We belong to a few different wine clubs. They are good for us for a variety of reasons, we can get a discount at wineries that we enjoy, we get pleasant, quaffable surprises in the mail, they help expand our horizons and keep us abreast of any developing trends. As the major wine and beverage buyers for the restaurant we try to stay abreast of new styles and developments in the liquid world without losing sight of old favorites. Unfortunately, when things get busy we can't always devote as much time as we'd like to that portion of our responsibilities. Wine clubs help us to try new things and discover wines that we might not necessariy find on our own. The most recent addtion to our collection of wine clubs is the the one sponsored by Porthos. Porthos is a wine store out of California and has one of the most flexible set-ups that I've seen. There are two different payment levels; you can choose shipments of two or four bottles and you can choose a combination of red and white wine or red or white wines for your shipments. They choose the wines for you, all out of California, (they say that you will be contacted by a "wine concierge" to determine your tastes but we have not experienced that yet) and their guarantee states that if you do not like any of the wines they will replace it free of charge. You can also stipulate whether you want to receive them monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. We recently received our first shipment and the first thing that I was struck by was the information packet accompanying the wines. They send a full page of information on each wine with tasting notes, food pairings and a bit of background including why they chose that particular wine. The sheets were very entertaining and informative and although we may not agree with all of the pairings I loved reading about them from a different point of view. It was actually a lot of fun and the first wine that we tasted, Three Saints Pinot Noir was quite delicious and had a great story. It was actually quite reminiscent of Burgundy in it's earthy aroma but had the fresh juicy flavor of true ruby grapefruits which encompassed their total profile from the aromatic rind to the pithy outer skin and the juicy refreshing tang of the inner flesh. It was surprising and emminently quaffable with the big flavors and extraction so distinctive to California wines. We are looking forward to tasting the other wines in our shipment and trying some new wines that we might not have tasted on our own. So, if you have any interest in joining a wine club and do not want to be married to one winery in particular, may we suggest Porthos. You might learn something new and taste something worthwhile, we have.