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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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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.
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.
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.
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.
2010 Qupe "Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard" Edna Valley Grenache
Review Date: 3-29-2013
This young vineyard is producing very good quality grenache. Bright, savory, slightly peppery and wonderfully balanced. If you like Grenache that is not in the riper style, then this would be a good one to try.
2005 Bodegas Muga "Prado Enea" Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 1-22-2013
I have fond memories of a 1996 Prado Enea enjoyed around 2005, if memory serves. The wine was delicious, showing everything I love in authentic gran reserva Rioja: intense fruit, spice, fragrant leather, and perhaps most importantly, balanced acidity. This was a wine hitting on all cylinders, both on the nose and the palate, in a way that, to my tastes anyway, only great Burgundy, Barolo, northern Rhone wines -and yes, Rioja - manage. Though the wine was delicious, it clearly was a bit firm yet and had more to say. This 05 Prado Enea reminds me a great deal of that '96. I have no doubt that, tasty as it is now, it will repay patient cellaring.
Michel Loriot "Authentic" Brut Champagne (previously Cuvee Reserve)
Review Date: 8-7-2012
The Loriot cuvee reserve is showing just wonderfully right now. Aromatically, this is definitely on the spicy and appley side of Meunier based champagne, but with a crisp, bright quality (this wine does not go through malolactic). Soft bead, mouthwateringly delicious fruit, great style, what else could you ask for in a Champagne at this price? Without a doubt, this is one of my favorites in the store right now.
Hirsch Straight Bourbon Small Batch Reserve 750ml
Review Date: 7-14-2012
I don't often drink bourbon, but when I do I've definitely got my favorites: Black Maple Hill, Four Roses small batch, Bulleit if I want something light and for the flask. This stuff is killer, though. Rich and spicy, but not at all too sweet and unctuous for my tastes. For the money, this could be the best bourbon I've ever drunk - great stuff!
Collard-Picard "Cuvée Selection" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 3-31-2010
Brioche dough aromas are prominent. Flavors here are delicious: ripe citrus and a hint of orange. Serious champagne, yet great length and a high gulpability quotient. Very good.
Franck Bonville Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 7-6-2009
Very easy to like - soft textured, citrus and cream flavors. Plump, round and delicious. For someone who usually goes for a bit lean and austere, I'm always surprised I like this as much as I do. It's just delicious stuff.
Michel Arnould Verzenay "Reserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 7-6-2009
Very, very good for the money. MIxed wild berry fruit show good richness with terrific cut and focus as well. Did I mention that this is a lot of wine for the money??
Springbank 10 Year Old Campbeltown Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 3-4-2009
If I'm in the mood for a bit of peat, this is one of my favorites. Scottland's oldest independent, continually-operated distillery, Springbank's 10 year is a great balance of judicious peaty smoke, malty, nutty flavors, a hint of sweetness, and an amazing saline tang on the finish, which lingers a while and then seems to dissolve effortlessly. Powerful and elegant, Springbank is a true original, and every bit as elegant as people say it is.
Caveau du Mont July Bugey Cerdon Rosé
Review Date: 4-20-2008
If you love rosé champagne (and who doesn’t), if you enjoy adventurous wine pairings (you know you do) and if you love raspberries (mmm…rasbpberries), then this is your wine. This pink-colored, off-dry (read: slightly sweet) sparkling wine from the Savoie region of Eastern France is made by spontaneous fermentation, otherwise known as methode ancestrale using poulsard and gamay. Enjoy this delicious sparkler as an aperitif, with cheeses, jamon Serrano or even spicier Asian cuisine like Thai or Burmese
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