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Staff Favorites - Joe Manekin
Joe Manekin | Send Email | Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
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)
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Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 5-7-2014
Carte Blanche is always tasty, a Champagne with a soft bead, nice toast, crowd appeal and great value. This current batch, though, based on the very strong 2008 vintage, is impressive. Brighter than usual, with great purity and tasty fruit, easily the most impressive batch we have received. I'd be happy with this at $40, but for $28 it's one of our great values right now.
2013 Bodegas Colomé Torrontes Valle Calchaquí Salta
Review Date: 4-16-2014
I don't think it gets more textbook for Torrontes than the always delicious version from Colomé. The country's best, most wonderfully fragrant, balanced and nervy Torrontes tends to come from Salta, where Colomé has been an innovator not only in the quality of its Torrontes but also its Malbecs. This wine has juicy yellow fruited flavors, with exotic aromas that suggest jasmine. A unique white to sip as an aperitif or to accompany seafood and vegetable dishes.
2010 Cune Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 4-16-2014
This is a juicy, very quaffable Crianza from one of Rioja's most historic bodegas in Cune. With its red fruit flavors, supple tannins and balanced acidity, this is as comfortable at the table with roasted chicken, grilled salmon, lentils or pasta dishes as it is on its own or accompanied by cheese, tortilla española, grilled mushrooms and other tapas. Just a lovely, easy to like Tempranillo based red.
2012 Tinto Negro Malbec Uco Valley
Review Date: 3-12-2014
Yes - This is what I'm talkin' about! I want under $15 Malbec to taste like this: dark fruits, subtly toasty but not overly so from too much oak, notable minerality and a nicely firm, tannin structure to frame the wine and lend balance. It's delicious and a lot of bang for the buck, but deceptively serious as well for a value red.
Kilchoman K&L Exclusive Single Bourbon Barrel #172 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 3-12-2014
I'm excited that we bought two different casks of Kilchoman, to highlight how two barrels with the same distillate can age in completely different ways. They're both very good and very distinct from each other. Barrel 172 may have a stronger ABV, but it's so briny, pure, and beautifully balanced, that you're not likely to notice. Sorry for the wine speak here, but this one is elegant, pure, linear, and to my experience, textbook Islay single malt. Kilchoman does not come cheap, but if you take a moment and taste, focus on the quality of what you're tasting, and look at what else is available on Islay for a comparable price, what you have here is a very individual single malt, that at a much younger average age is showing character and personality all its own - without sacrificing balance or drinkablility! Highly recommended.
Kilchoman K&L Exclusive Single Bourbon Barrel #74 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 3-12-2014
I'm excited that we bought two different casks of Kilchoman, to highlight how two barrels with the same distillate can age in completely different ways. They're both very good and very distinct from each other. This one is spicy and fatter, a bit sweeter but with excellent chewiness and savory smoke, and still a subtly briney quality. Kilchoman does not come cheap, but if you take a moment and taste, focus on the quality of what you're tasting, and look at what else is available on Islay for a comparable price, what you have here is a very individual single malt, that at a much younger average age is showing character and personality all its own - without sacrificing balance or drinkablility! Highly recommended.
2010 Wiston Estate "South Downs Cuvée" Brut West Sussex England
Review Date: 3-8-2014
ENGLISH METHOD! That's right, the methode champenoise has origins in England. That's not where the Champagne comparison ends for Wiston, as their vines grow on prime chalky soils, they have been farming their land for over 250 years, and the grapes grown are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. How's the wine? It's spectacular. Very linear, focused and brightly citric, with incredible minerality and length on the finish. It sort of reminds me of Bruno Michel's Blanc de Blancs, that kind of crackling, bright, acid and chalk driven style. Definitely worth a try.
2010 Bodega Eguren Tempranillo Vino de la Tierra de Castilla
Review Date: 3-5-2014
This is delicious, very easy to drink Tempranillo, or Cencibel as it is known in Castilla La Mancha. Juicy dark cherry and red fruit flavors have just the faintest hint of herbal savor. The wine is mainly about fruit, though, juicy, abundant fruit that makes it very easy to drink.
1998 Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 1-24-2014
I was blown away by how beautifully this was showing when we tasted it a few days ago. Showing red berry fruits, lots of brightness and refreshing acidity, this is showing all the merits of the '98 vintage in Graves.
2012 Carlos Diaz "Estrela" Ribeira Sacra
Review Date: 1-15-2014
Our first Galician DI is this delicious Ribeira Sacra. What I love about the better red wines from this region (and I would certainly place the Estrela amongst them!) is their freshness, their minerality, medium body and overall balance. While the treacherously steeply sited vineyards, the poor slate soil and the dramatic scenery is eye catching,the most important thing here is the quality of the wines, which is terrific and improving with every vintage.
2009 Bodegas Muga "Selección Especial" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-1-2013
Keith Mabry and I tasted Muga's current releases on a blustery, mid-March morning, where large, wet snow flurries punctuated the sky and we were reminded of the cold, Atlantic climactic influence on the Rioja town of Haro! To me, this was the most impressive and Rioja affirming line-up of wines we had the opportunity to taste all trip. While a few staunch traditionalists may quibble over Muga's decreasing length of elevage and increasing use of newer oak barrels, we remaining traditionalists will likely recognize how complete, how delicious and reflective of Rioja Alta terroir these wines are. Fans of richer wines will find a lot to like with the plush, spicy blackberry and black cherry flavors, while those who prefer subtlety, nuance, acidity and minerality will also be able to enjoy these now - though probably opting to cellar for another decade or more. If you are a Rioja lover or simply looking for a great red wine to cellar, I would buy as much of this as you can afford.
2011 Beso de Vino Garnacha Cariñena
Review Date: 9-25-2013
The lip-smacking berry fruit of this Garnacha makes it as delicious for a pre-dinner copa de vino as it would be for a casual dinner of pasta with sauteed vegetables. Supple, roundly textured and very pure fruited, Beso de Vino is a "kiss of wine," indeed!
2010 Finca El Encinal Crianza Ribera del Duero
Review Date: 9-11-2013
Admittedly, it was Patricio Tapas' highly complimentary review that brought my attention to this wine. Once the wine was in the glass, though, I could tell that this wine had a clear sense of place. The dark fruits, subtle hints of licorice, lightly toasted bread and spice notes all spoke of a traditionally made Ribera del Duero. For anyone who is a fan of wines such as Pesquera, Condado de Haza, Federico, et al, this would be a wine well worth checking out! It should also make for a solid cellar candidate, with at least 7-8 years of positive development ahead of it. Not so bad for a $15 bottle!
Campeòn K&L Exclusive Blanco Tequila 750ml
Review Date: 8-30-2013
I do not drink tequila often, but when I do, I prefer Campeon K&L Exclusive Blanco. Seriously, though, you don't need to be the most interesting man in the world to appreciate this tequila's spicy, agave character. It's crisp, very pure and clean tasting, and at under $30 this is definitely up there amongst the best values in the spirits department right now.
La Guita Manzanilla Sanlucar de Barrameda
Review Date: 7-4-2013
This is not white wine. It's as refreshing, more complex, and has a far more storied past than nearly any white wine I can think of. The wine is Manzanilla, the lightly fortified white wine aged for several years in old oak casks in the seaside town of Sanlucar de Barrameda. Bright, appley, with notes of sea spray and subtle suggestions of almonds, Manzanilla offers quintessential summer drinking, whether it is as an aperitive with snacks, to accompany cheese and charcuterie, or to pair with your favorite grilled, fried or cured seafoods. Give this a try and see what all the renewed interest in Manzanilla and Fino Sherry is all about!
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