Staff Favorites - Joe Manekin

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 (, and writing for his wine, food and music blog, Old world Old School (


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1973 Bodegas Olarra Cerro Añon Crianza Rioja (slightly torn labels, some corroded capsules)
Review Date: 11-19-2013
A delicious, fully mature bottle of Rioja, it is hard to believe that this was produced and bottled as "crianza" instead of the more serious "reserva" or "gran reserva" label. Maybe there was a mix-up at the winery? At any rate, this '73 shows a beautiful contrast between mature, tasty fruit and haunting, evolved, earthy, downright aged Pinot Noir-ish character. Attention all seekers of 1973 vintage wine: this should be at the top of your list.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart RP 92 BC 0

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.

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!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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!
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart ST 90 BC 0

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!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart W&S 94 BC 0

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.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart RP 92 BC 0

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.

La Guita Manzanilla Sanlucar de Barrameda
Review Date: 7-4-2013
This is not white wine. It's as refreshing, more complex, and has a far more storied past than nearly any white wine I can think of. The wine is Manzanilla, the lightly fortified white wine aged for several years in old oak casks in the seaside town of Sanlucar de Barrameda. Bright, appley, with notes of sea spray and subtle suggestions of almonds, Manzanilla offers quintessential summer drinking, whether it is as an aperitive with snacks, to accompany cheese and charcuterie, or to pair with your favorite grilled, fried or cured seafoods. Give this a try and see what all the renewed interest in Manzanilla and Fino Sherry is all about!

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.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart RP 96 BC 0

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!
Price: $172.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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