Jon Rimmerman's wine tips:
- Venture off the beaten path. Look beyond eye level. Sometimes retailers charge slotting fees to distributors for prime placement. The consumer pays for that in the end.
- Target undervalued regions. Look for wines from:
>> US - Long Island
>> France - Savoie
>> Italy - Campania/Basilicata
>> France- Bordeaux (yes, Bordeaux)
- Don't turn your nose up at Merlot. It got a bad rap in the movie "Sideways." Consequently you can find some great bargains and Merlot pairs exceptionally well with the grilled foods that we love for summer.
- Make friends with the wine buyer. He or she can point you in the direction of some great finds.
- Inquire about case discounts -- just about every retailer offers them, but frequently they are not publicized.
- Take a cue from the French and Italians who enjoy wine every day. Do you think they're spending $50 a bottle on a regular basis? You can always find good deals on French and California Rose and Italian Prosecco and they are particularly nice in summer. Learn to read the labels, front AND back.
- Don't waste money on inferior wines. Know a little about your regions and which varietals are best from those regions:
>> Oregon - Pinot Noir
>> Washington State - Merlot
>> Finger Lakes - Riesling
>> Germany - Riesling
>> Australia - Shiraz
>> Argentina - Malbec
- Don't throw money away on styles that you don't like. In red wines, the alcohol level can give you clues.
>> 12.5% - lighter color, lean, medium weight, more acidity
Examples - Bordeaux or Loire, 1970'a Napa Cabernet
>> 13.0-13.5% - rounder, richer, denser color, slight caramel tone, full flavored in the mouth but not overdone.
Examples - Hermitage, 1990's Napa Cabernet
>> 14.5-15.0% - intense dark color, sweeter, baked, over-ripe, mouth coating, cough syrup
Examples - Shiraz, Napa Syrah, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, 2000's Napa Cabernet
- Familiarize yourself with importers you know you can rely upon, In San Francisco, look for:
>> Louis/Dressner - artisanal/natural/biodynamic/cuting edge
>> Kermit Lynch - traditional/classic/natural
Great bottles of wine in your own backyard for under $10! Become a real wine hunter, like Seattle underground wine guru Jon Rimmerman who travels the world to discover extraordinary limited production wines for subscribers to his daily Garagiste email offers.
Bio: Garagiste:\ga-räzh-eest\ n fr. garer to dock, to protect
1. a passionate winemaker who creates fine limited production wines(occasionally in his or her garage)
2. a selective, Seattle-based retail emporium dedicated to the wine artisan and consumer
Although Garagiste is based in Seattle, Jon has trouble answering the question "where do you live?" With his incessant travel schedule, he jokingly refers to himself as a citizen of the world. He started Garagiste on a shoestring in 1999 with a lifelong dream and a simple concept: to bring the winemaker and consumer closer together by taking advantage of a new technology--email--and merging it with the ethos of a co-op. Jon was a pioneer in wine marketing via email and his concept has been copied by hundreds of wine retailers since. "We had a handful of customers and a whole sea of ideas." Born of the need to demystify the importance of the wine retailer and to stress the borderless approach of free thought and ideas, Garagiste has thrived for nearly a decade by talking "with" our customers and not "to" them. A self-described cooperative about more than just wine, Garagiste has developed into a literary montage of philosophy, culture, travel, history, and the world as seen through Jon's eyes.
Jon Rimmerman is often credited with sparking the "email offer" revolution in fine wine sales. Loosely based in Seattle, Garagiste is a small, independently operated purveyor of wine (and occasionally food), wisdom and esoteric tidbits of travel and culture. There is no storefront to speak of --- Garagiste is like Daily Candy for the wine set with email as the only vehicle for sales. Jon is passionate about small growers and producers around the world with an artisanal and often organic approach to farming. Most of Jon's discoveries are largely unknown outside their local areas and not yet available in the US. Jon searches out the best wine and underground foodstuffs in the world and makes them available to thousands of subscribers via one or more daily email offers. Garagiste is one of the largest wine retailers on the West Coast and is the only US Retailer to be a Wine Enthusiast National Wine Retailer of the Year finalist for three years running, yet it has no storefront in the traditional sense; stocks no inventory; has never spent a penny on advertising; does not sell via its website.