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Staff Favorites - Sal Rodriguez
2013 Ancient Peaks/K&L Wine Merchants Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-2-2014
This is seductive Cab. I am taken with the lush fruit and hints of herb on the nose. The fruit on the palate is obvious dark fruit with blueberry, and a little graphite on the finish. The tannins are noticeable yet soft and approachable. Although it doesn’t have some of the “power” that some of the big boys have, that’s exactly what makes this cab great--it’s inexpensive and it’s drinking lovely right now!
2012 Ponzi "Tavola" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 9-26-2014
One of the prettiest wines in all of Oregon! We got to taste this wine in the winery and visit their new facility and I'm excited about what Luisa and Maria are accomplishing! This particular wine has such rich round fruit, and lovely flowers on the first inhale! On the palate is a rich, ripe, succulent fruit with just a hint of herbal undertones. The finish comes off without a hitch and extends long and focused with a subtle spice to it. A lovely effort, and a killer value all wrapped up in one delicious package.
2011 Black Quail "Estate" Pinot Noir Bannockburn Central Otago
Review Date: 9-21-2014
Wow! Drink like you’re royalty! Wasn’t quite sure what I expected but this… this is like velvet slippers for your mouth! Dried flowers, perfume, and fruit lift plentifully out of the glass with just the slightest hint of forest floor. The palate is full of dark fruit offset perfectly by a hint of black pepper and finishes rather elegantly with lively fruit and lovely spices. There’s a new region on my radar for exciting, pure, poised Pinot Noir!
2005 Bodegas Franco Españolas "Rioja Bordón" Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 9-5-2014
This is what I love about Spain! Great values, great wineries, and great wines! This gran reserva has a lovely nose of fruit, has the right amount of fruit and savoriness on the palate, and is rounded off by just the right amount of tannin and acid. This is perfect for drinking right now, and by all means, feel free to hold some for later (if you can).
2012 Eyrie Vineyards "Estate Grown" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 8-29-2014
Eyrie Vineyards was a real highlight for me on a recent trip to Oregon. I got to meet the mild mannered, kind, sincere Jason Lett. He's got lots of class and makes very classy wine. It's completely impressive what he's doing in the vineyard and with the wines. The 2012 Estate Pinot was one of our favorite wines on the trip. It's approachable, delicious, full of life and dark fruit. On the palate, it has a supple, smooth texture and is truly delectable. I expect this to only become more delicious and balanced over time. So, while it's wonderfully drinkable now, I can't wait to try this in another couple of years!
2010 Mount Langi Ghiran "Billi Billi" Shiraz Grampians Victoria
Review Date: 8-21-2014
This big, rich, bold Shiraz over-delivers on every level! This beauty has wonderful dark fruits, a touch of spice and lively acidity. With such a smooth, satin textured finish, it's going to be easy to drink an entire bottle alone. If you're going to spend less than 15 dollars on a red wine to drink tonight, this should be on your list of contenders!
2013 Spring Vale Estate "Melrose Vineyard" Pinot Noir Tasmania
Review Date: 8-19-2014
What a value!! The nose here has the lovely bright lifted fruit aroma I expect from a youthful new-age Pinot, while on the palate, a delicious crunchy fruit abounds. This wine is as easy sipping as they come. Three cheers for Tasmania!!!
2011 Framingham "Classic" Riesling Marlborough
Review Date: 8-19-2014
Classic is right in the name. This is the complete Riesling! It's got the typical nose that belies its tasty, youthful profile. It has the fruit - but not too much. It has the acidity - but not too much. It has the sweetness - but it's not too much. In a word - balance! I've had the chance to taste some very tasty Rieslings from some of the best growers, and this bottle is making me reconsider how much a delicious Riesling has to cost. I don't expect this to last long!
2012 Bodegas Castano "Solanera Vinas Viejas" Yecla
Review Date: 7-10-2014
The Bodegas Castano Solanera V.V. completely over-delivers! This 2012 delivers a crisp nose of crunchy berries, dried flowers and fresh pepper. On the palate, purple and tart, dark red fruits are noticeable with a nice hint of toasted oak. Aging in American and French oak really adds a depth to this bright, fresh wine, leaving a lovely satin mouthfeel. The finish continues with herbal, eucalyptus, and blueberry flavors. Get a few bottles now. If you wait, you might miss out!
Sherman & Hooker's Shebang! "Seventh Cuvée" Red Blend
Review Date: 7-10-2014
Big. Bold. Bright. Delicious. This version of the Shebang offers aromatic black cherry, cedar, and dark chocolate on the nose. There’s spicy rich fruit, with cassis and herb on the palate. This has a nice satin, lingering, herbal finish and is an incredible value! You can’t afford not to get a case!
2011 Maison Ambroise Bourgogne Rouge
Review Date: 5-22-2014
This has a lovely, lifted nose of "crunchy" red fruit. A delicious, medium bodied, fruit and black pepper on the palate. It offers a medium length black cherry and herb note on the finish. It's hard not to love this delicious Pinot. At this price, it is a solid value red wine to have around the house.
Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Gin 375ml
Review Date: 5-2-2014
I can’t really say I am a “gin” person (whatever that means), but I know what I like when I taste it. This is it! This is what I like! I tried it ‘neat’ and really under-estimated what this little bottle was capable of. Let’s start out with pretty flowers and juniper popping out of the glass! Another whiff and I was hit with jasmine blossom and orange peel! I didn’t have to take a sip to know that I was going to be taking some of this home. I took a little sip anyhow, and some of the loveliest spices, pepper, and juniper just washed over my tongue and filled my mouth. As I try to convey into words, what this gin tastes like, it is selling out from under us! Yes, the bottle is a little expensive, but once you get the bottle home and into your glass, it’ll all make perfect sense.
2012 Rancho Zabaco "Heritage Vines" Sonoma County Zinfandel
Review Date: 1-14-2014
This savory, fruity and bright Zin starts with a sumptuous nose of ripe fruit and dried flowers. On the palate it delivers delicious fruit with the typical peppery notes. The earthiness and lively acidity help to make this Zin quite balanced and it ends with a velvety richness that I don't often associate with Zin, and definitely is not typical of the varietal at this price. Pick up a few bottles soon, as I'm sure this won't stick around for long.