Guest Contributions

Please use this page to post your tasting notes of Grocery Outlet wines that have not (yet?) been reviewed on the main page, and comments thereon.  If it’s easy to do so, please include in some order the wine’s year, name, producer, varietal(s), wine region, price and the GO store where you bought it.

Please add your notes for wines that have been reviewed on the main page to comments under that review.  You can search main page reviews using the box in the upper right corner.  Note that comments in this blog are not included when you use this search box.  To find everything in reader reviews and other comments, please add “site:grossoutwine.wordpress.com” to your DuckDuckGo.com search.

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1,927 thoughts on “Guest Contributions

  1. thriftyjuice

    2017 Red Blend Portugal by Casa Santos Lima
    $4.99 at Richmond GO. When first opened this shows
    youthful, grape flavors. After being open/decanted for 1-
    1 1/2 hours dark blackberry flavors come to the forefront
    finishing with acid & fine tannins. Nice long finish. Do not
    attempt drinking right after opening.

    Reply
  2. ThriftyJuice

    2015 La Follette Chardonnnay North Coast $7.99 at Richmond GO. Fruit from Haiku Vineyard in Mendocino County & Larson Vineyard in Sonoma Carneros. Flavors of lime zest & pear combine with a mineral component. One of my favorite chardonnays from GO. No heavy oak/vanilla/toast flavors, just a fruit & mineral driven wine. I’ve also enjoyed Whitman Express “The Conductor”
    purchased at Richmond GO for $5.99. I don’t remember the year. It’s a red blend but the grapes
    are not identified. I would guess that it’s a field blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah & Carignan. Nice
    full flavors, not too fruity but with fine tannins. A good example of what I would call a very good
    house wine. Good to serve unexpected guests, and for casual dinners at home.

    Reply
    1. Zoel

      Agree, the LaFollette Chard is a no-brainer. Greg L sold the brand a couple of years ago, but the quality has remained solid. Also – lots of the Cuvaison Chard at $10, also worth the tarriff.

      Reply
  3. Zoel

    ‘13 White Oak Zin – Alexander Valley – $10 Had high hopes for this bottle, just in at the Rohnert Park GO. Good sourcing, decent reviews of past vintages. This one – meh. A tad hot and touch pruney, as happens in this region when the winemaker goes for extraction. Decent wine, but out of balance vs competitors. See Ridge for lessons in this vein. Pass…

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Zoel. I’m likely confused here, but is this the same White Oak that had a very good 2013 Russian River Pinot Noir in the last six months?

      Reply
  4. ThriftyJuice

    I would like to participate in the gross out blog. I’ve been a customer of the old Berkeley
    Grocery Outlet wines for about 15 years & now do most of my wine shopping at the
    Richmond Grocery Outlet. I just tasted a bottle of Experience Napa Valley Red Wine
    2012 purchased at the Richmond Grocery Outlet. 62% Zinfandel, 18% Cabernet
    Sauvignon, 15% Petite Sirah, 5% Merlot. A fruit-forward blend which seems to taste
    of a larger Cabernet Sauv. influence. The flavors come together nicely after being
    open an hour showing ripe raspberry/blackberry.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      Welcome aboard. Berkeley was my go to store until it closed, now I split between Richmond and Oakland. Today however I went to Petaluma and Santa Rosa and bought a bottle of the Experience pinot noir, will try it soon and report.

      Reply
  5. flitcraft

    Domaine Terlato and Chapoutier, Lieu-Dit Malakoff Shiraz, Pyrenees Australia, 2013. 14% ABV. 19.99
    I’ve seen none of the interesting wines that you folks in California are finding, so despite the price, I bit on this one for a Valentine’s Day dinner. Dark, inky in the glass, and fairly impenetrable once tasted. Tough tannins obscure the fruit, of which black currant is the only sort I could claim to recognize. I suspect that there may well be a lovely, complex wine awaiting the kiss of time to bring it to life. But at that price point, I’m not inclined to buy another bottle to stash away to find out.
    ,

    Reply
  6. zoel

    Grabbed two new reds from the Napa store….
    1) ’16 RockWall Contra Costa County Petite Sirah $10 – very solid wine, as one expects from RockWall. Big and brawny, a zin-lover’s PS, with plenty of fruit and decent structure. That said, it mellowed down quite a bit over the course of the night, so methinks many years ahead for the patient. At $10, it is a repeat buy, I’d rate it 89-90.

    2) ’13 Pope Valley Winery Napa Estate Reserve $24 – lovely bottle, clearly targeted at the $60-$80 range or higher, limited but decent reviews. Upon opening, found the bouquet reticent despite double-decanting. Nothing wrong with the Cab…but little to brag about, either. A “meh” wine, so the (extreme for GO) pricepoint isn’t justified. Score 82-83.

    Z

    Reply
    1. bikdave

      Completely agree with your assessment of the Pope Valley Cab. Got it last week at Pleasant Hill Store. Looked pricey, but as you said, hard to find reviews. Drank it and agree it’s not worth the $ even at $24. Definitely a pass IMHO

      Reply
    2. Zoel

      Update on the Rockwall – 3 nights later after sitting on the counter – wowsir! She’s the bright fruit and edgy tannins, now a deep smooth operator. Tells me this will age very well, and worth the patience. Score elevated to 92-93 range

      Reply
  7. Eugene

    Not usually a Zinfandel fan, but two recent finds have been interesting: 2010 Harvest Moon Russian River Valley Zin 14.5% and 2014 Benison Dry Creek Valley Zin 14.1%. Both $9 (“elsewhere” in the mid-$30s), small lots have shown shown up in Oregon stores in Florence, Newport, and Springfield. Have any Zinfandel fans tried either, and what did you think of them?

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      I thought the Benison Dry Creek Zin was very good, nicely structured for a Zin and complex. I haven’t seen it here in N. CA for about 4 months now. I haven’t tried the others.

      Reply
  8. Rob

    So I’ve been checking this site and thought I would post on a few of the best GO wines out there and a few of my favorites from the past year. My buying strategy is to search for vineyards I know that do great stuff. The best wines come from the best vineyards. A lot of the best offerings are from small wineries that have folded who tried to reach for the stars by sourcing top notch fruit. The wines are usually great but the owner/winemaker didn’t know how to market them.

    Current:
    Carucci Roussane/Viognier blend: available at Santa Rosa GO store for 4.99. Great vineyard source–I’m guessing the Viognier portion comes from Sanford and Benedict in Santa Rita Hills. A lean high acid style.

    Laurent Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard: 19.99 Santa Rosa.
    This has been there forever. The price is high, but you have to spend at least double that for other bottlings and I doubt any of them show up in GO anytime soon. Ritchie vineyard chardonnay is sold to producers like Kosta Browne, Aubert, Arista and Ramey.

    Von Holt Chardonnay Heintz vineyard, Pinot Suacci Vineyard: 9.99 Pacifica.
    I’m not sure how much of this is out there, but its another blue blood chardonnay vineyard like Ritchie. Sell fruit to Littorai, Williams Selyem, Dumol (isobel chardonnay). Solid stuff. Suacci is a solid pinot south of sebastopol. Was sad to see this at GO because I am familiar with the winery, but its a tough business. If anyone knows of a location where this stuff still is buy some and tell me where you found it!

    My favorite from this past year:

    Overland grenache and argonaut (syrah/grenache) 2014. 9.99 (available Summer-Fall 2018)
    This label sources kick ranch fruit and was owned by the vineyard owner. Both bottlings are great. Kick Ranch sells syrah to Paul Hobbs and rhone varietes to Behrens Family in Napa.

    Merriman Estate Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard 2014 5.99 (available Fall 2018)
    Great willamette valley pinot for super cheap. Label/vineyard acquired by private equity firm in 2016, so I’m guessing they just folded the label. They have sold fruit in the past to Owen Roe. I have no idea what happened to this vineyard after the purchase.

    Lost Canyon Ruxton Chardonnay, Morelli Lane Pinot, Whitton Pinot 7.99 (available Spring 2018)
    All three wines are great. Ruxton chard is lean and just West of Green Valley in RRV. Adjacent to Treehouse/Bootleggers vineyard owned by Cirq/Kosta. Amazing growing area there. Morelli is from the same area–Big juicy pinot, larger tannin structure. Dumol also sources from morelli lane. All vineyards are Dutton owned, so Dutton Goldfield does a morelli pinot for like 60 bucks. Morelli also sells to Dumol. Whitton is further NE in Green Valley and was much more the leaner fruity delicate style. These wines were among my favorite GO all time.

    Acacia single vineyard pinots (Spring 2019) 2013? 11.99?
    I grabbed a bunch of the lone tree hill at SR because that was all that was left when i got there. Was a bit high toned, but solid stuff.

    Anyway, was a bit bummed when this site died down and was hoping someone would fill the void. Hope 2019 is a great year at GO!

    Reply
    1. zoel

      Rob – where has this clear voice been? Great post and really appreciate the detail. And I can’t agree more on your directional choices – I too agree that the best of GO vino comes from prime vineyards and good winemaking. As for your past successes, totally agree on the Acacia (why didn’t I buy more of the Pinots & Chards? Even the Kick Ranch Syrah is awesome); the Carucci, and the Overland (Argonaut has been my fav); somewhat disagree on the Laurent – I found my bottle a bit overblown, as can happen with Chard and such good fruit…there is an art to balancing such rich juice as Ritchie. Didn’t get any of the Lost Canyon or Merriman or Von Holt, but will keep my eyes peeled.
      BTW – you speak with insider insight – are you in the trade?

      Reply
    2. Seedboy

      I’m glad to hear from you. Seems you and I have a similar approach but I’ve not bought all of the wines you list, in particular the Chardonnays for more than $10. That said I have been tempted by the Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay, that is quite a prestigious vineyard. I believe I saw that wine not long ago at the Pleasant Hill store, and saw both of the Von Holts at the Alameda store back in December (I’ve not been there recently though). Those Acacia pinots were a great deal, recently had the 2013 Reserve at Bouchon, it was quite popular at the table. You probably would have loved the Rutz library sale of a few years ago, including magnums of Dutton Ranch pinot for $6.99.

      Reply
    3. GOWineLover

      Thanks, Rob! For my part, I’m drinking much less than I used to and have a small child taking up most of my after work time. I’m looking to get some things added but have to admit there’s not that much that is compelling here in the San Diego region. Thanks for your addition!

      Reply
  9. zoel

    The Horror…the Horror…
    Had a first for GO vino tonight. I pulled one of the RD 2014 Napa Cab Reserves, which I had bought last month in SRosa. My initial take on this wine from an earlier bottle was positive – quality Napa fruit and decently made with quality wood. Not a $120 steal, but a solid $20 buy. After opening and decanting, I sat down to dinner and tasted…very odd…it tasted almost like water. Ridiculously thin – was this watered down cab? Wife confirmed. Just an off bottle? Bizarre. I put a cork back in (to return) and pulled a second bottle. SAME THING! No kidding…I was dumbfounded. So, I pulled my remaining third bottle. You guessed it…totally watered down cab again. When I’m talking “watered-down”, I’m talking perhaps 10:1 ratio. No nose. No cab flavor. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark…

    I will return to SRosa, and hopefully get no hassle on these. Shocking – but I can see how the buyer, just like I did with my first bottle, thought the wine respectable. This was a first for a GO purchase – sure, we can get a corked bottle once and a while…but this is theft and deception. GO should pull all remaining bottles or put out a caveat.

    Full disclosure – I’m not a rank amateur taster…I’ve been in the wine industry for 9 years, a geek/collector for 30 years, and a level 1 somm. This is watered-down wine…without any doubt. Should be an interesting dialogue with the store manager tomorrow.

    BTW – the RD Syrah has been pretty consistent and solid…go figure.

    Reply
    1. Darrell

      I’m waiting to return my 2011 RD Merlot “77” which I don’t normally do, but at $20 a bottle, I will return swill. The couple of CS I’ve had were OK went down well as a red, but not a $20 wine to me because of too much oak. Some of the CS and Merlot were the proprietor’s “favorite picks” at the SF and RC stores. This stuff is everywhere and personally, I recommend against them for $20.

      Reply
        1. zoel

          Update – SRosa took back the bad Cab without any concern…opened up a replacement bottle and it was great! Dang – something is “rotten in the state of Denmark”, but that probably explains the markdowns and closeout.

          Reply
  10. Darrell

    Traveled to the San Mateo Peninsula and visited the Palo Alto and Redwood City stores and saw a half bottle of 2015 Frenzy SB from NZ South Island. Palo Alto hadn’t opened their boxes yet, but RC did and found it to be $2.99 for the half bottle. I have had good luck with NZ’s SB’s and
    this one was my first disappointment. I can take the bell peppery pyrazine from them and the asparagus type, but this was a little much. There was grapefruit in the nose, but the overriding aroma was something reminding me of a volatile mercaptan, not a pleasant mercaptan since one of the characteristic compounds of SB’s is a mercaptan. Tried due to importer, Wilson Daniels. Bought a Côtes du Rhône rosé. I never buy rosé but I thought I would try it because it was a Chapoutier wine and had hopes for it. The label says Belleruche rose cotes du rhone 2016 and I paid $2.99 in Palo Alto while in RC it was $3.99. It had a minerally nose with minimal fruit. The flavors were rather spare for me, being thin and very dry with a coarseness at the back of the tongue. I admit being a novice when drinking rosé, but I guess for $2.99 there is no complaint. The price at wine.com is $12.99.

    Reply
      1. Darrell

        Zoel, thanks and quite welcome. I would contribute more if I lived closer to the East Bay or your haunts in the North Bay. It’s even harder to visit the San Mateo Peninsula, but when I do, I visit Palo Alto and Redwood City. I was on the lookout for the 2010 Chateau Carcanieux which I couldn’t find on the peninsula, North Bay or SF.

        Reply
  11. Darrell

    Tried a bottle of the RD 2010 Syrah “99” , $10/btl. and it was similar to the 2014 “99” Syrah, just a bit more muted in the nose. Wood is predominate in the nose and flavor. This bottle was cellared and bottled by.

    Reply
  12. Darrell

    Picked up a couple of Chardonnays while investigating the RD reds in the North Bay, a Graham Beck 2015 Game Reserve Chardonnay for $6 and a 2016 Last Chance, Russian River Valley Chard. for $7. Graham Beck is a South African winery that seems to be specializing in sparkling
    wine that I have experienced from a non-GO store. I tried a GB Chard from a Sacto area GO a couple of years ago and liked it. So this 2015 Game Reserve piqued my interest. I liked their Chards because of the white Burgundy bâtonnage treatment of their Chards. This has the same character that I found in the first GB Chard I tried although not quite as strong due to a portion being cold fermented in stainless steel tanks. There is fruit and wood as well as the lees aging nose. The mouth is med. body and acid with ample fruit and minimal wood. Would have preferred a lighter wine to go with oysters. The same could be said about the Last Chance as it too was med. in body. It’s nose was citrusy/ lemon curd with light vanillin, I think, from the oak. In the mouth there is ample acidity with a weighty entry. Both are better with richer dishes instead of the mollusc on the half-shell like I had.

    Reply
    1. zoel

      D – I’ll second the “Last Chance Chard” review, I had a similar viewpoint and thought it represented a decent value. Pretty classic Russian River Chard for the money…I still like the Bouchaine’14 better, but it was $8 and is long gone from most stores. Graham Beck sounds lnteresting – it is a larger winery, with a good rep.

      Reply
  13. Seedboy

    Couple of new wines from Pech Merle today at Oakland. Rivino Vineyard Syrah Rose Mendocino County,2017 $4.99 is a quality wine, dry, good acidity, nice strawberry and maybe cantelope fruit. 2017 Ioasa Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Lake County also $4.99, this is a rich wine with grapefruit and melon and maybe just a bit of red currant. These are both quality wines, finished by screwcap.

    Reply
    1. chilledphill

      The Peche Merle Lake County SB is a keeper! Respected Sonoma County producer who must be buying grapes from Lake County districts. Tried it, and found it very full bodied, with little of that sometimes annoying “newly cut hay” bouquet, and flavors of Meyer lemon and peach. Normally a $19 wine. Bought two cases. Nice!

      Reply
  14. Darrell

    Bought and tried a 2013 Iris Sonoma Coast PN, $7 and don’t recommend at all. There is the beginning of VA and will return which I don’t usually do.

    Reply
      1. Happybaker

        Seedboy – good to hear about a new tasty white. Is it this wine?
        https://www.backroomwines.com/the-foundry-anarchist-white-blend-2015.html

        Especially happy to hear about it as I just bought a few new 3.99 cheapies to try and so far, 3 out of the 4 have been MEH.
        Popcorn Chardonnay – 2015. Nope.
        Sunchelle Chardonnay, 2015. Nope.
        The non vintage/non bin version of Lindemen’s chardonnay – not horrible but not a rebuy. 2.99 versus the normal 3.99 for the bin version.
        Tonight is one last newbie “Cascade Ridge.” I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

        Reply
          1. Happybaker

            Kind Sir (aka Seedboy),

            Thanks for the info. I’m still going to look for the Foundry wine as SoCal seems to be slow on the uptake on certain wines so maybe I have a shot : p

            And I did extra planning today as I could not easily get to a GO but still needed white wine, was able to nab the hubsters favorite cheap supermarket white and what did he want instead? The last dregs of the last bottle of a $3.99 Braveheart Chardonnay from GO.

            Oh Grocery Outlet, how you spoil us…!

            Reply
            1. Seedboy

              Keep an eye out for the Terres Secretes white Burgundies that I’ve seen in the Richmond store. $5.99 for two different Macon wines that are vary nicely made, lean and minerally, no detectable oak

  15. philinoakland

    Not wine (no sh!t Sherlock) but this is just wonderful. Rich creamy and silky smooth top class chocolate taste – Vermeer Dutch Chocolate Cream: $4.99 at the Oakland store.

    Reply
      1. philinoakland

        I hope you found it.

        Incidentally, that Vermeer painting was at the de Young Museum several years ago and I had the pleasure of seeing it in all its glory. Very beautiful, and I have the fridge magnet to prove it !!!

        Reply
  16. Darrell

    I bought a 2006 Bodega del Fin del Mundo, Special Blend, Reserva from Neuquen, Patagonia years ago and had to search several stores to find some. I try a bottle now and then to see how it’s aging. The cepage is 40% CS, 40% Malbec with 20% Merlot. The wine hasn’t changed much. It is still a big wine with dense pigments showing in the legs coating the side of the glass. To my chagrin, there never was any hint of any form of pyrazines, but rather wood and red wine fruitiness. Then one amazing thing about the bottle was the quality of the cork. There was barely a 1/16 inch of wine stain. I hope some of the Grossout readers have some.

    Reply
  17. jimvan49

    For those who still may have a bottle of the 2014 La Croix St Vincent Bordeaux Rouge, I’ll just say that is is drinking quite well right now after about an hour in the decanter. Lighter weight, lovely Bordelaise fruit, a tinge of herbs, and a very well made wine should greet you. Went well with dinner (eggplant parmigiana, Lydia Bastianich recipe). Enjoy if you have any.

    Reply
  18. Seedboy

    De Chastenay Cremant de Bourgogne, NV Brut. I think this was $6.99. Nice clean flavors, moderate amount of small bubbles, some mineral and slightly on the sweet side of brut. If I were having a big party next week I’d serve a mess of this. It was really good with sushi and sashimi.

    Reply
      1. Seedboy

        Richmond is the only place I have seen it. I was in there yesterday and the guy ahead of me paid $1100 for various Esterlina wines. I’ve not tasted any of them. A friend bought the Cab, $14.99, and says it it would be a good deal at half the price.

        Reply
        1. seedboy

          If anyone out there is looking for the Carne Humana red, Richmond got some more of it. If you like big reds this is a good example.

          Reply
  19. seedboy

    Richmond store has Madrigal Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 for $14.99. Day one, this is one of those overripe Napa cabs that has plenty of black fruit but lacks varietal character. I will finish the bottle tonight but it will not be a repeat purchase.

    Reply

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