One of the things we love most about food is wine. Specifically, the wine you get to drink while dining out at your favorite restaurant, be it your go-to local joint or the fanciest place in town. This is wine selected by someone who knows what they’re doing — a professional who understands how to decode a label and what kind of grapes will make your food taste that much better. So what if, we wondered, we made it possible to experience that kind of hospitality right at home?
Get to know Eater Wine Club, a monthly wine subscription box. Our extensive network of local editors have teamed up with sommeliers and beverage directors from some of our favorite restaurants, bars, and shops across the country to curate a new experience each month, with ever-changing themes and bottles (two or four per box, your choice!) and plenty of perks. Sign up and you’ll get a box full of surprising and highly drinkable wines on your doorstep every month, plus an exclusive newsletter and an invite to our monthly wine party.
For March 2021, our wine curator is Rania Zayyat, the Texas-based wine director behind East Austin’s Bufalina. Rania’s theme is inspired by the wanderlust we all may be feeling these days, especially with winter still upon us: island wines from the Mediterranean and Aegean seas.
So join the club and invite your friends — from the one who geeks out over cool labels and funky tastes to the one who just wants you to hand them a glass of something delicious that’ll make their food pop. Sign up for Eater Wine Club here — we’ll see you at the party.
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One of the best perks of living in the present is that alcohol can be delivered straight to your doorstep. All it takes is a flash of your ID when the delivery person arrives and then you’re ready to knock off the edge with happy hour. But who can you turn to for alcohol deliveries?
Of all the things we miss about travel, the act of flying might be low on the list. After all, most of us have been channeling that whole “long haul flight vibe” just fine over the last 10 months: Stuck in one place with no sense of time, wearing comfortable pants, working your way through the robust Katherine Heigl film catalog before passing out in the same crumb-covered spot you ate dinner in an hour before. Some days I swear I’ll wake up in Paris.
But there’s one element of air travel that you probably haven’t been able to get during the pandemic, one that you might — well, somebody might — be missing: Airplane wine.
OK, let’s just pretend for a minute that this is true, that the only good thing about airplane wine isn’t that it’s sometimes free and does the trick of dulling your senses to the steel tube of chaos in which you sit. Even then, we’ve had no trouble finding our way to mediocre mass-market wine all on our own, without the added pleasure of a heavy bar cart slamming into our elbow.
But no matter! American Airlines has announced the launch of its first-ever at-home wine club anyway, which they’re somehow NOT calling American AirWines. The newly launched Flagship® Cellars wine experience, produced in partnership with Vinesse Wines, allows those nostalgic for the joys of warm cabernet to select from a “curated assortment of ultra-premium wines” from around the world, picked by an unnamed “Master Sommelier.” Anyone lucky enough to have traveled in American’s First Class cabin — and bored enough to look closely at a label of airplane wine — might already be familiar with some of the bottles on offer through Flagship, which are pulled from the stuff the airline usually pours in its upper classes.
As others have pointed out, the move is likely less about sating the the unquenchable thirst of the #basic homebound traveler, and more about offloading unsold wine from the company cellars that are currently bursting — not to mention making a dent in the airline’s $3.2 billion dollars of lost revenue during the third quarter of 2020.
Listen, wine clubs are great. (Really, though.) They allow you to try wines you maybe wouldn’t select yourself, without having to make any decisions, go anywhere, or even remember that you need wine. It just ARRIVES. And truly, surprise booze is among life’s great pleasures. And while we may not have the best memories of in-flight quaffing, it might not be the wine’s fault. Altitude, air pressure, and lack of humidity are all known to drastically affect your sense of taste. That, and the fact that American Airlines has won kind of a lot of awards for its premium cabin wine program, means it might actually be worth a shot. Or, to quote the confident, hard sell language used in the airline’s own official press release, “Why not?” Now that’s the spirit.
Now that we’ve entered the 11th hour of holiday gifting, taking a chance on shipping may be a risky move — Christmas shipping deadlines for lots of retailers have long passed. But if you don’t want to go the gift-card route and you have an avid wine drinker on your list, one way you can ensure that they’ll always have something to sip (and have something under the tree) is by gifting them a wine subscription. Print one of these subscriptions out, wrap it in a box, and you’ve got a thoughtful gift that’ll keep on giving to your loved one for months to come.
But with so many wine subscriptions out there, it can be hard to know where to begin and how to avoid the bogus ones that sommelier Ian Bishop, the portfolio manager at Flavors of Italy, says are “full of mass-produced or private-label wine that is, frankly, inferior in quality.” To find wine subscriptions that are worth your money, we asked Bishop and eight other experts — including sommeliers and culinary editors — about the ones they trust. Below are their 17 favorites, which include a wine subscription for just about every wine drinker, from the natural-wine apologist to the sparkling-wine enthusiast to the nerd who geeks out over the slight variations in every bottle. A note that while these subscriptions all ship nationwide, laws surrounding wine shipping vary state by state, so availability will be subject to your location.
“If you’re looking for an easy entry into the wine-subscription world, or want to cultivate some basic wine knowledge, this service ticks all boxes,” says Luke Sullivan, the head sommelier at Soho–based Gran Tivoli. SommSelect is curated by master sommelier Ian Cauble, whom you may recognize from Netflix’s documentary Somm. Each delivery (subscriptions start at $99 a month for four bottles) is themed, he explains, which means one might have wines that highlight a specific growing region, while another might include wines that explore a grape variety. Bishop also likes SommSelect, telling us that it consistently delivers (praise, he adds, that comes from someone who has had the luxury — and curse — of tasting an “obscene amount of wine”).
Winc was founded in 2012 to make wine more accessible and easier to enjoy, according to Susan Kostrzewa, the editor-in-chief of Wine Enthusiastmagazine. Via its monthly wine club, which starts at $39 a month for three bottles, Winc offers hundreds of unique wines that “range from classic blends to obscure, single-vineyard fringe projects,” she adds. When you join, you take a short quiz that asks questions like how you take your coffee and whether you prefer salty, citrusy, or earthy flavors, so your monthly subscription can be personalized to your palette. Every month, you can rate the wines you receive, so your subscription can be tailored to your tastes over time. And once you’re a member, you can add individual bottles from Winc’s virtual cellar (many of which are under $20) to your order, in addition to the three in your monthly box.
If you consume a healthy amount of wine every month and want to support a New York City–based shop, Astor Wines and Spirits’s “Top 12” monthly subscription is a really good option, says Karen Lin, the executive general manager and sommelier at Tsukimi in the East Village. For $150 a month, they’ll send monthly shipments containing 12 bottles of their newest discoveries, which works out to a little more than $12 bucks a bottle — less than you’d pay for the same bottles in any store.
“Low-intervention, natural, low or no sulfites — whatever your vernacular, Primal Wine curates an excellent selection of wines you most likely aren’t familiar with,” promises Bishop. Its club’s offerings include monthly shipments of 3, 6, or 12 bottles — of white, red, or mixed — starting at $85 per month. Right now, Primal Wine is also offering new subscribers a free bottle for their first month, plus free shipping.
“Natural wine may be on restaurant menus all over New York, but it can be hard to find a subscription service sans sulfur due to the usually small production of these wines,” explains Sullivan. He suggests this monthly wine subscription from the small, boutique wine store Vanderbilt Wine Merchants in Prospect Heights, which specializes in natural wine. For $75, you get four bottles per month, so it’s “a great value,” he says, adding “there are no hidden subscription traps — you can cancel or take a hiatus anytime.”
If Spanish wine is your thing, Bishop suggests a subscription from importer José Pastor, who focuses on growers from Spain. Wine subscriptions from importers are a less traditional route, but he says they can be “great if you are fairly familiar with an importer and trust their palate.” Pastor, an importer Bishop trusts, offers 6- or 12-bottle subscriptions, for $199 and $399 per shipment; they ship three times a year, in January, May, and October. The service also previews each included wine with a detailed information sheet in each shipment.
Kostrzewa says those who prefer wine made in Washington, Oregon, and California’s Sonoma Valley, should check out the subscription from WOW Sonoma, which offers monthly shipments of three bottles from those areas for $92 a month. In addition to being made in the U.S., all the wines in WOW Sonoma’s subscription come from women-owned wineries, and you can choose between a recurring subscription or a one-time order.
There “are great selections to be had” through Viticole’s wine club, according to Bishop, who notes those selections aren’t relegated to just wine. While shipments mostly contain red and white wine, they can also come with a few ciders, he says. There are two tiers to membership: Viticole’s standard wine club costs $99 per month and ships out two 12-bottle cases a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. For $198 per month, its Wine Club 2.0 ships four 12-bottle cases a year, two in the spring and two in the fall. If you’ve done the math and think around $50 a bottle is pricey, know that part of what you’re paying for is exclusivity. Viticole’s founder, master sommelier Brian McClintic, works very closely with organic producers from around the world to create custom bottles only available to club members, according to Bishop, so you can be sure you’re getting something special.
Sommelier and writer Belinda Chang told us about the subscription club at Matthiasson, which she describes as a small, woman-owned, family-run winery known for pioneering sustainability and natural wine before those things became trendy. The wine club offers shipments of 6 or 12 “delicious, tough-to-get wines” twice a year, in October and April, starting at $315 a shipment. And for an extra $48, you can get some of the vineyard’s homemade jam — which Chang calls the best she’s ever tasted — as part of your subscription (the jam delivery occurs once a year, in early December, according to the company, which doesn’t say how many jars it sends).
For $75 a month, Brooklyn–based shop Leon & Son Wine & Spirits’s Leon Circle subscription will get you three bottles of “restaurant-quality” wines, according to Kirk Sutherland, the wine director at Robertas and Blanca. He adds that founder Chris Leon’s mission is not only to expose customers to new wines, but also educate them, which is why the subscription includes easy-to-understand note cards that tell you more about what you’re drinking and how to order and buy wines like it.
The Grand Tour, a monthly subscription from master sommelier Dustin Wilson’s Verve Wine, features four bottles from a particular region or category, “along with tasting notes and other materials to help you learn about each wine,” says Lin. (It costs more upfront, but the cost-per-bottle for this is $24, while the cost-per-bottle for the Leon Circle subscription is $25.) Typically you’ll get two white wines and two red wines, but shipments can occasionally include a rosé or sparkling option. And once you’re a member, you’re eligible for a 10-percent discount on other bottles from Verve Wine, whether you buy them in-store at their New York City or San Francisco locations, or online.
Jordan Salcito, the CEO of Ramona who formerly worked as the sommelier at Eleven Madison Park and Momofuku, loves author and sommelier Raj Parr’s wine club. Its offerings include twice-yearly shipments of six wines as well as twice-yearly shipments of 12 varieties that let you experiment a bit more — she has ordered both in the past, including one subscription to gift to her parents. Parr shares his cell-phone number with club members and encourages members to text him with any questions they may have about the world of wine.
For sparkling-wine aficionados, Chang — who has “a serious sparkling wine and Champagne habit” — suggests Sonoma–based Iron Horse Vineyards’s subscription service. While “they make a full range of still wines that are wonderful,” she is obsessed with the sparkling wine-only options it offers via its various subscriptions. Those options include theWinemakers’ Choice Club, which will send you two bottles of sparkling wine every month for $110; the 2 Bottle Club, which will send you two bottles of sparkling wine every other month for about $120 a shipment; and Chang’s favorite, the Corral Club, which costs the most at around $210 per shipment, but sends five shipments containing four to five bottles a year, plus an additional holiday shipment.
Kostrzewa says that those who like bubbles, but specifically Champagne, should turn to Fatcork. Founded in 2010 by Bryan and Abby Maletis, Fatcork is focused on small, family producers, she explains, noting that members benefit from the Seattle–based couple’s expertise and direct-to-consumer, import and distribution business. Because “it’s Champagne,” Kostrzewa cautions, “it’s not going to be cheap.” But should you have the budget, options include three-, four-, or six-bottle shipments that are sent quarterly and curated around a tasting theme.
Surlie Collections is “a brand-spankin’-new subscription service dedicated solely to pét-nat and created by a triumvirate of badass femmes whose love affair with the all-natural suds turned into a full-fledged subscription-service company,” says Vanessa Price, co-author of Big Macs & Burgundy. Pét-nat, short for pétillant naturel, translates to “natural sparkling” wine. “Producers take an unfinished or mid-fermentation wine and bottle it, letting the first fermentation finish in the bottle you drink it from,” Price explains. “Not only are they yummy tasting, they are truly Instagram worthy, coming in a rainbow of shades from electric purple to sunshine yellow to deeply hued magenta.” For $114, Surlie will ship four bottles to your door once each quarter, along with approachable tasting guides. Members also gain access “to virtual events and a chance to connect with others in the Surlie community,” adds Price. And if you’re pét-nat curious (but don’t want to commit to a subscription), the service also offer à la carte collections “curated for different palates, seasons, and price points.”
“Splash Wines Club offers aunique wine subscription that allows members to choose from a wide range of high-quality, competitively priced wines,” says Kostrzewa, adding that the selection ranges from classic vintages to offbeat choices to creative new releases. Where Splash excels is in subscription options, which include monthly, every other month, or quarterly shipments, and tiered pricing. Its cheapest option would be to receive six bottles a quarter for $59 a shipment; but if you want more deliveries, you can also opt to pay $59 for monthly or every other month shipments, too. If you pay $79 a shipment, those deliveries (whether every month, other month, or quarter) will include 15 bottles. If you pay an extra $10 on top of either of those options, you get access to higher-quality wines from its “vineyard collection.” And if you pay an extra $39 (for 6-bottle subscriptions) or $70 (for 15-bottle subscriptions), you get access to the highest-quality bottles from its “cellar collection.”
Our friends over at Eater are as obsessive about food and drink as we are about shopping. That’s a big reason why we think anyone who likes wine should consider their recently launched subscription, which is basically the mail-order version of a trusted restaurant sommelier asking you to try their new favorite bottles each month. (November’s box, for instance, was curated by Zwann Grays, the beverage director at Brooklyn’s Olmsted and Maison Yaki.) “Every month we choose a new wine expert from a restaurant or shop that we love and they put together a box of restaurant-quality wine from small producers they’re excited about,” explains Eater editor-in-chief Amanda Kludt. Subscriptions, which start at $70 for two bottles, also come with newsletters that provide more information about the wines you receive and invites to virtual wine parties with experts, she adds. Eater also makes it easy to give others its wine subscription, which would make a great gift for a wine-drinker (as would any of the others listed here.)
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Around this time of year, people like to default to wine with bubbles, both as an easy gift and as a personal beverage of choice for the celebrations the month brings. But most of us are paring down our gathering sizes these days, so you may want the bottle of cava, crémant, or pét-nat you pop open to be enjoyable for another day… or two or three.
For Bianca Sanon, the sommelier curating December’s Eater Wine Club wines, a proper Champagne/bubble stopper is a can’t-live-without tool, especially this time of year. Just like a can of Coke or a bottle of San Pellegrino, all sparkling wines will slowly start to lose their effervescence from the moment they’re opened (especially if you pop the cork out with a dramatic bang, forcing out even more air). Gadgets that protect your bubbles are a worthwhile purchase, both for saving your own bottles and for gifting to a friend (along with a nice fancy Champagne).
Herewith, a short list of stoppers for you to consider, most of which are fairly reasonable considering the going price for most Champagnes. (Keep in mind that in addition to using any of these products, the bottle should always be kept cold — that helps maintain effervescence, too.)
We’d be hard-pressed to find something more satisfying than the push and clasp motions this bottle stopper provides. The two pieces that come around to hug the neck of the bottle are what help securely keep air out and the bottle’s contents fizzy. We recommended it on Eater’s holiday gift guide back in 2017, and Eater staffers continue to vouch for its ingenuity year after year.
This MiTBA stopper is a top recommendation of Marvina S. Robinson, the founder of Stuyvesant Champagne, for keeping bottles bubbling for days. Like a couple of the stoppers on this list, it’s the dual-sided wings that guarantee more pressure and a tight seal compared to other looser stoppers. This gadget includes a second step as well: Once the stopper is in place and the wings are secured, tap down for a couple of pumps and then place in the fridge.
The Rabbit sealer is cherished by wine reps, whose job it is to travel from restaurants and shops and offer tastes — those bubbles need to be fresh in order to close a sale. It’s also a favorite of sommelier Kaitlyn Caruke, a 2018 Eater Young Gun, who recently started using it on a daily basis at the Philadelphia bar the Good King Tavern. For those of us who will be using the Rabbit at home, know that the sealer will stay in place for days and it adds very little height to the bottle, so you can return it to the fridge standing upright.
This little set, recommended by Eater staffers, isn’t only handsome, it’s a nice tool kit for general wine preserving. The simple rubber tops fit easily over regular wine bottles (and with a low profile to avoid refrigerator door jams), while the bigger screw-top cap is for bottles of bubbles. Remove the plastic insert from the cap, screw it around the bottle neck, then twist the rubber cap on top. According to Food52, this method will “seal all that fizz in for up to a week.”
In addition to the freebie stoppers provided by wine distributors, this is among the most beloved gadgets for sommeliers and other beverage folks at your favorite bars and restaurants. That’s because the Perlage won’t just preserve the bubbles for two to three days, it will keep things fresh over weeks. Using the system requires a little bit of setup (there’s a CO2 wand involved) and it’s not cheap, but ultimately it’s very worth it for those who don’t want to waste a drop of juice.
When we had it lab tested against a common Californian wine, this extreme altitude Malbec had 90% less sugar and 10 times the levels of longevity nutrient resveratrol! Not to mention a deep, complex taste.
With the right timing (guests arrive at golden hour), look (lean into red, white, and rosé), and spread (bottles + bites), your backyard becomes the tasting room of dreams. Go ahead: Pour a full glass whenever you please, openly admit you don’t like anything that tastes like peat or smells like a barn, and compare Gamay to red gummy bears without fear of correction. In the privacy of your patio, a spilled Chard gets zero side-eye. To keep decision-making to a minimum, we’ve pared it down to the essentials for a smooth setup, full-bodied evening, and an easy-does-it morning after.
goop Beauty GOOPGENES ALL-IN-ONE NOURISHING FACE CREAM goop, $95 / $86 with subscription
Plump up your skin with moisture and firming, nourishing, active ingredients so it looks its best.
goop Wellness BALLS IN THE AIR goop, $90/$75 with subscription
Go big on the B vitamins and niacinamide to support healthy alcohol metabolism.
Wandler BAG goop, $720
Tuck your tasting notes inside.
Ulla Johnson SWEATER goop, $445
The best rosé at the table.
Ulla Johnson SKIRT goop, $595
A swishy skirt for swilling sauvignon.
Mateo RING goop, $1,500
Sparkle for your sipping hand.
Balmyard Beauty LIP + CHEEK TINT goop, $32
An ultraflattering tinted balm for the most natural flush and just-bitten lips (that go perfectly with red wine).
Loeffler Randall BOOTS goop, $695
Pick a kitten heel that can handle heavy pours.
Anna Karlin DECANTER goop, $180
For letting the oldest and boldest breathe.
SKULTUNA TEA LIGHT HOLDER SET goop, $120
Scatter these pretty points of light across the table.
Izola BAR TOOL goop, $36
An easy-to-use corkscrew that won’t make you lose your tempranillo.
No matter what wine you’re drinking, if it’s served in a great wine glass, it will usually taste better. Maybe that’s not the most verified science, but so many wine drinkers know it in their gut to be true.
But not all wine glasses are created equal. Not only do reds and whites do better in different glasses, not every person needs the same type of wine glass, depending on the drinking habits, preferred wine, and — let’s be honest — cabinet space.
So we spoke to some of the country’s top wine bars and wine-focused restaurants about the glasses they use most often (spoiler alert: It’s not just about getting the most expensive one). Here’s a practical guide to finding the glass out there for you, whether you’re frugal, clumsy, or just running out of kitchen space.
If you can only buy one set, get wine glasses you can use for just about any kind of wine. These Bormioli Rocco glasses “are the best combination of visual appeal, durability, and flexibility in terms of accentuating as many types of wines as possible,” says Kyle Davidson, formerly beverage director and general manager of Elske in Chicago. Just don’t forget to buy a nice polishing cloth, he adds.
BuyBormioli Rocco Inalto Uno medium glasses, $66 for set of six
The best glass for… looking good without breaking the bank: Schott Zwiesel Pure White Wine
For an elegant option that’s still affordable, Diane Gross of Cork Wine Bar in D.C. goes for the Schott Zwiesel Pure White Wine glasses. Sure, you could go even pricier and get professional, aroma-enhancing glasses, she says, but simple, well-made stems like these ones are the most beautiful for everyday use.
Buy Schott Zwiesel Pure White Wine glasses, $84 for set of six
The best glass for… beer (that also works quite well for drinking wine): Rastal Teku
It may not be your first instinct to reach for a beer glass for drinking wine, but when Jhonel Faelnar, sommelier and wine director at Atomix and Atoboy in New York, is at home, he sips wine out of stemmed Teku beer glasses by German glassware company Rastal. “The shape of the bowl amplifies the aromatics just as well as any,” he says. “They’re also sturdy, compact, and easy to wash.”
For Mary Kurth, the owner of Spoke Wine Bar in Boston, the most important attribute for a wine glass is durability. The Schott Zwiesel Tritan stemware collection, she says, “has perfectly thin crystal on the lip, is lightweight, and doesn’t chip or scratch.” Upgrade to a Tritan Forte to “allow for swirling without the fear of splashing on your neighbor,” she adds.
BuySchott Zwiesel Tritan glasses, $66 for set of six
The best glass for… getting maximum aromatics out of your wine: Riedel Vinum
Riedel’s Vinum line has a glass for every grape varietal, from syrah to chardonnay. Yoon Ha, wine director of Benu in San Francisco, endorses the whole collection, due to the stems’ ideal weight, balance, and most important, the rounded shape of the bowl, which she says “yields a broader spectrum of fruit aromas and suppresses the undesirable notes.”
Buy Riedel Vinum Viognier/Chardonnay wine glasses, $59 for set of two
The best glass for… Champagne-worthy occasions: Zalto Denk’Art Universal
Turns out you don’t need flutes. “If you want to ball out,” says Etinosa Emokpae, sommelier at Friday Saturday Sunday in Philadelphia, Zalto stemware is a worthwhile splurge. “These glasses really bring out the best in wine,” she says. “I particularly love them for Champagne. You can really pick up all those complex aromas from Champagne without losing the bubbles!” There’s a reason these glasses pop up in fine restaurants from coast to coast.
The best glass for… getting a party started: Chambong
Jen Pelka of Une Femme Wines calls her Chambong — designed for rapidly shooting bubbly — “the ultimate party trick,” adding that “anyone who is hosting a good party should have some on hand.” There are now all sorts of Chambong knockoffs on the market, but Pelka says she’s been loyal to the original both at home and at the Riddler, her now-closed Champagne bar in San Francisco. “The Chambong team is constantly innovating on their product line, and they now even offer a 50-pack of their plastic Chambongs for parties,” she says.
Season 8 of Don’t Be Tardy will follow the Zolciak-Biermann family living in very tight quarters as they travel the U.S.A on a cross-country road trip.
“Six weeks in an RV with nine people was definitely trying at times,” the Bravo star told E! News exclusively.
“I think the best part was being with the kids for six weeks. I love being with the kids, we got to do everything together. Creating those memories is by far the best part,” Kim shared. “Even though there was a lot of trying moments and things we didn’t account for that happened, that’s memories that we’ll have forever. The worst part is just being on the road, food…I like the actually eat at home. Different shower water, our hair was like fragile and brittle. Just a different way of life, a totally different way to live for that period of time.”
Kim and husband Kroy Biermann‘s six kids (older daughters Brielle Biermann and Ariana Biermann along with their four youngsters Kane, Kaia, Kash and KJ) will bring lots of LOL moments as they rough it on the open road (chef Tracey Bloom is also along with the ride).
*We partnered with WineAccess.com to bring you this post. All the information and opinions presented here are our own.
A love for wine and winemaking has been a tradition that has stood the test of time. And while there is new evidence that dates winemaking back an incredible 8000 years, it’s clear our obsession with fermented grape juice red, white, and rosé is only growing. And what’s not to love? Not only is drinking antioxidant-rich wine good for your health, but it’s also just enjoyable to sip a glass while winding down at night or celebrating with family and friends. Pair it up with a cheese board or a delicious dinner and you have yourself a little slice of heaven.
While I’m a total novice when it comes to the world of wine, I know that making a bottle into something you’d actually want to drink is not easy. Trips to a few wineries and tasting rooms over the years has taught me that wine is an art and a science. The taste of the grapes depends on the soil, the climate, weather patterns, whether it was grown in the river valley, near the ocean, or on a dry mountainside. These factors known as “terroir” in the wine world are just as important as the type of grapes grown, how they are farmed, and the way they are processed for fermentation and then aged. With each new thing I learn about wine my appreciation also grows like a grapevine reaching for the sun in a vineyard.
What I don’t appreciate is that on trips to wine shops or liquor stores I often find myself staring at row after row of wine bottles confused and undecided. With so many, it’s hard to know which ones are really best unless you’re in the know. And blind taste tests have shown that price does not always dictate whether a wine is great or not. Sure you can just go for the bottles with the fanciest labels or wittiest names. Guilty as charged. But would your selections be hand-selected from Master Sommeliers, a Master of Wine, and an International Wine Judge? Would you get recommendations from 100-point (that’s the best you can get) winemakers as you’re drifting down the aisles? Would you know if what you’re getting is actually a good value? Probably not. But even if you’re no budding sommelier, it doesn’t mean you can’t drink like one with Wine Access.
And what’s better than wine sent straight to your doorstep? Join the Wine Access club and they’ll send you 4 curated boxes of wine per year with 6 bottles in each shipment. But the benefits of Wine Access transcend saving money and barrels of time walking down aisles of wine. What sets them apart is that their wine experts taste and research over 20,000 wines a year to separate the best from the rest. With only 1 out of 18 bottles making the cut, the wines shipped to you have survived the Hunger Games of wine tastings and will have exceeded all expectations in taste and value from the pros at Wine Access. It’s also just a great way to discover new wines from around the world.
What’s Included With Each Wine Access Box?
When you get a shipment from Wine Access it’s a pretty special thing. From the outside, the box looks like any other. But the collection of 6 wines packed inside the box has beat out thousands of others in terms of exceptional taste and value. That’s pretty remarkable. Each Wine Access shipment covers a variety of regions and styles but is centered around a theme to help you learn just a little more about the world of wine. But only if you want to.
Collectible wine tasting guides are paired up with each bottle to help you make the most of your tasting experience. They include details like wine characteristics, best food pairings, where they’re from, and the interesting stories behind the wines and how they’re created from vine to grape to glass. On the back of each card is a spot to rate your wine and take some tasting notes including the look, smell, and feel of the wine taste.
They even encourage you to add some details of your own story like who you shared your wine with and for what occasion so you can look back on how the story of the bottle intertwines with your own. At the very least it’s a great way to track which bottles you like best and maybe look back on your tasting notes over time to see how your palate develops or the wine changes from one year to the next.
For an even more immersive experience, they have videos on their website where one of their wine experts will guide you through a tasting, highlighting the wine and the story behind its journey into the bottle. With social distancing in effect, some may be still nervous about venturing out to a winery during a pandemic, so Wine Access is a great way to bring the tasting room into your own home.
Here’s are some of the delicious Wine Access wines we tried in our sample box:
2017 Martin Ray Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains
TYPE OF WINE: Red REGION: Santa Cruz WINERY: Martin Ray GRAPES: Cabernet Sauvignon SWEETNESS: Semi-Dry BODY: Full-bodied FOOD PAIRINGS: Red Meat, Hard Cheeses
This deep dark California mountain-grown Cabernet is aged in French oak for 16 months and has notes of deep cherry, bright red fruits, and herbs on the nose.
Famous wine critic James Suckling gave this one a whopping 94-point rating and described it as having, “Fascinating aromas of crushed berries and bark with black-tea undertones. Full body, firm and velvety tannins and a flavorful finish.”
2018 Leonardo Bussoletti Ciliegiolo di Narni Brecciaro 05035 Umbria IGT
TYPE OF WINE: Red COUNTRY: ITALY REGION: Umbria WINERY: Bussoletti Leonardo GRAPE: Ciliegiolo SWEETNESS: Semi-Dry BODY: Full-bodied FOOD PAIRINGS: Cured Meats, Red Meat, Hard Cheeses, Soft-Cheeses, Pizza
With Ciliegiolomeaning “cherry” and dating back to 1600, this ancient grape was revived about a decade ago by Leonardo Bussolettie at his vineyard in Narni, Umbria where the zip code just happens to be 05035. Italian wine expert James Suckling wrote this hard to find medium-bodied wine has “Lots of soaked, compote-like fruit here, such as red-plum essence and raspberry” in his not-too-shabby 90-point review. You’ll also taste hints of wild herbs and spices. This one is perfect for pizza.
2018 Adegas Galegas D. Pedro Soutomaior Albarino Rias Baixas
TYPE OF WINE: White REGION: Rías Baixas (SPAIN) WINERY: Adegas Galegas GRAPES: 100% Albariño SWEETNESS: Bone Dry BODY: Full-bodied FOOD PAIRINGS: Exotic, Spicy, Soft-Cheeses, Fish, Shellfish, Poultry, Veggies
ABOUT THE WINE: Made in the northwest region of Spain, and aged in stainless steel barrels this wine is bright, ripe, floral, mineral-rich, and crisp with notes of apples, lime, and peaches. Albariño is a wine that’s meant to be drunk young so there’s no need to store this gem. It goes well with a variety of foods, but it would pair perfectly with sushi, ceviche, grilled lobster, creamy seafood, or spicy Thai and Indian dishes.
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