Penny Saver, my impecunious next-door neighbor was panting at my door the other day, barely able to speak but vigorously waving a fuchsia-inked postcard. It proved to be an announcement of Popâ€™s Wines & Spirits latest semi-annual sale, and it is my glad task to tell you the lip-smacking cork-pulling glass-clinking details of this event, which runs to Oct. 11.
Popâ€™s is at 256 Long Beach Rd. in Island Park, a village at the ragged and watery south end of Nassau Countyâ€”youâ€™ll find it just above the middle of the island of Long Beach, more or less between JFK and Jones Beach. In short, itâ€™s out of the way, but it compensates with year-round aggressive pricing [often 20% lower than elsewhere] on a routinely staggering array of wines and spirits. The sale, however, goes beyond aggressive: 30% off the normally low prices on almost everything in stockâ€”and no limit on how much or how many.
Out of the way? It soitenly is, as the great Durante used to say. Popâ€™s is, moreover, rather an unprepossessing institution from the outside. Indeed, one might write it off as just another strip-mall liquor store. One would be wrong.
There are other NOs: no holds, no deliveries, no rainchecks, no exceptions. After that, the loading dock is open. Anyone wanting to deplete his bank account by depleting Popâ€™s stock need only show up with his garish postcard and a front-end loader or forklift. And if you havenâ€™t been, so to speak, carded? Well, as the artiste-philosophe Flavor Flav has said, â€˜One monkey donâ€™t stop no show,â€™ which is to say that if you sign into www.popswine.com for the regular e-mail bulletins, the general manager, Victor Doyle, will give you the discount anyway.
Popâ€™s online and e-mail offerings are thirst-making. Most entries begin with a bottle shot and a red-ink screamer like They say $28 (Wine Advocate), we say $13+, when bought by the case!! This is customarily followed by somebodyâ€™s point score, for those who believe in such, and a dose of folderol about the wineâ€™s eager tannins, crocus-cloth mouthfeel and cutest little button nose, for those who believe in that. Sometimes itâ€™s a big dose, as some of Popâ€™s in-house poets incline toward the epic form.
Then comes the pricing, which goes like this: the â€˜Good Wine Storesâ€™ price [i.e., othersâ€™ retail], Popâ€™s Single-Bottle Price, Pop’s Mixed-Case Price [for even one bottle so long as you buy 11 more of something else] and Pop’s Case Price. You can usually tell at a glance that youâ€™re getting a deal or a steal, but if youâ€™re addicted to decimal points grab a pencil and knock yourself out.
Note: Some limited wines are net-priced and not subject to the 30% discount. Theyâ€™re the ones whose retail price and single-bottle price identical.
Time now for specific examples.
Hereâ€™s one now: 2009 ChÃ¢teau Haut-Plantey, Haut-Medoc: â€˜Stellar Red Bordeaux Super Value… $11+!!! "Great Inky dark-red color withâ€™ yada yada . . . . It retails elsewhere for $15.69 but Pop’s 30% discount drops that to $10.98. Kendall-Jacksonâ€™s new-style Chardonnay, Avant  plummets from $17.50 to $12.25. Rodney Strong 2009 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir falls from $21.75 to $15.22.
Paolo Paneraiâ€™s 2009 Le Sughere di Frassinello, an oak-aged SuperTuscan from the Maremma goes from $33 to just over $23 and change. And at the higher end is the 2007 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet. The retail price of $78.19 drops to $54.73 after the 30% discount, making it almost affordable without the need for government loan guaranties.
Of course youâ€™ll do your homework, checking various online outlets: some may have the same item for less, or perhaps not less but close enough that, even with shipping charges applied, youâ€™d prefer to wait by your door instead of going out to Popâ€™s [which is, by the way, now open Sundays]. Still, many will find this sale something of a bonanza. But if youâ€™re out of town or out of funds youâ€™re out of luck: Itâ€™s your misfortune, as the cowpoke said to the dogie, and none of my own. Compose your minds toward peace and wait patiently for Popâ€™s next sale, which begins Jan. 2 through Presidentâ€™s Day [Feb. 20], 2012.
Â©2011 Bill Marsano