SF Wine Blog

Exploring wine in and around San Francisco.

Wine @ Whole Foods: More than Meets the Eye

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When I lived in Washington, DC, I often picked up a bottle of wine at Whole Foods.  Why?  Because it was easy — you’re picking up stuff to make dinner, so why not pick up a bottle of wine that will match?  Only one drawback:  I don’t remember picking up any wines that particularly stood out.

WF PinotThis past weekend, I had DC flashbacks during my visit to the Whole Foods on Franklin & California.  As I perused the wine section, none of the $25-or-less wines on display particularly perked my interest.  I was ready to walk out empty handed, but then, I looked down.  And low-and-behold, I found some hidden gems.

Turns out that Whole Foods doesn’t display all the wines they actually carry.  In fact, if you look at the bottom of the wine racks, you’re likely to find some wines.  Here are a few wines that I was happily surprised to find at my local grocer:

  • NV Sean Thackrey Pleiades XVII Red Table Wine (California) – $24.99.  Mad-scientist red wine blend from Bolinas, CA (BOLINAS!) based wine maker, Sean Thackrey.  Garnered 91 pts from RP.  [good video review from Vinifico!].
  • 2007 Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, OR) – $24.99.  Top-notch Pinot from one of Wine & Spirits Magazine’s    top wineries of 2009.

The prices were in line with what I expected, though I was disappointed to see that a bottle of 2007 Owen Roe Ex Umbris Syrah was priced at $24.99 — $5 more than I had paid at K&L a week ago.

Whole Foods carried a decent selection at the$20-or-less price point, but no particular surprises.  But, again, looking at the lower shelves, I found two usual crowd pleasers:

  • 2007 d’Arenberg The Stump Jump (Australia) – $11.99
  • 2008 Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon [sorry, didn’t dig up the price on this one, but probably aroudn same price as d’Arenberg]

Neither of these two are particularly hard to find wines, but you can’t go wrong with them.

Bottom Line: Whole Foods has a good selection for a grocery store, and if you look high and low, you may be able to dig up something interesting.  Plus, if they carry something you like, they’ll knock off 10% off any purchase of 6 or more bottles.  But overall, if you have the time, it’s probably worth visiting your local wine store for the variety and harder-to-find wines.

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