Staff Favorites - John Downing

John Downing


2010 Terre da Vino "Essenze" Barolo
Review Date: 07-15-2015
The 2010 "Essenze" is a really nice introduction to Barolo at a great price. The vintage really shines through and there's plenty of mouth-filling fruit, smooth tannins and a lingering finish. This delicious Nebbiolo is easy on both the palate and the wallet so take advantage while the supply lasts.
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List
WE 91

2012 Cantina del Glicine Barbera d'Alba "La Dormiosa"
Review Date: 07-15-2015
Adriana Marzi and Roberto Bruno founded this boutique winery in Neive’s Old Town in 1980. Wisteria (“glicine” in Italian) colorfully decorates the winery’s courtyard and garden. Beyond its functionality, the winery’s cellar, which dates as far back as 1582, is of great historical value to Barbaresco. With remarkable bottlings from the crus of Currà and Marcorino, Glicine has brought renown to these small vineyards of Neive. Perhaps of even greater curiosity is the estate’s Barbera d’Alba "La Dormiosa" which sees the addition of 15 percent Nebbiolo and results in this exceptional red. The Nebbiolo not only mellows the wine but adds greater depth to both nose and palate.
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List

2010 Val di Suga Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 07-15-2015
This latest release represents the winery's entry-level Sangiovese that's normally intended for earlier term consumption. It's an immediately enjoyable Brunello with soft, flavorful fruit, moderate tannins and it's a 2010 at a great price. Open and enjoy now with meats, cheeses, etc., or give it a bit of time in the cellar to round out.
Price: $37.89 Add To Waiting List
RP 93 JS 92

2010 La Mannella Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 07-15-2015
At the moment, La Mannella is a bit reticent and tightly wound until it has a good amount of time to aerate. The nose offers bright aromas of spiced red fruits, sandalwood, wood spicing and dried flowers while the palate is compact with ample acidity and youthful fine tannins. I recommend cellaring this one for at least a couple of years to allow it strut its stuff.

2010 Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 07-14-2015
This is ideal for those looking to pick up a well-priced, earlier drinker from the 2010 Brunello crop. Aromas of cherries, dried florals, wood spice and minerals join a fleshy palate of delicious fruit with fine tannins and excellent overall balance. Drink now or over the next few years.

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.

2012 Correggia Barbera d'Alba
Review Date: 07-01-2015
Correggia is one our favorite producers from the Roero subzone of the Langhe. Their wines are first-rate and the 2012 Barbera truly shines. This surprisingly concentrated wine is packed with rich berry fruit and bright underlying acidity making it a versatile wine at the table. Especially great with pizza, pastas and meats.
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Villa Symposia "Equilibre" Languedoc Rouge
Review Date: 06-23-2015
Hats off to my esteemed colleague Keith Mabry for discovering this latest gem from Languedoc. Organic farming and modern winemaking techniques combine to make this classic. An expressive nose of sun baked black and brambly red fruits along with notes of dusty earth, licorice and black olive opens to a concentrated palate of savory black and red fruit with hints of milk chocolate, ample embedded tannins and a flavorful finish. A value hunter's delight.
Price: $15.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 90 - 92

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.

2013 Tua Rita "Rosso dei Notri" Toscana
Review Date: 06-22-2015
Although Rosso dei Notri is produced from Tua Rita's youngest vines (Sangiovese, Cabernet and Merlot), it offers more than expected and satisfies the demands of those looking for well-priced, high-quality Tuscan reds. Aromas of blackberry, dark chocolate and graphite are followed up by a sumptuous, mouth-watering palate of juicy ripe black fruit. While the Sangiovese was matured entirely in steel, the Cabernet and Merlot were finished in oak, which is nicely integrated.

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.

2011 Barone Cornacchia Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
Review Date: 05-11-2015
We're always on the lookout for great deals and this is certainly one of them. After tasting this terrific Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, we bought the remaining inventory as it's outstanding. It offers up a polished palate combo of blackberry, black cherry and dark plum fruits with fine tannins and a delicious finish. This is classic, well-made Montepulciano that's not to be missed. And, it's an ideal everyday Italian red that pairs nicely with a variety of foods.
Price: $13.99 Add To Waiting List

2013 Marchione Nero d'Avola Sicily
Review Date: 04-14-2015
Marchione represents the efforts of Importer A.I. Selections to create outstanding value priced wines with regional authenticity. The fruit for this wine is sourced from 15-18 year old Nero d'Avola vines located in the Argiento Hills of Sicily. The wine sees no oak and offers a fresh and smoothly textured palate of spicy black cherry, blackberry and plum fruit. This is certainly and ideal daily table red and perfect for outdoor occasions as well. Delicious!
Price: $9.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rufina
Review Date: 03-23-2015
In my opinion, Selvapiana is not only one of the top wineries in Chianti Rufina but also a benchmark within Tuscany. This storied estate captures the unique terroir of the zone and produces wines with ample fruit, substantial acidity and excellent aging potential. Those looking for an exceptional value-priced and classically styled Chianti will definitely not want to miss this outstanding 2012.
Price: $16.99 Add To Waiting List

2011 Ornellaia "Le Serre Nuove" Bolgheri
Review Date: 03-15-2015
Despite the hot weather of 2011, Ornellaia crafted another gem with the release of their "Le Serre Nuove" or second label. It's made primarily from Merlot but those preferring Cabernets might want to give this one a go. Aromas of black fruit, earth and graphite are complemented by an impressively rich and flavor-packed palate. It's smooth and concentrated and surprisingly fresh considering the warmth of the vintage. Although nice to drink now it will continue to improve with a couple years of cellaring.

2010 Cantine Ascheri Barolo
Review Date: 11-11-2014
Thanks to Matteo Ascheri's sizable vineyard holdings and long-term vision he has managed to craft an outstanding quality Barolo at a very affordable price. This terrific red is ideal for those wanting to try Nebbiolo for the first time as well as for Barolo drinkers looking for serious value. Although it's delicious now, it will only improve with a bit of time in the cellar. Don't miss this one!
Price: $25.99 Add To Waiting List

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: $39.99 Add To Waiting List