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 (, and writing for his wine, food and music blog, Old world Old School (


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2012 Bodegas Sur de los Andes Malbec Reserva Mendoza
Review Date: 2-17-2015
I remember when this was available to sell for $15 per bottle, a pretty good wine for the price, but at $10 we simply could not pass it up! This is a beautiful Malbec from a very strong vintage in 2012. Fruit is sourced from vineyards located in the villages of Agrelo and Las Compuertas, in the Lujan de Cuyo district, the classic zone for high quality, older vine fruit, as well as from parts of the Uco Valley. The wine is generous but bright, medium-plus in body and ready to crack open for a weeknight supper. Muy tasty!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart WE 90 BC 0

1981 Lopez de Heredia "Viña Tondonia" Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 2-17-2015
A classic wine from the uber classic 1981 Rioja vintage (perhaps the dark horse for vintage of the decade), this is wonderful, traditional, long aged Gran Reserva Rioja. Lopez de Heredia owns a wonderful, old, sizable vineyard in Viña Tondonia, harvests the fruit by hand, ferments in huge oak vats, and then racks their wine to very old oak barrels for a deep slumber. For their gran reservas, the wines are bottled by hand, finished with a very high quality Catalan cork, hard sealing wax, and allowed to rest for years in their perfectly stable, cool, humid, riverside cellar. Their '81s are a rare treat, and will likely become increasingly difficult to find these days.

2004 La Rioja Alta "904" Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 2-17-2015
Many folks are very much aware of the La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" bottling. In contrast to the Ardanza, the "904" contains Tempranillo and Graciano (no Garnacha) and is every bit as traditional with aging in used American oak barrels for 48 months, racking twice a year, and then further aging in bottle. The wine always has a sumptuous, velvety texture, with more bass notes in place of Ardanza's higher toned, red fruited profile, and a lovely, meaty savor to the wine. In a vintage as strong as 2004, La Rioja Alta's "904" will surely make for old bones, and only get better and better for those disciplined few who have the will power to lay off their bottles for a while!

2005 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 2-17-2015
This is another strong vintage of Ardanza to follow their very good 2004 and classic 2001 bottlings. What is the bottle I most often recommend to those looking for a classic Rioja? The wine I am most likely to order at a restaurant upon touching down in Madrid, heading in the rental car and hitting the wine road? The wine that should you see older vintages is most likely to impress you with it's gorgeous aromatics and fruit? Yes, Viña Ardanza. Very tough to go wrong with this one!

2012 Santa Ema Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Maipo Valley
Review Date: 2-17-2015
This is impressive juice! Santa Ema, long known for producing a satisfying, slightly toasty, American oak driven style of value Cab, appears to have changed tack. Here we have an elegant Cabernet, with lovely aromas of currants, wild blueberries, both just on the point of ripeness, similar to that piece of fruit that is just ripe enough to have not lost its delicious, bright, tanginess. A fresh, juicy palate shows a surprisingly light touch, with silky tannins and loads of drinkability. 13.5% ABV. What an impressive Cabernet from this venerable producer!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart JS 92 BC 0

2005 Marques de Murrieta "Castillo Ygay" Gran Reserva Especial Rioja
Review Date: 2-17-2015
The 2005 Ygay gran reserva, same as the 2004 bottling, is great. This gran reserva is marked by a healthy proportion of Mazuelo (around 7%) which thrives in this slightly warmer, drier, more Mediterranean influenced area just outside of Logroño. Ygay is a proven ager, with its rich red fruited profile often outshining other top bodegas' gran reservas (their 1978 comes to mind....)

2012 Bodegas Castaño "Hécula" Monastrell Yecla
Review Date: 2-16-2015
Lotsa wine for $9.99. 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. This Monastrell leads with licorice and black pepper, some dark fruit aromas, and then shows loads of blue and dark fruits on the palate, some smoky/toasty qualities as well, and a clear underpinning of calcareous driven minerality. Its bigger brother Solanera may be all gone, but this is equally tasty and again, under $10. One to buy in quantity.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

2011 Campo Viejo Tempranillo Rioja
Review Date: 2-14-2015
This wine consists of 100% Tempranillo, aged for four months in oak barrels. While the fruit is red plum and dark cherry, the overall palate impression is balanced and very clearly Rioja. 2011 was a solid vintage in Rioja, less structured than the 2009 and 2010 preceding it, but with juicy fruit and loads of drinkability.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Colonias de Galeon "Petit Ocnos" Chardonnay VdT Sierra Norte de Sevilla
Review Date: 1-28-2015
Beautiful Sevilla was my first exposure to Spain, and this Chardonnay was my introduction to the lovely, characterful wines produced up in the hills an hour outside of Sevilla by Elena Viguera and Julián Navarro. Like all their wines, this is so drinkable, all crisp and bright yellow fruits. Not quite New World Chardonnay, not Burgundy, not oaky but not at all a simple tank-fermented white, either. It's a new favorite direct import and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Colonias de Galeon "Ocnos" Roble VdT Sierra Norte de Sevilla
Review Date: 1-28-2015
This red shows slightly darker fruits that their other, unoaked red, but the flavors still do not lack for energy, purity and freshness. A touch more spice and structure, but with really wonderful cut and persistence. If, like me, you were more than happy to enjoy Sherry but not familiar with the potential for white and red wine in Andalucía, Colonias de Galeon's wines should be a real eye opener.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Colonias de Galeon "Petit Ocnos" Tinto Vino de la Tierra de Sierra Norte de Sevilla
Review Date: 1-28-2015
Beautiful Sevilla was my first exposure to Spain, and this crisp, crunchy, fruit filled Beaujolais look alike was the first Spanish red I have had from Andalucía which combines the fresh fruit, bright acids and light to mid weight structure I so often crave in a red wine. If, like me, you were more than happy to enjoy Sherry but not familiar with the potential for white and red wine in Andalucía, Colonias de Galeon's wines should be a real eye opener!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Bodega Mendel "Estate" Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 12-9-2014
This is great Malbec. Typically a very solidly built, well structured wine, the 2012 Mendel is no exception, with loads of black cherry and blackberry fruit, hints of dark chocolate and well balanced tannin structure. This is a wine made from great quality, older vine (85 year-old qualifies as old, right?) fruit in Lujan de Cuyo, and it is always one of the very best Malbecs we carry. Highly recommended.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart JS 94 BC 0

2011 Bodegas Bilbainas "Viña Zaco" Rioja
Review Date: 10-30-2014
Once again, same as the tasty 2010 vintage, the Viña Zaco is a quintessential weeknight red--bright with plummy fruit, subtle tannins and enough sense of place and interest to hold your attention. For under $10, this is a very solid value and a great bottle to have as a go to red during the week.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart RP 90 BC 0

2011 Clos des Fous "Grillos Cantores" Cabernet Sauvignon Alto Cachapoal
Review Date: 10-22-2014
This is as elegant an everyday-priced Cabernet Sauvignon as I've had from Chile in a while. It's not the most powerful, not the richest, but certainly the most nuanced, layered, and balanced, with classy red fruited aromas and flavors nicely melding with subtle savory goodness and very polished, fine tannins. If you appreciate Cabernet with subtlety and style (not two words I associate often with under $15 Cab!) then this may be a wine to load up on.

2009 Viña Santa Rita Syrah Reserva Maipo Valley
Review Date: 10-22-2014
With a a few years of bottle age, this Syrah is now officially open for business: dark plum, green peppercorns, blackberry fruit and Indian spices combine seamlessly and compete for your attention. For fans of Syrah or those who are curious about this grape variety, this is about as textbook a bottle of commercially produced Syrah as you're likely to find.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart WS 92 BC 0

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