Staff Favorites - Greg St. Clair

Greg St. Clair
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Reviews

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2010 Poggiarellino Brunello di Montalcino Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 12-16-2014
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I first tasted Poggiarellinoís 1999 Brunello in 2003, they were a tiny producer making a couple of hundred cases and I was looking to write about the northern portion of Montalcino, they just happened to fit geographically. We started to import their wines with the 2000 vintage and the quality of their wine grows every year. Since I first tasted the 2010 from their 25-hectoliter barrels Iíve been waiting for this day to offer it to you, it is simply the best wine they have ever made. When you first smell this wine the gamut of flavors is classic Poggiarellino, wild marasca cherry, plum with a certain wild sauvage that the Italians call sotto bosco (the flavor of the forest floor). On the palate the wine shows a broad richness with a decisive tannic structure, not obtrusive or harsh just powerful, fine grain and shows the how big frame of this wine really is. The flavors reflect the aromatics, more marasca cherry, with plum and red berry then hints of saddle leather followed by that sotto bosco intrigue. The wineís rich powerful presence glides easily to the back of your palate with a long and elegant finish, impressive for such a powerful wine.
Drink from 2015 to 2030
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart JS 95 BC 0

SMWS 36.82 Benrinnes 17 Year Old "Rare Release" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 12-11-2014
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It is rare that I wax poetically about single malt Scotch but this extraordinary spirit was so unique and exciting that I had to put pen to paper. The nose struck me so much that I spent literally 10 minutes just nosing the glass--I usually find single malt to fall into either a peaty or fruity category but this was different, it was just magic. The nose was a twisting, flowing breadth of freshness. Never have I seen a minty sweetness in a malt nose, and this example was enchanting, and while it was so inviting there were hints of peat spice, not the simple camphorish version but saturated smoke, depth and persistence. So impressive on the palate but this malt needs water, it is cask strength and at 59.5% a little bit of water will open the malt up as well as your experience. Truly worth the price, a tremendous spirit.
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Cantele Salice Salentino Riserva
Review Date: 12-8-2014
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I absolutely love this wineís aromatics, so intriguing, full of Middle Eastern spice, elegant plum, bramble, dried-cherry fruit and nuances of fresh Provencal herbs. On the palate the wine is supple, medium bodied while still being so full flavored, easy to drink, only 13.0% alcohol yet this multifaceted red always beckons you for another sip and then another it is just so tasty. Made from 100% Negroamaro fermented in stainless steel and aged in 1-2 year old barrique for 6 months. This complex yet elegant wine comes from Puglia, the heel of the Italian Peninsula and is the perfect accompaniment to your favorite tomato based pasta dish.
Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart ST 90 BC 0

2012 La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica (1.5L)
Review Date: 12-4-2014
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The 2012 La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica* is harvested the first 10 days of October, fermented and aged in stainless and released after a year. The wine is so powerful and intense that bottle aging, or decanting, is needed to get to this powerful wineís mineral core. The nose is full pear-like fruit spiced with anise, citrus and a bit of brioche-like toastiness, although the wine sees no wood.
Drink from 2014 to 2022
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart JS 93 BC 0

2009 Baccinetti "La Saporoia" Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 12-1-2014
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Baccinetti is a tiny producer on Montlacinoís south face, their winery located kitty corner between Sesta di Sopra and Tenuta di Sesta. Giovanni and Mieke's wines come from their vineyard a mile or so west adjacent to Lisini. Their wines are pure, unadulterated and natural, the initial textural smoothness belies its complexity, the nose is racy, deep red fruit, gamey, filled with sauvage overtones full of rich strawberry fruit with layers of spice. Earth and leathery components back up the fruit and spice elements and finish the richly textured body with a subtle grip. It will benefit from some age, but is very drinkable now.
Drink from 2014 to 2019

2012 Filippi "Castelcerino" Soave Colli Scaligeri
Review Date: 11-25-2014
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This is an incredible wine, grown in volcanic soil and partially macerated on the skins. That skin contact adds a tremendous flavor boost, like Granny Smith apple skins on steroids, yet balance with superb acidity and minerality. The wine has weight, complexity, intense flavors and a sensational finish. Long, powerful and something you won't soon forget. Have it with grilled sea bass or lobster, it's an experience.
Drink from 2014 to 2017
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 La Massa "Giorgio Primo" Toscana
Review Date: 11-25-2014
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After an initial bit of bottle shock upon release this wine has finally come into balance! If you are a fan of Bordeaux or California Cabernet this wine is more similar to them than other Italian Bordeaux blends. The nose if full of blackberry, currant with hints of vanilla and on the palate the 70% Cabernet Sauvignon 25% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot blend gives a powerful impression. Layers of fruit, spice, and earth with a smooth and supple texture give this wine a balanced, long but luscious finish. Aged for 18 months in 80% new French oak barriques this wine can surely age for another decade plus but is still very drinkable now.
Drink from 2014 to 2024

2011 Cantina Terlan "Porphyr" Lagrein Riserva Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 11-24-2014
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Many of you might not be familiar with Lagrein as a varietal, and I always get asked: is it more like Cabernet or Pinot Noir? Well itís really more like Lagrein, it has its own identity. More often than not, I find Syrah-like characteristics, yet not enough to say this is like Syrah. The wineís aromatics are a smoldering mix of smoke, meat, brandied cherries, tobacco and Ö well you get the picture--it's not like anything else. Cantina Terlanís Porphyr is one of the regionís best illustrations of this varietal, and in this vintage perhaps one of its best examples. On the palate the wine is soft, supple, seductive, filled with complex, fruit, earth, spice, and truthfully a category I label as ďexotic aromaticsĒ because Iím not really sure what they are, but they are captivating. I remember having a previous vintage of this wine with gnocchi with a wild boar ragu--simply a thrilling match, but every time Iím in the Alto Adige I surrender to goulash, that paprika kick just bonds with Lagrein in a way that takes my breath away every time. If you like wine you owe it to yourself to try this; it is an experience you wonít regret.
Drink from 2014 to 2021
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart JS 97 BC 0

2010 Viticcio Chianti Classico Riserva
Review Date: 11-24-2014
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This wine took me by surprise but it needed an equipment change suggested by my dining companion to fulfill its promise. It being Sangiovese-based, I went to my tried-and-true Chianti/Zin glass but this wine struggled--it was tannic and awkward. But switching to a Cabernet/Bordeaux glass opened up this wine's depth and smoothed out the tannins. Layers of spice, dark fruit and leather just flow from the glass and on the palate; the richness and concentrated character adds real length and concentration. Drinking well now, but still capable of aging another decade! Try it with a grilled rib-eye drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
Drink from 2014 to 2022

2013 Blason Friulano Isonzo
Review Date: 11-20-2014
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Giovanni Blason is a dynamo. His small winery on the extreme eastern edge of Italy produces about 3,000 cases annually and Giovanni, with the help of his consulting enologist Andrea Rossi, is producing wines of outstanding quality for bargain prices. His wines have received high marks from Italian critics. I Friulano, this is the Friulian national drink I love the freshness this wine has, the crisp minerality, the hint of tarragon in the finish, lively and fresh on the palate. Sprightly and nicely acidic, it is also somehow creamy with peach and apricot notes and a hint of clover honey on the end. No oak here, thank you. It is so refreshing and sensationally balanced, crisp and refreshing. Enjoy it with sautéed red snapper, grilled vegetables or with some Frico! Frico is fried Montasio cheese that crisps up and is absolutely delicious! (Greg St Clair, K&L Italian buyer):
Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart GR 2 BC 0

2012 Erik Banti "Carato" Toscana
Review Date: 11-18-2014
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Erik Bantiís Carato is a Mini Super Tuscan! Itís a blend of 75% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and 10% Ciliegiolo aged for 10 months in oak barrels and is just delicious. The wine tastes like it should cost much more, full, smooth, flavorful with excellent balance. A K&L Direct Import that offers you extraordinary value, and at this price you will be saying--Wow!
Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $7.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Majo di Norante "Contado" Riserva Aglianico di Molise
Review Date: 11-18-2014
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Aglianico is a big, bold powerful grape and in Majo Noranteís Contado Riserva you get a real mouthful for the price. Smokey, earthy nose that seems to deepen as it escapes the glass, full of dense fruit and hints of vanillin. On the palate this wine is powerful, structured and decisive; layers of flavor explode across your tongue and leave you saying holy wow. The wine finishes with a bit of a reassuring grip long lasting flavors. This wine comes from one of Italyís least know Regions called Molise, itís on the Adriatic side of the peninsula between Abruzzo and Puglia.
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

Bibi Graetz "Casamatta" Toscana
Review Date: 11-18-2014
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Hard to imagine that you can get such good quality at this price but yes you can! One of the ways is to make a multi vintage blend (non vintage sounds so passé) like this one where one vintageís lesser characteristics can actually balance out anotherís. This wine is full of bold cherry and plum fruit, with lots of soft fleshy richness on the palate, just a wonderful drinking wine! Try it with your favorite pizza, or sausage and pepper pasta.
Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart JS 90 BC 0

2008 Bisceglia Aglianico del Vulture "Gudarrŗ"
Review Date: 11-18-2014
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I love this wineís complexity, layers of wild brush, smoke, truffle, tar, saddle leather and big bold plumy fruit. Aglianico is a powerhouse grape and the wines that come from Vulture, in Basilicata (the instep of the boot) have origins that come from an ancient volcano and that soil lifts and brightens this tannic variety into a superbly balanced and delicious wine. While definitely having a tannic signature this wine has such great balance that it is really drinking well right now and will age well for another 5-8 years. This is a wine that is perfect for braised meats or hearty pasta dishes.
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

2012 Sesta di Sopra Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 11-17-2014
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The desire to call Sesta's 2012 Rosso a "baby" Brunello is really coursing through my veins, as much as I don't like to use the phrase, but man this wine is something. This wine so complete, with such depth of flavor, so much fruit and such perfect balance; it is stunningly good for the price and remarkably drinkable now, although I'll be aging a six-pack myself for another few years. If you're new to Brunello, this is a great wine to get familiar with the region at a really good price.
Drink from 2014 to 2022
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart WE 90 BC 0

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