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Staff Favorites - Greg St. Clair
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2011 Domaine Ballorin & F Marsannay "Clos du Roy"
Review Date: 1-16-2014
I was really stunned at the quality level of this wine, and not that it is a big, structured, powerful wine, but because it is pure; no forced aromatics or flavors. Texturally pleasing at the moment with a super supple (for Burgundy) mouthfeel, truly ethereal aromatics and no sweetness. I just made sure I bought my bottles before I posted this review--this wine should already be sold out; it way outperforms its price point!
Drink from 2014 to 2018
Fuenteseca Reserva K&L Exclusive Extra Ańejo Tequila 750ml
Review Date: 12-6-2013
This is something new, something that you may not be ready for, I wasn't. I've tasted a lot of high end Tequila and I've always liked Jimmy Buffet and Sammy Hagar as singers or Justin Timberlake as an actor, but I've never been enchanted with the smell of new oak unless it is in a piece of furniture and I've heard people use the word smooth so many times that I think they must have been raised on Jello or have no teeth. Tequila for me has always lacked that one extra…je ne sais quoi… that great Cognac, Armagnac and Single Malt whisky seem to have in their back pockets, but after tasting this Tequila it is obvious what they’ve been missing.... age. This unbelievably delicious spirit has taken Tequila to a new level, this is creating a new category of spirits that hasn’t existed before...and it is worth the price.
Drink from 2013 to 2020
2011 Sesta di Sopra Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 12-1-2013
This Sangiovese has both the weight and aromatic depth of Brunello. The aromas of this wine are impressive, wild cherry and plum mixed with Tuscan earth, saddle leather, middle eastern spice the fill your glass. On the palate it is powerful yet supple on the palate, the flavors echo the aromatics with more spice and leather. A long finish that shows layers of wild cherry and ripe plum all harnessed in the finish with a bit of fresh leather. Rack of Lamb, grilled rib eye or a big hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano.
Drink from 2013 to 2021
2009 Damilano "Lecinquevigne" Barolo
Review Date: 11-14-2013
Well you don't find many Barolo in this price range but this is really a steal. This classic styled Barolo has wonderful rose accented fruit up front, great balance on the palate with hints of leather and porcini and a long distinctive finish. The wine is aged 80% in big Slavonian Oak barrels and 20% in used barrique, the vineyards used for this wine are from 30-50 years old and it is best served at 60 degrees. I love this wine with braised Lamb or Veal shank or even Pot Roast accompanied with a bit of risotto!
Drink from 2013 to 2025
2008 Baricci Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 11-4-2013
Consistently one of my favorite wines from Montalcino, Baricci's vineyards on the southeast corner of the Montosoli hill always express a supple elegance that is layered with a sweet,earthy expression backed up by layers of wild cherry like fruit flavors. Eminently drinkable but also capable of aging their wines are so graceful, never overbearing and are the perfect food wines, always adding to the experience. Nello Baricci was one of the founding members of the Brunello Consortium and today his grandson Federico is carrying on the tradition. No extravagant winemaking, no barrique just a purity that is difficult to find in today's winemaking. Trust me,this is really good wine and you need to experience it!
Drink from 2013 to 2023
2011 Cantina Terlan "Vorberg" Pinot Bianco Riserva
Review Date: 10-24-2013
2011 is an excellent follow up to the superb 2010 Vorberg, this vintage the fruit is a little more up front but it still has that incredible layering of minerals and the classic salty finish. The wine is unctuous yet has such vibrant energy that the balance is truly superb. Capable of lasting for another decade or two you won't be able to wait because it tastes so good now!
Drink from 2013 to 2030
2012 Calcagno Carricante Sicilia
Review Date: 10-23-2013
I love the wines from Etna and I find Carricante to be the perfect grape to show off the minerality of this incredible growing zone. The volcanic soil adds a crunchy texture that along with the acidity makes this wine vibrant. You might think with that description that this wine is lean and tart, not at all it is full bodied almost voluptuous but with that structure the wine is extraordinarily well balanced. Fermented and aged in stainless steel so you just get the purity of the grape and the soil, tremendous wine.
Drink from 2013 to 2017
2011 Mustilli Fiano Sannio
Review Date: 7-30-2013
Classic is my first note on this wine, and for Fiano that means honey like aromatics on the nose but this wine goes even further with an added beeswax component as well. Full and fleshy on the palate as the layers of complexity emerge and balanced by good acidity. Very impressive wine!
Drink from 2013 to 2017
2008 Caiarossa "Pergolaia" Toscana
Review Date: 4-18-2013
I often fear "Super Tuscan" blends of Sangiovese with Bordeaux varietals, so often the Sangiovese is poorly grown and suffers at the hand of the more powerful Bordeaux varietals even in small amounts. Segue to the “new” owner (since 2004) Eric Albada Jelgersma a Dutch Businessman who also owns Château Giscours and Château du Tertre in Margaux in Bordeaux and insert a very young French winemaker for his first venture in Tuscany… I cringed… However at the first whiff of aromas I knew that this wine is truly astounding. The blend is Sangiovese (85%), Merlot (10%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (2%) a “classic” Super Tuscan blend and hails from the Tuscan coast in the town of Riparbella near Bolgheri. The Sangiovese is brilliant, long, aromatic, complex fruit with layers of ripeness, earth, spice and hints of leather coupled with subtle hints herb and spice from the Cab Franc, supple mid palate from the Merlot and a bit of back end power from the Cabernet Sauvignon. All of this is aligned along a perfectly balanced central acidity that gives a long, long finish to this wine. Outstanding value, wonderfully drinking now and will age well for another 5-7 years.
Drink from 2013 to 2020
Canard-Duchęne "Authentic" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 3-26-2013
Rich, complex, with great central focus, a hint of biscuity aromatic, supple on the palate at this price an outrageous steal!
Drink from 2013 to 2015
San Venanzio Prosecco Brut
Review Date: 12-29-2012
Prosecco at this price rarely has much distinctive character but San Venanzio's Brut is something different. This is one of our Direct Imports hence the low price but quality is superb. The wine comes from Valdobbiadene, the heart of the classic Prosecco DOCG, and has a mineral driven, saline focus to it that is super clean, bright and distinctive finish. Only 11.5% ABV these bubbles are fresh and lively and perfect as an aperitivo or with some fresh Dungeness Crab.
Drink from 2012 to 2014
2007 Baricci Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 10-3-2012
One of my personal favorite wines from Montalcino, Baricci's shows an admirable elegance for a powerful, structured and long lived wine. Its superb position on the Montosoli hill allows its character to shine through without being overly extracted and that hint of earthy complexity combined with the bold fruit and richness of the 2007 vintage makes this wine Truly memorable. Drink one now and then trust me put some away for a decade and you'll be blown away!
Drink from 2012 to 2025
Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth 1L
Review Date: 7-9-2009
If you have never tasted this product you must. If you think you know what vermouth is think again; this will absolutely blow you away. Inordiately complex, so full of spice, balanced...it is really good. Try it on the rocks with a twist and a splash, straight up or in a Manhattan.
Drink from 2009 to 2059
Blason Isonzo Bianco (3L Bag-in-aBox) (cannot ship)
Review Date: 8-12-2008
While visiting Giovanni Blason in February we spied some odd boxes stacked in a corner. I asked Giovanni, “What the hell are these?” He responded, “You won’t want any of those; you Americans like bottles.” I responded, “On the contrary we Americans like bargains, how much is that 3-liter box.” An answer, some brief calculations on my part and I said, “Okay, we’ll take 'em"! $19.99 for 3 liters (that's four 750ml bottles). The winery can’t label it Pinot Bianco due to existing DOC regulations, but it is 100% Pinot Bianco. Crisp, clean, refreshing with a elegant fruitiness, touch of tarragon and a hint of mineral. If you don't want to do the math that’s $5 a bottle! Giovanni tells me it lasts for more than 3 months in the refrigerator, I told him that couldn’t happen in mine!
Drink from 2008 to 2009
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