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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 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.
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.
Kilchoman K&L Exclusive Single Bourbon Barrel #74 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. This one is spicy and fatter, a bit sweeter but with excellent chewiness and savory smoke, and still a subtly briney quality. 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.
2010 Wiston Estate "South Downs Cuvée" Brut West Sussex England
Review Date: 3-8-2014
ENGLISH METHOD! That's right, the methode champenoise has origins in England. That's not where the Champagne comparison ends for Wiston, as their vines grow on prime chalky soils, they have been farming their land for over 250 years, and the grapes grown are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. How's the wine? It's spectacular. Very linear, focused and brightly citric, with incredible minerality and length on the finish. It sort of reminds me of Bruno Michel's Blanc de Blancs, that kind of crackling, bright, acid and chalk driven style. Definitely worth a try.
2010 Bodega Eguren Tempranillo Vino de la Tierra de Castilla
Review Date: 3-5-2014
This is delicious, very easy to drink Tempranillo, or Cencibel as it is known in Castilla La Mancha. Juicy dark cherry and red fruit flavors have just the faintest hint of herbal savor. The wine is mainly about fruit, though, juicy, abundant fruit that makes it very easy to drink.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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 Cousiño Macul "Antiguas Reservas" Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley
Review Date: 4-20-2010
This is classic Cabernet. No ripe, juicy, rich oak-derived vanilla flavors here. Might I suggest any number of modern Napa Valley Cabs for that experience? Instead, what you will get are aromas that show red fruit as well as an herbal quality, and similar, old school Cab flavors on the palate. Its tannins firmly grip a small portion of your inner mouth as opposed to drying out your tongue and cheeks; these are grape tannins rather than new French oak tannins. Once again, this is not rich and fruity red wine, rather a wine that beautifully complements a grilled ribeye or sirloin, now or a decade from now. For fans of Bordeaux and Cabernet from the likes of Heitz, here is a value that you will want to load up on.
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.
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