Sunday, July 12, 2009


This weekend was Liquor Direct’s 3rd Staff Showcase Tastings where the staff simply choose what they feel to be the best wine for under $50 we have in the store, and then we line them up for the customers to vote, determining who indeed, selected the best. This time, we decided to keep it completely secret, not even telling the customers after they had tasted, what the wines were or exactly how much they cost. All that was really known, was that the wines were all red – all 10 of them.

Well, the votes have been cast, and the winners have been determined. In dividing the tasting in half, with 5 wines from both store “teams” – Covington and Fort Thomas – here is the list of wines tasted in order from 1 through 10:

(1) Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Santa Ynez Valley. Selected by Tom, our Covington store manager. $39.99/bottle. Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, with small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
(2) Carol Shelton Karma Zinfandel 2005, Russian River Valley. Selected by Alfonse, our senior wine salesperson at the Covington store. $30.96/bottle. 85% Zinfandel and the remaining 15% a mixed field blend.
(3) Domaine de la Charbonniere Chateauneuf du Pape Perdrix 2006, Southern Rhone. Selected by Shannon, assistant wine buyer. $39.98/bottle. 69% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre, 1% Cinsault.
(4) La Spinetta Barbera d’Asti Ca’di Pian 2005, Pidemont. Selected by Matt, wine salesperson at our Covington store. $24.79/bottle. 100% Barbera.
(5) Merum Priorat Ardilles 2004, Spain. Selected by Corey S., our newest addition to the Covington team. $47.99/bottle. 45% Grenache, 34% Carignan, 18% Syrah, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon.
(6) Penfolds RWT Shiraz 2002, Barossa Valley. Selected by Ray, our Fort Thomas store manager. $43.98/bottle. 100% Shiraz.
(7) Trinoro Passopisciaro 2006, Sicily. Selected by Mike, wine salesperson at our Fort Thomas location. $38.99/bottle. 100% Nerello Mascalese.
(8) Numanthia Numanthia 2006, Toro, Spain. Selected by the Corey B., the “O.C.”, wine salesperson at our Fort Thomas location. $43.98/bottle. 100% Tinto de Toro.
(9) Domaine Ligneres Notre Dame 2003, Corbieres, France. Selected by Brandon, beer buyer and wine salesperson at both locations. $22.98/bottle. 95% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre.
(10) Dei Sancta Catharina 2006, Tuscany. Selected by yours truly (due to a shortage of wine staff this time around). $36.99/bottle. 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, 30% Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese), 10% Petit Verdot.

Thanks to the voters – 214 votes were casts – we have determined the winners for each store and the overall top wine. What is up for grabs is more bragging rights for the staff than anything – this tasting is more about putting a lineup of really kick ass wines together for the enjoyment of our customers than anything else.
Covington’s wines rank in the following order: First place - #1 Star Lane Cab, Second place - #5 Merum Priorat, Third place – #4 La Spinetta Barbera d’Asti Ca’di Pian, Fourth Place – #3 Charbonniere Chateauneuf du Pape, Fifth Place – #2 Carol Shelton Karma Zinfandel.

Fort Thomas’ wines rank in the following order: First Place - #8 Numanthia, Second Place – #6 Penfolds RWT, Third Place (tie) – #9 Domaine Ligneres Notre Dame and #10 Dei Sancta Catharina, and Fifth Place – #7 Passopisciaro.

Overall, the winner was the #8 Numanthia, followed by the #1 Star Lane, #5 Merum Ardilles, #6 Penfolds RWT, #9 Domaine Ligneres Notre Dame and #10 Dei Sancta Catharina, #7 Passopisciaro, #9 Charbonniere Chateauneuf, and #2 Carol Shelton Karma Zin.

It was a pretty tight race for the most part – with each staffer’s pick receiving at least 7% of the total vote. I think this was the best yet. Next one is in January, right after our December hiatus, and will be a bit more thematic (to be determined by the winners of this competition, Corey B. and Tom.).

If you would like to order any of the selected wines, just email me at Thanks to all who came out on some pretty muggy days to taste big, full-bodied red wines with us. Cheers!

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