Staff Favorites - Joe Manekin

Joe Manekin
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Joe arrived at our doors in February 2007 from far away, Washington, DC to be exact. Just so no one gets the wrong idea, though, he was merely earning a living in DC; Joe’s cultural identity, as well as his professional sports allegiances and, when he has a few drinks in him, his accent, are all Baltimore through and through. After working on the wholesale side of the business for nearly 4 years, Joe decided that he wanted to work wine retail with the best, so he emailed Cindy Westby at K&L and the rest is history. While Joe is well versed in a number of wine regions, he most enjoys the wines of Europe, though he is growing increasingly interested in the great wines of the Santa Cruz mountains. When he is not at K&L, Joe enjoys cooking, traveling, catching up on The Wire, doing occasional PR, booking and recording work for reggae band JohnStone (www.johnstonemusic.com), and writing for his wine, food and music blog, Old world Old School (www.oldworldoldschool.blogspot.com)


Reviews

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2014 Terroir al Limit "Terra de Cuques" Priorat Blanc
Review Date: 10-18-2017
A blend of Pedro Ximenez (cool story: first brought up from the south by Andalusians who came up to work in the region's gypsum mines) and Muscat, this wonderful Mediterranean white shows aromas of tarragon and fennel pollen, leading to a chalky, mineral and nicely dry palate. Surprisingly, the exotic, floral qualities one may expect from the Muscat do not show in this wine. German born Dominik Huber did not to my knowledge grow up in a winemaking family, though he did grow to develop a love of good food, cooking and fine wine, and decided to venture into wine production in the beautifully rustic Priorat region of southern Catalonia accompanied by his then business partner, South African savant Eben Sadie. Having learned over the years how to spot a great vineyard, and more recently, how to harness the fruit to retain all of the Mediterranean character with maximzied mineral expression and freshness through thoughtful winemaking, Dominik now is right up there amongst the top few projects in Priorat.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2014 Terroir al Limit "Dits del Terra" Priorat
Review Date: 10-18-2017
Dits del Terra is one of two single vineyard Carinena based wines, what proprietor Dominik Huber describes as his "1er Cru" bottlings. This shows incredibly intense aromas of blackberry and licorice that are brooding in a way. Wonderfully pure, dry and mineral laced flavors on this young Priorat. German born Dominik Huber did not to my knowledge grow up in a winemaking family, though he did grow to develop a love of good food, cooking and fine wine, and decided to venture into wine production in the beautifully rustic Priorat region of southern Catalonia accompanied by his then business partner, South African savant Eben Sadie. Having learned over the years how to spot a great vineyard, and more recently, how to harness the fruit to retain all of the Mediterranean character with maximized mineral expression and freshness through thoughtful winemaking, Dominik now is right up there amongst the top few projects in Priorat.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2014 Terroir al Limit "Torroja" Priorat
Review Date: 10-18-2017
German born Dominik Huber did not to my knowledge grow up in a winemaking family, though he did grow to develop a love of good food, cooking and fine wine, and decided to venture into wine production in the beautifully rustic Priorat region of southern Catalonia accompanied by his then business partner, South African savant Eben Sadie. Having learned over the years how to spot a great vineyard, and more recently, how to harness the fruit to retain all of the Mediterranean character with maximzied mineral expression and freshness through thoughtful winemaking, Dominik now is right up there amongst the top few projects in Priorat. His Torroja "villages" bottling, from the very good 2014 vintage, took a bit of bottle age to open up over the past year or so, but is now showing fantastically, with beautiful dark berries and red fruited aromas, as well as floral qualities on the nose. Juicy and spicy, ripe yet wonderfully fresh, I truly believe that this is Priorat as it should be. Drink it up.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2012 Sesta di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 10-18-2017
I have to give our Brunello customers credit: this is always amongst our most popular Brunelli, and as consistently tasty as it is, I can see why. While Sesta tends to show rich, succulent red fruits, they are even more delectable in a forward, juicy vintage such as 2012. While there is fruit here, and lots of it, there is also sufficient acid balance and structure to see it through some mid-term cellaring. Greg (St Clair, our Italian buyer if you don't know him by now) refers to 2012 as something of a goldilocks vintage, and this wine does indeed taste just right.

2012 Cortonesi "Poggiarelli" Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 10-18-2017
Cortonesi, née La Manella, produces this particular bottling of Brunello from a well regarded site in the Southeast corner of the denominazione. The wine is brawny, salty, savory, black fruited and built, though there is still a quality to the wine that makes you salivate and reach for another glass. I like the style, and with any meat finished with rosemary and sea salt, I imagine I would like it even more. Bravo! A fine Brunello.

2012 Armilla Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 10-18-2017
I was immediately smitten with this Brunello. Straight out the gate, it exudes old timey charm with restrained aromas of red fruits and dried mandarin peels. Flavors are also red fruited, with a light textural feel, layered, subtle flavors, and an overall airiness to the wine that makes it drink well young, though I feel like the impeccable balance at this young age may well allow for some solid mid-term cellar potential. A new name, but one that I will be sure to remember: Armilla!

2015 Domaine Faiveley Mercurey "Clos Rond"
Review Date: 10-18-2017
The wines at Faiveley have been improving dramatically over the past decade, though perhaps it takes a vintage as successful as 2015 to clearly illustrate how far these wines have come. Aromas and flavors of freshly pressed raspberries are friendly but not simple or one dimensional, just really tasty and satisfying. A fine Pinot Noir to drink now or cellar for several years.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$26.99

2015 Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 10-18-2017
I have really enjoyed the Lapalu Beaujolais wines which we have brought in the past few seasons. This Brouilly VV shows fantastic aromas which are ripe, rich and savory all at the same time. There are also appealing aromas of fresh fermentation here. Mixed berry flavors on the palate bring to mind a visit to Swanton Berry Farm: flats of loganberries, tayberries, all the berries. I would be hard pressed to think of a more well suited wine for your Thanksgiving table than this one.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart
VN 92 RP 90

2015 Domaine des Terres Dorées (Jean-Paul Brun) Moulin-a-Vent
Review Date: 10-18-2017
We recently tasted a fairly comprehensive line-up of Beaujolais, and I think for several of us this definitely took best in show, for its value, fruit intensity and sheer deliciousness. Jean Paul Brun is a good producer, whose wines always seem to showcase bright fruit and vintage character, which in this case means that the fruit is generous, but still sufficiently balanced to remind you that the grapes were grown in solid terroir in Moulin a Vent. As with other top wines from this Beaujolais cru, there is less earthiness and less of a floral quality, more of a direct fruity richness to this wine. Highly recommended.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JG 92 JS 92

2014 La Chablisienne Chablis Grand Cru "Les Preuses"
Review Date: 10-18-2017
A significant step up in their range, La Chablisienne's Grand Cru Les Preuses shows ripe citrus, particularly lime and cara cara oranges. Oak on the palate adds some structure. Very good flavors on the mid palate, a combination of textural richness and the fine, elegant acidity driven structure that this Grand Cru is known to deliver.

2014 La Chablisienne Chablis 1er Cru "Vaillons"
Review Date: 10-18-2017
One thing you've got to love about Chablis is that it does not take too much money to be drinking premier cru wines. Here is a perfect example, the Vaillons 1er Cru from La Chablisienne, a winery whose history in the region, scale and large land ownership combine to make this one of the best French white wine values in the store. Refreshing flavors of lemon and tea show nice cut and an appealing linear quality. Dungeness crab, oysters, any of the terrific washed rind cheeses from around Burgundy...any of these delicacies would pair well with this Chablis now and heading into the holidays.

2013 Raventos i Blanc "de la Finca" Gran Reserva Conca del Riu Anoia
Review Date: 10-18-2017
Though it is not their least expensive wine, this could well be the best value of the Raventos stable. It of course is all organically cultivated estate fruit, but in this case the vines are grown on an especially calcareous portion of their property, rich in marine fossils. The result is a sparkling wine with delicious yellow and citrus fruit, quite powerfully flavored, but with a chalkiness that combines with the bubbles to refresh the palate. There is such impressive length and purity here, that I think we can honestly pour this side by side with our favorite Champagnes and have the wine more than hold its own. Simply a great bottle of bubbles from one of the world's more serious sparkling wine producers.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2014 De Braude, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 10-12-2017
This was a runaway hit at our last Bordeaux staff tasting. Dark fruit with a hint of mint on the nose leads to a palate that is just so elegant and balanced. While "seamless" has became an overly used adjective amongst us wine professionals, I think the word applies here as well. Pure class in a glass!
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
WE 92 RP 90

2014 Gigault "Cuvée Viva," Premières Côtes de Blaye
Review Date: 10-12-2017
Always a house favorite here at K&L, the 2014 Gigault shows bright, pure red fruits. There is typically a poise and freshness to this wine when it is young, though allied with a classic vintage like 2014 it becomes all the more notable. Also worth mentioning is the fact that this wine - delicious as it is to drink now - ages quite nicely in the mid-term. Best value Bordeaux under $15? I think the answer is an emphatic 'Yes."
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
JS 91

2012 du Glana, St-Julien
Review Date: 10-12-2017
This is currently a go to Bordeaux bottle for me. Unsurprisingly it is from my favorite commune, St. Julien, which continues to be home to some of the most elegant, wonderfully savory and textbook value examples of left bank Bordeaux. This 2012 shows the supple red fruited qualities of the vintage, with lovely floral undertones and admirable balance. Thinking of this wine has me craving a nice steak and reaching for the decanter - not a bad notion for your next Friday evening at home!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JS 90 WS 90

2015 Raventos i Blanc "de Nit" Rosé Conca del Riu Anoia
Review Date: 10-12-2017
Raventos' De Nit rosé sparkler is back and better than ever. The winery has for several years now only used their biodynamically grown estate fruit, which is pretty impressive given the very reasonable price compared to other producers in Champagne who purchase grape from other producers. This is a delicately colored rosé, with just a hint of red fruit and structure provided by a small percentage of Monastrell. Precise, crisp, slightly tangy and salty, this is a beautiful bottle of bubbles to enjoy on its own or with grilled coho salmon steaks.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart

2014 Raventós i Blanc "L'hereu" Brut Conca del Riu Anoia
Review Date: 10-12-2017
This entry level Raventos sparkling wine shows off all the pedigree, investment and improvements which the family has been busy with over the past decade. The fact that this is made from 100% estate, biodynamically grown fruit should tell you about their seriousness of intent (and also clue you in to what a great value it is at under $20!) Always bright, mineral, a touch salty even, this is the perfect aperitive, the kind of wine you can just drink and drink. One of my favorite Spanish producers, and certainly at the top of my list for bubbles, Raventos continues to bring their 'A' game to the table amongst their entire range of sparklers.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2010 Louise Brison Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-10-2017
Vintage Champagne for under $30 is an anomaly to be sure. Thanks to our DI Champagne program, though, we have a Champagne here that is not only vintage dated and carefully aged (for a good bit longer than the AOC dictated minimums) but also stylish and much more expensive/serious tasting than the price would suggest. There are two very good reasons for this: very expensive Chardonnay from Kimmeridgian soils and barrel ageing. I love Louise Brison's vintage Champagnes not only for their fair pricing, but also the inherent quality, craft and style in each one that I've had. These are always incredibly popular Champagnes here - don't miss out on the 2010!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2008 Louise Brison "Cuvée Tendresse" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-10-2017
Tasting this fantastic 08 vintage, 100% Chardonnay based, DI champagne, I was reminded of their regular vintage 2008 bottling, which for many of us served as our introduction to this house. Here we have all of the richness coupled with bright flavors of their vintage 2008, but on the palate the golden fruits seem even more intense, lively and impressive. And it does not come at the expense of drinkability! I would not hesitate to think of this wine as an affordable luxury for drinking now, though you could just as easily categorize it as a way to load up on the good stuff (on the cheap) for incredible drinking in the mid to long term.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2013 Il Borro Pian di Nova Toscana
Review Date: 10-02-2017
I was really impressed, and surprised, by Il Borro's Pian Di Nova. Clearly unfiltered, the wine shows bright fruit aromas, something suggesting Syrah's occasionally savory tendency, though without any of the intense spicy or tar like qualities. The palate shows such delicacy and freshness to the red fruit, along with discreet, balanced tannins which provide for an elegant texture. I don't collect Tignanello or Sassicaia, and do not often drink much Tuscan wine (super or otherwise), but this wine stands out.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart
JS 91 RP 91

2014 Claude Dugat Gevrey-Chambertin
Review Date: 09-28-2017
A classic Gevrey, through and through, the Dugat opens with aromas dominated by savory red cherries, leading to a savory palate, a bit meaty and slightly tannic, but otherwise so well balanced and spot on in a traditional Gevrey Chambertin that you won't likely mind those tannins. This is about as textbook as it gets!
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Huguenot "Champs Perdrix" Marsannay
Review Date: 09-27-2017
I've a soft spot for good Marsannay, and so I certainly have an even greater weakness for great Marsannay. Domaine Huguenot Champs Perdrix is great Marsannay. Explosive on the nose, with loads of red and blue fruit aromas, and a floral, violet quality, the palate is juicy and vibrant, generous yet poised, ever so slightly showy but ultimately balanced. Delicious red Burgundy to drink now or cellar in the mid-term.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine Marc Colin Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "Champs Gain"
Review Date: 09-27-2017
A truly great bottle of white Burgundy, this wine currently shows in a nicely linear way, with racy citrus fruit, lovely texture, loads of persistence and fine balance. A fantastic bottle worthy of splurging on to enjoy now or stash away in the cellar.

2014 Domaine Faiveley Montagny Blanc
Review Date: 09-27-2017
A delicious bottle of white Burgundy, this has clean, focused citrus fruit and a notable mineral underpinning. For under $20, you are getting a wonderful wine from a classic white Burgundy vintage in 2014. And I would add that this wine just tastes tres, tres Frahnch....
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Bodegas Miras Malbec Joven Rio Negro
Review Date: 09-27-2017
This Malbec has lovely, fresh, plum fruit with accents of black pepper, as well as the fine tannin structure present in Miras' Pinot Noir. Honest, purely fruited, bright and so easy to drink, I would not hesitate to recommend this graceful Malbec to fans of medium bodied or even lighter wines, including Pinot Noir. Highly recommended!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2016 Bodegas Miras Pinot Noir Joven Rio Negro
Review Date: 09-27-2017
A delicate, floral and fresh style of Pinot Noir, this is as strong a value and as convincing an argument for Pinot Noir in Argentina as I have yet to taste. Organically cultivated Pinot Noir is vinified with some stem inclusion, which shows in the lighter color and elegant grip of the tannins. Lovely Pinot Noir, and very fairly priced - thank you, Marcelo!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2016 Bodegas Miras Pinot Salvaje
Review Date: 09-27-2017
This is an original Patagonian white, made from 30% Sauvignon Blanc and 70% Pinot Noir grapes, both of which are co-fermented without extended skin maceration. A very minimal amount of SO2 was added prior to bottling - this fact combined with the retained CO2 during bottling creates a s lovely, refreshing white, with bone dry flavors and just a hint of Sauvignon's snappy green quality. 10% ABV, dry, a bit fizzy and every bit as refreshing as it sounds! Yes!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2015 Seña Red Blend Valle de Aconcagua
Review Date: 09-27-2017
Eduardo Chadwick's Sena has worked hard to stake out its own identity in the realm of Chile's long-standing collectible icon wines. According to many (myself included), it is the wine amongst this group that consistently has the brightest fruit expression, the most deft balance between oak and fruit, the most elegant tannins. Yes, that is indeed a bunch of superlatives, but in recent years I feel like this has become Chile's first amongst first growths. It shows in the wine, it shows in the perfect review for this vintage, and I suspect it will continue to do so as this pedigreed red continues to age in your cellar. In fact, it already has proven its ageability, as various vintages of Sena repeatedly swept the top spots in a series of professionally judged tastings alongside Bordeaux's first growths. Highly recommended for the cellar.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart
JS 100 RP 96

2014 Garage Wine Company "Vigno" Carignane Maule Valley
Review Date: 09-27-2017
We worked our supplier connections pretty hard to get as many bottles of this sub 3,000 bottle production gem of a wine as we could. Vigno represents an association of growers who source old vine Carignane from Chile's Secano interior section of the Maule Valley, an area which, for Carignane lovers (count me in) arguably produces the best examples of this grape variety in the world, right up there with bottlings of Priorat which often sell for nearly three figure prices. Derek's 2014 VIGNO is a masterpiece of the genre. It opens with one of those explosively bright noses where you can smell the freshness and acidity, a fine beginning to be sure. The palate shows incredibly energetic, lively black cherry and wild berry fruit flavors, a freshness that betrays the low 3.2 pH, as well as the fresh granite, quartz and red clay soils in this section of Chile's coastal range. It is one of the few wines I've tasted recently that I simply could not spit out - it's that good, and I suggest you buy some before we run out.While we secured, by my calculation, about 10% of the production, as I mentioned earlier on that is still a very tiny amount!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 95 JS 94

2015 Losada Mencía Bierzo
Review Date: 09-25-2017
More people should discover the wines of Bierzo, a region famous for it slightly smokier style of chorizo, its cecina (Spanish bresaola), and the fresh, peppery yet structured red wines from Mencía grapes. The Losada really hits the mark, with rich fruit, licorice and a smoky minerality on the nose, leading to blue and red fruits, well integrated oak and an overall juicy quality that belies its structure and ability to improve with age. Tasted alongside one of the region's other great values, the Ultreia St. Jacques from Raul Perez, this wine more than held its own! It's not often that we email out wines from this region, but given the value and unique qualities of this particular example we couldn't help but spread the word on this one.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 95

2014 Pere Mata "Cupada" Rose Brut Reserva Penedes
Review Date: 09-25-2017
This is fantastic - one of my favorite rosé sparklers I've had this year. The secret to this cava's delicate pink color and fresh red berry fruit is a tiny portion of direct press Monastrell. This is quite dry, but the fruit is juicy - mouthwateringly so - and expressive. Pere Mata clearly is up to some magic in Cava country, and in relatively short order has established his wines amongst the region's best.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2009 Latour-Martillac, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 09-25-2017
We recently were lucky to taste through a fairly extensive vertical of this excellent Graves estate's wines and this 2009 vintage was a standout for many of us (including none other than Head Wine Buyer Emeritus, Clyde Beffa, Jr.) Plump fruit shows a rather sumptuous quality, with more deeply pitched mixed berries than the red fruits shown in other vintages we tasted such as 2005, 2010 and 2015. This is drinking wonderfully now, should have a wide ranging appeal to both the classicists and those who, as Clyde seems to these days, prefer richer fruit. Highly recommended.

2005 Latour-Martillac, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 09-25-2017
We recently were lucky to taste through a fairly extensive vertical of this excellent Graves estate's wines. The 2005, as Clyde wisely suggested, seems to combine aspects of the excellent 2009 and 2010 vintages. It shows loads of potential in its bright, focused fruit and early stage development, though the tannins seem to still be obscuring some of the greatness in this wine. It would do quite well for a steak and claret evening if given an hour decant, though I suspect that the 15 year rule (15 years from the vintage) applies for those who want to to enjoy this wine as it truly hit its stride.

2016 Zabala Natural Cider Pais Vasco
Review Date: 09-25-2017
Produced from a blend of indigenous Basque apple varieties, Zabala is a delicious, authentic expression of the local sidra from the province of Guipuzkoa. It's very tangy to be sure, but also expressive, appley, and once you've developed a taste for it, very little if anything else will do! Enjoy it with cheeses, charcuterie, tortilla espanola, or even as they do locally during the celebration of the new cider release, with a nicely grilled bone in ribeye steak.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2011 Can Mayol Loxarel "MM" Blanc de Noirs Gran Reserva Brut Nature Penedes
Review Date: 09-24-2017
A blanc de Noir of Pinot Noir and the red skin Xarel-lo Vermell, this is actually an oeuil de perdrix, light coppery pink color. Flavors are precise, with red currant, fennel and subtle herbs, an underlying calcareous minerality and a wonderfully elegant bead. Super classy stuff for under $25. Maybe about seven years ago, when I was feeling a bit down on sparkling wine in Spain, I tasted just a few of the bubblies from Loxarel at a trade show. Ever since then I have been hooked. I have consumed so many bottles across their dizzying array of products, and built up so much product conviction along the way, that I would put these up against any sparkling wines in the store: Champagne, Jura, New Zealand, German sekt...
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2005 Can Mayol Loxarel "109 Mesos" Gran Reserva Brut Penedes
Review Date: 09-24-2017
109 Mesos is the tete de cuvee at Can Mayol. The oldest vine Xarel-lo vines are blended with a 10% dash of Chardonnay, and as the name suggests aged on its lees for 109 months, under cork. In fact, it is never disgorged, as winemaker Josep Mitjans believes that for this cuvee the lees, which contributes to the wine's complexity, longevity and freshness, should be allowed to do so right up until the point of purchase. That said, you will need a toolbox on hand to grab a pair of pliers, bend the iron prongs and disgorge this beauty yourself. You will be amply rewarded with one of the most original bottles of bubbles in our inventory. Maybe about seven years ago, when I was feeling a bit down on sparkling wine in Spain, I tasted just a few of the bubblies from Loxarel at a trade show. Ever since then I have been hooked. I have consumed so many bottles across their dizzying array of products, and built up so much product conviction along the way, that I would put these up against any sparkling wines in the store: Champagne, Jura, New Zealand, German sekt...
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

2016 Can Mayol Loxarel "Apel" Ancestral Penedes
Review Date: 09-24-2017
Josep Mitjans, winemaker of Loxarel, is not one to rest on his laurels. One of his more recent creations is Apel, a methode ancestrale sparkling consisting of 100% old vine Xarel-lo, fermented with indigenous yeasts and without any liqueur de tirage or dosage (aka, in both cases, sugar). The resulting wine is nicely dry, perhaps with a softer bead and less savory Mediterranean notes when compared to their flagship Reserva Familiar. I love them both, and expect to go through many bottles of the Apel (as well as many more of Loxarel's other delicious sparklers!) Maybe about seven years ago, when I was feeling a bit down on sparkling wine in Spain, I tasted just a few of the bubblies from Loxarel at a trade show. Ever since then I have been hooked. I have consumed so many bottles across their dizzying array of products, and built up so much product conviction along the way, that I would put these up against any sparkling wines in the store: Champagne, Jura, New Zealand, German sekt...
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2013 Can Mayol Loxarel Garnatxa Blanca Brut Nature Penedes
Review Date: 09-24-2017
Maybe about seven years ago, when I was feeling a bit down on sparkling wine in Spain, I tasted just a few of the bubblies from Loxarel at a trade show. Ever since then I have been hooked. I have consumed so many bottles across their dizzying array of products, and built up so much product conviction along the way, that I would put these up against any sparkling wines in the store: Champagne, Jura, New Zealand, German sekt...this is the first vintage of Garnatxa Blanca, and the only bubbly made from this grape that I have yet to try. Loxarel's trademark fine bubbles combine with slightly weightier fruit from the high elevation Garnatxa blanca grapes to create something that is equal parts food friendly and refreshing.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2014 Can Mayol Loxarel "999" Brut Nature Rosat Penedes
Review Date: 09-24-2017
Maybe about seven years ago, when I was feeling a bit down on sparkling wine in Spain, I tasted just a few of the bubblies from Loxarel at a trade show. Ever since then I have been hooked. I have consumed so many bottles across their dizzying array of products, and built up so much product conviction along the way, that I would put these up against any sparkling wines in the store: Champagne, Jura, New Zealand, German sekt...the 999 is quite a dry expression of high elevation Pinot Noir and Xarel-lo Vermell (red skinned mutation of the indigenous Xarel-lo and a key component to most cava and sparkling Penedes wine). The wine is recently disgorged, stylish, and very easy to drink!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2015 Honorio Rubio "Aron" Garnacha Rioja
Review Date: 09-24-2017
This is 100% old vine Garnacha, from an area in southwestern Rioja Alta where the quality of the Garnacha has been coveted by at least a few of the new generation of talented winemakers in the area. Aron is the name of Honorio's second son, and a fitting tribute with it's intense red Garnacha fruit. Even at 15% ABV, there is plenty of cut and freshness to balance things out. It is also quite educational to taste this Garnacha - a grape which is the main component of Honorio's tremendous rosé wines (both the Lías Finas and Castillo de Vinas) - on its own.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2014 Hacienda Solano Ribera del Duero
Review Date: 09-24-2017
Hacienda Solano comes from vines (many of them 80 years old) in one of the most prized vineyard towns of Ribera del Duero, La Aguilera. This fact combined with an elevage in used French barrels produces a rather dry expression of this region, marked by expressive dark fruits, limestone, and orange rind - what I often refer to as the trifecta of typical flavors for great, young Tempranillo, whether it comes from Rioja or Ribera del Duero. In Ribera, though, the structure, and tannin build of the wine sets it apart. While there is more than sufficient fruit and chalky minerality to balance out these tannins, I would not be surprised to discover a much more complete, seriously overachieving bottle of red if allowed to cellar for another several years or longer.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2014 Honorio Rubio "Lias Finas" Rosado Rioja
Review Date: 09-24-2017
If you're in the market for serious, expressive, barrel aged rosé, Honorio Rubio makes a wonderful rendition. His long lees aged rosé is a classical local Rioja style known locally as clarete: a blend of 60% Garnacha and 40% Viura, which combines red fruit with Viura's focused acidity and in this case, a lovely peach skin quality as well. Served with top quality ibérico, it makes for a memorable special occasion food and wine pairing.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

2016 Adur Getariako Txakolina
Review Date: 09-24-2017
Anyone who has visited San Sebastian and experienced its vibrant dining, drinking and pintxos scene has surely enjoyed the local Getariako Txakolina ("txakoli" for short) Adur sets itself apart from most of the pack, in that it is relatively opulent 11.5% ABV (compared to the more typical 10.5%!) and shows juicier stone fruit flavors to complement the typical fresh acidity and fizziness. Bright, invigorating and delicious white wine!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Castillo de Vinas Rosado Rioja
Review Date: 09-24-2017
My new favorite rosé has arrived, just in time for the tail end of the season! This is the classic style of Rioja "clarete," which is to say a delicious blend of Garnacha and Viura, macerated together briefly and fermented dry, dry, dry. Flavors of tangy red berries, ripe citrus and peach skins carry an electric acidity, though texturally speaking this wine has plenty of weight to allow for a wide variety of food pairings. From Ossau-Iraty cheese to grilled salmon, or oven roasted chicken thighs with preserved lemons, tomatoes and olives, this wine is ready for whatever you throw its way. A wonderful old school expression of Riojano rosé, produced by one of the region's leading talents in Honorio Rubio.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2016 Castillo de Vinas Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 09-24-2017
I've said it before, and likely will repeat myself many more times, but here goes: white Rioja is where it's at! There is something about the minerality, and acid forward personality of mature Viura vines, that makes it the perfect aperitive. This particular version is made by Honorio Rubio, who is one of Rioja's most gifted producers of white wines. It is bright, slight savory and salty, with a wonderful texture thanks to six months ageing on the lees.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2016 Bodegas Puelles Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 09-24-2017
This is always one of my favorite daily white wine drinkers in the store. Composed of 100% Viura, it is crisply fruited, mineral, and fantastic as an aperitive. If your tastes lean towards fresh, dry unoaked whites, then this is your wine.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

2014 Celler Cal Pla "Black Slate" Porrera Priorat
Review Date: 09-18-2017
Black Slate continues to be as delicious a bottling of sub $20 Priorat as we've been able to find. Every year we taste several different "vi de vila," or village bottlings, of Black Slate and pick our favorite. The Porrera bottling often times leads the pack, and it once again does so for me in 2014. Loads of spicy dark cherry confit aromas, with hints of wild thyme and warm, parched earth, lead to savory flavors, with impressive mid palate intensity, minerality and freshness. And it's the freshness which to me continues to mark many of the best 2013 and 2014 vintage Priorats I have tasted. This is a great bottle of Priorat for the price! Load up, since we bought everything we could and it might well be all that's available of this tasty vintage.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2013 Seña Red Blend Valle de Aconcagua
Review Date: 09-18-2017
Imagine if the 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting - the event which proved the quality of California's finest Cabernet based wines was every bit the equal of its much better known and more expensive Bordeaux peers - was taken on the road over the course of a decade. That is exactly what happened with Sena, beginning in 2004 in Berlin and then taking place in London, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and other cities in most of the world's major wine markets. While the wine consistently placed 2nd or 3rd in these early tastings, when verticals were introduced in later tastings, Sena consistently swept the competition, finishing first nearly every time. Now that you have some context, I can tell you that this wine is the real deal, a fantastic expression of Chilean terroir and a very fine Bordeaux inspired blend to be sure. At under $100, I think it's one of our best higher end Cabernet blends, and certainly one of the most consistently praised amongst the world's wine critics.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
JS 99 RP 96

2015 Taylor Fladgate "Quinta de Vargellas" Vintage Port
Review Date: 09-14-2017
This is fantastic, young port, a true representative of both the house style at Taylor as well as the special vineyard site that is the Quinta de Vargellas. This is a vineyard in the rugged, eastern Douro Superior, where incredibly hot days are tempered by cooler nights than in the rest of the /Douro, resulting in wines of great fragrance, freshness and intensity. While Vargellas definitely marks the finest of Taylor's wines in broad based declared vintages (most recently 2011), it is in the very fine, non declared years such as 2015 where you have something truly special in a single quinta Port bottling. Deeply vinous and floral on the nose, the palate of freshly plucked wild blackberries and schist/granite minerality, with a markedly less sweet impression than many other houses, is what makes this wine special. If you feel like you need to wait too long on your 2011's (or even your 2007's or '94 for that matter), then enjoy these now for their lovely fragrance and sheer power, or stash away for another decade for something really special to emerge.

2014 Tapiz "Alta Collection" Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 09-13-2017
As it did last vintage, the Tapiz Malbec certainly wears its right bank Bordeaux credentials on its sleeve, while still leaving no doubt that we are drinking a generously fruited, rich and ripe Malbec of sunny, high plateau Uco Valley origins. A balanced, agreeably toasty nose leads to dark plum and fig flavors on the palate, with just a bit of Bordelaise inspired tannin structure and roasted coffee bean nuances coming through as well. The overall impression is that of a fruit forward and nicely structured Malbec to enjoy immensely now and over the next several years. Grab some sooner than later, as this was our most popular Malbec last year, and likely to repeat this year as well.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
JS 95 W&S 91

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