Staff Favorites - Keith Wollenberg

Keith Wollenberg
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2012 Michel Gassier "Cercius" Blanc Vin de France
Review Date: 5-29-2014
A refreshing blend, with a hint of sweetness but enough refreshing acidity to keep it refreshing and delicious. At this price, this is what I would call a summertime no-brainer. This will fly, so don't miss out.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart RP 93 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

2010 Chalone "Limited Release" Chalone Pinot Noir
Review Date: 3-6-2014
This is serious Pinot Noir, clearly showing focus and minerality from the limestone soil in which it is grown. Delicious and rather Burgundian in character, this is California Pinot for the Connoisseur. And it will not break the bank! Don 't miss this, unless you really love the jammy fruit-forward style, which this is definitely not. But if elegant, food-friendly Pinot is a favorite, DO try this one.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart W&S 92 BC 0

2011 Thierry & Pascale Matrot Bourgogne Blanc
Review Date: 2-28-2014
As Thierry and Pascale's daughters become involved, we move to the sixth generation of this wine-growing family. As is often the case, the number of heirs keeps growing over time as ownership gets split up. Thierry was farming all of the land, but had to sell much of the fruit to the negociants. So they formed Thierry and Pascale Matrot to be able to buy these grapes and make wines from all of the family vineyards. If you are a Meursault lover, and looking for a Tuesday night wine, this is a terrific choice. It comes entirely from vineyards in the Cote d'Or near Meursault, is hand-harvested and both rich and bright in character. At this price, I suspect this will fly out the door. I know I'll sure take some home.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart RP 90 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

2007 York Creek "MXB" Spring Mountain District Red Blend
Review Date: 1-23-2014
This is a wonderful throwback, in a very good way. MXB refers to "Mixed Black" as California winemakers used to refer to field blends of different varietals, which is exactly what this is. Made from Zin, Barbera, Grenache, Durif and Carignan, I bet this was a beast in its youth. But with a few years in bottle it has settled down, lost the rough edges, and found its stride. Big, rich, black-fruited and intense, it still retains enough acidity from the mountain fruit to remain fresh, peppery and delightful. Drink now, or hold for additional time. The only wrong answer is not to buy it now, because when it's gone, it will be gone for good. For less than $15, this is truly compelling!
Top Value!
Price: $15.99 Add To Waiting List 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

2011 Chalone Vineyard Monterey County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 12-3-2013
Light and bright in style, with a pretty cherry and cranberry fruit character. This is a perfect value for Holiday Parties!
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart WE 90 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 Thiénot "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?

Thienot Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 11-6-2013
This champagne is that color that is often called "Oeil de Perdrix", or Eye of the Partridge. But Garance Thienot winced, and said "I prefer Salmon". By either name, it is a beautiful light color, not bright pink, but subtle and lovely, implying the champagne will be as soft and delicate as it actually is. Delightful cherry and strawberry notes, lovely chalky minerality and a long finish. What a find!

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.

2009 La Massa "Giorgio Primo" Toscana
Review Date: 11-5-2013
If you love rich and toasty Cabernet, with drive and not too much over-ripeness, this is a sure bet. Think of something better than Caymus Special Select, at 1/2 the cost, made by Bordeaux wine producer Stephan Derenoncourt. In any business, I'd call that a no-brainer!

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