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Staff Favorites - John Majeski
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1999 Fugue de Nenin, Pomerol
Review Date: 11-30-2012
Attractive, classic, well-aged Bordeaux is always a welcome addition to the holiday table, and this second label Pomerol from Chateaux Nenin still delivers considerable charm and elegance. Imbued with smooth, round Merlot flavors of sweet plum, ripe cherry and cedar highlights, it invites a rosemary-roasted Cornish hen or two to join it for dinner.
2009 Mercedes Eguren Cabernet Sauvignon Vino de la Tierra de Castilla
Review Date: 11-30-2012
This elegant, balanced, bargain Cabernet Sauvignon from Bodegas Eguren just vanished in all of our stores for good reason, but we're expecting to receive another shipment soon to grace your festive holiday table. An enticing aroma of delicate roasted herbs, savory blackcurrant and tobacco-tinged fruit leads to a polished palate with surprising depth and complexity. This tasty, defined red might explain why Spain still remains the greatest source for high-quality, value-priced wines in the world.
Berry Bros & Rudd No. 3 London Dry Gin 750ml
Review Date: 10-30-2012
As Britain's oldest wine and spirit merchant (1698), Berry Bros. and Rudd should know a thing or three about the traditional making of gin. Their No. 3 English Dry Gin is an unabashedly pure blending of fruits and spices selected and distilled in traditional copper pots in Schiedam, Holland. Made from Italian Juniper, Spanish oranges and grapefruit peel, with added spices including angelica root, Moroccan coriander and cardamon pods, this exquisitely crafted yet assertive gin remains, with its distinctively aromatic nose and prolonged finish, a highly-recommended personal favorite. The ideal suitor for a dry Martini or classic Gin and Tonic.
Fleury "Cuveé Robert Fleury" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 6-1-2012
If you're searching for a non-vintage Champagne with generous texture, abundant freshness, depth of character and a distinctive aromatic profile, search no further! This stunning barrel-fermented assemblage of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc....yes, I said Pinot Blanc, an odd wine out in most of Champagne, is a triumphant display of everything one can discover in a fine bottle of bubbly- sparkle, effervescence, layers of brioche, chalk, herbs, toast and lemon, ever-evolving complexity, with a lengthy, lingering finish.
Einstok Icelandic White Ale 12oz.
Review Date: 4-30-2012
With summer fast approaching we're all in need of a super thirst-quenching beer to alleviate the effects of absorbing too much solar energy on our bodies while we flare up the grill for a swirling smoke-athon (ok, admittedly I'm not Mr. Weber, more like one of the guys who stands around getting hot smoke in his face while acting like it doesn't matter).... anyway, just discovered a fantastic antidote to insurmountable thirst in the Icelandic Einstok White Ale, like melting an iceberg slathered in freshly-ground coriander and orange peel. Well, to be truthful, it's a witbier brewed with the same ingredients and tastes absolutely awesome. Beer here now. And in honor of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ill-fated Titanic, pouring an iceberg down your throat might be a good tribute.
Fleury "Carte Rouge" Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-3-2011
In his unwavering maxim that "we leave the earth to our children," Jean-Pierre Fleury was the very first winegrower in Champagne to adapt strict biodynamic principles and techniques in his steeply-sloping, calcareous vineyards near the northern village of Courteron. His exquisite Blanc de Noirs is an homage to the perfectability of Pinot Noir under his meticulous stewardship, and certainly one of the finest, long-lasting champagnes we carry at any price. Hand-crafted from select vintages, the Carte Rouge is emblematic, dry and complex, with a well-developed gamut of flavors from brioche and beeswax to cherry and acacia. Hard to say what 'not' to drink this with, but I guarantee you will be reaching for another glass after tasting this redolent, rewarding sparkler.
2010 Seresin Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 10-30-2011
This brilliant Sauvignon Blanc was sourced entirely from estate vineyards, and vinification involved whole bunch pressing and separate fermentation from multiple parcels of hand-picked Sauvignon Blanc (95%) and Semillon (5%). Seeking a richer, more complex array of aromas and flavors, the winemaker chose to age both the Semillon and a portion of the Sauvignon Blanc in older French barriques, hardly the customary approach in Kiwi land, where fruit basket tropicality and abundant herbaceousness are often the dominant style. Wonderfully focused, pristine citrus, pineapple and nectarine fruit etched with a fine bead of acidity and crispness gives this wine a mouthwatering edge and textural finish that will simply not diminish your desire for another glass.
2008 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
Review Date: 6-28-2011
My advice? If you have a few extra Benjamins lining your well-oiled wallet and are of the mind to buy a beautiful bottle or two of Bordeaux that will, when it eventually reaches full maturity around the time your same vintage 2008 son/daughter celebrate their 21st birthday (and will generously share it with you), then this is the wine for you! A superbly structured, absolutely pitch-perfect Pauillac, reflecting the august gravel and limestone terroir from which it was born.
Drink from 2020 to 2035
Quartz Reef "Methode Traditionelle" Sparkling Wine Brut Central Otago
Review Date: 12-31-2010
Carefully blended from 76% Pinot Noir and 24% Chardonnay from the estate vineyard in Bendigo, this sparking wine first captivates the eye with its pale yellow highlights, and then flamboyantly seduces the palate with tightly-polished bubbles entranced by lively citrus fruits, crisp brioche and luscious cream. An alluring, wonderfully-harmonious champenoise sparkler for an amazing price!
Dudognon Reserve Cognac 750ml
Review Date: 11-30-2010
A voter santé! Raymond Dudognon first distilled his own cognac in 1946, following the venerable traditions laid down by his great grandfather in 1776. The heart of the Charente region, located about 100 miles northeast of Bordeaux, is called Grande Champagne, and consists of deep chalk-rich soils, perfect for creating fragrant, long-lived cognacs. Made from 100% natural Ugni Blanc, this singular spirit is blended and distilled in the traditional alambic Charentais pot and eventually aged in 350 liter barrels. The Dudognon homage to tradition stresses minimal intervention, using only pure water as an additive to create a stunning cognac that charms and caresses the palate, displaying a weightlessness and delicacy of fruit found less commonly in cognacs at twice the price. Highly recommended!
1999 Renaissance Vineyard Sierra Foothills Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-30-2010
The Renaissance Vineyard and Winery, founded in 1978 in the remote Sierra Foothills town of Oregon House, has always devoted itself to crafting long-lived, high-altitude wines of uncompromising balance and structure. Polished, elegant and remarkably claret-like, their medium-weight wines defy the bigger-is-better trend found in so many huge Napa-numbing Cabernets. The unwelcome influence of new oak is eliminated by aging for 18 months in large, neutral barrels, allowing the wine to evolve slowly its extraordinary melange of flavors— blackcurrants, sweet spice, cloves, violets, pencil-lead, cedar, licorice, layer upon layer. I doubt there exists a $35 bottle of wine in California that can measure up to this, and the beauty is, this Cab is still evolving, and will drink well for another decade or more...
Top Value! Drink from 2010 to 2025
Deligeroy Cremant de Loire Brut
Review Date: 10-31-2010
A customer came in recently and asked for an elegant, delicate sparkling wine for a wedding celebration. Champagne was beyond his budget, so without hesitation I smiled and recommended this Cremant de Loire, arguably the greatest sparkling wine value in the world. Created with precise restrictions on everything from mandatory hand-harvesting of relatively older vines to aging regimens (a minimum of 12 months) to atmospheres of pressure (3.5 as opposed to 6 for Champagne), the Deligeroy is a finely-beaded beauty, discreetly aromatic, lacy and effervescent. The careful assemblage of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc adds aromatic complexity, giving this wine an added degree of sophistication. Highly recommended!
2007 Copain "Tous Ensemble" Mendocino County Syrah
Review Date: 4-12-2010
For anyone who had the unparalleled pleasure of drinking the amazing '05 and '06 l'Hiver Syrahs from Copain, the 2007 "Tous Ensemble" will prove an even more pleasurable experience— an absolutely delicious, drinkable now wine of style, harmony and elegance— the careful assemblage of select fruit from four distinctive vineyards, nothing out of place or overdone, the work of a true master winemaker at the top of his game. When I first tasted this wine I thought, 'oh great for a $35 Syrah!', but I was obviously wrong, and you're lucky.
Marguet Pere et Fils "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 2-26-2010
Every time we run low on the Marguet Pere et Fils I find myself suddenly weeping uncontrollably.... ok, tears of hyperbole, but seriously, this is one of the real gems in our sparkling, zestfully toast-worthy chorus line of great Cuvee Champagnes, and if you appreciate power, panache and expressive Pinot Noir notes, pour yourself a flute of this and salute the immeasurably talented Benoit Marguet, who produces and delivers this wondrous Gran Cru to us for a song.
Zubrowka Bison Grass Polish Vodka 750ml
Review Date: 11-9-2009
I enjoyed the London reminiscences by my colleague Susan Thornett about this wonderful vodka, and I too confess a special relationship with Zubrowka going back several decades, when I was first offered a bracing shot of this harmonic-bisonic elixir by a friendly Polish waiter in then East Berlin who, sadly trapped behind the Iron Curtain some years before Solidarnösc, desperately wanted to improve his English skills. Maybe it was the effects of the vodka, but before the evening ended I promised to "secure" him a dictionary from the West even though it was strictly against the policy of the rather coercive East German authorities at the time. Well, anyway, I succeeded, and thanks in part to Zubrowka, the Wall finally came down and democracy was finally restored to freedom-loving East Berliners. And today I'm really glad we can offer this rare vodka to our astute customers, as its singularly subtle and unique flavors of yellow straw, camomile tea and dried coconut promises to both stimulate conversation, energize the appetite and yes, liberate the spirit! Na zdrowie! (To health!)
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