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 Pop’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.
Pop’s is at 256 Long Beach Rd. in Island Park, a village at the ragged and watery south end of Nassau County—you’ll find it just above the middle of the island of Long Beach, more or less between JFK and Jones Beach. In short, it’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 stock—and no limit on how much or how many.
Out of the way? It soitenly is, as the great Durante used to say. Pop’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 Pop’s stock need only show up with his garish postcard and a front-end loader or forklift. And if you haven’t been, so to speak, carded? Well, as the artiste-philosophe Flavor Flav has said, ‘One monkey don’t stop no show,’ 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.
Pop’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 somebody’s point score, for those who believe in such, and a dose of folderol about the wine’s eager tannins, crocus-cloth mouthfeel and cutest little button nose, for those who believe in that. Sometimes it’s a big dose, as some of Pop’s in-house poets incline toward the epic form.
Then comes the pricing, which goes like this: the ‘Good Wine Stores’ price [i.e., others’ retail], Pop’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 you’re getting a deal or a steal, but if you’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. They’re the ones whose retail price and single-bottle price identical.
Time now for specific examples.
Here’s one now: 2009 Château Haut-Plantey, Haut-Medoc: ‘Stellar Red Bordeaux Super Value… $11+!!! "Great Inky dark-red color with’ yada yada . . . . It retails elsewhere for $15.69 but Pop’s 30% discount drops that to $10.98. Kendall-Jackson’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 Panerai’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 you’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, you’d prefer to wait by your door instead of going out to Pop’s [which is, by the way, now open Sundays]. Still, many will find this sale something of a bonanza. But if you’re out of town or out of funds you’re out of luck: It’s your misfortune, as the cowpoke said to the dogie, and none of my own. Compose your minds toward peace and wait patiently for Pop’s next sale, which begins Jan. 2 through President’s Day [Feb. 20], 2012.
©2011 Bill Marsano