Staff Favorites - David Driscoll

David Driscoll
David Driscoll  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
David Driscoll likes to drink alcohol when he is not working at K&L. His main interests include wine, beer, and distilled spirits. Before he worked here he went to college at a decent school, got a masters degree from an OK school, worked as a waiter and taught elementary school in Chinatown. He decided to get into the wine business after reading a few books about wine and realizing that one cannot seriously learn about wine solely through reading. His career goals include: trying to convince K&L customers that he does know something despite his youthful appearance, and learning everything about everything about every single wine ever made.


Reviews

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Ardbeg "An Oa" Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-19-2017
For the first time in a long time, we’ve got a permanent new member of the Ardbeg portfolio to tell you about. This isn’t some new committee release or another $100+ bottle of limited edition, space-themed, gimmick-oriented Islay malt. This is the new “An Oa,” a reasonably-priced and absolutely delicious new addition to the trio of 10 year, Uigeadail, and Corryvreckan that not only brings value back into the LVMH peated empire, but also serious flavor and enjoyment. Believe it or not, it’s not always easy to enjoy a bottle of whisky when it costs you three figures, you can only buy a limit of one bottle, and you’re scared to drink each sip for fear you’ll never be able to replace the experience. With the An Oa, Ardbeg is bringing not only functionality back to their core range, they’re bringing fun and flavor, to boot. The An Oa is the best new Ardbeg I’ve tasted in more than five years and it’s the roundest and easiest to drink of the regularly available editions. While it doesn’t pack the power that both the Uigeadail and Corryvreckan offer with their bold proofs, it makes up for it with richness and a rounded sweetness on the finish. You get all the peat, brine, smoke, and salt that you could ever want, but with more texture and perhaps finesse—not something we normally associate with the beastly Islay profile. In any case, this is the first bottle of Ardbeg in some time that I’ve been adamant about buying for my own personal daily enjoyment, not just my collection.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

2011 Columbia Crest "Reserve" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-18-2017
I wish everyone could try this wine without knowing what it is because it's a shocker. Pour this blind for your friends and watch them guess: Rhone? 2009 Bordeaux? Maybe something from a cooler vintage in Barossa? NOPE! It's Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet from Washington with just a little bit of age, rendering the wine soft and seamless without all the ripeness or coffee bean notes from the oak I usually expect. I fooled some of the K&L senior staff in the tasting bar earlier today, and I loved watching their mouths drop when I told them it was Columbia Crest. Even better, I loved watching their facial expressions when I told them it was seventeen bucks! This is Monday night meatloaf wine at its finest. It's a flossy bottle of Thursday night hamburger wine with real depth and intrigue. There's a surprising amount of polish here without any overstated sweetness or saturation. The 2011 Reserve Cabernet has developed into a balanced and surprisingly restrained little gem with ample dark fruits, but subtle notes of earth and spice that accent the finish. Forget what you think you know about big brand labels and buy a case. You won't be sorry.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
WS 91 RP 90

2015 d'Yquem, Sauternes
Review Date: 09-15-2017
I don't know if I should call the 2015 Yquem the best wine I've ever had, but I can safely say that no other wine in my decade of working in this business has made my knees buckle, my heart murmur, and my mouth utter an F-bomb in the middle of a fancy en primeur tasting event. We were at Cheval Blanc for lunch and the 2015 Yquem was being poured as an aperitif in the parlor before the meal. I took one sip and it was like angels were trumpeting down from the heavens. I looked at my co-worker Phil and I could see in his face that he was having a similar, quasi-religious epiphany. Then I swallowed, closed my eyes, and took in the breathtaking finish. The 2015 Yquem is the whole package. It's a once in a lifetime wine, perfect in every way, without one symmetrical flaw. The fruit is so pure and concentrated you can almost see the dried apricots in your mind's eye, the acidity so balanced against the lush fruit and sweetness that any potential fatigue or overload from pure decadence is quickly erased. Your taste buds will be begging for more, and that's how the 2015 Yquem tastes right now...in its youth!! Imagine in a decade or two where this thing might be at. This is as perfect of a wine as I've ever tasted. I'm just hoping I get to taste it again someday.

2015 Domaine Parent Pommard 1er Cru "Argillieres"
Review Date: 09-08-2017
This was one of the best wines I tasted on our trip to Burgundy this past Spring and it was my first foray into the Parent sisters' portfolio, one that I've come to swear by since. Anne and Catherine have pooled their inheritance together and forged ahead under the family's domaine name, making wines with real character and grace. The 2015 "Les Argillieres" showcases the dark and fleshy fruit of Pommard, but with restraint and balance. It's never too tannic, earthy, or intense, peaking in the just the right places and exhilarating the taste buds with fresh acidity in addition to all that ripe 2015 fruit. This is a wine built for the distance, however, so no matter how good it tastes now, just know that it's going to taste even better down the line.

2013 Inglenook Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-08-2017
Previously known as Cask Cabernet and made from the same estate fruit as the Rubicon, the big difference between the Rubcon and what is now known as simply the Inglenook Rutherford Cabernet is the barrel selection and the use of both American and French oak. While it doesn't have the sweet spices or the exotic scents from that heavier French oak influence, what you get from the standard Inglenook is a wine that has every bit the quality of the Rubicon in terms of fruit, structure, and concentration, but for a price that's about 70% less. The Rubicon typically sells for $170 - $200, but in no way are you settling here taking the Inglenook at $59.99. This wine has an incredible bouquet of dark, juicy Cabernet fruit as well as ripe tannins that reflect the impeccable quality of the 2013 growing season in Napa. However, whereas many of the $50 -$75 wines I taste from Napa today are meant to drink now, the Inglenook is a wine with loads of potential beyond 2017. It has the guts for a serious ten to twenty year run in your cellar, but with some decanting and a nice rib eye you can definitely coax all that gorgeous fruit out of the bottle and into your glass tonight. While my professional opinion would be to wait as long as you possibly can, I'm fully aware that wines this tasty tend to get opened in the short term. Either way, you're going to be very, very happy with the Inglenook.

2005 Lynch-Bages, Pauillac
Review Date: 09-08-2017
I started a penpal relationship with Lynch-Bages owner Jean-Michel Cazes earlier this summer as a way to practice my French and in doing so ended up educating myself about the history of Lynch-Bages in the process. I brought a bottle of the 2005 Lynch-Bages to dinner and the other night and watched my friends swoon, after reading an email from Jean-Michel about the harvest and wanting to experience the wine for myself. He reminisced about the ease of the 2005 growing season, and about how the long summer thankfully never resembled the heatwave of 2003. It was "textbook" vintage, he told me, and the agreeable September weather allowed the Cabernet grapes to reach their maximum maturity. You can taste the perfection of that Cabernet in every sip of the 2005 at this point with its power and drive still fully intact. This wine has a long life ahead of it still as the tannins are still showing their might even twelve years after the vintage, but man oh man does this wine taste good right now. Brooding dark fruits, a bit of iron and graphite, and a core of concentrated Cabernet splendor.

2015 Kalinda Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-07-2017
In an age where customers want to know every detail about what they're drinking, it's our job with the Kalinda label to find wines so delicious and well-priced that customers forget all about the specs and dive right into the bottle based on flavor alone. This 2015 Sonoma Coast pinot noir offers the essence of a true California expression with black cherry, spice, and balanced acidity thanks to the coastal breeze. We can't reveal our sources, but I can reveal to you that this wine is utterly delicious.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2016 Kalinda Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-07-2017
I can't tell you how nice it is every once and a while to taste a classic cool climate California pinot noir with a nice little zip of acidity. With bramble fruit rather than soft cherry. With savory herbs rather than sweet baking spices. The latest installment in the Kalinda series is a quintessential Anderson Valley pinot noir that should serve as a reminder to domestic drinkers than California pinot extends far beyond Sonoma, Santa Cruz, and the Central Coast. Those who want something in between Oregon and Burgundy need not look outside the state. We've got it all here in the Golden republic and this wine has it all going on as well. Black fruits with real tartness, earth and subtle forest floor. This is a terroir-driven cuvee for a great price thanks to our Kalinda label.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2002 Balvenie 14 Year "Peat Week" Vintage Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-01-2017
What attracted me immediately to the 2002 Balvenie was the subtle and haunting nose. Aged entirely in American oak barrels, there's no sherry to be had here. Instead you get a noseful of lush golden grains, honey with sweet barley, peaches in syrup, and vanilla extract. Faintly, underneath all those lovely aromas, is just the tiniest hint of peat. The second thing that I loved about the whisky is that it's all finish. The mid-palate flavors are where the peat picks up (30 ppm) and remember we're dealing with Highland peat here, not Islay peat. There's a compositional difference between the two and the resulting flavors are profoundly different (if you remember the old Glenmorangie Finealta). There's no brine or medicinal character here, just soft brush and faint campfire smoke in low levels, hanging onto the underbelly of the malty core. Everything about the drinking experience is understated until you get to the end, and then: whoooooosh! A wave of rich vanilla and sweet smoke comes racing through your nostrils and over the roof of your mouth, lingering for a solid five minutes after lapping up onto the shore of your lips. With the 2002 Peat Week, Balvenie has proven to me yet again that it can excite experienced drinkers while still maintaining a big tent approach. Nothing about this whisky is difficult to understand, but there's so much to unlock for those who enjoy the analysis. We're witnessing the ascension of a great distillery in peak form. Balvenie is on its way to first growth status in the single malt hierarchy.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

1996 Tamdhu 20 Year Old K&L Exclusive Old Particular Single Barrel Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-01-2017
This is one of the chunkier single malts I've had in some time in terms of sheer barley and grain flavor with potent oak maturation. It's so concentrated and rich that the profile comes across as almost herbaceous, but after about five seconds that sensation fades the whisky gives way to total decadence with huge toffee and vanilla flavors, baking spices, and more sweet stone fruit on the finish. The cask strength proof is really an asset in this case, adding potency and power to what is a massively expressive malt.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

1991 North British 25 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Grain Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-01-2017
Well this is just everything you could ask for in a Scotch whisky, right here. It's potently rich and full of vanilla, brimming with sweet oak, and punchy on the finish. It's like the buttery icing on a chocolate cake and then the oak takes over and the finish turns woody in the best possible way. This almost tastes like something in between Scotch and Bourbon. Oh....and it's 25 years old, full proof, from a single barrel, and less than $75. Swoop in quickly before the masses seal the fate of this hot deal.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2015 Jax Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-01-2017
I've been drinking the Jax wines for years now and I think I can safely say that the 2015 Napa Cabernet is the best wine I've ever tasted from the local producer. Their winemaker Kirk Venge continues to fine-tune this expression with every vintage and each time he seems to get better at doing it. The 2015 is his masterwork thus far. I've tasted it on five separate occasions now and the wine is simply perfect from front to back. It's also the perfect mid-range bottle for those of you who enjoy your Napa Cab on the younger and richer side, but I can foresee plenty of cellar life on the horizon. The dark red fruits pop with juiciness, but are buoyed by velvet tannins and plenty of acidity. It's never cloying or bloated with sweetness, but rather expansive and mouthcoating with just a bit of chewiness on the finish. The Jax Cabernet has always been my go-to fifty dollar Napa red. We've been tremendously successful with the brand for some time. But the 2015 goes beyond simple dependability. This is a masterpiece of modern Napa winemaking. Bravo.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 - 94

2014 Malartic-Lagravière, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 09-01-2017
Every Bordeaux producer I've spoken with thinks 2014 will be looked back upon as one of the best value vintages of the last two decades. Currently sitting in the shadow of 2015/16, two harvests with HUGE scores, it's a vintage that's getting lost in the crowd, which is a good thing for those of you who hunt for value. 2014 is classic Bordeaux through and through, and it was an especially good year in Pessac-Leognan, a region from which I've tasted dozens of incredible cuvees for less than $50. The 2014 Malartic Lagraviere was right there with the Domaine de Chevalier in my book for value of the vintage. This wine has equal amounts of dark cassis, herbaceous character, and fine tannic structure, but it still needs time to congeal. Buy six of these, throw them in your cellar, and forget about them for a decade. Then call us back in 2027 and tell us how happy you are.

2014 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 09-01-2017
Domaine de Chevalier is one of my all-time favorite properties in Bordeaux, and that sentiment only intensified after visiting the property this past Spring. Not only were Olivier and his wife humble and charming hosts, their wines were just as enchanting. I like buying wine from people who I respect and admire. It always tastes better that way. To say that the 2014 Chevalier Rouge is subsequently better than any of the other vintages I've tasted would be difficult. I've never had a bad vintage from the property and it's one of the few wines from Bordeaux that I'd say I actually "collect." What is abundantly obvious is that the 2014 is significantly cheaper than its 2015 counterpart (at $65) and the 2012 we have in stock now ($55). The wine is easily as good as both those vintages and if you're looking for one of the last real values in Bordeaux, this is it (another reason why I grab bottles when I can afford to). With delicate aromas of red berries along with fine tannins and the classic acidity of Pessac-Leognan, this is a wine that should develop beautifully for decades. It's a wine that allows everyday guys like me to drink the good stuff every now and again; and, believe me, this is the good stuff. If you only buy one Bordeaux from 2014, I would say it's this.

Louis Brochet 1er Cru Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-27-2017
This is an absolutely outstanding new addition to our direct import portfolio, one that practically leaps out of the glass and excites just about every part of the palate. It's brimming with citrus, but it's also slightly nutty and creamy, just enough to balance out the acidity of all lemony goodness. It's like a perfectly balanced Sidecar or Bees Knees cocktail, just in Champagne form. My new favorite Champagne in the store and a bottle I'll definitely be putting in many, many hands.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2014 Taken Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 08-25-2017
It's the ever-present question at K&L: what's a $20-ish California Cabernet (or Cab blend) that our customers can drink right now? As in tonight for dinner! Those who like their red juicy, full-bodied, with light oak influence, and plenty of soft fruit will definitely be "taken" by this wine. It has a particular set of skills...to quote Liam Neeson. If you're looking for a dependable CA table red that's a step up from the $10-$15 crowd, the Taken is a crowd pleasing choice. Meant for modern drinking in the modern age!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JS 93

2014 Gainey Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-25-2017
The Gainey pinot noir is immaculately soft on the palate even though it's a wine with enough acidity and tannic structure to age for a few years in the cellar. It's lush and dark fruited up front, but soon that gives way into a earthier note that finishes with a bit of violet and dried herbs. The estate at Gainey has been in the family since 1962 when current winemaker Dan Gainey's grandfather first purchased 1800 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley for farming. They've been making wine on the property since 1984, but expanded their reach into new parcels under Dan's stewardship, all while continuing the family tradition of serious Central Coast pinot noir. The 2014 Santa Rita Hills is just another great example of that heritage of quality winemaking.
Price: $28.99 Add To Cart
VN 93 WE 91

2009 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 08-18-2017
It's great to see how this wine has come around over the years. We've been getting shipments of the 2009 Coufran since the vintage was released in 2012 and I've been slowly tasting bottles throughout the years, watching what was once a merlot-driven and supple wine from a ripe vintage mature into a savory, complex, and serious bottle of mature Bordeaux. Tasting it today, it's at its most profound position yet. The wine is much leaner than it was a few years back and has shed some of that baby fat, now resembling something with age from St. Emilion or Pomerol. For the price its tough to beat, especially when stacked up against some of the other $20 bargains we have in the store. Few, however, show as much evolution as the Coufran. This is a Wednesday night steak frites wine at its finest.

1990 Poujeaux, Moulis-en-Medoc
Review Date: 08-17-2017
This is one of the more mineral, earthy, and powerful Poujeaux expressions I've ever tasted with balanced fruit that really provides the foundation for some of the wines terroir driven flavors. The finish is leaner with more gravel and earth. Good stuff for those looking for Bordeaux beyond simple fruit.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

1989 l'Arrosée, St-Emilion
Review Date: 08-17-2017
I really enjoyed getting the chance to taste older vintages from the Right Bank, especially from properties that no longer exist! L'Arrosee was purchased in 2013 by Haut Brion who merged the vineyards with Tetre-Daugay and called the new estate Quintus. Those who like their old school Bordeaux, both in historical and flavorful sense of the word, will really dig this. The flavors are savory with plenty of secondary development and soft tannins that flesh out on the finish.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart
WS 93

1989 La Tour de Mons, Margaux
Review Date: 08-17-2017
One of the oldest properties in Margaux (dating back to the 1200s), Tour de Mons has always been respected for its tremendous terroir, a mixture of gravel over limestone subsoil. Tasting this graceful and elegant 1989 vintage today it's clear that the wine has all the stuffing for the long haul because everything about this wine is in sync. Delicate dark fruit, weightless tannins, and pure silk in texture, this has sleeper written all over it.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

1989 Gressier Grand-Poujeaux, Moulis
Review Date: 08-17-2017
What a great deal and quite the surprise from one of Moulis's underappreciated estates. I've typically drunk Gressier Grand Poujeaux in its youth, enjoying the price to quality ratio from strong vintages like 2009 and 2010. This 1989, however, holds up impeccably with fleshy, grippy tannins, a rich body, and a finish that shows a balance of earth and subtle dark fruits. I had no idea these wines could hold up this well, which makes me think twice about some of the aforementioned bottles I still have in my cellar!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

1989 Lacoste-Borie, Pauillac
Review Date: 08-17-2017
The 1989 Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste has a reputation for superb quality, so in typical K&L fashion we went right after the property's second wine: the Lacoste Borie. Named for the Borie family, of Ducru Beaucaillou fame as well, the second wine lives up to the hype of the vintage. Still showing fruit after almost three decades, the tannins are soft, integrated, and the palate is like pure silk. Those looking for underrated value from Bordeaux should take note.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2007 Bunnahabhain 10 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 08-17-2017
One of the more pale colored ten year old malts I've come across, what the Bunnahabhain lacks in color and complexity it makes up for with sheer charm and value. This is a straight forward Islay whisky with flavors of soft fruit, sea salt, and subtle smoke. The proof is dialed up, meaning that a few ice cubes quickly turn this baby into the perfect summer Highball, but the higher ABV also brings a flurry of potency on the finish with flavors of sweet malt, stonefruit, and spice. I think fans of the traditional Bunnahabhain 12 and 18 malts will find this single barrel edition a far cry from the supple and weighty whiskies they've tasted before, but simultaneously they'll experience the essence of Bunnahabhain with its core elements still in place.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2014 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 08-14-2017
If a bottle of Léoville Las Cases represents first growth quality at half the price, I’d like to add that Château Léoville-Barton offers a chance to taste the Léoville estate quality for half the price of Las Cases. Let’s look at the 2014 vintage offerings as an example. A first growth bottle of 2014 Margaux will run you about $450, and a bottle of the 2014 Las Case originally sold for $150; however, the outstanding 2014 Léoville-Barton will only cost you $70 in comparison and if you look at the reviews from the industry’s most renowned critics, I think you’ll see raves across the board. It's because of this understanding of the Léoville property's history that insiders gravitate to the Barton expression. To use a whiskey comparison, the so-called “first growth” of Bourbon at the moment is Pappy Van Winkle, but since it’s either prohibitively expensive or hard to find, customers have gravitated over to the Weller 12 year—a whiskey made from the same stocks, but at a much lower price. In my opinion, a bottle of Léoville-Barton represents the same sort of secret value for true Bordeaux lovers who can’t afford Latour, appreciate Las Cases, but want to stretch their money as far as it can go. When putting together my shortlist for 2014 cellar contenders, the Léoville-Barton was right at the top of the list with Haut-Bailly and Domaine de Chevalier. The other endearing fact about Léoville-Barton is that it still remains in the Barton family’s hands, run today by Anthony Barton while his sister Lilian handles the Langoa estate. According to Peppercorn, both properties have been in the ownership of a single family for longer than any classified growth in the Médoc. In an age where a number of prestigious properties are being snapped up by foreign investment groups and corporate luxury conglomerates, it’s nice to know that some producers are continuing a family tradition put into place hundreds of years ago. I was thinking about this legacy when tasting the 2014 Léoville-Barton again earlier this week, the dark color brooding in the glass, representing the lifeblood of one of Bordeaux’s most historic dynasties. The wine is absolutely brilliant on the palate with dusty tannins, understated minerality, and a lush layer of hoisin, dark cherry, and grippy graphite. There’s a lot to wrap your head around in every bottle of Léoville-Barton, from the history of the terroir to the heritage of the Barton family's stewardship. For those looking to expand their understanding of Bordeaux, you get a lot of wine and wisdom for your hard-earned money.

2014 Clos du Marquis, St-Julien
Review Date: 08-09-2017
I think we're all going to look back at 2014 in a decade and kick ourselves for not having bought more. With sub-$50 options like the Clos du Marquis still available, it's hard to hold back. We tasted the 2007 this week and the wine was absolutely gorgeous only a decade after the vintage. 2014 is a much better wine than the 2007, in my opinion, and should have much more potential in the cellar. If you're just starting out in the Bordeaux collecting game, Clos du Marquis is a great dollar-for-dollar value. Made by the winemaking team at Leoville-Las-Cases, you're getting top-notch claret for a very reasonable price.

1996 Clos du Marquis, St-Julien
Review Date: 08-09-2017
Clos du Marquis is a value in any Bordeaux vintage, in my opinion, but the 1996 expression might be the best example of that consistency. This is top claret in peak form, and one that showcases classic St. Julien iron and minerality for those looking to understand some of the trademark characteristics of the appellation. Made by Leoville Las Cases, the wine is clearly made with care and with a finely-tuned palate in mind. This is beautiful wine from a great harvest that should probably be much more expensive than it is. Do a price comparison with other available 1996 bottles and you'll see what I mean.
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart
RP 91 WS 91

2007 Clos du Marquis, St-Julien
Review Date: 08-09-2017
This wine seems to contradict everything I've experienced thus far from the 2007 Bordeaux vintage. It's expansive, palate coating, and supple with dark fruit and extreme elegance. It has all the textbook Clos du Marquis qualities, namely grace and subtlety. It's an overachieving wine from an underrated vintage that absolutely delivers for the price. Drink it now while you wait for the also underrated 2014 to age.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2009 Branas Grand Poujeaux, Moulis
Review Date: 08-04-2017
I've come to expect nothing but bang for my buck when I drink Poujeaux, whether it's Chateau Poujeaux proper, or Gressier Grand Poujeaux, or Haut de Poujeaux, or in this case Chateau Branas Grand Poujeaux. There are six chateaux in Moulis that use the name Poujeaux and I've found that just about all of them over-deliver for my Bordeaux dollar. Branas is planted to 50% Merlot and you can taste that plumpness in the wine immediately, especially given the ripeness of the 2009 vintage. What the bottle age has done, however, is dial back the sweetness of the fruit, allowing some of the more complex secondary flavors come to the forefront. There's a bit of herbaceousness, but it's integrated beautifully into the supple tannins and lush blackberry flavors. The oak is still there on the nose, but now it's become intertwined with aromas of roasted earth. The wine is like silk on the palate throughout all that complexity, which makes this an easy pick for newcomers to aged Bordeaux. Yet, as someone who has consumed quite a bit of old claret over the years, I'm wowed by the value proposition here. This is a lot of Bordeaux for thirty bucks. A big wine with gusto!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 WS 90

2014 Haut de Poujeaux, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 08-04-2017
If I were to summarize my tastes as a booze professional, I'd say I like "classic" flavors. I like Bourbon that tastes like Bourbon, Scotch that tastes like Scotch, Chablis that tastes like Chablis, and most importantly Bordeaux that tastes like Bordeaux. While 2009, 10, 15, and 16 get all the hype due to their fleshy fruit flavors and supple mouthfeels, 2014 is a "classic" Bordeaux vintage and what's great for people who like "classic" flavor is that "classic" is considered less exciting these days. Everything has to be the "vintage of a lifetime" or no one cares. Fine by me!!!!! I'll gladly take 2014 Haut de Poujeaux for sub-$20 pricing if "classic" claret is no longer desirable. This is an absolutely delicious Bordeaux (that tastes like Bordeaux!) with a complex and aromatic nose of oak, earth, and spice. After ten minutes in the glass there's a hint of red currant, but it's modest. The wine's strength is in its simple typicity - it's a Wednesday night claret that I would be happy to bring to dinner on Saturday evening. There's an old story about how Baron Rothschild mistook the 1953 Poujeaux for Lafite. If I would have tasted this blind, I would have easily mistaken the 2014 Haut de Poujeaux for a much more serious Bordeaux. For fans of classic, true-to-form Bordeaux with texture and nuance, this is a fantastic deal.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2005 Benrinnes 12 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 08-02-2017
This whisky is pure happiness in a glass. It's simply a really great version of classic Highland single malt, but for a price that typically represents 43-46% ABV. Macallan 12, Glendronach 12, Clynelish 14, Oban 14, and other Highland offerings typically clock in between $50 and $60 when they're not at full proof. To have access to a whisky as good as Benrinnes in that same age and price range, but at cask strength, isn't something I'll ever sleep on. As long as we can continue to get barrels of Benrinnes for these prices, I'll keep buying them. This one is full of bright barley, sweet vanilla, peaches, and more. This should be your house Scotch. This should everyone's house Scotch.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2015 Moulin de la Gardette "Tradition" Gigondas
Review Date: 07-20-2017
Everything about the 2015 Moulin de la Gardette is fabulous, from the gorgeously embossed bottle, to the classy front label, to the enticing aromas of blueberries and violets, to the delicate and intricate flavors on the palate, to the lithe and elegant finish. In summary, this is the perfect bottle of French red wine and it speaks to the beauty of Gigondas and Rhone wines on the whole when they're made with restraint and balance. It's the kind of bottle you bring to a dinner party that impresses the hell out of everyone, but for a price that makes complete sense.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 - 92

2009 La Rioja Alta "Viña Arana" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-18-2017
The Vina Arana is the type of wine that launches a lifetime of interest in Spanish wine, mainly because it's so damn good and so splendidly affordable at the same time. I fell into Rioja in my mid-twenties because it was the only category it seemed where the top wines were in reach of my elementary school teacher salary. The 2009 Vina Arana from La Rioja Alta is like a flashback to that time in my life: you get the benefit of some bottle age that has softened the wine over the last eight years, creating a silky and soft fruited palate that glides over the tongue. There is fruit, but there is also just a bit of sandlewood and savory notes--enough to entice you even further. In short, it's a wine of simple deliciousness and yet utter complexity. Best of all, you get both of those qualities for less than thirty bucks. You can feel like you're splurging here for a very modest price.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

2007 La Rioja Alta "904" Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-18-2017
La Rioja Alta is where you start if you want to get serious about Spanish wine. However, it's also a great starting point for anyone who wants to understand the merits of aged reds of any kind. Getting the chance to taste serious wines like the 2007 904 Gran Reserva, a wine with ten years of bottle age at this point, were what catapulted me into this industry and lit the fire under my feet as a budding wino. Simply put: there are few wines that offer such a seamless transition between the soft and supple fruit of youth and the rustic complexity that comes with time, and it's that quality that shines in this wine. The red fruits are plush on the palate, but they're subdued rather than juicy. About halfway through they begin to slowly morph into hints of oak, earth, and leather with a bit of a roasted note towards the finish. Those are the secondary flavors of maturation coming through, but they're incredibly nuanced and graceful. Beware that polished profile, newcomers to La Rioja Alta; they're a gateway drug. And once you're addicted to the beauty of old Rioja, there's no going back.

2014 de Landiras Rouge, Graves
Review Date: 07-17-2017
I think what's most shocking about the Landiras is its incredibly restrained and balanced flavor profile. When we get bargain Bordeaux in the $10-$15 range it's usually a juicier, Merlot-driven style that caters to the fleshier and fruitier new world rather than the subdued style of the old. This is not a modern wine, however. It's of that time-honored Bordeaux style many of us food-friendly wine lovers continue to covet. The fruit is soft and elegant, the flavors are traditional and reserved, and the wine finishes with finesse. It's not a one note, one-trick pony by any means. This is a wine I could drink every day. Heck, it's a wine I would be happy to drink every day! Embedded in the Landiras core is that classic Gravsian dichotomy of dark fruit and minerality, and it persists for at least five minutes on the finish. I don't ever expect that level of depth from a $12,99 bottle of Bordeaux, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth either. Load up. If you're a fan of Chantgrives or Chevalier, this is like a baby version you can afford to drink regularly.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2015 Chateau de la Charriere Beaune 1er Cru "Clos des Vignes Franches"
Review Date: 07-16-2017
When we visited Chateau de la Charriere this past Spring to taste the 2015 vintage, we said to ourselves: "This could be the most exciting tasting of the trip." We thought that because the Charriere wines have always been well-made, but old school in style. We hoped the extra ripeness from the warmer harvest might do wonders for these bargain bottles and to our immense happiness, it did! The 2015 1er cru "Clos des Vignes Franches" is the best wine I've ever tasted from the property and now that they're destemming entirely, the fruit shines well beyond the structure. This is a dark, unctuous, and robust with gobs of blackberry and black cherry flushing out the palate. The tannins and acidity still provide a foundation, but whereas former vintages were a bit tough up front, this one is incredibly inviting. Make no mistake: the Charriere wines are the biggest Burgundy secrets in the store right now. The 2015 editions are tremendous values, offering old school rusticity with modern ripeness. Bravo!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Paranubes Oaxacan Agricole Rum (1L)
Review Date: 07-14-2017
The Paranubes Oaxacan aguardiente de caña is one of, if not the, best agricole rhums I've ever tasted and it beautifully balances a smooth and fruity character with the grassiness and the intense cane flavor of something like Neisson. What it removes is the funk, the earth, and the sometimes bitter notes that send some people running for the hills. The aromatics are absolutely stunning—there is a pure and unflinching note of raw cane that absolutely explodes from the bottle. At 54%, the rum is no slouch. But it's clearly distilled with a master hand because it's incredibly polished despite all that intensity. I could drink this straight out of the bottle, neat in a glass, on the rocks, in a cocktail, or simply with soda. I can't get enough of it—it's that good.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2015 Rustenberg Chardonnay Stellenbosch South Africa
Review Date: 07-13-2017
There are two wines from South Africa that I swear by, both for myself and for all customer recommendations. One is the Rustenberg John X Merriman cabernet. one of the best thirty dollar wines in the world, and the other is the Rustenberg Stellenbosch chardonnay, which tastes like high-end, balanced, and well-made California chardonnay or white Burgundy for a fraction of the price. In the 2015, you get the whole package: ample fruit, subtle vanilla from the oak, and plenty of acidity to balance out the two aforementioned elements. Not only is this chardonnay absolutely mouthwatering, it's versatile. You can drink it now, put it away until next year, or cellar it for an additional five. It's got the stuffing for the long haul, but it's approachable now. All that for less than twenty bucks. If you only drink one South African wine this year, the Rustenberg chardonnay is a great pick and its indicative of the great quality we've come to expect from the region as a whole.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
DC 95 VN 91

2001 Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande, Haut Medoc (1.5L)
Review Date: 07-07-2017
Do yourself a favor: get yourself a few steaks, invite over some of your closest friends, and pop this magnum open after paying the ridiculous price of $34.99. They'll think you spent at least $70 on this cannon of beautifully aged 2001 Bordeaux from one of the region's lesser-known chateaux: Bel Orme Tronquoy de Lalande. There's plenty of soft fruit still present in the wine, and the sheer deliciousness of the wine's age along with the lush texture it has from more than fifteen years of integration are simply enticing--even more so from the gigantic bottle! I miss deals like this. They're getting harder to track down in Bordeaux, so it's best to grab a few while they're here.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2001 Beaumont, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 07-07-2017
Man is this wine in a great spot! There's still a lovely softness of fruit despite the wine's current status on the evolutionary trail towards more savory notes. If you're interested in trying perfectly aged Bordeaux that still has many of the more supple elements of a younger red wine, this is the perfect crossover bottle (and it won't cost you an arm and a leg). I had thought all the great 2001 deals were all snatched up, but Clyde found another stack of cases somehow someway!
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine Aurelien Verdet Hautes Côtes de Nuits "Les Prieure" Rouge
Review Date: 07-07-2017
As I said to my colleague Alex, when was the last time you saw a great bottle of Burgundy under twenty bucks that DIDN'T say "Bourgogne Rouge" on the label? I honestly can't remember. Burgundy isn't where I send people for great values. It's where I send customers in search of the sublime, but always with the expectation that they're going to pay for that luxury. In the case of this Verdet Cotes de Nuits, there's a whole lotta bang for your buck here. The wine has depth, layered complexity, and typicity for the appellation, all for under twenty bucks. I can't remember that last time I saw that in our Burgundy department and I certainly don't expect to see it again anytime soon.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$14.99

2013 Kenwood "Jack London Vineyard" Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 06-30-2017
I've read White Fang and The Call of the Wild, and I've hung out in Oakland's Jack London Square, but I never knew that Jack London once lived on a Sonoma vineyard estate until I began tasting the Kenwood wines. While he never made wine himself, apparently London was a big wine drinker who prized a glass of California's finest with a nice roasted duck. It was Kenwood founder Marty Lee's affinity for London that led him to negotiate for the estate's fruit back in the late seventies. Those looking for real California history today (both literary and wine-related) need look no further than this 2013 Kenwood Cabernet from Jack London Vineyard, a textbook expression of everything we do well out west. Concentrated and brimming with the ripeness of 2013, one of the best vintages in years, this is a richly textured and fruit-forward Cabernet that showcases texture and a supple mouthfeel, but still allows for classic Cabernet characteristics like leather, mint and other wild herbaceous notes that speak to the nature of the varietal. Personally, I'm a fan of wines that are true to regional style, and I look for typicity in the bottles I buy. This wine has vintage California Cabernet written all over it. It is unabashedly California, big and bold, rich and lush, wild and unbridled, much like the writings of London himself. There's a savage note on the finish that keeps me coming back for more after the fruit begins to fade. A call of the Sauvignon? Perhaps.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart
DC 92

2008 Le Brun de Neuville "Grand Vintage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-30-2017
This is absolutely DELICIOUS Champagne, a stunning specimen of the 2008 vintage. It's the total package. A vibrant nose of honeyed fruit and rich brioche, backed up by more richness on the palate, with a firm mineral note ballasted by a backbone of zippy acidity all the way through. The bubbles are fine and graceful across the palate with oxidized nuttiness on the finish. This is one helluva deal. Buy it for a special occasion and wow your friends. It tastes much more expensive than it is.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Kuchan Barrel Aged Peach Brandy (375ml)
Review Date: 06-30-2017
I'm not sure most folks really appreciate what it takes to make this SPECTACULAR brandy, so let me break it down for you. Davorin Kuchan has to drive up to the Sierra mountains and get truck loads of peaches and drive them to his distillery in Belmont. Then he has to de-pit the tons and tons peaches by hand (he's not a peach farmer or canner, so he doesn't have that equipment). Then he has to press them, ferment them, and distill them which is an incredibly sticky and messy process. Then he has to barrel-age the teeny, tiny little bit of brandy that he gets from that distillation. The result is this incredibly affordable peach brandy that is the only LEGIT "peach whiskey" on the American market - as in NOT flavored with peaches, but actually distilled from nothing but peaches and put into a barrel. This is a piece of American history!
Price: $35.99 Add To Cart

1984 Caol Ila "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength 33 Year Old Islay Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 06-30-2017
Every time I'm able to track down an old barrel of Islay single malt, I wonder to myself: "Is this the last one?" I remember in the case of Port Ellen, perhaps the most famous of Islay rarities, we were able to do one last cask at $500 a bottle. But when the prices jumped up over $1000, I said "forget it." For some reason, perhaps because of the availability or the lack of general awareness concerning the distillery's greatness, I've been able to dig out an ultra-mature barrel of Caol Ila about once every two years and negotiate a price that makes sense. This particular Caol Ila whisky, a 33 year old distilled in 1984, is one of the better expressions I've found in some time. It's still fresh, lively, and brimming with Islay character. Supple on the palate and lifted on the finish, it's everything an peated whisky lover could ever ask for. It's luxurious, complex, and utterly beautiful from start to finish. Given the current market forces at play, it's also quite reasonable in price. I wouldn't have bought it otherwise. The older I get, the pickier I get about my purchases (ironically in a market where one can't afford to be picky). This is as good of a single malt as we'll sell this year. Trust me - there's nothing on the Scotland schedule for the rest of 2017 as awesome as this 33 year Caol Ila.
Price: $349.99 Add To Cart

2014 La Chablisienne Chablis "La Sereine"
Review Date: 06-30-2017
Our trip to La Chablisienne this past Spring was one of the most eye-opening visits I've ever spent at a winery. We spent an absolutely spectacular morning with Fabrice Roelandt, during which we tasted more than a dozen chardonnays, each from a different vineyard location, and each with its own unique flavor profile. I was honestly overwhelmed by the variety and the depth on display. When we commented about a wine's richness, he had an answer: "This vineyard is on the right bank of the river where there is more sun, therefore it's riper." When we remarked about a wine's clean acidity and freshness, he would say: "This vineyard is located in an valley inlet where it's cooler, that's why the acidity is higher." His simple and supportive approach to Chablis eduction was as refreshing as the wines themselves; it also spoke volumes about the philosophy at the facility. "La Chablisienne doesn't have a house style," he mentioned to us as we discussed the production methods; "We do simple winemaking that reflects the character of the vineyard, nothing more." You get all that purity right away in this mineral-driven, clean, and focused La Sereine expression from 2014. It embodies everything I love about the Chablisienne wines: fresh, true-to-style, complex, drinkable now, and affordable! With the incredible quality of the vintage, and our direct pricing, you can't afford NOT to buy this.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2013 Yalumba "Triangle Block" Shiraz-Viognier Eden Valley South Australia
Review Date: 06-26-2017
Yum! All the juicy flavor of real syrah/shiraz with none of the cloying, overly-sweet, ridiculous ripeness that made most of the genre impossible for me to drink for nearly a decade. This is balanced, savory, perfectly-finessed Northern Rhone style wine with smoked meat aromas and a peppery finish, all for a price that allows daily drinking. I'd recommend anyone with a bias against Aussie shiraz to try a bottle and free their mind. The secret is Eden Valley's higher elevation and cooler climate versus the hotbox that is Barossa. Go deep on this one if you like value and true Rhone style syrah.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
W&S 93

2014 Dog Point Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 06-26-2017
I would have guessed Cote de Beaune had I tasted this blind: lots of baking spice, hints of dried herbs and black tea, with dusty tannins and dark black cherry on the finish. The more and more we get access to great pinot noir from New Zealand, the more I think the aromatics and flavors continue to blur the border between Marlborough and Burgundy. In the case of this Dog Point, it's everything I generally head to France for, just more lifted, vibrant, and ready to drink in its youth. All the complexity with none of the wait - but it will still evolve nicely!

2014 d'Hanteillan Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 06-26-2017
First off: you've gotta give this wine an hour in the decanter. The difference is night and day, even though we're talking about a bargain-priced Haut Medoc and not a heralded classified growth. Secondly, have this with a burger, or a steak, or something substantial. You do those two things and you're going to feel like you scored a heckuva deal with this 2014 Hanteillan, a sub-$15 score from a completely underrated vintage that continues to turn up deal, after deal, after deal. The shocking thing about the wine it's about 60% cabernet from prime property near St. Estephe. Most of the time you get merlot in the bargain priced Bordeaux realm, but in this case you're getting the big boy fruit. When's the last time you found a highly-scored $13.99 cabernet from Bordeaux?
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$10.99
RP 91

2015 Chateau de la Charriere Santenay Blanc 1er Cru "Beauregard"
Review Date: 06-22-2017
This is once of the better white wines I've ever tasted from Cherriere, one that is richer and rounder than any of their Chassagne Montrachet wines I've had in the past, despite the fact it's from Santenay. There's a gorgeous bouquet of stonefruit and plenty of ripeness on the palate, but the acidity is balanced and lip-smacking on the finish. This is top notch chardonnay, folks!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

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