Staff Favorites - Keith Wollenberg

Keith Wollenberg
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2013 Bodkin "Musque Clone" Lake County Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 6-26-2014
A delicious, crisp Sauvignon Blanc of the quality of a very good one from the Loire Valley in France. BRAVO! This is made from the clone brought in from Bordeaux in the early 1960s, which Doug Meader at Ventan discovered did not get those vegetal notes in a cooler climate. So, this shows none of that vegetal quality that this varietal can sometimes exhibit, and is a wonderful wine. It's summer, and this wine will quench your thirst and brighten your spirits. But only if you are wise enough to buy some.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart WE 92 BC 0

2012 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc "Oncle Vincent"
Review Date: 6-20-2014
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I tasted this from barrel and was impressed. I tasted it from bottle, months ago, and bought all that was coming to retail on the West Coast. Today it arrived, and I opened a bottle. I was astounded. This is rich, concentrated and delicious Puligny Montrachet, for less than $20. OK, it says Bourgogne Blanc, but there is no doubt where it hails from. WOO-HOO. It's coming home with me, for certain. The Oncle Vincent has a rich enough mid-palate to satisfy California Chardonnay drinkers, and that combination of minerality, drive and focus that says PULIGNY very loudly. I have a feeling we may not have this wine in stock for long, once folks taste it!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Bodegas Muga Rosado Rioja
Review Date: 6-19-2014
A charming blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and a bit of Viura. It is light in hue, but has plenty of stuffing, without being heavy. Nice freshness, nice crispness.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Bruno Michel Brut Rosé Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 6-19-2014
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OK, folks, this is a story that you have to love. It takes years to produce a champagne like this, and to have a single vintage one in magnum is unusual. Thanks to the bankrupt importer who had these specially made and whose failure allowed us to pick them up at a bargain price. 100% Pinot Meunier, from a biodynamic and organic grape-grower. This is absolutely delicious, and I am most definitely taking some home.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price BC 0

2011 Maison Ambroise Bourgogne Rouge
Review Date: 5-27-2014
Crisp, bright and just a bit earthy, this has unmistakable Nuits-St-Georges character, which is not a surprise, since that is where the fruit is sourced from and where the winery is located. But to get this much character and unmistakably Burgundian flavor and aroma is a very pleasant surprise at this price point. On the palate it has a bit of brambles and nice crunchy black fruit. This is not about complexity or patience, but it is about a delicious, affordable Pinot Noir that really speaks of Burgundy. It's finished in a Stelvin Luxe twist top for easy access at your next barbecue, or drinking over the next couple of years.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2004 Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Vintage Champagne
Review Date: 3-21-2014
This is champagne that should sell for $100+. It is made entirely from Grand Cru fruit, averaging more than 45 years of vine age. It is all from Bouzy, a village known for its Pinot Noir, with south-facing vineyards (which is important in this high latitude). The nose promises red fruit and hints of brioche. It is rich and complex on the palate. But what really excites me is the acidity--2004 is a cooler vintage, with great promise for aging. If you are in Bouzy, this means that you have the ripeness and richness, but also have the focus, drive and energy that makes this truly exciting.
Top Value!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart ST 91 BC 0

2000 Krug Brut Champagne
Review Date: 2-7-2014
This has a most attractive bouquet, with notes of pear, rose hips and seashells. On the palate it walks a beautiful line between richness and tension. Plenty of focus and acidity, but also lots of mid-palate weight. this is subtle champagne and beautifully balanced. And the finish, well that is truly something. It fans out on your palate and lingers for a long time. Bravo!

2012 Carlos Diaz "Estrela" Ribeira Sacra
Review Date: 1-23-2014
This exciting value comes form a professor in Spain who farms his vineyards part-time. He has about five acres of vines and makes a wine that is clean, bright and has lovely fruit. It is vinified in enamel-lined tanks, resulting in a bright and focused character with both red and black fruit notes and enough acidity to keep it fresh and delightful. Don't miss this direct import value from Spain. Good job, Joe Manekin!
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Malmaison, Moulis-en-Médoc
Review Date: 1-23-2014
This was once an abandoned property, renovated and replanted by the Rothschild family over 35 years ago, which means their vines are now mature. This is from a terrific vintage, and shows it. It has both spice and balance, with rich fruit and very nice length for this price range. It is going to be in my Tuesday night mix for the next couple of years. Bravo!
Top Value!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Lot 40 Rye 2012 Release Canadian Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 1-15-2014
This is one of the best Ryes I have tasted in years. It starts with a slightly fruity nose, then moves to a note like a sourdough rye bread I used to bake. On the palate it is subtle and balanced, with a note of candied Kumquats on the finish. The only experience like it I have had was when tasting a bottle of Prohibition Canadian Rye Whisky I found in a secret cupboard at my Grandfather's house in San Francisco in the mid 1970's, with the notation on the bottle that it could be dispensed only for medicinal purposes. The combination of malted rye and rye yields a focused, delicious dram. Miss this and you will be sorry.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1982 Bodegas Riojanas Monte Real Reserva
Review Date: 11-6-2013
Fine and elegant in character, this is a highly aromatic and most attractive rioja. Th eoak has integrated completely. Thi sis a subtle and lovely wine wiht great length on the finish.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1999 Thienot "Cuvée Alain Thiénot" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-6-2013
This is a study in long aging on the lees, and the complexity that results. It as that calssic, yeasty nose, but on the palate it is complex and balnced, showing the ripenss of the vintage, but avoiding that clumsiness I sometimes found in 2005s (back when others were still bottling them). It is a real choice for me whether to go with age and power here, or elegance and delicacy with the 2006 Garance. Perhaps both, just with different courses?

2006 Thienot "Cuvée Garance" Brut Blanc de Rouges Champagne
Review Date: 11-6-2013
This comes from 100% Pinot Noir, all Grand and Premier Cru rated vineyards in Ay, and it tastes like it. But it manages to be soft and feminine and attractive in character, rather than big and rich. It reminds me of a Chambolle, if it were made into a sparkling white. Lovely chalky minerality, and a long finish make this terrifically attractive.

2011 La Massa "La Massa" Toscana
Review Date: 10-24-2013
This Sangiovese/Cabernet/Merlot blend (with a hint of Alicante to boot)shows teh brightness you expect from a Tuscan red. But on the palate, it comes across as both rich and deep, with opulent fruit. Whether a fan of California Cabernet, French Bordeaux, or Tuscan reds, there is something here for you. Serve this wine to your friends over the holidays, and you will surprise (and please) them!

2005 Launois "Spécial Club" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (ships as 1.5L)
Review Date: 10-16-2013
Ok, folks. Here we go. I wondered how our friends at Launois could possibly follow the 2004 Special Club. well, yesterday I found out. They produced a rich, complex champagne of distinction and breeding. it's a bit less racy than the 2004, but it trades off a bit more volume in the mid-palate in exchange. And, it shows why so many champagne growers prize their oldest vines. the old-vine intensity sings through particularly clearly in a bountiful vintage like 2005. Complex and dleicious. What's not to like?
Top Value!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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