Staff Favorites - Steve Greer

Steve Greer
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I think I started down the path into the wine world with my first job, at 16, bussing tables in a Chinese restaurant. Blue Nun Riesling was the big seller (this in 1985, so don't laugh). While the Blue Nun Riesling was not an "epiphany" wine, I drank a lot of it. It was a magnum of Robert Sinskey Claret that I shared with friends while watching the 1994 World Cup that got me started reading about wine (Brazil won). My first "wow" wine was that same year, when a customer gave me a glass of 1982 Haut Brion. It was amazing. Next I found pinot noir, specifically a 1994 Whitcraft Bien Nacido, and I was hooked. I knew I wanted to sell wine so I moved from restaurants to wholesale wine sales, working for Metamora in Ohio and Kentucky. But after continued consolidation of distributors and the realization, that in wholesale you wear blinders, tasting only the wines you sell, I knew I wanted to move to the retail side. I would like to say I moved from Cincinnati just for K&L but I left the "Red" state for Los Angeles (a Cincinnati Reds and Cincinnati Bengals fan in San Francisco just would not do) and I was very lucky to find the K&L store in Hollywood. The rest is history.


Reviews

  
2008 Gusbourne Estate Brut Reserve, Kent, England
Review Date: 03-12-2014
This can give Champagne a run.... toasty brioche leesy nutty yeasty goodness with great texture and lovely finish. Very surprised by these British sparklers.
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List

2010 Wiston Estate "South Downs Cuvée" Brut West Sussex England
Review Date: 03-12-2014
Well, the British have landed and this is one of my favorites from the Wiston Estate. Chalkly nose, tart tangerine, racy acidity, fresh and bright. Love the raciness and brightness.
Price: $39.99 Add To Waiting List

2006 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 03-11-2014
Shows dried cherry, floral notes, cedar, peppery spice and red currant fruit. It has fleshed out since we last tried it in 2009, but there is still plenty of structure, with finer tannins and bright acidity.

2009 Tronquoy-Lalande, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 03-11-2014
Layered, ripe and polished, with red and black berry fruit, Asian spice, iron minerality, cedar, fig paste, chewy tannins and a long finish. Wow.

2001 Guiraud, Sauternes
Review Date: 02-21-2014
This is drinking nicely now and shows lots of life for the future, with a zing of bright acidity still keeping the richness in check. Heady beautiful nose with botrytis and apricots dominating. The palate is layered with pineapple upside down cake coming to mind, burnt sugar, graham cracker, baking spices and lemon curd and a finish that doesn't quit. Wow.

1994 Benriach 19 Year Old K&L Exclusive Single Bourbon Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 01-24-2014
And yet another K&L exclusive that is fantastic. The Davids are knocking it out of the park. This big, potent whiskey is filled with dried apricots, vanilla and spice, with a softer palate than I was expecting. Supple, rich and lovely.
Price: $149.99 Add To Waiting List

Talisker Storm Limited Edition Isle of Skye Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 01-24-2014
It's funny--I am not sure what an "un-storm-like" whisky is but I think what that's referring to is the expectation that this new release from Talisker would be all about Big Peat. Instead, I think that this new release stays in the Talisker realm of balance. There is more power and more smokiness than salinity, but with the signature sweet malt and peppery spice along with more vanilla (recharred Bourbon barrels?)
Price: $59.99 Add To Waiting List

Talisker 10 year old Isle of Skye Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 01-24-2014
I am guilty of chasing the golden goose and forgetting about the standards or classics within a certain category be it wine, whiskey, beer etc. I was reminded of this when we went through a line-up of Scotch whiskey and I tried the Talisker 10. This is the balanced side of peated whiskey with pure sea-side air, creosote and just a hint of iodine balanced by the sweet malt. The finish is beautiful with saline and spice and only $50! A standard for everyone's bar.
Price: $49.99 Add To Waiting List
WA 90

Guillaumette L'Authentique Génépi 375ml
Review Date: 01-23-2014
This is a wonderful addition to any bar and a perfect addition for Manhattans. Rosemary, thyme and jasmine with an oily texture a touch of sweetness and a mint finish.
Price: $25.99 Add To Waiting List

Cherry Heering Liqueur 48 Proof 750ml
Review Date: 01-23-2014
The bottle itself looks like something that has been sitting on a back bar of a restaurant for 10 years... untouched! But it is easy to fall in love with this drink that has been produced since 1818. Dr. Pepper, ginger, Xmas cake spice and cherry pie! The most well known drink is Singapore Slings.
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List

Ferrand Dry Orange Curacao 750ml
Review Date: 01-23-2014
This is a drier version of Grand Mariner. Tastes like orange marmalade and fresh oranges with dry finish. Excellent!
Price: $26.99 Add To Waiting List
WE 93

Tequila Fortaleza Blanco Tequila 750ml
Review Date: 01-23-2014
The Forteleza line-up is fantastic but the Bianco shows the purity of the spirit with tons of depth. Vegetative, roasted herbs, spice, orange peel and coriander shows this is a sipper to be enjoy.
Price: $44.99 Add To Waiting List

2005 Chasse-Spleen, Moulis (5L)
Review Date: 01-06-2014
This wine is a steal though I feel guilty drinking it so early. All the classic Bordeaux aromas are here: cassis, cedar, spice, earth and smoke. Give this wine a few years; the tannins and acid dominate, but the sweet fruit in the background tells of great things to come.

2010 Lynch-Bages, Pauillac
Review Date: 12-12-2013
Tight and tannic with rich blackberry fruit. Long spice and black fruit on the finish.

2009 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 03-05-2013
This was the one wine that really opened up after two to three hours of decanting to wake up the fruit. Right out of the bottle the nose was mushroomy and dusty, and the wine had a rustic mouthfeel, but after decanting the pretty red berry fruit became expressive and an earthy spice poked through.

2009 Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien
Review Date: 01-22-2013
This was the hit of the in-store tasting. Heady dark fruit nose with a background of coffee and chocolate. The palate was rich and dense packed with blackberry, cassis, dark chocolate and coffee. The tannins were evident but very supple and a long long finish.

Noble Ale Works "Breakaway" Pale Ale, California 22 oz.
Review Date: 01-08-2013
A great example of American Pale Ale with nice citrus aromas and a sweet malt palate. Just enough bitterness without overwhelming the malty goodness.
Price: $5.49 Add To Waiting List

1999 Fugue de Nenin, Pomerol
Review Date: 10-10-2012
For anyone that loved the 2000 Haut Ferrand you will love this wine. Lovely tobacco and plums and prunes with a bit of cedar and potpourri. On the palate is a lush ripe plum with more cedar and a lovely roasted spice that I can't quite pinpoint. The long finish has more of the dried plums (prunes) with earthy aromatic and a savory meaty flavor. I really like this better than the Haut Ferrand and it's cheaper!
Price: Hidden View Price

1997 Potensac, Médoc
Review Date: 08-01-2012
This wine is beautifully aromatic, filled with forest floor and potpourri. The palate still shows lovely raspberry and blackberry, along with toasted spices and more potpourri. Again, please decant this wine for two-plus hours so the acidity, so prominent on the first pour, becomes a background note. This wine is up there with the 1997 Langoa-Barton.
Price: $24.99 Add To Waiting List

2009 Pédesclaux, Pauillac
Review Date: 07-03-2012
This classified Fifth Growth seems to fly under the radar of many Bordeaux buyers, but the ’09 is not to be passed up. Coffee, graphite, spice and ripe black fruit on the nose. The black fruit dominates the palate, but all the lovely layers of mineral, spice and coffee are evident all the way through the finish. This wine shows seamless power along with lovely layers and bright acidity.

2009 Marquis de Terme, Margaux
Review Date: 07-03-2012
This is the classified Fourth Growth from Margaux that everyone seems to forget about. It’s a great wine for California Cabernet fans to migrate towards, with its big wood spice on the nose and slight coffee aroma. The fruit is big and rich on the palate—dark plum and heady blackberry—with more flavors of oak spice and coffee. The wine is very astringent on the finish, so it will need some time in the cellar to soften.

2009 Tour de Mons, Margaux
Review Date: 07-03-2012
This is always a great value Margaux, and the ’09 is one of their best. The nose shows plenty of bright red fruit, spice and an almost graphite minerality. The elegant palate is more red currant and cherry centric, with toasty spice, lovely acidity and texture.
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List
WS 91

1995 Les Ormes de Pez, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 06-01-2012
Right out of the bottle the wine is aromatic, showing red fruit and an earthy herbacousness. The currant still shows sursprisingly vibrant and integrated on the palate. Lovely.
Price: $37.99 Add To Waiting List

2009 Seguin, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 06-01-2012
This was a lovely surprise hit from our last in-store tasting. The nose showed plenty of layers of cassis, mineral and cedar. The palate showed a lush texture of heady cassis, mineral, oak spice and more cedar, all carrying through on the long finish. The ripe fruit remains in balance, with plenty of structure. There’s a lot of wine here for $30.
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 89

2009 Beaumont, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 06-01-2012
A perennial favorite. I expected darker fruit, but there is lovely bright red cherry, red currants and a background of spice. The tart red fruits dominate, but some nice roasted herbs, wood spice and a saline minerality are in the background and show through on the long finish. Refreshingly bright and fresh.

2009 Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac
Review Date: 03-01-2012
The nose is filled with perfume, floral notes, incense and cassis. The layered palate is rich cassis, spice, cedar and mineral. The richness of the wine keeps the tannins in check while the acidity brightens the wine on the finish. This wine is stunning!

2009 La Lagune, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 03-01-2012
This was one of my favorites of the 09 tasting. The nose was layered with red berry fruit, mineral and a slight damp earth in the background. The polished palate was red and black fruit and graphite with a long long finish. Elegant and rich at the same time. Beautiful.

2000 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 11-04-2011
This was my favorite of the three vintages. The nose is fragrant, with bright red fruit, spice and coffee. The tannins are still evident with plenty of red fruit on the palate, finishing with mineral and spice.
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List

2007 Poujeaux, Moulis
Review Date: 11-04-2011
I’ve always been a fan of this château for its value and quality. The 2007 is no different except this is the last vintage before the owner of Clos Fourtet, Philippe Cuvelier, purchased it in 2008. This shows pretty berry fruit, cedar, spice and herbs on the nose and palate. The tannins are soft with a long finish of herbs and spice.
Price: $34.99 Add To Waiting List
WE 90

2001 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
Review Date: 08-17-2011
For those of you wishing for the days when Pontet-Canet was selling for less than $100, this is your wine. I decanted it for two hours, and the wine was still tight but starting to express itself. By the end of the tasting the wine was showing fantastically. The nose is beautiful, with licorice, cassis, mineral and some lingering oak spice. The ripe cassis and blackberry dominate the palate along with graphite and resin. This ripe black fruit and spice continue through onto the long finish. The fleshy mouthfeel is fairly integrated with some tannins evident on the finish.

2000 Saint-Pierre, St-Julien
Review Date: 08-17-2011
Most of my customers said this was their favorite of the tasting. The nose is very expressive with bitter chocolate, smoke, resin and blackberry. The palate shows rich cassis, chocolate and blackberry with plenty of oak spice. The finish is all black fruit with lots of spice and plenty of astringency still, so lay this down or have with a nice rack of lamb.
Price: $89.99 Add To Waiting List
WS 90 RP 89

Bruno Michel Premier Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 08-04-2011
It is always a pleasure when Gary Westby the Champagne Buyer comes down to lead the staff tasting since there is always something I didn't know about our grower producer Champagnes. The Bruno Michel Blanc de Blanc is from grapes produced in Epernay which is the coldest place in Champagne so the Chardonnay is planted on the steepest slopes to prevent frost. This was also one of my favorites from the tasting. This goes through full malolatic fermentation and sits on the lees for 4 years giving a creamy mouth-feel. Apple and spice on the nose and palate with a long mineral finish. This is a gorgeous Champagne.
Price: $44.99 Add To Waiting List

2001 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 07-05-2011
This was by far the biggest hit of the tasting judging by how much we sold (people were grabbing full cases). By now our customers know how much we like this property, and this is drinking well right now. The nose is cedar, spice, anise and black fruit with a bit of damp earth/mushroom in the back. The palate is integrated with cassis, blackberry, spice and earth. The wine has a long finish with bright acidity at the end. Lovely.
Price: $21.99 Add To Waiting List

2008 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
Review Date: 07-05-2011
"Wow" and "Huge" are the two words I wrote for this wine. This was a really beautiful wine with rich dark cassis, black fruit, spice and graphite aromas and flavors. The rich fruit provides a great balance to the grippy tannins. Very nice wine and in comparision to 2009 and 2010 pricing you could almost buy 2.

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-07-2011
This is our best value Champagne in the store. Comprised of all three grapes this Champagne shows you can have both good value and great taste. Nutty, brioche and apple fill the nose and palate with a mouth filling mousse. Only $24.99 and I promise everyone you poured this for would enjoy it.
Price: $27.99 Add To Waiting List

1996 Langoa-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 05-04-2011
Both ’96s showed very well. The nose of the Langoa showed dark cherry cola. The mouthfeel was fleshed out with dark fruit, cola and spice all the way through to the long, soft finish dominated by spice. The tannins were polished but still evident.
Price: $99.99 Add To Waiting List
ST 89 WS 89

2008 Reignac, Bordeaux Supérieur
Review Date: 04-02-2011
This showed well at the tasting. Aromas of oak spice and ripe plum fruit fill the nose with a slight tobacco/herbal note. The toasty oak is the dominant flavor on the palate, with the red and black fruit sitting in the background. The astringency is only felt at the finish, which is of good length, with black fruit and more spice.
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 90

Deligeroy Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé
Review Date: 12-28-2010
This is a perfect New Year's Eve Rose. On the nose bright cherry and strawberry aromas that carry through on the palate. The bright fresh red fruit flavors are surrounded by a more refined mouth feel. The price makes it affordable for a party.
Price: $12.99 Add To Waiting List

Ariston Aspasie Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 10-27-2010
This could be one of the best deals in our Champagne section. If you like Billecart then you will like this as a alternative in price. Nice strawberry and cherry flavors and aromas with a nice rich texture and a long finish of strawberry. Great value and a great Champagne.
Price: $34.99 Add To Waiting List

2006 Anderson's Conn Valley "Reserve" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 12-01-2009
This has been my favorite California Cabernet producer in the store for the last few vintages and the 2006 is fantastic. A surprising open nose of black currants, toasty oak and a bit of spice. The rich mouth-feel is all black fruit almost liqueur-like with more toasty oak, spice and coffee flavors with a long finish that shows some mineral notes at the end. Lots of tannic structure but the wine is accessible now although a few years of cellaring and it will be even better. I think it is a bit more elegant than the 2005.
Price: $79.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 94

Michel Arnould Verzenay "Reserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-13-2009
What a beautiful Champagne. The elegant texture with great depth of flavor is what stood out for me. Loads of nuts and fruits (apricots) all wrapped by a great mouthfeel and a toasty finish. This has become my favorite under $30 Champagne.
Price: $32.99 Add To Waiting List

2006 Clinet, Pomerol
Review Date: 03-30-2009
Pomerol seems to be the big winner of the 2006 vintage, and this wine is a good example with rich heady nose of ripe fruit and mocha. Nice fruit and spice and chocolate with good structure. What I liked most about this wine was how the structure of the wine balanced all the rich fruit on the palate. The aromas continue throughout the long finish.

2005 Quinault L'Enclos, St-Emilion
Review Date: 02-20-2009
If you open this wine for a party watching basketball make sure you open it a few hours ahead of time or just buy a bunch and lay it down. This is a beautiful layered wine. The layered nose is filled with fruit and floral notes and than more layers on the palate. Big ripe fruit balanced with mineral and spice flavors. This wine has a lot to give with patience either in decanting or cellaring.

2005 Chasse-Spleen, Moulis en Médoc
Review Date: 06-18-2008
This wine is a steal though I feel guilty drinking it so early. All the classic Bordeaux aromas are here: cassis, cedar, spice, earth and smoke. Give this wine a few years; the tannins and acid dominate, but the sweet fruit in the background tells of great things to come.

2005 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 06-18-2008
Coufran is north of St-Estèphe, where heavier soils are wellsuited to merlot. The château is planted with 85% merlot and 15% cabernet sauvignon.With a bit of decanting this wine really opened up and with each sip I enjoyed it even more. Very dark in color, the nose provides both rich fruit and some oak. It opens with a mix of rich cassis and nice acidity, but its tannins are still astringent. Give this beauty some time to age.
Price: $28.99 Add To Waiting List
WE 91 - 93

1999 Labégorce, Margaux
Review Date: 05-20-2008
You have probably never heard of this chateau, but the estate's wines date back to 1868 and there are records of the land belonging to the family (La Begorce) dating back to 1332. The estate was split up after the French Revolution and then reunited by Hebert Perrodo. Apparently his dream was to purchase all three parcels, but he was tragically killed in a skiing accident in 2006. His family has continued the project and the wines themselves seem steeped in this long history. They're “old school” in style and show their best when consumed with a meal. The 1999 displayed aromas of sweet black fruit, which also comes through on the palate filling it with an almost liqueur-like sweetness with a background of spice and lots and lots of acidity.
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List
JS 90

More Favorites

Steve Greer is also a fan of the following items. To become a fan of Steve Greer, click here to join Steve Greer's Personal Sommelier Service.
Suze Gentian Liqueur 1L ($27.99)

Tempus Fugit Kina L'Aero D'Or Aperitif Du Quinquina750ml ($32.99)

Tequila Fortaleza Reposado Tequila 750ml ($54.99)

Tequila Fortaleza Anejo Tequila 750ml ($74.99)

Ocho Plata Tequila 750ml ($44.99)

Cana Brava Panama Rum 1L ($24.99)

St. George Terroir Mt. Tam Gin 750ml ($30.99)

Citadelle French Gin 750ml ($19.99)

Camut Aperitif Normand Pommeau 750ml ($39.99)

Domaine du Manoir de Montreuil Calvados Pay d'Auge 750ml ($42.99)

Adrien Camut Réserve de Semainville Pays d'Auge Calvados 750ml ($249.99)

El Dorado 15 year old Demerara Guyana Rum 750ml (ships in a 1.5 box) ($39.99)

Russell's Reserve 6 Year Old Small Batch Rye 90 Proof 750ml (3 bottle limit per customer) ($34.99)

Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Rosé Champagne ($57.99)

Michel Dervin Brut Champagne ($32.99)

Fleury "Cuveé Robert Fleury" Brut Champagne ($44.99)

Franck Bonville Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($39.99)

Berry Bros & Rudd No. 3 London Dry Gin 750ml ($34.99)

Chokaisan Junmai Daiginjo Sake (720ml) ($49.99)

1996 Burgess Napa Cabernet Sauvignon ($39.99)

2005 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino ($59.99)

2008 Pyramid Valley Vineyards "Calvert" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic) ($39.99)

Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne ($34.99)