A couple of months ago, a friend asked if I could recommend a wine delivery club. You’ve seen them for years and probably even joined a few. You pay a monthly fee to a third party—different than winery-direct clubs—and you receive a random set of three bottles to your door each month. Unlike wine clubs from wineries—usually joined in the wake of a great visit, and which often yield interesting or rare bottlings—these third party clubs always seemed sort of, well, disappointing.
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After a few months, you’d start to realize the wines just were kind of cheap or that they were closeout bottles or off vintages. Worse, you’d sometimes end up with those mysterious bottlings from a strange producer in Bordeaux or California that you could never quite identify… bottled as a “private label.”
Things have improved.
With the popularity of home meal delivery subscriptions, wine clubs have learned a thing or two. Taking their cues from the popular customizable subscription box model, they’ve gotten very good at determining a customer’s tastes. Some offer you a detailed online quiz; I’ve found even that yields hit or miss results. Others, like my new favorite Dry Farm Wines, just tell you the quality and source of all their wines upfront then curate your box.
Dry Farm Wines works directly with producers to source organic wines without any sugar or additives. Calling wines “organic” can be sticky since many old world producers in France, Italy, and Spain have produced wines organically for generations. However, the description is fitting at Dry Farm Wines and denotes how they select their offerings.
Their biggest appeal is skipping added chemicals and sugars. By skipping wines with additives, they automatically up their quality game. Most wine lovers would be surprised at how many less expensive wines are manipulated with sugar or other additives for color, richness, and flavor.
Even better, their wines (even the reds) are all at 12.5% ABV or below making them lighter choices for weeknight sipping.
My latest shipment included three wines from producers in France and Italy who are the sorts of small producers I discover when I travel. I could also find the white, rosé, and red online at regular retail to purchase again. The wines were delicious, good quality and perfect summer drinkers retailing for an average of $20 a bottle.
You can customize your selections by white, reds, rosés, and sparklers in offerings of 3, 6 or 12 bottles shipped monthly to quarterly. Depending on what you choose, wines will be anywhere from $101 to $320 per shipment. (Six reds will set you back $171 per shipment.) You can also change or cancel your subscription whenever you want.
The three wines I sampled in my box were delicious Old World offerings that hit a sweet spot with price and quality. Whether you’re looking for a gift for friends or a way to mix up your summer choices, these easy light wines might just fit the bill.
2019 Valpolicella Classico Ca’ La Bionda
Light, with great fruit and balance, this red has good minerality, and its lower alcohol makes it a perfect classic Italian sipper for an evening on the patio.
2019 Petite Chablis Domaine des Malandes
Petite Chablis is a separate appellation for wines in the area that surrounds the core vineyards of Chablis. If you think “Petite” means “lesser” you’d be wrong about this region. This lovely Chablis is crisp and stony with a hint of lemon and tart apple. It wants a light white fish with cream sauce or grilled vegetables for summer.
2020 Chateau Grand Boise Sainte Victoire Cote de Provence This pale pink rose was everything I want in a wine from the south of France. It’s a blend of 40% Grenache; 10% Cinsault, and 50% Syrah in the place of the Mourvedre you find closer to the coast. Light, with a hint of fruit, high acid, and with the body of a good rosé, it would be a perfect swimming pool or brunch wine before bringing on the food.