The Fresh Direct wine department is an extension of Best Cellars, a delightful online retailer who also has a storefront on the Upper East Side. The Best Cellars website is a joy to behold with sassy descriptions like, “soft, luscious, juicy and fizzy” and a grouping system that ranks wines in terms of weight and body. Their website makes it easy to buy with confidence.
Their selections are also very good. I went in wanting one bottle and found many. My heart skipped a beat at their Rosé page, the curious sparkling pink Marquis de la Tour Brut Rosé NV ($10.00), coming from the Loire Valley is a Saigneé of Syrah, Grenache and Cabernet Franc. For a more conventional sparkling or a good gift try the vintage 1999 Veuve Cliquot.
I narrowly escaped the dry white wine selections without spending all of my budget. Muscadet ($10.00) is a great standby, clean, light, dry and crisp and much more interesting than Pinot Grigio. A very interesting little number was the Jardin de la Frutiere Blanc a unique blend from the Loire Valley that looks like it will provide rich body with good acidity, plus I love the beautiful design-y label. For a classic, rich, full bodied Chardonnay try the Novellum ($13.00).
Moving into their “juicy, smooth and big” pages, I will splurge for the Oriel Jasper Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($27.00) and I did splurge on the absolutely delicious Gary Farrell ($47.00) Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. It was terribly expensive but worth every penny!
The Ocone Aglianico is a standby in this household. The unheralded King of Southern Italy, Aglianicos are rich, spicy, full-bodied and inexpensive when compared to other wines of equal heft. For an even bigger wine try the Kosher Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Syrah blend ($12.00) by Tishbi. When blended together these two varietals produce a very rich, dark, heavy wine. Finally, for those of you who like the biggest wine available, go for the Cereolo Amarone ($38.00). Amarone is a completely different wine that is made from raisins, which results in a very different rich, juicy, over the top "big" wine.