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Staff Favorites - Will Blakely

Will Blakely

Reviews

1999 Finest Orkney (Highland Park) 18 Year Old "John Milroy" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 02-03-2019
A rare treat at an unbelievable price. It starts with a sea breeze and soft golden malt on the nose, with a whisper of smoke. Then all at once the taste blows you away - rich and complex with ample smoke. Earthy citrus, dried fruit, sweet cereal, decadent fudge play like a symphony on the palate with saline, fennel and spice as counterpoint. This feels bright and concentrated, youthful even, but with a sophisticated finish that can only come with age.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2016 Chateau de la Charriere Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Beaune
Review Date: 02-03-2019
These wines are always such a pleasure to drink. Cherry blossoms and underbrush on the nose. Ripe cherry and juicy cranberry give way to flavors of deep earth and subtle spice. The finish is long and satisfying. Exquisite wine for a reasonable price.​
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

Maker's Mark 46 "K&L Exclusive Barrel #906" Private Select Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 02-03-2019
One of the most rich and dense barrels of Maker's I've had the pleasure of tasting. First whiffs evoke mocha and spice with just a hint of vanilla and leather. The taste of rich, candied fruit is balanced nicely by rye spice and well curated heat. But that's not all - there's tons of vanilla, caramel and fudge throughout. The finish brings a buttery sweetness and warming cinnamon. I highly encourage you to pick one up before they're gone.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

Knob Creek 9 Year Old K&L Exclusive Single Barrel #7022 Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 01-29-2019
These days it's almost impossible to find such a mature bourbon for this reasonable a price --the bottle says 9 years old, but the barrel we selected is closer to 14 years old. That age is evident in the whiskey's color, aromas and taste. Cinnamon, allspice and robust wood dominate the nose, with a warm undercurrent of vanilla. Caramelized dark sugar and toasted oak coat the palate, but with a richness and nuance from its extra years in the barrel.​ At 120 proof, it's hot, but it feels more deft and approachable than the ABV would lead you to believe. Still, a splash of water cracks it wide open, revealing lush figs and dates and illuminating a nutty quality nestled in the wood. This is the sort of whisky that evokes leather armchairs, lacquered wood and a faint suggestion of cigar smoke--the cultured side of cask strength bourbon.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2016 MWC (McPherson Wine Co.) Shiraz/Mourvèdre Victoria
Review Date: 01-26-2019
Such a delightful discovery. Majority Shiraz with just enough Mourvedre to elevate, this wine is astoundingly elegant. Dense, ripe blackberries and a kiss of cocoa dominate at first, but soft earth and black tea tannins follow quickly behind. Pepper and a refreshing herbal finish keep it consistently interesting, and I found myself wishing I had bought a second bottle.

Dérot-Delugny "Cuvée Fondateurs" Brut
Review Date: 01-23-2019
Being 100% Pinot Gris makes this an oddity, but it is certainly not a gimmick. This is serious, world-class champagne. Vivid aromas of ripe apple and citrus blossom fly out of the glass, and the complexity therein is immediately apparent. Apples, pears and nectarines strike the palate accompanied by bright acid and further wake the senses. The finish brings crisp limestone and a supple, mouth-coating texture. One of the most unique bottles for the price, and its quality is unquestionable.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine Baud Poulsard "En Rougemont" Côtes du Jura Rouge
Review Date: 01-17-2019
When I first saw the wine's color - diffuse garnet or dark amber - I was concerned that it would lack concentration. This wine made a fool of me in seconds, and I am so grateful for it. The texture is crisp and fine, but the flavors are vivid and intense. Juicy, tart strawberries, cured meat and rich earth coalesce into something impossibly fresh and deceptively complex. I cannot recommend this highly enough, especially to fans of the funkier parts of Burgundy.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2015 Château du Hureau "Tuffe" Saumur-Champigny
Review Date: 01-17-2019
A consummate case for the influence of terroir on wine, this exudes minerals and dense earth. On the nose, a noticeable but pleasant brett gives way to ripe raspberries and dark cherries. Smoke, mocha and peppery earth remain present throughout, but are complimented beautifully by youthful acid. With about 30 minutes of air, the floral tones and bright fruit intensify, while the brett fades into the background, providing just enough gamey character to keep things interesting. It has grown exceedingly difficult to find such serious, complex wine at this price point, so I am always pleased to find bottles like this.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
JG 92

2016 Domaine du Petit Clocher Anjou Rouge
Review Date: 01-17-2019
A classic Cabernet Franc at an affordable price, this wine was an instant favorite for the staff. Pepper, herbs and underbrush merge seemlessly with dark berries, mouthwatering acidity and firm tannins. The finish is remarkably light but long. I can see this pairing perfectly with grilled poultry, pepper-crusted meat, or just an evening spent under a blanket escaping the winter weather.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine de la Chaboissière Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie
Review Date: 01-17-2019
Such an expressive wine is a triumph for the minimal intervention movement. I was immediately struck by the gorgeous citrus tone on the nose. That character continued on the palate with the addition of green apple and a slightly creamy texture. The wine remains lithe and refreshing through the finish, where you get a definite sense of the lees it sits on in tank. The acid here is perfect - energetic but not overbearing - and along with the impressive mineral backbone, makes this wine a dream with oysters.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2000 Velier Caroni 17 Year Old "High Proof" Trinidad Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 01-10-2019
This Caroni is truly one of the most special bottles I've had the pleasure of tasting, and it's yet another example of how varied and insanely good rum can be. It drinks like a similarly aged whisky, but with aromas and flavors malted barley just can't produce. On the nose, passionfruit, persimmons, ginger and spice dance an elegant ballet with just a hint of rubber. The texture is gorgeous, filling the palate with fruit, savory wood and well integrated spice. A dash of water explodes the aromatics and softens the edges. Banana leaves, citrus flowers, pineapple and meat - all mingling perfectly inside a structure of toasted oak and just a touch of smoke. Whether you're trying to transition from whisky to rum, or you just need your next rum fix, this bottle is definitely worth your time.
Price: $199.99 Add To Cart

2014 Leeuwin Estate "Prelude" Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River
Review Date: 01-10-2019
This entry level Cabernet from easily one of the top producers in the region showcases the exceptional quality and impressive value of wines coming out of the Margaret River Valley. The trademark minerality and silty earth tones are ever present, accompanied by lush, dark berries and a bright, peppery finish. It is consistently difficult to find such polished, expressive cabs for under $20, but Leeuwin has pulled it off once again.

2016 Quinta da Boa Esperança Vinho Regional Lisboa
Review Date: 01-05-2019
Yet another reminder that Portugal offers some of the best wine values in the world. Cool and crisp, this makes a perfect pairing with seafood dishes or cheese and charcuterie. Peach, cantaloupe and lemon zest washes over the palate, balanced by satisfying salinity and stony minerals. The finish, though remarkably long, evaporates with a refreshing flourish and entices you to drink more. I would compare this favorably with albariño for twice the price.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

Westward American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 11-29-2018
The gorgeous and effusive nose indicates this whisky has nothing to hide. White peach, sweet apricot and soft, pale wood paint a delightful picture of what you're going to taste. The sweetness of the malt is balanced by a hearty savory quality and sufficient salinity. Fruit, sage and perfectly integrated oak create something undeniably approachable and uniquely American. Truly a delight to taste.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
WE 94

Còdigo 1530 K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Anejo Tequila (750ml)
Review Date: 11-29-2018
This single barrel shows so much more depth and nuance than typical Anejo. Mint, lively spice, and sublimely integrated oak make this rich and full without feeling flabby. Vanilla, caramel, cinnamon and toasted wood delight the palate with a nutty finish. The texture is perfectly pleasant rather than mouth-coating or overly buttery. This would make a fantastic gift, but be sure to pick one up for yourself as well; this barrel won't last long.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

McKenzie Bottled-in-Bond Wheated Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 11-29-2018
From Larceny to Weller, David Nicholson to Pappy, wheated bourbon has always put a smile on my face. McKenzie's bottled-in-bond offering makes an impressive addition to the list. Alluring aromas of nuts, bananas and roasted corn make a pleasant enough first impression, but tasting this reveals a plethora of tropic fruits and soft spice. The sweet cereal grain is contrasted nicely by citrus peels and bright acid. With a good body and relatively long finish, this should fit nicely into any whisky collection.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

Còdigo 1530 K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Rosa Tequila (750ml)
Review Date: 11-29-2018
When I first heard of the Rosa, I was suspicious; red wine barrel aging sounded like to me like a gimmick, but the wine and the wood add a lot here. A touch of grape must and pepper on the nose immediately separates this from Codigo's Blanco, and the palate is quite a bit richer. Red berries and currant compliment the agave fruit beautifully. Capped off by a pleasant herbal finish, this makes for a fun and unique gift as well as a great bottle for the home bar.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

1996 Linkwood 21 Year Old "Signatory" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-24-2018
This 21 year boasts tremendous integration of sherry and malt. Dried fruit and a meaty backbone are the most prominent features at first. After opening up with air and water, however, this whisky really comes alive. Fresh green apple, golden peach and pear leap from the glass, but the structure does not falter one bit. Such a pleasure to drink - I cannot recommend this highly enough.
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart

1997 Hector Macbeth (Glenfiddich) 21 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-24-2018
There is a lot of life in this bottle for a whisky that is old enough to drink itself. Orange blossom and pleasant salinity on the nose make for a gracious, friendly introduction. There is also a subtle whiff of nutmeg and marmalade. Honeyed biscuits, creamy orange and a touch of cocoa envelop the palate in an exquisite texture that lingers indefinitely. With a few drops of water, the aromas explode from the glass, and the heat from spices surprisingly increases on the tongue, though is offset by sweet cereal and fresh mandarin. This packs a lot of delicate flavor into every drop without ever sacrificing balance or lift. Easily the best expression of Glenfiddich malt I've ever tasted.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

2017 Domaine du Petit Clocher Anjou Blanc
Review Date: 11-24-2018
There is a lot to enjoy here for a surprisingly low price. Expressive floral and citrus aromas meld with crisp green apple and vivid acidity, culminating in a powerful and lively finish. A slightly honeyed texture softens and offsets the harsher aspects of this wine's youth. If you're looking for a cheerful, full-flavored dry chenin, look no further.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

1995 Springbank 22 Year Old "Hunter Laing Old & Rare" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-19-2018
What a gem. A volatile and enticing nose akin to petrochemicals and pheromones greets you warmly and lets you know you're in for a wild ride. Every sip is like engineered joy. Banana, spiced meat, and dried flowers swirl amid smoke you barely notice until you're breathing fire. The finish is impossibly long, conjuring earth, herbs and a touch of red fruit. With water, the whisky takes on a whole new life - vibrant and youthful with a freshness and salinity that remind me of certain Speyside drams. The fruit here is exquisite, and the smoke only serves to enhance the plethora of complex flavors. If you have the opportunity, you owe it to yourself to pick up a bottle.
Price: $399.99 Add To Cart

2010 Ben Nevis 7 Year Old "Signatory" 1st Fill Bourbon Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-19-2018
At this price, a single barrel, cask strength Highland single malt is already a no-brainer. But considering the juice inside the bottle, this makes for a special treat. Right from the first sip, it features generous flavors of stone fruit and marmalade on brioche. Saline and roasted nuts add depth and contrast, painting a picture of a whisky that is both delicate and full-flavored. The ample spice and subtle herbal freshness make for an enjoyable and lingering finish. Each glass will have you asking, "what's the harm in another?"
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

2008 Mortlach 10 Year Old "Signatory" K&L Exclusive 1st Fill Bourbon Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-19-2018
Mortlach is definitely one of the more unusual and less known Speyside distilleries, but its pedigree is irrefutable. This 10 year single barrel shows all the characteristics of top tier Speyside Scotch. Savory spice and pleasant salinity frame a lively core of fruit and ginger. With a splash of water, this whisky shows its true colors. Impressively light despite intense flavors of green and tropical fruit, it finishes with impeccable freshness and a touch of citrus zest that begs you to revisit and pour yourself another glass.
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

2008 Clynelish 10 Year Old "Signatory" K&L Exclusive 1st Fill Bourbon Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-19-2018
Though typically used in blends, Clynelish always impresses me with its single malt releases. Even on the nose, the waxy quality that is exclusive to this distillery is readily apparent. It does not, however, overpower the delicate aromas of orchard flowers, citrus zest and honey. At first, the taste is primarily beeswax and stone fruit, wrapped in savory dough and dusted with almonds. But once you introduce water, the flavors expand miraculously - apples, peaches, pears and white pepper with a sweetly lingering finish. Truly a one-of-a-kind bottle.
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

2009 Caol Ila 8 Year Old "Signatory" K&L Exclusive Single Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-19-2018
For fans of Islay, Caol Ila should be a consistent feature in a well-stocked cabinet. This bottling is a singular example - an unadulterated expression of everything the distillery has to offer. The peat here is perfectly integrated, combining smoky mesquite wood, sea air and mossy earth. There is a subtle sweetness, with green fruit and vanilla wafting above a firm structure. A dose of water reveals further depth, with iodine and herbs entering the smoky fray balanced by ocean brine and a hint of lime essential oil. The flavors here are ndelible and inseparable. An exquisitely expressive dram.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

2016 Fèlsina Chianti Classico
Review Date: 10-18-2018
As expected from wine conceived in the Chianti Classico region, this was born to pair with food. Its lovely aromatics evoke the picturesque landscape in which the grapes are cultivated - cherry blossoms, rich soil and a hilltop breeze. The flavor fares even better; multi-faceted and properly integrated, it offers wild cherries and subtle sassafras that finishes in dense, earthy mocha. This vintage properly and thorouhly encapsulates everything that makes Tuscan Sangiovese such a timeless joy.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 93 RP 92

Compass Box Story of the Spaniard Blended Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 10-18-2018
This latest release from Compass Box reflects the mastery of their blending techniques in a bottle everyone can enjoy. Cozy scents of sea air, marzipan and apricot greet you immediately, imploring you to sit and savor the dram. Though relatively light in body, it provides impressive concentration of flavor. Its complex charactger pairs candied citrus and salty caramel with delicate spice and a savory finish. I consider myself fortunate to sample such a friendly, generous whisky; I encourage you to treat yourself to a taste.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

2015 Black Slate "Porrera" Priorat
Review Date: 10-18-2018
True to its name, the Black Slate opens with dark, dense aromas - mocha and cassis. On the palate, however, it shows supple texture and plush fruit, in addition to well-integrated tannin and spice from the oak influence. Boasting tremendous conentration for a wine at this price, it should please the palate of new-world wine drinkers while still offering classic Priorat richness balanced by savory tones from the Cariñena. Overall, a tremendous value for a wine with exceptional pedigree.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
JD 93 RP 91

Jean de La Fontaine "La Flatteuse" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 10-18-2018
Another gorgeous wine from an exceptional producer in the Marne Valley, the Flatteuse rosé pampers the palate. Red fruit and candied citrus sing beautifully alongside counterpoint from gravelly minerals, a touch of salinity and a note of savory wood. In an usual step, they vinified this wine in oak rather than steel, but you can't argue with the results. This boutique style of winemaking, with its forward thinking and unmistakable quality, makes me excited about the future of Champagne.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

Jean de La Fontaine "L'Éloquente" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-11-2018
I fell in love with this producer the instant I tried L'Éloquente. Fresh and fun, soft and approachable, delicate and deft - it compels you to enjoy it and turns any occasion into a party. The lively acid provides ample lift and structure without being harsh, and the fruit is so friendly you may find yourself reaching for a second bottle without a moment's hesitation. I cannot recommend this highly enough, and I see it overshadowing bubbles in a similar style for twice the price.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2017 Succes Viniciola "Experiencia" Parellada Conca de Barbera
Review Date: 09-27-2018
Chalk this one up in the "win" column for the natural wine craze we are seeing right now. Made from Parellada, one of the blending grapes used in Cava, it is a prime example of how expressive and wild these wines can be. After a muted and shy opening, gorgeous flowers and savory herbs explode from the glass, ensconced in tropical fruit. Passionfruit and citrus take the front seat at first, but an underlying umami flavor gives the wine depth and texture. An unbelievable match for sweet and savory pork dishes, it is also immensely enjoyable on its own - practically a meal in and of itself. If you're curious about natural wines or looking for your next bottle, don't miss this one. Just give it 15-30 minutes of air to get the full experience.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2016 Borsao "Tres Picos" Garnacha Campo de Borja
Review Date: 09-27-2018
An astounding value from an underappreciated region outside Zaragoza, the Tres Picos gives Rhone grenache a run for its money. The concentration in this wine is superb, especially considering its price point. Dried flowers and dark berries waft from the inky nectar revealing only a hint of oak spice. Brambly blueberries and blackberries swirl on the palate, almost adhering thanks to slightly sticky tannins, and leave behind traces of warm baking spice. It finishes with a touch of savory smoke - a nod to its time in the barrel - that rounds out the package nicely and keeps things interesting. This wine makes a perfect partner for smoked meat or a just cozy night in front of the TV.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JS 92 JD 91

2014 Pago de los Capellanes Crianza Ribera del Duero
Review Date: 09-27-2018
This delectable tempranillo from Ribeira del Duero exemplifies Spanish wine's ability to consistently deliver high quality at a reasonable price. It smells almost savory at first with oak predominating, but a second glance reveals pleasant floral aromas and brilliant ripe fruit. On the palate, blueberries and boysenberries sing harmoniously with bright acid, tempered by a subtle spice and clay-like minerality. Overall a beautiful balance that makes for a very fresh and easy wine.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 WS 91

1991 Invergordon 26 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-13-2018
This really changed my perception of the power and complexity of grain whiskies. Though not as intense as its single-malt counterparts in the region, this barrel from Invergordon showed tremendous depth from the first sip. Sticky sweet on the nose with pleasant herbal freshness, the whisky exploded on the palate. The grains' sweetness only served to temper the tremendous weight of rich, buttery toffee and savory earth. Licorice and spice lingered and mingled with dark fruit and a citrus edge that kept the texture fresh rather than stifling. I could not stop coming back to this dram, as each sip revealed unexplored depths. Extraordinarily satisfying for the price.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

2012 Quinta da Saudade "Palato do Côa" Reserva Douro
Review Date: 09-08-2018
A little-known gem from a notable vintage in Portugal's Douro valley, this wine is a must-try for any fan of big California Cabs. Ripe plum and fig burst from the glass, with soft baking spice following shortly behind. After 14 months in French oak, the luscious blackberry fruit marries with toasted vanilla and caramel, held together by voluptuous tannins. Treat yourself to a bottle with a big, juicy steak.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2016 Raul Perez "Ultreia St-Jacques" Mencía Bierzo
Review Date: 09-06-2018
This is a stunning example of why Bierzo is an underappreciated appellation and why Raul Perez is such a celebrated winemaker. Immediately I was struck by aromas of candied bacon and peppercorn, but the wine underneath showed incredible poise. The meaty richness typical of mencia grapes in the region is balanced perfectly with lush, dark berries and gorgeous acid that provides lift and sophistication. The finish is clean and remarkably refreshing, with fine herb and stone helping to allay the sticky sweetness of the fruit. I was instantly smitten, and at this price, the wine is a steal.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JG 92 WS 90

2012 Gilbert Jacquesson Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-23-2018
Underneath a bemusing nose lies a true gem from Champagne's miracle vintage. Despite low dosage, this 100% Pinot Meunier shows tremendous fruit atop light toast with a touch of salinity. Quince and kumquat play beautifully with roasted nuts in a delicate, luxurious texture. Whether accompanying cheese or a night with friends (or both), this splendid wine is a must-try. Snag one (or several) before they're gone.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine de Verquière Vacqueyras
Review Date: 08-16-2018
Vacqueyras is one of the most underrated appellations in southern Rhone. For those in the know, its name is synonymous with quality wines that come at fractions of the price of Chateauneuf du Pape. This particular offering from Domaine de Verquière showcases marvelous tension holding lush berries and lovely violets in perfect harmony. The smell of stones and pebbles from the soil in which the grapes mature serves to offset the slight sweetness on the finish, giving the wine unparalleled finesse for this price range.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JD 89 - 92

2017 Domaine Tabordet "Le Champs des Vignes" Pouilly Fumé
Review Date: 08-16-2018
A sauvignon blanc that, like most old world wine, gives a strong sense of the place it was made. The slight smokey aroma from the flinty soil that gives Pouilly Fume its name tells only part of the story. Grapefruit zest and tart nectarine ride a wave of vibrant acidity that washes over the palate with firm, stony minerals. Whether on its own or accompanying fish, poultry or cheese, the wine compels you to drink until its gone. Over the course of an evening, however, it evolves to show characteristics of a ripe peach - supple and delectable. Ultimately, this is more than a captivating alternative to wines from neighboring Sancerre; it's an expression of how complex the grape can be, as well as a case study on the influence of terroir.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 06-22-2018
The Three Wood beautifully showcases the movement away from age statements and toward creative cask finishes. On the nose, it immediately offers enticing aromas of dried fruit, orange peel, caramelized sugar and ample spice. On the palate, it tastes full and complex despite its three distillations. Vanilla and dry sherry dominate at first but give way to soft tones of toffee and raisins. Typical of lowland malts, the finish brings a lingering nutty sweetness, but with a hint of charred wood. Altogether, it makes for an endlessly enjoyable dram that satisfies most any palate. I highly recommend this bottle for fans of bourbon or Irish whisky trying to break into Scottish single malts. It's also a great pick for scotch drinkers looking for something new in a sherry-focused style.
Price: $56.99 Add To Cart
WE 94