Category Archives: Staff Picks

Staff Pick: La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial 2001

Wine: La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial 2001
Reviewer: Rachel
Rating: 4 Stars

Review: What do you get when you have a Rioja that’s sexy, earthy, spicy with a long, lasting finishing for only $30? A killer wine that I personally want to stock up on. This Rioja is a medium bodied wine with well-developed structure creating a silky mouthfeel that is delicious. This wine is loaded with red and black berries, red cherry, vanilla, baking spices but also has an earthy undertone with tobacco and leather notes. An excellent, affordable Rioja outstanding to enjoy now or stock up on and save a few bottles to enjoy in the years to come!

Enjoy this wine with a juicy lamb burger piled high with bacon, empanadas, grilled lamb chops and roasted duck. For a vegetarian option, try a Spanish grilled or smoked eggplant dish. Also pairs well with smoked and cured cheeses.

{80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha}

 

Staff Pick: Firestone Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine: Firestone Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Reviewer: Rachel
Rating: 4 Stars

Review: The Firestone Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 is a beautiful example of a Cabernet coming out of the Central Coast of California. It is smooth, supple and extremely food friendly. This wine is loaded with dark, juicy fruits such as blackberry, black currant and black cherry. The chocolate, mocha and cedar notes also contribute to the richness and depth of this wine.
This is an excellent, affordable Cabernet to enjoy any night of the week. Enjoy this wine with a juicy burger,  grilled steak, meat lovers pizza or lamb chops.

{88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Merlot}

Staff Pick: La Marca Prosecco

Wine: La Marca Prosecco
Reviewer:
 Eileen
Rating:
 4 stars

Review: This Prosecco is an all-around pleasure to drink.  It is one of those slightly sweet-to-dry delights that will please anyone at the dinner table or party.  It’s scarily good, I sipped it a little too fast because I was so taken by the first sip.  How can I explain crisp, yet creamy?  I’m certainly buying this wine again as an every day celebration since it’s so accessible at under $15.  A true value and a-must-have-on-hand-at-all times kinda wine.

Creating that perfect case

Let’s say you could only order 12 bottles, but you wanted a bit of every style. How do you build that “perfect” case. Since it differs for everyone, we are here to help give you some guidelines, but let you choose the exact bottles! Check out our selections of wines for the perfect case. Order one of each or a few of your favorites. Today we’re offering 10% off a case of wines from our selection. Here’s what we’d pull together – 2 sparkling, 3 whites and 7 reds. Of course a perfect case for you may be all reds. Or no sparkling wines. Or somewhere in between. So mix it up and make it your perfect case. Some ideas for you…

Sparkling
Prosecco: Always a great wine to have on hand for guests or popcorn :)
Other Sparkling: We love Cremant d’Alsace - a great bubbly from France without the Champagne price.

White
Riesling: It’s about having a great food wine, and Riesling offers that.
Pinot Gris: Oregon is the perfect place to snag a richly textured yet refreshing Pinot Gris.
Chardonnay (or other rich white): Because you have to have a Chardonnay in the line up… If not Chardonnay, a decadent Viognier blend.
Chenin Blanc: Underrated, great value and terrific food wine!

Reds
Pinot Noir: Whether you are an Oregon or California follower, a great new world Pinot is a perfect wine for a case. On some days a case of Pinot is my perfect case…
Red Rhone blend : From Australia, California or the Rhone, this style of wine is one of those perfect food wines.
Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux blend: California makes some great ones, though you’ll find delicious examples of this grape just about everywhere! We selected our favorites in this Perfect Case list.
South American blend: Between Malbec and Carmenere, South America has some incredible wines. They are mixing it up and making delicious blends, which our some of our (and the critics!) favorites right now.
Italian Gem: Have to have an Italian red in the mix. Great food wine, classic example of old world style.
Aussie Shiraz: Gone are the it-tastes-like-a-$10-wine and here are some great examples of quality Australian wine – it’s what they do best!

Enjoy building your case!

Club 89

One of the most popular sections on Wine.com is our 90 under 20 list, where we feature wines that are rated 90 points or higher by one of the 10 publications we use for ratings, and priced under $20. We like to call it the list where quality meets value. However, as much as our customers love this list, we often wonder what to do to tout the value and delicious properties of wines rated 89 points, just one point under that magical 90. I mean, it is just one point, after all. But it makes all the difference. A paper that gets an 89 grade is only a B+ while one with 90 gets an A-. With just one point difference, the scoring drastically changes.

But with wine, this is not the case. In most publications, the 86 – 89 score range is described as good, very good, excellent and highly recommended. Heck, I’ll take that for a great everyday wine! Especially at a great price. In fact, I’d personally prefer a wine with multiple 88 and 89 scores than a wine with just one 90 point score. Matt Kramer agrees with me (or perhaps I agree with him, as he has a much more experienced wine history than I) in this article where he says:

“The “gimme a 90-point wine” approach offers, I freely admit, the greatest good-wine-to-least-effort ratio. But you might be surprised to learn that even the folks who hand out points know they’re only one path to wine bliss. (I’m an 88-point buyer myself, as the higher up the point scale you go, the more “drama in the glass” you’re likely to get-and I don’t always want quite so much drama with my dinner.)”

Some wines are underrated – Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc and 89 pointers. That’s just my opinion, but I ask you to taste for yourself. Stock up on some 89 and even 88 pointers for your everyday drinking wines and see if you don’t find some amazing winners. You’ll join Club 89 before you know it. Take advantage of our shipping deal (free shipping on orders $89 or more) for this “club” while you discover some new wines.

Take a look at my favorites if you are so inclined!