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Staff Favorites - John Majeski

John Majeski

Reviews

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 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "Hissez O" Terrasses du Larzac
Review Date: 12-01-2018
The cold, dry winds of the Mistral and Tramontane have been known to howl like ravenous wolves as they funnel and pour through the mountains and vales of the Languedoc Roussillon, an incessant howling known in the past to erode the psyche and render sane men mad. Of course those same willful winds work wonders in the vineyards, clearing the vines and fruit of pests and generating crystal blue skies and that pervasive sunlight that long attracted both artists and winemakers to the region. Marie and Frederic Chauffray fell in love with the elevated plateau of Terrasses du Larzac, and their pristine biodynamic wines are the natural result of their passion—the Hissez O, their finest cuvee, is a robust wine imbued with a towering sense of place, delivering a fragrance and supple flavors of blackcurrants, raspberries, stones warmed by the sun, licorice and yes, potted violets. A deeply gratifying and joyful wine to pair with wintry beef and root vegetable stews.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 - 94

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique Assemblage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-28-2018
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Champagne imbued with both a vibrant sense of presence and authenticity, as the name implies, is almost impossible to find for under seventy-five dollars, but here it is, a beautifully focused laser beam of elegant, pure stone fruit and citrus flowers with a taut mineral texture, all held together by a skein of fine acidity. This is a remarkably sophisticated Champagne that will reward drinking throughout the holidays and beyond. Highly recommended!
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 92 WS 90

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

2016 La Ferme du Mont "Le Ponnant" Côtes du Rhône-Villages
Review Date: 11-26-2018
Grew up with the sure knowledge that there were nine planets orbiting our sun, until a decade or so ago Pluto, the loneliest little voice in that rockstar group fell out, and was reduced to backup singer status, an ignominious round pebble 4.67 billion miles from Earth (facts matter). Turns out now that Pluto, with a complex atmosphere and underground ocean, deserved planetary status after all, leaving me to come down to earth, return to my calling, and ponder the beauty of those countless heat-absorbing pebbles and stones that blanket the vineyards of the Southern Rhone, ripening the fruit to perfection. Speaking of perfection, we just tasted through several transcendent 2016 reds from famed organic producer Stephane Vedeau of La Ferme du Mont— and the Ponnant, with lovely aromas of garrigue, dried flowers, cherry and rooibos, revealed a galaxy of brambly black and red fruits on the palate, and a deep, satisfying finish that reminds us all why we love the rapturous wines of the Rhone Valley. Pour this, pair this, with roast chicken or herb-marinated lamb burgers for an irresistible match.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
DC 92 RP 92

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 Domaine de Biéville (Louis Moreau) Chablis
Review Date: 10-31-2018
Geology plays such an integral part in the mineral-scented, chalky soils of Chablis that it cannot be overlooked or diminished, giving it a uniquely defined sense of place comparable to the Mosel region of Germany. And these unoaked wines, glistening gold in the glass and bristling with acidity and ripe with citrus, mineral and russet apple flavors can be a pure joy to drink. Let me wax words by stating that Chablis is one of the most 'charmonious' white wines on earth, and the perfect foil for shellfish, lighter pasta dishes and soft cheeses.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$14.99

Xavier Vignon "SM" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 10-03-2018
Trust me on this one, the prominent 'S and M' on the label of this full-bodied Cotes du Rhone has nothing to do with self-abuse or masochism, but everything to do with the artful blending of Syrah and Mourvedre. Xavier Vignon established himself as one of the more successful wine consultants and oenologists in the Southern Rhone, with an extraordinary resume running from La Nerthe to Marcoux to Grand Veneur, and his own wines reflect his experience and talents. The 'SM' exudes powerful aromas and flavors of dark cherries, blackberries, ripe plums, forest floor and graphite, with a mouthfilling richness that envelops the senses. A superb expression of an unleashed Cotes du Rhone that will certainly improve for another decade, but can be enjoyed tonight as well. Why torture yourself?
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JD 94 RP 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: $9.99 Add To Cart

2016 La Ferme du Mont "Jugunda" Gigondas
Review Date: 09-26-2018
Blessed with an impressive line-up of Southern Rhone wines from the flirting with perfection 2016 vintage, the "Jugenda" Gigondas is superbly choreographed, with Grenache as the seasoned principle, partnered with Syrah in a a classic pas de deux singled out for its fleshy, intertwined red fruits, warm spices, precocious floral aromatics, all lingering long upon the palate and proving that elegance, poise and power can co-exist in a single bottle of wine. What a lovely, memorable performance!
Top Value!

2015 Domaine Petroni Corse Rouge (Corsica)
Review Date: 09-24-2018
The Corsican grape Niellucciu may be a bit of a challenge to wrap your tongue around, but the wines blended from this lusty, robust variety require little effort to enjoy! A distinct, island variant of Sangiovese, plantings in heavily maritime-influenced Corsica are a product of the unique microclimate, mountainous terrain, and abundant sunlight (more than anywhere on the French mainland), ensuring perfectly ripe, beautifully-structured wines with bursting aromas and flavors of purple plums, raspberries, black pepper and a melange of minerals. Succulent and lingering, and so well-priced! The perfect red wine for dinner parties, festive gatherings.... just uncork, pour and enjoy!
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
WS 90

2016 Chateau de Villeneuve "Le Grand Clos" Saumur-Champigny
Review Date: 09-24-2018
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Le Grand Clos is an extraordinary old vine lieu-dit surrounding the 18th century Chateau de Villeneuve, a magnificent, cream-colored fantasia fashioned from the signature tuffeau limestone of Saumur Champigny. There are so many tuffeau wine caves carved into the hillsides that they conjure an image of human honeybees, a humble hive of activity fashioned over centuries.This wine pays homage to low-yield organic winemaking, a wonderfully pure expression of Cabernet Franc revealed in all its charms, with polished, high-toned red fruits and leafy tobacco notes framed by a mineral spine, cosseted by supple tannins and appealing acidity. Drink this textural, alluring red wine with a slow-cooked pot of savory beef stew. It really doesn't get any better....
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

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

Jean-Louis Denois "Eclipse" Extra Brut
Review Date: 07-04-2018
Where did sparkling wine originate? The obvious answer of course was in the glorious, bedazzling Champagne region, but you would be politely in error. Wines first bubbled to the surface not from the famed trials of Dom Perignon of the Abbey Hautvillers, but from unheralded, obscure monks at the Abbey of St. Hilaire near Limoux in 1531,well over a century before the Dom's birth. Carrying on this venerable tradition has been the magnificent obsession of Jean-Louis Denois, who this year surpassed his own efforts by creating a stunner of a sparkler, aptly called the Eclipse. This largely Pinot-Noir based Extra Brut lay a full 10 years in barrel and was aged on the lees in bottle for more than 4 years, delivering a vivid sensorium of flavors- crisp golden apple, white peach, lemon blossom, tea leaf and toast. Beautifully fresh and poised, with vibrant acidity and a lingering, lively finish. Scintillating!
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price

2017 Veronique Anne Perret Vin de Savoie Apremont
Review Date: 06-25-2018
Every wine tells a story. According to legend, way back in the thirteenth century a fellow, possibly a thirsty friar and perhaps one named' Jacquerre', first planted this delightful grape in the Savoie. Regardless of how it actually found its home, it remains the dominant white grape in that part of France, contributing to many delicious bottles in the villages and cozy ski lodges that dot the Alpine region. Noted for their easy drinkability, these friendly, limestone-inflected wines echo the scent of orchard fruits and wildflowers tinged by the pure mountain air. Lift a glistening glass to Monsieur Jacquerre!
Top Value!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2017 Domaine la Chapelle Saint-Victor Coteaux d'Aix en Provence Rosé
Review Date: 06-13-2018
The marketing concept of a "rosé season" has been all but vanquished by the reality that many of these crisply enticing, food-loving wines can be served and enjoyed throughout the year, "because because because" (to paraphrase Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz) "of the wonderful things it does." This lovely, bejeweled rosé may not make you wish you were back in Kansas, but, with a rapture of delicate spice, gentle sweetness and inviting red fruits it will effortlessly transport you over the rainbow to the serene, acacia-scented, seaside villages of Provence. Just click your heels twice....
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2016 Clos de la Bonnette Collines Rhodannienes Syrah Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 05-16-2018
The last vintage of this ethereal Syrah left an indelible memory on my palate, drawing analogies between the sheer structural beauty of the wine and the arduous stone by stone restoration by the husband and wife team of the dillapidated hillside vineyards, both involving an immense labor of love and a resolute commitment to perfection. None of their extraordinary efforts were wasted, as this bottle, imbued with enticing aromas of red plum, lavender, pepper and black olive could easily pass for a telltale wine from its famous neighbor. Fortunately for all of us, it possesses all the flavor, ineluctable charm and elegance without the high price. My advice? Squirrel a case or two of this luscious Syrah away and enjoy it over the next few years.
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2016 Moulin de la Gardette "Cuvée Ventabren" Gigondas
Review Date: 05-15-2018
Thirsty old vines dig deep in the stony unforgiving soils of the Southern Rhone, generating low-yielding fruit that expresses the generous warmth and vitality of Gigondas, and winemaker Jean Baptiste Meunier remains just as deeply attuned to the elemental soils and climate as those venerable vines. The 2016 Ventabren is a tour de force, a sensational wine that captivates the senses with aromas and flavors of blackberry, tobacco, wild herbs and spicebox, full-bodied, textural and harmonious, with all 'the right stuff' to age gracefully for another decade or more. (Had to throw in an homage to writer Tom Wolfe, who passed away today.)

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

2016 Domaine Cabirau "Serge & Nicolas" Maury Sec
Review Date: 04-10-2018
The wines of Maury have traditionally been sweet and fortified, but didn't have to be. Many expressed the conviction that the stunning region could also produce excellent dry wines, and in 2011 the sub-appellation of Maury Sec was born, to all our benefit I might add. The Serge & Nicolas, named for both the grower and winemaker who nurtured it to bottle, captures the essence of Maury, with soaring plum and cherry blossom aromatics and penetrating flavors of ripe red and black fruits, savory anise, spices and garrigue, framed by beautifully nuanced tannins. What sets these wines apart from so many? The sheer balance and harmony achieved, allowing for early drinking and superb satisfaction.
Price: Hidden View Price
JD 93 RP 91

2016 Pheasant's Tears Saperavi Republic of Georgia
Review Date: 03-20-2018
Curious about the source of this wine's name, I read that, according to folklore, the finest wines are so lovely they will make a pheasant cry! Quevri, or clay amphorae lined with beeswax have been the traditional vessels for aging wine in Georgia since the Bronze Age. Saperavi, which translates as 'dye', is an ancient indigenous variety, a particularly black grape imbued with pink juice given plenty of skin contact. This imparts very distinctive, ample flavors of ripe blueberry, sandalwood, violets and spice, with savory tannins and and a subtle mint-mineral note.Very cool wine.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

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

2016 Domaine Dugois Ploussard "La Sombarde" Arbois Rouge
Review Date: 01-15-2018
The Domaine Dugois Ploussard is a true charmer of a wine, pretty and ruby-hued with delicately spicy aromas and flavors of cherries and red plums. Delicious with a plate of charcuterie and Morbier cheese.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2010 Domaine Dugois Vin Jaune Arbois (620ml)
Review Date: 01-15-2018
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This unique wine reveals its seductive nature over time, having spent over six years in old barriques under a thin layer of yeast, or voile, a maturing regimen similar to sherry, which allows for generous oxidation, slow evaporation and the development of intense, complex flavors of ginger, walnut, curry powder and apricot, with a salty tang. Often served with the local Comté cheese, this famous “yellow wine” will also pair well with mushroom risottos. And the real beauty of a Vin Jaune? It can age for many decades, if desired.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

2014 Château Haut-Monplaisir "Prestige" Cahors
Review Date: 01-15-2018
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When most people think of purchasing a bottle of Malbec they invariably seek out the lush, full-bodied, fruitful red wines of Argentina. Not to argue, but it’s easy to forget if they ever remembered, that Malbec’s true home has always been in Southwest France, in the misbegotten wines of Cahors, where it flourished for centuries until the phylloxera bug and devastating frosts almost annihilated it. We’re forever thankful that it survived, as Haut-Monplaisir has defined in almost textbook fashion what this grape will give you in temperament, pleasure and finesse when grown on the soils of its native land— luscious, aromatic blackcurrant fruit augmented by licorice, vanilla and spice, with a silky suppleness and weight that poured itself with aplomb into the glass. Stunning Malbec, and I guess if the bottle could speak it might say ‘don’t cry for me Argentina’!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 93

2010 Brillette, Moulis
Review Date: 01-10-2018
A rich, elegant, high-toned wine from the classic 2010 vintage, the Brillette is a serious overachiever in its category, imbued with a judicious, savory blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It offers a lovely bouquet of seductive ripeness and textural, mouthwatering layers of dark cherry, black plum, blackcurrants and mineral earth, with fine tannins and a fairly opulent finish. Drink or hold for six more years.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 WS 90

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: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Delas Freres "Saint-Esprit" Côtes du Rhône Rouge
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

2015 Domaine Lafage "Bastide Miraflors" Côtes du Roussillon
Review Date: 10-04-2017
"Astonished, amazed, stunned, overcome, overwhelmed" are all good words to describe something, anything, that makes you put down your smartphone, look-up-stand-up and take notice, but I prefer the more colorful, old word "flabbergasted" to express my complete wonder at this intrinsically indispensable wine. Jean Marc Lafage and his wife Elaine must have a direct line to the wine gods, as the 2015 effortlessly melds ripe, expansive red fruits and floral notes to subtle spice and chocolate elements. Beautiful structure and a persistent finish complete the total experience. A prediction: this excellent wine will soon sell out, and disappear faster than you or I can say "flabbergasted"...
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

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

2007 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 07-17-2017
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The word ‘nuance’, from the verb ‘nuer’, to show variations in shade, is much abused in winespeak, but for those bottles that have been allowed to evolve gracefully over a decade or more, there is no better term. We recently had the opportunity to explore nuance to its full expression during a memorable winemakers’ dinner with two of our favorites, Rodolphe de Pins of Chateau de Montfaucon and Jean Baptiste Meunier of Moulin de la Gardette. Full of boundless appetite, Rudi shared his robust, enduring wines as freely as his endearing conversation, and by the end of the evening everyone was, to say the least, sated. With ten long years under its belt, the 2007 Baron Louis was remarkably smooth, mouth-filling and harmonious, with fleshy blue plum, bramble and redcurrant flavors burnished by sous bois, sandalwood and fine tannins, finishing with a soulful, warm flourish. Pure pleasure, don’t hesitate to rediscover this wine again and again. It is very nuanced.
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JD 91

2012 Castillo de Viñas Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 04-26-2017
Be forewarned: Do not don one of the unwieldy medieval helmets shown on the front label while attempting to drink this robust Rioja, as it's far too tasteworthy to waste a single drop! Attired in deep red hues, this forward-drinking, effusive Reserva spent 18 months in both American and French oak. It resonates with fragrant aromas of black cherries, vanilla and raspberries, revealing a layered palate of riper dark fruits embellished with a tinge of earth and char. Enjoy this now or over the next decade.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 90

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

Jean-Louis Denois "Tradition" Extra Brut Reserve
Review Date: 04-30-2016
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Whether in art, film, literature or wine, I've always been strongly attracted to iconoclasts, those who forge their own path through life's coombs and brambles, basing their decisions on an intuitive feel for what fits and arriving at a place where they know they belong. Call it 'sense of terroir' or what have you, but Jean-Louis Denois exemplifies this philosophy of place as well as anyone I've met in the wine world. The dust on his boots are the embodiment of his long journey from his native Champagne to Burgundy to South Africa and back again, and finally to the southwestern corner of the Languedoc, where he planted his vines in the foothills of the Pyrenees to create his signature red and sparkling wines. Keeping to the rhythms of nature have led him to adopt both organic and biodynamic precepts in the vineyards, and his brilliant sparkling wines express this with clarity and exuberance— the 'Tradition' Extra Brut is a fifty-fifty blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, created in a refreshingly crisp and lightly toasted style, with notes of red apple, orange blossom and brioche, the perfect sparkling for all festive occasions and dining without the high price of a Champagne. Stock up on this one for the long summer and beyond, it will never let you or your thirsty guests down.
Top Value!
Price: $17.99 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

2012 Taken Napa Valley Red Blend
Review Date: 12-08-2014
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When I first read the label "Taken" on this rather substantial bottle of wine I swallowed air, hesitated and looked around to see if Liam Neeson was watching from the shadows, waiting to gauge my reaction before throttling me. Fortunately no lurking Liam, but the uncorked wine was quite capable of seizing and transporting me anywhere it desired with its dazzling aromatics of fresh-picked blueberries, blackberry compote, dense mineral earth and rich Belgian chocolate. And to say my palate was held hostage for more than a few tense, spellbinding moments is an understatement, as this bold and beautifully supple Cab/Merlot blend continued to interrogate me with theatrical outbursts of expressive black fruits, lovely vanilla, wreathed tannins and savory espresso.... do yourself a huge favor and procure a case or more of this seductive wine for the holidays and beyond, I promise you will be quite captured, I mean, captivated by it....Happiest of Holidays!
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Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2010 Dunn Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-19-2013
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For the 2010 Napa Valley vintage, the confluence of a long, cool growing season for most of the summer and a late, rather merciless heatwave contributed to many sensuous wines of harmonious brilliance, textural sophistication and great depth. The Dunn Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is an uncompromising, serious contender, capable of developing for perhaps two decades, but with the luxurious richness of the deep blackcurrant, brambly and mineral-laden fruit, beautifully finessed by suave, lavish tannins, you don't have to wait very long to enjoy it. Consider it a Dunn deal!

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-02-2013
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Vines have been cultivated on this tiny property in the hamlet of Brouillet for five generations, and it has remained a customer and staff favorite here for several years. Yeasty, full and complex, the Carte Blanche exhibits a fine intensely-focused bead with lively notes of tart apples, dried hazelnuts, vanilla and toast, all in all a remarkably well-built Brut that will compare well to cuvées at double the price. It is perfect for entertaining.
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 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" Cremant 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