Staff Favorites

If you’re going to have Robert Parker or Stephen Tanzer over for dinner, selecting a wine they’ve rated highly will be a nice choice. However, when you’re buying wines for yourself, we’d love to see you find wines that match up your unique palate and pocketbook. We have a large staff of friendly and knowledgeable wine professionals that taste hundreds of wines each week. They can put you in touch with bottles that you are likely to love, often at a much lower cost than the highly-rated gems that often see a run-up in price and frequent availability issues. Like any great group of opinionated professionals, our staff has varied tastes themselves. Often our customers will find a particular staff member with a style that corresponds to their own. That concept works extremely well in our retail stores, and this section is our effort to bring you the same online. Don’t get us wrong, we love the highly rated wines from the press and will continue to offer them, but we think you’re missing out if you’re not augmenting those selections with picks from our excellent staff. Here are their favorites. (Click on a name to see their other selections - or to drop them a line.) Cheers!

Reviews

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2016 Baricci Rosso di Montalcino
Reviwer Picture By: Greg St. Clair | Review Date: 9/19/2018 | Send Email
I think that the 2015 Baricci Rosso di Montalcino got a lot of attention last year because of a 95 point score in Decanter; I wondered why it took so long for wine writers to catch up, because it’s been that tremendous for some time. This vintage I think is maybe even better than the 2015, its nose always smells of sweet earth to me, savory, spicy a bit wild but never rambunctious always focused yet subtle. On the palate it isn’t a “big” wine yet it lacks nothing, supple, sinewy, long and surprisingly muscular while the wine smoothly flows across your tongue. The flavors are full of wild cherry, violet and lilac, hints of Tuscan brush all subtly blended into one flowing flavor. So well balanced an elegant, a wine that never pushes it just glides, I had a bottle of the 2002 last November (2002 was a terrible vintage) and I thought I’d made an error by leaving it so long, but it turned out to be incredible it was Brunello not Rosso (Baricci made Brunello in 2002 as well so it wasn’t declassified). This wine is just superb, I’m going to bury a case or two in my cellar, you should too, we just don’t get that much.
Drink from 2018 to 2018
Price: $24.99 Add To Waiting List

2015 Hacienda Monasterio Ribera del Duero
Reviwer Picture By: Greg St. Clair | Review Date: 9/19/2018 | Send Email
The nose of this wine says refined from the beginning, layers of mineral, sweet dark cherry, swirls of vanilla bound from the glass. On the palate you find this is a powerful wine, sweet, polished tannins roll across your tongue blossoming into lustrous rich fruit. I’m not a fan of American oak but this is all French oak and it really gives the wine a polish and elegance without becoming the dominant flavor. Full bodied and focused this wine gives you the best of Tempranillo while adding hints of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I really liked this wine’s polish, focus and elegant flavors.
Drink from 2018 to 2018

2017 Bodega Chacra "Cincuenta y Cinco" Pinot Noir Rio Negro
Reviwer Picture By: Kirk Walker | Review Date: 9/19/2018 | Send Email
I was so excited to taste this wine that I made Joe open a bottle of the Sin Azufre to compare it against. The "without sulfur" bottling has been one of my favorite Pinots that I have tasted all year, and it comes from this vineyard. This was an opportunity to taste a "natural/minimal intervention" wine with a wine that is made with intervention from the same year, same vineyard and same winemaker! And while I still love the Sin Azufre the 55 has stolen my heart. This is a great bottle of Pinot. It got plenty of high notes and dark tones to really accentuate those high notes It dances on the palate with plenty of acid and just enough tannins. New world fruit and savory earthy core It has something for just about everybody. Wow!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
JS 97 RP 97

2015 Domaine Belle "Cuvée Louis Belle" Crozes-Hermitage
Reviwer Picture By: Greg St. Clair | Review Date: 9/19/2018 | Send Email
You can sense the power in this wine the moment you put your nose in the glass, deep, concentrated black fruits inter-spiced with black pepper and hints of vanilla. On the palate the wine has real depth; you can feel the weight, concentration, the tannin that encloses the wine but the fruit bursts through showing an array of complexity. The finish, is detailed, very fine tannins, hints of vanilla layers of spicy black fruit that all flow easily across your palate. A truly superb wine.
Drink from 2018 to 2018

2016 Emmanuel Darnaud "Les Trois Chenes" Crozes-Hermitage
Reviwer Picture By: Greg St. Clair | Review Date: 9/19/2018 | Send Email
The nose of this wine is powerful, dense yet aromatically open and fresher than I usually get for 100% Syrah based wines. On the palate the wine has power yet it isn’t clumsy or overly tannic it is remarkably balanced and open for a wine of this size and it shows a lot of secondary fruit complexity, earth, spice, pepper. Superb balance while showing a bit of tannin it is just a framework not obtrusive at all. I really liked this wine and will buy some for my cellar, I know… that’s a shocker, me and Syrah but this is sensational wine for the price.
Drink from 2018 to 2018
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
VN 92

2017 Bodega Chacra "Cincuenta y Cinco" Pinot Noir Rio Negro
Reviwer Picture By: Greg St. Clair | Review Date: 9/19/2018 | Send Email
The nose is not what I expected from a South American Pinot Noir, I thought I was going to get a fruity, wood driven weak legged wannabe…man was I wrong. The nose on this wine is complex from the get go, full of savory, earthy, and then a bit of subtle fruit with a real feeling you’re getting something with real depth. On the palate the wine shows a bit of tannic grip that gives the wine dimension and frames it for your palate while the center of the wine unwinds slowly giving more Pinot character. It doesn’t hurt to have a vineyard that was planted in 1955 to give you depth of complexity and structure and this wine has it all. This doesn’t taste like Burgundy, but it is not supposed to, it’s really good Pinot Noir from old vines that just happen to be in South America, it reminds me a bit of Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir, it’s an excellent wine…from the makers of Sassicaia.
Drink from 2018 to 2018
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
JS 97 RP 97

Jean de La Fontaine "La Flatteuse" Brut Rosé Champagne
Reviwer Picture By: Greg St. Clair | Review Date: 9/19/2018 | Send Email
The nose of this wine is more masculine than its non rosé counterpart, deeper, more complex, more savory flavors and there seems to be muscle lying underneath. On the palate the flavors broaden, show a bit of grip and depth while the more savory Pinot flavors come out. The finish is bold, a real rosé statement of power and flavor and shows a lifted finish.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Jean de La Fontaine "L'Éloquente" Brut Champagne
Reviwer Picture By: Greg St. Clair | Review Date: 9/19/2018 | Send Email
The nose on this wine is brilliant, clean and full of white flowers it is inviting, I was hooked from the get go. On the palate I’m always interested first in the balance and this wine’s balance is stunning, (I still can’t believe the price/quality) vibrant, long and remarkably persistent. The flavors pick up a bit of brioche to add to a focused, floral center. Long and complex finish this is a stunningly good bottle of wine for the price.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2017 Abbazia di Novacella Schiava Alto Adige
Reviwer Picture By: Mike Parres | Review Date: 9/18/2018 | Send Email
Schiava, otherwise known as vernatsch, is not widely seen in the U.S., but it makes up a considerable portion of the red wines from Alto Adige and Trentino. At its best it is a bright, very dry red with strawberry notes and lively acidity. This one from Abbazia di Novacella is a natural with food. The color is like a dark rose, and it shares qualities of rose, too, being eminently quaffable and highly chillable. This was a HUGH hit in my consumer tasting in San Francisco last week, buy a few because the first bottle empties quickly.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

Old Potrero "K&L Exclusive Barrel #3" Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey (750ml)
Reviwer Picture By: Sean Fernandez | Review Date: 9/18/2018 | Send Email
Scrumdiddlyumptions. A marriage of the power of a George T Stagg and the grace and complexity of a Sazerac 18. Weighty and viscous in the mouth with deep rich caramel and cinnamon. Never as hot as the proof suggests and with a warming spicy finish inviting you back for more. Wonderful item to have on hand when the Antique collection is out of reach.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2017 Bodega Chacra "Cincuenta y Cinco" Pinot Noir Rio Negro
Reviwer Picture By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | Review Date: 9/18/2018 | Send Email
This is truly a complex wine, undoubtedly sue to the older vine age, not often found in Argentina. There is a heafty amount of fine tannin and structure here, though it comes across as power, not bitterness. Darker red fruits are predominant and no hint of oak or vanilla is present, indicating they selected the right type and quality of barrel to round the whole cluster edges, while imparting none of its own flavor. This is a sophisticated Pinot Noir that I believe would be great with grilled meats and veggies.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
JS 97 RP 97

Jean de La Fontaine "La Flatteuse" Brut Rosé Champagne
Reviwer Picture By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | Review Date: 9/18/2018 | Send Email
This is a gorgeous Rosé Champagne, with a medium weight body and a lovely, fresh balance of fruit. Great length and bright acidity give it a "pow" and creates a wine you can't stop thinking about for several minutes after you're done. This may be my new go-to Rosé, prefect by itself or with a multitude of dishes heading into Fall.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Jean de La Fontaine "L'Éloquente" Brut Champagne
Reviwer Picture By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | Review Date: 9/18/2018 | Send Email
While my tastes are edging more toward toasty, rich Champagne than they ever have in the past, I'm always pleased to go back to a wine such as this one that has beautiful freshness and a lighter body. The is a creaminess and fantastic length to the mouthfeel, but there are no oak or caramel notes associated with a longer age time. Not only does it sit a long time on the palate after you've swallowed, there is a great breadth to it as well, not something I expected from the light, zippy nose. Overall, great balance and substance and one I will be reaching for again.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2017 Cantina Terlano "Terlaner Classico" White Blend Alto Adige
Reviwer Picture By: Rachel Vogel | Review Date: 9/17/2018 | Send Email
One of my favorite wines for anyone looking for a merited food pairing. A blend of Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc aged in stainless steel that just sees a touch of barrel. The Pinot Bianco gives backbone to the wine. It is filled with savory, herbal characters while the Chardonnay adds deep orchard fruit notes and the Sauvignon chimes in with fresh lemon citrus. It is balanced, textured, fresh and easily pairs with all types of food!
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2015 Blason Bruma Bianco Friuli
Reviwer Picture By: Rachel Vogel | Review Date: 9/17/2018 | Send Email
We continually have knock-out wines from Blason, from their crowd favorite Pinot Grigio to their boxed Friulano, here is the next to sell out. The Bruma is a blend of Malvasia (not like the sweet ones your are used to) and Friulano with full textural tones form not only being fermented in barrique but aged for 12 months in barrel with lots of lees stirring. Now it may sound like a wine only for those who love domestic Chardonnay, however, it also has a stunning saline backbone and drive of minerality that will make anyone fall in love.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
DC 96

2016 Silvano Follador "Cartizze" Prosecco Superiore Brut Nature
Reviwer Picture By: Rachel Vogel | Review Date: 9/17/2018 | Send Email
From a hilly, single vineyard in Valdobbiadene, the Cartizze from Silvano Follador (one of our top selling Prosecco producers) is fragrant and floral on the nose with notes of fresh green apples. The first single vineyard we have carried from this producer, it is similar to its sister wine due to their lack of addition sugar (or dosage) for the second fermentation. It is dry with a beautiful backbone of minerality and that fresh apple carries through on the palate.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine Jean-Michel Giboulot Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Reviwer Picture By: Sharon Kelly | Review Date: 9/17/2018 | Send Email
Jean-Michel Giboulot has produced one of his best Bourgogne Rouge yet! I am impressed right out of the gate with the exceptionally aromatic nose and palate of strawberry, cherry, and wild raspberry. There is always something comfortably familiar to me about his wines; perhaps it's a tinge of baking spices that evokes a memory of sorts. The tannins are present but discreet and the finish long and dry. This is a ridiculously low price for a Bourgogne Rouge this good. THE steal of the century!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2016 Clos de l'Anhel "Lolo de l'Anhel" Corbieres
Reviwer Picture By: Blake Conklin | Review Date: 9/17/2018 | Send Email
The Lolo is back, bigger, and dare I say better? Clos De L'Anhel has always been one of my favorite producers as far as our French Regional direct imports go, and this bottle is such a fantastic deal, and the perfect gateway wine into getting yourself into what the Languedoc has to offer... Definitely worth every whirl and sip.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2016 John Duval "Plexus White" Barossa Valley
Reviwer Picture By: Neal Fischer | Review Date: 9/17/2018 | Send Email
Duval’s Plexus, hailing from the Barossa Valley in South Australia, is composed of 50% Marsanne, 42% Roussanne, and 8% Viognier. This impressive and fun wine has a bright nose of nectarine, a touch of citrus, and nice minerality. The palate brings the citrus to the fore with some pithiness and just a touch of oak. A very solid wine.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine Jean-Michel Giboulot Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Reviwer Picture By: Blake Conklin | Review Date: 9/17/2018 | Send Email
When it comes to red burgundy for under $20, I don't think you will find a better bang for your buck. Easily drinkable with a subtle tangy finish, this bottle of pinot is an absolute blast. Treat yourself.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2009 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja
Reviwer Picture By: Joe Manekin | Review Date: 9/17/2018 | Send Email
I surely would have fell out of my chair, had I been sitting while first nosing and tasting the new release of La Rioja Alta's iconic "Viña Ardanza." Fortunately, I was standing, though the experience of tasting this new release of one of my favorite red wines on the planet is always a memorable one. This is one of those wines that I love every bit as much now as when I first became acquainted with it 15 years ago. It's such a great value, unique in that it tastes great upon release and, if you are one to patiently your wines, will go for two decades, easily. That said, there are lovely, typical, vintages of Ardanza, and then there are the heavies - 2001, 2004 and I would add 2009 to that list - lip smackingly delicious and in perfect balance, even on release. In fact, I do not recall the other vintages mentioned tasting quite as good as this one does. Highly recommended, for now and for the cellar.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JS 96 RP 93

2015 Rusack "El Rancho Escondido" Santa Catalina Island Zinfandel
Reviwer Picture By: Morgan Laurie | Review Date: 9/16/2018 | Send Email
On our recent staff education outing to Santa Barbara County, we stopped at Rusack on our last day for a tasting of their portfolio. The Catalina Island Zinfandel stood out for me in a lineup of outstanding wines. Santa Catalina was home to a thriving vineyard and winery that was established in the late 1800s until the entire operation was shut down and the vines ripped out with the onset of Prohibition. Armed with only a rumor about a few surviving wild vines, the winemaker at Rusack went to the island's Central Valley to investigate. Luckily the Nature Conservancy allowed them to gather a few cuttings and the clones now reside at El Rancho Escondido on the island. This Zinfandel is exceptionally unique. Incredibly fresh and lively, this is full of peppery spice and bright, tangy red fruit. Notes of wet cedar and damp soil give this an earthy edge. If you're a fan of lighter bodied, complex and interesting reds, this is a really intriguing wine to try. Far and away one of the most memorable wines of our three-day trip.
Price: $69.95 Add To Cart
RP 94 VN 91

2016 Château de la Charriere Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Reviwer Picture By: Sharon Kelly | Review Date: 9/15/2018 | Send Email
Our best under $20 value in Burgundy is back! It’s not easy to find well-balanced, palate-pleasing Bourgogne Rouge at this price point but Château de la Charriere makes it possible and continues to deliver this value every vintage. This is a friendly, easy-going wine packed with plush fruit and graceful tannins. Stock up on this while we have it -- this wine always sells out quickly.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2016 Chateau de la Charriere Santenay 1er Cru "Gravieres"
Reviwer Picture By: Sharon Kelly | Review Date: 9/15/2018 | Send Email
Benoit Girardin continues to make his mark as an emerging young talent in Burgundy, with each vintage showing wines that are more refined and distinctive. The 1er Cru "Les Gravieres" experiences longer sun exposure during the day due to a more southerly positioning than most vineyards along the Cotes de Beaune. This results in wines with more structure and concentration of fruit but that still remain very elegant and delicate -- almost Volnay-like in style. This new vintage from Benoit has beautiful aromas that are prominent in red berry fruits and floral notes. I like letting my nose in the glass a little longer with this one. On the palate there is an abundance of strawberry, cherry and cranberry balanced by supple tannins and supporting acidity. Chicken, hard cheese, some grilled meats -- any of these will be a winning combo with this wine.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2016 Arterberry Maresh "Old Vine" Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
Reviwer Picture By: Ryan Moses | Review Date: 9/14/2018 | Send Email
A new addition to the portfolio, this is non-vineyard designation wine from Arterberry Maresh is completely irresistible. Compared with the structured, complex "Maresh Vineyard" bottling, this is more plush and forward, with deeper red fruits, and a high-toned acidity that carries the robust flavors through a very long finish. For those looking for a true classic to follow over the years, the "Maresh Vineyard" is well worth the premium. But this is an absolute stunner, incredibly delicious now, and perhaps one of the best wines going at anywhere near the price point. Drink now and over the next decade...any make sure you grab enough to enjoy often over that time!
Price: $49.95 Add To Cart
RP 96

2016 Arterberry Maresh "Maresh Vineyard" Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
Reviwer Picture By: Ryan Moses | Review Date: 9/14/2018 | Send Email
I'm not shy to say the 2014 vintage of this wine is one of the best domestic Pinot Noirs I've tried in my tenure here. On multiple occasions it stole the show against other heavyweights from Burgundy and California. The 2016 delivers that same incredible dynamic with ease - beautiful aromatics that carry a touch of that Burgundian sauvage with fresh currant, a multifaceted and seamless palate full of bright red fruit, wonderful texture, and a lasting finish. What a terrific standard bearer for the tremendous 2016 vintage. Drink now with a decant or enjoy over the next 10-20 years.
Price: $64.95 Add To Cart
RP 96

1999 Tour du Haut-Moulin, Haut-Médoc (1.5L)
Reviwer Picture By: Steve Bearden | Review Date: 9/14/2018 | Send Email
A magnum of mature Bordeaux from a very good vintage for under 40 bucks is insane so drag this to your next party and watch it empty surprisingly quickly. This soft, silky wine has caressing red fruit flavors and a touch of earth in the plump middle and a long, soft finish. Here is an absolute bargain in perfectly stored ready to drink Claret.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2000 Lynch-Moussas, Pauillac
Reviwer Picture By: Steve Bearden | Review Date: 9/14/2018 | Send Email
There is plenty of ripe, rich red and dark fruit in this husky wine that shows the power of the vintage. This is dense with a savory touch to the bold fruit flavors that turn to cedar and leather on the finish of fine tannin. A classic 2000 that is drinking beautifully right now.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

Trudon "Emblematis" Brut Champagne
Reviwer Picture By: Rachel Vogel | Review Date: 9/14/2018 | Send Email
Emblematis, which can translate as "symbolic", to Trudon expresses the house's "historical style" while featuring 70% Meunier that thrives from the Festigny soils. 60% of the wine is from the difficult yet concentrated vintage of 2012 while the rest of the wine is a reserve blend. The wine is driven with mouthwatering acidity mixed with a finesse of floral undertones and is held on the back palate with chalky minerality. An award winning champagne at an award winning price!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

1997 Gaudin, Pauillac
Reviwer Picture By: Steve Bearden | Review Date: 9/14/2018 | Send Email
It's almost impossible to find a Pauillac for under 30 bucks these days so finding one that is 10 years old and drinking beautifully is a real coup. This is dark and firm with iron minerality and good sweetness to the blackberry fruit. No hard edges here just a substantial and satisfying mouthful that really tastes like the appellation it hails from. Enjoy tonight.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

1988 Port Dundas 28 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Reviwer Picture By: Will Blakely | Review Date: 9/13/2018 | Send Email
Supremely elegant and, at times, understated, this barrel from Port Dundas took its time. The smell was rather subdued at first, revealing mainly the high proof of the liquid in the glass. Upon tasting, I noted immediately how fresh and how surprisingly light on its feet it was for a 28 year old. Saline and marzipan provided the backbone for myriad flowers, subtle pears and white peach. Revisiting the nose after allowing the whisky to breathe conjured biscuits and honey followed closely by whiffs of warm baking spice. The slightest touch of water coaxed more fruits from the glass, as well bringing balance to the texture. Grace, rather than power, is the goal here, and this bottle succeeds admirably. It is refreshing to see whisky challenge you to find all the intricate facets of its flavor rather than overwhelming your senses until you submit. I challenge anyone to find greater finesse and complexity than this for under $100.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

1991 Invergordon 26 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Reviwer Picture By: Will Blakely | Review Date: 9/13/2018 | Send Email
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

1993 Joël Taluau Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil Vieilles Vignes
Reviwer Picture By: Miles Philippe | Review Date: 9/13/2018 | Send Email
It’s very rare that you find a perfectly cellared Cabernet Franc from Bourgeuil, and even more rare for it to be anywhere near this old! But this has aged so beautifully. The savory, earthy, and bell peppery notes of Cabernet Franc are elegantly presented in this wine. And the fruit on this wine would fool you to believe that it’s not from 1993! They’re still fresh and full of life. As time passes by, the fruit joyously plays side by side with the earthy tones to create a harmonious melody long after the cork releases this young spirited wine.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

1988 Port Dundas 28 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Reviwer Picture By: David Othenin-Girard | Review Date: 9/13/2018 | Send Email
Port Dundas has distilled some of the best single grain whisky I've ever tasted. What was a simple whisky in its youth has concentrate after nearly thirty years in a refill hogshead into something utterly delectable. This whisky is all about nuance showing impeccable but slightly shy orchard fruit on the nose. With air it starts to open up, reminding me of Williams Birne eau-de-vie, a light toasty nose of creamy grain, and hints of herbs and dried leaves. On the palate we have tons of candied apple, big vanilla bean, sprinkled with a little cocoa. I love to sell these as drier less oaky bourbon although we'll never know if it was distilled from corn or wheat, but this is the perfect gift for someone when you don't know their tastes or if you want to offer something unusual without scaring off your less experienced friends. Plus 28 years for less than $90, that's impressive on its own.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

2004 Bollinger "R.D." Extra Brut Champagne
Reviwer Picture By: Scott Beckerley | Review Date: 9/13/2018 | Send Email
The week of September 10th was an amazing one. I was able to taste over 60 champagnes, inclusive of the best of the best, which this is. A blend of 66% Pinot Noir with 34% Chardonnay and a very low 3 grams of dosage. Classic Bollinger toasted nose with bread dough and cooked brown sugar. Dark, yellow apple fruit with hazelnut and spice. Long, long finish with lush minerality. It lingers on and on and on! I loved the 2002 and this 2004 is a more than worthy successor. Really, just brilliant!

2008 Alfred Gratien "Cuvée Paradis" Brut Champagne
Reviwer Picture By: Scott Beckerley | Review Date: 9/13/2018 | Send Email
I was finally, on 11 September, able to taste the Gratien line of champagnes. All of them were wonderful but, I have a special spot in my heart for this one. It has a beautiful nose! So darn pretty and delicate with lighter yellow fruits, lemons and cream. Excellent palate with lush, golden fruits, fine acidity and elegance. The two words that most describe this champagne for me are "pretty" and "delicate' for both the nose and character on the palate. Really just sublime.

Laurent-Perrier "Grand Siècle" Brut Champagne
Reviwer Picture By: Scott Beckerley | Review Date: 9/13/2018 | Send Email
Glass Full image Glass Full image Glass Full image Glass Full image Glass Half image
This review is for the latest release, a blend of the 1997, 1999 and 2002 vintages. A blend of 55% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir with a clean nose of citrus, cream, pastry dough and coconut. Beautifully balanced and delicate on the palate, with toasted nuts, cream, brioche and white fruits. Wonderful balance of citrus on the finish. (Updated review 13 September, 2018)

Billecart-Salmon "Sous Bois" Brut Champagne
Reviwer Picture By: Scott Beckerley | Review Date: 9/13/2018 | Send Email
I think that this latest version of this wine is probably the best one yet. It has a rich nose of golden apples and subtle, soft, oak. Also rich on the palate with baked apples, sea salt and a hint of minerals. Rich and round, with excellent acidity and depth. The once controversial champagne (for our staff), has found its sweet spot and is an excellent example of this style of champagne. It is a great pick for both the adventurous and those of you who are really into food and Champagne pairing.

2006 Billecart-Salmon Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Reviwer Picture By: Scott Beckerley | Review Date: 9/13/2018 | Send Email
This is definately one of the best champagnes I have had in quite a while. I tasted on 10 September and it had the most amazing nose of bread dough, pastry and cream, combined with lush, white flowers. On the palate, lemon meringue, with apricot and fresh whipped cream. After a bit of airing, the citrus comes charging through, with a nice hint of key lime. Wonderful and elegant. Long, long, finish. Tastes far more expensive that it is. I put this one up there with the 2002 NFB, which is just stellar.
Price: $174.99 Add To Cart

Michel Couvreur 16 Year Old "Mrs Couvreur" Single PX Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Reviwer Picture By: David Othenin-Girard | Review Date: 9/13/2018 | Send Email
This no hiding the fact that I'm completely in love with what Couvreur is doing. The quality and complexity of each offering is reshaping how we look at blended whisky, but occasionally they'll put together a product so superlative and over the top that we just can't resist even if the prices are high. Yes on paper this whisky seems crazy. 16 Year old Malt Whisky from a single cask for $300? We've had high end offerings from Couvreur before and they're often met with skepticism, but as soon as you taste them all disbelief is suspended. The initiated usually know right away that this is something they should strive to acquire, but for the uninitiated it can seem almost farcical. Why would we pay a French man extra for Scotch that I can get from the Scottish for less? But the truth is, you CAN'T get this from Scotland. There are so many reasons why these whiskies are so unique and this particular bottling doubly so. Mrs. Couvreur's choice represents the absolute best evidence that little house in Bouze-les-Beaune's hypothesis is correct: the old ways were BETTER! Yes entry into their highest level isn't cheap and on paper you might find better values from the Scots, but in the glass no whisky on the market today will deliver what this special whisky offers at this price. Not to mention that the US release is sold exclusively at K&L and is two years old than the European version which sells the same price. Beyond it's incredible rarity, the idea that exemplifies this whisky most accurately is the word balance. Yes it's from one of Scotland's peatiest distillers -my money is on Laphroaig or Ardbeg although Couvreur won't come close to confirming those suspicions - but the peat is not out of control. Instead it melds and mingles so perfectly with the sweet nutty sherry character and provides backbone against which the rich maltiness unfolds. The nose is one of the most complex things I've ever come across; reminding me of some of the true ancient legends I've had the incredible privilege tasting. On the nose fresh plum preserves, ozone, dried yuzu peel, ripe pear, crushed oyster shell, roasting nuts from afar. Entry is surprisingly peat driven but not at all rugged. It proceeds to open up to the sweet stewed fruits of the sherry tamped down by an invigorating briny sea spray. More yellow plums build to a long smoky ultra pleasurable finish. It feels like a privilege to be selling this whisky and I can already see the future of me nursing my last bottle in terrible fear of never tasting this wonderful whisky again. That terrible feeling is well worth with it considering the pure joy the rest of the bottle made me feel.
Price: $299.99 Add To Cart

1991 Invergordon 26 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Reviwer Picture By: Miles Philippe | Review Date: 9/13/2018 | Send Email
A lovely, sweet vanilla nose is the first thing that greets you in this Scotch! Honey comes second, followed by baked pears glazed in sugar fresh out of the oven with some nutmeg on top. The texture is soft and enveloping; as if you bundled up in a great big blanket made out velvety gold. The finish leaves notes of marzipan, caramel, dark honey, and baking spices that bid you farewell like old friends; one of those goodbyes that take half an hour and that no one wants to end.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Belle "Cuvée Louis Belle" Crozes-Hermitage
Reviwer Picture By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | Review Date: 9/12/2018 | Send Email
I was really impressed by this wine and the layers of flavor it showcased across the palate. It shows very juicy up front with bright red fruits and you get more of the fine tannin in the back end, creating great length. They have managed to create beautiful balance between the fruit and structure, while keeping the body medium, not weighed down. Domaine Belle will become one of my go-to's for Crozes-Hermitage going forward.

2016 Felton Road "Calvert" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic)
Reviwer Picture By: Joe Manekin | Review Date: 9/12/2018 | Send Email
It's always a pleasure to taste through a set of Pinot Noir as delicious, well made and iconic as those from Felton Road. Calvert shows balanced red fruit flavors, terrific presence and an overall balance that maybe makes it the front runner of these 2016 bottlings. At least it did before moving on to the Cornish Point. It's tough to pick a favorite in this strong set of Pinot Noirs, a testament to the quality of work that Felton Road is doing. Highly recommended Pinot Noir.

2009 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja
Reviwer Picture By: Steve Bearden | Review Date: 9/12/2018 | Send Email
This wine is big, bold and immediate with with dried cherries, dark plums, leather and oak shadings jumping out of the glass. The sweet and intense flavors are held together with fine, deeply embedded tannins that lend elegance and proportion. At nine years since the harvest this is just beginning to become burnished and already provides delicious drinking. Decanting recommended.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JS 96 RP 93

1991 Invergordon 26 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Reviwer Picture By: David Othenin-Girard | Review Date: 9/12/2018 | Send Email
I used to look at Single Grain like Single Malt light. Great values and solid whiskies, but never with the oomph I was craving until they were 40+ years old. But my views on single grain have been amended in the past few years as I got more experience enjoying the delicate subtleties of our single cask selections. It's one thing to taste a determine that these whiskies valuable and saleable, it's quiet another to sit down and drink a bottle over the course of a few days, weeks or months. I do find that that's what it takes for me to become intimate with a whisky and while it's easy to tell good from bad whisky in a tasting environment, I consider an open bottle in the shelf a long term relationship. Like any relationship it evolves. I've found my relationship with this category evolving as well. While it's undeniable that Single Malt is king, it's really hard to argue that for those who crave a nuanced and long term relationship with their tipple of choice, Single Grain offers a lot of benefits. The first thing about this Invergordon, like many great single grains, is that the first nosing is pleasant and appealing, but never grabs hold of you like a big bold Islay or chewy Highlander. But, if you sit for a while and let the whisky come to you instead of forcing yourself onto what you believe it should be, there's so much more going on there. The easy going flavors of coconut and candied sugar evolve into a timid yet vibrant mixture of dried citrus, wet gravel, agave nectar, honeysuckle and vanilla flower. And despite all the very subtle listless aromas on the nose, the moment this stuff hits your lips, it explodes. Rich, buttery, warm and structured, there's absolutely nothing boring about this! Some of the citrus comes through as well the darker rock tone from the nose. Otherwise, we're moving more toward yellow plums and cream soda. Some cracked pepper and woodsy barrel spice keep it nice and dry, but I'd avoid putting any more than the tiniest drop of water here just to open up the nose. This is esoterica for the masses, opaque, in need of a bit of teasing to open up, but with just the right amount of life to keep you coming back.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

2015 J.L. Chave Selection "Offerus" Saint-Joseph
Reviwer Picture By: Keith Mabry | Review Date: 9/12/2018 | Send Email
Chave may be one of the masters of Hermitage but his Saint-Joseph may be where it's at for sheer pleasure. The Offerus is a mixture of different sites that creates a sum greater than its parts. Most of the fruit comes from Jean-Louis' holdings near Mauve which provide the beautiful fruit intensity and structure but a few tiny plots further north gift the wine its exotic perfume. This is exceptional Syrah that offers seamless fruit purity and access into the portfolio of one of the Northern Rhone's great winemakers. And all for under $30!
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart
WS 93 VN 92

1991 Invergordon 26 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Reviwer Picture By: Andrew Whiteley | Review Date: 9/12/2018 | Send Email
K&L has championed single grain whisky for a long time. Every time we have a new cask land, this approach is reaffirmed. It's an incredibly affordable alternative to single malt and offers a unique look at impressive age statements without breaking the bank. My favorite thing about old grain is the slightly tropical, often coconut, notes that develop around the 20-25 year mark. It's a lovely flavor and this bottle of Invergordon has it in spades. Not to mention all of the other complexity and nuance that develops in that kind of time frame. It's an array of vanilla and wood spice intermixed with fruits, nuts, and glazed donuts. It holds it's 55.5% proof perfectly. Drink it neat or with a drop of two of water to really open things up. An ice cube doesn't go too far if you like to cool things down. Hell, at this price, you can afford to mix it into your favorite version of a Horse's Neck. It's a perfect match with the spice of the ginger.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

1988 Port Dundas 28 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Reviwer Picture By: Shaun Green | Review Date: 9/12/2018 | Send Email
The 28 year old Port Dundas from Old Particular shows a wonderful shortbread and apricot nose with a nice lemon rind citrus thread. It has a great grip to it at full proof or with a touch of water, but the water really opens this up to a broad fruity and slightly spicy palate, finishing with a great dose of grain and spice. It's hard to believe this was meant for blending into JW Red or White Horse; it's fantastic! I love the single grain whiskies from Scotland as a nice counterpoint to the single malts — showing why whisky is the king in Scotland!
Top Value!
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

1991 Invergordon 26 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Reviwer Picture By: Shaun Green | Review Date: 9/12/2018 | Send Email
When a single grain Scottish whisky hits it right, the experience is incredible. The Invergordon 26 definitely hits the mark. Very smooth and creamy texture even at full proof, it opens and becomes more fruity and honeyed. Non peaty and extremely high quality whisky with age, elegance and power - and at an extremely attractive price. Don't let the single grain designation throw you, it's fantastic! What's not to like here...
Top Value!
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

2016 Emmanuel Darnaud "Les Trois Chenes" Crozes-Hermitage
Reviwer Picture By: Keith Mabry | Review Date: 9/12/2018 | Send Email
The wines of Emmanuel Darnaud are classic expressions of northern Rhone terroir. The perfume of black plum, chocolate, lavender and anise permeate the wine. The 2016 vintage provides a more elegant structure and backbone that makes this that much more pleasing now. So pleasing and open, I'm hard pressed to keep my hands off it right now.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
VN 92

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