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Sub-$100, In-Stock Mags - The Ideal Format at an Everyday Price - 02/19/2018 - Old and Rare Wines

Ask any seasoned wine collector and they will tell you, the magnum is the ideal format. There are a number of reasons for this, but perhaps first and foremost is that magnums mature at a significantly slower pace than traditional 750ml bottles. Simply put, wine in magnum stays fresher longer, affording a much wider drinking window. Perfect for dinner parties and other gatherings, a magnum is a sure-fire way to impress your family and friends. Given this, we’ve curated a group of our favorite wines in magnum format that are priced under the $100 mark. Done up in a wide array of styles, there’s a wine here for every palate. So, whether you like your wines fresh and fruity (2010 La Rioja Alta "Viña Alberdi" Reserva Rioja) or big and bold (2015 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape), there’s certainly something here for you. With their relative scarcity, magnums often come at a premium. Hence, finding mags under the $100 mark doesn’t happen often. This is a truly impressive set and is an ideal launching point to explore why magnums are so special. Best of all you can do it without breaking the bank.

Vintage Item Name Score Retail Link
2010 La Rioja Alta "Viña Alberdi" Reserva Rioja (1.5L) 91 $44.99 View
2014 Louis M. Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L) 95 $59.99 View
Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne (1.5L) $74.99 View
2015 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape (1.5L) 95 $99.99 View
2004 Duluc de Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien (1.5L) $69.99 View
2012 La Massa "Giorgio Primo" Toscana 1.5L (Previously $130) 95 Price: Hidden View

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2010 La Rioja Alta "Viña Alberdi" Reserva Rioja (1.5L) ($44.99)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Viña Alberdi is a Tempranillo blend from different vineyards from what they consider an extraordinary vintage. This wine is matured in American oak barrels built by their own coopers, the first year in new barrels and the second one in third-year barrels with four manual rackings. This is the younger of their wines, with even some red berry aromas and spicy oak, quite harmonious. The palate is lively, balanced and polished, with tasty flavors and bright acidity. Delicious. (LG)" (08/2016)

K&L Notes: Founded in 1890, La Rioja Alta is one of the most experienced and universally respected wineries in Rioja. Viña Alberdi is La Rioja Alta's juiciest, most approachable Rioja to drink on the younger side. That said, it still is one of the standard bearers of great quality, affordable, traditional Rioja, aged for two full years in barrels produced on site by the company's own coopers. Based upon Tempranillo, this is always quite tasty but in a vintage as strong as 2010, it elevates itself to top value category.

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2014 Louis M. Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L) ($59.99)

93-95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley spends 18 months in a combination of 30% new and 70% used French and American barrels. It is another big boy at 15.4% natural alcohol. This wine, which was not yet in bottle, is fabulous, and there are 42,000 cases of it. One of the strongest efforts yet from the Martinis, this cuvée still sells at a modest $38.00 -- a fair price for something this compelling. The wine has an opaque purple color, a beautiful nose of blueberries, blackcurrants, licorice, camphor and graphite. The wine is full-bodied and multilayered on the palate with sensational richness and length. It should drink well for 20-25 years. (RP)" (10/2016)

91 points James Suckling: "Blueberry cake, eucalyptus, spice box and blackberry compote. Lots of underbrush character on the palate, which is full with chewy tannins, some fresh acidity and a fruity finish. Drink in 2020." (12/2017)

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Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne (1.5L) ($74.99)

The Aristons vineyards are vastly different than the other blanc de blancs producers that we carry. The steeper slopes, less chalk, and more fossils in the soil of Brouillet make for a rich, creamy style Chardonnay Champagne that will appeal to just about anyone. This is one of my favorite toasting Champagnes, all of the flavors are up front, it is open-knit and fun. It is a perfect way to start a party. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne Buyer)

Staff ImageDiana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 02, 2018

Party perfect! Just when I thought I couldnt love Aspasie more, they charm us at the annual Champagne Tent Event AND make improvements to their production facilities that send their wines over the top in elegance and quality. An unusual offering for the Aristons in that this is 100% Chardonnay, but with a creamier spin. The current release is from a single vineyard and spends over five years on the lees. Paul-Vincent Ariston is committed to making exceptional value Champagne, and theres no doubt hes accomplished that here, especially given the celebration-ready magnum format. Aspasie Blanc de blancs is luxurious and age worthy, and I love turning savvy drinkers on to this family-owned favorite.

Staff ImageGary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 18, 2013

From my top 10 Champagnes of 2012: I opened this magnum as business petered off on Christmas eve for the staff here in the Redwood City store, and it made me a popular man at K&L. Carrying a magnum around to the various work stations put a smile on many faces here, and the wine inside the bottle kept those smiles. This wine is single vineyard, from the very steep Gouttes dOr site in Brouillet, and has a very different style than the Chardonnay from the Cotes de Blancs. This is creamy, decadent wine, and great on its own in the final moments of the retail rushor just about any time! I need to buy this for my cellar.

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2015 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape (1.5L) ($99.99)

95 points Jeb Dunnuck: "I loved the 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape from Claire Michel and its a classic blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault, mostly from rolled stone terroirs, that was partially destemmed and brought up all in foudre. Its a downright sexy, voluptuous 2015 offering textbook notes of kirsch liqueur, ground pepper, herbes de Provence, and incense. It picks up more dark fruit with time in the glass, is full-bodied, has plenty of fat and glycerin, and ample tannin, although theyre so polished you have to hunt for them. This gorgeous example of traditionally made Châteauneuf du Pape thats going to drink beautifully for 15+ years." (10/2017)

93-95 points Vinous: "Vivid ruby. Sexy, high-pitched red berry preserve, floral pastille and Asian spice aromas show outstanding clarity. Sappy, penetrating black raspberry, spicecake and licorice flavors gain weight with air and pick up suggestions of blood orange and smoky minerals. Shows impressive depth and polish, alluring sweetness and no rough edges. Showcases the best attributes of this warm vintage, finishing with silky, mounting tannins and lingering florality. (JR)" (03/2017)

95 points Wine Spectator: "Rich and dark, with delicious, velvety layers of warm fig, black currant and blackberry confiture flecked with hints of ganache, roasted apple wood and tar. The finish has cut to match the heft. A real brick house. (JM)" (09/2017)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "These days, Vieux Donjon is one of the few estates in the region making only a single cuvée (Close des Papes is another). The 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape is a floral, violet-scented wine that's supple and ripe. Only medium to full-bodied, it showcases complex garrigue and licorice notes rather than oodles of red fruit and comes to a long, silky finish. (JC)" (10/2017)

Jancis Robinson: "Crista (north), Moulin à Vent, Mourre de Gaud, Pied de Baud, Pied Long. 5% Cinsault, 75% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah. Partial whole bunch. Vinified in cement tank. Aged for 18 months in foudre. Tasted blind. Very dark healthy crimson. Lightly medicinal on the nose. Lots of energy here with big fruit impact and fine tannins. This should deliver. A confident, non-formulaic rendition. Long and spicy. Quite intense. 17.5/20 points (JR)" (10/2016)

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2004 Duluc de Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien (1.5L) ($69.99)

After its purchase in 1988 by the late Patrick Maroteaux, Chateau Branaire Ducru saw its consistency and quality improve ten fold. Serving up classic clarets with excellent aging potential, the value this chateau delivers is incontestable. Patrick's son, Francois Xavier, has done an excellent job following in his father's footsteps as is evidenced in this delightful 2004 bottling. It is a traditional claret that's remarkably lively given its age. Red fruit driven, it offers fresh flavors of bing cherry, raspberry, along with accents of saddle leather and cigar box. Drinking wonderfullly now, it has another decade or more ahead.

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2012 La Massa "Giorgio Primo" Toscana 1.5L (Previously $130) Price: Hidden

95 points James Suckling: "Beautiful, complex aromas of blueberry, blackberry and black licorice follow through to a full body, ultra-refined tannins and a finish that lasts for minutes. Give this a few years in the bottle to completely come together. Better in 2016." (11/2016)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made with Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Merlot (30%) and Petit Verdot (5%), the impeccable 2012 Giorgo Primo is attractive from every angle. In a recent past vintage, I had criticized this wine for being over the top, but Giampaolo Motta has refined his winemaking approach to better harness the elegance and finesse of these grapes. Don't get me wrong: The sheer power of the wine is proudly put on display. Dark fruit extraction is followed by bursting plum, blackberry and sweet spice. I drank this wine over the course of 24 hours and was thrilled to see its exciting evolution. With time, truffles, wet earth and even a touch of sharp Pecorino cheese begin to emerge. If you are in the market for a bold, age-worthy blockbuster from Tuscany, Giorgio Primo is for you. 94+ (ML)" (10/2015)

93 points Vinous: "Proprietor Giampaolo Motta has done a terrific job with his flagship Giorgio Primo, especially in light of the challenging growing season. Dark, sensual and inviting offers an enticing mélange of mocha, cherry jam, spices, smoke, tobacco, menthol, licorice and lavender, all of which are fused together in a dark, opulent wine that captures the essence of the house style. (AG)" (09/2015)

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 05, 2017

The nose of this wine says depth, structure, not verbiage I normally include for the nose, but in this case you can really smell the power. The aromatics are an array of cocoa powder, black currant, wild cherry hints of tobacco and leather. On the palate the wine shows depth and concentration but never heavy, you can sense this is a wine made in barrique there is that slight torque one gets from small barrels yet they barrique doesnt flavor the wine. The flavors are still, dark cocoa powder, cassis, blackberry with hints of leather and bits of heather and truffle. The finish is long, focused and tense, this is a wine that will benefit greatly from a longer aging but even in just 6 months to a year it will blossom tremendously. Complex, powerful Bordeaux styled Super Tuscan that shows the Panzano terroir.