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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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2007 Can Mayol Loxarel Gran Reserva Familiar Brut Nature Penedes
Review Date: 12-12-2012
This Cava spends 40 months sur lie, and is even more Champagne-like on the nose than the Refugi. Lovely, nutty, apple-y, almost Fino sherry-like aromas. Rich and textured, this is a minerally, exceptional Cava.
2008 Can Mayol Loxarel "Refugi" Reserva Brut Nature Penedes
Review Date: 12-12-2012
From a small producer that specializes in Xarel-lo, the Refugi boasts a small amount of Chardonnay. It also spends 30 months sur lie, which explains its leesy aromas and texture. It smells like a cross between Champagne and dry cider, with a firm bead, great acidity and a slightly prickly texture. A stellar Cava and a great buy!
2010 Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 6-22-2012
Like most of us here at K&L, I'm the go-to gal among my friends and family for wine recommendations, and I pride myself on turning people on to great values. (I really love to show that you don't have to spend a lot of money to get good wine.) The Ancient Peaks Cab fits that bill to a "t." This ruby-hued wine has plum and spice on the nose with just a hint of pipe tobacco that reminds me of being a little kid, when men still smoked pipes. The fruit is brighter and redder in the mouth, with notes of black cherry and currant, spice and a kiss of smoke. It's totally balanced, with soft tannins that make it easy to drink, and bright acidity that make it food friendly too. A must-have for barbecues this summer.
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.
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.
2007 Domaine Paul Pernot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru, "Folatières"
Review Date: 1-28-2009
This is an exceptional wine that just goes on and on and on. There are so many pleasant surprises - balanced fruit, spice and herbs - around every proverbial corner, you'll never get bored. And it's built for the long haul, so you're not only investing in something that's delicious now, but you'll be buying a wine that can last easily for a decade or more. Bravo Paul Pernot!
Marguet Pere et Fils "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-25-2008
I love this Champagne so much that I put three stars next to it in my notes and almost put a hole through the paper trying to make sure they were dark enough to catch my attention at a later date. Made entirely of Grand Cru fruit from the Montagne de Reims, I love the creme fraiche and lemon zest aromatics on this - really gorgeous. On the palate it is tangy, with a lot of acidic verve and a lovely mousse; this is a Champagne that keeps on giving. And the price? Why buy grand marque when you can have Marguet?
2005 Sojourn "Mountain Terraces" Sonoma Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 8-14-2008
Okay, I'll admit, I'm not usually a fan of California Cab, particularly the kind that's out of my, ahem, price range. (It's always better not to fall in love with wines I can't quite afford.) But this cab from Sojourn Cellars really knocked my proverbial socks off. Still young, it displayed balanced earth, currant and black cherry notes on the nose and palate. Its soft entry and acidic lift made it something I could easily buy a lot of to drink now and in a few years, had I the funds. So please, spare my bank account and take this wine off my hands. My boyfriend is gonna' be pissed if I bring more home.
Jean-Louis Denois Brut "Tradition"
Review Date: 7-9-2008
We tried this bubbly at a recent staff tasting and it blew me away. A blend of 50% chardonnay and 50% pinot noir done in the traditional Champagne method, this sparkler from the Languedoc could easily pass itself off for Champagne. It was crisp on the nose and palate with limestone and slate minerality, apple fruit and a generous texture from attack to finish. A recent convert to bubbles, I’m going to keep plenty of this on-hand for impromptu celebrations.
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