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Staff Favorites - Bryan Brick

Bryan Brick

Reviews

2014 Black Kite "Soberanes Vineyard" Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay
Review Date: 08-03-2017
The Black Kite Soberanes Vineyard is just that. A big wine, for big Chard fans but there is a twist. While most “big” Chards come more from winemaking in the cellar than anything else this wine gets its largesse from the vineyard itself. The Soberanes Vineyard is a superstar in the making, after all it is jointly owned and farmed by the two biggest names in the area-The Pisoni and Franscioni families-and still is growing out of its youthful power. With about 40% new oak and full malolactic fermentation this certainly has a frame of a certain ilk but the fruit, the raw materials, of this wine override it with splendid fig, baked apple, pistachio ice cream and hints of lavender. Never losing its granitic minerality this wine has a counterbalance to all that size and that is really what keeps this from going too overboard.

2013 Thomas Fogarty "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Review Date: 03-22-2017
The 2013 Thomas Fogarty Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay is 99% Estate fruit and 100% delicious. From all five Estate blocks this emanates from the glass with blanched almond meat, husked wheat, whole hazelnuts and fried polenta. Bright and energetic with a plush core of golden fruits and Shitake mushroom this shows both the power and savory intensity so often though of from SCM Chardonnay. Add Macadamia nut flesh, some forest floor flavors and fresh green herbs to the long and resonating finish and you really have a special Chardonnay that is not just built on texture and wine making but on the amazing raw material that Fogarty has to pull from. This really reminded me of a top flight St. Aubin at its very best but with Corton structure. Wouldn’t that be something?

2014 Maison L'Envoyé "The Attaché" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 03-22-2017
Made from some of the best vineyards throughout the Willamette Valley: Croft, Hyland, Eola Springs, Bishop Creek, amongst others this Pinot is about as close to a “can’t miss” for not only Oregon Pinot Noir lovers but for any pinotfile out there. It probably doesn’t hurt that Louis-Michel Liger-Belair is the consulting winemaker here either. Blue fruited and with a pretty this has the aromas reminiscent of the forests of the Valley in the morning, wet/warm earth, evergreen and wild mushrooms with blackberry and fresh fennel. The complexity here is off the charts and is only rivaled by the equally interesting and irresistible palate. Slick and high toned, plush and sexy this wine has it all with flavors of fresh blueberry, loganberry, Chanterelles mushroom and a subtle but lasting oak spice. The best thing about this wine is that it is so drinkable, so approachable that it will be equally loved by your wine snob friends as it will be by your, well let’s just call them your less discerning friends.

2013 Brassfield "Eruption - Volcano Ridge Vineyard" High Valley Red Blend
Review Date: 10-21-2016
Big, loamy and full of massive and bursting flavors, this wine is packed to the brim with aromas of India ink, pastilles, blackberry candy and a slight bloody character. Entering juicy and broad, the name Eruption is a bit literal—this impresses with black cherry, anisette, wild berry preserves and has quite a bit of umami savor. Ramey’s touch on the finish shows with a classical dryness and spice rather than what so many wines of this ilk do, which is pack in the sugar. This is certainly not a classic claret, or Cabernet -styled blend, but it could certainly take the place of one on a dinner table without much argument from most.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
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2013 Robert Craig Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 03-23-2016
A lot of changes have happened at the edges over that last couple of years at Robert Craig, the good news is that the wines are still as good as ever with the release of the 2013 vintage. The most noticeable change is to the packaging this year but there is also a major change with the entry level wine from the winery. For years that wine was Affinity, always one of the best wines in Napa Valley for the money, but in 2013 Robert Craig made a change to that. Now the entry level tier is just called Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and it is a blend of around 50% estate and 50% purchased fruit from throughout Napa Valley and it is priced where the Affinity used to be, right around $50. Spicy and bold with woody notes on the nose but little in the way of excessive toast this has a great bloody, iron rich beam surrounded by red currant, roasted fennel and cedar. Streamlined with everything it needs and nothing else this is a stylish Cab that is more about precision and balance than it is about heft or bombast. Impeccable in its balance and packed with traditional Cabernet markers of olive, gravel, cassis and tarragon this was certainly impressive. I’d even go so far as to say it’s one of the best Cabernet values of the year from Napa Valley.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
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2013 Melville "Estate" Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 09-09-2015
We’ve supported the Melville wines for quite some time here at K&L, in fact our history with the brand dates back to the 2000 vintage which was the second year they made wines from the Estate. For the last 16 years they have consistently produced some of the most delicious and affordable wines from the Santa Rita Hills, heck, they helped put Santa Rita Hills on the map! The 2013 vintage set up well for the winery and they produced a myriad of fantastic wines numerous of which you’ll see from us in the upcoming weeks. The first of which is the 2013 Melville “Estate” Chardonnay. This 100% Barrel Fermented, all in neutral oak, Chardonnay sees no Malolactic fermentation and no lees stirring—real world translation—this is one energetic and zesty Chard that has more in common with a top flight Pouilly Fuisse than a buttery California Chard. The nose is expressive and giving with aromas of baked apples, honeysuckle, and subtle earthy notes like talc and silica. Structured, pretty and focused with great sandy minerality and flavors of apricot flesh, grilled corn and more apple this is a treat to drink and will be a great food wine. Energetic and resonant on the finish there is plenty to love about this old-world influenced Chardonnay.

2012 Ridge Vineyards "Lytton Springs" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 08-17-2015
If you haven’t tried the Lytton Springs and Geyserville bottlings by Ridge Vineyards by now you probably have been living under a rock, or on some deserted island somewhere. For decades--the first Geyserville was made in 1966 and first Lytton in 1972--these have been the best zinfandel based wines in the United States. For either instant consumption or long term cellaring few have ever shown as much promise and continuously paid such great dividends. We thought we’d not see any more of this wine having been sold out for some time but, PRESTO, there some was just hanging out in Southern California. So we jumped on whatever we could and are bringing this to you as a “last call.” The 2012 Lytton Springs was delicious from the start with a vibrant mix of high toned wild red berry fruit, sassafras, white pepper and streaks of vanilla and coconut flake. A bit more confectionary and lush than the 2013 Geyserville this is a touch more giving right now and is just delicious. However, like all the Ridge wines it will continue to age gracefully. It is about as good as it gets in the current world of Zinfandel.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
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2013 Ridge Vineyards "Geyserville" Alexander Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 08-17-2015
If you haven’t tried the Lytton Springs and Geyserville bottlings by Ridge Vineyards by now you probably have been living under a rock, or on some deserted island somewhere. For decades--the first Geyserville was made in 1966 and first Lytton in 1972--these have been some of the best Zinfandel-based wines in the United States. For either instant consumption, or long term cellaring, few have ever shown as much consistent promise and continuously paid such great dividends. The 2013 Geyserville is classic and wildly representative of why Geyserville has become so famous. Deep, brooding and darkly fruited, this is a wine that is delicious right now. It has plenty of boysenberry, unsweetened cocoa powder, whole black peppercorns and a broad rich textural feel on the palate. It has that perfect balance between ripe, plush fruit and marked spice, all the while being fully accessible early. The great news is that as good as it is now, this wine is only going to get better with time, and should be a wonderful wine over the next 8-15 years.

2011 Ridge Vineyards "Geyserville" Sonoma Zinfandel
Review Date: 06-26-2013
If you haven’t tried the Lytton Springs and Geyserville bottlings by Ridge Vineyards by now you probably have been living under a rock, or on some deserted island somewhere. For decades, the first Geyserville was made in 1966 and first Lytton in 1972, these have been the best zinfandel based wines in the United States. For either instant consumption, or long term cellaring, few have ever shown as much promise and continuously paid such great dividends. Geyserville has consistently been my favorite bottling from Ridge over time. There is something that just hits my palate right about this wine; I think it is the perfect combination of fruit, spice, oak and texture for a Zinfandel based wine. I first tasted this vintage of Geyserville as a barrel sample at ZAP a couple of years ago and even then I knew it was going to be a superstar. From the very short 2011 vintage we were lucky to obtain a nice allocation of this wine and are able to pass it on to you. Deeply spicy with spice box, sandal wood and wild berry grove aromatics this is powerful stuff from when you pop the cork. A touch wound up currently and bound it its oak this is going to be one of those epic Geyserville bottlings that is easily going to go a decade or more. Peppercorn, boysenberry, allspice, and a touch of coconut from Ridge’s signature American Oak program all create a beautifully integrated yet incredibly youthful wine. My recommendation is to squirrel a few of these away for rainy days or BBQs to come.

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales "Bam Biere" Farmhouse Ale, Michigan (750ml)
Review Date: 05-25-2010
The Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales "Bam Biere" is one of the best work horse beers out there. Made in the style of a Saison this is one of the best interpretations coming out of the US right now. With its yeasty, fruity nose of peach, apricot, fresh bread dough, tangerine and a pinch of clove this is about as traditional as Saison gets. Lightweight on the palate but full of flavor the beer displays flavors of brewer’s yeast, fried plantains, wet earth, savory grassy tones and a bit of drying hoppiness in the finish. The sweet/bitter interplay here is perfect, keeping the beer from ever getting out of balance or cloying white the understated fruitiness builds complexity as it goes. Big time Boosh!
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart
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