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Staff Favorites - John Majeski

John Majeski

Reviews

2016 Guy Farge "Vania" Saint-Joseph Blanc
Review Date: 04-16-2019
This Northern Rhone charmer is a shimmying, golden-hued blend of Marsanne and Roussanne. fermented in steel vats and older oak barrels for about seven months. A melange of exotica, its bursts forth with lively tropical and orchard fruit aromas—apricot, melon, mango, papaya, honeysuckle, guava—and further shows off floral, spicy, nutty and marzipan notes. Pairing? Any dish that can handle the full, ripe Bette Midler flamboyance of this audacious white Rhône.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2016 Guy Farge "Terroir de Granit" Saint-Joseph Rouge
Review Date: 04-16-2019
This passionate elaboration pays homage to the signature soils of the region, and is vinified from a special parcel. It’s given a subtle barrel regimen that allows the Syrah fruit to express its silkier, sleeker nature. The dark cherry, black raspberry, spice and licorice all lend an element of natural sweetness and insouciance to the wine. Finished with lusty tannins, this would complement a Moroccan lamb dish or lavish moussaka. 93 RP

2017 Fefiñanes Albariño Rias Baixas
Review Date: 04-01-2019
Today being April 1st I am tempted in trickster fashion to play fast with the truth and make some far-fetched claim about a talked up wine I’ve yet to try, but that would be highly unethical, so I’ll stay within the real and give a bunch of vine-ripened kudos to one of my favorites from Rias Baixas in Galicia, the 2017 Fefinanes Albariño, certainly one of the purest, most emblematic versions from that stunning part of the world. Classic unoaked aromas of citrus blossom, melon, sea spray and lime zest mingle with crisp, lightly spritzy flavors of grapefruit, nectarine, apple and wet stone. Paired with grilled scallops or a delicately spicy chicken curry…. only a fool could resist!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
W&S 93

2016 Florent Cosme "Utopie" Vouvray Demi-Sec
Review Date: 03-31-2019
Chenin Blanc is a capricious grape, depending on how long it is allowed to hang on the vine and unravel its mutable charms. We recently discovered Florent Cosme, a new winemaker in the heart of Vouvray who grew up in the region and is highly attuned to the personality of this versatile grape. His biodynamic-certified wines are all about the purity and integrity of the beautiful fruit, and he achieves remarkable results, as clearly evident in his evocative Utopie Vouvray Demi-Sec, born from 70 year old vines grown on clay-silex soils. Aromas and flavors permeate and inspire, from fleshy pineapple, to white pear, apple, quince and persimmon, and the finish resonates a gentle sweetness held in thrall by fine acidity. A wonderful wine to complement dishes from Thai to Tempura. And to be honest, an incredible value as well.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JG 93 WS 92

2012 Larrivet Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 03-31-2019
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Just watched a National Geographic on the plains of Serengeti, in which a young wildebeest was bested by a pride of triumphant lionesses, who after having their fill, turned the leftovers over to a flock of hyper-efficient vultures. What, you might ask, does this have to with a bottle of Bordeaux red? Well, a fine wine embodies many complementary factors, and the imprint of the tannic structure on the wine somehow brought to mind that cleanup crew of vultures on the fallen wildebeest, the pure finishing touch that brings all the players together as Mother Nature in her wisdom intended. The quality inherent in this wine, the gravel crest on which the vines were planted, the care taken to harvest the fruit at optimal ripeness, and the slow maturation in oak and laborious racking every three months have resulted in a magnificent, dare I say, 'beast' of a wine, and one that drinks beautifully now, but will peak in another decade.
Top Value!

2017 The Fableist Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 03-30-2019
Most of you are familiar with the Aesop's fable The Ant and the Grasshopper, but turns out the original story starred a slovenly cicada who fiddled away the long hot summer while the frantic ants worked on their little ant abs, lifting grain and whatever edibles they could carry back to the colony. A revision of the fable involves the herculean ants even storing fallen grapes in their cellar until they fermented, providing beneficent drink throughout the winter, enough even to share with the not-so-merrymaking, near-freezing cicada.....of course their drink was hardly as refined as this warming, full-bodied, embracing Cabernet Sauvignon blend, the tale of two imaginative winemakers who were definitely not fiddling around! Drink up!
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine de Verquière Côtes du Rhône-Villages Sablet
Review Date: 03-25-2019
Certainly some of the greatest values in the beautiful Rhone Valley can be found in the "Villages" wines of Valreas, Seguret, Visan and Sablet, where the sun-ripened grapes carpet the slopes and valleys on both sides of the Rhone River. These wines are more restricted and as a result, are of overall higher quality than normal Cotes-du-Rhones. We're proud of the entire range of organic wines from Domaine de Verquiere, and the Sablet especially unveils an array of redolent charms in its concentrated plum, wild cherry and herbal flavors, supported by good acidity and the evidence of welcome grip on the tannins. One for the home chef to pair with a rich Cottage pie or Greek moussaka. Great value!
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva
Review Date: 03-20-2019
When a wine strikes my palate like a micro-meteorite, pinging and sending waves of pleasure straight to my olfactory receptors, I look up to the sky and give the stars a thank you, well knowing that those twinkling points of light really had nothing to do with it, that wine is a joyfully delicious earth-born substance, and that it is good. And believe me, the Monsanto is very good, and over the next few years will be even better. With a Mars Attack, excuse me, marvelous attack of bright, resplendently ripe fruit- morello cherries, dark plums and blackcurrants, framed by laserlike tannins, harmonizing acidity and savory spice, this classic Chianti has the components to jettison it well into the future. Not out of this world, only because it's of this world! Enjoy.

2017 Moss Wood "Amy's" Cabernet Sauvignon Blend Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 02-27-2019
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A classic, salutary Bordeaux blend from Down Under, each cultivar contributing its unique flavor profile to the exuberance and excellence of this wonderful wine. Both concentrated and highly expressive of the Margaret River region, with buoyant red and black fruit flavors balanced by juicy acidity, inviting spice and well-knit tannins. Highly recommended, this wine was recently paired with a charbroiled bone-in ribeye. Perfection.
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2014 St. Jean du Barroux "La Pierre Noire" Côtes du Ventoux
Review Date: 02-27-2019
Mont Ventoux, an iconoclast outlier from the French Alps, rises over 6,000 feet, and the windswept vineyards that populate its foothills are home to a diversity of flora, fauna and microclimates. Winemaker Philippe Gimel has meticulously sought out the finest sites for his vines, realizing that each one is a unique expression of terroir and writes its own signature on the final bottle of wine. This blessedly unoaked Cotes du Ventoux red, with its alluring perfume of black fruits, wildflowers and tea leaf was a covetous experience, and the unending palate resonated with flavors of blackberry, truffles and licorice. A tribute to both the winemaking skill and harmonious synergy of human and vine.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
DC 96 JD 95

2017 Foxglove Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 02-26-2019
Reminded of the story of the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes who held out a lamp in search of an honest man (the flashlight wasn't invented until 1899) I pondered the odds of finding an honest California Cabernet Sauvignon for around $15. Success! The Foxglove abounds in ripe Paso Robles fruit- mouthwatering layers of blackberries. cherries and plums with hints of eucalyptus and smooth, velvety tannins, the perfect highly-quaffable, everyday Cabernet for parties, picnics, and barbecues.
Price: $14.95 Add To Cart

2016 Passopisciaro "Passorosso" Etna Rosso Sicilia
Review Date: 02-26-2019
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The evolution of wine dramatically owes itself to single-minded men and women who, against all odds and imagined gods, planted and cultivated grapes where so many had struggled and failed before. Picture if you will the lava-strewn slopes of Mount Etna, Sicily's landmark and somewhat hot-tempered active volcano, where Andrea Franchetti constructed his winery and proceeded to cultivate both the indigenous Nerello Mascalese and a few other international grapes. The Passorosso is a truly elegant rendition of Nerello Mascalese as defined by its volcanic terroir, delivering exotic aromas of wild strawberry, desert rose and mountain scrub, with tinges of cherry, allspice and leather on the palate, etched by bright acidity and enticingly smooth tannins. A marvel of a wine that lovers of textural Pinot Noir will deeply appreciate.
Price: $31.99 Add To Cart
RP 91 WE 91

2016 Malmont Côtes du Rhône Villages Séguret
Review Date: 02-25-2019
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Nobody told Nicolas Haeni that he was insane for cutting terraces and planting grapes on the steep side of a mountain. Nobody told him how strenuous and backbreaking it would be to harvest the damn fruit from such a place. I'm glad nobody spoke, but doubt it would have made a difference, as this winemaker is committed to both the challenges that nature presents and the end game of all that labored sacrifice, a soulful bottle of wine. Organic/biodynamic farming, precision terracing and vine density all contribute to the health the vines, and Nicolas Haeni's wines are deeply concentrated expressions, rich in polyphenols with mouth-filling flavors of blackberry, vanilla, pepper and damp earth. Pair with herb-crusted pork tenderloin for a memorable evening.

2017 Quinta da Aveleda Loureiro-Alvarinho Vinho Verde
Review Date: 02-24-2019
What wine serves as both a great party aperitif and the perfect poolside antidote to the sweltering days of summer? The answer? Av an Aveleda, certainly one of the best-selling, well-priced whites in our store for the last decade or more, alive with a vibrant spectrum of tropical and orchard fruits and bursting with clean, crisp acidity. Pair a bottle or two with everything from light, creamy pastas to grilled fish to lemony chicken, or just uncork and drink this delightful Vinho Verde all by its unlonesome.
Top Value!
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart
W&S 91

2017 Domaine Begude "Terroir 11300" Chardonnay Haute Vallée de l'Aude
Review Date: 01-09-2019
Historically, the Limoux region in Southwest France is accepted as the place where sparkling wines were born, but the same lustrous, sun-swept terroir can produce wonderful still wines as well, especially when the vines are found at altitude. And Domaine Begude has perfected a range of exuberant, soulful white wines without compromising their irresistible versatility or affordable value. The Terroir 11300 was fermented in stainless and large demi-muids to add a touch of oak complexity and spice. A favorite as an aperitif or joyful pairing with cheeses, it displays luscious orchard fruits with crisp, flashy flavors of white pear, golden apple and peach.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2016 Scattered Peaks Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 01-09-2019
With a winemaking pedigree as renowned as Beaulieu vineyards Joel Aiken, the Scattered Peaks Cabernet has attained incredible press and demonstrated that Napa Valley can still produce excellent red wines for under $50. Brimming with rich aromatics and supple, round flavors of blackcurrants, ripened black plums, licorice, vanilla and shaved dark chocolate, this wine envelops the palate and delivers abundant pleasure for its modest price.
Price: $29.95 Add To Cart

2016 Guy Farge "Harmonie" Cornas
Review Date: 01-09-2019
Cornas, a steeply exposed region of tenacious vines clinging to granite soils, achieved appellation status in 1938, just two years after Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but its viticultural roots stretch back well over a thousand years to an obscure monastic order who must have relished the powerful, mineral-driven wines known for their black heart. The vicissitudes of time, two cataclysmic world wars and the physical labor involved in growing wines on precipitous hillsides makes one marvel that Cornas survived at all, but here we are, with a bottle in front of us named 'Harmonie' of all things, proof that man and nature working together can truly surmount all obstacles. Arriving at only 13% abv, this elegant wine is an equilibrium of aromatic black-berried fruits, cured olives and clove spice, with a touch of tar and minerals on the finish. A lovely marriage of power and purity, drink long and deep!

2016 Bishop's Peak San Luis Obispo Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-27-2018
For over thirty years, Talley Vineyards has exemplified the finest in Central Coastal Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and in 2016 they exceeded their reputation. Produced from both purchased and estate fruit, the Bishop's Peak Pinot Noir is a second wine in name only, with expressive cherry and tea leaf aromas followed by polished notes of strawberry and pomegranate, framed by sedate tannins and a silky finish. The perfect, welcoming everyday Pinot that will enhance both holiday parties and festive meals.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
VN 91

2014 Château Bouscassé Madiran
Review Date: 11-05-2018
How do you measure depth? In an analogy, the Russians were once faced with the reality that the US was going to beat them to the moon, so they decided to focus their efforts on beating us to the center of the Earth, resulting in something called the Kola Superdeep Borehole, which went some 7.5 miles deep through dense layers of near molten rock. Measuring depth in a wine doesn't take quite that much effort, as the otherworldly Tannat-driven wines of Madiran master Alain Brumont are as highly polished and elemental as that deep bore drill bit, but imbued with a complex profusion of fragrant black fruits, bittersweet chocolate, dried flowers, spice and super-refined tannins. And priced at under twenty dollars, you don't have to dig deep to enjoy a bottle!
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 94

2017 Marrenon "Roséfine" Luberon Rosé
Review Date: 10-01-2018
Given that the time and place for drinking rosés has little to do with the calendar anymore, but rather the availability— just look around the store, they’re still there in abundance— it comes down to a matter of choice, and the dictates of style, price and desire. For those seeking a mouthwatering, flavorful rosé with luscious orchard fruit notes— strawberry, melon and white peach, balanced by a note of minerality and a fresh, satisfying finish, look to this Syrah-driven version from the Luberon. With any luck this one will last through the holidays, as it whispers ‘festivity’ with each sip!
Price: Hidden View Price

2017 Domaine Petroni Corse Rosé (Corsica)
Review Date: 08-21-2018
Another Corsican gem, made from 50% Niellucciu, 35% Sciaccarellu and 15% Grenache, showcasing precisely why these ebullient wines have become such food-friendly favorites. Red berries and stone fruits sing from the glass, but in this instance are joined in harmony by a subtle pepper note, probably from the Sciacarellu. Plenty of juicy acidity to ballast the luscious, enticing flavors—a plate of fresh charcuterie or a Nicoise salad would be a stunning match. Enjoy!
Top Value!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2014 Lateral Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 06-13-2018
A deft blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc from premium organic vineyard sites throughout Napa Valley, the Lateral was first created by owner and winemaker Marty Mathis over twenty years ago as a "Right Bank" wine with California panache. Droves of satiated wine lovers have since proved him right, as this most recent vintage again delivers provocative aromatics and abundant flavors of black cherries, blackcurrant and ravishing plums with whispers of eucalyptus, graphite and orange peel, followed by pliant tannins and a smooth, rounded finish. Drinking window? Open and enjoy n-o-w.....
Price: $34.95 Add To Cart
JS 91

2014 Domaine de Montbourgeau "En Banode" l'Etoile
Review Date: 04-24-2018
Distinctive for the Jura-embossed bottle, gently sloping shoulders and attractive bright red star on the label, Domaine de Montbourgeau leaves an indelible impression on those who first taste their remarkable wines. En Banode is a single vineyard of Chardonnay and Savagnin planted on southeast facing grey and blue marl slopes almost 50 years ago. Such propitious conditions deliver a wine of superb complexity and robust panache, with firm acidity and a palate of citrus flowers, dried apricot and hazelnut, carrying a subtle oxidative note on the finish. Pair this luscious wine with baked, almond-crusted trout for a delectable meal.
Price: $31.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2014 No Curfew California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-05-2017
Relying upon Amici Cellars expertise and veteran winemaker Joel Aiken's exhaustive knowledge of under the radar vineyards throughout Northern California, this juicy, satisfying wine showcases fruit from the Monterey region, with fresh, robust notes of strawberry, red cherry and delicate spice, finishing with easy tannins and clean acidity . A lovely, well-priced, everyday Pinot from an excellent producer.
Price: Hidden View Price

Jean-Louis Denois Pinot Noir Brut Rosé
Review Date: 12-31-2016
Poised upon the glistening foothills of the Pyrenees, far from the grandiose heart of Champagne, the immaculate, low-yielding, organic vineyards of Jean Louis Denois continue to produce superlative wines for a third the price of their uppity northern cousins. Bright, fleshy and expressive, this Brut rosé is the embodiment of charm and merriment, with red fruits and berries that open lavishly upon the palate and finish clean and crisp and dry. A wonderful sparkler at a great price, guaranteed to deliver and entice!
Price: Hidden View Price

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-29-2016
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A prime illustration of what can be achieved in a Champagne with long aging on the lees, in this case seven full years, all to elaborate and define the essence of brioche, hazelnuts and toast that are characteristic of such extended contact. Even more remarkable is the generously modest price for this patient waiting game, a sparkler that expresses ‘’esprit to the core’, with resplendent notes of crisp lemon, bosc pear, cherry and chiffon cream, a sophisticated Champagne created for any and all occasions that involve fine food, the spirit of celebration, friendship and joy.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WS 92 WE 91

Antech Blanquette de Limoux Brut Nature
Review Date: 05-26-2015
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Zero is my favorite number, or rather ‘un-number’ when it comes to most sparkling wines, as I prefer the naked, pure, crystalline fruit unadorned by added dosage, and the sheer raciness and zing of this stainless fermented bubbly from Limoux answers the call with laser flavors of green apple, lemon and white pear. Bring on a platter of fresh raw oysters or mussels mariniere and watch the shells pile up. Gotta love it!
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

Berry Bros & Rudd "No. 3" London Dry Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 10-30-2012
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As Britain's oldest wine and spirit merchant (1698), Berry Bros. and Rudd should know a thing or three about the traditional making of gin. Their No. 3 English Dry Gin is an unabashedly pure blending of fruits and spices selected and distilled in traditional copper pots in Schiedam, Holland. Made from Italian Juniper, Spanish oranges and grapefruit peel, with added spices including angelica root, Moroccan coriander and cardamon pods, this exquisitely crafted yet assertive gin remains, with its distinctively aromatic nose and prolonged finish, a highly-recommended personal favorite. The ideal suitor for a dry Martini or classic Gin and Tonic.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

Einstök Icelandic White Ale, Iceland (12oz)
Review Date: 04-30-2012
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With summer fast approaching we're all in need of a super thirst-quenching beer to alleviate the effects of absorbing too much solar energy on our bodies while we flare up the grill for a swirling smoke-athon (ok, admittedly I'm not Mr. Weber, more like one of the guys who stands around getting hot smoke in his face while acting like it doesn't matter).... anyway, just discovered a fantastic antidote to insurmountable thirst in the Icelandic Einstok White Ale, like melting an iceberg slathered in freshly-ground coriander and orange peel. Well, to be truthful, it's a witbier brewed with the same ingredients and tastes absolutely awesome. Beer here now. And in honor of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ill-fated Titanic, pouring an iceberg down your throat might be a good tribute.
Price: $1.99 Add To Cart

Quartz Reef "Methode Traditionelle" Brut Central Otago (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 12-31-2010
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Carefully blended from 76% Pinot Noir and 24% Chardonnay from the estate vineyard in Bendigo, this sparking wine first captivates the eye with its pale yellow highlights, and then flamboyantly seduces the palate with tightly-polished bubbles entranced by lively citrus fruits, crisp brioche and luscious cream. An alluring, wonderfully-harmonious champenoise sparkler for an amazing price!
Top Value!

Dudognon "Reserve" Cognac (750ml)
Review Date: 11-30-2010
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A voter santé! Raymond Dudognon first distilled his own cognac in 1946, following the venerable traditions laid down by his great grandfather in 1776. The heart of the Charente region, located about 100 miles northeast of Bordeaux, is called Grande Champagne, and consists of deep chalk-rich soils, perfect for creating fragrant, long-lived cognacs. Made from 100% natural Ugni Blanc, this singular spirit is blended and distilled in the traditional alambic Charentais pot and eventually aged in 350 liter barrels. The Dudognon homage to tradition stresses minimal intervention, using only pure water as an additive to create a stunning cognac that charms and caresses the palate, displaying a weightlessness and delicacy of fruit found less commonly in cognacs at twice the price. Highly recommended!
Price: $47.99 Add To Cart

Sorelle Bronca Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Extra Dry
Review Date: 07-11-2009
This delightful Prosecco is a strong contender for best in class among its growing legions of fans, delivering dependably delicious flavors of sliced apples, citrus blossoms and almonds in a pure and sparkling persona. Showcasing both freshness and mineral vibrancy, it should complement most summer fare from salads to appetizers, and would be the perfect match for a basket of lightly-fried calamari.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart