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Staff Favorites - Ryan Woodhouse
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2012 Te Mata Gamay Noir Hawkes Bay New Zealand
Review Date: 6-5-2013
Made in a very convincing Beaujolais style with partial carbonic maceration fermentation, this is such a fun and delicious wine. Spicy, crunchy red berries with silky, supple tannin and just a whiff of cracked black pepper to distinguish it as a Hawke’s Bay wine. Perfect for summer BBQ with chicken and fish. Once you try one this will be a new favorite I’m sure!
2010 Domaine Odoul-Coquard Gevrey Chambertin
Review Date: 5-31-2013
A really good value and very accessible village Gevrey from a producer we import directly. Brooding dark fruits, some leather and dried flowers. The palate is soft and supple with acidity playing the main structural role. Very open and showing well in its youth but will no doubt age gracefully for 8+ years.
2011 Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico
Review Date: 5-31-2013
A broad and instantly appealing wine showing the a rich fruit character of the warm 2011 vintage in Tuscany. Chianti still seems to have a negative stigma attached to it from all those bad wines produced from the region. However this is a wine that does a lot to convince people there are some classics to be found if one looks in the right places. Dark, saturated, ripe fruits. A touch of spicy oak and roasted earth. The tannins are present but beautifully softened by this wines unctuous mid palate fruit. Great wine for enjoying right now and for the next 5+ years. Perfect for grilled red meats.
2009 Au Bon Climat "Talley Vineyard-Santa Barbara Historic Vineyards Collection" San Luis Obispo County Chardonnay
Review Date: 5-22-2013
An exceptional release from Au Bon Climat. I have long been a fan of Jim's wines for their refreshingly high acidity, focus and restraint when compared with the seemingly ever growing number of super oaky buttery chards out there. This release is one of the best I have come across from Au Bon Climat. It is perfectly poised and elegant on the palate. Nice ripe orchard fruits, some raw almond turning more toasted hazelnut. A lingering mineral content shines on the finish which is very precise and clean. A complex and superbly elegant chardonnay.
2011 Foxglove Central Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 5-21-2013
Another great little wine from Foxglove. This wine is distinctively less tropical than the 2010 vintage showing more pear, quince and even a hint of lime zest character. Fantastic value in CA Chard!
2002 Bruno Michel "Cuvee Millésime" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 5-13-2013
As with all Bruno Michel's wines this is very interesting. He works Biodynamically and the wines are generally slightly on the esoteric side. The nose of this wine has an intriguing Pecorino cheese note, a touch of saline character that also shows through on the palate. It has bright green apple and citrus notes wrapped with some more toasty rich hazelnut character showing on the finish. Complex and intriguing, more of a food orientated wine than a simple sipper. Enjoy!
2010 Alta Maria Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 4-30-2013
Great Pinot from one of my favorite vineyards in CA, Bian Nacido. This wine has a great balance of rich fruit and concentration but has an element of restraint from its cooler climate origins. A touch of spicy oak rounds out the tannins and makes this wine a great early drinker.
2012 Fromm Riesling Marlborough New Zealand
Review Date: 4-9-2013
Fromm is well known for their spectacular Rieslings. This wine is made in a Spätlese style at 7.5% Alc and 94g/L of Residual Sugar. The wine is so concentrated and powerful. Tons of honeyed apricot and tangy preserved lemon is punctuated by lime zest acidity. Some subtle river stone mineral notes and citrus peel linger on the very long finish. This wine is very young, forward and primary right now, despite it being super moreish and drinkable at present, experience with older bottles from this great estate tells me this wine will continue to develop as only great Riesling does for another 10yrs+. This is a spectacular value and a must try for all Riesling lovers!
Top Value! Drink from 2013 to 2023
2009 Pyramid Valley Vineyards "Howell Family" Cabernet Franc Hawkes Bay New Zealand
Review Date: 4-8-2013
Phenomenal Cab Franc. This wine draws the perfect line between the more lean and herbal Cab Francs of the Loire and the bigger and more dense California versions that are out there. It has plenty of green tobacco and crushed herb varietal character but also rich, concentrated dark red fruit and spice. Some fine oak nuances round out the wine which has great length and balance on the palate. This wine comes from a very interesting sub-region of Hawke's Bay called the Red Metals Triangle known for its red, iron-rich gravelly soils. These complex soils produce low, concentrated yields and impart a fascinating mineral tinge to the wine produced here. There is so much complexity and intrigue here all cloaked beneath a rich and crowd pleasing style. Yum!
2011 Ponzi "Tavola" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 3-3-2013
Nice nose of black cherry and nutmeg spice. Some charred Oak. A subtle stem character adds complexity to the soft pure fruited nature of this wine.
2011 Shenandoah Vineyards "Special Reserve" Zinfandel
Review Date: 3-2-2013
Another worthy offering from Shenandoah Vineyards. How they keep knocking out wines of this quality for $9.99 is beyond me, but hey we'll take them! This wine has a touch more body and density than the last vintage that was more crunchy berry fruits. This vintage has a bigger, richer, fuller bodied feel. It's still balanced and now probably even more suited BBQing all summer long. Great for burgers and ribs.
2012 Reyneke Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch
Review Date: 3-1-2013
Intense nose, creamy citrus sorbet and white blossom. On the palate peach and stone fruits, yellow plum. This is followed by a more snappy citrus zest. The wine is texturally rich from extended lees contact adding a subtle nutty character and some muted savory notes on the mid palate. Fantastic length and layers of flavor. Another epic South African Sauvignon Blanc!
2007 La Lecciaia "Manapetra" Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 12-29-2012
A very special single vineyard designate from La Lecciaia. This wine shows the ripeness and sheer power of the 2007 vintage but without being a fruit bomb. There is still enough "Montalcino" (read Terroir) in here to please classic Brunello enthusiasts. Notes of scorched earth, leather and a slight ferrous note. A wine of huge depth that will continue to develop for a decade plus.
Drink from 2014 to 2024
1999 Bodegas Puelles Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 12-29-2012
A remarkable wine that has aged with grace and finesse. We tasted this at a recent Rioja dinner and I was not alone in thinking what a stunning Gran Reserva this was for the incredible price of $19.99! Not a big wine but one remarkable balance and poise. Perfect acidity to hold the wine together as the tannin fades away. Some red fruits left but lots of those classic leathery, cigar box and warm earthy components starting to show and this bottle gains bottle age complexities. Perfect for roasted game, sausage or cured meats.
Drink from 2012 to 2016
1979 Glenfarclas K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 12-28-2012
I tasted this whiskey last week and was really impressed by its ethereal quality. It is delicate in nature but has so much depth and complexity, richness with out weight. A couple days later I was watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi and was moved by the concept of his Sushi being about increasingly complex tastes, guided by traditional rules of extreme simplicity. While I have never had Jiro’s food (and likely never will) I thought of this whiskey and indeed other wines that I have tasted that have so much character, drive, power and complexity but without density and weight. A purity that makes them compelling. Some of the best things in life have this quality and when you find them it is a truly special experience that is very hard to define.
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