Staff Favorites - Ivan Diaz

Ivan Diaz

Reviews

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Mezcal de Leyenda "Reserva de la Biósfera" Tehuacán Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 10-18-2017
This is a super funky, utterly different mezcal with a flavor profile unlike anything else out there. Definitely smokier and spicier than the Montana, the Reserva de la Biosfera shows lots of spicy herbs, tree bark, foresty woods, black pepper, and an unexpectedly pretty floral note. This ridiculously small batch is a blend of Marmorata and Macrocantha agaves, ultra-rare varietals that present a flavor profile which, like the Montana, is difficult to summarize. I have a feeling I'll be spending lots of time with these exceedingly complex mezcales simply to acclimate my palate and gain deeper understanding of the magic happening in these bottles.
Price: $299.99 Add To Cart

Mezcal de Leyenda Unicos "Montana" Tamaulipas Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 10-18-2017
Perhaps my favorite of the Leyendas, the Montana Tamaulipas is an extremely layered, complex mezcal unlike anything I've ever tasted before. There is a loamy earthiness that confronts the nose upon introduction. Further investigation uncovers chalky minerality, black pepper, roasted herbs, subtle banana, flowers, tree bark, a smooth, creamy mouthfeel, and a spicy kick of a finish. The smoke here is admittedly rather restrained, allowing the flavors of this particularly esoteric agave varietal to show through. There's something hard to place about this one, something very compellingly bizarre and utterly unique, and I spent a long time trying to articulate it before simply succumbing to the intense expressiveness and gorgeous rusticity. If you're a collector of mezcal and can stomach the price point, do not let this one slip by.
Price: $499.99 Add To Cart

Mezcal de Leyenda Grandes Leyendas "Don Anastacio" Tehuacán Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 10-18-2017
This is probably the most balanced selection from Mezcal de Leyenda; a superbly built bottling that drinks with such superior harmony that the price point actually seems a little low. There is more orange zest, lemon, and sweet agave here than the others, but these flavors are lovingly wrapped in woodsy smoke, warm spices, herbaceous earth, and a ribbon of comfortable acidity seamlessly threaded through the creamy texture.
Price: $219.99 Add To Cart

Mezcal de Leyenda "Cementerio Mezcalero" Michoacan Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 10-18-2017
Fans of particularly smoky mezcal will get their money's worth with the Cementerio bottling, perhaps the smokiest and spiciest of the Leyenda series. There is particularly intense campfire on the nose and hot gravel on the palate. Lots of rocky, chalky minerality, spicy herbs, and white and black pepper dominate the palate. This bottling utilizes a blend of agaves as opposed to a single varietal, so the agave flavor is rather more background here, prizing the intense smokiness instead. This one is for the die-hard mezcal collector.
Price: $249.99 Add To Cart

2015 DuMol Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-28-2017
There's a reason Dumol is considered one of the best producers of Russian River Pinot, and this bottling is a perfect example. First, it is strikingly "of its place," showing richness and density without becoming too full or heavy, maintaining an effortlessly light touch - a defining trait of the best RRV Pinot. Second, the deep red and blue berries are ripe and vivid, but never too center-stage, allowing the layers of complexity underneath to rise to the surface. Some chamomile tea leaf, warm baking spice, and a hint of coriander round out the palate while the full malolactic fermentation renders a mouthwatering note of buttery pie crust. The acidity is streamlined and tannins are fine, making for a beautifully delineated, elegant Pinot Noir.
Price: $68.99 Add To Cart

2015 DuMol Russian River Valley Syrah
Review Date: 09-28-2017
Dumol produces very little Syrah, but their offering in the category is an exceedingly vital contribution to the category. This bottling has more in common with Cote-Rotie than it does with other California Syrah, showing rather restrained at the moment, with loads of promise in the cellar. Dark, brambly blackberries and blueberries, a dusting of finely ground black pepper, savory roasted herbs and an earthy, clay-like minerality all contribute to the stunningly classic flavor profile. It is exceptionally well-structured; the tannins and acidity strike an interwoven harmony that deftly binds everything together without coming off as too "grippy" or "tight". This is enjoyable now with a few hours of airtime, or in 5-7 years with some lamb sausage.
Price: $58.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

Jefferson's "K&L Exclusive" Reserve Very Old Small Batch Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 09-23-2017
Our exclusive bottlings from Jefferson continue with the Very Old Small Batch, a richer, deeper effort for more seasoned bourbon drinkers. This one provides a deeper impact, not only with a slightly higher alcohol content, but a more robust flavor profile to boot. Raw vanilla, maple, warm clove-y spices, barrel toast, cedar, and compellingly savory salty notes lend this utterly smooth bottling layers of complexity and depth. Perfect for cocktails in warm weather, or served neat during chillier months.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Jefferson's "K&L Exclusive" Very Small Batch Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 09-21-2017
A real treat from Jefferson, purveyor exceptionally velvety bourbon, is the newly exclusive K&L Very Small Batch bottling. A little lower in alcohol and a bit lighter-bodied on the palate, this one offers up vanilla bean, sweet oak spice, caramel, and sea salt, finishing with a subtly tart, briny citrus note. Silky smooth from front to back.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Krug "Grande Cuvée" 164 Ème Édition Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-07-2017
What a treat it is to work in the wine industry and taste new bottles of Krug on a random Thursday. After tasting at work where it showed crisp, clean flavors of crunchy red apples and fresh minerality, I was lucky enough to take the bottle home where it continued to reveal all the depth and complexity expected of this legendary producer (and then some). With some air time, this wine offers ripe pears and white peaches, honeyed almonds, toasted brioche, subtly funky beeswax, and a pretty floral tone giving the impression of lithe elegance for such a full-bodied, voluptuous Champagne.
Price: $159.99 Add To Cart
VN 97 JG 95

2004 Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 09-07-2017
While the 2004 vintage in Bordeaux receives little in the way of recognition, there are several gems to be found at the value level that drink with quality well beyond whatever the vintage and price point might suggest. Such is the 2004 Haut Bergey, a softer Pessac-Leognan with classic flavors of plum, black cherry, cedar, coffee bean, bell pepper, and sweet tobacco. Plenty of minerality follows through from the nose to the palate and the acidity helps glide us through to the long finish.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2016 Domaine Dragon Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire Rosé
Review Date: 09-07-2017
Perhaps my favorite rose from the bountiful 2016 vintage is this bottling from Sainte Victoire, a small Cru appellation within Cotes de Provence producing a rather viscous, ripely-fruited style of rose that sacrifices nothing in the way of minerality or freshness. Saline and flinty qualities mingle with sweet strawberries. Subtle peppery, herbal accents bring depth and variety, while the perfectly integrated acidity maintains the laser-like focus and clarity.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2015 Bodegas Henri Lurton Chenin Blanc Baja California
Review Date: 09-07-2017
Incredible Chenin Blanc from Baja, Mexico. Although not super "traditional" as far as Chenin Blanc goes, this bottling still shows plenty of juicy pear and honey, while offering rather unusual qualities including surprising notes of red berries like strawberry and cranberry (very uncommon in white wine). Pretty floral accents never threaten to dominate, avoiding the dreaded "perfumy" descriptor. The acidic cut and refreshingly dry minerality close out the palate. Unfortunately, too many people will pass this by simply because its Mexican. They do not know what they're missing.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine L'Ostal Cazes "Grand Vin" Minervois La Livinière
Review Date: 09-01-2017
Minervois is perhaps my favorite up and coming southern French region. Traditional Rhone varietals (70% Syrah, 15% Carignan, 10% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre) are the building blocks here, providing a juicy core of red and blue berries. The cedar and black pepper of the Syrah stands forward, while the high-tone acidity of the Grenache provides a mouth-watering texture that finishes with a touch of spicy tannin. Excellent value.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2014 Valderiz Ribera del Duero
Review Date: 08-10-2017
Deep and powerful, the 2014 release from Valderiz is classic Ribera that, for $30, drinks with a quality well beyond most Cabernet for the same price. This is staggeringly aromatic wine showing stewed black cherries, steeped plum, spice cake, cloves, mint, cedar, pine, and dark cocoa. Rich and velvety on the palate with pleasant spice and sweet tannic grip on the finish, this is beautiful and luscious on its own, or a perfect compliment to seared lamb.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
WS 94

2016 Bodegas Chacra "Sin Azufre" Pinot Noir Rio Negro
Review Date: 07-06-2017
Light to medium bodied, this Patagonian Pinot Noir is an exceedingly graceful package. Fresh, crunchy red berries with subtle blueberry, purple flowers, black pepper, and vein of savory salinity. This continues to open in the glass, revealing subtle baking spices and deeper, earthy complexities. From top to bottom this is incredibly earnest Pinot, striking that rare balance between simply pretty and deceptively complex.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
JS 97 RP 92

2015 Noemia de Patagonia "A Lisa" Malbec Rio Negro
Review Date: 07-06-2017
I was very impressed by the overall freshness, low alcohol, and dryness of this beautifully balanced Malbec. No dominating oak factor, no super-extracted purple fruit, just soft and refreshing strawberry and blackberry, subtle spicy accents, sturdy but seemless structure, and restraint. I have a feeling this would develop really well with some air but it was gone before I had the chance to find out. Very well-done.

2014 La Chablisienne Chablis "Les Venerables" Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 07-01-2017
This is, to my palate, the best of the 2014 La Chablisienne wines on offer right now. There is a beautifully integrated leesy quality here, but less pronounced than the Mont de Milieu, and the fruit profile still shows classic citrus, but unlike the La Sereine, it veers more toward juicy orchard fruits that give the impression of roundness while avoiding richness. Sweet honey and chalky minerality are both present toward the back end, which, along with the bracing acidity, create a compelling tension that draws the finish out to a very satisfying length. This one is versatile enough to pair with oysters, mussels, flaky white fish, or hell, even fried fish and chips!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
DC 90 WE 90

2014 La Chablisienne Chablis "La Sereine"
Review Date: 07-01-2017
Lean, crisp, and mineral forward, La Sereine has classic Chablis character that simultaneously quenches the palate and compels another sip. Lemon, flinty minerality, hints of spicy herb and white pepper. Enjoyable on its own on a hot day, or with some fresh oysters (the brinier the better).
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2011 Ferrer Bobet "Vinyes Velles" Priorat
Review Date: 06-29-2017
Perhaps the oldest and most well-developed "affordable" Priorat in the shop right now is this 2011 bottling from Ferrer Bobet, a wine that way over-delivers for the price. One doesn't expect to find so many layers of brambly black and blue fruits, sweet licorice, black pepper, coffee, cocoa, and cedary tree bark for only $25 a bottle. Nor does one anticipate such a grippy, tannic backbone that, at the finish, gives way to juicy acidity and lingering notes of mocha. Pick it up now and pair with just about any hearty dinner, but especially a Spanish lamb ragu.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 WS 91

2014 Antech "Emotion" Cremant de Limoux Brut Rosé
Review Date: 06-15-2017
At a measly $15 a bottle, this gorgeous blend from Limoux (a region with an older sparkling wine tradition than even Champagne) is more compelling than countless over-priced bottles from the more famous region. The fineness of the bubbles lend a mousy texture and the flavor profile offers crunchy strawberry, orange rind, watermelon, a pretty floral nuance, and terroir-driven minerality that reveals why this unsung region for bubbles is actually one of the best kept secrets of France's wine industry. Perfect with turkey, no matter how you prepare it on Thanksgiving; roasted, fried, or smoked, this will be a refreshing and perfectly-calibrated companion.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2009 Miguel Merino "Vitola" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 06-15-2017
When I first tasted this last year I was impressed by the tight-rope Mr. Merino was walking, managing to craft a Rioja that was equal parts modern (fruit-forward, oaky) and traditional (earthy, savory). Now with a little time in the bottle (and eight years out from the vintage), this wine drinks with the rustic profundity of great, traditional Rioja. While it maintains a core of vibrant red fruit and sweet oaky spices, there are added layers of complexity that send this one soaring above countless bottles of Rioja at the same price. A marked herbal sensation strikes me most, with minty eucalyptus but also more savory sage, accompanied by warm clove and anise spices. There are also subtle notes of tomato skin, tobacco leaf, and sweet balsamic, elevating this unassuming bottle to reach unexpected heights of flavor.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2005 Bodegas Puelles Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 06-01-2017
Puelles continues to release traditionally aged, beautifully crafted and developed wine with their Gran Reserva 2005, a classic Rioja with simultaneous depth and lift. Classic, if slightly darker, almost Bordeaux-like flavors abound: cherries, plums, crushed flowers, anise, olive tapenade, tea leaves, woodsy spice, tree bark, and graphite all kept afloat by the weightless acidity and wrapped in soft, dusty tannins. I'm hard-pressed to think of another $20 wine in the shop that comes close.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2015 Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-01-2017
Banshee consistently makes impressively concentrated Pinots at disproportionately low price points. For under $25, the entry-level 2015 is a seriously focused Pinot with the power, complexity, and simultaneous finesse that defines excellent California Pinot. Showing great complexity at the entry level, it delivers a vivid core of tart cherries and black raspberry, pie crust, subtle herbs, dried flowers, warm spice, and subtle pepperiness. Acidity is integrated and bracing while silky tannins keep the finish persistent. Deeply enjoyable, especially for the price!
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart
VN 90

2014 Domaine Damien Coquelet Chiroubles Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 05-25-2017
From higher elevation plots in Chiroubles experiencing lower temperatures than most of Beaujolais comes the 2014 "Vieilles Vignes" by Damien Coquelet. This particular placement and climate is perfectly suited here, as the wine, for all its complexity, maintains an air of lifted freshness from start to finish. This isn't to say it lacks complexity, however. Quite the opposite. Starting with fresh cherries and bright raspberries, the flavors give way to compelling terroir elements like loam, dusty black pepper, crushed flowers, baking spice, and subtle gaminess, all kept afloat by the high-toned acidity. This is about as good a Beaujolais as I've ever had and it's under $30. I would put this in competition with any Burgundy twice the price any day.
Price: Hidden View Price
VN 93

2015 Talley "Rincon Vineyard" Arroyo Grande Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-25-2017
The Rincon bottling (from vines planted in 1984) is a bright, refreshing style with an abundance of nuances that continue to unfold as the wine opens in the glass. Starting off with crunchy apple and bright lemon, it then reveals subtle notes of honey, almond, and hazelnut, along with a wave of of tropical pineapple and pear. Mineral notes of flint and stone make an appearance toward the back end, providing the finish with beautiful freshness, salinity, and an invitation for another sip.
Price: $42.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 CG 91

2015 Chateau Vitallis Macon-Fuissé
Review Date: 05-04-2017
The southern Burgundian region of Macon is making some of my favorite Chardonnay in the world right now. It probably has to do with the tremendous balance of which these wines are capable (not to mention the tremendous value). This one shows ideal harmony between creaminess and acidity, seashell minerality and orchard fruits, salinity and leesy richness. Medium bodied with pristine concentration, I would look no further for pairing with a light cream sauce pasta or shellfish.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2015 Talley "Rosemary's Vineyard" Arroyo Grande Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-04-2017
Of the 2015 Chardonnays I tasted while visiting the Talley estate this past March, The Rosemary's vineyard stands as the most deeply felt, fully realized offering. The house style seems to value the mineral expression of the terroir and a dedication to quality fruit, producing some incredibly linear, focused, and fresh wines. The Rosemary's however, shows a bit more depth and leesiness with its nose of honeyed nuts, subtle coconut, baked apple, and sea salt. While the palate is rounder and richer than the other bottlings, with hints of buttercream and warm spice, there is still piercing acidity and quenching textural tension from the chalky, salty minerality. This is gorgeous Chardonnay for any occasion, but perhaps paired best with a flaky white fish in brown butter.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 CG 90

2013 Paul Hobbs Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 04-28-2017
Big, brambly red fruit takes center stage here, along with a creamy ribbon of cocoa that tracks from the nose to the finish. Rounding out the edges are warm spices (cinnamon, clove) and a hint of savory eucalyptus in the background, all wrapped in sweet, velvety tannins that make this one go down way too easily. Perfect pairing with herb-crusted short ribs either off the grill or sous vide.

2014 Marietta "Angeli Cuvee" Sonoma County Red Blend
Review Date: 04-27-2017
Almost never has such an unexpected blend delivered such a classic flavor profile. The components are Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Carignan, but it drinks like young Bordeaux, despite the absence of all Bordeaux varietals. This guy is big and rich, but never over-the-top, showing raisins, cassis, fig, toast, and rounded out by dried flowers and savory herbals that linger on through the finish. A great, off-the-beaten-path candidate for your cellar (5-7 more years ought to do it).
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2014 Seabold Monterey Pinot Noir
Review Date: 04-20-2017
A beautifully delineated bottle that exhibits all the ripe but focused qualities of Monterey Pinot, this one manages to show velvety black raspberry and blueberry, warm spices, chamomile, and buttery pie crust. The flavors here, while rich, are not over-the-top, nor are they uncharacteristic of Pinot. Fresh acidity and minerals cut the richness beautifully, finishing this wine with grace and elegance. Pair with a slightly nicer-than-average cedar-plank salmon or duck breast.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2010 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 04-06-2017
For such a large, famous winery, Guigal still surprises with its refusal to conform to trends. Eschewing the steroidal fruit and extraction common in this category these days, Guigal is producing well-balanced, deeply complex old-world style Chateauneuf. Classic aromas and flavors of cassis, figs, black raspberry, minty herbs and anise, sandalwood, black pepper, and a swirl of warm spices close out the finish. Still a baby, this bottle could use another 5-7 years in the cellar. Pair with a rack of lamb with mint chimichurri.

1996 Glen Moray 19 Year Old "John Milroy" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 03-30-2017
For cask strength Scotch, this is exceptionally smooth and caramely on the palate. Fully-realized after 19 years, it balances sweeter flavors of vanilla and orange peel with warm spices (coriander, allspice) and compelling brininess. While soft and creamy on the palate, this finishes with savory saltiness and woodsy spice for a complete Speyside experience.
Price: $79.99 Add To Waiting List

2015 Don Rodolfo Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 03-26-2017
We've been utterly spoiled lately by the influx of flavorful Malbecs for under $10 a bottle with qualities way beyond what their price-points suggest. Don Rodolfo continues this trend with aplomb, offering a bottle with richness, structure, and integrity for only $9, and over-delivering on each count. A waft of fresh herbs meets the nose first, along with a spicy Worcestershire note. On the palate, sweet tannins wrap the bold, ripened red berries and spice notes together on the mid-palate while subtle cocoa lingers on the finish.
Price: Hidden View Price
JS 90

2014 Montes "Classic" Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua Valley
Review Date: 03-23-2017
Montes' "Classic" label is one of the most reliable sources for big, flavorful, and super inexpensive reds. The 2014 vintage of Cabernet is seriously built, offering structure and flavor quite rare for Cab in this price-point. Big berries like cherry and black currants pour forth immediately, followed by spicy bell peppers and cedar. The peppery qualities offer some savory characteristics but its the ripe, forward fruit and sweet, velvety tannins that take center stage and make this a true crowd-pleaser. This is bound to become a staple back porch red as grilling season kicks off.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2014 Clos Saint-Jean "Vieilles Vignes" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 02-09-2017
The new vintage of a classic producer's Old Vine bottling is a vibrant example of Chateauneuf-du_Pape that is at once traditionally structured, and more modern in its plush, fruit-forward character. This is surprisingly open-knit right now; brambly red and black raspberries coat the palate with the help of some chewy but surprisingly sweet tannins. Melted licorice, roasted herbs, and warm spices round out the robust palate, finishing long and rich. Pair with all things slow-cooked or pepper-crusted.

2014 Pike Road Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 02-02-2017
One of my favorite Oregon producers, Elk Cove, makes the Pike Road Pinot Noir as a second, super affordable label, and it happens to be one of the best values in the store. In a world where good Pinot is almost impossible to find under $20, the Pike Road is here to provide all the elegant red fruits, tea leaves, fresh herbs, and round, integrated acidity typically found in bottles twice the price. Pair with your next herb-crusted pork loin or salmon.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

Mas Codina Cava Brut Reserva Penedès
Review Date: 02-02-2017
For my money, Cava like Mas Codina stands head-and-shoulders above more popular, expensive, but less polished sparkling wines. The bubbles are finer, creating a mousse-y texture on the palate, while the flavors of nectarine, baked apple, and subtle flowers are balanced and restrained in a way that avoids any cloyingness. At only $12.99, this is an incredible value with truly romantic expression perfect for any intimate occasion.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2013 Holus Bolus Sta. Rita Hills Syrah
Review Date: 12-09-2016
With a creamy texture and rich, vibrant flavors, Holus Bolus produces some of the most delectable Syrah of Sta. Rita Hills. Mocha, cedar, brambleberries, black pepper, and vanilla fill out an impressive flavor profile and silky, but powerful texture. Pair this with roasted lamb for a perfectly hedonistic dinner.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WE 95

2015 Schmelz Steinriegl Riesling Smaragd Wachau
Review Date: 11-27-2016
Smaragd Riesling from Austria is some of my favorite wine in the world. The "Smaragd" designate implies a late harvest, about the same as a German "Spatlese" but without the residual sugar. This is dry but rich, opening up with a whiff of petrol followed by apricots, pears, candied apples, salty corn nuts, and refreshing seashell minerality. The acidity is cleansing and well-proportioned, and will help it age for longer than you'd expect. Try it with some sushi and be amazed!
Price: $28.99 Add To Cart

2014 Ancient Peaks/K&L Wine Merchants Paso Robles Zinfandel
Review Date: 11-17-2016
These guys are always impressing me with their restrained touch and cohesive structure. Whereas most Zinfandel from Central Coast exhibits jammy, over-ripe, and alcoholic inconsistencies, this one walks the line deftly and ends up sporting flavors of raisin, raspberry, licorice, and warm spices. The tannins are pronounced but velvety while a ribbon of fresh acidity threads from start to finish.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$19.99

2015 Kalinda Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-28-2016
Possibly the best Pinot I've tasted from our own Kalinda label, this bottling was crafted for us by Chehalem, one of our favorite Willamette Valley producers, to reflect the beautiful fruit of the 2015 growing season. Bright, vivid strawberry and cherry burst forth on the nose along with a pretty floral note and slightly spicy accents. The fruit wraps the palate with help from the creamy texture, and baking spices develop toward the end, lingering with the zesty acidity that rounds out the finish. Ridiculously good for the price.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2004 Charles Ellner "Prestige" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-28-2016
One of the very best Champagnes I've tasted this year, Ellner's 2004 "Prestige" bottling is indeed a stunning example of its namesake. With some significant bottle age, this small-production beauty gains enormous complexity while maintaining a rather lithe framework. The flavors are both lavish and restrained, boisterous and polished, showing caramel apple, lemon mousse, brioche, savory minerality, and cleansing acidity. Most interestingly, it picks up a rather nutty, briny, Sherry-like note toward the mid-palate which lasts throughout the compelling finish. This is a bizarre balance of crowd-pleasing richness and funky esoterica that pulls it off gorgeously. Do not miss!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
WS 93 WE 91

Jean Josselin "Cuvée des Jean" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-04-2016
It's hard to find good Champagne for under $35, so I was suspect of this affordable bottling until I tasted it for myself and found my new favorite NV. This one is crisp, refreshing, and loaded with juicy apple and white peach flavors while maintaining a dry, tense profile that will pair with countless dishes from sushi to chili. Throw it on ice and enjoy your evening.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2014 Oakridge Estate "Willowlake Vineyard" Pinot Noir Yarra Valley
Review Date: 07-30-2016
Oakridge releases one of the best Pinots I've tasted from Australia with the Willowlake Vineyard bottling. Too much Pinot from this region lacks true varietal character, but Oakridge manages to submit an exceedingly pretty, detailed wine that is light on its feet and compellingly restrained on the palate. Gorgeous red berries are prominent up front and give way to subtle herbs, tea leaves, and minerality on the mid-palate. Balanced but bracing acidity holds everything together with delicacy and grace. Too good to ignore!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JH 96

2013 Bodegas Caro "Caro" Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza
Review Date: 07-17-2016
This is an extremely impressive offering from two titans in winemaking. When the Lafite-Rothschilds of Bordeaux and the Catenas of Argentina get together, they produce one of the best bottles from the Southern hemisphere. The nose has Bordeaux written all over it - plums, black currants, tobacco, graphite, and coffee bean swirl from the glass. There is plenty of backbone on the palate but it drinks with surprising softness and clarity. Here it shows a bit more of its Argentine roots; the Malbec comes to the fore with a meaty, richly fruited flavor profile incorporating hints of cocoa and raspberry, followed by a pleasantly spicy finish. This is the rare bottling that will pair beautifully with both a ribeye off the grill and a gently seared filet mignon.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
JS 96 WE 91

2013 Dierberg "Dierberg Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 06-10-2016
This super-reliable producer of Santa Maria delivers another winner with this single-vineyard Chardonnay. It strikes a hard-won balance between the juicy pineapple, apricot, and lemon flavors, and the creamy, vanillin accents developed from careful malolactic conversion and gentle oak aging. This Chardonnay has enough acidity to enjoy on its own or with a flaky, buttery fish this summer.

2005 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Reserva Especial Rioja
Review Date: 05-07-2016
Where else besides Rioja can you get a top producer's special bottling from 11 years ago and only pay $30? Easily one of the best values in the store, this aged beauty is soft, supple, and generous on the palate with bright cherry and raspberry fruits, balsamic, subtle tobacco, tomato leaf, and a hint of roasted coffee bean from its extended stay in American oak. Most importantly, though, the structural components of this bottle offer significant texture and mean that even though it's in a great drinking window now, it will continue to age in a cellar for a good 10 more years. Enjoy with pork loin medallions or paella.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2006 Taittinger "Comtes de Champagne" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 03-11-2016
The 2006 vintage of Taittinger's flagship "Comtes de Champagne" is a fabulous wine coming from a top-notch vintage. It has all the rich, creamy character that has come to define this bottling, showing ripe, white peach, raw honey, hazelnut, and buttercream on the nose. But this vintage yielded quite a lot of mineral flavor across the region, helping to provide focus among some of the more decadent flavors. Chalky minerals and laser-like acidity incorporate to give the impression of a gravity-defying tight-rope walk between acid and fruit, mineral and oak, complexity and purity. The length is surprising with its lingering notes of fig and apricot, providing an extremely pleasurable finish. Excellent.

2009 Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Brut Grand Cru Champagne
Review Date: 02-04-2016
Quick! Before the masses find out about this fine, grower producer and send the price point soaring, make sure to pick up a bottle (or twelve) so you can say you owned it back when it was only $40 a bottle. Made from a vintage blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this handcrafted bottling is bright but silky on the palate, showing ripe citrus and white peach flavors alongside compelling minerality and buttery, brioche-y richness.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Pierre Paillard "Les Parcelles" Grand Cru Extra Brut Bouzy Champagne
Review Date: 10-15-2015
Simultaneously delicate and well-structured, this Grand Cru Brut stands head and shoulders above a mountain of clumsy, overly sweet non-vintage Champagne. Balancing pears, lemon curd, gentle minerality, creamy texture, and saline acidity, this certified organic bottling is the roundest, cleanest entry level Champagne to impress my palate in a while. A perfect pairing with almost anything, from duck liver mousse to fried chicken.
Price: $48.99 Add To Cart
ST 91 RP 90

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