Brian Glas wrote: ↑June 26th, 2020, 7:40 am
M a x S w o m l e y wrote: ↑June 22nd, 2020, 3:23 pm
Based on what I've been reading it seems like Garagiste is rarely a deal... accurate?
I think it is hard to generalize. Has anyone here seen John sell mystery wines at a price that is much higher than then what you can find from other retailers?
I've purchased a number of their Mystery offers. Mostly just 1 or 2 bottles, and partly because I am just interested to see which wineries/distributors are turning to him to move pallets of wine for a discount. Overall, I've been pleased at the value I've received for the mystery wines I've purchased at the prices I've paid. They've for the most part been wines I've enjoyed, and the prices are almost always below what I could find at retail here in PacNW. I would guess that, on average, they are offered at 20-30% below "normal retail" around here. No where near the value hype that "J Peterman" writes about, but a good deal nonetheless.
I've found a few rules of thumb that help cut thru the thick layer of the flowery bullshit that Rimmerman writes:
1) In reading the offer e-mails, simply completely disregard anything that can't be objectively verified. If the offer says it's a 2018 Cotes du Rhone from producer X that he's offering at $15, that's probably true. Anything that's in any way subjective, or not easily verified, just discard it -- all of it. The "discount price hype", the rambling stories about tooling around the back roads of France, the "one-man band winemaker living in a hut", the BIO/organic blather, etc. Delete it mentally as you read it. It's all just about getting you to think about something other than the wine he's actually offering.
2) That is especially true for Mystery wines. If he says "... it's not 2015, 2016, 2018, or 2019 vintage ...", don't then make the assumption it's 2017 vintage. Just know it's not one of the vintages listed. That's all. Don't try to fill in the lines and infer information not stated. That's what he's trying to get you to do -- and he knows you'll likely fill it in with the most positive interpretation (which it generally isn't).
3) Most importantly -- the quality of the wine, and the related value at his offer price, is almost always inversely proportional to the length of the offer. When he knows he's selling "steak" (good wine at good price), he just lets the steak sell itself. For example, his Huet offers (which are a decent amount below Huet retail here) are short and sweet. On the other end of the spectrum, he'll sell "sizzle" when he's not sure he has steak. Those are his multiple page wandering blathers that spend most of the verbage talking about everything but the wine itself. Major red flag.
That all being said, the wines he offers are generally good value (in my experience). Pretty much always at prices below other retail here in Seattle area. And he brings in a lot of stuff that otherwise never hits the market here. I'm local to his warehouse, so I can just run by and pick up easily. I wouldn't bother with buying from him if I had to deal with ship costs and delays (as that eats into a lot of the value). And, yes, overall he does better with picking whites (and rose) than reds.
Just my $0.02. YMMV.