Staff Favorites - Joe Manekin

Joe Manekin
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Joe arrived at our doors in February 2007 from far away, Washington, DC to be exact. Just so no one gets the wrong idea, though, he was merely earning a living in DC; Joe’s cultural identity, as well as his professional sports allegiances and, when he has a few drinks in him, his accent, are all Baltimore through and through. After working on the wholesale side of the business for nearly 4 years, Joe decided that he wanted to work wine retail with the best, so he emailed Cindy Westby at K&L and the rest is history. While Joe is well versed in a number of wine regions, he most enjoys the wines of Europe, though he is growing increasingly interested in the great wines of the Santa Cruz mountains. When he is not at K&L, Joe enjoys cooking, traveling, catching up on The Wire, doing occasional PR, booking and recording work for reggae band JohnStone (www.johnstonemusic.com), and writing for his wine, food and music blog, Old world Old School (www.oldworldoldschool.blogspot.com)


Reviews

  
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2010 Vega Sicilia "Valbuena" Ribera del Duero
Review Date: 02-25-2017
If Vega Sicilia, THE original Spanish collectible wine, can be compared to Latour for its power, elegance, and ability to age with the world's best wines, then Valbuena would be Les Forts de Latour. At less than half the cost, though, and with a similar track record for ageing, Valbuena is a bargain. To further illustrate this, we lucked across some 1987 Valbuena several years ago that was showing phenomenally well at 25 years of age. 2010, a terrific Ribera del Duero vintage, lent its power, acid structure, and delicious dark fruit to Valbuena. It should be one for the ages, and definitely something worthy of representation in any fine wine collection.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart
RP 96

2014 Fredi Torres "Classic" Priorat
Review Date: 02-08-2017
Fredi Torres was a DJ before hearing the siren call of the Priorat. Now he is one of the people often recognized as breathing new life into this famed, resurgent Catalan wine region. This bottling is as delicious an introduction to Priorat as I have tasted in quite some time. Savory thyme and Mediterranean scents lead to a palate full of dark fruits, sauvage, meaty qualities, and a persistent minerality which leaves a wonderfully fresh impression on the mid palate through to the finish. This reminds me of what I first loved about Chateaunneuf du Pape when I first tasted those wines. Pair with braised lamb or short ribs for a real treat, and toast to the future of Priorat!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JS 94

2015 Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Cote de Brouilly
Review Date: 01-18-2017
There is a forward, juicy, mixed berry and wild plum ripeness in Lapalu's Cote de Brouilly. While I'm not familiar enough with the producer to know if this is his expression of Cote De Brouilly or the result of a very good quality, warm and dry vintage, I think I know enough to know for sure that I dig this wine. A lot. Some other details include that it is certified organic, utilizing 60 year old vines, fermented using only partial carbonic maceration, and aged in 5-10 year old used barrels. Drink now or age 5-6 years.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2014 Benmarco "Expresivo" Red Blend Valle de Uco
Review Date: 01-18-2017
Benmarco head winemaker and viticultorist Edy del Popolo is a rare talent, someone who not only knows his region (the Uco Valley, Argentina) and its great terroirs, but viticulture, winemaking, and the increasingly diverse world of fine wines as well. What makes this Malbec and Cabernet Franc blend so special is the calcareous terroir in Gualtallary, the juicy, rich mixed berry fruited mid palate, and the sense of freshness towards the finish. Richness with a sense of balance. If you're a fan of California's higher end, mixed red blends, you should absolutely try this wine and see what you've been missing in Argentina's Valle de Uco. And if you're already keen on Malbec, then this is a must try.

2015 Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu "Tentation" Beaujolais-Villages
Review Date: 01-18-2017
Go on and get this wine, it's delicious! Lapalu is a producer whose wines represent good Beaujolais at their best: freshly fruited, impeccably balanced, carefree and delicious. For those who are paying attention, though, there is an endearing freshness, lovely spice and surprising length for a $20 red. If serving this at dinner (ideally with a nice big roaster and crispy roasted potatoes) be sure to have plenty of wine on hand because this goes down real easy - I'm thirsty just thinking about the Lapalu Tentation! Seriously though this is likely to be one of my favorite French wines of the year.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2014 Domaine Foillard Morgon Cru Beaujolais "Côte du Py"
Review Date: 01-18-2017
I would suggest this wine perhaps not for the completely uninitiated to Beaujolais, but rather to someone who has seen the light with a few well made, structured Cru Beaujolais and would like to taste, drink and cellar one of the best. Foillard's Cote Du Py is very spicy, mineral, and yet generously, intensely fruited as well. It is the perfect example of why I will always opt for a top name producer in a less fancy region, over a merely decent producer in a more established region (perhaps, for example, somewhere to the north in the Côte d'Or?)

2016 Gen del Alma "Ji Ji Ji" Malbec Pinot Noir Gualtallary
Review Date: 01-18-2017
This is the prettiest, freshest, finest, crispiest, most crunchy, most refreshing, and [insert superlative] red I have yet to taste from Argentina. It is simply that freakin' delicious. Place in a brown bag, and a wine professional would likely guess this to be a very good quality, cooler climate French red. The lively berry fruit, subtle violet floral aspects and firm, poised tannin structure all point to a French effort, perhaps in the Loire or one of the villages in Beaujolais. That said, this Malbec and Pinot Noir blend is impressive. Do not expect loads of fruit but do expect a crisp, balanced, low 12% ABV red for your next whole roasted chicken and oven crisped yukon gold potato dinner. Fun stuff!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2012 Marqués de Murrieta Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 01-18-2017
While we certainly have come to expect increasingly great wines from the venerable Marqués de Murrieta (their 2010 Reserva was one of our best selling wines of 2016) this 2012 maybe even tops that great wine. On the nose, rich cherry compote, red fruits, saddle leather, sweet spices and hints of new oak and cedar, combine for a classic Murrieta profile. Flavors of fresh and firm, bright fruits are more poised and bright than even the beautiful nose suggests - this must be the Mazuelo and Garnacha talking! Fantastic Rioja to buy/hold, buy and drink, or ideally, to buy/drink/hold! I would load up on this one. Despite the production volume this one never lasts us nearly as long as we would like.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 95 RP 92

2014 Mas Que Vinos "Ercavio" Tempranillo Roble Tierra de Castilla
Review Date: 01-10-2017
This is the most serious Tempranillo I've seen from La Mancha. It is generously dark fruited, with hints of savory, wet tobacco underlying in the background and an impressive mineral thread running through the wine. Under $10 wines are occasionally tasty, even delicious, but rarely are they delicious and as seriously put together as this wine. I was impressed by the 2013, but this 2014 ratchets up the intensity while maintaining even more balance between the fruit, tannins and wood. The Wine Advocate review states "It tastes like a much more expensive wine," I wouldn't fault someone for finding that cliché, but if Luis Gutierrez says it then this praise is truly earned. I'm very impressed.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2013 Bodegas Palacios Remondo "La Montesa" Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 01-10-2017
La Montesa is poised to become one of the consistently great (read: best under $20) red wines available from anywhere. Thanks to Alvaro Palacios' years of experience in Rioja and Priorat, as well as his insistence on re-invention, we can continue to look forward to the wines he's producing at his family winery in Alfaro, Rioja. This is pure Garnacha driven Rioja (70% Garnacha, 25% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo) from a vineyard covered in large stones . The freshness from Garnacha, as shown in flavors ranging from red fruits to orange peels, combined with marked minerality and subtle earthy savor, makes for a delicious example of Rioja. An entirely original red that is a pleasure to drink.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

2010 La Rioja Alta "Viña Alberdi" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 12-14-2016
Upon first whiff, the 2010 Viña Alberdi is spicy, with the cedary oak notes nearly stealing the show. There are of course baking spices and pretty fruits as well, which both become more evident on the palate, where they combine with the oak for a nicely balanced, "bien clasico" expression of Rioja. This level of quality and traditional craftsmanship at under $18 makes this a must in your regular rotation!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 95 RP 91

2014 Borsao "Tres Picos" Garnacha Campo de Borja
Review Date: 12-13-2016
There is no Spanish red I can think of that has more consistently offered as easy and tasty an introduction to the world of Spanish wines over the past 15 or so years as Borsao Tres Picos. Full of ripe dark and red fruits, hints of licorice, a smoky/sweet veneer of brief oak ageing and all with more interesting minerality than most any other $15 commercial red has any business showing!

2014 Errazuriz Chardonnay Aconcagua Costa
Review Date: 11-30-2016
We have had some terrific finds of late for serious value Chardonnay in Chile's Aconcagua Costa DO. Here, in addition to the coastal influence, you have interesting and complex soil types, loaded with schist, which appear to give the wines a certain drive and freshness. This 2014 from Errazuriz is no exception. A nose of Yellow Delicious apples gives way to a palate full of crunchy, appley, lemony fruit, with an overall linear and lean quality that almost seem to suggest Burgundy more so than New World. In fact, I tasted this an hour ago next to Paul Pernot Bourgogne (yes, Paul Pernot of Puligny-Montrachet fame) and it more than held its own. If you love Chardonnay, this ought to be in your glass.

2012 Matetic "Coralillo" Pinot Noir San Antonio Valley
Review Date: 11-30-2016
I was impressed by this tasty bottle of cool climate Pinot, particularly at how well it is showing after a couple years of aging in bottle. The aromas have taken on a combination of fresh and dried fruit qualities to them. On the palate the flavors are developing nicely, with dark plum, fruit leather, balanced freshness and a solid presence on the mid-palate. It's tough to beat this Pinot Noir for tastiness and overall balance at under $13.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
W&S 90 WE 90

2012 Bodegas Castaño "Hécula" Monastrell Yecla
Review Date: 11-30-2016
This perennial best buy is on its "A" game in 2012, a vintage that was especially successful in southeastern Spain for its climatically even nature, not quite as hot as usual. After nearly a year in bottle, I'm coming back to this Monastrell and still finding licorice and black pepper aromas, with fruits that are more red than dark, in particular think cranberry or pomegranate. On the palate the slightly toasty elements are integrating nicely, and there is still a clear underpinning of calcareous driven minerality. Still a terrific value at under $10. and one to buy in quantity.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2013 Bodegas Colomé "Estate" Malbec Valle Calchaquí Salta
Review Date: 11-30-2016
This is another very strong showing from the kings of Salta Malbec at Colomé. Bolstered by a small amount of tannat blended in, Colomé's 2013 is loaded with dark fruited, mineral and tannin driven structure. There is a lot of material in this wine. Normally a very good deal at $25, at under $20 this is a must have for any fan of Malbec, and for that matter anyone who appreciates full-bodied, richer Cabernet made from mountain fruit.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 93 RP 90

2013 Quinta Vale do Meao "Meandro" Douro
Review Date: 11-30-2016
This is hands down the most supple, lively, engaging bottle of Douro wine I have enjoyed in quite a long time. While it's older brother bottling has famously topped Wine Spectator's Top 100 in years past, this juicier, less oaky bottling (primarily 2nd and 3rd use barrels) is really where it's at, particularly given it's sub $20 price tag. High toned, with blue and red fruits intermingling with candied violets and fresh granite driven minerality (thanks to the Quinta's situation further up river, where fresher table wines are often produced). So much flavor nuance and such an elegant wine for under $20 - grab some bottles and you will not be disappointed!

2009 Bodegas Muga "Prado Enea" Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-30-2016
Now I love Prado Enea in most any vintage (of course they do not make it every year, only in the best years), but even given that context, the 2009 is truly fantastic. A wonderful year in Rioja Alta, you can truly appreciate the intensity, fruit purity, precision and outright deliciousness in this wine. Spicy/sweet aromas of blue fruits and wild mixed berry compote, a touch of cassis as well, lead to a palate of perfectly ripe fruit that also gains in freshness and minerality as it sits in the glass and you take another sip. Great wines as balanced as Prado Enea, particularly in perfectly ripe years, are really tempting and enjoyable to drink young, but certainly will repay mid to long term cellaring, so ideally you can enjoy a bottle or two now and stash away many more. Muga's Prado Enea is one of the most consistent, cellar worthy values remaining amongst the word's great wines.

Marietta "Old Vine Red Lot #64" California Red Blend
Review Date: 11-29-2016
Lot 64 picks up with where the 63 left off, providing more delicious wild berry fruit, but not at the expense of a balanced palate, with surprising structure, complexity and a nicely dry finish. As carefully as we select all of our wines, it is often the sub $12 bottles we scrutinize the most. And in a line-up of our favorite value reds, I'd be surprised if the Marietta Old Vine were not picked as a favorite amongst many of us here; this wine is that good and a fantastic value.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2013 Love & Squalor Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-29-2016
My kind of Pinot Noir, Love & Squalor opens on the nose with delicately floral, fragrant red fruits. The palate has such a lovely light touch, with lifted aromatics and a complete lack of imposed fruitiness, overt oak flavors or heavy tannins. Pinot Noir for Pinot Noir drinkers! Provided that you like 'em light and pretty, I'm quite confident you will love this beautiful Williamette Valley Pinot Noir.

2014 Kaiken "Ultra" Cabernet Sauvignon Sauvignon Mendoza
Review Date: 11-16-2016
Serious! Dark fruits and discreet roasted coffee bean aromas are subtle and balanced. Flavors of currants combine with some lightly savory, pungent Cabernet notes in the background, and feature a combination of mid-palate weight/intensity and a mineral driven freshness as well. Moderate tannins on the finish frame the wine quite nicely. This would be serious, structured Cabernet at under $20, but for under $15 it's definitely one of the Cab bargains of the year for me.

Cossart Gordon 5 Year Old Bual Madeira
Review Date: 11-09-2016
Cossart Gordon, founded in 1759, is a Bual specialist, only bottling Madeiras from this noble grape variety known for producing slightly spicy and medium sweet styles of Madeira. This example shows lovely candied fruits and a rich buttery toffee quality, with refreshing acidity and even some saline notes as well. Great value.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2013 Honorío Rubio "Macerado" Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 11-09-2016
Orange wine from Rioja? We quickly went from none to now two, and this one is macerated on its skins for a full year! Like Honorio's other white wines, this is clearly not for everyone but I suspect it will have some seriously loyal fans who quickly gobble up the few bottles we bring in. for such a careful, small scaled production of a style of wine which usually goes for at least $50 a bottle, this is a great deal for the adventurous wine drinker.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2012 Honorío Rubio "Lías Finas" Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 11-09-2016
I love this traditional tasting, tasty white Rioja from Honorio Rubio. Given the incredible terroir in his old vine yards, as well as the wine's careful elaboration, you are not going to find a more soulful, traditional white Rioja than this. High toned citrus fruits combine with a creamy, lees driven roundness and gentle oak notes on this classic, stylish white.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

Honorío Rubio "Añadas" Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 11-09-2016
This is the big boy, the solera aged Viura which in style and spirit is amongst the most reminiscent of LdH Tondonia Blanco of any white Riojas I have ever tasted. This wine is fantastic, cutting a broad swath across the palate with intense yellow skinned fruit flavors, fresh acidity, and an old time, traditional flavor profile. Like Honorio's other white wines, this is clearly not for everyone but I suspect it will have some seriously loyal fans who quickly gobble up the few bottles we bring in.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2014 Laventura Malvasia Rioja
Review Date: 11-09-2016
As juicy, clean and delicious an "orange" wine (so called for its extended maceration of the skins) as I've tasted in a while, Laventura's Malvasia manages to combined the fresh stone fruit of Malvasia with lovely, discreet floral aromatics in this original Rioja white. Delicious and versatile at table, this is absolutely worth a try.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2014 Laventura Rioja
Review Date: 11-09-2016
A blend of Tempranillo with 5% Mazuelo and Garnacha, this is a red Rioja unlike any other I have tried. Grippy cherry fruit flavors are precise, taut, and linear. Winemaker Bryan MacDonald likes to play with stem inclusion, which shows on the structure of this wine. There is not an ounce of fat here, no spicy oak notes (the winemaker prefers thicker stave, larger wooden barrels which are more subtle) and low alcohol (under 13% ABV). A refreshing, original Rioja that is a terrific value and should cellar well in the mid-term. A must try both for Rioja collectors and fans of old world wines.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2012 Miguel Merino "Viñas Jovenes" Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 11-09-2016
I'm very excited to have Viñas Jovenes back in stock! Miguel does not make much of this Crianza, and it always sells out quickly, particularly in Logroño where it seemed as though all of my favorite, higher end tapas spots were pouring it by the glass! Dark fruits combine with structured, ripe tannins, and lovely minerality to create this under $15 value. For those who appreciate a bit more weight and richness in their Riojas, I don't think you will find better value than this.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2009 Miguel Merino "Vitola" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-09-2016
This is a great, young Vitola! 2009 was a fantastic vintage in Rioja Alta, and it shows with this wine's rich fruits, full volume in the mouth, and elegant balance of density and freshness. For fans of Napa reds, there is a lot to like here and this would make for a great intro to Rioja. That said, Given the quality of Miguel's vineyards and winemaking, Rioja fans should also jump on this wine. Hint: it will age very well....
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2012 Au Bon Climat "Historic Vineyards Collection-Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 11-09-2016
Plain and simple, this is California Chardonnay done right! For fans of oak, you do have some satisfyingly toasty, buttered popcorn qualities combining with the fruit on the nose. On the palate, though, is where the wine really delivers, with rich flavors of lemon curd and delicious, tangy apricot, framed perfectly by the oak. Along with Qupe, when an Au Bon Climat Chardonnay is on its 'A' game it is quite a serious white wine, with powerful flavors and mouth watering acidity. Delicious and highly recommended.

2015 Amalaya Torrontes Riesling Salta
Review Date: 11-04-2016
This is a delicious blend of two highly complementary aromatic grape varieties. The Torrontes gives you all the exotic, floral aromatics as well as mid-palate weight, while the Riesling adds loads of freshness and zip. Served chilled, this would be an ideal white to have on hand while cooking, and should tackle ceviche, Thai takeout, or miso-glazed salmon equally well. Refreshing stuff!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2013 Clos de los Siete Red Blend Mendoza
Review Date: 11-02-2016
A blend of Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot, this is a very friendly style of red from one of the masters of blending, Michel Rolland, along with his Bordelaise chateaux owner partners. The wine's rich, intense mixed berry fruit speaks to the vineyard location in the Valle de Uco, while its finesse, supple tannins and red fruits suggest the skill of blending and a modern, Bordelaise approach to winemaking. Enjoy with any of your favorite foods--even though the wine is from Argentina, drinking it with a grilled steak is not compulsory!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 92 VN 90

2010 Vivanco Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 10-14-2016
A great Rioja from the excellent 2010 harvest, Vivanco is an example of a winery making carefully crafted Rioja which combines the richer, more succulent fruit of a modernly styled wine, with the experience and know-how of an estate that has been at it for quite some time. A hefty chunk of Graciano (10%) seems to contribute to the darker fruit profile and overall sense of fruit purity and balance. For someone whose experience with wine is largely based on California wines and is looking to branch out into Rioja, this would be a terrific place to start. In addition to Dinastia Vivanco's winery, there is a HUGE museum of wine on the premises; you could easily spend a few hours admiring the collection of wine related exhibits, explanation of production methods, and amazing collection of pieces which the Vivanco family has acquired. The Vivanco property is located in the town of Briones, just a stone's throw away from our own direct-import producer, Miguel Merino.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 WS 92

2015 Kingston Family Vineyards "Alazan" Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley
Review Date: 10-07-2016
This Chilean-by-way-of-Portola Valley, California family winery continues to make some of our favorite vinos Chilenos. According to Courtney Kingston, her wines show a "gout de Casablanca," a distinctly smoky and mineral tinged quality which she believes mark her red wines. We tend to agree with that description. "Alazan" is their more serious Pinot Noir, one that relies upon some whole cluster inclusion and a good amount of massale selection Valdivieso vines for its balanced, slightly savory and complex profile. If you're looking for Chilean Pinot with a wonderful balance between fruit, mineral and floral flavors, then look no further.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JS 95

2015 Montsecano Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley
Review Date: 09-08-2016
After several years of hard work and lots of progress, we can see the incredible results in Montsecano's 2015 Pinot Noir. It has all the effusive, bright, energetic notes of coastal Pinot Noir, with the added density and richness of texture which many believe is inferred by such "neutral" vessels as concrete eggs. It also has the unmistakable, subtle, coastal range-influenced herbal savor of Casablanca Valley in the background as well. All of this adds up to a delicious expression of top notch Pinot Noir. Highly recommended.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

2015 Trivento Malbec Reserve Mendoza
Review Date: 09-06-2016
Another dee-lish Malbec, the Trivento shows lovely red plum, juicy bing cherry and subtly sweet touches from brief barrel aging. At under $10 this will most definitely do the trick. As always with wines we like which are both inexpensive and highly rated, this one is not likely to last..
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2014 Zorzal "Terroir Unico" Pinot Noir Tupungato Valley
Review Date: 08-31-2016
Zorzal continues to offer the goods for fans of balanced, delicious wines showing great typicity and terroir. Take their most recent Pinot Noir, for example: a wine that shows fresh, lively fruit with a subtle underpinning of structure that comes from stem inclusion as well as picking grapes just at the point of ripeness. For the price, I don't think we have any PN better than (or even close to as good as) this!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2013 Tapiz "Alta Collection" Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 08-30-2016
The Tapiz hits the spot for a juicy, fruit forward Malbec that still does not lack for structure and overall balance. Most importantly, though, with its red and dark fruits and hints of spice and licorice, it is a delicous, easy to drink red for a budget friendly price.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
JS 95

2012 Joan d'Anguera "Finca L'Argata" Montsant
Review Date: 08-30-2016
Joan and Joseph d'Anguera have been making some serious changes at their family-owned winery over the past decade or so. Starting with a focus on organic farming, the brothers soon reaped the rewards of healthier vineyards and fruit, but felt that they were still looking for brighter, lighter, fresher wines. To achieve this they began picking a bit earlier and including some whole clusters in the fermentation, going for what Joseph calls more an "infusion" rather than extraction, of color and flavor. This 2012 consists primarily of Garnacha, with 15% Syrah added in. This is an intense wine, but also a taut one, rather linear, with fresh aromas and flavors of wild berries and fennel. Serious, but very drinkable wine.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
VN 91 WE 90

2007 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 08-23-2016
The 2007 Viña Ardanza is showing very well right now. While not necessarily a departure from the house style (if you've liked it in the past, I suspect you will continue to with this vintage), I will say that it shows a bit more development than normal, perhaps with a more dark fruited and savory profile. It seems like the Rioja Alta Tempranillo is more dominant in the 07. Vintage characteristics aside, Viña Ardanza is one of the true bargains in the wine world, a wine which spends three years in barrel, another three in bottle, and is produced from fruit which hails from time tested vineyard sources (many owned by the winery). When it comes to Rioja, this is the one that, perhaps more than any other, I can depend upon to be delicious in California, satisfying in Spain, wonderful now or fantastic after aging. A must-have for me.

2004 Lopez de Heredia "Viña Tondonia" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 08-23-2016
This is a fantastic Tondonia, one of my favorites at this relatively early stage. What I love about the 04 is it tension, it's taut fruit and acid forward personality. Starting from the top with the aromatics, there are some interesting notes of tar, bitter licorice and a slight suggestion of cumin as well. On the palate is where things become really interesting, as the fruit is fresh, incredibly so for having spent so long in barrel. Keep in mind these are used barrels, and not merely 2nd, 3rd or 4th year, but perhaps 16th or 20th year. This is the sort of wine I invariably want to drink, and cellar, in quantity. Don't miss it.

2009 Can Mayol Loxarel "MM" Blanc de Noir Gran Reserva Brut Nature Penedes
Review Date: 08-11-2016
Whoa - Loxarel has stepped up their game with this Pinot Noir driven Blanc des Noirs. A beautiful deeper golden hue, the MM shows its Gran Reserva authority both in elegance of texture and intensity of chalk. Speaking of chalk, the Pinot Noir here grows at some of the highest elevations of the property in very calcareous soil. Arguably Spain's finest producer of methode champenoise sparklers, Loxarel definitely continues to come correct with their delicious bubblies. 5+ years on the lees, and loads of class for just $25!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2013 Can Mayol Loxarel "Refugi" Reserva Brut Nature Penedes
Review Date: 08-11-2016
This 2013 vintage, freshly disgorged bottling of Refugi is showing spectacularly well. Bright, salty mineral laced citrus flavors show a rare combination of traits for under $20 bubbly: bone dry yet super drinkable, elegant bead and texture, and the intrigue that keeps you coming back for another (large) sip. New bottle and package for this crisp and linear number from staff favorite DI Can Mayol Loxarel. Think of it as their blanc des blancs: racy, clean and mineral driven.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2013 Bodegas Caro "Caro" Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza
Review Date: 07-15-2016
Recently I told my boss he needed to taste this wine. According to our intrepid Bordeaux buyer Clyde Beffa, "Wow, this smells like Bordeaux!" I would agree. The one thing that impresses me most about this latest bottling of Caro is it balance. While I was on the lookout for obvious new oak and heavy extraction, neither was anywhere to be found. Instead, there are beautiful black currant aromas and flavors, with Malbec adding some mid-palate volume without detracting from the freshness. Oak is extremely well integrated. While this wine's best years lie ahead, decant it now and enjoy with a grilled ribeye if you would like to get a peak at what lies ahead. Impressive stuff!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

2013 Felsina Chianti Classico
Review Date: 07-13-2016
Felsina Chianti Classico is, well, a classic! The spicy, slightly woodsy, tangy fruit of this wine always places it amongst my favorite Tuscan wines. I don't think there is a better introduction to Chianti than Felsina.

2015 Zudugarai "Amats" Getariako Txakolina
Review Date: 07-13-2016
There is no better warm weather refresher than good Txakoli. And Amats is very good Txakoli! Incredibly crisp, with bright fruit and racy acidity, as well as the trademark fizziness, Zudugarai does Txakoli every bit as well as anyone else out there. And instead of the $40-50 you may pay at your favorite tapas spot in the city, Amats is priced to guzzle down in the comfort of your own home! Enjoy this well chilled, with jamón, grilled or smoked fish, and definitely, without a doubt, with oysters. Speaking from experience, there are few things better than spending time with family or friends, slurping oysters and washing them down with Txakoli - do it!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2013 Green & Red "Tip Top Vineyard" Napa Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 07-08-2016
Serious Zinfandel, the 2013 Green & Red Tip Top shows all the spicy, brambly berry and dark cherry fruit I like in Zinfandel, with the added tannin structure and brighter acidity provided by mature vines on a higher elevation site. In other words, this is spectacular and likely to be my favorite Zinfandel of the year. Great stuff from a legendary Zin producer.
Price: Hidden View Price
W&S 94

2013 Garcia & Schwaderer "Vigno" Carignane Maule Valley
Review Date: 06-28-2016
Imagine a top quality Priorat, only with more acidity. A lot more. Then, maybe think of a great Pinot Noir but with juicier, rounder fruit. Last, and most important, lower the price of either example by about $25-40. Now that you've got the picture, I'd like to introduce you to a most intriguing wine from Chile, indeed one of the more interesting red wines we've had all year: the Garcia & Schwaderer Vigno. The fruit here is expressive, irresistibly tangy, high-toned and lively wild berry fruit flavors. Though it is not a wine that has been made for long and therefore does not have a track record of improving in bottle, I'd be surprised if it doesn't continue to gain complexity over the next 7-8 years. It's spectacular now, however. What a delicious, original bottle of red wine! This has my strongest recommendation, though we do not have too many bottles - best to act quickly if you're interested!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 95 JS 92

2014 FRAM Chenin Blanc Citrusdal Mountain
Review Date: 06-22-2016
Good South African Chenin has a combination of fruit purity, textural richness, mouth watering acidity and deliciousness only matched by top quality Loire valley Chenin. And this is top quality South African Chenin, so if you enjoy the grape variety or are simply looking to explore, you are in for a treat. Juicy tangerine fruit flavors are both bright and richly textured at the same time - a great combination.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart

2012 Giesen Single Vineyard Selection "Clayvin" Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 06-22-2016
This formed part of a recent Clayvin vineyard three producer vertical we tasted with resident NZ expert and buyer Ryan Wood house. Giesen now owns Clayvin. Their bottling may have been the most delicious right now, with lovely cherry fruited purity and even some cherry pit/almond notes adding further complexity. This is so drinkable now but will undoubtedly improve in bottle for at least another 6-8 years.

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