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Cook's Illustrated on Wine - Is it trustworthy?


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Cook's Illustrated has partnered with Jon Rimmerman of Garagiste . Weekly, they'll be sending an email with a wine description and an offer to buy from CI's online store. They say they'll focus on smaller wineries that aren't distributed nationwide. The first offer (today's) is a 2006 Mirable Syrah Sicilia IGT for $15 with free shipping on a case. Shipping is about $9 for one bottle, $14 for 2, etc. The newsletter includes tasting notes and info about the winery.

Admittedly, I'm a skeptic and probably a cynic, but should I trust that CI isn't just offering this service to small wineries regardless of how good the wines are? Wouldn't any small winery looking for customers jump at the chance to get free advertising if they promise to sell their product at "x" price point?

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Cook's Illustrated has partnered with Jon Rimmerman of Garagiste . Weekly, they'll be sending an email with a wine description and an offer to buy from CI's online store. They say they'll focus on smaller wineries that aren't distributed nationwide. The first offer (today's) is a 2006 Mirable Syrah Sicilia IGT for $15 with free shipping on a case. Shipping is about $9 for one bottle, $14 for 2, etc. The newsletter includes tasting notes and info about the winery.

Admittedly, I'm a skeptic and probably a cynic, but should I trust that CI isn't just offering this service to small wineries regardless of how good the wines are? Wouldn't any small winery looking for customers jump at the chance to get free advertising if they promise to sell their product at "x" price point?

I got the same email and was instantly wary. Chris Kimball has proven to be a top-notch businessman who knows how to increase the value of his brand. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but he IS from Vermont, and his tastes are not necessarily mine. There are far too many knowledgable people on this very website, who will happily part with their info, to trust some unknown who has signed on with Cook's Illustrated (for a percentage of the action?). Just my $0.02.

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Cook's Illustrated has partnered with Jon Rimmerman of Garagiste . Weekly, they'll be sending an email with a wine description and an offer to buy from CI's online store. They say they'll focus on smaller wineries that aren't distributed nationwide. The first offer (today's) is a 2006 Mirable Syrah Sicilia IGT for $15 with free shipping on a case. Shipping is about $9 for one bottle, $14 for 2, etc. The newsletter includes tasting notes and info about the winery.

Admittedly, I'm a skeptic and probably a cynic, but should I trust that CI isn't just offering this service to small wineries regardless of how good the wines are? Wouldn't any small winery looking for customers jump at the chance to get free advertising if they promise to sell their product at "x" price point?

CI does get pretty aggressive with their marketing (I find it annoying at times). However, the Garagiste guy does seem legit-- I've heard good things about him before. Maybe Jake knows more.

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Maybe Jake knows more.

Only a little. Garagiste does a bit of gray-marketing and a lot of white-market direct buying/importing. Most Garagiste customers are pretty happy with them, although more than a few that I've spoken to caveat that one shouldn't buy unknown wines from them based on the glowing (and long, and in-depth) writeups in the emails.

But when they do offer stuff you know (or from known importers), their prices are often very good, though lead times/delivery times are long (they only ship autumn and spring, and usually offer wines before they hit the States, which leads to further delays).

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I've been generally pleased with the wines I've bought from Garagiste and the provenance is always impeccable. They will ship on demand but I'm selective on my purchases as the shipping from Seattle to DC is close to $50 per case. After a while, you learn the language of Rimmerman and can tell when an unknown wine is worth a shot. Their Chablis deals are usually excellent. However, this is a great area for wine purchasing so mail order is a nice option to have but not a requirement for sourcing good juice.

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