Why pay top dollar for wine? It's BOGO time!

I am amazed by the average wine drinker who pays top dollar for their wine. Many say they are having a party and need wine fast or their local wine shop is so convenient. The worst advice ever given to a wine buyer was to purchase wine at a shop right by your house. What happens if you live next to the hole-in-the-wall shop with salespeople who aren't familiar with the term Bordeaux? My advice: Shop during a sale, and find a fine wine retailer that can provide you with service.

Haskell's, for example, is currently having a sale through Labor Day. The store has a wide selection of wines from around the world and a staff that enjoys helping the customer.

What's more, the Haskell's event is a BOGO sale: "Buy One, Get One" for free. More shops in the Twin Cities should get out of their rut of predictable sales and follow Haskell's lead. I have found several great bottles of wine at the sales, including my wine of the year in 2009, the 2006 Rosenblum Kick Ranch Cellars Syrah ($20), and the 2001 Chateau Montrose Saint-Estephe from Bordeaux ($50). These wines are well below most other prices you'd find on the Internet.

If you buy a wine at $50, for example, and get the second one for free, you're pay $25 a bottle. And it avoids the problem of buying just one bottle and coming back a month later to find that the store is on to the next vintage or out of the wine entirely.

Here are some great bottles of wine to pour for your friends at your next outdoor gathering.

2002 Joh. Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese $20 A German classic producer, Joh. Jos. Prum makes some of the best rieslings in the world. This Spatlese (late-harvest grapes) will blow your mind with floral, honey, minerals, and peaches on the nose and, on the palate, the perfect balance between sweet and sour. You can age this wine or drink now. 93 points

Compare Pinot Noir Styles 2005 Nicolas Potel Savigny-les-Beaune $27.50 A 100 percent pinot noir from the home of the grape--Burgundy. The wine features minerals, strawberries, floral, and mild tannins. It is a lighter style than the Alma Rosa, below. Enjoy this wine with a variety of fish and meats. 90 points

2006 Alma Rosa La Encantada Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir $25 Ripe fruit, straw, floral, and spices on the nose. The palate is intense compared to the Potel, with spices, floral, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Fans of Aussie shiraz and U.S. cabernet will like this expression of pinot noir. 90 points

2001 Mas de Boislauzon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee du Quet $25 An amazing effort from a solid vintage in the Southern Rhone. Aromas of blackberries, raspberries, earth, stones, and floral. The palate is concentrated and the wine is balanced. These wines require food, and wild game from your last hunting trip will do the trick. 93 points

2003 Valandraud 3 de Valandraud St. Emilion $25 This is the second label to the impressive Valandraud wine, and it does not disappoint. It is underrated and drinking well right now, instead of when the reviews were done a while ago. I decanted this for two hours and was rewarded with red fruits, perfume, and gravel. On the palate spice and leather appear, and the finish is medium in length. Drink this wine in the next five years for maximum performance. 91 points

Finally a candidate for top five wines of the year:

2006 Dobbes Family Estate Grande Assemblage Cuvee Rogue Valley Syrah $15 A nose of black pepper, spices, blackberries, and smoke. On the palate things pick up with the addition of cedar and floral notes. Good backbone and works well with barbecue. 92 points

Also check out Penfolds Bin 128 and 28 at $15.50 apiece, 2004 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett at $20, and 2004 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese at $30.

Other wines on sale I recommend are the 2008 Dr. Loosen "Dr. L" Riesling for $8.95, the Vina Robles Red4, the 2007 Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon $9.99 and the 2007 Newton Red Label Claret (sample some on day two and you will see an improved wine, or decant four hours) $15.99.

Remember Haskell's always has wine open to sample, and get on their Facebook account for upcoming free tastings.


John Glas Wineglas

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