Staff Favorites - Keith Mabry

Keith Mabry

Reviews

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2015 J.L. Chave Selection "Offerus" Saint-Joseph
Review Date: 09-12-2018
Chave may be one of the masters of Hermitage but his Saint-Joseph may be where it's at for sheer pleasure. The Offerus is a mixture of different sites that creates a sum greater than its parts. Most of the fruit comes from Jean-Louis' holdings near Mauve which provide the beautiful fruit intensity and structure but a few tiny plots further north gift the wine its exotic perfume. This is exceptional Syrah that offers seamless fruit purity and access into the portfolio of one of the Northern Rhone's great winemakers. And all for under $30!
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart
WS 93 VN 92

2016 Emmanuel Darnaud "Les Trois Chenes" Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 09-12-2018
The wines of Emmanuel Darnaud are classic expressions of northern Rhone terroir. The perfume of black plum, chocolate, lavender and anise permeate the wine. The 2016 vintage provides a more elegant structure and backbone that makes this that much more pleasing now. So pleasing and open, I'm hard pressed to keep my hands off it right now.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
VN 92

2015 Domaine Belle "Cuvée Louis Belle" Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 09-12-2018
I've tasted quite a few Crozes-Hermitage this vintage and this the mic drop. Deeply saturated with fleshy black fruit, peppery spice and zesty garrigue aromas, the flavors are expansive. Usually you might need to go to one of the top named producers like Jaboulet, Delas or Chapoutier to get this much punch but Domaine Belle brings it and for a much sweeter price. This is long and deep and with sweet tannins. It feels a little modern now because of its youth and some time in barrel but give it some time in a decanter or a few years in bottle and this will compete with the best of them.

2014 John Duval "Plexus" GSM Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 09-12-2018
John Duval continues to "bring the pain" as it were with this bold, spicy Aussie gem. Duval still reigns as one of Australia's top winemakers and you don't have to spend up to get the quality. Full of brambly blackcurrant, dried blueberry, smoky tar and savory spices, this is fleshy and bold but still retains a finesse that leaves many other big reds scrambling to keep up. Always a favorite!

2015 Domaine de l'Amandine Côtes du Rhône-Villages Seguret
Review Date: 09-12-2018
I met vigneron Alex Suter three times over the course of two months when traveling through France earlier this year. We first met at an exposition in Paris where he was showing the wines of Domaine de l'Amandine and his Seguret was one of the big standouts at the event for me. Alex himself is an engaging and thoughtful person and we quickly struck up a kinship and had lunch and dinner a couple of times over the length of the exposition. We met shortly thereafter at the big southern French wine event, Vinisud. I tasted his wines again and was struck by the clarity and focus of this terrific little red. I was prepared to begin working with the wines but since I would be returning in a few weeks to the Rhone, I thought a vineyard and winery visit should be undertaken. At the winery I was greeted by Alex's father-in-law, Jean-Pierre Verdeau, the founder of the estate. Jean-Pierre speaks almost no English (and my French is actually quite poor) so he wanted to wait for his granddaughter Mathilde to return to the property to help translate. While we waited, he offered me some coffee and apparently he had never made drip coffee before (no joke). It was quite intense to say the least, but a perfect way to wake myself up on a cold and cloud-covered March morning. Mathilde arrived and we jumped in the car to tour the vineyards. Some of the vines are 50+ years old but almost everything on the property was either planted, built or restored by Jean-Pierre, which included the original family house. The vines were planted in deep clay and sandy soils and the ground was covered in chunks of fractured limestone (called scree). Almond (amandine) trees were planted all around the vineyards. Most of the vines sat at 450 meters which is quite high for a village Rhone this far south. The mistral wind blows fiercely through the vineyards on many days helping keep the vines free of too much moisture during the growing season, but easily cut through my jacket that day. We tasted from tank and barrel and the range of wines was terrific, but I still kept coming back to this little red. I knew we were going to move forward with our relationship but I had one more visit with Alex a little later that trip at the German wine fair, Prowein. Once again we talked almost as if old friends now and that's when it really struck me. This wines are as familiar and friendly as the family making them. They are pure, unadorned and thoughtful. They are from the soil and they express the hard work and history of the estate. This is one of those "ah-ha" moments when you realize that the concept of terroir goes beyond the soil and the weather and is as much about the people and their history in the cultivation process. So, I'm thrilled to introduce you to the Verdeau-Suter family through their wine, this delightful and engaging red that is so much a reflection of the wonderful people making it.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

Michel Couvreur 16 Year Old "Mrs Couvreur" Single PX Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-05-2018
It's not often that we get to try something this extraordinary and for those who even deign to read this far down the page have probably already made their commitment to this whisky. Let me be the first to tell you, you are right! The Couvreur whiskies are a reflection of a time long gone when whiskies were aged in pure unadulterated sherry cask and that may be hard to wrap our modern heads around these days. You already know that so much sherry cask is rushed to market with inferior Sherry aging in it and though it imparts some character it is seldom that we see something like this. An authentic Pedro Ximenez barrel that had been part of a long aging solera intensifying and sweetening its charge. Again, you already know the story about this crazy French guy, Mr. Couvreur, driving to Jerez to buy his casks, settling for nothing less than the real thing and loading them on his little truck and driving them back to his cellar. So much detail in the procurement alone was enough to peak your interest. The added fact that it is aged in a cave in the middle of France instead of the salt caked island of Islay makes the malt even more transparent and adds to its mystique. The whisky itself was expressive barley first on the nose but as you dive further in, the smoke builds in a subtle way As a first fill PX Sherry cask, it rounds out the flavors allowing the malt to shine through with a nose of toasted spelt, candied dates and sweet tea. The cask frames the smoke, not the other way around. It is complex and detailed on the palate and has a long savory finish. The Couvreur is top tier and worthy of any collector's shelf. One of the best peated styles I've tasted this year. Thanks for reading, now enjoy that bottle.
Price: $299.99 Add To Cart

2016 Ridge Vineyards "Geyserville" Alexander Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 09-05-2018
Ridge was a defining producer for me in my early career and over the years they have never let me down. I remember tasting bottlings of Lytton and Geyserville that to this day are the benchmarks by which I measure Zinfandel and many northern California reds for that matter. The Geyserville hearkens back to those early days of drinking for me with its dense berry filled nose and loads of pepper and allspice. Some light floral notes dance through and expand as the wine opens. On the palate the concentration is there but with an almost seamless weight. Actually this is better than many of those old Zin blends that I used to drink as the care and detail in this wine has become more evident. I may not drink as much Zin now as I did when I first started but this wine will bring me back again and again. Truly special!

2016 Felton Road "Cornish Point" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 09-05-2018
The Cornish Point for me is pure Gevrey styling with beautiful black cherry and mulberry fruit. It has touches of anise and chocolate that add depth and succulent structure. The fullest and most polished of the Felton trio, this is sexy and appealing. This is the one that I will have the most trouble keeping my hands off of.

2016 Felton Road "Calvert" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 09-05-2018
Full of a savory nose of cherry, mint and violet tones, the Calvert is on point with its purity and suave structure. Drinking like a Pommard with a full palate and lusty earthy tones this has great structure and has immediate appeal. An even better wine with just a few years down awaits you.

2016 Felton Road "Bannockburn" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 09-05-2018
Beautiful high tone red fruit nose with an almost Marsannay-like feel. Loads of bing cherry and cranberry intertwine with crushed thyme and red flowers. The finish has lovely spice that lingers on the palate with plenty of acidity. This has the stuffing for aging but paired with a rack of lamb would be quite the pairing right now.

2017 Château de la Negly "La Côte" Languedoc
Review Date: 08-29-2018
Chateau de la Negly is now established as one of Languedoc's most prestigious and noteworthy producers. From the top down, each cuvee is artfully made and ranks as some of the best, if not THE BEST, in class for the appellation and their various price categories. There are few that can achieve the cost to quality ratio so firmly established by this estate. The La Cote represents the value wine from the winery's portfolio and is a blend of Carignan, Syrah, Grenache and a little bit of Mourvedre. The palate is deep with boysenberry and raspberry notes. Baking spices and a saturated mouthfilling texture round out the wine. Sweet and supple tannins deliver a long lingering finish. This is simply a sumptuous red that delivers so well beyond its price point. Don't miss out!

2010 Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-22-2018
There's a reason why Roederer sits at the top of the heap. They're always pushing towards organic farming even with their contract growers, strict fruit selection and purity in the expression of all wines at each level. The 2010 Blanc de Blancs epitomizes all those things. It is pure, precise and complex. Sultry pear, subtle white flower notes and brown butter emerge from the glass. The palate is sleek and defined with a tight mousse and a long mineral driven finish. This is a serious wine that may strangely go overlooked because it doesn't have the cache of the higher-end Cristal or the nerd factor of a grower-producer Champagne. That would be a terrible mistake. Worthwhile for collectors to put a few bottles down but appealing for anyone wanting that next level Champagne experience.

2015 Josmeyer "Le Dragon" Riesling Alsace (Organic; Biodynamic)
Review Date: 08-22-2018
I had the privilege of meeting Cecile Meyer this year at Prowein and tasting through her Josmeyer wines. A stunning line-up indeed! Working with her sister Isabelle, they farm biodynamically and are making some of the most exciting wines in all of Alsace. Le Dragon was a particular standout with its searing minerality, apple and stone fruit notes and lengthy finish. I just had a chance to revisit the Dragon now that it has arrived and it was equally engaging. This has everything I look for when I want gorgeous dry Riesling. Precise minerality, expressive fruit and a persistent finish. I'm so glad we have these wines on our shelves now as this is just the beginning.

2015 Roserock (Drouhin Oregon) Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-22-2018
This is as inviting a Pinot as I have tasted recently. Holding perfumed raspberry fruit intermixed with pretty baking spices, the profile is more cool climate. The palate is round and supple though. No harshness of any kind, this is absolutely lovely making a great sipper or food pairing. I love it with some grilled salmon and roasted root vegetables.

Franck Bonville "Belles Voyes" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 08-22-2018
One of the most memorable wines I tasted when I began my tenure at K&L over a decade ago was the "Belles Voyes" based primarily on the 2002 vintage. Each time I taste a new release, I am transported back to that original bottling. It has never disappointed. The newest iteration is as equally spectacular as that original taste showing roasted apple, toasted bread and dried ginger notes. It is expansive on the palate and finishes long. I expect this to hold as much sway over me as the other wine did 10 years ago. This is a keeper for sure.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
WS 91 WE 90

2013 Sesta di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 08-21-2018
Consistently one of my favorite Brunellos year-in-year-out, the Sesta always translates into one of the more classically rendered yet clearly accessibly-styled wines from the region. I have a little mini-vertical going and every time a vintage hits the 10 year mark, I start popping them open. The 2013 joins the canon of greats with its abundant notes of Maraska cherry, violets, tobacco and burnished leather. It is a sultry profiled wine that begs for just a few more years in bottle to unwind and gain steam. I can hardly wait. Luckily, I have a few of the 2010s in reserve, almost ready to go.

2016 Liquid Farm "White Hill" Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 08-21-2018
The name "White Hill" connotes ideas of Chablis in both the brightness of the soil and the way it translates to the wine. It's no surprise that the Premier Crus of that region are the inspiration here. Full of fleshy stone fruit aromas of white peach and nectarine plus succulent wet stone notes, this is a harmonious and balanced Chardonnay. There is serious palate weight and feel here but is not wanting in any way for brightness and acidity. The only thing missing really is some beautiful shellfish with which to pair it.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2015 Liquid Farm "Golden Slope" Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 08-21-2018
The wine that built the farm as it were. The Golden Slope is an homage to the great whites of the Cote d'Or and it does not disappoint. There is so much lovely fruit here including grilled pineapple, marzipan and shortbread. This is sexy and fun-loving with so much to enjoy now. It is Puligny-esque and has the stuffing for a long life but it is imminently pleasurable now.
Price: $49.95 Add To Cart
VN 93 RP 90

2016 Liquid Farm "La Hermana" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 08-21-2018
Drifting into the full-bodied style, La Hermana evokes a more rich and bold profile with deep apple fruit, white flowers and hazelnuts. The fruit is intense but there is so much backbone that this wine has great potential for a little short term cellaring. One of my favorite wines from Liquid Farm, this is a bottle that will cut through rich dishes if I drink it now, but I would not be disappointed to find one in my wine locker in a couple of years.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2016 Carlisle "Palisades Vineyard" Napa Valley Petite Sirah
Review Date: 08-15-2018
It's been awhile since I've had a Petite Sirah this engaging. Often the wines have skull crushing tannins and a density that says, come back in a few years and maybe I'll be ready. The beauty of this Petite Sirah though is it has the density but those tannins are beautifully managed. All that deep dark purple fruit blasts forward with notes of boysenberry, lavendar and a touch of incense. This is gorgeous Petite and worthy of a bottle or two from this special producer for drinking or short term cellaring.

2011 Roda I Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 08-15-2018
Roda is one of Spain's more recent icon producers but we don't hear as much about them as others like Muga or Lopez de Heredia. But they keep good company as their facility is just a few hundred feet away. The wines tend towards a mix of modern polished fruit with one eye looking towards the past. My first nose on this said Ribera del Duero in Rioja clothing. The more opulent confiture of fig jam, blackberry and a touch of bittersweet chocolate emerged. The tannins were sweet and supple. After an hour though, I came back to the wine and that classic Rioja nose had come forward. Still dark fruited and rich, the panoply of spices and potpourri were present. This is detailed and expressive and with just a few more years under its belt will offer an incredible drinking experience. But it's pretty damn good now. Think leg of lamb, slow cooked over wood or just some Manchego cheese and plum jam to round off a meal. This will not disappoint.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart
JS 98 DC 95

2015 La Source du Ruault "La Coulee d'Aunis" Saumur Blanc
Review Date: 08-14-2018
I met Jean-Noel Millon at a Biodynamic wine fair in Marseilles in 2017. I was immediately struck by the quality of his Cabernet Franc. Beautiful elegant renditions they most certainly are and show his philosophy of low intervention, traditional winemaking and quality terroir. But the wine that made me say, "Oh my GOD, what have we here?" was this 2015 Saumur Blanc. Composed of 100% Chenin Blanc on pure limestone tuffeaux, this is world class! A friend directed me to his table after he tasted it and said "I have found the Meursault Perrieres of Saumur" (yes, even though its' Chenin). The wine spends time in barrique which helps impart texture and richness to the full concentrated style of Saumur. The Coulee d'Aunis is full of roasted pear and apple notes, mandarin orange peel pithiness and notes of carmelized pineapple. It is richly textured but harmonious with that chalky minerality giving it a thread of tension that lingers on the palate. The wine should have some serious longevity too. I visited Jean-Noel months later at his estate and we tasted through some of his older reds and a couple older whites - SUBLIME!!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
DC 93

2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 08-14-2018
Even with the size and scale of a producer like Chateau Ste. Michelle, they continue to produce outstanding wines that dazzle and delight the palate. The "Cold Creek" is one of the their prestige sites that produces that rich warm currant and blackberry fruit that are the hallmarks of Washington State Cabernet. A nice touch of vanilla and spices from a little barrel aging rounds out the profile and the wine finishes with a sweet and supple tone that has an immediate appeal. The quality is amazing really, and at this price, cases really are a must!

2016 Domaine de Verquière Vacqueyras
Review Date: 08-08-2018
Vacqueyras is one of those appellations that people see on the shelves periodically but maybe don't recognize the same way for its overall quality as more famous regions like Gigondas and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The primary area in the appellation is a plateau called "Les Garrigues" just below the base of the famed nearby limestone mountains known as the Dentelles de Montmirail. The soils are made up of the alluvium from the last glacial era and it is chock full of limestone-clay and mounds of decidedly much smaller pebbles than the ones you would see in nearby Chateauneuf. The vineyards are all surrounded by the dense forest also known as garrigue, which imparts so much of its aromas to the nearby grapes. Verquiere is best known in our store for one of our most rocking Cotes du Rhones and their homes estate Rhone-Villages level Sablet. The Vacqueyras may be where it's at though, as this is an exceptional site imparting great fruit intensity, weight and floral and herb accents. If you're not familiar with the wines of Vacqueyras, this is a great place to start as Verquiere consistently delivers some of our staff favorites and this is no exception.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JD 89 - 92

2014 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Lirac
Review Date: 08-08-2018
Tasting at Montfaucon is always like going home. I've been drinking these wines for over 10 years, since I started my tenure at K&L. When I took over the Rhone buying duties, Montfaucon was one of the first properties I visited. Winemaker Rudi des Pins and his wife Mari, are two of the most welcoming producers you could ever hope to meet. And their wines taste that way as well. Open a bottle of 2014 Baron Louis and you are immediately invited in with its intoxicating nose of potpourri, currants and spices. Those familiar notes of Rhone flavors erupt from the glass and saturate the palate but with purity and elegance. Each vintage offers clarity and introspection, a lot like a trip down memory lane. One thing though, they are definitely a lot cleaner than my old bedroom at my parent's home. Always a treat and quite ageable as well, drink this hearty beauty now or over the next few years and each time you open it, I hope you're reminded of special people and a special place like I am.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WS 91 RP 90

2016 Fromm "Cuvée H" Marlborough Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-08-2018
The Fromm Pinots have become benchmarks in our stores for quality Pinot Noir from New Zealand. Drinking more like a polished Volnay, Fromm's Cuvee H, has beautiful aromas of roasted plum, red flowers and minerals. The palate is extremely supple though, filling the mouth with black cherry, violets and a long evocative finish. This is world class Pinot coming from a region best known for Sauvignon Blanc. Maybe we should rethink what makes Marlborough more famous? Worthy of any great Pinot drinkers cellar.

2016 Altovinum Evodia Garnacha Calatayud
Review Date: 08-08-2018
A new cheap and cheerful Grenache from Spain? Absolutely. Capturing all the juicy red and black fruit from Spanish grenache, it evokes flavors of mixed berry jam, cracked pepper, fresh cut laurel and a touch of graphite. The sweet and supple palate makes this my favorite new Taco Tuesday wine!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
JD 91

2013 Negretti Barolo
Review Date: 08-08-2018
The 2013s are very exciting and at this price point, the Negretti is more than worth a look. Filled with classic red fruit tones, dried flowers and a finish that lingers with a touch of fennel and strawberries, this is deft and almost ready to drink right out of the gate. Why not grab a few to put away though as you will be well-rewarded with a couple years of patience. Or go for it now, I'm having mine with some lamb sugo over creamy polenta.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
JS 94

2016 TED by Mount Edward Central Otago Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-08-2018
The Mount Edward Pinots are some of our best and brightest from New Zealand. The TED is a delightful entry point with its medium bodied weight and fresh fruited tones. Loads of delightful raspberry, rose petals and light spice notes it is a great contrast to many of the world's other pinots. A terrfic value great for daily drinking and that rotisserie chicken you just picked up at the market.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 93 RC 90

2017 Tenuta Roveglia Chiaretto Rosé
Review Date: 08-08-2018
A little story... This past week we had a special visitor from one of our southern French estates and she came to meet the staff and introduce some of her new wines. We had a big party with our LA staff and this little rose was poured as an aperitif. I wouldn't normally write too much about someone else's reaction but Severine (our visiting producer) was enchanted by this wine. Yours truly (me I suppose) was busy manning the grill and as such, everyone would wander by to pour a little something in my glass. Severine poured this for me because it was one of her favorite wines at that party. Now Severine is an accomplished winemaker, also making a top-notch rose in the Roussillon, and we couldn't stop talking about how fun and bright this Chiaretto was. Since I buy 99% of the French rose for K&L, I don't drift to far from my category but this Italian rose is quite the head turner. As an added FYI, we had some spicy lamb sausage, classic Italian sausage and grilled Mexican street corn rolled in creme fraiche and Cotijo cheese with it. On point on every level.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
VN 90

2017 Santo Assyrtiko Santorini Greece
Review Date: 08-08-2018
The island of Santorini has become the focal point for the next generation of wines coming out of Greece and after tasting this gorgeous white its easy to see why. The island of Santorini is covered in volcanic ash and pumice and has some of the lowest rainfall in all of southern Europe. A hostile environment for cultivation is not always the case for wine production. Assyrtiko, the island's most noble white grape variety, is trained into baskets low to the ground where early morning dew forms to act as its own drip irrigation system. The wines produced are magical, much like the island's austere beauty, brimming with viscosity and minerality. The Santo is probably the best I have yet tasted from this small cooperative. It is full bodied, with notes of citron, roasted peaches and crushed stones. It is long and expansive with a mineral oil like texture but an underlying acidity that cuts through on the finish. As one tastes a wine like this, and more like it coming from the island, you see why the wines from this area are growing in popularity. They have that extra something that is drawing people back to Greece as a wine region worthy of consideration when making your nightly selections. The Santo will expand in your glass as it opens, and often offers more on the second day. A perfect compliment to fresh roasted fish over a coal fire, but also great with legume dishes and easily paired with more exotically spiced dishes from places like North Africa or India.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
W&S 93

2015 Mas Karolina Côtes du Roussillon-Villages
Review Date: 08-07-2018
We met winemaker Caroline Bonville through our relationship with her cousin Olivier of Champagne house - Franck Bonville. Based much further south, in the hinterlands of Roussillon - near the Spanish border on the Mediterranean side - Caroline is making superbly rich and fleshy reds. The region is warm and her wines show that lovely ripe polished fruit. Based on a mix of soils ranging from the black and brown schist of Maury to the granite of nearby Lesquerde, she crafts Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre using organic practices and minimal intervention. The 2015 shows the ripeness of the vintage with its lovely layered flavors of berry compote, black licorice and sweet baking spices. It is a sexy and sultry red that is a perfect introduction to her style, the region and makes an ideal outdoorsy red for serving with the grilled meats of her Catalonian region.
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 89 - 91

2015 Domaine du Somail "Vin de Plume" Minervois
Review Date: 08-01-2018
Minervois is about as close to the feel of an old California ghost town as you might see in the south of France. The region is dry, warm and surrounded by scrubby bushes. The rolling hills and mountains in the background give way to fruit that has intensity and power. It almost looks desolate in some places. Syrah and Mourvedre have become some of the most popular grapes in the region as they are well suited to its climate. Domaine du Somail is a relatively new producer that has quickly moved into the spotlight for their non-intervention wine making style creating wines that beautifully reflect the region. Based on Mourvedre, the "Vin de Plume" has a beautiful meatiness that reminds you a bit of a baby Bandol. The Syrah adds depth of fruit and some spiciness making this a terrific food pairing wine. This is great with stewed bean dishes, classic pork pates and smoked duck breast.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2015 Domaine de Bila Haut "Occultum Lapidem" Côtes de Roussillon-Villages Latour de France
Review Date: 07-25-2018
Every visit with any of the Chapoutier properties is a treat. From the Rhone to the Roussillon, the vineyards are always pristine sites that create wines commanding the attention of collectors and critics alike. The quaint village of Latour de France is where the winemaking facility for Chapoutier lies in Roussillon and the vineyards surround the town and the outlying area. Roussillon lies in the shadow of the Pyrenees mountains and the variety of soils plus the sunny climate have an incredible effect on the outcome of the wines. Organic practices are easier in the region due to the cleansing wind and warm days. The mix of gneiss, limestone, granite and schist soils give each grape variety of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan the ability to best express itself. The Tramontane wind that sweeps through the valley cools down the grapes preserving freshness but helping to concentrate their acids and fruit. You can see why Michel Chapoutier was drawn to the region. The potential is abundant. Always a bigger, showier style, the 2015 Occultum Lapidem is one of their best wines to date (that isn't $100+ dollars). It has the deep rich concentration of blackberry coulis and currant jam but that freshness abounds. There are savory spices and mineral tones but the acidity keeps it well balanced. Supple tannins round out the finish saying I'm ready to go but you could drink me a few more years down the road. Anything with Chapoutier is always exquisite, and this in nothing short of that. It is the best Occultum yet. With Chapoutier at the helm and the quality of this region, I can't wait to see what comes next.
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2008 A.D. Coutelas Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-18-2018
I've been a big fan of the Coutelas wines since we started bringing them in several years ago. The Cuvee Victor was always one of my favorite to recommend to enthusiasts who wanted their Champagne with a little more esoteric edge since it undergoes a bit of a solera processing with all the reserve wines married together in perpetuity. The Victor is always a real complex stunner for the money. You'll notice it is also one of the most consistently well reviewed wines by our staff. So what about the 2008 vintage bottling from Coutelas? Superb as well. The tension in the vintage shows through with beautiful apple and pear aromas and hints of ginger on the palate. The weight is there for sure but the structure of acidity is focused and pure. I love the low dosage too as the wine has beautiful body so it doesn't warrant any rounding out. A great Champagne for now but a few years would do no harm here and just add a few new layers of complexity, if your'e into that sort of thing. It just so happens that I am.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2017 Domaine des Côtes Blanches Sancerre
Review Date: 07-18-2018
The Cotes Blanches has come a long way since we started our direct relationship. Each year, under the watchful eye of Nicolas Millet, the wine gains in concentration and intensity. The 2017 vintage was tricky with its frost but that never affected quality, just yields. Full of snappy minerality and salinity, the candied lime peel nose follows with notes of crushed pineapple and green papaya. Full of vibrancy it has all the satisfying markers of delicious Sancerre and because of our relationship, we received a healthy allocation over the next few months. This is the kind of Sancerre you'll drink all summer long and well into the cooler months.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2017 Bodegas Colomé Torrontes Valle Calchaquí Salta
Review Date: 07-18-2018
I'm a sucker for Torrontes. The aromatic lift and intense jasmine and tropical tones sing loud and proud. It is a wine that makes a wonderful aperitif and the region of Salta is the best provider. This high altitude lends better acid tension to help balance the panoply of floral and fruit tones that emerge. Fear not, though, this is a dry expression and wants nothing more than to be paired with some fresh farm cheeses or corn and chicken stuffed empanadas.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
DC 93 JS 91

2015 Domaine de l'Enchantoir "Le Pied à L'Étrier" Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame Rouge
Review Date: 07-18-2018
Saumur-Puy-Notre-Dame is a newer sub-appellation in the broader Saumur region. On the beautiful tuffeaux (limestone) bench with very poor top soil and at just a little higher elevation than the surrounding area, translates to classic cab-francy goodness. The Enchantoir has vibrant red fruit with notes of brushy herbs. There is bright acidity and a tart cherry tone that makes it sing with the pâtés and duck confit of the region. This is a wonderfully classic expression and makes a great daily drinker.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2017 Domaine Louis Moreau Petit Chablis
Review Date: 07-18-2018
I was fortunate enough to visit Moreau last year while passing from the Rhone Valley to the Loire. We made this not to on-the-way detour and I was happy to have done it. The wines from top to bottom are excellent, expressing some of the best values we have in white Burgdundy from Cote Chalonnaise to Chablis. Petit Chablis always seems like an after thought for many producers, but with Moreau, the wine has crackle and a sinewy frame. There is lots of green apple fruit, wet stones and a whisper of fresh thyme on the palate. It is the perfect accompaniment to so many foods but a classic butter basted pan-fried halibut would be my first choice.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

Arawaks Distillery "Clairin Vaval" Single Estate Haitian Sugarcane Juice Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 07-11-2018
This trio of Haitian single-estate rums is downright revelatory. Each fits a particular profile for me in how I would approach consuming them. The Vaval is pure earthy goodness and speaks volumes with a cocktail approach. The aromas of plantain, artichoke and green olives emerge with the potency to stand out and keep their integrity with a little mixology in play. Keep it on the simple side, a daquiri is all you need. Great stuff!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Douglas Casimir Distillery "Clairin Casimir" Single Estate Haitian Sugarcane Juice Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 07-11-2018
My first instinct when I tasted Mezcal was to run away. I loved the much cleaner vegetal and spice tones of Tequila. But my tastes have evolved and I would take a Mezcal over a Tequila almost any day of the week (almost). That first nose on the Casimir sent those same waves down my spine. My mind was discombobulated and the fight or flight instinct arose. I fought and spending even a few more minutes time with it, the savory meaty qualities of this intriguing rum emerged and I was hooked. Aromas of Kalamata olives, cured ham, leeks and ginger engaged my senses and this jumped to the head of the class of one of the coolest and most interesting things I've tasted this year. This is not for the uninitiated but fans of Mezcal and Islay whisky will have an easy time dropping into the Caribbean and feeling right at home.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Chelo Distillery "Clairin Sajous" Single Estate Haitian Sugarcane Juice Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 07-11-2018
Of these single Haitian estate rums, this is my sipper. I find it the most accessible in flavor profiles for pure clean rum flavors. You have the light vegetal tones of the raw sugar cane notes, but also some sweeter fruit tones and spices that make it so engaging. If I were mixing, a caipirinha would be my drink of choice.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2015 Ritual Chardonnay Casablanca Valley
Review Date: 07-03-2018
The fail safe for most Chardonnay drinkers is California. But why not lean a little south to Chile for an equally engaging and characterful style. Creamy ripe apples, toasted vanilla and a lively yet buttery texture give way to a fabulous drinking Chardonnay. What's not to love?! At twice the price, you would be in Santa Barbara but hey, we're in Chile.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
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Mortlach 25 Year Old Gordon & Macphail Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-03-2018
If you've read this far you probably know that Mortlach is the base component for the Johnnie Walker's but what a shame that it is so rare under its own distillery label. From the beginning the Mortlach brings an assortment of new aromas constantly reshuffling and bringing you back for another sip. It is a beautifully long and complex style with toasted barley, honey and caramelized orange peel flavors that expand on the palate. A non-peated, non-sherry dominant style that shows the beauty of the grain and the character of extended aging. Tremendous!
Price: $199.99 Add To Cart

2012 Louise Brison Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-03-2018
The Louise Brison wines are my favorite in-between style. Not super acidic, laser beams, nor doughy-biscuity brulees. They are the "just right" in the fruit focused category. Notes of cherry, red apples and a bit of grilled toast with a fine bubble make this is a generous and engaging style that screams summer drinking! With its refreshing palate, it is my new house Champagne for these warm weather months.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
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George Dickel "K&L Exclusive" 9 Year Old Single Barrel #L8040K1007 Tennessee Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 06-26-2018
I've always been a fan of our single cask American whiskies and the Dickel is no exception. I've amassed quite a few over the years. I tend to just enjoy them so I don't often do a lot of spirits reviews. When I do, it's because something really stood out for me. This cask had such a beautiful nose of toasted spices and vanilla but it was the hint of peach cobbler on the finish that hooked me. Expressive, smooth on the palate (even at cask strength), this is long on finish. Another great K&L cask selection for my own collection.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

2015 Savage "White" Western Cape
Review Date: 06-26-2018
This is a wondrous white wine. Sitting somewhere between a Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc and Vouvray, it has a profile that engages the nose and delights the palate. Since it is made of such disparate grape varieties, like Chenin Blanc and Clairette, a muddled quality can often occur but the Savage is a wine greater than the sum of its parts. Aromas of white peaches, quince and papaya are intermixed with a leesy hazelnut tone. The wine has full-bodied texture and simmering acidity that keep it bright and deft on the palate. The only drag to this wine is that I didn't discover it myself. Kudos to Stefanie Juelsgaard, our new South African wine buyer, for finding this wine. It's now one of my new favorites of the year.

2017 Zudugarai "Amats" Getariako Txakolina
Review Date: 06-26-2018
I remember visiting this property several years ago with Spanish buyer Joe Manekin and was immediately taken with the zesty and vibrant nature of the wine. In the evening, we wandered among the pintxo bars in San Sebastian and tasted many Txakolis and Sidres along the way but the "Amats" always ranked as one of my favorites. I'm always happy when a new vintage arrives and I can pound my glass on the table Baque-style sipping this crunchy wine with a little bacalao omelette, some grilled sardines and sheep's-milk cheeses.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2016 Pence Ranch "Estate" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-26-2018
The Pence draws you in with its brambly raspberry fruit and spice undertones and keeps you coming back for more with its silky palate feel. A generous yet balanced style that reminds me of some better know producers like Flowers and Melville but priced smartly and ready to drink. A perfect go-to style for weeknight or weekend drinking, whatever your budget may be.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
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2015 Martin Ray Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 06-26-2018
Oozing with juicy blackcurrant and blueberry fruit, the Martin Ray is a truly satisfying rendition of a Napa Valley Cabernet. It lands firmly on the side of modern but never quite goes over-the-top and retains its regional character. Fleshy and warm fruit compote on the palate and a sweet lingering finish lead me to one of my favorite drink now styles. It has the advantage of accessibility and drinks like many other Napa Cabs that would be priced twice as much.
Price: $25.99 Add To Cart
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