Splurge or Save with the Wine Experts at Oliver’s Market

The world of wine can be an intimidating place, but it does not need to be that way!

Steeped in history, foreign terminology, and a generous amount of elitism for many years, it seemed the wine industry was focused on making wine difficult to understand and causing consumers to question their own judgement in liking or disliking a wine.

Thankfully, the new generations in the wine industry, including bloggers and social media influencers, are doing their best to communicate better about wine and make it more approachable. Consumers are getting the message that ‘if you like it, then it is a good wine’ and are learning to trust their own palates.

Getting to the place of knowing what you like and trusting your palate takes just a bit of experience, and as you taste a range of wines and lock in your understanding of the benchmark character of each varietal and region, you decide what you like and what your own wine buying “quality to value ratio” looks like. It is a fun and delicious educational path that yields the ability to pick and enjoy wines with confidence. Not a bad skill to add to one’s arsenal!

Picking out wines at Oliver’s, no matter your level of expertise, is made a better experience through the efforts of our Wine Team. Led by our wine buyer, Richard Williams, and supported by Ally Williams, buyer’s assistant, the Oliver’s Market Wine Team tastes every wine that comes into the department, rejecting those that do not meet our quality standards.

In each store, our wine managers participate in this process, and they and their teams are up to date on new wines. (Watch for reviews on our shelves for those they especially recommend.)

They know that most of us have a price point in mind for everyday wines, wines for savoring on a weekend, and special occasion or special gift wines, so tell them what you are looking for and what you would like to spend. They will lead you to some excellent options.

Case in point: This week we proposed a challenge to share a current favorite wine offering great quality for the price, and a higher end ‘splurge’ wine that they are excited to share.

Take a look at this great list of recommendations and pick one (or two!) to try. Always feel free to ask our wine team for assistance.

NOTE: Prices effective September 29-October 5, 2021.

From Ally Williams, Corporate Wine Buyer’s Assistant

Save: Burgans Albarino – 2019, Spain, 750ml, $15.99

“Vibrant and exotic with a perfumy bouquet of ripe melon, this Spanish Albarino opens with smooth, juicy tropical flavors. When decanted, vibrant minerality carries through to a long, floral finish chalk full of palate tingling salinity and light bodied freshness. To quaff or not to quaff? That is the question!” – Ally Williams, Corporate Wine Buyer’s Assistant

Splurge: Rochioli Pinot Noir – 2019, Russian River Valley, 750ml, $51.19

“Sumptuous and creamy, this Estate Pinot is full bodied and complex with a core of opulent bright cherry and raspberry. Typical of Rochioli, and quintessential of classic Russian River Valley character, this lovely Pinot is both balanced and scrumptious!”- Ally Williams, Corporate Wine Buyer’s Assistant


From Brandon Witwicki, Windsor Wine Department Manager

Save: Willowbrook Pinot Noir – 2017, Sonoma Mountain, 750ml, $10.39

“The best priced Pinot Noir on the shelf and great quality. The fruit is born and raised on Sonoma Mountain (just like me!). Flavors of blackberry and mushroom weave with savory spices. A super smooth mouthfeel with a focused finish and a distinct acidity.” – Brandon Witwicki, Windsor Wine Department Manager

Splurge: Gamba Zinfandel – 2019, Russian River Valley, 750ml, $29.59

“A beautiful Sonoma County Zinfandel that isn’t from Dry Creek Valley! Notes of brown spices and berries emerge in the nose with hints of black olive. Bursts of dark fruit, highlighting raspberry, blueberry, and leather. A very mouthwatering spiciness keeps you filling your glass.” – Brandon Witwicki, Windsor Wine Department Manager


From Justin Bowman, Cotati Wine Department Manager

Save: Paydirt “Going for Broke” Proprietary Red – 2018, California, 750ml, $14.99

“90 points from Jeb Dunnuck! This is technically a Zinfandel being 81% Zin but comes off much more complex because of the array of other grapes in the blend, such as Grenache, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Barbera, and Cab Sauv. The wine is rich and hearty, with red and dark fruits and a hint of spice. Light tannins give it structure and make it a great pairing for grilled red meats.” – Justin Bowman, Cotati Wine Department Manager

Splurge: Giuseppe Cortese Barbaresco – 2017, Italy, 750ml, $38.99

“Boasting 95 Points from Wine Enthusiast, this is one of the most elegant, yet structured and complex, wines on the shelf. The Nebbiolo grape gives classic flavors of cherry, raspberry, and currant with some underlying notes of earth, rose, violet and anise. The acid is bright, keeping the mouthfeel lively and fresh. The tannins are present but silky, making it a perfect pairing gamey, roasted meats.” – Justin Bowman, Cotati Wine Department Manager


From Matteo Polverari, Montecito Wine Department Manager

Save: Flaco Tempranillo – 2019, Spain, 750ml, Spain, $7.99

“A red wine that punches above its price point. “Flaco” is a friendly word for “dude” in Madrid slang. Grapes are grown in sand and limestone clay from diverse micro-climates. Concentrated flavor of red fruit: cherry, plum, strawberry and raspberry. Aromas of earthy minerality, leather and fresh cut tobacco. Perfect to pair with a cut of beef from Penngrove Farms in our meat department!” – Matteo Polverari, Montecito Wine Department Manager

Splurge: Dehlinger “Goldridge” Pinot Noir – 2019, Russian River Valley, 750ml, $41.59

“Entirely estate grown and dry farmed fruit from their family-owned vineyards. Ripe notes of Bing cherry and lush strawberry. Fourteen months in new French oak imparts soft notes of thyme, cola and vanilla. Structured and well balanced, it is an excellent representation of what Russian River Valley Pinot should taste like.” – Matteo Polverari, Montecito Wine Department Manager


From Richard Williams, Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Save: Honoro Vera Organic Monastrell – 2020, Jumilla, Spain, 750ml, $7.99

“Composed of 100% Monastrell, (known as Mourvedre here), this is a great wine for many a meal. Plummy with notes of fig, this is a bold, spicy wine with no shortage of tannins. A natural with Manchego, but pair with braised Short Ribs and you’re in Heaven!” – Richard Williams, Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Splurge: Antinori Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino – 2014, Tuscany, Italy, 750m, $49.99

“Such a Deal!” we got on this wine! Normally 80 bucks, we have it for close to half that! Composed of 100% Sangiovese, this beauty offers up aromas of cherries and blackberries with cherries and dried herbs on the palate. Perfect for that special meal or as a gift.” – Richard Williams, Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer


From David Riley, Stony Point Wine Department Manager

Save: Pedroncelli Friends Red – 2019, Sonoma County, 750ml, $8.79

“Tasty as ever this wine consistently delivers. As ever a field blend that changes year to year yet always keeps a certain character. This vintage includes Sangiovese which I always enjoy. I suggest getting a Tri-Tip on the grill and sharing some Friends with your friends.” – David Riley, Stony Point Wine Department Manager

Splurge: Dry Creek “The Mariner” – 2016, Dry Creek Valley, 750ml, $31.99

“Wow this is a good wine. Beautiful black currant and dark cherry fruit with spiced plum. A touch of herbs and cedar leather add to the depth in this Meritage. If big reds are your thing this should be in your life.” – David Riley, Stony Point Wine Department Manager

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