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Staff Favorites - John Majeski
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Fleury "Carte Rouge" 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.
Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-28-2011
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. The perfect bubbly for your holiday menu!
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.
2009 Mission Estate Winery Syrah Hawkes Bay New Zealand
Review Date: 10-22-2011
When I opened this fruitful, delicious Hawkes Bay Syrah at a Saturday tasting recently, many people noted the hint of of Northern Rhône pepper on the nose, about as far from the heralded Côte Rôtie as one can possibly be, and yet... the tricks of time and place do make one appreciate the infinite appeal of a well-grown grape, no matter where its roots may sink. And speaking of roots, the Mission Estate winery is New Zealand's oldest, founded in 1851, an emblem of sustainability and tradition marked by an uncompromising demand for quality. The Estate Syrah is grown on light silt and the famous Gimblett gravel soils in relatively dryer, warmer inland sites to enhance the varietal character. The initial bright red fruit aromas give way to darker, more velvety black fruit on the palate with telltale spice lingering to a pleasant, harmonious finish. Buy some try some.
2010 Cederberg Chenin Blanc Cederberg
Review Date: 8-30-2011
This Chenin Blanc is a vibrantly fresh, deliciously unoaked version that was created in a precise, highly reductive style to eliminate oxidation, using specific yeast cultures to enhance the aromatic citrus qualities of the fruit. After fermentation, the wine spent about 5 months on both its own as well as Sauvignon Blanc lees. A lustrous white wine of aromatic audacity, great appeal and intrigue, characterized by stone fruit, white grapefruit, green plum and yes, gooseberry flavors, satisfyingly rich and round on the lingering finish.
2010 Cederberg Bukettraube Cederberg
Review Date: 6-28-2011
In researching this rare varietal I discovered that Bukettraube is actually a cross between Sylvaner B and Frankenthaler (also known as Trollinger or Schiva grossa, depending on where you're from). Originally cultivated in 'Alsatian' Germany in the 19th century by winegrower Sebastian Englert, it eventually found its way to South Africa and beyond. Aromatically aligned with Muscat, but twinged with citrus blossoms and a hauntingly sweet nectarlike palate, it's exotic flavors meld beautifully with spicier fare, from Thai to Indian to Indonesian. Also a fine aperitif wine, perfect for a warm, scintillating summer day!
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
2008 Rippon "Mature Vines" Pinot Noir Central Otago New Zealand (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 2-25-2011
This premium wine is an expression of biodynamic, select parcels of different clones and vine ages from the auspicious 2008 vintage, individually fermented and matured for 15 months in new and used French oak, resulted in a silken, perfumed, ruby-hued Pinot Noir of luxurious depth and vinosity, tinged with savory wild strawberry, plums, violets and earth, a compelling, ethereal wine with immaculate structure, capable of aging a decade or more.
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!
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!)
Sorelle Bronca Prosecco
Review Date: 7-11-2009
This delightful Prosecco is a strong contender for best in class among its growing legions of fans, delivering dependably delicious flavors of sliced apples, citrus blossoms and almonds in a pure and sparkling persona. Showcasing both freshness and mineral vibrancy, it should complement most summer fare from salads to appetizers, and would be the perfect match for a basket of lightly-fried calamari.
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