Staff Favorites - James Knight

James Knight

Reviews

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2007 Louis Roederer Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-21-2014
A very pretty, rich aroma, just the right mix of bakery and autolyzed yeast notes and freshness; creamy balance, not too sharp on the acidity--a lot less so than the 2008 Brut Rose. Just so enjoyable!
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart WE 96 BC 0

2008 Pewsey Vale "Contours" Museum Reserve Riesling Eden Valley South Australia
Review Date: 10-14-2014
This dry Riesling is just getting started at six years after the vintage. So crisp and refreshing, yet it has also gained bottle characteristics and weight: a floral aroma with honeycomb, lemon pith and lemon oil, and a mouthfeel that's silky and light and has a certain sumptuousness at the same time that swaths and tames the searing, dry finish. This is a great example of South Australian Riesling, and I am sure that I will order more now that the bottle's empty!

2012 Tatomer "Sisquoc" Santa Barbara County Riesling
Review Date: 10-13-2014
I discovered Tatomer a year or so back at the International Alsace Varietals Festival in Anderson Valley, California, and was impressed with their wines and their focus on Riesling. Although I don't find any "petrol" notes in the 2012 Sisquoc, it's got an intoxicating blend of golden raisin and honey aromas--reminds me of drizzling dark, clover honey in amber rivulets onto a crostini. Even at a higher 14.1% abv, it's got enough acidity to balance whatever residual sugar there may be--the wine finishes dry, with a sensation of sweetness due to the aromatics--anyway, no less dry than most Chardonnays these days! I like this with a cheese plate of goat Gouda and seeded crackers, or creamy spaetzle.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Atalon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 9-16-2014
With a brooding, dark berry aroma hinting at wild grape, and a concentrated palate of reduced plums made juicier with a malic tang, this seems a well-priced table Cab for roasts with port sauce, and fall-winter root vegetables.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Charles Smith "Kung Fu Girl" Columbia Valley Riesling
Review Date: 7-28-2014
I like Riesling with a little something to it, you know, a little steely, limey, slightly diesel-stinky crunchy toasty marmalade to it; I like South Australian Riesling. The Brooks 2009 Willamette Valley that we had a while back, that was nice. I've hesitated to check out the Kung Fu Girl for years, because, you know, hip label, but what's it really got? Surprisingly a lot. Peach and pineapple fruit, yes, and maybe a little golden raisin, but a right limey seriousness to it. I wouldn't be surprised if this got more interesting in two years but it's delicious now; a little off-dry but totally balanced.

Balvenie 12 year old Single Barrel Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 7-15-2014
Lovers of Glenlivet and Glenfiddich who are looking for something a little different and even a little prettier on the palate might look here. The Balvenie 12 single barrel has a light hue, with pretty aromas of wildflower honey, dates and dried figs, with buttery pear, and a really nice, silky finish. I enjoyed this Balvenie.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Ardbeg Corryvreckan Islay Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 7-15-2014
Not that the "Corry," as the malt nerds call it, needs any more props to sell out every bottle--especially at these prices. But what about the rest of us, maybe exploring Scotch whisky but a little hesitant to spend an extra $10-$20 on a bottle, no matter the fine pricing? Well, after trading up from the Ardbeg 10 to the Uigeadail in perfect succession, I tried the Ardbeg Corryvreckan. Indeed, this whisky presents aromas and a perfectly sippable, lux palate of vanilla, caramel, and maybe a hint of chocolate liqueur--but I don't sense some of the over-the-top characteristics that earlier reviewers have. Maybe it's me; maybe it's the current bottling. In any case, I found it a bit spicy and intense but perfectly enjoyable, and note to the Islay-iffy among you: the peatiness is not strong in an iodine and shoe leather way, it's quite integrated within the sweet sherried aroma profile. For sure, the next time I have enough spare change to be able to decide between purchasing a Talisker 18 or the Corry, I am likely to experience some cognitive dissonance--and I mean before I have had any whisky!
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart WA 96 BC 0

1996 Bowmore 16 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 7-15-2014
This has a distinct hit of cinnamon spice on the nose, plus wet plaster and deep, golden nutty sherry aromas. The oak shows through richly on the palate, and it's pretty good sipping, I think.
Price: $104.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Lost Spirits Distillery Leviathan III Single Malt Whiskey 750ml
Review Date: 7-11-2014
Like the "Seascape," there's a honey-maple smoked sweetness to the aroma, but in the Leviathon, it trends toward leathery, like a sweet-smelling new leather handbag or something; nutty and rich, the fire on the back palate is delayed, but still there, on this whisky. Definitely exceeds my expectations for a California single malt whisky.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Lost Spirits Distillery Seascape II Single Malt Whiskey 750ml
Review Date: 7-11-2014
"Warning" duly noted, but this whisky was as friendly as a Sunday brunch...sweet, smoky maple syrup on the nose, glazed ham notes, and rich palate...until the hot "kick" up the retronasal on the finish. Definitely different, has a structure, and with the smoky maple aromas, it's quite intriguing.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Kilchoman K&L Exclusive Single Bourbon Barrel #74 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 7-11-2014
Wow, this is a spicy, forward, yet ethereal whisky with a distinctive personality, indeed. Mr. Driscoll got it right about the cinnamon Red Hots aroma that hits your nose on the wind of a burning field of flowering heather. My only previous taste of Kilchoman was a wee airplane bottle of young, lightly heathery whisky; this one's richer, and more sure of itself--the only comparison I can make is with Port Charlotte Scottish Barley Heavily Peated.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Isle Of Skye 12 year old Matured Scotch Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 6-25-2014
Yes, this really does have a bit of the Talisker character. With a hint of orange rind over slightly smoky, bacon scone-y sweet characteristics, it's a fine Scotch on the rocks that retains some of its grain alcohol character while offering something more interesting than a lot of blended Scotches. But it's not a substitute for single malt Talisker: while I may enjoy it as a Scotch on ice from time to time, I follow it up, when I can, with a nice Talisker 10 or Distiller's Edition--neat!
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Lagavulin 16-year-old Islay Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 6-17-2014
Earthy, smoky, ashy, and underneath it all, sweet and chewy. I waited nearly a month and a half after opening the Lagavulin 16 to review it; I figured it would reveal itself over time, that this lion would lamb out a bit. Well. I agree that it is defiantly smoky (as Dave Broom says), like a hearth, with some caramel candy and smoked meats like, say, the Talisker 10 (aka the Precious...in my regard) on the tongue. Nosing is hot and spicy, and the finish is like hot smoke. Richer, with less thin, iodine character than some Islay single malts--maybe a hint of singed seaweed. A serious Islay at a whacky good price.

Ardbeg Uigeadail Traditional Strength Islay Single Malt Whisky
Review Date: 6-5-2014
Recommended for those with a love for--or a tolerance that may blossom at some time in the indeterminate future--peaty, sherry-influenced single malt. After I had tasted a sample of the Ardbeg Uigeadail and sort of gave it thumbs down in my personal notes, later I purchased a whole bottle and followed it over a while. Why? There's just something about it. There's dried seaweed, some plaster from a seaside cottage renovation, perhaps, some dried fish on a grill fired by beach brush. And mid to high-toned sherry underneath. But there's more, and whatever that more is, it keeps me coming back from time to time.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart WA 95 BC 0

Glendronach 15 year old "Revival" Distillery Bottling Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 6-5-2014
I like Scotch ale, the "wee heavy" beer, and I like this Glendronach 15-year "Revival." It's more than a wee bit richer than the 12. It's spicy, and smoky; candy apples smoking cigarettellos at a pumpkin pie party. Comparisons? Here's my take: Spicier than Glendronach 12; not quite as intense as Aberlour A'bunadh....but getting there. Way more fiery than Macallan 12, but super sherried and rich. A sort of Lagavulin 16 ashiness on the palate, perhaps. A powerfully inviting detour.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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