Big Wines Come In Small Bottles

They sure do now, thanks to Sonoma County’s TastingRoom, a new online wine retailer that sells wine packaged in mini 50ml bottles.

The idea is that it allows you to replicate a winery tasting room in the comfort of your own home by letting you try a taste of top-notch wines before committing to buying full-sized 750ml bottles.

How ingenious is that?

Recently, I had a chance to sample a six-pack of mini bottles from Rutherford’s award-winning Grgich Hills Estate that included: 2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay, 2008 Napa Valley Fume Blanc, 2007 Napa Valley Zinfandel, 2006 Napa Valley Merlot, 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2008 Violetta (a late-harvest, Botrytis-made wine that’s predominantly Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling with some Gewurztraminer).

The kit also included was a wine-tasting menu created by Grgich Hills’ winemaker that described each wine and gave a recommended tasting order.

The screw-top, 5 1/2-inch-tall bottles use TastingRoom’s “TASTE Technology,” which preserves the original flavor of the wine.

The kits are a fun idea for parties or gifts. They’re also a great way to expose yourself to new wines you might not easily find on neighborhood wine store shelves. For instance, you might discover that you adore the Violetta’s notes of peach, honey and baking spices as much as I do, and want to order a full-size 350ml bottle on the site for $72.99.

Kits start at $9.99 for a four-pack sampler.The Grgich Hills kit was $24. Choose from others, including Patz & Hall, DeLoach Vineyard, Swanson Vineyards, and Talley Vineyards.

At this point, TastingTable only ships to California residents. But it plans to add other states shortly.

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