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Staff Favorites - John Majeski

John Majeski

Reviews

2014 Domaine Lafage "Tessellae" Carignan Côtes Catalanes Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 02-04-2019
Oh darn, I had to work Sunday and missed the Super Bowl! ... not that I would have tuned in anyway, as everyone who wasted four unretrievable hours of their precious life agreed that it was about as enthralling as watching beach sand. Besides, while they were suffering I did one up and uncorked a bottle of the 2014 Lafage Old Vine Carignan, a wine that, unlike certain quarterbacks, scored on every down and still has a promising future. No rookie lightweight, this savory Roussillon red has developed into a full-bodied, aromatic and stalwart player, one that would do battle with the richest cassoulet and emerge victorious. Advice to next year's fans: Keep Calm and Carignan!
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 92

2015 E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 01-30-2019
Proprietor Marcel Guigal held little back when he proclaimed 2015 in the Northern Rhone "the vintage of a lifetime." From the sublimely evocative Cote-Roties to the humble yet refined Crozes-Hermitages, this vintage was a blessed event for those who grow, market and appreciate fine wine. Following fermentation in stainless vats, this ruby-tinted red spent 18 months in older barriques, imbuing the wine with wild strawberry, blackcurrant and cherry aromatics with supple leather, thyme and cured tobacco notes, embraced by invitingly smooth tannins. Pair with meaty stews or aged cheeses, this will be a welcome addition to your table. Enjoy!

2016 Baron de Montfaucon Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 01-29-2019
I wonder who first uttered that a dog's bark sounded like 'bow-wow, bow-wow!, as 'woof-woof-woof' is far more accurate of canine expressiveness. As a human creature, when I taste something delicious, my response, whether uttered or not, is often simply "Wow!" Case in point, this most recent incarnation of Rudi des Pins Chateauneuf-du-Pape is another exuberant expression from a winemaker who pours heart, soul and passion into every bottle. Crafted from venerably gnarled Grenache vines with a lusty dollop of Mourvedre, this robust Rhone red harmonizes succulent black and red fruits, baking spices, wild herbs, and gustatory resonance with a savory, satisfying finish. At under $40, it delivers incredible value and finesse, effortlessly competing with wines twice the price.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 95 WS 93

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: $34.95 Add To Cart

2017 Abbazia di Novacella Schiava Alto Adige
Review Date: 01-09-2019
Ian D'Agata, writer of the magnificent Native Wine Grapes of Italy, informs that the word 'Schiava' originated in a group of native northern Italian grapes that our Roman ancestors believed to be of superior status, and were thus tied to poles 'cum vineis sclavis', or 'with vines enslaved." However they were bound, my best advice is to free this winsome, nuanced wine from the bottle to liberate the range of holiday spices and bright red-berried fruit that will immediately captivate, if not capture, any palate. A real gem this one!
Price: $14.99 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 Château de L'Ou "Secret de Schistes" Côtes Catalanes
Review Date: 12-10-2018
Vine whisperers like Severine Bourrier of Chateau De L'Ou know that vineyards speak a rather earthy vernacular, if we could only hear them: "Quit taking my grapes for granite."....“Why should I root for you, you have a heart of clay!“ .. “Oh yeah, that wasn’t very gneiss of you! I think you’re full of schiste.” “l take that as a compliment, especially coming from you....besides, why should I gravel beneath your opinion?” Ok, you get the tone.... low vigor vines have to conserve their energy, in that a great bottle of wine is the best response to all that thrown dirt. And putting the name of your soil on the label certainly takes pride of place, as Severine's magnificent Syrah powerfully attests. One swirl, one sip and you will know....a symposium of dark fruits, perfumed with violets, sumptuous pepper spice, harmonious woodland notes and supple tannins. A generous wine to slate, excuse me, slake your thirst, from the good earth.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JD 95

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 Terra Santa Ile de Beaute Rosé Corsica
Review Date: 10-01-2018
The delight in drinking many rosés, apart from their attractive price, lies in their versatility, the ability to work the table with a wide array of dishes, leaving palates refreshed and invigorated. Under the radar Corsican rosés, crafted from obscure native grapes like ‘Sciaccarellu’ could win a spelling bee, but they also prove that crisp texture, lovely acidity and enticing red fruits can charm anyone. Proof that the right choice is often neither red nor white, but pink!
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Antech "Cuvée Héritage 1860" Cremant de Limoux
Review Date: 09-05-2018
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If you happen to somehow find your happy soul in the vicinity of Limoux on a weekend during January and February, you may be joyfully besieged by colorfully festooned revelers and masked merrymakers dancing and carousing, and likely imbibing plenty of bubbles, as they've done every year for over 400 years. And if perchance you can't make it there, fret not, for many of those same delicious sparkling wines beckon local revelers from our shelves, frilly costumes optional. Crafted from old vines grown at altitude from a 'triptych of terroirs', the wines of Antech attest to the best from Limoux, and the Heritage brings it all together, with generous bubbles and captive flavors of Asian pear, fig, citrus and late summer fruits, dry and pleasant on the finish. Dressed up or dressed down, this attractive traditional sparkler is a true carnival of delights!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

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

2017 Domaine Petroni Corse Blanc (Corsica)
Review Date: 08-21-2018
This lovely Corsican Vermentinu is pure liquid sunlight in a bottle, with welcoming scents and flavors of fresh-sliced apples, lemon meringue and hawthorn, with a wonderful mineral edge on the attractively crisp, persistent finish. A richly aromatic bowl of moules marinières would be the perfect accompaniment to this lustrous white wine. I don't believe there is a better, more versatile white wine in the shop for this price!
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

2015 Outlier "Noiro" Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
Review Date: 02-21-2018
Derek Rohlffs was in a previous life an executive in the gaming industry, which gave him the opportunity to explore and taste a bounty of high-end wines with moneyed clients. Realizing soon that a row of grapes on the vine was far more alluring than three elusive cherries on a slot, he decided to seriously pursue fine winemaking and today makes both the Bravium and Outlier wines on Treasure Island, just outside of San Francisco.The Outlier Noiro delights with aromas and flavors of fresh plums, strawberries, cherry cola and kitchen spice, balanced by good acidity and a great finish. Nice to discover an attractively priced Pinot Noir with such personality and charm, so it's, um, hardly a gamble.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Valravn "Old Vine" Sonoma County Zinfandel
Review Date: 01-10-2018
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Not surprising that Banshee, the Sonoma winery that takes its name from a mythical Irish demon, would name one of its deadly delicious wines after a voracious raven of Scandinavian folklore. And this Zinfandel, crafted from ancient dry-farmed vines, is something of a throwback style, before so many Zins became synonymous with something you spread on an English muffin! There is of course an array of delicious fruit: blackberry and red raspberry flavors, complemented by refined notes of licorice, graphite and spice. A superbly wrought Zinfandel to charm and enthrall your own ravenous palate....
Price: Hidden View Price

2016 Delas Freres "Saint-Esprit" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 01-02-2018
Riding the rambunctious Rhone region as I do, over the past few months I've had several customers politely inquire, "Do you have any Delas Esprit?" Well, up until a few days ago the answer was sadly "No, nada, negativo." But the New Year brings wondrous surprises, and the 2016 vintage has just landed, promising a fresh abundance of black cherry and red plum fruits, suave spice, rich licorice and floral notes, with a crisp, impressively mouthwatering finish. A promise... one bottle will lead to many more, so please, don't be shy, this is a simply brilliant everyday Rhone!
Top Value!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2004 Barde-Haut, St-Emilion
Review Date: 11-15-2017
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This excellent Saint-Emilion Grand Cru estate is renowned for its wonderful clay and limestone terroir, superb viticultural practices and skilled winemaking expertise, all apparent in this bottle of beautifully mature and elegant wine. Exuberantly rich Merlot aromatics cavort in the glass, displaying an impressive, fleshy palate of deep cherry and blackberry fruit with vanilla nuances, followed by a measure of stony minerality and taut acidity on the long, lovely finish. I rarely quote Robert Parker, but he wrote this wine was a "sleeper of the vintage". Well, it's about time to wake a bottle up. Please suffer the indulgence and enjoy!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

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: $14.99 Add To Cart

Jean-Jacques Lamoureux "Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-04-2017
In trying to get my head around the physics behind all those tiny bubbles in a bottle of Champagne l discovered a wonderfully fascinating little book called Uncorked, by Gérard Liger-Belair. Apparently gravity drives the velocity of the bubbles in a flute of Champagne, so the best spot in the solar system to achieve the absolute tiniest bubbles would be on… you guessed it— Jupiter, with about 100 times the gravity of our own sparkling blue orb. Pack your bags, but before you go flying off into space, try a bottle or two of this incredible direct import. Created from superb Pinot Noir cultivated in the renowned Le Riceys terroir near Aube, the “Reserve” harbors a panoply of rich flavors ranging from citrus fruits to fleshy pears, apples, nectarines and beyond, embodying an elegant, creamy mousse and miniscule, dare I suggest, ‘out of this world’ bubbles. Now prepare for takeoff!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

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: $15.99 Add To Cart

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

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?
Top Value!
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

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

Deligeroy "La Petite Marquise" Crémant de Loire Brut
Review Date: 10-31-2010
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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!
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

Zubrowka Bison Grass Polish Vodka (750ml)
Review Date: 11-09-2009
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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!)
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 90 - 95

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
VN 90 W&S 90