Staff Favorites

If you’re going to have Robert Parker or Stephen Tanzer over for dinner, selecting a wine they’ve rated highly will be a nice choice. However, when you’re buying wines for yourself, we’d love to see you find wines that match up your unique palate and pocketbook. We have a large staff of friendly and knowledgeable wine professionals that taste hundreds of wines each week. They can put you in touch with bottles that you are likely to love, often at a much lower cost than the highly-rated gems that often see a run-up in price and frequent availability issues. Like any great group of opinionated professionals, our staff has varied tastes themselves. Often our customers will find a particular staff member with a style that corresponds to their own. That concept works extremely well in our retail stores, and this section is our effort to bring you the same online. Don’t get us wrong, we love the highly rated wines from the press and will continue to offer them, but we think you’re missing out if you’re not augmenting those selections with picks from our excellent staff. Here are their favorites. (Click on a name to see their other selections - or to drop them a line.) Cheers!


Reviews

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2013 Framingham Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
 By: Ryan Woodhouse | Review Date: 4/5/2014 | Send Email
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  Lovely snappy, fresh, mineral driven Savy. Zesty citrus, crushed herbs, and some riper notes of lilikoi shine through. A nice lees contact component gives body and just a whisper of oak. Very balanced and precise with more complexity than most offerings in this price point.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart WS 90 BC 0

2010 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
 By: Michael Jordan | Review Date: 4/4/2014 | Send Email
  A Napa Valley legend that continues to produce excellent Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at a great price. Rich black fruit, cassis, cinnamon, clove and dark chocolate wrapped within lovely toasted cedar and vanilla. A nicely balanced wine with great length and structure. It will drink tonight but give it two or three years and it should be at it's best.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart WE 92 BC 0

2013 Dos Minas Torrontes Cafayate
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/4/2014 | Send Email
  This wine is exceptionally drinkable. Beautiful aromatics of orange blossoms, and dried apricots on the palate. Off dry, this is a very food friendly wine, a simple citrus salad with pistachios, or a yellow Thai curry with pork would make excellent pairings with this Torrontes.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Niepoort "Docil" Loureiro Vinho Verde
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/4/2014 | Send Email
  Bright and refreshing, with great acidity, grapefruit pith, and lingering minerality.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart RP 90 BC 0

2010 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
 By: John Majeski | Review Date: 4/4/2014 | Send Email
  Maybe I'm like most of you who, noting the name Freemark Abbey, believed this illustrious winery was founded by a bunch of industrious monks who, seeking to escape persecution, left some war-ravaged homeland in search of paradise and landed, miracle of miracles, in the heart of Napa Valley. But actually the winery took its name by combining those of the three owners- Charles Freeman, Markquand Foster and Abbey Ahern in 1939. Pretty clever huh? And seventy-five years later, this place is still making wondrous wines that shine like, well, the sunlight off a monk's pate. Just tasted the latest incarnation of their Cabernet Sauvignon, and it has all the classic, soulful components of a benchmark red wine created from premium Napa vineyards--Bosche, Potelle, Stage Coach and Round Pond. Aged for over 22 months in barrel, 40% new French oak, the lavish fruit expression of blackberry, black cherry and ripe plum on the palate is enhanced by notes of cedar, kitchen spice and sweet oak. Full-bodied, structured and elegant, this velvety Cab will deliver years of serious vinous pleasure, and just think, you won't have to work like a monk to enjoy it!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart WE 92 BC 0

2012 Château de Maligny Petit Chablis
 By: Cindy Westby | Review Date: 4/4/2014 | Send Email
  Right out of the bottle, this is a crisp little unoaked Chardonnay. But with a few minutes and some air, this wine becomes MUCH more interesting and really shows its limey, mineraly terroir. I enjoy Chablis as a sipping wine/aperitif, but it would also be wonderful with a spring risotto of leeks, asparagus, peas and Parmesan.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
 By: Bryan Brick | Review Date: 4/4/2014 | Send Email
  Freemark Abbey has been back on our radar for some time now and we are all fired up about their Cabernets. After a few years of less than stellar releases in the mid 90s/early 00s where they just seemed to be producing too much wine, they straightened up and have gotten back on the road to stardom. The 2010 Cabernet instantly reminded us of their classic wines of the 70s and 80s when Freemark Abbey were making slightly rustic, old-school wines with plenty of charm and varietal correctness. The nose is wonderfully reminiscent of Cabs of yesteryear with aromas of warm clay, black currant, olive and graphite, all the while remaining on the more savory side of the spectrum. Plush and inviting with rock solid black fruits this feels incredibly honest and real in a sea of Cabs that are just getting out of hand. Sure it has nice toasty oak, but it is fully integrated in the wine. Yes there are some great, structural tannins here but nothing that is going to make your teeth scream. The classic old leather, bay leaf, currant, black olive, cocoa powder flavors are like your favorite chair calling you in after a long work day. Get back to a true classic!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart WE 92 BC 0

2010 Fanti Sant'Antimo Sassomagno
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/4/2014 | Send Email
  Man is this a great red wine for the price! Ripe fruit, but balanced, with a fresh finish. If you're accustomed to coming home from a long day at work and pouring yourself a glass of wine (with or without food) you will be stoked to find such a great deal. Seriously, the blend on this is nothing but friendly. The lack of tannins negate the need for food, and at 14% all you really need with this wine is a couch and prime time. Greg himself bought a case, and I won't be far behind him.
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart JS 90 BC 0

2009 Georg Albrecht Schneider Dornfelder
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/4/2014 | Send Email
  Very dynamic, spicy, light, mild tannins, and loads of minerality. Bonus points for serving a Dornfelder to your wine nerd friends.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Drautz Able Lemberger Württemburg
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/4/2014 | Send Email
  This Lemberger (also known as Blaufrankish) is a gorgeous example of the varietal. Juicy, crushed berries, with a savory note and low in alcohol at only 13%. Try this as a substitute for a Pinot Noir at one of your next meals.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Moric Blaufränkisch Burgenland
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/4/2014 | Send Email
  When teaching classes on esoteric varietals I often include the Blaufrankisch from Moric. This bottling is rich and complex, showing intense black fruit, while showing similarities to the wines of Morey-St-Denis.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart W&S 90 BC 0

2012 Raventos i Blanc "La Rosa" Penedes
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/3/2014 | Send Email
  Very rich and creamy for a rose. Strawberry, white flowers, and sunlight. This rose is great on its own.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Dr. F. Weins-Prüm Estate Riesling (Feinherb)
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/3/2014 | Send Email
  Off dry, this will be great with slightly spicy ethnic foods. Indian Rogan Josh would be so happy with a chilled glass of this Riesling!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Eva Fricke Lorchhäuser Seligmacher Riesling
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/3/2014 | Send Email
  Hands down one of the top Rieslings of 2012 that we carry. Try a bottle now, but consider laying down a case of this to age for 10-20 years.
Price: $43.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Eva Fricke Lorcher Riesling
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/3/2014 | Send Email
  This is the fourth vintage of Eva Fricke's that we've carried and each year is more impressive than the last. This is a great, clean, everyday drinking Riesling.
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Dönnhoff Estate Riesling Trocken (Dry)
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/3/2014 | Send Email
  Great wine, with just a touch of RS. Starts out rich and finishes dry.
Price: $20.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Tessier "Saralee's Vineyard" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/3/2014 | Send Email
  Sadly the last vintage of the Saralee Pinot Noir (the site was recently bought), this Pinot is very Californian in style. Full of jammy fruit and new French oak influence, this is a Pinot that can hold its own against some serious food in its infancy. Left to age this wine will no doubt mature into an exquisite siren of a wine.
Price: $37.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Tessier "Fenaughty Vineyard" El Dorado County Grenache
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/3/2014 | Send Email
  A stunning, locally made Grenache. After establishing her reputation for exquisitely made Pinots, wine maker Kristie Tacey has branched out and begun making an immensely enjoyable Grenache. Dark stone fruit, black plums and cherries intertwine with subtle sarsaparilla notes. Rich and round on the palate with great acidity on the finish.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2006 Umathum "Frauenkirchen vom Stein" St. Laurent Burganland
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/3/2014 | Send Email
  A truly extraordinary wine. Deciding not to filter has added to the enchantment of this wine, bringing with it more structure and nuance. Perhaps the best Austrian wine I've tasted to date. Serve this with a beautifully roasted leg of lamb stuffed with rosemary and lavender, sliced thin, and naped with a butter finished pan sauce. Bliss.
Price: $62.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Stadt Lahr Lahrer Kronenbuhl "BF" Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) Baden
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/2/2014 | Send Email
  Tastes a bit older than it is, but still a very fresh, balanced Pinot, with medium tannins, that would be great with spaetzle and cheese.
Price: $28.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Vereinigte Hospitien Pinot Noir ***
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/2/2014 | Send Email
  An incredible Pinot Noir! I would take this over a lot of domestic Pinots. Beautiful balance and aromatics.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1980 Glenlochy 31 Year Old K&L Signatory Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/2/2014 | Send Email
  Really beautiful, mahogany and leather, cedar notes, butter toffeed almonds, and dried apricots. This is to be enjoyed on special occasions, with a friend from the same vintage (wink).
Price: $449.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Château Viranel "Tradition" Coteaux du Languedoc Blanc
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/2/2014 | Send Email
  Juicy nectarine with substantial minerality make this a delicious alternative to your go to whites. I'd serve this with a light salad, grilled stone fruit, and a triple cream cheese alongside a crusty baguette.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Moulin de la Gardette "Tradition" Gigondas
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/2/2014 | Send Email
  The Grenache based Gigondas are such a pleasure to drink with simple, hearty fare. The 2010 Moulin de la Gardette Tradition shows ripe, soft fruit, and subtle floral aromatics. This would be great with a rosemary and thyme stuffed roasted chicken with pan fried potatoes and an enriched, butter finished pan sauce.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart ST 91 BC 0

Dolin Véritable Génépy (Génépi) Des Alpes Liqueur 750ml
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/2/2014 | Send Email
  When I tasted this initially in August 2013 I was drawn in by the beautiful nose, and complex sweetness. I recently tasted it again in a Chartreaus flight in Napa at 1313 Main with Master Sommelier Jordan Nova. The first of three was presented on a cart, tableside, in lovely little eau di vie glasses. The most affordable of the 3, this was a lovely example of a more modern marriage of Chartreuse and Absinthe, and would probably be great to have on hand for cocktails like the Corpse Reviver #2, or making a replica of Blue Chair Fruit's Concord grape and Chartreuse jelly.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1973 D'Oliveira Verdelho Madeira
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/1/2014 | Send Email
  Stunning acidity, great depth, complex flavors of toasted nuts, dried fruits, and exotic spices.
Price: $139.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2008 Americo Nunes Seabra "Americo" Dão
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/1/2014 | Send Email
  This wine is really cool, with complex fruit, soft tannins, aromas of quince peels and laffy taffy, this wine at six years of age has mellowed and is drinking really well now, and is at an unbeatable price!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart WS 90 BC 0

2012 Fournier Urban Uco Malbec
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/1/2014 | Send Email
  Always a charming wine, inexpensive, food friendly, well made, and a fantastic candidate for a delicious sangria!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart RP 90 BC 0

2011 Bodega Mendel Malbec Mendoza
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/1/2014 | Send Email
  Explosive aromatics, rich, lush wine. Sandlewood and blackberry preserves.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart ST 90 BC 0

2012 Viña Cobos "Felino" Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/1/2014 | Send Email
  Rich, ripe, with well integrated fruit, blackberry and cocoa powder, nice balancing acid on the finish.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Peñalolen Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/1/2014 | Send Email
  Very pretty nose, ruby red grapefruit and cranberries on the palate, and a very unique complexity.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart WS 91 BC 0

2013 Bodegas Colomé Torrontes Valle Calchaquí Salta
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/1/2014 | Send Email
  Steely, refreshing, concentrated, with an emphasis on sun ripened apricots.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart ST 91 BC 0

Amaury Coutelas "Cuvee 1809" Brut Champagne
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/1/2014 | Send Email
  Every time I taste this champagne I am blown away. This is so incredible and so unique. Aged in used Burgundy barrels, the makeup is similar to Krug and Tarlant at 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir, but the results are purely Amaury Coutelas.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Poppy Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/1/2014 | Send Email
  A very well made California Chardonnay at an exceptional price. Butter and oak balanced with lively tropical fruits.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1995 d'Yquem, Sauternes (375ml)
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/1/2014 | Send Email
  Originally tasted July 2012, the 1995 d'Yquem is straight sex. Concentrated, honeyed, aromas of frangipane and poached quince. This will live on for decades if you can be prevented from drinking it now.
Price: $179.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Rieflé "Bonnheur Fertif" Cremant de Alsace
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/1/2014 | Send Email
  Balanced , with baking spices, and great texture. The Auxerrois grape of Alsace (also known as Luxembourg in Germany) is a close relative of Chardonnay and often blended with Pinot Blanc to make Cremants in Alsace.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Rusty Blade K&L Exclusive "Cask A" Single Barrel Cask Strength Barrel-Aged Gin 750ml
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 4/1/2014 | Send Email
  As far as I know, Blade was the first to start making barrel aged gin in the craft cocktail movement. Similar to previous iterations, this batch his exploding with Christmas spices. Really fantastic and dynamic. This should be a blast to play with in cocktails, perhaps paired with fresh apple cider?
Price: Hidden View Price BC 0

2010 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
 By: Mahon McGrath | Review Date: 3/31/2014 | Send Email
  Freemark Abbey hits its mark! Dusty cassis, graphite, balsam-cedar notes on the nose lead to a palate that shows moderately sweet, plummy fruit, before veering in a more dry, woodsy-spicy direction. The wine makes a solid impact in a more restrained California style. The tannins rally a bit on the finish, enough to give the wine shape, but without taking over the show.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart WE 92 BC 0

2012 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
 By: Mahon McGrath | Review Date: 3/31/2014 | Send Email
  The 2012 Macrostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay marries vibrant citrus flavors of lime and tangerine to a thick, silky texture, understated butter-cream notes, and a honeyed dimension. This is an easy to like, up front, domestic Chardonnay, which, while not holding anything back, doesn’t slather itself on, either. Should win loads of friends, especially as it does all this, and yet still comes in under the twenty dollar mark.

2012 Charles Smith "Kung Fu Girl" Evergreen Columbia Valley Riesling
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/31/2014 | Send Email
  The best vintage I can remember of this wine. I bought 2 bottles for Thanksgiving because I KNEW it would go with everything on the table, and the leftovers, and the MIL. A great wine to buy by the case and have on hand.~I followed my own advice and bought a case. So far the most winningest pairing was thinly sliced roasted beets, with sliced avocados, cilantro, and spicy, tangy, salty, yuzukoshu. So incredibly good!

2004 Moet & Chandon "Dom Pérignon" Brut Champagne
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/31/2014 | Send Email
  Such a huge bounce back from the awkward 2003 vintage. Pear orchard, with white flowers, and hints of toasted almonds. We enjoyed this in the sun with a plate of salty prosciutto, sliced apples, and local cheese. My only complaint was that we didn't have another bottle!

2010 Königschaffhausen Steingrüble Spätburgunder Trocken
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/31/2014 | Send Email
  A product of the sun drenched, volcanic soil vineyards of Baden, this is one of the richest, and most lush Spatburgunders that I have ever experienced. The grapes are hand picked from a single vineyard where the vines are at least thirty years old, are then macerated on their skins for two weeks before spending eleven months in a large neutral oak barrel. I happily enjoyed this with Dijon and herbed panko crusted rack of lamb with an enriched red wine and rosemary demi glace.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Spellbound California Chardonnay
 By: Jeffrey Jones | Review Date: 3/31/2014 | Send Email
  A great price and easy to drink and enjoy. The Spellbound Chardonnay is juicy with a little hint of oak and butter that does not dominate the wine. It is clean and refreshing and should go well alone or with fish or chicken.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 True Myth Edna Valley Chardonnay
 By: Mahon McGrath | Review Date: 3/30/2014 | Send Email
  Let’s begin at the finish this time, because that’s my favorite part of this wine. What this has over a lot of other California Chardonnays, of this (or any) price range, is enviably clean, crisp fruit. If you don’t like them too tropical, or highly oaked, then this one is for you. While the wine does see some new cooperage, it is far from its dominant feature, only imparting a little vanilla to the medium bodied, candied citrus flavors. This squeezes a number of virtues into a value priced, domestic Chardonnay bottle: nicely done.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart WE 91 BC 0

2008 Bodegas Muriel Reserva Rioja
 By: Jacques Moreira | Review Date: 3/30/2014 | Send Email
  Ever so often I come across a wine that's text book classic of where it comes from. And in the case of the Muriel, it is not only classic but also a pleasure to be had. Beautiful coffee notes, along with plums, nuts, and coconut, perhaps due to slight oxidation and maturity in barrels. Complex and yet affordable, this will pair easily with say, a pork roast, Greek food especially moussaka, and of course... Lamb!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart DC 95 BC 0

2012 True Myth Edna Valley Chardonnay
 By: John Majeski | Review Date: 3/30/2014 | Send Email
  The label on this Edna Valley Chardonnay depicts a gossamer-clad maiden with arms that twist into tree limbs, releasing a spectrum of colorful butterflies instead of leaves. OK, I thought, just open the wine and give it a swirl, hoping no bewinged painted ladies, blues or swallowtails fly up from the glass. Instead, the wine delivers a cascade of lilting flowers and citrus aromas, hints of lime, white pear, cut pineapple and a kiss of vanilla on the supple, expansive palate. And to be honest, when I first saw the name "True Myth" on this wine I thought, hm, oxymoron... a myth or a fact, but not both. Now I'm a believer, and for the incredible price of $12.99, you will be too!
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart WE 91 BC 0

2012 Poet's Leap (Long Shadows Vintners) Columbia Valley Riesling
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/29/2014 | Send Email
  Off-dry, bright, clean, and mouthwatering acidity. Delicious with Thai food.

2012 Erik Banti Morellino di Scansano
 By: Jeff Garneau | Review Date: 3/29/2014 | Send Email
  The ultimate Wednesday night pizza/pasta wine? Perhaps. Affordable? Direct import pricing at $12.99. Check. Food friendly? Bright and lively with a moderate 13% alcohol. Check. Tasty and delicious? This blend of mostly Sangiovese with a little Merlot and a dollop of Ciliegiolo explodes from the glass with ripe, fresh raspberry notes and finishes smoothly with soft tannins. Check and check. Pick up a few bottles to have on hand for those nights when "preparing dinner" means a phone call to your favorite local pizzeria. You can enjoy a glass while you wait.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Truchard Carneros Pinot Noir
 By: Jeff Garneau | Review Date: 3/29/2014 | Send Email
  One of the most successful wines from the difficult 2011 vintage I have yet tasted. Very pretty with bright cranberry and rhubarb notes. Very well done.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Carlos Diaz "Estrela" Ribeira Sacra
 By: Jeff Garneau | Review Date: 3/29/2014 | Send Email
  Kudos to the buyer of our Spanish wines, Joe Manekin, for launching a direct import program. So far his hard work has yielded a great lineup of delicious, affordable wines. The 2012 Carlos Diaz "Estrela" Ribeira Sacra is one of the latest. Mostly Mencia, unoaked, and just amazingly good for under $20. A little earthy, a little floral, a little spicy. Bright and lively with good grip. What a find!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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