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Staff Favorites - James Bradshaw

James Bradshaw

Reviews

2015 Barde-Haut, St-Emilion
Review Date: 11-09-2018
After reading the excellent critical reviews, I was excited to try the 2015 Barde-Haut for myself. Well, it one-hundred percent lives up to the hype. It is loaded with ripe blue and red fruits, but the notes of mint and eucalyptus raise this St-Emilion to another level entirely. For those who love a modern style of Bordeaux, this Barde-Haut delivers in spades. Give it a chance to open it up as the wine just keeps evolving with baking spice, tea, and slate flavors emerging. This 2015 is ready to drink now and I wouldn't be surprised if it continues to develop for another 20-plus years. That this bold and dashing red can be had for under $50 makes it all the more appealing. Barde-Haut is at the top of their game and this glorious red makes the case that they are among the most exciting properties in the Right Bank today.

2013 Scott Paul "La Paulée" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-09-2018
This 2013 Willamette Valley Pinot is pure elegance. Delicate flavors and aromas of cranberry, rose petal, dried violets, and wild strawberry slowly emerge and are joined by more exotic tones of oolong tea and candied citrus. Light to medium weight, it coasts evenly from the first sip to the last. A great example of cool-climate Pinot, this is the perfect choice for those who prefer nuance and finesse in their wine. Sleekly incorporated tannins ensure this 2013 will develop quite nicely for another five to ten years. Oh, and our price is straight up ridiculous. Wonderful things are happening in the world of Oregon Pinot Noir and this is a perfect example.

2013 Hidden Ridge "55% Slope" Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-07-2018
It's no secret that the 2013 vintage for Cabernet in California's North Coast was phenomenal. And this sterling effort from Hidden Ridge is certainly no exception. This is high-elevation Cab at its best. Unlike its brethren on the other side of the Mayacamas Range, this 2013 is stately and demure (as opposed to rambunctious and raucous). Don't get me wrong, there's no shortage of bold, dark fruits and excellent wood spice, but it’s framed in a reserved manner. The overall effect is tantalizing. Plum, cassis, mocha, cedar, Asian spice, and anise seed all work together to create an experience that captivates from the first sip to the last. It is an absolute joy to drink now, but I can't wait to see what it does ten to twenty years down the line. A top-notch wine in every way. Don't miss it.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart
RP 97

2015 K Vintners "The Beautiful - Powerline Vineyard" Walla Walla Valley Syrah
Review Date: 11-06-2018
Toss your K Vintners preconceptions aside! Yes, this 2015 is extremely well-crafted, and yes it has no shortage of lush blue and black fruits, but it has a distinctly stony character that suggests a more European lineage. The nose is fabulous serving up a melange of wild berry, fresh violets, espresso, and tapenade notes. All of this is echoed on the palate, which also introduces flavors of red and black pepper spice. Slate also jumps on the scene and carries well into the finish. It seems with each passing vintage K Vintners ups their game, of which this 2015 is a great example. This is truly a special wine that earned every one of the 98 points it received from the Wine Advocate. Whether you love new world or old world Syrah, this Washington red belongs on your short list.
Price: $49.95 Add To Cart
RP 98 JD 97

2015 Chalk Hill "Estate" Chalk Hill Red Blend
Review Date: 11-06-2018
When someone says a wine has "gravitas" this is stunning 2015 is exactly what he or she has in mind. Broad, structured, and with unparalleled purity, this estate blend has everything going for it. Dark chocolate meets dark fruits and is accented by just the right touches of wood spice. Being a 2015, it is still very youthful with dusty tannins carrying into the long, satisfying finish. While I have more experience with Chardonnay from Chalk Hill, this blockbuster red proves they can play with the big boys. It's more than reasonable price for a wine of this caliber makes it all the more tempting. Enjoy this 2015 now with a good decanted or drop in in your cellar for ten years and be absolutely dazzled.
Price: $49.95 Add To Cart
RP 94

2016 Chappellet "Signature" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-01-2018
Ka-pow! This is a dark, inky beast! Ripe, fleshy, juicy, and wonderfully expressive, it is an absolute thrill ride. There's so much going on here, it's hard to know where to start. Blackberry compote, cherry liqueur, espresso bean, vanilla, and toasted marshmallow all make an appearance. Its tannins are folded in perfectly, making for a soft and supple delivery. Chappellet is consistently a favorite out of Napa and they did not disappoint with this gorgeous 2016. If you are looking for a pop-and-pour (although a decant is recommended), this is a great candidate. The "Signature" will also age quite beautifully for another ten to twenty. Anyone who loves them big and bold will want to get onboard here.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart
RP 96

2012 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru "153rd Anniversary Cuvee"
Review Date: 10-31-2018
What do you get when you combine the best fruit from the best sites in Beaune with an exceptional vintage and a top-tier producer? Answer: the 2012 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru "153rd Anniversary Cuvee." This wine has everything going for it and all it takes is one sip to realize that it every bit lives up to its pedigree. When I think of a classic red Burgundy, this is precisely what comes to mind. Tart (but not too tart) cherry combines with accents of cigar box, subtle Asian spice, and a light dusting, of, well, dust. The delivery is smooth and supple with fine-grained tannins making a late appearance. I wouldn't blink if you told me this bottle cost $80, making its sub-$50 price all the more remarkable. I'm loving this 2012 at this stage in the game, but am more than a little curious to see where things go five, ten, fifteen years down the line. With all other things being equal, this very special Beaune bottling is all but destined to evolve into one of the top wines of the 2012 vintage (which is why I have a magnum resting in my cellar). The 153rd has been a resounding success here at K&L and is a wine you won't want to miss.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
BH 92 VN 92

2017 Julien Schaal Riesling Grand Cru "Sommerberg Granite"
Review Date: 10-30-2018
It truly baffles the mind that a wine of this quality can be so affordably priced. Elegant and refined, it is graced with a wonderful perfume of lilac, Meyer lemon, and wet slate. The palate is multidimensional and wonderfully evolved for such a young wine. Bright citrus flavors are accented by modest touches of orchard fruit and a slight hint of mango. Racy with bright acidity it is zips from the first sip to the last. This historic property has really hit its stride in recent years and has risen to the level of Weinbach, Trimbach, and Zind Humbrecht—making its modest price all the more remarkable. If you are a fan of Riesling (or any world-class white for that matter), you owe it to yourself to give this spectacular 2017 a spin.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 96

2014 Anthem "Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard" St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-19-2018
Rather than "Anthem" a more accurate name for this gorgeous 2014 Napa Cab would be "Power Ballad." Ripe, unctuous, plump, and unabashedly hedonistic, this is Beckstoffer fruit in its most unadulterated expression. Black, blue, and purple fruit abounds and is buttressed by the perfect touches of oak spice. The nose bursts with scents of mint and eucalyptus, but quickly shifts to vanilla and blueberry compote. As round and flashy as it is, things are strikingly well balanced. This is a terrific red to drink now, but it will be exciting to see what it does ten to fifteen years down the line. An absolute tour de force and a bargain considering its pedigree.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
WS 94

Wathen’s Private Barrel #3597 "K&L Exclusive" Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 10-12-2018
This single barrel bourbon is packed with personality. Walnut, hazelnut, and wood spice greet the nose, while the palate takes a dramatic, fruit-driven turn. Valencia orange, banana, and crystallized lemon all make an appearance and are joined by notes of spice box, vanilla bean, and nutmeg. Its smooth approach is followed by a body-warming blast of heat, but never too over-powering. This very well could be my favorite Wathen's to date, and there have been some pretty spectacular bottles over the years. A true bargain for what you get in the bottle.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

1996 Haut-Bages Libéral, Pauillac
Review Date: 10-12-2018
Many of the 1996s from Bordeaux are showing beautifully, and the Haut-Bages Libéral is no exception. Exhibiting the softer side Pauillac, this smooth and supple red seduces with nuance rather than power. Aromas of spice box waft from the glass and are followed by a distinctly floral touch. On the palate, it joins delicious ripe, cherry fruit with wood spice and hints of savory herbs. While the flavors work together impeccably, it's this 1996's texture that steals the show. Soft and plush, it effortlessly glides across the palate, while the finish leaves you with a delicate dusting of tannin. Always one of the finest values out of Pauillac, you'd be hard pressed to find another bottling this good under $100. An exceptional representative from a celebrated vintage. Don't miss it!
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2016 Halcón "Alturas" Yorkville Highlands Syrah
Review Date: 10-12-2018
With a deep garnet rim and dark purple center, you can tell from the color alone that this is going to be a powerful, concentrated red. The nose is a heady melange of wet stone, ripe red fruits, and raspberry coulis. These flavors are very much repeated on the palate with added touches of blueberry liqueur, Asian spice, saddle leather, black peppercorn, and cedar. Lush and inviting on the front, the mouthfeel becomes more grippy towards the finish thanks to some nicely integrated, powdery tannins. This 2016 is an utter delight in every possible way. While there is ample power, everything remains well in check. Evenly balanced, with great richness and depth, it's easy to see why the critics are drawing parallels to top-tier Northern Rhône reds. This is an excellent bottle to enjoy now, but there's enough structure here to warrant another 10 to 15 years of aging. Halcón is clearly on a roll and this is one wine you don't want to miss.

2014 Kapcsandy "Roberta’s Reserve - State Lane Vineyard" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 09-19-2018
The very pinnacle of Merlot. My original tasting notes say, "Wow, wow, wow!" And that is putting it mildly. Wet stone and gravel greet the nose and are immediately followed by a rush of sweet, ripe fruit (raspberry, Bing cherry, cassis, and blueberry) and wonderful spice. Elegantly perfumed and with an approach that is seamless, it is a wine that draws you back to the glass again and again. Lou Kapcsandy has crafted here one of the very best wines of the 2014 vintage. I suppose you could lay this beauty down for several years, but then, why wait? It is impossible to resist now. A desert island wine, if there ever was one.

2014 Kapcsandy "Estate Cuvée - State Lane Vineyard" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 09-19-2018
What a gorgeous wine from start to finish. Blackberry compote, vanilla, mocha, Asian spice, and graceful floral tones all join in perfect harmony. While it possesses a distinctly Napa profile, it's hard not to think of the top Bordeaux like Pichon-Lalande or Latour. Youthful, vibrant, and with excellent tension, it glides from strength to strength. Its tannins are seamlessly integrated, but there's no doubt this 2014 has the scaffolding to age gracefully for decades upon decades. But, perhaps most important, the Estate Cuvée is a pure joy to drink. When it comes to wines of this caliber, this is hands down one of the finest buys going, as it stands shoulder to shoulder with wines that are three times the price.

2015 Cap St-George, St-Georges-St-Emilion
Review Date: 08-17-2018
If you are on the hunt for outstanding value, I highly recommend the satellite appellations in Bordeaux. As in many (if not most) instances, the wines from these lesser-known sites offer all the quality and character of their more illustrious neighbors, but for a fraction of the price. Take for example the astonishingly good 2015 Cap St George. This delightful 2015 hails from St.-Georges-St.-Emilion, a tiny area that covers a mere 190 hectares. Situated next to the famed Right Bank plateau, the soils here consist of an ideal blend of clay and limestone, producing wines of exceptional purity. This 2015 is sleek, fresh, richly fruited, and, above all, perfectly balanced. Crafted in an unabashedly modern style, but not overly done, it will appeal to both old-world and new world fans alike. The Cap St George will cellar quite nicely, but who can wait, as it is a pure joy to drink now.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart
DC 93

2017 Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio
Review Date: 08-07-2018
I’ve long had a strong affinity for Peter Zemmer’s wines, but this 2017 is off-the-charts delicious and might very well be their best-ever Pinot Grigio. Riper and rounder than any other vintage I’ve had, it is a bright and dynamic wine with plenty of tropical touches that keep you coming back to the glass. Like a fugue in three parts, it glides seamlessly from one phrase to the next. First, it reveals floral aromatics and then shifts to flavors of green apple, citrus, melon, and papaya. The second section offers up Alto Adige’s tell-tale minerality, which grounds the wine giving it excellent depth and structure. Lastly, the finish closes with a light and refreshing refrain. Regardless of whether you gravitate towards Pinot Grigio or not, this delightful 2017 belongs on your short list. It is an unbelievable value and top-flight effort from a world-class estate.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2015 Domaine Gourt de Mautens Vaucluse Rouge
Review Date: 08-02-2018
Like a great thriller, this gorgeous 2015 takes you on a wild ride with countless twists and turns, culminating in a long, lingering, and immensely satisfying finish. Densely packed with black and red fruits, it could easily be mistaken for a top-tier Châteauneuf (think: Pégaü, Usseglio, or Clos des Papes). High-toned, expressive, and accented with exotic spice it reveals flavors of clove, mint, eucalyptus, and bramble. All of its many parts work in perfect unison. There's ample body and structure for serious long-term aging, but who can wait?! This Vaucluse is a such a delight to drink now, it is impossible to resist. While the price may seem a bit hefty for this lesser known appellation, rest assured it is worth every penny. Pick up a few bottles for now and a few more for ten to fifteen years down the road — you'll be glad you did.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
JD 97

2015 Château Saint-Roch "Chimères" Côtes du Roussillon-Villages
Review Date: 07-25-2018
What a great southern French red! Fresh, expressive, and with excellent purity, it greets the nose with wonderful aromas of wildflowers, raspberries, and wet slate. A full-bodied Roussillon, it carries its weight well thanks to a solid core of acidity that keeps things lively from the first sip to the last. On the palate, it reveals flavors of bramble, raspberry, anise seed, and a hint of red pepper spice. When given a chance to evolve in the glass secondary flavors of earth and porcini mushroom emerge rounding out an already beautiful presentation. In the under $20 category, you simply won't do much better than this gorgeous, ready-to-drink 2015.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2014 Colgin "IX Estate" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 06-01-2018
Rich, layered and wonderfully textured, the 2014 IX Estate Vineyard is about a perfect a Napa Cab as you'll ever find. Ripe flavors of black cherry, plum, and cassis greet the palate and are later joined by lavender, sage, and thyme. While it's impossible not to fall hard for the fruit, it's the wine's distinct minerality that steals the show. Powdery tannins make an appearance at the end adding excellent definition and structure. If a wine had a soundtrack, this one would be Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." A spectacular wine from start to finish.

2015 K Vintners "Milbrandt" Wahluke Slope Syrah
Review Date: 05-25-2018
This is a classic K Vintners' Syrah through and though. Bold, concentrated, ripe, and peppery, it is a flashy 2015 that will delight those who love 'em big and rich. The nose offers a mix of red floral tones and ripe berry fruit. These flavors continue in a big way on the palate and are joined by black pepper spice, tapenade, and fresh herbs. Tannins make an appearance late in the game adding a delightful grippy texture on the finish. All of this Syrahs many parts work together in perfect harmony. While you can certainly enjoy the Milbrandt now, it'll be intriguing to see how things develop over the next five to ten years.

2016 Hugel "Gentil" Alsace
Review Date: 05-18-2018
Alsace continues to be among the best regions anywhere for bright, fresh, aromatic whites. Take for example this temptingly priced 2016 "Gentil" from Hugel. For a sub-$15 bottle, it offers a surprising level of depth and range. Its vivacious delivery offers up scrumptious notes and tones of yellow fruit, apple, peach, fresh herbs, and ginger. Clean and with excellent focus, it is infinitely refreshing, making it an ideal wine to sip on its own. Harmonious and exceptionally well balanced, it is one of those wines that you find yourself coming back to again and again. Hugel really knocked it out of the park with the dazzling 2016.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
VN 90

2016 Delas Freres "Saint-Esprit" Côtes du Rhône Rouge
Review Date: 01-02-2018
If you haven't had a 2016 from the Rhône yet, this is the perfect place to start. Priced right and delicious from beginning to end, this is a go-to red if there ever was one. Offering up lush, expressive red and black fruit, a solid backbone of acidity, and engaging notes of mocha, espresso, and a suggestion of tobacco, it's hard to believe it can be had under the $10 mark. For those who love easy-going, soft, and plush reds with a velvety delivery, the "St-Esprit" is right on the money. Go ahead and buy a case, as this is a 2016 to return to again and again.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
DC 95