Plonk Wine Merchants: Primo Vino for Under $30

— by Caroline on Crack

Delicious vino
  <p class="wp-caption-text">
    Delicious vino

Wanna take your value wine-buying to the next level? I’m talking beyond Two Buck Chuck and Fresh & Easy wines. Maybe even more than $10 but still affordable, everyday vino. Fortunately for you a new online wine store just launched where you can score fabulous quality wines for under $30. Unlike most online wine stores Plonk Wine Merchants has that shopping-in-the-wine-aisle feel where not only do you get tasting notes with each wine but food pairing ideas, suggestions for similar wines you might like and even a little video telling you why this particular wine is so good.

Native Angeleno Etty Lewensztain — founder of Plonk and herself a fan of off-beat value wines — wanted to create a virtual wine store where the consumer would not only feel secure with the knowledge they were getting the best value for their money but get a chance to learn about the wines as well. “The goal of the videos on each wine detail page is to allow people to interact with an actual person who can help them make good purchasing decisions and give them a preview as to what’s in the bottle,” Etty said.

“I also wanted to tap into the young generation of wine consumers that is intrigued by new varieties, lesser known regions, excited by a secret discovery, and really cares about value,” she said. Cool! Right up my alley.

From Thrillist Washington DC:

Just launched by an American Sommelier Association-accredited grape slinger, Plonk provides everything lovable about your neighborhood shop (from pairing recs to tastings), all from the comfort of your home office/laundry room…

I was introduced to the adorable, curly-haired Etty by the Imbiber himself, Dan Dunn. You remember Dan. He’s the larger-than-life character whom I met at his special Playmate wine tour at Pourtal in Santa Monica. Anyway, Dan convinced us gals to meet him at the raucous one-year anniversary party of West Hollywood BBQ restaurant, Baby Blues BBQ. Over piles of delicious barbecue platters, comfort food sides and indulgent desserts, Etty conducted a wine tasting of quality wines she features on her site.

Dan was looking to add to Baby Blues’ 11-bottle wine list as well as interview Etty for his Imbiber column and I just happened to tag along. And mind you, this was when I was still in the throes of my booze fast. Dan convinced me that I could still do a wine tasting without drinking. “Just spit it in a cup,” he said, making it sound so easy. In any case, that’s exactly what I did. And nope, I didn’t cheat.

Anyway, here are the eight wines we tasted including my scribblings:

  • 2008 Talai Berri, Spain, Getariako Txakolina ($21): Grapes grew near the ocean making for mineral and briny taste; vibrant, high acidity; natural pairing for seafood.
  • 2008 Alta Sauvignon Blanc, Australia, Adelaide Hills ($12): People don’t usually look to Australia for a Sauvignon Blanc but this is a good one. 90-point wine for $12. It’s balanced, has high acidity and pairs well with salad and seafood.
  • 2008 Szoke (Matyas & Zoltan) Pinot Gris, Hungary, Matra ($13): This one was my favorite white. Has peach and honey on the nose, smells really sweet. Pairs with goat cheese, ricotta, fried calamari.
  • 2008 Daniel Bouland Cuvee Melanie, France, Beaujolais, Cotes de Brouilly ($20): Everyday wine, smells jammy. Pure, fresh, indulgent, smells of raspberries. We found out here, however, that it doesn’t go well with barbecue.
  • 2007 Palama Albarossa, Italy, Puglia, Salice Salentino ($13): This was a Baby Blues favorite. It’s meaty, dense, perfect with ribs. Smells of cardamom and sandalwood.
  • 2006 Vina Falernia Syrah Reserva, Chile, Elqui Valley ($11): This one is perfect with barbecue. Smokey and has a roasted, charred flavor but in a good way.
  • 2007 Thimiopoulos Uranos, Greece, Macedonia ($29): Lots of tannins and leaves a drying vacuum feel in the mouth. Fruity.
  • 2007 Charles Smith Wines Chateau Smith, Washington, Columbia Valley ($20): Cassis, cedar, earthy, balanced and nice acidity.

So if you like what you see here, join the club. Etty will be kicking off a wine club for her site next month. Its intention, said Etty, is to dispel “the snobbery that often surrounds wine, and give people access to the very winemakers who crafted the wines they drink.” Apparently club members will get invites to winemaker tasting parties as well as 10% off their purchases.

Facebook: Plonk Wine Merchants
Twitter: @PlonkOnline