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Staff Favorites - John Majeski
2013 Palmina "Pressed-Quinta del Mar Vineyard" Central Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-30-2015
Let’s face it, it would be easy to pass up this delicious wine on our shelves, as the minimalist label and understated name "Pressed" hardly leaps out at you. But please don’t let this keep you from trying a bottle, as it is one of the best Pinot Noir values in our stores! Winemaker Steve Clifton, famed for artfully translating Italian varieties on Santa Barbara soil, recently turned his talent and skills to Central Coast Pinot Noir. With fruit selected solely from the small Quinta del Mar vineyard, a few miles as the seagull flies from the cooling Pacific, he fashioned an extraordinary Pinot, rich with raspberry, pomegranate and rhubarb-inflected aromatics announcing a savory palate imbued with morello cherry, floral, jerky and cranberry influences, toned by smooth tannins, good acidity and a fine, elaborated finish. This would beautifully enhance a rosemary-laced pork tenderloin or honey-glazed ham, and looking ahead, your Thanksgiving feast. Enjoy!
2010 Solaria Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 09-30-2015
OK, time to drown, or at least temporarily sedate my sorrows: our beloved Giants are out of the race for yet another odd year… hey, maybe that’s why they’re called "odd" years! Anyway, I won't curse Kershaw, he showed great stuff out there, and besides, I think we have a store in LA.....congrats. Fortunately relief is only a shelf away with the glorious 2010 Solaria Brunello, its stylish label signifying the generous warmth of the sun upon the hills of Montalcino. A true wine evocative of the sun and soil, it is both finely structured and supple, a complex array of juicy, silky black fruit, wet earth, cigar leaf, licorice and spice, fleshy and firm on the tannins. Hold for a few more years to bring out the serious beauty of this wine, and open it, say in 2020, to celebrate a sixth Giants championship! See you at the ballpark!
2014 Domaine de Verquière Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 09-30-2015
Ten bucks will not even buy you a tepid beer at the ballpark, but it will, plus tax, get you into a nice bottle of this super-tasty, astonishingly low-priced Cotes du Rhone! After dis-inhabiting our shelves for almost a decade, it's back with a wave and a flourish, bringing all the right stuff with it in the way of crushed cherries, bruised plums (painless), lilting violets, licorice, wild garrigue and well-evolved tannins. A lip-smacking, delicious everyday red, so why not have it, um, everyday? OK, then, Wednesday?
2014 Le Cirque Grenache Gris Côtes Catalanes
Review Date: 09-21-2015
Today was so danged hot in San Francisco that a friend called it 'Warmageddon!' Luckily the antidote to such soul-frying, shade-defying heat is here, lying right on our shelves, in a crisp and exuberant white wine from Roussillon that is about as sleek and lively as a saluki let loose on an endless beach. Flush with appealing, mouthwatering fruit revealing captive flavors of pineapple, grapefruit, pear and honeysuckle, with an energetic limestone spine, this versatile, food-friendly white will slake your thirst and restore your spirits even on the warmest days of Indian Summer. Seriously delicious wine. Now go catch that saluki.....
2011 Pasquale Pelissero "San Giuliano" Barbaresco
Review Date: 08-31-2015
I never ever tire of the complex aromatic aura of a finely-polished Nebbiolo, and this captivating, evocative and generously perfumed version explodes with all the expressive passions of ripening plums, cherries, rose petals, pipe tobacco, licorice and baking spice. A few more years in an undisturbed, darkened cellar will allow for even more exotic qualities to shine, but it’s pretty damn delicious now.
2014 Domaine la Colombe Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé
Review Date: 08-31-2015
Wait, this must be a misprint, we aren’t selling this for….oops, I guess we are! Ok, yet another great summer bargain in a delightful, highly-drinkable, terroir-driven rosé, comprised of stone-inflected, strawberry, acacia blossom and melon-scented fruit sourced from rocky hillside vineyards in the Coteaux Varois en Provence, a region famed for its wonderful cuisine and scintillating wines. You can almost smell the mistral wafting through the grapes, but I won't get too carried away, this is for enjoyment now...
2014 GRÜNER by Etz Grüner Veltliner Kamptal (1L)
Review Date: 08-31-2015
Some ambitious marketeers have recently tried to promote Grüner Veltliner as simply GV or Gru-Vee, owing to its versatility and snappy ability to pair so well with lighter fare like summery radicchio salads, vegetarian tarts and those persnickety characters like asparagus and artichokes. Medium-bodied, delicately lees-suffused fragrances with traditional tinges of white pepper and crisp Granny Smith apples, this fantastic liter-sized bottle will literally Etz its way into your heart.
2010 Castelli del Grevepesa Chianti Classico "Panzano" Gran Selezione
Review Date: 07-29-2015
With the newly minted 'Gran Selezione' designation now in place in Chianti, the famous black Tuscan rooster on the neck has started power-lifting and is in excellent strutting form, as demonstrated by this rich, muscular, well-wrought Chianti Classico from Panzano. Not just sinew and brawn though, this wine delivers an arresting, perfumed nose and solid scaffold of plum, blackcurrant and cherry fruit and spice to complement the structured, dusty tannins that characterize the long finish. With fine depth and complexity, this brazen Tuscan beauty will evolve for ten years or more.
2014 Domaine Cherrier Père & Fils Sancerre
Review Date: 07-22-2015
Uncork this delicious, scintillating bottle of Sancerre and all the mama goats will drop their focused foraging, turn tail, and flock to you, demanding that you turn their fresh milk into luscious cheese, to do the wine right. Just be glad they don't drink, leaving more stunning citrussy sips for you and your human companions. With its chalky perplexity and lovely peach, stone fruit and lemon notes, this wine will, excuse the expression, get your goat! Cheers to Cherrier!
2014 Chateau Puech-Haut "Tete de Belier" Coteaux du Languedoc Saint Drezery Rosé
Review Date: 07-21-2015
Please bear with me on this one, as I s(l)ip into another time and place, the synaptic nets holding in captivity both this lovely, lustrous wine and the memory of a soul-stirring work of art. The medicos have a word for it~ synesthesia, the union of the senses, where music can create colors in the mind, and in this case, a painting in the wine. Tate Gallery, London. Artist~ John Singer Sargent. The masterpiece~ Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, painted 1885-1886. Look it up and you will understand. As this is a wine review, let's just say that the interplay of silky red fruit, white peach, acacia blossom and stony minerality create a poised, pitch-perfect rose to complement a diversity of dishes and enhance your summer evenings. Paint your own picture my friends.....
2013 Chateau Puech-Haut "La Closerie du Pic" Coteaux du Languedoc Pic Saint Loup
Review Date: 07-01-2015
This wine howls from the ruggedly beautiful Pic St. Loup appellation in the vast windswept reaches of the Languedoc, and delivers a bold elaboration of well-ripened, magnanimous plum, blackberry and cassis fruits, revealing lavish spice, garrigue, roasted fig and meaty elements. Hardly for the faint of palate, this voluminous, brazenly aromatic wine engages your glass and senses with richness, depth and intensity. Pairs well with rustic stews or a barley and wild mushroom risotto.
2012 Ferrero Toscana Rosso
Review Date: 06-30-2015
My experience with Tuscany first began with fine art long before fine wine entered the picture, specifically an afternoon spent in front of Botticelli's masterpiece La Primavera in the Uffizi Galleria in Florence, gazing at perhaps the purest embodiment of grace in western painting. From palette to palate, Tuscany remains a stellar constellation for both wine and art. And let's face it, gazing long at an unopened bottle doesn't really do the trick, so....pour yourself a glass of this generous, friendly baby Tuscan, and relish the pure, captivating flavors of ripe plums, juicy cherries, espresso, sweet spice and polished tannins. Damn, if Botticelli were alive, I would pop the cork and share a bottle with him while he, um, posed his models...
2010 Bois-Malot, Bordeaux Supérieur
Review Date: 06-29-2015
You really don’t have to look very far into the exceptional 2010 vintage to discover great wines, and in the Bois Malot we’re happy to offer you an investment in value and flavor that will reward your palate every time you pop the cork. Ballasted by velvety core fruits and a tinge of lovely minerality and spice, this wine is drinking very well now, and will certainly cellar for several more years. The perfect red to both charm and enhance your everyday cuisine, so why wait?
2013 Domaine de l'Hortus "Val de Montferrand" Grande Cuvée Blanc
Review Date: 06-24-2015
Lying below the ancient limestone and marl escarpments of Montagne de l'Hortus and Pic St. Loup, Domaine de l'Hortus boasts some of the most arrestingly beautiful vineyards in all of France. Where sheep once lazily grazed beneath the shadowy aspect of the cliffs, there are now rows and rows of immaculately-tended vines under the watchful stewardship of winemaker Jean Orliac. Although I've enjoyed his robust, savory, garrigue-driven reds for several years, I'd spent less time exploring his white wines. My bad. The Grand Cuvee Blanc deserves to be savored, as it possesses all the elegance of a finely-crafted domestic Chardonnay, but enhanced by the added richness and textural exuberance of Viognier. Golden-hued, it holds forth with lovely, efflorescent aromas of white pear, honeysuckle, apricot and citrus blossom, balanced by excellent acidity. A classy, sophisticated white wine to share with good friends throughout the summer.
2011 Seghesio "Old Vine" Sonoma County Zinfandel
Review Date: 05-26-2015
Whenever I open an old vine Zinfandel, I expect to be taken in, and frankly seduced, by a ravishing bouquet of robust dark fruit, savory spice, bold briary character, supple tannins and a mouth filling, juicy finish. This sinuous, provocative Zin did not disappoint, in fact, it was perfectly attired for the occasion. Bring it to your next outdoor barbecue and watch it charm the crowd.
2012 Erik Banti "Carato" Toscana
Review Date: 05-26-2015
Opened another bottle of this yesterday just to see if my early notes were somehow hyperbole. Nope, this giveaway value is the real deal, an amazing baby Tuscan with super-luscious flavors of ripe cherry, dark plum, nice spice and a kiss of oak to satisfy your ardent craving for that perfect everyday red to go with virtually anything consumable by a human being on the planet Earth… ok, maybe not anything, there I go exaggerating again. You’ll know.
Antech "Brut Nature" Blanquette de Limoux
Review Date: 05-26-2015
Zero is my favorite number, or rather ‘un-number’ when it comes to most sparkling wines, as I prefer the naked, pure, crystalline fruit unadorned by added dosage, and the sheer raciness and zing of this stainless fermented bubbly from Limoux answers the call with laser flavors of green apple, lemon and white pear. Bring on a platter of fresh raw oysters or mussels mariniere and watch the shells pile up. Gotta love it!
2012 J.L. Chave Selection "Mon Coeur" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 05-26-2015
Keeping it all in the family has proven to be the right formula for success for this highly regarded vigneron, as Jean-Louis Chave inherited the ‘wine’ gene from his father Gerard, who inherited it from his father who, well, you know how it goes. They approach the process as anything but formulaic, from the intensive cultivation of vines to meticulous selections in the cellar, and whether it is in the their supremely crafted white and red Hermitages or their more modest Côtes du Rhônes, they are intuitively immersed in every aspect of winemaking. Waxing philosophically, Gerard once remarked that “wine should be drunk and enjoyed, not intellectualized, as there seem to be more spitters than drinkers.” Well, for those fortunately in the latter group, the Mon Coeur will reward with stylish aromas of morello cherry and violets, measured on the midweight palate by ripe blackcurrants, pepper and spice, with clean acidity and smooth tannins. A supple, well-integrated wine that will enhance many a meal from short ribs to a Moroccan tagine.
2013 Outlier North Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-25-2015
Derek Rohlffs and Roger Scommegna, both rebels with a cause, got high in Mendocino... in fact higher than any vineyards in that beautifully lush region where fine Pinot Noir finds its natural habitat. Along with Roger's pristine Signal Ridge Vineyard, they selected fruit for this wine from nearby cool-climate, mountainside slopes, and aged it in older French oak, allowing the delicately fresh floral and mineral flavors to slowly meld and intensify into a beguiling Pinot Noir delivering sumptuous, velvety fruit with cherry, blueberry, dark chocolate, briar and cranberry notes. Guaranteed to satisfy those seeking a mouthwateringly delicious Pinot, this is a beautiful introduction to Anderson Valley's magical realm. Pair with a fresh-caught grilled salmon and live sublime!
2012 Shatter Grenache Côtes Catalanes
Review Date: 05-25-2015
Presenting big, bold and in your glass aromas of pure, unabashed Grenache, these two talented guys from Napa borrowed a page or two from Philippe Cambie, masterful Rhone consultant, when they created this impressive bottling. A powerful palate bursting with intense layers of cherries, blackberries, bakery spice, liquorice, wild thyme and toasty oak, the sheer amplitude of flavors from this wine defy a final edit. Blessed with fine, silky tannins and a round, seamless finish, enjoy it over the next several years with a rich beef stew or aged cheese board.
2014 Cognizant Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 05-25-2015
Ever curious about the workhorse Ryan Woodhouse’s next hat trick from New Zealand, I have to admit that he really pulled a lovely bottle out of his cap with this one, with the talented help of a couple blessed with the best surname on Earth, Jason and Anna Flowerday. A true artisan’s touch at work here, with luscious, zesty fruit blended from two different vineyards in the Awatere and Wairau Valleys and given delicate barrel treatment to enhance the wonderful mouthfeel and generous richness of the wine. Once you taste this well-balanced and sophisticated creation, you will be fully 'cognizant' of why the name….
2014 Domaine de Millet Colombard-Ugni Blanc Cotes de Gascogne Blanc
Review Date: 04-29-2015
Ugni Blanc (aka Trebbiano) grows in abundance in both France and Italy, where it is used as both table wine and in the crafting of fine Armagnacs in Gascogne. This is a bright, refreshing blend of Ugni Blanc and Colombard, imbued with citrus, white flower and quince notes, harmonious and pure, perfect as a delightful aperitif or with a variety of foods from salads to shellfish. Drink throughout the long summer, it is a wonder!
2014 Château de Peyrassol "Commanderie" Côtes de Provence Rosé
Review Date: 04-28-2015
As an avid watcher of Game of Thrones can tell you, it’s not uncommon to find some beleaguered greybeard utter the doom and gloom words, “Winter is coming!” Well, don’t panic, you can all shed your Night’s Watch feathers, down vests and thermals, because in ever-thirsty, drought-stricken California, the common catchphrase is “Summer is coming!” And what better way to face the rays than by embracing a shimmering glass of rosé straight from the heart of Provence, home to perhaps the most elegant and sophisticated pinks on the planet. From vineyard regions first planted and harvested almost eight centuries ago by dedicated Templar Knights, to slake the thirst of weary Crusaders or dragons en route to the Holy Land, comes a favorite rosé: the 2014 Château de Peyrassol “Commanderie” Côtes de Provence Rosé, made from organically cultivated Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault vines grown on low-yielding rocky terrain, and directly pressed after undergoing a cold maceration to reveal beautiful dimensions of watermelon, strawberry, carnation and lilac on the nose, with a replenishing, lively palate of mouth-watering fruits and spice. With infinite charm, freshness and finesse, this superb rosé will pair well with most Mediterranean cuisine, summer salads and grilled seafood.
2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 03-31-2015
While I loved prior versions of this favorite Pinot, this new expression from a near perfect vintage took a different qualitative turn with the inspired interplay of fruit from another site, creating a generous, complex, elegant rendering, the epitome of depth, sophistication and grace— perfumed aromas of dried flowers, forest mushrooms intermixed with wild strawberry, red plum and raspberry fruit on the palate. Well-defined acidity and a fine, harmonious finish, winemakers Jason and Anna Flowerday have surpassed their own uncompromising standards with this wonderful Pinot Noir. Not to be missed!
2012 Ellero "Pisa Terrace" Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 03-31-2015
Central Otago has, over the last decade, become the hot spot in New Zealand for Pinot Noir, and there are so many super producers and bottlings that it can be impossibly hard to keep up, but luckily we have Ryan Woodhouse, our inspired explorer and savvy spelunker of all things Kiwi-driven. Ok, maybe not spelunker, unless we’re talking wine caves. The Ellero comes from ‘Pisa Terrace’, a precious parcel of organic vines that may or may not grow on a badly tilted hillside …. anyway, this is a serious, well-wrought wine, combining both fine concentration and clarity, with a brilliant array of silky black and red fruits, savory tea spice, structured tannins and earthy, textural notes on the persistent finish. A masterful stroke of winemaking, likely to evolve beautifully for several more years.
2012 Krutz Family Cellars "Magnolia Series" Napa Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 03-29-2015
Oh my Heart of Darkness, Mister Krutz! If you can read Conrad or enjoy a Coppola bad puns, you'll get it. This brazen beauty is one of the most arrestingly delicious, emblematic Zinfandels I've tasted recently, bursting with a veritable cornucopia of perfectly-picked, brambly black fruit....dark cherries, plums, and blackberries that project their rich aromatic personalities on the palate with both balance, generosity and power, all fitfully framed by finely-polished tannins and finishing smooth and dry and pure. Serve this Zinfandel with nicely grilled sausages or a spicy Moroccan tagine for a memorable meal.
2013 Spellbound California Chardonnay
Review Date: 02-28-2015
Can’t afford the pricier Rombauer but still want to be treated to a delicious, sun-baked apple-blessed, tropical, toasty and vanilla-imbued wine? Go for the Spellbound my friends, you will find plenty here to enjoy, and it really does the trick, offering plenty of rich wine pleasure for far less than you’d expect to pay. And if you happen to live in California, be sure to stock a few cases away, just in case we run out of, gulp, water....
2012 La Monacesca "Mirum" Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva
Review Date: 02-28-2015
For some bizarre reason, I never seem to drink enough Italian white wines, probably because I’m always driven to the Killer B’s (Barolos, Barbarescos, Brunellos). But Verdicchio, which sounds like Verocchio, the name of a Renaissance painter who is most famous for teaching Leonardo how to dip his brush, remains one of those quintessential grapes that demands serious respect from both scholar and consumer. And because it has a tendency to ripen slowly when properly planted, Verdicchio develops beautiful acidity and mineral notes to ballast the incredibly complex and succulent flavors of white pear, floral, almond and quince that are characteristic of this superb wine. And remember, the Riserva will continue to evolve for a decade or more, so practiced patience is as virtuous as the wine.
2013 L'Ecole No. 41 " Luminesce" Seven Hills Vineyard Walla Walla White Wine
Review Date: 02-16-2015
'Luminesce'....sometimes even a wine's name can conjure glowing memories. As a kid growing up on the outskirts of Nashville, I will never forget my first sighting of hundreds of fireflies twinkling in the dusk of a warm midsummer's eve. Like tiny circuits on again, off again, now you see them, now you don't, they filled the air with magic, wonder and enchantment. This truly incandescent blend of Washington state cool-harvested Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc from the famed Seven Hills Vineyard was liquid, luminous sunlight in a bottle. Whole-cluster pressed fruit was given a slow primary fermentation on neutral oak followed by partial malolactic, and then spent four months napping on the lees. Fragrant and lively with luxurious aromas of citrus blossom and honeysuckle, interplayed with a core of crisp kiwi, passionfruit and green papaya frolicking on the palate, this beauty is a delightful, delicious treasure of a wine by any measure, and the perfect complement to fine poultry or seafood dishes.
2013 Calera Central Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 02-04-2015
Oh, the Agony of the Pete...yesterday was both Groundhog Day and the day after the "Big Blame," I mean Big Game, and I couldn't help but wonder if Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll saw his shadow or was, like the film, destined to relive that last play again and again forever. Sympathy might not go far in this case, but a bottle of good wine always helps to heal deflated dreams. The folks at Calera scored big by hand-harvesting fruit for this coastal Chardonnay from select vineyards stretching from Santa Clara to Santa Barbara. Grapes were whole cluster pressed and gravity fed into the barrel room, where they underwent native yeast fermentation and achieved full malolactic in 10% new French oak for ten months. The result? A well-balanced and value-priced Chardonnay brimming with orchard aromas and an enticing array of trophy fruits... juicy apples, ripe melons, lush peaches and nectarines, with plenty of weight and acidity to carry through the "super" finish...... now go and intercept a bottle or two of this winning wine! You can't lose.
2013 Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 01-21-2015
As one felled by images, I’ve often mused about the strange creature on this wine’s label. It is actually a cockatrice, that eerie hybrid bit of mischief, a demonic cross between a serpent and a rooster, armed with a "death-darting eye that could slay men with the poison of their sight." And a Banshee being the spirit of a wailing woman said to lie outside the walls of peasants’ houses, waiting for mortal men to die…..ahem. Well, on to the magical stuff in the bottle! Yet another lovely incarnation, this cool-climate beauty captured all the purity and essence of Sonoma coastal vineyards, with a core of enticing red fruit enlivened by tea, plum and boysenberry notes, all ballasted by clean acidity and gentle tannins. Enough supernatural fruit in here to silence a Banshee and keep her pet cockatrice at bay…..enjoy!
2013 Charles Smith "Kung Fu Girl" Columbia Valley Riesling
Review Date: 10-28-2014
True Kungfession: I get a real kick out of this super-smooth, fun and funkadelic wine from our talented neighbor to the north, Charles Smith, who somehow conjures up a domestic Riesling releasing zingy flavors of Fuji apple, Asian pear, ripe apricot and citrus blossom that manages to hit me smack dab right in the center field of my price to quality comfort zone, and easily scores big on the home palate. Blame it on playoff fever mixed with the need to take in plenty of essential stress-quenching liquids during this nailbiter Fall Classic, but this pure and luscious, slightly off dry beauty with the krazy name remains a world-serious wine and a surefire winner. Don't miss it!
2013 Rutherford Ranch Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 10-22-2014
While this attractive charmer may not quite qualify as the "Hunter Pence" of Chardonnays, it does express his buoyant, infectiously-engaging personality and ability to generate hits with its unabashed aromatics and "give-it-your-all" flavors of ripe, luscious peach, glistening apple, creamy pineapple and mouthwatering citrus. It even manages a kiss of oak to balance the vibrant array of orchard fruits. A surefire hit with your base, and one to keep around for all your post-game and holiday celebrations......
Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-02-2013
Vines have been cultivated on this tiny property in the hamlet of Brouillet for five generations, and it has remained a customer and staff favorite here for several years. Yeasty, full and complex, the Carte Blanche exhibits a fine intensely-focused bead with lively notes of tart apples, dried hazelnuts, vanilla and toast, all in all a remarkably well-built Brut that will compare well to cuvées at double the price. It is perfect for entertaining.
1999 Fugue de Nenin, Pomerol
Review Date: 11-30-2012
Attractive, classic, well-aged Bordeaux is always a welcome addition to the holiday table, and this second label Pomerol from Chateaux Nenin still delivers considerable charm and elegance. Imbued with smooth, round Merlot flavors of sweet plum, ripe cherry and cedar highlights, it invites a rosemary-roasted Cornish hen or two to join it for dinner.
Berry Bros & Rudd No. 3 London Dry Gin 750ml
Review Date: 10-30-2012
As Britain's oldest wine and spirit merchant (1698), Berry Bros. and Rudd should know a thing or three about the traditional making of gin. Their No. 3 English Dry Gin is an unabashedly pure blending of fruits and spices selected and distilled in traditional copper pots in Schiedam, Holland. Made from Italian Juniper, Spanish oranges and grapefruit peel, with added spices including angelica root, Moroccan coriander and cardamon pods, this exquisitely crafted yet assertive gin remains, with its distinctively aromatic nose and prolonged finish, a highly-recommended personal favorite. The ideal suitor for a dry Martini or classic Gin and Tonic.
Fleury "Cuveé Robert Fleury" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-01-2012
If you're searching for a non-vintage Champagne with generous texture, abundant freshness, depth of character and a distinctive aromatic profile, search no further! This stunning barrel-fermented assemblage of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc....yes, I said Pinot Blanc, an odd wine out in most of Champagne, is a triumphant display of everything one can discover in a fine bottle of bubbly- sparkle, effervescence, layers of brioche, chalk, herbs, toast and lemon, ever-evolving complexity, with a lengthy, lingering finish.
Einstök Icelandic White Ale, Iceland 12oz
Review Date: 04-30-2012
With summer fast approaching we're all in need of a super thirst-quenching beer to alleviate the effects of absorbing too much solar energy on our bodies while we flare up the grill for a swirling smoke-athon (ok, admittedly I'm not Mr. Weber, more like one of the guys who stands around getting hot smoke in his face while acting like it doesn't matter).... anyway, just discovered a fantastic antidote to insurmountable thirst in the Icelandic Einstok White Ale, like melting an iceberg slathered in freshly-ground coriander and orange peel. Well, to be truthful, it's a witbier brewed with the same ingredients and tastes absolutely awesome. Beer here now. And in honor of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ill-fated Titanic, pouring an iceberg down your throat might be a good tribute.
Fleury Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-03-2011
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.
2008 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
Review Date: 06-28-2011
My advice? If you have a few extra Benjamins lining your well-oiled wallet and are of the mind to buy a beautiful bottle or two of Bordeaux that will, when it eventually reaches full maturity around the time your same vintage 2008 son/daughter celebrate their 21st birthday (and will generously share it with you), then this is the wine for you! A superbly structured, absolutely pitch-perfect Pauillac, reflecting the august gravel and limestone terroir from which it was born.
Drink from 2020 to 2020
Quartz Reef "Methode Traditionelle" Sparkling Wine Brut Central Otago
Review Date: 12-31-2010
Carefully blended from 76% Pinot Noir and 24% Chardonnay from the estate vineyard in Bendigo, this sparking wine first captivates the eye with its pale yellow highlights, and then flamboyantly seduces the palate with tightly-polished bubbles entranced by lively citrus fruits, crisp brioche and luscious cream. An alluring, wonderfully-harmonious champenoise sparkler for an amazing price!
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!
Zubrowka Bison Grass Polish Vodka 750ml
Review Date: 11-09-2009
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: 07-11-2009
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.