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Staff Favorites - Alex Schroeder

Alex Schroeder


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1989 Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 07-12-2018
It’s not fair to compare an aged Haut Bailly to current release value Bordeaux, but we just finished such a staff tasting and the Haut Bailly was jaw droppingly good. It has beautiful fleshy red current and cherry fruit, a touch of earth, a hint of smoke and a balance and elegance that has me flirting with the term “perfect.” If you have a special dinner coming up, consider having this with it.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart
WS 92 RP 91

2004 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 07-12-2018
This is classic, aged Bordeaux under $20 at its best! It has full-fledged, very pretty red fruit, balanced out by savory notes of leather and sous-bois and the perfect touch of gamey earthiness. Decant for an hour and enjoy with your favorite cut of steak!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2002 Piper-Heidsieck "Cuvée Rare" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-03-2018
This prestige cuvee from Piper Heidsieck is currently one of the best deals on the prestige Champagne market. It is one of the last still available from the lauded 2002 vintage, and is currently showing that vintage beautifully with an incredible, unctuous texture that only father time can bestow, and a rich flavor profile that is somehow fresh and complex at the same time, with flavors of baked peaches, toasted almonds, marzipan, honey and toasted brioche. The acidity is stellar and amplifies the flavors wonderfully.​

2017 Olema Côtes de Provence Rosé
Review Date: 06-20-2018
This is an exciting project from our friends and veritable wine-making experts at Amici Cellars in Napa, who traveled to the land of the best rosés in the world to make this stellar cuvée. It opens with fresh, wild cherries and minerals on the nose, offers rich vibrant fruit on the palate with a focused, bright, acid-driven finish that screams for another sip. Once again, the Olema brand lives up to its moniker, offering incredible value at a low price.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2017 Domaine Petroni Corse Blanc (Corsica)
Review Date: 06-13-2018
This is a delicious and unique take on French white wine from Corsica, the “Island of Beauty” south of France in the Mediterranean. Made entirely from vermentinu, it has vibrant tropical aromatic notes of melon, mango, tangerine, and honey blossom, a rich waxy texture, great focus and a long crisp finish. The expression and complexity are excellent.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2013 Michel Arnould "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-07-2018
Experts will tell you that 2013 was a Chardonnay vintage in Champagne, with the Cote de Blancs wines showing exceptionally well. The Carte D'Or (Gold Card) from Michel Arnould is made from half Chardonnay from Mesnil on the Cotes de Blancs, the other half from the best of the family Pinot Noir vineyards in Verzenay. This vintage offering has incredible concentration of fruit and minerals on the nose, and shows great elegance and balance on the palate. The finish is incredibly long.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2008 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-05-2018
The world has been patiently awaiting the arrival of the highly anticipated 2008 vintage of Cristal from Roederer, and in this instance the patience will prove particularly rewarding. The vintage was marked by a very long, cool growing period that allowed for that special combination of high ripeness and acidity that marks truly great champagnes. This shows bright, fresh and concentrated flavors of stone fruit, citrus, apples, ranier cherries and white flowers, with subtle notes of hazelnuts and saffron. The flavors are fresh, balanced and integrated, indicating incredible aging potential, and the finish just goes on and on. This will be a collectors vintage, so grab yours before they snap them all up.

2016 Bishop's Peak San Luis Obispo Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-31-2018
Our friends at Talley Vineyards are touting this as the “best vintage in their 30 year history,” and their second label Pinot Noir shows why. The mostly estate bottling features rich savory strawberry, black cherry fruit with notes of black tea and kirsch, an incredibly smooth, integrated texture and a long finish. Best bang for under 20 bucks in the store.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

Michel Arnould Verzenay Brut Rosé Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 05-31-2018
This displays the singular beauty that is Grand Cru Pinot Noir in Champagne. Beautiful ripe expressive fruit flavors of strawberries & cream, white cherries and just a hint of flowers and spice, but the fruit is perfectly poised and focused so that the distinct minerality can shine through as well. The texture is rich, smooth and minerally all at once somehow. Don’t miss this one for the price.
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

2016 Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-31-2018
Somehow the folks at Banshee are able to impress year after year with a quality-to-price ratio on their Sonoma County Pinot Noir that just can’t be matched. They achieve this using mostly (81%) Sonoma Coast fruit that lends the rich Sonoma fruit a crisp, lifted and very long finish that gives this bottle a much more expensive feel than it actually is.
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart

Alfred Gratien "Cuvée Paradis" Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 05-15-2018
This is a vintage bottling made using a small percentage of Bouzy red wine from 2007. It has beautiful, soft, delicate red fruit that is perfectly integrated with round cream and a slight autolytic toast note. Its richness is focused and balanced with a slightly tannic texture and great acidity.​

Alfred Gratien Brut Classique Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 05-15-2018
If you love rosé Champagne, you shouldn’t pass up one that uses 12% Bouzy red wine its blend for under $50. Bouzy red is thought to be the best of all the red Pinot Noir in champagne and lends Alfred Gratien’s vibrant rosé flavors of cherry, strawberry and cream with a touch of honey and smoke. The round red fruit is focused on the finish by crisp acidity and minerals. This is out of this world good!

2008 Alfred Gratien "Cuvée Paradis" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-15-2018
I’ve been conditioned, much like Pavlov’s dog, to salivate when I see 2008 on a bottle of Champagne. For lovers of this unbelievable vintage, Alfred Gratien delivers in a big way. It’s bursting with flavors of fresh bergamot, baked apple, rich toast and flowers with a vibrant acidity and stunning finish that is the signature of the vintage. The balance, focus and complexity are stunning.

2005 Alfred Gratien Brut Vintage Champagne
Review Date: 05-15-2018
What a treat to find a library release of this great vintage from such a great producer. This is an incredibly complex and well crafted Champagne, with beautiful development in the form of floral honey and bergamot, cream and citrus with just a hint of smoke. It has great balance and freshness and beautiful acidity keeping it aging perfectly. It’s quite the stunner, and in the right spot to enjoy right now although it will be good for many years to come!
Price: $76.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 WS 93

Alfred Gratien Brut Classique Champagne
Review Date: 05-15-2018
We’re all stoked to start working with the delicious Champanges of Alfred Gratien from Epernay. This Brut Classique is entirely barrel fermented and made from a 10-year-old solera system that is 50% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier. It is at once vibrant and complex with flavors of green apple, creamy brie, citrus blossom and toasted pastry, with soft creamy floral honey undertones. The quality and complexity are out of this world for the price on this one.

2014 Domaine de la Begude Bandol Rouge
Review Date: 05-08-2018
I finally tasted this Southern French Mourvedre/Grenache blend about 3 days after it was opened, and I’m glad I waited. Mourvedre is known for its powerful structure in terms of fruit density and tannin, and usually need to be aged or decanted like crazy. This Begude Bandol was singing by the time I got to it! It had a base profile of concentrated, pure dark fruit, but with intriguing notes of expressive red fruit underlying and hints of wild herbs as well. The tannins are still quite serious and will soften more with additional cellaring. This is a very impressive French red.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WE 94

Petit & Bajan Ambrosie Grand Cru Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-12-2018
Think of this as the counterpart to the Michel Arnould Grand Cuvee. It’s made from 30% Grand Cru Pinot Noir from Verzenay and 70% Grand Cru Chardonnay from Avize on the Cote de Blancs to create a sort of Super Grand Cru Champagne. It has a wonderful, rich fruit profile of lemons, berries, apricots and peach, with vibrant acidity to balance the concentration of fruit and added depth from nearly 5 years spent aging on its lees. It's one of the best grower champagnes I’ve tasted in ages.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Petit & Bajan Nuit Blanche Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-12-2018
Tired of Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs yet ? Me neither, and this is one of the most exciting Champagnes we’ve brought in lately. Made entirely from Cote de Blancs Chardonnay and in a beautiful twisted glass bottle, it has rich, concentrated flavors of lemon, citrus blossom and guava with classic Cote de Blancs minerality and added depth from perfectly integrated toast. Don’t let the low, 4-gram dosage fool you, this is explosive in terms of taste, precision and length.
Price: $42.99 Add To Cart

Trudon "Emblematis" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-12-2018
We visited nearly 40 producers during our trip to Champagne, and weeks later, Trudon remains a standout in my memory. The Emblamatis is a Blanc de Noirs made from 80% Meunier, 20% Pinot Noir and aged at least 36 months on the lees. It has great precision, with expressive fruit flavors of apples, peaches and flowers with a subtle, integrated toast. Overall, it’s very well put-together, with no bitterness or coarseness at all, great acidty and a very long, pleasant finish. Have this with a cheese or dried sausage plate. ​
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2016 Bründlmayer "Ried Lamm" Gruner Veltliner Kamptal
Review Date: 04-12-2018
Forgive the comparison, but this can be seen as the Grand Cru Burgundy of Austria. Made from old vines, it has wonderful concentrated flavors of citrus blossom and herbs that are complemented by toast and flint from the oak barrel aging, balanced deftly by nice acidity. Perfect to impress and surprise the most discerning wine-palates amongst your friends and family.

2016 Bründlmayer "Kamptaler Terrassen" Riesling Kamptal
Review Date: 04-12-2018
This young riesling from a favorite Austrian producer of ours is showing slight petrol on the nose with a concentrated lemon citrus, green apple core, high minerality and floral notes. The high acidity gives it a great long finish and perfect food-pairing power. Have with your favorite Spätzle dish.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart
JS 92 WE 91

2015 Bernhard Ott "Fass 4" Grüner Veltliner Wagram
Review Date: 04-12-2018
This is a big step up from Ott’s “Am Berg” for just a few more dollars. It shows nice concentration of citrus, apricot and floral flavors with bristling minerals and nice tension on the finish, which lingers pleasantly.

Pierre Mineral Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-10-2018
With fruit sourced from the Marne, the Montagne de Reims, Sezanne and the Cote de Blancs, this is truly a champagne of Champagne! 60% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Meunier, the precision/power balance is remarkable! Delicate and pretty on the nose with light toasty notes, lemons and white flowers, berry undertones and exotic quince. It has great great precision and delicacy married with rich fruit flavors. Stunner for the price.
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Louis Roederer Brut Rosé Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 03-15-2018
On the nose, soft bing cherry, raspberry fruit aromas with a subtle toasty autolytic character and bristling minerals. On the palate, the fruit is soft and subtle up front, with the rich texture and minerals taking the forestage, until the fruit explodes with flavor on the back palate, where the vibrant acidity makes itself present for a crisp, everlasting finish. Excellent vintage rosé from one of the best!

2012 Louis Roederer Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 03-15-2018
On the nose, soft bing cherry, raspberry fruit aromas with a subtle toasty autolytic character and bristling minerals. On the palate, the fruit is soft and subtle up front, with the rich texture and minerals taking the forestage, until the fruit explodes with flavor on the back palate, where the vibrant acidity makes itself present for a crisp, everlasting finish. Excellent vintage rosé from one of the best!

Delamotte Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-08-2018
This Grand Cru, Chardonnay-dominant blend is true to the Delamotte style with a crisp, linear edge that highlights the complex flavor profile: citrus, dried apricots, hazelnuts and leesy cream with great acidity and a long, chalky finish.

2015 L'Avocat Rouge, Graves
Review Date: 02-23-2018
Year in and out, the Allisons provide the world this small-production, completely estate-fruited blend for a ludicrously low price. It shows rich brambly fruit with a touch of spice, gravelly minerals. True to the vintage, it has very soft, supple tannins with great acidity on the finish.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2014 Cap St. George, St.-Georges-St.-Emilion
Review Date: 02-23-2018
While still a tad young, Cap St. George definitely has the substance to age into something special. It has bright flavors of red currants and cranberries with a little earth and toast underscoring the bright fruit. The acidity and tannins will keep this aging well for at least a decade, making it a great Merlot-blend to keep in the cellar.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JS 91

2015 Croix Mouton, Bordeaux Supérieur
Review Date: 02-23-2018
Whoa! This is an unmistakable knockout deal from the Janoueix portfolio near Lugon on the right. It showcases the ripeness and roundness of the vintage, with rich cherry kirsch and raspberry fruit with a soft tannic texture and great acidity. Definitely a deal to keep on your radar for steak night.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
JS 90

2009 Baron-Fuenté "Grand Millesime" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-14-2018
I have grown to love the opulence and pizzaz of the 2009 vintage Champagnes, and Baron Fuente's really drives the point home. It showcases the richness of the vintage with concentrated flavors of dried apricots, ripe persimmons and exotic spice but with a balancing acidity and incredible texture and toast from the long lees aging. To find vintage Champagne of this quality under $30 is truly a miracle, don't miss out on this one!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

WE 91

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Reserve" Brut Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 02-14-2018
This is the best value I've ever see from Champagne. The quality from this flagship of Marne producer Baron Fuente is unbelievable for the price. It has beautiful expressive flavors of apricot, Gala apples, and honeysuckle with a touch of spice and herbs and a rich, subtly toasty creaminess on a finish that just keeps going and going. What a value on such a crowd pleaser!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
W&S 92

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-14-2018
This is the best value I've ever see from Champagne. The quality from this flagship of Marne producer Baron Fuente is unbelievable for the price. It has beautiful expressive flavors of apricot, Gala apples, and honeysuckle with a touch of spice and herbs and a rich, subtly toasty creaminess on a finish that just keeps going and going. What a value on such a crowd pleaser!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
W&S 92 JG 90

2014 Lagarde "Guarda" Cabernet Franc Lujan de Cuyo
Review Date: 02-14-2018
This is one of the best New World Cabernet Francs I have tried recently. It has rich flavors of strawberries, blueberries, mint, eucalyptus and just a touch of stewed peppers, with soft, ripe tannins and beautiful acidity to match the richness of the fruit. The finish goes on and on. If you have found the Cabernet Francs of the Loire to be a little too earthy, this might please you much more.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2016 Don Silvestre Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 02-14-2018
What an exceptional Malbec for under $10! It showcases dark blueberry and blackberry fruit, lifted aromatics of cola berry and violets, and a very soft, balancing acidity. If you enjoy the dark brooding richness of the wonderful Malbec grape, it would definitely be worth it to try this. It might end up your new house red!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2015 Les Tourelles de Longueville, Pauillac
Review Date: 02-14-2018
What excites me the most about this superb 2015 vintage is the amazing values to be found in the second and third labels at great properties like Pichon Baron. Les Tourelles is made from a single, estate, Merlot-dominant plot and offers rich, open-knit fruit flavors of cherry kirsch, and strawberry with dark savory undertones and very smooth, silky, almost dusty, tannins. If you like to play the value game, like I do, this is a good way to win at it.

2007 Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne Magnum (1.5L)
Review Date: 02-06-2018
This ten-year-old vintage offering from one of my favorite Grand Marques is drinking great! Made entirely from Grand Cru Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it has a complex, rich flavor profile of green apple, pear, Bing cherry and toasty brioche. The balance is on point, making this one of the most immediately drinkable vintage Champagnes available.
Price: $124.99 Add To Cart
JS 92 WS 90

2015 Domaine de l'Ermitage "Victor" Costières de Nîmes Rouge
Review Date: 02-06-2018
This is a delicious Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre blend made by a small family winery in Costieres de Nimes, in the heart of the Rhone. Aged in stainless steel, it has pure rich flavors of blueberries and blackberries with graceful nuances of black pepper, herbs, and cola berry. It has plush, round tannins and the perfect amount of acid to lend structure to the juicy profile. That's a great bottle for under $10. ​
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2013 Bersano "Mantico" Barbaresco
Review Date: 01-31-2018
This is the deal of the year on honest-to-god Barbaresco, made old school by Bersano since 1907. Aged in giant Slovenian barrels for a year, then several more in bottle, this has classic Nebbiolo character and power that is actually drinking great now. Rich cranberry, cherry fruit with the classic mint/amaro herb notes you often get from a great Barbaresco. It has plush, grippy tannins and the acidity to ensure several years of aging potential. If you are into the “wine of the kings” you ought to take advantage of this one while it lasts.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 JS 90

2011 Michel Arnould "Memoire de Vignes" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 01-24-2018
I love Pinot Noir Champagnes. I’m always stunned at the power and grace of the good ones, and the Memoire de Vignes from Michel Arnould is, for me, the pinnacle of that style. Made exclusively from the oldest of their estate Grand Cru vines, the precision and depth here are stunning. The rich fruit flavors (think mirabelles, golden apples, cherries, dried apricots) are met on the back end by an equally intense acidity, brimming with minerals and soft spice notes. As you let it warm in your glass, the complexity and length explode! This is a world class, vintage Champagne offered at a mind bogglingly low price.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

2016 François Chidaine Vin de France (Vouvray) Moelleux
Review Date: 01-18-2018
If Loire valley whites thrill you as much as me, this wine should be on your radar. It’s a Vouvray Chenin Blanc, though not labeled as such because the fermentation occurs outside of Vouvray. It is incredibly expressive with zesty minerals, flavors of white raisins, honey, golden apples with great balance and length. Pair with mild cheeses or an apple tartine.
Price: Hidden View Price

2009 Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Brut Grand Cru Champagne
Review Date: 01-16-2018
This is one of the more low-profile super-values in our direct import portfolio. Elisabeth Egrot used to sell under her maiden name, Goutourbe, to a large and dedicated fan base. Her new name hasn’t quite gained the same traction, but her wines are better than ever. This superb vintage offering comes entirely from the Grand Cru village from Ay, from a vintage renowned for the power of its fruit. The richness and depth of the fruit manifest with flavors of gala apple, anjou pear, sweet Meyer lemon, and dried apricots, with equally intense acidity and minerals (no dosage was added creating superb balance.) Incredible for sub-$40 Champagne.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "7" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 01-12-2018
How exciting! A new release from the baron of great values in Champagne, Baron Fuente! Correction, a new OLD release from Baron Fuente. The 7 began a journey that would eventually lead to our shelves (and hopefully your champagne glass) almost eight years ago, and the story it tells fun, intriguing and ultimately one I plan to revisit many times. The barrel aging of 20% of the Chardonnay gives the blend a beautiful creamy, viscous texture to go along with aromas of dried fruits, pear, honeysuckle and almond, all finished by great acidity. This is definitely a wine that makes keeping your guests' flutes full a real challenge.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
WE 93

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 01-11-2018
Olivier Bonville carries on the tradition of his grandfather, Franck, producing wines of incredible richness and complexity from his estate vines in the Grand Cru villages of Avize and Mesnil on the picaresque Cote de Blancs. It has the rich flavors of Anjou pear, Meyer lemon, white apricots and a touch of delicate spice. The real magic is in the chalky minerality and zippy acidity that the Cote de Blancs is famous for. When you consider that similar offerings from the Big Houses cost three to four times more, this becomes a must-buy for anyone calling themselves Champagne enthusiasts.
Price: $34.99 Add To Waiting List
WE 91 WS 90

2016 Luciano Sandrone Dolcetto d'Alba
Review Date: 01-03-2018
This has a great bouquet of crunchy blue and black brambly fruits, with a nice mid-palate weight and beautiful ripeness. Very well balanced in terms of tannin and acidity. If you’re a fan of Dolcetto, you won’t want to miss this one.​
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-28-2017
Champagne Egrot (prounounced Eh-grow) falls in the same company as Bonville and Launois in terms of value for money. 80% Grand Cru Pinot Noir from Ay, 20% Premier Cru Chardonnay from Louvois, aged on the lees well over half a decade. For under $35. Proprietors Elisabeth (Henri Goutorbe’s granddaughter) and Jean-Marie Egrot have a long history in Champagne, and the pedigree shows in the bottle. Precision, richness, freshness, depth and length are all on full display. A subtle toast quality perfectly underlines rich pear, Bing cherry and apple blossom notes, with vibrant minerals and crisp acidity. Champagne enthusiasts rejoice!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-27-2017
A great amount of effort and care goes into Aspasie’s Carte Blanche, and it is instantly clear when you taste it. Low temperature macerated in small volume, then lightly filtered and aged for at least five years on the lees, it is a true wonder that the cost is not much higher than it is. Bright, pure flavors of Anjou pear, granny smith apple, toasted pastry dough, and hisbiscus, with a light creamy texture and crisp acidity.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Pol Roger "White Foil - Extra Cuvée de Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-29-2017
Pol Roger, long the favorite Champagne House of the Royal Family of Great Britain, takes special steps towards exceptional quality in their Brut Reserve. The nonvintage cuvée is an equal blend of the three allowed varieties, which are double cold-settled and slow fermented in the particularly cold cellar (9°C) entirely in stainless steel. The result is incredibly pure fruit flavors of lemon citrus, apples and stone fruit with a generous, creamy texture from the 9g/L dosage and extended lees aging, during which each bottle is hand-riddled. Considering the process, this is and always has been a great value in bubbles. ​

2015 Cantina di Gallura "Genesi" Vermentino di Gallura
Review Date: 11-16-2017
This is one Italian white you don’t want to miss this holiday season. It is stunning! On the nose, flowers, bright orange citrus, cream, exotic spice and leesy richness. The texture is supple and satisfying, but with stellar acidity to bring that richness into focus on the finish, which just keeps going and going. This may be the best Vermentino I’ve ever tried.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2014 No Curfew California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-25-2017
Amici Cellars is one of the best wineries in the valley, and they are known for consistently offering value beyond price, but the No Curfew Pinot Noir is ridiculous in this regard. It has great fruit flavors of plums, cola berry and raspberry and a richness to acidity balance reminiscent of much pricier wines. This is my go to California red for everyday house wine. ​
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

Jean-Jacques Lamoureux "Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-23-2017
Stone fruit and Anjou pear flavors are broad and pure on the palate. Lively acidity on the crisp finish makes the flavors last for a minute. The fruit is pronounced and very clean, with just a hint of autolytic flavors mingling with the fruit on the back end. Delicious Blanc de Noirs!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

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