Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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Grocery Store Wines Reviewed in Spivak’s New Ebook

October 18th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Did you know that 90 percent of all the wine sold in the U.S. is sold for less than $15 a bottle? Most of it is bought at grocery stores or in wholesale clubs.

Yet, very few of these wines are ever reviewed by the serious wine press.

Enter Mark Spivak – our own sometimes wine writer, and host of the radio show Uncorked! which airs Tuesdays, 7-8 p.m. on WXEL-FM, the NPR affiliate for the Palm Beaches.

Spivak has just written and released as an e-book  The Affordable Wine Guide to California and the Pacific Northwest. For a very economical $9.99 you can download the book to your Kindle, print it out as a PDF guide, or load it to several other devices.

We shop frugally

Spivak knows the secrets that make most wine brokers nuts – that most of us are not drinking $40 bottles of Sancerre as an aperitif every night, nor deciding which new home cellar security device to buy, nor are we reading the Wine Spectator cover to cover to ferret out the very few nuggets inside that we can afford.

Instead, we’re at the grocery store, pondering the cost vs, eco-friendliness of dish detergent and deciding on green vs. yellow peppers at a $2 per pound difference. We’re reading the shelf labels to compare just how much the different olive oils are per ounce. And we hit the wine aisle.

Thus, he guides us and reviews the wines displayed artfully on end caps that you pass by every week on the way to the ice cream freezers. These are wines that have become part of the vernacular because they won the star positions at the front of the store, or have eye-level placement and savvy marketing: Smoking Loon, Red Truck, Cupcake, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Blackstone and Erath, Bogle.

You don’t see them on many restaurant menus because they’re considered “everyday” wines or “grocery store wines”¬† – sniffed at by connoisseurs.

Too bad – Spivak ferrets out some gems among them.

Wine and food

Spivak knows his wines — he’s been writing and talking about consumer wines for more than a two decades; but he also knows his foods. He was a working sommelier in high end restaurants for years, and has befriended all the top toques along the way. He’s well traveled to the many wine regions around the world.

His pairings alone are worth the price – and will save diners wasted energy and money tasting and pairing foods on their own.

Read 30 percent of the book for free

Spivak writes in an upbeat, approachable style that anyone can understand, avoiding insider wine-snob terms. Nonetheless, you’ll learn a good deal from the glossary and easy-reading reviews.

The guide is a no-brainer at under $10; buyers can save that much on one bottle of bad wine they didn’t buy at his advice. But if you’re still not sure, you can download and read 30 percent of the book at no cost on the web site.

Spivak plans to follow up with guides to other international wines in this series of Affordable Wine Guides.

To get the book or just look it over, go to the Smashwords web site.

Tags: Mark Spivak on Consumer Wines · Sips: Drinkables

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Jiba Actiecode // Mar 9, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    If you like a certain product, or prefer to attempt to find an item out, just visit the manufacturer’s web page, call them or write. Web based, there’s almost always a ‘contact’ link where you are able to just send them an e mail and request either samples or coupons if any are obtainable. From time to time you get a yes, sometimes it’s no, nevertheless it by no means hurts to ask.

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