Staff Favorites - Greg St. Clair

Greg St. Clair
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Reviews

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2007 Igino Accordini "Le Bessole" Amarone
Review Date: 3-19-2014
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This Amarone is really very well structured and isn't cloying, raisiny or overripe at all, a problem that I have with a fair amount of Amarone. No, this wine has more structure, balance and yes, it is Amarone with that characteristic ripeness--but it has so much more balance that I was really stunned. A complex blend of spicy fruit flavors, supple chocolaty richness in the mouth and a convincingly dry and long finish.
Drink from 2014 to 2022
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart WE 92 BC 0

2012 Blason Malvasia Friuli-Venezia-Giulia
Review Date: 3-19-2014
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I just love this wine, yet it is so hard to sell. Once people see Malvasia on the label everyone thinks it is sweet and flowery....sort of Moscato-ish. Nothing could be further from the truth! This is Malvasia Istriana, not Malvasia Bianca, and it is an incredible grape variety. The wine has haunting aromatics of white flower and a tangy, spiced citrus hint in the nose; on the palate the wine is rich yet extraordinarily well balanced; it has super acidity and a salty tang that generates a salivary response that makes you reach for the glass or for a fork. Incredibly well priced, a superb deal.
Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart GR 2 BC 0

2012 Ermacora Ribolla Gialla Colli Orientali del Friuli
Review Date: 3-19-2014
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Yellow Ribolla, yes Gialla in Italian means yellow, is a very acidic grape by nature but the 2012 vintage allows so much more of this wine to come out where it blossoms into quasi richness. Delicate pear aromatics, palate weight and and extraordinary persistence highlight this brilliant white wine. I'd pair it with a seafood pasta sprinkled with freshly chopped basil or parsley, NO CHEESE.....
Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart GR 1 BC 0

2012 Ermacora Friulano Colli Orientali del Friuli
Review Date: 3-19-2014
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2012 is an outstanding vintage in Friuli for whites and this year Ermacora's Friulano is really great. Friulano is always a little fuller on the palate than some of the other local varieties but in this vintage that richness is superbly balanced, has great length and shows hints of tarragon. It is perfect for cock-tailing or with fuller fish or chicken dishes. No oak, only stainless steel aging leaving the wine fresh and fragrant.
Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart GR 2 BC 0

2012 Giuliano "Terre di Chieti" Pecorino
Review Date: 3-18-2014
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This wine has an exotic nose that just flows out of your glass, full of wild flowers, honey, middle-eastern spice and just a tang of the sea. On the palate the wine has density and richness with deep, saturated flavors and it has an almost oily richness to it but is highlighted by a vibrant central acidity containing glints of mineral that stretch the finish on and on. I sat with a bottle of this contemplating the variety, its density, aromatics, yet striking focus and looked for some comparison to other grape varieties. Unfortunately it is something one has to explain for Italy with so many weird names and unpronounceable words people just generally want me to say it’s “more like a Cabernet, or more like a Sauvignon Blanc” it simplifies the learning curve. So with this grape it finally came to me! This is “like” French Viognier, it has the aromatics, body, density and they usually have an oily richness to them. Most food and wine pairings couple American Viognier with Asian dishes, while they have the aromatics and density they lack the central focus, hence the peanut sauce and curry matchings, sort of a drier less flowery version of the Gewurztraminer/Riesling category. I think the wine has more character and needs, Sea Bass, Lobster or maybe even some Tuna Sashimi.
Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart GR 2 BC 0

2008 Gusbourne Estate Brut Reserve, Kent, England
Review Date: 3-12-2014
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Well, this is an unexpected idea to be reviewing an English sparkling wine, I was one of the nay-sayers before I actually tried them...Wow, very surprised by the quality, complexity and balance. So once I was surprised I did a little more investigation and found this had 4 years on the lees, and that's where the very brioche like toastiness comes from. The grapes (thank you Global Warming) are grown at almost the same latitude and soil types as in Champagne...Why wouldn't they be good! Well this actually is truly an English take on sparkling wine, the flavors just slightly different just like they are here in California, but no doubting the quality. You should give our language challenged neighbors to the East a try!
Drink from 2014 to 2018
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Giusti e Zanza "Perbruno" Syrah Toscana
Review Date: 3-11-2014
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This Tuscan Syrah really grabbed my attention; the wine has incredible concentration (part of the benefit of the outstanding 2010 vintage in Tuscany) but what really turns me on about Syrah is when that power is balanced with great length and acidity. The aromatics are bold complex, dark fruit laden and though for me reminiscent of blackberry I hesitate to use that word because the wine doesn’t have an overtly “fruity” nature to it at all. This wine is about concentrated power, yet faceted, dynamic and layered this wine has it all. The balance is incredible and for me more often than not lack of acidity in Syrah is when I lose interest, but this wine’s balance stretches out the finish to produce an incredible palate impression. Supple and fleshy with tannins in check but still giving structure, the flavors are classic, hints of black pepper, spice, subtle black currant…. this wine is fantastic.
Drink from 2014 to 2025
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart WE 95 BC 0

2010 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva
Review Date: 3-10-2014
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The fabulous 2010 vintage provides another stunning wine. Monsanto was one of my first loves in Italian wine. It is amazing how they have maintained such high quality for so long, without ever changing style. This wine has more richness, a broader fuller feel on the palate than for most of their wines and the aromatics are a lot more open and vibrant but underneath you can feel the classic Monsanto length and depth. So much fruit now but that baby fat will go away in a year or so and then it will age extraordinarily well.
Drink from 2014 to 2025

2009 Tolaini Valdisanti
Review Date: 3-6-2014
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I often hear sales pitches from salesmen that pit the wine in question with some well known favorite that is very expensive. In this case they'll say this 2009 Tolaini Valdisanti is the “Poor Man’s Tignanello.” My guess is that most "rich men" buy low and sell high rather than the converse, and are always ahead of the curve... that’s how they get to be rich! However this 2009 Tolaini Valdisanti (Super Tuscan) is going to make you rich as well. I loved its complex blend of earth, wild herbs and cigar box like aromatics. Then on the palate the 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc cuvee shows lots of power, and although there is solid structure underneath, the wine is supple, excellently balanced and has a lengthy finish. I was really surprised by the quality of this wine and how much I liked the Cabernet-based blend from southeastern Chianti Classico. After tasting, I was ready for a price point that was going to be 2-3 times what this is! This is truly an outstanding deal - drinkable now and will age very well for a decade to come.
Drink from 2014 to 2024
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart RP 94 BC 0

2011 Anima Libera Chianti
Review Date: 3-5-2014
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Anima Libera - Free spirit, that’s the name that Emiliano Falsini chose for his wine label. Emiliano is a consulting enologist, that’s a winemaker for hire, he comes in tells you what to do and moves around a lot, kind of like doing stages in dozens of restaurants. So when he decided to produce his own wine he was looking for something that described him but also his wine, because in his wine he didn’t have to please the winery owner to make a wine taste a certain way he let the wine be what it wanted to be, a Free Spirit, just like him. This Chianti DOCG is textbook perfect, the aromatics of delicate cherry, hints of leather and earth are classic but when it hits your palate it expands with a plumier center adding weight to the naturally acidic Sangiovese and producing a very pleasant mouth feel. A perfect pasta, salumi, roasted chicken or cheese plate wine you’ll free your spirit a bit with it!
Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2008 Musella Amarone della Valpolicella
Review Date: 3-5-2014
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When many of you hear the word Amarone you probably think of a MEGA wine, bursting with raisiny over the top ripe fruit, everything in excess. This wine is VERY different it is so well balanced, so easy to drink and just a delight. The nose is concentrated and full but isn’t monolithic, it doesn’t knock you down in fact it lifts you up. 2008 is a great vintage, a long dry summer allowed perfect ripening and then the grapes were dried until January. Crushed, fermented and then aged for 4 years in 700 to 2000 liter French Allier barrels the wine has ample time to come together and that it has. Very complex fruit in the nose, plums, and wild cherries concentrated but not thick just incredible focus. While the wine has great weight and palate presence its real highlight for me is its extraordinary length, that’s what gives it such incredible lift, lightness and makes it seem so well balanced you won’t even notice the alcohol. I’d have it with braised meats or a big chunk of aged Parmigiano Reggiano.
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $41.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Musella Valpolicella Superiore
Review Date: 3-5-2014
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This wine is so inviting, it has such an exotic yet so delicate of an aromatic pulse, successive waves of candied cherry, plum thoroughly spiced with cinnamon and cardamom. In the mouth it has a delicate, balanced feel yet this is a Superiore version so it has spent one year in used barrique and tonneaux that softens the palate expression and makes it slightly more expansive as the wine finishes with a long and elegant peak.
Drink from 2014 to 2018
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

Club Price: $16.99
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2008 Tenuta Friggiali Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 2-26-2014
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Friggiali's 2008 Brunello shows lots of earth, leather and spice in the nose and on the palate it has a fair amount of tannic structure, but the flavors are balanced and the wine follows through into the finish very well. For those looking for a drinkable Brunello at a BARGAIN price, here's your chance. I'd decant this for an hour or two and then try it with richer pasta dishes or a grilled flank steak.
Drink from 2014 to 2018

2008 Sesta di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 2-26-2014
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Bold, smoldering aromatics of earth, sage and leather highlight the nose, while on the palate the wine has layers of complex earth, stone and plumy notes. This is a supple and richly textured wine that will do well with 2-3 hours in a decanter to open up. I'd pair it with a rosemary draped pork tenderloin or braised meats like a veal shank, or an aged piece of Pecorino Toscano; make sure it is Toscano.
Drink from 2014 to 2020

2008 Poggiarellino Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 2-21-2014
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Anna and Lodovico Ginotti produce a small amount of Brunello yearly at their Agriturismo just north of the town of Montalcino. The 2008 is a classic, the nose is full of wild marasca cherry flavors that combine with subtle expressions of leather and earth on the palate. On the palate the plumy richness of the wine begins to expand and shows you its depth.
Drink from 2014 to 2023

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