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.

1,667 thoughts on “Guest Contributions

  1. michael

    Cristo di Campobello “C’d’C”
    Terre Siciliane Bianco 2013
    $4.99 at 4th Ave. Seattle

    Saw this and it sparked my interest. I was not disappointed. A blend of Grillo, Chardonnay, Insolia and Cataratto. Light gold in the glass. Aromas of minerals, green apple, herbs, lemon rind. Flavors of minerals, more green apple, more herbiness, flowers, stone fruits and citrus. Maybe some almonds in there also. Round and full and slightly salinic. A bit of funk that blows off after a few minutes in the glass. Mouth-watering and tasty. Wines like this are why I drink wine.

    Reply
  2. flitcraft

    Sterling Celebration Red Blend, 2012. 6.99, available everywhere in the Seattle area.

    The wine person at the MLK GO recommended this one to me. It ostensibly sells for nearly thirty dollars, MSRP. So, what the heck, let’s give it a go. And so I did. I’d call it a grown-up version of cherry cola, a generous hit of typical Merlot fruit, a bit of tannin in the background, and flirting dangerously with being candied. The back label says that it’s an ideal party wine, easy to drink for the unpicky “I’ll have a glass of red” mob while being pleasurably drinkable for the wine snob guests. (OK, so that’s a more candid paraphrase than was actually on the bottle, but that’s what they were trying to say.) And I’d say that description hits it on the head. A well made barbeque wine, but nothing more than that. And for a 6.99 GO wine, for me that’s simply not enough. At two dollars less, it might tempt me to have a bottle or two by for next summer’s BBQ parties, but at 6.99 it’s a pass for me. (And if I spent the MSRP, I’d be really disappointed…)

    Reply
  3. JoelA

    2011 Grilos Dao red wine, 13.5% alc., bought at Richmond for $ 3.99

    I have come to like Portuguese reds. This one, however, is only OK. A good pasta wine but not a lot more. Some fruit and a fair amount of earthiness; not likely to improve with additional age.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Thanks, Joel. This is another I have been curious about but was not likely to ever get to. G. L. Pease had a similar reaction to it.

      Reply
  4. Darrell

    I had occasion to go to Sacramento and visited 3 GO stores, West Sacto, downtown Sacto and Vacaville. I was on the lookout for the 2011 McPherson Chapter Three Chard., which I thoroughly enjoy, especially the nose. The Downtown store didn’t have much of a selection, the selection at the West Sacto store was much better though no Chapter Three. The Vacaville store had quite a broad selection and I did find the Chapter Three, but in addition to that was a McPherson’s Family Series of wines, their 2012 Catriona’s Chardonnay, $3.99, same as the Chapter Three. The wine wasn’t as complex as the Chapter Three although worth the price. I don’t think there was as much aging sur-lies and no battonage from what I can gather from the website. The average price for the Catriona’s Chard. is $10 and the Chapter Three is $20. I might pick up more of the Chapter Three if the wine is still around.

    Reply
    1. Don Bevins

      The best selections in the Sacramento area are the Greenhaven store which had the Chapter Three the last time I checked and the Elk Grove Store.

      Reply
        1. Don Bevins

          Even better, if you can find your way to the Rocklin GO,they have plenty of the Chapter Three chard. I picked up some for a Sun City Roseville travel club trip today. I trust that it will go over well. They also have a Ravenswood vintners 2011 Cabernet as well as a vintners 2009 Merlot.

          Reply
          1. Darrell

            My wife and I stop at the Rocklin GO whenever we travel on I-80 to points east and is one of our favorite GO stores. Found a Graham Beck Chard there I couldn’t find anywhere else. Funny, Chapter Three isn’t rare, but my local GO didn’t order any and some of the stores around SF ran out.

            Reply
            1. Darrell

              I think it is somewhat new because I was looking for an old Rocklin GO closer to I-80 and Don set me straight as to where the newer Rocklin store was. It’s a good location supported by the clientele that live in the Sacto burbs off highway 65.

  5. seedboy

    Last night I dined with some other GO customers and we enjoyed a couple of oldies but. goodies from the past.
    Da Vinci Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 1987. Grapes grown in Yuba County (second label of Renaissance). This was purchased about 2001 or so at various low prices. The Oakland store had pallets of it. Since then it has been stored in the crawlspace under my house or the garage (generally quite cool). The cork was in nice shape. Wine itself was the color of bourbon. Damn this wine is tasty: caramel and stone fruit and grapefruit, with some nice grippy tannin still. Great balance of sugar and acid. Sadly my last bottle.
    2006 Morey Blanc Corton Charlemagne. Purchased at the Oakland store about 5 years ago for about $35 (a discount from the marked price of $49.99). This wine was served with a composed salad of roasted cauliflower dressed with lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper and a generous amount of minced parsley, with bay scallops sauteed in butter. Wow again. Wine was in lovely shape, so was the cork.Rich, beautiful balance, good fruit and minerality. I wish I had another bottle of this. I have one Chassagne Montrachet left.

    Reply
  6. delmartian1

    Has anyone run across “deAlto amo” 2013 Rioja blanco? Found it in the Oceanside store yesterday at $2.99. First impression was that it was similar in character to a sauvignon blanc from the southern hemisphere but clearly not and that initial taste faded as a more classic Spanish white emerged. Will be back to get some more.

    Reply
  7. Darrell

    Has anybody encountered a GO store that wouldn’t accept a return of wine? I just did at the Novato GO by someone named Jorge who cited CA law and blah blah blah. This wasted my time going to the store trying to return the wine. If I don’t get satisfactory answers from corporate and the GO policy of other stores isn’t rectified in Novato, I will curtail my purchases there.

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      I’ve seen a few require a receipt, but the stores I frequent all recognize me as a regular customer who buys a lot of wine, and don’t even require that.

      Reply
    2. lim13

      As Seedboy said, some that I’ve been to require a receipt, but all have accepted returns…even the one Oregon store who gave me a hard time about returning something. And if I paid with credit card, they’ll only run a refund credit on the card…which is fine by me. I believe Silverdale has a sign posted that says if you don’t like ANY of their products (wine, food or otherwise), they’ll gladly refund your money. And it says nothing about the product being bad…just that you didn’t like it! What you described, Darrell…would sure piss me off.

      Reply
      1. Darrell

        Lim, I had the receipt and, yes, I was pissed and vented right then and there. Already called the Emeryville office. I believe we can return spoiled wine and get our money back. Gee, I would hate to return spoiled wine. Just give me a refund on the unopened bottles or I might have to taste every spoiled bottle. Difficult to shop this Novato store since selection is p. poor. SB, they recognize me at several GO stores, but that shouldn’t make a difference with my experience at other GO stores where I am not a regular shopper.

        Reply
        1. patrick

          The Gilroy store has a no return policy on alcohol also. I have returned some elsewhere with no problem. The other popular thing is to up the prices a couple bucks on better wines, usually at stores on the peninsula.

          Reply
    3. weinish

      Before you do anything drastic, maybe speak to someone at the Novato store who’s not the guy at the checkout stand. We don’t need you blowing this whole thing up for the rest of is, capiche?

      Reply
      1. Darrell

        The checker called the putative manager, Jorge, and he was the-know-it all-about-the-law guy. I will talk to John, the wine buyer, before tasting the remaining bottles for spoilage. I hope they comprende.

        Reply
          1. Darrell

            Aren’t most GO stores individually owned and what difference does that make. I would like to go to any GO store with consistency of policy. I called the Emeryville office’s customer service and talked to a person, Kyle, who was about to return my call from a day earlier and he seemed sincere in looking into my complaint of inconsistency with this Novato store. I looked into this matter of bottle return and there are no prohibitions according to the ABC so this Jorge is wet behind the ears or wet all over. I told this Jorge I returned bottles all the time to GO stores, but this fell on his deaf, wet ears. I have returned wine at two Reno stores; no problem. I have returned several cases to the Concord store; no problem. I seldom return wines in the East Bay and San Mateo Peninsula stores and I know I can return wine to Petaluma. I have yet to talk to John since he was out and I have been preoccupied, but if this isn’t settled my way and the way of other stores do, this store will have earned my enmity and. I am getting old and I don’t take shhhtuff like I used to.

            Reply
            1. Darrell

              I am looking at this more positively and that this will make returns less of a hassle for others.

            2. Darrell

              Have yet to hear from GO customer about Novato GO from service rep, Kyle, who does have my phone number. Have others been disregarded similarly? Are there other stores like Gilroy where I might not patronize?

        1. lim13

          Please let us know what happens, Darrell. Good luck. I wonder if changes are in store from corporate for GO’s wine program? I noticed that here locally, the last two week’s ads haven’t contained a single wine on sale…something I’ve never seen before.

          Reply
          1. Darrell

            I finally had the return of my bottles reluctantly resolved by refund which is what I expect from all GO stores. Still haven’t had a return call from Kyle, the customer service person, who said he’d look into this matter. As matter of principle, I didn’t want credit or an exchange as the wine buyer wanted. My wife handled the refund and promptly took the money for grocery purchases. If I get ticked off, I won’t shop the store and also don’t care to take the time to read the presbyopic print of each store’s policy. I would rather have uniformity and consistency and not be surprised. In the case of Gilroy, hmmm Gilroy, sounds like it could be a case of ethnic bias to me.

            Reply
    4. DavidLikesWine

      Same with Palo Alto. I’ve returned open and unopened bottles with and without receipts there, no problem. Sounds like the Novato store is a dud.

      Reply
      1. seedboy

        I wonder if this is not a matter of whether the store is corporation owned (Oakland, Berkeley) or a franchise. I believe the Novato store is the latter.

        Reply
        1. lim13

          Interestingly enough, I stopped by the Silverdale GO tonight for a jar of olives and there are now new signs posted at each check stand that basically state the following: Refunds will be made with whatever tender was used for the original sale (cash, debit/credit card etc.), returns without a receipt will only be issued store credit, and MANAGEMENT RESERVES THE RIGHT TO REFUSE ANY REFUND. But now says nothing about whether refunds will be made for items you just don’t like or bad/faulty products only. Seems to me if a wine is bad i.e. corked, oxidized etc., one’s money should be refunded. But having been in the business, I also know folks sometimes returned what they thought were “bad” wines, when in reality they just tasted different than the customer thought they should taste.

          Reply
          1. EHL

            Well…as you might imagine, this blog is followed pretty closely by GO management at various locales. So, Weinish’s observations and reservations are well-taken.

            Reply
            1. seedboy

              Yesterday I was in the Oakland store and saw a young woman reading this blog on her phone while shopping for wine.

  8. weinish

    McPherson Basilisk, 2012, Syrah (95) & Mourvedre (5), $5.99 imported by epic wines.

    This is 3rd wine I’ve had imported by epic and I’m a big fan.

    Well balanced, not “new world” as is said..good fruit, slight oak, earthy and leathery whateves. Really like it.

    Bought 5 at oakland.

    Reply
  9. EHL

    FYI…an interesting bottle of French Carignan caught my eye at the Skyway GO in Seattle. Picked up the 2011 Fortant, Mountains Grand Reserve, Carignan (Languedoc-Roussillon) to sample for $5 (SRP $25).

    Upon popping the cork, an intriguingly complex nose greeted me, featuring some earthy funk and leather, mixed in with floral notes highlighting lavender, and some cassis and dark berry aromas. The color was a deep, dark crimson, brilliant and full-bodied, with an 11-14% alc. spread (?) listed.

    The wine was dry, tannic, rough and acidic from the start…kind of austere, in the Old World style. Over three days of drinking the bottle, though, the wine smoothed out a bit, showing restrained dark fruit flavors, a smidgeon of grapefruit, intriguing aromatics, and an ever-present sense of dryness and structure. Not an easy wine to quaff, but rewarding nonetheless with its interesting complexity…

    One on-line review stated about the Fortant Carignan: “A superb example of modern French winemaking and a hugely interesting and elegant, dry wine made from the local Carignan variety. A regional trophy winner from Decanter. A grape varietal rarely feted on the award’s circuit, this sumptuously elegant wine demonstrates just how exceptional Carignan can be when cultivated from low yielding old vines and treated with necessary skill. Grown in the high altitude vineyards, on vines that are up to 50-years-old, the Carignan grapes for this richly flavoured wine are gently ripened by the cooling winds from the north and west. A very worthy Decanter Regional Gold medal winner, this is modern French winemaking at its absolute best, producing a multi-dimensional, exceedingly dry wine that has luscious helpings of cassis, liquorice and complemented by lashings of black fruit flavours.”

    “Classy, juicy and elegant with delicious sweet berry and dried flower aromas. Pure white pepper on a clean, bright palate with good concentration of cassis, liquorice and black fruits. Superb example of Carignan” — 5 stars and Southern France Vin de Pays Red Rhône Varietal over £15 Trophy – Decanter World Wine Awards 2013″ http://www.cellarviewines.com/wine/143109~France~Languedoc-Roussillon~Fortant-de-France-Reserve-des-Grands-Monts-Carignan-2011-Pays-dOc.wine

    Well…I don’t know if this bottle of wine is all that…but I did enjoy it and found it a worthy investment of a five spot for a quick trip to the South of France…

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  10. EHL

    FYI…I was first attracted to the 2011 Syrah from Clos LaChance, Central Coast AVA (Hayes Valley), because of its prominent “Estate Grown” proclamation on the demure label. That always gets my attention. Moreover, it was reasonably priced at $5, with an $18 SRP, featured at the MLK GO in Seattle

    This estate-grown, produced and bottled wine comes from a small family-owned winery, established by the Murphys 28 years ago in San Martin, CA. The Syrah blend is composed of 94% Syrah, 3% Carignane, 2% Cinsault, 1% Mourvedre.

    I’m getting over a cold, so take my notes with a grain of salt. Upon opening, the wine appeared somewhat closed, exhibiting a restrained vinous nose of plum, blackberry and black cherry. with a wisp of oak in the background.

    The body was a brilliant claret color, medium-bodied, with 14.2% alc. After breathing for an hour, the wine opened up, reflecting a palate of black and red fruit, with a nice, dry, well-balanced character and smooth finish. It did not appear to be particularly complex, however.

    Wine & Spirits Magazine gave Clos LaChance’s earlier Syrah, the 2010 vintage, an 88. The winery’s tasting notes on the 2011 state: “Aromas of blackberries, raspberries, smoke and a touch of cigar box. On the mouth I get similar fruit flavors —raspberries, blackberries and black cherries. A hint of cocoa and vanilla. The acidity and tannins balance nicely and the finish is smooth and long.” Looking at CLC’s website, this particular wine, along with the 2012 Estate Grown Meritage, are amongst the lower-priced offerings, as some of their other stuff goes for up to $50 a bottle. https://shopclos.com/clos/c-75-all-wines.aspx.

    All in all, not an outstanding wine by any means, but certainly a good, elegant, non-jammy, understated bottle of Syrah grown and produced from a real winery for a five spot.

    You can definitely do worse.

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    Reply
    1. EHL

      This Syrah improved on the second day, becoming a bit richer and more complex, but still on the lighter side in terms of body…

      Reply
          1. EHL

            Since I got the CLC Syrah, I declined to try their Meritage…and instead picked up the 2011 Meritage (California AVA) from Criss Cross Wines. The bottle cost me $6 at the MLK GO, with BevMo selling it for $22.

            While two customer reviews of the CC Meritage at BevMo were highly positive (http://www.bevmo.com/review/product/list/id/1107/#customer-reviews), I can’t concur. Although this wine was purportedly “produced and bottled” at their winery in Acampo, it tastes to me like a generic, mass-production, grocery store wine.

            Everything about the wine seemed OK but nothing exciting. Kind of mediocre in total, with a candied red fruit dimension that I found distinctly unappealing.

            Wish I would have picked up the CLC Meritage instead…

            ;\

            Reply
            1. EHL

              Maybe I was a little too harsh and quick on the trigger with the CC Meritage …on the second day, the bottle improved a bit, losing some of that candied edge and smoothing out, but still kinda sweet for my taste…

            1. EHL

              Yes…all of the lower-tier CLC estate-grown wines appear to be equipped with Stelvin caps, while their upper tier offerings feature corks.

  11. Seedboy

    Two new pinot noirs at the Oakland store:
    Mignanelli Santa Lucia Highlands 2012, $5.99. This is made by a tiny winery in San Diego of all places. It is a full bodied wine that is a pleasure to drink. A tiny bit of banana flavor tells me it is something to drink now, though. The Oakland store sold half a pallet of this in one day and it will not last.
    A to Z Oregon pinot noir 2012, $3.99 for a half bottle, screw cap. This is a very nice wine as well, nicely balanced and with more red fruit than I expect to find in what this is, a relatively inexpensive Oregon pinot. Not as good a wine as the Mignanelli, but each of these is way above average for a GO pinot.

    Reply
      1. Seedboy

        Darrell, I did not. I saw a bottle of it and thought, if I’m going to spend $20 on a bottle of wine I’m buying that brunello instead.

        Reply
    1. EHL

      Tried a bottle of the Mignanelli PN over the last two days. Alerted to its arrival, I was able to snag a bottle off the pallet at Oakland before they hit the shelves.

      As noted by SB, the winery is located strangely in San Diego, where it produces and bottles the PN grapes sourced from the highly-regarded SLH AVA. The understated label states that the winery strives for “minimal intervention”…”to express each vineyards unique terroir.”

      Upon opening, the nose was sweetly aromatic, an orchestra of floral notes dominated by lavender, violets and rose petals, wrapped up with succulent strawberries.

      The body of the wine, though, was off-putting to me. Perhaps due to its unfined and unfiltered nature, the color was an extremely hazy, opaque burgundy, with a medium-light body and 14% alcohol. The palate, however, reflected a rich, pleasant and interesting blend of red fruits, with nice acidity, mouthfeel and balance, concluding with a decent finish.

      While I can understand why this boutique winery’s product (priced at $6 with SRP around $30) is flying off GO shelves, this bottle strikes me as a Cima Collina PN-light…or perhaps I just couldn’t get around the visual aesthetics of drinking wine that greatly resembled unfiltered organic grape juice.

      IMHO…the Nugan Estate-King Valley PN from Australia I have been drinking recently was appreciably better in all respects…and a dollar cheaper, too!
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      Reply
      1. Darrell

        EHL, I tend to view unfiltered and/or unfined wines as a positive in general and to will give them a go because of that though not necessarily an indication of quality. At least the winemaking is attempting to retain the most character of the wine. Ask the winemakers about a wine before and after these processes and I think they will be honest about the processing stripping the wine of character. White wines I accept having to be clarified, but this isn’t as necessary with reds since they have been fermented at a much higher temperature and protein clarification isn’t all that necessary. I think most of us here are willing to forgo clarity for additional quality. If I encounter some of the GO wines with age or are unfined/unfiltered, there is an expectation of the wine being turbid but hopefully will settle out if left alone, but then there is the urgency to quickly evaluate the wine so hang the appearance at the present. I just judge purchase on the quality of the aromatics and flavor at that point. If appearance is still affecting evaluation, then one can brown bag and pour reds into a dark painted/colored wine glass. The mentioning of Cima Collina helped me regarding this wine.

        Reply
        1. EHL

          Hey Darrell…I don’t have a lot of experience with unfined and unfiltered wines, but the appearance of any wine is a factor for me.

          If you don’t mind drinking a glass of wine…blind…then you would probably enjoy this PN…although I thought it was just OK regardless and not exceptional.

          IMHO, I think you can do better for the money…which was my point, bottom line…

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          1. Darrell

            I got the value of the Mignanelli PN when you mentioned the Cima Collina. I just didn’t want you to pass on a good PN due to appearance in your tasting glass. PN’s are difficult to settle out due to finer sediment than say other red wines plus all too often there are bacteria to settle out also from residual ML [malolactic fermentation], I’m thinking Burgundies in this case. Right now I am waiting for a bottle of the Lamadrid Matilde Malbec to settle out, but I don’t think I can wait for that to happen if I want to evaluate it soon in order to decide further purchase.

            Reply
            1. EHL

              If I remember correctly, I believe the bottle of Cima Collina I had several months back was also hazy, not brilliant, in color tone…and it too was an unfined/unfiltered PN.

              I’m glad I tried a bottle of the tasty Mignanelli, Darrell, and agree that its appearance should not in and of itself dissuade others from trying it. I believe my tasting notes reflect its many attributes…

              ;}

            2. seedboy

              One of my dearest friends in the world of wine enjoyment is blind, so I pretty much stopped caring about a wine’s appearance long ago (unless, of course, it looks spoiled). I generally prefer that wine not be fined or filtered because those strip out nuance. In this case I have now opened two bottles of the Mignanelli and have not even noticed whether it is hazy (I do note its color is rather dark, cannot miss that).

            3. EHL

              No knock on blind folks intended, let’s clarify that SB…maybe the bottle I got was abnormally hazy and opaque…bad luck, but still decent aromatics and taste…but not buying more…

              ;}

            4. Seedboy

              Everyone has their own aesthetics but I care not if a wine is hazy or opaque. I only care how it tastes.

            5. Expat

              I’ll jump in just to say that when I see a wine is unfined and unfiltered it is a huge selling point. Like Darrell said, a lot of character is lost when fined and filtered. One of my favorite Paso Robles wineries, Caparone, doesn’t fine or filter their wines and they are sometimes hazy. Doesn’t bother me a bit.

            6. Darrell

              To decant or not, is dependent on how anal retentive we are. Decanting also might be considered if entertaining. I regularly prepare an older red for decanting by settling the sediment in an arc on the bottom of the bottle. Quite often a half bottle is decanted by tube and saved in a half bottle whether the wine has sediment or not, since my wife and I drink just a half bottle of red after some white. To decant off sediment, if there is any, is no trouble at all since this kind decanting is done regularly. I must admit with age, I am getting a bit lazier and if there is minimal, flocculant sediment, I won’t decant and just pour carefully.

              Clarity in the glass was recently demonstrated at a restaurant where my Daughter’s birth year wine from a great Bordeaux vintage was brought for her birthday. I decanted leaving the sediment in the bottom of the bottle, but when the wine is valuable, I pour off the sediment into my wine glass and drink the dregs which leaves a little bit of sediment in the glass. All of a sudden the waiter swept up the glass and promptly replaced it with a clean one for our dinner. Never had that happen before. Wife left a good tip.

    2. seedboy

      The Oakland store now has a different Mignanelli pinot, 2012, from KW vineyard, same price. I’ve not tasted it yet but will today.

      Reply
      1. seedboy

        This single vineyard wine was out of balance and lacked the body or fruit of the blend. Just as hazy though, for those of you who care.

        Reply
        1. seedboy

          Not sure if it is bottle variation or what but the second bottle of this single vineyard wine was really good, SLH fruit but elegant, good balance.

          Reply
    3. seedboy

      Yesterday the Richmond store had the 2013 Mignanelli. First time I’ve seen this label at any store other than Oakland and this is a different vintage. It is good, maybe a bit simpler than the 2012, but I should note I tasted it in a group setting and did not get a chance to focus on it.

      Reply
  12. EHL

    FYI…just a brief heads up on a nice Aussie Pinot Noir that has popped up around the SF Bay area…the 2010 Nugan Estate, Vision– King Valley, Pinot Noir out of Victoria, Willbridge, NSW.

    Picked up a half-case from Oakland after tasting a bottle costing $5. Although SB, who first saw the wine and raised its merits, decried later bottles of it tasted “tired,” my experience with several bottles of it was far from “tired.”

    This cool climate Pinot, from a family-run winery started 70 years ago by a Spanish immigrant to southern Australia, was pretty nice from opening. It quickly exhibited a complex nose of savory meat contrasted with herbaceous flavors of bell pepper and mint, rounded out with complementary floral notes. An interesting and heady blend of aromatics, to say the least…

    The body was a brilliant garnet color, medium-bodied with 13.5 % alcohol. The palate was marked by a smooth, deep, rich mix of black raspberry, boysenberry and red plum flavors, concluding with a long and peppery finish. Pretty nice…and even better on the second and third days…not a shy and ephemeral PN by any means.

    My first Aussie Pinot left a memorable impression — bringing back thoughts of a nice South African Cab like the several we have had at GO in recent years — just a tad lighter in body, but certainly not in substance or impact on the mind and tongue…

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    Reply
    1. lim13

      Haven’t seen that PN up here, EHL. But after finding the 2009 Robert Oatley Tempranillo from King Valley at GO that I loved, I quickly became a fan of that (previously unknown to me) region in Ozland. I’d like to try it. That Tempranillo was also deeply colored, full-flavored and hardly “ephemeral”.

      Reply
      1. EHL

        Hey Lim…glad you survived the Paris nightmare and welcome back to America, although I really don’t know how we are going to enhance protection against such terrorist attacks here with all of the inviting soft targets that are a intrinsic part of a true democracy.

        On other more pleasurable matters, touche’ to your discerning eye, you caught my mistake…I meant to say “ethereal,” not “ephemeral,” but I think that third glass of vino caught up with me while ripping off those notes…LOL. (I often wish we could edit our comments when you catch the mistakes later, but…oh well.)

        Hope you find the Nugan Estate PN, along with their very tasty McLaren Vale Parish-Shiraz that accompanied it…

        ;}

        Reply
        1. lim13

          Maybe both words apply, EHL. Your “third glass” suggests that the wine may indeed have been ephemeral. I know the bottle of Tempranillo I mentioned was ephemeral. Wife and I knocked it off in no time!

          Reply
    2. EHL

      Bad news…had a lackluster bottle of the Nugan Estate, King Valley, PN out of the half-case picked up.

      For some reason, it just lacked the vitality and robust spirit of the earlier bottles…a little bit “tired, ” as SB noted earlier.

      Bottle variation…beware.

      Reply
    3. BargainWhine Post author

      King Valley, Victoria, Australia; 13.5% ABV
      $5 at the Berkeley, CA, store around 7 Dec

      NuganEstate_PinotNoir_KingValleyAfter EHL and one or two others commented favorably on this wine, I grabbed a bottle when I saw it at the Berkeley store. Although I can see what EHL is getting at, for me this wine was a bit too full-fruited, lacking the delicate nature I prefer in Pinot Noir. After a couple hours of air, the wine did become more sophisticated, but it still wasn’t something I was wild about. That said, I agree it’s outstanding Pinot for the money.

      Reply
      1. EHL

        Lucky you…sounds like you got one of the good, not “tired,” bottles of this Aussie PN that SB and I enjoyed earlier.

        Glad you found it a nice wine and good value for the money, BW, although it was probably too robust for your tastes…clearly not one of those sophisticated, magically ethereal, PNs we know you seek and love…

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  13. BdB

    Found the Marques de Arienzo 2007 Rioja (made by Marques de Riscal) at the Santa Cruz GO for 2.99$, tried it and went back for a case before it vanished. I love Rioja and this one proved to be very palatable to me, robust, deep red with plenty of flavors. I’m not a specialist but I noticed oak, pepper, berries and spices. Not very acidic, well rounded with a nice finish. Pumped the air out after the first evening and enjoyed it as much the next. It aged well so far so I’ll let some bottles age until they’re 10 years old. They only had 4 cases so it’ll be gone soon. What a deal!

    Reply
  14. GOWineLover

    What are people drinking for Thanksgiving? We’re drinking 2012 Artesa Estate Reserve Carneros Pinot (not a Grocery Outlet purchase) and probably some Riesling.

    Reply
    1. JoelA

      We need to serve kosher wines this year because several of our Orthodox friends will be with us. Usually I serve pinot noir with the turkey but I don’t have a kosher one on hand. So we’ll be drinking one of the Rhone-style blends from Covenant (either the Tribe or the Mensch), 2014 Don Ernesto vin gris (syrah rose) from Hagafen and Hagafen’s 2014 Collage white (Rousanne).

      Reply
    2. Darrell

      Tonight, since the kids will be home, we’ll have a 2010 Luke Lambert Syrah with doe venison. Haven’t figured what to open tomorrow with moose. Probably will be non-GO wine though.

      Reply
      1. Darrell

        Decided to have a 2004 Rene Rostaing Condrieu La Bonnette, 1979 Ch. Pichon-Lalande and a 1993 Pomerol English bottling purportedly of unwanted juice from Ch. Le Pin. Oh, also 1966 Warre’s with those roasted chestnuts.

        Reply
    3. seedboy

      For T we are invited to friends’ house. Their 20s daughter is interested in learning food and wine pairing and I am bringing wine for 6.
      Petit le mont Sauvignon 2013, many of you are familiar with this wine.
      Willm Gewurtztraminer Grand Cru Kirchberg de Barr 2001. Purchased at GO 4 years ago.
      Champalou Les Fondraux 2014, purchased at Kermit Lynch. This is a Vouvray demi sec.
      Jeff Hill Carneros PN 2011, purchased at GO about a year ago.
      Domaine de la Vougeraie Beaune Clos du Roi 1er Cru 2003, GO maybe two years ago?
      Turley 2013 old vine zin, I am on the mailing list.

      Reply
      1. Darrell

        I see the comparing and contrasting in enlightening your friend’s daughter’s wine interest.. Wouldn’t mind learning about the food menu that goes along with your wines.

        Reply
        1. Seedboy

          The Vouvray is specifically for scallops with pomegranate seeds over butternut squash puree. The Loire SB is for pre-dinner cheese. Most of the rest of it is for the meal.

          Reply
          1. Seedboy

            I added in two more GO wines, the Three Rivers SB currently at Richmond, and the Evening Land Chard that is still at Berkeley. The Gewurtz was a flabby mess that did not taste like a Gewurtz. The Three Rivers was really good especially with goat cheeses. The Loire
            SB was less popular in the same role. The role of the Chard was to show that it really does not pair with the menu and it didn’t. The red wines were very nice, the Turley especially a hit. All wine except the G was drained by 6 adults.

            Reply
      2. Expat

        You’re on the Turley mailing list Seedboy? I would have thought it was a bit heavy handed for your palate. I used to be on that list but my tastes changed, my budget changed and I didn’t really like being told I was “allowed” to buy a certain number of bottles of their wine. I live about 30 miles from their Templeton tasting room and winery and used to go by quite a bit. I’ll have to drop in again soon and taste again. I did love their Charbono and Petite Sirahs and probably still would.

        Reply
        1. seedboy

          Yes, have been since the 1997 vintage. As my tastes evolved from bigger is better, their wine making has also evolved. They make well balanced zins and they are still crowd-pleasers.

          Reply
    4. flitcraft

      Our GO wine will be a Sanctuary Bien Nacido Pinot Noir. Our non-GO wines will be a nice 2001 German spatlese Riesling and a Andrew Will syrah. (Don’t have the bottles here in front of me, so I don’t have the year to hand.) And with dessert and cheese, a 1983 Grahams vintage Port.

      Reply
    5. lim13

      2011 Domaine Pichot (Domaine Le Peu de la Moriette) Vouvray
      1999 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir
      and two from GO, just to see what they’re like:
      2014 Carlton Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
      2008 Cavatappi Molly’s Cuvee’ (Red Willow & Boushey Vnyd) Yakima Valley Sangiovese (based on RB’s positive comments, though I’ve never been a fan of Peter Dow’s wines)

      Reply
      1. jwc

        I’ve had the ’14 Carlton Cellars PG lim13, thought it was Drinkable.,surprised to see it here for $5.99. A ’99 DD sounds wonderful! We had a ’06 Spring Valley WW Frederick Bordeaux blend, a ’13 Trisateum Riesling and ’08 Artisinal Cellars Reserve PN. All non GO, paired with Prime Rib.

        Reply
        1. lim13

          Hey jwc! Nice to hear from you. We enjoyed the Carlton Cellars PG; beautiful bronze/pale pink color and more to the dry side. Went well with our bird, but not so much the other foods on the table. And the ’99 Domaine Drouhin PN was wonderful…food or no food. Sixteen years has only made it more complex; still full-flavored and with some tannic structure. I don’t often find that with old Oregon Pinots. Unfortunately it was the last of my three bottles..and all three were delicious over a 13 year period.

          I returned a bottle of 2011 WA Syrah-Cab to GO today (which I thought was horrendous, called Impulse 71 at $7.99), and happened to see a new 2013 Willamette Valley PN called Samuel Robert Vineyards for $14.99. Anyone ever heard of them? I’m not springing for that GO price without more info. These reviews didn’t sell me. Especially with someone saying they paid $15 for it at regular retail.

          Reply
          1. DavidLikesWine

            I remember seeing this on WTSO a while back. I want to say it’s a second label for Coelho, named after one of the family members who’s involved in the business. Always seemed to get ho-hum reviews through WTSO. Sold there for $15-$17 if I recall with a “suggested retail” of around $50.

            Reply
  15. Ron Piazza

    Le Vieux Masi
    Cotes du Rhone 2014
    Santa Rosa $5.99

    A first rate Rhone leaning more toward the Northern Style of pepper and spice. Would guess predominantly Syrah, then Granache, Mourvedere and who knows….
    Clean medium body, black pepper, spice, cherries, smoky, long deep finish of blueberry, rasberry, and a touch of plum. Alcohol at 13%, well integrated no hotness. A wonderful Rhone and equal to or better than a recent Guigal that I tried. Even at twice the price it is still a good value. Drink now and over the next two years.

    Reply
    1. EHL

      This sounds great and will be on the lookout for it.

      Since you mentioned the Rhone, I just tried the 2011 La Tarasque, Old Vine Grenache, Cotes du Rhone that BW recommended a few weeks back. Saw it at Oakland a couple of days ago, tried it, and was impressed.

      Leather, smoke and earthy nose, combined with tart flavors of red plum, raspberry and cherry, a medium-body and dry, spare, minimalist essence about it enchanted me. Even better on the second day.

      For a $4 bottle, I don’t think you can go wrong with this little French baby…picked up a half-case…left about five bottles on the shelf today…

      ;}

      Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          Palfrey12 wrote:2011 La Tarasque, Cotes du Rhone, Old Vine Grenache at 80% of 3.99. Gentle and very quaffable. Darker purple than I expected and at maturity now. I’m stocking up from my Seaside GO.

          Before that, Seedboy wrote: Two wines at the Oakland store to avoid: La Tarasque 2011 Old Vine Grenache, Cotes du Rhone. $4 or $5. Thin warm climate Grenache. Little acid other than the tannin. I love Grenache but not this one.

          I replied, “I thought the La Tarasque Grenache was decent after about 1:30 – 2 hours of air, when it darkens, sweetens, and becomes a little more viscous. It tastes like Grenache, darker red fruity cherry. To me, nothing exciting but nothing bad for the $4, either.”

          Reply
          1. EHL

            Thanks for finding all the prior comments on this CdR, BW…don’t know how you did it though.

            Using the GO WordPress search, I only saw Palfrey’s assessment, though I dimly recalled you mentioning it too but couldn’t find it.

            I must have had a bottle in better shape than others, as it was pretty nice, especially for the money…

            Reply
      1. seedboy

        I have been sipping a bottle over a few days and it is still good. Would make a nice Thanksgiving wine because fruity works with the menu.

        Reply
  16. DavidLikesWine

    2012 Consiliense Grenache, Santa Barbara
    14.5% ABV $5.99 at the Palo Alto store

    Opened this last night with some seared salmon and roasted root veggies. Medium ruby garnet color, transparent, but with nice weight and mouthfeel. Aromatics are on the more savory side (WE review pretty much nailed it IMO) but gives way to uber new world styled grenache on the palate. Raspberry liquor with supporting spice and oak notes and enough acid and tannin to keep it in line. Excellent with the salmon and I imagine it’d be just as good with roasted chicken. If you like new-world takes on Rhone wines, you should be happy with this. If you prefer more restrained wines, you might not like it. My two cents 🙂

    Reply
      1. DavidLikesWine

        Day 3 and this wine is really coming into it’s own. The fruit has faded to bring out the more tertiary game and spice notes into view. Acidity and tannin are more present as well. I’ll be going back for another bottle or two.

        Reply
  17. JoelA

    2013 Pythian Rock California cabernet sauvignon, $ 6.99 at Richmond (13.7% abv)

    This wine has been at Richmond for about a year. When I first saw it, I wasn’t interested inasmuch as it been aged only a short time. But I finally decided to try it; also the guys at Richmond said that they like it.

    The wine is unusually fruity for a cabernet. Both the aroma and the taste have a smoky component. And it has relatively low alcohol. All in all it is quite pleasant. Has sufficient acid but relatively little tannin, so it’s not a wine for the ages.

    The way this wine comes across makes me wonder whether (a) it was produced in an attempt to make a Beaujolais-style from cabernet, (b) it was produced by carbonic maceration or some similar process, (c) it’s really a barrel sample that was bottled early or (d) some of the sugar wasn’t fermented.

    However, it is pretty tasty.

    Reply
  18. DavidLikesWine

    2010 Tanner Vineyards Calaveras County Petite Sirah – 5.99 (4.80 on the sale) / $32.00
    Purchased at Palo Alto 11/6/15

    Pretty muted on the nose for a PS, subtle blueberry, vanilla, and a hint of floral-ness (is that a word?) which seems pretty standard. The wine is on the red/purple side of PS instead of the inky black I’m used to seeing. Production notes say 100 cases made, picked at 26.5 Brix, 14.6% ABV. This wine has the usual spiced blueberry flavors I’m used to, but with a really interesting acid/mineral zing mid-palate. Pretty high toned for a PS which makes me think it might pair well with food. 15+ second finish that I couldn’t discern after about 5 sips because this wine totally whacked my tastebuds. This wine hold is ABV well and did not seem too hot. Nothing wrong with the wine that I can tell, just a different style PS than I was looking for. Would be really interested to hear someone else’s take on this, and I’ll be re-visiting it tonight.

    Reply
    1. EHL

      Hey David…tried a bottle of the Tanner PS, which I picked up at Oakland early during the sale because a number of the Wine staff there reputedly liked it and I’m a sucker for a nice PS, especially if it’s an estate-grown wine.

      However, I had problems with the level of acidity in my bottle…it started off noticeably acidic, grew more acidic and just didn’t smooth out over a couple of days that I attempted to drink it. I eventually just returned it and got credit on another bottle of wine.

      It could of just been another case of bottle variation, though…

      ;}

      Reply
      1. DavidLikesWine

        Your experience sums up mine. The Mourvedre is the best of the lot in my opinion. Still on the high toned side, but evens out after a day or so. Could likely use more cellar time.

        Reply
  19. EHL

    FYI…a good friend of mine recently bought me a bottle of the 2012 Giormani Amarone Della Volpolicella as a gift (what a guy!) from the Oakland GO, whereupon I immediately popped the cork and drank it over the last three days.

    I have never had an Amarone before, so this was quite an eye-opening experience and I learned a hell of a lot, although I could find no review of this particular bottle of Amarone: http://winefolly.com/review/why-amarone-wine-is-worth-the-price/; http://www.winemag.com/May-2013/Amarone-A-Singular-Sensation/

    Given my limited background, I found the estate-bottled Giormani Amarone (14.5% alc.) to be a dark burgundy color, brilliant and medium+-bodied. Although the nose was not particularly vibrant, it and the palate reflected intense notes dominated by black plum, exotic spices and black cherry. Besides this intensity, what was particularly striking about this wine was the delicious black fruit liqueur-like essence, which combined to produce a complex, rich and delightful range of flavors.

    I found this wine to be perfectly-balanced, with long legs and a lengthy finish, leaving one with the conclusion that this is quite a sophisticated wine of finesse and delicacy. No wonder these Amarones command such high prices!

    are some of the sensations conveyed by this smooth, full-bodied wine. Fresh and balanced, it has a polished texture thanks to velvety tannins that support the juicy, dense palate.

    Reply
      1. EHL

        Hey SB…sorry that my notes were a little disjointed and jumbled (had very little sleep recently before posting), but I did really enjoy this Amarone.

        I found it to be a special wine very much deserving a special occasion, definitely…and would pay the sale GO price of $16 for it.

        Will pick up a couple of bottles…

        ;}

        Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi EHL. I tasted from a bottle of this yesterday, over the course of a few hours. I thought it was quite tasty, with flavors as you describe, but I was concerned that it didn’t seem that ageworthy. It’s good to drink now, and it will certainly evolve over the next few years, but I wouldn’t hold it much longer.

      Reply
      1. EHL

        Thanks for your erudite thoughts and assessment as to the age-worthiness of this bottle, BW…is it due to the relatively low 14.5% alc. for an Amarone?

        With my limited experience with this genre of wine, your guidance is likely more fully appreciated and fathomed by those in the GO community who collect fine wines for years.

        In my case, however, I’ll probably just drink up my two little bottles over the Winter holidays with close friends and family!

        ;}

        Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          Hi EHL. I’m not that familiar with Amarone, either, but for the price I would have expected a little more substantial wine. You are of course absolutely welcome to enjoy it as often as you like. 🙂

          Reply
          1. seedboy

            Amarone is made in the Veneto from the Corvina grape. The grapes are picked and the bunches placed on straw in the vineyard to dry some before they are crushed.

            Reply
          2. EHL

            Hey BW…you are right in that this Amarone is pretty pricey, especially in terms of $16 GO dollars. With that money, obviously, you can buy 4-5 bottles of very nice wine during the sale.

            In stopping by Oakland today to pick up two more bottles of the Amarone, however, I spoke to Robaire and queried how he liked the bottle I saw him buy last week before the sale. He smiled and stated that it was “excellent.”

            I also took the opportunity to ask what he thought of the Giormanoi Volpolicella Superiore, which I was thinking of picking up, too, and he recommended against it, even at the reduced sale price. He noted there was “no comparison” between the two, even with the substantial price differential, and it was worth it to pay the extra money. Very interesting.

            All I can say from personal experience is that when I finished the last glass of the Amarone bottle I had before on the third day, I poured a glass of the highly-regarded Blackjack Allusion right thereafter…and there was, indeed, no comparison, with the latter tasting pretty rough and rather shabbily…

            I guess there are just distinct and different dimensions of wine, and certain wines have earned their accolades and reputation over the centuries…

            ;}

            Reply
            1. Darrell

              I guess the Blackjack just suffers by comparison because the only complaint I had about the Allusion, since we know the cepage of the wine, is that there is very little varietal character of any of the varieties. Otherwise it was a decent red wine for the money while not thinking Meritage.

            2. EHL

              Hey Darrell…I was just thinking about you warmly earlier this evening.

              And it is quite the coincidence and really funny you should pop up and raise the issue of wines — including very good ones like the Blackjack Allusion — “suffering by comparison,” a matter on which I totally agree.

              It brought to mind our lively discussion a few months back regarding the relative merits of the Steltzner Vineyard offerings and how best to assess their attributes. Yes, that Petite Verdot was definitely the star from that litter…but I still think the Malbec and Merlot stood on their feet as very good wines, too…if only they could be enjoyed in solitude and without comparison…

              ;}

            3. Expat

              shoot, I just read this and picked up one each of the Amarone and the Valpolicella. Super excited to try the Amarone and wished I would have allocated the Valpolicella funds to more of it. Or to the Chateau de Bensse Medoc that I bought 6 of because I think it’s a winner.

            4. EHL

              Hey Expat…I wouldn’t worry. It seems like all of these wines are very, very good and there is likely no misstep in choosing any of them…

            5. Darrell

              Finally tried the Amarone and it does go down quite easily, but for $16 on sale, I expected a bit more aromatics from the Corvina.

    2. permiesworld

      I had the opportunity to taste test this today. Ended up picking up 3 bottles (and I don’t even need any more reds right now…lol) I did a quick write up for my own blog, mostly because after you posted this, I read the Amarone report and wasn’t going to buy. Anyway, I ended up linking your review here to the write up. I think you absolutely nailed it. I also think this is a much better buy than I ever expected.

      And normally I wouldn’t link my write-ups here…BW (if you want to delete it np…just wanted to let you know where/what I linked from this site 😉 ). There are times, like the wine sales, when I miss doing the reviews.
      https://permiesworld.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/grocery-outlet-bargain-alert-2012-giormani-amarone-della-valpolicella-16/

      Reply
      1. EHL

        Wow…really glad you enjoyed the Giormani Amarone, PW!

        I know you have much more experience with this genre of wine and can more fully appreciate the nuances and subtleties of what it can potentially deliver.

        All I know is that this bottle made me step back and pause…and reflect upon it — not that it was so big or overwhelming in flavor or character, but that it introduced me to a level of refinement in wine to which I was not accustomed nor familiar.

        Thanks very much for your insight and thoughts…

        ;}

        Reply
  20. jimvan49

    For the old timers: last night we had a 375ml bottle of Guntrum 1993 Trockenbeerenauslese from the old buyout of wine.com days. It was $3.99 a bottle back in 2004 when GO had them. Fantastic wine – rich, honeyed, layered apricot flavors, enough acidity to cut the sweetness, and a real delight. It was the last of my bottles from this sale.

    Reply
    1. Seedboy

      I still have a few. One of them will be opened Friday night, the 1996 Enotria Nebbiolo. About ten years ago this wine won a challenge against a number of Italian Nebbioli. Paid $3.99 for it.

      Reply
        1. JoelA

          I opened another bottle of the 2006 Altus Napa Valley cabernet a few weeks ago. It’s getting a bit mellower with – or maybe I’m gerting a bit mellower with age. Still fairly tannic, some concentrated fruit appears, especially on day 2.

          Reply
  21. Darrell

    In getting ready for the upcoming sale, I went to GO to check the inventory after being out of state for over a month and found a Gia Frizzante Chardonnay by Coppola. For $2.99 it’s fine for the price. There are times I want a tingle to my tongue in the morning with a game meat breakfast and this satisfies my needs though I wish for Champagne. Still whites for breakfast doesn’t make if for me. Don’t expect Prosecco. No complexities of secondary fermentation. On the lower acid side, but clean flavors and heavier than a Champagne. The sparkle does last. Most likely will pick up some during the sale.

    Reply
  22. JoelA

    2012 Roc de Lussac, Lussac-St. Emilion, bought last week at Richmond for $ 7.88 (Oakland also has some) (13% abv)

    The wine is labeled as 68% merlot, 20% cabernet Franc, 12% cabernet sauvignon. It comes from an outlying district adjacent the major St-Emilion one.

    On opening the merlot fruit stands out at first, but a bit later is complemented by a bit of earthiness/vegetation-ness from the cab franc and some tannin (presumably from both cabs). Second night the fruit is a bit diminished and the earthiness stands out a bit more, with a little bitterness from the tannins.

    The wine has a good “bite”; I would think it needs another year or two to come together better.
    Looking foiward to comments from SB and others.

    Reply
    1. G.L. Pease

      This wine confused me. It started out not at all what I would expect, either from the appellation or from the constituents, and definitely expresses a need for more time, though I’m unconvinced whether that time will be best served in the bottle, or if the wine should have remained incarcerated in barrels for a while longer. I drank the first bottle with a friend, and was intrigued enough by it to pick up a second. I’ll take a little more time with this one to figure out whether a half case or so will wind up in the racks.

      Upon opening, it’s drum tight and disjoint. Within the first hour, the Merlot took the stage, but early on, it was veiled behind thinly animalic and metallic scents that may be indicative of low levels of brett. Not a bad thing unless it persists. WIthin a couple hours, though, the wine started to present itself more fluently, with lovely aromas of black cherry, dill, fennel, tobacco flowers, belt leather. On the tongue, though, it just doesn’t come together yet. I’ve got half the bottle sitting, waiting for continued exploration tonight, tomorrow.

      Because I really like Saint-Émilions, I’m giving this one more of a chance that I might have otherwise. If it shows some truer colours later, I’ll probably add a half-case or so to the racks, but I’m still on the fence about it, and am not sure the wine is structured to hold up over enough time to really come together. If the cab Franc reveals itself more prominently over the next 24 hours, it’ll be a winner for me. As it sits, I’d rate this well above “drinkable” after a couple hours in a decanter, but not quite “recommended,” unless you are like me and enjoy the exploration.

      Reply
        1. G.L. Pease

          The Cab Franc did, indeed, make its presence more loudly known after several hours, and weil into the next day. The wine continued to be a little confused, but it seemed to be heading in the right direction by the time I’d finished the bottle. I’ll be laying in a few of these to drink in three to five years. It will, for me, remain “Recommended with Reservations,” simply because I think it really NEEDS more time under glass. I liked it well enough to give it a chance for good drinking up until the end of the decade, but not enough to buy a full case. For what it’s worth.

          Reply
    2. delmartian1

      Opened a bottle of the St. Emilion last night. Seemed a bit closed at the very start but after an hour or so began to open up and mellow out. Won’t be able to get back to it for a few days as there are several other new wines that I must try before the sale ends but will definitely pick up a few more of these.

      Reply
  23. flitcraft

    Grande Violette, NV by Naggiar Vineyards, 2012 and 2013, Rhone blend, 13.6% ABV, $4.99

    A tale of two wines, I bought the 2012 a couple of weeks ago at the MLK GO, and saw what I thought was the same wine at Lake City, but on closer inspection it turned out to be the 2013. Unfortunately, I didn’t try them side by side, so the comparison will be from memory.
    First up, the 2012. The label listed it as 65% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre, and 15% Grenache. On pop and pour, it smelled strongly of raspberries. I had to check twice to be sure that it wasn’t really a Grenache dominated wine, but no. The taste was more black fruit (think crème de cassis and blackberry) than red berry fruit. Medium bodied, nicely balanced, not too complicated, but a totally appropriate quaff with lamb kebabs. I liked it well enough to spring for the 2013 once I found that one. The 2013 is a rather different blend–85% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, and only 5% Grenache. Darned if I don’t still get a lot of raspberry on the nose, though. Since I didn’t taste back-to-back I can’t say for sure, but I thought the wine was very similar to its less-Syrah-intensive sibling. I wouldn’t say this is a typical Syrah–it really does taste more like a Grenache-heavy Rhonish blend, percentages to the contrary. What I noticed particularly was the finish–really, really long given that this isn’t a bruiser of a wine. If there’s any left, I might pick up a couple more, which is saying a lot in light of the stuffed state of our cellar.

    I knew nothing of the winery, but online checking showed Naggiar Vineyards as a small family run winery in the Sierra Foothills. Their NV line (which includes the Grande Violette) is a second line of entry-level priced estate produced wines that retail for $17. So, by GO standards, this doesn’t qualify as a screaming deal or anything, but I was happy enough with the wine and the price to give it a thumbs up.

    Reply
    1. EHL

      Hey Flitcraft…like you, I was intrigued by this wine…estate grown, produced and bottled in the Sierra foothills…and definitely punching above its weight class.

      Along with its more expensive brother from Naggier Vineyards, the Le Grand Pere ($46), the modestly-priced Grande Violette took a Gold Medal this year in the Rhone Blends division of the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition — with over 6,300 entrants, the largest face-off of American wines in the world. In doing so, the NV bottles beat out $60 competitors. http://winejudging.com/medal-winners/2015-medal-winners/2015-439/

      For some unknown reason, though, the bottle I picked up a few days ago for $5 in Oakland didn’t match my expectations. The big problem was too much wood, IMHO, so much so that the oak-vanilla notes just overwhelmed everything and took it out of balance. I couldn’t drink it and ended up returning the bottle.

      As is wont to happen with the GO sweepstakes, I probably just got unlucky.

      However, I’m glad you guys in the Northwest ending up getting some clean pallets that showcases what this fine wine is all about.

      Reply
        1. flitcraft

          Hmmm…neither the 2012 or the 2013 struck me as excessively oaky (and I am usually not a fan of too much oak). Maybe I’m going oak-insensitive in my old age!

          Reply
          1. EHL

            Yeah…based on SB’s assessment, too, I imagine the NV shipment to Oakland and perhaps the Bay Area had some issues, hence why a 2015 SF Wine-Gold Medal winner is at GO.

            With your refined palate, Flitcraft, it sounds like the Seattle area shipment turned out very nice indeed.

            Reply
            1. flitcraft

              This is a real mystery–I followed up on the link provided by RB on this wine and others in its series from this producer, and the winery claims that these wines see no new oak (and less time in barrel than their reserve wines.) Something must have gone wrong somehow in at least some of the production run to have given the impression of extreme oakiness despite not seeing actual oak. As I said, I didn’t notice any oakiness at all in either the 2012 or 2013 versions, and will try the Nightshade and Dahlia Noir if they turn up in my neck of the woods. A puzzle, this…

            2. poursomemore

              Regarding the oak, it could be that the wine was blended with other wine that had barrel taint and/or touched oak. This can occur in the blending process where storage and racking options are limited and/or production staff turn over. Small wineries may lose site of the blending records to pinpoint the culprit barrel and/or barrels (if involved at all). Ridge had problems with barrel taint when they first opened their Lytton Springs facility, so it happens to the big boys as well. The worst of barrel taint would not take on an oak taste, however.

            3. lim13

              Well, flitcraft…I went to the Silverdale GO today to try and find the oaked or unoaked Naggiars. I’m seriously oak-sensitive, so wanted to see what my palate told me. But they had neither of those wines. What they did have was the 2013 Dahlia Noir (75% Petite Sirah 15% Grenache 10% Mourvedre) and the 2013 Nightshade (70% Sangiovese 20% Cabernet Franc 10% Petite Sirah)…both $4.99. I picked up one bottle of each and will report back sometime.

    2. RB

      I also liked the 2012 well enough to go back for a few more bottles when it was at the Olympia store recently. Think it’s all gone now, although a couple of the other ’13 red blends from this winery showed up this week.

      Reply
  24. Ron Piazza

    Padilla Erickson Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Napa Valley $4.99. Ok had to give this a try. At 15.5% alcohol I was expecting quite a bit of heat. Surprise, zero what you have is a lovely velvety wine, with ripe Napa fruit, dusty, cassis berries in the nose, smooth on the palate, a bit short in the finish but no real problems. Drink now as I suspect that by the second day there would not be much there. Non connoisseurs would be impressed and pleased, at the price, you won’t go wrong picking up a bottle or two.

    Reply
  25. philinoakland

    Oakland store is loaded up with Padilla Erickson reds. They have a 2010 Cab at $4.99. I put one in my cart to try it this evening, but I was told that the 2007 El Jefe was even better (same price), so I switched.

    I’m drinking it right now and it is superb.

    I can’t really add to the tasting notes here:

    http://buyingguide.winemag.com/catalog/padilla-erickson-2007-el-jefe-red-central-coast-paso-robles

    ….. but, as a testament to how well it has been kept, it certainly doesn’t taste so aged (I think that’s a good thing).

    I would say load up ASAP, because the restaurant owners are going to be buying this out (and, I assume selling it for $35+ on their wine lists)

    Reply
      1. philinoakland

        Wow, that was fast guys. I thought I had a scoop (smiley face). Robaire was just loading the El Jefe at the end of the aisle. I’m going to pick up a case this evening.

        Reply
  26. flitcraft

    Foppiano Estate bottled Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, 2009. $4.99 14.5% alcohol.

    I bought a couple of these for a planked salmon dinner party. I opened both well before dinner, and we began sampling the wine probably an hour and a half later.

    On swirling and sniffing, I noticed both black cherry and tea aromas. On tasting, I found the wine to be medium bodied, generous cherry and strawberry fruit, and a good dose of that shiitaki mushroom/tea/forest floor funk that I really like in a Pinot Noir. The only thing lacking was acidity, to my taste it was a little flabby. To be fair, that was a minority view–one of our guests nearly left right away to stop at GO on the way home and pick some more up. Hard to complain about a varietally correct Pinot Noir at a five spot, but I’d rate it drinkable, two others gave it a light thumbs up, and one gave it an enthusiastic ‘must buy.’ (I didn’t try the small amount left the next day–instead, it went into a chicken stew pot, so I can’t comment on its evolution.)

    Reply
  27. flitcraft

    Louis Latour, Chassagne-Montrachet, Cailleret, 2010, 1er cru controlee, 4.99 (!). Lake City had three cases for a total of about 24 hours, so a call to your local GO might be in order.
    Obviously, seeing a wine that retails for 60 dollars or so at a five spot raises concerns–will there be the dreaded premature oxidization? Bad handling? Bottle variation? So, with mingled excitement and trepidation, I popped one open. Nose is lovely citrusy Meyer lemon and a touch of hazelnut (first sign of premox?). On the palate, rich fruit, green apple acidity, and that hazelnut thing on the aftertaste. Day two was much the same, day four the wine tasted simpler and more tired.

    So…I have several more to sample and perhaps cellar. If there’s no bottle variation, I’ve scored an incredible value. If there is, well, people buy lottery tickets, right?

    Reply
  28. flitcraft

    I’ve been away from home for a bit, so I’m rather out of touch with what’s what at GO, but today I had to do some grocery reprovisioning, so I stopped by the Lake City GO and found an interesting Pinot Noir, a 2011 Oregon bottling by Primarius, at 5.99,listed as 12% alcohol. I’ve never heard of the winery, but I’m no expert on Oregon wine–PW may know more than I do about them. What made me bite was the back label–this wine was intended to be sold in the UK, so it has the required UK labeling rather than the US Surgeon General’s warning. So there must be a story about how a wine bound for Great Britain ended up instead in the Lake City Seattle GO. How was it? Well, in the glass it’s transparent light ruby in color–a really pretty wine. The nose is sour cherry and maybe some plum in there. The flavor is delicate, with the cherry front and center along with cranberry. Lots of acidity there, but not unpleasant to me at least, though if you don’t like a tart wine, I’d give this one a wide berth. This wine seemed to fill out over the course of dinner, but it’s not going to overpower whatever you serve it with. (For us, it was halibut cakes.) Has this shown up elsewher

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Flitcraft and welcome back! I haven’t seen the Primarius 2011 Pinot Noir around here for a month or two, but my review is here, and my conclusions were similar. Note that when I reviewed it, it cost $8, but when it showed up again around here, it was $6.

      Reply
      1. GOwinelover

        Bought some from Point Loma in San Diego. Wasn’t thrilled with it. Not enough fruit and the wine was disjointed. Compared to recent Pinot Deals, not a great deal IMHO. Agreed completely with BW’s review.

        Reply
  29. palfrey12

    The cool does come up out of the Delta following the lower topography of the Mokelume river.
    The real (navigable) Delta starts 10 miles west of Lodi and and extends west to San Francisco Bay. Tokays, Lady Fingers, White Muscats were great tasting and large grapes sadly sunk by the sorry fact of one or two seeds in the middle. For a while in the 60’s and 70’s they picked the Tokays (because so many were planted around Lodi) green and used the juice for cheap champagne. One wine grape that does well there and needs more marketing exposure IMHO is Tannat. There is a 2010 Sobon (Amador County vintner) who takes juice from Lodi and does good things. I agree with other commenters that Lodi Petite Sirah is a highlight. Bogle Vineyards 20 miles to the north in Elk Grove buys and makes some from Lodi.

    Reply
  30. JoelA

    2009 Delta Luna Lodi tempranillo, bought last week at Richmond for $ 3.99 (13.5% abv).

    Sopho and Roberto were dubious about a tempranillo from this area but I thought it was worth checking out. People in Lodi are trying all sorts of grapes (or have come across all sorts already growing there).

    The wine is light colored and light-weight. It has the typical straw/raspberry tempranillo nose and flavor. If you want a light pool-sipping wine, or a red wine to drink with fish (what I drank it with) this will do, but it doesn’t have the necessary acid or stuffing to do much more.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Joel. I have stared at this wine for a while thinking, “Tempranillo is unusual. Back label is detailed about its nice flavors. On the other hand, the only wine I have liked from Lodi is Petite Sirah.” Thanks for trying this and telling us about it.

      Reply
      1. JoelA

        BW; I think you’re forgetting about the Victor Lodi zin that you enthused about some time ago.. There are a lot of small wineries in the Lodi area, producing wines of varying quality and taste. I think you ought to take a trip out there at some point. If you do, you might begin by visiting the wine center on Route 12 where you can taste wines from several wineries. The wineries I have found most dependable so far are Lucas (zin and, of all things, chardonnay) and Spenker (zin only). Jessie’s Grove is also pretty good.

        Reply
        1. BargainWhine Post author

          Hi Joel. I believe (perhaps incorrectly) that that Victor Zin was about a quarter Petite Sirah, so I felt free to gloss over that sort-of-exception. 🙂

          BTW, the currently available Cline Syrah is also apparently about a quarter Petite Sirah. That made me tempted to try it, but I figure it’s likely in the same style as the Cline Zin I found a little too sweet.

          Reply
        2. palfrey12

          I actually was born and lived in Lodi thru high school. It struggles with very hot summer days, sometimes and in some areas offset by cooling at night that comes up the Mokelume River. Most the old zin vines were pulled out for Charles Shaw and Gallo quality Cabernet vines in the 90′ and following. They could only sell so much ‘white zin’. The temperanillo grapes used to be planted for sherry and port, which Lodi used to make in abundance. There is not nearly as much old vine zin in Lodi as is labeled and sold as such, this the result, as I understand it, that there is no legal definition of what ‘old vines’ are. Jessie’s Grove is the real thing and my choice when visiting there. Klinker Brick I also enjoy.

          Reply
          1. Darrell

            I always thought the cooling came from the West, the Delta breezes. The Lodi area has a unique climate that favored the growing of the Tokay table grape, but this grape has gone by the wayside like the Ladyfinger variety.

            Reply
  31. palfrey12

    There was a Rheingau Kabinett riesling in the past 12 months but I forget the vineyard, good but not quite one for the decades. I found the best recent GO deals in this “german” style of wine to be the Alsatians. They don’t get much respect in the USA. I liked particularly at the price: Helfrich Pinot Gris 2008 first and then Pierre Sparr Gewürztraminer, reserve 2009, France Alsace

    The joy of gems is how rare they are; so happy hunting. But isn’t it wonderful to be able to serve guests a nice wine and then go on to gloat at the GO price (of course for some guests that remains my little secret).

    Reply
        1. seedboy

          Berkeley has some of it. It appeared about a month ago at the same time as that 2011 white Bordeaux and some Italian wines.

          Reply
  32. JoelA

    Resting on my laurels after a dinner with friends and a couple of great wines, one being a GO bargain from days past (the other one not be relevant to this blog).

    1999 von Simmern Rauenthaler Baiken spatlese, bought some years ago at San Pablo for $ 2.99.

    Those were the days when one walking through the San Pablo wine section might on some days trip over a box of something lying in an aisle. Such was the case with this wine. It looked like a great deal if it were in good shape (those also were the days when some wines were at GO after having had storage issues). With the label being in old German script I might have been the only person around who knew what this was. So I took home a bottle to check the condition, which turned out to seem fine. So, crossing my fingers and toes that the wine would still be there, I returned the next day and found it still sitting on the floor. So I bought all of it (nine bottles) and drank the last bottle tonight.

    After fifteen years the wine was still excellent – lots of fruit, excellent acid, a great finish and a great nose. Could go on for years if I had any more.

    One of my greatest GO purchases.

    Reply
    1. palfrey12

      About 20 years ago at the old location of the Gilroy, California GO, I bought a case of Schloss Johannisberg Kabinettwein for $1.99@. It was great and would not have lasted as long as your Spätlese even if I had the self-discipline. Over 2 years, I was able to wow the folks who would know such things with a bottle from the vineyard that put the Johannisberg into the Riesling name. There’s that and the fact that the Austrian Emperor gave this vineyard as a gift to Prince Metternich as part of his reward for running Europe after Napoleon’s defeat.
      GO has a hit or miss pricing policy on German wines still today, and it is still possible to find these treasures and always fun to remember them even after the last bottle from the case is empty.

      Reply
      1. JoelA

        Hi, Palfrey. Unfortunately I haven’t seen any German wines at GO that look worth trying for a few years now. Have you?

        Reply
          1. Darrell

            This is before my time with GO wines, but if I had stumbled across these cases, you might not have gotten to them. These labels stick out like a sore thumb to me and especially at those prices. Damn! I have come across some prestigious German Spatleses, but not at those bargain prices.

            Reply
            1. JoelA

              if I had come across it now I might be inclined to share some but that wasn’t possible back in those old pre-blog days.

  33. DavidLikesWine

    I’ve made my way through 2 of the 4 Cairdean Vineyards wines that have recently shown up:

    2011 Napa Chardonnay ($4.99 at Palo Alto) – producer website says this is a 75% barrel aged and fermented 25% stainless steel blend from 2 vineyards, one in SE Napa (Coombsville?) one in Carneros. If you like French Oak, you’ll like this wine. Cooler weather fruit notes (citrus heavy, not as tropical as the Leto or others, mostly lemon) with tons of barrel spice and vanilla. IMO, the oak dominates this wine, but, if you like that, it’s pretty good. Had the bottle open 3 days with pretty consistent notes across the board. Since the fruit never became more pronounced, methinks it’s on the fade.

    2008 Napa Zinfandel ($6.99 at Palo Alto) – 15.2% ABV in the worst of ways. This wine was hot from the moment it was opened at cellar temp and stayed hot all the way through day 3. Day 1 had some nice fruit / spice / pepper notes that kept it on the rails, but by day 2 everything after the initial taste seemed to fall apart in an explosion of alcohol heat. Not to my taste.

    Up next, Rosé and Sangiovese….

    Reply
    1. DavidLikesWine

      2011 Napa Rose ($3.99 Palo Alto) – for me, worth the price of admission just to have a Cabernet Rosé that actually tastes like a cabernet. I’ve only had a few before, and this one was immediately recognizable as cab. Not enough acidity for me, but the wine is pretty complex in the flavor department, just lacking the structure I’d want to go back and buy more.

      Reply
  34. JoelA

    2011 Concha y Toro “Casillero del Diablo” Winemaker’s Red Blend, bought 8/24 at Berkeley for $ 3.99 (also at Richmond); 13.5% abv

    I usually don’t go for Chilean wines but Concha y Toro is a long-time reliable producer of wines from this country (I hate to tell you when I first drank their wine; their label says “since 1883”).

    The wine seems to be primarily a cabernet/merlot (or perhaps carmenere) blend. Its fruit is up front, with a good middle and endpoint, and it has good structure. Quite good now; might (or might not) get more complex) with some time. At $ 3.99 a good choice for a house wine.

    Reply
  35. Darrell

    Recent comments under the 2009 Cima Collina brought up bottle variability with some of GO wines, but my recent experience with severe heat and cold is with a nonGO wine that is quite large in production, Kim Crawford SB, widely found at Costcos except for Utah’s.

    I regularly try to get red wine fare down in southern Monterey County around Lockwood and surrounding environs where there are daily temperature swings of 45-50 degrees. A temp in this recent heat wave hit 107 there and in the winter I have seen a low of 12 degrees. Technically this is a high desert climate, all within teens of miles of the Pacific Ocean, due to the steep rise of the Pacific Coast Range out of the ocean taking out moisture on the windward side and leaving little on the lee side rain shadow.

    A hostess friend allowed me to use her permanent camper to camp over and I would try to supply her with wine which was stored in the camper. I hadn’t stayed over for about a couple of years and recently went up to the camp and found some bottles of beer and wine outside with bottle necks down in a hole in the ground. These bottles had been in the camper for about a year and a half and baking and freezing in that climate. About 5 months ago she took them out of the camper due to tasting beer gone bad and thought everything had turned bad, so dumped them outside in direct sunlight and much heat since spring is quite hot also. The labels looked like they had been rained on and were peeling off. The Kim Crawford screwcap had bulged and was no longer flat, but I couldn’t detect any browning. I hadn’t had breakfast, the wine was cold and I carry a wine glass in the vehicle —–well why not, lets try this for breakfast. Lim, you’re gonna love this, the wine was light yellow with CO2 spritz, no leakage I could see and when tasted, there were no maderized flavors and most definitely SB. The flavors were astoundingly fresh. I was sorely amazed. There were 2 reds, one a 1986 Bordeaux and a recent bottling of CS from Napa Valley. The older red had pushed the cork and allowed liquid loss and supplanted with air when the wine chilled. This had turned bad, but the CS was fine even though the cork had pushed slightly. This demonstrates to me how the condition and quality of cork determines the protection of wine even with the poorest of storage conditions. Gotta give a huzzah to Stelvins under these conditions also.

    Reply
  36. JWC

    2011 Mauro Chardonnay Puglia Italy 13.5% abv $2.99

    PU in Beaverton Progress GO, the front label looked serious, but I initially was leery of a $3 chardonnay. Reviewed the back label which mentioned fruit, full bodied and complexity, that pulled me in. Checked out the web site http://www.terramaremagnum.com and liked what the company is efforting to do, and gave this a try. Glad I did, this is a completely serviceable, full bodied chardonnay. Fermented partially in oak, flavors of green apples, tropical fruit and vanilla. A more restrained hand on the oak, than say what used to be a personal favorite, Robert Mondavi Napa Valley chardonnay, which in the last few years has left oak slivers in my tongue, every time I’ve chosen to drink it. For $3 this is a very solid wine, great for a party or wedding reception. I think this would have mass appeal, non wine drinkers would enjoy this, and there is enough here to keep wine folk content. Thumbs Up.

    Reply
  37. DavidLikesWine

    2007 Mulas Family Vineyards Carneros Syrah
    13.9% ABV
    $5.99 / $22.99 Palo Alto store

    Shows more cool climate characteristics than the Blackjack Ranch Double-Down of the same vintage. Medium + body with a really vibrant garnet color. A really pretty wine. I could see my fingers through the glass.

    All of the appropriate gamey-ness, spice, and fruit on the nose. Really quite delicious with very nice acid lift (what I felt was missing from the Blackjack Ranch) that keeps this wine fresh. Day 2 starts to show some age with more balsamic-y stewed fruit on the nose, but that blows off after about 15-20 minutes. Day 3 starts the downhill slope and by Day 4 the acidity is still there but the fruit is pretty much dead.

    To me, for the same price, this is much, much better than the Blackjack Ranch. I will be returning my remaining bottles and exchanging them for this wine.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Carneros, Sonoma County, CA; 13.9% ABV
      $6 at the Richmond, CA, store on about 26 Aug

      Mulas_2007_SyrahAfter David gave us this description, I was intrigued enough to try a bottle, and overall I agree with him. On the first night, it showed earthy, funky fruit of dark red cherry and blueberry, with a little too much acid for me. I thought it needed about 2 hours of air in a decanter for the fruit to come forth and soften pleasantly. But especially after 3 hours open, I thought it tasted distinctly over the hill.

      However, a few days later, the saved single-glass screwcap bottle was actually pretty good. The fruit was more forward and had added a tasty (for me, at least) component of Chinese salted, dried plum (Li Hing Mui). While the acid was still on the stronger side, I didn’t detect any part that would make me think it’s too old. Overall, I would call it drinkable, but I wasn’t as enthusiastic about it.

      Reply
  38. BargainWhine Post author

    A couple Chardonnays I tasted recently:
    1) Pier 52 California Chardonnay, $5: I thought this was pretty good, with nicely but not overly ripe fruit of yellow apple and white pear, with a good amount of balancing ripe acid. Decent for the price. At the Richmond store, at least, it hasn’t been selling, I suspect because of the rather ugly label.
    2) Ektimo (I forget whether 2012 or 2013) Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $6. I was excited about this wine because of the Ektimo dry Riesling which was pretty good, and because of the RRV designation. However, I found this wine not bad in terms of gently ripe fruit and modest complexity, but with lemony acid too strong for me. I thought it might just be nicely made and would open up the next day, but instead it had completely simplified into a thoroughly boring wine. Some of the acid fiends here might like it on the first day, especially with food, but in most situations I wouldn’t recommend it.

    Reply
  39. EHL

    FYI…picked up an interesting bottle of the Knight Hill Winery, 2010 Rooks Red, produced and bottled in Zillah, WA, from grapes grown in the Wahluke Slope/Rattlesnake Hills AVA of the Yakima Valley; 14.3 alc., $6 GO, SRP $23.

    According to KH’s website, where the ’10 Rooks Red is presently offered for sale, “This is our blend crafted from Cabernet Sauvignon (42%), Merlot (35%), Petit Verdot (18%), and Petite Sirah (5%). This wine expresses lovely floral aromas of rose and violet mingled with spice and nutmeg. Delicious with braised meats or grilled steaks.”

    An on-line review that praises the KH Rooks Red’s merits and awards it an “Excellent” rating: http://www.greatnorthwestwine.com/2013/06/10/knight-hill-winery-2010-rooks-red-wahluke-slope-23/

    Upon popping and pouring, the wine was brilliant and dark garnet in color with a medium+ body. The nose was not shy…offering, initially, elements of black plum, smoke and candied black cherry with an unusual citrusy floral note, although it did not strike me as rose or violet.

    The wine’s flavors reflected the bouquet and it was generally well-balanced, dry with smooth tannins and a pleasant finish.

    Nice bottle of vino for what GO is asking, but not terribly remarkable or memorable, IMHO, at least not on the first day…

    ;}

    Reply
    1. rgardner2

      I picked up a couple of bottles at the Renton store Sunday (after a Fry’s visit down the hill) based on your review and a 91 rating on CT. First red wine I’ve bought at GO in over a month as I haven’t seen anything of interest.

      Reply
      1. EHL

        Hope you like the local product, Knight Hill Rooks Red, rgardner.

        As an alternative, if you are looking for some very good Red wine values that have popped up recently in Renton and Skyway, others to consider include: two Montes bottles from Chile (the “Twins” Malbec-Cab and Limited Selection Cab-Carmenere); the Bodega Norton Perdriel Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina; the “Street Shiraz” from Sonoma (undercover Russian Hill Estate RRV Syrah); the Revolera Red from Spain; and the Villa Travignoli Chianti Rufina from Tuscany.

        All of these bottles range from $4-$6 at GO…considerably under their SRP and deliver impressive, quality vino for what little you pay, IMHO.

        ;}

        Reply
        1. rgardner2

          I looked for all these at the Lakewood store today, nada. But I did find a Beviamo Dolce Rosso for $5 (list ~$12-14) that has a 4.2 rating on Vivino (71 reviews). Sparking sweet red that might be good for a hot night patio wine.

          Reply
  40. DavidLikesWine

    NV Lago de Merlo “Ca’Bella” IV
    Sonoma County Red Blend, 14.2% ABV
    Purchased at the Palo Alto Store July 28, $3.99

    Saw this yesterday in the store and picked it up due to the interesting white blend from the same producer (Fiano and Pinot Grigio). Nice packaging, hefty bottle, composite cork. Producer website says this is a blend of primitivo, barbera, and cabernet franc, $21 from the winery.

    Color: Garnet / Ruby red with just ever so slight bricking towards the edges, I can see my fingers through the other side of the glass.

    Body: Medium / Medium +

    Nose: Pleasantly straightforward, dark red fruit bordering towards a blackberry brambly thing, some hints of oak (vanilla but not much in the way of spice) and after about 20 minutes in the glass a kind of violet floral note

    Taste: Raspberry, ripe cranberry, plum, and a kind of vanilla spice. Acidity that gave it lift without being high toned, enough tannins to hold it together. 5-10 second finish that had me ready for the next sip.

    Impression: A nice house wine, very pleasant with nothing off-putting. Acidity would help it do well with a variety of foods, but it’s fine on it’s own. Reminds me of a higher quality, more nuanced and prettier version of the Luna “Lunatic” blend.

    Confession: I “Weinish’d” this wine. Pop+Pour and consumed over the course of about 45-50 minutes.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi David and thanks for your notes on this wine! From your description, I would guess that pop and pour is the right way to approach this wine. 🙂

      Reply
      1. DavidLikesWine

        Re-visted the wine last night. The fruit has darkened nicely and the wine is more complex. The briary, brambly blackberry thing is really driving the wine now and the tannins are more pleasantly rustic as opposed to generic, mass-produced supermarket wine smooth. This bumped up a notch for me and I will be returning for more!

        Reply
  41. JoelA

    2006 Poggio le Coste Barbaresco, bought some time ago at Oakland for $ 15.99 – 15% (sale price); 13.5% abv.

    I held off buying this wine for some time and finally decided to see whether this high-priced (for GO) wine was worth it.

    The label says is “austere but velvety in flavor”.. On opening, after 15 minutes in the glass: austere: check; velvety; nope.

    Takes a couple of days before the wine loses some of the austerity. Overall it shows a lot of browning and a fair amount of flavor, but not an outstanding barbaresco. Rate it drinkable after a day or two, but that’s it.

    Reply
  42. palfrey12

    Bought at the Seaside, CA store today for $6.99: Rosenberg Estates 2008 Old Vine Zinfandel from Alexander Valley Sonoma, California. One writer on the web says referring to the 2009: “The grapes for this gem of a Zin come from a 6-acre vineyard planted almost a century ago on the northern outskirts of Healdsburg. This historic plot, owned by the Rosenbergs for two generations, yields grapes for a mere 200 to 400 cases of wine. Until now, Rosenberg Estates’ wines – a Zinfandel and a Cabernet – have been available to the public only in the tasting room of the Rosenbergs’ Grape Leaf Inn cottage in Healdsburg. This is a true garagiste project that transports you to the Healdsburg countryside with each delicious sip.” The 2008 I had is matured and mellow, a broad rather than a hot taste even at 16.24% alcohol. Some nicely grown-up berry flavors and a deep impressive color. Far better than the average fruit bomb but lacking the true delicacy and spice of Ridge zinfandels. If you buy a few bottles and don’t want to drink them now, they are great gifts for your friend the zin fanatic because the label lists the best pedigree for California zins. A thumbs up for me at $6.99.

    Reply
    1. seedboy

      Oakland has a mess of the 2009 for the same price or maybe a dollar less. I liked it and I have generally little tolerance for GO zin. I think the 2009 was lower in alcohol than this one.

      Reply
  43. Seedboy

    2011 Les Galets de Sauveterre Cotes du Rhone, $3.99 Oakland store bought July 24. This wine is on the ripe side but with just enough acidity even for me. Nice and rich. Could stand cellaring a year or two.

    Reply
    1. adlerpe

      This just popped up at the Berkeley store October 26. I’m trying it now; it’s got decent tannins wight from opening, and seems to be developing more as it airs.

      There was about a case-worth on the shelf when I got this. If the second half of the bottle is as good tomorrow after a little more air, I’ll check to see if there’s more inventory.

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        There is at least a case on the shelf in Berkeley. I have opened four or five of them, as recently in the last few days, and they have been consistently tasty

        Reply
  44. EHL

    FYI…an interesting bottle picked up at Skyway: the 2012 Casaleiro Winery, Reserva Touriga Nacional (40%)/ Castelão (30%)/ Trincadeira (30%) Red blend, from Tejo Region, Portugal, 13% alc.; $4 GO, SRP $9.

    With its Portuguese origin, distinguished-looking package and cheap price…the bottle caught my eye, with the sticker on the neck declaring its “90 rating and Top 100 Best Buy” designation from Wine Enthusiast sealing the deal.

    Some on-line musings regarding the wine, detailing its many attributes: http://buyingguide.winemag.com/catalog/casaleiro-2012-reserva-touriga-nacional-castelao-trincadeira-red-tejo; http://costcowineblog.com/2012-casaleiro-reserva-vinho-regional-tejo-portugal-2/.

    Despite the positive reviews, however, my experience did not bear fruit.

    Pulling out the cork, most of it was intact but the bottom left a shard in the neck. Not a good sign in a wine this young. That may have played a part, since the dark garnet wine was fairly acidic from the start and it never really developed into a balanced tasty act, the tartness dominating the dark fruit and underlying flavors.

    Although drinkable — and I did finish the bottle rather than returning it since it was not obviously flawed — the Casaleiro Red certainly did not rise to the level of a 90 pt. wine IMHO.

    I may have to try another bottle anyway, especially at this bargain price, since WE and so many others have proclaimed its virtues and QPR…

    ;}

    Reply
    1. flitcraft

      I came across this one in early June and like you, wasn’t overwhelmed. It was a pleasant enough accompaniment to braised pork, but in the end I called it somewhere between drinkable and thumbs up based on price point. But with better wines at 4 dollars (the Spanish Revolera for one, and the Street Shiraz for another) well, I don’t see another bottle in my future.

      Reply
  45. Wine Goose

    Tuke-Holdsworth 1980 Port, from Portugal

    I visited a Grocery Outlet in Kennewick, WA and found these bottles of 35-year old Port wine. They were sold for $49.99 which seemed steep, but it WAS 35 years old. I bought one, but didn’t open it. A few days later I was in Moses Lake, WA and they had the same thing for just $24.99. Here I bought one and sampled it. I then returned to the Outlet and bought the remaining five bottles. The one thing I could conclude about the cheap price was: the cork would fall apart when I opened it. Other than that it was a very rich wine, as good as what I experience while visiting Vila Nova de Gaia and sampling the ancient ports in the wineries there. So, with a fine-mesh strainer and a good replacement cork, the problem is solved.

    These were full fifths. I also found in Kennewick G.O. a half-sized bottle of 1983 Tuke Holdsworth for 17.99. I bought that and found the cork to be only marginally better than on the 1980 version. The wine itself was good but not as good as the 1980 vintage – three years shouldn’t have made that much difference, one would think, but there must be other factors than age. It also had a lot of sediment which the 1980 Port lacked.

    Anyway this is a lot of money to spend on wine, but doggone the 1980 vintage is pleasing all the way around. I’ve visited several G.O.s in Oregon since and haven’t seen this Port in any of them.

    Reply
    1. flitcraft

      Thanks for the report on the 1980 Tuke Holdsworth Port. I’ve had similar results to yours on the 1983 375 ml. bottles; very tired and over-the-hill. We’ve seen a variety of Tuke Holdsworth Ports show up at GOs over the past couple of years. The TH port house has had a long history–since the seventeenth century–but its most recent history has been rather checkered. Like many small Port lodges, the various ups and downs of the Portuguese economy in the past decades has resulted in the sale of some of their vineyards and even of the entire concern. TH was bought out in the late 1950’s by Ferreira, which in turn was acquired by giant Sogrape in the 1980’s. I suspect that’s what led to the 1980’s decade vintages ending up as orphans. The Sogrape website today doesn’t list TH at all–which probably explains how AWDirect got ahold of the wine and sent it off to Grocery Outlet. By the way, if you come across the 2003 TH, I recommend it. It’s a good example of an early-maturing, lightweight Port from a very good vintage year, and it’s probably coming out of its closed phase right about now. Or will be this fall, when prime Port-drinking season starts in earnest…

      Reply
      1. lord koos

        We tried the 1980 which seemed to be only around our store during the 2014 holidays, I really should have gone back and bought more of them. The wine was fantastic, the only downside being that there was about an inch of sludgy dregs at the bottom, I’ve never seen a wine with that much. I wondered if maybe the batch was blown out cheap because they literally were from the bottom of the barrel. But it was some of the best tawny port I’ve tasted.

        Reply
  46. EHL

    FYI…another of the interesting bottles I picked up at Skyway: Artifact Wines, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Rutherford, Napa Valley, but vinted and bottled in Buellton (?), CA; 14.9% alc., $8 GO, SRP $30.

    My friend was the one who initially noticed this bottle right away; it stood alone aloofly on Jeff’s wine bar, surrounded by wine racks filled with hundreds of other offerings. She brought it to me and asked warily, “Is this good?” Upon examining the heavy Bordeaux bottle with its deep punt and distinctive, case-numbered label referencing its Rutherford origin, I was immediately intrigued…although I had never heard of the wine maker and took note of its relatively-high GO price.

    So, of course, we had to find out…

    Upon popping and pouring this dark and mysterious wine, the nose initially appeared a little muted, displaying subtle vinous notes of dark fruit and a hint of oak. From opening, the wine was smoothly satisfying in a delicious and refined fashion. The dark fruit of black Bing cherries and cassis was prominent and sweet yet dryly-balanced, mixed in with a nicely structured and complex body exhibiting that oft-mentioned “Rutherford Dust,” while concluding with a lengthy finish.

    Yes…first that magnificent Chento Malbec from Mendoza…and now this little beauty from Napa’s Rutherford AVA…both bottles procured for less than a $twenty. It’s what GO is all about…

    Some on-line thoughts: http://www.vivino.com/wineries/artifact/wines/napa-valley-rutherford-cabernet-sauvignon-9999; http://www.artifactwines.com/wines.html

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    Reply
  47. JWC

    2008 Pedriel Coleccion Cabernet Saugivnon Mendoza, Argentina 14.5% abv $7.99

    Picked this up in the Couv, or Vancouver last week. Like all of the Pedriel wines I’ve had the pleasure of tasting, this is nice. Not a lot on the nose, raspberry and light cherry. This wine is mature and refined, medium bodied and well structured for a $20 or so retail effort.
    I’m enjoying where this is at, paired well with a grilled pork tenderloin tonight, Thumbs Up.
    As a side bar, as I’ve enjoyed a number of Perdriel wines at GO in the past, I’d have to say, I’d recommend this label across the board, as they seem so consistent in quality and value.

    Reply
    1. EHL

      Hey JWC…tried a bottle of the Perdriel Cab, too, after picking it up earlier at Seattle’s Skyway GO for $6. Not sure why it was a couple of bucks more expensive down there.

      I concur with your notes, although I found my bottle of Cab a little heavier in body with Black Cherry notes and a touch of oak in the nose.

      As you note, a very nice, balanced and accomplished wine for the money…and drinks smoothly from first popping the cork.

      ;}

      .

      Reply
        1. EHL

          Reviews of the Perdriel ’08 Cab and its, even better, younger brother, the ’10:

          http://buyingguide.winemag.com/catalog/finca-perdriel-2008-coleccion-cabernet-sauvignon-mendoza; http://www.wine.com/v6/Bodega-Norton-Perdriel-Cabernet-Sauvignon-2008/wine/129614/Detail.aspx?iid=ProductDetail%3ARecentlyViewed;
          http://www.wine.com/v6/Bodega-Norton-Perdriel-Cabernet-Sauvignon-2010/wine/131199/Detail.aspx?iid=ProductDetail%3ARecentlyViewed

          So who says the great PNW is getting decent wine at our GOs…lol.

          Reply
          1. JWC

            I actually felt this wine, 4 years after the WE rating is drinking better than an 89 Pt wine. Low 90’s for me. I’ve been drinking a number of high end cabs & merlots from the cellar lately, this is a respectable wine for a lot less coin.

            Reply
            1. EHL

              Well, given your cellar and palate, JWC…you would know much better than me, and I’m glad to hear your assessment!

              Also, you gotta find that Chento Malbec that Lim discovered…really nice stuff.

  48. EHL

    FYI…amongst the 3/4 case of mixed wine bottles I recently picked up at Seattle’s impressive Skyway GO was an interesting Chilean Red: the Montes Twins, 2011, 50% Malbec – 50% Cab, from Colchagua Valley, 14 % alc., $6 GO, SRP $18.

    From opening, the wine was a dark, dense purple, brilliant and full-bodied. A heady bouquet with flavors of blackberry, smoke, blueberry, leather and spice greeted the nose, complemented by vanilla oak overtones and licorice.

    This South American wine is rich, full and kinda big…dark fruit mixed with silky tannins and a slightly acidic edge, ending with a lingering finish and long legs.

    Nice wine for the money…

    Some brief, interesting reviews of the Montes Red blend: http://www.wine.com/v6/Montes-Twins-Red-Blend-2011/wine/123508/Detail.aspx; http://www.cellartracker.com/notes.asp?iWine=1441220

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    Reply
  49. BargainWhine Post author

    Earlier today, G. L. Pease wrote:

    I picked up all three vineyard designated DA Zins. All were delicious, and very different from one another. I’ve been a little turned off by the preponderance of palate-pounding, high-octane grape grenades that so many are making, and so many are buying, that I’ve all but sworn off of the stuff. But, I figured 2011 was a coolish vintage, I’ve had a few Deux Amis zins that were pretty delicious, and the Dry Creek Valley AVA doesn’t grow grapes as sugar heavy as, say, Lodi, so it was worth the gamble. I really liked all three of them. The Halling is the lightest of the three, with a more dominant acidity surrounding the fruit. The Shadick exhibits more fruit, and is probably the one I’d consider the most balanced and versatile of the three. The Manasseh shows more earthiness, and dances dangerously close to the line of being over the top, without actually wandering into enemy territory. All three held up nicely overnight. I’m going back for a mixed case of at least the Halling and Shadick, though the Manasseh was delicious with some grilled steaks last night.

    Dammit. Maybe I need two cases…

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Deux Amis 2011 Zinfandel “Shadick Vineyard”
      Dry Creek Valley, CA; 14.7% ABV
      $6 at the Oakland, CA, store on 1 July

      DeuxAmis_2011_Zin_ShadickVnydThis wine is tasty enough at first pour, but its slightly elusive flavors and mineral oil-like texture made me think it could air into something better. Indeed, after about 1:40 of air in a decanter, the texture becomes more liquid and the flavors come forth more: black raspberry / blackberry / boysenberry, tar, raspberry leaf, and supporting oak. The body and intensity are still on the lighter side, but the dark flavors and elegant delineation are nice for the price, especially considering many of the Zins GO gets.

      However, the saved single-glass screw-cap bottle was distinctly more red, acid, and vegetal, not awful but kind of unpleasant. It seemed to only get worse with more air. I guess the upsides and downsides to this wine merit a Drinkable overall.

      Reply
      1. seedboy

        I’ve had a bottle of this open a few days. My observation is that I did not much care for it to start, and it deteriorated daily.

        Reply
    2. dluber

      Beware the Halling, I had a vinegary bottle of that one. The others were good.
      Yesterday I got two Sonoma single-vineyard and one plain Sonoma, all 2011, opened the non-vineyard designated one and it was as good or nearly so as I remember the DCV singles from last week.

      Reply

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