TCM Wine Club


With every Tom, Dick, and Elvis business starting a wine club, even if the original business has nothing to do with wine, my expectations are set, pretty much below the knee. The proliferation of these “clubs” go to show the amount of cheap juice available on the bulk wine market. While some is coming from unsold bottles wineries are offloading, and either relabeled or not, I assume most clubs are sourcing from the direct to bulk market. 

My husband does a lot of good deeds for a dear elderly friend of his. So, as a measure of gratitude, and knowing that we were “into wine”, he gifted us a subscription to the TCM, (as in Turner Classic Movies) Wine Club. 

When the first box of 18(!) bottles arrived, I had small existential crisis. How were we going to co-exist in our modestly sized Spanish Colonial with a box like this arriving every month?!  They certainly weren’t going to edge out the good stuff. I have a tough time already  finding room for those. Between tasting samples, and collecting Bordeaux and Brunello, I’m over stuffed. I rapidly started handing them out to friends and neighbors, coravining* a couple beforehand to make sure my reputation was not completely sullied.  I begged Mark to gently convince dear friend to discontinue. 

It turned out, the next box did arrive, not the following month, but after a couple had passed, and trimmed down to the standard 12 bottle case. It was not so easy, or logistically possible to get it cancelled even though, (or because), hubby Mark called direct himself. 

After several more rounds of boxes, (and subsequent gifting), one 12 pack arrived with 2 each of 6 different wines. I decided since this was a manageable number I could sit down one day and sample the 6 bottles, and share my impressions  - what the heck? 

I started with the Viogner, the Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc, cleaned the cat pee aroma from the glass, and  moved into reds with the Barbera, Malbec and Bordeaux.

Doing this quickly, I was left a bit pleasantly surprised. Each varietal tasted “varietally correct”, as they say, providing aromas and tastes that you could recognize as that grape variety, and despite the cutesy and movie themed labels, were not offensively sweetening or attacking my palette with out of balance oak or acid. 

While I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it, I think by this month’s example, the club provides a decent cross section of bottles for people to be exposed to, at what I imagine would be a fair price…

Moral of the story: don’t judge a wine snob by their club. TCM Wine Club

*Coravin is a very handy device (co-developed with an M.D.) that revolutionized wine preservation in 2011. It allows removal of single sample, or a glass of wine through a needle inserted into the cork, without popping it open. It allows wine bars to expand their “By The Glass” programs, and wine industry to sample a lot more wines than they might otherwise. 


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