Staff Favorites - Joe Manekin

Joe Manekin
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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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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

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!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

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!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart ST 90 BC 0

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.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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 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.

2001 Marques de Legarda Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 12-4-2012
This is a classic gran reserva, one that reflects the best of the traditional style as well as the intensity of flavor, structure, and seriousness of one of THE top Rioja vintages in the postmodern era. Building, intense, red fruit confit aromas, lead to a palate brimming with sweet red fruit and sous bois characteristics. Excellent.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2008 Marques de Legarda Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 11-27-2012
What a delicious, textbook traditional style Rioja! Marques de Legarda is that super rare breed of Rioja that both reflects the style of a single village (in this case, the Rioja Alta village of Abalos)as well as the time honored traditional approach of blending tempranillo with a few other grape varieties (here, mazuelo and graciano)and ageing the wines carefully in American oak then in bottle prior to releasing. Spicy, red berry fruits are balanced by the refreshing acidity of the 2008 vintage. This balance combines with sufficient tannins and stuffing to age an additional 5-6 years. We are proud to be directly importing such terrific values from this historic bodega.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

2010 Bodegas Nekeas "El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa" Old Vines Garnacha Navarra
Review Date: 11-13-2012
I must admit to having fond memories of this lovely single vineyard grenache produced from 70 year-old vines in the region of Navarra. Bodegas Nekeas is one of the unsung heroes in what has become a particularly successful import portfolio of Spanish wines. It may not be as flashy as others, but the wine has generous fruit and the balance to make it ideal at table and for cellaring for several years. Are you a Grenache fan? Then by now, I think you know what you need to do....
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart ST 91 BC 0

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.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart ST 90 BC 0

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.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart RP 89 BC 0

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!
Price: $33.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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