Friday, June 01, 2007

Armchair Wine Shopping: domaine547

I'm working at home these days, meeting three successive deadlines and trying to get ready to go to England for a week. Things are manic, but I also need to dole out treats every now and again to keep my energy levels up. Usually, my favorite treat is to go to a wine store and browse the shelves, but lately that's been hard to fit in to the daily grind. (domaine547 mascots reproduced courtesy of domaine547)

So I decided to check out a new wine store right from the comfort of my armchair: domaine547. This is a new, LA-based retail outlet linked to an online wine community that includes a blog, a wine club, and a forum. I love their philosophy: that learning about wine is a journey, that wine should be part of everyday life, that wine lets you travel the globe when your bank account and work schedule won't let you, and that wine is not about snobbery. That pretty much sums up my philosophy, too, so it's not surprising I am drawn to their store and to their wine selection.

And what an impressive selection it is. Domaine547 may be a small operation, which means that they can't stock everything that's in the big chains. But who cares when they manage to stock what has become my Holy Grail of wine: Francois Chidaine. Brooklynguy, who knows a lot about Loire wines, puts Chidaine in his top two Loire producers but I never see it on the shelves. Score one for domaine547!

Their decision to stock Francois Chidaine was a hint of the good stuff waiting inside the online store--really interesting wine that was not the same old bottles you see everywhere else. In no time at all during my virtual walk down the aisles I filled my shopping cart with a half case of intriguing and affordable wine. I snapped up a 2006 SoloRosa Piccolo Rosso Pinot Noir ($17.99) from the Russian River Valley, a wine aged in stainless steel that sounds truly unique and was recommended to me by the folks at domaine547 as a good summer red in a comment here at GWU$20. I also got a nice selection of white wines, including an Alsatian gewurztraminer from Michel Fonne ($17.99), the longed-for Francois Chidaine from 2005 vintage and the Clos du Breuil vineyard ($20.99), and an Italian white blend (the 2005 Teruzzi & Puthod Terre di Tufi, $16.99). For fun I also selected a 2005 Gaujal Picpoul de Pinet ($9.99) which I know nothing about, but John at Brim to the Dregs likes his Picpoul, so I wanted to try one.

The other red I picked (a primitivo) was sold out, and like all good merchants domaine547 shot me back an email explaining the wine had just gone out of stock and giving me a variety of options including holding my order, shipping two orders, or replacing the wine with another wine of similar style and price. I picked the latter, and they sent me a Rosa del Golfo Primitivo that will be perfect with some pizza this summer. All the wine arrived in perfect condition, with some snazzy domaine547 coasters, and because they are in LA the shipping only took one day so there were no worries on my end about the wine getting damaged.

Domaine547 has a special section of their online store dedicated to wines under $20, and they've got the 2006 vintage of one of my favorite wines from the past year, Kris Curran's Grenache Blanc. Most LA area shoppers can take advantage of their current offer of free shipping to most zipcodes around the city (even some in the burbs, like mine) by entering the code "FreeLA" in the coupon box during checkout. I'm not sure when or if this offer will expire, so you might want to jump on it now. And if you live elsewhere in the US, they ship to you, too, as long as you live in a state that permits it--it's just not free!

If you are on the lookout for a new club, I'd consider domaine547's wine club. They have a good eye for wine, and you will not get boring stuff, or stuff that's overpriced. Their first club shipment focused on Napa Valley wines, and contained the 2005 Orin Swift "The Prisoner," the 2004 Seventy Five Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon Amber Knolls, and the yummy 2005 Vinum PETS Petite Sirah. Club shipments are $75, and are accompanied by a great 3-page newsletter that talks about the varietals and where the wine is made, gives tasting notes, and has pairing suggestions and recipes. Next club shipment will focus on Burgundy and the pinot noir grape.

I know I'll be shopping at domaine547 in the future, because I love the convenience, the selection, the competitive pricing, and the great attitude they have about wine. Sometimes armchair wine shopping is just the thing when you want to give yourself a treat, but can't leave your desk. Stop by their store during your coffee break this morning and see what you think!


Robert McIntosh said...

Where in England are you coming to? Is it business or pleasure that brings you across the pond?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dr. Debs! FYI, the free shipping in LA will be ongoing. However, be patient with us...our server has been going crazy the last couple of days and we've had some bugs reported by customers. Hopefully we'll straighten that out and be running smoothly.


Anonymous said...

Hi Debs!
Thanks for the shout-out. I will point out, though, that Chidaine is top 2 for me in Montlouis, probably not in all of the Loire. But I do love Chidaine. Top 10 without question...

Dr. Debs said...

Welcome, Robert. I'm headed to London for work, I'm afraid, and to see family and friends in the evenings. I'm looking forward to everything but Heathrow. Thanks for stopping by, jb, and letting us know about the shipping. And Neil, sorry about that error--it shows my profound ignorance of Loire wines but at least I'm willing to learn!