours or sips. There’s also a 2013 Bordeaux-style blend from James Wilkins called Enchantment.

    Both wines were opened on the day they arrived, so they will likely need less air if you have them at home for a week or two first.

    Reply
      1. GOwinelover

        Thank you for confirming. My local San Diego store’s inventory of quality wine is woefully weak and when I mentioned it to the wine guy, he said that’s all the warehouse has and there is nothing exciting to order further. If true, that is very disappointing. They have the Owl Block, so I grabbed one of those to try ahead, but it sounds merely fine and they only have two cases. Not planning on much this go around.

        Reply
    1. bretrooks

      A few James Wilkins wines showed up in SLO this week – Cuvée 24, Enchantment, and a Tempranillo. All 2014, I think.

      I picked up the Tempranillo to try along with a bottle each of a few other wines: 2018 Owl Box Carneros Pinot, 2018 Torres De Casta Rosado, 2016 Château Virecourt Pillebourse, and the 2015 Goodnow Tempranillo we’ve gone through a lot of in the last couple of years.

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        A friend who is a discerning wine lover likes the Cuvee 24.
        Richmond has a Vienot Beaujolais-Villages 2017 for maybe $6.99? This maker is known for red Burgundy but not for Beaujolais.
        Petaluma has a Domaine des Grillemonts Saumur rose 2019 (think Cab Franc) for $5.99. Flatiron Wines in SF, a quality wine shop, is selling this right now for $19.99.

        Reply
        1. Seedboy

          The Beaujolais needs a lot of air but becomes a really lovely elegant wine with cherry fruit properly balanced. The Saumur rose is the best GO rose I have had in a while with great red fruit balanced with just the right amount of acid (for me).

          Reply
          1. BargainWhine Post author

            I agree that the Beaujolais is a nicely elegant wine, still young and fresh, with a nice fruit / acid balance to go with food, i.e., if your taste is New World-centric, it’s likely a bit more acid than you’d want to drink on its own. It struck me as a great wine to go with lunch, or with a picnic, and at $7 will be a good deal during the upcoming sale.

            Reply
      2. BargainWhine Post author

        Tonight I opened the James Wilkins 2014 Tempranillo, also $5, also “drink pretty soon” IMO. I don’t like it as well as I did the Cuvée 24 and the Enchantment (both 2013) but it is still also quite good for the price. I’m impressed that it really does have the tangy darker red cherry fruit, and good woodiness, that I associate with Spanish Tempranillo. It’s not just some Central Coast fruit totally washed out by over-ripeness.

        Reply
        1. bretrooks

          Thanks for the data point – glad to hear that these aren’t coming across as over-ripe (which I had hoped, judging by ABV). I’m sure we’ll be opening that Tempranillo pretty soon, and I’m curious to try the other bottlings too.

          Reply
    2. BargainWhine Post author

      I confirm the James Wilkins 2013 Enchantment (50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 8% Syrah), $5, is also delicious, also “drink now.” I think the JW 2013 Cuvée 24 is the more complex and interesting wine, but the Enchantment is more overtly yummy.

      There is also a Vintales 2018 Pinotage, which I don’t plan to try because I expect it’s also good for $4 and because I’m not especially fond of Pinotage. However, the Vintales 2020 Chenin Blanc is amazingly good for $4.

      Reply
  15. RB

    New in Olympia: Cavatappi 2013 San Pietro Tuscan style red wine (Columbia Valley), $11.

    Click to access cavatappisanpietro13tnpdf.pdf

    GO had some of their Molly’s Cuvee sangiovese (2008?) a number of years ago, which I enjoyed. This is the first Cavatappi wine I’ve seen since then. If it’s still around during the spring sale I may pick some up.

    Reply
    1. RB

      Hmm, weird spacing on that post. I tried to include a link to the tasting notes from Precept, which must have messed it up. Search their site for details.

      Reply
  16. flitcraft

    Having gone two weeks post-second-vaccination, it was time to finally return to Grocery Outlet again–missed it, I did. I headed for the Crown Hill GO, which had the best wine selection when I last visited our Seattle area GOs. (We’ve lost two in the past calendar year–the one on Aurora, which almost never had any wine worth bothering about, and SODO, which had been up and down over the years, but at times had the best selection in Seattle. So…I didn’t find most of the wines my California friends here have been talking about except the Mirabeau rose, which I picked up a few of on BW’s recommendation. Frankly, we drink rose all year round, depending on what we’re eating, so I’m looking forward to that one.
    One interesting wine that I did pick up was the Dunham Four Legged White, a Columbia Valley WA Riesling, 12% ABV, at 4.99. Dunham is a serious Washington winery with a long track record of very good wines, though this is the first wine I have ever had from them. They had both the 2017 and 2018–I got the 2018 to try. It’s off-dry, with pretty good varietal flavors of quince and pear. Compared to a German Riesling, it’s rather different–obviously higher in alcohol, without the bright intensity of a Mosel wine, but Washington Riesling probably should be judged on its own merits. It has some minerality to suggest that it’s not just a pretty face. I liked it more than most Washington Rieslings, which tend to be rather one-dimensional, sweet-and-sour sippers. I’m going to pick up a few more, including a couple of the 2017s. Thought I’d best review this now, though, because the guy stocking the shelves said it was flying out the door. So, if you’re in the area and open to in-person grocery shopping, hurry if you want to snag some.

    Reply
    1. flitcraft

      Actually, tell a lie, I have tried a couple Dunham wines–their Three Legged Red, a syrah-forward red blend that is better than most ‘red blends’ in the under 15 dollar price point, and Trutina, which is more Bordeaux-like and a fine wine indeed. If you ever see it, I recommend it highly. But I did not know that Dunham made any whites, and it is possible that the Four Legged White may have been tasting room or wine club only.

      Reply
    2. JJ

      Did you mean Capitol Hill, or is there a Crown Hill in Seattle? I don’t know it…..
      Thanks for the Dunham tip…I hope we have that down here in Olympia.
      Here’s one….the Zlocker Gruliner Veltliner…$7.99. What a beauty.
      She has the most beautiful yellow tint, which nearly borders on the lighter Chartreuse. The nose is licorice and unique non-specific fruits (at least I couldn’t find a single-fruit comparison), very heavenly….good acidity and mineral in the mouth. An obviously well-structured wine. Drank it alone, but would stand up to food nicely.

      Reply
      1. flitcraft

        There’s no GO in Capitol Hill as such, though the one on Martin Luther King Way is not far from Capitol Hill. Crown Hill is in Seattle at 8700 15th NW, near the Greenwood neighborhood on the way to Ballard. It generally has the best wine selection in town, though that changes as wine staff comes and goes. I’ll keep my eye out for the Gruner Veltiner you mentioned; it sounds like an interesting bottle.

        Reply
        1. JJ

          Thanks, I’ll try to check that one out when I come north~
          And I named that Gruliner wrong….it’s Zocker, not Zlocker. (I was going from memory *~*)
          One definitely needs to let it warm up a bit in the glass and interact with O2, to release the esters.
          And on second observation, it’s quite lemony in the nose.

          Reply
          1. DARRELL

            I’m apologize JJ, but since you brought attention to your spelling, it’s Grüner Veltliner for the grape variety. Will be on the lookout for it here in the Bay Area.

            Reply
    3. RB

      Glad to hear you’re back in the game, flitcraft. I’ve missed your comments on wines we can find here in the PNW. Happy hunting!

      Reply
    4. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi flitcraft! So glad to hear you’re immunized up and having fun back at GO! (and elsewhere I assume)

      Reply
  17. BargainWhine Post author

    The Routas 2019 Coteaux Varois en Provence rosé is delicious for $6: light but not too light, evenly balanced, smooth… I seem to recall also very much liking a previous vintage of this wine.

    Reply
  18. Seedboy

    Richmond has the Hunt & Ryde RRV Pinot Noir 2015 for $5.99 I think. This is Guy Fieri’s winery, and the wine tastes like I’d imagine: really full bodied and fruity, with some acid. I will report on day 2 tonight.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      It is more balanced today. Oakland has the 2016 with the same notes. if you like your Pinots fruity then these are for you.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Coincidentally, I opened a bottle of this Pinot on Tuesday evening, and opened the saved single-glass screwcap bottle of it tonight. I agree it’s more fully fruited than many Pinots, but I think the structure is pretty good, too, with flavors in the darker red / purple cherry, and the slight plum and spiced earth typical of Russian River Pinots. I think this is outstanding Pinot for the price, to drink this spring, summer, and probably into the fall.

        Reply
        1. Seedboy

          It held up nicely on the second day. The Oakland store had the 2016, which is a very similar wine. Especially given the price these will be big crowd pleasers. I might even have space in the Pinot Noir Storage Facility for a few bottles.
          There is a red blend called Sixty Eight with no indication of its makeup and no mention on the website.

          Reply
    2. Rob

      I feel these wines are absurdly good deals. Made by guy Davis from Davis family. Did not expect these pinots to be anywhere near this good. My favorite is the 14 followed by the 17. 14 is mushroomy and 17 is unapologetic fruit/deliciousness. 16 is solid, 15 a bit flabby, but all are crazy deals

      Reply
          1. Seedboy

            I have seen only 2014 and 2016, where are you getting these? They were intended to be expensive wines. Has anyone tried the red blend or the Chardonnay?

            Reply
  19. BargainWhine Post author

    The Matahiwi Estate 2019 Pinot Gris, the Wairarapa, New Zealand, $6 is an interesting Pinot Gris. While its body is fairly full and viscous for a PG, the flavors are rather subtle but good. The somewhat faint nose shows the usual PG pear and straw, but the palate also has nicely complex citrus flavors of yellow grapefruit, orange, and lime. Very smooth and elegant. Subtle enough that if you’re not paying attention, or have it with strong food, you might miss it. [updated below]

    Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        It struck me after writing that that there might be a touch of residual sweetness to the Pinot Gris, that they are probably trying for an Alsatian style. There’s also a Matahiwi 2018 (?) Pinot Noir for $8 which seems elegant, lighter-bodied but with darker flavors, of which I have not yet completed my evaluation. 🙂

        Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          The Matahiwi Pinot Gris is much better the second day. The flavors and acid, quite muted on the first day, really come forward the second.

          Reply
        2. Seedboy

          I bought a bottle of the Matahiwi Pinot Noir. Day 1 I found it rather thin and sour. Day 2 it gave more pleasure. I wonder if this wine needs to settle down after transit, and maybe needs some bottle age.
          Petaluma has a lot of the Foley Johnson Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc for $6.99. This is a quality wine and will probably hold or even improve with age.

          Reply
          1. Doon

            Is the F-J Sauv Blanc the 2016? I have enjoyed that from Redwood City the last few months, but it is gone now. Very versatile quaffer.

            Reply
            1. Seedboy

              I believe so. The Petaluma store has a massive storage area in back and when Bennie finds something that is worth it he will order a mass of it. I think it is the best GO I have been in for wine, with Richmond second.

          2. BargainWhine Post author

            On day 1, I found the Matahiwi Pinot Noir needed to be decanted something like 3 hours to show dark cherry and plum, with some hints of thicker body, earth, spice, still submerged by structure. I had hoped for more from the saved bottle, but it never did much more than it did on the first night, so I suspect that it, as you say, needs to calm down from transit and / or needs more age.

            Reply
  20. BargainWhine Post author

    The Santa Rita Secret Reserve red blend (~60% Cabernet and Syrah, don’t remember the rest, bottle already recycled) from Chile is pretty tasty for $5. The body is maybe a little light for these grapes, but the blend is engagingly complex and tasty, and more soft and integrated on the second day. The flavors are dark cherry, dark plum, black raspberry, slight prune, very slight green bell pepper.

    Reply
    1. GOwinelover

      Thanks for this. I have a Malbec from them for $3.99 I hope is good enough. They’re a big producer so we will see but I have been pleased enough at the GO prices in the past

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi GOWL! I don’t remember seeing this wine, but it’s interesting that Chile is also starting to make Malbec. Let us know if it’s good.

        Reply
  21. BargainWhine Post author

    The La Domitienne 2019 “Piquepoul” Picpoul de Pinet, $6, shows restrained, less ripe, yellow fruits (yellow apple, lemon, melon) with more bitterness (although I’d say not a huge amount) and minerality that most new world white wines. In the US-centric view of wine, it’s closer to Sauvignon Blanc than to Chardonnay, but doesn’t taste like SB and is really more European in style. It strikes me as a good warm-weather wine, pairing well with milder-flavored cheeses or white fish.

    Reply
    1. lim13

      Just happened upon your Pique Poul notes tonight, BW. I bought a bunch of the 2018 in August of last year because it’s one of my favorite varietals with shellfish. You and I appear to be on the same or similar page even though it’s different vintages. My notes: Brilliant pale straw; very citrusy, lemony nose; bone dry and more lemon and citrus in the flavors with a touch of just slightly bitter grapefruit pith in the finish. Silverdale store manager grilled me about it because she had never heard of it. Haven’t seen any there since.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Hi Lim13! The vintages do sound similar, although my description of the 2019 sounds more fruited, even if I wouldn’t really call it that from a CA perspective. My store didn’t get a whole lot, and it surprised me by selling out quickly. Sorry it seems like it didn’t appear in your area.

        Reply
    2. Winerunner

      I bought a couple bottles of the Pique Poul de Pinet, 2019 vintage in Yreka , CA store
      about a week ago.

      Your notes are accurate and I thought it was a good bargain at $6

      Callan winery in Washington state produces this wine as well and I believe it’s better than the French wine but it’s more expensive, too.

      A friend shared the Washington wine with me a couple months ago so I was tempted to try the French version and I’m glad I did.

      I drink it without food but shellfish is highly recommended by other reviewers

      Reply
  22. BargainWhine Post author

    I opened tonight and am very much liking the La Galope 2018 Côtes de Gascogne rosé, $4, apparently made from Cabernet and Merlot. It has nice flavors of red and orange fruits, with a smooth minerality, and went well with shrimp with sauteed purple onion and capers. Gascogne is in southwest France on the Atlantic side.

    Reply
    1. JJ

      I’m a fan of Côtes de Gascogne Columbards, lotsa wine for the money.
      Wonder if we can get that rosé up north, would love to try it.

      By the way, am finding delight in the Latitude 38 Pinot, the Rocklin Ranch Pinot, and the Owl Box isn’t bad either. Surprised at how very similar the Latitude is to the Rocklin, Latitude just a bit lighter color in the glass. Both are on sale right now in Olympia. Latitude flew off the shelves here, so I got greedy and bought the rest, a case.
      They’re really nice for the price.

      Reply
  23. Zoel

    Alternative: For you serious wine geeks – if you haven’t explored Cameron Hughes new brand/offerings, called De Negoce Wines. The pros: high quality vino sourced from great wineries, finished in a pleasing style, great prices for quality juice. Con: main issue is only case purchases, and that’s a lot of “untasted” risk. Thus far, I’ve purchased about 6 cases – RRiver Chard (awesome), Napa Atlas Cab (good, still too young), DryCreek Zin (solid)…all around $10-$15/bottle, only on line. Highly recommended…

    Reply
    1. Doon

      I too have been sucked into the blind purchasing at De Negoce, but have enlisted partners to split the cases with me, 6-6 or 4-4-4, which ameliorates the risk. Dry Creek Zin (#31) a very solid buy at $10 delivered, Cabs too young to drink yet for my taste (all ’18s), Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir was a solid buy as well. Interested to see how the Cabs taste after 1 year in bottle. Very interesting marketing plan.

      Reply
  24. Zoel

    ‘18 Sunce Chard – after several positive reviews here, I gave it another try…this is a classic ‘meh’ wine…lacks the fruit and structure of most Simona Chards. Nothing wrong, but little right. Pass (again).

    On the other hand, wifee insisted on getting yet more of the Everett Ridge Napa Chard…pricey (for GO) at $10, but bottle after bottle is a winner.

    Reply
  25. GOwinelover

    Stopped into Long Beach quickly yesterday and bought a 2018 Sunce Aglianico (cannot recall having had this varietal) and a 2018 Sunce Carignane, a varietal I have only had a handful of times. I believe the first time I had it was at Wooden Valley Winery in Suisun.

    The Carignane is a tad sweet for me and I think the best way I can describe it is if you blindfolded me, I’d guess it were 50% Zin, 25% Cab, 20% Syrah and 5% blending grapes. It has the sweeter, jammier flavor of Zin but tannin and some of the true varietal flavor of cab which really helps with structure and upfront fruit and (I know, a hated word), smoothness of syrah.

    It’s a we’ll made wine imho and has some elegance to it. I just don’t love the varietal. Try it!

    Reply
    1. DARRELL

      GOWL, there has been some Aglianico at GO when you were up North. Tried a bottle and returned it. When tasting at one Italian family winery, they produced an Aglianico and an Aleatico and one had to pronounce them carefully when requesting a taste.

      Reply
      1. GOwinelover

        The Aglianico we just opened is a head scratcher. It’s just not good wine in my opinion. I’ve never had the varietal so I don’t know what it’s capable of but let’s just say there’s probably a reason this isn’t produced much domestically and another winery who makes it is…wait for it [shocker] Jacuzzi.

        The wine is medium-tannic, overfruited yet thinly bodied. It’s a very odd combination and tastes unlike any wine I’ve had, and not in a good way. This one is a hard pass for us.

        Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          I’m disappointed to hear about this wine, as your description does not really match how I think about Aglianico, and I had expected better. Maybe these are young vines? For more about Aglianico, please read this Wikipedia page, and / or read the few reviews on file at this site.

          Reply
        2. DARRELL

          Jacuzzi was the above winery I referred to concerning Aglianico and Aleatico wines. Jacuzzi’s Aglianico reminded me of a PN.

          Reply
        3. bretrooks

          We tried the Sunce 2018 Carignane and 2018 Aglianico as well. I didn’t have quite as negative an impression as you did, but at the same time, I didn’t get much varietal character, and neither had the balance, complexity, etc. to make me want to go back for more.

          There’s a winery in the Sonoma area called VJB which does a lot of different Italian varietals as well, including an Aleatico rose and a nice prosecco they make in Italy and then import. My mother-in-law (whose palate preferences lean more towards ripe/fruit-forward wines than mine) is a fan.

          Reply
    2. BargainWhine Post author

      Carignan(e) typically makes a fairly soft and fruity wine. It’s not usually one of my favorites unblended. There was a Sunce Barbera, also $10, that I thought was pretty good. I hope to see the Aglianico.

      Reply
      1. Expat

        One of my favorite producers in my area, Caparone in Paso Robles, was the first to propagate Aglianico in this country and theirs is excellent. Very different – nothing like a typical California wine (but that’s typical of Caparone). So I was very interested in trying the Sunce Aglianico as a comparison. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Just a disjointed mess at opening and the next day. Nothing like Caparone’s . I should return it but I usually don’t go to the effort. I urge everyone not to give up on this varietal and now i’m completely gun shy about any Sunce wine.

        Reply
        1. bretrooks

          Interesting. I bought two of the Aglianico up front and didn’t think the first one, opened a month ago, was anything noteworthy (or Aglianico-like), but I didn’t react as strongly against it as you and GOwinelover have. Makes me wonder if my palate was shot or if there’s something else going on. The second one is still sitting on the shelf, and I’d been ignoring it, but now I’m curious to open it for science’s sake. (I’m also not generally a wine-taker-backer, and the only times I’ve gone to the trouble with an open bottle are when it’s truly flawed.)

          Reply
        2. bretrooks

          I did decide to open our other bottle last night, and it was distinctly different than the first one. I’d actually call this one flawed, since it had some trapped CO2 and a bit of something slightly skunky/cabbagey/sulfurous going on. The acid was disjointed, and it was just not a pleasant thing to try to drink.

          Reply
    3. BargainWhine Post author

      Today the Sunce 2017 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon showed up for $15 (listed as “Elsewhere $50”). No idea what to expect from this.

      Reply
          1. Ian Williams

            I tried the Sunce 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon and liked it —15.99–Mission Store, San Francisco. The bottles came in a box labeled 2017 Fifth Hill Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon. The alcohol content on the bottle is 14.5 percent. The box says 13.9. The label on the back of the bottle says: bottled by SVC wines, Sonoma, Ca for Sunce Winery. I am a long-time buyer of GO wines, so I am used to some occasional label confusion, but never on a box. Oh well, good stuff.

            Reply
        1. Expat

          I saw that. I’d like to try this but I havent’ seen it on the Central Coast yet (SLO, Atascadero, Arroyo Grande or Paso. haven’t been to Santa Maria or Los Osos)

          Reply
          1. Seedboy

            He lives in that area (you should check out his food blog, especially if you like tacos). I’ve asked him where he bought it and will let you know.

            Reply
            1. Expat

              I know him a little. He was in my office parking lot one day and I recognized him and we chatted, mostly coffee because that’s what I sell. I’d be interested in where he got it.

            1. Expat

              ah, thanks. I rarely get out to that one but will try to swing by. If this cab is like he describes it I will thoroughly enjoy it.

        2. DARRELL

          This wine1percent fella doesn’t lend to my reading his blog due to the impatience of age. The verbosity just kills me. Thank you to you younger contributors for ferreting relevant tastings for GO wines.

          Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        So, my conclusions about the Sunce 2017 Cabernet, after tasting it over 4 days, are: (1) It’s young. On the 4th day open, it’s finally closest to what I think it will eventually become, a full, soft, ripe, typical (by which I mean “has typicity,” not “is average”) Sonoma Cab with dark fruit and slight hint of green bell pepper. (2) However, they did not use very good oak. It’s not really offensive like a fair portion of cheaper GO wines, but IMO it’s not what this fruit deserves. (3) On the whole, it’s a good, solid wine, but does not have much individual character, and I didn’t find it very interesting.

        Reply
        1. DARRELL

          Will have to taste after your description. Not sure what is meant by “did not use very good oak.” I don’t mind if pyrazines overshadow the oak a bit. At times, tonnellerie cooperage can be quite distinctive from other cooperage. While tasting in Napa, I tried a Chard and found it interesting in the nose and thought it was the grape+, but when tasting their Syrah, it smelled similar to the Chard. Figured these two wines had the same barrel character that I didn’t recognize as oak or char.

          Reply
          1. Zoel

            I thought the “not very good oak” was an insightful opinion…I have tasted many a bottle, esp from GO, where the fruit was decent but lacked finesse or depth due to the wood treatment. The art of winemaking is a tricky balance from an investment perspective – how much you spend on fruit and wood is part of the equation. I see way too much mediocre juice being overwhelmed by expensive oak – you can taste it immediately (see mediocre $150 Napa Cabs). Same with the converse – decent fruit, especially CA Cab and WA Cab – really get impacted by the wood, toast level, and time. If you non-industry folks ever get a chance – try to find a toast comparison tasting – it will blow you away with the complexity imparted by various options.

            Reply
            1. DARRELL

              I wanted clarification of what aspect of “not very good oak” was meant. It’s akin to saying the wine tasted and smelled bad. I agree with that much of the GO Cabs/Bx. varietals have too much oak or toast that covers up the fruit/varietal character and the reason that most of my purchases of red wine from GO are PN. All too often tasters think over oaked CS/Bx.var. is a good wine.

  26. BargainWhine Post author

    I’ve previously liked the Handpicked Cabernet $6 from Margaret River, Australia, and the Handpicked Sauvignon Blanc $7 from Marlborough, NZ, and now also the “Versions” 2016 Shiraz $4 (also from Handpicked, although you have to look at the smaller print to see that). It’s not that complex, and you should probably drink it soon, but it has pretty full, soft, tasty Shiraz fruit. At least with my recently arrived bottle, it needed a few hours to fully air, but it was pretty tasty right away, too.

    Reply
  27. BargainWhine Post author

    The Sunce 2018 Chardonnay is pretty good for $8, in a slightly lighter and more elegant vein: medium-ripe yellow apple, a little lemon, some yellow melon, oak. FWIW, I hated the previous vintage (can’t recall what it was) of Sunce Chardonnay we got, as it had little Chardonnay character and plenty of oak. Maybe the vines are young and they’ve gotten a little older?

    Reply
  28. BargainWhine Post author

    The Angove “Nine Vines” 2018 Grenache and Syrah rosé is quite tasty for $4. It doesn’t really have the delicate-ness of the Il Poggione “Brancato” or the Château Beaulieu, but it’s yummy with slightly fuller fare (for me, that happened to be brie and avocado).

    The Sunce 2019 rosé of Zinfandel ($6) is definitely something new for me. It’s full, thick cherry, ripe strawberry, watermelon, with a bit of wood that makes it almost Spanish. Pair with ham, I guess, maybe grilled chicken? Vietnamese grilled pork chop sounds good.

    I’ve previously praised the Cavaliere d’Oro Toscana as a tasty, easy-drinking red, and I can now similarly recommend the C d’O Primitivo from Puglia, also $4.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      A second on the Primitivo. It needs about 30 min of air which yields a pleasant wine with quite a bit of stuffing that is lower in alcohol than most California zins would be.

      Reply
  29. dluber

    Got some Sunce 2019 Viognier a while ago, very nice. It’s a good balance for this grape – just enough of the waxy fatness and honeysuckle-peach-tangerine perfume that are the hallmarks of the varietal (and require full ripeness to come out) but enough acidity and structure so it’s not too flabby or hot. Just saw the 2020 at Richmond now, picked up a couple but haven’t tried em yet. Been happy with all whites I’ve gotten from this winery (Vig, Chard, SB) over the past ~3 years.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      This winery must be having a hard go of it to have sent so many current releases straight to GO. I will also note that they closed their Kenwood tasting room a while back, and the last I saw that space was vacant.
      Oh I was going to put out a review of the Wandering River Sauv Blanc 2012 from New Zealand. Bottled under screwcap, it was not oxidized or otherwise spoiled. Young NZ SBs can have hard edges. On this wine they’ve softened quite a bit. Still has a lot of citrus and melon fruit. I still have one bottle of this.
      I also opened A Norman Mephistopheles Zinfandel from maybe 2006 (the bottle got trashed) that was over 15 % alcohol. Still lots of fruit, alcohol was not really noticeable, reasonably balanced wine. If you still have any of this you needn’t be in any hurry about getting to it.

      Reply
    2. Max

      I really liked the 2019 too. So when I saw the 2017, I immediately bought 2 cases. But it is terrible- has some aftertaste which I cannot describe but doesn’t seem natural. Returned what was left of both cases- had tried some from each case thinking it was a case thing- but both were terrible. Just tried the 2020, and really like that too. Didn’t do side-by-side with the 2019, but will definitely be going back for more 2020.

      Reply
    3. 5-StarBar

      I second the thumbs up 👍 on the 2019 Sunce Viognier. Too bad I only bought 1 bottle before it disappeared from SF GO store shelves. Alas, it’s not worth it to me to make the hours long trek to the East Bay on public transit to buy more, then hand carry it all back home to San Francisco. I keep reading about what wines are available in Oakland and Richmond. Wish there was more about what wines are at the 4 stores in San Francisco. To this end I will post more reviews of what wines I find locally that are worthwhile.

      Bonus points for the this wine being made from grapes grown by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation in the Capay Valley. I wonder if it’s available at their casino, Cache Creek?!

      Reply
      1. BeerBudget

        Bought a bottle of the 2020 in Watsonville yesterday – looks like they had a few cases.
        I always grab what ever shows up from Sunce – Thier Syrah’s from a few years back were superb (Cattich vineyard)… some of the more recent offerings (Barbera and Zins) have been good, but not repeat buys. +1 for the St Hallet Old Vine Grenache from Barossa – great value at $6.

        Reply
  30. BargainWhine Post author

    The Caillou de By 2016 Médoc, Bordeaux, France, is very good for $10. 1/2 Cabernet Sauvignon and 1/2 Merlot, it actually didn’t need much air to open pretty nicely, and was still yummy two days later, not having been opened on the 2nd day.

    Reply
  31. BargainWhine Post author

    The Château Beaulieu 2019 “Cuvée Alexandre” Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence AOP rosé is really lovely for $5: light, delicate orange, pink, red fruits, with slight viscous and chalky minerality, and hint of bitter herbs on the finish.

    Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        I don’t have a clear preference. They’re different, with the Brancato more fruited and the Beaulieu more delicate. The Brancato is maybe better now and the Beaulieu would be better in hotter weather?

        Reply
  32. Seedboy

    Consentido Monastrell Barrica 2017, $6 or so, Richmond. This wine is made from Mourvedre and really tastes like it. Here is a Cellartracker review that describes it better than I could:
    Colour: dark plum
    Nose: black plum, blackberry jam, dried plum leather. Black cherry. Mulberry. Liquorice. Sweet spice. Cloves? Dark, brooding.
    Palate: plum, blackberry jam, mulberry. Black cherry. Fruit leather. Dark, brooding. Sweet spice. Cloves? Really lithe, fresh, berry like acidity; firm, fine grained, slightly drying tannins. Full bodied, 14% alcohol. Seal: technical cork.

    I might just buy two or three of these and lose them for a few years.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Thanks, Seedboy. I had been intrigued by a 100% Monastrell (Mourvèdre), but was wary of the silly label. From Yecla DO, Spain.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        I opened one of these last night and I agree it’s pretty tasty, with a couple quibbles. First, there were darker purple, more tangy, spicy flavors than I think of Monastrell (Mourvèdre) as having. I was pretty sure it must be a blend, but the bodegaspurisima.com web site says it’s 100% Monastrell. Honestly, the (also currently available) Caracol Serrano (sp?) a blend that is ~55% Monastrell, tastes more like I think the variety “should.” Second, I really wish they’d used better oak, but it’s all right when fully aired after a few hours.

        Reply
    2. 5-StarBar

      That sounds right up my alley. Thanks for the tip. I’ll pick some up when I see it. Hopefully at SF / Geary. There’s a Jumilla D.O. floating around these days but it tasted like it had sugar added frankly. Not my cup of tea.

      Reply
  33. bretrooks

    This week’s big purchase was a case of 2018 Il Poggione Brancato Rosé for $4.99/bottle. I hadn’t had this before, but went big based on recommendations from tasters I trust and opened a bottle (for science) while starting dinner. This is salmon-colored in the glass and has a bit of weight on the palate, with ripe orange/citrus and fresh berry notes. It seems maybe just off-dry up front, but it finishes with some zesty, refreshing acidity. Happy with this purchase.

    Reply
      1. Seedboy

        This is a great wine. It is made by a respected maker of Brunello, from young vines intended to, someday, go into the Brunello. It has more tannin that most rose wines, great fruit, balancing acid, and it evolved as the evening went on. I have bought more.

        I went to the Napa store again this morning and it has the 2016 Foley Johnson Rutherford Estate Sauvignon Blanc for $6.99. I will report. The handmade Cab was gone.

        Reply
        1. Seedboy

          The Foley Johnson SB is a lovely wine. Good body, lots of citrus and melon flavors and just a bit of that flavor I associate with NZ SB. I think this wine will age well, too. I will buy more if I find it.

          Reply
          1. Doon

            Agree with both your evaluations here. Brancato has deeper fruit than most Rose, it stood up well to linguini with Basil pesto. Solid buy, as is the Foley SB, $8 @ Redwood City, the NZ flavor you mention I would describe as piquant. Had with oak grilled calamari over baby greens with vinaigrette. Perfect fit.
            Also agree with BW RE: Beaulieu Rose, lighter, good mineralogy, warm weather quaffer, will rebuy all 3 wines.

            Reply
  34. BargainWhine Post author

    Tonight, I opened the Ant Moore 2018 Pinot Noir, Estate Series, Marlborough, New Zealand, $5. The body is on the lighter side, even for Pinot, but to me it’s satisfying for the price. With a couple hours of air, it tasted of earthy, tangy, darker red cherry, pomegranate, orange, slight root beer, stemmy finish. Not sure it’s really as complex as that makes it sound, but it was good with chicken and mushrooms.

    Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        At least at the Richmond store, it arrived on Monday, a couple days ago now, along with the Ant Moore Sauvignon Blanc for $6.

        Also, the saved bottle of the Pinot Noir was pretty good, darker and riper, but not quite as smooth as on the first day.

        Reply
  35. bretrooks

    Picked up a couple bottles of 2018 Forte do Cego by Quinta de S. Sebastiao and opened one over the weekend. Syrah, Castelão, and Touriga Nacional. Red-fruited with good balance and energy. Maybe not terrifically complex, but based on our first bottle, this is a great little weeknight red for near-term drinking.

    The 2016 Terlato “Lieu-Dit Malakoff” Shiraz is pretty much just as BargainWhine described it on 12/25 – rich and ripe and decent for $12, if not particularly complex or elegant.

    Following the syrah theme, I also bought a few bottles of the 2005 Hedges Bel’Villa and have opened one thus far. It’s definitely on the light/elegant side for syrah, and the fruit has largely dried out, but there are some interesting savory notes that have developed. It’s not exactly over the hill, but we’ll be drinking the others soon, and definitely with food.

    Reply
  36. Seedboy

    Foley Johnson Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon Handmade, unfined and unfiltered, 2015, $19.99 at the Napa store. Have not seen this elsewhere. This is a big time Napa cabernet in a drink me now style: tannins are fine, good fruit, enough acidity to give it some structure. I usually hold Cabernet a few years but this one is satisfying right now. This is the sort of bottle you can proudly serve at any table.

    Reply
    1. 5-StarBar

      The 2015 Foley Johnson Cab was in stores in San Francisco for a time a number of months ago but has been sold out here for a while now. I have a few bottles bunkered for the future. I agree, it is a very nice cab for the money. Highly recommended.

      Reply
      1. mereimage

        I don’t recall the previous Foley Johnson Cabs being the Handmade… these are the best wines Foley Johnson makes and one of the last vintages from iconic winemaker Brad Warner. I would love to get my “hands” on several of these!!

        Reply
  37. BargainWhine Post author

    Tried the “Haute Couture” “French Bubbles” Blanc, dry French sparkling wine, 11% ABV, $10. The bottle is dark with gold printing on it that looks like a fishnet stocking. It has plenty of tasty flavor — yellow apple, ripe lemon, yeast, something like bread crust or wood, finishing with zingy lemony acid — and plenty of carbonation. Myself, I wish the carbonation were more fine, the body more textured, and maybe the flavors a little more subtle.

    Reply
  38. BargainWhine Post author

    Sampled the Cavaliere D’Oro 2016 Toscana (IGT, I presume) to go with pizza lunch yesterday. To me, it tasted like Cabernet up front, backed up with more structured Sangiovese. I would not have guessed these two grapes would blend well, but the red cherry flavors of the two grapes, and later with more air, the purple cherry of Cabernet and the purple grape flavor of Sangiovese, complemented each other well. Airs pretty quickly for easy, tasty drinking.

    On this label, there have also been a Prosecco; a Pinot Grigio from Veneto, I think; and a Primitivo from southern Italy. This Toscana is the only one I’ve tried, although a number of customers have praised the Primitivo.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      Cabernet acreage is increasing in Tuscany. Some of it is bottled as itself, or as a Bordeaux-style blend, but blending it with Sangiovese is actually quite common, at many price points. Antinori’s Tignanello, for instance, is a blend of mostly Sangiovese with Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc. It is even allowed as part of the blend in Chianti. 20 years ago there was a huge scandal in Montalcino involving the secret blending of Cabernet and Merlot into wines sold as Brunello, which by law must be 100% Sangiovese Grosso.

      Reply
  39. BargainWhine Post author

    Also, the Handpicked 2018 Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand, $7, is quite good, with flavors of gooseberry, yellow apple, lime, white pepper, with a chalky finish. More full, fruity, smooth than most NZ SB, but still with plenty of good acid.

    Reply
  40. Seedboy

    Handpicked Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Richmond, $5.99 I think. This is a drink me now screwcap Cab. Very easy drinking, I think it might have a bit of sugar. Inoffensive but not my cup of tea.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hmmm… This doesn’t match what I recall of tasting it. I found it dry, decently structured, nicely complex, but, yes, ready to drink. However, this was just at a tasting; I may have to open a whole bottle at home.

      Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          I agree. IMO, the Hedges 2017 “Le Merlot” $8 is subtly complex, elegantly structured, young-tasting but drinkable now. I suspect I would prefer it aged another year or two.

          Reply
          1. BargainWhine Post author

            Seedboy wrote elsewhere:

            Over the second and third day the Le Merlot held up nicely without either improving or deteriorating. I agree with BW this wine will be better in a year or two, and, I might add, better after it has settled down from transit.

            Reply
    2. BargainWhine Post author

      I opened another bottle of the Handpicked 2013 Margaret River Cabernet and it presented quite differently from the first one. Instead of being somewhat densely structured and reluctant to give up its fruit, this was smooth and fruity from the start. However, it was at first a little raisiny and slightly too old-tasting, but it improved a lot with ~2 hours’ air, showing darker purple plum, supple ripe blackberry, blueberry / dark blackcurrant, slight dark chocolate. Perhaps there is a small amount of residual sugar, but to my taste it is still more dry than most CA wines that GO gets, and it does finish with a good tang of acid. In said finish, I sometimes detect a slight “spoiled” character so, while it’s delicious now, drink it soon.

      Reply
  41. RB

    A trio of slightly mysterious wines showed up at the Olympia store. All 3 are Cabs labeled as Precept wines, but with no winery designated. They are very plain looking bottles, with a Precept logo, the vineyard and vintage, AVA and info about when the vineyard was planted. They are:
    2012 Waterbrook Estate Vineyard (Walla Walla)
    2012 Canyon Vineyard Ranch (Yakima Valley)
    2013 Canoe Ridge Vineyard (Horse Heaven Hills)

    All are $9 with a supposed MSRP of $20. I’m intrigued, but not enough to drop that much.

    Reply
  42. Seedboy

    The Oakland store’s daily email says it has Hedges Syrah, no mention of vintage, for $15. None on the shelf, but they do have Civita 2008 and 2011.

    Reply
      1. 5-Star Bar

        Eric, When you say Richmond do you mean the store on San Pablo in the city of Richmond or the store in the Richmond District in SF?

        Reply
          1. Seedboy

            I tried out a bottle of the Hedges. This is a lovely cool-climate syrah, in lovely shape, cork fully intact. I will pick up a couple more.

            Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Opened a bottle of the 2005 tonight, and it’s an excellent Syrah for those who like subtlety and elegance, not so much for those who want a full, heavy, high-alcohol wine. (This is 12.4% ABV.) Mine needed about 3 or 3.5 hours to fully air, but this is quite soon after it arrived at the store, so if you let it sit at home for a couple weeks, it will likely need less time, and it’s delicious as it airs, too.

      Reply
      1. BargainWhine Post author

        Tonight, the saved bottle of the Hedges 2005 Syrah has all the flavors it did before, but is much more forward and less delicate / elegant than it was on the first night. Still pretty tasty, but I preferred it on the first night. If you have any, I’d guess it’s better to drink them soon.

        Reply
  43. BargainWhine Post author

    Tonight I opened the Chapoutier – Terlato 2016 “Lieu-Dit Malakoff” Shiraz from Australia ($12, 14.5% ABV). Compared to the 2014 bottling, this is more ripe and full, with darker flavors of plum, cherry, boysenberry, spiced black earth, but for my taste, preferring complexity and elegance, it is a less interesting wine.

    Reply
    1. 5-StarBar

      I really enjoyed this and think that this is a superb value at $12. Very reminiscent of the few Northern Rhones I’ve had, in particular a Louis Bernard Gigondas from way back in the very early 2000s. Light bodied but quite elegant, with a distinct white pepper note in the finish. Also similar to a 1998 Rosemount Balmoral Syrah I quite enjoyed. Bought 4 bottles to savor in the future at the SF/Richmond Geary Blvd store. Compared to the wines available at Safeway, Andronicos, Bev Mo, Total Wine, or even Trader Joe’s it’s really a no brainer.

      Reply
        1. 5-StarBar

          Oops, my bad! I stand corrected. As I say I have very limited experience with Rhone wines, Northern or Southern. Several producers of Côtes du Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Chateauneuf du Pape, Hermitage, and that sole Gigondas. Many years ago I had the good fortune to pick up a bottle of the M. Chapoutier De L’Orée Ermitage Blanc for a song. I have never forgotten that wine. Absolutely amazing. I must have confused one of the Hermitages I’ve enjoyed with the Gigondas…

          Reply
  44. BargainWhine Post author

    Manzanita Cellars 2017 Zinfandel, 72% Sonoma County, 28% Mendocino County, 15.5% ABV, $8, first completely synthetic cork I’ve seen in a while.
    First day: Plummy dark cherry, briary flavors (red and black raspberry to boysenberry to blackberry), raisin, vanilla, medium rich and velvety smooth. Flavor-wise, it struck me as almost more like Cabernet than Zinfandel, not that this is necessarily a bad thing. Even when “fully aired,” I thought it still had a small amount of rough acid, indicating it was still a little young.
    Second day: It didn’t take too long to fill out and become really rich and thick, but still pretty dry, flavors similar to the first day but if anything more complex. While airing, it has a little of the sort of oak I dislike, but when fully aired, I didn’t mind it at all.

    Reply
  45. BargainWhine Post author

    Not a new wine here, but tonight I opened a Trenel 2015 Beaujolais Villages ($5) and an Arienzo de Marques de Riscal 2012 Crianza Rioja ($4). I put away ~half of each in screwcap bottles, and started with a blend of ~1/3 Beaujolais, 2/3 Crianza. This didn’t quite do it, so I added a little more Beaujolais, and it was pretty good. Since it seemed close enough to a 50 – 50 blend, I just poured the rest of the bottles together, and I thought it was delicious. At first, it seemed sort of Chianti-like, but as it aired, it was definitely not like Chianti. IMO, it tastes like its component wines but still makes a tasty, seamless blend.

    Reply
  46. Jimmie

    E..sacramento GO Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills 2015 Red Blend.Les Chevaux. I will spare the verbiage. Ready to drink today. 6.99.I wish the winemaker Happy New year. Paired it with short ribs. Happy meal indeed.

    Reply
  47. Seedboy

    I visited the new San Rafael store today. Big store, roomy. Large, boring wine section. I also visited Petaluma, which still has the 2013 Falernia Pinot, which is a screaming deal at $5. I have noticed that the empty bottles have cloudy interiors, suggesting this wine was not fined or filtered, or at least was very gently.

    Reply
  48. Stylingyogini

    Chiming in from Santa Barbara on Sterling vintners Collection Pinot Noir 2015 $5.99
    Outstanding! Can I be more specific….
    Forward strawberry essence, full mouth feel, lovely linger.

    Reply
  49. BargainWhine Post author

    For you winter rosé drinkers, the Mirabeau 2019 “Classic” Côtes du Provence is terrific for $4. It’s a little on the fruitier side for Provence rosé, very smooth, and delicious, with a slight touch of minerality in the finish.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s