Staff Favorites - Sal Rodriguez

Sal Rodriguez

Reviews

Billecart-Salmon "Brut Reserve" Champagne
Review Date: 02-07-2018
If it has to sparkle, have superb quality and a big-house name, this is the wine to grab! I don't always drink name-brand champagnes, but when I do, this is the one for me! In my opinion, the Brut Reserve checks all of the bubbly boxes. Fresh, bright, crisp fruit, juicy acidity, lifted aromatics. Like many of my favorite styles of sparkling wines, it also has a beautiful nerve of mineral, but a counter-balance of sweetness of fruit to keep everything right where it should be. No national brand offers more for the money at, or near this price!

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 02-07-2018
The wine that Billecart is probably most well-known for is their rose and it's done very well. I usually choose blanc de blanc, or blanc de noir when I'm getting my bubbles on. Mostly because I tend to feel that rose' sparklers need a bit more time, after popping that top, to open up, and I just really don't have time to wait when I'm trying to celebrate! Get in my glass, and "get in mah belleh", to quote a favorite actor of mine. This needs no extra time to blow off the funk that can sit in the glass for a bit. It's pretty, fresh, and crisp, right from the start. High toned bright fruit really make this a fresh, lifted, wine to toast to any great occasion. Although it's quite dry, it still shines through with a nice measure of sweetness from the fruit. This is the sparkling rose to beat!

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-06-2018
An impressive Champagne by any standard! At this price, it would be hard NOT to purchase it by the case! Bright, fresh, and floral. The wine has a nice mineral tone throughout, and a citrus tone on its lengthy finish! A seriously incredible value!
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "7" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-06-2018
My favorite Champagne in the Baron Fuente lineup! You get the value that you've come to expect from B.F., but in this instance, there's a lovely richness, with a nice round texture to it. Lots of mineral drive, and bright acidity to help the nicely textured wine go a very long way. Beautiful, long-lasting savory finish!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2002 Bruno Michel "Cuvee Millésime" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-06-2018
We just tried the current release 2002 against a bottle of the '02 that was released 6 years ago, and man can this one age well!! If you're not looking to spend a ton of money on a really great bottle for the cellar, this is it!! Crisp fresh apples and citrus tone, with a nice rush of fresh bread on the nose and leading into the palate. While holding strong with the mineral backbone, there's also a lovely spice that keep things intriguing. It's nearly an hour past our tasting today and the finish is still lingering! There's not much left so get in here and grab one!
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

Gilbert Jacquesson "Cuvée Tradition" Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-06-2018
An elegantly textured Champagne with good weight that's still bright and lifted in profile. This all-Pinot Meunier Champagne just shines! Bright, juicy red fruits, with a nice hint of baking spice in the background make this a versatile wine with food, or without. Refreshing? Check! Zesty? Check! Complex? Check! Inexpensive? CHECK!! You're going to want to put this on your list of bubbles to try.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2015 Vigneti Massa "Costa del Vento" Timorasso
Review Date: 01-31-2018
If there is one white wine, in any price range, in our inventory now that takes home top honors in my book, it is this wine! Yes, I know it's not cheap by most white wine standards, and yes, the word Timorasso is somewhat reminiscent of Arrested Development's pretend psychiatric drug, Teamocil. Ironically enough Teamocil is a contraction of the Spanish words 'te amo' 'cil', which translate roughly, into "I love you easily". This wine, is so easy to love, that this translation is not lost on me. The aromatics offer a beautiful fruit, and herb tone. Almost perfumed. On the palate comes such a rich, round, textured style of white wine that it's easy to compare it to Burgundy wines twice its price. As with Walter Massa's other wines, this has beautiful minerality, as well as mouth watering acidity. This is definitely a wine to be savored, not rushed. Drinking beautifully now but I'd be seriously curious of how this will express itself in five or ten years.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

2015 Vigneti Massa "Derthona" Timorasso
Review Date: 01-30-2018
Thanks to a recent staff tasting session, I'm quite intrigued by the Timorasso varietal. Hailing from a small region in Italy, and nowhere else, comes this mineral driven white wine with lots of bright acidity, and in this expression, a Riesling-like nose. This has lots going on on the palate with stone fruits and wonderful baking spice. While it continues to change on the palate, offering you hints of other white varietals here and there, no white wine I've ever tasted before, blends flavors and textures so well. Yes, you'll draw comparisons to other white wine varietals, like we did, but until you try it yourself, you'll just have to take our word for how much this wine deserves its own place at your table and in your cellar.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2016 Vigneti Massa "Terra Petit Derthona" Timorasso Colli Tortonesi
Review Date: 01-30-2018
If you find yourself underwhelmed by the lack of variety of white wine grape varietals at restaurants and parties, like myself, and you'd love to try something intriguing; grab a bottle of this Timorasso! It's like many different things but like nothing else at the same time. Interesting tones of fresh cut stone fruits on the nose and you might assume you're into something like viognier or chenin blanc. On the palate the wine offers a nicely weighted structure (like a chardonnay) with a focused mineral spine holding it together (sancerre-like). The finish still offers up much of the stone fruit and minerality experienced to this point in the wine but with a solid hint of spice. I will be taking this home to try with family this weekend! I must explore this Timorasso more!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-27-2017
Probably my most favorite champagne ever! When people call in asking for something delicious, fresh and easy to drink, and not a lot of money, this is the first thing I look for inventory on. I can always get behind this and know it will be a huge hit. This recent bottling comes across as a little more complex, with a little more richness than the last bottling. Don't get me wrong, it's still fresh, and bright, but there's a real mineral backbone to it. The mouth-feel is more substantial this time around and I can't help but think that it's growing into an even more serious version of itself. Incredible value!
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

2015 Douloufakis "Dafnios" Vidiano Crete Greece
Review Date: 11-02-2017
There's so much to appreciate from a well made white wine that's not expensive. The Dafnios stands out from the crowd like a lovely Montrachet. Beautifully textured, lovely tropical notes, with nutmeg, allspice, and a dash of cloves. Crisp acidity, great minerality, and a gorgeous mouthfeel, make this a bottle to purchase by the case! Incredible!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2008 Louise Brison "Cuvée Tendresse" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 10-10-2017
This is SPECTACULAR wine! Most of the time I am a fan of light, bright, zippy, and fresh, when it comes to sparkling. However, I also like some of the more intensely flavored, higher textured, richer profiled, champagnes too. This is more of the latter style and at this price, you don't want to miss it!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

Four Pillars "Faultline" K&L Exclusive Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 09-29-2017
Wow! I try to refrain from one-word adjectives when writing a review but, WOW! The last time I was surprised by a gin was a couple years back, when trying the Monkey 47. Once again, I must have a bottle of this spirit! Extremely expressive citrus rind, orange blossom, and spiced orange candy on the nose. On the palate, it continues the refreshing citrus explosion and the slight bite on the palate begs you to mix it with a sweet vermouth if you aren't willing to drink it neat. I need this bottle and I'm going to be drinking it neat. This gin will satisfy all your gin drinking requirements and this price makes it a shoo-in for your home bar.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2016 Claiborne & Churchill Central Coast Gewürztraminer
Review Date: 09-20-2017
Gewurz this good should come with a warning label! "Caution - May be habit forming!" I've yet to become a huge fan of white wines, but when I do find one I like, it's very likely that it will be a little dry, a little floral, with noticeable fruit, juicy acidity, and enjoyable minerality. This is all of the above in an inexpensive package. I opened this just the other day and it just kept getting more and more expressive as the time went on. A wonderful, expressive wine that's worth every penny!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine de Marcoux Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-20-2017
Lovely red fruit, fragrant flowers, and just a beauty to drink. Although this has an age-worthy presence about it, it's wonderful right now. I can't think of a better CdP anywhere near this price range that I would want to take home. A great value!

2016 J. Bouchon "Canto Sur" Maule Valley
Review Date: 09-08-2017
This lifts brightly out of the glass with hints of crunchy cranberry, cedar, fresh cracked pepper, and exotic spices. On the palate it keeps up with the bright fruit, juicy acidity, and lots of perfume. This has the texture of a ripe Pinot with bright fruit, mouth-watering acidity, and an easy-going herbal character. Superb value!

2014 Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 08-11-2017
Effortless beauty and finesse. If you're looking for an aromatically expressive Bordeaux blend that doesn't quit, that has a lovely, spicy, brightly acidic, velvety mouth-feel on the palate, then this should be at the top of your list. Loads of dry flowers, bright fruit, and graphite on the nose. Delicious fruit, light minerals, lifted acidity, and fresh herbs play well together on the palate. This is one of my favorite players in the short list of wines that have achieved cult-like status. While many others in this category are much less approachable, the Pahlmeyer Bordeaux Blend offers up lots more freshness and appeal a lot sooner. An iconic wine indeed!
Top Value!

Bollinger "Special Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-06-2017
You don't get this fine of a wine without putting in a lot of effort! If I had to give a gift and it needed name recognition, and it had to be epic, and it had to be less than 100 dollars - This is it!! Intense, spicy musk, with a serious presence. Lots of weight and complexity to explore. Great minerality and plenty of apple flavors to enjoy. A perfect bottle of bubbly!

2008 Baron-Fuenté "Grand Millesime" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-06-2017
It's not easy to purchase a bottle of vintage Champagne for anywhere near this price! Baron Fuente, a small producer we've been highly focused on for many years, has offered up some of the best values in Champagne-dom. Lots of intensity on the nose, full of baking spice and apple skins. Lovely intensity and wonderfully creamy on the palate. Although it's dry it has a round, medium weight body and presence that is not typical for Brut. The finish has hints of fresh spiced mango. What a tremendous value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2016 Tatomer Edna Valley Pinot Noir Rosé
Review Date: 05-26-2017
Rose wines were in abundance during our March trip to the Central Coast earlier this year. Here's one of the ones that stood out for me! Super fresh, high-tone, strawberry are this wine's introductory nose. It draws you in with a tropical feel. On the palate you get wonderful dried fruits, and a nice mineral backbone. Everything holds together nicely with a nice kiss of acidity. Using the words of OutKast - "So fresh and so clean".
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart

2014 Eisele Vineyards "Altagracia" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-10-2017
Aromatic, uplifted, fragrant (maybe lavender), and fresh blue and blackberries start things off on the nose. Medium tannins, but with a generous helping of mineral-driven fruit and a bright sense of freshness on the palate. Impressive, intense and pure. This should hold up for a good long while!
Price: $124.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

2013 Neumayer Raufsetzen Grüner Veltliner Traisental
Review Date: 05-05-2017
Toasted vanilla, lemon zest, and spice on the nose. A bright and juicy effort that turns creamy on the palate and has a nice mineral nerve going right through the middle. A seriously great value for a wine of this quality!
Price: Hidden View Price

2008 Fallet-Dart Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-05-2017
Wow! Bright, crisp, and juicy. This can mean that the wine is not complex, but not here - there is enough going on to add wonderful mouthfeel, and a long creamy finish. We have a great part of the market cornered with so many great Champagnes between 30 and 40 dollars and this is right up there as one of my top 5 favorites!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2013 John Duval "Plexus" SGM Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 01-20-2017
Impressive, concentrated berries are the first thing I noticed when I took in the aromas. This beauty continues with a dark fruit aroma that is somehow also fresh. Dry, crisp, and still fresh flavors hit the palate with a touch of herb and spice. The finish is clean, earthy, and fresh. A lovely, expressive, delicious wine from the folks out at John Duval.

Siembra Valles "Ancestral" Blanco Tequila (750ml)
Review Date: 11-23-2016
A colleague handed me a glass, and I inhaled. Light notes of fresh cracked pepper and lovely hints of smoke were prevalent. I asked if it was a mezcal because of the sweet, fresh, smoke. I found out it was a tequila (obvious now) but the fact that it can be confused for a mezcal, speaks of its smokey complexity. I usually think that the smokey flavors weigh down mezcal but this one remains fresh, bright, and intense. If you need a new tequila for your home bar, you have to consider this one - trust me! Cheers!
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

2013 Vidal-Fleury Côtes-du-Rhône
Review Date: 09-14-2016
Wonderful expression of a Cotes du Rhone! Highly perfumed with, fruit, iron, and light hints of cedar on the nose. It's a very warming, welcoming, aromatic CdR. On the palate, the wine continued on with pretty fragrances, fruit, and hints of beef blood. A lot going on in such an inexpensive wine. You'll be rewarded by taking your time with this shapeshifter of a wine. Cheers!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Gin (375ml)
Review Date: 05-02-2014
I can’t really say I am a “gin” person (whatever that means), but I know what I like when I taste it. This is it! This is what I like! I tried it ‘neat’ and really under-estimated what this little bottle was capable of. Let’s start out with pretty flowers and juniper popping out of the glass! Another whiff and I was hit with jasmine blossom and orange peel! I didn’t have to take a sip to know that I was going to be taking some of this home. I took a little sip anyhow, and some of the loveliest spices, pepper, and juniper just washed over my tongue and filled my mouth. As I try to convey into words, what this gin tastes like, it is selling out from under us! Yes, the bottle is a little expensive, but once you get the bottle home and into your glass, it’ll all make perfect sense.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart