Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween: Battle of the Reds

Too old to go trick-or-treating? Unless you plan on taking your kids through the neighborhood on Halloween or you're just young at heart, you might miss out on all the fun. But it doesn't have to be that way. In between handing out candy to the 100th and 101st gang of hungry little ghosts and goblins to grace your front door, why not indulge yourself with some treats too? Maybe a bottle of wine (specifically a red wine to keep with Halloween rules, of course)?

But which red to choose? We did another fun "winosphere" monitoring experiment to answer this question. We tracked Halloween-related conversations involving several red wine varietals across social media channels over the past two weeks. This is what we found:

From these measurements, it looks like Merlot is the most buzz-worthy Halloween varietal this year, but you can't really go wrong here. The only exception is Cabernet Franc, which doesn't seem to have the most Halloween spirit.

In addition to the extra-spooky wines we featured in our last post, here are some suggestions for red wines that could pass the test for your Halloween party's "blood punch" or provide some much needed relief in the midst of your unpaid candy-distributing labor. Make sure to check out the community reviews.

Tin Roof Merlot 2005
A classic plush texture and delicious black cherry and plum flavors make our sumptuous Merlot both delicious on its own and a versatile food wine. Enjoy it with beef, lamb, roast duck with cherry sauce, red-sauce pastas, black olive and mushroom pizzas, and soft-ripening cheeses.

Ch. Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
The Indian Wells Cabernet is our warm climate ripe, jammy Cabernet. The 2005 bottling is no exception. The wine exudes sweet blackberry pie and vanilla aromas and flavors with loads of complexity. This is our big bold, obvious Cabernet and after just two vintages, it has quickly become a fan favorite. Wonderful Cab from such esteemed growers as Indian Wells, Jones, Washington Fruit and even Cold Creek Vineyard are woven together with a little Syrah to make a wine that says boldly 'I'm from Washington.'

Craggy Range Winery Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Craggy Range Te Muna Road Pinot Noir is highly colored with bright ruby red in colour. Savoury spice notes are accented by perfumed aromas of violets, red cherry, blackberry and ruby grapefruit on the nose. Complex flavours of cherry, root spice, smoke and florals predominate the textural and creamy palate. The finish is long with redfruit and spice drawn out by the fine, silky tannin structure. Delicious with poultry, game and lamb dishes. Drink now through 2011.

Cline Los Carneros Syrah 2005
Dark, rich and extremely flavorful, this wine offers deep plum and cherry notes accented with aromas and flavors of vanilla and coffee. The combination of tannin, acid, fruit and great mouth feel come together to create a balanced and robust wine.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Spooky Halloween Wine List

The countdown to Halloween has already begun at Earlier this week we announced a limited time sale running throughout Friday - you can save up to 50% on your order from our wicked wine line up for Halloween.

We also thought we should highlight some of the other spooky wines in our cellar so you can prep for your Halloween parties!

Spellbound Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Spellbound Cabernet exemplifies lush textures and bold dark fruit flavors with a slight hint of oak and spice. Cedar and tobacco aromas complement integrated lively tannins and fill out your palate allowing the wine to be consumed on its own or with your favorite food.

Spellbound Chardonnay 2006

The 2006 Spellbound Chardonnay features bright and lush tropical fruits with notes of vanilla and classic crème brulée. To maintain the crisp fresh fruit acidity, nearly ten percent of the wine is fermented in stainless steel. Aging and fermentation in small oak barrels lend density and complex oak character.

Spellbound Petite Sirah 2005

This Petite Sirah offers rich, full-bodied flavors of ripe berry fruits with supple tannins. An easy drinking wine for casual weeknight meals and great with BBQ. 98% Petite Sirah, 2% other red varietals.

Evil Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Dark rich red, with bright crimson hues. Fresh, yet rich classic varietal nose, consisting of black olive, fresh blackberries and raspberries. The soft palate displays complexity of fruit and oak, with blackcurrant and spicy clove characters, balanced with a fine tannin finish.

Evil Pure Evil Chardonnay 2007
Pure Evil Chardonnay has white peach stone fruit characters. Add a luscious and delicious textural mouthfeel and a touch of French oak influence. The creaminess is balanced by an elegant freshness.

Warwick Estate Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc 2005

The wine shows an abundance of tropical fruit, gooseberry, peach and green fig flavors on the nose that carry through to the palette. The palette is rich and fruity with well-balanced acid while the aftertaste is long and lingering with enough fruit to make you come back for more.

Warwick Estate Pinotage 2004

This wine has a plum garnet color with a complexity of fruits on the nose. A lively Pinotage sweetness balanced by careful wood ageing, plenty of ripe fruit and a spicy finish. The wine is big, yet accessible and should age well for 3-5 years.

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's Bordeaux Week!

This week we are celebrating Bordeaux Week at! The name Bordeaux itself conjures up images of old, dusty bottles and decanters. And, while it is the region known for the most ageable, not to mention pricey, red wines of the world, Bordeaux doesn't necessarily have to mean expensive or pretentious. After all, not every bottle of Bordeaux can be a Chateau Margaux or Mouton Rothschild.

To celebrate the great tasting, affordable Bordeaux we have put together a superb "Affordable Bordeaux Wine List" to help you navigate. We'll even throw in 1-cent shipping this week to make it even more easier to enjoy!

If you don't find what you are looking for on that list, maybe our community generated Bordeaux wine lists will be helpful. In particular we thought these wine lists were worth sharing:

2005 Bordeaux - A wine list by "le Bon Vivant":

Château Paradis Casseuil Bordeaux Rouge 2005
Domaines Baron Rothschild Reserve Speciale Bordeaux Rouge 2005
Mouton-Cadet Bordeaux Rouge 2005
Ch. Saint Sulpice Rouge 2005

Bordeaux - A wine list by "Chrisk":

Domaines Baron Rothschild Reserve Speciale Pauillac 2005
Ch. Lafleur Pomerol 1999
Ch. Mont Redon Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2003

What is your favorite bottle of Bordeaux?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wine Brands and Social Media

Yesterday, the Cork Board wrote an interesting piece on defining brands in the wine world. Using a social media monitoring tool, they were able to track mentions of "Napa Valley" in online media (such as blogs, microblogs like Twitter, and rich media sites) to find which words were most associated with the Napa Valley "brand." Words such as "cabernet" and "vineyards" came up often in results, indicating these are hot topics in conversations about Napa Valley.

Over the past several weeks, we've also been monitoring the "winosphere." We found this first attempt at aggregating data on brand ownership so intriguing that we did some additional research of our own. Staying on the Napa theme, we wanted to compare the online buzz generated by several Napa Valley wineries over the past month. We chose five major Napa wineries: Robert Mondavi, Beringer, Sterling, Beaulieu, and Rubicon and discovered the following:

These results provide a glimpse into the relative prominence of these wineries or their relative share of the ownership of the larger Napa Valley brand in online conversations. Mondavi was at the front of the pack, meaning the Mondavi brand was mentioned the most in social media posts, followed by Beringer and Sterling.

Approaching this from another angle, we determined the relative prominence of these five wineries within discussions about Cabernet wines. Who is generating the most buzz when it comes to Napa Valley cabs? We found similar results to the graph above:

Is this just a coincidence, or can we use this data to come to general conclusions about brand power in social media? We're interested to hear your thoughts, and we'll be checking back with the Cork Board to see what else they are cooking up.

All of these Napa Valley brands and many more are available on our website.

Or get a taste of the most talked about Napa Valley wine brand, Robert Mondavi.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Wine World Goes Solar

Earlier this month Constellation Wines announced it would be installing the world's largest winery solar installation at its Gonzales Winery in Monterey, California. Constellation Wines estimates that this move will reduce the annual carbon footprint by about 1.6 million pounds, which translates to the equivalent of planting 2,500 acres of trees, not driving an average automobile 25 million miles, or taking more than 2,000 cars off the road. Incredible!

ZDNet, today, highlighted the fact that Constellation Wines includes heavy hitters like Clos du Bois, Wild Horse and Mondavi, which happen to be three of the top purchased wines in the US. This foreshadows good news for the environment and the wine consumer!

If you would like to contribute to a reduction of the carbon footprint while still enjoy a nice glass of Chardonnay, consider checking out these wines:

Clos du Bois:

Clos du Bois Chardonnay 2007
Clos du Bois Alexander Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Clos du Bois Merlot 2004

Wild Horse:

Wild Horse Pinot Noir 2006
Wild Horse Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Wild Horse Viognier 2006

Robert Mondavi:

Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay 2005
Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005


Sunday, October 12, 2008

CBS Spot on the Antinori Family

Here is the fantastic feature on the Antinori family. As complex and as wonderful as the wine itself.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Friday, October 10, 2008

'60 Minutes' to feature Antinori this Sunday, October 12

The Antinori Family, one of Italy’s most historic wine producers, will be profiled by 60 Minutes on Sunday. This is a great moment for wine lovers. As you may know, Antinori is a legendary wine producer in Tuscany, having started in the 12th century.

The Antinoris are the first winemakers to be profiled by 60 Minutes in the past 26 years and just the third producer to be featured in the program's 40-year long history.

60 Minutes will feature interviews with Marchese Piero Antinori and his three daughters, Albiera, Allegra and Alessia, who are involved in all aspects of the family business. The program will also tour the family’s historic estates in Tuscany, Umbria and California. They are partners in the Col Solare winery with Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. We are excited to watch the show this weekend!

You can see our selection of Antinori wines here.


We know that sometimes wine buying can be intimidating (which wine goes well with pesto sauce? What do all these wine ratings really mean? If I need to buy a gift for my boss where do I even begin?), but it can also be a really great experience if you just have a little bit of easy to understand information to guide your way. We started this blog to do just that!

Through a wide range of community created content and advice and tips from our very own sommeliers, we hope to use this blog as a place to help you discover great new wines from all over the world, whether you are shopping for yourself or sending a gift. We will share some of our favorite wine lists, like our most popular list the “90+ Rated Wines Under $20” which includes the highest rated wines (according to independent wine critics such as Wine Spectator and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate) or our list of “94+ Point Rated Wines” for our real connoisseurs. We’ll even share some of the great wine lists and reviews created by our community, such as this good review of the 02 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. And of course we’ll also give you some good advice on some of those really difficult subjects – how do you deal with the professional rating systems? What are great bottles to give as gifts? How do you host a great wine tasting party? And what to do about Thanksgiving dinner!

So kick back with a nice glass of 06 d'Arenberg Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier, check back often and let us know what you think! We are here to be your wine resource on the web and are excited to hear your comments and suggestions.