Staff Favorites - Alex Pross

Alex Pross

Reviews

  
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2012 Michel Gassier "Cercius Vieilles Vignes" Côtes du Rhone Villages Visan Rouge
Review Date: 02-23-2015
One of my perennial favorite value wines is the Michel Gassier “Cercius” Vieilles Vignes Cotes du Rhone. I look forward every year to tasting this outstanding value and the 2012 may be their best vintage to date. Loaded with aromas of marzipan, coffee, spice and plum the 2012 Gassier deftly rolls to a palate of bitter chocolate, graphite, licorice and black raspberry flavors with silky tannins and a lush, long finish. Bravo! Another fantastic value that over-delivers for its meager price-point. Fans of full-bodied, well-made red wines that are affordable can rejoice as they toast a glass to this wonderful producer.
Top Value!
Price: $13.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 91

2013 Casa Castillo Monastrell Jumilla
Review Date: 02-23-2015
A gorgeous Spanish red the 2013 Casa Castillo is a stunning value! Sexy aromas of red licorice, spice, hints of salt air and bright red fruit notes jump from the glass while the palate is an energetic mix of red cherry, spice, licorice and herbs nicely juxtaposed against firm tannins and racy acidity. This wine drinks like a $30 bottle but is a flat-out steal at only $10. This is one of the better balanced and more versatile under $10 bottles I have tasted this year and it should merit case-worthy purchases.
Top Value!
Price: $9.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 91

2011 St. Clement "Oroppas" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 02-18-2015
This wine rocks! Wow, this is the kind of California wine I want to drink, oozing with a distinctive feel of terroir as well as rich fruit and spicy oak accents. St Clement makes 3 single-vineyard offerings that sell from $60-$100 annually but in the challenging 2011 vintage they declassified the three vineyards Paras, Armstrong and Star and blended them into the Oroppas. Always a strong offering this made the 2011 St. Clement Oroppas outstanding, easily the best I have ever tasted. The wine has a gorgeous nose of clove, volcanic rock, red berry and mocha while the palate is a seductive blend of berry, mocha, molten rock and spice. This wine has fantastic length and complexity with a long, full finish it is a testament to what can be achieved in 2011 and one of the better 2011s from Napa Valley I have tasted.
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 Add To Waiting List
AG 94

2012 Spellbound California Petite Sirah
Review Date: 02-16-2015
Looking for a full-throttle red wine that won’t break the bank? Your search has ended, the 2012 Spellbound Petite Sirah is just what you’re looking for. This wine is loaded with an intoxicating nose of macerated blackberries, licorice and melted chocolate notes that seamlessly flows into a richly textured palate of blackberry liqueur, crème de cassis, mocha and hints of chocolate. Pair this big boy with filet mignon, Kobe beef or any other cut of rich red meat.
Top Value!
Price: $10.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 90

2012 Bodegas Castaño "Hécula" Monastrell Yecla
Review Date: 02-16-2015
Another ridiculous value from Bodegas Castano, the 2012 Hecula is a screaming value! Bright and zesty with spicy notes and a touch of white pepper, this wine has wonderful flavors of red fruit, licorice, hints of bitter chocolate with subtle pepper and mineral notes. A terrific value, this wine is the perfect everyday drinker that can go seamlessly go from an aperitif wine to meal-worthy with almost any fare and not miss a beat.
Top Value!
Price: $9.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 91

2012 Rutherford Ranch "Rhiannon" Red Blend
Review Date: 02-13-2015
Holy Smokes! There’s a lot going on here, right from the start this wine begins with a surprisingly complex nose for $10.99, aromas of candied red fruits, red licorice, pencil lead and baking spice prevail against a palate of cherry, menthol, licorice and marzipan. A classic field blend reminiscent of the blends of yesteryear this blend of Petite Sirah, Syrah and Barbera is flat-out delicious and challenges pretty much every other wine we have in stock at the $11 and under price point for the title of “Best Value”.
Top Value!
Price: $10.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 90

2008 Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage "Unfiltered" Port
Review Date: 02-04-2015
Late Bottle Vintage Port is often the wise purchase made by wine connoisseurs when they want to trade down significantly in price while giving up very little in quality. The 2008 Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Unfiltered Port is a spectacular value, it has all the bells & whistles of a vintage character Port at the fraction of the cost. Fonseca is one of the world’s greatest producers of Port and you can taste the pedigree in the 2008 Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Unfiltered Port, this wine is loaded with seductive aromas of spiced black plums, marzipan and fruit cake while the palate is an unctuously smooth combination of plum liqueur, crème de cassis, macerated blackberries and pain grille. A delicious wine that can be an affordable go to dessert wine and satisfy anyone with a bit of a sweet tooth.
Top Value!

2013 McManis California Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 02-04-2015
Bigfoot, Unicorns, the Tooth Fairy, UFO’s and a good California Cabernet Sauvignon for under $10…all of these seem like myths or fruitless searches that only lead to madness or being called a crackpot. Thankfully we’ve found proof that one of these actually exists…the 2012 McManis California Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent Cabernet Sauvignon from California that will only cost you $8.99. Before I cracked the bottle I was skeptical, but upon tasting there was no denying that this is a great value. A spicy nose with hints of crème de cassis the wine quickly leads to a palate of fresh blackberries, spice, graphite notes and just a hint of volcanic rock. A nice wine at $15, a flat-out steal for only $8.99-Bigfoot may not exist but a great California Cabernet Sauvignon for under $10 does.
Top Value!
Price: $8.99 Add To Waiting List
WE 90

2012 DeLoach Russian River Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 02-04-2015
A wonderful nose of dark berry, spice and hints of smoked meats deftly rolls to a palate that is bright and supple with loads of zippy berry fruit as well as hints of nutmeg and crushed stone. The wine is lively, with good acidity that translate to an energetic feel and wonderful tension and allows the abundant fruit to be seductive but not overly jammy. Well-balanced and complex the 2012 De Loach Russian River Zinfandel is a versatile wine that can pair well with almost any cuisine that craves red wine. A fantastic value that should not be passed up this is a truly enjoyable Zinfandel.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Waiting List
W&S 93

2009 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 11-18-2014
One of my go-to Chateauneuf-du-Papes, Guigal has been fashioning one of the most dependable and value-oriented Chateaneuf-du-Papes for as long as I can remember. The 2009 vintage in the Rhone Valley was a hot vintage and the 2009 Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape displays all the character of a warmer vintage with intense aromatics of marzipan, clove, grilled meat and cherry kirsch explode from the glass while the palate blends spicy cherry fruit, cranberry, red licorice and spice into a tightly-wound package. Dense and chewy this large-scaled offering is just beginning to open up and show all that it has to offer. This is shaping up to be one of the better Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Papes I have had.
Top Value!

2012 Domaine Cabirau Côtes du Roussillon
Review Date: 11-18-2014
Vibrant aromas of crushed blackberries, licorice and nutmeg spring from the glass of 2012 Domaine Cabirau Cotes du Roussillon, a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% syrah and 10% Carignan this wine is absolutely gorgeous! The palate is stuffed with rich blackberry and blueberry fruit, violet and plum accents with bright acidity and the perfect balance between tannins, fruit and acid. This is a delicious wine that can pair flawlessly with food but has enough body to be drunk on its own or with a charcuterie plate.
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 92

2006 Castello di Monsanto "Nemo" Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-06-2014
If you’re a fan of the Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva then you owe it to yourself to try the 2006 Castello di Monsanto Nemo Toscana. I was excited to taste this wine and I was immediately rewarded with aromas of bitter chocolate, volcanic rock, saline and cherry kirsch aromas. The palate was a supple blend of black cherry fruit, licorice, spice and subtle oak accents. The wine is in a perfect place for drinking right now, with a touch of age the tannins have softened and the fruit has perfectly integrated with the oak to produce a flat out deliciously drinking wine. At $40 this is one of my favorite super Tuscans that we currently have in stock.
Top Value!
Price: $39.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 95 ST 90

2012 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-02-2014
I am always excited to taste the most recent release of Cabernet Sauvignon from Joseph Phelps since it is one of my perennial favorites. From the very first sniff from the glass I was brought back to my initial tasting impressions from our En Primeur trip to Bordeaux when we tasted the heralded 2009 vintage. The wine displays amazing depth with layers of fruit flavors as well as aromas cola, crushed berries, five spice and mocha notes. A fresh and lively palate consisting of fresh blackberries, crème de cassis and dusty tannins nicely augments against bright acidity. The wine finishes with a supple display of fruit and silky tannins with just a kiss of dark chocolate lingering at the end.
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $59.99 Add To Waiting List

2013 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 09-04-2014
I always love this wine; over-delivers every vintage given its price and quality ratio. Nice berry fruit, impressive complexity and good layers of fruit. Looks to compete favorably with the last few vintages.

2013 Calon-Ségur, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 08-04-2014
One of my perennial favorite producers. The 2013 vintage has a distinctive Calon Segur-esque feel. The personality of Calon Segur can get obscured in some vintages, but in a challenging vintage like 2013 it really shines through. Berry fruit and notes of intense boysenberry lead, with hints of menthol and spice.

2013 Calon Ségur, St-Estèphe (1.5L)
Review Date: 08-04-2014
One of my perennial favorite producers. The 2013 vintage has a distinctive Calon Segur-esque feel. The personality of Calon Segur can get obscured in some vintages, but in a challenging vintage like 2013 it really shines through. Berry fruit and notes of intense boysenberry lead, with hints of menthol and spice.

2011 La Jota Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-10-2014
The 2011 La Jota Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is the best 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon I have tasted! 2011 was by all accounts a very challenging vintage but there were a few wineries that seem to have been able to weather the storm and make a very good wine, La Jota is one of them. One of the advantages of mountain grown fruit is they can pick later and allow a longer hang time coupled with the tension put on the vines to grow in the gravelly volcanic soil gives the grapes a more defined personality. The complexity and depth that the 2011 La Jota showed took me by surprise, the wine starts off with aromas of crème de cassis, graphite and lavender notes give way to dark blueberry and blackberry fruit and spice notes. This wine has great balance, power and depth coupled with great fruit and just the right amount of oak. A great wine for any vintage but truly a standout in 2011!
Drink from 2014 to 2014

2009 Nairac, Sauternes
Review Date: 07-10-2014
I have a confession, I am ashamed that I don’t drink as much Sauternes as I should. As a whole there may not be another wine that delivers as consistently for the price as Sauternes. The 2009 Nairac is a perfect example, at $39.99 this wine is a screaming deal. Liquid gold in the glass this wine has seductive aromas of dried mango and pineapple along with roasted almonds and the slightest hint of coconut. The palate is unctuously smooth with flavors of candied orange, ginger, apricot and notes of caramel. Powerful but light on its feet this is a delicious Sauternes.
Top Value!

2012 Bodegas Castano "Solanera Vinas Viejas" Yecla
Review Date: 07-10-2014
Boom! Another knock-out value from Spain, the 2012 Castano Vinas Viejas Solanera Red is sensational. A blend of 70% Monastrell(Mourvedre), 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Garnacha the 2012 Castano Solanera has an exceptional nose of dried plum, spices, fresh berries and just a hint of iodine while the palate is densely packed with black pepper, cassis, licorice and blackberry fruit. Great length coupled with good energy and a long finish give this wine a distinctively aristocratic feel while keeping a modest price of only $13.99. A case-worthy buy if there ever was one, the Castano Solanera is the perfect wine for entertaining a crowd or for drinking well on a tight budget!
Top Value!
Price: $13.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 94

2012 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-01-2014
Nestled slightly to the east of Alexander Valley and to the north of Calistoga, Knights Valley straddles the imaginary line delineating Sonoma from Napa Valley. An emerging hotbed for great Cabernet Sauvignon values, Knights Valley offers a nice alternative to all the $50+ Cabs from Napa Valley. The 2012 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon at $22.99 is the perfect example of the kind of values that can be found in Knights Valley; this exact wine with the words Napa Valley would easily command upwards of $50 a bottle! A nose of dark cherry kirsch, mocha and tobacco give way to a richly-textured palate of black cherries, plum, spice and seductive chocolate notes. This wine is packed with dark berry fruit and luscious notes of mocha and chocolate with good acidity, silky tannins and bright fruit notes. The finish is long and energetic with lingering berry notes and just a hint of spice and milk chocolate. A killer value, this Cabernet Sauvignon definitely over-delivers given its modest price.
Drink from 2014 to 2014
Price: $22.99 Add To Waiting List
AG 90 WS 90

2013 Haut-Brion Blanc, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-14-2014
***½ Iodine, lime blossom and hints of lemon crème. Pitted fruit, nut skin and good body-feels a bit more masculine than the La Mission.

2013 Troplong Mondot, St-Emilion
Review Date: 05-14-2014
**½ to *** It was a sad in Bordeaux when in the middle of our En Premieur trip we learned that Christine Valette, owner of Troplong Mondot, had succumbed to cancer. Troplong is a magnificent property with a hillside vantage point, the wines are always full-throttle and a joy to taste. Lots of cola here with sexy, exotic spice notes. Big extraction here--made for the California palate.

2013 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-14-2014
***½ Deep, dark and brooding, with hints of scorched earth and minerality. Lots of depth here. The wine is packed with dark fruits and spice. Tasting it now feels like you're just scratching the surface of this immense wine.

2013 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 05-14-2014
*** to ***½ The word 'classic' gets thrown around way too much when discussing Bordeaux, but in the case of Leoville Barton, it is definitely merited. The 2013 is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. With notes of black cherry cola and hints of raspberry, the wine is layered and complex, showing good depth and density. Really well-made.

2013 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-14-2014
*** This is sure to be one of the more controversial wines of the vintage. From barrel it was super floral and intoxicating on the nose, with complex plum and spice cake notes that gave it almost a minced meat pie--Zinfandel-esque, unlikely as that sounds!--quality, with boysenberry and blackberry fruit on the palate. It comes together, however, and finishes with harmony and elegance. This could turn out to be great.

2013 Pichon-Baron, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-14-2014
*** Dark cherry liqueur and tobacco aromas are followed by lots of berry fruit concentration on the palate with savory herb notes and noticeable tannins.

2013 Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac (1.5L)
Review Date: 05-14-2014
*** Loaded with dark berry fruit on the nose and the palate, with hints of tobacco and spice. This wine is layered and complex. Fine effort.

2013 Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-14-2014
*** Loaded with dark berry fruit on the nose and the palate, with hints of tobacco and spice. This wine is layered and complex. Fine effort.

2013 Lynch-Bages, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-14-2014
*** 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit verdot. Black cherry and dark chocolate and espresso aromas come through the otherwise tight, closed nose. This is a dark, brooding wine with lots of tannin and hints of graphite/lead pencil.

2013 Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac (1.5L)
Review Date: 05-14-2014
*** to ***½ For me this is always one of the toughest wines to taste En Primeur since it typically shows very monolithically. Dark and brooding, its initial aromas of burnt earth slowly fall away to reveal black cherry cola and blackberry with notes of milk chocolate. It displayed good fruit, length and nice tannin structure, ending fresh and bright. This is one of the more accessible Lafites I have tasted En Primeur.

2013 Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-14-2014
*** to ***½ For me this is always one of the toughest wines to taste En Primeur since it typically shows very monolithically. Dark and brooding, its initial aromas of burnt earth slowly fall away to reveal black cherry cola and blackberry with notes of milk chocolate. It displayed good fruit, length and nice tannin structure, ending fresh and bright. This is one of the more accessible Lafites I have tasted En Primeur.

2013 Angludet, Margaux
Review Date: 05-14-2014
**½ to *** Top value. 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 14% Petit Verdot. Another seemingly perennial best value Angludet displays bright red cherry fruit with hints of milk chocolate with tons of layers and good depth. Well-done.
Price: $26.99 Add To Waiting List
ST 88 - 90

2013 Angélus, St-Emilion
Review Date: 05-14-2014
*** Dark, brooding, spicy plum, black tea, graphite and scorched earth. Very nice length-not overdone.

2013 Cos d'Estournel, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 05-14-2014
*** to ***½ The departure of Jean-Guillaume Prats, long time director of Cos d'Estournel, made me anxious to try the 2013; this would be the first wine made without his oversight in a long time. I was pleased to find out that the 2013 Cos is a fine wine, with dark cherries and chocolate aromas and flavors, as well as dried herb notes. There's lots of depth and layers here. The wine displays good purity and power. 78% cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot & 2% Cabernet Franc.

2013 Alter Ego de Palmer, Margaux
Review Date: 05-14-2014
***½ to **** Wine of the Vintage! Beautiful nose, with lots of pretty berries, hints of spice, and herbs. The palate displays gorgeous, elegant red berry fruit--cranberry, red currant and cherry--with a layered, plush finish. This wine is bright and lively and feels like a fine Margaux. Considering that this wine will be available for under $70 and compares favorably with the stellar 2009 and 2010 vintages, this wine is in my opinion one of the best wines to purchase En Primeur.

2013 Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien
Review Date: 05-13-2014
Patrick Maroteaux, who happens to be one of the nicest men in all of Bordeaux, strives to craft the best possible wine from his large estate. The 2013 is a very good wine with a beautiful nose of fresh berries along with a viscous mouthfeel and hints of red licorice and dark berry fruit. Good length with a full finish.

2013 Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-13-2014
All Cabernet Sauvignon, this is dark and brooding, displaying aromas of graphite, scorched earth and minerals. Layers of complex blackberry and black cherry fruit flavors are accented by bitter chocolate, spice, and pepper.

2013 Malescot-St-Exupéry, Margaux
Review Date: 05-13-2014
Smooth, rich and luxurious this wine has nice deep berry fruit along with mocha notes. There’s a fair amount of grip on this wine.

2013 Pape Clément, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-12-2014
Lots of berry fruit, layered, high-toned fruit, hints of pomegranate with good length and silky tannins.

2013 Labégorce, Margaux
Review Date: 05-12-2014
A perennial favorite, this producer makes an excellent value-oriented Margaux of late. Nice red fruit, good concentration and hints of chocolate. This was the first wine of the 2013 En Primeur campaign we tasted and it showed all ways not lost in 2013. Top value.

2013 Clos Fourtet, St-Emilion
Review Date: 05-12-2014
One of my favorites, this wine always delivers and 2013 is no exception. Lots of red fruit here with silky tannins and a clean and elegant feel here. The red fruit shines throughout the wine from start to finish.

2013 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-08-2014
*** to ***½ Wow, this wine is absolutely packed, tons of ripe red fruit, great length and hints of spice. This wine is plush, reminiscent of the 2009 in some ways-not sure how they pulled this off.

2013 Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux
Review Date: 05-08-2014
If not for the two wines from Palmer this might be the wine of the appellation. Duty berry notes, subtle spice, berry fruit, great delineation and elegance and impressive length.

2013 Pape Clément Blanc, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-07-2014
***½ If the first three wines fall into the more traditional Bordeaux white mold then the Pape Clement breaks it. Fragrant and exotic this wine has a sexy feel with kumquat, lychee and tropical fruit notes. Stone fruit, wet stone and notes of iodine are prevalent here.

2013 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-07-2014
This is one of the greatest aging Bordeaux whites made and the 2013 looks to be a legend in the making. For those of us who can’t afford the two big guns we can take solace in the fact that the Domaine de Chevalier Blanc is a tad more affordable. Loads of iodine, white flowers and butter nuts, you can feel the electricity here with notes of wet stone. A fabulous wine. ***½ to ****

2013 Vieux-Château-Certan, Pomerol
Review Date: 05-05-2014
If it weren’t for the price this may have been my wine of the vintage, also the miniscule production of VCC in 2013 also makes it hard to overly endorse since we will get very few cases if any of this wine to sell. Fresh picked berries, lots of floral elements, hints of lavender then a blast of milk chocolate & cherries. So pretty, so elegant yet full-bodied. Yum!
Price: $149.99 Add To Waiting List
WE 94 - 96 AG 90 - 93 WS 90 - 93
Limit of 6 per customer

2011 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 05-02-2014
Along with La Lagune, this property stands out for being a perennial value and a top producer from its commune.

2013 Ausone, St-Emilion
Review Date: 05-01-2014
*** Tobacco, blackberry liqueur; slightly herbal and racy. Lots of depth and purity of fruit.
Price: $499.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 93 - 95 WE 93 - 95 JS 91 - 92
ST 89 - 92
Limit of 6 per customer

2013 Margaux, Margaux
Review Date: 05-01-2014
**½ Margaux may have been the hardest hit by the difficult weather in 2013. Menthol and rhubarb notes add a coolness to its bright, red berry and raspberry sherbet-laced fruit.

2013 Margaux, Margaux (1.5L)
Review Date: 05-01-2014
**½ Margaux may have been the hardest hit by the difficult weather in 2013. Menthol and rhubarb notes add a coolness to its bright, red berry and raspberry sherbet-laced fruit.

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