This summer, my partner and I visited a record (for us) number of wineries. We bought wine from nearly every vineyard, hoping we'd amass a substantial collection for the colder seasons when we have less time for vineyard-hopping and more time to cook hearty meals.
Of course, the wine was so good that by the time Fall came, our stash was depleted.
Rather than heading back to all those wineries and trying to figure out our favorite bottles, we decided to look online to see if there was a sort of wine marketplace to find local wines.
At first, we kept finding wine clubs, but they're so obsessed with trying to help you discover your palate - my partner used to manage a restaurant, and we've been drinking wine together for decades, so we generally know what we like. Also, we're willing to pay the right price for a magnificent bottle!
When looking up some of our favorite vintages from our travels, we found one on a site called Wine Access. We were sure it was the bottle because they had in-depth tasting notes, along with a blurb about the winemaking process that included a wonderful story about their unique winemaking process - our tour guide had told us about it, but there were some new facts we hadn't known!
Impressed, we looked at their other bottles and found that their team of wine experts, including a Master Sommelier, specializes in curating a selection of local and rare wines from all over the world. We added the 2015 Halpin Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon we loved to our cart. Next, we were asked to enter an email address.
We paused. They had a wine membership, but we didn't know if we were interested in paying a yearly fee. Thankfully, the membership is completely free. Only 1 out of every 18 bottles they taste make it onto the site, and some of the bottles are so rare and coveted, they only have a small inventory -through our membership, we would be notified by email about the new, limited stocks.
Before we purchased our Cab Sav, we found another from a Napa Valley vineyard we'd always wanted to visit. We'd heard of this bottle - only 5 barrels of it were made, and it's supposed to be excellent. Since we knew the first bottle was gold, we had faith in the second, and decided to purchase them both. Everything would be shipped directly to our place in climate-controlled packaging, and they guaranteed it would arrive in perfect condition.
That weekend, we had our neighbors over and prepared beef tenderloin with a blackberry and goat cheese salad - Mmm. It was delicious, and after polishing off the first Cabernet Sauvignon, we opened the second, the 95-point 2014 from Three Twins Vineyard; the corkscrew lifted the cork out to reveal a magnificent burgundy color. I poured, and we drank it down. It was marvelous.
As Fall transitions to Winter, we plan on getting all our bottles from Wine Access. Each bottle comes with meal pairing suggestions, so we can shop by recipe. Not to mention, they have an excellent staff of writers to tell the stories of the wines. I highly suggest reading them to inform or enhance your purchases.
Wine Access is the only marketplace for wine I've ever come across that caters to a higher-end palate.
Special Offer: Wine Access is offering our readers a special discount on select wines this week. Click here to browse the selection.