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Even a Blind Squirrel … Wine Blogging Wednesday ...

Whenever somebody who is interested in wine, but not completely comfortable with the subject asks me where I buy wine, I usually glance over the question and make a recommendation for where I think THEY should buy wine.

Invariably the question is a leading one in order to find a spot that satisfies a couple of criteria—reasonably priced and giving of the ability to shop with a modicum of dignity for those that don’t like to enter the fray of retail help with the winemonger. 

My recommendation?  Cost Plus World Market.  Don’t laugh.  I’m serious.

These worldly purveyors of home bric-a-brac and housewares, found in most major cities, also have a decent, mid-priced wine section in most stores.  Frankly, you could send a blind man into the wine section and he would come away with an affordable, eminently quaffable wine. 

Yes, a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally and a reluctant wine consumer can find a good wine at World Market.  Unless I lose my wine blogging cred. here, note that I’m saying “eminently quaffable” not “eminently profound.”

The Cost Plus World Market wine section is like Garanimals for adults.  Confidence runs high when risk is low.

This store is a good choice for a couple of reasons.  First, the selection is carefully edited with a manageable number of SKU’s per wine region—Australia, French, California, etc.  Therefore, the mind-numbing array of wine is reduced for the casual buyer.  Second, the wines are all in the premium category, so you’re eliminating the plonk for your casual wine drinking friend who might be persuaded to go $5.99 as opposed to $12.99, all things considered equal, if he’s at the grocery store.  Third, most of the wines they sell at World Market are well-reviewed and value buys according to professional wine reviewers.  You’ll see lots of decent to good wines from Smoking Loon, Castle Rock, Rosenblum, and others. 

So it was as I entered World Market just this evening to pick up a Petite Sirah for Wine Blogging Wednesday.  World Market was not my original destination, but a good spot nonetheless.

The wife and I are in the midst of moving domiciles in Indianapolis, so I’ll now have a couple of wine shops a touch more convenient to me, even if I am noting that one such store happens to close at 7:30 pm, as I found out when I pulled in the parking lot at 7:43.  I felt like pulling a Chevy Chase from the movie Vacation, and demanding that Wally World open.  Alas, I beat a hasty retreat around the corner to find my Petite Sirah and 10 other impulse bottle buys at the emporium of African masks made in China. 

I picked up the 2006 McManis Family Vineyards Petite Sirah as well as the 2005 Jewel Petite Sirah, both Lodi region wines.

As you would expect for Lodi wines at a Cost Plus World Market in Indianapolis, IN for $9.99 a piece, both delivered admirably and capably at price point.

The Jewel, in particular, was a touch more fruit forward and complex with a hint of toasty oak on the finish.  The McManis, a nice wine, yes, just seemed a little less refined in the head to head tasting.

This month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday is a good one, highlighting Petite Sirah, a wine that is too frequently given short shrift amongst domestic wine drinkers.  But, as I mentioned, even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then and you can find a couple of decent nuts at your local national chain of house warmth goodness, particularly in the California Petite Sirah wine section.


Posted in, Good Grape Wine Reviews. Permalink | Comments (34) |


On 12/13, Dale Cruse wrote:

Great review. Sounds like you enjoyed your Petite Sirah more than I enjoyed mine.

On 12/13, John Ferringer wrote:

Glad to see that someone else has liked what they found at World Market’s wine section. It’s definitely the highlight of my trips there, although it doesn’t quite measure up to what we get at the Cork & Cracker.  All the same, it’s definitely a surprising selection for a store of that ilk.

On 12/13, Sonadora wrote:

Thanks for participating.  I think this is the second bottle of the McManis PS that made its way into the WBW line-up.  I like the World Market when I’m looking for cheap and easy crowd pleasing wines for a big party.  They have a quite decent selection of Spanish wines that always seem to go over well for me.

On 12/13, Jill wrote:

I also think Cost Plus has a pretty good selection, and seems more “thought out” and curated than the other stores people usually group it with, like Trader Joe’s and Costco. You can find lots of the Jorge Ordonez Selections there, as well as d’Arenberg and other world class producers. I still favor going to local specialty stores, but Cost Plus is definitely a good alternative.

On 12/14, Jeff Cleveland wrote:

I’ve only been to World Market once but was amazed at what I found. I still like my two local wine shops but can definitely see where sending someone there who didn’t know a lot about wine would definitely be a great idea.

On 12/14, Hank wrote:

I shop at Cost Plus, too - and I live in wine country! You can definitely find good wine there. Those are good prices for PS: Did you think they are worth it? I was put off by the $25-$30 price of some of the PS’s I tried; I like the variety, just not THAT much…

On 12/14, Jeff Lefevere wrote:

Thanks for all of the comments, gals and guys.

Who knew there were a bunch of closet World Market wine shoppers! 

I have another admission—I occasionally buy wine at the grocery store and they are sometimes large-scale production wines.

Horrors!  grin


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Hi there Jeff,
Don’t feel bad I too shop for wine at my local super market as sometimes they have some great deals on wines.

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On 10/24, Barbeque Grilling Chef wrote:

Loved this: Yes, a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally and a reluctant wine consumer can find a good wine at World Market.

It’s certainly true. If you look hard enough and long enough (and taste enough of them), I’m sure you can find a good one. smile

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On 10/24, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

I think this is an intersting article, but the only Wold Market in my area is a bit of a drive. Can someone explain why World Market would be a great place to wine shop if you’re a novice wine drinker? My grocery where I typically wine shop is so confusing and overwhelming. I’m wondering if WM is worth the drive.

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On 10/30, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

Petite Sirah is being made in California, too? I had no idea, its taste is somewhat very different from what I’ve been used to, I believed it was Australian or something. I like this wine pretty much, one can even taste the vines being cut with professional scissors from

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