Staff Favorites - Olivia Ragni

Olivia Ragni
Olivia Ragni  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
My roots are in Philadelphia, and to a greater extent, Italy. Wine has always been a focal point of my Italian-American culture, and the years I spent working in Philadelphia’s fine dining scene piqued my interest in the wine industry. Prior to Los Angeles, I was a resident of Portugal, Turkey, and Germany, three stops on my tour of Europe as an English teacher. Portugal was my first locale and the one that left the greatest impression. The wine culture of Portugal is so rich and so storied; I was completely taken by the people’s passion for wine. I decided to explore the vast expanse of European wine regions, including Italy, Andalusia, and Croatia. In each of these locations I discovered wines and cultures that I had previously not known and discovered my affinity for the bold sherries of Jerez de la Frontera and the crisp, maritime whites of Vrbnik. My hope is to share my love of these old world wines with people who have not yet had the pleasure of discovering them.


Reviews

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

1981 Domaine du Cardinat 34 Year Old "K&L Exclusive" Bas Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 01-09-2017
The 1981 Cardinat is so complex and delicious. Aromas of cocoa, caramel and that smell of old leather-bound books beam from the glass while flavors of oloroso Sherry, bitter chocolate, mahogany and roasted chestnuts round out the palate. I feel like I should be drinking this in a fancy library room surrounded by leather chairs, leather bound books and mahogany tables, it just evokes that kind of vibe.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

1992 Domaine du Cardinat 24 Year Old "K&L Exclusive" Bas Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 01-09-2017
This is a rich, full bodied, Armagnac with with an gorgeous, almost oily texture, notes of fig, dried blueberries, roasted chestnuts, cocoa and long finish reminiscent of baking spices.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

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

Ariston Aspasie Brut Rosé Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 10-30-2016
We have been working with Aspasie for years, as they were our first direct import Champagne producer. Their wine continues to be of the highest quality, making it the best value Champagne in the store. Year after year, the rosé is my favorite rosé in the store. With flavors of black cherry, ripe cranberry, rosemary and an earthier backbone, this rose is beautiful both as an aperitif and especially fantastic with food. Try it with a roast duck or heavier fish like salmon or tuna steak.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

Charles Ellner "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-13-2016
The whole lineup of Charles Ellner blew us away with complexity and elegance all around. The Carte d’Or is my favorite of the bottlings. It is a little different from your typical Brut Champagne, they intentionally hold back malolactic fermentation making for a Champagne with loads of character. There are flavors of nuts, minerals and fino sherry, balanced with notes of white nectarine, cranberry and a hint of caramelized apples. This is an incredibly complex Champagne for under $35 a bottle.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WS 91 VN 90

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

Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin 750ml
Review Date: 06-23-2016
The Navy Strength compared to the Rare Dry has more zesty notes of orange and lemon rind, lemon grass, sea salt and anise. At 118 proof, this is serious stuff that should be stocked in every cocktail enthusiast's bar.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 06-23-2016
Beautiful and bright, the Rare Dry has notes of fresh squeezed blood oranges, sweet herbs, sage, juniper and a hint of basil. It's the perfect gin for tonic or citrus heavy gin cocktails.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

Ariston Aspasie Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 05-25-2016
We have been working with Aspasie for years, as they were our first direct import Champagne producer. Their wine continues to be of the highest quality, making it the best value Champagne in the store. Year after year, the rosé is my favorite rosé in the store. With flavors of black cherry, ripe cranberry, rosemary and an earthier backbone, this rose is beautiful both as an aperitif and especially fantastic with food. Try it with a roast duck or heavier fish like salmon or tuna steak.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2006 Taittinger "Comtes de Champagne" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 03-11-2016
Aromas of yellow apples, caramelized pears and toast are very expressive immediately after popping the bottle. The palate shows more white nectarine and peach with bright acidity, soft moussey bubbles and a long, rich finish of baked apples.

1996 Lynch-Moussas, Pauillac
Review Date: 10-14-2015
The 1996 vintage brought on cool weather, but made for perfect conditions for ageable wines. The Lynch Moussas perfectly exemplifies the 1996 vintage. While it is certainly in its prime, drinking perfectly right now, it has aged gracefully in its 19 years and has the possibility to continue aging. Aromas of sweet cherry, leather and cola permeate the glass while the palate shows notes of smoke, coffee, olive and graphite. With an elegant polished structure and beautiful length, this bottle is a must-have for the traditional Bordeaux lover.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2012 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 10-14-2015
Incredibly elegant and complex with aromas of violets, fresh herbs and ripe cherries. The palate has an elegant soft texture while maintaining structure and expresses notes of fresh ground coffee, cassis and pencil shavings. This 2012 is a stunning bottle of elegant, classic Bordeaux that is integrated enough to drink now and complex enough to hold on to for a number of years.

Michel Arnould "Reserve" Brut Verzenay Champagne
Review Date: 07-15-2015
I'm still sticker shocked at the price for this Champagne, I can't believe it's only $33. This bubbly has such complexity and elegance. The nose provides notes of apple, pith and chalky minerality while the palate is classic Verzenay with black cherry and hazelnut. The palate is rich with a beautiful creamy texture, yet this wine sees no oak. A gorgeous wine for such a steal!
Price: $32.99 Add To Cart

West Cork Bourbon Cask Blended Irish Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 05-20-2015
A fantastic, easy going Irish whiskey to have around the house for making cocktails but also soft enough to drink straight at the end of the evening! New favorite for under $30!
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart

Rey Fernando de Castilla "Antique" Palo Cortado Jerez (500ml)
Review Date: 05-20-2015
The Rey Fernando de Castilla Palo Cortado is over 30 years of average age with both tremendous aromatics and flavors. Aromas of cocoa, roasted chestnuts, tiramisu, and nutmeg beam from the glass. The palate is bright at first, showing it’s years aged under flor with a beautifully tangy acidity, lemon rind and burnt orange peel. The palate turns to flavors of almonds, mocha and espresso on the finish. Potentially the finest example of Palo Cortado that exists. A must try bottle for Sherry lovers. Oh and properly stored, this bottle will keep well once opened for a couple of months.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 WS 92

Lustau Dry Amontillado "Los Arcos" Solera Reserva
Review Date: 10-22-2014
This dry Amontillado is a perfect accompaniment to cured meats and other Spanish style snacks. With its beautiful amber color, this Amontillado has pungent aromas of roasted nuts, coffee and dried figs, while the palate includes candied orange peel, seawater, toffee and butterscotch. Its pronounced flavors open up your pairing possibilities to more than just snacks, it could even hold up to a full array of grilled meats.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 WS 90

La Cigarrera Manzanilla Sanlucar de Barrameda (375ml)
Review Date: 08-27-2014
A true Manzanilla with a bouquet full of oysters, clams and salted toffee. A flavor intense palate of oceanic salt and seaweed, peanut butter, bitter almonds and squash. Impeccable quality, a crazy value. What a steal!!!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

El Maestro Sierra Fino Jerez de la Frontera (375ml)
Review Date: 08-27-2014
At this stage, this delicate Fino has subtle notes of pecans, fresh apples, pie crust, and toasted pumpkin seeds with a mildly salty palate of butterscotch, almonds and bitter orange peel. Great companion to a tomato, basil salad!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
W&S 91 RP 90