Marquis Wine Club delivers picks from the experts
Love great wine? Join the club. Introducing the Marquis Wine Club, presented by the Georgia Straight and run by Vancouver’s pioneering independent wine store, John Clerides’s Marquis Wine Cellars (1034 Davie Street).
The idea of independent wine stores, and indeed wine clubs, is that they offer products that aren’t widely available through the government stores or big-box stores. When the wines are personally tasted and chosen by one of Canada’s sharpest palates, you’re assured of fabulous tastes and, frequently, better retail prices. That’s certainly the case with the Marquis club.
It was started by Clerides as an extension of the customer service he already offers. There’s no fee to join this monthly shipment wine club (many wine clubs do charge to join), and you can cancel your membership at any time with no penalty incurred.
Here’s how it works. There are currently five wine packages, and you get a general description of what each one contains. The deal is that you sign up for a package and receive wines once a month.
The First Course package consists of two bottles of red wine. It features great-value wines that are speculative listings—hence not widely available at government stores—or are directly sourced by Marquis.
The Our Picks package is two bottles of wine, one red and one white. Expect a couple of tasty surprises each month.
The Red Sampler package contains three bottles of red wine. Fanciers of big and hearty reds will love sampling these three. Wines are sourced from some of the best red-wine vineyards of the world.
The Dinner Party package includes four bottles of wine—one white, three red—to please all your dinner guests: the white with the appetizers and first course, the reds for the main and maybe through to dessert.
The Ultimate package offers six bottles of wine (for an extended dinner party or a serious tasting session), two whites and four reds. Say hello to no-stress wine-buying, delivered right to your door.
Package costs and descriptions can be found on the website, and the final cost depends on where the wines are to be shipped. (There are three shipping zones in the province.)
If you’re intent on avoiding shipping costs, there’s an option to pick up the wines at the newly remodelled Marquis Wine Cellars store. The club will ship via FedEx to your home or office. (I hope you trust your colleagues not to give in to the temptation of sampling some of the wine.)
As a member, you can log on to the website and review details on the wines you receive. The background material is quite extensive, from technical notes to info on the winery and region to YouTube videos and images of the wines, plus, of course, a bottle shot. Scores and comments from various members of the wine media will be included as available.
That’s basically the drill. You can contact the Marquis Wine Club at 604-684-0445 or through www.marquiswineclub.com/. Or stop by the store and have a wine chat with Clerides or one of his knowledgeable—and very approachable—staff members. Their operating motto is “Our passion. Your enjoyment”. I would have said “Our passion. Your pleasure”, but then I’m partial to alliteration.
I did get to sample two of the wines from the club—one white and one red. I don’t know which of the five packages they’re part of, but if they’re indicative of the quality on offer, I think you’ll be well pleased with Clerides’s superb selections.
Nelms Road Merlot 2009
(Woodward Canyon Winery, Washington state)
This is one of the most massive Merlots I have ever encountered; it’s unlike any of the popular ones in the stores today, from France or Chile or elsewhere. This is serious Merlot for serious palates, sweet in front, heady and robust, rich and weighty, and with hefty alcohol listed on the label as 16.2 percent (but it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if it was really more!). Definitely a wine for nonwimpy roasts.
The Starlet Sauvignon Blanc 2011
(Misha’s Vineyard, New Zealand)
I’m not customarily a fan of NZ SBs, but this one from that country’s Central Otago region is an appealing treat: not as harsh and greenly acidic as most of its counterparts. There’s an odd but pleasant fruity but not gooseberry-ish aftertaste. The back label calls the aroma “a fragrant nose of citrus, sandalwood and lilies”. So that’s what that is! Of all the kiwi Sauvignons of my admittedly limited acquaintance, this has the best mouth feel and food-pairing taste. I suggest opening it an hour before serving to let it breathe.