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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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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.
2011 Tilia Torrontes
Review Date: 8-6-2013
Torrontes is one of those grapes that makes unique, one-of-a-kind wines that are very easily identifiable, even by a novice. Ripe, rounded, yellow fruit flavors combine here with torrontes' typical fennel pollen aromatics to produce a lovely sipper, a white that is not particularly high in acidity but lovely and slightly floral, with juicy fruit that refreshes the palate and plays well on its own or with any South American inspired seafood dish. Ingredients that are typically tough on wine, such as herbs like tarragon and cilantro, and even dishes containing fresh fruit, often work particularly well with Torrontes. This is a versatile, delicious change of pace from other less aromatic summer whites.
Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-2-2013
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!)
2009 Maurodos "San Roman" Toro
Review Date: 7-4-2013
San Roman is made by Eduardo Garcia, son of former Vega Sicilia winemaking legend Mariano Garcia. One of Vega Sicilia's hallmarks is the elegance of fruit and deft use of elevage, or oak ageing, to create one of the world's great wines. Clearly, Eduardo picked up some secrets from his old man, as San Roman is one of the most beautiful, aromatic, bright and age-worthy of Spain's fuller bodied Toro wines. In fact, it is more complex, balanced and elegant than most of the wines in the nearby, more highly regarded Ribera del Duero. This is incredible wine that not only impresses those who love rich, full bodied blockbusters, but also those who usually do not think much of these. I'd be hard pressed to think of a better $50 wine, with as broad a range of appeal, as the Maurodos San Roman.
2010 La Posta "Paulucci Vineyard" Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 6-19-2013
La Posta has been an excellent source for single vineyard Malbecs over the years. This bottling shows all the dark cherry and plum fruit you expect in a Malbec, with the added acidity and vibrancy only shown by the best versions of this grape variety. Bring on the BBQ!
Mackinlay's "The Enduring Spirit" Rare Old Highland Blended Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 6-8-2013
This is my kind of aged Scotch. Lightly smoky on the nose, think lovely, judiciously peated Highland smoke as opposed to the more forceful campfire or iodine driven smoke of an Islay single malt. After opening up, there are more sweet, vanilla cream type aromatics which lead to an effortlessly balanced, soft and sweet yet, again, subtley smoky and savory profile. Something about this whisky reminds me of old leather bound books, an historic office or library, a gentle yet rugged older grandfather type - these are what come to mind when I taste this edition of the Mackinlay. There is more than just a story to this whisky, and I strongly recommend you check it out for yourself!
2012 Te Mata Gamay Noir Hawkes Bay New Zealand
Review Date: 5-30-2013
Gamay from Hawkes Bay? Absolutely. Compare this with good quality cru Beaujolais around the same price and I think it will quickly earn your respect. This wine has a similarly crunchy red fruited aspect, with wonderful minerality as well. Highly recommended.
2010 Fromm "La Strada" Syrah Marlborough New Zealand
Review Date: 5-30-2013
Plump mixed berry aromas, juicy blueberry fruit,very pure tasting. This is a tasty counterpoint to the spicier, slightly leaner and more restrained NZ Syrah from TWR.
2010 Te Whare Ra (TWR) Syrah Marlborough New Zealand
Review Date: 5-30-2013
A serious Syrah, this release of the TWR is very spicy, full of mixed peppercorns and purple fruit. Hints of green cardamom as well which bringsthe northern Rhone to mind. Very good style Syrah, slightly reserved and decidedly not a richer, jammier take on this grape variety.
2012 Zudugarai "Amats" Getariako Txakolina
Review Date: 5-9-2013
Do you love unoaked, dry white wines? This is textbook, deliciously crisp, slightly fizzy, bone dry txakoli! One of my favorite wines to drink in summer, I have in the past always been happy to pay the piper for these delicious, mineral, yet ultimately uncomplicated and refreshing whites. Now that we import this one directly though, I think I've found a new go to summer white (though I'm sure I'll be drinking this in the winter as well, with oysters, dungeness crab, pan fried trout...). A by the case purchase for me and probably for staff as well; buy some before we drink it all.
2010 Finca Decero "Remolinos Vineyard" Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza
Review Date: 5-7-2013
Finca Decero is a relatively new project, but one that has already earned some glowing press, including the aforementioned review from Neal Martin as well as some praise from Jancis Robinson. This cab is both polished and fruity, yet balanced and true to the grape variety as well. A subtle, appealing leafy note weaves its way between layers of red and dark cherry fruit, baking spices and well integrated oak. While this may seem like cliché at this point for top quality cab producers outside of Napa, it bears repeating here: you will not find a Cab nearly as good as the Finca Decero at this price in Napa!
2004 Bodegas Fernandez "Escudo de Plata" Gran Reserva Jumilla
Review Date: 4-24-2013
If you are a fan of old school, long aged Rioja, old school southern Rhone wines, old school, slightly more rustic 1990's era Spanish reds...then may I humbly suggest this 100% Monastrell (Mourvedre)? The Escudo de Plata is a delicious wine that offers an incredible balance of generous fruit, intensity of flavor without excessive heaviness,and nice developed complexity from long barrel and bottle ageing. This is true Monastrell, unmistakably Spanish and simply one of the better values in mature red wine we're likely to find this year. Don't miss out!
2012 Claiborne & Churchill Central Coast Pinot Gris
Review Date: 3-29-2013
This is a wonderful Pinot Gris, one of the best I've had in quite some time. Bright fruit combines with a fairly rich texture and very persistent flavors to make this wine one that should appeal to many different palates. Delicious and very fairly priced for the quality.
2007 Antaño Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 3-27-2013
Interested in a traditional, reserva level Rioja for a song? If so, then we've got something for you. Full of savory notes (braised meat, agridulce pimenton and herbs) balanced by bass toned fruit all wrapped in a classically velvety, very Rioja texture, this is a wine to enjoy with food, and one that you could not mistake for anything other than Rioja.
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