Staff Favorites - Michael Benoit

Michael Benoit


2021 AXR Napa Valley Proprietary Red
Review Date: 11-07-2023
The AXR Napa Valley Proprietary Red is an outstanding value in Napa Cabernet. The wine is full and rich, with juicy flavors of blackberries, blueberries and red plums. The dusty tannins give just the right amount of texture, and hints of cocoa and barrel spice keep things interesting. This is a dense, juicy wine that still has enough lift to keep me coming back for another sip. A nice powerful red to pair with rich foods or enjoy by itself on a cool evening.

2021 Domaine Faiveley Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 10-24-2023
The 2021 Gevrey-Chambertin from Faiveley is flat-out delicious! The nose is complex and enticing, with aromas of raspberry reduction, pink peppercorn, cola berry, and warm earth. The wine has a gentle, fine-grained tannin profile and flavors of berries and spice, with a perfect zing of acidity. The pretty red fruit combines perfectly with just enough spice and savor, making this a fantastic bottle to pair with your favorite fall dishes. Get it while you can!
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

2019 Brittan "Basalt" McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-24-2023
Savory, with a volcanic minerality, the Basalt block Pinot Noir is a delicious expression of Willamette Valley Pinot. The nose is richly perfumed with notes of violets and crushed red raspberry, while on the palate it offers more red raspberry as well as Bing cherry, framed out nicely with ripe tannins and a good pop of acidity. This is a serious, powerful Pinot that will continue to develop in your cellar for several years to come.
Price: $59.95 Add To Cart

2019 Voyager Estate Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 09-26-2023
Beautiful ripe apricot and lemon aromas burst from the glass of this delicious Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend. The wine's crisp acidity is balanced by a wonderfully round mouthfeel. This is a delicious, easy-drinking white, perfect to pair with seafood dishes or for leisurely sipping on the porch during the last warm days of the year. With our fantastic pricing, grab a case today and make it your new house white!
Top Value!

2017 Copain "DuPratt Vineyard" Anderson Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 08-23-2023
The 2017 Copain "DuPratt Vineyard" Chardonnay shows the beautiful complexity that a couple years of bottle age can grant to high-quality Chardonnay. This wine has a nice weight on the palate, and a generous, rounded mouthfeel. The nose is rich with ripe citrus and orchard fruits, and the palate is bright, with a very crisp, lemony acidity. The profusion of citrus and racy acidity this wine offers is perfectly underscored by a gentle background of toasted almond and spice. Complex, perfectly aged, and priced right for weeknight dinner!

2022 Quintay "Clava" Reserva Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley
Review Date: 08-17-2023
Great values in Pinot Noir can be very hard to find, but this bottle from the Casablanca Valley in Chile delivers! It has an enchanting nose full of brambly fruit and hints of sandalwood, and a crisp, high-toned flavor profile. Good acidity, pure red cherry flavors, and silky tannins combine into a wine that drinks well above its price point.
Top Value!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

Laurent-Perrier "Grand Siècle" Iteration #26 Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-16-2023
The house of Laurent-Perrier shows their blending prowess again with the newest iteration of Grand Siecle. Based around the 2012 vintage with 25% of reserves from 2008 and 10% from 2007, this champagne is elegant and fresh, but with an underlying brooding complexity from 10 years of ageing. Ripe citrus, Marcona almonds, and rich brioche aromas burst from the glass and continue on the palate, where they are joined by crisp apple flavors with an undercurrent of brambly berries and toast. With a bright, fresh attack, and a clean dry finish, this champagne is easy drinking, but with so much vinous power and complexity at its core. Grab a couple bottles while you can - this is drinking great today and will have even more to offer after several years in your cellar!

2014 Alexandre Le Brun "Cuvée Revelation" Extra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-27-2023
The 2014 Alexandre Le Brun Cuvee Revelation has a very fresh nose, with crisp pear undertones. On the palate, flavors of Meyer lemon and Bartlett pear intertwine with a lightly saline minerality. This champagne has wonderful power and drive, and a mysterious and lingering finish. A delicious champagne with so much complexity to explore!
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

Boulard-Bauquaire "Carte Noire" Brut Blanc de Noirs Champagne
Review Date: 07-27-2023
Refreshing and deep in equal measure, the Boulard-Bauquaire "Carte Noire" entices with its nose of cherries, strawberries, and almonds. Flavors of black cherry and fresh herbs mingle together to create a deep, complex impression. The robust carbonation of this champagne gives a lifted feeling to the long finish. This is a full-bodied, rich, tasty bottle, and such an interesting counterpoint to their blanc de blancs.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2020 Valo "Atemporal - Conner Lee Vineyard" Columbia Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 07-19-2023
The 2020 "Atemporal - Conner Lee Vineyard" from Valo is a fantastic bargain for a red blend of this quality. The nose is packed with red and black plums, cola berry, tobacco leaf, and a hint of black olive. On the palate the rich, ripe flavors of plum and cassis are buoyed by the fine-grained tannins and medium body. Underneath all that delicious, ripe fruit are savory notes of cocoa, cedar, and black pepper. A really tasty bottle that gives plenty of richness without being heavy or sweet. At this price, I'd buy some while you can!
Price: Hidden View Price

Boulard-Bauquaire "Trepail" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 07-13-2023
Wow! The Boulard-Bauquaire "Trepail" Brut Blanc de Blancs is everything I want in a blanc de blancs. The nose is floral and faintly bready, and the slight sourdough toast on the palate is in perfect balance with the flavors of meyer lemon, pear, and apricot. The wonderful fine bead gives this champagne a velvety texture that goes down easy, and the acidity is fairly delicate, but plenty to keep it refreshing and keep you coming back for more. A great champagne to enjoy on the first warm days of summer!
Top Value!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2015 Alexandre Le Brun "Cuvée Fascination" Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 07-06-2023
Alex Le Brun's Fascination is always a singular blanc de blancs, and this 2015 is no exception. The nose carries intoxicating aromas of pear, passionfruit and ripe citrus. On the palate, it has a mouthwatering acidity, and rich flavors of tropical fruit and marcona almonds. Between it's refreshing, crisp bite, and its long, chalky finish, this is a champagne that will keep you coming back for more!
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2021 Desire Lines "Winds of Change" California Syrah
Review Date: 07-05-2023
What a beautifully perfumed, elegant expression of Syrah! This wine has delicious aromas of blueberries and violets, and black plum and brambly berry flavors on the palate. Not at all heavy or overwrought, this Syrah couples soft, chalky tannins with a perfect medium body, and nice crunchy fruit. The finish has elegant notes of black pepper and Bing cherry. This cool-climate Syrah combines plenty of fruit with plenty of savory character, and will pair beautifully with anything you throw on the grill this Summer!
Price: $24.95 Add To Cart

Didier Lapie Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-14-2023
This 100% Meunier champagne from Didier Lapie shows the snappy acidity that comes naturally from the cold climate in Pierry, but it has so much more to offer. After 5 plus years on the lees, this Blanc de Noirs is full of buttered sourdough toast, and has a luxuriously velvety texture. A profusion of fresh, ripe apple flavors are nicely balanced by the vibrant acidity, as well as a touch of rich, savory almonds and brown butter. A complex, elegant bottle priced for everyday celebrations!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2008 Billecart-Salmon "Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart" NFB Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-12-2023
Another stunning 2008 from Billecart-Salmon! The Cuvee Nicolas Francois Billecart has a nose full of delicate yellow apples, along with lightly toasted almonds and brioche. Made almost entirely from Grand Cru fruit, this blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay is at once rich and elegant. The extremely soft and velvety texture on the palate gives away the long aging this bottle sees, but I was blown away by how much freshness and verve it still retains. On the finish there is plenty of chalky minerality and delicious marzipan nuttiness, balanced by a crisp acidity and lingering notes of fresh orchard fruits. An absolutely classic bottle of champagne, this is one for the ages!

2014 Bollinger "La Grande Année" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-03-2023
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Bollinger's 2014 "La Grande Année" was a revelation for me at our staff champagne summit, paring the depth, complexity, and power I expect from Bollinger with a surprisingly acid-driven frame. This blend of 61% Pinot Noir and 39% Chardonnay, all from grand or premier cru villages is entirely fermented in old oak and hand-riddled and disgorged. The extra effort pays off in a champagne that is at once toasty and fresh. The nose of mandarin peel and white flowers with a hint of brioche draws you in, and a sip rewards you with layer upon layer of flavor. Fresh toasted brioche flavors give way to a collection of orchard fruits. Ripe Gala apple and crisp Asian pear ride on the beautifully velvety texture, resolving to a snap of citrusy acidity and a long, mineral finish. Every sip seems to reveal more subtle nuance in this elegant and absolutely delicious bottle.

2010 Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 03-14-2023
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If you love the non-vintage Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose, and I know many of our customers do, then do yourself a favor and take home at least one bottle of this beautiful champagne. It pours a gorgeous gold-flecked pink, and has aromas of Rainier cherry, fresh baked brioche, and Chantilly cream. The very fine bead gives this champagne a plush, velvety texture, and it has the classic delicate flavor profile that I love in the non-vintage bottling. But here, the cherry and raspberry flavors are deeper, with subtle exotic spice notes, and a hint of savory character. I love the freshness and zippy acidity, and the lovely long finish of red raspberries and subtle chalk. A real treat for the champagne lover who's had it all, and a crowd-pleaser for everyone else, I can't recommend this highly enough!
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

2021 Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 01-24-2023
The Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir is made primarily from fruit grown on the cold western edge of the appellation, and it shows in the freshness of the nose and the crisp raspberry zing on the palate. The bright red raspberry and pomegranate flavors give way to a finish so savory it's almost meaty. I love the balance this wine strikes, and think it would be a stunning combination with a pan-roasted duck breast. Delicious!
Price: $36.95 Add To Cart

Damien Hugot "Hommage 1921" Extra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-29-2022
Damien Hugot's "Hommage 1921" is a beautiful champagne that balances a creamy texture with plenty of fresh citrus. The first sip is full of ripe mandarin and zippy lemon flavors on a background of fresh cream. The finish is delicately chalky with touches of vanilla, and goes on and on. This makes a great aperitif or toasting champagne, and a fantastic pairing with shellfish.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Duménil Brut Rosé "Vieilles Vignes" Champagne
Review Date: 08-15-2022
Duménil's Brut Rosé "Vieilles Vignes" is a beautifully full-flavored champagne. With rich flavors of strawberry, raspberry, and fresh baked bread, I think this would be perfect with a light dinner of roast chicken and salad. Despite the more robust red fruit flavors in this bottle, it still has great freshness, and the finish is chalky and slightly saline. A delicious and interesting rosé champagne at an incredible price!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Bernard Lonclas Selection Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-08-2022
The Bernard Lonclas Selection Brut is a deliciously fruit-forward bottle of champagne. The nose is full of perfumed ripe apple aromas, with a hint of toasty brioche. On the palate, it unfolds an assortment of fruit flavors, from baked apple to passionfruit, which are underscored by the slightly higher dosage of 11 grams. This champagne has a delicate creamy flavor and silky texture that complements all that fruit beautifully. Lovely and lively!
Price: Hidden View Price

2020 Frog's Leap "Shale and Stone" Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 07-04-2022
What a beautifully textured, perfectly balanced Chardonnay! This wine is fermented for less than a week in new oak, followed by a lengthy sur lie aging in concrete. This has beautiful freshness and minerality, but still has a wonderful texture and a fuller body than most other mineral-driven expressions of Chardonnay. Crisp apple and lemon flavors combine beautifully with the rounded texture. This is a great bottle, give it a try.
Price: $34.95 Add To Cart

Kokuryu "Crystal Dragon" Daiginjo Sake 720ml
Review Date: 06-19-2022
This daiginjo sake, produced with very soft water from the underground river called Kuzuryugawa (Nine-Headed Dragon River), erupts with tropical fruit aromas of banana, pineapple, and melon. The sake has a wonderfully rich body, full of fresh melon and ripe banana flavors, which evaporate into a crisp, dry finish that leaves you wanting another sip. Particularly suited to shellfish, this sake would pair beautifully with oysters on the half shell, shrimp cocktail, or ceviche. Delicious and elegant!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Nature Champagne
Review Date: 05-08-2022
This zero-dosage version of Baron-Fuente's Esprit is bone-dry, but not austere. It undergoes at least 7 years of aging on the lees, just like the standard Brut Esprit does, leaving a gorgeous texture and wonderful chalky notes. The flavors of Pippin apple and pear are well-matched to the racy acidity which makes this champagne a great companion to the first hot days of the year.

Fukucho Namazake "Moon on the Water" Junmai Ginjo Sake (720ml)
Review Date: 04-03-2022
This lovely nama version of Moon on the Water has such a pronounced freshness, with aromas of honeydew and pineapple jumping from the glass. The first sip has the quick attack that characterizes so many namazakes - almost a slight effervescence. I love the round, creamy texture on the palate, and the beautifully juicy pineapple and melon flavors, which lead to a nutty, pistachio butter finish. This sake is wonderful to sip on its own, but would also make an excellent partner for grilled chicken or fish. Definitely give it a try!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

More Favorites

Michael Benoit is also a fan of the following items. To become a fan of Michael Benoit, click here to join Michael Benoit's Personal Sommelier Service.
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne ($84.99)

Kojimaya 'Untitled' Cedar Barrel Aged Sake (720ml) ($74.99)

Ginga Shizuku "Divine Droplets" Junmai Daiginjo Sake (720ml) ($67.99)

Ariston Aspasie "Réserve" Brut Champagne ($34.99)