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Staff Favorites - Joe Manekin
Joe Manekin | Send Email | Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
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)
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2004 Larrivet Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 1-24-2014
Tasted recently, this showed very meaty, with intense dark fruit and loads of structure. The wine seems to have put on weight since the last time I tasted it. If this is an indication of where 2004 vintage Pessac wines, it makes me wish that I had bought a lot more. Lots of BDX, and lots of value, for the money!
2012 Carlos Diaz "Estrela" Ribeira Sacra
Review Date: 1-15-2014
Our first Galician DI is this delicious Ribeira Sacra. What I love about the better red wines from this region (and I would certainly place the Estrela amongst them!) is their freshness, their minerality, medium body and overall balance. While the treacherously steeply sited vineyards, the poor slate soil and the dramatic scenery is eye catching,the most important thing here is the quality of the wines, which is terrific and improving with every vintage.
2010 Bodegas Bilbainas "Viña Zaco" Rioja
Review Date: 1-14-2014
This is a quintessential weeknight red--bright with red cherry fruits, lighter tannins and enough sense of place and interest to hold your attention, though not to the point of distraction while you prep dinner or settle into your pos-work routine. For under $10, this wine'll work!
2011 Tikal "Patriota" Mendoza
Review Date: 1-8-2014
Tikal's Patriota has always been a favorite of many of our customers. Stylistically, I find this wine somewhere between Sean Thackrey's Pleiades and The Prisoner, in that it's got loads of blue and mixed berry fruit, well framed by oak, but with enough freshness and lift from acidity to keep it from going too much to the heavy side. We usually sell this for several dollars more, so for under $17 it's a solid deal to boot.
2008 York Creek "MXB" Spring Mountain District Red Blend
Review Date: 12-11-2013
Fortunately for us and for you all, the goodies from York Creek continue to come our way. This is the most approachable and fruit forward of the wines we've had, but keep in mind that this is still York Creek and of course there is structure and grit and lots of character on display here. For a fuller bodied $16 red, there is very little (if anything?) around that is as delicious and satisfying as the York Creek MXB.
2011 Domaine Gerard Tremblay Chablis "Vieilles Vignes"
Review Date: 11-19-2013
I love young Chablis, and as much as I intended to stash away bottles from the recent great vintages of 2008 and 2010, invariably I am trigger happy and do not cellar nearly as much as I should. In the case of this delicious 2011, I'd be happy to open and drink many bottles without any guilt. While it surely will improve for several years, the price and approachable, friendly nature of the vintage both make this a drinker. Crab - check. Oysters - check. Tremblay Chablis VV - check! Your holiday party is now ready to go.
2011 Bodegas y Viñedos Ponce "La Casilla" Manchuela
Review Date: 11-13-2013
From my earlier minimal experience with Bobal grapes, I was not sold on this grape variety, not until I tasted Juan Antonio Ponce's wines. Boy was I ever wrong about this underrated grape! The 2011 La Casilla is legit, bonafide, purely fruited, seriously structured, complex, delicious yet tightly wound, cellar ready wine, no doubt about it. To use a much over-used expression in the relatively small, insular world of wine email blasts, "Don't sleep." For under $20, this is quite possibly my favorite young red wine of the year.
2011 Suertes del Marqués "7 Fuentes" Valle de Orotava (Tenerife)
Review Date: 11-13-2013
I would be hard pressed to find a Thanksgiving wine as unconventional, as novel, as surprisingly delicious, and yet as suitable at table as the Suertes del Marques 7 Fuentes. Aromas are spicy and floral, with white pepper and complex exotic spices - intriguing yet not so strong that they overpower the beautiful fruit. On the palate, the crisp fruits combine with the aforementioned spicy, floral, spiciness, for a fresh, refreshing mouthful of red wine that I'm predicting will work wonders with the traditional Thanksgiving spread. Light, bright, and quaffable at an honest 13.5% ABV. Canary red for Thanksgiving it is!
2009 Bodegas Muga "Selección Especial" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-1-2013
Keith Mabry and I tasted Muga's current releases on a blustery, mid-March morning, where large, wet snow flurries punctuated the sky and we were reminded of the cold, Atlantic climactic influence on the Rioja town of Haro! To me, this was the most impressive and Rioja affirming line-up of wines we had the opportunity to taste all trip. While a few staunch traditionalists may quibble over Muga's decreasing length of elevage and increasing use of newer oak barrels, we remaining traditionalists will likely recognize how complete, how delicious and reflective of Rioja Alta terroir these wines are. Fans of richer wines will find a lot to like with the plush, spicy blackberry and black cherry flavors, while those who prefer subtlety, nuance, acidity and minerality will also be able to enjoy these now - though probably opting to cellar for another decade or more. If you are a Rioja lover or simply looking for a great red wine to cellar, I would buy as much of this as you can afford.
1991 Cambus 21 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 10-11-2013
Of all the new Signatory casks we recently tasted in the shop, maybe this single grain bottling from Cambus is the most intriguing? It is a singluar expression for whisky geeks, without being too challenging. Like "Dave OG" describes in his notes, I also get the exotic, tropical aromatic nuances in this whisky. It is generous on the palate, without any of the herbal or medicinal notes which single grain whisky occasionally shows. Awesome stuff.
2005 Island Distillery 7 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Exclusive Malts" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 10-9-2013
Peat, honey and a wonderful grainy quality to the aromas(brought out with a few drops of water)lead to similar flavors. Given the strength, this is a whisky with terrific balance and tasty sweet/savory flavors of Carr's wheat biscuits or even a less sweet honeynut Cheerios. Great stuff for the price; I'm definitely buying some!
2011 Beso de Vino Garnacha Cariñena
Review Date: 9-25-2013
The lip-smacking berry fruit of this Garnacha makes it as delicious for a pre-dinner copa de vino as it would be for a casual dinner of pasta with sauteed vegetables. Supple, roundly textured and very pure fruited, Beso de Vino is a "kiss of wine," indeed!
2010 Finca El Encinal Crianza Ribera del Duero
Review Date: 9-11-2013
Admittedly, it was Patricio Tapas' highly complimentary review that brought my attention to this wine. Once the wine was in the glass, though, I could tell that this wine had a clear sense of place. The dark fruits, subtle hints of licorice, lightly toasted bread and spice notes all spoke of a traditionally made Ribera del Duero. For anyone who is a fan of wines such as Pesquera, Condado de Haza, Federico, et al, this would be a wine well worth checking out! It should also make for a solid cellar candidate, with at least 7-8 years of positive development ahead of it. Not so bad for a $15 bottle!
Campeòn K&L Exclusive Blanco Tequila 750ml
Review Date: 8-30-2013
I do not drink tequila often, but when I do, I prefer Campeon K&L Exclusive Blanco. Seriously, though, you don't need to be the most interesting man in the world to appreciate this tequila's spicy, agave character. It's crisp, very pure and clean tasting, and at under $30 this is definitely up there amongst the best values in the spirits department right now.
2005 Heras Cordon Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 8-9-2013
This is a lovely, softly textured, classic, fruit forward Rioja that is beginning to show a hint of the savor which we love in this region. To benchmark it, we recently had it open alongside another 2005, the traditional stalwart and one of our favorites, La Rioja Alta Viña Arana. I think that this more than held its own, perhaps showing less spicy intrigue and classic American oak flavors, but definitely exhibiting a similar effortless balance and comparable length on the palate. Very good stuff for now or over the next several years.
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