So this weekend we went wine tasting in the North Fork of Long Island, and it stirred up my wine bug. Recently, I have realized that going into a wine store is generally a tedious and uninformed process, and when I come home with a forgettable $15 wine, I feel cheated when I finally drink it, because of opportunity cost – i.e. could I have gotten a better $15 wine? Its the classic problem of wine pricing – the fact that no one knows if they are getting a good value.
Thus, I started going online. The Interweb is the best thing to happen to good wine stores, because they can cross reference their prices with commentary, or even better, Wine Spectator or Robert Parker ratings. This makes wine selecting feel less like a complete shot in the dark.
I started to use Morrell’s Wine because (i) a friend recommended it, (ii) it’s the most famous one, and (iii) it has a section on there telling you what the most popular wines being sold on the site are. That is invaluable to me – it is sort of like an IMDB rating for wine (which they need to start sometime). This way, I can let other, smarter, more informed people tell me which wines are worth buying.
The wines I ordered from Morrell were
Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2005, $7
Fontenelle Premieres Cotes de Blaye 2000, $7
Reserve Saint Martin Chardonnay 2004, $7
Reserve St Martin Cabernet Sauvignon Val dOrbieu 2003, $7
Babich Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2005, $12
Clos Robert Cabernet North Coast 2004, $12
Chateau Vieux Champs de Mars Cuvee Johanna Cotes de Castillon 2000, $15
Prosecco Rustico Nino Franco Italy, $15
The only one worth getting, in my opinion was the Babich Sauv Blanc. That wine is terrific. The rest were all meh. Look, I know my palette is not so developed that I can tell the difference between a $100 wine and a $200 wine. I can probably tell the difference between a $10 wine and a $40 wine at this point though. And generally, I stay in the sub $30 range.
In any case, I found that many wines that I want that I’ve had in restaurants or elsewhere weren’t showing up on Morrell (I am still looking for a wine store that carries that Big Fire Pinot Gris I was talking about the other day). So what are the other good NY Wine stores? Dr. Vino, a wine guy, has a great resource – a New York Wine Stores Guide using Google Maps.
So I tried Astor Wines, Vintage Wines, and Union Square Wine, but no those websites are just ok. Dr. Vino also mentioned PJ’s Wine Warehouse, and I actually just made an order. PJ Wine might replace Morrell for me. Like Morrell, they have free shipping over $100. Often, I found that the same wine was cheaper at PJ than at Morrell. Finally, they have a top value page for different price ranges. I got some of Dr. Vino’s reccommendations, and I bought some of PJ’s recommendations as well.
In addition to getting more Babich Sauv Blanc, these are the wines I ordered:
2004 Sorbus Malbec, Blend with Cabernet, $6
2004 Pillar Box Red Blend, Cab, Syrah Blend, $9
2004 Andalhue Malbec, Organic, $10
2003 Artazu Spanish Red, Artazuri/ Garnacha, $8
2005 Columbia Crest Riesling, $7
2004 Finca Luzon Spanish Red, Jumilla, $8
2005 Finca Luzon Spanish Red, Jumilla/ Monastrell, $6
2004 Wiest, Rudi Riesling, Rhein River, $9
2005 Hogue Riesling, Johannisberg, $7
2004 Ste Michelle, Chateau Riesling, Johannisberg, $8
I’ll let you know if any of them are worth trying.