This year was another tough year in the Twin Cities Wine Scene with some signs of hope as tastings started popping up again. Unfortunately the 2nd Tasting I Nonni Italian Tasting had to be canceled which was the right decision at the time in early December. Good call by ownership on that one.
I started looking outside the state for my wine purchases. One shop that really is declining is Envoyer out of California. This used to be a reliable operation but with all the sub outs and inability to figure out shipping they are official off my radar. With one shop in the decline I was able to find a new shop that will be a future go to operation out of New Jersey called Thewinebuyer.com (Bottle King). Free shipping and deliveries have been a day ahead for the two orders I placed. Unfortunately it is now to cold to ship. I will be posting other out of state wine shops in 2022 that are worth buying from.
Best Tasting: None
None. It would have been the I Nonni Italian Tasting but the 2nd one got canceled.
Best Wine Shop: Surdyk’s
Surdyk’s was the only wine shop in the running this year and they got plenty of my money with their improved sales in 2021. In 2020 I was not shopping there as I did not like their offerings for their sale but in 2021 they delivered with some amazing wines at the best prices in the nation. Also their customer service is excellent and very helpful. Their staff makes a living doing this and not working part time. They even offered in-store tastings again this year and I got to sample all the wines solo which never happens.
Watch out for other wine educator advice as they often mention trendy, overpriced shops. While they have good customer service for the most part their prices are high and I can easily find the same wine and get it shipped to your door for less. Ask about my consulting service.
Here are some of the great deals and wines they offered in 2021:
2017 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva – Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (11/19/2021) $24.99
2019 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley $23.99
2020 Saint Cosme Côtes du Rhône – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône $13.99
2016 Powers Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Champoux Vineyard – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Horse Heaven Hills $24.99
Here are some other wines they had on sale.
Top 5 Wine Purchases Twin Cities in 2020
- 2019 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc (USA, Washington, Columbia Valley) $23.99. Easy victory on this wine. Next best price is $30 at K & L. All my west coast friends were jealous as this is much cheaper than they get it from their shops in Washington. Surdyk’s.
- 2019 Drew Family Cellars Pinot Noir Fog Eater (USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley) $34.99 The next best price on this is $40. An excellent value. Morell’s Monday Madness Sale.
- N.V. Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley (USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley) $15.00. Top 10 had one good deal this year and this was their Sunday Sale for $15.00 a bottle. Top 10 Liquors (note did the Haskell’s price match and didn’t have to drive far).
- 2016 L’Ecole No. 41 Merlot Estate Walla Walla Valley (USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley) $24.99 WineStreet Spirits in North Oaks continues to be a beacon of excellence in the Twin Cities Wine Scene. This is a great value. WineStreet Spirits
- 2016 Sea Slopes Fort Ross Winery Pinot Noir (USA, California, Sonoma County, Fort Ross – Seaview) $22.00. Haskell’s had one bottle of this with a special sticker and this was excellent. Haskell’s Bloomington.
Other than Surdyk’s and WineStreet Spirits I did not buy much locally other than the price matches Haskell’s offers (Use the Star Tribune Paper) for Morell’s in St. Paul.
Best Idea in 2021
Nothing in 2021 locally. Nothing original and some shops offering overpriced tastings and then trying to sell you their overprice products. The best idea is out of state at the WineBuyer.com with free shipping to MN. Some places believe it or not are up to $8 a bottle.
Best Overall Wine Value outside the Twin Cities
Smith & Shaw Shiraz. I have gotten away from the big Jammy Shiraz wines from Australia and this is part of the free shipping deal from WineBuyer.com. This wine is only $27.99.
- 2018 Shaw and Smith Shiraz – Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide Hills (12/19/2021)
Day 1: Under $30 and worth every penny. Very aromatic wine and flavorful but all in balance. Blackberries, black olives, blueberries, floral, black pepper and exotic spices. Medium plus finish and good acidity. This is a six pack coming soon! Actual agree with James Suckling who gave it 95 so not far off. 93 points
Day 2: Beautiful wine with black olives, tar, blueberries, twigs, floral notes, black pepper and exotic spices. Medium plus finish and good concentration. Outstanding value. 93 points
Day 3: More balanced across the board on day 3. Black olives, tar, blueberries, black pepper, exotic spices and floral notes. Medium to long finish and amazed how well this is drinking young. 93+ points
Recommendation: Buy! For less than $30 an amazing QPR. (93 points)
Another must buy as I am posting this is the 2012 La Rioja Alta Ardanza $29.99.
- 2012 La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva – Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (12/29/2021)
Day 1: These wine remind me why I do the 3 day wine review thing. Previous poster did 4 hour decant and agree needs it. This on the pop and pour was a dill/wood overload so yes don’t rate it yet. Two hours in the glass getting wood, mild dill, raspberries, minerals, earth and dark chocolate. Excellent wine and probably better than the last time I sampled it. 93 points
Day 2: Still tight and needs to open up. After an hour in the glass featuring wood, dill, exotic spices, raspberries, minerals and dark chocolate. If you don’t like Oak avoid this wine. For me excellent offering. 93 points (93 points)