Staff Favorites - Olivia Ragni

Olivia Ragni
Olivia Ragni  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
My roots are in Philadelphia, and to a greater extent, Italy. Wine has always been a focal point of my Italian-American culture, and the years I spent working in Philadelphia’s fine dining scene piqued my interest in the wine industry. Prior to Los Angeles, I was a resident of Portugal, Turkey, and Germany, three stops on my tour of Europe as an English teacher. Portugal was my first locale and the one that left the greatest impression. The wine culture of Portugal is so rich and so storied; I was completely taken by the people’s passion for wine. I decided to explore the vast expanse of European wine regions, including Italy, Andalusia, and Croatia. In each of these locations I discovered wines and cultures that I had previously not known and discovered my affinity for the bold sherries of Jerez de la Frontera and the crisp, maritime whites of Vrbnik. My hope is to share my love of these old world wines with people who have not yet had the pleasure of discovering them.


Reviews

  
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2015 Eric Cottat Sancerre
Review Date: 07-22-2016
I always love the Cottat Sancerre, this vintage it has a wonderful balance of fruit and minerality. Aromas of flint, white flowers and yellow Mirabelle plums burst from the glass to lead you into an elegant palate of crushed stone, orange blossom and lemon peel with juicy acidity.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine Bart Bourgogne Rouge
Review Date: 07-20-2016
It's rare to find a great, drinkable Burgundy for an affordable price, so take advantage of Domaine Bart's Bourgogne Rouge and grab a few bottles, or even cases, to keep around the house. The Bourgogne Rouge shows bright, crunchy red fruit like cranberry and red cherry and a hint of forest floor and graphite. While it has lots of great acidity, the palate also provides soft, round tannins, creating great balance.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2015 Allram Grüner Veltliner Kamptal (1L)
Review Date: 07-17-2016
Ah the classic Austrian table wine in its liter bottle with an easy access crown cap, making for the perfect party wine! This gruner is full of citrus: lemon, grapefruit, orange and hints of apple and pear with juicy, mouthwatering acidity, perfect for the heat! Allram continues to make incredible quality gruner every year, making this a perennial staff favorite.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$9.99

2014 Hugel "Gentil" Alsace
Review Date: 07-14-2016
Bright, crisp, and dry, this little Alsatian blend is delightful. Pour a glass to find aromas of chalk, white flowers, anise and white nectarine. A juicy palate of pears and Meyer lemon lead to a long finish of smoke and crushed stones. A bottle of this at the end of the day is sure to make you smile.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
JS 90

2013 Le Battistelle "Roccolo del Durlo" Soave Classico
Review Date: 07-13-2016
The "Roccolo del Durlo" comes from over 100-year-old vines from red iron laden clay, volcanic and sand stone soils. This is old vine fruit at its finest expressing so much terroir. Intense aromas of smoke, almond skin and apples and so much flavor intensity of yellow fruit, wet stones and flint on the palate. With higher acidity and great texture this is a perfect pair for linguine and clams or any seafood dish.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$14.99

2014 Einaudi Dogliani (Dolcetto)
Review Date: 07-13-2016
This is such a fantastic dolcetto for such a small price tag. Aromas of flowers, rosemary and rhubarb lead to a palate of raspberry, violets and fresh crushed herbs with bright acidity and light to medium body.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2013 Argiolas "Costera" Cannonau di Sardegna
Review Date: 07-13-2016
What a beautiful, fresh and clean little cannonau. Aromas of freshly cured meat, smoke and tea with flavors of bramble, red and purple fruit, graphite and bitter chocolate. Pair it with some Sardinia pecorino!!

2015 Claude Riffault "La Noue" Sancerre Rosé
Review Date: 07-08-2016
This rosé is much more than just a summer ‘porch-pounder,’ this is a serious rosé that provides complexity and depth. Aromas of white flowers, melon and chalk pop out of the glass. Layers of flavors like watermelon, fresh cranberry, wet stones and rose petals grace the palate. There is such beautiful structure, with zippy high acid and a dry, long finish, you’ll be tasting this rosé for a while after the bottle is empty.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2012 Nicolas Idiart Blanc de Blanc Brut
Review Date: 06-24-2016
My favorite vintage of the Idiart Brut yet, with flavors of nectarines and peaches, honey and a hint of brioche. There is a richness in the palate while still having bright, clean acidity. Enjoy all day, everyday with just about anything.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2015 Nicolas Idiart Sauvignon Blanc Touraine
Review Date: 06-24-2016
If you haven't tried the Maison Idiart in the past, this is the time to try it. This vintage is elegant and pretty with aromas of white flowers and yellow apples, and a palate of white nectarine, meyer lemon and loads of chalky minerality. An excellent example of great Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley that is much more affordable than Sancerre.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin 750ml
Review Date: 06-23-2016
The Navy Strength compared to the Rare Dry has more zesty notes of orange and lemon rind, lemon grass, sea salt and anise. At 118 proof, this is serious stuff that should be stocked in every cocktail enthusiast's bar.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin 750ml
Review Date: 06-23-2016
Beautiful and bright, the Rare Dry has notes of fresh squeezed blood oranges, sweet herbs, sage, juniper and a hint of basil. It's the perfect gin for tonic or citrus heavy gin cocktails.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine de la Noblaie "Le Temps des Cerises" Chinon
Review Date: 06-20-2016
While this wine may be deep purple in color, its bright acidity makes for a lighter red. A wide array of fruits show through, from cranberry, black cherry to blackberry. Some black pepper and a hint of rosemary and graphite leave you with a wonderful finish. This is a great little red that you can serve to anyone with confidence.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Cherrier Père & Fils Sancerre
Review Date: 06-19-2016
Always a customer favorite, the Cherrier Sancerre provides you with fruit and thirst quenching acidity for under $20 a bottle. The 2015 provides notes of peach, nectarine and even a hint of pineapples. You don't need to spend $25+ to get a great Sancerre.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine de la Noblaie Chinon Rosé
Review Date: 06-19-2016
100% Cabernet Franc, this rosé is fresh and bright, and void of that herbaceous funk you might expect. With notes of cherry, flowers, melon and a lengthy mineral finish this rosé is perfect for all your summer parties.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2014 OENO Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 06-18-2016
This Oeno Cabernet is made without any new oak, providing for a fresh, bright pure expression of Cabernet. With lifted acidity and full body, this wine show flavors of cassis, blackberry, and fresh baking spice.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

Tom's Foolery Bottled In Bond Batch #1 Ohio Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 06-16-2016
This pot-still distilled Ohio bourbon is insanely delicious. Sweet maple balanced by spicy nutmeg and allspice lead to a backbone of earthy, clay pot-still flavor. A must-have, absolutely unique bourbon for the collection.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Charles Baur "Emotion" Cremant d'Alsace Brut
Review Date: 06-16-2016
Sometimes sparkling wines with no dosage are piercingly acidic but the Emotion manages to be completely dry while still maintaining balance. The nose has a touch of toasty aromas without being overpowering, while yellow apples, pears, toasted walnuts and honeysuckle round out the nose. There is great mid-palate weight and texture with some brioche, apple and quince characteristics and frothy, clean bubbles with a long, lovely dry finish. The perfect accompaniment to tapas and charcuterie.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2015 Cave du Vendomois Lieu-Dit Cocagne Coteaux du Vendomois Rosé
Review Date: 06-10-2016
If you are looking for an incredible rosé for only $10, this is the bottle to buy. This beautiful Loire rosé is made from one of the lesser-known red varieties that has been grown in the area since the Middle Ages, Pineau d'Aunis. If you've ever had a red made from Pineau d'Aunis then you will see similarities in this rosé. Aromas of leaves and violets lead to flavors of tea, white pepper and melon with a backbone of minerality.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2007 Michel Loriot "Monodie Meunier" Extra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-25-2016
The fruit for the “Monodie Meunier” comes from a single vineyard site that was planted during WWII in 1942. Not only is it incredible that someone planted a vineyard during the war, but they planted an incredible vineyard of massal selections vines that never got ripped out and replaced by clones as much of Champagne was in the 70’s. Its old vine character shines through with hints of smoke, salt and flint accompanied by flavors of quince, apple and cherry. This has fantastic structure and depth that will allow it to age gracefully in your cellar.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Charles Ellner "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-25-2016
The whole lineup of Charles Ellner blew us away with complexity and elegance all around. The Carte d’Or is my favorite of the bottlings. It is a little different from your typical Brut Champagne, they intentionally hold back malolactic fermentation making for a Champagne with loads of character. There are flavors of nuts, minerals and fino sherry, balanced with notes of fresh pineapples nectarine and a hint of crème brûlée. This is an incredibly complex Champagne for under $35 a bottle.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

Ariston Aspasie Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 05-25-2016
We have been working with Aspasie for years, as they were our first direct import Champagne producer. Their wine continues to be of the highest quality, making it the best value Champagne in the store. Year after year, the rosé is my favorite rosé in the store. With flavors of black cherry, ripe cranberry, rosemary and an earthier backbone, this rose is beautiful both as an aperitif and especially fantastic with food. Try it with a roast duck or heavier fish like salmon or tuna steak.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2015 Le Coeur de la Reine Sauvignon Blanc Touraine
Review Date: 05-21-2016
I loved the 2014, but this 2015 is even better, showing more minerality and restraint. Still the same bright, juicy high acid, balanced by notes of white nectarine, blood orange and even a little passion fruit. The texture is rich and supple with a long flinty finish.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2014 Château de Brézé Clos de Midi Saumur Blanc
Review Date: 05-21-2016
In the region of Saumur, a unique hill is home to some of the most complex and interesting Chenin Blanc of Loire. The historic hill of Brézé is where you will find Château de Brézé. The entire hill sits on tuffeau limestone rock, which is thought to contribute to its character. The vineyards are divided into true “clos” or walled off vineyards, that protect the unique topsoils. While the Clos de Midi is the Chateau’s entry level bottling, it is also a ‘clos’ that expresses a wine from a cooler, sandy site. This light bodied wine is insanely complex. Aromas of fresh honeycomb and lemon zest lead to flavors of orange blossom, cooked rhubarb, and wet puddles stones. The acidity is searing and juicy and will cut through fat and cleanse the palate entirely. A perfect companion to a whole white fish or fatty cheese.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2013 Sylvain Gaudron "La Butte du Trésor" Vouvray Sec
Review Date: 05-07-2016
Year after year this is one of the best valued dry Vouvray offered. It delivers all the things you want from Chenin Blanc, high acid and opulent weight plus more ripe notes of peach skin, white nectarine and jasmine.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2013 Nicolas Joly Les Vieux Clos Savennières
Review Date: 04-27-2016
On the very steep south facing river banks of Savennieres you will find the vineyards of Nicolas Joly. The Les Vieux Clos embodies the terroir of the appellation perfectly. Meyer lemon, flint, and crunchy apple burst from the glass, with flavors of almond skin, shells, resin and pears. This wine is an elegant powerhouse that will age gracefully.
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart

2014 François Chidaine "Les Bournais" Montlouis Sur Loire (Sec)
Review Date: 04-27-2016
The "Les Bournais" is sourced from one biodynamic vineyard. Aromas of honey, caramelized apples, and pollen emanate from the glass. Flavors of flint, beeswax, green apples and even fresh pineapples lead to seamless structure of waxy texture and high acid that begs to age in the cellar for a few years.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

Corti Brothers "Good Honest" Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 04-20-2016
Rich and smooth, this bourbon’s flavors are influenced elegantly by the casks they were aged in. The casks have a storied history, initially they were whiskey casks, then turned over to age a California specialty that can be compared to sweet sherry, and then finally for this Corti Brothers whiskey. Nutty, slightly salty and hints of vanilla and sandalwood spice, this whiskey is rich yet incredibly balanced, the whiskey gracefully took on all the right qualities of its barrels.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2007 Foundi Xinomavro Naoussa
Review Date: 04-15-2016
While 2007 was a difficult vintage almost everywhere in Greece, it was one of the best vintages in years for the indigenous Xinomavro varietal in its native Naoussa. This 2007 Foundi embodies the vintage with vigor and structure that will last for another decade. Aromas of raspberries, figs, meat and dried currents wrap your senses while the palate has racy acidity and grippy tannins layered with notes of plum, leather, violets and graphite. Drink it now with a gamy leg of lamb or steak, and through another in the cellar to enjoy the benefits of patience.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

Copper & Kings "Cr&ftwerk" 3 Floyds Stout-Aged Brandy (750ml)
Review Date: 04-15-2016
These beer aged brandies are incredible. I’ve seen it done with whiskey, but the results are remarkable with brandy. The 3 Floyds is aged in stout barrels and has a slight influence from those barrels that make for a super interesting brandy. Aromas of cherries, orange and panettone with flavors of malt, coffee and caramel and a soft texture, resembling, well, stout. These brandies pack a punch and I’d say are a whiskey drinker's brandy.
Price: $49.99 Add To Waiting List
Limit of 2 per customer

Copper & Kings "Cr&ftwerk" Oskar Blues IPA-Aged Brandy (750ml)
Review Date: 04-15-2016
This Oskar Blues IPA is the most obviously influenced by its beer barrel of the four bottlings. Aged in a barrel that once contained a hoppy IPA, fruity and yeasty aromatics burst form the glass. The palate is expressive with notes of orange, grapefruit, fresh hops and white flowers. This is the perfect brandy for the California beer drinker.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
Limit of 2 per customer

2014 Domaine Les Pins "Les Rochettes" Bourgueil
Review Date: 04-13-2016
This is 100% Cabernet Franc from the lesser known appellation of Bourgueil. Bourgueil gets a bit overshadowed by its neighbor, Chinon, but the wines of Bourgueil offer nuance and elegance. The ‘Les Rochettes’ is no exception. With bright acidity, and soft integrated tannins, this wine is simply gorgeous. Notes of violets, bright raspberry and cocoa, with graphite minerality and just a hint of smoke on the finish make for an exquisite bottle, for just $12, that Chinon at that price simply cannot match.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

2014 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "La Reserve d'O" Saint Guilhem le Desert Blanc
Review Date: 04-07-2016
Marie and Frederic poured this for us with absolute love and admiration, simply hoping we would love and understand this wine as well. Well, it certainly won me over! It is truly a wine geek’s wine. This is not your simple crisp everyday drinker nor your basic everyday oaky Chardonnay. They explained it is a blend of Chenin Blanc, Roussanne, and Grenache Blanc, unknown amounts of each because they co-harvest and co-fermented them all together, sort of like a field blend. Aromas of beeswax, roasted almonds and caramelized butter jump from the glass. The palate has salinity and a waxy texture with flavors of bruised yellow apples, pears, and lemon zest. While it is expressive enough to drink now, Frederic told us that after a few more years, it will develop flavors of cooked rhubarb and honey that are simply exquisite.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2009 Trimbach "Cuvée Frédéric Émile" Riesling Alsace
Review Date: 04-03-2016
With 7 years of age, the Cuvee Frederic Emile is just beginning to develop. The nose burst with aromas of white flowers, honeycomb, herbs and a subtle hint of petrol. On the palate a smack of minerality like wet stones shows first, with white tea, rhubarb and white nectarine shining through. While this Riesling is drinking exceptionally now, it is structurally sound, with bright acid and big texture, ready to sit in your cellar for a few more years. Enjoy it now with some Szechuan food.

2012 A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines "The Curator" Red Blend Coastal Region
Review Date: 04-03-2016
The Curator is a red blend from the granite soils of Swartland, South Africa. Shiraz is the dominate varietal with some Cinsaut, Mourvedre, Grenache and tiny amounts of cool varietals like Tinta Barocca and Pinotage. This bright blend provides aromas of black cherry, meat, and blackberries. The palate tastes of red plums, currants and licorice, with a thread of spice throughout. This juicy and spicy blend is perfect for pork, beef or game.
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart

2013 Henri Bourgeois "Jadis" Sancerre
Review Date: 03-17-2016
The 'Jadis' is bright and lifted in its youth with aromas of orange blossom and lemon zest. The palate is alive with everything from lemon to peach pith and even a little tropical fruit. With flinty minerality, bright acidity and quite a bit of body, this wine will reward those who wait. Drink one now, put another in the cellar for 5-7 years to see its true depth and complexity.
Price: $48.99 Add To Cart
WE 94

2014 Spellbound California Chardonnay
Review Date: 03-11-2016
The Spellbound Chardonnay shows incredible depth and balance at a fantastic value. The nose is full of pears, baked apples, and just a hint of lees and toasty notes. The palate provides incredible balance between acid and a richness while having notes of white peach, pear and vanilla.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2006 Taittinger "Comtes de Champagne" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 03-11-2016
Aromas of yellow apples, caramelized pears and toast are very expressive immediately after popping the bottle. The palate shows more white nectarine and peach with bright acidity, soft moussey bubbles and a long, rich finish of baked apples.

2012 Kir-Yianni "Yianakohori Hills" Red Blend Macedonia
Review Date: 02-05-2016
This elegant Greek blend boasts aromas of violets, dark cherry and anise. The palate is lifted and bright yet soft and polished. Flavors of dark plum, blackberry, and chocolate dominate the palate while having a backbone of graphite and a subtle sanguine quality. While this is drinking well now, the bright acidity and polished tannin structure would make for an interesting wine to cellar for a few years.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2011 Kir-Yianni Ramnista Xinomavro Naoussa
Review Date: 02-05-2016
This Xinomavro has incredible lift and acidity, while still having that hallmark Xinomavro tannin. There are notes of bright cherries, figs, and fennel coupled with flavors of eucalyptus, leather, and iron. This is a wine that is light yet tannic; full of fruit, yet incredibly earthy; and rustic while maintaining exceptional complexity. I love its opposing characteristics that work seamlessly together.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2014 Ermitage "Victor" Costières de Nîmes Rouge
Review Date: 02-02-2016
This is undoubtedly the best $10 wine we have in the store. Dark berry fruits, juicy and lifted with a backbone of black peppercorn spice and graphite. Pair this with just about anything, or nothing at all.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

1995 Inchgower 20 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 01-15-2016
Another lovely single malt from a distillery with no official bottling. The Inchgower is great for fans of Sherry influenced whisky. Rich flavors of chocolate, caramel, coffee and vanilla come across on both the nose and palate. The texture is rich but not oily, with oak spice and notes of dried dates, oranges and raisins. This bottle oozes complexity with its rich Oloroso sherry influence and 20 year age, I’m shocked at the under $100 price tag.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2009 Talisker 5 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 01-15-2016
Light hints of hickory, salt and charcoal lead you to aromas of lemon zest and yellow apples. While the palate does have a dose of peat and salinity, flavors of licorice, peppercorn and baked apples complement the classic island peat. This young five year Talisker provides both masculine elements of smoke and a refreshing elegance of fruit and herbs.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

1997 Glenlossie 17 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 01-15-2016
Glenlossie is a distillery I had never heard of until now. They don’t currently have a distillery bottling, although I’m wishing they did, because when this is gone, it’s gone. With a light golden color, this fresh Speyside single malt is light yet powerful. Vanilla, lemon and white flowers spring out of the glass. There is an intense oak spice on the palate balanced by lemongrass, green apple, tea, and a lovely savory malt quality to round it all out. If there is such thing as a daytime single malt sipper, this would be it.
Price: Hidden View Price

2013 Fürst Centragenberg Pinot Noir Grosses Gewächs Franken
Review Date: 01-09-2016
Spending over a $100 on a German Pinot Noir may seem a bit brash. But most wouldn’t bat an eye at spending 2 or 3 times that on Burgundy. The Centragenberg is everything you want and more for half the price you would spend on Burgundy as good as this Furst bottling. Aromas of violets, exotic spices, and minerals lead to a palate of strawberry, sweet cherry, cedar and tobacco. This Pinot is ethereal but sturdy with structure, acid and length that will hold up well for years in the cellar. Next time you think about spending hundred of dollars on Burgundy, look instead to the Pinot Noirs of Germany.
Price: Hidden View Price

2012 Heger "Vitus" Pinot Noir Baden
Review Date: 01-09-2016
Just a few miles from the French border, you can find the vineyards of Dr. Heger in Kaiserstuhl. These vineyards lie on a unique area of Baden where there was once a volcano. This volcanic soil includes rocks that remain from 16-19 million years ago. The “Vitus” is truly terroir driven with notes smoke, violets, paprika, savory leather and a core of graphite. It drinks absolutely lovely now and will age well for another 5+ years.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine Dugois Ploussard Arbois Rouge
Review Date: 11-27-2015
If you are looking for a lighter red for the evening, skip Pinot and try this gorgeous Ploussard. It's lighter than Pinot but full of character. The nose has aromas of bramble, tea leaf, and spices. The palate provides flavors of crunchy fruits like cranberry intertwined with savory, meaty components. It is bright and lifted but has game and earth too. When it's warm out, it is incredibly refreshing slightly chilled.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2013 Casa Castillo "El Molar" Garnacha Jumilla
Review Date: 11-12-2015
This "El Molar" is my favorite bottling yet from Casa Castillo. All that beautiful ripe, dark Jumilla fruit with a kick of sweet smoke, graphite, black pepper and tea leaf. It's sultry and seductive and will certainly be a difficult bottle to put down.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2013 Clos du Val Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-31-2015
The stunning deep purple hue leads to aromas of violet, spice-box, basil and cassis. The palate is plush and integrated with black pepper, blackberries, ripe plums, cigar spice and graphite. Pleasant to drink now, or hold onto for up to 5 years.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JS 92 VN 92

Strohmeier "Schilcher Frizzzante" Styria
Review Date: 10-28-2015
A sparkling rosé of Blauer Wildbacher that sees 12 hours of skin contact before the initial fermentation followed by a secondary fermentation in bottle. Blauer Wildbacher is a very old grape varietal thought to date back to the Celts and a specialty of the Styria region. This bottle is full of bramble, earl grey tea, rosemary, violets and smoke. A very unique wine that deserves your attention.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
W&S 90

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