Staff Favorites - John Majeski

John Majeski

Reviews

  
2011 Kir-Yianni "Ramnista" Xinomavro Naoussa
Review Date: 02-09-2016
Grew up reading Greek myths, the toga and tiara struggle between gods and mortals, long before touching Greek wine to my all too mortal lips. One tale told of the Phrygian king Tantalus, who, when invited to dine with the big boys and girls at Mount Olympus, suddenly excused himself and made a hasty exit with their finest nectar and ambrosia stuffed in his bulging tunic. Big mistake. His punishment? Banished for thirsty eternity to a lonely hot tub in the Underworld, where whenever he reached for a mouthful of ripe fruit from the nearby vines, they receded just out of reach, and whenever he put his hand out to grasp a goblet of wine, it spilled its glistening contents… well fortunately we’ve made things much simpler by bringing you this truly ‘tantalizing’, reachable bottle of superb Xinomavro (which translates as 'acid wine'). This is a robust, earthy and deeply-scented red, effusive with aromas and flavors of cassis, black plums, red raspberries, forest leaf fall and licorice spice, caressed by lusty tannins and finishing firm and slightly tangy. Certainly ageworthy, but don’t wait for an eternity. And save the ambrosia, just bring on the moussaka!
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 92

2009 Tour Saint-Fort, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 12-30-2015
Grown on well-drained gravel and clay soils, this delicious wine is comprised of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 15% Petit Verdot. Another triumphant 2009 find by Clyde Beffa, it is brimful of enticing aromas, with ripe, spicy, oozing fruit, enhanced with damp earth, a robust wine ready to enjoy now, and guaranteed to please those customarily driven to a Napa Cab.... a great value from the miraculous wines of St. Estephe.
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Price: $25.99 Add To Cart

2005 Bodega Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Reserva Especial Rioja
Review Date: 12-30-2015
Like pulling two large and lively rabbits out of the same hat, the artful maneuver by this favorite bodega of blending 50/50 Tempranillo and Mazuelo (aka Carignan) was an unexpected delight and an utterly delectable surprise. Perfumed and generous aromas of toast, wild berry fruits and kitchen spice reveal a complex labyrinth of flavors— red and black cherries, raspberries, plums, coffee, balsamic and tobacco spice. Although delicious in its own right, this deep wine possesses enough rabbits, er, elements that will evolve for another decade if left unattended in bottle. Now perform your own magic and open a bottle!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2010 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 12-30-2015
Hard to fathom how we can offer a Crianza from the excellent 2010 vintage for under fifteen bucks, but this lovely wine best exemplifies the fruits of our direct import program and the rigorous expertise of Joe Manekin, our Spanish buyer, to unearth such treasures year after year. This is a classic, medium-bodied expression of old vine Tempranillo with the addition of perhaps 15% Mazuelo, delivering pure, savory notes of black cherry, subtle oak, sweet spice and a bit of earth, coaxed by appetizing acidity leading to a harmonious finish. Great tapas wine or back off the hot sauce and have this with a super carnitas burrito on any given weeknight. Soulful and satisfying.
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2014 Rickshaw California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 12-30-2015
The winemaking gurus at Banshee scoured our abundant California AVAs again in 2014, and came up with a fresh cache of generous, tasty Pinot for a very modest price. High-toned flavors of rich plum, raspberry, cranberry and cherry dance pirouettes upon the palate, finishing with nice spice and an earthy note. Perfect for informal gatherings and mid-week openings, this wine is, in a word, ready when you are….
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Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Allram Grüner Veltliner Kamptal (1L)
Review Date: 11-30-2015
One doesn’t immediately think of grapevines as victims of crime, but in 2011 the single surviving 500 year old vine of an ancient Austrian variety, St. Georgener Rebe, almost became extinct when an unknown attacker hacked into it. Fortunately it was saved and recently discovered to be the parent species, along with Savagnin, of Gruner Veltliner, the remarkable grape so favored by anyone seeking a dry, lightly fruity white suitable as both an aperitif or in any number of cuisines. We’ve carried the excellent Allram range of wines for several years, and the bargain-priced liter bottling is so deliciously buoyant, zesty, clean and quenchable that it deserves a prominent place in your festive parties throughout the year.
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Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

2014 Franck Millet "Insolite" Sancerre
Review Date: 11-30-2015
This brilliant bottle of Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc should be listed on the ‘Most Wanted Wall’ in the Bivalveville Post office, as it has been responsible for contributing to the (gulp) demise of more oysters than I can count. And the exceptional 2014 vintage is the crowning touch of all that these remarkable chalky, limestone soils combined with select fruit and extended maceration can deliver— pleasantly pungent saline and mineral aromas, added vibrancy and roundness through the mid-palate, with intermingled flavors of lemon-zest, tart apple, boxwood and melon, finishing with attractive acidity and a surprising degree of suppleness. A beauty! Bring on the bivalves!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine du Tariquet "Classic" Cotes de Gascogne Blanc
Review Date: 11-30-2015
The Côtes de Gascogne is heralded for creating magnificent and enduring Armagnacs, but what do smart growers do with all the extra high-yielding fruit after creating it? Well, they artfully gather the usual suspects (Ugni Blanc, Gros Manseng, Colombard and Sauvignon Blanc) and blend them into a crisp, vibrant white wine, bright with acidity and vivacious aromas of citrus fruits, apples, Bosc pears and sage. Perfect as an aperitif for parties and drop-in affairs, and for under ten dollars, a must have on hand for the holidays!
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Price: $8.99 Add To Cart

2011 Villa Symposia "L'Origine" Languedoc Rouge
Review Date: 11-29-2015
The bolder, brawnier big brother to the Equilibre, this comes from hillside organic plots grown on primarily limestone laden soils, made from 95% Syrah and 5% Grenache that were aged for up to 18 months in older oak foudres. Concentrated, pure stuff here, with aromas of braised meat, blackberries, roasted spices and plums, and an amalgam of dark velvety fruit, damp earth, floral and garrigue flavors on the kaleidoscopic palate. Whatever vinous alchemy they’re working here to maintain the incredible character of these wines, keep doing it. Altogether a virtuous, soulful effort. And since no braised wildebeest is available, why not pair with a splendid rack of lamb?
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 92

2014 Veronique Anne Perret Roussette de Savoie
Review Date: 11-29-2015
Roussette is the local name for Altesse, a favorite dry white grape that finds itself in my personal wine glass with astounding frequency. Wondrously balanced components married to a generous dose of vibrant acidity, this wine manages to contain both while revealing aromas of lemony fruit, paraffin, blanched almonds and sliced apples on the exotic palate. You could even age this for a few years, but then again…just crack a bottle open and enjoy today! Cool, crisp and altogether refreshing.
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Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2014 Veronique Anne Perret Vin de Savoie Apremont
Review Date: 11-29-2015
Disaster struck this lovely village in the mid-thirteenth century when the limestone mountain overlooking it collapsed and tragically demolished the entire town and its inhabitants. Today it is renowned for its ability to grow finely-scented, full and flavorful Jacquère, and this charming wine possesses an aromatic nose of white peach, apricot, citrus flowers and lemongrass, with an expressive mineralized character balanced by delicious acidity and a persistent finish. Do me a favor, duck down to your nearest fine deli, buy a crusty baguette and a wedge of Tomme de Savoie, and have at it!
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Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Veronique Anne Perret "Le Minéral" Vin de Savoie
Review Date: 11-29-2015
Savoie lies within the scenic heart of French Alpine skiing, and it is not uncommon to find restaurant terraces bedecked with jubilant tourists toasting the magnificent vistas with a refreshing glass of Jacquère or Altesse, two signature white varieties native to this mosaic of mountains, lakes, valleys, soils and microclimates. Most vines are planted in isolated islets on lower slopes and valleys between ranges, and usually receive generous sunlight and surprisingly little snowfall. Wines labeled under the appellations Vin de Savoie or Roussette de Savoie can found in scattershot fashion over a wide area, often followed by the names of their delineated crus, like Jongieux, Apremont or Abymes. Yes, it can get pretty complicated, but the wines themselves are, by contrast, essences of purity, clarity and precision. Founded in 1927 in the village of Jongieux, the Perret family has worked with many of the same seasoned growers for four generations to create premium wines that reflect the harmony and diversity of the region. Jacquère is a highly productive, mid to late-ripening grape, well-suited to rocky, thinner soils that limit its growth. Pale yellow with metallic tinges, this ultra-clean and youthful white is delicately scented with citrus and honeysuckle floral elements, but picks up a defined mineral zing on the mid palate. Altogether a tremendously affordable value in a delightful charming aperitif.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2012 Villa Symposia "Equilibre" Languedoc Rouge
Review Date: 11-29-2015
Sourced from 30 year old vines farmed organically on clay and limestone soils, this wonderful, beautifully balanced wine is a savory blend of mostly Syrah and Carignan, with small amounts of Grenache and Mourvèdre. No mystery about its pedigree, as the nose is redolent with spices, garrigue, mature dark fruits and earth, leading to an impressive weight on the palate of black cherry, cassis, crushed olives, licorice and fig paste, held together with supple, integrated tannins that only enhance the superlative, classic finish. This polished wine will continue to evolve for several years, and can accompany most grilled meats or stews with ease. A beauty.
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Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 - 92

2014 Domaine la Chapelle Saint Victor Coteaux d'Aix en Provence Rosé
Review Date: 11-29-2015
A remarkably silky wine at this price point, with salmon-colored tints, a beautiful cut and expressive, crystalline fruit showcasing white raspberry, cherry and grapefruit on the palate, replete with the wonderful acidity that characterizes the finest bone dry rosés from this region. Serve with a warm leek and mushroom tart or crisp salad! Perfection.
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Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine Dragon Côtes de Provence Rosé
Review Date: 11-29-2015
To avoid the ‘game of throngs’ that can challenge a busy Saturday visit, come into our shop on a quiet weekday to tame this lovely Dragon. Caressed from all the signature varieties—Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Cinsault—this lithe and winsome rosé unravels fruity and floral aromas and flavors from strawberry to crisp citrus to hibiscus blossom, with a mineral undertone of the calcareous and clay soils where it was grown. Refreshing and subtle, it would pair well with a platter of fried garlicky prawns or calamari.
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Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2013 Château de Montfaucon Lirac
Review Date: 11-10-2015
Humans have been planting vines and making wine in the Rhône Valley for roughly two thousand years, and it is likely that the galets roulés, or large white pebbles that lie among the vines were once trod upon by sore-of-foot Roman soldiers or, in this beautiful vineyard in Lirac, by Victor Hugo, the great French novelist who captured the luminous skies and ruins of the Château de Montfaucon in the beautiful watercolor that adorns the label. Lirac lies in a wide bend in the Rhône and comprises a range of soil types from red clay to limestone to sandy deposits, remnants from the glaciers that once populated this valley, and the red wine made here is supple, aromatic and adorned with warm, juicy red fruits, hints of wild thyme, licorice and enticing spice, balanced, harmonious and effortlessly enjoyable. A fine pick for holiday dining, sure to brighten your table and leave no guests, as Monsieur Hugo might say, 'Les Miserables'.......
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Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

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!
Top Value!
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart
WE 92 VN 91

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!
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart
JS 95 VN 90

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?
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Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

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.....
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Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

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...
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Price: $8.99 Add To Cart

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.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

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!
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Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

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.....
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

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...
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Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

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?
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Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

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.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WS 92

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.
Top Value!
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart

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!
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

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!
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

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….
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

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!
Top Value!
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart

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.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

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!
Top Value!

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.
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

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....
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

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.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart
JS 94 GR 3

2010 Zaca Mesa Santa Ynez Valley Syrah
Review Date: 02-18-2015
A veritable raft of blueberries and blackberries, a suave pinch of baking spice, violet pastilles and vanilla all deliver the goods in this indulgent, pleasure-packed Syrah. With its voraciously voluminous fruit and engaging gorgeousness I marvel that whole herds, er, flocks of hungry, ravenous blackbirds never made a desperate, feathered assault on the Zaca Mesa estate vineyards, but don't ask why or wait, just sink your clever talons into a case or two before your next gathering of the human flock. It will be gone before you can say 'Birdman wins the Oscar'....I said it here first.....
Top Value!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

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.

2011 Domaine Lafage "Tessellae Old Vines" Côtes du Roussillon
Review Date: 05-07-2014
Leave it to Jean-Marc LaFage to create another spectacular old vine wonder from the heart of his homeland in the hills of Roussillon. The name "Tessellae" actually derives from the beautiful fragments of mosaic tile that are relics of ancient Roman villas, and although these vines do not stretch quite as far back in time, they deeply evoke the earth and its generous mineral bounty in their veins. And what better way to celebrate than with this archetypal southern blend--the exuberant fruitiness of Grenache, structure and depth of Syrah, and earthy intensity of Mourvèdre, with a splash of Grenache Gris to round out the rich and complex flavors. A perfect accompaniment to most Mediterranean fare, from savory leg of lamb to phyllo-wrapped almond and cinnamon Chicken. "Mosaic" to your ears, um, palate!
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

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.
Top Value!
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

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.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

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.
Price: $1.99 Add To Cart

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.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

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!
Top Value!

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!
Price: $47.99 Add To Cart

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!
Top Value!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

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.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart