Staff Favorites - Olivia Ragni

Olivia Ragni
Olivia Ragni  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
My roots are in Philadelphia, and to a greater extent, Italy. Wine has always been a focal point of my Italian-American culture, and the years I spent working in Philadelphia’s fine dining scene piqued my interest in the wine industry. Prior to Los Angeles, I was a resident of Portugal, Turkey, and Germany, three stops on my tour of Europe as an English teacher. Portugal was my first locale and the one that left the greatest impression. The wine culture of Portugal is so rich and so storied; I was completely taken by the people’s passion for wine. I decided to explore the vast expanse of European wine regions, including Italy, Andalusia, and Croatia. In each of these locations I discovered wines and cultures that I had previously not known and discovered my affinity for the bold sherries of Jerez de la Frontera and the crisp, maritime whites of Vrbnik. My hope is to share my love of these old world wines with those with people who have not yet had the pleasure of discovering them.


Reviews

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La Cigarrera Manzanilla Sanlucar de Barrameda (375ml)
Review Date: 8-27-2014
A true Manzanilla with a bouquet full of oysters, clams and salted toffee. A flavor intense palate of oceanic salt and seaweed, peanut butter, bitter almonds and squash. Impeccable quality, a crazy value. What a steal!!!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

El Maestro Sierra Fino Jerez de la Frontera (375ml)
Review Date: 8-27-2014
At this stage, this delicate Fino has subtle notes of pecans, fresh apples, pie crust, and toasted pumpkin seeds with a mildly salty palate of butterscotch, almonds and bitter orange peel. Great companion to a tomato, basil salad!

2012 Louis-Antoine Luyt Carignan "Trequilemu" Maule Valley
Review Date: 7-28-2014
If you like earthy, dirty, mineral-driven wines, this is the wine for you. I adore this Carignan, it’s very green with notes of bell pepper and jalapenos, scorched earth, iron and forest floor. The winemaker, a native Burgundian whose vineyards are still plowed by horse, uses a very hands-off approach, producing natural wines that are complex and terroir-driven. This is definitely my Chilean favorite.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Raccaro Malvasia Collio
Review Date: 7-28-2014
What a complex and well-done Malvasia! The Roccaro boasts notes of Fuji apples and honeysuckle with a brightness and crisp acidity coming across on the palate with zesty lemon rind notes balanced by a waxy texture and some sweeter stone fruits. An absolutely beautiful expression of Malvasia.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Hermanuspietersfontein (HPF) "Nr.7" Sauvignon Blanc Sondagskloof
Review Date: 7-14-2014
I adore this winery, they farm biodynamic, ensuring their estate is lined with indigenous flowers, plants and animals adding to their unique terroir. With high elevation for a cooler climate and a unique topsoil called "fynbos," which gives their wines a distinct vegetal, black olive quality, this Sauv Blanc is killer. It’s more reminiscent of cool weather Sauv Blanc, with crisp acidity, zesty citrus fruits like orange and lime but with a unique green nose with hints of jalapeno, black olive and lemon rind. An excellent, well-done wine, a must-have for 2013.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Hermanuspietersfontein (HPF) "Nr.3 Bergblokke" Sauvignon Blanc Sondagskloof
Review Date: 7-13-2014
The #3 Sauvignon Blanc is their version of a more tropical style Sauv Blanc. It’s quite aromatic with white flower, kiwi and grapefruit and tropical flavors on the palate like passion fruit, honeydew and lemon zest. A very bright, flavor intensive Sauv Blanc with lovely acidity, perfect for those hot summer days.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 7-11-2014
I have to admit I was expecting something a little fruitier and rounder after tasting the 2012 vintage, but the 2013 is excellent. It’s really well balanced, adding a little earth, spice and tannins. There’s an excellent leafy, brambly quality to this wine that I love, integrated into the cranberry, black cherry and raspberry fruits. A great Pinot and a great vintage from TWR.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2006 Château des Tours Vacqueyras
Review Date: 7-9-2014
With a lovely light red, almost brick color, you can see this wine has seriously developed. The nose reflects its light appearance with bright fruits like fresh cherry, candied orange peel and cranberry. The palate provides flavors of candied fruits with nice acidity for balance, fresh tobacco, cedar and a dry, almost amaro, finish. Open this bottle with pâté or gamey meats.

2013 A.A. Badenhorst "Secateurs" Chenin Blanc Swartland
Review Date: 7-5-2014
Year after year, The Badenhorst Family consistently makes quality value wines, the 2013 vintage might be the most impressive yet. A bit reminiscent of Chenin Blanc from Vouvray, this Chenin expresses aromas of honey, nuts, aloe and lemon grass. Flavors of stone fruits dominate the palate, with apple, pear, and nectarine while great minerality and acidity form a great structured, well balanced and extremely quaffable wine.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Oakridge Local Vineyard Series "Guerin Vineyard" Chardonnay Yarra Valley
Review Date: 7-3-2014
Easily one of the best Australian Chards I’ve had in a while. Done in more of an old world style, the Guerin develops a slightly flinty, almondy nose with hints of fresh lemon peel. The palate explodes with high acidity, a bit of a petrol quality and citrus fruits such as lemon, clementine, and orange peel. This certainly exceeds expectations.

2011 Domaine du Pégaü "Cuvée Réservée" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 7-3-2014
This Châteauneuf is a baby, yet has developed some sophisticated characteristics in its short life. On the nose you get whiffs of freshly seared mushrooms, green vegetables, and tomato. Across the palate, flavors of dark plums, anise and chocolate, while sweet tomato, green pepper, tobacco and other tertiary flavors have begun to develop. Buy one to drink now and at least one to cellar; tracking this wine's progress will be a delicious and rewarding task.

2012 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 7-3-2014
Cherry, spice and everything nice! Silky, chocolaty tannins, fruits reminiscent of black cherry, raspberry, plum, and fresh figs. A crowd pleaser for any hearty, robust meal!
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Spellbound California Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 6-19-2014
This very approachable Cabernet shows characteristics of raspberry compote with hints of violet and blueberry. These bold fruit flavors and plush tannins make this Cab a great burger wine. Yeah, a portobello and Swiss burger sounds just right.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2007 Cantina Sociale Copertino Riserva
Review Date: 6-15-2014
Since my first sip of very expensive Copertino years ago, I have been searching for another solid Copertino that I can afford. My search ended a few weeks ago when I drank the Cantina Sociale Copertino. It’s incredible, I can’t believe the value of this wine. Made using the funky grape Negroamaro, this wine is full of earthy-meaty goodness, leather, spice box, plum and figs. Complex, earthy, and robust very reminiscent of my first delicious glass of Copertino.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Domaine Begude Sauvignon Blanc Vin de Pays d'Oc
Review Date: 6-8-2014
While from the south of France, this Sauvignon Blanc is definitely closer to Sancerre in style. Lovely aromas of fresh cut grass, wet stone, melon and peach. A juicy palate of fresh lemon, orange, and nectarine and faint notes of lavender accompany a zippy, dry finish. This wine screams for shellfish!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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