Staff Favorites - Ivan Diaz

Ivan Diaz

Reviews

2013 Fable Mountain "Tulbagh Estate" Syrah Western Cape
Review Date: 03-22-2018
One of my favorite bottles of South African Syrah, this can contend with anything from southern France at the same price. Exactly what I'm looking for in good Syrah; the raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are ripe and vivid but not overt; aromatic, freshly cracked black pepper and cedar; subtle, roasted herbs; bracing, lifted acidity that keeps everything quite high-toned. The oak reveals itself in wisps of dark chocolate that never threaten to overtake the wine. This is a stunning find for Syrah nerds like myself.
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VN 92 JS 90

2013 Fable Mountain "Night Sky" GSM Coastal Region
Review Date: 03-22-2018
The Rhone-style wines of South Africa have been some of my favorite values in the last few years as I continue to taste them. Fable Mountain counts among the best of them. This GSM blend is stylistically traditional with its ripe, blue and black berries, pepper, woodsy spices, coffee bean, and seamless balance of tannin and acid. It picks up a smoky, meaty quality, along with a kick of eucalyptus. Truly classic while opening up new avenues of flavor within this stylistic framework.
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JS 90 VN 90

2015 Laventura "Lanave" Rioja
Review Date: 03-08-2018
A blend of 50% Tempranillo and 50% Garnacha, the Lanave is a fresh and fun entry-level bottling that showcases the beautiful balance that these two varietals can achieve. With the Tempranillo bringing the fuller, darker aspects - black cherries, licorice, tree bark - and the Garnacha cutting it with higher-toned strawberry, green herbs, and juicy acidity.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2015 Laventura Garnacha Rioja
Review Date: 03-08-2018
When isolated, the Garnacha shows all the brightness and energy only hinted at in the Lanave. Fresh strawberries, bracing acidity, hints of cocoa and compelling texture provided by the rocky, chalky minerality, make this a highly thorough experience, and extremely versatile with food.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2015 Laventura Tempranillo Rioja
Review Date: 03-08-2018
Bryan’s take on the primary grape of Rioja is fresh and bright, but is special for its ability to express a very pure form of Tempranillo untouched by the flavors that accompany extended oak-ageing. Plum, black cherry, and cassis coat the palate right up front followed by herbs de Provence, warm baking spice, and spicy tree bark. A little tight in the glass right now, this would react very well to a couple years in the cellar, or a few hours in a decanter before serving.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2015 Laventura Malvasia Rioja
Review Date: 03-08-2018
MacRobert produces this white grape as an "orange" wine, allowing 3 weeks of maceration on the skins, and using more "natural" techniques such as organic farming, native yeast fermentation, and minimal sulfur. Showing great funkiness, bees wax, roasted nuts, more white floral aromatics, stone fruit, zippy acidity, crisp texture, and a touch of matchstick minerality, this Malvasia is quite different than most, and a thoroughly enjoyable take on this important varietal which has historically played a part in Viña Tondonia Blanco and other great traditional Rioja white wines.
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DC 91 RP 91

2015 Aquitania Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley
Review Date: 02-22-2018
This is a great value in Cabernet from any region. Indeed, some identifiably Chilean bell pepper and sweet tobacco are present on the nose and palate, but it's all wrapped up in big, beautiful Cab fruit including black cherry, black raspberry, cassis, and some subtle cocoa. Superb wine, especially for the price.
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JS 91 RP 90

2016 Mas Codina Cabernet Sauvignon Penedes
Review Date: 02-15-2018
What a treat! A producer more known for the production of excellent Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) now brings us their foray into the world of Penedes red wine with a deceptively delicious, and super affordable Cabernet Sauvignon. Black cherry, blueberry compote, raisins, eucalyptus, and spicy bell pepper are present and vivid in this extremely crowd-friendly bottling.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$8.99

2011 Miguel Merino "Unnum" Rioja
Review Date: 02-15-2018
The new vintage of Unnum comes to us bigger, livelier, and more delectable than ever. Made from all old vine selected fruit, it shows darker and toastier than the Vitola. Juicy black cherry, cassis, plums, anise, tree bark, coffee bean, and it keeps going as it breathes. The fullest, richest offering from Miguel Merino should be enjoyed with steak or morcilla (blood sausage).
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2015 Antech "Cuvée Eugenie" Cremant de Limoux
Review Date: 02-08-2018
From our favorite direct import producer of French sparkling wine comes the newest vintage of the exquisite Cuvee Eugenie. A unique blend of 50% Chardonnay, 40% Chenin Blanc and 10% Mauzac, this exceedingly well-balanced bottling shows characteristic chalky minerality, ripe pear, fresh lemon and orange zest, subtle floral aromatics, and hints of toasty brioche. There is real prestige and beauty here, which makes the low price point hard to believe. Extremely fresh and refined, this will pair beautifully with fish in buttercream, but is inexpensive enough (and perfectly suited) for your favorite fried chicken.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
DC 91

2016 Domaine des Rémizières Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 01-25-2018
The newest vintage of this direct import was decidedly young upon its arrival at K&L. But with a couple months to rest in the bottle, it has relaxed into a wine perfectly representative of everything that makes me such a nerd for Northern Rhone Syrah. The woodsy cedar and sawdust on the nose, accompanied by a dusting of white and black pepper, are folded into the layers of brambly raspberry, blueberry, red currants, roasted herbs, violets, and subtle dark cocoa. Medium-bodied with extremely comfortable, seamless acidity, this is versatile, food-friendly, and remarkably affordable for Crozes-Hermitage.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2015 Pike Road Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 01-04-2018
The new vintage of Pike Road is a compellingly subtle, rather Burgundian Pinot Noir that showcases a level of nuance and restraint too rare in this price point. Balanced red currant and cherry, aromatic tea leaves, light hints of baking spice, and comfortably integrated acidity elevate this offering above so many others for a similar price. Perhaps the best Pinot in the shop under $20.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2014 Can Mayol Loxarel "999" Brut Nature Rosat Classic Penedes
Review Date: 12-07-2017
This wine gains its gorgeous ruby color by blending 60% Xarel-lo Vermell and 40% Pinot Noir. While it shows more fruity richness than the Refugi, this is still a Brut Nature and is utterly, refreshingly dry. Restrained strawberry, dried cranberry, tart citrus and orange peel all wash across the palate with a bracing acidity and tickling bubbles.
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2011 Viña Real Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-30-2017
Defined primarily by its ripe, luscious fruit profile, this Gran Reserva deserves a decadent meal for accompaniment (perhaps duck breast with a cherry compote). Medium to fuller bodied and rather voluptuous on the palate, it reveals raspberries and cherries, buttery pie crust, cinnamon, cocoa, and a hint of leathery earth, all without ever veering to closely to sweetness.

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique Assemblage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-09-2017
The wine in this bottle is aged on the cork, a rather uncommon method of aging Champagne that imparts unique flavors otherwise absent from other bottles that don't incorporate this technique. What comes through is round, baked apple hugged by salted, honeyed nuts, graham cracker, and shades of briny minerality that vaguely resembles dry sherry. At this price point, this grower bottling is one of the best and most unique Champagne values in the shop... or anywhere.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 92 WS 90

2015 DuMol Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-28-2017
There's a reason Dumol is considered one of the best producers of Russian River Pinot, and this bottling is a perfect example. First, it is strikingly "of its place," showing richness and density without becoming too full or heavy, maintaining an effortlessly light touch - a defining trait of the best RRV Pinot. Second, the deep red and blue berries are ripe and vivid, but never too center-stage, allowing the layers of complexity underneath to rise to the surface. Some chamomile tea leaf, warm baking spice, and a hint of coriander round out the palate while the full malolactic fermentation renders a mouthwatering note of buttery pie crust. The acidity is streamlined and tannins are fine, making for a beautifully delineated, elegant Pinot Noir.
Price: $68.99 Add To Cart
VN 90

2015 DuMol Russian River Valley Syrah
Review Date: 09-28-2017
Dumol produces very little Syrah, but their offering in the category is an exceedingly vital contribution to the category. This bottling has more in common with Cote-Rotie than it does with other California Syrah, showing rather restrained at the moment, with loads of promise in the cellar. Dark, brambly blackberries and blueberries, a dusting of finely ground black pepper, savory roasted herbs and an earthy, clay-like minerality all contribute to the stunningly classic flavor profile. It is exceptionally well-structured; the tannins and acidity strike an interwoven harmony that deftly binds everything together without coming off as too "grippy" or "tight". This is enjoyable now with a few hours of airtime, or in 5-7 years with some lamb sausage.

Writer's Tears Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 01-26-2017
My first ever review on a spirit is for this beautiful, round, exceedingly smooth Irish whiskey that captivated me from the moment my nose met the aroma. This lovely, "Prohibition" style whiskey is soft and caramely with slightly briny accents and a woodsy finish that goes down warm and easy. Do not miss while this is still available.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2006 Taittinger "Comtes de Champagne" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 03-11-2016
The 2006 vintage of Taittinger's flagship "Comtes de Champagne" is a fabulous wine coming from a top-notch vintage. It has all the rich, creamy character that has come to define this bottling, showing ripe, white peach, raw honey, hazelnut, and buttercream on the nose. But this vintage yielded quite a lot of mineral flavor across the region, helping to provide focus among some of the more decadent flavors. Chalky minerals and laser-like acidity incorporate to give the impression of a gravity-defying tight-rope walk between acid and fruit, mineral and oak, complexity and purity. The length is surprising with its lingering notes of fig and apricot, providing an extremely pleasurable finish. Excellent.

2009 Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Brut Grand Cru Champagne
Review Date: 02-04-2016
Quick! Before the masses find out about this fine, grower producer and send the price point soaring, make sure to pick up a bottle (or twelve) so you can say you owned it back when it was only $40 a bottle. Made from a vintage blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this handcrafted bottling is bright but silky on the palate, showing ripe citrus and white peach flavors alongside compelling minerality and buttery, brioche-y richness.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Pierre Paillard "Les Parcelles" Grand Cru Extra Brut Bouzy Champagne
Review Date: 10-15-2015
Simultaneously delicate and well-structured, this Grand Cru Brut stands head and shoulders above a mountain of clumsy, overly sweet non-vintage Champagne. Balancing pears, lemon curd, gentle minerality, creamy texture, and saline acidity, this certified organic bottling is the roundest, cleanest entry level Champagne to impress my palate in a while. A perfect pairing with almost anything, from duck liver mousse to fried chicken.
Price: $48.99 Add To Cart
ST 91 RP 90

Antech Blanquette de Limoux Brut Nature
Review Date: 04-02-2015
Almost Chablis-like in its austerity and crispness, the Blanquette shows flavors of Granny Smith apples, seashell minerality, and Meyer lemon. The Brut Nature designation assures us that there is no additional sugar dosage in this wine's production. Perfect warm-weather quaffing, and a perfect pairing with oysters, ceviche, or whatever fresh seafood tickles your fancy.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart