Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Whole Foods - my new favourite wine shop

I've been doing more and more wine shopping at Whole Foods recently. On a recent trip I noticed a few bargains and on closer inspection was surprised to find that for many local wines, the prices at Whole Foods are actually cheaper than most other retailers, particularly if you take advantage of the 10% discount for buying any six bottles.

They also have a very good selection from top quality local wineries such as Burrell School, Mount Eden, Storrs, Martin Ranch and Ridge; in fact the selection of SCM/SCV wines is at least as good if not better than K&L, BevMo or The Wine Club.

Here are a few bargains I've picked up recently - prices are before discount and tax, so the net price will be a few cents lower.

Earlier this year I was fortunate to grab some bin-ends of the Cooper Garrod 2001 Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon at $20 and 2003 Gravel Ridge Chardonnay at $15. These are now sold out, but the 2003 Lone Oak Cabernet Sauvignon and 2005 Gravel Ridge Chardonnay have now arrived, along with 2004 Cabernet Franc at $22.

Trout Gulch is a small father and son company owned by Bernie Turgeon, co-founder the Turgeon & Lohr winery. Never heard of it? Well, back in 1984 he sold his stake to his partner, Jerry Lohr who renamed the company J. Lohr. Trout Gulch produces tiny quantities of estate Pinot Noir ($20) and Chardonnay ($17), both of which I've only ever found at Whole Foods.

Kathryn Kennedy produces what is probably the single most expensive wine in the mountains - their top Estate Cabernet Sauvignon goes for a whacking $145. But at a more realistic level, Kathryn Kennedy also makes a "California" designated bordeaux blend called Lateral ($32) that would give any of the $50 to $100 Napa blends a run for their money. The 2004 is particularly fruit forward and enjoyable today, but would benefit from cellaring. There's also a Syrah ($24) that I'm looking forward to trying and a Sauvignon Blanc ($16), but to be honest I'm of the view that the best Sauvignon Blanc comes from New Zealand (and is cheaper too), with France a respectable second.

Finally there's a couple more wines that also carry the "California" appellation: Thomas Fogarty Skyline ($15) and Roudon Smith Claret ($14). Both are smooth, fruity blend with a decent amount of oak. Easy drinking midweek wines - nothing earth shaking, but reasonable value.


Wes said...

The Los Altos Whole Foods also carries a lot of Varner.