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Staff Favorites - Bryan Brick

Bryan Brick


2012 Keenan "Reserve" Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-08-2016
We’ve long touted the Keenan wines as being some of the best wines in Napa, all for comparatively reasonable pricing, and we are incredibly excited to be able to offer the 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from them. From the best barrels of the Estate Cabernet, and a smidgen of Cabernet Franc, which are planted at 1,700 feet elevation perched high upon Spring Mountain, this is one of the great mountain fruit Cabs year in and year out. Big, brooding and inky dark, this wine is not at all shy, with concentrated aromas of sage, anise seed, caramel-like oak and cassis liquor. It has plenty of the tannins that Spring Mountain is so known for, but it also has all of the savory, scrub brush, porcini mushroom and wild berry flavors that are hallmark for the region as well. The power here is unmistakable and really would be a great investment for 15-20 years down the road; at $100, I can certainly think of numerous wines at twice that price that aren’t half of what this wine is, but I digress. I’d cellar this for at least another 3-5 years and drink it young with a dry-aged rib eye, or lay it down for longer and really let this wine shine. To me, Keenan should really be part of the conversation with the greats of high-elevation Napa Cabs like Dunn, Mayacamas, and Togni, and this wine is a perfect example of why.

2012 Joseph Swan "Trenton Estate" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 03-23-2016
Anyone that knows the staff at K&L is fully aware of our love affair with the wines of Joseph Swan. The classically styled wines are full of honest flavors, vibrant acid and have proven time and time again that they develop wonderfully in the cellar. Not to mention Rod and Lynn Berglund are two of the sweetest people you'll ever meet. If you haven't been to their incredibly modest tasting room, where the wines are the centerpiece, it is a must the next time you are in the Russian River Valley. If you visit there, or have in the past, the vines around the winery are part of the Trenton Estate block which makes one of the best Pinots in the Russian River Valley if not all of California.
The 2012 is outrageously great. In fact I want to use every superlative I can think of for just how good, and how special, this wine is but that would just be superfluous, so I’ll give you the details instead. This is about the intensity and power of the vines that Joe Swan himself planted back in the late 60’s and not much else, not about oak, not about Rod’s winemaking ego, not about points, just those incredibly special and historic vines. One of the signs of a great pinot to me is that it has power, complexity, drive and structure all while having little heft. This wine is a perfect example of that. Oolong tea, pomegranate, blood orange, wet clay and crushed rock aromas are just now starting to come out of this as it is still a baby in its development. For how light and transparent this wine is it certainly packs a wallop of powerful, concentrated red fruits, exotic spice, Sevilla oranges, cranberry and clove on the palate. Tangy and full of zing on the finish this wine is anything but shy at this point but you can’t help the feeling that so much more is coming down the road. Lay this one down for a while or break it out for special occasions, or special recipes, with a long gentle decant. It will be the star of the show.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
WE 95 ST 92

2011 Seven Hills "Seven Hills" Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-01-2014
Seven Hills has long been one of favorite Washington producers here at K&L and one of my personal faves for about as long as I’ve been in this business. This first generation Washington winery has made great wines, seemingly continuously, since its founding in 1988 in all price points and from all varietals. However I think that this winery really shines with its Cabernet Sauvignon. There is a depth, richness and texture to their wines that rivals some of the best America has to offer, yet they do it for a fraction of the cost that we’ve come to expect from Napa or even comparative Sonoma Cabs. The Seven Hills Vineyard bottling is from the “Old Blocks” on this prestige site in Walla Walla Valley and while these old blocks may not be 100 years old they are certainly mature vines of the highest quality that you’ll find in Washington. Deep, inky and powerful this wine initially comes off as a bit of a brute, however as it develops in the mouth you realize just how complex and nuanced it really is. Layers of oak toast, dried black currants, road tar and black olive are tightly woven together with a long, persistent finish. This is a wine that needs a bit of air if you want to drink it right away so make sure you have a decanter handy, but if you have the time, patience and space I can’t think of a wine right now, for this sort of value, that would be better lived in your cellar for the next 5-10 years.

2010 Marietta "Angeli Cuvee" Alexander Valley Red Blend
Review Date: 01-15-2014
Marietta has long been on our radar as one of the best producers of a non-vintage field blend for pennies on the dollar. Their “Old Vine Red” has graced our shelves continuously for the past 7-8 years, if not longer, and is always one of the best Domestic values in the store. Sadly however we’ve not found a permanent home for too many of their other wines for reasons that I can not honestly explain. That is until now. Their Angeli Cuvee, which is their top wine, is named after the owners of the ranch that became the current estate that the Bilbro family purchased in 1991. This blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane and Syrah is a tremendous wine showing the balance and poise that a blend like this rarely has. Maybe that is because of the overall coolness of the 2010 Vintage or maybe it is because it is just put together with a bit more attention and care, bottom line is this is smoking wine. Big and boisterous from the onset this is packed with aromas of black cherry, tar, sweet licorice ropes and cracked peppercorns. Ripe and full on the entry this shows pleasing texture and heft without turning jammy or coating and has plenty of countering spice and brightness of fruit. Flavors of boysenberry, allspice, mocha and unsweetened chocolate bounce around the palate and would work wonderfully with some braised short ribs or hearty meat packed chili.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2010 Neely "Picnic Block- Spring Ridge Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-18-2013
If you receive our e-mails and/or newsletter and you haven’t yet heard of the wines from the Varner Brothers you probably really have not been paying attention. We’ve championed their numerous brands (Varner, Spring Ridge, Neely and Foxglove) for years and have made many a friend with their wines along the way. I stand by my assessment that they may be the best Chardonnay producer in California over the last decade, heck, even Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate has gotten on the bandwagon giving the Varner Bros. wines consistently high scores over that same amount of time. That being said we really love what they are doing with Pinot Noir as well. All the Neely/Varner Pinots are 100% Estate fruit and while the Neely Pinots focus on single blocks, the Varner Pinot is a blend of three Estate blocks. The 2010 Neely Picnic Block Pinot Noir is possibly the most ageworthy of the three Neely wines. With much more foresty aromatics of fern, sous bois, redwood and wet earth this comes off leaner and a bit more terroir driven. Still carrying the trademark texture of the 2010 vintage from the Varners this adds brooding notes of black fruits, spice cake, cracked pepper and chewy back end tannins. There is much more scope and breadth here with flavors of Earl Gray tea, sage, boysenberry and ash but the wine needs a decant if you’d like to drink it right away or a cozy spot in your cellar for the next 3-5 years.
Price: $37.99 Add To Cart
RP 91 VN 91

2007 Darioush Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 01-19-2011
For years Darioush has been cranking out powerful, intense, heavily fruited Cabs. These are the sort of Cabernets that you’d want to take to a high powered business meeting at an upscale steak house. The kind of wine that can’t miss, that says I’m in charge here, this is what I got and you are going to love it. To use the word simple would be doing the wine a serious injustice but there is sort of an ease to this wine in the sense that it is just so likeable, a wine that doesn’t make you do mental calisthenics to enjoy. Full of sappy, pitchy black fruits and rolled in spicy, sweet oak this mouth filling beauty is not necessarily for those that champion restraint above all else. Everyone else, get in, sit down, buckle up and enjoy the ride.