Staff Favorites - Gary Norton

Gary Norton

Reviews

Wathen’s Private Barrel #3597 "K&L Exclusive" Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 10-12-2018
Aromas of peanut brittle, cloves and caramel lead into rich, malty flavors of toasted pine and citrus peels. For under forty bucks it's a versatile libation that you can enjoy neat, with a rock, or blend into a cocktail. I'm not sure what this one proofed out at, but it has the chops to take on a rock or two without falling apart.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2015 Labadie, Médoc
Review Date: 08-06-2018
There is a massive amount of value to be had in 2015 Bordeaux and this Merlot-driven claret is a pristine example of such. Flush with notes of red and dark berries, cedar and tobacco, this expressive red can be enjoyed tonight or cellared for another decade plus. There is a great deal to like here - both by this wine and the swath of amazing 2015s that will be landing over the next few months.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2014 La Chablisienne Chablis 1er Cru "Côte de Léchet"
Review Date: 07-31-2018
Showing great drive and precision, this is textbook Chablis from one of the strongest vintages for white Burgundy in recent memory. Green apple, lemon peel, stony minerality and a flash of baking spice on the finish. There aren't many '14s available in the market right now and even fewer with a price-tag under $30, which makes this a unique opportunity to stock-up on top vintage Chablis for a song.

2016 Martin Ray Sonoma County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-01-2018
Notes of dried black cherries, elderberry compote, crushed blackberries, cola and a hint of Porcini hold together wonderfully within this gorgeously rich and seductive Pinot Noir. The fact it carries a sub-$20 price-tag only compounds the upside to this stunning bottle. Go big on this one, trust me, it won't be here for long.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 94

2014 Colgin "IX Estate" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 06-01-2018
The IX Estate Vineyard is a site that can be described as a viticultural masterpiece and, unsurprisingly, it produces some of the most viscerally thrilling wines I have ever had the pleasure to taste. The range of flavors runs the spectrum - the nose and palate are anchored by dark red fruits, blackberries, iron and dried herbs and the experience tapers down with wildly polished tannins to round everything out. The impeccable quality of this wine is clearly the by product of a first-growth caliber vineyard and an insanely talented winemaking team. Kudos!

2015 Smith Story "Pickberry Vineyard" Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-26-2018
Galloni's glowing review of Smith Story's 2015 releases only affirmed what we already knew - that these are incredible wines that will soon be virtually impossible to find. The collective experience that Eric and Ali (Story and Smith, respectively) bring to the table is nothing short of impressive in its own right, now compound that with the rock star adviser they have in Katy Wilson, and you have one of the most impressive trios in the business. Their entire range of wines is astonishing and frankly, I'd put them up against California's best any day of the week.
Price: $59.95 Add To Cart
VN 95

2016 The Burn "Borne of Fire" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-24-2018
This is the perfect wine to introduce yourself to high-quality Cabernet from Washington state - an under-appreciated region that undoubtedly represents the strongest QPR in domestic Bordeaux varietals. This one offers a stemmy mix of red and dark fruits, dried herbs and mocha to round it out. A great little weeknight sipper for less than twenty bucks.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

2016 Halcón "Alturas" Yorkville Highlands Syrah
Review Date: 05-15-2018
Halcon has been on a qualitative roar for some time now and this bottling is no different. With qualities akin to top-vintage Cote Rotie or Hermitage, it boasts massive concentration, great purity of fruit and full-bodied richness - all for less than thirty bucks. Dried violets, game, black olives, blackberries and hints of leather, this one truly has it all. Pull the cork tonight or let it develop for a decade plus - totally up to you.

2016 Domaine Frédéric Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin "Clos Prieur"
Review Date: 04-05-2018
After a thorough decant, this '16 Gevrey opened up quite well by showing notes of kirsch, redcurrants, violets and framboise liqueur. This wine comes across as a hypothetical mash-up of many Burgundies we've tasted from 2014 and 2015. It has the ripeness of 2015 but the focus and energy of 2014 all at once. If you plan to drink this in the near term, give it at least a few hours in a decanter. Otherwise, forget about it in your cellar for two to three years at least. Either way, this wine offers a ton of value for less than $40.
Price: $35.99 Add To Cart
WS 93

2016 Domaine Lafage "Novellum" Chardonnay Pays d'Oc
Review Date: 11-20-2017
Hands down, this is one of the best pound-for-pound Chardonnays in the store right now. Boasting notes of grapefruit, white nectarine, chamomile and a touch of oily richness - there is no reason that this value white should not be featured on your Thanksgiving dinner table. It's the perfect dinner companion for any occasion really, but especially those coming up in the next few months!
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2015 Domaine Lafage "Bastide Miraflors" Côtes du Roussillon
Review Date: 10-04-2017
This is on my short list of price-performers in the store right now. Very delicate, dark-fruited and floral on the nose with hints of smoked meats to wrap it up. The palate doubles down on the aforementioned, with the addition of sweet berry fruit and baking spices. Personally, I'll take a shot on any sub-$13 dollar wine that a major critic compares to SQN, but rest assured, this one is worth every cent and then some.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2013 Red Stitch Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 08-31-2017
We never see small production Cabernet with a Napa Valley designation that comes with a sub-$100 price tag. Compound that with the fact that the wine is from arguably the strongest vintage we've seen in the last 40 years and you have one of the best pound-for-pound values on the market. Load up on these because there isn't much to go around.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
WS 93

2014 Red Stitch "Sierra Mar Vineyard" Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-31-2017
Easily the best SLH Pinot Noir I've tasted this year - it's rich, expressive and dark-fruited. Great entry weight on the palate and flavors of black fruits, dark berries and rose-hips come together gracefully to form one of the most complete wines I can remember tasting from the AVA, ever. It's a mid to near-term drinker so pull the cork on this micro-production Pinot before the season ends and enjoy it until the last pitch.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
WE 94

2014 Quintessa Rutherford Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 08-02-2017
Quintessa's 2014 portfolio is unquestionably the best set of wines they have ever released. Perhaps it's their rock-star winemaker, Rebekah Wineburg (tremendous name too, I know) they have employed, or the amazing vineyards they have, or the state of the art winery they built, or the culmination of all of these factors. Frankly, I don't know. What I do know is their proprietary red blend is an absolute knock-out. Medium to full bodied, dark fruited, complex, ethereal - it's got it all. Drink it this evening or cellar it for twenty years. This is one of the most versatile wines I've ever had the pleasure to taste.

2007 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 07-11-2017
I'll start here: This wine is criminally under-priced and outright delicious. It's full of black and blue fruits, white pepper, leather and dehydrated herbs. The estate is situated just to the west of Chateauneuf du Pape and year after year I become increasingly impressed by the quality and length of the wines. I had a chance to revisit this particular bottling a few months ago and it reaffirmed my assertion that this is one of the best values in all of the Rhone.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JD 91

2015 Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 06-02-2017
Flowers has recently shifted towards a more finesse-driven style and frankly, it's relieving. Not to say that I wasn't a fan before this, but there is no shortage of big, viscous Chardonnays in Sonoma and I've been hoping for something to change. I was fortunate enough to taste this wine a few weeks ago and was astonished by the length and balance that is possessed - notes of lemon flesh, white peach, marzipan, cloves and a lovely saline quality on the finish. Very impressed by the direction of this winery, not to mention they are going to take over the old VML property in Healdsburg, which should be nothing short of awesome!

2014 Maison L'Envoyé "The Attaché" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 03-11-2017
A tremendously serious wine for thirty bucks, that's for sure. The wine shows notes of fresh purple fruits, baking spices and a smokey, almost syrah-like characteristic that comes in on the mid-palate. It's a wildly intriguing Pinot Noir that should age gracefully for another 5 to 8 years.

2013 Hess Collection "19 Block Mountain Cuvée" Mount Veeder Red Blend
Review Date: 01-11-2017
Before finding out what the varietal breakdown of this wine was my early call was a blend dominated by Zin. To my dismay, it's roughly 60% Malbec, 31% Cab and a few dollops of Petit Verdot and Syrah making up the balance of the blend. It's an inky wine with great fruit extraction and vigor, showing notes of dark plum, black currant, blackberry preserve, pie crust and a supple tannin on the finish. One heck of a wine for $27, which is tough to find these days, especially with a designation such as Mount Veeder attached to it.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2015 D'Arce, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 01-05-2017
It's certainly a more modern iteration from Bordeaux, but full of pretty red fruit and blueberry notes. The palate is lush and soft with a lot of fruit up front; it then moves into licorice, dark currant and dried herbs. The finish is elegant with touch of grip on the back end. Great little weeknight sipper.

2013 Brassfield "Eruption - Volcano Ridge Vineyard" High Valley Red Blend
Review Date: 10-14-2016
A blend consisting of 38% Malbec, 36% Syrah, 16% Mourvèdre and 10% Petite Sirah, this is a very serious wine for sixteen dollars. Dark fruit, dark berries, solid fruit depth without any indication of jamminess. It's full-bodied and has a well-integrated, dusty tannin structure on the finish. Need I say more?
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

Michel Arnould Verzenay "Reserve" Brut Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 10-03-2016
This is a fantastic non-vintage bottling from Michel Arnould. The blend consists of a heavy dose of Pinot Noir (75%) and the rest Chardonnay, which creates a wonderfully delicate and floral nose that leads into heaps of red fruit and red berries. The finish is clean and citric. A truly special bottle of bubbles.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

2010 Bois-Malot, Bordeaux Supérieur
Review Date: 09-08-2016
There's good reason as to why this wine is a perennial staff and customer favorite. It's a dark fruited, earthy, intense Bordeaux blend (50% Cab, 30% Merlot & 20% Cab Franc) at a very approachable price point. Pair this wine with a juicy hamburger or red meat of your choice. This is an absurdly serious wine for less than fifteen bucks.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

Westland Sherry Wood American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 08-06-2016
My personal favorite of our current Westland lineup. Aromas of Fig Newtons, toasted pecan, mocha and dried yellow fruits to cap it off. It isn't too oily or sweet, it's an honest, lively whiskey that begs to be had neat, or with a single rock.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
WE 95

Westland Peated American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 08-06-2016
In the spectrum of American single malts, Westland is at the apex of my list. Each and everything they offer is of incredible quality and reasonably priced. Their peated whiskey, priced at $69.99, rivals most Scotch whiskeys that command upwards of $100.00. It's rich, focused and balanced, showing notes of smokey creme brulee, vanilla, pie crust and scorched orange peel. Easily one of the best American whiskeys on the market today.
Price: Hidden View Price

Westland American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 08-05-2016
Westland's American Single Malt is truly a show stopper. It houses very pure single malt Scotch-like characteristics (reminiscent of a classic Speyside) while adding some additional notes of vanilla extract, espresso bean and dried Medjool dates. This could be a game changer for you, come scoop a bottle and you'll understand what I'm talking about.
Top Value!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
WE 93

2014 Napa Cellars Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-07-2016
It's rich, ripe, buttery, and yes, it's back!! Partially barrel fermented, this wine has a softer texture than it has had in previous vintages. Viscous and lush, this is a wine with a built-in fan base and a price point that makes it move quickly.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

Deligeroy "La Petite Marquise" Cremant de Loire Brut
Review Date: 04-05-2016
It's toasty and light, floral and fruity, drinkable and inexpensive. Enough said, right? While lovely all by itself, it's also a bottle that you don't feel guilty adding a dash of crème de cassis to for a brunch-time sparkling cocktail.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2013 Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 03-25-2016
This young, age-worthy Cab certainly needs a few years to develop, but after an aggressive decant (2+ hours) some lovely dark fruit/dark berry, toasted almond and cocoa notes really start to jump out of the glass. On the palate, black currant, dried cherry, licorice and mocha. Follow this wine (and production) over the next five to ten years and prepare to be impressed.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

Michel Arnould "Reserve" Brut Verzenay Champagne
Review Date: 12-30-2015
This is a fantastic non-vintage bottling from Michel Arnould. The blend consists of a heavy dose of Pinot Noir (75%) and the rest Chardonnay, which creates a wonderfully delicate and floral nose that leads into heaps of red fruit and red berries. The finish is clean and citric. A truly special bottle of bubbles.
Price: $32.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

Antech Blanquette de Limoux Brut Nature
Review Date: 11-12-2015
With no dosage added, this is the driest of the Antech line. Always crisp and refreshing, it's my opinion that Antech produces the highest quality value-driven sparkling wine on the market right now. The perfect bottle for a wedding, party, or just another Tuesday night.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

Louise Brison "L'Impertinente" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 08-13-2015
These bubbles are derived from 100% Pinot Noir and emit wonderful fragrances of cassis, wild strawberries and a tinge of minerals. Upon entry, this sparkler is crisp and light, while continuing to show a tenacious amount of strawberries, red fruit and toast. Enjoy these bubbles with a grilled pork loin, a sunset and good company!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart