Have you ever had a premium wine? This category is considered any wine in a 750 ml costing more than $7.00! But, believe it or not, according to John Dunham of John Dunham and Associates, 80% of wine sold in the United States is below premium grade. Amazingly, most Americans have never tasted a premium wine (or anything above that). Whether it is due to a beer and peanuts budget, or simply lack of knowledge, there are a whole lot of people missing out on something amazing! In fact, there are wines from the United States and around the world that will satisfy most every palate and budget.
This holiday season, why not give a gift of good wine?
Holiday gifts come in all shapes and sizes, including the gift of wine. Assuming the person you’re gifting isn’t a recovering alcoholic, a unique service called The Tasting Room lets you select a small, medium, large, or seriously luxe gift that will delight, at the right size, type, and price. Even better, you can order up a nicely boxed gift without leaving your computer.
I was eager to try this service, as I’m a lover of good wine. I’d never really ordered alcoholic beverages through the net before, but it seemed like a great idea! Tasting Room samplers start at just $19.99 and go up to about $50.00. Get a collection of picnic wines, or only whites, or a specific varietal or regional collection. There are also super samples that are more.
For this article, I chose the $32.95 sampler called Michael Chiarello … Wines for Entertaining. This offers tasters a chance to sample some of Michael Chiarello’s Favorite Wines. You get six 50ml (1.7 oz.) mini bottles chosen by award-winning chef, TV host, NapaStyle founder, vintner, and cookbook author Michael Chiarello for the TastingRoom.com. Although the bottles really are tiny, two can get enough to taste, using a sherry or shot glass. You also get the Michael Chiarello Wine Tasting Room tasting notes to enhance your tasting experience by informing you about flavors and aromas. You get tasting tips (e.g. chill your white wines first and arrange the wines from lighter to fuller-bodied, taste wines from left to right). Online you can find more information about all the wineries, and that’s a nice touch. You might even choose to visit some of them, one day! You can also go back online and rate the wines, buy a full sized bottle of your favorites, assuming your local wine store doesn’t stock them. If you rate the wines you say $20.00, which could actually be a nice savings on your next purchase.
What was in my box? 2009 Ma(i)sonry Stagecoach Vineyard Napa Valley Marsanne (Full Bottle is $37.95); 2009 Three Sticks Durell Vineyard Sonoma Valley Chardonnay (Full Bottle is $44.95); 2008 La Follette Van Der Kamp Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir (Full Bottle is $39.95); 2008 Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot (Full Bottle is $51.95); 2007 Grgich Hills Napa Valley Merlot (Full Bottle is $35.95); and 2007 Renteria Tambor Vineyard Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon (Full Bottle is $49.95)
I have had some of these wines previously, and as you can see from the full bottle prices, they are ultra-premium wines that if you purchased all six bottles at once, would end up costly you a lot of money. To try them, the actual cost of this sampler is $32.95 but there is also added tax (to my state $2.92) and standard shipping of $12.95 , bringing the total up to $48.82. Still, for under $50.00 it’s a fun evening for two, or an even better evening, for one! One thing that is free is a gift card announcing your gift, but you can also add a gift card for actual wine purchases, making your lucky recipient very happy, indeed. If you don’t really want to do this type of tasting, you can order wines by the glass that offer one 3.04 oz. bottle starting at under $6.00 for one bottle, to larger sets or full bottles of wine. You an also join a wine club starting at around $30.00/month. Each month you are sent a wine sampler. You taste, rate and select your wines and then use a 20% discount to buy bottles of your favorites. You may receive invitations to events and wine tastings, and there is a flat rate $4.99 shipping* on any order, anytime.
While it may seem impractical or unusual to purchase alcoholic beverages through the Internet, the process was easy and worked well. Communication from tastingroom.com was frequent until the product arrived on schedule, and well packaged. The chocolate-brown cardboard box was attractively decorated with subtle wine-centric words, wine jugs, bottles, and glasses. Inside the box, six mini bottles were nestled into individual cardboard”wells” that held them securely.
If you are familiar with wine, you can order up what you love. But, ordering samplers also gives you an easy and economical (not to mention fun) way to try new things. The Tasting Room can open up a whole new way to enjoy really good wines, and make it user-friendly. It’s also a good way to stock up for your holiday entertaining pleasure, without having to lug the bottles back from the store. If you are worried that your recipient (or you) won’t be home to offer an in-person signature for the delivery of the wine (signatory must be 21 years of age or older, The Tasting Room suggests you use a work address. Just be sure your co-workers don’t realize what’s in the box, or you might find yourself with an “instant after-work party!”
For more information, visit www.tastingroom.com