Staff Favorites - John Downing

John Downing


2013 Antinori "Cervaro della Sala" Chardonnay Umbria
Review Date: 04-19-2016
If you've enjoyed prior vintages of Cervaro, you'll find this one just as delicious yet brighter and more focused. 2013 was a cooler growing season and thus the Antinori team harvested ten to fifteen days later than normal to achieve an optimum ripeness and flavor profile. It's less creamy and a bit more crisp than usual with a wonderful flavor profile of citrus and tropical fruit along with a hint of flinty minerals. There's still plenty of texture and length and the oak is nicely integrated. It's delicious now but will certainly age nicely.
Price: $48.99 Add To Cart
JS 94 RP 94

2013 Brancaia "Tre" Toscana
Review Date: 04-11-2016
Brancaia has turned the corner stylistically with the release of their 2013 "Tre." As opposed to the oakier, heavier wines of previous vintages, this delicious Rosso is medium-bodied, smooth and juicy with vibrant red and black berry fruits and a bright finish. This is the ideal Tuscan red to open now with a variety of meats, pastas and cheeses.
Price: $16.95 Add To Cart
JS 92

2011 Agostino Bosco "Neirane" Barolo
Review Date: 04-04-2016
Bosco's 2011 Neirane is made from Nebbiolo planted in Barolo's lesser known commune of Verduno where the soils are quite sandy and the resulting wines are generally more elegant and perfumed. This wine opens with an attractive array of red fruits, dried florals, minerals and a touch of oak spicing and delivers unexpected power and weight considering its origins. It's delicious now and will drink nicely over the next few years.

2011 Agostino Bosco "La Serra" Barolo
Review Date: 04-04-2016
The La Serra Vineyard inhabits a windy hillside location with soils comprised primarily of limestone and clay and the result is an elegant Barolo with ample underlying structure and longevity. The 2011 Bosco La Serra surprises with it's depth, complexity and freshness considering it hails from a very warm vintage. It's blessed with an expansive palate of delicious spiced cherry fruit along with a fine spine of tannins and acidity, and although approachable now, it will improve with time in the cellar. Having been initially aged in smaller French barrels and then transferred to larger casks, the wood influence is nicely integrated.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
JS 93 VN 92

2011 Fratelli Barale "Castellero" Barolo
Review Date: 04-03-2016
All of Barale's Nebbiolo in the Castellero Vineyard is grafted only from within the vineyard itself which makes this a very unique wine. The combination of elegance and refinement are the hallmarks of this wonderful Barolo. Classic scents of cherries, licorice and minerals open to a warm and inviting palate with deceptive length and acidity. At $40, this is a Nebbiolo fan's delight.

2011 Fratelli Barale Barolo "Cannubi"
Review Date: 04-03-2016
Barale's Cannubi is definitely a bit bigger and richer than their DOC and Castellero Barolos with its darker fruit, firmer tannins and weightier palate. Thanks to the warmer weather in 2011, it's approachable now yet retains bright fruit and fresh acidity throughout. There's less of this special Barolo available so don't miss out!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
JS 91

2006 Taittinger "Comtes de Champagne" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 03-11-2016
One of the true pleasures of our profession is the opportunity to taste extraordinary wines. Today afforded us just that. The 2006 Comtes de Champagne from Taittinger arrived and we were smitten. It offers an impressive combination of richness and freshness along with certain longevity. A mélange of captivating green apple and citrus aromas and a sumptuous and seamless palate make this wonderful today yet are only hints of its underlying complexity. Definitely one of the best value tete de cuvees made that is certain to reward with refinement.

2013 Tasca d'Almerita "Lamùri" Nero d'Avola Sicilia
Review Date: 03-02-2016
Lamuri is not only a terrific introduction to Nero d'Avola but also a wonderful Southern Italian red. The winery manages to produce a Nero d'Avola brimming with fresh plum and berry flavors along with hints of dried herbs, mineral and spice while avoiding the overripe fruit so often found in wines of this varietal. Lamuri is medium-to-full bodied, round, flavorful and ideal with a wide variety of meats, pastas and cheeses. This is an outstanding value red that definitely exceeds expectation.
Price: $17.95 Add To Cart
RP 92 JS 91

2013 Fattoria del Cerro "Manero" Rosso di Toscana
Review Date: 11-17-2015
Manero is that wine so many of our customers ask us for, yet is a challenge to deliver under $10 per bottle. We were immediately taken with it but expected it to cost considerably more. That said, this delicious Tuscan blend of Sangiovese and Merlot offers up a lush palate of mixed berry fruits with pleasant notes of dark chocolate, tobacco and mineral, while ample acidity adds freshness and length to the finish. It's a tremendous wine for the price that is sure to go quickly once the word's out!
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart
JS 93

2011 TorCalvano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
Review Date: 10-13-2015
Vino Nobile is often overlooked, as most people are familiar with Chianti rather than Sangiovese from Montepulciano. Considering the quality/price ratio of this well-made wine, we thought it was an excellent time to call attention to Vino Nobile by offering this latest release from Torcalvano. Immediately inviting aromas of dark cherry, plum, iron and leather are followed up by a richly flavored palate with ample acidity and a fine layer of tannins. Enjoy this with meats, cheeses and hearty pastas.
Price: $16.95 Add To Cart
JS 92

2012 La Monacesca "Mirum" Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva
Review Date: 10-13-2015
La Monacesca is one of the finest producers of Verdicchio in Italy and this wine certainly takes the varietal to a new level. The grapes for "Mirum" are picked late harvest, lightly pressed and the juice is aged entirely in stainless steel. The result is a stunning white with complex notes of almond, honey and citrus on the nose along with a rich, round, flavorful palate with a lingering finish. We think you'll agree that this is one of those not-to-be-missed Italian gems. Pair this with white meats, fish, young cheeses and vegetable dishes.

2012 La Valentina Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
Review Date: 08-30-2015
Although we turn away numerous inexpensive reds lacking the quality standards we expect for our customers, we couldn't pass on this outstanding Montepulciano d'Abruzzo! It raises the bar in the everyday red category with a flavorful mouthful of plummy dark berry fruit, dusty ripe tannins and a bright finish. Here's a versatile daily drinker that we think you'll love as much as we do.
Price: $10.95 Add To Cart
JS 92

2014 Ruggeri Corsini Langhe Bianco
Review Date: 08-11-2015
This unique white blend from the Langhe immediately impresses with an engaging array of apple, pear and gooseberry aromas and a bright palate of layered fruit and crisp acidity. We're quite taken with this one and think you'll be, as well!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2013 Poggio Antico Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 08-11-2015
This is a classic Rosso and represents what is commonly referred to as a mini Brunello. Poggio Antico continues to deliver quality Sangiovese year after year and this latest release is no exception. A nose of earthy dark cherry, plum and mineral lead to a lively, plummy palate with a fine tannic spine and lengthy finish. A classic for sure.
Price: Hidden View Price
WS 91

2013 Uccelliera Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 08-11-2015
Andrea Cortonesi is a talented winemaker dedicated to crafting notable reds from Montalcino, and his 2012 Rosso is definitely one to take seriously. This is a bigger, denser and more darkly fruited Sangiovese that takes a bit of time to open up before it struts its stuff. Put this one down for a few months if possible or enjoy with aeration. Meats, heavier pastas and hard cheeses with this one.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart
VN 91

2010 Collemattoni Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 07-07-2015
This is classic Brunello! Sensational aromas of dark berry fruits, dried florals, sandalwood and spice open up to a rich, luxurious mouthful of concentrated fruit. The acidity and tannins are in perfect balance with the fruit and although you can enjoy it today, it will only improve with a bit of age. A real sleeper pick.

2010 Tolaini Valdisanti Toscana
Review Date: 06-22-2015
Valdisanti was among our top-selling Tuscan reds last year and this wonderful new release from Tolaini is already an instant hit with staff and customers. Packed with a mélange of savory black fruits and solid acidity, this generous, full-bodied Rosso can not only be enjoyed now but also will continue to develop over the next few years.

2012 Fattoria Petrolo Torrione Toscana
Review Date: 06-01-2015
This world-class Tuscan red is, quite simply, impressive. Inviting aromas of black fruits, dried tobacco and dark chocolate are upstaged by a juicy palate of sumptuous black currant and black cherry fruit flavors that burst forth. It's full-bodied and flavor-packed with ripe tannins, fresh acidity and a long finish. The 2012 Torrione is a beauty that is certainly not to missed.

2009 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 07-07-2014
We enjoyed sampling this latest release from La Fortuna not only because it's so darn tasty but also due to the fact that we know so many of our customers will simply love it. Thanks to some flavorful concentrated fruit, mild acidity and rounded tannins, this silky smooth Brunello is ready to open and drink. Delicious.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart