Staff Favorites - Alex Pross

Alex Pross

Reviews

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2013 Calon Ségur, St-Estèphe Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 8-4-2014
One of my perennial favorite producers. The 2013 vintage has a distinctive Calon Segur-esque feel. The personality of Calon Segur can get obscured in some vintages, but in a challenging vintage like 2013 it really shines through. Berry fruit and notes of intense boysenberry lead, with hints of menthol and spice.

2013 Calon Ségur, St-Estèphe (1.5L) Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 8-4-2014
One of my perennial favorite producers. The 2013 vintage has a distinctive Calon Segur-esque feel. The personality of Calon Segur can get obscured in some vintages, but in a challenging vintage like 2013 it really shines through. Berry fruit and notes of intense boysenberry lead, with hints of menthol and spice.

2011 La Jota Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 7-10-2014
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The 2011 La Jota Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is the best 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon I have tasted! 2011 was by all accounts a very challenging vintage but there were a few wineries that seem to have been able to weather the storm and make a very good wine, La Jota is one of them. One of the advantages of mountain grown fruit is they can pick later and allow a longer hang time coupled with the tension put on the vines to grow in the gravelly volcanic soil gives the grapes a more defined personality. The complexity and depth that the 2011 La Jota showed took me by surprise, the wine starts off with aromas of crème de cassis, graphite and lavender notes give way to dark blueberry and blackberry fruit and spice notes. This wine has great balance, power and depth coupled with great fruit and just the right amount of oak. A great wine for any vintage but truly a standout in 2011!
Drink from 2014 to 2030

2009 Nairac, Sauternes
Review Date: 7-10-2014
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I have a confession, I am ashamed that I don’t drink as much Sauternes as I should. As a whole there may not be another wine that delivers as consistently for the price as Sauternes. The 2009 Nairac is a perfect example, at $39.99 this wine is a screaming deal. Liquid gold in the glass this wine has seductive aromas of dried mango and pineapple along with roasted almonds and the slightest hint of coconut. The palate is unctuously smooth with flavors of candied orange, ginger, apricot and notes of caramel. Powerful but light on its feet this is a delicious Sauternes.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2034

2012 Bodegas Castano "Solanera Vinas Viejas" Yecla
Review Date: 7-10-2014
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Boom! Another knock-out value from Spain, the 2012 Castano Vinas Viejas Solanera Red is sensational. A blend of 70% Monastrell(Mourvedre), 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Garnacha the 2012 Castano Solanera has an exceptional nose of dried plum, spices, fresh berries and just a hint of iodine while the palate is densely packed with black pepper, cassis, licorice and blackberry fruit. Great length coupled with good energy and a long finish give this wine a distinctively aristocratic feel while keeping a modest price of only $13.99. A case-worthy buy if there ever was one, the Castano Solanera is the perfect wine for entertaining a crowd or for drinking well on a tight budget!
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart RP 94 BC 0

2012 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 7-1-2014
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Nestled slightly to the east of Alexander Valley and to the north of Calistoga, Knights Valley straddles the imaginary line delineating Sonoma from Napa Valley. An emerging hotbed for great Cabernet Sauvignon values, Knights Valley offers a nice alternative to all the $50+ Cabs from Napa Valley. The 2012 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at $22.99 is the perfect example of the kind of values that can be found in Knights Valley; this exact wine with the words Napa Valley would easily command upwards of $50 a bottle! A nose of dark cherry kirsch, mocha and tobacco give way to a richly-textured palate of black cherries, plum, spice and seductive chocolate notes. This wine is packed with dark berry fruit and luscious notes of mocha and chocolate with good acidity, silky tannins and bright fruit notes. The finish is long and energetic with lingering berry notes and just a hint of spice and milk chocolate. A killer value, this Cabernet Sauvignon definitely over-delivers given its modest price.
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2001 Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 6-18-2014
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Due to the economics of the wine business today, there is very little wine held back vintage-to-vintage. In order to taste bottlings with a little age, you either need to have a cellar yourself or a friend with a cellar. Imagine my excitement when I was presented with the 2001 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon. From the very first sniff I knew we had a winner. Aromas of mocha, spice, cedar, coffee and sweet cherries slowly emerge from the glass while the palate deftly displays gorgeous layers of mature red berry fruit, oak, notes of mint and eucalyptus as well as a slight hint of chocolate. This wine is in the perfect place right now, soft and subtle with pretty fruit, hints of oak while showing nice secondary characteristics one would associate with a wine of 13 years of age. If you’re looking for an affordable Cabernet Sauvignon with some age on it then look no further.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Haut-Brion Blanc, Pessac-Léognan Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-14-2014
***½ Iodine, lime blossom and hints of lemon crème. Pitted fruit, nut skin and good body-feels a bit more masculine than the La Mission.

2013 Troplong Mondot, St-Emilion Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-14-2014
**½ to *** It was a sad in Bordeaux when in the middle of our En Premieur trip we learned that Christine Valette, owner of Troplong Mondot, had succumbed to cancer. Troplong is a magnificent property with a hillside vantage point, the wines are always full-throttle and a joy to taste. Lots of cola here with sexy, exotic spice notes. Big extraction here--made for the California palate.

2013 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-14-2014
***½ Deep, dark and brooding, with hints of scorched earth and minerality. Lots of depth here. The wine is packed with dark fruits and spice. Tasting it now feels like you're just scratching the surface of this immense wine.

2013 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-14-2014
*** to ***½ The word 'classic' gets thrown around way too much when discussing Bordeaux, but in the case of Leoville Barton, it is definitely merited. The 2013 is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. With notes of black cherry cola and hints of raspberry, the wine is layered and complex, showing good depth and density. Really well-made.

2013 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-14-2014
*** This is sure to be one of the more controversial wines of the vintage. From barrel it was super floral and intoxicating on the nose, with complex plum and spice cake notes that gave it almost a minced meat pie--Zinfandel-esque, unlikely as that sounds!--quality, with boysenberry and blackberry fruit on the palate. It comes together, however, and finishes with harmony and elegance. This could turn out to be great.

2013 Pichon-Baron, Pauillac Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-14-2014
*** Dark cherry liqueur and tobacco aromas are followed by lots of berry fruit concentration on the palate with savory herb notes and noticeable tannins.

2013 Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac (1.5L) Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-14-2014
*** Loaded with dark berry fruit on the nose and the palate, with hints of tobacco and spice. This wine is layered and complex. Fine effort.

2013 Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac Pre-Arrival
Review Date: 5-14-2014
*** Loaded with dark berry fruit on the nose and the palate, with hints of tobacco and spice. This wine is layered and complex. Fine effort.

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