This week's pick comes from Mark Censits, founder and CEO of the New Jersey-based retailer CoolVines. Mark has long been a fan of wine maker Steve Clifton, who has a knack for teaming up with the brightest talents in California and producing a number of unique and wonderful wines, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir bottled under the Brewer-Clifton label. He and his wife began the Palmina project to produce a range of wines made from Italian varietals grown in Santa Barbara County.
"All of the Palminas are terrific food wines, and unbelievable values. The Nebbiolo in particular has fine tannins and balanced acidity making it a great pair for Italian style dishes," Mark noted. "2005 was the inaugural vintage of the Nebbiolo, which grows best in Piedmont but has now proven its potential in the similar terroir of the Sisuoc and Stolpman Vineyards." This big red retails for under $30.
Years ago Mark combined his passion for wine with his proven track record in business with the launch of CoolVines. He has stores in Westfield and Princeton, NJ, and their website offers an inviting and novel approach to exploring wines online. On the site I was immediately presented with a concise summary of the wine's style, and saw right away where I could drill down for more detailed info. Also, customers can find a wine they like, and by hitting the "Explore!" button receive intelligent alternative suggestions. When I explored alternatives to the Palmina, the site suggested 3 other medium bodied reds of different varietals, new world and old. You can also sign up for their custom wine club to ensure your cellar is always stocked with wines you love. These services go far beyond those of most retailers, and show that Mark and his team have put a lot of thought into meeting the needs of their customers.
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