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Staff Favorites - Kaj Stromer

Kaj Stromer

Reviews

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2017 Jacky Blot Domaine de la Taille Aux Loups "Remus" Montlouis Sur Loire
Review Date: 03-22-2019
I first heard the name Jacky Blot while on a buying trip through France. Everywhere we went along the Loire, the name Jacky Blot would pop up. But it wasn’t till I returned to the US that I finally got a chance to try his wines. I was immediately charmed by them and understood why there was so much buzz about this producer. This is easily the qualitative equivalent of a 1er Cru white Burgundy. I’d argue that the Jacky Blot style, which I consider atypical for Loire Valley Chenin, can easily substitute anywhere you’d serve a Chassagne or Puligny-Montrachet. They are now a staple in my wine collection and I’ve converted a number customers who now devotees. Time for you to get on board with this incredibly fascinating Loire Valley producer.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JG 90

2015 Domaine l'Oiselet Vacqueyras
Review Date: 03-14-2019
Something about this wine really brought me back in time to remind me how much I enjoy Southern Rhone wines. I started drinking Chateauneuf-du-Pape as I came of age as a young man in the greater New York City area. However, I didn’t really know what it was. It came in a cool bottle, tasted good, and was fun to say. Fast forward to the start of my wine career when the 1998 vintage reached our shores. I was blown away by the overall quality and complexity of the wines. Most importantly, they just seemed to mesh with my palate. This caused an intrigue on my part which had me exploring every nook and cranny in the greater southern Rhone. I tasted through all the villages and quickly realized how wonderful the Vacqueyras wines were. Not only could they compete in quality, they also possessed an elegance and grace I’d not come across before. Best of all, the affordable prices of these wines made them hard to ignore. All that ran through my mind as I tasted this wine recently. I strongly suggest you check it out. Drink it or age it. It’ll go the distance.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$14.99
RP 88 - 90

2016 Scattered Peaks Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 03-06-2019
This is text book Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon being offered at a monumentally attractive price. The wine is simply gorgeous in the glass offering up ripe notes of black berries and a faint hint of cassis for added nuance. The flavors are all up front and quite generous. You kind of don’t need to overthink it. At $30, you can simply pull the cork, pour a full glass, and savor. The 2015 vintage was one of our best selling wines last year. Considering that 2016 is an even stronger vintage, I predict that history will repeat. Grab this while you can.
Price: $29.95 Add To Cart

2017 Tensley "Colson Canyon Vineyard" Santa Barbara County Syrah
Review Date: 03-06-2019
Joey Tensely and I both started in the wine business in the late 90's. Since then, he’s become a staple of the Central Coast wine scene, turning some of the areas best Syrah based wines. Accolades and critical reviews have been bestowed upon his wines in regular fashion. The praise has all been well earned. The Colson Canyon Syrah holds a dear place in his heart as he was able to acquire it in 2016 though he’s been making fruit from it since 2000. This wine is a real class act representing all I love about varietally correct Syrah. The wine has all the tell tale dark fruits, hints of baking spice, cocoa, and just a faint wiff of bacon. It’s silky smooth in your mouth but leaves a trail on your palate to savor for minutes. This is one more reason why Joey's wines always sell out.

2012 Glenelly 'Estate Reserve' Bordeaux Blend Stellenbosch
Review Date: 03-06-2019
This amazing red blend from South Africa is a dead ringer for a left bank Bordeaux but with a twist. Slightly evolved notes of Cabernet Sauvignon ooze from the glass with classic mineral, lead pencil, spice box, and dark red berries. Hints of blueberries come through revealing the heavy addition of Syrah (38%). The longer this wine sat in my glass, the more interesting it became. It’s clearly a wine of excellent pedigree made by a skilled wine-making team. It's medium to full weight, with ripe but firm tannins, and a long intriguing finish. I would highly recommend this wine to Cabernet and Bordeaux enthusiasts. At $19.99 it represents incredible value.
Price: Hidden View Price
JS 91 WS 90

2014 Wild Horse "Cheval Sauvage" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 02-21-2019
There has never been a better time in our history to drink Chardonnay from the USA. Winemakers have honed their craft and fine tuned their vineyards over many years resulting in the best Chardonnays in our nation’s history. We were pleasantly shocked when we got to taste and make an offer on this excellent white from the venerable Wild Horse winery. The fruit is sourced from top Santa Maria vineyards and aged 15 months in 100% French oak of which 45% is new. The wine has really come together with a few years in bottle. There is great complexity on both the nose and the palate. It’s quite the luxurious blend of ripe pears, spice, crème brulee, vanilla, and lemon zest. I’d pair this wine with pork roast and apple compote. This is one of the most spectacular white wine offers we’ll make this year. Purchase by the case.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WE 93

2015 Bodegas Norton "Privada" Family Blend Mendoza
Review Date: 02-20-2019
Argentina has firmly staked its reputation on producing stylish bold reds at seemingly impossibly low prices. The Privada bottling from Bodegas Norton is a perfect example of that. Sourced from their oldest vineyards, where the vines range in age from 50 – 90 years, this Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot blend can easily compete with wines twice its price. I love how it glides across the palate leaving a trail of red berries, cocoa powder, and just a touch of mint. I would strongly recommend this wine to anyone who’s looking for a full-bodied red without hard or edgy tannins.

2016 Sans Liege "The Offering" Santa Barbara County Rhône Blend
Review Date: 02-20-2019
Curt Schalchlin has produced the prototypical American Rhone-style blend. He’s managed to capture all that luscious California fruit that informs you where the wine is from while somehow keeping it deceptively light on its feet. Curt’s reputation precedes him as one who creates singularly-styled wines sourced from top quality vineyards throughout the central coast. “The Offering” is the perfect representation of his vision. Intriguing aromatics of dark ripe berries, roasted herbs, with spice box and cigar wrapper rise from the glass. On the palate the wine surprises you as it makes landfall on your tongue. There’s a wave of complexity and richness that skates across your palate while somehow maintaining impressive freshness and lift.
Price: Hidden View Price
WS 94

2017 Domaine du Petit Clocher Anjou Blanc
Review Date: 01-17-2019
The buyers at K&L are constantly on the prowl for great value wines. The Petite Clocher is a perfect example of succeeding at that quest. Quite frankly, I was stunned by this little Chenin Blanc overachiever. Both the whites and the reds of Anjou provide exceptional values when compared to their peers along the Loire river. This beauty packs a ton of juicy peach and pear fruit framed by just enough acidity to keep it bright, fresh, and lively on the palate. I can see this being the perfect mid-week wine to accompany a host of lighter dishes; seafood or poultry. This is an immensely satisfying wine that simply defies the price. You’d be well served to put a six-pack in your pantry as your house go-to white; while supplies last.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2017 Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 01-10-2019
This is indeed a most complex and refreshing "best buy" wine! I was particularly impressed by this Kiwi white on account of its demure nature. At first whiff it seems somewhat reticent but with a little coaxing you start to notice that this wine packs quite a varied personality. While you get some of the tell-tale grapefruit and citrus notes, it’s the herbal, Thai basil notes that really caught my attention. Like music, I prefer wines that take a little paying attention to in order to find out their many hidden charms.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
VN 91 WS 91

2016 Domaine des Escaravailles "La Ponce" Rasteau
Review Date: 01-08-2019
I first learned about this winery many years ago from a client of mine. He had the wine recommended to him by the sommelier at a well respected restaurant. I ordered a case for my client and he gave me a bottle to try. Considering that the market was saturated with southern Rhone wines, I could not initially understand why we needed another. However, once I tried the wine I immediately understood why this wine was such a stand out. With the steady hand of winemaker Philippe Cambie overseeing the process, Escaravailles produces distinctively delicious southern Rhone blends. This Grenache / Syrah combo offers up beautiful red fruits intermingled with hints of dark chocolate, licorice and spice. The wine possesses real power and will benefit from either a few winters in the cellar or an hour long wake in the decanter. This wine is sure to please either in its youth or with some age.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JD 95 RP 93

2016 Guy Farge "Harmonie" Cornas
Review Date: 01-08-2019
Cornas has traditionally been known as the rustic little brother to the more regal Cote-Rotie and Hermitage appellations. But much has changed over the years in how winemakers approach the rugged, steep slopes of Cornas. It’s an eye-opening experience to taste the new wave of wines being released from this famed, but sometimes overlooked appellation. The wines of Guy Farge capture this movement brilliantly. The first thing that strikes you with this wine is copious amounts of blue and black berries. Following closely behind you get spice notes along with the tell-tale sanguine aromatics that allude to meat; specifically ham and bacon. Bringing up the rear the wine delivers hints of blue flowers and a just a touch of black olives. This wine makes a strong argument why you should be drinking (buying) more Northern Rhone Syrah, specifically Cornas. Count me in.

2016 Chateau de L'Ou "Infiniment" Côtes Catalanes Rouge
Review Date: 12-04-2018
The Cotes Catalan is one of the more beautiful wine regions in France. The long rolling hills sit in the shadows of the mighty Pyrenees mountains that geographically split Spain from France in the west with the Mediterranean sea to the south east. The land here is created by the rise and fall of land masses. The resulting terroir is well suited for making profound wines at truly ridiculously low prices. Though this is pure Syrah, the wine strikes me as a blend of northern & southern Rhone wine. There’s plenty of fresh fruit, structure, and substance to make this a serious wine. But it’s sufficiently easy to drink making it something you can enjoy any night of the week.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JD 94

2016 Allram Grüner Veltliner "Renner 1ÖTW" Kamptal
Review Date: 12-04-2018
A little over a decade ago, Gruner Veltliner became the darling of the wine world. Suddenly, wine lists at the best restaurants were dominated by Gruners at the expense of richer and rounder Chardonnay’s. Though the overall consumer demand for Gruner never quite caught up with the intellectual enthusiasm, we did get exposed to an amazing array of wines. Gruners tend to be both racy and complex; with notes of lime, citrus, white pepper, and a touch of fresh herbs. The acidity in the wine is palate cleansing which makes it a perfect companion to richer foods, even the classic schnitzel. However, it will pair just as well with patés and salumi platters and fresh water fish preparations. This is a classically styled wine worthy of your attention.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
DC 97 JS 92

2016 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "La Réserve d'O" Terrasses du Larzac
Review Date: 11-28-2018
This is a fascinating hypothetical hybrid of a Northern Rhone meets Southern Rhone wine. You can clearly discern aspects from both regions. With nearly equal parts of Syrah and Grenache (rounded out with Cinsault), each noble varietal gets a chance to offer its own imprint on the wine. Hints of blueberries, strawberries, minerality, and herbs come forth from the glass. My notes kept switching from a “poor man’s” Crozes-Hermitage to a “poor man’s” Chateauneuf-du-Pape. In either case, this represents a tremendous value at the price point for either type of wine. I give this a strong “buy” recommendation.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2012 Miguel Merino Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-28-2018
This is the first time I’ve tasted wines from Miguel Merino and I now consider myself a fan. Miguels wines seem to balance the tight rope between the two dominant styles or Rioja; classic and modern. The wines are well made with fruit that is clean, sleek, and focused like a modern Rioja. On the palate the elegance lends itself toward the classic style. Pure black and red cherry drives the aromatics along with hints of vanilla and coconut. There’s a Pinot Noir like sensibility to the wine. It’s silky and smooth with a long lingering finish. The wine harkens you back for another whiff and another taste. This wine is exactly what I'd expect of a Reserva level bottling and will be easy to recommend. Bravo Mr. Merino.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine de la Fruitière "Gneiss de Bel Abord" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie
Review Date: 11-28-2018
A few years ago I noticed that several very highly regarded winemakers were placing internet orders for some of our top Muscadets. I made a few phone calls to see what their interest level was. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that these top wine pros simply loved the wines. Also, they all remarked that they cellar their Muscadets for years. Since then I’ve been a card carrying enthusiast of these fantastically delicious whites that still fly under the radar of most collectors. The pedigree of this wine belies its price tag. Though often considered (dismissed as?) light and refreshing, you can really sense the structure and complexity of this wine. This is a seriousness wine whose citrus and mineral character can be enjoyed now or over the next many years.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2017 Averaen Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-23-2018
This small, independent Oregon Pinot Noir specialist is a spinoff from the wildly popular Banshee wines. They are producing high-quality, value-driven Pinot that’s just a pleasure to drink. Oregon Pinot Noir has come a long way over the last two decades and the proof is in the bottle. Over time the vines have gained age, which results in wines of greater complexity and richness. This is the kind of Pinot Noir you want to be serving with your holiday bird, salmon, and even some red meat dishes. The wine shows exceptional structure, focus, and juicy red fruit.
Price: $19.95 Add To Cart
VN 91

2016 Passopisciaro "Passorosso" Etna Rosso Sicilia
Review Date: 11-07-2018
The rosso wines of Etna have an unmistakable and alluring blend of herbs and smokiness. They tend to hint at other grapes you’re more familiar with (Grenache?) but ultimately stand on their own. I had the chance to visit the area in 2016 and was wildly impressed by the lay of the land. While there was much debate over who had the best terroir, I was struck by the overall variety of styles and enamored of the varietals. It’s quite an amazing experience to walk these vineyards while watching plumes of smoke ooze from the mountain top. That visual really creates a special feeling. So does this wine!
Price: $31.99 Add To Cart
RP 91 WE 91

2017 Stolpman "Para Maria" Santa Barbara County Red Blend
Review Date: 11-07-2018
There may not be another reference point wine for Syrah & Petit Verdot blends but the talented team at Stolpman Vineyards pulls this one off with flying colors. The deep and sultry blue fruits of Syrah are given additional structure, depth, and complexity when combined with Petit Verdot. To offset the potential brooding nature of this wine, they employ the use of whole-cluster carbonic maceration. The net effect of this is to give the wine lifted aromatics and greater freshness on the palate. I’m really impressed how this one came together. I’ll be serving this at my house for the next several months or as long as we have stock. This is another exceptional achievement from team Stolpman.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
VN 92 - 95

2015 Cave de Tain "Grand Classique" Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 11-06-2018
The wonderful thing about a Crozes is all that Hermitage goodness without all that Hermitage price tag. This baby Hermitage is impressive to say the least. The wine has real polish and class well above its price tag. For a mere $20 you effectively get all that delicious Syrah charm in a glass of wine that’s pretty much ready to drink today. There’s a subtle hint of spice, blueberries, and licorice on the nose. The palate is seamless with well integrated fruit. The finish is long and pleasing. Give this wine a chance to breathe as it only got better with air.

2008 Clynelish 10 Year Old "Signatory" K&L Exclusive 1st Fill Bourbon Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-01-2018
After being blown away by our Clynelish 14 Year Old I became quite intrigues when introduced to the 10 year Signatory bottling. A scant 224 bottles were produced of this Bourbon Barrel aged Highland single malt. There’s a surprising amount of fruitiness on the nose; from apple to pear to orange peel. It’s a veritable fruit bowl. Of course, it’s all so subtle and well integrated. The Clynelish pedigree is proudly on display here and the folks at Signatory surely know how to raise a proper whisky. I’m a big fan of this one.
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

2015 de Landiras Rouge, Graves
Review Date: 10-31-2018
Over the course of this year I’ve tasted more exciting Bordeaux than I can remember. Most of these wines are not household names and they tend to be screaming good values. The Chateau de Landiras is a perfect of example. At a mere $15 this wine delivers everything I’d hope for from a quality Bordeaux. On the nose you get roasted coffee notes, cassis, and just an overall sense of pedigree. The wine is totally accessible for early drinking. This is another example of the heights that were reached for value Bordeaux in the soon to be legendary 2015 vintage.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 Xanadu "DJL" Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 10-31-2018
If you’re an enthusiast of Cabernet Sauvignon then you need to know the wines of Australia’s famed Margaret River. As much as Australia is known for some of its over-sized reds, the wines from Margaret River excel as examples of grace and charm. On the nose the wine gives forth textbook aromas of black currants and eucalyptus. The wine is medium-bodied and could even hold a light chill. This is a perfect wine to pair with herbed rack of lamb or hearty fall stews.

2014 d'Arenberg "The Dead Arm" Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia
Review Date: 10-18-2018
I used to call this wine the “poor mans” Grange. But there is nothing poverty about this wine as it totally stands up to the best of its kind. The Dead Arm is the kind of Shiraz that others tried to duplicate but seldom could. The wine possesses all the rich bold, dark fruit you come to expect from Aussie Shiraz but it's also perfectly balanced with a finesse the likes of which only truly great wines possess. You can approach this wine now but it will slumber soundly in your cellar for years to come if you chose. In which case, please call me when you open it. This is a real achievement.

2015 Black Slate "Porrera" Priorat
Review Date: 10-18-2018
One really has to laugh when you taste the wine and look at the price. How do they do it?! Regardless, you need to run, not walk, to grab some of this ASAP. The wine is wildly aromatic on the nose with all kinds of spice and dark fruits. It’s an inky dark little beast but perfectly balanced on the palate. I could drink several glasses of this and not get bored. I can see serving this with hearty dishes like cassoulet or a hearty stews. This is an amazing value.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
JD 93 RP 91

2014 Ramey "Platt Vineyard" Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 10-18-2018
David Ramey has been one of my wine making hero’s since his days at Dominus and Rudd. After a long spell of making others look great he eventually founded his eponymously named winery and earned all the accolades he rightfully deserves. The ’14 Platt Vineyard Chardonnay is one of the most exciting white wines he’s made in years. I was dazzled by its freshness and nerve. For me, it was a dead ringer for a 1er cru Chassagne-Montrachet. It’s wines like this that make us hold our heads up high knowing that California produces such world class wine. Bravo David!
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 95 WE 93

2017 Gaia Estate "Thalassitis" Assyrtiko Santorini Greece
Review Date: 10-11-2018
I realized that the Greek wine renaissance began years ago when I started to see real wines of character and pedigree being offered by quality importers. The next generation of Greek winemakers have really raised the bar on what has been happening there and these wines have been hitting our shores for about a decade. The most intriguing and impressive white grape of Greece is Santorinis Assyrtiko. To me it tastes like a hypothetical cross between a premier cru Chablis and a top flight Albarino. It possesses great texture, almost chalky. With zesty acidity, a touch a citrus, and that mouth-watering savory character that keeps you coming back for another sip every time. This is not the touristy libation of old. This is serious wine from one of the most gorgeous places on earth.
Price: $31.99 Add To Cart
RP 95 WE 90

2016 Jeff Carrel "Les Darons" Languedoc Rouge
Review Date: 10-11-2018
One of the best parts of this job is finding insane values like this one. We all know that the Languedoc is a treasure trove for spectacular values and our man Keith can really ferret them out. I strongly recommend you to put a case of this in your pantry and drink a bottle every Tuesday night. This Grenache blend will pair perfectly with simple savory fare. If you get company you can open bottle after bottle to standing ovation and you’ll be smiling inside about the ridiculously low price you paid. The wine is a field of strawberry fruit, intermingled with some roasted herbs, pepper, and a long silky finish. Consider me a fan.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
JD 91

2016 Casa Castillo Monastrell Jumilla
Review Date: 10-11-2018
Once upon a time…it’s wines like this that made me fall in love with wines from Spain in the first place. I started drinking their wines as far back as the ’98 vintage; the single vineyard Las Gravas. I considered this a great value way back when and as far as I can remember it was about the same price! I’ve had the fortunate pleasure of visiting the property twice and have fond memories of eating the greatest almonds I’ve ever tasted as well as rabbit paella served to us at the winery. We washed the paella down with bottles of their glorious Monastrell. I love the combination of dark berries, wood spice, a touch of earth, and the suave tannins. This is another colossal effort from the finest property in all of Jumilla.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2016 d'Arce, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 10-11-2018
In the middle of a substantial line-up of Bordeaux, the ’16 d’Arche was a stand out for many of the staff. I had to double check my tasting sheet for the price. $20 is a wonderfully low tariff to pay for a wine of such quality. This is the kind of wine that’s going to win over an entirely new generation of fans to Bordeaux. The wine possesses good structure (consisting of 90% Merlot) but it’s still accessible enough to drink now. The 10% Cabernet Franc lends a helping hand adding a secondary level of aromatic complexity and flavor beyond the gorgeous primary red berry fruit from the Merlot. I strongly recommend this wine.

2013 Andrew Will "Sorella" Horse Heaven Hills Red Blend
Review Date: 10-09-2018
Coming fresh off our Grand Bordeaux tasting of last week, I thought it a fascinating study to revisit this top Bordeaux style blend from Washington State. Andrew Will has a solid reputation for making world class Bordeaux style blends and this wine is no exception. It captures what I love about Bordeaux; notes of tobacco, red and black currant, and a touch of toasty oak. But it also reveals its uniqueness-of-place in how it incorporates its access to a long warm growing season. Ultimately, you wind up with a wine that suggests a top flight Pauillac (Lynch-Bages?) being made in the new world. I would recommend you decant this wine for an hour in advance but feel free to open and serve as it is accessible at five years old. Very impressive indeed. I must second the words of critic John Gilman, “A great wine in the making.” Thought it might be there now!

2017 Orin Swift "Eight Years in the Desert" California Red Blend
Review Date: 10-02-2018
As was to be expected, the wine doesn’t miss a trick in terms of what you expect from a top flight California Zinfandel blend made by one of our most talented wine makers. To taste this is to understand what David Phinney has been conceptualizing over for 8 long years. First of all, the wine is incredibly complex. This Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah blend packs in a world of flavor from dark ripe berries and plums, to hints of forest floor, herbs, and a touch of chocolate and mocha. Though the wine is jam packed with highly delicious goodness, it somehow defies the laws of gravity by simply gliding across your palate. But be warned, pack your toothbrush as it will stain your teeth purple!
Price: $44.95 Add To Cart

2016 Ridge Vineyards "Geyserville" Alexander Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 09-05-2018
It was a bottle of 1990 Ridge Geyserville that first opened my eyes to the majesty of California wine. I was a burgeoning wine enthusiast living in NJ and hadn't been exposed to much high quality California wine. But my local merchant put one of these in my cart and opened up a new world for me. The very first sip just blew my mind. The copious fruit, the perfectly proportioned frame, the exceptionally long finish. I’ve been a fan of this wine ever since. The 2016 vintage brought back memories of that wine epiphany. I’ll surely be putting a few of these away for future drinking. So good!

2017 Tablas Creek "Patelin de Tablas" Paso Robles Rosé
Review Date: 09-04-2018
It only makes sense that one of the pioneers of French Rhone-style wines in America would also make one of our finest rosés. The Tablas Creek winery is steeped in the tradition of the wines from Southern France. This classic Grenache, Mourvedre, Counoise and Syrah blend embodies the best of Provencal rosé. The wine is fresh, delightfully fruity, with just a touch of minerality and enough acidity to keep it light on the palate. This continues to be, vintage after vintage, one of the best rosés from California.

2017 Tablas Creek "Patelin de Tablas Blanc" Paso Robles White Rhône Blend
Review Date: 08-30-2018
I believe that white Rhone-style wines should and could dominate the white wine market; especially when they’re as good as these wines. The mélange of white grapes conspire to create such juicy, complex, and distinctive wines, it’s really hard not to love them. The incredible complexity of the wine comes from the unique and distinct parts that make up much more than the sum of the distinct parts. The result is a floral bouquet with wafts of light citrus and melon. This wine is hard not to fall in love with. I would recommend serving it with an avocado salad, a simple roast chicken, or a traditional bouillabaisse.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
VN 91 RP 90

2015 Tablas Creek "Patelin de Tablas" Paso Robles Rhône Blend
Review Date: 08-30-2018
I’m a long-time and die-hard fan of Southern Rhone wines. For my money they are some of the most compelling and food-friendly wines made. The Perrin family of Beaucastel fame have paved the way in Paso Robles with their Tablas Creek winery, specializing in southern Rhone-style wines. The Patelin rouge for me embodies the hallmark of these wines. They’re savory, fruit-driven, spicy, complex, and built for early drinking. Dark berries, roasted herbs, a touch of saddle leather all combine to make this one delicious wine. I’m loading up for the coming cooler seasons to serve alongside beef and lamb stews made from my slow cooker. You should be doing the same.

2017 Château de la Negly "La Côte" Languedoc Rouge
Review Date: 08-29-2018
I'd argue that the Chateau de la Negly is the seminal wine producer in the Languedoc. I was first introduced to their wines back in the early 2000s when I had the opportunity to taste their flagship wines, La Porte du Ciel and Le Clos des Truffiers. These two wines heralded the arrival of world class wine from the Languedoc. Both have a history of scoring 95-100 points! The La Cote bottling carries the rigor and the pedigree of its more expensive bigger siblings but for a wallet-friendly $15. The wine is dense purple in hue with a mélange of blueberry and baking spice on the nose. I love what this wine offers in terms of complexity and flat-out deliciousness!

2017 Don Rodolfo "Art of the Andes" Pinot Noir Mendoza
Review Date: 08-29-2018
Finding quality Pinot Noir around $10 a bottle is one of the great challenges of a wine buyer. Challenge met! This little overachiever from Mendoza has all the telltale signs of varietally correct Pinot Noir. Red cherries and wood spice frame this medium-weight wine. It's silky on the palate, offering up just a touch of herbal aromatics adding in a touch of complexity. Do not accept cheap imitations. This is real wine made by real people. Enjoy!
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart
JS 90

2016 Bodegas Peique "Valle del Cúa" Mencía Bierzo
Review Date: 08-22-2018
The region of Bierzo has been on the wine-insiders radar from some time now. Located in northwestern Spain, just east of Galicia, Bierzo specializes in the Mencia varietal. This has fast become a hot-item varietal. Mencia reminds of a more elegant style of Syrah missing some of the meatiness often associated with it. It has a more subtle aromatic profile than Syrah while being reminiscent of its dark berry and pepper aspect. This is quite a bit of wine for the money. For a mere $15 you get a wine of pedigree, distinction, and place.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

2015 Roserock (Drouhin Oregon) Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-22-2018
French soul, Oregon soil. The Drouhin family of Burgundy have done it again. Their Rose Rock estate in the Eola-Amity Hills region produces wines of exception finesse and style. I’ve long been a fan of their more famous Dundee Hills Pinot Noirs but this wine really caught my attention. You can sense the classic Oregon terroir driven by ancient volcanic soils. But the elegance and silkiness of the wine is a direct result of the Burgundian influence. Dark berry preserves, dried flowers, and a touch of wood spice combine to make this one of the more compelling Pinot Noirs in the attractive price range.

2016 The Crusher California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-22-2018
This wine does not need a long story about its history or pedigree. Instead, all you need to know is that for $10 this is an amazingly delicious bottle of Pinot Noir. Prior to tasting this wine, I would have told you that no such thing existed. Anyone used to drinking quality Pinot Noir will be amazed by the bright red cherry aromatics followed by a lovely mouthfeel that captures the silky elegance of Pinot Noir. So, I’m not asking too many questions. I’m just pulling another cork and pouring another glass.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2015 Josmeyer "Le Dragon" Riesling Alsace (Organic; Biodynamic)
Review Date: 08-22-2018
Alsace is one of the most scenic and historic regions in France. They have a long tradition of wine making but don’t quite receive the attention they deserve. Josmeyer has been producing wine here for six generations and as of 2004 practice fully organic and bio-dynamic viti-culture. The resulting wine captures the essence of Riesling. The wine is dry displaying tell tale notes of zesty citrus and a touch of minerality. Medium weight on the palate with good long persistence and energy. I’m quite fond of this wine and would strongly urge you try a bottle. I think it’s a brilliant example of what Josmeyer and the region of Alsace are capable of.

2015 Antech "Cuvée Héritage 1860" Cremant de Limoux
Review Date: 08-22-2018
The sparkling wines of Limoux continue to be giant beaters. I’ve long been a fan of these wines as the best alternative to Champagne. As an alternative to their more spectacular and more expensive cousins from Champagne, the wines of Limoux offer a Champagne taste profile that’s both celebratory and food friendly. The 1860 Heritage cuvée combines fresh fruit aromas, a fine mouse, exquisite balance and a long, long finishes that leaves behind hints of fresh apples and pears.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
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2011 Roda I Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 08-15-2018
While this wine is ultimately firmly rooted in Rioja style, I initially thought the wine’s aromatics and flavor profile were more in line with the more muscular wines of Ribera del Duero. However, with a little aeration in the glass, the wine eventually revealed its true Rioja charm. I like how this wine deftly combines the classic old school elegance of traditional Rioja with just a little more punch and power. The wine has muscle but is balanced quite nicely. You can drink it now (decant!) or hold for another 5+ years. You will be rewarded either way.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart
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2016 Villa Poggio Salvi Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 08-01-2018
Though only a few dollars more than their Caspagnolo (which I thoroughly enjoyed), the Rosso di Montalcino is a big step up in the realm of serious wine. The drinker gets added complexity with savory notes and a deeper, darker tone. I particularly enjoyed the black cherry component framed by a touch of cedar. This category of wine tends to be one of our most requested. I now know that I’ll be recommending this bottle on a regular basis. Plus I’ll be bringing home a few for myself. It’s hard to fathom how you get this much quality wine for a mere $15 dollars.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2017 Villa Poggio Salvi "Caspagnolo" Chianti Colli Senesi
Review Date: 08-01-2018
This little wine transports you to the heart of Tuscany. While sipping this red beauty you can imagine you’re in a local trattoria enjoying a simple lunch while looking at the rolling hillsides. Time has stopped, or at least left your mind. All that matters is the moment; a plate of meat and cheese, rustic bread, a good friend, casual conversation, all washed down with a lovely local wine like this. Ciao!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
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2017 Torti Pinot Noir Pavia
Review Date: 08-01-2018
I was immediately impressed with this wine based on the aromatics alone. You are greeted by a waft of fresh, bright bowl of red cherries and strawberries. The wine is reasonably translucent revealing an elegant, medium-weight body. Freshly picked, juicy cherries are expressed on the palate followed by a long slow finish that begs for the next sip. I can’t remember the last time I tasted a value driven Italian Pinot Noir that was this flat out delicious. I’m putting several bottles in the cupboard for casual Tuesday night dinners.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Cristom "Estate" Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-25-2018
I’ve been a fan of the Cristom Pinot Noir’s ever since I tasted my first bottle in 1996 at the Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. While the setting couldn’t be beat the wine held its own. I was dining at a Swiss restaurant at the hotel. The waiter recommended it to pair with my first foray into the Swiss delicacy of Raclette; melted cheese scraped onto a plate of boiled potatoes, pickled onions, and cornishons. I’ll never forget that meal, or that wine. This is a world class Pinot Noir producer.

2015 Montes Alpha Pinot Noir Aconcagua Coast
Review Date: 07-18-2018
Beautiful aromatics of fresh strawberries and red cherries fill the glass. Hints of rose petals follow adding a subtle floral note. The wine is medium weight on the palate with fresh ripe berry character. Additionally, the wine reveals hints of forest floor and wood spice adding additional levels of complexity. This wine seems a hypothetical cross between Russian River Valley and Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. I’m amazed at the level of quality of this wine. I’ve been a fan of the Montes Alpha wines for quite some time and their popularity is well deserved. Such high quality Pinot Noir at this price point is nearly impossible to match.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
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