Saturday, March 13, 2010

90+ Cellars Wine

I had a wonderful afternoon today despite the nasty rainy weather in Boston.  It started out with being taken out to lunch by a new friend, Rachel, who wanted to interview moi as a food "expert" for her Gastronomy Masters at Boston University.  We were connected by a mutual friend at work, Annie, who I day-tripped to Portland, ME recently.  I was tickled pink to be picked, and it was so indulgent to talk about myself for an hour or two.  I can't wait to read the final paper.

We had lunch at the Regal Beagle here in Brookline, one of my favorite neighborhood places.  I had a sandwich special with ham and avocado and we shared a pumpkin hummus appetizer which was very tasty.  I have consistently good food at the RB and the servers are always friendly and accommodating.  They were nice enough to prepare the lobster sliders for my friend as a salad since she is gluten intolerant.  You certainly can't beat that for service.

We headed over to Brookline Liquor Mart after to pick up a bottle of Fernet Branca for her "disgusting" class at BU.  The assignment was to bring in something for the class that some cultures find to be a delicacy and others find terrible.  She asked my opinion and Fernet came to mind.  If you haven't had it, it's a really bitter digestif that does wonders for your stomach, but with its medicinal characteristics, is definitely an acquired taste.  I thought it would fit the assignment rather well since it is popular in Italy and amongst restaurant industry people, but the taste is not pleasing to the average Joe.  I hope she is not in for too much of a shock when she first tastes the stuff in class.

In any case, while shopping for wine and the Fernet, we ran into an old friend of mine, Brett.  He has started a wine label called 90+ Cellars.  The concept is to buy highly rated wines from around the world that have been made in surplus.  They write to wineries and have samples of finished wine sent to Boston, which they taste and then decide which wines to buy at a discounted price directly from the producer.  The wineries take care of the bottling and slap a snappy 90+ Cellars label on the front.  The art of this, of course, is figuring out which wines to buy from the huge surplus of wine being made today, but Brett is blessed with a spectacular and discerning palate.  We tasted the line up together and I was impressed with everything he and his business partner picked.

They are currently offering quite a few different wines.  They all retail for less than $20 and are a steal when compared to many wines at the same price point.  I was especially impressed with the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, the California Pinot Noir, the Spanish Garnacha, and a particularly delicious German Riesling that was bottled with a Dr. Loosen cork.  I'm not saying this Riesling was from Dr. Loosen, but it had a Dr. Loosen cork in it.... wink wink, nudge nudge...

I was pleased that all of their wines tasted and smelled as they should considering the places and vintages from which they came.  In fact, most of them were easy enough to identify blind, and I felt that in all cases, the alcohol was in check and oak had been sensibly used.  Some of their wines are already sold out, so you may not be able to find some of the things listed on their website in local stores here in Boston.  I see big things ahead for these guys and I think they are on to a really great concept.

With all of the hot vintages and increased understanding of viticulture, many winemakers are faced with a surplus of great wine that they are willing to unload for a modest price.  90+ Cellars passes on that value to the consumer offering really great wine at a discounted price.  What could be better?!?!  Tasting is believing of course, and in my opinion, the wines really delivered and with talented tasters at the helm of the company, I'm confident there will be plenty of more great wine in the future from these creative entrepreneurs.


  1. oh thats cool she interviewed you thanks so much for the risotto tips, I think I can learn a lot from you Rebecca

  2. I've never heard of Fernet...I learn stuff here!!

  3. Fun! I bet that new business concept will be successful; I want to point out that Lebanese wine are really good esp. chateau Musar and should be tried! Great of you to agree to the pumping of info and would love to read more of your recommendation!