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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2016 J. Bouchon "Canto Sur" Maule Valley
Review Date: 08-21-2017
Canto sur translates roughly as "Southern Song," and is both an ode to the more southerly Maule Valley as well as the grapes which have made it their home. A blend of Carignane, Pais (Mission) and Carmenere, I cannot think of a red blend that is more proudly Chilean than this! Fortunately these also happen to be highly compatible grapes for blending, which you can immediately tell from this charming and authentic wine. The nose offers something brightly fruited, with some slightly savory and scruffy wild herbs as well , and the palate shows everything I love about these grapes, particularly the juicy and mouthwatering Carignane fruit and the tense, focused, slightly tannic Pais. Any wine as delicious, honest, and expressive as this for under $12 is a big win!

2013 Concha y Toro Marqués de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto
Review Date: 08-21-2017
Sourced from some of Concha y Toro's top quality Puente Alto Cabernet vines, same as is the case for their iconic and long lived Don Melchor (SRP $99.99), this is solid Cabernet at $20 - certainly respectable compared to some of the better examples out there from anywhere in the world. At under $12 and nearly 50% off, however, this is a must have Cab. Please do not confuse this with Concha y Toro's cheaper bottlings and brands, as this wine is much more serious in execution (think used barrels and even a portion of large format botti imported from the Piemonte!) as well as in profile. Aromas of darker fruits, cedar, freshly ground black peppercorns and licorice lead to a juicy palate of ripe red and dark fruits, with elegant, long tannins which make this taste much more expensive than most any $12 red wine you will drink this year (remember this is conceived to be a $20 bottle). A great deal for anyone who wants to have great value Cabernet around the house.

2016 Laberinto "Cenizas de Laberinto" Sauvignon Blanc Maule Valley
Review Date: 08-21-2017
I can't say I've ever had a Sauvignon Blanc quite like this one, from Chile or anywhere else for that matter. The aromas are subtle, layered, discreet - I'd place them more in the Loire valley than anywhere else. On the palate, there is the sort of magical combination of salty minerality, lively citrus flavors and lees driven mouth feel that only the world's best Sauvignon Blanc brings to the table: Dagueneau, Edmond Vatan...in other words, French wines which typically go for north of $60. Here is a wine that brings you some of that magic for less than a third of the price. 12.3% ABV, elegant, mouth wateringly delicious Sauvignon Blanc - welcome to the new Chile!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2015 Viña Zorzal "Malayeto" Garnacha Navarra
Review Date: 08-10-2017
Great Garnacha is not too hard to find in Spain these days. At every price point and from various regions, there is great stuff out there, though perhaps the most impressive development is the sort of pretty, brightly fruited, light on its feet wines which to many drinkers who remember, bring to mind an earlier era of Chateauneuf du Pape. I love the new Spanish Garnacha, and Zorzal's single vineyard Malayeto bottling really hits the spot: lively mixed berry fruits, juicy acidity and gentle tannins to support the wine make this Grenache incredibly easy to drink. Here's to the new Spanish Garnacha!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2004 Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-08-2017
More '04, please! This cool vintage, described as "classic" among Champagne growers and negociants, will rarely disappoint, particularly for fans of acidity, ageability and wines that lead with finesse and balance as opposed to richness, toast and power. So Elegant, softly textured and well put together, this was easily my favorite of a small vertical of vintage LP we tasted earlier today (yes, I know, it's a tough job....)
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
VN 92 WS 91

Trudon "Emblematis" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-08-2017
During our recent Champagne tasting, we were discussing the Pinot Meunier grape - its unique personality, versatility, ability to make a delicious wine on its own and even its contribution of savory richness to the Krug house style. Well, we have a new Meunier based Champagne (70% PM, 30% PN) from Trudon, and it is delicious - a fantastic example of the power and tastiness of this grape variety. Juicy, subtly spicy and refreshing, Trudon Emblematis reminds me of Michel Loriot Brut Reserve, whose bottles I have nearly depleted in my cellar over the past couple years. I will surely be replacing them with Trudon. Delicious, and affordable, Champagne!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2012 Michel Arnould "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-08-2017
Arnould's Carte d'Or is fantastic stuff. While I realize I may be preaching to the choir if you are already on this product page, please allow me to tempt you/fill you in if this is a new name for you! The Montagne de Reims village of Verzenay, home base for Michel Arnould, is Pinot Noir country - grand cru Pinot Noir country at that. The wine from here is distinctive even in Arnould's NV bottlings, though in as strong a vintage as 2012 - a consensus pick for one of the best vintages of the last twenty among Champagne growers - the wine simply becomes a must have. Nutty aromas show fruit, though the nose to me is more savory than fruit forward. The palate is all about balance: complete, nicely dry, some golden fruits and still with years of development ahead of it. I could bore you about the virtues of ageing Champagne, far more effective however would be to purchase some of these and crack open a bottle or two every so often over the course of several years, or much, much longer!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique Rose" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-08-2017
I'm a big fan of this relative newcomer to our stable of DI Champagnes, so I was excited to have the opportunity to taste their rose. Containing 67% Chard and 33% Pinot Noir, there is a bit less PN than in the Brut bottling; this wine's color actually comes from a 17% portion of Pinot vinified as red wine. A creamy nose of red cherries leads to delicious flavors and texture on the palate - as much a testament to 3.5 years on the lees and ageing on cork as it is to distinguished, chalky soils and an excellent terroir.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2013 Felsina "Rancia" Chianti Classico Riserva
Review Date: 08-08-2017
When it comes to Chianti Classico, I am unabashedly a Felsina guy. I have always found these wines to be delicious and they have resonated with me for as long as I can remember. That said, the 2013 Rancia Riserva ramps up the deliciousness and ought to not only be enjoyed now, but cellared for a while as well. Aromas of macerated cherries, a suggestion of kirsch and walnut liqueur leads to a supple, rich, generous palate. Lots of fruit, sufficient acidity, tannins for structure...all the components are well balanced for both enjoying young and over the long haul. Highly recommended.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
VN 96 RP 95

1991 Martinez Lacuesta Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 08-08-2017
We are excited to have two fully mature, extremely affordable examples of Reserva Rioja from the esteemed Martinez Lacuesta in their 1987 and 1991 bottlings. I suspect that everyone will have their favorite, as this 1991 is quite tasty though distinct from the '87. Aromas initially were a combination of leateher and leather conditioner, though after opening up they became meatier, less leathery, and the palate rounded out and became less taut and tangy. While I maintain that this '91 shows more evolution than the older 1987, a co-worker just mentioned that they prefer it. Either way, a fully mature bottle of Rioja from a very good vintage is never a bad thing! Particularly if there happens to be a grilled ribeye served alongside it....
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

1987 Martinez Lacuesta Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 08-08-2017
A great year, one of the best of the 1980's, this 1987 Martinez Lacuesta Reserva is drinking wonderfully now. Cocoa powder, nut shells, eucalyptus and some underlying fruit aromas lead to a palate that shows more fruit, of a more intense and sweeter quality, than the nose would suggest. There is volume, persistence, minerality and poise, everything I want in a fully mature Rioja. At under $50, I highly recommend it.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2008 El Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 08-08-2017
An impressive, single vineyard (located in Oyon) gran reserva, from what is steadily becoming a favorite vintage of the aughts for me in 2008. El Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva initially takes some coaxing before it begins showing its stuff. While on day one, the wine showed a decidedly savory aromatic profile, slightly rustic and beefy, with tasty dark fruit leather on the palate, by day two the wine had opened up considerably. Somehow the fruit came into beltter focus, the savory development and earthiness receded into the background after a day of opening. I would therefore suggest at least a one hour decant, and then pair with whatever cut of lamb is available. Terrific gran reserva.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2008 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 08-08-2017
One of the new Spanish releases I look most forward to tasting every year is La Rioja Alta's Vina Ardanza. The 2008, celebrating the 75th anniversary of this iconic bottling, is absolutely delicious. In this colder vintage, the red fruit not only seems to have more cut than usual, but more intensity as well. Focused and refined, this bottling is the first featuring Garnacha from La Rioja Alta's Pedriza vineyard, where vines are planted in a bed of pure stones - there is no visible topsoil here. As usual, when this wine is on, we are truly hard pressed to think of a more delicious - or more ageworthy - red in the store for under $50.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2008 Bodegas Puelles Rioja Reserva
Review Date: 08-03-2017
There is no under $20 Rioja in our stock that tows as fine a line between balanced fruit expression and savoriness, modernism and classicism, all while using 100% estate grown, mature vine fruit from the single Rioja Alta village of Abalos. 2008 was a relatively cooler vintage in Rioja Alta, one that allows the tannin structure and balanced acidity to shine. That said, Puelles' Reserva does have a consistent stylistic stamp that shines year after year: focused cherry fruit, a bit dusty perhaps, with well formed, rounded tannins and a gently earthy savor that makes this such an ideal wine at table: Tuesday night with a garlicky lentil stew, good bread and Manchego, or Saturday night with lamb loin chops. Puelles is undoubtedly one of our favorites - not simply because we know and love the family and import the wines, but because the wines are delicious and are wonderfully evocative Riojas.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2015 Domaine Bart "Grandes Vignes" Marsannay Rouge
Review Date: 07-31-2017
Succulent, juicy red plum fruit and hints of baking spice combine to make this perhaps the most friendly of the 2015 Domaine Bart Marsannays. It reminds me a bit of the Longeroies, a bit more crunch and high toned though - like the straight AOC Marsannay with more weight and complexity. As with the other 2015 Bart bottlings, though, it's hard to go wrong with under $25 Burgundy that tastes this good!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
BH 89 - 92

2014 Valderiz Ribera del Duero
Review Date: 07-31-2017
Whoa ...there is a whole lot of wine here for the price. Valderiz' 2014 Ribera del Duero better illustrates the appeal of this region's Tempranillo-based wines than any other I have had this year. Sweetly spicy black fruit aromas combine with plum sauce and an earthy peanut quality. On the palate, the wine has rich black fruits, tempered by sweet baking spices, leather, balanced acidity and well framed tannin. For a grilled steak or lamb chops, I think we have found your wine. Awesome stuff for under $30 -- compare with a Napa Cab at 2-3x the price.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
WS 94

2015 Domaine Bart "Les Saint Jacques" Marsannay Rouge
Review Date: 07-31-2017
I'm continuing to nerd out on Domaine Bart's nine different Marsannay bottlings. Having consumed five of the nine, I will say that each one has been delicious, and each one has its own unique profile, perhaps none quite as dramatically as the Les Saint Jacques. More deeply pitched dark fruits on the nose lead to a palate of tangy plum and blackberry - the acidity shines and truly frames this wine.There might be a bit more stem inclusion on this bottling, lending a tighter structure to the wine. Tense, mineral, a bit salty and savory as well, I sense that this wine will improve dramatically over the next decade or so.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
BH 89 - 91

2015 Borsao "Tres Picos" Garnacha Campo de Borja
Review Date: 07-31-2017
Perhaps more than any other wine in the section, Borsao has introduced so many drinkers to great value red wine, Spanish style. Translation: this wine has loads of ripe, mixed berry fruits, an underlying earthy/smoky savory quality, and an attractive veneer of spice and toast due to a short time spent in oak. As always, there is a lot to like, particularly for fans of richly fruited wines and/or those who are just starting to explore the diversity and value of Spain's wines. One of our most popular Grenache (Garnacha) based wines.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
VN 92 RP 91

2009 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 07-25-2017
A textbook Leoville-Barton, the fantastic '09 opens with pure crushed currant aromas and a lovely, leafy undercurrent of Cabernet complexity--just a beautiful nose. Black fruits on the palate are supported by elegant tannins. While the wine is still in its youth, the fruit expression and overall balance suggest a long life ahead.

2010 Contino Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-24-2017
One of my all time favorite Rioja estates, Contino Reserva is always delicious: a lovely balance of ripe, forward, rich fruit, baking spices, savory tones and bright acidity. As wonderfully consistent as Contino is, it really excels in certain vintages - typically cooler years and vintages where acidities and tannins tend to be a bit higher than normal. Due to their protected, slightly warmer site, it is these vintages where Contino often produces something truly special, and 2010 is the most recent example. Aromatically a rich confit of cherries and plums, along with baking spices, leads to a palate that in short order delivers waves of rich, intense fruit, followed by the balancing acidity which refreshes and should allow for long ageing in bottle. Perhaps there is no Rioja that will appeal to as wide a range of wine drinkers as Contino. For the price, this may be the best Spanish wines I've tasted this year.

2007 Langoa-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 07-23-2017
Many 2007 Bordeaux's are in a sweet spot right now, beginning to deliver all the elegance, flavor development and balance one would expect in maturing Bordeaux. Langoa is one of our favorites and this 2007 is spot on: savory, rich cherry fruits and a suggestion of braised meat on the nose lead to a palate of red fruit and appealing earthiness. A well put together and complete, utterly delicious Langoa.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 RP 90

2012 Reserve de Léoville-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 07-23-2017
This is yet another 2012 that is drinking beautifully now. The red fruits of the vintage seem to dominate over the more typical dark fruits of Leoville Barton's first wine. With sweet earthy and spicy notes on the nose as well, this is a delicous example of the vintage and of the inherent value in picking a well made second wine from a prestigious property such as Leoville Barton (always one of our favorites).
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
JS 90

2015 Domaine Bart "Les Longeroies" Marsannay Rouge
Review Date: 07-20-2017
Our favorite Marsannay specialists, Domaine Bart, are back in the house, with an impressive nine different Marsannay bottlings for you to play around with. In fact, in the name of thoroughness, I am in the process of doing just that! Les Longeroies is a clay and marl vineyard, and the plump, generous mixed berry fruit with round, elegant tannins reflects this soil type. It is always one of my favorite Marsannays, succulent and purely fruited, but with the structure to age a bit. Delicious, and as I previously mentioned a favorite bottling amongst one of my favorite producers in Domaine Bart.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart
BH 88 - 91

2015 Domaine Bart "Les Finottes" Marsannay Rouge
Review Date: 07-20-2017
Domaine Bart makes no less than nine, count them nine, Marsannays! And I'm excited that in this great vintage, we have them all to show off the differences in site - a true Burgundian lesson in terroir without the need to shell out three digits per bottle. Les Finottes is actually a monopole vineyard - exclusively owned by Domaine Bart - featuring sandy soils and some really old vines (up to 90 years old). A step up in complexity from the straight Marsannay, the wine is big, spicy, woodsy, dark fruited, and structured, with tannins that grip but are ultimately well balanced. The scale and richness of fruit on the nose nearly reminds me of Central Otago, though on the palate, even in this ripe vintage, we are clearly in Burgundy. At under $25, this is a lot of wine, and it should cellar well for another 7-8 years.
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart

2013 Aleph Semillon Mendoza
Review Date: 07-20-2017
Argentina has around 900 remainining hectares of Semillon vines, many of them brought over in the first half of the 20th century. In this case, these 70 year-old vines yield a lovely wine with waxy white fruit and a soft texture. Roberto, whose family hails from Galicia, Spain, suggests serving this delicious white with octopus.
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart

2003 Aleph "Old Vines" Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 07-20-2017
This is terrific Malbec, with nearly 15 years bottle age, and therefore a real rarity. Great presence on the palate - dark fruits, graphite and some savory hickory smoke notes as well, but still fresh. The Malbec in this bottle comes from 90 year old vines in the La Consulta district of the Uco Valley. Maybe one of our best deals in serious Argentinian Malbecs.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2010 Aleph Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 07-20-2017
Aleph continues to make some of our favorite Malbecs - delicious and often with the added bonus of some extra bottle age. Fruit is sourced from Lujan de Cuyo, the traditional home base for Mendoza wine country's historic bodegas as well as the area containing the largest number of older vineyards. As usual, this bottling is bright and quite tasty, with excellent depth of flavor and texture.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Bart Marsannay Rouge
Review Date: 07-20-2017
Domaine Bart is not only one of my favorite K&L direct import Burgundy domaines, it is amongst my favorite reds of any type in our inventory. The 2015 Marsannay is a good example of the Bart house style in a great Burgundy vintage: succulent fruit, lively/juicy acidity, supple tannins, and an overall feel that is as reflective of place as it is easy to drink. Recently I opened a bottle at home, intending to enjoy it over a couple nights to track the development. After about 15 minutes and a few glasses in, it quickly became apparent that there would be no steady tracking of this wine's evolution. In another 30 minutes, the bottle was empty. I think my wife had a glass while I quickly took care of the rest. My highest recommendation on this wine.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine Samuel Billaud Petit Chablis
Review Date: 07-19-2017
There is absolutely nothing "petit" about this impressive, chalky, mineral driven Petit Chablis! Having recently tasted this, alongside a nice line-up of Chablis which featured some 1er Cru as well as several Grand Clos Les Clos which included 2015 Dauvissat, I am happy to report that this not only held its own ,but was one my favorites! Just a wonderful, over achieving bottle from this fantastic producer. Highly recommended.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2001 Auchroisk 15 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-19-2017
I don't think I can recall a cask strength single malt as delicious and downright drinkable as the Auchroisk 15. It makes me thirsty thinking about tasting this yesterday, and now that I recall I think I momentarily broke with the professional convention of spitting; the whiskey tasted really good and I did not want to spit. I think I remember Driscoll describing this as ideal for the warmer weather, and I would absolutely agree with that. Light on its feet, subtle, harmonious, one that I will be drinking for sure.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

1984 Caol Ila "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength 33 Year Old Islay Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-19-2017
Wowee Zowee! This is as close to perfection in a single malt as I have tasted in a long time. There is something about good, older Caol Ila that, delicious as it is, I find nearly impossible to put into words. If you have not yet had the opportunity to taste older Caol Ila, to experience the interplay of honey, salt, and subtle smoke, that coat the palate and stick around for minutes, you really ought to splurge for this bottle. And if you are familiar with the magic that is older Caol Ila, then you don't need much convincing. This has my highest recommendation.
Price: $349.99 Add To Cart

2014 Mount Edward Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 07-19-2017
Compared to the Wanaka Rd bottling, you can sense the darker tones to the fruit, the more serious structure, and the fact that this Pinot Noir, while terrific now with a meal (quick suggestion: grilled lamb chateaubriand served with roasted fingerlings), is built to improve in bottle. Mount Edward continues to make the best value Pinot Noir in New Zealand, which in turn places them amongst the best value Pinot Noirs in our selection.

2015 Wanaka Road (Mount Edward) Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 07-19-2017
Produced from younger vines, this is spicy, fruit forward Pinot, with flavors of cranberry, juicy acidity, and a freshness that makes me want to drink a lot of it at one sitting! Delicious Pinot Noir for drinking now.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RC 91

2011 Mount Edward "Morrison Vineyard" Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 07-19-2017
Compared to the Muirkirk vineyard, this bottling shows more juicy aromas, with a bright and slightly pungent quality. Flavors of cranberry and pomegranate are high toned, and framed by mellowing (though still firm) tannins. This is delicious Pinot Noir that is beginning to open up and sing. I see why Duncan chooses to re-release these from time to time!

2011 Mount Edward Estate "Muirkirk Vineyard" Pinot Noir Bannockburn Central Otago
Review Date: 07-19-2017
Today we had the pleasure of tasting with winemaker/proprietor Duncan Forsyth, and this was one of the real surprises of the line-up: a recently re-released bottling of single vineyard Pinot Noir. Savory, with aromas of dark fruit and an appealing, gamey quality, the wine also has quite a bit of concentration, structure and savor on the palate, all in terrific balance.

2014 Laventura Viura Rioja
Review Date: 07-19-2017
Dollar for dollar, for my money, this is the best white wine we have. 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) $40 white Burgundy. 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. Load up for drinking now and for your cellar if you've got the room; this wine will age.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2009 La Rioja Alta "Viña Arana" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-18-2017
As delicious as the "904" bottling is from La Rioja Alta, the Vina Arana gives you plenty of traditional Rioja character, as well as a very good representation of house style, at one of the most consistent, and certainly one of my favorite, Spanish wineries in La Rioja Alta. Quite frankly, I could drink a bottle of this myself, particularly with a mixed plate of cured chorizo, cheeses and bread. It is the archetypal, traditional Rioja, showing off fresh and dried fruits, dried orange peel and pipe tobacco on the nose. Bien clasico! This leads to a palate that is bang on Rioja: supple, slightly savory, fruity, yet dry with balanced acidity. I should also add that it is mellow and more-ish, two key descriptors of the kind of Rioja I love to drink. While the nose shows some lovely development, on the palate the fruit shows admirable poise and freshness, as well as surprising volume and depth for an under $25 wine. It is no surprise that this is the wine of choice amongst the team of coopers, cellar and vineyard workers at La Rioja Alta! One of my absolute favorite reds in the shop right now, this wine is for drinking in quantity (quick pro tip: like the other wines in this stable, the Arana will also age a while!)
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

2007 La Rioja Alta "904" Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-17-2017
This is another fantastic vintage of 904. It may be the most utterly delicious and versatile traditional Rioja in our stock. I say versatile particularly in terms of the drink or cellar question: while I love how this is tasting now, I can say with a good amount of confidence that this will be even better at 20 years old in 2027 than it is at 10 years old today. Currently, the 904 shows it's classic combination of dark cherries, cocoa powder and leather on the nose, leading to a palate that is supple, elegant, perhaps fresher and more fruit forward than the nose would suggest, though of course at 10 years young there are lovely developed notes emerging. Given all the fawning press, this wine was not nearly as plentiful as I had hoped it would be and our original order quantity was cut back, so be sure to grab what you want before it sells out!

2014 La Fleur Peyrabon, Pauillac
Review Date: 06-28-2017
Structured dark fruits, currants and a subtle leafy savory quality all reveal themselves on this classic, built to age, value Pauillac.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
WE 92 VN 90

2014 Deyrem Valentin, Margaux
Review Date: 06-28-2017
Deeply perfumed cherry fruit aromas lead to a fresh, nicely persistent palate. With subtlety on the mid palate and a pleasant bitter snap towards the finish, this is a very pretty bottle of Margaux that over delivers for the price.

2014 Potensac, Médoc
Review Date: 06-28-2017
Juicy and brightly red fruited, I have yet to taste a Potensac with such impressive freshness and drive. As it often does, I suspect that this Potensac will age gracefully for a long while.

2015 Giant Steps Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Victoria
Review Date: 06-28-2017
This is stylish, cooler climate Pinot Noir. The fruit flavors are fresh, with tension and a somewhat stern backbone likely contributed by the inclusion of some stems in this cuvee. Relatively few under $25 Pinot Noirs make much of an impression on me; this bottling of Giant Steps is one of the exceptions that proves the rule. Great stuff!

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
JG 93

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 "La Cuvee" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-07-2017
Laurent Perrier will soon be releasing a new bottling of their NV Brut, which will go by the name of "La Cuvee." It is not simply a re-launch with a neat new package (well it's that too, of course), but a wine that sees 5% more chardonnay - reflecting their recent purchase of another house with prime Chardonnay holding - as well as an additional 6 months ageing on the lees for a total of 3.5 years lees ageing. And how is the wine? Well, tasted side by side with a bottle of LP's former cuvee, there is a notable difference. Yellow and white fruits on the nose lead to a nicely rich palate, with great presence and autolytic, yeasty qualities. It's saline, intense, and dry, seemingly with a lower dosage than in the past. I like them both, though for my money this new release is definitely a step up!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

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

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