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Staff Favorites - John Majeski
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Fleury "Carte Rouge" Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-3-2011
In his unwavering maxim that "we leave the earth to our children," Jean-Pierre Fleury was the very first winegrower in Champagne to adapt strict biodynamic principles and techniques in his steeply-sloping, calcareous vineyards near the northern village of Courteron. His exquisite Blanc de Noirs is an homage to the perfectability of Pinot Noir under his meticulous stewardship, and certainly one of the finest, long-lasting champagnes we carry at any price. Hand-crafted from select vintages, the Carte Rouge is emblematic, dry and complex, with a well-developed gamut of flavors from brioche and beeswax to cherry and acacia. Hard to say what 'not' to drink this with, but I guarantee you will be reaching for another glass after tasting this redolent, rewarding sparkler.
Dudognon Reserve Cognac 750ml
Review Date: 11-30-2010
A voter santé! Raymond Dudognon first distilled his own cognac in 1946, following the venerable traditions laid down by his great grandfather in 1776. The heart of the Charente region, located about 100 miles northeast of Bordeaux, is called Grande Champagne, and consists of deep chalk-rich soils, perfect for creating fragrant, long-lived cognacs. Made from 100% natural Ugni Blanc, this singular spirit is blended and distilled in the traditional alambic Charentais pot and eventually aged in 350 liter barrels. The Dudognon homage to tradition stresses minimal intervention, using only pure water as an additive to create a stunning cognac that charms and caresses the palate, displaying a weightlessness and delicacy of fruit found less commonly in cognacs at twice the price. Highly recommended!
1999 Renaissance Vineyard Sierra Foothills Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-30-2010
The Renaissance Vineyard and Winery, founded in 1978 in the remote Sierra Foothills town of Oregon House, has always devoted itself to crafting long-lived, high-altitude wines of uncompromising balance and structure. Polished, elegant and remarkably claret-like, their medium-weight wines defy the bigger-is-better trend found in so many huge Napa-numbing Cabernets. The unwelcome influence of new oak is eliminated by aging for 18 months in large, neutral barrels, allowing the wine to evolve slowly its extraordinary melange of flavors— blackcurrants, sweet spice, cloves, violets, pencil-lead, cedar, licorice, layer upon layer. I doubt there exists a $35 bottle of wine in California that can measure up to this, and the beauty is, this Cab is still evolving, and will drink well for another decade or more...
Top Value! Drink from 2010 to 2025
Deligeroy Cremant de Loire Brut
Review Date: 10-31-2010
A customer came in recently and asked for an elegant, delicate sparkling wine for a wedding celebration. Champagne was beyond his budget, so without hesitation I smiled and recommended this Cremant de Loire, arguably the greatest sparkling wine value in the world. Created with precise restrictions on everything from mandatory hand-harvesting of relatively older vines to aging regimens (a minimum of 12 months) to atmospheres of pressure (3.5 as opposed to 6 for Champagne), the Deligeroy is a finely-beaded beauty, discreetly aromatic, lacy and effervescent. The careful assemblage of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc adds aromatic complexity, giving this wine an added degree of sophistication. Highly recommended!
2007 Domaine Senechaux Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 10-30-2010
This historic property can trace its origins back to the14th century, having produced vines intermittently for over 700 years before being bought by the Cazes family of Lynch-Bages fame a few years ago. The 2007 vintage in the southern Rhône will go down as one of the finest in decades, suffused with superlatively-ripened fruit, buoyant acidity and expressive tannins. The appealing weight, vibrancy and savory mouthfeel of this full-bodied wine will demand food equal to the task— coq au vin or better yet, Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings.
Zubrowka Bison Grass Polish Vodka 750ml
Review Date: 11-9-2009
I enjoyed the London reminiscences by my colleague Susan Thornett about this wonderful vodka, and I too confess a special relationship with Zubrowka going back several decades, when I was first offered a bracing shot of this harmonic-bisonic elixir by a friendly Polish waiter in then East Berlin who, sadly trapped behind the Iron Curtain some years before Solidarnösc, desperately wanted to improve his English skills. Maybe it was the effects of the vodka, but before the evening ended I promised to "secure" him a dictionary from the West even though it was strictly against the policy of the rather coercive East German authorities at the time. Well, anyway, I succeeded, and thanks in part to Zubrowka, the Wall finally came down and democracy was finally restored to freedom-loving East Berliners. And today I'm really glad we can offer this rare vodka to our astute customers, as its singularly subtle and unique flavors of yellow straw, camomile tea and dried coconut promises to both stimulate conversation, energize the appetite and yes, liberate the spirit! Na zdrowie! (To health!)
Sorelle Bronca Prosecco DOCG
Review Date: 7-11-2009
This delightful Prosecco is a strong contender for best in class among its growing legions of fans, delivering dependably delicious flavors of sliced apples, citrus blossoms and almonds in a pure and sparkling persona. Showcasing both freshness and mineral vibrancy, it should complement most summer fare from salads to appetizers, and would be the perfect match for a basket of lightly-fried calamari.
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