Staff Favorites - Joe Manekin

Joe Manekin
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Joe arrived at our doors in February 2007 from far away, Washington, DC to be exact. Just so no one gets the wrong idea, though, he was merely earning a living in DC; Joe’s cultural identity, as well as his professional sports allegiances and, when he has a few drinks in him, his accent, are all Baltimore through and through. After working on the wholesale side of the business for nearly 4 years, Joe decided that he wanted to work wine retail with the best, so he emailed Cindy Westby at K&L and the rest is history. While Joe is well versed in a number of wine regions, he most enjoys the wines of Europe, though he is growing increasingly interested in the great wines of the Santa Cruz mountains. When he is not at K&L, Joe enjoys cooking, traveling, catching up on The Wire, doing occasional PR, booking and recording work for reggae band JohnStone (www.johnstonemusic.com), and writing for his wine, food and music blog, Old world Old School (www.oldworldoldschool.blogspot.com)


Reviews

  
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2009 Château de Chambert Cahors
Review Date: 06-14-2017
I respect Malbec, I really do. When it's done right, there are few grapes that match its intensity of fruit and versatility with food. I also taste a ton of Malbecs as part of my responsibilities buying Argentinian wines, so if I'm going to break from the usual routine of telling folks how delicious a new Argentinian Malbec is, you know that this is some serious stuff! This Cahors opens with big and bright plum fruit aromas, which lead to a palate of juicy red fruit, terrific presence and poise, as well as a thread of iron minerality. Fairly classic Malbec profile, but as is the case with the Cahors version of Malbec, the acidity is a bit livelier and really drives the wine. Sign me up! Drinking now, and likely to be drinking for at least some 5-7 years from now. Great wine.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 WS 90

2007 Bollinger "Grande Année" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-07-2017
It would be hard to do better than to be tasting Bollinger Grande Annee on the job, as part of the job, on a Tuesday afternoon. As it turns out though, I would soon be doing better indeed: Champagne buyer Gary Westby had an extra bottle for the closing crew to enjoy while counting out the drawers that night! Grande Annee is a delicious vintage Champagne, and in the case of this 2007, has what I would call a quiet complexity. Citrus and hazlenut aromas lead to a linear, nuanced palate that slowly reveals additional layers with air. There is plenty to ponder, and additional complexity that will surely continue to unfold with time. That said, this is not a huge production cuvee, and one of those luxury products where prestige is comfortably exceeded by the quality (no secret for this wine, by the way) so I would suggest laying claim to some now.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

Bollinger "Special Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-07-2017
Oh man, is this good, soooo good! We have to be careful around here about picking favorites in the Champagne category, because the fact is that we all love Champagne and our current favorite may be bested by yet another delicious bottling before long. That said, for many of us, Bollinger is a long-time favorite amongst the grande marques, a true original and - without going into detail - a process that is ridiculously labor intensive, manual and expensive even for their Special Cuvee. With aromas of loquat, and a slightly savory, Beurre Blanc like note, the current bottling immediately drew me in in. It may be the 1/3 barrel fermented aspect of the base wine, the presence of 10-20 year old reserve wine, or my experience with the other great chalky soil based wine region of Europe, but I detected just a passing resemblance to Manzanilla here! A bright, delicious, complete and complex palate seals the deal and Bollinger continues to be one of my absolute faves.

2008 Baron Fuente "Grand Millesime" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-07-2017
Yet another direct import 2008 vintage Champagne for a laughably low price, the Baron Fuente is not only from a great vintage, but also consists of 100% estate grown fruit (for added context, you are likely to pay at least 2.5x as much for a larger grande marque's vintage wine, consisting of large amounts of purchased fruit). Big, bright, golden fruit along with brioche/challah dough nuances combine for a delicious Champagne that should please lots of folks for drinking now, though with a recent disgorgement and at just 9 years young, it should drink well for quite some time.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Laurent-Perrier "Grand Siècle" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-07-2017
Laurent Perrier's flagship Grand Siecle is a fine Tete de Cuvee. Though its not the best known tete de cuvee, and is certainly not anywhere near the largest or most widely distributed, it does accomplish the main goal of these wines; originality and house style. This cuvee is based on the 2002 vintage, and features a 50-50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Aromas that are ever so slightly toasty and smoky lead to an incredibly vinous palate: think a blend of Puligny and Meursault 1er with bubbles. Just a trace of red fruited nuances seem to kick in towards the finish. For a celebratory splurge, anniversary or closing gift, this just might be the bottle you're looking for.

Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-07-2017
Our last shipment of this version of the ever solid Laurent Perrier Brut (they are about to release a brand new cuvee, which will soon be arriving into our stock as well), it features a generous 50% portion of chardonnay (35% PN and 15% Pinot Meunier round out the blend) with three years on the lees. Citric, and appley, the wine has direct appeal but also a little something extra, a notable mineral/saline edge. Very tasty, and nearly impossible to go wrong with this lovely Champagne .

Fallet-Dart "Clos du Mont" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-07-2017
While I did not think it could get much better than the 2008 Fallet Dart, Gary then proceeded to take us to the Clos. It's phenomenal wine, so bright and persistent, with lovely tangerine like Chardonnay fruit, a slightly nutty quality underlying all that brisk, acid framed fruit. Long lees seems to give great wines like this both a bass layer of deeply burnished nuance as well as the middles and highs of intense fruit and acidity. One thing I've learned in over 20 years in the wine business, is that if the monks bothered to build a stone wall around it, it's probably a pretty good vineyard --Gary Westby
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

2008 Fallet-Dart Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-07-2017
Is there such a thing as too much great 2008 vintage Champagne? Of course not! We have sold some great value bottles from this legend in the making vintage: Franck Bonville Millesime, Louise Brisson, Launois, Louis Brochet, amongst others. Delicious as those are, for fans of subtlety and balanced lees driven complexity, the 2008 Fallet Dart is your wines. Biscuity and yellow fruited aromas (70% Chard in this cuvee) lead to a palate that balances rich yet balanced autolytic qualities with loads of acid driven intensity. It's very fine now, and will only get better with age. This is a top value in the store right now, and needless to say for a wine of this quality, that will age with grace for years, from a top quality vintage...it's a steal. My highest possible recommendation for this beautiful wine.
Top Value!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Fallet-Dart "Grande Selection" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-07-2017
The mere fact that this cuvee from Fallet Dart has a whopping seven years on the lees should immediately grab your attention. That said, it's not all about the lees, you need to start with great base wine. This is absolutely the case for this delicious bottle of Pinot Noir based bubbles made an hour west of Epernay. A bright nose loaded with citric fruits leads to a focused, lively, fresh and engaging palate. Compared to their also tasty Grande Reserve, this wine comes across as drier and slightly lower dosage. Fantastic value for money, and a likely selection for house Champagne at our place. If you are inclined to do the same, it will be super affordable at under $35!
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2012 Haras de Pirque "Hussonet" Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva Maipo Valley
Review Date: 06-06-2017
While the 2011 is a tough act to follow, this 2012 absolutely brings it; actually I find the 2012 to be far better. This vintage shows a fruit quality that is more penetrating, with greater volume, persistence and length on the palate than the comparably softer 2011. Tannins, fruit and acidity are impeccably balanced, and in fact I would be hard pressed to find a Cab that is this well put together for $15-18, let alone one that comes close to this at $10. Bold statement, I know, but this Cabernet is a category killer! This would make as nice a pairing with grilled skirt steaks this summer as it would with low oven heat, high flame pan finished rib eyes 3-4 years from now. Real Cab for a real value price. Load up.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2011 Ferrer Bobet "Vinyes Velles" Priorat
Review Date: 05-31-2017
A blend of Cariñena and Garnacha, the Ferrer Bobet is an authentic expression of the Priorat and its two star grape varieties. Fresh mixed berry and red fruits blend with subtle roasted grains on the nose, leading to a crisp palate with bright, lively dark fruit (typical of Carignane based wines from the region). This Priorat, with its several years of bottle age, is in a real sweet spot right now. And at under $25 its as good as it gets for this famous region.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 WS 91

2016 Amalaya "Blanco de Corte" Torrontes Riesling Salta
Review Date: 05-31-2017
Back again, Amalaya's blend of Torrontes and Riesling displays beautiful bright yellow fruit, hints of jasmine as well as a chalky sense of minerality from the 5,500+ feet Salta vineyards. We are huge fans of this wine; for under $10 there is loads of refreshment and sufficient nuanced detail to hold your attention.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2016 Matetic "EQ" Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley
Review Date: 05-31-2017
Real deal Sauvignon Blanc here! While Sancerre is synonymous with Sauvignon Blanc, and New Zealand continues to produce many great examples, Chile has been busily building the case for their crisp, mineral driven Sauvignon Blancs as well. Matetic produces one of the very best values. Its lively citrus, brisk salinity and granite driven minerality combine to make a refreshing summer white, one of our best values early on in the summer sauvignon season.

2015 Zorzal Eggo "Tinto de Tiza" Mendoza
Review Date: 05-31-2017
A most serious Malbec based wine, this 2015 vintage is now in a Burgundy bottle, and the wine's reserve, structure, acidity and overall balance seem to have risen to the occasion and new bottle shape! As Gutierrez suggests, there is an initial austerity on the nose, though on the palate, the wild plums, subtle cured olive and meaty notes suggest very good quality northern Rhone Syrah. Spectacular value here in one of the driest, most structured and complex bottles of Argentinian Malbec we have yet to feature.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2014 Laventura Viura Rioja
Review Date: 05-31-2017
"Whooooa, just hold up one sec...this old vine Viura, complemented with heirloom varieties such as Malvasia and Calagraño, fermented and aged in Stockinger foudres for 18+ months, mineral as all get out yet also rich in the mid-palate with the length of a (very good) $50 white Burgundy...this wine is under $20? I had better buy my case quick. " While that may not be a direct quote, I can tell you that it was the reaction of the staff while tasting this wine recently. This stuff is fantastic. Proprietor/vigneron Bryan MacDonald's star is on the rise, and I would suggest that now is the time to get acquainted with this spectacular white wine.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2005 Bodegas Puelles Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 05-31-2017
Quite a simple breakdown for this wine: Great vintage (check); fantastic producer (also check), carefully bottle aged for you by our DI partners and 8th generation vineyard owners in the Puelles clan (yes!) The result is a wonderfully savory, sumptuous, beautifully balanced traditional Rioja that is delicious now and will continue to drink well for years ahead. At under $20, this might just be our best value in aged red wine in the store.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2015 Noemia de Patagonia "A Lisa" Malbec Rio Negro
Review Date: 05-24-2017
When it comes to Malbec in the burgeoning Rio Negro region of Patagonia, Bodegas Noemia is the name to know. What you're getting here for well under $20 is a beautiful, supple Malbec, with dark and red fruits, well integrated oak, and a profile whose richness of fruit and fineness of tannins combine to make this seem considerably more expensive. Whether you are a fan of more elegantly styled Malbec such as Achaval Ferrer, or generally seek out value in red blends from California, this Patagonian Malbec should absolutely be on your radar.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 JS 92

2014 Tapiz "Alta Collection" Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza
Review Date: 04-20-2017
Sub $15 Cab is plentiful. In fact, Cabernet at any price point is the most common request we here at K&L get. Cult cab, value cab, cab with bottle age...these are all questions we are well equipped to handle. That said, if you were to ask us for 96 point, pure varietal Cabernet for under $20, prior to this year, we would have had nothing for you. Of course this year, that all changed. So what does the Tapiz taste like? It''s good. Plenty of red fruits and hints of eucalyptus, coastal forest aromas on the nose (those who love hiking on the Marin and Sonoma Coasts will feel right at home) lead to a juicy palate which suggests younger vine fruit, but with a poise and structure lacking in most other $15 Cabs that I've had. That's it. Is it life changing? World beating? We'll let you decide. But is it fairly priced, tasty and varietally true Cab? Absolutely.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

2011 Bodegas Muriel Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 04-19-2017
This is a fantastic value in Rioja. Supple fruit, with ample body, juicy acidity, and gently spicy flavors just scream Rioja. This is the kind of red you can drink with or without a meal, pour for your guests who drink California reds or those who tend to prefer other stuff, and it will just work out and make everyone happy. Tasty and strongly recommended.

1976 LAN "Viña Lanciano" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 04-05-2017
As I prefer to do with collections of older wines, I had the opportunity to taste this immediately after delivery, and then to track its evolution over several hours. Needless to say, I was not disappointed! This single vineyard wine, from a vineyard first planted by Lan in a meander of the Ebro River, just northeast of Fuenmayor, it has aged spectacularly well. Aromas of red fruits, damp earth, celery seeds and cocoa lead to an edgy palate, with pomegranates, bright acidity, and a surprisingly youthful, linear quality to it While not the most complex of older Riojas, it delivers a taste of the complexity and vitality inherent in the best examples of fully mature Rioja.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

2014 Montes "Classic" Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua Valley
Review Date: 03-21-2017
Let's give credit where credit is due: Aurelio Montes created loads of interest in his so-called "icon" wines - Montes Folly, Purple Angel, Alpha M - at a time when most wines from Chile were selling for much less. The investment in the high end ultimately paid off, not just for those wines but also for their value oriented wines like this Cabernet. At under $10, it slays most any other sub $10 Cab out there, with aromatic complexity (roasted coffee bean, eucalypt, red fruits), fruit intensity (coupled with a lovely mineral edge, thanks to Colchagua's granite soils) and balance (13.5% ABV sound good?) Yes, while you may have seen this wine around, and we certainly did not discover it, we did re-discover its world beating value.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2015 Don Rodolfo Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 03-21-2017
It's not often that we have sub $9 wine we are so excited about that it merits an email, but this Malbec is undoubtedly an exception. Juicy, plummy fruit with just a hint of cracked pepper and underlying wood smoke makes for one gulpable weeknight red. Quite a tasty red on its own, but also this is perhaps the perfect burger wine!
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart
JS 90

2012 Castillo de Viñas Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 03-21-2017
Our newest Direct Import Rioja, this 2012 Reserva shows the richer, darker fruit quality of this warm vintage. The wine also has underlying toasty and subtly smoky barrel notes combining with balanced acidity for a plump, richer expression of Reserva Rioja done right. A great wine to check out for those curious about Spanish reds. There is a whole lot of material and a lot to like here....
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2005 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 03-21-2017
So, so, good, this 2005 Lesmos Reserva! Having recently re-tasted the wine, I can say that it still shows intense, bright fruit, all the while with great aged nuances as well. Piercing dark cherry fruits and dark chocolate aromas on the nose lead to some terrific flavors on the palate. Adding to the strong attack and mid-palate intensity is a lengthy finish, tinged with salinity and a subtle woodsy,/littoral quality. Rich, layered, and begging another sip, this tastes like it should be, conservatively 2-2.5x more expensive than it is. Drink now or cellar with confidence for another decade.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2015 Amalaya Malbec Salta
Review Date: 03-21-2017
There is something about Colome's Malbecs...they are not standard fare Malbecs. They almost seem to suggest the northern Rhone as much as Argentina. It surely has a bit to do with their elevation and intense sun exposure (for this wine, vineyards lie at 5,900 feet above sea level). The stony, calcareous soil is also part of the picture, as is winemaking. Regardless, however, the important take away here is that this wine has no business selling for under $15, let alone under $12. There is way too much savory, meaty, purple fruited complexity on the nose, too much presence, intensity and length on the palate. A good amount of calcareous driven salinity as well on the finish. This is fantastic wine, one to load up on for sure if you are a fan of Malbec, the Rhone valley, or just great value in full-bodied reds.

2010 Vega Sicilia "Valbuena" Ribera del Duero
Review Date: 02-25-2017
If Vega Sicilia, THE original Spanish collectible wine, can be compared to Latour for its power, elegance, and ability to age with the world's best wines, then Valbuena would be Les Forts de Latour. At less than half the cost, though, and with a similar track record for ageing, Valbuena is a bargain. To further illustrate this, we lucked across some 1987 Valbuena several years ago that was showing phenomenally well at 25 years of age. 2010, a terrific Ribera del Duero vintage, lent its power, acid structure, and delicious dark fruit to Valbuena. It should be one for the ages, and definitely something worthy of representation in any fine wine collection.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart
RP 96 VN 95

2013 Bodegas Colomé "Altura Máxima" Malbec Calchaquí Salta
Review Date: 02-17-2017
This Malbec, grown in calcareous granite soils at incredibly high altitude, is the real deal. Brawny, savory, and violet tinged dark fruit aromas on the nose, coupled with a generous melange of fruit (think purple skinned fruits, lush yet fresh and mineral as well), bring to mind Hermitage. Two years in well seasoned oak barrels seems to have given this wine the perfect amount of time and development needed. Intense, persistent, and long, this is quite possibly as close to perfection as I've ever had in a young Malbec. Impressive now, I suspect this will age very nicely as well. With only a few barrels produced, this is top quality, collectible Malbec.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
RP 97

2014 Fredi Torres "Classic" Priorat
Review Date: 02-08-2017
Fredi Torres was a DJ before hearing the siren call of the Priorat. Now he is one of the people often recognized as breathing new life into this famed, resurgent Catalan wine region. This bottling is as delicious an introduction to Priorat as I have tasted in quite some time. Savory thyme and Mediterranean scents lead to a palate full of dark fruits, sauvage, meaty qualities, and a persistent minerality which leaves a wonderfully fresh impression on the mid palate through to the finish. This reminds me of what I first loved about Chateaunneuf du Pape when I first tasted those wines. Pair with braised lamb or short ribs for a real treat, and toast to the future of Priorat!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JS 94

2015 Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Cote de Brouilly
Review Date: 01-18-2017
There is a forward, juicy, mixed berry and wild plum ripeness in Lapalu's Cote de Brouilly. While I'm not familiar enough with the producer to know if this is his expression of Cote De Brouilly or the result of a very good quality, warm and dry vintage, I think I know enough to know for sure that I dig this wine. A lot. Some other details include that it is certified organic, utilizing 60 year old vines, fermented using only partial carbonic maceration, and aged in 5-10 year old used barrels. Drink now or age 5-6 years.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2014 Benmarco "Expresivo" Red Blend Valle de Uco
Review Date: 01-18-2017
Benmarco head winemaker and viticultorist Edy del Popolo is a rare talent, someone who not only knows his region (the Uco Valley, Argentina) and its great terroirs, but viticulture, winemaking, and the increasingly diverse world of fine wines as well. What makes this Malbec and Cabernet Franc blend so special is the calcareous terroir in Gualtallary, the juicy, rich mixed berry fruited mid palate, and the sense of freshness towards the finish. Richness with a sense of balance. If you're a fan of California's higher end, mixed red blends, you should absolutely try this wine and see what you've been missing in Argentina's Valle de Uco. And if you're already keen on Malbec, then this is a must try.

2015 Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu "Tentation" Beaujolais-Villages
Review Date: 01-18-2017
Go on and get this wine, it's delicious! Lapalu is a producer whose wines represent good Beaujolais at their best: freshly fruited, impeccably balanced, carefree and delicious. For those who are paying attention, though, there is an endearing freshness, lovely spice and surprising length for a $20 red. If serving this at dinner (ideally with a nice big roaster and crispy roasted potatoes) be sure to have plenty of wine on hand because this goes down real easy - I'm thirsty just thinking about the Lapalu Tentation! Seriously though this is likely to be one of my favorite French wines of the year.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2014 Domaine Foillard Morgon Cru Beaujolais "Côte du Py"
Review Date: 01-18-2017
I would suggest this wine perhaps not for the completely uninitiated to Beaujolais, but rather to someone who has seen the light with a few well made, structured Cru Beaujolais and would like to taste, drink and cellar one of the best. Foillard's Cote Du Py is very spicy, mineral, and yet generously, intensely fruited as well. It is the perfect example of why I will always opt for a top name producer in a less fancy region, over a merely decent producer in a more established region (perhaps, for example, somewhere to the north in the Côte d'Or?)

2016 Gen del Alma "Ji Ji Ji" Malbec Pinot Noir Gualtallary
Review Date: 01-18-2017
This is the prettiest, freshest, finest, crispiest, most crunchy, most refreshing, and [insert superlative] red I have yet to taste from Argentina. It is simply that freakin' delicious. Place in a brown bag, and a wine professional would likely guess this to be a very good quality, cooler climate French red. The lively berry fruit, subtle violet floral aspects and firm, poised tannin structure all point to a French effort, perhaps in the Loire or one of the villages in Beaujolais. That said, this Malbec and Pinot Noir blend is impressive. Do not expect loads of fruit but do expect a crisp, balanced, low 12% ABV red for your next whole roasted chicken and oven crisped yukon gold potato dinner. Fun stuff!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2012 Marqués de Murrieta Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 01-18-2017
While we certainly have come to expect increasingly great wines from the venerable Marqués de Murrieta (their 2010 Reserva was one of our best selling wines of 2016) this 2012 maybe even tops that great wine. On the nose, rich cherry compote, red fruits, saddle leather, sweet spices and hints of new oak and cedar, combine for a classic Murrieta profile. Flavors of fresh and firm, bright fruits are more poised and bright than even the beautiful nose suggests - this must be the Mazuelo and Garnacha talking! Fantastic Rioja to buy/hold, buy and drink, or ideally, to buy/drink/hold! I would load up on this one. Despite the production volume this one never lasts us nearly as long as we would like.

2014 Mas Que Vinos "Ercavio" Tempranillo Roble Tierra de Castilla
Review Date: 01-10-2017
This is the most serious Tempranillo I've seen from La Mancha. It is generously dark fruited, with hints of savory, wet tobacco underlying in the background and an impressive mineral thread running through the wine. Under $10 wines are occasionally tasty, even delicious, but rarely are they delicious and as seriously put together as this wine. I was impressed by the 2013, but this 2014 ratchets up the intensity while maintaining even more balance between the fruit, tannins and wood. The Wine Advocate review states "It tastes like a much more expensive wine," I wouldn't fault someone for finding that cliché, but if Luis Gutierrez says it then this praise is truly earned. I'm very impressed.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2013 Bodegas Palacios Remondo "La Montesa" Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 01-10-2017
La Montesa is poised to become one of the consistently great (read: best under $20) red wines available from anywhere. Thanks to Alvaro Palacios' years of experience in Rioja and Priorat, as well as his insistence on re-invention, we can continue to look forward to the wines he's producing at his family winery in Alfaro, Rioja. This is pure Garnacha driven Rioja (70% Garnacha, 25% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo) from a vineyard covered in large stones . The freshness from Garnacha, as shown in flavors ranging from red fruits to orange peels, combined with marked minerality and subtle earthy savor, makes for a delicious example of Rioja. An entirely original red that is a pleasure to drink.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

2010 La Rioja Alta "Viña Alberdi" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 12-14-2016
Upon first whiff, the 2010 Viña Alberdi is spicy, with the cedary oak notes nearly stealing the show. There are of course baking spices and pretty fruits as well, which both become more evident on the palate, where they combine with the oak for a nicely balanced, "bien clasico" expression of Rioja. This level of quality and traditional craftsmanship at under $18 makes this a must in your regular rotation!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 95 RP 91

2012 Matetic "Corralillo" Pinot Noir San Antonio Valley
Review Date: 11-30-2016
I was impressed by this tasty bottle of cool climate Pinot, particularly at how well it is showing after a couple years of aging in bottle. The aromas have taken on a combination of fresh and dried fruit qualities to them. On the palate the flavors are developing nicely, with dark plum, fruit leather, balanced freshness and a solid presence on the mid-palate. It's tough to beat this Pinot Noir for tastiness and overall balance at under $13.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
W&S 90 WE 90

2012 Bodegas Castaño "Hécula" Monastrell Yecla
Review Date: 11-30-2016
This perennial best buy is on its "A" game in 2012, a vintage that was especially successful in southeastern Spain for its climatically even nature, not quite as hot as usual. After nearly a year in bottle, I'm coming back to this Monastrell and still finding licorice and black pepper aromas, with fruits that are more red than dark, in particular think cranberry or pomegranate. On the palate the slightly toasty elements are integrating nicely, and there is still a clear underpinning of calcareous driven minerality. Still a terrific value at under $10. and one to buy in quantity.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2013 Bodegas Colomé "Estate" Malbec Valle Calchaquí Salta
Review Date: 11-30-2016
This is another very strong showing from the kings of Salta Malbec at Colomé. Bolstered by a small amount of tannat blended in, Colomé's 2013 is loaded with dark fruited, mineral and tannin driven structure. There is a lot of material in this wine. Normally a very good deal at $25, at under $20 this is a must have for any fan of Malbec, and for that matter anyone who appreciates full-bodied, richer Cabernet made from mountain fruit.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 93 RP 90

2009 Bodegas Muga "Prado Enea" Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-30-2016
Now I love Prado Enea in most any vintage (of course they do not make it every year, only in the best years), but even given that context, the 2009 is truly fantastic. A wonderful year in Rioja Alta, you can truly appreciate the intensity, fruit purity, precision and outright deliciousness in this wine. Spicy/sweet aromas of blue fruits and wild mixed berry compote, a touch of cassis as well, lead to a palate of perfectly ripe fruit that also gains in freshness and minerality as it sits in the glass and you take another sip. Great wines as balanced as Prado Enea, particularly in perfectly ripe years, are really tempting and enjoyable to drink young, but certainly will repay mid to long term cellaring, so ideally you can enjoy a bottle or two now and stash away many more. Muga's Prado Enea is one of the most consistent, cellar worthy values remaining amongst the word's great wines.

Cossart Gordon 5 Year Old Bual Madeira
Review Date: 11-09-2016
Cossart Gordon, founded in 1759, is a Bual specialist, only bottling Madeiras from this noble grape variety known for producing slightly spicy and medium sweet styles of Madeira. This example shows lovely candied fruits and a rich buttery toffee quality, with refreshing acidity and even some saline notes as well. Great value.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2012 Honorío Rubio "Lías Finas" Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 11-09-2016
I love this traditional tasting, tasty white Rioja from Honorio Rubio. Given the incredible terroir in his old vine yards, as well as the wine's careful elaboration, you are not going to find a more soulful, traditional white Rioja than this. High toned citrus fruits combine with a creamy, lees driven roundness and gentle oak notes on this classic, stylish white.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

Honorío Rubio "Añadas" Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 11-09-2016
This is the big boy, the solera aged Viura which in style and spirit is amongst the most reminiscent of LdH Tondonia Blanco of any white Riojas I have ever tasted. This wine is fantastic, cutting a broad swath across the palate with intense yellow skinned fruit flavors, fresh acidity, and an old time, traditional flavor profile. Like Honorio's other white wines, this is clearly not for everyone but I suspect it will have some seriously loyal fans who quickly gobble up the few bottles we bring in.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2014 Laventura Malvasia Rioja
Review Date: 11-09-2016
As juicy, clean and delicious an "orange" wine (so called for its extended maceration of the skins) as I've tasted in a while, Laventura's Malvasia manages to combined the fresh stone fruit of Malvasia with lovely, discreet floral aromatics in this original Rioja white. Delicious and versatile at table, this is absolutely worth a try.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2014 Laventura Rioja
Review Date: 11-09-2016
A blend of Tempranillo with 5% Mazuelo and Garnacha, this is a red Rioja unlike any other I have tried. Grippy cherry fruit flavors are precise, taut, and linear. Winemaker Bryan MacDonald likes to play with stem inclusion, which shows on the structure of this wine. There is not an ounce of fat here, no spicy oak notes (the winemaker prefers thicker stave, larger wooden barrels which are more subtle) and low alcohol (under 13% ABV). A refreshing, original Rioja that is a terrific value and should cellar well in the mid-term. A must try both for Rioja collectors and fans of old world wines.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2012 Miguel Merino "Viñas Jovenes" Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 11-09-2016
I'm very excited to have Viñas Jovenes back in stock! Miguel does not make much of this Crianza, and it always sells out quickly, particularly in Logroño where it seemed as though all of my favorite, higher end tapas spots were pouring it by the glass! Dark fruits combine with structured, ripe tannins, and lovely minerality to create this under $15 value. For those who appreciate a bit more weight and richness in their Riojas, I don't think you will find better value than this.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2009 Miguel Merino "Vitola" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-09-2016
This is a great, young Vitola! 2009 was a fantastic vintage in Rioja Alta, and it shows with this wine's rich fruits, full volume in the mouth, and elegant balance of density and freshness. For fans of Napa reds, there is a lot to like here and this would make for a great intro to Rioja. That said, Given the quality of Miguel's vineyards and winemaking, Rioja fans should also jump on this wine. Hint: it will age very well....
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2013 Clos de los Siete Red Blend Mendoza
Review Date: 11-02-2016
A blend of Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot, this is a very friendly style of red from one of the masters of blending, Michel Rolland, along with his Bordelaise chateaux owner partners. The wine's rich, intense mixed berry fruit speaks to the vineyard location in the Valle de Uco, while its finesse, supple tannins and red fruits suggest the skill of blending and a modern, Bordelaise approach to winemaking. Enjoy with any of your favorite foods--even though the wine is from Argentina, drinking it with a grilled steak is not compulsory!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 92 VN 90

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