Staff Favorites - John Downing

John Downing

Reviews

  
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2013 Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico
Review Date: 01-15-2017
I have to concur with my colleague Greg St Clair when it comes to this estate. They have taken major strides and have released some excellent wines like this 2013 Chianti Classico. We're very pleased to welcome Lamole back to K&L with the arrival of this modern take on a classic. The fruit resonates across the palate with intensity and lasting flavor and is framed by perfectly integrated oak and acidity. It has plenty of stuffing and will definitely hold up to heartier fare. Considering the price and quality, this is not to be missed.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2013 Antinori "Pèppoli" Chianti Classico
Review Date: 01-14-2017
The 2013 Peppoli is a classic and a wonderful expression of Sangiovese that's supplemented with small amounts of Merlot and Syrah that add depth and spice. What I love about this wine is its combination of expressive red fruit, mouthwatering acidity and understated elegance that remind me why I enjoy Chianti so much at the dinner table. We love this one and it comes with our highest recommendation.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2014 Moulin de la Gardette "Tradition" Gigondas
Review Date: 01-03-2017
I've long been a huge fan of Rhone Valley wines and as much as I enjoy the more recent, fruit-driven offerings from the Southern half that have stocked our shelves the past few years, the Gardette Gigondas really caught my attention. It harkens to when I first started selling wine over twenty years ago. More specifically to the classically styled Rhone reds with complex aromas of earthy red and black fruits, pepper, deli meat spicing and garrigue along with a bit more structure and polish on the palate. Whether you're a Rhone fan or just looking to discover the category, this soulful Gigondas is an outstanding pick.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
VN 90 - 92

2014 Baracchi "O'Lillo!" Toscana
Review Date: 01-03-2017
The modest label and pleasant "O'Lillo" greeting on this outstanding Tuscan red belie a far more serious wine that is really singing at the moment. Vibrant and rich plummy black fruits fill the palate while some substantial ripe tannins add a bit of heft and texture to a lengthy finish. This surprisingly good Italian red will hold up well with meats and heavier meals and it's pretty darn tasty on its own.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JS 93 WS 90

2012 Pio Cesare Barolo
Review Date: 01-02-2017
Our wine producer friends throughout Piemonte are truly dedicated and hard working but few have toiled more than Pio Boffa of Pio Cesare and his 2012 Barolo is a testament to that. The vintage was a challenging one yet he managed to produce an impressive wine bursting with richness and personality. This is a Barolo that requires little cellaring yet is also wonderful to drink now. The fruit is concentrated, the tannins ripe and the acidity relatively mild and the wine is a delight.

2014 Biondi "Outis" Etna Rosso
Review Date: 12-31-2016
Ciro Biondi produces some of the most elegant reds of Sicily's Mt Etna region and they are among my favorite as well. His property is on the southeastern slope of the volcano where the wines tend to be a bit lighter in color than their better-known contemporaries on the northern side. Nonetheless Biondi's "Outis" is fragrant and flavor-packed with no shortage of earthy spiced red fruits and fine tannins that almost transport us directly to Etna. Don't let the paler Pinot Noir-like color fool you, as this wine is substantial and sure to impress.
Price: $35.99 Add To Cart
WE 95 VN 92

2012 Damilano "Lecinquevigne" Barolo
Review Date: 12-19-2016
In addition to their single vineyard Barolos, the Damilano family bottles this most excellent multi-vineyard Nebbiolo blend that can be enjoyed now or cellared comfortably for many years. It's not easy to come across solid Barolo at this price, point so hats off to the Damilanos for producing this perennial classic. Like previous vintages the 2012 is aged in large oak vats and showcases classic Barolo aromas of red fruit, tar, dried florals and mineral and drinks perfectly now with heartier dishes. This is a serious value for Nebbiolo lovers as well as those interested in discovering Barolo.

2015 Erik Banti Morellino di Scansano
Review Date: 12-06-2016
While the Carato draws the most attention of the Banti wines, the 2015 Morellino should not be overlooked. Thanks to the ideal weather in 2015, this wine is fuller and richer than previous releases and it's one of our everyday go-to reds. Banti's Morellino is a blend of mostly Sangiovese with lesser amounts of Alicante and Merlot and if you're thinking of cooking up meat or Italian fare on a week night, there's plenty of stuffing in this impressive value red.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2010 Ruffino "Greppone Mazzi" Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 12-05-2016
I have to second my colleague Greg's notes on this wine as it was the best I've had from this estate and was a pleasant surprise at our recent staff tasting. This classic Brunello is traditional in style with ample concentration and depth and rolls across the palate with plenty of fruit on the finish along with a nice touch of acidity. Earthy and savory qualities add an extra dimension to this wonderful Brunello.

2014 Baricci Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 11-28-2016
Although the price of Rosso di Montalcino has risen the past several years, we're pleased to offer a number of excellent ones at phenomenal price points via our direct import program. Baricci is always at the top of my list as it's such a pure expression of Sangiovese that offers immediate drinking. Their 2014 is a definite triumph in a difficult vintage as it's brimming with vibrant fruit, ripe tannins and just the right touch of acidity. It's already flying out the door so be sure and purchase a few bottles before it's gone.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2011 Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 11-28-2016
This Brunello never seems to spend much time on our sales floor as it has been a long-time favorite of our customers. The 2011 shows why some have called this the drinking vintage as the wines tend to be softer and much more ready to open as is the case with Castiglion del Bosco. Not that this one won't hold in the cellar for a couple of years, but we like it so much now and think you'll agree.

2011 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 11-28-2016
La Fortuna produced an outstanding value Brunello in 2011 that's perfect to drink now. It's immediately inviting and bursting with aromas of plum, cherry, cedar and a hint of oak spicing. Spiced red fruits abound on the palate and make this delicious from start to finish.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
JS 90 RP 90

2015 Giuliano "Terre di Chieti" Pecorino
Review Date: 11-14-2016
Although I'm rarely a fan of Pecorino, there are a few exceptions and Giuliano is among them. I love the expressive scents of lemon, lime skin and jasmine flowers as well as the textured and full-flavored palate that this wine offers. And, a nice core of acidity provides a crisp and refreshing finish. If you haven't tried Pecorino, now's the time!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2015 Torti Pinot Nero Bianco Oltrepo Pavese
Review Date: 11-14-2016
When I first put my nose to the glass I thought this was surely a red wine but to my surprise it was a white Pinot Noir. While the nose is pure red fruit the palate offers a delicious, medium-bodied combo of cherry, honey and hazelnut. I'm looking forward to sharing this wine with my family on Thanksgiving day.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2015 Silvano Follador Prosecco Brut Nature
Review Date: 11-14-2016
There's Prosecco and then there's Follador. Silvano Follador is a perfectionist in the best sense and his wine certainly reflects his unflinching commitment to crafting the best possible wine from his Glera vineyards. I share my colleague's sentiments that his Prosecco is simply the finest made and his 2015 is vibrant and bright with surprising complexity and depth. Whether poured as an aperitif or featured at the dinner table, this wonderful sparkler is sure to impress.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
VN 92

2012 Fratelli Barale "Serraboella" Barbaresco
Review Date: 11-08-2016
All of the Barale wines showed exceptionally well during our tasting at the winery but the 2012 Barbaresco was definitely one of the highlights for me. Expressive aromas of spiced red fruits, minerals and dried florals open to a flavorful, medium-bodied palate with a fine layer of ripe tannins and a lingering finish. This is without doubt a phenomenal value Barbaresco that drinks nicely now and will continue to develop over the next 5-7 years.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

2015 Fratelli Barale Langhe Chardonnay
Review Date: 11-07-2016
Barale produces two separate Chardonnay bottlings from their Monforte property and while their slightly pricier Sergio Barale Chardonnay is aged in Tonneaux, this one rests entirely in stainless steel tanks. This has always been among my favorite Langhe Chardonnays not only because of its price point but also for its impressive fruit quality and overall freshness. The 2015 offers scents of both apple and pear with just a hint of tropical fruit on the palate and solid acidity provides just the right amount of zip. This wonderful wine packs enough flavor to entice a California Chardonnay fan looking to branch out yet will satisfy one who craves unoaked whites.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2012 Fratelli Barale Barolo
Review Date: 11-07-2016
As an ever increasing number of our customers are asking for and discovering Nebbiolo, we're happy to be answering with the Barale Barolo. Due to the rainy weather in 2012, this Barolo is more elegant and approachable in its youth and is an ideal option for someone wishing to try well made Nebbiolo for the first time or for Barolo fans in search of tremendous value. It's juicy and finely textured with sweet red fruits and ripe tannins across the palate. Outstanding value.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
VN 91

2015 Fratelli Barale "Castle" Barbera d'Alba
Review Date: 11-07-2016
Barale's 2015 Barbera is certainly more opulent than most vintages with rich, concentrated fruit and plenty of acidity to back it up. Waves of delicious berry fruit will keep you coming back for more and make this surprisingly good wine an irresistible daily table red. Barbera is one of the more versatile food wines so we urge you to pick up a bottle or two of this wonderful new arrival.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2013 Sportoletti Assisi Rosso
Review Date: 11-06-2016
When we first tasted this we thought it was a much pricier wine as it certainly over delivers. Made from fifty percent Sangiovese along with Merlot and Cabernet, the Sportoletti Rosso showcases fragrant red berry fruits along with hints of earth and leather reminiscent of Bordeaux. It drinks perfectly now and we're picking up some for our own cellars. Whether you're an Italian wine fan or searching for exceptional values from the old world, this outstanding red is certain to please.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2015 Antinori San Giovanni Orvieto
Review Date: 11-06-2016
While traveling through Umbria this past May we tasted a surprising number of good wines but this one certainly made a lasting impression upon us. By combining Pinot Bianco and Viognier with traditional Orvieto grapes, the Antinori family has crafted a very special wine. Pleasant aromas of lemon oil, minerals and honey are followed by a medium-bodied palate of rich honied fruit. There's a touch of sweetness as well which makes this perfect as an aperitif. However, the wine is also delicious with shrimp, scallops, white fishes, vegetable dishes and lighter fare.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2012 Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva
Review Date: 11-06-2016
After a long absence from our sales floors, the Villa Antinori Chianti Riserva is back in stock. This iconic label remains one of the benchmark wines for Antinori and we love the 2012. Made from ninety percent Sangiovese and ten percent Cabernet, it boasts a seamless palate of red and black fruit flavors with ample underlying acidity and plenty of length. It's a bit shy when first opened but fleshes out perfectly with proper aeration and there's nothing out of place. Simply delicious.

2013 Leone de Castris Salice Salentino Riserva
Review Date: 11-06-2016
When it comes to outstanding red wines from Puglia with excellent value/price ratio, Leone de Castris Salice Salentino Riserva remains at the top of our list. Their 2013 (50th Anniversary bottling) has just landed and it's as good as ever. Wonderful aromas of blackberry, black cherry, dark plum and dried spices are complemented by a seamless and richly fruited palate. Additionally, the winery manages to avoid the overripe, baked fruit qualities found in so many of the wines from Puglia making this especially great. A wonderful table red that shines with meats and cheeses.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2012 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva
Review Date: 10-30-2016
After tasting Felsina's 2012 Chianti Riserva, I was immediately reminded why this winery remains one of the jewels of Tuscany as their latest release definitely outclasses so many from the more challenging 2012 vintage. Although it's a bit restrained at the moment, there's plenty of fruit richness and overall stuffing for the wine to be enjoyed today with a bit of aeration or allowed to develop in the cellar. Terrific Chianti!

2014 Château de Montfaucon Clairette "Vin de Mme la Comtesse" Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes Blanc
Review Date: 10-25-2016
This regal white offers an unexpected level of refinement and complexity that we expect from pricier wines of the region. It boasts a wonderful combination of citrus and stone fruit with an overall intensity that lends itself to a variety of foods. Open this with fish, white meats, egg and vegetable dishes.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

2012 Murgo Brut Rosé Spumante Sicily
Review Date: 10-24-2016
While I've long enjoyed the Murgo Rose, I think this is without doubt their best to date. Made with one hundred percent Nerello Mascalese grapes harvested from their high altitude vineyards on Mt Etna, it offers a base of mineral and volcanic rock notes in combination with delicious spiced cherry fruit and a hint of orange citrus on the finish. It's bright, creamy and persistent and the price makes it irresistible. Rosé lovers will especially enjoy this.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
VN 92 W&S 90

2013 Torti Pinot Noir IGP Pavia
Review Date: 10-24-2016
I met the charming Patrizia Torti years ago, so it was a pleasant surprise when her wines arrived at our cellar door this past week. Thanks to our Italian guru, Greg St. Clair, we have a trio of goodness from Torti, beginning with this terrific Pinot Noir. It's round and possesses ideal weight, texture and balance without being jammy or overripe. The spiced cherry fruit alone will keep you coming back for more. This is one of the best Pinot Noir values going, and we couldn't believe it was from Italy.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2014 Caravaglio "Nero du Munti" Corinto Nero Sicily
Review Date: 10-24-2016
This one caught me off guard, as I wasn't anticipating tasting such an impressive red from the island of Lipari, located off the coast of Sicily. Over 80 percent of Caravaglio's Corinto vines are at least 150 years old, as the volcanic soils prevent vine disease and the maritime winds keep the vines healthy. This rich and deeply flavored red boasts waves of plum and dark berry fruit, exotic spices and mild ripe tannins that round it out. It's a lot of wine for the price and a rare treat from one of the world's unspoiled isles.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
VN 90

2015 Mustilli Piedirosso Sannio
Review Date: 10-24-2016
While Aglianico garners most of the attention when it comes to the red wines of Campania, Piedirosso definitely takes a back seat. Mustilli, however, produces one of the best and we are pleased to offer this wine. Aromas of black fruit, lavender and volcanic soil flow from the glass followed by a delicious mix of red plum and blackberry fruit. A fine acidic spine at the core keeps this wine lively from start to finish. This is an intriguing red from Campania that's definitely worth seeking out. All of the Mustilli wines are organic and fermented with indigenous yeasts so those looking for organic wines will definitely want to pick up a bottle or two.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
VN 90

2015 Treves Petite Arvine Val d'Aosta
Review Date: 10-14-2016
Valle d'Aosta is one of lesser known Italian regions here in the US so we're always excited to offer exceptional wines from this zone. Bordering both France and Switzerland in the Northwest corner of Italy, this narrow Alpine valley is lined with vineyards. The Treves Family has just released this impressive and very aromatic white wine that highlights distinctive alpine minerals, ripe pear and lemon on both nose and palate. Texturally it's smooth, elegant and mouth-filling with a long, lemon fruit finish. A very fine Italian white wine.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart
JS 93

2014 Ferrero Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 09-27-2016
This is always one of our best selling Rosso di Montalcinos and it is one of the few available at this outstanding price point. We received a good number of negative generalizations about the 2014 vintage prior to our Italian travels in May yet our tastings told a different story. The majority were terrific as was the case with this one. Ferrero's 2014 Rosso offers up a fragrant bouquet of plum and cherry with pleasant notes of flint and smoke along with a smooth, fleshy palate of high toned berry fruit. Open this one with food and enjoy.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2013 Ferrero Rosso di Toscana
Review Date: 09-27-2016
Ferrero's wines continue to improve with each successive vintage and their 2013 Rosso IGT certainly caught our attention when we visited their estate this past May. It's not only impressive for its concentration and freshness, but also for its unexpected depth of flavor for a Super Tuscan under $20. For those ready to venture from the new world to the old world, this is a great place to start.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2013 Pietracupa Greco di Tufo
Review Date: 09-26-2016
Greco di Tufo is one of Campania's best known and most important white grapes and Sabino Loffredo of Pietracupa produces one of its greatest expressions. His Greco is structured and long-lived and although he prefers it with several years of age, it is certainly wonderful to drink upon release. An expressive and defined nose of pear, citrus and mineral are complemented by a crisp palate of mineral-driven fruit that pairs especially well with seafood, chicken, vegetables and lighter pastas. For those who love white wine and who've not yet tried Greco di Tufo, prepare to be impressed.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 VN 90

2012 Cantina Terlan "Porphyr" Lagrein Riserva
Review Date: 09-13-2016
Porphyr refers to the type of bedrock the vines are planted upon near the town of Bolzano in Italy's Alto Adige region and it is also the name of one of the finer Lagreins produced. The fruit is harvested from vines nearly 100 years old and vinified and aged in French barriques. Porphyr is a concentrated wine with distinct aromas of morello cherries, dark berries, coffee, licorice and tea and mouth-filling flavors of chocolaty dark berries with rounded tannins and great length. This very special wine is ideal with beef, game and meat based dishes.
Price: $46.99 Add To Cart
VN 94 WS 90

2011 Gulfi "Nerojbleo" Sicilia
Review Date: 09-13-2016
I once asked the owner of Gulfi why his Nero d'Avola "Nerojbleo" is so much richer, darker and fuller bodied than most I've tried and he explained that their inland Chiaramonte vineyards yield wines of this style as opposed to the more typical brighter, lighter red fruited Neros. It's the reason our customers love this so much and continue to buy it year after year. Due to the warm weather in 2011, this wine is a bit bigger shouldered than usual with loads of concentrated dark plum, black and red berry fruit flavors accented by notes of spice and earth. This is an impressive Sicilian red that will stand up to heartier dishes.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
VN 90

2013 Cantele Salice Salentino Riserva
Review Date: 09-12-2016
Although Puglia has been one of Italy's largest zones for the cultivation of grapes, it's only recently become known for quality wine production. Cantele has been at the forefront of this movement and when we recently tasted their 2013 Salice Salentino Riserva, it was met with a unanimous thumbs up from our staff! This red is brimming with fragrant dark plum, raspberry, dried herbs, tea and spice while offering delicious fruit, mild tannins and overall freshness throughout. This is the ideal Italian table red and the $10 price tag makes it irresistible.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2014 Clos de la Bonnette "Roches d'Arbuel" Condrieu
Review Date: 08-29-2016
My colleague Keith Mabry discovered a hidden gem during his most recent sojourn in the Northern Rhone as I can attest after having tasted this stunning Condrieu. I'm rarely convinced by most Condrieu but this one is a head turner. A round and creamy palate of subtle orchard fruits envelops a core of minerality and acidity that together make this an ethereal experience. There's an overall combination of freshness, vibrancy and complexity that make this an especially compelling wine.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

2014 Villa Sparina Gavi
Review Date: 08-29-2016
Villa Sparina Gavi remains one of the sleeper picks within our Italian white selections and we are pleased to be able to offer it at this tremendous value price. It's a round, delicate and creamy style Gavi with just the right touch of acidity and a wonderful citrus finish that make it ideal with seafood, light pastas, white meats and vegetable dishes. Take advantage of this outstanding wine while it lasts.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
JS 91

2014 Benanti Etna Rosso
Review Date: 08-16-2016
Benanti's Rosso is the perfect introduction to Etna reds. While it's vibrant, juicy and immediately drinkable, there's a deceptive complexity for a wine at this price. Wonderful flavors of cherry, red plum and spice are enhanced by fine grippy tannins, smoky mineral notes from the volcanic soils and just the right amount of acidity. Here's a versatile and intriguing red from Sicily that's definitely worth seeking out.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
WE 94

2011 Bersano "Nirvasco" Barolo
Review Date: 08-16-2016
Although Bersano is located in the heart of the Asti zone where Barbera is famous, they also have vineyards in Barolo. Their 2011 Nirvasco has just arrived and it's a wonderful value Barolo for sure. It's made in a more traditional fashion (as it's aged entirely in large casks) and offers classic aromas of red cherries, licorice and minerals while fresh, medium-bodied and elegant on the palate. Enjoy this with cheeses, pastas and meats.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

2015 Tormaresca "Calafuria" Salento Rosato
Review Date: 08-15-2016
Antinori has been on a roll lately with the release of some terrific wines. They appear to have stepped up their game as we've been continually impressed with the increased level of quality of their wines across the board. Considering the overwhelming success of the "Neprica," we aren't surprised with how good this Rose is and we're pleased to offer it as part of our summer rosé campaign. It combines delicious red fruit and crisp acidity with a medium-bodied palate and it's a wonderful alternative to the always great French rosés on our sales floor.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Neyers "Left Bank Red" Napa Valley Red Blend
Review Date: 07-27-2016
Neyers has really knocked it out of the park with the release of this outstanding red. It is without doubt one of the best Napa blends I've tasted in this price range for some time. "Left Bank" is lush and dense with loads of mouth-coating black currant fruit, fine ripe tannins and an overall complexity that satisfies from start to finish. Take this one to the next dinner party and pick up a couple of bottles for yourself as well.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WS 92

2011 Bava "Pianoalto" Barbera d'Asti Nizza Superiore
Review Date: 07-27-2016
Although I generally prefer Barbera aged in steel tanks or used wood barrels or casks, Roberto Bava convinced me otherwise during our recent visit to his estate in Piemonte. He was kind enough to open a bottle of Pianalto 1998 and we did a double-take. It's still fruit-rich with vibrant acidity and deftly integrated oak from new barrels used in the aging process. We not only had a snapshot of just how good this latest Pianalto will age but also how fantastic it is today after re-tasting it. World class Barbera.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

2015 Guillaume Clusel Gamay "Traboules" Coteaux du Lyonnais
Review Date: 07-26-2016
This wine really took me by surprise. After having sampled a disappointing string of wines one afternoon, my colleague urged my to try this one. What a terrific Gamay! This is the kind of sub $20 red that I hope to come across in a bistro or café but rarely do. One that exceeds its price with delicious berry and blue fruit and a real sense of place. It's a versatile red that will pair with a wide range of foods (and maybe even seafood). Whether you're looking for a great table red or don't feel like springing for a Cru Beaujolais, try this one.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
VN 90 - 91

2013 Einaudi "Vigna Tecc" Dogliani (Dolcetto)
Review Date: 07-26-2016
Dogliani is a geographic region to the South of the Barolo zone that is planted almost exclusively to Dolcetto. It's here that this grape varietal reaches a level of concentration and complexity that many consider to be Dolcetto at its finest. The Einaudi estate is one of the top producers in Dogliani their latest wines have just arrived. Vigna Tecc is produced from their best vines and the 2013 is both fragrant and flavorful offering waves of blue and berry fruit along with ripe tannins and a hint of almond on the finish. Although it's wonderful to drink now, don't hesitate to cellar it for a couple of years. Especially good with meats, pastas, pizza and stews.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart

2012 Terre del Palio Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
Review Date: 07-19-2016
Vino Nobile has been a shrinking category in the US for many years mainly due to the competition from Chianti, higher price points and change in style. That being said, we are pleased to offer this new arrival from Montepulciano that's sure to impress. Hats off to my colleague Greg St Clair for sourcing this beauty. The Palio is 90% Sangiovese with the remaining 10% consisting of Cabernet and Merlot. The Bordeaux varietals add just the right depth and texture yet Sangiovese remains front and center. Wonderful aromas of earthy dark fruit are complemented by a round and juicy palate with just the right touch of acidity. This is outstanding Vino Nobile, period.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2013 La Massa "La Massa" Toscana
Review Date: 07-19-2016
This vintage of La Massa strikes me as a benchmark as the wine has moved from a full-bodied international version to a more classic yet full-bodied and savory Tuscan style blend. It's exceptionally balanced with a smoothly textured palate of layered black and red fruits with bright acidity throughout. Giampaolo Motta continues his impressive streak of great "La Massa" wines and this may very well be his best yet.

2015 Domaine Begude Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-19-2016
The wines of Begude seem often overlooked. I'm not sure if it's the simple white labels, but the wines are outstanding values that many are missing out on. The 2015 Pinot Noir is definitely one of their best yet. It's immediately inviting on both nose and palate with fresh and lively aromas and flavors of mixed red berries and blue fruit with grippy acidity and a lingering finish. The wine comes alive with food and is a delight at such an incredible price.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2010 Villa Poggio Salvi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Review Date: 07-12-2016
Some have argued that Brunello Riservas are not the best values and not always as good as the regular bottlings. In some cases that may be true, but we’ve found that the producers we import directly make outstanding Riservas, and this is no exception. This stunner was aged for three-​and-a-half years in large casks and an additional six months in bottle before being released. The result is a full-bodied Sangiovese with polished tannins and juicy acidity imbedded in a mouthful of weighty strawberry fruit. There’s also a hint of the classic Tuscan dust, my colleagues often note, that adds to the overall complexity. There’s nothing not to love, and this is truly a testament to great wine from a great vintage that delivers—and at a price that’s close to most non-riserva Brunellos.

2012 Grattamacco "L'Alberello" Bolgheri Superiore
Review Date: 07-08-2016
This wine immediately impressed us with its perfect balance of powerful fruit combined with finesse and subtlety. It hails from one of the top estates within Italy's Bolgheri region on the Tuscan Coast and is made primarily from Cabernet with a lesser amount of Cabernet Franc and a touch of Petit Verdot to round it out. The result is a beautifully crafted claret style red with layered dark fruit and an elegant underlying structure. We recommend pairing this with meats and firm cheeses.

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