Staff Favorites - John Majeski

John Majeski

Reviews

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2015 Domaine Lafage "Bastide Miraflors" Côtes du Roussillon
Review Date: 10-04-2017
"Astonished, amazed, stunned, overcome, overwhelmed" are all good words to describe something, anything, that makes you put down your smartphone, look-up-stand-up and take notice, but I prefer the more colorful, old word "flabbergasted" to express my complete wonder at this intrinsically indispensable wine. Jean Marc Lafage and his wife Elaine must have a direct line to the wine gods, as the 2015 effortlessly melds ripe, expansive red fruits and floral notes to subtle spice and chocolate elements. Beautiful structure and a persistent finish complete the total experience. A prediction: this excellent wine will soon sell out, and disappear faster than you or I can say "flabbergasted"...
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2015 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "La Réserve d'O" Terrasses du Larzac
Review Date: 10-03-2017
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With her down-to-earth warmth and embrace of non-interventionist winemaking, Marie Chauffray of Domaine De La Reserve d’O manifests the abiding ethos of the Vinifilles, an accomplished coterie of amazing women winemakers in the Languedoc-Roussillon. She and her husband relinquished their safe life as owners of a wine shop, and spent a decade scouring the rugged countryside for the perfect site to grown their own. They found it in the high, windswept Terrasses du Larzac appellation, where her biodynamic, terroir-driven wines, grown on poor clay and calcareous soils are uniquely defined by their refreshing aromatic profiles and intense flavors. Her 2015 La Reserve d’O is a compelling blend of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault, with alluring black fruit aromas leading to an expansive palate of blackcurrant, cherries, licorice, cocoa and baking spice. Certainly one of the most harmonious wines I've tasted this year.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine Begude "Terroir 11300" Chardonnay Haute Vallée de l'Aude
Review Date: 09-30-2017
Limoux is of course known for its fantastic, underpriced sparkling wines, but this region in the shadow of the Pyrenees also promises some of the finest Chardonnay values in all of France. Domaine Begude, under the experienced aegis of James and Catherine Kinglake, produces year in and year out remarkable, all-organic white wines, bursting with varietal flavors and zestful panache, and the Terroir 11300 is a true postcard from Limoux to the rest of the world, resonating with lively floral and orchard fruit notes, juicy acidity and a nimble mineral expression that carries through to the superb, elegant finish.
Top Value!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

2014 Domaine Bruno Colin Santenay Rouge Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 09-27-2017
French poet Paul Verlaine once exclaimed, “ No color, only nuance!” Well, this delicately-hued, translucent Santenay from Bruno Colin has plenty of nuance in its attractive aromas and flavors of wild strawberry, orange peel, rhubarb and tart cherry, with luscious, bright acidity and a pure, lustrous finish. My favorite Pinot among our recent staff tasting, this wine will endear those who appreciate beauty, restraint and finesse over a blast of fruit and bombast as the finest attributes of this grape.
Top Value!
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2014 Olivier Riviere "Ganko" Rioja
Review Date: 09-27-2017
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Funny, when I saw this wine's stark black and white label my brain ran through reels of old Japanese monster films from the 1950s, those fabulous Toho Production classics like Rodan vs. Gamera or Ganko Fights Godzilla. OK, I know "Ganko" didn't really fight Godzilla, but it turns out the word means "stubborn," a nickname that winemaker Olivier Riviere acquired from his clever Japanese importer. Olivier inhabits his own skin, and like Ghidra or Godzilla, is not one to waver, but fortunately his singular Rioja wines are anything but abrasive or indelicate. Grown at altitude on very old vines, the result is a wine of veritas and virtue, brimful of lustrous, high toned fruit--pomegranates, red berries, minerals and lovely potpourri spice. Hardly a kaiju behemoth, but all the better for that! And yes, the ending is guaranteed not to disappoint. Astonishing performance from a cast, er, bottle of one...
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2015 Clos de l'Anhel "Lolo de l'Anhel" Corbieres
Review Date: 09-25-2017
Sophie remains a strong advocate for her native Carignan grape, believing that if properly cultivated and kept to low yields it can make extraordinary wines. And the evidence is there, for year after year her Carignan-based wines engage with their superb fruit, delineation and charm. Her 2015 Lolo de l’Anhe is a blend of Carignan, Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Direct, appealing and honest, with bright, enticing notes of raspberry, violets, wild thyme and kitchen spice, this is a wine for the picnic basket or by the grill.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2015 Clos de l'Anhel "Les Dimanches" Corbieres
Review Date: 09-25-2017
Sophie remains a strong advocate for her native Carignan grape, believing that if properly cultivated and kept to low yields it can make extraordinary wines. And the evidence is there, for year after year her Carignan-based wines engage with their superb fruit, delineation and charm. The 2015 Clos de l’Anhel Les Dimanches, her “Sunday wine,” is fashioned from a precious parcel of 80-year-old Carignan vines blended with Syrah and Grenache. Almost opaque in color, with devastating black fruit aromas and enchanting overtones of ripe cherry, plum, cocoa and spice, balanced by a solid core of velvety tannins, this is a lavish wine that will merit a few more years in the cellar.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2015 Clos de l'Anhel "Envie" VDF
Review Date: 09-25-2017
When conditions are spot-on, Sophie makes an extraordinary single-variety wine, and the 2015 Clos de l’Anhel “Envie” truly lives up to its name. Made from selected Grenache fruit, it shimmers in the glass like a handful of rubies, and captures all the spirit, exuberant spice and generous red-fruited character of that effusive grape.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2009 Latour-Martillac, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 09-25-2017
Cultivated on textbook gravel and clay ridges over limestone, this very attractive Cru Classe des Graves continues to evolve in the glass, offering one the opportunity to savor the complex aromas and deep palate of charred earth, ravishing black fruits and well-built, sinewy tannins. A wine that will unravel its charms over the next fifteen years, but I wouldn’t deny a large ribeye the experience of today!

2015 Chateau de la Font du Loup "Le Puy Rolland" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-24-2017
Let's see...in the year 1905 a young German physicist named Einstein published a paper on the "Special Theory of Relativity," while a few hundred miles away in France a winemaker named Melia planted Grenache vines in the earth at La Crau. It would be immodest to compare the timely planting of grapevines to a scientific theory that forever changed the world as we know it, but all things are relative, right? Better just enjoy the results, as the fruit of those vines have evolved into something quite remarkable over their 112-year lifespan. The Le Puy Rolland is a special wine of ineffable fragrance and charm, quite unlike its more robust cousins throughout Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Perhaps it's the nature of the sandy soils beneath the pebbled surface that give this wine its purity and sense of finesse, a graceful nod to the ancient fruit that rises from each uncorked bottle, delivering flavors of cherries and cranberries and orange peel and warm earth, finishing smooth and silken. Makes me wish I could travel back in time and open a 2015 bottle for a young Albert Einstein. Expect miracles.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine de Marcoux Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-23-2017
A superstar at our recent Saturday Rhone tasting, where it more than held court with wines double in price. No surprise really, as this bottle of Marcoux was cultivated and raised under the careful tutelage of Sophie Armenier and her sister Catherine, whose family roots, as one of the first inhabitants in Chateauneuf, extend back to the 10th century. Aged for the most part in concrete, with a specific regimen of small oak barrels for the Syrah and Mourvedre, this cuvee mirrors the innate quality of the 2015 Rhone vintage, with gorgeous aromatics and a mélange of alluring red fruits, floral elements, suave spice, and refined tannins…more than the sum of its parts, and a true classic in the making.
Top Value!

2016 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "La Reserve d'O" Saint Guilhem le Desert Blanc
Review Date: 09-23-2017
Marie Chauffray of Domaine Reserve d'O relishes the opportunity to create signature wines of great charm, finesse and brilliance. Her artisanal talents are very much on display in this unique, declassified white wine, made from co-harvested, co-fermented Chenin Blanc, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. Unoaked, fresh-fruited and utterly distinctive, with floral and citrus aromas and a roundelay of rich yellow and stone fruits, embroidered with lovely acidity. A rich tapestry of a wine, and a tribute to a woman who unerringly follows her own path through the vineyards and beyond.
Top Value!
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2015 Chateau de L'Ou Chardonnay "Infiniment" Côtes Catalanes Blanc
Review Date: 09-20-2017
The lovely equipoise and limpid purity of this Chardonnay is revelatory, and, as its name translates as ‘infinite or immeasurable’ I may run out of oxygen to describe it, but I’ll try...in the hands of an excellent winemaker like Severine Bourrier, balance and prismatically clean fruit come to the fore. This Chardonnay is redolent with notes of white peach, Fuji apple, delicate pastry, cut wildflowers and summer hay, and will pair well with grilled scallops or a rosemary-roasted chicken. An extraordinary wine for a fraction of the price you’d pay for a comparable domestic Chardonnay or white Burgundy!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2015 Chateau de L'Ou "Velours Noir" Côtes Catalanes Rouge
Review Date: 09-20-2017
Looking out over the well-cultivated vineyards to the not too distant snow-capped Pyrenees, one can wonder that the Roussillon is regarded one of the warmest and sunniest regions in France. The efforts of Severine Bourrier and her husband Philippe are a consummation of terroir, tenacity and talent, as they bring everything to the table in the creation of their remarkable wines. The Velours Noir gathers its fruit from black schist soils higher up in the estate, and possesses arresting aromas of blackberries, blackcurrants and dark cherries, with a rich,structured palate caressed by new oak, peppery spice and hints of wild mint. Sumptuous, ageworthy Syrah that could rival many from the Northern Rhone!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 94 RR 94

2014 No Curfew California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-05-2017
Relying upon Amici Cellars expertise and veteran winemaker Joel Aiken's exhaustive knowledge of under the radar vineyards throughout Northern California, this juicy, satisfying wine showcases fruit from the Monterey region, with fresh, robust notes of strawberry, red cherry and delicate spice, finishing with easy tannins and clean acidity . A lovely, well-priced, everyday Pinot from an excellent producer.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2013 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 09-02-2017
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We've been directly importing wines from this fine bodega for several years now, and the Crianza is an excellent example of precisely why. Superb fruit selected, harvested and carefully blended, then given a mandatory year in older oak barrels guarantees a wine of traditional character, elan and charm. Rich aromas of red and blue berries denote a classic, structured palate of balanced fruits, sandalwood, anise and tilled earth, with polished tannins and a lingering, layered finish. A wine that will elicit even more depth with a few years under its belt, er, bottle, but can be enjoyed today with a gentle decant. Lovely.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2016 Saint Jacques d'Albas "La Chapelle en Rose" Minervois Rosé
Review Date: 09-02-2017
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During the last fourteen years of his life painter Henri Matisse, all but confined to his bed by serious illness, created some of the most powerful and liberating works in modern art— papiers découpés, or paper cutouts, brightly colored organic forms that echoed tropical flowers, luxuriant gardens, the harmonious beauty and breadth of the natural world. What does all this have to do with a wine note, you might ask? Well, wine too is an evocation of the natural world, and all that is learned in the field and contemplated in the cellar leaves its distinctive impress in the bottle and ultimately, in your glass. And since our rosé selection is pretty extensive, a gentle nod toward this one or that one might help. La Chapelle en Rose is an exceptional, limited cuvée dry rosé honoring the 11th century chapel that looks over the vineyard, an homage, according to the winemaker, to the soft pink hues picked up by the stonework as the sun descends. Nothing shy here though, as this provocative rosé has lovely freshness and precision in its wild strawberry, lush apricot and scintillating, mint-enhanced flavors. Pair with savory crab cakes or a seafood aioli for an unforgettable delight! Old Matisse would look up from his colorful cuttings and salute you with a smile!
Top Value!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2015 Lamothe Castera, Bordeaux
Review Date: 08-30-2017
Grown on well-drained gravel and clay soils, this attractively crimson-hued Bordeaux is a mouthwatering blend of 45% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Cabernet Franc, delivering delightful aromas and supple, round flavors of cherry, blackcurrant, vanilla and toast, with smoothly-defined tannins. Pair with a grass-fed burger and swiss cheese, this is an excellent everyday Bordeaux value from a fine vintage.
Top Value!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$8.99

2014 Domaine L'Ostal Cazes "Grand Vin" Minervois La Livinière
Review Date: 08-28-2017
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Whether strange coincidence or amazing prescience, the elegant label on this bottle depicts a full solar eclipse, and the imposing, layered wine within evokes as much rapt attention and held breath as that phenomenon. To be expected I suppose from a legendary Bordeaux producer as Jean-Michel Cazes. Compromise or half-measures are hardly his game, and when he chose to make wines in the Languedoc, he selected the Minervois AOC, where the exposed warmth of the vineyards is amplified by a vast geological amphitheater of limestone and marl. The sheer integrity of the beautiful fruit in this wine, with a core of blackcurrants, fleshy plums, vanilla bean, subtle spice and wild lavender....eclipses my palate. Truly a remarkable wine today that will evolve into a memorable wine tomorrow.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2014 Valderiz Ribera del Duero
Review Date: 08-06-2017
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After tasting this sensational Ribera del Duero red I quixotically leapt to their website, and discovered Tomás Esteban bent lovingly over his vines, caressing the leaves as if they were his children, which, because he planted most of them, they were. And this being the heart of Spain, I suppose the sight of octogenarian winemakers tilting toward their vines is far more common than tilting at windmills, and to better effect. An impressive Tempranillo of opaque, ripe black fruits, mineral earth, dark chocolate and lusty spice, assuaged by a dram of Albillo, this wine offers up luxuriant, savory flavors, succulence and firm tannins, the welcome companion to a range of grilled meats, especially lamb.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
WS 94

2015 Pedro Martinez Alesanco Tempranillo Rioja
Review Date: 07-31-2017
Rioja is home to some of the most magnificent, age-worthy wines on earth, as well as many that display in their youth all the convivial charm and vibrancy that attracts the immediate consumer, the spontaneous gathering, the sitting on the deck with a good read, wines that are friendly and engaging and delicious, and so well-priced in the bargain. Such is the Alesanco, medium-bodied and oozing with flavors of red cherry, plum, savory tobacco, iron and clove, with delicate acidity on the smooth finish. A welcoming, amiable wine to open with a saffron-infused paella of poultry and chorizo.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2005 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 07-17-2017
Like an artist applying thin washes of color to build depth and complexity into a painting, a seasoned winemaker scents, tastes and blends to achieve a desired play of aromas, flavors and textures that will contribute both to a wine's immediate enjoyment and long term pleasure. Arriving in pristine condition from a near perfect vintage, the 2005 Baron Louis expresses all the character of a great Chateauneuf without the high price— complex layers of blackberry, cassis, aged fruitcake, mocha and tobacco leaf interplay upon the palate, striking a well-wrought balance between power and finesse, panache and precision. A classic Southern Rhone red to relish and enjoy at its peak of performance!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2007 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 07-17-2017
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The word ‘nuance’, from the verb ‘nuer’, to show variations in shade, is much abused in winespeak, but for those bottles that have been allowed to evolve gracefully over a decade or more, there is no better term. We recently had the opportunity to explore nuance to its full expression during a memorable winemakers’ dinner with two of our favorites, Rodolphe de Pins of Chateau de Montfaucon and Jean Baptiste Meunier of Moulin de la Gardette. Full of boundless appetite, Rudi shared his robust, enduring wines as freely as his endearing conversation, and by the end of the evening everyone was, to say the least, sated. With ten long years under its belt, the 2007 Baron Louis was remarkably smooth, mouth-filling and harmonious, with fleshy blue plum, bramble and redcurrant flavors burnished by sous bois, sandalwood and fine tannins, finishing with a soulful, warm flourish. Pure pleasure, don’t hesitate to rediscover this wine again and again. It is very nuanced.
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2009 Miguel Merino "Vitola" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-04-2017
Generosity of spirit is usually a characteristic applied to forgiving mortals, but wine, a well-crafted, exemplary bottle of red or white, can, once uncorked and poured, instill in the receiver a soulful sense of well-being. The polished wines of Miguel Merino are nothing if not generous in fruit, concentration, finesse and finish, blending savory with structure, elegance with power, and poise with passion. In searching the name Vitola, I discovered it is also the word for a size of cigar, which might denote the subtle tobacco notes in the wine that complement the sumptuous layers of dark berry fruit, shaved chocolate, coffee and spice. In the benevolent spirit of great food and wine, please celebrate!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Clos de l'Anhel "Les Terrassettes" Corbières
Review Date: 07-03-2017
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Sophie Guiraudon, the engaging force of nature behind Clos de l’Anhel, belongs to an affiliation of savvy women vignerons in the Languedoc, “The Vinfilles”, who consent to being “adepts of the pleasure and richness of their profession, beautiful, rebellious, active, greedy, friendly, sociable and dynamic.” All of the above. When we had the opportunity to meet Sophie last year, she poured her latest wines and enthralled all with her deep knowledge of the,Corbieres region and its amazing tapestry of soils and microclimates. The Terrassettes satisfies on many levels, as a great everyday red of course, but like many of her wines, has the structure and balance to mature over several years. Rich and robust plum, raspberry, earth and spice flavors meld beautifully on the firm palate, with polished tannins and splendid acidity. All of the rebellious, sociable and friendly qualities you could ask for in a wine!
Top Value!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Lafage "Arqueta" Collioure
Review Date: 06-26-2017
Wines are like children, if you give them a good start, nurture them with love, diligence and care, and trust that they will develop a sense of their own potential, strength and character, well, the sky's the limit. This seems to be the philosophy behind Jean-Marc Lafage's amazing success, and the 2015 Arqueta is the latest in a string of phenomenal wines from the restless heart of Roussillon. Selected from fifty-year-old vines and co-fermented in tank, this wine resonates with captive aromas of summer cherries, ripe blackberries, sage and wildflowers, with a palate flush with dark fruits, mocha and potpourri. Poised, fresh and primed for a slow, lingering Mediterranean feast with good friends, may the wine flow as effortlessly as the conversation!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 - 95

2016 Domaine de Rimauresq Côtes de Provence Cru Classé Rosé
Review Date: 06-19-2017
Wine evokes so many memories. Spent a blistering summer many years ago working a commune in the Massif des Maures in Provence, where the day ended with a nightly brushing away of sweet baby scorpions who managed to congregate in my small tent as if it were a cathedral to the god Arthropoda. Wine was liberally consumed by all to abate the torrid heat, but I never indulged the lovely wines of Rimauresq, nestled in the foothills but a sparrow's flight away. Captive to the cooling Mistral, the vineyards lie sedately in the shadow of the Massif, often maturing two weeks later than their neighbors, which allows for lustrous ripening of the six grape varieties that go into this stunning rose. Tightly spun aromas of vibrant red fruits and citrus peel enwreathe a palate of creamy strawberry richness, floral jasmine notes and ravishing mineral complexity. To sum up, this is one of the finest Provencal roses we carry, and a worthy companion to a wide array of dishes from salad nicoise to grilled tuna.
Top Value!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
DC 97 VN 90

2009 Château de Chambert Cahors
Review Date: 06-14-2017
'Terroir' is too often misspelled as 'Terrior' in many a wine note, which might be fine if you're sorta searching for a scruffy little wire-haired companion (and even that is misspelled). Anyway..... we're talking wine from Cahors, in Southwest France, where the terroir is an ancient juxtaposition of limestone and alluvial soils, terraces, plateaus and tributaries bundled with abundant sunshine, quite the package for cultivating extraordinary fruit with a surfeit of flavors. The passage of time adds grace and suppleness to the depth-charged wines of Cahors, tempering the powerful tannins and acidity and polishing the blackberry, blackcurrant and licorice fruit to a beautiful finish. Trust me on this one, I'm not barking up the wrong terroir......
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 WS 90

2016 Terra Santa Ile de Beaute Rosé (Corsica)
Review Date: 05-31-2017
'Sciaccarellu’ is an obscure, vigorous red variety long-cultivated on Corsica that translates as ‘the grape that bursts under the teeth’, notable for its juiciness, thick skins and fairly low tannins. It actually originated in central Italy where it is today almost extinct and known as Mammolo, or ‘shrinking violet’, the bashful one, perhaps because the lush grapes try to hide furtively beneath a canopy of vines. With its delicate hue, (think a school of pink pearl erasers swimming by), this delightfully brisk and crisp rosé is a provocation of fresh strawberries, juicy raspberries and mouthwatering peaches, balanced by a slither of acidity to keep every thirst satisfied. Can I recommend this incredibly delicious rosé? 'Of Corsican!'
Top Value!
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart

2015 Field Recordings "Wonderwall" Edna Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-31-2017
I've yet to meet winemaker Andrew Jones, but have tasted and enjoyed several of Wonderwall and Field Recordings wines, the better part of them sourced from favorable sites that Jones was drawn to from his deep roots as a nurseryman, walking, planting and cultivating vines up and down the Central Coast. My appreciation took a surreal take when he decided to put Salvador Dali's famous mug on this bottle of Pinot, a fruitful, spicy dollop, or should I say, 'Dalip' of wine, very pliant and approachable, with enough sweet succulence and charm to melt the hours....wait, didn't Dali already paint that?
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Villages
Review Date: 05-31-2017
Finding a decent bottle of white Burgundy for under twenty-five dollars can be a wine lover's odyssey, but every now and then more often than not we strike gold, or in this case, pale gold, the color of this unassuming Chardonnay from tiny Domaine Renaud. A surprisingly ripe and luscious rendition, with abundant flavors of stone fruit, crisp apples and vibrant citrus, characterized by a gentle spine of acidity. Baked, almond encrusted halibut would be a wonderful match for this overachieving Chardonnnay.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2016 Château Viranel "Tradition" Saint-Chinian Rosé
Review Date: 05-31-2017
Saint-Chinian is certainly one of the oldest winemaking regions in the Languedoc, dating back to the Roman era and the very dawn of French viticulture. The deeply-colored schist soils found in the north tend to produce rich, fruity wines, resulting in rosés of ineluctable charm and expansive red berry flavors of raspberry, red currants and bright cherries, the perfect complement to a wide array of Mediterranean dishes from fresh seafood to grilled meats and summer vegetables. There really are few gastronomical barriers to your enjoyment of this delightful wine!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine de l'Ermitage "Victor" Costières de Nîmes Rosé
Review Date: 05-30-2017
The uniquely high iron content of the stony gravel and pebbly soils, coupled with the proximity to the Mediterranean creates wines of greater depth and concentration that would be expected in a region that straddles both the Rhone and Languedoc. After discovering the remarkable value found in the Ermitage Rouge for several vintages, the rosé proved just as delectable, flavorful and vibrant, framed with notes of ripe peach, strawberry and spice, with enough luscious acidity on the crisp, inviting finish. Open this delightful rosé on a picnic with cold roast chicken or a mouthwatering paella!
Top Value!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2015 Delas "Saint Esprit" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 05-10-2017
The spirited Mistral whips, darts and slices through the southern French countryside, turning baby strollers into kites, tossing hapless hounds skyward, upending carts and their attached donkeys.... OK, a bit of hyperbole, but this strong wind works wonders in the vineyard, scouring the vines of unwelcome pests and spores, and generating healthy, luscious fruit, the benefits of which are ultimately found in your glass of wine. One of our best-selling Cotes du Rhones year in and year out, the Esprit, with its seamless blend of dark, savory Syrah and hearty, ripe and generous Grenache, expresses the dynamism and sheer potential of the Rhone Valley in a banner year. A good pairing with a bowl of Texas Chili or barbecued spare ribs!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

2012 Castillo de Viñas Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 04-26-2017
Be forewarned: Do not don one of the unwieldy medieval helmets shown on the front label while attempting to drink this robust Rioja, as it's far too tasteworthy to waste a single drop! Attired in deep red hues, this forward-drinking, effusive Reserva spent 18 months in both American and French oak. It resonates with fragrant aromas of black cherries, vanilla and raspberries, revealing a layered palate of riper dark fruits embellished with a tinge of earth and char. Enjoy this now or over the next decade.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2015 Clos Bellane "Petite Bellane" Côtes du Rhône-Villages
Review Date: 04-19-2017
“Wines are made in the vineyard,” and perhaps that is why winemaker and owner Stéphane Vedeau devotes so much time to tasting the fruit he cultivates from vine to harvest through fermentation. As he recently remarked, “It’s the best way to catch the nuances in the evolution of the wines.” Such respect is reflected in every bottle of this youthful Syrah-based blend, flush with cool climate, savory black fruit and layers of spice and light toast, all held together by fine acidity.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Viticole "Malmont" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 04-19-2017
Winemaker Nicolas Haeni has much in common with the good folks to the north at Clos de la Bonnette, as his elevated, heavily terraced vines demand the same fervent energy and fortitude to achieve his vision of a quintessential Rhône red. This wine is a skillful blend of Grenache and Syrah, with beautifully harmonious fruit that delivers structure, power and concentration without over-amping any element.
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Clos de la Bonnette "Roches d'Arbuel" Condrieu
Review Date: 04-19-2017
In a concerted departure from the opulence and weight by which Condrieu is often measured, the Arbuel is organically grown and harvested from younger vines on the property and given minimal oak. Peach, apricot and citrus flavors are prevalent in this suave, elegantly polished version that will pair well with a variety of dishes. Saffron-scented, lightly grilled scallops should work!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2010 Can Mayol Loxarel "Reserva Familiar" Brut Nature Penedes
Review Date: 04-05-2017
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If this sensational organic Cava were a human child today it would be all of seven, in first or second grade, which is a good estimate of how many years it has educated itself on its lovely lees since it was first bottled. A complex schooling in what can be achieved when terroir, wine and time cohere, this seriously dry sparkling wine delivers an arresting array of white flowers, fleshy apricot, quince and marmalade fruit, with a creamy, buttered croissant-encrusted note and limestone, mineral-driven finish. There is really little to compare it to, as this is an homage to nature.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2010 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 04-05-2017
We never can get enough Chateauneuf, especially ones with a few yawning years behind them, having bided their time, waiting for the sudden turn of the knife and twist of the screw. Once released, they often remain reticent, cautious, as they are finally allowed to relax and unravel their veiled charms in the glass. And this Chateauneuf-du-Pape opened slowly, revealing after several hours in the decanter a delicate finesse and suppleness to the pitch-perfect red berried fruit, Provencal herbs, smoky tea and seasonal spice notes, with well-rendered tannins and a wonderful savory finish. A super value in a superb vintage from this renowned producer, drink now or cellar for another decade. Cheers!

2014 Château Saint Roch "Kerbuccio" Maury Sec
Review Date: 03-20-2017
Maury recently underwent a Sec change! Not a typo, but a reference to the Roussillon-based AOC that split in 2011, with the original region named Maury Doux (for its fortified Vin Doux Naturel wines) and the new one Maury Sec (dry table wines). Cultivated on unique schist and granite soils, this embracing, dark and unambiguously seductive red reflects the distinct terroir of the ruggedly beautiful Agly Valley. A dazzling kaleidoscope of wildflowers, fruit and spices from cherries, blueberries and plums to violets, potpourri and balsamic flood the palate, with mineral notes that bring to mind the scent of spring rains. Plenty to admire here, so dazzle yourself with a bottle or two. Live wine and prosper!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 - 93

2014 Pike Road Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 03-04-2017
Visited the immaculate, breathtaking Elk Cove vineyards in Willamette Valley a few years back, and combined with the hospitality and personable charm of winemaker Adam Campbell, I was struck by the brilliant quality and artistry of their top estate wines. Fortunately they created a second label in 2014 that has proven to be one of our best-selling domestic Pinot Noirs— a bright, exuberant and friendly blend of estate and sourced fruit that will appeal to anyone seeking a smooth, effortlessly enjoyable Pinot with with impeccable flavor and plenty of red-fruited charm on the well-rounded, polished finish. A welcome delight, and priced just right.
Top Value!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

Jean-Jacques Lamoureux "Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-04-2017
In trying to get my head around the physics behind all those tiny bubbles in a bottle of Champagne l discovered a wonderfully fascinating little book called Uncorked, by Gérard Liger-Belair. Apparently gravity drives the velocity of the bubbles in a flute of Champagne, so the best spot in the solar system to achieve the absolute tiniest bubbles would be on… you guessed it— Jupiter, with about 100 times the gravity of our own sparkling blue orb. Pack your bags, but before you go flying off into space, try a bottle or two of this incredible direct import. Created from superb Pinot Noir cultivated in the renowned Le Riceys terroir near Aube, the “Reserve” harbors a panoply of rich flavors ranging from citrus fruits to fleshy pears, apples, nectarines and beyond, embodying an elegant, creamy mousse and miniscule, dare I suggest, ‘out of this world’ bubbles. Now prepare for takeoff!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2012 Château Peyros Madiran Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 01-17-2017
Ouch! The vineyards of Peyros are built upon gravelly soils covered with large stones deposited by glaciers during the last Ice Age, which created a surfeit of sore feet for any herd of woolly mammoths that galumphed upon them. Hm, might explain their extinction....but the mammoth loss is your gain, as these scattershot stones also retain heat that gracefully ripens the grapes on these old vines, leading to wines of impeccable power, warmth and depth. High-toned aromatic black fruits lift from the glass, revealing a lush viscosity with notes of dark cherry, black plum, pepper, menthol and smoke on the rich, velvety palate, finishing long and lovely. A veritable "mam-mouthful" of wine!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
DC 94 WE 92

2014 Olema Sonoma County Chardonnay
Review Date: 01-04-2017
Impressively dry and poised, defined by less is more flavors of dried pineapple, Asian pear and citrus blossom, followed by a subtle stony element, this bravura Chardonnay would sing an aria to a plateful of sizzling sand dabs or any grilled fish that finds itself in need of tasteful, delicious accompaniment. A case or two will get you through....
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JS 91 WE 90

Charles Ellner "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-31-2016
We carry a few champagnes in the under-$50 range that flat-out scintillate and astonish--the Launois Cuvee of course...and now you can add to that one of our newest direct import bottlings, the Charles Ellner Carte D'Or, an inspiring rendition, replete with wonderful flavors of white nectarines, citrus, red cherries and fine pastry dough. The perfect bubbly to celebrate the New Year or any occasion calling for a classic, well-articulated champagne. Enjoy!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WS 91 VN 90

Jean-Louis Denois Pinot Noir Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine
Review Date: 12-31-2016
Poised upon the glistening foothills of the Pyrenees, far from the grandiose heart of Champagne, the immaculate, low-yielding, organic vineyards of Jean Louis Denois continue to produce superlative wines for a third the price of their uppity northern cousins. Bright, fleshy and expressive, this Brut rosé is the embodiment of charm and merriment, with red fruits and berries that open lavishly upon the palate and finish clean and crisp and dry. A wonderful sparkler at a great price, guaranteed to deliver and entice!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Valravn "Old Vine" Sonoma County Zinfandel
Review Date: 11-29-2016
Born and bottled in the heart of the Sonoma Valley, this rustic, dry-farmed ancient vine Zinfandel reminds me of why I moved to California almost forty years ago, in search of those intangible truths that can only be found in the cultivated company of rare friends over a good bottle of wine. Zinfandel is and always will be a grape that expresses itself with passionate intensity and it’s such a pleasure to discover that some folks (the Banshee guys) are still making it like I remember it from the 1970s, those special wines of character, purity and harmony that leave their imprint on the mind as well as the palate. And reading up on the mythological origins of the 'Valravn' can chill one's bones, as it depicts a monstrous raven who scours the bloody battlefields of Danish lore in search of fresh meat. Never thee mind, all this delicious wine does is slay your mortal thirst, my ravenous friends!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-29-2016
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A prime illustration of what can be achieved in a Champagne with long aging on the lees, in this case seven full years, all to elaborate and define the essence of brioche, hazelnuts and toast that are characteristic of such extended contact. Even more remarkable is the generously modest price for this patient waiting game, a sparkler that expresses ‘’esprit to the core’, with resplendent notes of crisp lemon, bosc pear, cherry and chiffon cream, a sophisticated Champagne created for any and all occasions that involve fine food, the spirit of celebration, friendship and joy.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WS 92 WE 91

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