To say this year’s edition is pale in comparison to last year’s would be an understatement. The tastings of the past will be on hold for a long while and the wine sales almost completely disappeared due to the strong demand for alcoholic beverages. Here are this year’s best of the Twin Cities and beyond wine scene.
Also we lost the best wine shop in the history of the Twin Cities this year in Big Top/Sid’s. If you look at their closeout bin deals over the years you could have created an amazing cellar for a huge discount. Why others don’t buy from distributors at closeout pricing is a mystery?
Best Tasting: Sunfish Cellars Pinot Tasting
This one is easy as there was only one I attended in 2020. Sunfish Cellars Pinot Noir Event for just $25.00. While a local sommelier is charging you $25.00 to talk about Chardonnay on Zoom (no wine is not included in this), this event allowed you to experience what many consider the greatest grape variety on the planet. Here are my notes from this event.
Best Wine Shop: Morell’s in St. Paul
People were looking for value in 2020 including myself. The thought of opening $50 bottles with so many people out of work and suffering was a turnoff for me. They deliver many of the best name brand wines at the lowest prices in the Twin Cities. Check these blogs on the savings compared to Total Wine on spirits and sparkling wine. Their Monday Madness promotion is the only thing exciting from 2020 and it brings us back to the great deals from Big Top Liquor/Sid’s when they would do the Tuesday Dash & William’s Wednesday (Shout out to William Condon). One of the reasons for the extreme savings is they don’t take credit card (check and cash only).
This is also the only shop in the Twin Cities that actually has those mail in rebates. I buy more Mumm Brut Prestige than anyone in the Twin Cities for in-home consumption and when they have a rebate for $100.00 on two cases I am in. I should not have to email the distributor to have them mail me a rebate slip.
Here are just some of the great deals they offered:
N.V. Mumm Napa Brut Prestige $13.97
Seghesio Family Vineyards Zinfandel Sonoma County $17.97
Substance Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, Washington) $12.97
Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley $18.97
2016 Hartford / Hartford Court Zinfandel Dina’s Vineyard (USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley) $32.97 (Monday Madness)
N.V. Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Rosé Reserve $37.97 (Monday Madness)
Top 5 Wine Purchases Twin Cities in 2020
- 2014 Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cépages (USA, California, Sonoma County) $32.00 Purchased at Big Top in early February right before they were closing.
- N.V. Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Rosé Reserve (France, Champagne) $37.97 Purchased at Morelli’s Monday Madness
- 2016 K Vintners The Boy (USA, Washington) $22.00 Purchased at WineStreet Spirits
- 2015 Buena Vista Chardonnay Carneros (USA, California, Napa / Sonoma, Carneros) Purchased for $10.00 at Costco
- 2012 Montes Syrah Folly La Finca de Apalta $30.00 Purchased at Big Top
Honestly did not do much shopping at many of my usual places in 2020 due to the lack of sales and high prices.
Best Idea in 2020
Hoyt Hill of Sunfish Cellars is offering Zoom Classes with experts in the wine world. Check out their upcoming events and there are some good ones:
Jan. 28th, 2021Tablas Creek with Owner Jason Haas
Feb. 18th, 2021 Sassiciaia with Export Director Teresa Spada
March 18th, 2021 Madeira Tasting with Bartholomew Broadbent
March 25th, 2021Inglenook, Napa Valley, with Phillipe Bascaules, the Winemaker at Inglenook and Chateau Margaux
Best Overall Wine Value outside the Twin Cities
That is easy. For $11.00 a bottle ($36.00 case shipping) it is:
2014 Davenport Cellars Mr. B (USA, Washington, Columbia Valley)
Ask me how to get the deal: Website