Staff Favorites - Jeff Garneau

Jeff Garneau
Jeff Garneau  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
Jeff has been a member of the sales staff in our Redwood City store for the past four years. His first introduction to wine was as a waiter in an upscale Italian restaurant in Hanover, NH more years ago than he likes to admit. He slowly made his way west to wine country, working his way across the US as a graduate student in geography, a public sector researcher in regional economic development, and briefly, in the wake of the Anderson-Enron scandal, a records management coordinator for one of the remaining Big Five accounting firms. Finally, surrendering to the inevitable, he accepted a position in the wine business here at K&L. His goals for the next four years include drinking more wines from Italy and France and trying to limit the number of open bottles on the dinner table on any given night to fewer than six.


Reviews

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2001 Duluc de Branaire-Ducru (3L)
Review Date: 05-07-2018
4th Growth Branaire-Ducru is perhaps my favorite of the classified St-Julien properties. It’s quality, price, and classic appeal translate into multiple vintages in my cellar. I have had very few opportunities to taste the second label, Duluc de Branaire-Ducru, but that changed when Clyde recently brought in some larger format bottles including the 2001 Duluc de Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien (3L) $139.99. A terrific price for a double magnum, we have already sold a number of these for family gatherings and larger events. Typical of the ’01 vintage, the wine combines lively acidity with good ripeness. Aging perhaps a bit precociously, notes of tobacco and cedar are already apparent. Spot on and absolutely delicious. Drink or hold.
Price: $139.99 Add To Cart

2010 Siaurac, Lalande-de-Pomerol (1.5L)
Review Date: 05-07-2018
One of the highlights of our visit last year was Château Siaurac, one of the largest and oldest properties in Lalande de Pomerol. Sadly, we heard this year that they had been hit hard by the frost in 2017. I am sure there will be many great vintages in their future, and we continue to support them by providing our customers with some of the greatest of their past vintages. The 2010 Siaurac, Lalande de Pomerol $24.99 shares much in common with its more expensive neighbors to the south in Pomerol, including a lush, rich texture and a high proportion of Merlot. The ripe, plummy fruit reflects the strength of this 2010 vintage. Not to be missed.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2010 Siaurac, Lalande de Pomerol
Review Date: 05-07-2018
One of the highlights of our visit last year was Château Siaurac, one of the largest and oldest properties in Lalande de Pomerol. Sadly, we heard this year that they had been hit hard by the frost in 2017. I am sure there will be many great vintages in their future, and we continue to support them by providing our customers with some of the greatest of their past vintages. The 2010 Siaurac, Lalande de Pomerol $24.99 shares much in common with its more expensive neighbors to the south in Pomerol, including a lush, rich texture and a high proportion of Merlot. The ripe, plummy fruit reflects the strength of this 2010 vintage. Not to be missed.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JS 91 WS 90

2014 Haut-Médoc de Beychevelle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 05-07-2018
4th Growth Château Beychevelle is situated at the southern end of St-Julien with some of its vineyards lying beyond the jalle, or stream, that defines its southern border. These are designated AOC Haut-Médoc. The grapes there are vinified separately, and we currently have in stock the 2014 Haut-Médoc de Beychevelle, Haut-Médoc. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, aged in barrels previously used for the grand vin. Sweet black fruits with a hint of toast. A terrific value in the St-Julien style from one of the top producers in the appellation.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2014 Malartic-Lagravière, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-07-2018
The 2014 Malartic-Lagravière, Pessac-Léognan is a watershed vintage, displaying all the care and attention lavished on the property by the Bonnie family over the past two decades. The quality (which has continued to improve here, year after year) is exceptional. With dense, concentrated fruit wrapped around a firm, mineral core, the wine manages to remain fresh, vivacious even without compromising any ripeness. Balanced and harmonious, a complete wine. 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Cabernet-Franc, 3% Petit-Verdot. One of the great values of the vintage.

2014 La Reserve de Malartic, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-07-2018
The second label of Grand Cru Classé Chateau Malartic-Lagravières, Pessac-Léognan. Enormously appealing, the 2014 La Reserve de Malartic shows to full advantage the near perfect ripening conditions of the long Indian summer of September and October 2014. Made with a slightly higher proportion of Merlot in the blend than the grand vin, this is meant to be approachable at a younger age and drinkable over the near term. Ripe and round in style with generous, sweet red fruits and fine tannins. 60% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc. Terrific value here. Drink now or hold.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 La Reserve de Malartic, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-07-2018
The second label of Grand Cru Classé Chateau Malartic-Lagravières, Pessac-Léognan. The 2015 La Reserve de Malartic offers all the ripeness afforded by the warm 2015 vintage. Made with a slightly higher proportion of Merlot in the blend than the grand vin, this is meant to be approachable at a younger age and drinkable over the near term. Big, bold, black-fruited, with a deft seasoning of oak, this is sure to please. 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet-Franc.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2016 d'Yquem "Y" Bordeaux Blanc
Review Date: 05-07-2018
The Ygrec, or “Y” from Château d’Yquem is a curiosity – a dry white wine from what is perhaps the most famous producer of sweet wines in the world. Admittedly, it’s a bit of an upstart. The history of Yquem goes back over four and a quarter centuries while the first vintage of the “Y” was barely fifty years ago. The dry white represents about 10% of the estate’s total production annually. The blend is typically about three quarters Sauvignon Blanc to one quarter Sémillon. The Sauvignon grapes are among the earliest picked to preserve acidity, the Semillon from among the last so that a botrytis element is always present in the wine. It is unlike any other dry white Bordeaux. The 2016 vintage is a masterwork of precision and balance, lively and refreshing with superb tension yet with a richness, even opulence that belies its weight. Not an inexpensive wine, but a unique expression of the terroir that more than merits your attention.
Price: $169.99 Add To Cart
WS 96 RP 91

2016 Clos Floridène, Graves Blanc
Review Date: 05-07-2018
The entire wine world was shocked and saddened by the untimely passing of owner Denis Dubordieu in July of 2016. Winemaker, consultant, professor of enology, no other single individual had as great an impact on the quality of white wines being produced in Bordeaux today. He is survived by his wife, Florence, and his two sons, Fabrice & Jean-Jacques, who preserve his legacy of making spectacular wines of great depth and character. The 2016 Clos Floridene, Graves Blanc is no exception. Bright, fresh, intensely aromatic, with notes of stone and citrus fruits. Lovely weight and texture with just a hint of pain grillé. A blend of 56% Sauvignon Blanc and 44 % Sémillon. Aged in barrel (25% new) for eight months with regular batonnage. Drink or hold. Perhaps our best overall value in a white Bordeaux, and a great introduction to the style.

2015 de Chantegrive Rouge, Graves
Review Date: 04-25-2018
A substantial Chantegrive that positively flaunts the strength and character of this spectacular 2015 vintage. Loads of ripe fruit and toasty oak (50% new) framed by firm tannins. A terrific value from one of the best properties in the Graves region.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 92 JD 91

2016 Cantina Andrian "Finado" Pinot Bianco
Review Date: 03-31-2018
It wasn't easy to convince Greg St. Clair to bring in yet another Pinot Bianco from Alto Adige. We have a pretty good selection already with top wines from Cantina Terlan, Kettmeir, and St-Michael-Eppan. But after our entire Redwood City sales staff tasted it blind and were blown away by its quality and character, he was forced to concede and bring in a few cases. I had a bottle last night with some fettucine with spring peas and prosciutto and parmesan cheese. I love its texture, is lightly spicy character, its persistence and length. If you love Italian wines, you have to try this. If you are a fan of white Burgundy or Chablis, you should be exploring these Pinot Biancos from Alto Adige. The Cantina Andrian "Finado" is a great place to start.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Adegas Valtea Albariño Rias Baixas
Review Date: 03-31-2018
I love Albarino but all of my favorites typically sell for around $25. I hadn't been able to find one under $20 that had the kind of typicity I was looking for until Joe Manekin, our Spanish buyer, brought in the Adegas Valtea Albarino. Wow! It has all of the wonderfully mineral, almost saline quality I love, lively acidity and fresh stone fruit character I prize. Unquestionably our best value in an Albarino, one of our best Spanish whites, and quite possibly, one of the best white wines in the store regardless of region.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 CrossBarn (Paul Hobbs) Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 02-28-2018
One of the better values in a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. Although Paul Hobbs is tight-lipped about the exact sources for his Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, you can rest assured that the work done in the winery is every bit as exacting as for his higher end wines. 2014 marked the third outstanding vintage in a row here. Loads of ripe red fruits, raspberry and pomegranate. There is a more savory, herbal component too with perhaps a hint of oolong tea. Delicious to drink now and enjoy.

2014 Amici Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 02-28-2018
K&L Wine Merchants has sold the Amici Cellars wines since the winery was first founded back in the 1990’s. Over the past couple of decades Bob Shepard has become a good friend to K&L, and like any good friend, he always has a bottle of wine in hand whenever he drops by. I am sure he was smiling when I first had a chance to taste the 2014 Amici Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. “This is really good!” I said. “Yeah,” said Bob. Hints of oak spice, gorgeous, bright tropical fruit. Lovely weight. The quality at this price point is nothing short of miraculous. And if you don’t believe me, just ask Bob.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JS 92 WE 90

2015 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "La Réserve d'O" Terrasses du Larzac
Review Date: 02-28-2018
Terrasses du Larzac is a relatively recent addition to the list of Languedoc appellations, having achieved AOC status only in 2005. Domaine de la Réserve d'O, too, is a relatively recent addition to the portfolio of wines K&L imports directly from France. The 2015 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "La Réserve d'O" Terrasses du Larzac is only the fourth vintage of the wine we have sold here, but it is by far my favorite. There is a certain generosity here, an appealing richness. The exceptional 2015 vintage offers plenty of ripe fruit, complemented nicely by exotic spice and savory elements.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart
W&S 91 WS 91

2016 Moulin de la Gardette "Petite Gardette" Gigondas
Review Date: 01-31-2018
K&L has been selling the wines of Moulin de la Gardette in Gigondas since the mid-90's. They have become a staple of our southern Rhone portfolio, a favorite of staff and customers alike. Imagine our excitement, then, at the arrival of a brand new wine, carried by us for the first time, the 2016 Petite Gardette. A 50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah, sourced from the younger vines on the estate, and vinified and aged without oak. Juicy, bright and fresh and utterly drinkable. And while I like to pretend as a wine professional that I am above such things, I am absolutely in love with the label.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Ribbonwood (Framingham) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 01-31-2018
Many of our best values in Pinot Noir come from NZ these days, a product of our direct import program, a favorable exchange rate, and the frankly unbelievable quality of the wines being produced there these days. A superb example is the 2016 Ribbonwood Marlborough Pinot Noir from Framingham. Generous red and black fruits with a savory/smoky edge and a hint of oak. Delicious.
Price: Hidden View Price

2016 Oakridge "Over the Shoulder" Chardonnay Yarra Valley Victoria
Review Date: 01-31-2018
This value-priced label from Oakridge showcases the exceptional quality of these wines, at every price. The Chardonnay is one of the best we offer under $20, regardless of region of origin, however winemaker David Bicknell makes the most of the Yarra Valley's cool climate to produce a perfectly poised wine that combines generous fruit with lively acidity, full-bodied yet fresh in style.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JH 93

Compass Box "No Name" Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 01-31-2018
Subtly smoky on the nose with hints of iodine and earth. There's a slightly honeyed topnote that is quite intriguing. Sweet and fruity with notes of honey and stone fruits. A melange of gingerbread spice. There's a rush of smoke on the finish that builds and builds. Damn fine Islay whiskey, and a pretty good argument for blended scotch...so long as someone as talented as John Glaser is behind the mix.
Price: $139.99 Add To Cart

2012 Clairault "Estate" Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River (Black Label)
Review Date: 12-30-2017
There is just so much good Cabernet coming out of Western Australia these days at such good prices that no Cabernet lover can afford to ignore it. The 2012 Clairault Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River Black Label offers classic appeal with a hint of mint on the nose and ripe, sweet red and black fruits. Superb balance and fine tannins make this eminently drinkable and approachable Cab the perfect choice to accompany dinner tonight.
Price: Hidden View Price
DC 95 JH 95

2010 Galland Clark Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 12-30-2017
If your preference in Napa Cabernet is for a big, full bodied wine with liqueur-like ripeness, this is NOT the wine for you. Don't get me wrong. The 2010 Galland Clark Napa Valley Cabernet, at 14.5% alc, is plenty full-bodied. But it also comes with a hint of violets on the nose, and yes, a bit of - my goodness - green pepper. Very fresh and lively in the mouth with notes of fresh blackberry and licorice, this is honest damn Cabernet you can enjoy tonight.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Jean-Michel Giboulot Savigny-lès-Beaune
Review Date: 12-05-2017
The wines of Savigny-lès-Beaune are some of the most affordable in all of Burgundy, as well as open-knit, charming, and accessible. They are the perfect choice for anyone just beginning to explore the region. This wonderful villages bottling from Domaine Jean-Michel Giboulot is an excellent example. As vintages go, 2015 is among the best, and the quality really shines through here. Notes of clove and cinnamon spice on the nose, along with a hint of violets. On the palate, a mix of red and black fruits, cherry and raspberry. There is ample ripeness here with good concentration, lively acidity and fine tannins. A superb effort, and a terrific value. Drink now, or over the next one to three years.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 Akitu "A2" Pinot Noir Central Otago (White Label)
Review Date: 11-29-2017
One of the stars of our direct import program, the A2 "White Label" from Akitu offers exceptional value. A cornucopia of bright red fruits - cherry, cranberry, rhubarb, pomegranate - combine gracefully with floral and spice elements to form a nearly perfect wine. Some stem inclusion adds a savory element that complements the whole. Layer upon layer of flavor here to delight the senses. A real treat for the Pinot enthusiast, and a great example of the best that Central Otago has to offer.

2016 Silvano Follador Prosecco Superiore Brut Nature
Review Date: 11-29-2017
To those who like to dismiss Prosecco as inconsequential, light, bubbly and sweet, I would say, you obviously have yet to taste Silvano Follador's Prosecco Superiore Brut Nature. This is serious sparkling wine of the highest quality. Not sweet but bone dry, bracing and crisp in style. The ultimate aperitif, and the perfect beginning to a night of cooking and eating great Italian food and drinking Italian wine.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$16.99

2014 Les Tourelles de Longueville, Pauillac
Review Date: 11-02-2017
Few wines express more clearly the incredible quality of the 2014 vintage in Bordeaux than this estate label from Chateau Pichon Baron in Pauillac. No longer strictly a second wine with the introduction of “Les Griffons” in 2012, most of the fruit for “Les Tourelles” comes from a single plot. The blend is weighted more to Merlot than Cabernet, producing a more accessible style that is meant to be drunk sooner than the Grand Vin. Elegant and polished, of obvious pedigree, the wine offers sweet, ripe red fruits lightly seasoned with oak spice. Well-balanced and marked by lively acidity and fine tannins. Exceptional quality here. A true value.

2014 Fleur de Pedesclaux, Pauillac
Review Date: 11-02-2017
Pauillac. The heart of the Médoc. Home to no fewer than three of the five First Growths. In addition, there are an even dozen Fifth Growths, most famously Lynch Bages and Pontet Canet. The list also includes Chateau Pédesclaux, itself one of the few remaining bargains in Pauillac. If you are looking for genuine value though, and prefer to drink your wines sooner rather than later, consider their second label Fleur de Pédesclaux. The 2014 is a marvel, redolent of oak spice and replete with generous dark fruit. With the bulk of the estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon reserved for the Grand Vin, this second label relies on Merlot for the majority of the blend, yielding a wine that is intentionally softer in style and more immediately accessible.
Price: Hidden View Price
JS 90

2014 Barde-Haut, St-Emilion
Review Date: 10-31-2017
Our visit with Hélène Garcin at Chateau Barde-Haut in St-Émilion back in April was meant to be a brief one. It had been a very long day of tasting 2016 barrel samples on the Right Bank, and we had two more appointments still remaining. We tasted samples of all the wines in the portfolio: the two new properties – Chateau d’Arce from the Côtes de Castillon and Poesia in St-Émilion, the fabled Clos l’Eglise from Pomerol, and of course Barde-Haut. In for a penny, in for a pound, and when we were offered barrel samples of the same wines from the excellent 2015 vintage we nodded our assent. The third time’s the charm, so when corks were pulled on the newly bottled wines of the 2014 vintage we held out our glasses once again. It is very difficult to say no to Hélène, and impossible to say no to her wines. The 2014 Barde-Haut, the second vintage produced since its elevation to Grand Cru Classé status, is very much in the Garcin mode, exquisitely polished, the epitome of refinement and grace. Tons of dark fruit, generously seasoned with spicy new oak, and with sufficient structure to more than adequately reward a brief period in the cellar.

2015 Baccinetti "La Saporoia" Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 09-30-2017
2015 was by all accounts an exceptional vintage in Montalcino. The Brunellos may very well come to rival the unprecedented 2010 vintage. The only problem is you won’t be able to find them on store shelves until 2020. However, the 2015 Rossos are in stores now, offering a delicious sneak peak at the 2015 vintage, and at a much lower price than you will eventually pay for the ’15 Brunellos. The 2015 Baccinetti "La Saporoia" Rosso di Montalcino offers a classic expression of the Sangiovese grape. Savory notes of leather and spice on the nose. On the palate, bright red fruits with hints of morello cherry. Excellent ripeness with good concentration. Firm, fine tannins. Direct import pricing makes this an excellent value.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Hyot, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 09-28-2017
Chateau Hyot is located in the commune of Saint-Magne-de-Castillon adjacent to its more famous neighbor, Saint-Emilion. Its 40 hectares run from the lower slopes of the Côtes to the river Dordogne with soil types ranging from clay to sand and gravel. The vineyards are planted 70% to Merlot, 20% to Cabernet Franc, and 10% to Cabernet Sauvignon. Average vine age is 35 years. The 2014 Hyot, Côtes de Castillon is very typical of the vintage, combining lively acidity with admirable sweetness of fruit. The nose is lightly floral with hints of oak spice. On the palate, ripe red and black fruits with notes of cherry and plum, very fresh and juicy. Finishes firm with fine tannins. An exceedingly drinkable weeknight claret at a very affordable price.

2012 Plaisance "Cuvee Alix" Côtes de Bordeaux
Review Date: 08-31-2017
From the portfolio of wines of Bernard Magrez, owner of Chateau Pape Clement. Chateau Plaisance is not in Pessac-Léognan but in the Entre-Deux-Mers region, producing red wines under the appellation Côtes de Bordeaux. The 2012 Plaisance "Cuvee Alix" is a blend of 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc aged 9 months in a combination of tank and barrel, 50% of which are new. Generous, forward fruit here with lovely mid-palate weight and fine tannins. Very true to the ’12 vintage. A perennial customer favorite in the sub $20 Bordeaux category.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2009 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 08-18-2017
Chateau Coufran lies just north of St-Estèphe in the village of Saint-Seurin-de-Cadourne. There are 76 hectares of vineyards planted entirely on gravel soils close beside the Gironde River. Atypically for a Left Bank property, the grape varieties planted are almost entirely Merlot (85%), earning Coufran the nickname “the Pomerol of the Médoc”. I had the good fortune to taste a barrel sample of the 2009 Coufran at the chateau in 2010. The owner, Eric Miailhe, confided at that time that he considered it the finest wine he had ever made. Now, five years after bottling, the wine truly shows the strength of the outstanding ’09 vintage – very fresh with lively acidity and very fine, but still firm tannins. There is plenty of sweet fruit here with notes of fresh picked blackberry and damson plum. A terrific value from one of the great vintages of the decade.

2012 Pauillac de Latour, Pauillac
Review Date: 06-09-2017
An “appellation” wine from First Growth Chateau Latour in Pauillac. Each year, after the initial selection is made for the Grand Vin, and for the second label, Forts de Latour, some of the remaining lots are used to produce this 3rd label. Also included are grapes from some of the younger vines on the estate, as well as from outlying vineyards. The “Pauillac” bottling will usually include a higher proportion of Merlot and is intended for earlier consumption, requiring less aging than Latour’s more prestigious labels. We tasted the 2012 Pauillac de Latour at the chateau in early April. It was good enough to compare very favorably with a barrel sample of the excellent 2016. Very much in the Latour style – structured, bold, black-fruited. Very generous with loads of sweet fruit and good concentration. Tannins are quite fine. Drinkable now or over the next decade. Given the pricing for First Growths these days, this wine represents one of the great bargains in Bordeaux.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart
JS 90
Limit of 24 per customer

2016 Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 06-08-2017
This tiny viticultural enclave, consisting of a mere 5 hectares of vineyards, lies fully within the city of Bordeaux, immediately north of its more famous neighbor, Chateau Haut-Brion. The property takes its name from the order of Carmelite nuns who held it for more than two hundred years, from the late 16th century to the time of the French Revolution. With its 19th century chateau and sculptured gardens, there is still a sense of the cloister about the place, a remarkably peaceful oasis in the heart of a bustling metropolis. The holy sisters would likely be greatly startled however by the new Philippe Starck designed winery, which rises like a leviathan from the spring fed stream that bisects the property. The new cellars and winemaking facility are part of a comprehensive program of investment initiated by new owner Patrice Pichet since acquiring the property in 2010. The 2016 Les Carmes Haut Brion is a vindication of his efforts to realize the full potential here. It is a breathtaking expression of the unique terroir of the northern Graves, at once intensely mineral and extraordinarily concentrated. The blend includes an astonishing 41% Cabernet Franc, supported by 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 39% Merlot. Perfectly ripe, with lively acidity and firm, fine tannins. Deeply colored and very aromatic, with a savory/spicy character, very much in keeping with the vintage. A superb effort, not to be missed. This is a property to keep an eye on. Great things are happening here.

2016 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 06-06-2017
Year on year, Leoville Barton continues to deliver wines that are firm, structured, and uncompromisingly tannic in their youth. The 2016 is very much on point with substantial, though very fine, tannins. What is particularly striking is the sheer intensity of the color, from palate-staining purple to nearly inky black. Loads of black fruit here as well. Superbly ripe with notes of fresh blackberry and hints of richer cassis. Like many of the Left Bank wines in 2016, Cabernet Sauvignon very much takes the lead here. Patience will be required but this ought to age magnificently.

2016 Margaux, Margaux
Review Date: 06-06-2017
Commenting on the extreme weather conditions of 2016 – from the heavy spring rains to the late summer drought – the good folks at First Growth Chateau Margaux characterized the year in typically understated fashion as “a singular vintage”. If it was a vintage to test the mettle of vineyard manager and cellar master alike, then Margaux passed with flying colors. This 2016 Margaux, Margaux is very much a wine of the vintage. Notable acidity, very fresh and lively, with a mere 13% alc. Hugely tannic but so very fine it was easy to taste even out of barrel. At 94% of the blend this is a vintage for Cabernet lovers. While yields were slightly up here in 2016, the selection for the Grand Vin was quite strict, a mere 28% of total production, down from 35% the year before. Where 2015 was opulent, the 2016 is precise. This is a sleek greyhound of a wine, a marvel of focused intensity and restrained power, a wine of great finesse and elegance.

2014 Maldonado "Farm Worker" Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-30-2017
If it’s true that the best wines are made in the vineyard, this 2014 Maldonado "Farm Worker" Napa Valley Chardonnay couldn’t hope for a better pedigree. Lupe Maldonado has over three decades of vineyard management experience under his belt, and it shows. Fermented partially in stainless steel and partially in French oak, this is a crisp, focused effort that nevertheless offers plenty of ripe, sweet fruit.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2016 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-30-2017
The 2016 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan would seem to be swimming against the current. In a vintage where most wines are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, it is instead Merlot (at 56% of the blend) that takes the lead here. Cabernet Sauvignon is the junior partner at 37.5% of the blend. Cabernet Franc makes up the remainder at 6.5%, though this grape did less well in 2016 and mostly went to the second labels. Very lively and fresh in keeping with the vintage. The tannins, too, here are quite firm. Overall this is reserved in style, quite powerful in its own way, but marked by restraint. Very fine indeed.

2016 Duhart-Milon, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-16-2017
The 2016 Duhart Milon is ripe and concentrated, dense, dark and black-fruited. Plays to the strengths of the vintage with a blend of two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon to one-third Merlot. Tannins quite fine here. Deceptively easy to taste. Terrific effort here in 2016. A great success.

2016 Pape Clément, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-15-2017
One of the great properties in Pessac-Léognan, historic, renowned, a near neighbor of Chateau Haut-Brion. In recent years, the estate has been moving towards a more terroir-driven style, taking full advantage of its exceptional position in the northernmost part of the appellation. The 2016 Pape Clément is a nuanced effort, complex and layered with good concentration and length. Deeply colored, intense. Lovely weight with perfectly ripe, sweet fruit and fine tannins. Deftly seasoned with spicy oak that enhances rather than overwhelms the wine. Very well done.

2016 Pape Clément Blanc, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-15-2017
Remarkably bright and fresh with terrific focus and intensity. Sweet, ripe fruit adds richness supported by admirable underlying tension and length. A balanced effort worthy of the cellar.

2016 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 05-11-2017
Chateau Cantemerle was classified a Cinquième Cru in 1855, one of only five chateaus designated “Haut-Médoc” to be awarded cru classé status. With nearly 100 hectares of vineyards it is one of the largest estates on the Left Bank, and all I can say is, thank goodness. Even with yields slightly above average, I worry there won’t be enough of the 2016 vintage to go around. 2016 is a remarkable vintage in many respects, but one of its most compelling features is the tendency to bring out in the very best wines something quintessential, a perfect expression of terroir. I think the 2016 Cantemerle is one such. It brings together all of the best aspects of the vintage – an extraordinary intensity of color, wildly expressive aromatics, lively acidity and very fine tannins. And the fruit? As a child, I used to spend the summers in Maine, and I used to go blackberry picking with my grandmother. She preferred to go early in the morning before it got too hot. The berries would still be cool with a bit of the morning dew still upon them. Even under my grandmother’s watchful eye, not every berry made its way into my pail. I still remember quickly popping them into my mouth and that astonishing all at once burst of tartness and sweetness. Tasting “fresh-picked blackberry” in this wine made me smile with the memory it evoked. And I have no doubt that 2016 will be remembered as one of the great vintages for Cantemerle. 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot. Tasted twice with consistent notes.

2016 d'Arce, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 05-11-2017
Côtes de Castillon continues to be a source for some of the best values on the Right Bank. Many top producers in Saint-Emilion and Pomerol have invested in properties within this neighboring appellation, making wines which are nearly equal in quality to their best labels at a fraction of the price. Hélène Garcin, owner of Chateau Clos l'Église in Pomerol and Chateau Barde-Haut and the new Poesia in St-Emilion, now owns Chateau d’Arce in Côtes de Castillon. 2016 is only her third vintage, but certainly the best vintage yet. The quality is already apparent here. Loads of bright, sweet fruit. Very fresh with fine tannins. Terrific balance. Exceptional value.

2016 Clerc-Milon, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-11-2017
A very successful vintage for Clerc Milon, this 2016 simply exudes class and character. Classic Pauillac, with great presence and weight. Ripe, sweet fruit. Very lively and fresh. Lush in texture with very fine tannins. A supremely polished effort. Superb. Tasted three times during en primeur week with consistent notes.

2016 Lilian Ladouys, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 05-05-2017
A near neighbor of Chateau Lafon-Rochet, this is a property that in the past few years has become a customer favorite due to its combination of quality and price. The 2016 Lilian Ladouys will no doubt both delight existing fans of the wine as well as win over many new Bordeaux lovers with its generous fruit and overall balance and character. Beguilingly aromatic, a bit floral and a bit spicy. Good underlying structure – lively acidity and firm, fine tannins. Top quality, and very true to the vintage.

2016 Potensac, Médoc
Review Date: 05-05-2017
Consistently one of the very best properties in the Médoc, Chateau Potensac has been owned for many years by the Delon family of Leoville Las Cases in St. Julien. The quality of the wine can be attributed both to the superb character of the terroir and to the additional resources made available due to its long association with a top Deuxième Cru. It can be difficult to properly judge this wine when tasting at the Chateau, since you are obliged to evaluate it alongside the more prestigious Clos du Marquis and Leoville Las Cases itself, but more than in any other vintage I can recall this 2016 Potensac more than held its own. Even in such august company the quality was readily apparent. The wine showed exceptional concentration. Bright and lively in character, very fresh, and with loads of sweet, ripe fruit and fine tannins, very much in line with the vintage as a whole. One of the most intriguing things about this 2016 Potensac is the higher than usual percentage of Cabernet Franc. One theme we heard over and over again during en primeur was that due to the extreme conditions of the vintage – from very wet to very dry – the oldest vines faired best. The vineyards at Potensac include a parcel of Cabernet Franc vines more than 80 years old. The grapes from these vines in 2016 were of such a quality that they were among the best the estate produced and formed a key part of the blend. You may tire of hearing this regarding the 2016 vintage, but, truthfully, I have enjoyed many vintages of Potensac over the years, but this may be the best I have ever tasted.

Cappelletti "Sfumato Rabarbaro" Amaro (750ml)
Review Date: 05-03-2017
This wonderful Amaro from Cappelletti is smoky and earthy, sweet and classically bitter. Try it on its own as a digestivo to end a hearty meal or get creative with some of your favorite cocktails. Personally, I am a huge Negroni fan. I have been looking for some time for an Amaro I could pair with Mezcal. As soon as I tasted the Sfumato Rabarbaro Amaro I knew I had found the secret ingredient for my Negroni Sfumato (I thought “Smoke & Mirrors” would be a fun title as well but the rest of the staff seem set on "Smoky Negron"). Try equal parts Sfumato Rabarbaro Amaro from Cappelletti, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, and your favorite mezcal. I used the Mezcalero "Los Nahuales" Special Edition Sierrudo-Cuishe Mezcal from Los Danzantes. Amazing!
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2016 Labégorce, Margaux
Review Date: 05-03-2017
Chateau Labégorce is unapologetically swimming against the tide in 2016 with a blend that is majority Merlot in a vintage dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. 52% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot. The Merlot adds a bit more mid-palate breadth here and perhaps a bit more sweetness of fruit, but at a mere 13.5% alcohol the wine is by no means over-ripe. It is, quite decidedly, perfectly ripe. Precisely so, in fact, and in perfect balance with the lively acidity and ultrafine tannins which this 2016 Labégorce shares with the best wines of the vintage. Perhaps the best ever from this estate, and unquestionably one of the great bargains in Margaux today.

2016 Capbern, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 05-03-2017
Chateau Capbern, formerly Capbern-Gasqueton, was acquired along with Chateau Calon-Segur by its current owners in 2012. Judging from the quality of this 2016 vintage, the property has surely benefitted from some upgrades and improvements in the intervening years. Spice and floral notes leap out of the glass. The fruit is ripe and sweet and perhaps a bit more forward than some wines from the vintage at 14% alcohol. Combined with lively acidity and very fine tannins, however, the wine exhibits perfect balance, and should require a bit less patience than some of its fellow in St-Estephe. This property is fast becoming a customer favorite for its combination of quality and price. I imagine many will choose to drink this wine sooner rather than later, but it has sufficient structure to make a superb near term cellar candidate.
Top Value!

2016 Mauvesin Barton, Moulis
Review Date: 04-29-2017
I sometimes wonder if the Barton-Sartorius family, owners of Langoa-Barton and Leoville-Barton, acquired Chateau Mauvesin in Moulis in 2011 as much for the quality of its stables as for its vineyards. Daughter Mélanie Barton-Sartorius is an avid equestrian in addition to being a trained oenologist. Whatever the reason, they have certainly spared no expense in developing the property. The old cellars have been restored and new capacity added; the vineyards have been expanded and replanted. Today they have 50 hectares of vineyards planted 45% to Merlot, 36% to Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% to Cabernet Franc, and 2% to Petit Verdot. The 2016 Mauvesin Barton is quite true to the vintage, very pretty with bright red fruits and a hint of spice. Merlot takes the lead here so a bit more ripeness is evident in the rich, textured mid-palate. The finish is understandably firm though quite fine. An admirable effort, very reasonably priced, and a suggestion of even better things to come.

2016 Clos de Boüard, Montagne St-Emilion
Review Date: 04-25-2017
Formerly Chateau Tour Musset, acquired by the de Boüard family of Chateau Angelus, and rechristened Clos du Boüard for the inaugural vintage of 2016. The estate consists of 30 hectares of vines in Montagne Saint-Emilion on clay-limestone soils, and lies near the border with Saint-Emilion near the commune of Saint-Christophe-des-Bardes. The 2016 is a blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweet and ripe. Very polished with fine tannins.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 91 - 93

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