I don’t buy wine in a liquor store that costs over $50. However, bottles from one of my wine clubs routinely ring in at over $50 in my quarterly shipments. Why is this ok with me? Two primary reasons: 1) the wines are great, and 2) they already have my credit card, divesting me of any decision-making authority and informed consent. It’s a personal shopper. I assume it’s the oenophile’s equivalent of giving your wife your credit card and telling her to go buy something sexy (sidebar – do guys do that? They should. I would. Getting the wrong size can ruin the moment. Luckily wine bottles are one-size fits-all). Or like a happy hostage situation where you get kidnapped by George Clooney and he just wants to hang out with you. I could go on with various metaphors, but the bottom line is that wine clubs are great. Do some research (i.e.visit wineries and drink) and pick the one(s). You deserve to treat yourself and have wine delivered to you. Here is a bit about mine…
I’ve belonged to two wine clubs for the last four years and have never seriously considered cancelling (I think I gave it a fleeting thought a time or two but then swiftly came to my senses). One, Markham, is moderately priced – average $20-40 per bottle. Their wines are very drinkable and generally appealing. Some have surprising complexities, but for the most part, they fall in line with quality, reliable Napa reds and maintain integrity to the particular grape or blend. I discussed their Syrah recently (see prior blog). If you can still find the 2009 Merlot, that was an excellent year. I think I shed a tear over that wine one night – and not the night it was gone, but the first glass because it was just so damn good. Their Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon are also noteworthy. Plus, they distribute Greystone Cellars wine, from the C.I.A. Greystone across the street – very cheap and very tasty (like $12 Cabs!).
My other wine club is Clos du Val. These reds generally range from $40-60, though every once in a while there will be a big ticket bottle closer to $100 (with the member discount). I put a post-it note on those saying “do not open capriciously,” or something like that. But I could stand to be more capricious in my bottle opening. The age old question for YOLOs – what if I got hit by a truck tomorrow and died – makes me think “open the frickin’ bottle!!” Or look both ways…definitely one of those two things. Anyhow, I visit Napa Valley every other Fall; it is truly a food and wine lover’s destination because your toughest decisions of the day are which wineries to try and where to go for dinner. Oh the humanity!! The other perks about wine clubs are free tastings when you visit the winery, special members-only events, usually at least a 20% discount on all their wines, and special offerings that aren’t publicly available. My mom belongs to Krug and they are great too – when we visited them with some friends and did some tasting, they really rolled out the red carpet for us.
Need a wine recommendation by price, pairing, or just something noteworthy? Let me know! I’ll be posting lists, links and recommendations soon on my website at http://www.eatdrinkandgo.com. So you can comment here or send me an email on the website. I’m not an expert, but so far, my subjects have not been disappointed by my recommendations. Or maybe they’re just being nice 😀