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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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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!)
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
2005 La Rioja Alta "Viña Arana" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 3-27-2013
Finally, the most underrated (and at times, my favorite) of the wines at La Rioja Alta is back: the Viña Arana. While folks still can't get enough of the 2001 Viña Ardanza (we get it, we also love this one!) I think that the 2005 Arana is every bit as elegant and classic a Rioja. Less high toned and fruit forward, it shows a slightly darker fruited profile, with a subtle earthy savor, discreet oak and such effortless balance/drinkability on the palate. It's no wonder the team at La Rioja Alta consistently goes for this wine as their house red. Viña Arana is a real treat, particularly with a roast leg of lamb or standing rib roast to accompany it.
2005 Michel Loriot Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-7-2012
Much richer than the non-vintage Loriot cuvee reserve, this almost pushes the limit of my tolerance for richness in a Champagne (consider the source though...I enjoy acidity at least as much as Westby does!) Regardless, the wine is still wonderfully balance, with lots of golden fruits and a biscuity quality as well. Very tasty champagne that's drinking great right now.
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.
2008 Bodegas Puelles Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 7-18-2012
I love this wine for its nervy, bright fruit and real sense of chalky minerality it unfailingly conveys. The best part about this juicy, lively red wine is how versatile it is at table. Seared steak with roasted potatoes, oven roasted chicken with herbs, garlic and lemon served over watercress, a fennel stuffed whole grilled arctic char...these are just a few quick and easy possibilities to cook up and serve with this delicious Rioja.
2001 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 7-13-2011
I'm stoked (that's Californian for "psyched"). We have a good chunk of this vintage of Lanessan and, for my money, it is the tastiest vintage of the several we have featured recently. I have some 1999 in the cellar and now I will need some 2001 to complement it. Here you will find expressive, pure, red cherry fruit coupled with warm earth. For a taste of what traditional Bordeaux once was then you should buy this wine. A way under-priced bargain. BARGAIN.
2007 Rustenberg John X Merriman Stellenbosch
Review Date: 5-24-2011
If you're in the market for a very well made cab blend, something to decant and enjoy now or to cellar for north of 10 years, here's your bottle. Featuring terrific purple fruited purity, a subtle leafy savor and overall sense of balance similar to good Pauillac, Rustenberg's John X Merriman is, yet again, on point. Serious stuff for the price, and dare I say our best value cab blend in the store right now? Yes, I think I will. This is the best value cabernet blend in the store right now.
Bruno Michel Premier Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 7-6-2009
I love all Bruno Michel Champagnes, but the Blanc de Blancs really distinguished itself from the pack when I last tasted it. Bright clementine aromas and a real sense of freshness and brightness characterize the nose. This follows through to the palate - full of pure, intense and amazingly persistent fruit. Delicious.
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