Staff Favorites - Joe Manekin

Joe Manekin
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Joe arrived at our doors in February 2007 from far away, Washington, DC to be exact. Just so no one gets the wrong idea, though, he was merely earning a living in DC; Joe’s cultural identity, as well as his professional sports allegiances and, when he has a few drinks in him, his accent, are all Baltimore through and through. After working on the wholesale side of the business for nearly 4 years, Joe decided that he wanted to work wine retail with the best, so he emailed Cindy Westby at K&L and the rest is history. While Joe is well versed in a number of wine regions, he most enjoys the wines of Europe, though he is growing increasingly interested in the great wines of the Santa Cruz mountains. When he is not at K&L, Joe enjoys cooking, traveling, catching up on The Wire, doing occasional PR, booking and recording work for reggae band JohnStone (www.johnstonemusic.com), and writing for his wine, food and music blog, Old world Old School (www.oldworldoldschool.blogspot.com)


Reviews

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2006 Miguel Merino "Vitola" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 8-6-2014
Though he is no pilot, I often hear our friend, gifted winery director and noted Rioja Raconteur, Miguel Merino speak of "cruise altitude" in his Riojas. What Miguel means is the moment at which point a wine starts developing real interest and a keen sense of balance between fruit, tannins and complex flavor development. This 2006 Vitola, to throw some Spanglish your way, está en plena "cruise altitude!" Awesome wine; I suggest you try some.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Churchill's "Estates" Douro
Review Date: 8-6-2014
While many of the top, legendary 2011 vintage ports are beginning to disappear, we are continuing to see a deluge of excellent, top quality dry Douro reds. Given the terrific quality of the 2011 Port vintage (literally a once in a generation type of vintage) in this region, there is no reason not to dip your toes into the dry red wines from the same year; you will not be disappointed. Tasting this wine next to the 2010 vintage was very instructive: while the 2010 is a solid wine, 2011 has so much more intensity, volume, and length. It's a textbook Douro red from a great vintage, a wine that is impressive now and should cellar well in the mid term as well. There is no better vintage than 2011 to check out the unique dry red wines from the Douro.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart WS 93 BC 0

2012 Tikal "Jubilo" Mendoza
Review Date: 8-6-2014
As with all things chez Tikal, this is a bigger, powerful wine. Smoky/savory oak aromas show mocha and some dark caramel, with the fruit lying in the background, but on the palate...different story. Chunky red and dark plum fruits show drier than what the nose suggests. Clearly there is good quality fruit used here, no surprise given that a Catena (Ernesto) is involved! Definitely a solid fuller bodied wine for your next cookout or grilled steak.

Bruno Michel Premier Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 8-6-2014
This Champagne is from a site that is so cold, it typically has searingly high acidity (always in balance with the fruit in my opinion) which makes it one I love but that I recommend judiciously, only to those who love acidity as much as I do. I say "typically," though, because our most recent bottling is based on a warmer vintage, and combined with the colder vineyard site, this becomes a richer, yet still bright and vibrant Blanc de Blancs to recommend to many more people. This is always one of my favorite expressions of Chardonnay on our shelves.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-6-2014
UPDATE... This recent batch, based on the 2006 vintage, with an incredible 6 years of time on the lees (good luck finding another Champagne for this price with as much lees ageing and overall balance), is damn good. As always the nose is bright, pure and friendly, inviting. On the palate there fruit is bigger and spicier than I recall, but still balanced by fresh acidity due to Bruno Michel's cooler vineyard sites. I have a review from a previous disgorgement below for some context: This is arguably, pound for pound, dollar for dollar, the most versatile and satisfying Champagne in the store. So bright tasting, with good minerality and delicious, juicy fruit. A colleague put it well when she called this champagne "friendly." I completely agree. It is indeed friendly, without sacrificing originality or wine geek appeal. One to always have on hand around the house (especially if you're inviting me over!)
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Can Mayol Loxarel "999" Cava Brut Rosé Penedes
Review Date: 7-16-2014
This is our go to household pink bubbly. It is unapologetically dry, yet so flavorful, explosive and authoritative on the palate, that it is hard to believe we are dealing with under $15 bubbles here. Tangy red fruits, perhaps a suggestion of hibiscus, combine with a nice bead and pleasing texture to make this such a great sparkling wine for the money. As this is a DI, I have been to the property, seen the care with which these vines are grown and the wine is made, and can only say that all of the Loxarel wines, including this one, have my highest recommendation.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart W&S 91 BC 0

2011 Fillaboa "Finca Monte Alto" Albariño Rias Baixas
Review Date: 7-16-2014
Albariño has transformed itself into Spain's most popular, serious white wine export because of wines like this. This single vineyard bottling from Fillaboa has delicious fruit, marked minerality, and more than a nod to the saltwater inlets (or "Rias") that shape coastal Galicia. Drink this wine with clams steamed in wine and garlic, whole grilled fish, or any fresh seafood you can get your hands on. I can assure you that it will be a food and wine pairing you'll come back to time and time again.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart W&S 94 BC 0

2009 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 7-15-2014
La Fortuna is a rock solid, consistent producer of Brunello. If you've liked their stuff in the past, there is no reason not to continue to enjoy their output. Their 09 Brunello is still primarily red fruited, high toned, fresh, persistent yet relatively light on its feet for the region, and as always highlighted by an appealing minerality. For anyone looking to drink their Brunello on the younger side, this is definitely one of the ones I would steer you towards. That said...do not be afraid to lay off this wine for a little while; it will definitely improve!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2008 Poggiarellino Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 7-15-2014
For me, the wine of the tasting in our recent Italian line-up. Very nicely perfumed, with macerated dark cherries dominating and multiple layers of fragrance and balanced flavors on the palate. As 2008 is not a press love fest of a vintage, nor is Baricci a household name for Brunello, this beauty can be had for under $30, which undoubtedly makes it one of the best red wine deals in the store right now.

2013 Corte Gardoni Bardolino Chiaretto Rosato
Review Date: 7-15-2014
Light, juicy, playful rosato, this is definitely one to gulp down this summer while working the grill, snacking on cheese, pruning your tomatoes, etc. A thirst quenching rosé that is priced for regular enjoyment.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Tintero "Grangia" Bianco
Review Date: 7-15-2014
Sort of a Vinho Verde by way of Italia, this is delicious, dry, citric, lightly fizzy white. Fresh and party ready....
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Baricci Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 7-15-2014
Year in, year out, Baricci is a staff favorite and go to recommendation for most of us. In a vintage like 2009, where the wines are relatively forward and supple, Baricci manages to thread the needle between immediate deliciousness and classic structure for mid-term cellaring. Given this wine's wonderful aromatics, with beautiful dark cherries and scruffy herbs, as well as its effortless balance, I think the 09 Baricci will drink well near term and perhaps surprise those who strictly adhere to vintage charts with its ability to improve in bottle.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart ST 91 BC 0

2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Riesling "D" Marlborough
Review Date: 7-10-2014
As an unabashed fan of Riesling, and a very occasional drinker of Sauvignon Blanc (no disrespect to all you SB fans out there, it's just typically not my thing) I would like to encourage you to try something new. Step outside your comfort zone, and live dangerously! Well, not too dangerously, since you probably already know and love TWR's Sauvignon Blanc, possibly their Pinot Noir as well. Their Riesling "D" has beautifully focused citric flavors, with a soft texture and lots of length. Try this dry Riesling; you may find that you have a new favorite.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart JS 93 BC 0

2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 7-10-2014
Most any Pinot Noir fan will find something to like in this extremely well crafted bottling: juicy yet crisp fruits that fall somewhere in the middle of the red to dark spectrum, lovely floral inner mouth aromas, and balanced tannins that frame the wine and should give it enough structure to handle lamb chops equally well as a healthy slab of grilled Alaskan salmon (it is July, after all!)
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Bodegas Castano "Solanera Vinas Viejas" Yecla
Review Date: 7-10-2014
I'm getting the sense that, the more I taste of 2012 vintage wines from the Mediterranean portion of Spain, the more there is to like: all the usual intensity in flavors, but with the added bonus of extra freshness and structure. Solanera, for example, is usually a well made wine, with generous dark fruit and a flavor profile that suggests a good value red. In 2012 it is that plus more transparent minerality, a chalky and saline character mark this wine as it would a Bandol, or a Faugeres. While you won't confuse this wine for a Pradeaux, Tempier, or Barral you will pay less than one-third the price, with the added bonus of being able to enjoy it young! Recommended.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart RP 94 BC 0

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