Pinot Noir is one of the most beloved red wine grapes and this Pinot of the month club is the best one for discovering Pinot Noir from California. Discover boutique wineries producing world-class Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara, Sonoma, and other regions around California. Stunning Pinot from Joseph Jewell, Dragonette Cellars, and Kessler-Haak to name a few.
We're big fans of California Pinot Noir in general, and we love how Gold Medal sources award-winning selections from small producers we may not have heard of or haven't had access to for purchasing. A membership with the Gold Medal Wine Club Pinot Noir Series takes Pinot lovers on a trip to California for wine tasting without leaving home. Check out their Pinot selection.
As a general rule, we think Gold Medal Wine Club has little they can do to improve. Whether you're buying for yourself or as a gift, they've really done a lot to create a wine club worth joining.
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We've been reviewing Gold Medal wine club for more than five years. Without a moment's hesitation we can say that they have the most consistently excellent wine club out there. They have an extraordinary expectation of wowing their customers—and their customers' lucky gift recipients.
The Pinot Noir Series by Gold Medal is designed to bring California's best Pinot Noirs to pinotphiles everywhere. Great values in Pinot Noir are hard to find, but Gold Medal brings amazing quality pinots at prices below winery retail.
Being a member of a Gold Medal Wine Club is like being a member of every Pinot Noir-producing winery wine club in California (and Oregon). Gold Medal wine club members get very similar pricing to the winery's own wine club members (sometimes better). Of course you do miss out on those fun wine-club pick-up parties, but then again, you get the wine shipped right to your door and don't have to lug it home!
But what about the wine? Isn't it all about the wine?
Due to the enormous amount of wine we've been receiving, we haven't yet tasted our latest shipment. As soon as we do, we'll include our specific review of these wines.
This shipment includes selections from two of the west coast's three top Pinot Noir appellations. Trisaetum 2011 Ribbon Ridge Estate Pinot Noir from Oregon's Willamette Valley (retail price $55) and the Ellipsis 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (retail price $35).
The Pinot Noir Series from Gold Medal comes with the Pinot Noir Press, an educational pamphlet which contains photos and stories about each winery and the winemaker, and also includes food pairing recipes chosen to specifically complement each wine.
At WineClubReviews.net we take an objective approach to our star ratings system. Our written reviews are very much subjective, based on our 5+ years of wine club review experience and our own ideas about what good wine and good value mean. The star ratings are based on 11 attributes that we feel define what a wine club should be. Here is how Pinot Noir Series Wine Club stacks up on these traits.
We've been drinking Gold Medal wine on a regular basis for five years now. If you're looking for a taste of smaller-production, family-owned wines from California, this is a terrific choice. They specialize in wineries you probably haven't heard of and turn that into deals that leave similar quality wines from the same regions looking steeply priced. The Pinot Noir Series brings in highly-rated Pinots from lesser-known wineries in California and Oregon. If you're a pinotphile, or buying for one, this is a great way to discover new favorites.
This is an area where Gold Medal shines. Your regular club shipments are up to 17% below winery retail. Unlike some of their other clubs, there isn't a buy-more-save-more opportunity and the prices are closer to retail. Pinot Noir is a finicky grape with low yields, so there's a lot less give in the profit margin for all participants. This translates to smaller discounts for consumers, even in wine clubs.
The Pinot Noir Series wine club comes with a two-page brief on each wine included in the box. They discuss at length the winery and winemakers, and then a section covering all the essentials about the wine itself.
In almost six years of working with Gold Medal we have never had a single customer complaint. That's amazing to us. Our usual Internet sleuthing failed to turn up any customer complaints. Kudos to them!
The Pinot Noir Series Wine Club is relatively unique. There are certainly other Pinot Noir Clubs out there, but not ones focusing on award-winning boutique wineries on the west coast.
We look at three areas when evaluating the discount opportunities offered by a wine club. Is there an introductory offer to sweeten the deal? Are there discounts available for buying more of wines you loved in your shipments? Are there special discounts only available to members?
Gold Medal does not regularly offer an introductory offer, though during peak holidays like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Christmas you'll find free gifts with purchase like gourmet truffles (chocoalte) and wine accessories.
Gold Medal offers generous discounts on reorders, while supplies last—buy 2-5 bottles more and pay the regular price, buy 6-11 bottles and save up to 10%, buy 12-23 bottles and save up to 12%, buy 24 or more bottles and save up to 15%. Four-bottle members save more on reorders.
Lastly, members-only special deals are limited. There are occasionally members-only sales. Since their wines are already very competitively priced, we don't mind that there aren't more offers coming from them.
Gold Medal relies on a team of knowledgable wine professionals to choose their wines. At this price range, there aren't any other wine clubs focused on award-winning (hence Gold Medal) or highly-rated wines by professional critics. This adds an extra level of curation to their club which can give you peace of mind.
Note: This rating is our objective analysis of Gold Medal’s satisfaction guarantee—not our assessment of whether or not you’re guaranteed to be satisfied with their wines.
For Gold Medal, this is the weakest aspect of their wine club program and it's why they don't have a 5-star rating from us. They say "Satisfaction Guaranteed" on their website, but what they really mean is that they believe you'll love what they ship, not that they'll replace anything you don't like as most other clubs of this caliber promise.
Their Return Policy
If a shipment is damaged in transit we will replace the product at no additional charge. If the wine is corked from the winery, we will replace the bottle at no charge. On the rare occasion members receive the wrong product, a discount is offered, or the shipment can be returned at no-charge to the member.
What They Say About Refunds on Wine Purchases
Due to the nature of our products, refunds occur within 14 days after bottles are returned to our facility unopened. We do not pay for shipping of returned products, or refund payments if we are unable to restock the wine back into our inventory for any reason.
That said, we'd be genuinely surprised and concerned if you recived a stinker from Gold Medal.
Gold Medal is a more old-fashioned company. If you need to hold your service for a vacation or want to cancel your membership you'll need to call and speak to someone during regular business hours. You can handle reorders yourself online, as well as see a record of the wines you've received and when you received them.
A personalized wine club used to mean you picked the color of your wine and how often you received your two-bottle selection. For Gold Medal, it still does. An additional personalization is upgrading to four bottles per shipment. If you're giving a gift, you choose anywhere from 1-12 months.
This is a super wine gift for the pinotphile in your life. If you want to buy a wine gift, and you don't know what people like, it's a safe bet they'll love a Pinot Noir subscription. Most wine drinkers appreciate a good pinot, even if it's not their go-to wine choice.
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At WineClubReviews.net we take an objective approach to our star ratings system. Our written reviews are very much subjective, based on our 9+ years of wine club review experience and our own ideas about what good wine and good value mean. The star ratings are based on 11 attributes that we feel define what a wine club should be. Here is how Firstleaf Wine Club stacks up on these traits.
Pinot Noir Series Wine Club