Thursday, May 24, 2018

Pinot Noir Series by Gold Medal Wine Club

Pinot Noir Series by Gold Medal Wine Club Review

Wine Clubs

Product Grade
Report Card Grade
0 Reviews
Best Feature:
Exceptional, hard-to-find Pinot Noirs at great values
Worst Feature:
Only offer bimonthly shipping schedule with 2 or 4 bottles
Best Uses:
Perfect for those with a passion for good Pinot Noir
Pricing:
$34.50 - $44.50 per bottle (S&H NOT included)
Manufacturer:
N/A

Where to Buy

Store Name
Price

Overview

Founded in 1992, Gold Medal Wine Club operates five different wine club memberships and is one of the leading independent wine club providers in the United States. The Pinot Noir Series is a more premium membership they offer and showcases Pinot Noirs that have been produced in limited quantities by some of the best boutique wineries in California and around the world. As with their other wine club memberships, Gold Medal Wine Club uses a strict selection process to pick out the Pinot Noirs for their members. Most of the features wines will have received at least a 90-point rating from a national wine publication (ex. Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits, Wine Enthusiast, etc.), and some will have also been awarded a Gold Medal at a major wine competition (ex. the California State Fair Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Jerry Meade's International Wine Competition, etc.).

As a member of the Pinot Noir Series, you will choose between bimonthly shipments of 2 or 4 bottles of wine. Unless you purchase a set number of shipments as a gift membership, membership is ongoing until you cancel, which you can do at any time without incurring any cancellation fees. Included in each shipment will be Gold Medal Wine Club's Pinot Noir Press, a glossy newsletter that provides background on the featured wines, the wineries, winemakers and growing regions. The newsletter will also provide tasting notes for each wine, any accolades the wine has received, food pairing suggestions/recipes and information/discounts for reordering more bottles. If you purchase a gift membership, Gold Medal Wine Club will individually wrap each bottle with colored paper in a gift bag and place them into a gift box with a beautiful illustration of wine country on the outside. A free, customizable gift card is also included with your gift purchase.

You can purchase a bimonthly membership to the Pinot Noir Series by Gold Medal Wine Club online, and prices will vary depending on how many bottles you order and the quality of the bottles that particular month. Membership costs range from $69 - $89 for a 2-bottle shipment or $138 - $178 for a 4-bottle shipment (tax and shipping not included). Shipping costs will vary depending on the shipment's destination and whether it contains 2 or 4 bottles. As a reference, 2-bottle shipments will cost about $10.50 to ship within California and $11.50 - $13.00 to ship to other states.

Product Report Card Grade

We give the Pinot Noir Series by Gold Medal Wine Club an A- because we feel GMWC delivers a variety of high quality Pinot Noirs at great values. We also really like that GMWC publicly archives all of their previously featured wines online because we feel it shows pride and accountability when it comes to their selections. We deducted just a few points because the Pinot Noir Series is only available in a bimonthly membership and we also wish GMWC included Pinot Noirs from Oregon in their selections. With that said, we think the Pinot Noir Series is an excellent wine club, and we highly recommend it for anyone with a passion for Pinot.


Pros
Premium, limited-supply Pinot Noirs at great values; excellent reordering discounts (up to 35%) and easy online reordering system; great customer service; all previously featured wines publicly archived on website; referral bonus; gift shipments are beautifully wrapped
Premium, limited-supply wines at exceptional values; strict selection process; previous wine selections publicly archived on website; great, responsive customer service; flexible membership; great discounts on reorders; excellent discounts on reordering (up to 35%); referral bonus; gifts are beautifully packaged; if you request red-only shipments, you'll still get 2 different kinds of red wine
100% satisfaction guarantee; affordable, flexible membership; thorough selection process; archives all previous selections on website; Design Your Own Club™ program; environmentally-conscious company
Cons
Bimonthly shipping is only option; doesn't offer instant gift notification by email; domestic Pinot Noirs only produced in California wineries (none from Oregon)
Doesn't offer instant email notification for gift recipients
basically none
Shipping Included
No
No
No
Cost per Bottle (Est.)
$34.50 - $44.50
$39.50 - $49.50
$15
Membership Minimum
No
No
Yes (2 shipments)
Wine Options
Red
Red or Combination
Red, White, or Combination
Domestic and/or International
Domestic (California) and International
Domestic (California)
Domestic and International
Selection
Premium Pinot Noirs from boutique wineries in California and around the world that have (mostly) received 90+ ratings from a national wine publication and may have also been awarded a Gold Medal at a major wine competition.
Premium, hard-to-find California wines that have received at least a 90-point rating from a national wine publication and won multiple medals at major wine competitions.
Estate-bottled, limited production wines from boutique wineries in some of the world's most renowned wine producing regions.
Newsletter
Yes
Yes
Yes
Shipping Options
Bimonthly (February, April, June, August, October and December)
Monthly, Bimonthly or Quarterly
Monthly, Bimonthly or Quarterly
Shipping Details
Shipments will arrive sometime after the 15th of the month depending on how far away you live from California.
First shipment will arrive within 7 - 10 days of placing your order. Subsequent shipments will arrive sometime after the 15th of the month depending where you live.
Shipments arrive on the 3rd or 4th week of each month.
Gift Information
Complimentary and customizable gift card is included with gift purchase. Bottles in gift shipments are each wrapped in colorful tissue paper, placed in gift bags and stored securely in a beautifully illustrated gift box.
Offers a free gift card that you can customize and include in your 1st shipment. The bottles are beautifully wrapped and packaged in gift box that features specially commissioned artwork of wine country on the outside.
Offers free e-cards and free printable gift cards to notify gift recipients.
Extras
None
Offers the PLUS! Program that allows current members to add an extra bottle of high quality wine to each shipment for an additional $35 - $45 (or $39 if you pre-pay).
Offers the Design Your Own Club™ program in which you can customize your membership and combine it with any of their other clubs (beer, cigars, cheese, chocolate, cigar or flowers).
Satisfaction Guarantee
No satisfaction guarantee, but they will replace any bottles you receive that are corked/damaged at no additional charge. They will refund you for any returned unopened bottles unless they are unable to restock the wine back into inventory for any reason. You can cancel your membership at any time without incurring cancellation fees.
No satisfaction guarantee, but they will replace any bottles you receive that are corked/damaged at no additional charge. They will refund you for any returned unopened bottles unless they are unable to restock the wine back into inventory for any reason. You can cancel your membership at any time without incurring cancellation fees.
Yes, MonthlyClubs.com offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee! If you are unhappy with any item you receive, MonthlyClubs.com will replace it or refund your money. You can also cancel your membership at any time without incurring any cancellation fees.

ProductReportCard Editors' In-Depth Review


Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Premium, limited-supply Pinot Noirs from Californian & international wineries at exceptional values
  • Excellent reordering discounts (up to 35%) and easy online reordering system
  • GMWC has a rigorous selection process and publicly archives all previously featured wines from the Pinot Noir Series since the beginning of the club
  • Refer a friend for membership to any club and received 2 bottles of wine as a referral bonus if they sign up
  • Makes a great gift and wine arrives beautifully wrapped

Cons

  • Bimonthly shipping is only option
  • Doesn't offer instant gift notification by email
  • Domestic Pinot Noirs only produced in California wineries (none from Oregon)

Key Features

Products
Members of the Pinot Noir Series will receive 2 different kinds of premium Pinot Noir from a Californian and an international winery every other month. Most of the featured wines have received 90+ ratings from a national wine publication and some have won even won a Gold Medal at a major wine competition. These bottles have been produced in limited quantities from some of the best boutique family wineries, and so you aren't likely to find them in your local wine shop.
Membership Options
Unless you are purchasing a gift membership with a certain number of shipments, membership is ongoing. When signing up, you will choose whether you want to receive 2- or 4-bottle shipments. The only shipping option is bimonthly, and so shipments will arrive in February, April, June, August, October and December. There aren’t any sign-up fees or additional monthly dues required to be a member, and you can cancel your membership at any time without incurring any cancellation fees.
Recently Featured
All of Gold Medal Wine Club's previous wine selections are available for viewing on their website, but here are a few examples of recently featured wines from the Pinot Noir Series:
  • 2009 "The High Note" Pinot Noir from Misha Vineyard near Lake Dunstan in the Bendigo sub-region of Central Otago, New Zealand. It has received a 90-point rating from Robert Parker and a 93-point rating from Bob Campbell, Master of Wine (most prominent wine journalist in New Zealand).
  • A 2009 Bien Nacido Old Vine Pinot Noir from Tantara Winery located at the base of the Sierra Madre Mountains in the Santa Maria Valley of California's Central Coast. It was awarded 91 points by Robert Parker.
Newsletter
The Pinot Noir Press is included in each shipment and provides more information on the featured wine, the growing region, winery and winemaker(s). There are also tasting notes and food pairing suggestions (+ recipes) for each bottle, as well as discount information if you like the wine and want to order more of it.
Extras
None, Gold Medal Wine Club's PLUS! Program is not offered with a Pinot Noir Series membership.
Gift Information
Gold Medal Wine Club offers a complimentary and customizable gift card that you can include in the 1st shipment that is sent to your recipient. The bottles are also each wrapped in colorful tissue paper, placed in gift bags and stored securely in a beautifully illustrated gift box.
Shipping Schedule
Shipments are sent out bimonthly (February, April, June, August, October and December), and they will arrive sometime after the 15th of the month depending on how far away you live from California.
Satisfaction Guarantee
Gold Medal Wine Club is confident that all members will be completely satisfied with their membership to the Pinot Noir Series. The Club will replace any damaged or corked bottles you receive at no extra cost, and you can always cancel your membership at any time without incurring cancellation fees.

Reputation

Overall, Gold Medal Wine Club has received good reviews from customers online and from publications such as Bon Appetit, Food & Wine and the Wall Street Journal. In the interest of full disclosure, I just want to say that Gold Medal Wine Club provided us with a complimentary sample shipment of their Pinot Noir Series when we mentioned that we wanted to review the membership. While we appreciated the free wine, we made it clear to Gold Medal Wine Club that it would not guarantee them a more favorable review.

The main drawback that we came across with the Pinot Noir Series is that it only ships every other month. We understand that it might be tough to try to find an amazing, unique Pinot every month, but bimonthly shipments aren’t really ideal, especially if you are trying to educate yourself on the varietal or are considering purchasing membership as a stand-alone gift. Therefore, we would probably recommend purchasing 4-bottle shipments and/or combining the Pinot membership with another one of Gold Medal Wine Club's memberships (ex. the Platinum Series). On a side note, we also wish that Gold Medal Wine Club would include some Oregon Pinot Noirs in their domestic wine selections because we think there are some amazing wines coming out of the region that we’d like to learn more about.

With all of that said, yours truly has personally been a member of Gold Medal Wine Club's Platinum Series since 2011, and I am admittedly a big fan of the Club in general. I received our free shipment of Pinot Noir a few days before my husband and I were having friends over for dinner, and, since they both enjoy drinking really good wine, we decided to save the bottles and incorporate a little wine tasting into the evening. It was so much fun to taste the wines using the newsletter as a guide, but, most importantly, everyone really loved both of the bottles we tried. For me, the experience just confirmed (once again) Gold Medal Wine Club's ability to consistently deliver high quality, unique wines. We would highly recommend membership to the Pinot Noir Series to anyone who loves Pinot Noirs or anyone who wants to learn more about the varietal.


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