Staff Favorites - Keith Wollenberg

Keith Wollenberg
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Reviews

  
2013 Wines Of Substance Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 03-25-2015
Another smoking deal from Washington State. This rich, focused, varietally correct Cabernet is something of a miracle. Most of the Cabs in this price-point either are a bit dilute on the palate, or tutti-frutti and of little interest. Well, here is the exception! Structured, with just enough new oak to be interesting but not enough to dominate, this shows those lovely lead pencil notes that are so charming. At this ridiculously value-priced retail, I suspect it will not be around for long.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 90 - 93

2012 Vincent Girardin St-Aubin 1er Cru "Murgers Dent de Chien"
Review Date: 03-24-2015
This rich and delicious Saint Aubin comes from one of my favorite vineyards in Burgundy. It is located just over the hill from Chevalier Montrachet, and cheek by jowl with Puligny-Montrachet Champs Gain 1er Cru. If this said Puligny 1er Cru on the label it would sell for twice the price. This is rich and focused, long on the palate and quite delicious. Don't miss it!
Price: $41.99 Add To Waiting List

2013 Domaine Vincent & Sophie Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "les Baudines"
Review Date: 03-24-2015
This 1er Cru vineyard is located on the border with Santenay, high on the hill. It can also be labeled as Bois de Chassagne. As it is a high and rocky site, it was not replanted for many years after the phylloxera blight struck. But it is an interesting site. Although it is high on the hill, it has a substantial amount of clay in the soil. But it is white clay rather than the darker soil found lower on the slope. The result is a wine with lots of high-energy, high tension drive and lovely fruit notes. Delicious!

2006 Maison Nicolas Potel Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru "Aux Malconsorts"
Review Date: 03-12-2015
This is darker and earthier in character with a thread of minerality that runs forever on your palate. When I tasted this, I asked Nicolas if this was from high on the hill, near Gaudichots. He smiled, raised his glass, nodded and winked, which I took as a clear "yes." This is a real sleeper, less known than his Gaudichots. Nicolas is using homeopathic/biodynamic sprays in this vineyard, as he puts it, "to give more information to the vines." Lovely black fruit here. Do not miss this in 2006! (03/2008)
Price: $119.99 Add To Waiting List
WS 91

2012 Domaine Faiveley Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru
Review Date: 03-11-2015
A bit of a wild beast, with exuberant and ripe fruit, and an explosive presence on the palate. An infant, certain to resist being stuffed in a bottle, but what a ride this will be ...

2012 Olivier Leflaive St-Aubin 1er Cru "Charmois"
Review Date: 03-03-2015
In Burgundy, it is all about terroir, a sense of place. What this means is that it is location, location, location. And here we have it. Charmois sits right on the border with Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Chaumees. But wine from the other side of the invisible dotted line will cost you about 50% more money. So if you are looking for a bargain, you will see why we got the U.S. exclusive for this wine from Olivier Leflaive. Bright and crisp, with focused minerality and length, this is a terrific accompaniment for some grilled shrimp. The 15% of new oak gives a gentle toastiness to this wine, without dominating the flavors.
Price: $39.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Joseph Faiveley Bouzeron Aligoté
Review Date: 02-24-2015
Bouzeron is a special place. Thanks to Aubert de Villaine, proprietor of the world famous Domaine de la Romanee Conti, it is an all-Aligote appellation. These vines are leased by Faiveley from de Villaine, and produce a wine that is bright and crisp, with a fascinating nuttiness. Delightful!
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Domaine Faiveley Mercurey "Villeranges"
Review Date: 02-24-2015
On the border between Rully and Mercurey in the Cote Chalonnaise, Domaine Faiveley sources their "Les Villeranges" from an east-facing vineyard planted in clay-limestone soils. The vines were planted between 1965 and 1982 and Faiveley only produces 200 cases of this cuvee annually. This has darker and denser fruit than the 2011, but retains the supple entry and lovely red and black fruit notes on the palate
Top Value!
Price: $24.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Domaine Faiveley Corton-Clos des Cortons Faiveley Grand Cru (Monopole)
Review Date: 02-24-2015
This wine has become one of the flagships of the Faiveley portfolio the last few years. Singing with dark red fruit and boasting a truly impressive concentration, this is a wine to cellar, and to give time to mature. If you do, you will have an impressively balanced, truly Grand Cru experience. If you cannot wait, decant it for an hour or more to enjoy the opulent focused character of this wine.

2013 Jean-Paul Brun "Terres Dorees" Chardonnay Beaujolais Blanc
Review Date: 02-19-2015
It is rare that I get excited about Beaujolais Blanc. But that is because I love Chardonnay grown on limestone soils (like the Cote d'Or). Unfortunately, the limestone of the Cote d'Or and Cote Chalonaise dives deep undergound, leaving Beaujolais with a granitic soil, less well-suited for Chardonnay.

The cagey Jean-Paul Brun knows an amazing fact. In the far southern end of Beaujolais that magical limestone resurfaces. He was able to acquire some 80 year old Chardonnay vines on just this soil. he makes the wine in stainless steel, with no oak influence.

The result is an interesting Chardonnay of great richness, with pear and citrus notes. it finishes with bright and refreshing acidity and a rich buttery note. A charming wine for a song.
Top Value!
Price: $15.99 Add To Waiting List
DC 95

The Durand Corkscrew for Removal of Old Corks with Confidence
Review Date: 02-16-2015
I thought I did not need a single additional wine gadget, but this one took me by surprise. It is the single best invention I have ever seen for opening old bottles of wine with long and fragile corks! It is a combination of an Ah-So style opener and a worm. Between them they reliably work together to grab the cork, and remove it intact. It is handmade in the U.S., from a design by Mark Taylor, and named to honor sommelier Yves Durand. It is not cheap. But if you are opening a priceless old bottle, it is well worth it to have an intact cork come out of that cherished wine bottle. I have one personally, and swear by it for old Bordeaux, Burgundy or California wines! Nothing is perfect, and no one bats 1000, but this device comes as close as I have encountered. There is a reason we have sold 100s of these, even at this price. If you open priceless old bottles, you can hardly afford to be without it.
Price: $124.99 Add To Waiting List

Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne "Perle d'Aurore" Brut Rosé
Review Date: 02-16-2015
This delightful sparkling rosé wine comes from Burgundy. It is made of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Gamay Noir. The charming eye of the swan color comes from the addition of Pinot Noir to the wine when the lees are disgorged, following the traditional fermentation in the individual bottle, in the Champagne method. On the palate it is very rich and fruity but just off-dry on the finish. The mousse is explosive, with a very creamy palate impression. It shows just a hint of the earthiness of a Pinot Noir from Burgundy. This charming rosé, has been a perennial best-seller for K&L, and if you taste it, you will see why.
Price: $14.99 Add To Waiting List

2010 Pyramid Valley Vineyards "Calvert" Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 02-04-2015
Lovely, concentrated, most elegant in character. This was a vintage where there were a lot of shot bunches (the Burgundians call it millerandage, the Americans Hen and Chicks). the result is a concentrated, focused and most delightful Pinot that could hold its head high in any quarters.

2012 Yangarra Estate "Old Vine" Grenache McLaren Vale
Review Date: 02-04-2015
Planted in 1946, so the vigor is low. Soils are a mixture of sandstone and decomposed sandstone (sand). Big, spicy and expressive on the palate, this nonetheless retains delicacy and focus, once you get past the rather steely structure. Decant this to drink now or wait some years.
Price: $22.99 Add To Waiting List
JH 94

2012 Domaine Cyrot-Buthiau Volnay
Review Date: 02-03-2015
This Volnay is a wonderful reflection of the village, coming, as it does form the Meursault side, the Pommard side and the top of the hill. It is rich and concentrated, with lovely ripe phenolics and a long and expressive finish. This domaine is a welcome addition to K&L's Direct Import program and represents an amazing value. 2/2015
Top Value!
Price: $39.95 Add To Waiting List

2012 Domaine Cyrot-Buthiau Santenay 1er Cru "Clos Rousseau "
Review Date: 02-03-2015
A lovely ripe nose is followed by dark red fruits and a bit of earthiness. This lovely Santenay comes form the border with Maranges and shares that regions rich fruit character. The wine has very gentle tannins and a darker color due to the fermentation technique called delestage. A ripe, concentrated and lovely wine at a most reasonable tariff. Try a Premier Cru Burgundy from the original home of Pinot, for less than many Oregon Pinot Noirs, thanks to K&L's Direct Import program. 2/2015
Top Value!
Price: $32.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Domaine Marius Delarche Corton-Renardes Grand Cru
Review Date: 01-29-2015
For me, renardes, Bressandes and Clos du Roi are without equal among the grand cru reds from Crton. To findone, from a great vintage, at this price is only possible because of our direct purchase. The rich texture, drive and weight all reveal clearly tha tthis is Grand Cru. The palate impression is very rich, with ripe tannins. There is just a hint of sauvage/foxy notes that this vineyard is known for. Bravo Etienne! (03/2014)
Top Value!
Price: $67.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Domaine Delarche Aloxe-Corton
Review Date: 01-29-2015
As is often the case, there is a bright core of acidity here in the Aloxe, and more prominent red fruit notes. The tannin structure is very fine, and the finish persistent. Thi sis an elegant wine which will benefit from some time in the cellar. The color is deep and limpid, and athe lovely cherry fruit is most charming. (03/2014)
Price: $39.95 Add To Waiting List

2005 Valandraud, St-Emilion
Review Date: 11-09-2014
If you like your Bordeaux old-fashioned, earthy and not too powerful, this is NOT for you. But, if you love modern, rich, full-throttle Bordeaux, where they manage to find the balance of new oak, fruit and density, this IS for you. A dark and inky hue shows just a touch of ruby around the edge as the wine reaches almost ten years of age. This big, ripe, fleshy, almost burly wine shows toasty oak in the back palate and the material needed for hedonism today or a long nap in your cellar. A cult wine like this at 1/2 price, with bottle age already on it--what's not to like?
Drink from 2014 to 2014

Stðlzle Exquisite Burgundy Glass
Review Date: 10-10-2014
This is a very good Pinot Noir glass. More graceful in shape than the Spiegelau, with a nice effect for concentrating the nose. It works well on both domestic Pinot Noir and Burgundy, and is most affordable, at these ridiculously low close-out prices.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price

Fleury Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-06-2014
Very rich, very concentrated in style. Lovely champagne from a biodynamic grower. Just flat-out excellent and an amazing value.
Top Value!
Price: $39.99 Add To Waiting List

2011 Tamarack Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-31-2014
This may be the least expensive Cab in our stock that will age beautifully for a decade or more, It's solid, well-made, masculine and has a nice acidity to keep it fresh on the palate. Decant and drink now or age for 5-15 years. Just do not miss it entirely and regret it later.
Top Value!

2008 Sesta di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 07-16-2014
This is very, very good. It has lovely fruit, and is just opening and losing its angularity it showed a year ago. This is bottled unfined and unfiltered and is a terrific cellar candidate. Don't overlook the so-called lesser vintages from great wine-growers like this! It has found a place in my cellar.
Top Value!

2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 07-11-2014
This organically and biodynamically-grown Pinot Noir shows a bit more flesh than past vintages, as it comes from two vineyards. One has gravelly soil, the other is a steep slope with more clay. The result is a Pinot of both finesse and power, at a very reasonable price for the quality. Bravo!

2004 Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Vintage Champagne
Review Date: 03-21-2014
This is champagne that should sell for $100+. It is made entirely from Grand Cru fruit, averaging more than 45 years of vine age. It is all from Bouzy, a village known for its Pinot Noir, with south-facing vineyards (which is important in this high latitude). The nose promises red fruit and hints of brioche. It is rich and complex on the palate. But what really excites me is the acidity--2004 is a cooler vintage, with great promise for aging. If you are in Bouzy, this means that you have the ripeness and richness, but also have the focus, drive and energy that makes this truly exciting.
Top Value!
Price: $75.99 Add To Waiting List
ST 91

2000 Krug Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-07-2014
This has a most attractive bouquet, with notes of pear, rose hips and seashells. On the palate it walks a beautiful line between richness and tension. Plenty of focus and acidity, but also lots of mid-palate weight. this is subtle champagne and beautifully balanced. And the finish, well that is truly something. It fans out on your palate and lingers for a long time. Bravo!

Lot 40 Single Pot Still Canadian Rye Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 01-15-2014
This is one of the best Ryes I have tasted in years. It starts with a slightly fruity nose, then moves to a note like a sourdough rye bread I used to bake. On the palate it is subtle and balanced, with a note of candied Kumquats on the finish. The only experience like it I have had was when tasting a bottle of Prohibition Canadian Rye Whisky I found in a secret cupboard at my Grandfather's house in San Francisco in the mid 1970's, with the notation on the bottle that it could be dispensed only for medicinal purposes. The combination of malted rye and rye yields a focused, delicious dram. Miss this and you will be sorry.
Price: $54.99 Add To Waiting List

1999 Thienot "Cuvée Alain Thiénot" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-06-2013
This is a study in long aging on the lees, and the complexity that results. It as that calssic, yeasty nose, but on the palate it is complex and balnced, showing the ripenss of the vintage, but avoiding that clumsiness I sometimes found in 2005s (back when others were still bottling them). It is a real choice for me whether to go with age and power here, or elegance and delicacy with the 2006 Garance. Perhaps both, just with different courses?
Price: $99.00 Add To Waiting List
WS 93 ST 90

Thienot Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 11-06-2013
This champagne is that color that is often called "Oeil de Perdrix", or Eye of the Partridge. But Garance Thienot winced, and said "I prefer Salmon". By either name, it is a beautiful light color, not bright pink, but subtle and lovely, implying the champagne will be as soft and delicate as it actually is. Delightful cherry and strawberry notes, lovely chalky minerality and a long finish. What a find!

2011 La Massa "La Massa" Toscana
Review Date: 10-24-2013
This Sangiovese/Cabernet/Merlot blend (with a hint of Alicante to boot)shows teh brightness you expect from a Tuscan red. But on the palate, it comes across as both rich and deep, with opulent fruit. Whether a fan of California Cabernet, French Bordeaux, or Tuscan reds, there is something here for you. Serve this wine to your friends over the holidays, and you will surprise (and please) them!

Franck Bonville "Belles Voyes" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 08-02-2013
Based on the 2004 vintage, this is a terrifically rich and very lovely champagne, made from old vines, planted in the 1920s, long before commercial clones were available. The reulting concentration and depth is a reward that exceeds many champagnes costing well over $100.

2007 Reinhold Haart Piesporter Goldtröpfchen "EL" Riesling Kabinett
Review Date: 07-02-2013
This is a slam-dunk, no-brainer, why didn't I buy more? sort of wine. It retains some of its youthful spice, for which it was first known. But that has transferred to a more open, more generous character, with interesting secondary notes just developing. Lovely pear, apple and citrus notes mingle with a bit of honey, apricot, and phenomenal length. This is from a site that is among the true Grand Cru vineyards of Germany, and an amazing steal at this price. Refreshing, bright and complex, as well as low in alcohol (8.5%), you may well wish you had more, once you taste it. Some is certainly coming home with me.
Top Value!

Charles Heidsieck "Brut Reserve" Champagne
Review Date: 11-16-2012
This is one of those occasions when you have to raise a toast to the champagne house. While the old Charles Heidseck was a solid bubbly, this is a huge step up. And the price increase is justifed by the increase in aged stocks and the higher quality overall. Delicious, rich and concentrated, with a fine mousse. Here's a toast to Champagne Charlie!

Quartz Reef "Methode Traditionelle" Sparkling Wine Brut Central Otago
Review Date: 02-26-2010
This terrific Methode Champenoise sparkling wine from Central Otago is made from 62% Pinot Noir and the rest Chardonnay. It has fine bubbles and is as close to Champagne as you will find, for about hlf the price. I drink it at home!
Top Value!