Staff Favorites - John Majeski

John Majeski

Reviews

  
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2014 Valravn "Old Vine" Sonoma County Zinfandel
Review Date: 11-29-2016
Born and bottled in the heart of the Sonoma Valley, this rustic, dry-farmed ancient vine Zinfandel reminds me of why I moved to California almost forty years ago, in search of those intangible truths that can only be found in the cultivated company of rare friends over a good bottle of wine. Zinfandel is and always will be a grape that expresses itself with passionate intensity and it’s such a pleasure to discover that some folks (the Banshee guys) are still making it like I remember it from the 1970s, those special wines of character, purity and harmony that leave their imprint on the mind as well as the palate. And reading up on the mythological origins of the 'Valravn' can chill one's bones, as it depicts a monstrous raven who scours the bloody battlefields of Danish lore in search of fresh meat. Never thee mind, all this delicious wine does is slay your mortal thirst, my ravenous friends!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2013 Mount Edward Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 11-29-2016
With the stack of sterling reviews already showcasing this bravura New Zealand Pinot Noir, where does one begin? Running out of superlatives, so let me just add that it performs beautifully in the glass, and even better once it enters the lips in a flourish of pure, well-refined red and black fruits, oolong tea and savory spice, with a textural litheness that belies its structural integrity. A fragrant jewel of a Pinot that will reward with cellaring for a few years.
Top Value!

Baron-Fuente "Esprit" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-29-2016
A prime illustration of what can be achieved in a Champagne with long aging on the lees, in this case seven full years, all to elaborate and define the essence of brioche, hazelnuts and toast that are characteristic of such extended contact. Even more remarkable is the generously modest price for this patient waiting game, a sparkler that expresses ‘’esprit to the core’, with resplendent notes of crisp lemon, bosc pear, cherry and chiffon cream, a sophisticated Champagne created for any and all occasions that involve fine food, the spirit of celebration, friendship and joy.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WS 92

2015 Domaine des Remizières Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 11-29-2016
A wine of this quality, at this price, from the heralded Northern Rhone, is virtually unheard of. So I won’t hedge my words— Syrah is home here like nowhere else on earth, and the wines made from this grape are often priced into three figures. So here we are, with this under twenty dollar, excuse me, under fifteen dollar red, a smooth, aromatic wine, decked out in harmonious flavors of licorice, blackcurrant and raspberry, with subtle vanilla oak and integrated tannins. A delicious match for grilled meats and winter stews.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 Ermitage "Victor" Costières de Nîmes Rouge
Review Date: 11-28-2016
Gravelly soils and a panoply of pebbles describe the lovely lay of the land in this relatively unexplored spot that straddles both the Rhone Valley and the Languedoc regions. Enveloped by a deep robe of purple, this joyous, uber-friendly wine benefits from freshly inviting aromatics and a smooth, mouth-filling palate of blackcurrant, plums, and violets, with touches of tobacco and peppery spice on the round, pleasant finish. With a wealth of generous, festive fruit, this makes the perfect, well-priced holiday red to accompany all your decking and frolicking. Cheers!
Top Value!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2015 Saint Cosme Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 11-21-2016
"It's got to be more than flesh and bone, All that you've loved is all you own."- Tom Waits, Mule Variations. For this boy, Waits and a good bottle of wine go down well, especially in these uncertain, strugglin' times. And Saint Cosme has been making great wines in the Southern Rhone since 1490, through hard times and good, dedicated to the land and what it will give you if you love it well. This smooth, well-defined 100% Syrah captures the superb 2015 vintage, all the freshness, texture and intensity of the blueberry, blackcurrant fruit refined by exemplary tannins and a solid, nourishing-to-the-soul finish. Priced to sell, so he who waits, well.....
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

Sean Thackrey "Pleiades XXIV Old Vines" California Red Blend
Review Date: 11-16-2016
Whether you choose to mispronounce this wine 'Plee-a-deez' or the proper Greek 'Ply-a-deez' makes little diff to me, as my only advice to you is to "try it please!" A cluster of devoted fans over the years has proved this wine's cultlike merit, and this latest numeric cepage will likely be gone as soon as customers turn their starry gaze upon it. Sean Thackrey is a magus who blends sunshine, earth, a bit of yeast and little grapes into beguiling singularities that we still call wines. A touch riper and fleshier than recent versions, with macerated flavors of raspberry, black cherry, fruitcake spice and sous bois .... the ineffable meets the ethereal, so there you are.....
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Jeff Carrel "Les Darons" Languedoc
Review Date: 11-16-2016
All the brilliant sunlight, exuberant charms and timeless character of the Languedoc can be found in their powerfully fragrant and lusty wines, and winemaker Jeff Carrel embottled these essential truths in this joyful, juicy everyday red. Supple, full-bodied and bursting with unabashed flavors of black fruits, rockrose and red cherries, polished by soft tannin and a tang of acidity, this versatile, delicious wine will grace many a table throughout the holidays and beyond. A good reason at last to celebrate!
Top Value!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
RP 91 - 93

2015 Domaine Condamine l'Eveque "La Dent" Picpoul de Pinet
Review Date: 11-06-2016
Picpoul de Pinet has the distinction of being both the name of the incisive white grape and the sunny coastal appellation where it finds a home in the Languedoc, just about a bee’s flight from the Mediterranean. This crisp wine is a seriously delicious textbook version, and no wonder, as Guy Bascou has his boots deeply planted in the region and his winemaker son Guilhem is uncompromisingly committed to creating a nervy, tangy, lemon and salt-inflected wine that expresses the charm and vibrancy of both the lustrous fruit and brilliant clime. Pick from raw oysters to charcuterie to rich cheeses, this Picpoul works its spellbinding magic.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2015 Cognizant Pinot Noir Marlborough (Te Whare Ra)
Review Date: 11-01-2016
'Why can't we all just get along?' Well, it's nice to see this hopeful thought works somewhere in the world. Take for instance, wine, where for several seasons now our resident Kiwi guru Ryan Woodhouse has collaborated with the fine folks at Te Whare Ra in Marlborough to create superbly crafted, small production bottlings from select fruit. Their achievement is your gain, as this modestly-priced Pinot Noir possesses varietally pure aromatic elements, evocative of wild berries, black plums and cherries, with a savory, mid-weight mouthfeel and excellent delineation on the smooth finish. Coming in at only 13.5% ABV, it would make an excellent, well-balanced red for Thanksgiving dinner and throughout the holidays.
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2010 Domaine de la Jaufrette Côtes-du-Rhone
Review Date: 10-31-2016
Quality is a measure of time, whether we’re talking the cultivation of wine or a fertile, developing mind. So easy to forget this while we try to subsume, adjust and navigate our lives on all those tiny screens. Just look around you. Breathe. Explore. The natural cycles of the earth and seasons do more to create great wine than any chemistry book or website, and it’s a pleasure to discover winemakers who still adhere to this traditional ethos. Fortunately we all benefit, as the remarkable wines of this domaine beautifully demonstrate. Grown on clay-limestone soils on vines averaging 35 years, the Côtes-du-Rhone is a skilled blending of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Carignan and Cinsault, aged in old foudres and stainless before bottling and kept at least five years before release. Polished and aromatic, it exudes fragrances of blackcurrant, cherries, licorice and cedar, evolving upon the palate with touches of undergrowth, spice and velvety tannins. A meditative, well-structured, memorable wine to pair with braised short ribs or hachis parmentier.
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Ermitage "Victor" Costières de Nîmes Rosé
Review Date: 10-30-2016
A few shades deeper than many of our roses, yet not quite a Tavel, this pretty, utterly delicious rose from Ermitage develops nicely in the glass, imbued with harmonious tones of nectarine, cherry and succulent red berries, played out against a scaffolding of delicate spice and bright acidity. A nice aperitif for the holidays, it can edify any table and add to the merriment of those who gather around it. Cheers!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2014 Château de Montfaucon Lirac
Review Date: 10-26-2016
The sun-kissed, fragrant wines of Lirac are fast becoming some of my favorites, and this delectable Rhone red clearly demonstrates why. There is a 'thereness' there, a sense of character and purpose, as if the terroir and vines and grapes in all their collective wisdom conspired to create a wine that simply said yes, this is what I am, drink me, savor me, enjoy me. Warm earth, red fruits, licorice and spice, all deliver and entice.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Château de Montfaucon Clairette "Vin de Mme la Comtesse" Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes Blanc
Review Date: 10-26-2016
This is the kind of resonant, luminous white wine I might have imagined Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sipping while waiting for their cue, as it breathes sophistication and poise with every pristine, fragrant drop. Opening with a flourish of fresh orchard fruits descending on the palate with lemon cream, toasted spice, a hint of crisp celery and waft of fennel, this is, like those timeless dance routines, a charming complexity, a wine to complement everything from the most elegant rind cheeses to shellfish to pasta with truffle oil.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

2014 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "La Réserve d'O" Terrasses du Larzac
Review Date: 10-12-2016
Terrasses du Larzac, founded in 2005, is the newest and perhaps the most favorably sited appellation within the entire Coteaux du Languedoc. Primarily dedicated to Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, the climate benefits from warm days and unusually cool nights, creating the perfect conditions for slowly maturing grapes that display both richness and complexity. The proud workhorse wine for this producer is the Reserve d'O, a lovely unoaked cuvee of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault, with superb aromas and enticing flavors of blackberry, white pepper, wildflowers and garrigue, retaining a wonderful freshness and purity that really sets this new producer apart.
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "Hissez O" Terrasses du Larzac
Review Date: 10-11-2016
Many years have blown by, but I remember a time spent in the Languedoc working on a farming commune, and experiencing firsthand the force of the Mistral, a strong, scouring wind that cut through the foothills and valleys like an icy scythe, vanquishing any living thing that wasn't rooted firmly to the earth. Vines must dig deep into the limestone and clay soils to secure a home in such an environment, and those souls like Marie and Frederic Chauffray who plant them must be equally tenacious and dedicated. The fruit of their efforts can be found in their immaculate, high-toned Hissez O, a wine revealing a spectrum of aromas and exceptional suppleness on the palate, where notes of blackcurrant, peppery spice, bay leaf, juniper and thyme interplay with finely-orchestrated tannins, finishing with finesse and balance. Decant for an hour or two and enjoy with a hearty root vegetable and beef stew or slow-braised ribs.
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2012 Domaine Le Colombier "Cuvée G" Vacqueyras
Review Date: 10-02-2016
I have to agree with my colleague, just close your eyes and you'd swear on a stack of old Wine Spectators this was a pricey Chateauneuf-du-Pape... well almost! Dark-purple in color, bursting with generous, aromatic black fruits, this is a fleshy, rather flashy Vacqueyras of verve and power, with savory, meaty notes, garrigue, and plenty of peppery spice and licorice, all held together by smoothly-layered tannins and an immodest, chewy finish. Excellent and thoroughly enjoyable from a region that continues to deliver remarkable wines for well below value. Highly recommended.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2015 Château Saint Jacques d'Albas "Domaine d'Albas" Minervois Rosé
Review Date: 10-01-2016
"We let nature make our wines." —Graham Nutter, proprietor of Chateau Saint Jacques d'Albas. Van Gogh would have probably painted this charming fellow, for anyone who plants an entire field of sunflowers just to feed the migrating birds must be just as caring about his vines and the quality of his wines. He and his wife purchased this historic property in the Minervois in 2001, and have spared little expense in bringing it up to world-class organic standards, developing minimalist, low-yield protocols to enhance both the soil chemistry and the lustrous fruit that eventually ends up in your bottle. Although there are a slew of rosés to choose from in our stores, this mouthwatering Minervois stood out for its delicious balance of zingy red fruits, gentle spice and enticing acidity. A delightfully fragrant aperitif that will pair well with a plateful of fried calamari or light summer salads.
Top Value!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine Lafage "Bastide Miraflors" Côtes du Roussillon
Review Date: 09-26-2016
Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of this job is the ability to taste, savor and most importantly, share with customers, the immense wealth of wines that our tireless, talented buyers uncover and bring into the store. For several vintages, the Bastide Miraflors has expressed the very soul of the Roussillon, emboldened by robust, vibrant fruit that leaps from the glass with aromas and undertones of blackcurrants, sweet cherries, dark plums and wild herbs, wreathed by velvety tannins and a flourish of licorice on the firm finish. A truly fantastic find for your holiday parties, sure to enhance any gathering. And at this amazing price, it will soon disappear....
Top Value!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2015 Domaine des Remizières "Cuvée Christophe" Crozes-Hermitage Blanc
Review Date: 09-21-2016
The Northern Rhone is so well-regarded for its superb Syrah-based red wines that the whites, aside from the long-lived Hermitage blancs, are often overlooked. The Cuvee Christophe, an exemplary blend dominated by Marsanne with a dollop of Roussanne, resonates with aromas of fleshy peaches, Bosc pears and almonds, delivering rich, captivating flavors of pear, kitchen spice and nectarine on the creamy, sumptuous palate. A rewarding wine to pair with roasted Cornish hen or a ham and Gruyere tart.
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart

2013 Domaine des Remizières "Cuvée Emilie" Hermitage
Review Date: 09-21-2016
This fourth-generation estate is now managed by the Desmeures family, but to be honest, there is little "demure" or reserved about this extraordinary find except the price. Sourced from slow-ripened fruit high on the hill of Hermitage, this deep-hued wine is characterized by complex aromas and firm, concentrated flavors of blackberry, cassis, violets and spice, with plenty of structure and well-knit tannins for those patient enough to wait a decade or more. Still, it is deliciously provocative in its youth....
Top Value!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2015 Claude Riffault "La Noue" Sancerre Rosé
Review Date: 08-29-2016
Welcome to the 'Pink Peacock', or at least that's the name I just penned to reflect the ravishing spectrum of rosés on our shelves at this warmest time of year, all colors and tints from delicate rose petal to rapturous sunset competing for your artful eye and palate. I learned long ago to expand my horizons beyond the hue and cry of Provence and Tavel, and discovered one of my favorites from a parcel of limestone in Sancerre farmed by a talented young winemaker named Stephane Riffault. His La Noue rosé is a poised, sophisticated expression of high-toned, prismatic fruit— strawberries, cherries, watermelon, peaches— crisply dry and balanced by perfect acidity and the influence of marl-rich soils. Definitely a must try for all who covet these stylish wines. Time to raise your tints!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2014 Antech "Cuvée Eugenie" Cremant de Limoux
Review Date: 08-29-2016
Looking for stylish elegance without spending a small fortune to achieve it? Planning a special party, wedding or retirement and don't feel inclined to spend your golden years paying off the caterer? Here's a suggestion: The sparkling wines of Limoux actually predate those of Champagne by at least a century, when a Benedictine monk in 1531 accidentally created the first brut wine in his cellar. Almost 600 years later, and they're still at it, with the Cuvée Eugenie, a joyfully effervescent expression named for an illustrious lady in the family. Combining a delicate mousse texture with aromas of white flowers, green apple and citrus fruit, this lightly toasty wine is the perfect, well-priced sparkling candidate for virtually any occasion where bubbles are called for. Enjoy!
Top Value!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2014 Fossil Point Edna Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-29-2016
Being a lifelong admirer of all things ancient, primeval or petrified, it was easy to dig a wine that had the word 'Fossil' on the label. But be warned, this wine is very much undead once it hits your glass, alive with vibrant cherry, raspberry and blackberry fruit aromas, followed by potpourri and fresh-pie-from-the-oven flavors that hint of soft spice and smoke. To end on a terrible pun, I'd recommend you get 'Jurassic' in here and try a bottle, as you'll never have to say you're saurian...
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2015 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 08-29-2016
Pitch-perfect Sauvignon Blanc from one of our favorite New Zealand producers. One has to reach for superlatives to express the utterly irresistible nature of these wines, which actually seem to be getting better with every damn vintage. For the sheer purity and precision of Jason and Anna Flowerday's sublime organic fruit— passion, nectarine, lime and gooseberry, and for captivating floral and mineral complexity, this insatiable Sauvignon Blanc leads the field. A marvel of a wine, once again, again highly recommended!
Top Value!

2013 Trellis (Amelia Park) Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot Margaret River
Review Date: 08-29-2016
Amelia Park, lying within the famed Margaret River region, has consistently been one of Western Australia's most heralded wineries, and when the opportunity arises to share their renowned, ebullient wines with customers, we rarely hesitate. The Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot represents such an amazing value that it is hard to believe it navigated over 8,700 miles to arrive on our shelves, but don't ask why, the answer lies in the ravishing black and blue fruit, suave spice, touch of oak and smoothly polished tannins that envelops all doubters in its spell. One cannot help but wonder....
Top Value!
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

Caveau du Mont July Bugey Cerdon Rosé
Review Date: 08-29-2016
Sparkling wines, the drier the better, right? Not so fast friends, especially when someone near and dear presents you with a lovely Tiramisu or Mango Mousse cake on your birthday. You need something that blurts out 'Celebration!', and popping the cork on this lustrous pink bubbly always does the trick, guaranteed. The youthful balance of delicious, bright Poulsard and Gamay fruit and spontaneous fermentation will ignite any festivity, and the creamy bubbles and lightly sweet flavors of raspberry sorbet and sliced strawberries will spread mirth with abandon. Please, indulge.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2009 Domaine de la Jaufrette Gigondas
Review Date: 08-28-2016
A sense of place, in this case, the galette-riddled ribbon of earth that comprises the vineyards of Gigondas, certain to deliver some of the finest, most memorable Grenache-based wines in the Southern Rhône, where the sturdy, tradition-born wines of Domaine Jaufrette are allowed to slowly mature for several years in vat, barrel and bottle before release. Few winemakers spend literally this much time nurturing their 'offspring', and it shows in the velvety texture and depth of this excellent vintage. Possessing deft aromas of mulberry, black plum and sous-bois, with a dark core of fleshy fruit and cocoa underpinned by supple tannins, this wine will complement rich beef dishes or savory autumnal stews. Reward yourself with a bottle, you won't regret it. ​
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Domaine Begude Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-19-2016
This lovely Pinot Noir reminds me of my cat Carmen, who would often pad silently into the room and leap up into my lap like a cloud, lithe and supple, knowing precisely where to land. Full of savoir faire and charm, this wine caresses the palate with bright red cherry, raspberry and strawberry fruit, yet remains delicately light, dry and poised with pleasant acidity. Purrs very well with any number of Mediterranean dishes from phyllo chicken to lamb skewers, this is your go-to everyday Pinot for the months ahead. Enjoy!
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2013 Chante Cigale Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 06-29-2016
Imagine having to carefully keep an eye on, feed, raise and nurture various "children" from up to 45 different households, er, parcels, and you might get some idea of the task that Alexander Favier has in cultivating, harvesting, fermenting and caressing the thirteen Rhone varieties that eventually find their way into his signature wines in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Ah, such a labor of love knows no end, at least until the wines reach our store shelves and can soon grace your dinner table. The 2013 is a classic CDP, slightly austere and redolent with black and red fruits, garrigue, spices and licorice, with enough body and scaffolding to endure for another decade if desired. Named for the little cicada that inhabits the region, Chante Cigale is one of our favorites and always an excellent value. Enjoy!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$24.99
VN 91 WS 90

2015 Domaine la Colombe Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé
Review Date: 06-29-2016
Provence produces a panoramic profusion of elegant rosés, all an expression of the soul and of course, the soils and climate of each region. Domaine la Colombe hails from the newest appellation of Coteaux Varois, sheltered by limestone hills between the larger regions of Côtes de Provence and Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence. Made from Grenache, Cinsault and a dollop of Cabernet Sauvignon, this alluring, aromatic rosé projects flavors of bright red fruit, nectarine, mandarin and spice, and finishes with verve and clarity. A delicious aperitif and food wine, and definitely one to drink all summer long.
Top Value!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2014 Emmolo Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 06-29-2016
Syzygy is one of my favorite oddball words, referring to the perfect astronomical alignment of celestial bodies, as Earth, Moon and Sun. As a wine metaphor, it could express the perfect alignment of vineyard, terroir and winemaker, culminating in the shimmering juice that ends up in your glass. I suppose time, or rather, tradition also plays a role in the creation of such wines, and California being a land of immigrants, carries plenty of history in its myriad topography, soils and vineyards. The Emmolo property dates back to 1923, when Salvatore Emmolo landed in Rutherford and founded a rootstock nursery and winery, where today his great-grand daughter continues to harvest the fruits and produce both sumptuous Merlots and stunning Sauvignon Blancs. The latter is a refreshing, well-crafted version that speaks in delicate tones of orange blossom, white pear and grapefruit while sharing a pleasant mineral note and vibrant acidity to add harmony and cut to the mouthwatering finish. Lovely stuff, and 'syzygistically' well-aligned with you, your palate and what lies on the plate in front of you.
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$14.99

2015 Domaine Begude Grüner Veltliner "Exotique" Pays d'Oc
Review Date: 06-16-2016
Now for something completely different. James Kinglake, owner of Begude, made an end run around the authorized French varieties when he brought cuttings of this grape from a fellow winemaker in Austria. One sip and you will appreciate the clandestine brilliance of his maneuver, for this is an elegant, tantalizing rendition—vibrant, dry, light-bodied, suffused with telltale white pepper, green melon and lentil flavors, finishing with a note of celery and cucumber. This complex wine would be well-paired with a stir-fry of Asian noodles, vegetables and pork.
Top Value!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Begude "Les Paradis" Viognier Pays d’Oc
Review Date: 06-15-2016
Planted to a southern exposure, this slow-ripening northern Rhône variety develops lovely fruit in Limoux—as long as the local wild boar, deer and birds, seduced by the profuse aromas, don’t get to it first! Picked immediately before pressing to preserve the succulent appeal of the fruit, this wine has a measure of restraint in its delicate interplay of pear, nectarine and honeysuckle aromas, with welcoming notes of peach and apricot on the enticing, mouthwatering palate. Recommended with a spicy Moroccan chicken tagine, this also drinks beautifully as an aperitif, and at a very desirable price.
Top Value!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2015 Quinta da Aveleda Loureiro-Alvarinho Vinho Verde
Review Date: 05-25-2016
Full of effervescent exuberance and zesty citrus and exotic fruit flavors, Vinho Verde is the perfect poolside, picnic or party anytime white wine. Made by the same family since the 17th century, Aveleda is by far the largest producer of Vinho Verde in Portugal, with production now exceeding 13 million bottles, each one destined to satisfy the consumer craving for a crisp, fresh, fragrant and highly enjoyable wine. Stock up now, summer is coming!
Top Value!

2008 Martinelli "Hop Camp Vineyard-Gravel Lens" Russian River Valley Syrah
Review Date: 05-25-2016
A little advice: decant this layered, full-bodied Syrah for a few hours before drinking it, as it harbors a veritable fleet of blackberry, warm spice and braised meat flavors on its dense, elegantly structured palate. As it develops in the glass, savory notes of bacon, dark chocolate and mint emerge, followed by more fruits and spice on the copious, lingering finish. Martinelli is a legendary Russian River winery, and this silky Syrah will further embellish its lustrous reputation.
Price: Hidden View Price
RR 92

2014 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc
Review Date: 05-11-2016
The Guigal wines are truly an embarrassment of riches, and after reviewing the 2012 Côtes-du-Rhône​ red, I can't ignore his elegant companion, a beautiful and sumptuous melange of Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne, Clairette and Bourbolenc, all contributing their expressive personalities to this artfully pristine blend. Inflected notes of white pear, wildflowers, orange zest, and ripe peach complemented by a cleansing acidity and prolonged finish, this white wine possesses more than enough elegance and sophistication to match its attractive price- almost a baby Chateauneuf-du-Pape! Enjoy with Moroccan cuisine or roast turkey and creamy polenta for a soulful, satisfying feast.
Top Value!

2012 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 05-11-2016
Etienne Guigal started working in the vineyards and winery that today bears his name in 1924 (at the ripe old age of 14), and spent the 'next 67 harvests'... yes, you read that correctly... crafting his Rhône wines to perfection. His son Marcel took over the management in 1961, when his father was tragically struck with blindness, and today his own son Philippe is the winemaker. Three inspired and talented generations, all dedicated to creating perhaps the finest wines in the Rhône Valley, and capable of astonishing bottles from classic Côtes-du-Rhônes​ to world class Côte-Rôties. Composed of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre​, the Côtes-du-Rhône​ red is ruby-hued and alive with aromatic intensity, promising a savory, textural palate of black fruits, licorice, violets and pepper, held aloft by well-knit, attractive tannins. Paired with everything from hamburgers to pizza to paella, it remains one of the most versatile and delicious everyday reds on the planet.
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
VN 91 RP 90

2015 Chateau les Valentines "Le Caprice de Clementine" Cotes de Provence Rosé
Review Date: 04-30-2016
Cinsault doesn't usually take center stage in red wines, but it certainly finds a role in many of the gloriously dry and delicate rosés that emanate from Côtes de Provence, a region of lavender scented air, excellent seafood, glistening fruits and veggies and abundant sunlight. And let's face it, summer hasn't quite arrived until you uncork one of these lustrous, mouthwatering Provencal pinks for friends and family. A sophisticated, stunning strawberry and peach-scented rosé, perfect with salads, grilled sardines or a platter of fresh figs and cheeses.
Top Value!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

Jean-Louis Denois "Tradition" Extra Brut Reserve
Review Date: 04-30-2016
Whether in art, film, literature or wine, I've always been strongly attracted to iconoclasts, those who forge their own path through life's coombs and brambles, basing their decisions on an intuitive feel for what fits and arriving at a place where they know they belong. Call it 'sense of terroir' or what have you, but Jean-Louis Denois exemplifies this philosophy of place as well as anyone I've met in the wine world. The dust on his boots are the embodiment of his long journey from his native Champagne to Burgundy to South Africa and back again, and finally to the southwestern corner of the Languedoc, where he planted his vines in the foothills of the Pyrenees to create his signature red and sparkling wines. Keeping to the rhythms of nature have led him to adopt both organic and biodynamic precepts in the vineyards, and his brilliant sparkling wines express this with clarity and exuberance— the 'Tradition' Extra Brut is a fifty-fifty blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, created in a refreshingly crisp and lightly toasted style, with notes of red apple, orange blossom and brioche, the perfect sparkling for all festive occasions and dining without the high price of a Champagne. Stock up on this one for the long summer and beyond, it will never let you or your thirsty guests down.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Waiting List

2013 Alexander Valley Vineyards "Wetzel Family Estate" Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L)
Review Date: 04-11-2016
I'm sure you've all read those strange stories of fish or frogs falling from the sky during a rainstorm in Kansas or wherever, but full magnums of Cabernet rarely fall out of the sky, and if they did, they would make quite a splash! Well, we pulled a neat trick of our own by uncovering magnums of this well-crafted, medium-weight Alexander Valley Cab, brimming with mouthwatering cherry, plum and blackberry fruits complemented by warm licorice notes and nicely textural tannins. The great thing is, you won't have to look up or wait for it to fall from the clouds, because it's right here.....cheers!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2011 Kir-Yianni Ramnista Xinomavro Naoussa
Review Date: 02-09-2016
Grew up reading Greek myths, the toga and tiara struggle between gods and mortals, long before touching Greek wine to my all too mortal lips. One tale told of the Phrygian king Tantalus, who, when invited to dine with the big boys and girls at Mount Olympus, suddenly excused himself and made a hasty exit with their finest nectar and ambrosia stuffed in his bulging tunic. Big mistake. His punishment? Banished for thirsty eternity to a lonely hot tub in the Underworld, where whenever he reached for a mouthful of ripe fruit from the nearby vines, they receded just out of reach, and whenever he put his hand out to grasp a goblet of wine, it spilled its glistening contents… well fortunately we’ve made things much simpler by bringing you this truly ‘tantalizing’, reachable bottle of superb Xinomavro (which translates as 'acid wine'). This is a robust, earthy and deeply-scented red, effusive with aromas and flavors of cassis, black plums, red raspberries, forest leaf fall and licorice spice, caressed by lusty tannins and finishing firm and slightly tangy. Certainly ageworthy, but don’t wait for an eternity. And save the ambrosia, just bring on the moussaka!
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2005 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Reserva Especial Rioja
Review Date: 12-30-2015
Like pulling two large and lively rabbits out of the same hat, the artful maneuver by this favorite bodega of blending 50/50 Tempranillo and Mazuelo (aka Carignan) was an unexpected delight and an utterly delectable surprise. Perfumed and generous aromas of toast, wild berry fruits and kitchen spice reveal a complex labyrinth of flavors— red and black cherries, raspberries, plums, coffee, balsamic and tobacco spice. Although delicious in its own right, this deep wine possesses enough rabbits, er, elements that will evolve for another decade if left unattended in bottle. Now perform your own magic and open a bottle!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2014 Rickshaw California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 12-30-2015
The winemaking gurus at Banshee scoured our abundant California AVAs again in 2014, and came up with a fresh cache of generous, tasty Pinot for a very modest price. High-toned flavors of rich plum, raspberry, cranberry and cherry dance pirouettes upon the palate, finishing with nice spice and an earthy note. Perfect for informal gatherings and mid-week openings, this wine is, in a word, ready when you are….
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2010 Bois-Malot, Bordeaux Supérieur
Review Date: 06-29-2015
You really don’t have to look very far into the exceptional 2010 vintage to discover great wines, and in the Bois Malot we’re happy to offer you an investment in value and flavor that will reward your palate every time you pop the cork. Ballasted by velvety core fruits and a tinge of lovely minerality and spice, this wine is drinking very well now, and will certainly cellar for several more years. The perfect red to both charm and enhance your everyday cuisine, so why wait?
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2012 Erik Banti "Carato" Toscana
Review Date: 05-26-2015
Opened another bottle of this yesterday just to see if my early notes were somehow hyperbole. Nope, this giveaway value is the real deal, an amazing baby Tuscan with super-luscious flavors of ripe cherry, dark plum, nice spice and a kiss of oak to satisfy your ardent craving for that perfect everyday red to go with virtually anything consumable by a human being on the planet Earth… ok, maybe not anything, there I go exaggerating again. You’ll know.
Top Value!
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart

Antech "Brut Nature" Blanquette de Limoux
Review Date: 05-26-2015
Zero is my favorite number, or rather ‘un-number’ when it comes to most sparkling wines, as I prefer the naked, pure, crystalline fruit unadorned by added dosage, and the sheer raciness and zing of this stainless fermented bubbly from Limoux answers the call with laser flavors of green apple, lemon and white pear. Bring on a platter of fresh raw oysters or mussels mariniere and watch the shells pile up. Gotta love it!
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2013 Outlier North Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-25-2015
Derek Rohlffs and Roger Scommegna, both rebels with a cause, got high in Mendocino... in fact higher than any vineyards in that beautifully lush region where fine Pinot Noir finds its natural habitat. Along with Roger's pristine Signal Ridge Vineyard, they selected fruit for this wine from nearby cool-climate, mountainside slopes, and aged it in older French oak, allowing the delicately fresh floral and mineral flavors to slowly meld and intensify into a beguiling Pinot Noir delivering sumptuous, velvety fruit with cherry, blueberry, dark chocolate, briar and cranberry notes. Guaranteed to satisfy those seeking a mouthwateringly delicious Pinot, this is a beautiful introduction to Anderson Valley's magical realm. Pair with a fresh-caught grilled salmon and live sublime!
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2012 Ellero "Pisa Terrace" Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 03-31-2015
Central Otago has, over the last decade, become the hot spot in New Zealand for Pinot Noir, and there are so many super producers and bottlings that it can be impossibly hard to keep up, but luckily we have Ryan Woodhouse, our inspired explorer and savvy spelunker of all things Kiwi-driven. Ok, maybe not spelunker, unless we’re talking wine caves. The Ellero comes from ‘Pisa Terrace’, a precious parcel of organic vines that may or may not grow on a badly tilted hillside …. anyway, this is a serious, well-wrought wine, combining both fine concentration and clarity, with a brilliant array of silky black and red fruits, savory tea spice, structured tannins and earthy, textural notes on the persistent finish. A masterful stroke of winemaking, likely to evolve beautifully for several more years.

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-02-2013
Vines have been cultivated on this tiny property in the hamlet of Brouillet for five generations, and it has remained a customer and staff favorite here for several years. Yeasty, full and complex, the Carte Blanche exhibits a fine intensely-focused bead with lively notes of tart apples, dried hazelnuts, vanilla and toast, all in all a remarkably well-built Brut that will compare well to cuvées at double the price. It is perfect for entertaining.
Top Value!
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

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