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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2014 Obsidian Ridge "Obsidian Ridge Vineyard" Red Hills Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 02-17-2017
I love how this Cabernet is so balanced and elegant yet still provides the weight that you want from Cali Cab!! The nose has aromas of cassis, spice box and coconut. On the palate flavors of blackberries with a core of graphite, bitter chocolate and coffee grounds. One of the best Cabs under $30.
Price: $25.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2014 Clos Saint Jean "Vieilles Vignes" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 02-05-2017
The Clos Saint Jean Chateanueuf is not for the faint of heart. This wine has power and persistence. It is quite young and would cellar well, but is also surprisingly expressive in its youth. Aromas of blueberry compote, rhubarb, lavender, and clove pop from the glass. Flavors of blackberry jam, star anise, and cassis are surrounded by structure, and power. Enjoy with a hearty oxtail stew!

2014 Domaine Drouhin "Arthur" Dundee Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 01-27-2017
This is beautiful terroir-driven, French-style Chardonnay that exudes elegance. It is a clean, pure expression of Chardonnay from Willamette with aromas of fennel and white flowers, and flavors of pith, wet stones, almonds and white nectarines. And you get all of that ethereal beauty for under $30.

2015 Domaine Vincent Cluzel Condrieu
Review Date: 01-22-2017
If you are a lover of fine, rich, aromatic whites, then you have to pick up a few bottles of the Cluzel Condrieu. Made with 100% Viognier, your senses will be tantalized by aromas of jasmine, fennel and lavender. The palate is rich and toasty with flavors of orange creamsicle, nectarine, lychee and star anise. This drinks beautifully now, and could age from 2-3 years in the cellar.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
RP 95

2014 Clos Bellane Côtes du Rhône-Villages Valréas
Review Date: 01-12-2017
Cote du Rhone lovers rejoice! This is village level CDR for under $20 and absolutely delicious. Aromas of dark cherry, white flowers and meat jump from the glass while flavors of raspberry, blackberry and graphite come through on the palate with soft integrated tannins that wrap around your mouth like silk. This bottle is sure to impress your friends so keep a few around the house.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 - 92

1987 Domaine du Cardinat 28 Year Old "K&L Exclusive" Bas Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 01-09-2017
The 1987 is the lightest of the three vintages, showing a bit more elegant and ethereal. Aromas of white flowers and almonds with a palate of roasted walnuts, dried apricots, szechuan peppercorn with a finish that is dry and structured.
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

Writer's Tears Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 01-06-2017
This is absolutely lovely pure pot still Irish Whiskey. Aromas of flowers, tea and bananas lead to a palate of chestnuts, caramel, malt and spice. This is rich, full-bodied and textural whiskey that is extremely smooth and easy to drink. The only problem is the bottle will be gone faster than you intended, so stock up!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2015 Leitz Rüdesheimer Riesling Trocken Rheingau
Review Date: 01-06-2017
The Rudesheimer trocken shows the finesse and complexity of the GG wines Leitz produces for under $20. The nose expresses elegant notes of lemon oil and orange blossom, while the palate shows notes of Meyer lemon, savory salinity, slatey minerality and bright, crisp acidity the cuts right through any fatty food and pairs perfectly with seafood. I love these wines, they represent exceptional quality dry Riesling for such a steal!
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2015 Veronique Anne Perret Vin de Savoie Apremont
Review Date: 01-06-2017
Some of the best value whites in the world are coming from the Savoie. I absolutely love this wine, there is some much complexity for so little money. It is truly the taste of the alps. This wine is full of minerality, with aromas of chalk, and a palate that seems like you're licking wet stone and slate. This is all accompanied by aromas of beautiful white flowers, tea and flavors of lemongrass, pith and great acid and texture. Extremely versatile with food, great for fondue!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2015 Franck Millet "Insolite" Sancerre
Review Date: 01-06-2017
An eternal staff favorite, the "Insolite" returns for another incredible vintage. This vintage is truly special and extremely mineral driven, with tons of chalky minerality, crushed limestone, lemon zest and refreshing salinity. The Insolite has more mid-palate weight than his basic Sancerre Blanc coupled with crisp acidity, which makes it perfect for shellfish but easy enough to drink on its own.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2014 Sylvain Gaudron "La Butte du Trésor" Vouvray Sec
Review Date: 01-06-2017
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

2015 Domaine Dugois Ploussard Arbois Rouge
Review Date: 01-06-2017
Ploussard is a little known varietal from the Jura that is light and elegant but provides so much character. This is a varietal the deserves more attention. It's lighter than Pinot but full of character. The nose has aromas of bramble, tea leaf, smoke 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. It's beautiful with a slight chill on it as well. Next time you're looking for a light red, skip Pinot and impress your friends with Dugois Ploussard.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2009 Roederer Estate "L'Ermitage" Anderson Valley Brut Sparkling Wine
Review Date: 12-21-2016
The 'L'Ermitage' is a sparkling wine that can truly stand amongst Champagne. Lightly autolytic aromas of bruised apples and caramel lead to soft, moussey palate of quince, yellow apples, and a hint of cherry on the finish. What and delicious and impressive California sparkler.
Price: $45.99 Add To Cart
WS 92 W&S 90

Ohishi "'K&L Exclusive"' Single Sherry Cask #1023 Japanese Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-15-2016
What I love about the Ohishi is the combination of the beautiful texture you get from distilled rice and the wonderful balance of sherry characteristics imparted from aging in sherry barrels. Aromas of white flowers and almonds lead to a soft palate of cocoa, almond skins, toasted walnuts, and raisins.
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

Rhum Clement "K&L Exclusive" Cask Stength Single Barrel Agricole Martinique Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 12-09-2016
Barrel aged Rhum Agricole can be sooo special, and this bottling is just that. This is just so complex, the aromas and flavors just go on and on the more you smell and sip. With a very perfumed nose of lemon rind, resin, nectarine and mango and flavors of banana, peach, Brazil nuts and cocoa, this Rhum is unstoppable. It's single barrel and cask strength, so it does well with a bit of water on its own and holds its own in cocktails. A must have for your rum collection.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2015 Malat "Furth-Palt" Grüner Veltliner Kremstal
Review Date: 12-03-2016
Bright, zippy, fresh peeled lemon zest, prickly pears and white pepper make this zingy Gruner perfect to have around the house for parties and friends.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2015 Dr. Pauly Bergweiler Bernkasteler alte Badstube am Doctorberg Riesling Kabinett Mosel
Review Date: 12-01-2016
Absolutely beautiful, classic Mosel Kabinett. Very perfumed with aromas of honeysuckle, lavender and wet stones. The palate is mineral-driven, surrounded by notes of tart tangerine, sweet pears, and nectarines with juicy acidity and the perfect amount of sweetness to complement any spicy food. Elegant, complex and delicious.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

2015 Wwe. Dr. H. Thanisch (Müller-Burggraef) Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett Mosel
Review Date: 12-01-2016
Classic notes of honeycomb and smoke turn to flavors of crunchy apples, exotic fruits like Asian pears and star fruit, and ginger and exotic spices. There is loads of texture and a long, mouthwatering finish that leaves you wanting more.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
WE 92 WS 91

2015 Le Paradis Chinon
Review Date: 11-27-2016
This is 100% Cabernet Franc from the heart of the Loire Valley. This is always the perfect house red to keep around. The 'Le Paradis' is fresh and bright with notes of raspberry, plum, violets, black pepper and fresh crushed herbs like thyme and sage. Pair this with everything from salads, to steak.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2015 Schmelz Wachauer Terrassen Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Wachau
Review Date: 11-17-2016
I was shocked to see the under $15 price point on this Terrassen Gruner after tasting it. It drinks well above its price tag with bright racy acid, big texture, crunchy apples lemon rind and a long, limestone finish.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 Schmelz Pichl Point Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Wachau
Review Date: 11-17-2016
This is not your juicy, easy going liter bottle of Gruner, this is serious Gruner Veltliner. This is a powerful, rich Gruner with lots of acid and lots of potential to age. Exotic spices, green peas, Asian pears, and stone fruit dance on your palate. Grab a few for Thanksgiving dinner and add a bottle to the cellar to try in 10 years, if you can wait that long.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart

2015 Schmelz Steinriegl Riesling Smaragd Wachau
Review Date: 11-17-2016
The single vineyard Riesling from the Steinriegl vineyard comes from one of the few sites in Wachau that has special limestone silicate marble soils which Riesling thrives in. This terroir driven wine is aromatically captivating with notes of Meyer lemon, orange blossom, and beeswax beaming from the glass. On the palate, notes of river stones, white nectarine and chalk are coupled with racy acid, full body and a long, dry finish. This Riesling is gorgeous, and had the whole staff enamored.
Price: $28.99 Add To Cart

2015 Schmelz Stein am Rain Riesling Federspiel Wachau
Review Date: 11-17-2016
In Austria, Gruner Veltliner seems to get all the spotlight, but don't forget that Austria makes some exquisite, dry Riesling. This is Johann's entry level Riesling coming from the vineyard of Stein Am Rain that has alluvial and sandy soils which Rieslings does great in. This dry, juicy Riesling shows notes of honeysuckle, lemon, white peach and salinity. While there is great acid on this wine, the 2015 vintage provides this wine with big body and texture to balance.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2014 Ancient Peaks/K&L Wine Merchants Paso Robles Zinfandel
Review Date: 11-16-2016
Not over ripe, jammy or too high in alcohol, this is a beautifully balanced Zinfandel. Cassis, figs, plums, berries and baking spice coat your palate with juicy acidity and soft, rich texture. This is elegant Paso Zin!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

Ariston Aspasie Brut Rosé Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 10-30-2016
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: $18.99 Add To Cart

Charles Ellner "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-13-2016
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 white nectarine, cranberry and a hint of caramelized apples. This is an incredibly complex Champagne for under $35 a bottle.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2015 Michel Delhommeau "Harmonie" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie
Review Date: 10-13-2016
The "Harmonie" Muscadet is a consistent staff favorite due to the fact that year after year it drinks well beyond its price point. Muscadet, not to be confused with Moscato, is a wine making region in the coastal area of the Loire Valley where they make a very dry, mineral driven wine from a grape called Melon de Bourgogne. With aromas of wet stones, sweet peas and white flowers, the palate shows chalky, limestone minerality with flavors of lemon curd and white nectarine. Consume this bright, dry, mineral-driven wine the way the locals do, with oysters or just about anything from the sea.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

Cruz Vieja Viña Roble Amontillado Jerez
Review Date: 10-01-2016
Cruz Vieja makes some of the most intricate, complex wines of the region, with such attention to detail and care for every step of the process. This Amontillado is elegant and complexly layered with flavor. It is extremely aromatic, revealing notes of hazelnuts, white flowers and bitter cocoa with flavors of salt, honey, roasted almonds and a long finish. Food pairings are endless with this wine, anything from olives to artichokes, to cured meats, to even heavier meats like pork or lamb.
Price: $32.99 Add To Cart
RP 91 WS 90

2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) "SV5182 - Single Block" Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 09-29-2016
This pinot is from a single block of a single, gravel laden, vineyard from TWR. This pinot oozes elegance and lift. With a bouquet of mushrooms and violets, leading your palate to notes of dark cherry, berries, cassis and spice. This pinot is lifted and light yet full of character. This is the kind of pinot that is hard to put down.

2014 Clos de la Bonnette "Roches d'Arbuel" Condrieu
Review Date: 08-23-2016
I can't believe it, we have a Direct Import Condrieu! And what a Condrieu it is! Elegant and beautiful with aromas of white flowers, wet stones, and yellow Mirabelle plum. The palate wraps your mouth in flavors of rosemary, quince, nectarine and beeswax. This white has big texture and length for days. This bottle drinks at much more than its price point.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

2015 Robert Cantin "Les Grezes" Pinot Noir Vin de France
Review Date: 08-21-2016
It is a constant battle trying to find a Pinot Noir for an affordable price that is worth drinking. 2014 was the first vintage that I had tried, and the 2015 is just as incredible if not better than the last vintage. Coming from the chalky soils of the Loire valley near Sancerre, this Pinot is elegant. Aromas of crush flower and violets lead to a palate with lift and acidity, and notes of plum, currants and graphite, this red is perfect for every occasion. Look no further for your everyday Pinot.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Robert Sérol "Cabochard" Côte Roannaise Rosé (Gamay)
Review Date: 08-21-2016
This is an incredibly beautiful rosé from start to finish, even the color is this gorgeous, almost blood orange color. Aromas of cantaloupe, melon and rose petals lead to flavors of blood orange, white nectarine, wet stones and a hint of strawberry. The finish is long and persistent coupled with almost a waxy texture that balances out the acidity. The perfect rosé for simply poolside sipping while also being complex enough for serious food pairings.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2014 Heinrich Spindler Riesling Trocken (dry) Pfalz
Review Date: 08-15-2016
Shows aromas of almond blossom and quince, and flavors of apricot, wet stones and salt water complemented by mouthwatering acidity and a long, dry finish. This the perfect wine to refresh your palate on a hot summer day, accompanied by some sushi.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2013 Heinrich Spindler Pechstein Riesling Trocken (dry) Grosse Lage Pfalz
Review Date: 08-15-2016
Fermented entirely in stainless steel, the Pechstein is elegant and concentrated, with aromas of smoke, chalk and red fruits like tart cherry plums. The waxy texture of the wine captivates your palate and wraps it in flavors of white peach, white cherry and a finish of white flowers.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 Kalinda Riesling Rheingau
Review Date: 08-14-2016
Finding a great Riesling for under $15 is not always easy, and this Rheingau Riesling is a steal for $11.99. This is an off-dry style Riesling that is simply perfect for sipping in the garden while eating fresh fruit or for pairing with some spicy Szechuan food.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2014 Neyers "Left Bank Red" Napa Valley Red Blend
Review Date: 07-24-2016
I was blown away by balance and precision in the Neyers Left Bank blend. Beautiful fruit purity, not over-extracted or over-oaked with notes of purple fruit like cassis, fresh ground coffee, graphite and round, soft tannins. This is one of the best California Bordeaux blends for under $50 that I've had in a long time.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WS 92

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

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

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: Hidden View Price

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

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

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

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