Staff Favorites - Joe Manekin

Joe Manekin
Joe Manekin  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
Joe arrived at our doors in February 2007 from far away, Washington, DC to be exact. Just so no one gets the wrong idea, though, he was merely earning a living in DC; Joe’s cultural identity, as well as his professional sports allegiances and, when he has a few drinks in him, his accent, are all Baltimore through and through. After working on the wholesale side of the business for nearly 4 years, Joe decided that he wanted to work wine retail with the best, so he emailed Cindy Westby at K&L and the rest is history. While Joe is well versed in a number of wine regions, he most enjoys the wines of Europe, though he is growing increasingly interested in the great wines of the Santa Cruz mountains. When he is not at K&L, Joe enjoys cooking, traveling, catching up on The Wire, doing occasional PR, booking and recording work for reggae band JohnStone (, and writing for his wine, food and music blog, Old world Old School (


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2013 Pedro Martinez Alesanco Tempranillo Rioja
Review Date: 10-14-2014
Rounding out their trio of Riojas is this Tempranillo and Garnacha blend, a wine produced from mainly younger vine fruit in lower lying, iron heavy clay vineyards. This has everything I look for in young, unoaked Tempranillo from Rioja. Beautiful, pure mixed berry fruit, on the darker side, with fresh acidity and wonderful, crunchy freshness. Another winner from one of our new favorite producers of Spanish values.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Pedro Martinez Alesanco Rosado Rioja
Review Date: 10-2-2014
Unlike white shoes, rosé wine is most definitely OK after Labor Day! A good thing, because what was going to be the rosé I put in everyone's hands did not quite make it in time for the summer season. That said, this is a mouthwateringly delicious, tangy rosé, full of warm citrus and red fruits. Whether you enjoy as an aperitif, with a platter of charcuterie, alongside a perfectly grilled piece of salmon or with a take home rotisserie chicken, Martinez Alesanco's rosé is amongst the best in this category.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Pedro Martinez Alesanco Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 10-1-2014
For those of you who really enjoy a brisk, bright, bracing white wine, something nicely dry to enjoy while cooking or winding down after work, this is definitely one to add to the rotation. Martinez Alesanco's white Rioja is amongst the most lively and expressive I have yet to find, and for under $10!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Eyrie Vineyards "Estate Grown" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 8-26-2014
There is nothing better than tasting a great wine amongst the vines whose fruit produces that same wine. Several of us were fortunate enough to have this experience with the 2012 Eyrie Estate Grown Pinot Noir. But does the wine taste as memorably delicious within the confines of our roomy, comfortable, yet admittedly less romantic tasting bar in Redwood City? On Tuesday July 29th, during a staff tasting billed as a "Dog Day Afternoon," we confirmed that this wine is, not surprisingly, the real deal. This is supple and juicy Pinot Noir, with aromas of cherries, pretty florals and subtle savory tones. On the palate, more cherries, featuring a deeper pitch than the norm at Eyrie (particularly when compared to the light as a feather, red fruited, elegant beyond belief 2011 vintage.) That said, I do love the 2012 vintage of this wine as well. Wonderfully pure fruit, loads of drinkability, and beautiful texture - that illusive quality which certain wineries just tend to nail vintage after vintage. In case you could not tell, we all are big fans of Eyrie here and cannot recommend their wines highly enough!

2012 Pisa Range Estate "Black Poplar Block" Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 8-23-2014
This is a big, darker fruited, structured Pinot Noir. While it's certainly densely structured, there are also pretty floral notes, real fruit purity and an expression of place that even in an area as well regarded for PN as Central Otago, is not necessarily a given. Great Pinot Noir for a special occasion or for your cellar!

2013 Zudugarai "Amats" Getariako Txakolina
Review Date: 8-13-2014
Serious props are in order to Mikel and his crew at Zudugarai, for organically producing a delicious, thirst quenching, picture perfect Txakoli in a very challenging 2013 vintage. With production down significantly, and demand every bit as strong locally, Zudugarai still maintained their pricing, which means that we can do the same and once again offer to you one of the tastiest, most gulpable dry whites around for a price that is much lower than most other Txakoli. Buy it by the case, which now that I think of it is only 6 bottles so better make it two!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Bruno Michel "Les Roses" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 8-6-2014
This is not a casual sipping rosé! On various occasions, I have enjoyed this and have it come across as rich and satisfying, or brooding and spicy, on one occasion I think I recall my tasting notes saying "good 1er cru Nuit-St-Georges with bubbles." However you describe it, you cannot argue against this being an intensely flavored, highly original Champagne with real personality.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2006 Miguel Merino "Vitola" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 8-6-2014
Though he is no pilot, I often hear our friend, gifted winery director and noted Rioja Raconteur, Miguel Merino speak of "cruise altitude" in his Riojas. What Miguel means is the moment at which point a wine starts developing real interest and a keen sense of balance between fruit, tannins and complex flavor development. This 2006 Vitola, to throw some Spanglish your way, está en plena "cruise altitude!" Awesome wine; I suggest you try some.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Churchill's "Estates" Douro
Review Date: 8-6-2014
While many of the top, legendary 2011 vintage ports are beginning to disappear, we are continuing to see a deluge of excellent, top quality dry Douro reds. Given the terrific quality of the 2011 Port vintage (literally a once in a generation type of vintage) in this region, there is no reason not to dip your toes into the dry red wines from the same year; you will not be disappointed. Tasting this wine next to the 2010 vintage was very instructive: while the 2010 is a solid wine, 2011 has so much more intensity, volume, and length. It's a textbook Douro red from a great vintage, a wine that is impressive now and should cellar well in the mid term as well. There is no better vintage than 2011 to check out the unique dry red wines from the Douro.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart WS 93 BC 0

2012 Tikal "Jubilo" Mendoza
Review Date: 8-6-2014
As with all things chez Tikal, this is a bigger, powerful wine. Smoky/savory oak aromas show mocha and some dark caramel, with the fruit lying in the background, but on the palate...different story. Chunky red and dark plum fruits show drier than what the nose suggests. Clearly there is good quality fruit used here, no surprise given that a Catena (Ernesto) is involved! Definitely a solid fuller bodied wine for your next cookout or grilled steak.

Bruno Michel Premier Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 8-6-2014
This Champagne is from a site that is so cold, it typically has searingly high acidity (always in balance with the fruit in my opinion) which makes it one I love but that I recommend judiciously, only to those who love acidity as much as I do. I say "typically," though, because our most recent bottling is based on a warmer vintage, and combined with the colder vineyard site, this becomes a richer, yet still bright and vibrant Blanc de Blancs to recommend to many more people. This is always one of my favorite expressions of Chardonnay on our shelves.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-6-2014
UPDATE... This recent batch, based on the 2006 vintage, with an incredible 6 years of time on the lees (good luck finding another Champagne for this price with as much lees ageing and overall balance), is damn good. As always the nose is bright, pure and friendly, inviting. On the palate there fruit is bigger and spicier than I recall, but still balanced by fresh acidity due to Bruno Michel's cooler vineyard sites. I have a review from a previous disgorgement below for some context: This is arguably, pound for pound, dollar for dollar, the most versatile and satisfying Champagne in the store. So bright tasting, with good minerality and delicious, juicy fruit. A colleague put it well when she called this champagne "friendly." I completely agree. It is indeed friendly, without sacrificing originality or wine geek appeal. One to always have on hand around the house (especially if you're inviting me over!)
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Can Mayol Loxarel "999" Cava Brut Rosé Penedes
Review Date: 7-16-2014
This is our go to household pink bubbly. It is unapologetically dry, yet so flavorful, explosive and authoritative on the palate, that it is hard to believe we are dealing with under $15 bubbles here. Tangy red fruits, perhaps a suggestion of hibiscus, combine with a nice bead and pleasing texture to make this such a great sparkling wine for the money. As this is a DI, I have been to the property, seen the care with which these vines are grown and the wine is made, and can only say that all of the Loxarel wines, including this one, have my highest recommendation.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart W&S 91 BC 0

2011 Fillaboa "Finca Monte Alto" Albariño Rias Baixas
Review Date: 7-16-2014
Albariño has transformed itself into Spain's most popular, serious white wine export because of wines like this. This single vineyard bottling from Fillaboa has delicious fruit, marked minerality, and more than a nod to the saltwater inlets (or "Rias") that shape coastal Galicia. Drink this wine with clams steamed in wine and garlic, whole grilled fish, or any fresh seafood you can get your hands on. I can assure you that it will be a food and wine pairing you'll come back to time and time again.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart W&S 94 BC 0

2009 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 7-15-2014
La Fortuna is a rock solid, consistent producer of Brunello. If you've liked their stuff in the past, there is no reason not to continue to enjoy their output. Their 09 Brunello is still primarily red fruited, high toned, fresh, persistent yet relatively light on its feet for the region, and as always highlighted by an appealing minerality. For anyone looking to drink their Brunello on the younger side, this is definitely one of the ones I would steer you towards. That not be afraid to lay off this wine for a little while; it will definitely improve!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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