Staff Favorites - Ivan Diaz

Ivan Diaz

Reviews

  
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2014 Domaine L'Ostal Cazes "Grand Vin" Minervois La Livinière
Review Date: 08-10-2017
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 WS 90

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 RP 90

2015 Au Bon Climat/K&L Wine Merchants "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-03-2017
This bottling from ABC is a blend of several blocks from the estate vineyard in Bien Nacido, the balance of which is chosen by your friends here at K&L. A beautifully composed Pinot that shows the ripeness of the Central Coast climate, the crisp acidity and mineral character of the coastal vineyards, and the depth of the winemaker's talent, this shows juicy raspberry and strawberry, sour cherry, baking spice, and cleansing acidity. Pair with cream sauce pasta and morels (just like that made fresh for us on our last visit to the winery) or cedar-planked salmon.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

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 "Mont de Milieu" 1er Cru
Review Date: 07-01-2017
Compared to the La Sereine, the Mont de Milieu is a noticeably richer affair, sporting a rounder, leesier flavor profile. Plenty of bright lemon and green apple here, but layers of ripe pear, salty nuts and honey guide the palate toward perhaps a more complex food pairing than oysters; I'm thinking halibut or salmon with a mustard glaze.

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

2014 Alvaro Palacios "Finca Dofi" Priorat
Review Date: 06-15-2017
My first opportunity to taste the Finca Dofi, a legendary bottling from a legendary Priorat producer, did not disappoint. Expecting a powerhouse wine with too much muscle and richness to drink now, I was taken aback by its exceedingly elegant, silky style. Alvaro Palacios specializes in Garnacha (this bottle is 95%, with Carinena making up the remaining 5%), and has crafted a stunning tribute to perhaps the world's most versatile grape. Medium to full-bodied with a pleasingly creamy texture, but featuring fully-integrated, comfortable acidity that maintains a sense of lift and balance. There is fresh, vibrant red currant, blackberry, and blueberry, a subtle hint of vanilla that never becomes sweet or cloying, zesty herbs-de-Provence, and finishing with compellingly slatey minerality absorbed from the famous "llicorella" soil of Priorat. There is polish and brightness here along with depth and power; this is the rare wine that is perfect with food, and perfect for thoroughly enjoyable drinking on its own. While this is gorgeous right now, it will continue to surprise as it ages for another 5-7 years or longer.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart
JS 96 RP 95

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
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 Domaine Tour Boisée Minervois Rouge
Review Date: 05-04-2017
One of the best Rhone-blend (or any blend, for that matter) values in the shop, this 50/50 Grenache-Syrah is in limited supply, and ought to be consumed before it's gone. This is a velvety, medium-bodied, extremely versatile (and certified organic) wine with flavors of red and black currants, roasted herbs, dusty black pepper, and figs. A spicy backbone gives it a bit more depth for ideal pairing with Boeuf Bourguignon and other braised or slow-cooked red meats.
Price: $9.99 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
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

2013 Bernard Levet "Les Journaries" Côte-Rôtie
Review Date: 04-27-2017
This is the type of Syrah that reminds me why I love the varietal so much, what with its super-traditional nose of black and blue berries, ground coffee bean, cracked peppercorn, cedar, and even a little smoky bacon. This Rotie is round and powerful, but there is finesse and softness to the velvety fruit, along with comfortably integrated acidity. Top notch Syrah meant for a top notch meal.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
VN 94

2015 Ridge "Geyserville 50th Anniversary" Alexander Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 04-20-2017
In Ridge's 50th year, they are still proving why they are considered some of the best Zin producers in California. The Geyserville (70% Zinfandel, 15% Carignane, 12% Petite Sirah, and 3% Alicante Bouschet) is a gorgeously dark and balanced example of what they do so well, showing warm baking spice, black and white pepper, and melted licorice on the nose, while the velvety strawberry and blackberry flavors coat the palate. The tannins are sweet but not without grip, and there is a vein of mouth-watering acidity that keeps things lifted. Incredible value.
Price: $37.99 Add To Cart
CG 95 WS 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 Cart

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

2015 Amalaya Malbec Salta
Review Date: 03-26-2017
Malbecs from the northern Argentine region of Salta are a little rarer than those from Mendoza, and it's therefore a real treat when we get our hands on it. This offering from Amalaya shows a wonderfully complex profile of restrained black fruits: cassis, plum, and black cherry, all tempered by spicy, zesty herbs, bitter cocoa, and savory meatiness. Less fruit-driven and more structured than its Mendoza cousin, Salta Malbec will pair beautifully with your next rib eye or a rustic Bolognese.

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 Les Chancelieres Vouvray
Review Date: 03-09-2017
This is a thoroughly pleasing, dry-style Chenin Blanc for just about any occasion. The subtle chalkiness of the minerality holds up the ripe pear and peach flavors, along with some refreshing acidity and a kick of lemon zest on the finish. This is super-versatile as an appetizer wine with cheese and honey, or as the main event paired with fish or a glazed pork loin.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

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

Honorío Rubio "Añadas" Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 01-26-2017
A blend of several vintages aged for about five years in barrel, Anadas is a rare example of classically made white Rioja that belongs among the ranks of Lopez de Heredia. Sporting a darker, more traditionally coppery color than most Rioja Blanco found today, it shows equally traditional on the palate. The rich, waxy texture is apparent up front, and the flavors of orange, honey, tea leaves, and salty nuts remind one of the best Viuras this region has to offer. If you miss the Rioja Blancos of old, Honorio Rubio is here to restore your faith in the category.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

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 Bodegas Puelles Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 12-01-2016
The new vintage of Viura (with a touch of Garnacha Blanca, Malvasia, and Chenin Blanc) from Bodegas Puelles is dry and refreshing, with an interplay of citrus, orchard, and minerality that resembles closer to something like Chablis than traditional Rioja Blanca. Bright lemon, crunchy apples, subtle chalkiness, and zippy acidity. This drinks like many wines twice its price, and would be an incredible stealth pairing with the fanciest of seafood.
Price: $9.99 Add To Waiting List

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

2014 Jacques Bavard Auxey-Duresses "Les Clous" Blanc
Review Date: 11-10-2016
Jacques Bavard is making some of the best values Burgundy has to offer. Take this, an impossibly well-balanced Auxey Duresses produced from organic Chardonnay that shows the profound depth and elegance that only white Burgundy can at a fraction of the price point of comparable wines. A refreshing blast of orchard fruit, flinty minerality, and cleansing acidity hits first, followed by subtly toasted brioche and velvety texture on the mid-palate. Finishes long with notes of buttercream and ripe melon; an exceedingly elegant addition to your Thanksgiving table.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

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

2013 Shaw + Smith Shiraz Adelaide Hills
Review Date: 10-01-2016
It's the dawn of a new era in Australian winemaking! Shiraz has officially taken a step back from the high-octane, over-the-top fruit bombs of the past and toward more restrained, thoughtful composition without sacrificing any of the power. Fresh blueberries, plum, and cassis show right up front, balanced and devoid of any alcoholic heat. Salty, meaty aromas bloom in the glass along with some smoked herbs and Worcestershire. Cleansing acidity and grippy tannins hold everything together for a world-class, vivid wine that heralds Shiraz's ever-evolving identity.

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

2014 Fromm "La Strada" Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 06-30-2016
The Fromm "La Strada" comes to us directly from NZ with a crazy low price point for a Pinot this ridiculously good. Made entirely with de-stemmed fruit from organic vineyards in Marlborough, it drinks like a high-class Burgundy without the price point. Overtly pretty aromatics of flowers and tea leaves dance from the glass while the palate brings vivid red berries, fresh minerality, subtle mushrooms and loam, finishing with a wave of cleansing acidity and pleasing length. At $25 a bottle, you're unlikely to find a better Pinot in the store!

2014 Hunt & Harvest Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 06-03-2016
For fans of the previous vintage of this little known Napa winery, prepare yourselves for the newer, better vintage. This is a more rustic Cabernet that demonstrates complexity and depth, while still delivering rich, decadent appeal to fans of both Bordeaux and Napa Cab who are looking for something a little different. Blackberry, black currant, cocoa, graphite, roasted herbs, and chewy but sweet tannins cohere for a perfect pairing with a marbled steak and herbed potatoes.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2011 Viña Quebrada "Domus Aurea" Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley
Review Date: 05-13-2016
Dense, dark Cabernet with impressive weight and viscocity, yet tannins that are velvety soft, making for a rich, vivid bottle of wine uninhibited by excessive chewiness or grit. Ripe plum, cassis, herbs, bell pepper, tobacco, and subtle florals contribute to the complex flavor profile and make this a serious wine for serious food. Perfect pairing with leaner cuts of beef; think filet mignon with herb butter.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
W&S 96 RP 94

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

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" Bouzy Grand Cru Extra Brut 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.

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