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Staff Favorites - John Majeski
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.
2009 Il Valentiano "Campo di Marzo" Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 05-30-2015
This is a lovely beast of a wine, the grand pedigree of Montalcino expressing its vinous virtues with polished elegance and simpatico, like visit from an old friend who arrives with a warm smile and a sackful of astonishing stories, in this case, a wine that speaks directly to the heart and palate with flavors of dried red cherries, wild strawberries, potpourri, tobacco and black tea leaf, enhanced by brilliant tannins and structure to last for a decade. A panoply of flavors that sing in the glass and promises to linger long after you finish the last ruby-red drop. Which goes to show that less is not more, more is more.
2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 05-26-2015
To quote an old Bond film—-sorry, I forget exactly which one, but when it comes to pitch-perfect, terroir-driven Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, "nobody does it better" than Te Whare Ra’s incredibly textural, infinitely captivating version, and 2013 has apparently spun more superlatives from the finicky wine world than any vintage in recent memory. Showering further praise might seem like overkill, but I can’t resist adding a line or two about the tensile grace and innate beauty of this wine, a thoroughbred of marvelous precision and persistence ready to be unleashed in the glass.
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.
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 Domaine Begude Pinot Noir Rosé IGP Pays d'Oc
Review Date: 05-25-2015
By strategically placing little pheromone pouches throughout the vineyards, the good folks at Domaine Begude manage to deter invasive vine moths by creating a state of “sexual confusion”. Whatever it takes I suppose, but don’t be confused by the brilliance of their organic wines, longtime favorites among staff and customers here at K&L. And summer wouldn’t quite feel right without a rollicking, frolicking glass of rosé, this version delivering expressive Pinot Noir aromas and refined, exotic flavors of cranberry, wildflowers and forest strawberry, captivatingly dry and complex. Charcuterie or seared tuna would be a welcome complement to this delicious wine. Enjoy!
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….
2013 Penya Côtes Catalanes Rouge
Review Date: 05-11-2015
At under $10, this highly quaffable party wine is a great value, delivering appetizing red and black fruits and floral elements backgrounded by smooth spice and a touch of acidity. Nothing overly complex or demanding here, just remarkably easy to drink anyday, everyday. Enjoy!
2012 Elephant Hill Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 04-29-2015
Remember a scene several years back of an elephant caught swimming way offshore in the Indian Ocean? No one should underestimate the power and determination of a persistent pachyderm. Nor of Ryan Woodhouse, our intrepid, adventurous and quite fearless buyer of Kiwi wines, who often packs his trunk with amazingly great discoveries that eventually make their way onto our shelves. The Elephant Hill Pinot Noir holds forth as an excellent version of prime Central Otago holdings~ a balanced, flawlessly smooth and focused wine with subtle red-fruit and floral aromas, elegantly enrobed by lively flavors of plum, redcurrant, spice and loam. A flourish of minerality and structured tannins enhances the supple, dry and lengthy finish. Drink up!
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.
2010 McClean X "Simone" Paso Robles Zinfandel
Review Date: 03-25-2015
A test... see if you can spot this one on our domestic shelves. I'll give you a few hints: Red vines, classic nail polish, fire extinguishers. Big Juicy Glorious, Five-Alarm Red. OK, try not to be put off by label shock, for this one definitely has the juju within, and whoever the heck this Simone is, she must be quite the ravishing head-turner. A gorgeous blend of opulent, spicy, peppery Zinfandel and dark, fathomless Petite Sirah, this astonishing wine possesses enough weight, mouthfeel and serious Zin flavor to seduce any dish bold enough to flirt with it. Enchiladas dancing in a rich mole sauce maybe?
2011 Raymond Fabre Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 03-24-2015
It's Wednesday night, right, so maybe you're in the mood for a big juicy bacon, mushroom and swiss burger to go along with that latest big juicy action flick, Spiderman vs. Speedoman or Ironman Finally Rusts 7, but what wine do you pour? Something with rich, mouthwatering flavor and just enough sinew to compete with the endless earth-shattering explosions onscreen. Since I track the Northern Rhone like a drone and just opened this Crozes-Hermitage, well....it's a medium-built, savory Syrah with impressive aromas and notes of bright cherry-red fruit, garrigue and licorice, with a welcome tinge of pepper and minerality on the solid finish. So bring on the monster cheeseburger and silly spandex superheroes, this supertasty red wine can handle 'em, and with no special effects needed.
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.
2010 Bodegas Puelles Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 02-28-2015
Largely because of our courageous buyers who are often physically held down and forced to taste, sample, spit, analyze, and select wines from the far corners of the globe, our direct import program is second to none. Take Joe Manekin, our tried and true Spanish guru, for instance. He somehow discovered a clever fellow named Jesús Puelles in the small hamlet of Abalos in Rioja Alta who makes some of the most savory, well-delineated, sublime wines this side of Siberia, in Iberia. His 2010 Crianza heralds from a fine vintage and is a classic blend of the four signature red grapes of Rioja, headlined by Tempranillo of course, and traditionally aged in 225L older oak for nuance and aroma. Lush, friendly fruit— cherries, mulberries and red plums defined by balsamic notes of sandalwood and incense adorn this tasty crianza, a wine fit for a table decked with Iberico ham, roast chicken, lamb or soft cheeses.
2013 Kistler "Sonoma Mountain" Chardonnay
Review Date: 02-25-2015
What’s in a name, you might ask? The name ‘Kistler’ comes from the ancient Germanic-Swiss guild of Kistermacher, or ’makers of chests’, derived originally from the Latin ‘custos’, guardian or keeper. Of course in the wine world it has come to be known as ‘maker of iconic wines’, and Steve Kistler has, like, a fine cabinet maker, continued to burnish his craft by creating some of the most elegant Chardonnays and Pinots in the New World. Like every great artisan, he sought the finest wood, or in this case, budwood, for his wines, and found it over forty years ago in a low-yielding Chardonnay strain discovered at Mount Eden and originally believed to have come from Corton in 1896. From this single heritage Burgundian clone Kistler has fashioned ten different expressions of Chardonnay, each wine the definition of a specific terroir, and each remarkable. The Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay, planted on an elevated, well-drained site of mostly volcanic soils, showed a prismatic quality to the fruit, as if every nuance reflected another in a dancing kaleidoscope of citrus, apple, stone fruit, chalk, ginger and almond flavors, all harmoniously held together by superb, crisp acidity and a breathtakingly long finish. A truly prodigious feat of winemaking!
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 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......
2012 Joseph Jewell Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-21-2014
Nothing exists in isolation. I was just listening to Tom Waits' hilarious cryptic dirge from Mule Variations, "What's He Building In There?" about a strange guy hammering "what the hell?" in his garage when I flashed on not just Jobs and Wozniak but a few of the famed California winemakers—think Burt Williams and Ed Selyem—who started out finicking, blending and canoodling with stuff in their garage. It comes as no surprise that two young "garagistes," Micah Joseph Wirth and Adrian Jewell Manspeaker, also finessed their first Pinot from such economies of scale, by realizing that measured growth, savvy inspiration and the right fruit go a long way in the creation of a well-crafted wine. Their latest cuveé, gathering fruit from three primarily cooler sites in the Russian River Valley, is a deft expression— nothing overstated or overblown— just pure, delicate aromas of black cherry, gentle spice, a kiss of rose petals and oolong tea leaves, sleekly stylish yet savory, touched by sultry tannins and warm earth. Now put down that hammer, turn up the music, sit back and enjoy a glass of great Pinot!
2012 Eyrie Vineyards "Estate Grown" Dundee Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 09-08-2014
Please note that our inventory of Eyrie wines is always rather scarce, as they just don't make very much wine, but what they do make, well… this latest Chardonnay reflects what has been described by many as an epic vintage—the warmest summer in years, a long growing season allowing for perfectly balanced ripeness and acidity levels. But as with everything Eyrie, it's in the raw material—the Burgundian clonal varieties scrupulously hand-chosen by David Lett over forty years ago that sets this delicately straw-colored Chardonnay apart, imbuing it with refined elegance and lingering aromatic complexity. Liminal notes of poached pear, quince, lees, apple and spice play upon the palate in a stunning wine that will continue to evolve for at least a decade, probably two.
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.
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!
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!
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.