Mark Aselstine
May 24, 2011 | Mark Aselstine

Before the Critics

Every so often we have a customer, or frankly a family member who asks the most basic question of them all: How do you guys find wine?

It’s a basic question, but also goes directly to the root of our business, why should a consumer spend their hard earned money with us rather than another online wine club with a bigger brand name or with a local wine retailer who won’t be charging them shipping every month?

Let’s start by talking a bit about the types of wines that we’ve found and we’ll follow up with some specific examples in an entry later on in the week with examples of how we found specific wines.

We are always trying to find high quality, small production wines before they receive their scores from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate or other industry publications. If we wait until after they’re scored, there is a real chance that there won’t be any wine to buy because quantities are so limited.

A great example comes from our Wine Exploration Wine Club. We recently shipped a Chardonnay from Mt Eden Vineyards, specifically their 2008 Wolffe Vineyard. 2008 wasn’t suppose to be a great year for wine, especially in the Edna Valley, but when we tasted the wine we thought it fell in closer with the wineries much pricier estate Chardonany’s than we were expecting. At a retail price of $20 it really was a perfect fit for our Wine Exploration Wine Club customers who are generally looking for quality wines which can be opened as soon as they arrive.

We weren’t surprised when we saw the following come across from Food and Wine Magazine and their annual list of the best wines $20 and under:

2008 Mount Eden Vineyards Wolff Vineyard ($20)
In 2008, bad weather in California’s Edna Valley drastically cut the amount of fruit from Wolff Vineyard but packed flavor into the grapes. Jeffrey Patterson makes this wine exactly the same way he makes Mount Eden’s pricier estate Chardonnays, producing a white with vivid flavors of pear, peach and lime.

We have had similar experiences with a few bottles and wineries, one of which was included in our February Special Selections Wine Club shipment this week. Come back for more examples of wines which we’ve shipped, before they were scored or approved by major critics.


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