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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1,864 thoughts on “Guest Contributions

  1. Seedboy

    American Thread Pinot Noir Monterey County 2015, Oakland, 5-16, $3.99. Screwcap. Varietally correct but thin pinot noir, a bit bitter on the finish from stems I think. You could do worse. At this price it might be a nice warm weather wine if you chill it down a bit.

    Reply
  2. Sebastian

    I’m happy to report that I finally found a good value Italian red at the Oakland store. They’ve had many over the last several months, but the 2015 Nobilissisma Chianti (I think it was $4.99) was the best I’ve had in a while. It’s lighter-bodied compared to other chiantis, but it had much more complexity than most, with well balanced oak, tannins. I didn’t even decant it and still found it pretty good on the first night.

    Reply
  3. Seedboy

    Balverne Estate Red 2012, Richmond, $14.99. I think I bought this during the sale. It is the only one of the Balverne wines that I have tasted. I’d be pleased if I could get this kitchen sink blend for maybe $5. Easy to drink, low acid, not too much wood. I think Richmond still has some of this but it is not worth the price.

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    1. Doug Green

      Thanks for this note, Seedboy. I was wondering about this wine during the sale, but I passed, just because I have all the Cabernet blends I need and nowadays I am not buying anything that costs double digits. But it is disappointing to hear, as this wine comes from one of the most highly regarded cabernet vineyard sites in all of Sonoma county (which was the only reason I was thinking about it).

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      1. Zoel

        Whoa…lots of conflicting views on this wine. I had several bottles, and was quite pleased, as were other guests. It isn’t the deepest Chalk Hill vino out there, but it is competently made. Needs air time – as I recall, far better 2-3 hours in, and great the following day. At $14, not a raging re-buy – but that’s with my GO rose-colored glasses on. It will smother most $15 cab-based blends out there on the retail shelf. So I suggest that you pick up a bottle and give it a try (with plenty of air time prior). Just had their Reserve Chard again ($10), that’s a real winner as well.

        Reply
        1. Expat

          I have a different take than Seedboy, who I’m usually in lock-step with. I thought this was a sophisticated, balanced wine and bought 6 to 8 bottles during the sale. I think I made notes in What’s New during the sale.

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      2. seedboy

        I actually do not think of Chalk Hill as a Cabernet source at all. I think of it primarily as a good location for growing Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

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        1. Zoel

          Seedboy…methinks the discounting Cab from the Chalk Hill AVA is a mistake…plenty of fine juice coming from that area…Lancaster (pre-Foley days), Verite, Chalk Hill itself – all have made some superb and very age-worthy bottles. I find the Chalk Hill area to be a lot like most of the greater Alexander Valley – very dependent on attitude, micro-climates, and soil variation – to determine what will thrive in each location. The reality is that the Chardonnays are more consistently solid – but don’t discount the hidden gems.

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  4. Darrell

    While at the Oceanside GO, I picked up an $8 bottle of 2014 Hermanos CS from the Valles Calchaquies, Salta Province in Argentina, high in the Andes at anywhere from 5800 to 7300 ft. These cabernet grapes are growing at roughly Lake Tahoe elevation and higher, but at the 26° S latitude. Have had mostly Malbec from Argentina and this might be my first Argentinian Cab and it doesn’t disappoint. The nose is slightly herbaceous with no bell pepper and just a slight hint of wood. Not tannic at all and easy to drink. My only gripe is the plasticized cork.

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      I have tasted this wine and have similar notes. I think it cost less at the Richmond store, which has a healthy quantity of it right now.

      Reply
  5. flitcraft

    Canoe Ridge 2007 Block 13 Reserve Merlot, unsure of price or exactly when and where acquired

    We’ve been trying to track down and consume bottles that have graced our cellar for a long while, and in the interests of that project, I came across this one. Yowser, was it ever good! Still very dark in color, with light bricking on the rim. Tannins still pronounced, fruit still present and accounted for; for a 11-ish year old wine, it was in terrific condition. When my husband tasted it, he sat up straight and said, “This must be from before you started buying wines at Grocery Outlet!” Nope, it is definitely a Grossout denizen…If you are lucky enough to have this one in your cellar, I think it will last a while longer, but I cannot see that it will drink any better than it does now. A lovely example of an aged Washington Merlot. Sure wish I had a few more…

    Reply
    1. lim13

      Just read your post, FC and after a search, I’ve managed to confuse myself. I have a review of the 2006 version of this wine on the site, but no record of that vintage in my personal wine cellar program. However I do have a number of notes on the 2007 you’ve discussed above, so perhaps pre-dementia kicked in the day I reviewed the wine for GO and it was really the 2007, not the 2006?? Who knows! My notes below for the 2007 are identical to the notes I posted for the 2006 for this blog, so now I’m thinking I just screwed up the vintage. Not that odd for my old brain. Anyway, here are my personal cellar notes for the 2007…and you’ll see my opinion changed somewhat from bottle to bottle. BTW, I purchased them at Silverdale GO on 3/06/12 and 4/1/12 for $12.99…and mine are all gone.

      3/31/12 Slightly hazy medium garnet with a ruby/violet rim; very aromatic nose of lavender, Bing cherries, leather and smoke; the oak is very well integrated; very soft and smooth in texture with quite resolved tannins; drinking very nicely and likely at it’s peak, though it would probably be fine for 2-3 more years; flavors show cherry, leather, some black plum and slightly bitter black coffee; the remaining tannins assert themselves in the medium-length finish; a very flavorful Merlot with charm and finesse from a winery that established itself as a predominantly Merlot producer. A good, not great buy at GO for $13.00. If found in retail wine shops or on-line it would likely be selling for at least twice that price. 2/12/17 Hard to believe it’s been five years since I last opened a bottle; slightly clearer now, but the aromatic nose and varietal cherry and coffee flavors are still obvious and similar to my notes above; still slightly bitter from mid-palate through the finish; great acidity and “scratchy” tannins too; this Merlot has held up better than I expected, so last bottle may continue to do well for a few more years. Pretty good buy for $13.00. 11/14/17 Mostly clear deep ruby/garnet; in the nose, pretty much the same as our first bottle with lavender, smoke, leather, black coffee and dark cherries; in the mouth, it’s powerful with tannins and fruit concentration, but smooth with perfect acidity and a long finish; slightly astringent in the long finish and showing some savory green bean, bell pepper in the flavors too. Overall it’s really an excellent buy for $13 and has aged very well in the five years I’ve cellared it.

      Reply
      1. seedboy

        It sounds to me like you liked this wine more as it grew older. My recollection is that none of these made it to any of my local stores, I know I did not buy any.

        Reply
  6. flitcraft

    Comtesse Florence Cotes de Provence Rose, 2016, 12.5% ABV, $5.99

    This was among the trove of Euro-roses that arrived late this winter at GO. It’s 50/50 Grenache and Cinsault. It’s a lovely pale salmon color in the glass. A little flabby for a French rose, light in body and light in flavor. Strawberry and a hit of Ribena black currant flavor (though not color!). Kind of washed out, flavor-wise. Not one of the better roses of this season, I’m afraid.

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  7. seedboy

    Friday night 2 Brunelli were among the 8 bottles we consumed in Brunello-fest 2018, Poggio Salvi 1998 and 2004. The 1998 (bought probably 10 years ago) was an absolutely lovely wine that was in a good drinking window but if you have any you needn’t be in any hurry. The 2004, bought maybe 4 years ago, was not as good but a nice old school Brunello that might have been opened too young. Fortunately I have more. Each was decanted (but only maybe 45 min before service), poured into one glass, then into the drinking glass. I think each would have benefitted from more airing. These were not cheap, I think I paid $20 for the 2004, but absolutely worth the investment.

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    1. BeerBudget

      Boy would it be nice to get some age-worthy Brunello for under $20, stick it in the cellar and forget about it. To be honest, I haven’t had any Italian GO wines that are a must re buy.

      Reply
  8. seedboy

    Soldier of Fortune Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2014, $9.99 at Oakland. I’ve seen three different pinots from this label at the GO, also a Carneros and more recently Monterey Co. I don’t believe there has been any talk of these wines here. This is one of the worst GO wines I’ve tasted in ages. It is reductive (matchstick aroma and taste) and that does not blow off even on the second day. Beneath that there is a filthiness to it and then some flabby pinot fruit flavors. I will not be trying the other two.

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    1. Zoel

      Hi Seedboy – I had made quick mention last month about one of these PN…I was unimpressed as well, not quite to the degree you share, but certainly a no-repurchase.

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    2. Darrell

      While checking out GO stores for the sale, I found this stuff everywhere which might be an indication of the quality to expect.

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    3. Don Bevins

      I am afraid that I have to agree in regards to the Sonoma Coast bottling. How bad could a S C pinot noir be? Now I know. A nose bacon gone bad. I have had much better for 2 or 3 dollars less.

      Reply
        1. flitcraft

          Well, I did pick up the Monterey bottling during the sale. With trepidation, I’ll try it and report back shortly.

          Reply
  9. seedboy

    There was talk recently about posting reviews of GO wines from our cellars. Saturday we enjoyed a magnum of 1999 Vine Cliff Oakville Cabernet. I bought this at the Berkeley store well more than 5 years ago, for $19.99. I wish I had bought them all. An absolutely lovely Cab with good fruit and balance and some nice secondary qualities. It needed at least an hour of air.
    At the same event, 1997 Rutz Martinelli Pinot Noir. Also from magnum, I think these were $7.99. This wine has been fading for some time but I keep on finding more of these. When I opened it I announced it needed to be emptied within a half hour. If you have any of these I’d follow that rule. Fading fruit, but no signs of oxidation.

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  10. Vinogeek

    With the newer Southern California stores not yet receiving the variety of establish stores, haven’t had the opportunity to contribute. Here are a couple Bordeaux tasting notes.

    2012 Chateau Arnaucosse, Bordeaux $5.99
    46% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Cabernet Franc

    Popped and poured, the nose is full of ripe cherries, anise and a bit of raisin. On the palate, loads of delicious ripe black cherries with a touch of plum, strawberry, bitter cherry pit, plus anise and limestone. Balanced acidity and tannins. Generous amounts of charred oak throughout and into the finish. For my personal taste much more oak than preferred. Modern leaning, with still a sense of elegance, and recognizable as Bordeaux.

    Ironically, as the wine sat in glass, flavors turned a bit harsh. Preferred the freshness of the fruit at first pour.

    2015 Chateau De Reguignon, Bordeaux, Rouge/Red
    $6.99

    From initial pour, scent of cherries, and flavors of unrecognizable varietals, well, maybe a little taste of Merlot. Primary accents of sharp loquat citrus peel, moth balls, and dirty cellar floor. Kept revisiting the glass over an hour, bleh. Saw an online rave review of this wine, so take note of possible bottle variation.

    Next day tasted the leftovers in glass and was surprised to find a drinkable ripely constructed wine. Somewhat reminiscent of Bordeaux with little typicity, and with a slightly rough unfiltered-like texture. Recommend a long decant on this one.

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  11. Happybaker

    Fast few reviews from Burbank CA, start of the sale. (And these are all cheapies.)

    The Clambake, unoaked chardonnay, 2014. I think $4. (before sale.) My butter/oak loving hubby was not a fan but I had it with shrimp scampi and enjoyed it. Would not have liked it at the orig – 12 – 15 price. Here’s a review that pretty much matches my experience – starts light and creamy, ends tart and citrus. https://www.drinkhacker.com/2016/05/20/review-2014-the-clambake-unoaked-chardonnay-mendocino/

    P.S. If you have a chance to get Argentinian red shrimp, frozen, do so. Got two pounds of the 16 – 20 count (not at GO) and yup, they do cook up with a lovely texture and taste like a combo of lobster and shrimp. I am now a fan. Big fan.

    Callie chardonnay. Had decent reviews, looked pretty but? Meh. Not horribly offensive but nothing special. $4.99, then total of $4 after the sale discount.

    John Osborn chardonnay, 2013.
    https://www.vivino.com/wineries/john-osborn/wines/chardonnay-2013
    Needs to be very cold and is still very rich. Which means my husband liked it ; p
    $5 before the sale right now? $4.

    Can’t wait to try the 2015 lunatic red ($5 and for the sale, $4) and, bought the Avia SB as a tribute to my dad. We’ll see how ti tastes!

    Burbank had a good amount of the Acacia wines and I know, at $9.99 – $12.99 it’s an incredible deal for wines of that quality. I’m just on the hunt for an “every day” deal…

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  12. Zoel

    Okay – several quickies for the sale…
    2012 Elementum Red Blend – $5 in SRosa – was so looking forward to this, research indicates it is a Central Coast blend (mostly Merlot) from Kurt Rasmussen. Alas and forlorn, not much here. Somewhat thin (esp for Central Coast fruit), some herbs, but lacking. Pass, meh. 83 pts
    2013 Clos Argentine Malbec Winemaker’s Selection – $5 in SRosa – very nice packaging, looked promising…totally lacking any power or grace. Thin, non-descript…just what turns most folks off from lower priced Malbecs. Pass as well. 82 pts
    2012 Woodenhead Humboldt County PN – $12 in SRosa – brought in special for the sales event. This is a winner, and very interesting. Opens up slow, with good fruit and a hint of reserved power that unfolded overnight. Second day, much better and bigger. Sort of an Anderson Valley soil/dirt edge, but brighter fruit. Grows on you, clearly the deft hand of a talented winemaker bringing out the best in this PN. I’m hoping that a case is still available, I’m hauling this one in.

    Enjoy

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  13. Doug Green

    Saintsbury By George 2011 Carneros Pinot Noir $12.99 pre-sale price, $10.39 @ fall sale
    I opened this last week because there is still some of it available in Poway, and I wanted to see if it was a “buy more” wine during the spring sale. Short answer, it’s not. I found this to be clean and decent, without major flaws but nothing special at over $10 a bottle, with a bit more tart acidity and less depth than I would have preferred. Clearly identifiable as a Carneros pinot, but nothing really there beyond light cherry berry flavors. The Silver Trail Napa 2012 Pinot for half the price was better.

    Reply
    1. Happybaker

      We are so spoiled with GO, that we can firmly say “Just okay for $10” is not acceptable!
      I’ll keep an eye out or that Silver Trail Pinot.

      Reply
      1. Doug Green

        Well let’s keep it in the context of the current wine market. Right now, Costco has the 2014 Panther Creek Winemaker’s cuvee on sale for $15 – retail list is normally $30, and it’s normally $20 at Costco. Panther Creek is a superb top tier Pinot Noir specialist in Oregon, and their small single vineyard cuvees are normally $45-70 a bottle. This is the blended selection of their barrels that didn’t make the cut into their much pricier single vineyard cuvees, and this Panther Creek wine is noticeably superior to and more concentrated than this Saintsbury Pinot Noir. I would also claim that probably close to half of the Pinots at GO with pre-sale prices of $6-10 are as good or better than this Saintsbury with a pre-sale price of $13.

        Reply
  14. Doug Green

    Los Haroldos 2015 Estate Malbec. $6.99 (bought at last fall’s sale for $5.59).
    I popped this in advance of the Spring sale because the Poway store has both the 2016 of their Estate Malbec for $6.99, and the 2015 Famila Reserva for $9.99, so this was opened to give me an idea about the two other Los Haroldos Malbecs currently available during this year’s sale. This wine is quite nice, not big, but refined, smooth, with good fruit and a light touch of oak, and without any noticeable shortcomings. Little to no tannins to speak of, so not an ager, but a very nice near-term Malbec, and quite a good value for under $6, or even the $7 pre-sale price. Based on this bottle, I’ll definitely be buying both the 2016 regular Estate, and for sure the 2015 Reserva during next week’s sale.

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      Yes, and new wines coming into various stores. It is not clear to me if multiple stores are getting these or what. I might have more to report later but my advice is, check out the stores in your area this week, I’m betting you will see different stuff at each and it will be different from what I see. Steve at the Petaluma store says he will put wines aside for you now.

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        OK I can now add a bit of clarity. I have been in five GO stores in the last week and they’ve all had new wines, some of them only at one store. Petaluma has Metzger Family Laurent Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard 2014 for $19.99. Ritchie is a very highly regarded vineyard and this wine has a high retail price. I did not buy one because of the price and unfortunately have seen it only in Petaluma. Richmond, on the other hand, has two different Bandol Roses, 2016, that I have seen only at Richmond. Both by the same maker, Moulin de la Roque. The one labeled Les Galets. $6.99, has 60% Mourvedre, 30% Cinsault, 10% Grenache. It has enough tasty fruit to shine past ample acid and a nice amount of grippy tannin. https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=2700129&searchId=134B8D9B%23selected%253DW2700129_1_K5b4afe55fe21907e819b5639aab6b31e
        The other one, labeled with the maker’s name, is $5.99, and is 54% Mourvedre, 16% Cinsault, 30% Grenache. It is softer and fruitier without the grippy tannin. Both Richmond and Oakland have received various Acacia wines. When Diageo got out of the wine business the new owner moved out of the Carneros winery and I have no idea where the wines are now made or what they are making. However, the 2013 vintage is appearing at the GO. Various Chardonnays at $9.99 a bottle. Richmond has the Kick Ranch syrah, also $9.99. Both stores have magnums of pinot for $24.99, they are a blend of two good vineyards. I suspect that there are more Acacia wines that will appear.

        Reply
        1. Zoel

          re: Metzger Laurent – SRosa has stocked for 2 months, moving slow. I tried a bottle – very good, polished fruit (love Ritchie) and expensive oak…reasonable value in open market, but not a GO rebuy for me.

          Reply
          1. seedboy

            Come to think of it that is where I saw it. Richmond has a rose of Syrah from them for $5.99. Also I am seeing a few different Provencal roses in the stores.

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        2. Darrell

          I visited my local GO in Novato and saw some interesting wines that were too expensive for me to try by GO pricing. Didn’t commit these to memory, but I did find a couple of dessert wines. There was an Acacia Sauvignon Blanc that isn’t listed on their website. It was $12.99 for a half bottle and a sugar of 178 g/L. Also, there was a Blakeslee half bottle of Riesling for $7.99 and a sugar of 50g/L.

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          1. seedboy

            I was a Chalone shareholder so I’ve had a lot of experience with Acacia. I think they made that SB only a few times. I might buy one if I see it.

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        3. seedboy

          Oakland has gotten a limited quantity of the two Bandol roses but hopes to get more. I would not wait for the sale if you want any of these wines.

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    2. Seedboy

      Avia Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Slovenia, $3.99. Nice crisp wine, no oak flavor, and if you are tired of the New Zealand flavor profile this is a nice wine. These Slovenian wines are much more like the wines you find in NE Italy, which is just south of Slovenia.

      Reply
      1. Happybaker

        Seedboy –

        Such fun to see Avia wine mentioned! In the 80’s my dad discovered it at a local supermarket, dirt cheap. Our very proper neighbors were concerned “Wine from Slovenia?!” But once they tried it, they admitted it was decent.

        Really hoping I can find a bottle down here in Los Angeles. Thanks for the heads up and the memories!

        Reply
        1. seedboy

          There are some other Slovenian white wines floating around at the GOs and the ones I’ve tasted have all been good.

          Reply
  15. jimvan49

    To those who might have a 2014 La Croix St Vincent, Lussac Saint-Emilion, hanging around, (which I bought at spring sale in April 2017), this wine was singing tonight with spaghetti and marinara sauce. Well made wine with typical Bordeaux flavors (65%merlot, 25% cab sauv, 10% cab franc), good acidity, and nice depth. Ready to drink now. Hope you have some – it’s nice.

    Reply
    1. glpease

      I’m glad to see I’m not the only one to appreciate this gem. I bought a few, but wish I’d gotten a case. One of the better GO Bordeaux wines, for sure, and the price was right.

      Reply
  16. auntbeapug

    Primitivo Feudi Di San Gregorio 2013 – $3.99 (I recall; could have been $4.99) at SLO GO

    Love, love, love exploring GO’s wines. There is a fun ebb and flow of finds, but that adds to the exciting hunt! Lately, I have so enjoyed the Adobe Red, the Vina Robles 4, the Tangent Chardonnay, the Rockus Bockus Red, and especially the 2014 Cultivate Pinot Noir. I kept returning back for a bottle here, there of that Pinot, and now it’s gone…
    Some misses I have found as well, but with my New Year’s resolution being about positivity, I’m not going to say anything bad tonight. My holiday season included a few nights in the mountains with foodie friends. When I can take good wine AND with my savings buy exquisite food to share, Win Win!!

    Oh yes, back to the Primativo review!

    Taking a few sniffs
    Stewed plums on the nose, with a little seaweed.

    Sipping reveals some grassy jam, with some spicy bite. Finish has zest but doesn’t last long. Plums on the nose; plums in the mouth, too. I’m liking this with smaller sips where I can take my time with the flavor. I’m liking this, not for a fancy dinner but as a “I’m reading or doing a crossword sidekick”. The avocado, seaweed butter Rosemary toast I enjoyed a couple hours ago would have gone nicely, however, but sadly, I ate that entire avocado, so no more!

    Color is such a pretty, dark ruby.

    Another sip, taking my time, a bit of tobacco, finish has a tad bit of smoke.

    Such a fun deal, this one! I think this is one that might be available longer than the Paso or other more known labels that fly out of GO.

    I don’t normally drink Primativo. Different, and a nice experience!

    Reply
  17. Glenn

    2016 Pratuccio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. $7.99 at Lemmon Valley and Reno. Clean black fruit, a touch of earth, really good texture and length. Vibrant acidity. A nice mix of ripe fruit and terroir.

    Reply
  18. Glenn

    2014 Amand Sonoma Syrah at Lemmon Valley, NV. One of the best Cali Syrah’s I have tasted in many years. Organic, unfiltered and $7.99.

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  19. Glenn

    An introduction. I am a long time lurker and sold wine at the wholesale level for 6 years. I live in Reno and the Lemmon Valley store is the best

    Reply
  20. zinczar

    Greetings fellow GO lovers! I’ve been frustrated trying to find even basic info on a lot of the wines in the Oakland store so I finally got around to throwing up a small website with some of my tasting notes. It’s a little one-sided right now because so far it’s just stuff that I like (dry foreign reds and high-acid non-oaked whites) but it’s a start. It’s also only a drop in the bucket compared to all of the new wines that cycle in on a daily basis. I hope that it’s helpful https://GoWineGo.net

    Reply
        1. Expat

          I think his site is a nice complement to this one. This site is comprehensive while his is limited to what he specifically tries and evaluates. Also, it reflects his preferences (which happen to be mine) so for some it might not be useful but for me it is especially valuable. And finally, I like the way he’s structured his wine description with categories. I came up with a system like this years ago but never did anything with it. I think it’s a great snapshot to summarize a wine’s key characteristics in an objective way. My biggest frustration with wine descriptions is how flowery and subjective they often are. His format is a terrific antidote.

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      1. Darrell

        I agree with Expat as this site being a nice addition for me since I don’t try many foreign reds that Zinczar tastes. There are pictures and a breakdown of components of the wine and all I have to do is adjust my opinion to his evaluation. I noticed Zinczar tried a couple of Chardonnays I tried and my evaluations come close to his so I might try some of the foreign reds he evaluates since I don’t buy the reds he tries and likes. Additional evaluations of GO wines is a plus since most of us can’t try a good portion of what GO comes out with.

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    1. Expat

      Welcome. I like your site and you seem to like the same type of wines I like, so I especially like the product selection and tasting sensibilities. The only thing I would quibble with is that you give several wines a 0 on the sweetness level that I would give at least a 1 or a 2. For example, that Langeudoc. I liked that wine but it seemed almost like it was being made for the American market and had riper fruit than a classic Old World wine. I didn’t buy more because it had a little more sweetness than I prefer. To me, a 0 on the sweetness scale would be BONE DRY because you can’t get any lower on your scale (unless you introduce negative values). Regardless, keep up the good work.

      Reply
    2. Expat

      One more nitpick – your scoring feels like grade inflation to me. In my mind, a wine in the 8s should be very solid but I saw a lot of pretty mediocre wines (that I’ve tried) getting 8s from you. I rarely see anything in the 7s and several of the wines you’ve reviewed should be in the 7s or lower in my opinion. I would give almost all the wines we’ve both tried a full point lower than you do in order to reflect their quality. To me, a 9 is rarified air that should be doled out to only wines that merit a multi-bottle buy. Even a “great deal” wine doesn’t justify a 9 rating. If it’s solid and drinkable but a steal at $3.99 it’s still just “good and drinkable”. Anyways, it’s easy to be a critic and I applaud your efforts. Keep up the good work.

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      1. JoelA

        You know, I don’t remember seeing some of those wines from July and August in Oakland,when I was still going there regularly.

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    3. delmartian1

      Enjoyed scrolling through the first couple of pages…very nicely done. I’m glad you tried so many of those young Bordeauxs that have been filling the shelves over the past couple of months.

      Reply
  21. Tom Gear

    Anderra 2013 Carmenere from Chile

    Don’t bother! One sip and the rest went straight down the drain and the bottle into the blue bin. I usually have good luck with Carmenere from Chile but this was horrible. I hoping it was stored incorrectly cause if someone consciously put this in a bottle they should be ashamed.

    Reply
  22. Darrell

    Tried a bottle of Travis 2015 Monterey Chardonnay for$4.99 a bottle. It was finished with a screwcap and unfiltered and unoaked. Produced by Travis Vintners, Greenfield, CA and bottled by Travis Vintners, Santa Cruz, CA. Appley/ pear aromas with a component I can’t describe beyond the friutiness, med. acid with decent length considering there is no oak. The only defect for me, and a small one to me, was a possible protein haze precipitated by chilling.
    The haze cleared up a bit when the wine returned to room temp. The wine probably wasn’t bentonite fined for protein stability since that would require filtering although there are other means of fining. I would buy more on the strength of aroma and flavor despite the appearance aesthetics. Merry Christmas and a Happy Wine Hunting New Year to all.

    Reply
    1. zinczar

      Just tried this wine over the weekend and I loved it. It’s always a rare treat to taste Chardonnay that is not completely smothered in oak & butter. Even better, it was in a screwcap!

      Reply
      1. flitcraft

        I was in San Diego for a conference last week and couldn’t believe the ripoff prices for a small glass of mediocre wine at the hotel bars. So, when on a long walk I spotted a Grocery Outlet, I was delighted. Unfortunately, the selection at this one–on Market St.–was pretty poor–mainly the generic ‘pushed’ GO wines. But it did have the Travis Chardonnay, and I lugged back two bottles to my room (which at least had an in-room fridge). And I agree with both reviews–a delightful unoaked Chard with true varietal flavors. My room became the unofficial hotel bar for my colleagues, and I ended up having to make another GO run for more wine! We saved enough money on wine and breakfast–GO yogurt, Lara bars, and fruit–to pay for a pretty good seafood dinner.

        Reply
        1. Happybaker

          I LOVE this post! Love your resourcefulness (and sharing!)

          While I have not hit the Market Street GO, I have heard that it is smaller, with less selection. Still, an imperfect GO beats an overpriced hotel bar any day!

          I hope to hit my Los Angeles GO tomorrow to pick up the Travis Chardonnay. And if they have any of the Luna Cabernet? I’ll pick up heaps more!

          Reply
        2. Darrell

          The Market St. GO is what I called the down town GO earlier. It doesn’t have a good selection, but it is a large store. Flit, I know you are a world traveler, but this being a business trip having a car to tour SD might not have been an option. There is lots to see and do around SD and in the county.

          Reply
          1. flitcraft

            Yes, it is unfortunate that I didn’t have time to do any real exploring except to take a cab out to Balboa Park one afternoon. I hope to get to SD for some touring around once I retire. Which, some days, seems a more and more attractive option.

            Reply
    2. Happybaker

      Woo hoo! My GO (Burbank/SoCal) finally had the Travis Chardonnay so I nabbed a bottle and will be trying it tonight, with fresh dungeness crab that was $5.99 a pound. Yay!

      I love an unoaked chard, my husband? Not so much. So we’ll be doing a taste comparison with the crab, the Travis and, a buttery Chateau St. Jean chardonnay, via a Costco special. Both wines $5 a bottle.

      Reply
      1. flitcraft

        Let us know what you think regarding the Travis. I was favorably impressed, but was drinking it out of a hotel water glass. (And yes, I washed it myself with hot water and castille soap!!) I would think its fruitiness would be good with the crab, but since I had to settle for pretzels, I don’t have a data point to share…

        Reply
  23. flitcraft

    Killer Red Syrah, 2013, Columbia Valley appellation, 13.5% ABV, 6.99. Seen around and about during the sale and still available at some Puget Sound GOs now

    I admit, I do love me some Syrah. But the name here and lack of meaningful information made me hesitate. And I wasn’t sure whether this was made by a real winery. And finally, taking a flyer on a $6.99 GO wine didn’t seem like a prudent idea. But, during the sale, there wasn’t much tempting me, so I picked up a single bottle and promptly forgot about opening it till now.

    It was kind of a surprise. I always assume that wine with names like “Killer Red” are going for the party crowd, and will be what are euphemistically called “easy drinking” wines. Instead, this one seemed anything but ‘easy drinking.’ The dominant fruit was slightly underripe blueberry, and, as you might guess, the acidity was bracing. Maybe even too bracing. This is not a wine to sip by the fire; it needs food to really shine. Zucchini fritters with marinara sauce worked fine for that purpose.

    I got curious after trying the wine, so messing around online discovered it is made by Terra Blanca, the Washington folks who brought us Arch Terrace Merlot a couple years back. This wine isn’t in that league, but it’s still better than most of what is on the shelves at the PNW GOs these days. I’m tired of whining about the wine prices, but honestly, I can’t see this at $6.99 myself. Spoiled? Yup, I plead guilty…

    Reply
  24. Happybaker

    Overwhelmed with choices for holiday gift wines at GO, I looked up a bunch on my phone, pulled a few more from the shelves and then? I swear it felt like I just closed my eyes, spun and played “pin the credit card on the wine bottle.”

    That said, I was hopeful about my choices. Not sure, but, hopeful. Handed two out today and one of them? My red wine loving friend went “Oh this is a GOOD one, we’ve had it.”
    A. Whew!
    B. The wine in question was Luna Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. I think 2014. $6.99, Total Wine has it for $15. Here’s link so you can see what the label looks like –
    https://www.wine.com/product/luna-vineyards-cabernet-sauvignon-2013/158705

    This wine was purchased at the Sun Valley GO, Los Angeles Area.

    Reply
  25. flitcraft

    J.L. Giguiere Flying Feet Syrah, 2015, California, 13.9% ABV, $5.99

    Some months ago, the 2013 vintage of this same wine was available at most of the PNW GOs for $4.99. It was quite pleasant, with distinct Syrah varietal character, and well worth the price. Not a wine to buy in bulk, but one that was worth the tariff if you needed a ‘drink me tonight’ not-too-serious Syrah.

    The 2015 has been showing up in the usual places here in the metro Seattle area, for a buck more. Unfortunately, I don’t think it is as good. It’s thinner than I remember the 2013, with less varietal character. Drunk blindfolded, I defy anyone to identify it as Syrah. It’s not a bad wine, just a boring one. It does have the virtue of having enough acidity to be food friendly, and it doesn’t have those ‘tootsie roll’ flavors that cheap reds often have. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of the 2013 to compare it to–maybe my memory is kinder to that wine than is warranted.

    For $3.99 it would be a pretty acceptable pizza-chili-burger wine. At $5.99, you can do better.

    Reply
  26. philinoakland

    For those missing the Goss Creek Chenin blanc, there’s a new one in town. Same $3.99 at the Oakland store. Bears some resemblance to the Goss Creek but doesn’t have the sharpness (acidity). Might have a little more elegance though, which is a word not often used for a $3.99 Chenin blanc.

    Reply
    1. Happybaker

      “Might have a little more elegance though, which is a word not often used for a $3.99 Chenin blanc.”

      Ooooo. Would love that. Need to keep an eye out for it!

      Reply
  27. Darrell

    Bought a bottle of Deux Amis 2013 Sonoma Zinfandel for $6.99 from Novato GO and tried it. It was produced and bottled by and finished with a laminated cork. The nose was decently balanced between Zinfandel fruit and oak, but just a tad too much vanillin for me. The flavor was equally well balanced between fruit and wood with ample acid. The wine is worth the price, but not a rebuy for me. Also bought a bottle of 2014 Jenner Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast for $6.99 and worth purchasing more to me. The nose has noticeable oak, but not obtrusive enough to cover the fruitiness. Medium acid and round in the mouth, a wine for richer dishes and definitely not an on -the-half-shell wine. Not too oaky in flavor, yellow in color. I must say the Novato GO has improved in the wine dept. since new owners have taken over since I bought a third bottle to try, which I’ve never done. The third bottle was a produced and bottle by, screw cap wine, had side by side with the Jenner and it was a 2012 Tangent Chardonnay from the Edna Valley Paragon Vd. for $3.99. Light yellow, slight vegetal with fruit in the nose, but not an off putting type veg, but rather from the barrel aging. There isn’t the over woody/oaky nose, but rather, my guess is, there was use of older to neutral barrel aging. Medium- acid and lighter in the mouth than the Jenner and for $3.99, a rebuy.

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      I tried out the Jenner Chardonnay yesterday. I really like it. I did not really notice the oak (maybe now it is less bottle shocked than when Darrell tried it out), nice fruit and minerality.

      Reply
  28. seedboy

    At Oakland I bought a bottle of bubbly Pinot Noir Rose from South Africa winery name Robertson something or another. I’m taking it back. This is a seriously mediocre rose wine with a bunch of carbonation added, artificially. It might make inoffensive mimosas but unblended there is no satisfaction in this wine.

    Reply
    1. robert Crisell

      Have you tried Sequoia Petite Verdot Can’t find anything on it online? I just bought it at Fallbrook, CA store. Looks interesting. Don’t see PV around anymore. How about Petite Syrah. They have a couple in as well?

      Reply
      1. flitcraft

        I just noticed the Sequoia Grove Petite (sic) Verdot 2016, at the SODO GO. It’s 10.99, supposedly retailing at $25; ABV 13.4%, and it’s 85% PV with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc along for the ride.
        Popped and poured it, and on first sniff, the nose was pretty reticent, a little funky, maybe even a little bretty. On first taste, I got smacked by punishing tannins that overwhelmed the fruit, despite the fact that there’s a lot of fruit going on. I am not a “this needs air” gal, but, heavens to murgatroyd, this needs air! By dinner time, it was softening and opening up some. I suspect that two years down the road, this might be really nice to have in the cellar. Right now it’s pretty tight, but if it opens for business with some age, I bet it will be a winner.

        So, do I need more wine in my cellar? Emphatic no. If I did, would I pull the trigger on a few of these? Maybe…eleven dollars is pretty high for a GO wine, and one where I am on faith guessing that it will come around with bottle age. YMMV though.

        Reply
  29. Darrell

    Thanks to my wife, I would like to share a recent wine dining experience at a restaurant that dispensed wines by the glass with a Coravin. I generally BYOB and since it was just my wife and I dining, brought just a bottle of red. I forgot and didn’t hear the reminder from the sommelier if a bottle was purchased, the corkage on our bottle would be waived. Was reminded by my wife.
    Normally a bottle of dry white would be ordered for a first course, but we were beyond that point and didn’t want to drink much more. The only dessert wines were half bottles and that wouldn’t qualify for the needed bottle purchase. Looked under German wines and found a Mosel from a good grower that said Kabinett and I ordered it anyway. Then my wife says that we could ask the sommelier to Coravin a couple of glasses to keep the remainder of the bottle unopened. The unfinished bottle is now in the wine rack. Even better was the same grower and vineyard came out a Spätlese and did go with dessert since it was a sweeter Spätlese. The corkage would have been $25, but that amount defrayed the cost of the Spätlese.

    Reply
  30. Bebe WineGO

    New at the Oakland Store – Et Fille 2013 PN from the Willamette Valley. $6.99!!! I’ve never seen a Willamette PN reach Oakland before….its coming to the end of its life so I would drink rather than save. Really nice finish IMO. A great Saturday night wine!

    Reply
  31. lim13

    Though I rarely go into GO anymore, I felt obligated to post the following: In February of this year I bought a bottle of 2013 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Sauvignon Blanc at the Bremerton store for $5.99. I thoroughly enjoyed it, so returned for five more bottles. I opened one last week only to find it terribly corked. So I wrote to the winery and received a quick response. They apologized profusely and are shipping me a replacement bottle of the current 2016 vintage at no cost to me. Now that’s the sign of a reputable winery. I’d encourage you to do likewise whenever getting a corked bottle. Even if you don’t get a replacement bottle, the wine-making staff usually appreciates the information.

    And while I’m here…the Silverdale GO (since changing operators) has usually done nothing but piss me off. Horribly poor wine selection and often poorer customer service. Specialty cheese and food selection is equally as bad. Bremerton is the better local GO, though I rarely go there as it’s not convenient. The folks there have done a commendable job. I continue to drink my cellar, buy just slightly more costly wines by consistently reputable producers, and receive shipments from my two wine clubs (Gainey in CA and Thurston Wolfe in WA). I miss many of you and your posts, but I don’t miss GO or all the money I spent there…often on average or questionable quality wines. I’m at a point in my life where more of a “sure thing” is most important now.

    To my old blog friends: Have a wonderful holiday season!!

    Reply
    1. Zoel

      Sad to hear of lousy customer service…that’s the challenge of the GO store owner model. Tough to enforce/ensure consistency. For any of our local GOs, they take back any/all wine you’re not happy with, no questions asked. (I know they just pass that back to the wineries, but it sure is an efficient approach).
      BTW – I also liked the Cornerstone SB, haven’t had a bad bottle yet.

      Reply
      1. lim13

        I never had a problem returning GO wines under the previous ownership, but I have zero confidence in current owners. Having spent 31 years in retail wine management, it’s really hard to “enforce/ensure” customer service consistency when the owner/operators/managers go home by 2 everyday. You need to be willing to be there at various and flexible times to see how ALL of your employees are handling customers. I got tired of going into the Silverdale GO at 5 or 6 p.m. and stand in a long checkout line while three other employees stood at the front of the store gabbing with one another. It’s also very difficult maintaining excellent, conscientious employees.

        On a positive note, I’m glad to hear someone else enjoyed the Cornerstone SB, Zoel.

        Reply
      2. Darrell

        I have had trouble returning wine at my local GO in Novato from the the previous owner. I hope the new owner will be better about returns and refunds.

        Reply
    2. inthewinecountry

      Nice to hear from you again Lim. Don’t get that far north, was up in Vancouver Wa. outside Portland in Sept. and my wife is going up again end of Jan. If I see a GO I try to stop in just to see what they have.

      Reply
  32. Darrell

    Picked up a 2013 Albariño from Clavo Cellars in Paso Robles. It’s a PRODUCED AND BOTTLED BY wine for $4.99 and IIRC, a $14.99 suggested price. I’m not all that familiar with the variety so looked up the characteristics of the wine here : http://winefolly.com/review/all-about-albarino-wine/ . Dry with decent acidity that would go with shellfish or fish crudo. Not all that aromatic or fruity, but rather the minerally, beeswax nose. Not at all bitter, med. body, clean more minerally flavor, though not quite like Chablis and Loire whites. Just going have to try more Albariños.

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      There was an Edna Valley Albarino at GO Summer of 2016, I want to say it was called Bodegas M, saw it only at Oakland, very nice wine, I drank a lot of it that summer.

      Reply
    2. Happybaker

      Dang, $4.99 for an albariño? I’ve never seen that!

      I really enjoy Albarinos but then, I like a nice minerally wine. The husband? Not so much – he’s an oak and butter guy, so I don’t get to mineral as much as I’d like. But for $4.99? Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to me! ; )

      Reply
  33. flitcraft

    Spangler Vineyards, Grenache, 2011, Southern Oregon, 13% ABV. $??

    I picked this up during last spring’s wine sale and promptly forgot all about it. So, here is my belated review, especially for those of you who have it and recall which GO you bought it from. (Enough foreshadowing for you guys?)

    This is an example of the kind of wine that I think is often a superb bargain at GO. It’s a wine made by a real winery–in this case a small family-run winery–from a reasonable appellation (i.e. not Central Coast) of a varietal that probably doesn’t get enough consumer love. So, all the factors for this being a winner were there.

    And yet, it wasn’t. It was thin and fruitless–in fact, more than fruitless, it was darn close to utterly flavorless. No Grenache character, and other than alcohol, darn little wine character. Something must have gone terribly wrong somehow with the grapes or the wine-making process to have turned out a product with so little redeeming social value. I get no pleasure out of reporting this, and candidly, if I saw another Spangler wine at GO I would try it, because I am a fan of interesting wines from small wineries, even if they aren’t to everyone’s taste. But this one, sadly, was a dud. If I could remember where I’d gotten it, I would have taken it back.

    Reply
  34. seedboy

    Rose (yes, that is the wine’s name), Willamette Valley, don’t recall the vintage, Oakland, not more than $4.99. Nice simple label on pretty bottle, corkburger finished. Pretty color. Best GO rose I have tasted in quite a while, fuller flavor than most, great acidity, bone dry. I think this is mostly (at least) pinot noir. I plan to buy some more.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      This wine comes from the Great Oregon Wine Co. and is called Rose City Rose. 2016, $3.99. Very good at cool room temp (low 60s) on the second day.

      Reply
            1. Happybaker

              Grrrr….. You’re killing me here! I may do a call ahead to a GO that is much farther from me then the burbank one. In an imperfect neighborhood… but boy howdy does their wine buyer have a good eye. They had the Cairdean Chardonnay oh so long ago.

  35. Zoel

    Just to let all you NBay folks know, the Petaluma store now has plenty of the ’11 Ardente Cab at $12….they have at least 30 cs on the floor, plenty for all. Per past notes, a very well-made Atlas Peak cab in a somewhat lean style.

    Reply
    1. Happybaker

      Good to know the tasting notes – I called the Sun Valley GO (SoCal) and their Ardente is the 2011.

      Do you kind folks think this is nice enough to be a holiday gift wine?

      Reply
          1. Darrell

            ITWC, Petaluma thought there would be some 2009 and/or 2010, but haven’t heard anything yet. Some 2008 was available during the sale. How’d you like the 2011?

            Reply
  36. Darrell

    Just had the Diama Prosecco suggested by Robair at Oakland GO with a game steak and egg breakfast that is $5.99 pre-sale. It’s dry enough for me and at a lower end price for Prosecco at GO’s and so will pick up more. Thanks to all for the evaluations and suggestions on this sale.

    Reply
  37. Darrell

    Bought a Bordeaux, 2015 Chevalier Saby $15 pre-sale, and preferred the 2011 Ardente CS for the money especially. Lighter in body, which us to be expected, and aromatics but a decent Bordeaux for GO. The label said Grand Cru St. Emilion though I couldn’t find it listed under any St. Emilion Grand Cru Classé listing.

    Reply
    1. Expat

      I bought this in Palo Alto a few weeks ago. I liked it and felt it was a legit Bordeaux. I was also attracted to the Grand Cru St Emilion designation. It did seem like a French wine made for Americans. Not as austere and earthy as a classic Bdx. At $15 it just isn’t quite there for a re-buy for me. I just bought their Merlot (bottled as Merlot) which I’m sure I”m going to be disappointed in at $15 but we’ll see.

      BTW, I thought the Ardente 2011 Cab was great. I picked up a 6 pack. Deep and dry, stout tannins. This is the style I like. Not sure if I’ll have the same day 2 bummer that Seedboy had but I’ll find out more tonite.

      Reply
    2. JoelA

      My understanding is that Grand Cru and Grand Cru Classe are not the same when it cones to St. Emilion. The latter is a permanent status akin to other areas of France whereas the former is awarded year by year.

      Reply
      1. Darrell

        Thanks, Joel. I was looking for some such explanation, but couldn’t find it. I was wondering where the Classé part went.

        Reply
  38. Doug Green

    Gillmore 2013 Mariposa Red Blend: $4.99 Pre-sale price in Poway

    This is a 50/50 blend of Syrah and Merlot, dry farmed from a single vineyard in the Maule Valley in Chile. Elsewhere price is $15.99. Unlike most of the Chilean stuff that shows up in GO, this winery is an artisinal boutique operation aiming at quality with small production. After I bought a bottle, I did some research on it and found that it had several 89-93 point scores from known reviewers, including a 91 from the Wine Advocate (Luis Guttierez) and a 90 from Steve Tanzer. After I saw this, I popped my bottle, and its REALLY GOOD, and very Saint-Emillion-like, with an opening note of cedar and plum, hints of cigar-box and cocoa on the nose, slight tannins but a round rather than angular structure, and a rich, lingering finish. I already ran back to the store and bought six more bottles @$3.99. It’s eminently fair value at the $16 it was meant to list at. Drinking nicely now, but still young and will keep. If my cellar had room, I’d buy 1-2 cases of this at the sale price. At the very top echelon of GO values I’ve experienced in the past year.

    Reply
    1. Ashlander

      That one sounds like a winner! I will keep my eye out for it. The label is sure distinctive enough. Should be easy to spot if it’s available.

      Reply
  39. Doug Green

    Ventana 2014 Arroyo Seco Estate Grenache: 4.99 pre-sale in San Marcos.
    Based upon the price and my expectations as well as the fact that I only saw this wine in one of the 4 San Diego shops I had visited over the past 2 days, this was the first wine that I opened among the dozen I have bought at the sale which began today. Not really what I expected, this wine is lighter, brighter, and fruitier than I expected, with less concentration and structure than most Spanish or French-sourced Grenaches. That being said, it is a delicious warm weather quaffing red wine, especially at the $4 sale price. The ;palate is all strawberries and rose petals, and a very delicate mouth-feel, but a surprisnigly lingering finish. It has a nice racy acidity that makes it an excellent food wine that will go well with barbecue, but with less weight than a typical Zinfandel, which might normally be my go-to Red for BBQ.. As it is devoid of tannins, it will not be a keeper but it will be an easily accessible red wine for the white wine crowd. Defintely worth picking up a couple more at the sale price. I should add that the bottle itself is rather massive, which was one of the things that incorrectly set my expectations about this wine, but which also makes it impressive to gift, especially for friends that are not serious red wine aficionados.

    Reply
  40. Zoel

    Fall Sale is a major winner! I picked up 9 cs (several for friends) and spent $650, with a savings of $2,235. The manager overheard the cashier sharing my savings, and jumped on the loudspeaker to announce it! (Afterwhich I requested donations).
    Key Buys – ’11 Ardente Cab, ’13 Woodenhead Zin, ’13 Sunce Zin, ’11/’12 Sunce Chard, ’12 Saintsbury “By George”, and ’13 Theory. I’ll share tasting notes later…note that all the Sunce is unique to SRosa…while others should be around in limited quantities.

    Reply
      1. Zoel

        Nah (re:Sunce) – the deal was struck in Sept and they opted to save the Chard & Zin for the sale. The Riesling, Gewurtz, SB, and White Meritage have been on the floor for 2 weeks now. Not enough for all stores, so we win (this time).

        Reply
    1. Darrell

      There’s some Sunce Chard in Richmond and I hate it when somebody gets on the loudspeaker and announces the savings.

      Reply
        1. Zoel

          Yes, the ’14 was more spread out to stores…and I agree, the ’14 is really nice. A bit more fruit-forward (but still balanced)…just more pronounced RRiver fruit. I drank them (’11 and ’14 side-by-side last night), each had it merits. I was told that the second Sunce batch was only for SRosa, but that could be bad intell as well.

          Reply
  41. philinoakland

    2014 Vermentino di Monteverro, $3.99 at Oakland store:

    Excellent value, reminiscent of the Italian light-bodied whites they sell in the bar at Oliveto in Rockridge for $8-9/glass. Peachy, dry, citrus. Pity summer will come to a close soon (perfect for today’s hot weather).

    Reply
      1. seedboy

        I really like this Vermentino. The Oakland store has a bunch of it. It is from Maremma, a coastal region of Tuscany that is also famous for “super Tuscans”. A number of established Tuscan wineries are growing Vermentino in this region. When we were in Tuscany last summer we drank a lot of Vermentino and this one punches with any of them.

        Reply
  42. Zoel

    Time for several notes…all bought at SRosa GO recently…
    ’14 Double Oak Chard – Sierra Foothills – $4 – just what I should have expected from this region…somewhat over-processed, sweet edge trying to cover a lack of fruit…will return. 75 pt

    ’12 Sunce Riesling – Sonoma – $4 – interesting, tough to judge…very dry and floral, well-made Riesling from Sonoma…a bit of a bite/edgy, but not in a bad way. Decent and better as a food wine, my guests polished it off easily. 86 pt

    ’13 Sunce White Meritage – Sonoma – $5 – nicely done meritage, with the semillion adding a bit of depth and polish. Better with food. Good value. 88pt

    Haven’t popped the ’13 Sunce Gewurtz but looks interesting…$5.

    ’15 Larent Miquel “Pas De Géant” – $6 – agree with previous post, this is a very good Rhone, with legs for several years yet.

    Nov 1 Sale should be a winner…

    Reply
    1. BeerBudget

      You and Michael are giving me hope. Picked up the Laurent Miquel today along with an odd “Charles Roy” Burgandy ($11/22) that I’m not expecting much from. I said the same thing about the “Sylvester” Paso Robles Sangiovese ($5/13) and was pleasantly surprised; great varietal character, bright fruit and decent acid. Very glad Sunce is ok and we are seeing consistent releases from them – hope it’s not because they are struggling.

      Reply
  43. seedboy

    The only one of those I’ve seen in California is the Outlier, which I liked but not as much as a similar blend from Alder Springs that was available at the same time. I still see a 49 Crows Chardonnay around and I liked it too but not really in the market for California chard right now unless it is high quality.

    Reply
  44. Doug Green

    My research indicates that the 49 Crows 2013 Outlier White is the same wine as the Alder Springs 2013 Row Five White blend. Also, I believe it’s $5.99, not $6.99

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      Those wines tasted different to me but that is not shocking, I once had a dinner with wines served blind and the two bottles of Cigare Volant, same vintage, tasted different.

      Reply
  45. Michael Turner

    Here are some notes from my most recent email. I haven’t had a lot of time recently to post a bunch of stuff here(or even in my store) but I hope to get a bunch of notes up here before the sale. It looks like it’s going to be a pretty good sale this year.

    49 Crows Tempest Red Blend 2013, $7.99
    Mendocino County, CA. Rhone Style Blend from Alder Springs Vineyard. Nose is blackberry, plum, bacon fat, game meats, earthy, funky. Palate is more of the same with good acid and smooth tannins. This is rich and full and drinking pretty darn good. Alder Springs does some amazing stuff and this is right up there. Love it!

    49 Crows Outlier White Blend 2013, $6.99
    Mendocino County, CA. Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier. Nose is bright with flowers(jasmine), herbs(anise), minerals, white stone fruits. Palate is similar with some tropical fruit, apple and melon showing. Acid is crisp and bright and body is medium to full. Another good one here, should pair well with holiday foods and also do well on its own.

    Larent Miquel “Pas De Géant” 2015, $8.99
    Languedoc, France. 75% Syrah, 25% Grenache. Blackberry, jam, black pepper, plum, some game meat, a touch of bacon fat on the rich, expressive nose. Palate is rich, with more smoke and spice, blackberry jam, mushrooms and earth and pepper. Rich tannins and solid acid hold this big wine together. This is a wine that would benefit from a few more years in the bottle but after an hour or so it is drinking pretty great now.

    Les Coteaux du Rhone CdR Vieilles Vignes 2016, $6.99
    Rhone, France. Nose is classic Rhone with farmhouse funk, earth, smoke, blackberry, cassis, bacon fat and game meat. Palate is full and rich with more blackberry and cassis, smoke, spice and earth. Good grippy tannins and rich acid. This is nice and dry with a long finish. Another great wine.

    Cantina di Solopaca Fara Vivace Falanghina, $5.99
    Beneventano, Italy. The grape here is Falanghina, a classic Italian varietal that dates back to the earliest winemakers in Italy. Has a slight sparkle to it, similar to Moscato d’Asti. Nose is soft and sweet with pear, peach, minerals, green apples and cream. Palate is soft and smooth, medium to light body, with similar flavors from the nose. This is an interesting wine with great flavor and it is well made. A good substitute for Riesling this holiday season.

    Mystified Soft Red 2015, $4.99
    California. As the name suggests this wine is nice and soft with no real tannins or acid to speak of. Nose is blackberry, black cherry, strawberry, smoke, spice and a touch of earthiness. Even though this wine is soft, there is still a lot of flavor here, and a medium full body as well. There is a good amount of sweet fruit but it never gets too sweet, just enough to make it go down smooth. A nice party red that should please most palates.

    Rare Find Zinfandel 2016, $4.99
    California. I’ve had a few wines from the Rare Find line and they have all been really good for the money and this Zin is no different. Full of blackberry, bramble, earth, smoke and spice on the nose that carries over to the palate. Rich and full with soft tannins and nice lingering finish. Not the best Zin in the store but a great buy for the price!

    Vina San Juan Red Blend 2016, $5.99
    La Mancha, Spain. 50% Merlot, 25% Syrah, 25% Tempranillo. Nose is cassis, cherry, spice and forest floor. Palate is medium full with more smoke, earth, black cherry and blackberry. There are some light tannins and good acid, so this wine should hold up well against food(bbq, roasted meats, hearty stews) but it’s also pretty good by itself, as a prelude to dinner. Nice long finish.

    Cantina Puianello Lambrusco Rosso, $5.99
    Italy. Most Lambruscos tend to be pretty sweet so I was excited to get this one which, yes has some sweetness but is no where near as sweet as your typical Lambrusco. Nose is cherry, strawberry, blackberry and some brambly earthiness. Palate is full and rich with just enough sweetness to balance all the fruit. I would say this wine has about half the sweetness normally found in Lambrusco. Really nice stuff!

    I have others to post but I’ll have to do it later. All of these available at SODO Seattle. I’ll post a long list of New and Upcoming in Whats New?

    Reply
    1. flitcraft

      Much appreciated. These days what we get in the Great North seems quite different than what is available in California.

      Reply

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