Staff Favorites - Sal Rodriguez

Sal Rodriguez

Reviews

  
2014 Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 08-11-2017
Effortless beauty and finesse. If you're looking for an aromatically expressive Bordeaux blend that doesn't quit, that has a lovely, spicy, brightly acidic, velvety mouth-feel on the palate, then this should be at the top of your list. Loads of dry flowers, bright fruit, and graphite on the nose. Delicious fruit, light minerals, lifted acidity, and fresh herbs play well together on the palate. This is one of my favorite players in the short list of wines that have achieved cult-like status. While many others in this category are much less approachable, the Pahlmeyer Bordeaux Blend offers up lots more freshness and appeal a lot sooner. An iconic wine indeed!
Top Value!

Bollinger "Special Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-06-2017
You don't get this fine of a wine without putting in a lot of effort! If I had to give a gift and it needed name recognition, and it had to be epic, and it had to be less than 100 dollars - This is it!! Intense, spicy musk, with a serious presence. Lots of weight and complexity to explore. Great minerality and plenty of apple flavors to enjoy. A perfect bottle of bubbly!

2008 Baron Fuente "Grand Millesime" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-06-2017
It's not easy to purchase a bottle of vintage Champagne for anywhere near this price! Baron Fuente, a small producer we've been highly focused on for many years, has offered up some of the best values in Champagne-dom. Lots of intensity on the nose, full of baking spice and apple skins. Lovely intensity and wonderfully creamy on the palate. Although it's dry it has a round, medium weight body and presence that is not typical for Brut. The finish has hints of fresh spiced mango. What a tremendous value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2014 Beckmen "Cuvée Le Bec" Santa Ynez Rhône Blend
Review Date: 05-27-2017
I really enjoy a solid red Rhone blend, at a great price. This 2014 expression of the Cuvee Le Bec is a smooth, approachable, red fruited number, that also has a hint of tobacco. It persists on the palate with a hefty richness of fruit and minerality. Red wines don't get too much easier to drink than this!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 VN 90

2016 Claiborne & Churchill Central Coast Gewürztraminer
Review Date: 05-27-2017
Gewurz this good should come with a warning label! "Caution - May be habit forming!" I've yet to become a huge fan of white wines, but when I do find one I like, it's very likely that it will be a little dry, a little floral, with noticeable fruit, juicy acidity, and enjoyable minerality. This is all of the above in an inexpensive package. I opened this just the other day it just kept getting more and more expressive as the time went on. A wonderful, expressive wine that's worth every penny!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Tatomer Edna Valley Pinot Noir Rosé
Review Date: 05-26-2017
Rose wines were in abundance during our March trip to the Central Coast earlier this year. Here's one of the ones that stood out for me! Super fresh, high-tone, strawberry are this wine's introductory nose. It draws you in with a tropical feel. On the palate you get wonderful dried fruits, and a nice mineral backbone. Everything holds together nicely with a nice kiss of acidity. Using the words of OutKast - "So fresh and so clean".
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart

2014 Tatomer "Vandenberg" Santa Barbara County Riesling
Review Date: 05-26-2017
Maybe my head was in the clouds but I can't say I've heard much about Tatomer, before now. Boy have I been missing out! This is everything I love about Riesling! All the dried flowers, citrus, and stone fruits, are just remarkable. There's plenty of minerality on the palate and a noticeable touch of botrytis. What a lovely wine with plenty of grip and intensity! This is easy going down so grab a few bottles!
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart
VN 92

2013 Viña Herminia Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 05-26-2017
Elegant nose of dusty cherry fruit, cranberry, and flowers, lead into a savory, mineral driven Rioja. I always enjoy the way a good Spanish Tempranillo comes off as refined and traditional, yet somehow still quite modern. This hits all of the wine buttons for me, with it's tart fruit and elegant finish - and is offered at a great price. Can't wait to take this home and let it sing some more!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2014 Eisele Vineyards "Altagracia" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-10-2017
Aromatic, uplifted, fragrant (maybe lavender), and fresh blue and blackberries start things off on the nose. Medium tannins, but with a generous helping of mineral-driven fruit and a bright sense of freshness on the palate. Impressive, intense and pure. This should hold up for a good long while!
Price: $124.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

2013 Neumayer Raufsetzen Grüner Veltliner Traisental
Review Date: 05-05-2017
Toasted vanilla, lemon zest, and spice on the nose. A bright and juicy effort that turns creamy on the palate and has a nice mineral nerve going right through the middle. A seriously great value for a wine of this quality!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2008 Fallet-Dart Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-05-2017
Wow! Bright, crisp, and juicy. This can mean that the wine is not complex, but not here - there is enough going on to add wonderful mouthfeel, and a long creamy finish. We have a great part of the market cornered with so many great Champagnes between 30 and 40 dollars and this is right up there as one of my top 5 favorites!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2011 Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage Port
Review Date: 05-05-2017
This port comes through big, dark, and ripe! Lots of richness and spice. Lovely notes of toasted vanilla and cherry. Easy to drink and easy on the pocket-book. This is my next go-to port for the house!

2013 Giesen "Single Vineyard Selection - Ridge Block" Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 02-06-2017
You could easily spend a lot more on Pinot that's not even half as beautiful as this! The nose offers up lovely, dusty notes of fruit with a hint of old world style. Hi-toned ferrous notes allow for such an intense savory flavor profile. On the palate is an intriguing mix of fruit, herbs, dried flowers with a pleasant mineral driven complexity. If you're looking for an elegant Pinot, that holds up to wines twice its price, grab one for your next blind tasting. A finer Pinot bargain will be hard to find. Enjoy!

2013 Felton Road Riesling Bannockburn Central Otago
Review Date: 02-03-2017
Each time I grab a bottle of Riesling to drink at home, there's a 75 percent chance it's going to be from New Zealand. I love so many things about the wines from this region, especially the Rieslings! This is beautifully made, refreshingly bright, with just the right amount of zippy acidity. Hints of flowers, apple, and pear on the nose and seriously crisp, maybe tart, apple deliciousness on the palate. There's some nice sweetness here, but it's not over the top or unreasonable. And what a price! I'm taking this home tonight!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
BC 95 JS 93

2013 John Duval "Plexus" SGM Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 01-20-2017
Impressive, concentrated berries are the first thing I noticed when I took in the aromas. This beauty continues with a dark fruit aroma that is somehow also fresh. Dry, crisp, and still fresh flavors hit the palate with a touch of herb and spice. The finish is clean, earthy, and fresh. A lovely, expressive, delicious wine from the folks out at John Duval.

Siembra Valles "Ancestral" Blanco Tequila (750ml)
Review Date: 11-23-2016
A colleague handed me a glass, and I inhaled. Light notes of fresh cracked pepper and lovely hints of smoke were prevalent. I asked if it was a mezcal because of the sweet, fresh, smoke. I found out it was a tequila (obvious now) but the fact that it can be confused for a mezcal, speaks of its smokey complexity. I usually think that the smokey flavors weigh down mezcal but this one remains fresh, bright, and intense. If you need a new tequila for your home bar, you have to consider this one - trust me! Cheers!
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

2013 Vidal-Fleury Côtes-du-Rhône
Review Date: 09-14-2016
Wonderful expression of a Cotes du Rhone! Highly perfumed with, fruit, iron, and light hints of cedar on the nose. It's a very warming, welcoming, aromatic CdR. On the palate, the wine continued on with pretty fragrances, fruit, and hints of beef blood. A lot going on in such an inexpensive wine. You'll be rewarded by taking your time with this shapeshifter of a wine. Cheers!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2004 Lopez de Heredia "Viña Tondonia" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 08-25-2016
I'm consistently awed by the fine wines the folks at Lopez de Heredia have been making. I guess, being in the business for about 140 years you learn a few things about your craft. This superbly complex wine is something really special. I've had their late 90's Tondonia and they all seem to age like Tom Cruise has aged - Slowly, comfortably, and hard to believe it's the age that it is. Some of the highest quality wines you'll find in the price category. Cheers!

Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Gin (375ml)
Review Date: 05-02-2014
I can’t really say I am a “gin” person (whatever that means), but I know what I like when I taste it. This is it! This is what I like! I tried it ‘neat’ and really under-estimated what this little bottle was capable of. Let’s start out with pretty flowers and juniper popping out of the glass! Another whiff and I was hit with jasmine blossom and orange peel! I didn’t have to take a sip to know that I was going to be taking some of this home. I took a little sip anyhow, and some of the loveliest spices, pepper, and juniper just washed over my tongue and filled my mouth. As I try to convey into words, what this gin tastes like, it is selling out from under us! Yes, the bottle is a little expensive, but once you get the bottle home and into your glass, it’ll all make perfect sense.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2010 St. Clement "Oroppas" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 10-04-2013
Bursting with bright red fruit and eucalyptus on the nose, this blend is sure to please the palate looking to be fully enveloped in gorgeous fruit, supple tannins, and a smooth finish. This quite simply, over-delivers! Although I have been hell-bent on drinking the 07 and 09 vintages because of their delicious fruit and roundness, I may have to start reconsidering my stand on the 2010’s!
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 WS 90