Staff Favorites - Jeff Garneau

Jeff Garneau
Jeff Garneau  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
Jeff has been a member of the sales staff in our Redwood City store for the past four years. His first introduction to wine was as a waiter in an upscale Italian restaurant in Hanover, NH more years ago than he likes to admit. He slowly made his way west to wine country, working his way across the US as a graduate student in geography, a public sector researcher in regional economic development, and briefly, in the wake of the Anderson-Enron scandal, a records management coordinator for one of the remaining Big Five accounting firms. Finally, surrendering to the inevitable, he accepted a position in the wine business here at K&L. His goals for the next four years include drinking more wines from Italy and France and trying to limit the number of open bottles on the dinner table on any given night to fewer than six.


Reviews

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2009 d'Issan, Margaux
Review Date: 10-05-2017
What do you say about an historic Bordeaux chateau that has an actual moat? I don’t know if it improves the quality of the wine but with enotourisme on the rise, it seems a sensible precaution. The property has been owned by the Cruse family since 1945, and run by Emmanuel Cruse for the past twenty years. Classified as a Third Growth in 1855, the estate currently has 44 hectares of vineyards designated as AOC Margaux. These are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon (62%) and Merlot (38%) and lie just to the north of the village of Cantenac on the banks of the Gironde River. I ranked the 2009 d’Issan among my top wines of the vintage, and it was one of only two wines from Margaux that I bought for my own cellar. In spite of the ripeness of the vintage, it is nevertheless a very balanced effort with moderate alcohol, superfine tannins, and a lively acidity that lends the wine freshness. It is a wine with a great sense of place, a classic Margaux with telltale violets on the nose and remarkable elegance and grace. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot. 50% new oak.

2009 Malartic-Lagravière Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 10-05-2017
2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the purchase of Chateau Malartic-Lagravière by the Bonnie family. In the past two decades they have spared no expense in the restoration of this historic property, from the replanting of vineyards to the construction of an innovative gravity-fed winery. The estate was one of only six awarded cru classé status for both red and white wine in the Graves classification of 1959. The quality of both has continued to improve in remarkable fashion even in the past few years, making Chateau Malartic-Lagravière one of the better values in Pessac-Léognan, and a property to watch in the future. The 2009 vintage in particular was a great success here. All the hard work since 1997 was amply rewarded in a vintage with near perfect growing conditions, yielding a wine of great refinement and character. Hints of violets and black fruits on the nose with slightly smoky, toasted notes (80% new oak). On the palate, rich dark fruit. Lovely weight with positively silky tannins. Wonderfully ripe but very lively and fresh with a nice touch of minerality. Overall a very balanced effort. Highly recommended. 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot.

2009 Lalande-Borie, St-Julien
Review Date: 10-05-2017
From Bruno Borie, owner of second growth Ducru-Beaucaillou in Saint-Julien. His father, Jean-Eugène Borie purchased a parcel of fallow land from neighboring Chateau Lagrange in 1970, replanting the vineyards over the next several years. Today the estate covers 30 hectares in a single block, of which 25 hectares are planted to vines, 65% to Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% to Merlot, and 10% to Cabernet Franc. Saint-Julien is the smallest of the four major sub-appellations in the Médoc, but the one with the largest number of classed growths. Consequently, prices tend to be high and there are few real bargains left. Lalande-Borie, with all of the resources of a second growth behind it, represents one of the last great values in the Saint-Julien. The 2009 vintage was a particular success – lively and fresh with loads of sweet fruit and unusually fine tannins. So very tempting to drink this wine now, but it can only get better with time.

1989 La Tour de Mons, Margaux (1.5L)
Review Date: 09-30-2017
An historic property (though not a classed growth) in the commune of Soussans, in the very north of the appellation Margaux. Until it was sold to a group of investors in the mid ‘90s, the estate was held by the same family since the 17th century. The 1989 La Tour de Mons, Margaux was one of the last vintages produced under the old regime. It was an exceptional vintage overall in Bordeaux producing wines of both exceptional ripeness and great vigor. This is frankly a remarkable effort and a delight to drink. Lightly floral on the nose in classic Margaux style. Very savory with notes of cedar, tobacco and leather. Fully ripe with a rich texture and good concentration. Loads of sweet red & black fruits, wild cherry and blackberry. Still very fresh with lively acidity and fine tannins. A perfectly aged claret from one of the great vintages of the ‘80s, even better out of magnum.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2009 Bois-Malot, Bordeaux Supérieur
Review Date: 09-30-2017
From 10 hectares of vineyards on the banks of the Dordogne River, about 15 km from the city of Bordeaux itself, 3rd generation vigneron Jacques Meynard produces this incomparable Bordeaux Supérieur. The 2009 Bois-Malot, Bordeaux Supérieur is the perfect expression of a vintage that offers freshness, superb ripeness, and ultrafine tannins. This is full-bodied effort with loads of sweet red and black fruits. A veritable Saint Bernard of a wine – big, friendly, and eager to please. Terrific value here.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

2015 Bishop's Peak San Luis Obispo Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-29-2017
From the good folks at Talley Vineyards in Arroyo Grande, the fruit for this wine comes from a vineyard adjacent to the estate. Always one of the better Pinot Noir values under $20, this 2015 vintage is truly outstanding! Lightly floral on the nose with intriguing spice notes. Bright and lively and very fresh on first impression, turning sweeter and gaining weight in the mouth, and finishing very fine. Loads of ripe, red and black fruits with notes of Bing cherry. This is one hell of a sexy Pinot Noir, and a terrific effort from Talley.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2014 Hyot, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 09-28-2017
Chateau Hyot is located in the commune of Saint-Magne-de-Castillon adjacent to its more famous neighbor, Saint-Emilion. Its 40 hectares run from the lower slopes of the Côtes to the river Dordogne with soil types ranging from clay to sand and gravel. The vineyards are planted 70% to Merlot, 20% to Cabernet Franc, and 10% to Cabernet Sauvignon. Average vine age is 35 years. The 2014 Hyot, Côtes de Castillon is very typical of the vintage, combining lively acidity with admirable sweetness of fruit. The nose is lightly floral with hints of oak spice. On the palate, ripe red and black fruits with notes of cherry and plum, very fresh and juicy. Finishes firm with fine tannins. An exceedingly drinkable weeknight claret at a very affordable price.

2005 Latour-Martillac, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 09-26-2017
One of the top vintages of the decade in Bordeaux, and a great success at Latour-Martillac. The perfect choice for the cellar. Still youthful at more than ten years of age with lively acidity and firm tannins. Very fresh with ripe, sweet fruit. Will keep well for another 5 years at least then drink well for another decade or more. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot.

2014 Gundlach Bundschu "Mountain Cuvée" Sonoma County Red Blend
Review Date: 08-31-2017
A local California take on the classic Bordeaux blend. Full-bodied with generous, ripe fruit, nicely seasoned with oak. A serious wine that doesn’t take itself too seriously. An easy drinking weeknight red that offers terrific value at this price point.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2015 Wanaka Road (Mount Edward) Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 08-31-2017
I look forward each year to the release of Mount Edward’s estate Pinot Noir. It is consistently one of my favorites from the Central Otago region, and one of the better values. I thought they couldn’t possibly do any better, and then I tried the 2015 Wanaka Road bottling, their second label. The fruit here is sourced partly from the estate and partly from neighboring vineyards and the results are extraordinary. There may not be a better Pinot Noir on our shelves at this price, from anywhere. Bright, tangy red fruits. Hints of flowers and spice. Burgundian balance with New World flair. Flat out delicious.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RC 91

2012 Plaisance "Cuvee Alix" Côtes de Bordeaux
Review Date: 08-31-2017
From the portfolio of wines of Bernard Magrez, owner of Chateau Pape Clement. Chateau Plaisance is not in Pessac-Léognan but in the Entre-Deux-Mers region, producing red wines under the appellation Côtes de Bordeaux. The 2012 Plaisance "Cuvee Alix" is a blend of 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc aged 9 months in a combination of tank and barrel, 50% of which are new. Generous, forward fruit here with lovely mid-palate weight and fine tannins. Very true to the ’12 vintage. A perennial customer favorite in the sub $20 Bordeaux category.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 Lafont-Fourcat, Bordeaux Rouge
Review Date: 08-31-2017
When he is not consulting for the likes of Chateau Ausone, La Mondotte, or Yquem, Paul-Marie Morillon makes wine on his own property of Lafont-Fourcat, as he has done since 1993. The estate consists of 8 hectares of vineyards in the village of Pujols in the Entre-Deux-Mers region, just across the Dordogne River from Castillon-la-Bataille. Jean-Luc Thunevin, owner of Chateau Valandraud and infamous “garagiste”, distributes the wines. Thunevin says of the winemaker, “Alors, voilà, Paul-Marie, il faut soit faire plus de vin, soit avoir moins de talent.” (…you have to either make more wine or have less talent…) Those talents are on display with this 2015 Lafont-Fourcat, Bordeaux. The blend is mostly Merlot with a little bit of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Given the ripeness of the ’15 vintage, there is plenty of youthful fruit here seasoned with a bit of oak spice. Lots of mixed red berries and red currant notes. Bright and lively – very fresh – with firm, fine tannins. Solid value.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2009 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 08-18-2017
Chateau Coufran lies just north of St-Estèphe in the village of Saint-Seurin-de-Cadourne. There are 76 hectares of vineyards planted entirely on gravel soils close beside the Gironde River. Atypically for a Left Bank property, the grape varieties planted are almost entirely Merlot (85%), earning Coufran the nickname “the Pomerol of the Médoc”. I had the good fortune to taste a barrel sample of the 2009 Coufran at the chateau in 2010. The owner, Eric Miailhe, confided at that time that he considered it the finest wine he had ever made. Now, five years after bottling, the wine truly shows the strength of the outstanding ’09 vintage – very fresh with lively acidity and very fine, but still firm tannins. There is plenty of sweet fruit here with notes of fresh picked blackberry and damson plum. A terrific value from one of the great vintages of the decade.

2007 Tronquoy-Lalande, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 08-16-2017
2007 was a challenging vintage in many ways, cool and humid throughout much of the spring and summer. Thankfully, September and October were hot and dry and conditions during harvest were ideal. The best wines offer ripe, sweet fruit and fine tannins, and will make for very good near-term drinking. They are attractively priced, often at a steep discount. Compare the 2007 Tronquoy-Lalande, St-Estèphe $27.99 to the much heralded 2009, for example, which sells for $42.99. It won't require another decade in the cellar and is drinking very well right now. It is, in fact, aging a bit precociously, already showing some intriguing savory notes with hints of truffle and licorice, even at ten years of age. It still retains its youthful fruit, however, with notes of tart red cherry and fresh-picked blackberry. There is a lovely weight and ripeness here, and a positively silky texture along with very fine tannins. The blend is 58% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 12% Petit Verdot.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

2012 Tour Léognan, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 08-10-2017
Originally a neighboring property, Chateau Tour Léognan became the second label of Chateau Carbonnieux in 1956 when the Perrin family purchased both properties and reorganized the vineyards. Today the fruit is sourced mostly from younger vines on the estate. The 2012 Tour Léognan, Pessac-Léognan is typical of the vintage, ripe and round and easy drinking. Loads of sweet dark fruit with notes of mocha and spice. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Fattoria dei Barbi Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 07-28-2017
In 2015, Greg St. Clair, our Italian buyer, was in Montalcino during harvest, trying to buy more of the outstanding 2010 Brunellos. He mentioned at the time that he thought the quality of the grapes was exceptional, and that it was likely to be a very successful vintage. I have been waiting ever since for the release of the 2015 Rossos from Montalcino, which go to market three years in advance of the Brunellos from the same vintage. These are an inexpensive way to get an advance taste of the quality of the vintage, and of the likely character of the Brunellos yet to be released. From what I can tell so far, 2015 appears to be a very promising vintage indeed. One of my favorites is the 2015 Fattoria Dei Barbi Rosso Di Montalcino. This is very traditional in style with classic Morello cherry notes and a soaring, savory note of leather and spice that virtually defines the best Sangiovese from Montalcino. These are serious wines, really “Baby Brunellos”. Decant for one hour and enjoy.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Cave de Tavel "Lauzeraies" Tavel
Review Date: 07-28-2017
From an appellation that is devoted exclusively to the production of rosé wine, this is one of the classic French rosés. Made in the saignée style, this is a little heartier in flavor, lightly spicy with bright, red fruits. Great for the summer months, or for drinking on into the fall. Great pricing here as well. One of our best values in a rosé from the southern Rhone.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2014 La Reserve de Malartic, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 07-11-2017
The second label of Cru Classé Chateau Malartic-Lagravières, Pessac-Léognan. Enormously appealing, the 2014 La Reserve de Malartic shows to full advantage the near perfect ripening conditions of the long Indian summer of September and October 2014. Made with a slightly higher proportion of Merlot in the blend than the Grand Vin, this is meant to be approachable at a younger age and drinkable over the near term. Ripe and round in style with generous, sweet red fruits and fine tannins. 60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc. Terrific value here. Drink now or hold.

2001 Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande, Haut Medoc (1.5L)
Review Date: 07-06-2017
In Saint-Seurin-de-Cadourne, north of Saint-Estephe. Since 1936, owned by the Quié family, owners also of 5th Growth Croizet-Bages in Pauillac and 2nd Growth Rauzan-Gassies in Margaux. 75 hectares of vineyards in three main parcels overlooking the Gironde River just north of neighbor Sociando-Mallet. 55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc. The 2001 Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande has some lovely development (perhaps aging in magnum a bit more slowly than is typical of the vintage). Lightly savory with notes of warm spice. Ripe and round with bright, sweet fruit. The Merlot really makes its presence felt here; there is a bit more weight in the midpalate, the tannins a little softer on the finish. A terrific value in a larger format bottle for lovers of nicely aged, classic Bordeaux.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2009 Les Allées de Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc (1.5L)
Review Date: 07-06-2017
5 years past release and this is still one of the best values from Bordeaux at this price point. The second label of Fifth Growth Chateau Cantemerle, the 2009 Les Allées exhibits such obvious character and class the pedigree is self-evident. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that 2009 is one of the top vintages of the decade. The quality and size of the crop was such that second labels offer even better than usual value. ’09 was also a big Cabernet vintage, and at nearly two thirds of the blend it really shines through here. Just a hint of violets on the nose, sweet, ripe blackberry and cassis notes on the palate, and ultra fine, silky smooth tannins to finish. This is already drinking beautifully, but can easily be cellared and enjoyed with continued pleasure over the next decade. Twice as good out of magnum!
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart
JS 90

2016 Les Roches Sauvignon Touraine
Review Date: 06-30-2017
The Touraine AOC is quite large with approximately 5500 hectares of vineyards on both banks of the Loire River between Saumur and Orleans. A broad range of wines are produced – white and red and rosé, sparkling and still. For white grapes, there is some Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, but more than 80% of the wine produced is Sauvignon Blanc. The 2016 Les Roches Sauvignon Touraine is one of the best values we offer in a Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc, a less expensive alternative to the Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé which is produced just upriver. Very dry and crisp in style with lively citrus notes. Lightly savory and intensely mineral in expression. Terrific value at this price point.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2008 Launois "Spécial Club" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (750ml - ships as 1.5L)
Review Date: 06-28-2017
I first purchased Champagne Launois’ Special Club bottling with the 2000 vintage at the urging of our Champagne buyer, Gary Westby. I was so impressed I made sure to buy at least a few bottles of every subsequent release – the 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006. The only regret I ever had was not buying more. Now we have in stock the 2008 Launois Special Club, and it is unquestionably the finest vintage of this wine I have tasted to date. It combines exceptional richness with superb focus and intensity. Very precise with admirable persistence. This is showing remarkably well now but will really shine with a few years in the cellar.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

2012 Pauillac de Latour, Pauillac
Review Date: 06-09-2017
An “appellation” wine from First Growth Chateau Latour in Pauillac. Each year, after the initial selection is made for the Grand Vin, and for the second label, Forts de Latour, some of the remaining lots are used to produce this 3rd label. Also included are grapes from some of the younger vines on the estate, as well as from outlying vineyards. The “Pauillac” bottling will usually include a higher proportion of Merlot and is intended for earlier consumption, requiring less aging than Latour’s more prestigious labels. We tasted the 2012 Pauillac de Latour at the chateau in early April. It was good enough to compare very favorably with a barrel sample of the excellent 2016. Very much in the Latour style – structured, bold, black-fruited. Very generous with loads of sweet fruit and good concentration. Tannins are quite fine. Drinkable now or over the next decade. Given the pricing for First Growths these days, this wine represents one of the great bargains in Bordeaux.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart
JS 90
Limit of 24 per customer

2016 Pichon-Baron, Pauillac
Review Date: 06-08-2017
A classic in the making, the 2016 Pichon Baron is the very definition of Pauillac – powerful, concentrated, focused. One of the latest harvests ever at the chateau, this is a vintage for Cabernet lovers, one that rivals even 2009 and 2010. At 85% of the blend, this Deuxiéme Cru attains nearly the level of Cabernet Sauvignon in most First Growths in 2016. Superbly structured with great underlying acidity and fine tannins, this will make a great addition to any cellar. I have no doubt the 2016 will eventually take its place among the great vintages of this century.

2016 Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 06-08-2017
This tiny viticultural enclave, consisting of a mere 5 hectares of vineyards, lies fully within the city of Bordeaux, immediately north of its more famous neighbor, Chateau Haut-Brion. The property takes its name from the order of Carmelite nuns who held it for more than two hundred years, from the late 16th century to the time of the French Revolution. With its 19th century chateau and sculptured gardens, there is still a sense of the cloister about the place, a remarkably peaceful oasis in the heart of a bustling metropolis. The holy sisters would likely be greatly startled however by the new Philippe Starck designed winery, which rises like a leviathan from the spring fed stream that bisects the property. The new cellars and winemaking facility are part of a comprehensive program of investment initiated by new owner Patrice Pichet since acquiring the property in 2010. The 2016 Les Carmes Haut Brion is a vindication of his efforts to realize the full potential here. It is a breathtaking expression of the unique terroir of the northern Graves, at once intensely mineral and extraordinarily concentrated. The blend includes an astonishing 41% Cabernet Franc, supported by 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 39% Merlot. Perfectly ripe, with lively acidity and firm, fine tannins. Deeply colored and very aromatic, with a savory/spicy character, very much in keeping with the vintage. A superb effort, not to be missed. This is a property to keep an eye on. Great things are happening here.

2016 Brane-Cantenac, Margaux
Review Date: 06-06-2017
It’s hard for me to be completely objective about the wines of Brane-Cantenac. It’s one of my favorite properties from the appellation and my “go to” wine when I really want to drink Margaux. I have quite a few vintages in my cellar starting with 2000 and it seems to me that the wines just keep getting better and better with each passing year. The 2016 Brane-Cantenac may be one of the best I have ever tasted. Classically floral with generous ripe, sweet fruit. There is good depth here. Layered, complex, with firm, fine tannins. Still a relative bargain for a Deuxième Cru as the improvement in quality continues to outpace any increase in price.

2016 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 06-06-2017
Year on year, Leoville Barton continues to deliver wines that are firm, structured, and uncompromisingly tannic in their youth. The 2016 is very much on point with substantial, though very fine, tannins. What is particularly striking is the sheer intensity of the color, from palate-staining purple to nearly inky black. Loads of black fruit here as well. Superbly ripe with notes of fresh blackberry and hints of richer cassis. Like many of the Left Bank wines in 2016, Cabernet Sauvignon very much takes the lead here. Patience will be required but this ought to age magnificently.

2016 Margaux, Margaux
Review Date: 06-06-2017
Commenting on the extreme weather conditions of 2016 – from the heavy spring rains to the late summer drought – the good folks at First Growth Chateau Margaux characterized the year in typically understated fashion as “a singular vintage”. If it was a vintage to test the mettle of vineyard manager and cellar master alike, then Margaux passed with flying colors. This 2016 Margaux, Margaux is very much a wine of the vintage. Notable acidity, very fresh and lively, with a mere 13% alc. Hugely tannic but so very fine it was easy to taste even out of barrel. At 94% of the blend this is a vintage for Cabernet lovers. While yields were slightly up here in 2016, the selection for the Grand Vin was quite strict, a mere 28% of total production, down from 35% the year before. Where 2015 was opulent, the 2016 is precise. This is a sleek greyhound of a wine, a marvel of focused intensity and restrained power, a wine of great finesse and elegance.

2014 Maldonado "Farm Worker" Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-30-2017
If it’s true that the best wines are made in the vineyard, this 2014 Maldonado "Farm Worker" Napa Valley Chardonnay couldn’t hope for a better pedigree. Lupe Maldonado has over three decades of vineyard management experience under his belt, and it shows. Fermented partially in stainless steel and partially in French oak, this is a crisp, focused effort that nevertheless offers plenty of ripe, sweet fruit.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2016 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-30-2017
The 2016 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan would seem to be swimming against the current. In a vintage where most wines are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, it is instead Merlot (at 56% of the blend) that takes the lead here. Cabernet Sauvignon is the junior partner at 37.5% of the blend. Cabernet Franc makes up the remainder at 6.5%, though this grape did less well in 2016 and mostly went to the second labels. Very lively and fresh in keeping with the vintage. The tannins, too, here are quite firm. Overall this is reserved in style, quite powerful in its own way, but marked by restraint. Very fine indeed.

2004 Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-30-2017
2004 is one of those often overlooked vintages. Not in the top rank for the decade but solidly good, with quite a few well-priced wines of superb quality. The 2004 Chateau Haut Bergey from Pessac-Leognan is certainly one of these. Showing nice integration of the oak and just a hint of age with notes of coffee and tobacco. Notable acidity with bright, sweet red fruits – red currant and sour cherry. Classically mineral in character with firm, fine tannins.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2016 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Rosé Marlborough
Review Date: 05-30-2017
Last year was our first time selling a rosé from TWR, one of our favorite NZ producers. I fell in love with it, and it quickly became my house rosé for the summer. This new 2016 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Rosé Marlborough is a little more robust in style, a saignée bottling of Pinot Noir from a single block. Lightly savory with notes of spice. Bright red fruits, sweet and ripe, juicy and delicious. A worthy successor to last year's inaugural offering.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2010 Can Mayol Loxarel "Reserva Familiar" Brut Nature Penedes
Review Date: 05-30-2017
Imagine. This is the wine you discovered in that tiny little tapas bar tucked away in the Gothic Quarter in the old city of Barcelona. You remember. The one you raved about to all your friends? When you returned home you found out it wasn't available for sale in the US and you complained about how all the best local wines are never imported? Yes. That one. This is the real deal. Zero dosage, bone dry cava made from the traditional trio of Xarello, Macabeo, and Parellada grapes. There is a complex, leesy character here from six years in the bottle prior to disgorgement. Exotic notes of wildflowers and honey, anise and chamomile. You have to enjoy this with food. Why not splurge on some jamón ibérico and toast up some pan con tomate? Vale.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Duhart-Milon, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-16-2017
The 2016 Duhart Milon is ripe and concentrated, dense, dark and black-fruited. Plays to the strengths of the vintage with a blend of two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon to one-third Merlot. Tannins quite fine here. Deceptively easy to taste. Terrific effort here in 2016. A great success.

2016 Pape Clément, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-15-2017
One of the great properties in Pessac-Léognan, historic, renowned, a near neighbor of Chateau Haut-Brion. In recent years, the estate has been moving towards a more terroir-driven style, taking full advantage of its exceptional position in the northernmost part of the appellation. The 2016 Pape Clément is a nuanced effort, complex and layered with good concentration and length. Deeply colored, intense. Lovely weight with perfectly ripe, sweet fruit and fine tannins. Deftly seasoned with spicy oak that enhances rather than overwhelms the wine. Very well done.

2016 Pape Clément Blanc, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-15-2017
Remarkably bright and fresh with terrific focus and intensity. Sweet, ripe fruit adds richness supported by admirable underlying tension and length. A balanced effort worthy of the cellar.

2016 Montrose, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 05-15-2017
The 2016 Montrose is a marvel—intense, concentrated and brooding. Inky, dark, palate-staining color. Wildly aromatic nose with notes of lavender and oolong tea. A big, powerful wine with perfectly ripe, sweet fruit. Solid, structured, with vibrant acidity and ultra-fine tannins. This is Montrose as it is meant to be, at its very best, a wine of precision and refinement rather than blunt force. Unequivocal quality here. Not to be missed.

2016 Meyney, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 05-15-2017
Consistently one of the best values in Saint-Estèphe. Situated on the Gironde River immediately north of Chateau Montrose. Typically black fruited in style with perhaps a bit more richness than its peers. That difference has been accentuated with the arrival in 2013 of consulting oenologist Hubert du Boüard, owner of Chateau Angelus in Saint Emilion. A worthy successor to the excellent 2014 vintage, the 2016 Meyney is lushly textured with ripe, sweet fruit and very fine tannins. Still too early perhaps to see how Boüard’s influence will affect the winemaking here. If greater consistency can be achieved without sacrificing typicity, the potential here is enormous. This is a property well worth keeping an eye on.
Top Value!

2016 Ormes de Pez, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 05-11-2017
Consistently one of the top values in St-Estèphe, Château Ormes de Pez flourishes under the stewardship of the Cazes family, owners of Lynch-Bages in Pauillac. Jean-Charles Cazes purchased the property in 1940; his son Jean-Michel made major improvements in the early 1980s. The 2016 vintage may be one of the finest ever produced at this estate. Pitch perfect with generous sweet black fruits and a hint of oak spice. Tannins very fine. A complete wine.

2016 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 05-11-2017
Chateau Cantemerle was classified a Cinquième Cru in 1855, one of only five chateaus designated “Haut-Médoc” to be awarded cru classé status. With nearly 100 hectares of vineyards it is one of the largest estates on the Left Bank, and all I can say is, thank goodness. Even with yields slightly above average, I worry there won’t be enough of the 2016 vintage to go around. 2016 is a remarkable vintage in many respects, but one of its most compelling features is the tendency to bring out in the very best wines something quintessential, a perfect expression of terroir. I think the 2016 Cantemerle is one such. It brings together all of the best aspects of the vintage – an extraordinary intensity of color, wildly expressive aromatics, lively acidity and very fine tannins. And the fruit? As a child, I used to spend the summers in Maine, and I used to go blackberry picking with my grandmother. She preferred to go early in the morning before it got too hot. The berries would still be cool with a bit of the morning dew still upon them. Even under my grandmother’s watchful eye, not every berry made its way into my pail. I still remember quickly popping them into my mouth and that astonishing all at once burst of tartness and sweetness. Tasting “fresh-picked blackberry” in this wine made me smile with the memory it evoked. And I have no doubt that 2016 will be remembered as one of the great vintages for Cantemerle. 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot. Tasted twice with consistent notes.

2016 d'Arce, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 05-11-2017
Côtes de Castillon continues to be a source for some of the best values on the Right Bank. Many top producers in Saint-Emilion and Pomerol have invested in properties within this neighboring appellation, making wines which are nearly equal in quality to their best labels at a fraction of the price. Hélène Garcin, owner of Chateau Clos l'Église in Pomerol and Chateau Barde-Haut and the new Poesia in St-Emilion, now owns Chateau d’Arce in Côtes de Castillon. 2016 is only her third vintage, but certainly the best vintage yet. The quality is already apparent here. Loads of bright, sweet fruit. Very fresh with fine tannins. Terrific balance. Exceptional value.

2016 Clerc-Milon, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-11-2017
A very successful vintage for Clerc Milon, this 2016 simply exudes class and character. Classic Pauillac, with great presence and weight. Ripe, sweet fruit. Very lively and fresh. Lush in texture with very fine tannins. A supremely polished effort. Superb. Tasted three times during en primeur week with consistent notes.

2016 Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien
Review Date: 05-09-2017
Chateau Branaire-Ducru is consistently one of the best values in Saint Julien. I love it for its elegance and for its classic appeal. I confess I have quite a few bottles in my cellar from various vintages. I plan to add a few more from this remarkable 2016 vintage. Patrick Maroteaux and his team really outdid themselves, producing one of the best wines from this appellation. Wildly aromatic and deeply colored. Bright, fresh, and very lively with fine tannins. Perfectly ripe, sweet fruit. Balanced. Precise. Complete.

2016 Lilian Ladouys, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 05-05-2017
A near neighbor of Chateau Lafon-Rochet, this is a property that in the past few years has become a customer favorite due to its combination of quality and price. The 2016 Lilian Ladouys will no doubt both delight existing fans of the wine as well as win over many new Bordeaux lovers with its generous fruit and overall balance and character. Beguilingly aromatic, a bit floral and a bit spicy. Good underlying structure – lively acidity and firm, fine tannins. Top quality, and very true to the vintage.

2016 Potensac, Médoc
Review Date: 05-05-2017
Consistently one of the very best properties in the Médoc, Chateau Potensac has been owned for many years by the Delon family of Leoville Las Cases in St. Julien. The quality of the wine can be attributed both to the superb character of the terroir and to the additional resources made available due to its long association with a top Deuxième Cru. It can be difficult to properly judge this wine when tasting at the Chateau, since you are obliged to evaluate it alongside the more prestigious Clos du Marquis and Leoville Las Cases itself, but more than in any other vintage I can recall this 2016 Potensac more than held its own. Even in such august company the quality was readily apparent. The wine showed exceptional concentration. Bright and lively in character, very fresh, and with loads of sweet, ripe fruit and fine tannins, very much in line with the vintage as a whole. One of the most intriguing things about this 2016 Potensac is the higher than usual percentage of Cabernet Franc. One theme we heard over and over again during en primeur was that due to the extreme conditions of the vintage – from very wet to very dry – the oldest vines faired best. The vineyards at Potensac include a parcel of Cabernet Franc vines more than 80 years old. The grapes from these vines in 2016 were of such a quality that they were among the best the estate produced and formed a key part of the blend. You may tire of hearing this regarding the 2016 vintage, but, truthfully, I have enjoyed many vintages of Potensac over the years, but this may be the best I have ever tasted.

2016 d'Armailhac, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-04-2017
My personal favorite among the wines we tasted at Chateau Mouton-Rothschild this year, possibly the finest d'Armailhac I have ever tasted. The wine makes an immediate impression in the mouth, demonstrating obvious class and polish. It is rich and lushly textured with generous ripe, sweet black fruits but retains great freshness and a very moderate 13.4% alcohol. Cabernet Sauvignon takes the lead here at nearly two-thirds (62%) of the blend. The remainder is mostly Merlot (28%), with smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc (8%) and Petit Verdot (2%). In 2016, the extremely dry conditions that prevailed throughout the mid to late summer and early fall yielded a crop of small, thick-skinned berries. Fair but cooler weather in autumn with warm days and cool nights meant that the grapes could be picked at the peak of ripeness and maturity. The result is a wine of great intensity and depth of color, and tannin levels that rival even the vaunted 2010 vintage but are much finer overall. This is classic Pauillac, as good as it gets – big, brash, self-assured – but with a warm and friendly manner that puts you immediately at ease. If this wine were running for office, it would definitely have my vote.

Cappelletti "Sfumato Rabarbaro" Amaro (750ml)
Review Date: 05-03-2017
This wonderful Amaro from Cappelletti is smoky and earthy, sweet and classically bitter. Try it on its own as a digestivo to end a hearty meal or get creative with some of your favorite cocktails. Personally, I am a huge Negroni fan. I have been looking for some time for an Amaro I could pair with Mezcal. As soon as I tasted the Sfumato Rabarbaro Amaro I knew I had found the secret ingredient for my Negroni Sfumato (I thought “Smoke & Mirrors” would be a fun title as well but the rest of the staff seem set on "Smoky Negron"). Try equal parts Sfumato Rabarbaro Amaro from Cappelletti, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, and your favorite mezcal. I used the Mezcalero "Los Nahuales" Special Edition Sierrudo-Cuishe Mezcal from Los Danzantes. Amazing!
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2016 Capbern, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 05-03-2017
Chateau Capbern, formerly Capbern-Gasqueton, was acquired along with Chateau Calon-Segur by its current owners in 2012. Judging from the quality of this 2016 vintage, the property has surely benefitted from some upgrades and improvements in the intervening years. Spice and floral notes leap out of the glass. The fruit is ripe and sweet and perhaps a bit more forward than some wines from the vintage at 14% alcohol. Combined with lively acidity and very fine tannins, however, the wine exhibits perfect balance, and should require a bit less patience than some of its fellow in St-Estephe. This property is fast becoming a customer favorite for its combination of quality and price. I imagine many will choose to drink this wine sooner rather than later, but it has sufficient structure to make a superb near term cellar candidate.
Top Value!

2016 Mauvesin Barton, Moulis
Review Date: 04-29-2017
I sometimes wonder if the Barton-Sartorius family, owners of Langoa-Barton and Leoville-Barton, acquired Chateau Mauvesin in Moulis in 2011 as much for the quality of its stables as for its vineyards. Daughter Mélanie Barton-Sartorius is an avid equestrian in addition to being a trained oenologist. Whatever the reason, they have certainly spared no expense in developing the property. The old cellars have been restored and new capacity added; the vineyards have been expanded and replanted. Today they have 50 hectares of vineyards planted 45% to Merlot, 36% to Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% to Cabernet Franc, and 2% to Petit Verdot. The 2016 Mauvesin Barton is quite true to the vintage, very pretty with bright red fruits and a hint of spice. Merlot takes the lead here so a bit more ripeness is evident in the rich, textured mid-palate. The finish is understandably firm though quite fine. An admirable effort, very reasonably priced, and a suggestion of even better things to come.

2016 Senejac, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 04-28-2017
From 40 hectares of vines in Le Pian-Médoc, just north of the city of Bordeaux itself. Always solid if occasionally rustic this property has improved markedly in the past few years. The 2016 vintage was one of the standouts among the wines of the Haut-Médoc at the big Maison Joanne tasting in Bordeaux during en primeur week. The blend is 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot. Impressive weight with loads of ripe, sweet fruit and fine tannins. Best ever from here?

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