Staff Favorites - Keith Wollenberg

Keith Wollenberg
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Reviews

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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 Mönchhof Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett
Review Date: 2-6-2014
Mönchof (the monk's palace) is an estate with a tremendous history. They have Roman wine presses on the premises, and as in Burgundy, the vineyards were selected and farmed and the wines made by the order of Cistercian monks starting in the 12th century. What's more, when the church sold the winery in 1804, it was to the Eymael family. And Robert Eymael still farms the estate and makes wine here today. Imagine that. In a thousand years, there have been two owners! This comes from one of my favorite vineyards in the town of Urzig in the middle Mosel. The Würzgarten, or spice garden, has a soil which is a mixture of red clay and slate, resulting in wines with great richness and drive plus a racy quality I always find reminiscent of a Saar wine. This is a shockingly good deal and delicious Riesling, combining, as it does, a ripe peach flavor with a nice spice and acidity at the finish to keep the wine vibrant. Don't miss it!
Top Value!
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart WS 91 BC 0

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!

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

2012 Au Bon Climat/K&L Wine Merchants "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 9-26-2013
Jim Clendenen is a guy with a storied past. He loves Burgundy, and has worked there and maintains his passion for its wines. He has a clear vision of what he likes, and makes wines of focus, with a sense of place and respect for their terroir, to use the French term. I was excited when I heard that Jim was working with Bryan on this project, and even more delighted to taste the finished product. This is is wine of complexity, length and charm, with attractive cassis and interesting herbal flavors, along with red and black currant notes. When you taste this wine, you will be astonished that Pinot of this quality can come at this price. Frankly I like it much better than most of the California Pinots I have tasted at twice the price! I'll be taking some across the pond to give to my friends in Burgundy as gifts. Don't miss out, because when this is gone, it will not be coming back.
Top Value!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2002 Piper-Heidsieck "Cuvée Rare" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 9-25-2013
Classic Piper Heidsieck, with a pronounced yeasty quality, and rich mouthfeel. If you want to avoid the current fashion for ever so bone dry Brut champagne, and are looking for a rich, traditional champagne, this is a fabulous place to find it.

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