Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cheers and Jeers

Just a quick note to update my earlier rant regarding shipping costs of highly allocated wines.  The allocations for Fall are beginning to roll out.

I am moving Araujo Estate to the Jeers column.  My allocation of their awesome Eisele Vineyard Cabernet was increased this year to 3 bottles, but without the option to order just one.  They claim it is in the name of "green" packaging, but when I offered to buy a carbon offset and get one bottle (I could barely afford one at almost $300 each), they said no.  Clearly, the environmental thing is a cover to move more juice.  They are going to leave people like me, who want to taste the great stuff but don't have the deep pockets, in the dust.  And...not to get too pissy...but I was a loyal buyer through some of their more pedestrian vintages, and the change in policy coincided with their first huge Parker score in three years.

Cheers to Harris Estate who also has a rather high minimum bottle purchase, but when I called to plead my case, were more than happy to process a smaller order.  Gorgeous mountain fruit, dark berry flavors, supple tannins, velvet texture, less than half the price of Araujo...  Cheers.

Abreu is another excellent Napa property that sends chills down my spine whenever I drink it.  Not cheap, they have several Cabernet bottlings at over $300 each, but compared to Bordeaux, it is well worth the expense.  But  they are choosing to screw their customers this year with a $33 charge to ship 1 bottle by second day air.  $33!  Actual shipping on a container that size is closer to $10, so what gives?  Why not just add the $20 to the price of the bottle and be honest about your desire to get more cash?

Lastly, cheers to Kistler Vineyards who continue to wrap shipping charges into their pricing, at only $40 per case.  If they can ship 12 for $40, you others can ship 1 for $10!

A quick, very personal tasting note before I sign off.  Last night I tried a Champagne from Terry Theise's portfolio of small grower-producers, Chartogne-Talliet cuvee Sainte-Anne.  I grew up in Milwaukee Wisconsin, the beer capitol of the US.  Driving downtown, the Pabst Brewery was across the street from a Wonder Bread factory, which was next to the Ambrosia Chocolate factory.  This Champagne smelled like home.  The autolytics were HUGE and you could just close your eyes and see a big slice of toasted brioche smeared with dark chocolate.  Wonder what they charge for shipping....

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