The VinoVin Loyalty Program

We are proud to announce the launch of our all new loyalty program! 5 points for every dollar you spend, but plenty of opportunities to earn points without spending anything.

Go to our website, VinoVin Online and click on the “Rewards Program” tab on the bottom of the screen, then “learn more,” to see all the ways you can earn points.

 

Summer Wine Special

Three Amazing Wines, all with prices slashed.

Have you ever had a wine that you knew was “the one?” Something so good that you had to keep drinking it.  We have a lot of Sauvignon Blanc drinkers like that, and personally, I feel that way about Rickshaw Chardonnay.  Vernaccia is another phenomenal white from Italy that will definitely please anyone that loves a crisp refreshing white in the summertime. Reminiscent of Sauv Blanc, with fresh citrus notes, and refreshing acidity on the finish.

 

Six Great Wines for under $10

Wine for under $10

The Best Wine for a Budget

From California to Italy, here’s how to find the best for less

Finding a wine for under $10 is easy. Just walk into any wine shop and you will see at least 20 or more. Finding a great wine for under $10 is a bit of a more difficult task.  

One suggestion is to ask questions of your local wine retailer. What is their favorite?  Another suggestion is to find a brand you have never heard of before. When a wine becomes popular, the price goes up, and unfortunately, sometimes the quality goes down.

Look for wines from different regions around the world. Great values are found in South America, South Africa, and Spain, as well as other little-known wine regions.

Lastly, try a different varietal. Popular varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay tend to be pricier due to their demand. Here is a guide to my favorite six wines that you can buy for under $10.  

I mentioned South Africa, and one of my favorite whites is Teddy Hall’s Chenin Blanc from Stellenbosch, South Africa. This is a perfect wine for the spring and summer, for it is light, crisp and refreshing. This small producer puts great care into the farming practices and the juice that’s in the bottle. This is a clean and zesty wine with great balance. Tropical salad and pineapple aromas complement the lively, fresh yet complex palate that finishes refreshingly with a lingering sensation of spice and wild honey.  

I know I said to stay away from the popular varietals, but I stumbled across a great Chardonnay from Backstory a while back that breaks this rule, and breaking rules can be fun from time to time. The folks at O’Niell vintners and Crafted Brands set out to find great grapes throughout California to create this quality, varietally correct wine at a low price, and they nailed it. This is a ripe, round white wine with delicious aromas and juicy flavors of fresh apple, peach, pear and lemon. Balanced with creamy overtones and a slight touch of oak for a refreshing, memorable finish.

San Giorgio Pinot Grigio is a fantastic wine from the Friuli region of Italy. The way they are able to make such a great wine for under $10 is by using a co-operative farming method, allowing the winemakers at San Giorgio to select the best grapes from the region to create a great wine at lower cost. This straw yellow wine has hints of tree fruit, with a dry flavor and good balance. This wine is perfect for light summer dishes, especially fish.  

On the red side, we have another rule breaker in Veramonte, Pinot Noir. This exceptional wine is from the Casablanca Valley of Chile, and Veramonte is the pioneers of this great wine-growing region. The low cost of land at the time of their first plantings in the early 90s allow them to make a great product for a modest price. The quality of their wines come from consulting with world renowned winemaker Paul Hobbs. This wine has expressive aromas of raspberries, red cherries and red plum that reflect the true characteristics of their coastal vineyards. The wine is round with an elegant structure, fresh acidity, and red fruit flavors. The vibrant finish ends with a seamless balance of acidity and firm minerality.

Montepulciano D’Abruzzo is a great inexpensive wine. My favorite producer is Vignetti del Sol. This wine comes to us from famed importer Michael Skurnik. With his great contacts in the Abruzzo region of Italy, he was able to make this fantastic wine with the people at Vignetti to share with all for under $7.  This juicy red display notes of cherry, strawberry, and sweet spice. Bright, mouthwatering acidity makes it especially food friendly and it will make the perfect dinner companion at your next pizza night.

Spain is home to some of the best value wines of the world at all price points, meaning that even the more expensive wines from this great wine country are perceived as drinking way above their cost. Flaco Tempranillo is on the outskirts of the capital of Spain, Madrid. Most Spaniards don’t even know about the rich winemaking history of this region. Flaco is produced by Compañía de Vinos del Atlántico using 100 percent organic practices, which makes it all that much more surprising that it costs under $8.  Flaco Tempranillo is well balanced, starting off with fresh red berry and spice on the nose. On the palate, the wine is silky and smooth with flavors of tangy raspberry and tart cherry. A lite floral quality followed by smooth tannins create a tight and focused finish.

Save some money this spring for the summer vacation that lies ahead without sacrificing that glass of wine you crave after a long workday. Follow these tips to pick out your own great wine for under $10 or choose one of the great ones in the list.

 

 

 

Wines for Spring!

Just in time, Wines for Spring!

Spring is officially here, and with it, white wine season!  

The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer, so it is time to cellar the big bold red wines that warm us from the inside during the winter and switch to the perfect wines for spring, white wines that are crisp and refreshing during these warmer days.

Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Grigio are all fantastic varietals to reach for on the shelves this time of year. However, I am a firm believer in stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new. Here is a list of some interesting white wine varietals, some you may have heard of, and others maybe not, to try this spring.

Let’s start with Torrontes, a very interesting white wine from Argentina. Torrontes is one of the only grapes that is indigenous to Argentina, and is its most popular white wine.  Torrontes has a golden yellow color with a floral bouquet and a touch of spice on the nose. The flavor is fresh, with good body and light acidity, with hints of citrus and stone fruit. This wine pairs well with light flaky fish, and chicken dishes. Taymente makes an outstanding Torrontes, and a great value coming in under $13.  

Italy is home to two of my favorite different white varietals, Vernaccia and Falanghina. Vernaccia di San Gimignano is from just outside the village of San Gimignano in Tuscany. It is considered one of the finest white wines of Italy and was the first white wine to be granted DOC status. The wine is a pale yellow green color with medium intensity. Floral, lemon and melon notes hit you on the nose, with citrus notes and minerality on the palate. The wine finishes with refreshing acidity and minerality.  Fontaleoni is a great producer of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, at a reasonable price of $15.

Falanghina is from Campania, Italy, just north of Naples. It is an ancient grape that dates back to Roman times, with considerable character and substance. The wine is crisp and fruity with light acidity. Almond, lemon and nectarine shine through with a medium to full finish, elegant and smooth mouth feel make this an elegant white. Cantina del Taburno is my favorite estate producer of Falanghina, with a great price of $15.  

Wines For Spring, Falanghina

Off to the northwest of Spain’s Rias Baixas region is where we find Albarino. This interesting white varietal produces a wine that has floral notes and high acidity. Flavors of apricot and peach are prevalent, with medium body and a crisp finish. Columna and Granbazan are two great producers, with prices ranging from $15-$22.  

Pinot Gris from Oregon is another fantastic white wine that I believe shines this time of year. Although Pinot Gris is originally from the old world, I find that the wines from Oregon are exceptional. Cristom is hands down my favorite producer. Their organic farming practices are one reason and the other is the fact that their estate bottled Pinot Gris is delicious. This full bodied white wine has citrus notes on the nose that are contrasted with flavors of apple, pear and melon on the palate. The finish is long with a touch of minerality and spice. The complexity and balance of this wine are exceptional, and all this for around $20

The final wine on my list that doesn’t get enough recognition is dry Riesling. Germany may be home to this great wine, however right here in New York is home to one of the best Riesling estates in the world, Herman J. Wiemer.  This aromatic, mineral driven wine is exceptional, and should be a must try for all of us New Yorkers this spring and summer.

Now is the time to get outside and enjoy all the beauty that the Hudson Valley has to offer. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new this spring.  Ask your local wine professional what suits your palate, or what wine pairs well with the lighter fare we all enjoy during the warmer months.   

What a response!

Wow, what a response! We were floored by the feedback we got from everyone on our last email.  We sent out an email and a link to a blog post all about the pains of shipping and online ordering.  As a boutique retailer dealing in some really incredible wines, we always are focused on things that over-deliver in terms of value.  That includes our service.

Before the New Year, we sent out a survey detailing what everyone expected when it came to online wine shopping.  When people order online, usually the concerns are convenience and shipping costs.  Rob and I started telling everyone about our offer recently, and we’re happy to officially announce that starting in February 2016 the VinoVin Members Program will open up, adding free shipping as an option to our service in conjunction with the ability to have packages held at UPS Will Call (as well as the option to request a delivery date.)

For every person that joins the VinoVin Members Program, you’ll receive free shipping on all orders, along with exclusive access to hard to find wines, and the ability to have your packages held at UPS Will Call if needed. Let us know what you think on Twitter @dandanwineman, Instagram vinovin_online or just shoot us an email back! Thanks for all your input in helping us design our wine club with your specifications.

Winter Whites!

Chilled yes, but these wines warm the soul and pair well with hearty dishes

Here we are with our worst cold spell of the winter so far in the Hudson Valley, and the question arises of what to drink to keep warm. Many people like spirits for the cold, such as brandy and whiskey, others reach for red wine during the cold weather, however, there are some white wines that work well when the temperature is below 32 degrees. Even though these wines are served chilled, their full body and minerality can help warm the soul, and pair well with the hearty dishes we crave when the ground is frozen solid.  

New York, especially in the northern parts of the state, can be unforgiving during the month of February. One of my favorite whites, Riesling thrives here in New York, in particular in the Finger Lakes region of the state. I find that a nice dry Riesling, with its’ vibrant, aromatic scents and minerality on the palate, can stand up well with hearty stews and earthy soups that help warm you this time of year.  Herman J. Wiemer is one of the best wines in this category, not only in New York but the world.  

Austria is a country that has some cold winters as well, so it is no surprise that Gruner Veltliner, Austria’s greatest wine fits well in this category. Gruner is a dry, full bodied white wine with floral and grassy notes. It pairs well with a wide variety of foods, in particular, a nice broccoli cheese or butternut squash soup. E.M. Berger makes a fantastic Gruner that is an outstanding value for under $15.

The Italians make a great winter white in Vernaccia de San Gimignano. This Tuscan white wine has a medium to full body with nice intensity. Hints of citrus notes, plenty of minerality and high acidity help this wine pair well with roasted chicken with rich sauces, perfect for the winter months. Fontaleoni makes a fantastic Vernaccia for under $15.

Pinot Grigio is usually associated with the the summer months for its light crisp flavor, but some Pinot Grigios from Alto Adige in the Northeast of Italy can be big boned, and pair well with rich cream sauces. San Pietro is one of these Pinots, with good body and nice acidity this wine pairs well with polenta of all kinds, perfect for the cool weather.  

Chardonnay is perhaps one of the best winter whites, but not the super ripe heavy oaked California variety.

The Chards from Burgundy France tend to work best. The Chardonnays from Chablis tend to steer clear of oak, and use stainless steel to make their wonderful juice. This creates a full-bodied, yet crisp wine with wonderful minerality that goes well with the rich sauces of winter. The ideal match is the winter-warming pauchouse, a Burgundian fish stew with butter and cream, but any shellfish dipped in butter will create an impeccable match. Try Domaine Vincent Dampt Petit Chablis, you will be pleased that a bottle for $16 can be so well balanced.
While most of us may choose to grab a big red for these colder days, options are always nice. If red wine isn’t for you, these wines are all great choices for late winter and early spring.  

Wine Gifts & Celebrating

Everyone loves to celebrate.  I hate to open a blog post making an overarching generalization, but let’s be realistic- we all love to cut loose in our own way.  For many of us, celebrations usually consist of some sort of gathering with wine and friends.  We’ve gotten some questions from clients and prospective clients recently on how to proceed for celebrations and gifts.  I think many people typically associate Champagne with celebrating, although we are getting more requests for other items.  I also had a personal problem recently, I wanted to find a great wine to celebrate a wedding… Still or sparkling wine?  I went to Google, of course, to settle the debate existentially and to guide our clients in an appropriate direction, but there wasn’t much out there.

I found a few articles quoting Sommeliers and I talked to experts in the business.  This is what I came up with: as a general, for toasting any occasion, nothing beats a sparkling wine (usually Champagne.)  From there, however, do what seems right.  If you have a client, friend, or family member that doesn’t drink white wine, a Blanc de Blanc may be an odd choice.  Opting for a great red is more than appropriate in that instance.  People also often gravitate towards items that can sit for 1, 5, or 10 years to drink on an anniversary of a special occasion (closing on a house, Wedding etc.)  Be sure you know the tastes of those you are buying for, however, as a Barolo may not fly well for a Chianti/Brunello drinker.  Furthermore, if your gift is for someone a little less than patient it would behoove you to buy something ready to drink now.  With a little information at your disposal, it’s easy to pick what suits the occasion.

Wine Shipping

You know what grinds our gears? Shipping.  Surprising, I know, coming from an online wine store.  Rob and I actually love it, but we have seen some things out there that we really don’t like.  We’ve done a ton of research for the last year as far as online wine shopping goes.  First, you’re overpaying on shipping. Second, it can get pretty inconvenient waiting for your wine to show up. Based on the responses from the survey you completed we know shipping and convenience are a big deal.

Rob and I won’t lie, shipping wine is expensive.  A typical case can weigh from 30 to 35 lbs and require extra costs to ship beyond that.  That said, we’ve noticed consistently retailers marking prices up beyond what shipping costs actually are, and it’s not quite honest.  If you don’t believe us, go through a few orders if you can… we’ve done over 50 trials with different retailers testing it out and over 80% of the time, there are hidden costs that jack up the price.  Here’s an example of a typical Internet Sale: $8.00 per bottle = $96.00 per case as advertised but upon check out another $34.00 is added for shipping bringing the total to $130.00 or $10.83 per bottle.Our philosophy is simple. The cost should be the cost, pretty straightforward.  I’m not trying to say that we have it 100% right, but we are saying that buyers should look closely at shipping costs.  There are lots of wines out there for sale, and lots of places list them for very little while others list them for a little more.  If you see a price too good to be true, it usually is.

Rob and I know the other factor, convenience is equally big.  The adult signature required for wine shipments can sometimes present a problem so we’re working on a solution straight through our store. Soon you’ll have an opportunity to request your delivery date, change your delivery date or have the wine held at will call if you cannot accept a shipment that day, for whatever reason.  All the flexibility is there. We’ll be telling you more about it next week.  In the meantime, we’d appreciate your feedback- let us know if you learned something new, forward this post to a friend, or give me a shout out on Twitter- @dandanwineman.

The VinoVin Members Club!

Rob and I have noticed that as a general rule the wines listed online don’t always offer the value they should.  In fact, when you include shipping (which can get costly) you’re usually paying more. The other big challenge is that you can track your package, but don’t have control over when it arrives.  VinoVin to the rescue.

We’re proud to announce the VinoVin Members Club, an exclusive club that provides 10% off on every order throughout the year on unlimited purchases* plus the ability to have your shipment held at will call at UPS if you have a change in your schedule.

The VinoVin Members Club will cost $99.00 starting July 14th, however, we’re offering exclusive sign-up right now for only $59.00, which means you only need to order wine a few times a year to really take advantage.

How It works:
Click below to buy your yearly membership.  After buying, you’ll receive your very own specialized discount code for 10% OFF on all items for 1 full year, starting at the date of your sign-up.  You can contact us for your order, or put it in on your own.  You’ll be able to include your delivery date request in the notes section of your order, or simply by emailing us at support@vinovinonline.com.

The price will automatically go up on July 14th, so you should definitely act quickly.

 


 

Restaurant Wine Lists

A quick and dirty aside on restaurant wine lists.  I was in a restaurant today and saw a great wine list, full of choices.  A few items stood out to me, including a 2009 Brunello di Montalcino for $135.

If this is your kind of wine, I would never discourage anyone from drinking what they enjoy.  That said, a $135 bottle of Brunello from 2009 is not necessarily money well spent.  We’ve talked a lot in our blogs about the value of vintage.  That 2009 Brunello simply is not ready to drink and is from a vintage that is by no means phenomenal.  If the bottle was from an incredible producer, and the year was 2024 instead I would say this is a good value.

Again, since this is quick and dirty.  Our votes on wine lists for restaurants- stick with major wine producing regions like Napa, Sonoma, Willamette Valley, Columbia Valley, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Piedmont, Tuscany, and Rioja.  Stick in reasonable price ranges and focus on what you love.  That’s a quick and dirty aside on restaurant wine lists!