Staff Favorites - Keith Wollenberg

Keith Wollenberg
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Reviews

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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?

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.

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.

Green Mark (Zelyonaya Marka) Russian Vodka 750ml
Review Date: 8-29-2013
Love that rich, oily quality of a good russian vodka? Tired of paying $30 per bottle to cover their marketing expenses? So were we. Then the Davids found this one. How the third best-selling vodka in the world missed our market, is a mystery. And how one of the winnners of russia's top mark of approval sells at this price is even a bigger one. All I know is that if you do not buy this one because of the price, you will be cheating yourself.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1998 Domaine de Baraillon K&L Exclusive Folle Blanche Vintage Armagnac 750ml
Review Date: 8-29-2013
This is a fantastic value in aged Armagnac. Folle Blanche is really the grape that excites me. There is a combinatoin of richness and drive that I really appreciate. here it iis combined with a layered mid-palate, good complexiity and just a bit of dusty spice on the finish. I loved the 1995, but for only three years younger, you get this at a 40% discount. If you wait too long, the staff is likely to make a serious dent in our supply.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Franck Bonville "Belles Voyes" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 8-2-2013
Based on the 2004 vintage, this is a terrifically rich and very lovely champagne, made from old vines, planted in the 1920s, long before commercial clones were available. The reulting concentration and depth is a reward that exceeds many champagnes costing well over $100.

2011 Oakridge Local Vineyard Series "Denton Vineyard" Chardonnay Yarra Valley
Review Date: 7-24-2013
This is my kind of Chardonnay! Coming from the cool climate of the Yarra Valley, this is completely different frmo the big, high-alcohol blowsy chardonnays from South Australia. It has acidity, focus, and balance. It is made from wild yeasts, and shows complexity and legth. And the alcohol is a modest (and appropriate) 12.5%. Bravo to K&L's Australian buyer and team for finding and bringing in this wine.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart JH 95 BC 0

1995 Charles Heidsieck "Blanc des Millénaires" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-16-2012
One of my favorite things is old champagne. But I never seem to have enough in my cellar, so it's a joy to find a current release such a this on the market. 100% Chardonnay, rich and toasty, complex and long, this is a Don't Miss! sort of bubbly. Supplies are running low, and I hope it will last until New Year's. I am buying some now to be sure I have it laid safely away.

Charles Heidsieck "Brut Reserve" Champagne
Review Date: 11-16-2012
This is one of those occasions when you have to raise a toast to the champagne house. While the old Charles Heidseck was a solid bubbly, this is a huge step up. And the price increase is justifed by the increase in aged stocks and the higher quality overall. Delicious, rich and concentrated, with a fine mousse. Here's a toast to Champagne Charlie!

2001 Malescasse, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 9-29-2012
OK, let's think about it for just about one moment. Here is an 11 year old Bordeaux, with attractive plum fruit notes on the entry, poise, good balance, and nice maturity. It has good mid-palate richness and elegant fruit character. AND IT IS LESS THAN $20???? In the trade, we call a wine like this a no-brainer, and drink it ourselves.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Ferrand 1840 Formula 90 proof Cognac 750ml
Review Date: 9-19-2012
A favorite for mixing cocktails, made in a slightly old-fashoined style with a higher proof.
Price: $37.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 2-26-2010
Balanced and elegant style. If you are looking for a delightful champagne that is so perfectly balanced that a bottle disappears in an instant, look no further.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Quartz Reef "Methode Traditionelle" Sparkling Wine Brut Central Otago
Review Date: 2-26-2010
This terrific Methode Champenoise sparkling wine from Central Otago is made from 62% Pinot Noir and the rest Chardonnay. It has fine bubbles and is as close to Champagne as you will find, for about hlf the price. I drink it at home!
Top Value!

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