Staff Favorites - John Majeski

John Majeski

Reviews

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2016 Clos de la Bonnette Syrah Vieilles Vignes Collines Rhodannienes
Review Date: 05-16-2018
The last vintage of this ethereal Syrah left an indelible memory on my palate, drawing analogies between the sheer structural beauty of the wine and the arduous stone by stone restoration by the husband and wife team of the dillapidated hillside vineyards, both involving an immense labor of love and a resolute commitment to perfection. None of their extraordinary efforts were wasted, as this bottle, imbued with enticing aromas of red plum, lavender, pepper and black olive could easily pass for a telltale wine from its famous neighbor. Fortunately for all of us, it possesses all the flavor, ineluctable charm and elegance without the high price. My advice? Squirrel a case or two of this luscious Syrah away and enjoy it over the next few years.
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2016 Moulin de la Gardette "Cuvée Ventabren" Gigondas
Review Date: 05-15-2018
Thirsty old vines dig deep in the stony unforgiving soils of the Southern Rhone, generating low-yielding fruit that expresses the generous warmth and vitality of Gigondas, and winemaker Jean Baptiste Meunier remains just as deeply attuned to the elemental soils and climate as those venerable vines. The 2016 Ventabren is a tour de force, a sensational wine that captivates the senses with aromas and flavors of blackberry, tobacco, wild herbs and spicebox, full-bodied, textural and harmonious, with all 'the right stuff' to age gracefully for another decade or more. (Had to throw in an homage to writer Tom Wolfe, who passed away today.)

2014 Domaine de Montbourgeau "En Banode" l'Etoile
Review Date: 04-24-2018
Distinctive for the Jura-embossed bottle, gently sloping shoulders and attractive bright red star on the label, Domaine de Montbourgeau leaves an indelible impression on those who first taste their remarkable wines. En Banode is a single vineyard of Chardonnay and Savagnin planted on southeast facing grey and blue marl slopes almost 50 years ago. Such propitious conditions deliver a wine of superb complexity and robust panache, with firm acidity and a palate of citrus flowers, dried apricot and hazelnut, carrying a subtle oxidative note on the finish. Pair this luscious wine with baked, almond-crusted trout for a delectable meal.
Price: $31.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2016 Domaine Cabirau "Serge & Nicolas" Maury Sec
Review Date: 04-10-2018
The wines of Maury have traditionally been sweet and fortified, but didn't have to be. Many expressed the conviction that the stunning region could also produce excellent dry wines, and in 2011 the sub-appellation of Maury Sec was born, to all our benefit I might add. The Serge & Nicolas, named for both the grower and winemaker who nurtured it to bottle, captures the essence of Maury, with soaring plum and cherry blossom aromatics and penetrating flavors of ripe red and black fruits, savory anise, spices and garrigue, framed by beautifully nuanced tannins. What sets these wines apart from so many? The sheer balance and harmony achieved, allowing for early drinking and superb satisfaction.

2015 Domaine Cabirau "First Things First" Maury Sec
Review Date: 04-09-2018
The Roussillon, long acknowledged for its flood of lusty, highly quaffable peasant wines, has undergone a dramatic vinous renaissance over the last few decades, and now produces memorable wines that can rival the greatest in France. No wonder, as it occupies a magnificent panorama of diverse soils, amphitheatres and microclimates running from the Mediterranean to the Catalan border. The potential met the demand, and famed importer Dan Kravitz of Domaine Cabirau built his winery on a hillside under the eye of an ancient Cathar fortress that could easily have served as a setting for Game of Thrones. And the First Things First would likely quench a dragon's thirst, with its depth charge of black and red fruits catapulting the palate into a realm of luscious spice, wild garrigue and minerality. A perfect blend of balance and power, match this gorgeous red wine with well-seared meats or a hearty paella.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 - 96

2016 Saint Cosme Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 03-14-2018
Writing about this historic winery, with its seemingly imperishable 12th century Romanesque chapel rising heavenwards above the vines, always evokes a sense of timelessness and immutability. And every wine produced here, from their imposing single vineyard Gigondas bottlings to the expressive, super-value Cotes du Rhones, capture both the unique terroir and character of this estate. Aged entirely in tank, yields were lower than the superb 2015 vintage, promising even more concentrated Syrah fruit, with high-toned aromas of black cherry, raspberry and red plum, enveloping a lush palate of blackcurrant, truffle, sweet tobacco and licorice. Fine acidity holds everything in place. A ravishing Rhone bargain, I expect this delectable Syrah to take wing!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2012 Domaine de Montbourgeau "Cuvée Speciale" l'Etoile
Review Date: 03-06-2018
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Few wineries on this beautiful planet have charmed and befriended my palate as Domaine de Montbourgeau, tucked into the tiny Jura appellation of L'Etoile, a site named for the zillions of ancient starfish that once roamed the inland seas, and now lend their fossil forms to the limestone soils that layer many of the vineyards. Founded in the 1920's by Victor Gros, the estate is now run by his granddaughter Nicole Deriaux who remains dedicated to organic viticulture (like fertilizing with Chinese radish and oats) and carefully nurtures every phase from vine to bottle. Her Cuvee Speciale is all magnificent Chardonnay, aged under a yeast veil for four years, and possesses both authority and elegance, with aromas of ripe apple, walnut shells and citrus, and flavors reminiscent of lemon pith, river stones and ginger paste. A reverential, contemplative wine that will enrapture a rotisseried chicken or a delicate Indian curry.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2015 Outlier "Noiro" Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
Review Date: 02-21-2018
Derek Rohlffs was in a previous life an executive in the gaming industry, which gave him the opportunity to explore and taste a bounty of high-end wines with moneyed clients. Realizing soon that a row of grapes on the vine was far more alluring than three elusive cherries on a slot, he decided to seriously pursue fine winemaking and today makes both the Bravium and Outlier wines on Treasure Island, just outside of San Francisco.The Outlier Noiro delights with aromas and flavors of fresh plums, strawberries, cherry cola and kitchen spice, balanced by good acidity and a great finish. Nice to discover an attractively priced Pinot Noir with such personality and charm, so it's, um, hardly a gamble.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Lafage "Tessellae - Old Vines GSM" Côtes du Roussillon
Review Date: 01-31-2018
"...my love, it's very late, 'til morning comes let's tessellate." These lyrics by alt-J, an English indie rock band, were probably more about seduction than some nocturnal tiling project, but the words reminded me of just how much this tuneful blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre continues to charm and seduce vintage after vintage. A revelation of ripe raspberries, blueberries and black cherries fills the glass with enticing aromas, and the sumptuous flavors carry over with spice and floral notes on the round, lavish and sweetly rich palate. The only instrument you need to employ to fully enjoy this harmonious wine? A corkscrew......
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2016 Domaine Dugois Ploussard "La Sombarde" Arbois Rouge
Review Date: 01-15-2018
The Domaine Dugois Ploussard is a true charmer of a wine, pretty and ruby-hued with delicately spicy aromas and flavors of cherries and red plums. Delicious with a plate of charcuterie and Morbier cheese.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2013 Domaine Dugois Savagnin Arbois Blanc (Sous Voile)
Review Date: 01-15-2018
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The Savagnin grape undoubtedly reaches its apotheosis in the beautiful Jura region of Arbois, and this enthralling version exhibits lively oxidative aromas and provocative flavors of green walnut, hazelnut, stone fruit and minerals, imbued with a spine of crisp acidity. Pair tonight with a spicy chicken curry or Moroccan dish for an exotic, soul-satisfying dinner.
Top Value!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

2010 Domaine Dugois Vin Jaune Arbois (620ml)
Review Date: 01-15-2018
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This unique wine reveals its seductive nature over time, having spent over six years in old barriques under a thin layer of yeast, or voile, a maturing regimen similar to sherry, which allows for generous oxidation, slow evaporation and the development of intense, complex flavors of ginger, walnut, curry powder and apricot, with a salty tang. Often served with the local Comté cheese, this famous “yellow wine” will also pair well with mushroom risottos. And the real beauty of a Vin Jaune? It can age for many decades, if desired.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

2014 Château Haut-Monplaisir "Prestige" Cahors
Review Date: 01-15-2018
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When most people think of purchasing a bottle of Malbec they invariably seek out the lush, full-bodied, fruitful red wines of Argentina. Not to argue, but it’s easy to forget if they ever remembered, that Malbec’s true home has always been in Southwest France, in the misbegotten wines of Cahors, where it flourished for centuries until the phylloxera bug and devastating frosts almost annihilated it. We’re forever thankful that it survived, as Haut-Monplaisir has defined in almost textbook fashion what this grape will give you in temperament, pleasure and finesse when grown on the soils of its native land— luscious, aromatic blackcurrant fruit augmented by licorice, vanilla and spice, with a silky suppleness and weight that poured itself with aplomb into the glass. Stunning Malbec, and I guess if the bottle could speak it might say ‘don’t cry for me Argentina’!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 93

2013 Château Peyros Madiran Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 01-15-2018
The amazing Tannat-derived wines of Madiran could almost be thought of as ‘medicine’, as they contain the highest levels of cardiovascular-enhancing anthocyanins—think resveratrol— of any wines. Take heart, as they also possess the added appeal of being absolutely delicious. Peyros is an aromatic, deeply-structured wine, replete with flavors of black plums, cocoa powder, spices and fresh roasted coffee, with plenty of stony minerality to boot. Being primarily Tannat, tannins are still present, but with a few years behind it, this wine is crushed velvet on the finish. Uncork and enjoy with a soulful, wintry beef stew!
Top Value!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
WE 93

2015 Valravn "Old Vine" Sonoma County Zinfandel
Review Date: 01-10-2018
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Not surprising that Banshee, the Sonoma winery that takes its name from a mythical Irish demon, would name one of its deadly delicious wines after a voracious raven of Scandinavian folklore. And this Zinfandel, crafted from ancient dry-farmed vines, is something of a throwback style, before so many Zins became synonymous with something you spread on an English muffin! There is of course an array of delicious fruit: blackberry and red raspberry flavors, complemented by refined notes of licorice, graphite and spice. A superbly wrought Zinfandel to charm and enthrall your own ravenous palate....
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Antech "Cuvée Eugenie" Cremant de Limoux
Review Date: 01-10-2018
Year after year we've offered this extraordinary sparkling wine from Southwest France to our fortunate customers, and the Eugenie never fails to bring a welcome smile to office parties, holiday gatherings, birthdays, or any occasion calling for a great bubbly! With its enticing citrus, white flower and brioche notes, characterized by an elegant mousse and bright acidity, how can you gone wrong? An absolute stunner, for half the price of an entry-level Champagne.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2015 Ferrero "Pepita" Rosso di Toscana
Review Date: 01-10-2018
Don't be confused with the tasty, dried pumpkin seeds found in most natural foods aisles, this wine is named after Pepita, the daughter of the late, great Pablo Harri and his wife Claudia Ferrero, an accomplished winemaker in her own right. Graced with a unique blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Montepulciano and Alicante, each undergoing separate fermentation in stainless steel tanks before aging for a year in barriques, this youthful, vigorous blend possesses lavish aromatics and arresting flavors of black cherry, plum, potpourri, spice and leather, with a nice structure to the lengthy, polished finish. So much wine, so little time!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Tormaresca "Neprica" Super Puglia
Review Date: 01-10-2018
Thrice loved the 2013 vintage of this super-priced, effortlessly enjoyable blend from Tormaresca, and the 2014 is perhaps even a notch above, with more body and structure behind the well of pure fruit and spice. A wonderful wine to open and pair with virtually any Mediterranean or Adriatic-inspired dishes. Drink long and deeply!
Top Value!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2016 Delas Freres "Saint-Esprit" Côtes du Rhône Rouge
Review Date: 01-02-2018
Riding the rambunctious Rhone region as I do, over the past few months I've had several customers politely inquire, "Do you have any Delas Esprit?" Well, up until a few days ago the answer was sadly "No, nada, negativo." But the New Year brings wondrous surprises, and the 2016 vintage has just landed, promising a fresh abundance of black cherry and red plum fruits, suave spice, rich licorice and floral notes, with a crisp, impressively mouthwatering finish. A promise... one bottle will lead to many more, so please, don't be shy, this is a simply brilliant everyday Rhone!
Top Value!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2014 Chante Cigale Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 12-05-2017
Some cicadas spend up to 17 years nestled underground in a state of asocial, arrested development, and when they finally emerge, boy are they ready to party! Blessed with powerful membranes that beat like miniature kettledrums, they are perhaps the loudest insects on earth, and spend the rest of their fleeting lives clinging to trees and singing their tiny hearts out to attract a mate. Humans adopt other methods, like opening a bottle of this lustrous Chateauneuf-du-Pape, aptly named for the little 'Pavarottis' that thrive in the region. Redolent with attractive, well-ripened black and red fruit aromas, this luscious wine expresses the warmth and enticing spice, garrigue and harmony of the Southern Rhone, and like the friendly song of the cicadas, is impossible to resist!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 Mas de Sainte Croix "Tendresse d'un Climat" Côtes-du-Rhône Villages
Review Date: 11-15-2017
Moving from a career in unpalatable petrol to mouthwatering wine over a decade ago proved a very good move for Jacques Coipel, and he and his winemaker son Julien have carried forth with exceptional vintages in the high altitude, cooler vineyards above Valreas. This is a lovely, fragrant and appealing Villages wine that balances ripe red fruits with darker notes of blackberry and licorice, embraced by savory spices, refined tannin and notes of forest floor and garrigue. A charmer, it will complement a dish of grilled, seasoned lamb burgers.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2015 Château de L'Ou Côtes Catalanes Rouge
Review Date: 11-13-2017
Severine and Philippe Bourrier have generated incredible excitement and enthusiasm from our entire staff for their extraordinary range of finesse-driven wines from the Roussillon region. This bright, friendly and appealing red, brimful of spice and luscious plummy fruits, displays far more aromatic complexity and freshness than expected for its very modest price point. Pair with a cheese and mushroom tart or Mediterranean cassoulet, or add it to your table at Thanksgiving. A winner all round!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
RP 88 - 90

2015 Domaine Lafage "Bastide Miraflors" Côtes du Roussillon
Review Date: 10-04-2017
"Astonished, amazed, stunned, overcome, overwhelmed" are all good words to describe something, anything, that makes you put down your smartphone, look-up-stand-up and take notice, but I prefer the more colorful, old word "flabbergasted" to express my complete wonder at this intrinsically indispensable wine. Jean Marc Lafage and his wife Elaine must have a direct line to the wine gods, as the 2015 effortlessly melds ripe, expansive red fruits and floral notes to subtle spice and chocolate elements. Beautiful structure and a persistent finish complete the total experience. A prediction: this excellent wine will soon sell out, and disappear faster than you or I can say "flabbergasted"...
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2015 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "La Réserve d'O" Terrasses du Larzac
Review Date: 10-03-2017
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With her down-to-earth warmth and embrace of non-interventionist winemaking, Marie Chauffray of Domaine De La Reserve d’O manifests the abiding ethos of the Vinifilles, an accomplished coterie of amazing women winemakers in the Languedoc-Roussillon. She and her husband relinquished their safe life as owners of a wine shop, and spent a decade scouring the rugged countryside for the perfect site to grown their own. They found it in the high, windswept Terrasses du Larzac appellation, where her biodynamic, terroir-driven wines, grown on poor clay and calcareous soils are uniquely defined by their refreshing aromatic profiles and intense flavors. Her 2015 La Reserve d’O is a compelling blend of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault, with alluring black fruit aromas leading to an expansive palate of blackcurrant, cherries, licorice, cocoa and baking spice. Certainly one of the most harmonious wines I've tasted this year.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart
W&S 91 WS 91

2014 Olivier Riviere "Ganko" Rioja
Review Date: 09-27-2017
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Funny, when I saw this wine's stark black and white label my brain ran through reels of old Japanese monster films from the 1950s, those fabulous Toho Production classics like Rodan vs. Gamera or Ganko Fights Godzilla. OK, I know "Ganko" didn't really fight Godzilla, but it turns out the word means "stubborn," a nickname that winemaker Olivier Riviere acquired from his clever Japanese importer. Olivier inhabits his own skin, and like Ghidra or Godzilla, is not one to waver, but fortunately his singular Rioja wines are anything but abrasive or indelicate. Grown at altitude on very old vines, the result is a wine of veritas and virtue, brimful of lustrous, high toned fruit--pomegranates, red berries, minerals and lovely potpourri spice. Hardly a kaiju behemoth, but all the better for that! And yes, the ending is guaranteed not to disappoint. Astonishing performance from a cast, er, bottle of one...
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 94

2015 Clos de l'Anhel "Lolo de l'Anhel" Corbieres
Review Date: 09-25-2017
Sophie remains a strong advocate for her native Carignan grape, believing that if properly cultivated and kept to low yields it can make extraordinary wines. And the evidence is there, for year after year her Carignan-based wines engage with their superb fruit, delineation and charm. Her 2015 Lolo de l’Anhe is a blend of Carignan, Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Direct, appealing and honest, with bright, enticing notes of raspberry, violets, wild thyme and kitchen spice, this is a wine for the picnic basket or by the grill.
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Clos de l'Anhel "Les Dimanches" Corbieres
Review Date: 09-25-2017
Sophie remains a strong advocate for her native Carignan grape, believing that if properly cultivated and kept to low yields it can make extraordinary wines. And the evidence is there, for year after year her Carignan-based wines engage with their superb fruit, delineation and charm. The 2015 Clos de l’Anhel Les Dimanches, her “Sunday wine,” is fashioned from a precious parcel of 80-year-old Carignan vines blended with Syrah and Grenache. Almost opaque in color, with devastating black fruit aromas and enchanting overtones of ripe cherry, plum, cocoa and spice, balanced by a solid core of velvety tannins, this is a lavish wine that will merit a few more years in the cellar.
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Clos de l'Anhel "Envie" VDF
Review Date: 09-25-2017
When conditions are spot-on, Sophie makes an extraordinary single-variety wine, and the 2015 Clos de l’Anhel “Envie” truly lives up to its name. Made from selected Grenache fruit, it shimmers in the glass like a handful of rubies, and captures all the spirit, exuberant spice and generous red-fruited character of that effusive grape.
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2015 Chateau de la Font du Loup "Le Puy Rolland" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-24-2017
Let's see...in the year 1905 a young German physicist named Einstein published a paper on the "Special Theory of Relativity," while a few hundred miles away in France a winemaker named Melia planted Grenache vines in the earth at La Crau. It would be immodest to compare the timely planting of grapevines to a scientific theory that forever changed the world as we know it, but all things are relative, right? Better just enjoy the results, as the fruit of those vines have evolved into something quite remarkable over their 112-year lifespan. The Le Puy Rolland is a special wine of ineffable fragrance and charm, quite unlike its more robust cousins throughout Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Perhaps it's the nature of the sandy soils beneath the pebbled surface that give this wine its purity and sense of finesse, a graceful nod to the ancient fruit that rises from each uncorked bottle, delivering flavors of cherries and cranberries and orange peel and warm earth, finishing smooth and silken. Makes me wish I could travel back in time and open a 2015 bottle for a young Albert Einstein. Expect miracles.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
JD 91 RP 91

2016 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "La Reserve d'O" Saint Guilhem le Desert Blanc
Review Date: 09-23-2017
Marie Chauffray of Domaine Reserve d'O relishes the opportunity to create signature wines of great charm, finesse and brilliance. Her artisanal talents are very much on display in this unique, declassified white wine, made from co-harvested, co-fermented Chenin Blanc, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. Unoaked, fresh-fruited and utterly distinctive, with floral and citrus aromas and a roundelay of rich yellow and stone fruits, embroidered with lovely acidity. A rich tapestry of a wine, and a tribute to a woman who unerringly follows her own path through the vineyards and beyond.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
W&S 93

2015 Chateau de L'Ou Chardonnay "Infiniment" Côtes Catalanes Blanc
Review Date: 09-20-2017
The lovely equipoise and limpid purity of this Chardonnay is revelatory, and, as its name translates as ‘infinite or immeasurable’ I may run out of oxygen to describe it, but I’ll try...in the hands of an excellent winemaker like Severine Bourrier, balance and prismatically clean fruit come to the fore. This Chardonnay is redolent with notes of white peach, Fuji apple, delicate pastry, cut wildflowers and summer hay, and will pair well with grilled scallops or a rosemary-roasted chicken. An extraordinary wine for a fraction of the price you’d pay for a comparable domestic Chardonnay or white Burgundy!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2015 Chateau de L'Ou "Velours Noir" Côtes Catalanes Rouge
Review Date: 09-20-2017
Looking out over the well-cultivated vineyards to the not too distant snow-capped Pyrenees, one can wonder that the Roussillon is regarded one of the warmest and sunniest regions in France. The efforts of Severine Bourrier and her husband Philippe are a consummation of terroir, tenacity and talent, as they bring everything to the table in the creation of their remarkable wines. The Velours Noir gathers its fruit from black schist soils higher up in the estate, and possesses arresting aromas of blackberries, blackcurrants and dark cherries, with a rich,structured palate caressed by new oak, peppery spice and hints of wild mint. Sumptuous, ageworthy Syrah that could rival many from the Northern Rhone!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JD 94 RP 94

2005 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 07-17-2017
Like an artist applying thin washes of color to build depth and complexity into a painting, a seasoned winemaker scents, tastes and blends to achieve a desired play of aromas, flavors and textures that will contribute both to a wine's immediate enjoyment and long term pleasure. Arriving in pristine condition from a near perfect vintage, the 2005 Baron Louis expresses all the character of a great Chateauneuf without the high price— complex layers of blackberry, cassis, aged fruitcake, mocha and tobacco leaf interplay upon the palate, striking a well-wrought balance between power and finesse, panache and precision. A classic Southern Rhone red to relish and enjoy at its peak of performance!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2015 Clos de l'Anhel "Les Terrassettes" Corbières
Review Date: 07-03-2017
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Sophie Guiraudon, the engaging force of nature behind Clos de l’Anhel, belongs to an affiliation of savvy women vignerons in the Languedoc, “The Vinfilles”, who consent to being “adepts of the pleasure and richness of their profession, beautiful, rebellious, active, greedy, friendly, sociable and dynamic.” All of the above. When we had the opportunity to meet Sophie last year, she poured her latest wines and enthralled all with her deep knowledge of the,Corbieres region and its amazing tapestry of soils and microclimates. The Terrassettes satisfies on many levels, as a great everyday red of course, but like many of her wines, has the structure and balance to mature over several years. Rich and robust plum, raspberry, earth and spice flavors meld beautifully on the firm palate, with polished tannins and splendid acidity. All of the rebellious, sociable and friendly qualities you could ask for in a wine!
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc
Review Date: 05-10-2017
Unfortunately I missed the rare opportunity to meet Philippe Guigal during his recent visit to Los Angeles, as my work and pleasure lie to the north in our San Francisco store. But I can attest to the phenomenal range and excellence of his wines, from humble Cotes du Rhone blends to his incomparable, world-class Cote-Roties. And the 2015 vintage has left many folks searching for superlatives to describe near perfection, a year that turned out wines of incredible aromatic charm, finesse and balance. Hold that humility: the Blanc resonates with elegant notes of ripe stone fruit--juicy apricots, white peaches, glistening pears, enlivened by flamboyant acacia and honeysuckle aromas. A super wine to be enjoyed with any number of dishes, extravagant in every way except the price!
Top Value!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2012 Castillo de Viñas Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 04-26-2017
Be forewarned: Do not don one of the unwieldy medieval helmets shown on the front label while attempting to drink this robust Rioja, as it's far too tasteworthy to waste a single drop! Attired in deep red hues, this forward-drinking, effusive Reserva spent 18 months in both American and French oak. It resonates with fragrant aromas of black cherries, vanilla and raspberries, revealing a layered palate of riper dark fruits embellished with a tinge of earth and char. Enjoy this now or over the next decade.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 90

Charles Ellner "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-31-2016
We carry a few champagnes in the under-$50 range that flat-out scintillate and astonish--the Launois Cuvee of course...and now you can add to that one of our newest direct import bottlings, the Charles Ellner Carte D'Or, an inspiring rendition, replete with wonderful flavors of white nectarines, citrus, red cherries and fine pastry dough. The perfect bubbly to celebrate the New Year or any occasion calling for a classic, well-articulated champagne. Enjoy!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WS 91 VN 90

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-29-2016
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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 WE 91

2015 Domaine de l'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

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: $10.99 Add To Cart

Antech "Brut Nature" Blanquette de Limoux
Review Date: 05-26-2015
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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

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-02-2013
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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

Berry Bros & Rudd "No. 3" London Dry Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 10-30-2012
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As Britain's oldest wine and spirit merchant (1698), Berry Bros. and Rudd should know a thing or three about the traditional making of gin. Their No. 3 English Dry Gin is an unabashedly pure blending of fruits and spices selected and distilled in traditional copper pots in Schiedam, Holland. Made from Italian Juniper, Spanish oranges and grapefruit peel, with added spices including angelica root, Moroccan coriander and cardamon pods, this exquisitely crafted yet assertive gin remains, with its distinctively aromatic nose and prolonged finish, a highly-recommended personal favorite. The ideal suitor for a dry Martini or classic Gin and Tonic.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

Fleury "Cuveé Robert Fleury" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-01-2012
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If you're searching for a non-vintage Champagne with generous texture, abundant freshness, depth of character and a distinctive aromatic profile, search no further! This stunning barrel-fermented assemblage of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc....yes, I said Pinot Blanc, an odd wine out in most of Champagne, is a triumphant display of everything one can discover in a fine bottle of bubbly- sparkle, effervescence, layers of brioche, chalk, herbs, toast and lemon, ever-evolving complexity, with a lengthy, lingering finish.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Einstök Icelandic White Ale, Iceland (12oz)
Review Date: 04-30-2012
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With summer fast approaching we're all in need of a super thirst-quenching beer to alleviate the effects of absorbing too much solar energy on our bodies while we flare up the grill for a swirling smoke-athon (ok, admittedly I'm not Mr. Weber, more like one of the guys who stands around getting hot smoke in his face while acting like it doesn't matter).... anyway, just discovered a fantastic antidote to insurmountable thirst in the Icelandic Einstok White Ale, like melting an iceberg slathered in freshly-ground coriander and orange peel. Well, to be truthful, it's a witbier brewed with the same ingredients and tastes absolutely awesome. Beer here now. And in honor of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ill-fated Titanic, pouring an iceberg down your throat might be a good tribute.
Price: $1.99 Add To Cart

Fleury Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-03-2011
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In his unwavering maxim that "we leave the earth to our children," Jean-Pierre Fleury was the very first winegrower in Champagne to adapt strict biodynamic principles and techniques in his steeply-sloping, calcareous vineyards near the northern village of Courteron. His exquisite Blanc de Noirs is an homage to the perfectability of Pinot Noir under his meticulous stewardship, and certainly one of the finest, long-lasting champagnes we carry at any price. Hand-crafted from select vintages, the Carte Rouge is emblematic, dry and complex, with a well-developed gamut of flavors from brioche and beeswax to cherry and acacia. Hard to say what 'not' to drink this with, but I guarantee you will be reaching for another glass after tasting this redolent, rewarding sparkler.

2008 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
Review Date: 06-28-2011
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My advice? If you have a few extra Benjamins lining your well-oiled wallet and are of the mind to buy a beautiful bottle or two of Bordeaux that will, when it eventually reaches full maturity around the time your same vintage 2008 son/daughter celebrate their 21st birthday (and will generously share it with you), then this is the wine for you! A superbly structured, absolutely pitch-perfect Pauillac, reflecting the august gravel and limestone terroir from which it was born.
Drink from 2020 to 2020

Quartz Reef "Methode Traditionelle" Brut Central Otago (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 12-31-2010
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Carefully blended from 76% Pinot Noir and 24% Chardonnay from the estate vineyard in Bendigo, this sparking wine first captivates the eye with its pale yellow highlights, and then flamboyantly seduces the palate with tightly-polished bubbles entranced by lively citrus fruits, crisp brioche and luscious cream. An alluring, wonderfully-harmonious champenoise sparkler for an amazing price!
Top Value!

Dudognon "Reserve" Cognac (750ml)
Review Date: 11-30-2010
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A voter santé! Raymond Dudognon first distilled his own cognac in 1946, following the venerable traditions laid down by his great grandfather in 1776. The heart of the Charente region, located about 100 miles northeast of Bordeaux, is called Grande Champagne, and consists of deep chalk-rich soils, perfect for creating fragrant, long-lived cognacs. Made from 100% natural Ugni Blanc, this singular spirit is blended and distilled in the traditional alambic Charentais pot and eventually aged in 350 liter barrels. The Dudognon homage to tradition stresses minimal intervention, using only pure water as an additive to create a stunning cognac that charms and caresses the palate, displaying a weightlessness and delicacy of fruit found less commonly in cognacs at twice the price. Highly recommended!
Price: $47.99 Add To Cart

Deligeroy "La Petite Marquise" Cremant de Loire Brut
Review Date: 10-31-2010
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A customer came in recently and asked for an elegant, delicate sparkling wine for a wedding celebration. Champagne was beyond his budget, so without hesitation I smiled and recommended this Cremant de Loire, arguably the greatest sparkling wine value in the world. Created with precise restrictions on everything from mandatory hand-harvesting of relatively older vines to aging regimens (a minimum of 12 months) to atmospheres of pressure (3.5 as opposed to 6 for Champagne), the Deligeroy is a finely-beaded beauty, discreetly aromatic, lacy and effervescent. The careful assemblage of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc adds aromatic complexity, giving this wine an added degree of sophistication. Highly recommended!
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

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