Let me start by telling you what I have around the house to drink on a normal day. Is there such a thing these days, as a normal day?
Many of you already know my every day sparkler is Veuve du Vernay, a brut rose’ from Loire, France. Well under $10 a bottle, and quite good. And it can be found in the most likely and unlikely places, like Whaler’s General Store in Hawaii!!
My every day red wine is usually a Cabernet. My current favorite, though rather pricey, is an Inkblot Cab franc from Michael David Winery in Lodi. If you can’t make the drive to (Stuck in) Lodi, it an be ordered online or purchased at Total Wines. If you go online, they are currently offering 35% off, their member price, on a case of wine, with a flat $10 shipping fee.
And for my every day white wine, I have migrated from a full bodied chardonnay to the lighter, crisper Sauvignon blanc. Lately, the ones from Oregon seem a little smoother, though pricier than their California counterpart. Again, I try or under $10 a bottle!
When I “bust” the budget, I tend to go a little crazy. Hello, Chateau Margaux, and Lanson.
Do you belong to a Wine Club? I have belonged to the Domaine Carneros Wine Club or over ten years now. What do I get? I get quarterly wine shipments, based on my preferences. And most importantly, I get to use the VIP Room at the winery when I visit. And they usually let me try some of the limited edition wines (read that as expensive). These visits have been my most enjoyable winery visits since the old days of the Sixties and Seventies.
Speaking of, have you ever tried one of the Italian sparklers, Lambrusco? Would you believe 265 gallons of Lambrusco poured out of water faucets and showers in a residential area of Castelvetro, in northern Italy last week. The surprise “gift” lasted three hours and was due to a malfunction on the bottling line at Cantina Settecani winery, causing their Lambrusco Grasparossa, a local specialty, to seep through the town’s water lines. Castelvetro, in the heart of the Emilia-Romagna region, has suffered an 80% drop in tourism since the outbreak of the corona virus.
As I expected, there was a 100% percent increase in online sales of wines and spirits reported by Wine.com last week, compared to the same period last year. As COVID-19 continues to force Americans to stay at home, the twenty-year-old e-commerce retailer reports surging demand as people lay in stocks of favorite brands as well as new ones, by using home delivery. Perhaps a big increase in the birth rate is not too far behind?
I have heard from many of you out there. And many of you practice the $10 a bottle trick. This works extremely well at Trader Joe’s, or Grocery Outlet. But the corollary to that is: cheap is not always very good or even drinkable!!
Also, please do no be afraid to try one your favorites, but from a different region. I just opened a Gruet brut rose’ from of all places, New Mexico. It is quite tasty, clean and crisp!
Value, 225 (in billions of U.S.$) of lost sales to restaurants expected over the next three months. Many sommeliers across the U.S. are selling off rare, often allocated bottles, from their covetable wine cellars in an attempt to make payroll, keep some staff employed, or just pay rent. Others are focusing on selling more affordable bottles from the by-the-glass menu in order to preserve the cellar’s integrity and to keep their wine distributors in business. (I find it difficult to feel sorry for people who hoard wine).
Thirty percent of restaurant revenue is attributable to alcohol sales. Which is why the decision by California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to temporarily ease its rules around alcohol delivery has been a lifeline for dining establishments. The new rules have made it far easier for restaurants to offer beer, wine, and pre-mixed drinks for pick-up, delivery, and drive through sales. Under the new rules, containers of alcohol must have a secure lid and be sold as part of a food order.
Can you believe? There were no producers in Germany who made eiswein (ice wine) from the 2019 vintage. It was the first vintage in 190 years when no eiswein was produced in the entire country. To make eiswein, a minimum temperature of -7°C (19.4°F) must be reached and the grapes must freeze naturally on the vine. But 2019 proved too warm. Luxuriously sweet yet also exquisitely fresh with lively acidity, eiswein is a German specialty and is also made naturally in Austria and Canada.