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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2011 Churchill's "Estates" Douro
Review Date: 8-6-2014
While many of the top, legendary 2011 vintage ports are beginning to disappear, we are continuing to see a deluge of excellent, top quality dry Douro reds. Given the terrific quality of the 2011 Port vintage (literally a once in a generation type of vintage) in this region, there is no reason not to dip your toes into the dry red wines from the same year; you will not be disappointed. Tasting this wine next to the 2010 vintage was very instructive: while the 2010 is a solid wine, 2011 has so much more intensity, volume, and length. It's a textbook Douro red from a great vintage, a wine that is impressive now and should cellar well in the mid term as well. There is no better vintage than 2011 to check out the unique dry red wines from the Douro.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart WS 93 BC 0

2012 Tikal "Jubilo" Mendoza
Review Date: 8-6-2014
As with all things chez Tikal, this is a bigger, powerful wine. Smoky/savory oak aromas show mocha and some dark caramel, with the fruit lying in the background, but on the palate...different story. Chunky red and dark plum fruits show drier than what the nose suggests. Clearly there is good quality fruit used here, no surprise given that a Catena (Ernesto) is involved! Definitely a solid fuller bodied wine for your next cookout or grilled steak.

Bruno Michel Premier Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 8-6-2014
This Champagne is from a site that is so cold, it typically has searingly high acidity (always in balance with the fruit in my opinion) which makes it one I love but that I recommend judiciously, only to those who love acidity as much as I do. I say "typically," though, because our most recent bottling is based on a warmer vintage, and combined with the colder vineyard site, this becomes a richer, yet still bright and vibrant Blanc de Blancs to recommend to many more people. This is always one of my favorite expressions of Chardonnay on our shelves.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 7-15-2014
La Fortuna is a rock solid, consistent producer of Brunello. If you've liked their stuff in the past, there is no reason not to continue to enjoy their output. Their 09 Brunello is still primarily red fruited, high toned, fresh, persistent yet relatively light on its feet for the region, and as always highlighted by an appealing minerality. For anyone looking to drink their Brunello on the younger side, this is definitely one of the ones I would steer you towards. That not be afraid to lay off this wine for a little while; it will definitely improve!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Riesling "D" Marlborough
Review Date: 7-10-2014
As an unabashed fan of Riesling, and a very occasional drinker of Sauvignon Blanc (no disrespect to all you SB fans out there, it's just typically not my thing) I would like to encourage you to try something new. Step outside your comfort zone, and live dangerously! Well, not too dangerously, since you probably already know and love TWR's Sauvignon Blanc, possibly their Pinot Noir as well. Their Riesling "D" has beautifully focused citric flavors, with a soft texture and lots of length. Try this dry Riesling; you may find that you have a new favorite.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart JS 93 BC 0

2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 7-10-2014
Most any Pinot Noir fan will find something to like in this extremely well crafted bottling: juicy yet crisp fruits that fall somewhere in the middle of the red to dark spectrum, lovely floral inner mouth aromas, and balanced tannins that frame the wine and should give it enough structure to handle lamb chops equally well as a healthy slab of grilled Alaskan salmon (it is July, after all!)

2012 Bodegas Castano "Solanera Vinas Viejas" Yecla
Review Date: 7-10-2014
I'm getting the sense that, the more I taste of 2012 vintage wines from the Mediterranean portion of Spain, the more there is to like: all the usual intensity in flavors, but with the added bonus of extra freshness and structure. Solanera, for example, is usually a well made wine, with generous dark fruit and a flavor profile that suggests a good value red. In 2012 it is that plus more transparent minerality, a chalky and saline character mark this wine as it would a Bandol, or a Faugeres. While you won't confuse this wine for a Pradeaux, Tempier, or Barral you will pay less than one-third the price, with the added bonus of being able to enjoy it young! Recommended.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart RP 94 BC 0

2011 Teutonic "Laurel Vineyard - Bergspitze Schwarz" Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir
Review Date: 6-28-2014
This is a barrel selection that is based upon aromatic intensity and textural delicacy; not surprisingly, we love it! Not trying to be Burgundy, and for that matter, nor is this very Willamette. It is very, well, Teutonic - light, beautifully cherry scented, and surprisingly complex and satisfying while being so light on its feet. Absolutely worth a try.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Valderiz Ribera del Duero
Review Date: 6-18-2014
Given this wine's fruit intensity, clear expression, persistence on the palate and impressive balance in youth, I would challenge fans of the fuller bodied, dark berry fruited wines of the world to find something as delicious for under $30. Yes, of course this stuff is subjective, but I've tasted enough similarly priced and styled wines this year to reach that conclusion - if you like bigger, spicy reds and enjoy some structural tannic grip, this wine is for you. Also, for those with a cellar, this wine should improve nicely. Begin checking in on it another 5 years from now to observe a classic Ribera del Duero rich darker fruit to savory, elegant, meaty, chalk tinged minerality transformation!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart RP 93 BC 0

2012 Losada "Pajaro Rojo" Mencía Bierzo
Review Date: 6-18-2014
This is as tasty a young Mencía as I have had from this region in quite some time. It is soft and approachable, with supple dark cherry fruit, and an overall balance that suggests something between medium weight, juicer Pinot Noir and mid-weight, fruit forward, gently spicy Syrah. There is a minerality and sense of balance, however, all its own, and something tells me that for those willing to experiment a bit, they will find in this wine great personality, individuality and value. Highly recommended!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart W&S 91 BC 0

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 5-7-2014
Carte Blanche is always tasty, a Champagne with a soft bead, nice toast, crowd appeal and great value. This current batch, though, based on the very strong 2008 vintage, is impressive. Brighter than usual, with great purity and tasty fruit, easily the most impressive batch we have received. I'd be happy with this at $40, but for $28 it's one of our great values right now.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Bodegas Colomé Torrontes Valle Calchaquí Salta
Review Date: 4-16-2014
I don't think it gets more textbook for Torrontes than the always delicious version from Colomé. The country's best, most wonderfully fragrant, balanced and nervy Torrontes tends to come from Salta, where Colomé has been an innovator not only in the quality of its Torrontes but also its Malbecs. This wine has juicy yellow fruited flavors, with exotic aromas that suggest jasmine. A unique white to sip as an aperitif or to accompany seafood and vegetable dishes.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart ST 91 BC 0

2010 Cune Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 4-16-2014
This is a juicy, very quaffable Crianza from one of Rioja's most historic bodegas in Cune. With its red fruit flavors, supple tannins and balanced acidity, this is as comfortable at the table with roasted chicken, grilled salmon, lentils or pasta dishes as it is on its own or accompanied by cheese, tortilla española, grilled mushrooms and other tapas. Just a lovely, easy to like Tempranillo based red.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart RP 90 BC 0

2012 Tinto Negro Malbec Uco Valley
Review Date: 3-12-2014
Yes - This is what I'm talkin' about! I want under $15 Malbec to taste like this: dark fruits, subtly toasty but not overly so from too much oak, notable minerality and a nicely firm, tannin structure to frame the wine and lend balance. It's delicious and a lot of bang for the buck, but deceptively serious as well for a value red.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

Kilchoman K&L Exclusive Single Bourbon Barrel #172 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 3-12-2014
I'm excited that we bought two different casks of Kilchoman, to highlight how two barrels with the same distillate can age in completely different ways. They're both very good and very distinct from each other. Barrel 172 may have a stronger ABV, but it's so briny, pure, and beautifully balanced, that you're not likely to notice. Sorry for the wine speak here, but this one is elegant, pure, linear, and to my experience, textbook Islay single malt. Kilchoman does not come cheap, but if you take a moment and taste, focus on the quality of what you're tasting, and look at what else is available on Islay for a comparable price, what you have here is a very individual single malt, that at a much younger average age is showing character and personality all its own - without sacrificing balance or drinkablility! Highly recommended.
Price: Hidden View Price BC 0

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