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Staff Favorites - Leah Greenstein
Leah Greenstein | Send Email | Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
3 parts nerd. 1 part wordsmith. 1 part wine geek. A pinch of east coast sarcasm. Stir it up in a bright orange Mario Batali-branded bowl and you have K&L's other writer and editor, Leah Greenstein. A graduate of California's Sonoma State University, Leah skipped more than a few Friday nights at Red's Recovery Room in favor of Saturdays listening to Led Zeppelin and drinking gewürztraminer in the Kunde tasting room. After undergrad Leah continued her education in Oregon, making cabernet and merlot in her friend's garage while working on her master's in journalism. Over the years she's written on a variety of subjects—from snowboarding and rock climbing to politics and the arts—managing restaurants, juggling publishing jobs and learning about wine all the while. She joined K&L in June 2007 after working harvest at Pax Wine Cellars in Sonoma County and managing Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton's new Los Angeles hot spot, Pizzeria Mozza. These days she spends her time crafting tasting notes for K&L's website and working on the K&L newsletter and trying as many different wines as she can. Already a fan of Rhône reds and all things Italian Leah's been drinking her way through the German, Austrian and Loire Valley sections of K&L Hollywood. She spends most of her spare time cooking, pairing wine with her meals and writing about it for her blog, SpicySaltySweet.com. She also likes to hike, bike and watch Red Sox games.
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Amaro Montenegro Di Bologna 750ml
Review Date: 7-14-2014
This is one of the most popular Amari in Italy. Packed with notes of nutmeg and bitter orange, it's very pretty and soft on the palate. It has a creamy, not-too-bitter creamsicle character. Medium-sweet.
Lucano Amaro 750ml
Review Date: 7-14-2014
The last time I ordered an Averna at the end of a meal, I sat considering its medicinal, bitter qualities, and lamenting its syrupy sweetness. The Lucano has the best of Averna's herbaceousness, with earthy, bitter citrus flavors and a light, balanced texture.
2012 Pichler-Krutzler Frauengärten Grüner Veltliner Wachau
Review Date: 9-18-2013
This was one of my favorite Gruners of our Austrian staff tasting today. It's a bit weightier than your average Gruner, due partly to the Smaragd style and partly to the riper 2012 vintage. Nonetheless, the wine had great acidity to support the honeyed citrus palate. Finishes with a touch of grapefruit pith.
2010 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 9-18-2013
This was one of my favorite wines in our staff Bordeaux tasting in Hollywood, with black fruit, spice and coffee peeking through, with just the faintest hint of eucalyptus. The fruit, acid and tannins were all completely in balance. This is going to be a showstopper in a decade, and for the price it's a no-brainer.
Caves Messias Santola "Crab Wine" Vinho Verde
Review Date: 9-11-2013
This is my favorite Vinho Verde in the store right now. It has plenty of zesty minerality and lemon-lime freshness. Its dry and racy and, while I'm sure it's fabulous with crab, as the name implies, I think it would pair well with most white-fleshed fish or garlicky pork kabobs hot off the grill.
2004 Peyrabon, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 9-5-2013
This old school Bordeaux really wowed me for the price. Its earthy, porcini-scented nose has hints of black fruit that come through on the palate, with layers of chocolate and spice. While already drinking really nicely with a little air, the structure leads me to believe you could age this another three to five years more, and it will be perfect. A steal!
1999 Fugue de Nenin, Pomerol
Review Date: 1-14-2013
If you're looking for a properly aged Bordeaux to drink right now that's not priced astronomically, this is it. Balanced, with dark fruit, subtle herb notes and freshly roasted coffee. Lovely.
Gutierrez Colosia "Sangre y Trabajadero" Oloroso El Puerto de Santa Maria (375ml)
Review Date: 12-12-2012
With aromas redolent of a banana flambé, with zesty orange accents, this smells like dessert but is still completely dry on the palate. It has great acidity, sensuous viscosity, roasted nutty undertones and a spicy finish. Incredible and surprisingly inexpensive for the quality.
2000 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 9-23-2011
Wow! What a value. This was my favorite of the recently arrived Coufran vintages, but then I also prefer my Bordeaux with some age on it. The 2000 was very pretty, with aromas of graphite, smoke, spice, black raspberry and coffee. There was plenty of fleshy red fruit on the palate and, most importantly, good balancing acidity. It's drinkable now, but still has plenty of life to continue to cellar it.
2007 Mount Eden "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Review Date: 9-7-2011
Mount Eden's full bodied Estate Chardonnay displays fine underlying acidity and a long finish. Hints of cardamom, anise and hazelnut add interest to the core lemon, mineral flavors. Of all Mount Eden’s estate-grown wines, the Chardonnay is most in need of further bottle aging at release, requiring an additional two to four years to fully reveal its true character. Many vintages are still fresh and enjoyable after fifteen years, explaining why Mount Eden Estate Chardonnay is considered one of California’s longest-lived white wines.
Caveau du Mont July Bugey Cerdon
Review Date: 2-10-2010
I'm not sure I know anyone who loves Bugey Cerdon more than my friend Matt from the blog Mattbites.com, but after drinking this beauty from Caveau du Mont July at today's staff tasting I'm going to say that I'm a close runner up. Its aromas of wild raspberries, apricots, Winesap apple and tart Granny Smiths has me drooling like one of Pavlov's dogs, and its mouthwatering acidity, super-fine bead, low alcohol and delightful palate presence made it difficult not to spit it out. So I didn't. Buy yours before Matt and I buy it all!
2006 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 2-25-2009
If you're in the market for Bordeaux, you shouldn't miss the '06 Cantemerle. If someone was willing to subsidize my wine collection, I would by multiple cases of this gem. Remarkably affordable, this may very well be THE wine of the vintage. I love it's barnyard-y nose and melange of plum, cherry and coffee flavors on the palate, kissed by a healthy, but not overwhelming, dose of oak spice and vanilla. Amazing, long finish.
2005 San Vincenti Chianti Classico
Review Date: 8-21-2008
Who doesn't like Chianti? This classically structured wine comes from the southernmost point of Chianti Classico, planted in gallestro soils. Its smoky nose is heady with black fruit and cherry aromas. On the palate it's linear, with good acidity and grippy tannins. This is not a tippling wine, but something to enjoy with food, perhaps eggplant cutlets and Sicilian-style pasta with sardines. And it will definitely just get better with time!
Franck Bonville "Belles Voyes" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 8-14-2008
Franck Bonville's exceptional cuvees come from the villages of Avize, Cremant and Oger and this, the Les Belles Voyes, is based entirely on the 2002 vintage. The nose on this wine was like a perfectly aged Corton Charlemagne, with hazelnut richness and a soft, balanced palate. Like a waltz for your senses: elegant and refined!
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