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Staff Favorites - John Majeski
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2010 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 4-18-2014
In 2010, a lingering cool spring in the Southern Rhône severely reduced crop yields and extended the harvest well into October, allowing the happy grapes to reach sublimely intense levels of both richness and structure -— the result one of the greatest vintages ever in the Rhône Valley. And who reaps the rewards? Enter E. Guigal, perhaps the Rhone's chief exponent of excellence, delivering an amazing spectrum of quality wines year after year. Their entry-level Côtes du Rhône, with redolent aromas and flavors of cherry, black plum, wood smoke and spice possesses astonishing degrees of balance, complexity and mouthwatering texture for a very modest price. Most definitely a "win-win(e)"...Enjoy!
2012 Bastide Miraflors "Vieilles Vignes" Côtes Catalanes
Review Date: 4-17-2014
The Roussillon region in southwest France has been cultivating grapes for thousands of years, so it comes as little surprise that a wine of such intense, immense pleasure as the Bastide Miraflors finds its home there. Select organically-farmed Syrah and rustic old vine Grenache undergo a long maceration to generate a wine of beautiful texture, form and depth. Lively, lusty and inviting red and black fruits toned with lavender and wildflowers make for a delicious bottle of wine, one that will complement everything from Mediterranean fare to roasted poultry to grilled lamb chops. This amazingly priced wine will quickly sail from our shops, guaranteed.
2012 Neyers "Sage Canyon" Rhone Blend
Review Date: 3-12-2014
It doesn't take a true detective to unravel the mystery of why a particular wine delivers so much unadulterated pleasure. In the case of this natural Rhone blend from Bruce Neyers the clues first found in the vineyard end up ultimately, with good fortune, in your glass. Crafted by winemaker Tadeo Borchardt from Grenache grown in the Sierra foothills, Syrah from the Sangiacomo hillside vineyards in Sonoma, and precious parcels of 135 year old Carignane and 125 year old Mourvedre vines that have sunk their hoary roots deep into the stony Contra Costa soils in Oakley, this red blend pays generous tribute to the heart of the southern Rhone in its sultry, sun-soaked fruit and lingering lavender, warm spice and anise-inflected aromas. One sip and the mystery is solved.
2011 Château de Montfaucon Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 1-20-2014
If you're still searching for a very well-priced Côte du Rhône red that will embellish virtually any dish that isn't a fish, then this is it. A classic, unoaked blend of Rhone varieties: Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Carignane, reveling in bright red and black fruit aromas with a touch of warm spice and subtle violet aftertones, this elegant, smoothly-textured beauty brings everything to your table, delivering glass after glass of harmonious pleasure.
Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-2-2013
Vines have been cultivated on this tiny property in the hamlet of Brouillet for five generations, and it has remained a customer and staff favorite here for several years. Yeasty, full and complex, the Carte Blanche exhibits a fine intensely-focused bead with lively notes of tart apples, dried hazelnuts, vanilla and toast, all in all a remarkably well-built Brut that will compare well to cuvées at double the price. It is perfect for entertaining.
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.
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.
Einstök Icelandic White Ale, Iceland 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 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.
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!
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!
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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