Staff Favorites - Alex Pross

Alex Pross

Reviews

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2009 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 11-18-2014
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One of my go-to Chateauneuf-du-Papes, Guigal has been fashioning one of the most dependable and value-oriented Chateaneuf-du-Papes for as long as I can remember. The 2009 vintage in the Rhone Valley was a hot vintage and the 2009 Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape displays all the character of a warmer vintage with intense aromatics of marzipan, clove, grilled meat and cherry kirsch explode from the glass while the palate blends spicy cherry fruit, cranberry, red licorice and spice into a tightly-wound package. Dense and chewy this large-scaled offering is just beginning to open up and show all that it has to offer. This is shaping up to be one of the better Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Papes I have had.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2030

2012 Domaine Cabirau Côtes du Roussillon
Review Date: 11-18-2014
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Vibrant aromas of crushed blackberries, licorice and nutmeg spring from the glass of 2012 Domaine Cabirau Cotes du Roussillon, a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% syrah and 10% Carignan this wine is absolutely gorgeous! The palate is stuffed with rich blackberry and blueberry fruit, violet and plum accents with bright acidity and the perfect balance between tannins, fruit and acid. This is a delicious wine that can pair flawlessly with food but has enough body to be drunk on its own or with a charcuterie plate.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2018
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart RP 92 BC 0

2006 Castello di Monsanto "Nemo" Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-6-2014
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If you’re a fan of the Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva then you owe it to yourself to try the 2006 Castello di Monsanto Nemo Toscana. I was excited to taste this wine and I was immediately rewarded with aromas of bitter chocolate, volcanic rock, saline and cherry kirsch aromas. The palate was a supple blend of black cherry fruit, licorice, spice and subtle oak accents. The wine is in a perfect place for drinking right now, with a touch of age the tannins have softened and the fruit has perfectly integrated with the oak to produce a flat out deliciously drinking wine. At $40 this is one of my favorite super Tuscans that we currently have in stock.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2018

2012 Columbia Crest "H3" Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-28-2014
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“Napa Assassin” that was the first thought that sprang into my mind when I tasted the 2012 Columbia Crest H3 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon. A wine with this much polish, depth and structure with the words Napa Valley on the label would easily fetch $30+, but since this wine is from Washington state you can pay the meager tariff of only $9.99! Loaded with dark berry fruit, hints of cocoa, supple tannins and just a touch of sweet mocha-laced oak this beauty is one heck of a deal! A quality Cabernet Sauvignon this is a wine worth buying by the case.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2017
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart WS 92 BC 0

2012 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-2-2014
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I am always excited to taste the most recent release of Cabernet Sauvignon from Joseph Phelps since it is one of my perennial favorites. From the very first sniff from the glass I was brought back to my initial tasting impressions from our En Primeur trip to Bordeaux when we tasted the heralded 2009 vintage. The wine displays amazing depth with layers of fruit flavors as well as aromas cola, crushed berries, five spice and mocha notes. A fresh and lively palate consisting of fresh blackberries, crème de cassis and dusty tannins nicely augments against bright acidity. The wine finishes with a supple display of fruit and silky tannins with just a kiss of dark chocolate lingering at the end.
Drink from 2015 to 2025

2013 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 9-4-2014
I always love this wine; over-delivers every vintage given its price and quality ratio. Nice berry fruit, impressive complexity and good layers of fruit. Looks to compete favorably with the last few vintages.

2013 Calon Ségur, St-Estèphe Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 8-4-2014
One of my perennial favorite producers. The 2013 vintage has a distinctive Calon Segur-esque feel. The personality of Calon Segur can get obscured in some vintages, but in a challenging vintage like 2013 it really shines through. Berry fruit and notes of intense boysenberry lead, with hints of menthol and spice.

2013 Calon Ségur, St-Estèphe (1.5L) Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 8-4-2014
One of my perennial favorite producers. The 2013 vintage has a distinctive Calon Segur-esque feel. The personality of Calon Segur can get obscured in some vintages, but in a challenging vintage like 2013 it really shines through. Berry fruit and notes of intense boysenberry lead, with hints of menthol and spice.

2011 La Jota Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 7-10-2014
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The 2011 La Jota Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is the best 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon I have tasted! 2011 was by all accounts a very challenging vintage but there were a few wineries that seem to have been able to weather the storm and make a very good wine, La Jota is one of them. One of the advantages of mountain grown fruit is they can pick later and allow a longer hang time coupled with the tension put on the vines to grow in the gravelly volcanic soil gives the grapes a more defined personality. The complexity and depth that the 2011 La Jota showed took me by surprise, the wine starts off with aromas of crème de cassis, graphite and lavender notes give way to dark blueberry and blackberry fruit and spice notes. This wine has great balance, power and depth coupled with great fruit and just the right amount of oak. A great wine for any vintage but truly a standout in 2011!
Drink from 2014 to 2030

2009 Nairac, Sauternes
Review Date: 7-10-2014
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I have a confession, I am ashamed that I don’t drink as much Sauternes as I should. As a whole there may not be another wine that delivers as consistently for the price as Sauternes. The 2009 Nairac is a perfect example, at $39.99 this wine is a screaming deal. Liquid gold in the glass this wine has seductive aromas of dried mango and pineapple along with roasted almonds and the slightest hint of coconut. The palate is unctuously smooth with flavors of candied orange, ginger, apricot and notes of caramel. Powerful but light on its feet this is a delicious Sauternes.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2034

2012 Bodegas Castano "Solanera Vinas Viejas" Yecla
Review Date: 7-10-2014
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Boom! Another knock-out value from Spain, the 2012 Castano Vinas Viejas Solanera Red is sensational. A blend of 70% Monastrell(Mourvedre), 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Garnacha the 2012 Castano Solanera has an exceptional nose of dried plum, spices, fresh berries and just a hint of iodine while the palate is densely packed with black pepper, cassis, licorice and blackberry fruit. Great length coupled with good energy and a long finish give this wine a distinctively aristocratic feel while keeping a modest price of only $13.99. A case-worthy buy if there ever was one, the Castano Solanera is the perfect wine for entertaining a crowd or for drinking well on a tight budget!
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart RP 94 BC 0

2012 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 7-1-2014
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Nestled slightly to the east of Alexander Valley and to the north of Calistoga, Knights Valley straddles the imaginary line delineating Sonoma from Napa Valley. An emerging hotbed for great Cabernet Sauvignon values, Knights Valley offers a nice alternative to all the $50+ Cabs from Napa Valley. The 2012 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at $22.99 is the perfect example of the kind of values that can be found in Knights Valley; this exact wine with the words Napa Valley would easily command upwards of $50 a bottle! A nose of dark cherry kirsch, mocha and tobacco give way to a richly-textured palate of black cherries, plum, spice and seductive chocolate notes. This wine is packed with dark berry fruit and luscious notes of mocha and chocolate with good acidity, silky tannins and bright fruit notes. The finish is long and energetic with lingering berry notes and just a hint of spice and milk chocolate. A killer value, this Cabernet Sauvignon definitely over-delivers given its modest price.
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart WS 90 BC 0

2001 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 6-18-2014
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Due to the economics of the wine business today, there is very little wine held back vintage-to-vintage. In order to taste bottlings with a little age, you either need to have a cellar yourself or a friend with a cellar. Imagine my excitement when I was presented with the 2001 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon. From the very first sniff I knew we had a winner. Aromas of mocha, spice, cedar, coffee and sweet cherries slowly emerge from the glass while the palate deftly displays gorgeous layers of mature red berry fruit, oak, notes of mint and eucalyptus as well as a slight hint of chocolate. This wine is in the perfect place right now, soft and subtle with pretty fruit, hints of oak while showing nice secondary characteristics one would associate with a wine of 13 years of age. If you’re looking for an affordable Cabernet Sauvignon with some age on it then look no further.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Haut-Brion Blanc, Pessac-Léognan Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-14-2014
***½ Iodine, lime blossom and hints of lemon crème. Pitted fruit, nut skin and good body-feels a bit more masculine than the La Mission.

2013 Troplong Mondot, St-Emilion Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-14-2014
**½ to *** It was a sad in Bordeaux when in the middle of our En Premieur trip we learned that Christine Valette, owner of Troplong Mondot, had succumbed to cancer. Troplong is a magnificent property with a hillside vantage point, the wines are always full-throttle and a joy to taste. Lots of cola here with sexy, exotic spice notes. Big extraction here--made for the California palate.

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