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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2013 Bodegas Aleanna "Gran Enemigo" Cabernet Franc Gualtallary Argentina
Review Date: 02-22-2018
Several of us were tasting this wine yesterday, when suddenly Kirk exclaims, "I get it, it's the Cab Franc!" What he meant was the importance of the impact of Cabernet Franc in the famous 1st growth amongst St. Emilion estates, Cheval Blanc (we were lucky enough to taste through some of their wines last year).

2016 Mas Codina Xarel-lo Penedes
Review Date: 02-20-2018
As much as we love their cava and rosé cava, Mas Codina has really raised the bar with their table wines of late: their 2015 Cab is perhaps our most underrated Cab under $15, and this Xarel-lo is fantastic! Xarel-lo is an important component in the cava blend, and while it is increasingly popular when done as a still wine, there are not many versions that show the grape as beautifully as Mas Codina's. Stone fruits, particularly peach, combine with salty minerality and a subtle almond note in this refreshing, easy to drink yet far from simple white. As much as I enjoyed this wine when I first tasted it last year with winemaker Toni Garriga, I have to say that it is absolutely singing right now. Very highly recommended!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Honorío Rubio "Lías Finas" Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 02-20-2018
Our second vintage of the lias finas, the 2014 is similarly driven by an old fashioned aesthetic towards white wine making in Rioja. That and lees, lots of lees. No stirring, simply a large amount acccumulated in a concrete tank. There is barrel ageing too of course, though the oak is nicely integrated and will continue to meld into the background as Lias Finas continues to age in bottle. Aromas and flavors of quince, apricot, and gentle oak spices present themselves over a broad, rich textural frame, which makes this wine complex, delicious, and very food friendly. While this isn't quite as much of a throwback style as his multi-vintage Añadas blend, it certainly is a nod to the old days when patiently barrel aged white Riojas were more the rule rather than the exception. Highly recommended.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 Capçanes "Mas Picosa" Montsant
Review Date: 02-19-2018
Capcanes is an excellent co-op, one whose top value Garnacha based wines have always been good, but continue to improve by leaps and bounds. Take for instance this humble bottle of Mas Picosa. For under $14, we have an honest expression of primarily Grenache, with delicious fruit and savory notes of thyme and fresh Mediterranean countryside air. Any fan of reliable old world value reds, from Cotes du Rhone to Tuscany or elsewhere, should love this delicious red.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2014 Benmarco Malbec Uco Valley
Review Date: 02-06-2018
I can see why this earned the trifecta of solid reviews: there is simply a lot to like in this vintage of Benmarco. While the wine does not disappoint fans of Malbec and fans of fruit-forward wines with its rich, forward and plummy fruit, there is more going on than initially meets the palate. Iron-like minerality, pleasant spice, and very well integrated oak round out the palate with complexity and appealing style. A tasty value Malbec that's ready to drink!

2016 Amalaya Malbec Salta
Review Date: 02-06-2018
Every now and then, I come across wines that are not merely tasty, well made, or solid values, but are consistently best in class. Given its back-to-back showing in 2015 and 2016, I'm tempted to place Amalaya in this category. We have spread the word on both the Torrontes and Malbec blends for two consecutive vintages, and I can tell by the enthusiastic hand-selling of my colleagues, as well as your orders/re-orders, that the message has been sent and received! The 2016 Amalaya Malbec has dark fruit, showing a savory and mineral quality, along with a balanced, slightly smoky aspect. The savoriness of this wine seems to be a stylistic hallmark. While we have plenty of year to go, I'm tempted to place Amalaya among our top red wine values going for those who like a medium to full-bodied wine with plenty of fruit, but not at the expense of structure or character.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart
DC 90 WS 90

2015 Aquitania Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Alto Maipo
Review Date: 02-06-2018
Alto Maipo, the highly coveted portion of Chile's most important Cabernet growing region, is generally a source of fruit for Cabs that retail for upwards of $30, often times going for multiples of that price point. There is definitely something to be said for the alluvial, gravelly soil and relatively higher elevation that this sub-zone is famous for; it makes wonderful Cabernet. The Aquitania has delicious fruit expression, though what stands out most for me are actually the aromatics, red fruited and rather subtly leafy, with hints of black currant as well. Coupled with an elegant and persistent palate, this is what well made Cabernet based wine is all about.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JS 91 RP 90

2014 Cascina Alberta "Giacone" Barbaresco
Review Date: 02-01-2018
A charming, brightly fruited Barbaresco, this is a fantastic wine. I wish I could offer more specifics, but ours was a rather raucous tasting group and my notes on this one were not very detailed! I did make a point to describe the fruit as quite pure, suggestive of mixed berries, and I do recall a nearly effortless balance for such a young Barbaresco. Highly recommended.
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart
WE 94

2013 Bersano "Mantico" Barbaresco
Review Date: 02-01-2018
This is a supple, lovely, floral and forward Barbaresco from the great 2013 Piemonte vintage. Unlike many of those 2013's, however, this will not set you back $60+ dollars and will not require years of cellaring. The price is right, the wine tastes great now, and any fan of Nebbiolo should absolutely load up!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 JS 90

2011 Miguel Merino Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 01-31-2018
In 1994, Miguel Merino made his inaugural Rioja wine, a Reserva. To this day, the Reserva is the most important, and at a modest 7,000 total bottles, his largest production wine. I love this 2011: it is every bit as richly fruited, sweetly spicy and delicious as usual, and I find the oak at this early stage to be nicely integrated into the wine. Tasting this, I am reminded of what drew Miguel to the beautiful village and vineyards of Briones (it wasn't merely the pretty scenery!) Black cherry, blackberry confit, dried orange peel, and underlying baking spices combine in this delicious Rioja. While this will age gracefully, there is no reason to wait as it is showing beautifully now. A perennially under the radar gem of a wine that we are happy to have on hand for those who know their Rioja.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 Laventura "Lanave" Rioja
Review Date: 01-30-2018
A blend of 50% Tempranillo and 50% Garnacha from trusted vineyard sources, this is Rioja with the Bryan MacDonald treatment! Turns out that ends up delivering you an amazingly fresh, red fruited wine with great cut, purity and poise. This tastes like no other young Rioja I have ever tried, and yet even as a Rioja fanatic (ok - at times, purist) I want more. How does Bryan Mac D do it? While it obviously starts in the vineyard with terrific sources, I also think that Bryan approaches wine making rather differently from most of his colleagues in Rioja. The result is a wine that you must try, regardless of whether or not Rioja is your thing. Super tasty and interesting wine, a real eye opener!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2011 Miguel Merino "Unnum" Rioja
Review Date: 01-30-2018
Take fruit from Miguel Merino's two oldest vineyards (planted in 1931 and 1946), hand harvest, sort and ferment as normal, and then rack to exclusively French oak barrels, a portion of which are new, and leave the rest to the winery's heir apparent, Miguel's son (also Miguel), and you have Unnum. It's a big wine, more deeply pitched than the Gran Reserva, and in some ways more tightly structured. It is a lot of wine, capable of improving nicely in bottle. One of the more fascinating wine ageing experiments I plan to conduct involves ageing the same vintages of Miguel Merino Gran Reserva and Unnum, and seeing where they are at 10, 15, 25 years old. Same vineyards, different barrel and bottle ageing. I will have to report back once the results are in....
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2009 Miguel Merino Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 01-30-2018
Merino's two oldest vineyards of Tempranillo and Graciano are included in this Gran Reserva - in my mind the most age-worthy of Miguel's stable. Initially somewhat reticent, the spicy oak and dark fruit confit - with rich, dried fruit aromas also present - give way to a palate that opens nicely with air. Plum and blue skinned fruit flavors continue to gain in freshness in this young Gran Reserva. You can enjoy now with a nice decant, though for my money this is as solid a 10+ year cellar candidate Rioja as you will find, particularly for fans of fruit and more richly styled wines from this region.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2014 Miguel Merino Mazuelo de Quinta Cruz Rioja
Review Date: 01-30-2018
Mazuelo (Carignane) is a key component to the Rioja blend. That said, it's not the easiest vine to cultivate and yield tasty results. For those who have well sited, mature vines, and the patience to wait a bit longer to harvest, however, you can get something really fantastic, though it is rarely bottled on its own. Here is one of those rarities, Mazuelo de la Quinta Cruz, from a vineyard planted to a particularly stony parcel of land - it is a tiny plot and therefore an extremely limited production. Bright, red fruited, and somewhat earthy, gamy, animal all at the same time. This is perhaps Merino's most original bottling.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2011 Miguel Merino "Vitola" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 01-30-2018
Vitola may be Miguel Merino's most affordable wine - a reserva bottling, at that - but here affordability is not to be conflated with "simple" or "entry level" as this is a serious bottle of wine. Primarily Tempranillo from 40+ year-old vineyards in the prime Rioja Alta village of Briones form the basis of this structured, yet fresh and limestone laden medium to full bodied red. Aged for 22 months in barrels with American oak staves combined with French tops and bottoms, Vitola is a great introduction to the wonderfully tasty Riojas of this boutique Rioja Alta bodega. Buy some to drink now and some additional bottles to cellar for up to another (conservative window, here) 7-8 years.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2011 Los Autores "El Brujo" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 01-26-2018
Often, our wine reviews will lead with the value proposition at hand: an extremely limited production, terrific value for money, the complexity of aromas and flavors. In this case, I find it necessary to open with an introduction of one of the more towering personalities in the wine world (or in any world, for that matter) I have ever met: Ezequiel "El Brujo" García. El Brujo studied with the great Bordeaux oenologist, Emile Peynaud. He made the incredible Cune wines of the 1960's. He was responsible for fine tuning Cune's Monopole white, a wine which absolutely dominated in its day (and a style which has become fashionable once again). He also became a friend of mine later in his life, someone who would enthusiastically discuss Rioja history, his experience informally advising wineries (amongst them, Lopez de Heredia), and really anything related to the region's local traditions and culture of wine. I love the name of this Rioja, Los Autores, because it was crafted by a true auteur. Ezequiel drew the image on the bottom right hand side of the label. He had an intimate understanding of the vineyards which would form the blend, as well as an idea of what proportion of the various grape varieties should be involved (typical of El Brujo's wines, there are important components of Mazuelo, Garnacha, and even white Viura grapes included). Finally, Ezequiel also selected the well seasoned, 8-10 year old barrels that the wine would age in for 36 months. Now to the wine: how does it taste? It's old school, light on its feet, history in a bottle. 2011 is a generous vintage if you're drinking it now, capable of early consumption, though this wine will undoubtedly reward cellaring. It reminds me of Tondonia, with its understated dark fruit, soft texture, and incredibly easy to drink profile. Sadly, this is the last wine that Ezequiel "El Brujo" would ever blend as he passed away last August. I would encourage you to stash some bottles away, being sure to enjoy at least one of them now and toast to the legend of "El Brujo."
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2014 Castillo de Viñas Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 01-24-2018
A blend of Tempranillo and Graciano, this 2014 Crianza shows loads of delicious red fruit character and intensity for under $12. Our newest Rioja DI, Castillo de Vinas has Tempranillo and Graciano situated on prime, stony higher elevation terroir in the Rioja Baja, the result being a wine with loads of richness and character. Highly recommended.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2011 Can Mayol Loxarel "MM" Gran Reserva Brut Nature Penedes
Review Date: 12-20-2017
This is an oeuil de perdrix, light coppery pink colored rose. Flavors are precise, with red currant, fennel and subtle herbs, an underlying calcareous minerality and a wonderfully elegant bead. Super classy stuff for under $25. Maybe about seven years ago, I tasted a few of the bubblies from Loxarel at a Spanish wine trade show. Ever since then I have been hooked. I have consumed so many bottles across their dizzying array of products, and built up so much product conviction along the way, that I would put these up against any sparkling wines in the store.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2005 Can Mayol Loxarel "109 Mesos" Gran Reserva Brut Penedes
Review Date: 12-14-2017
109 Mesos is the tete de cuvee at Can Mayol. The oldest vine Xarel-lo vines are blended with a 10% dash of Chardonnay, and as the name suggests aged on its lees for 109 months, under cork. In fact, it is never disgorged, as winemaker Josep Mitjans believes that for this cuvee the lees, which contributes to the wine's complexity, longevity and freshness, should be allowed to do so right up until the point of purchase. That said, you will need a toolbox on hand to grab a pair of pliers, bend the iron prongs and disgorge this beauty yourself. You will be amply rewarded with one of the most original bottles of bubbles in our inventory. Maybe about seven years ago, I tasted just a few of the bubblies from Loxarel at a Spanish wine trade show. Ever since then I have been hooked. I have consumed so many bottles across their dizzying array of products, and built up so much product conviction along the way, that I would put these up against any sparkling wines in the store.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2013 Can Mayol Loxarel Garnatxa Blanca Brut Nature Penedes
Review Date: 12-14-2017
Maybe about seven years ago I tasted a few of the bubblies from Loxarel at a Spanish wine trade show in San Francisco. Ever since then I have been hooked. I have consumed so many bottles across their dizzying array of products, and built up so much product conviction along the way, that I would put these up against any sparkling wines in the store. This is the first vintage of Garnatxa Blanca, and the only bubbly made from this grape that I have yet to try. Loxarel's trademark fine bubbles combine with slightly weightier fruit from the high elevation Garnatxa blanca grapes to create something that is equal parts food friendly and refreshing.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2016 Can Mayol Loxarel "Apel" Ancestral Penedes
Review Date: 12-14-2017
Josep Mitjans, winemaker of Loxarel, is not one to rest on his laurels. One of his more recent creations is Apel, a methode ancestrale sparkling consisting of 100% old vine Xarel-lo, fermented with indigenous yeasts and without any liqueur de tirage or dosage (aka, in both cases, sugar). The resulting wine is nicely dry, perhaps with a softer bead and less savory Mediterranean notes when compared to their flagship Reserva Familiar. I love them both, and expect to go through many bottles of the Apel (as well as many more of Loxarel's other delicious sparklers!) Maybe about seven years ago, I tasted a few of the bubblies from Loxarel at a Spanish wine trade show. Ever since then I have been hooked. I have consumed so many bottles across their dizzying array of products, and built up so much product conviction along the way, that I would put these up against any sparkling wines in the store.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2014 Can Mayol Loxarel "999" Brut Nature Rosat Penedes
Review Date: 12-14-2017
Maybe about seven years ago, I tasted a few of the bubblies from Loxarel at a trade show. Ever since then I have been hooked. I have consumed so many bottles across their dizzying array of products, and built up so much product conviction along the way, that I would put these up against any sparkling wines in the store. The 999 is quite a dry expression of high elevation Pinot Noir and Xarel-lo Vermell (red skinned mutation of the indigenous Xarel-lo and a key component to most cava and sparkling Penedes wine). The wine is recently disgorged, stylish, and very easy to drink!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2009 Lagrange, St-Julien
Review Date: 12-06-2017
I love, love love (did I mention that I love) St. Julien, and Lagrange is one of those properties that consistently flies under the radar. It is therefore priced accordingly, and a relative bargain for the excellent 2009 vintage. My first experience with a bottle of Lagrange was at a French bistro in SF, enjoying a bottle of the 1999 alongside steak frites, maybe sometime in 2008 or 2009. It was sumptuous, elegant, the perfect combination of restrained Bordeaux fruit, acidity, and delicate savor. While I love my 1999s, you can rest assured that the 2009s are much better! This is tasty now after an hour decant (which is incidentally when I ran into my colleague and noticed he was tasting it), though it is undoubtedly a 20+ year wine if you prefer to wait patiently as this fine St. Julien matures.

2014 Cune Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 12-05-2017
For value seekers, Rioja continues to be fertile ground to find great deals at every price point. Cune Crianza has definitely become one of these values in the Rioja under $12 category. They have applied extra attention to this fairly ubiquitous (in Spain, that is) bottling over the past 5 years, and it clearly shows in the quality of the wine. Supple, red fruited, very easy drinking, this functions perfectly as everyday house red or party wine, with the added bonus of some undeniable, unique regional style points - tough to get in such an inexpensive commercial production many other places in the world.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
JS 90

2014 Viña Real Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 12-05-2017
Vina Real Crianza is a model of consistency: year in, year out, it is a lovely brightly fruited Rioja. The wine always comes across with admirable freshness and poise, well integrated background barrel notes (here, in the case of the well delineated, fresh feeling 2014, they are really quite subtle) and, most importantly, drinkability for days. I go through drinking phases like anyone else, and may find a new regional rabbit hole to explore while temporarily retiring another, but I will simply never tire of Riojas as delicious and affordable as Vina Real Crianza.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2011 Viña Real Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 12-05-2017
Often times listed as "Cune Vina Real," Vina Real may be under the Cune corporate umbrella, but it functions as its own independent winery (an architecturally award winning one at that) with its own unique fruit contracts in Rioja Alavesa which lend its bright, fruit forward style to the wine across the board. It is also made in smaller quantities than the large sized production of wines such as Cune Crianza, for example. In 2011, the Vina Real GR style is one that I can best refer to as "generosity, defined." As in, the fruit is generous, perhaps even flirting with lush, but clearly defined by a thread of acidity that leads to a wonderfully fresh finish and points towards great drinking for years to come, or at least (conservatively) 7-8 additional years. Savory, meaty notes are only just beginning to emerge, with tell-tale notes of sweet baking spices flirting with the fruit, though ultimately it is the beautiful mixed berry fruit which carries the wine. Expect lots of deliciousness, endless pairing possibilities, and a nicely drawn out drinking window for this fairly priced, iconic Rioja.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
JS 95 W&S 92

2009 Sarget de Gruaud Larose, St-Julien
Review Date: 11-29-2017
The 2009 Sarget is - no surprise here - a seriously built and structured wine. That is not to suggest that those who choose to enjoy now (ideally with a 45 minute plus decant) will not get more than their fair share of Gruad Larose style and savor but, rather, simply to say that those who choose to age this wine for another several years (or longer) will be amply rewarded.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2009 Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 11-29-2017
The 09 Bel Orme exists on the more lithe and elegant side of the style spectrum, particularly considering the power of the 2009 vintage in Bordeaux. Discreet, measured, quiet red fruited aromas lead to a nicely firm, delicious palate with just enough fruit showing itself. While it will surely handle a steak, this is one of those Bordeaux that you could successfully pair with many other entrees. Delicious and classy claret.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Fiorenzo Nada Dolcetto d'Alba
Review Date: 11-29-2017
This Dolcetto is good, really good. And classic, really classic. Dark cherry aromas lead to a wine of the most gentle extraction and exquisite sense of balance. What good Dolcetto d'alba ought to be: just enough restrained fruit and tannin combine for serious Piemontese style points in this beauty.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Tilia Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 11-29-2017
I would urge anyone reading this to not be turned off by the low price of this wine, since it: a.) is delicious and b.) drinks at least as well or better than many of the $10-$15 reds in our already highly curated selection. Tilia is pure, plummy Malbec, but with loads of freshness and drinkability. There is a much drier and more serious palate impression than what one may expect for under $10 red. A naturally occurring 13% ABV thanks to a cooler vintage, this is fantastic wine for any and all value seekers. Just might be the value red of the year for me - don't be shy about the price, you will love this wine. Added bonus: Tilia continues to be made from organic grapes.
Price: $7.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2014 Bodegas Volver "Tarima Hill - Old Vines" Monastrell Alicante
Review Date: 11-28-2017
While the 2015 vintage of Tarima Hill placed an impressive #17 on this year's Wine Spectator Top 100 list, it is the 2014 that many winemakers and Spanish critics consider the stronger vintage on the Mediterranean influenced, eastern portion of Spain. As usual, this is all old vine Monastrell, which gives fresh, spicy, satisfying, more deeply pitched red fruit flavors and an underlying citrus peel note, with just a smidge of new oak influence which rounds out the texture and contributes a bit of flavor as well. Deceptively complex for a $12.99 wine - and a wine that I am used to being a bit plumper from its earlier vintages - I found myself editing this review a few times as the wine opened up and developed with time. A delicious, super friendly wine for entertaining - at a great price.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 JS 90

2014 Mas Doix "Salanques" Priorat
Review Date: 11-28-2017
This is Priorat!! My colleague Chantel and I tasted the 2014 Mas Doix Salanques earlier today and were both impressed - very impressed. While we come to expect rich fruit and structured tannins in Priorat at this price, what made both of us take notice was the extraordinary energy and freshness of the wine, combined with a tactile feel of minerals. While I don't go around licking Llicorella (Catalan dialect for slate) this wine has the feel of a richly fruited Mediterranean red with a tight mineral core. I love it because it's so generous and delicious now, with loads of lively black cherry and raspberry flavors and sweet violet florals lingering on the palate as well. A phenomenal Priorat.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
DC 98 W&S 92

1977 Quarles Harris Vintage Port
Review Date: 11-14-2017
This little known port house is actually one of the oldest, first founded in 1680 and held by the same family up until 1920 or so, at which point the Symington family (who own Graham's, Dow's, and Warre's) purchased it. This wine is in great shape, likely re-conditioned with what appears to be a newer cork. Relatively light on the palate, there is a perfectly balanced sweetness, notes of candied violet, lovely minerality and an overall sense of subtlety and elegant balance. Not a blockbuster, but rather a beauty, Quarles Harris also happens to be the most reasonably priced of our 1977 vintage ports.
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart

2015 Palacio del Burgo Tinto Rioja
Review Date: 11-14-2017
This is exactly the type of Rioja I seek out when the holidays come our way: inexpensive, brightly fruited, no oak whatsoever, juicy and surprisingly structured, with a fresh acid structure that makes it sing with food. Unoaked Tempranillo is not always the easiest wine to produce, as it can show a heat stamp in warmer years and be reductive and firm in cooler ones. In great vintages like 2015, however, unoaked wines represent one of my favorite types of Rioja as they accentuate the grape's delicious inherent fruit, and show off the pleasing lightly tannic grip of a young red wine. For under $10, this won't break the bank, and you can afford to stock a case to have plenty of wine on hand for visiting friends and family. Highly recommended, sub $10 house red!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
VN 90

2011 Can Mayol Loxarel "Reserva Familiar" Brut Nature Penedes
Review Date: 11-13-2017
Once again, another release of Loxarel Reserva Familiar brings the goods. As always, the aromatics are filled with generous yellow fruits, clean chalk and some traces of the Mediterranean countryside. It's the palate where the fireworks really begin: ripe citrus fruits show real precision and a mouthwatering saline quality as well, with a fine stream of bubbles creating a wonderful texture, and flavors that linger nicely long after taking a sip of the wine. For this organic, estate grown, old vine Xarel-lo dominated blend, carefully aged on its lees for over five years and then hand disgorged (and hand labelled!) to come in at under $20 is mind boggling. I don't say this lightly, but pound for pound, euro for euro and dollar for dollar, this is my favorite bottle of bubbles in the store.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2014 Fleur de Pedesclaux, Pauillac
Review Date: 11-08-2017
This lovely Pauillac from one of our favorite value properties in the communie shows pretty mixed berry fruits and a rather sumptuous, supple quality which belies the more typically classic and restrained quality of the 2014 vintage. That said, this precocious Pauillac is delicious now and should continue to drink well for a decade.
Price: Hidden View Price
JS 90

2016 Aizpurua Getariako Txakolina
Review Date: 11-08-2017
Aizpurua has been producing grapes on their vineyards since 1834, and they make one of the finest Getariako Txakolinas in the D.O., with bright crisp citric fruits, refreshing, light frizzante character and a nicely dry finish.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2016 Viña Godeval Godello Valdeorras
Review Date: 11-08-2017
Compared to our other delicious $15 Godello from Valdesil, the Vina Godeval shows more yellow and stone fruit, with a bit more volume. Godello is definitely the white everyone is after in Spain, and tasting how good it can be, from well made inexpensive versions such as this on up to more rare $50 bottlings, I can see why! This wine's fruity freshness makes it perfect as an aperitive.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2008 Raventos i Blanc "Manuel Raventos" Conca del Riu Anoia
Review Date: 11-08-2017
From one of our favorite Spanish producers in Raventos i Blanc comes this tete de cuvee, a selection personally selected by someone who is by all accounts an incredibly gifted taster, owner Manuel Raventos. This spend 72 months on the lees and shows lovely toasty and doughy qualitites, though incredible structure and freshness, all the more impressive given the length of its ageing. Only 2000 bottles of this delicious and serious wine were produced.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2015 Azul y Garanza Tempranillo Navarra (1L)
Review Date: 11-08-2017
Does slightly peppery, fresh and dark fruited Tempranillo hold some appeal for you? How about one bottled in a one liter bottle, for maximum bang for buck? For value red seekers, whether or not you veer towards Spain, this is absolutely a delicious Tempranillo to try.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2016 Azul y Garanza Viura Navarra (1L)
Review Date: 11-08-2017
Fermented in a combination of stainless steel and concrete tanks, this Viura shows just a little rounder and softer on the palate than some of our favorite Viuras from Rioja. That said, it is crisp, refreshing and yellow fruited, with an extra third a bottle built in (the eternal advantage of 1L bottles!) For anyone who appreciates a good value in dry white wine (for drinking and perhaps cooking as well), this has got to be right up there with some of our very best.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2015 Espelt "Old Vines" Garnacha Emporda
Review Date: 11-08-2017
Hailing from near Roses, Catalunya, off the road that leads to the beautiful village of Cadaques and eventually to Port Lligat, where Salvador Dali's house is located. This is perhaps the tastiest Grenache in the shop for under $12. Wonderfully bright black and raspberry fruits show a plump and fresh quality, making this one easy to drink.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

1977 Graham's Vintage Port
Review Date: 11-06-2017
Graham's Vintage Port from a vintage as strong as 1977 is truly one of the greatest and most long lived wines around. This '77 shows all the trademark richness and generosity on the palate, with a lovely herbal and almost amaro-like complexity which certain fine vintage Ports begin to acquire after 40 years of bottle age. A great bottle of wine and ideal gift for 40th birthdays or anniversaries.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 WS 91

1977 Dow's Vintage Port
Review Date: 11-06-2017
This is an absolutely delicious, impeccably balanced bottle of port from the great 1977 vintage. Dow's style is relatively drier than most of the other houses, except perhaps Taylor's, and after 40 years of ageing, it has reached prime drinking: beautiful florals, perfectly sweet fruits and a graceful mouth feel all combine to make this one of the more memorable vintage ports I have yet to enjoy. A real treat, and a perfect gift to mark that 40th birthday or anniversary.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 WS 92

2014 Ramos Pinto "Duas Quintas" Douro
Review Date: 10-25-2017
Produced from a blend of primarily Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca, planted at Ramos Pinto's Quinta da Ervamoira from 1974 through 1996, this is a lovely Douro red from this solid vintage. Floral and fresh berry flavors, along with just the right amount of tannic backbone, combine to create one delicious, balanced red Douro wine. It's more about balance and drinkability then brawn and extraction, which is right on trend in this beautiful Portuguese wine growing region.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2011 Louis Roederer Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 10-23-2017
Louis Roederer continues to be one of my favorite, go to grand marque Champagnes. This vintage rosé is everything that I am looking for in pink Champagne - bright, crunchy red berry flavors, well integrated acidity, dosage and bubbles, and a well defined minerality which I find present in all of Louis Roederer Champagnes. The difference in their vintage dated wines is added intensity on the mid-palate and more length on the finish. Well worth the price, I find this to be one of our better values in vintage, grand marque Champagne!
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart
WE 94 WS 91

Billecart-Salmon Brut "Sous Bois" Champagne
Review Date: 10-23-2017
Containing base wine that is barrel fermented, and then given a generously long ageing on its lees, this cuvée is rich, elegant and expensive tasting. That said, given the quality of the base wine and the blocking of malolactic, there is a fine line of acidity marking this rich barrel aged Champagne, as well as a soft bead as well. A great Champagne for a meal, though for my taste I would be just as happy sipping on this and simple hors d'oeuvres as I would be enjoying it with a sumptuous meal.

2013 Dominio del Aguila Ribera del Duero
Review Date: 10-19-2017
A more serious, young Ribera del Duero I have yet to taste, except for perhaps one or two fresher, more aromatic vintages of Vega Sicilia (the 1999 comes to mind) I don't draw that comparison lightly, particularly as Vega Sicilia costs upwards of $350 upon release, and of course is the original high end Spanish collectible wine. That said, if this 2013 vintage of Domninio del Aguila is any indication, I think it's not a stretch to say that this wine is every bit as good, and perhaps nearly its rival in terms of long term ageability. Time of course will tell, but I love this wine for its salted plum flavors, with a truly Castillian soil inflection and mineral backbone, alongside balanced, subtle spicy/sweet notes from the oak (35 months in oak, in fact, not quite Vega length elevage but certainly longer than the normal these days). I encourage anyone - Vega Sicilia collector or simply Spanish wine fan - to check out this fantastic new Ribera del Duero producer.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart
RP 96

2015 Comando G "La Bruja de Rozas" Garnacha
Review Date: 10-19-2017
This is serious Garnacha! Grenache from granite, made by true masters of the genre, the team of Fernando García and Dani Landi. Named for one of their favorite comics, Comando G focuses on a very fresh, structured and brightly fruited style of Grenache that always seems to have me reaching for the correct comparison to do the wines justice: well made, traditional Barolo? Ripe vintage, 1er cru Cotes de Nuits Burgundy, old fashioned, top quality Chateauneuf du Pape? Whatever the comparison, the Garnacha based wines from Comando G, when on their 'A' game, are some of the tastiest Grenache based wines out there. I've said it before, but it absolutely bears repeating again, these wines are as good or better than some of France's best names in Chateauneuf du Pape. This particular bottling shows spicy, cinnamon laced, bright red fruited aromas which lead to fantastic, crunchy, lively flavors on the palate. A delicious wine.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2014 Terroir al Limit "Terra de Cuques" Priorat Blanc
Review Date: 10-18-2017
A blend of Pedro Ximenez (cool story: first brought up from the south by Andalusians who came up to work in the region's gypsum mines) and Muscat, this wonderful Mediterranean white shows aromas of tarragon and fennel pollen, leading to a chalky, mineral and nicely dry palate. Surprisingly, the exotic, floral qualities one may expect from the Muscat do not show in this wine. German born Dominik Huber did not to my knowledge grow up in a winemaking family, though he did grow to develop a love of good food, cooking and fine wine, and decided to venture into wine production in the beautifully rustic Priorat region of southern Catalonia accompanied by his then business partner, South African savant Eben Sadie. Having learned over the years how to spot a great vineyard, and more recently, how to harness the fruit to retain all of the Mediterranean character with maximzied mineral expression and freshness through thoughtful winemaking, Dominik now is right up there amongst the top few projects in Priorat.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

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