Staff Favorites - Daniel Maas

Daniel Maas

Reviews

  
2014 Domaine Lafage "Tessellae Vieilles Vignes" Carignan Côtes Catalanes
Review Date: 11-09-2016
You know, those pattern-heavy images where you can make out the hidden subject if you relax your eyes? The other night, I found myself staring at a similar pattern: the label of this very aptly named wine from the great Domaine Lafage with its hypnotic colors and flavors. Yes - the "Tessellae" is back, and with it comes its sexy structure of blackberry, fig, licorice, and black pepper. This wine is so approachable that you'll quickly find yourself, like I did, into a second bottle, staring at the label, relaxing both your eyes and your palate in search of what's hidden underneath. The more you allow the flavors to unveil themselves, the more impressive that impression becomes. Much like those eye-puzzles, the Tessellae has tremendous hidden depth.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2014 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "La Réserve d'O" Terrasses du Larzac
Review Date: 10-12-2016
I like lists. Thinking of them. Making them. And the most important (yet most infrequent), CROSSING ITEMS OFF them. It was several nights ago, lounging on my sofa and with wine glass in hand that I found myself cataloging a series of favorites. What was tonight's subject of contemplation? Let's see if you can figure it out after hearing the first examples that came to mind: Homer Simpson's signature phrase. The basis for PIZZA! Cold...Hard...CASH. And finally, the most recent discovery to be added here...THIS WINE! This, the flagship from what might be the ONLY WINE in the store which we ALL AGREE ON, has it all: Deep and brooding black fruit, a healthy dollop of Syrah spice, tobacco, and a long, expressive finish. To put it in even more complex terminology.... WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2012 Domaine Aubaï Mema Carignan "L'Insoumise" Vin de France
Review Date: 09-26-2016
A dark and stormy night, it was, as I found myself driving through the windy country roads of Aubais. An aggressive rain pounded the tinny roof of my rented Dodge Dart. More than once I was sure that a drop or two succeeded in making its way inside and atop my head. It was then, just as things could not look more bleak, that a small animal ran from the side of the road, forcing my foot down on the breaks and the car right into a tree. The rain increased its ferocity as I now stood there, stranded in the south of France. Thankfully, through the dense tree line, a faint light broke the gloom. Making my way closer, I soon found myself confronted by the relieving site of a large structure. Smoke rose from the chimney as I made my way to the door, soon finding myself welcomed inside. Soaking wet, my night had turned from tragedy to triumph, as my generous hosts poured me a glass of their "L'Insoumise", a hauntingly beautiful expression of old-vine Carignan that soon proved magical. I no longer was cold. No longer wet. Instead, I found myself warmed and dried by the sheer opulence of the wine's voluminous body and the rich tannin, pronounced layers of black pepper, earth, and subtle lavender. One glass led to the next. And then a third. Before long, a rainy night had blossomed into a contemplative morning, with fog retreating from the vineyards. Making my way from the guest room to the foyer, I was offered a fresh change of clothes, as mine were dry yet badly wrinkled. "No. Thank you." I stepped out of the house, and stopped, turning back. "Another bottle of that incredible wine will more than suffice". Now, years later, I too-often find myself thinking of that night. Not of the rain, and not of the crash. Instead, I find myself dreaming of the “L’Insoumise”, and the question that it brings forth. How can one simple bottle of wine contain such pleasure? Answer this, my friends, and everything will be just fine.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2015 Kalinda "Reserve" Sonoma County Chardonnay
Review Date: 09-08-2016
California Chardonnay was my entry into the world of wine. Growing up, my mother's middle name might as well have been ROMBAUER. Flash forward to today, and I still have a soft spot for what has become a fairly controversial style of wine. Some hate it, but I LOVE IT. That feeling is especially easy to come by when tasting the 2015 vintage of our own Kalinda Chard. Just the right amount of oak gives this the weight I delight in, allowing me to really relish in the complex layers of creamy vanilla and toasty hazelnut. This is simply gorgeous!
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2013 La Massa "La Massa" Toscana
Review Date: 09-06-2016
For those of you unaware, my last name is MAAS. Why bring this up? Because, there is one thing that has happened at least once daily for the exactly 12,645 days that I have been alive. What happens? My last name is mistakenly spelled as MASS! No, I know, at this point you're asking yourself what does this travesty have to do with wine. Well, it's simple. Whereas I would previously roll my eyes at the ordered sequence of the letters M-A-S-S, I now find myself enthralled by them. Why? Because they are a large part of the name of what might be one of the best Italian wines I've tasted! That's a bold statement, to be sure, but well deserved, as the 2013 vintage of this perennial K&L favorite. Every factor that I look for in a wine is here: Loads of fruit, both black and blue, as well as the perfect amount of toasty oak, firm tannin, and even a hint of baking spice. And so, yes, my hatred of M-A-S-S, has finally come to an end. Most likely, for the NEXT twelve thousand days, I will celebrate these four letters for what they now represent: The AMAZING WINE that is La (MASS)a Toscana!

2014 Terra Valentine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 08-03-2016
If there is one thing I know, other than the philosophy of God Springsteen, it is the gorgeous language that is LATIN. And so, it was during a whistful evening spent listening to THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND, the Boss' cover of the historic Woody Guthrie tune, that I had an epiphany! A song about our communal land demands a wine that honors such a resource. Thanks to my mastery of the language, I was able to quickly identify this BEAUTIFUL cabernet from Terra Valentine. Terra, of course, is latin for Earth (which is covered with land), and it was deep in this bottle of rich and toasty cabernet that I found myself lost among the textured layers of plum, black cherry, and even subtle licorice. This wine is simply delicious! The perfectly spicy finish lasted well through Bruce's extended harmony, and like many of his concerts, the wine simply left me wanting MUCH MORE! Thank god I was able to identify the latin TERRA, for without such a skill, I surely would have been left all alone down the dark THUNDER ROAD!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

2000 Louise Brison Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-24-2016
It's the year 2000, and, to put it mildly, we are all just happy to be alive. Our fears of Y2K have proved unnecessary. Celebration is in order. As our newfound faith in continuing existence grows, so do the grapes that will produce the fantastic 2000 vintage in Champagne. A harmoniously balanced wine that also happens to be fully organic, this has elements of two styles of champagne. The bright citrus fruit and lively minerality, as well as the rich yeast and creamy vanilla. And so, let us all raise a glass in celebration of our new millennium.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

Franck Bonville "Belles Voyes" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 05-24-2016
So here's the deal. Champagne is awesome! We all know that! What is even more amazing is when you taste something and you are sure that it costs at least $200. That was exactly my thought when opening this, an insanely good example of what one-hundred-year-old vines can do for a wine. For absolutely no reason, other than the fact that I'm Dan, and logic always comes in second after drama, this, the "belle VOYES" makes me think of a VOYAGE. One that transcends reality and takes you into a new world. One of pleasure. And one that comes with an entry fee of $69.99, which is quite simply unbelievable.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
WS 91 WE 90

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 05-24-2016
One of the following three statements is true, and the others are false! Let's see if you can pick the fact. 1: THE EARTH IS BIGGER THAN THE SUN 2: STANLEY KUBRICK WAS HIRED BY NASA TO FAKE THE MOON LANDING. 3. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET HIGH-END CHAMPAGNE FOR LESS THAN $35. Well? What do you think? I was on the fence between the moon landing and champagne, UNTIL I opened a bottle of this unbelievable Grand Cru offering from what has become a huge staff favorite here in Hollywood. Immensely refreshing with clean peach and citrus fruit, subtle vanilla, and a long finish, this amount of deliciousness is even more ridiculous than those two false facts! Think about it!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 WS 90

1998 Dom Pérignon "P2" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-24-2016
I'm known to be a fairly loquacious person. I like to talk. And write. Never in my life have I been asked or told to make a piece longer. It is that fact that surprised me looking back upon my tasting notes from this past week, at which I had the honor of tasting this rare bottle of what is arguably the world's most famous Champagne brand. Here's the complete text of what I wrote down: "AMMMAAAZZZIIINNNGGG!!! Did I write about the how the seven additional years of lees contact gives it an intense richness. What about how the black and red fruit balances perfectly with the minerality of clay and limestone? Nope. None of that. This is one bottle of champagne that needs one word, and one word alone. AMAZING!

Charles Ellner "Premier Cru" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-23-2016
Ask someone to describe me, and you'll get a myriad of responses: "Witty", "Generous" "A snappy dresser". Most importantly, however, I'm widely known as a movie freak. And so, I found myself about to taste Charles Ellner's 1er Cru Champagne, which he has simply named "PREMIER CRU". What was my first thought? WHY HAS THEIR NOT BEEN A MOVIE with this title? It's so evocative. So dramatic and up front with its intention. After tasting, I realized my answer. No movie, no matter how good, could possibly live up to the craftsmanship that is expressed here in this amazing Champagne. It tells a story, and as such, has a wonderful three-act-structure: Vibrant cherry and blackberry on the nose; A rich and creamy texture that you wouldn't expect from a Chard based wine; And finally... A third-act climax of pear, toast, and just the right amount of acidity! No, there is no movie called PREMIER CRU (until I write it), but we can rest assured that the name has found a fitting home on this AMAZING WINE!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$34.99
WE 92 WS 90

Charles Ellner "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-23-2016
Being a small negociant from what some may call "the wrong side of the tracks", here are a few things that Charles Ellner does not do: They don't purchase fruit. The absolutely never do any maloactic fermentation. And they absolutely do not price themselves past what people want out of an everyday champagne. What they DO DO, however, is make insanely elegant sparkling wine that drinks far beyond the modest price. Mostly Chardonnay and a bit of Pinot Noir, this spends an impressive five years on the lees, creating a vibrant and long-lasting complexity reminiscent of the best of sherry wines. Citrus fruit and just a hint of yeasty-dough, this is one to stock up on.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2008 Michel Loriot "Apollonis" Vintage Extra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-23-2016
It is absolutely fitting that this unbelievable 2008 vintage champagne takes its name from the middle daughter of APOLLO, the Greek god of MUSIC. Why? It's quite simply. THIS CHAMPAGNE MAKES ME WANT TO SING! And friends, that is not an easy feat. A unique bottling, in that it is composed of a majority Pinot Muenier (the remainder is all chardonnay), this is a medium-bodied wine with expressive peach and apricot, and an immense finish.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Ariston Aspasie Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 05-21-2016
Rose. It is possibly one of the most singularly used words in the lexicon of wine, and yet, it is so often mischaracterized. People think it's sweet. People think it is light. Well, listen up, folks, because PEOPLE ARE WRONG! This is clearly evidenced here with Ariston Aspasie's beautifully crafted Brut Rose. Neither sweet, nor particularly, light, what it absolutely is is REFRESHING! Given a supremely unique personality from the method of taking its color from completely vinified red wine as opposed to the more common method of including a degree of skin contact, this is one of the drier rose champagnes I've tasted lately. Cranberry, dried-cherry, and a hint of spice-box all work together to create a medley of wonderment that you won't soon forget!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Ariston Aspasie "Prestige Vieilles Vignes" Champagne
Review Date: 05-21-2016
Unimaginable! Unfathomable! Ridiculous! What has me so puzzled, you may ask? The fact that the wonderful folks over at Ariston Aspasie could surpass the quality and value of their "Carte Blanche" bottling. Incredibly, that is exactly what they did with the release of "PRESTIGE". Sourced entirely from the wonderful 2008 vintage, here we have a slightly richer and more dense wine than its slight-lower-priced cousin. Highlighted by both apple and zesty citrus notes, the main attraction here is the weight! This is serious, serious champagne that should age beautifully while also over-delivering here in the present.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-21-2016
I'll be the first to admit it. I grew up somewhat spoiled. When it came to things that really mattered, like what movie to rent, I pretty much had CARTE BLANCHE. Unfortunately, that freedom and joy absolutely PALED IN COMPARISON to the delight that I encountered upon my first taste of this gorgeous bottling from one of our long-time favorite Champagne producers. Composed of almost-equal shares of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier,there's simply too much to love here: Bright traces of apple; the present-yet-balanced yeast; and the toastiness that I absolutely require in champagne. Simply remarkable, it is, to find a wine so complex and meticulously crafted for such a price!
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

2012 Joseph Swan "Trenton View Vineyard" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 03-22-2016
Quite certainly, one of the biggest points of illumination from my recent trip to Sonoma was the sheer diversity when it comes to the range of scale of wineries. This hit home as we pulled into our visit at the famed Joseph Swan estate (we had just left DUMOL). What was immediately clear was that, while lacking the massive facility of our previous visit, the folks here are succeeding in producing some of the purest wines from the entire valley. Their Trenton View Pinot has one of the longest finishes that I've tasted recently, and mystifies with its refreshingly bright acidity and dark fruit. Gorgeous!
Price: $37.99 Add To Cart
ST 90

2013 Unti Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 03-22-2016
As a child, I loved the stories of Theodore Geisel. His world was one in which a child's imagination could be a dangerous place, and most of these settings were drawn in such an outlandish style that they were sure to inspire nightmares. Driving through the hills of Dry Creek Valley, I can't help but feel that I have entered the world of this famed storyteller, who was better known for his pen name: Dr. Suess. You see, I was surrounded by endless rows of old-vine Zin, which are supremely gnarly. Short and twisted, they are quite scary looking. For such ominous looking plants, these vines happen to produce exquisite wine, a fact placed in evidence by winemaker Mick Unti, and his 2012 estate Zinfandel. It is a harmonious expression of deep raspberry, pepper, and enough acidity to give it quite a thirst-quenching nature. I dare say, I love this wine that comes from such weird vines!
Price: $31.99 Add To Cart

2014 Banshee "Mordecai" Red Blend
Review Date: 03-22-2016
You don't grow up in a East Coast Jewish family without becoming quite familiar with the writing of Mordecai Richler. Author of such works as "Barney's Version" and "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz," his work evoked a sense of feeling out of place, and the things people do to conquer such anxiety. My solution? Simply open a bottle of the aptly named blend from the boys of Banshee, three friends from the Midwest who fought to fully immerse themselves in the insular world of Sonoma winemaking. A full-bodied and rich wine that is interlaced with hints of black fruit, baking spice, and tomato leaf. And so, the next time Mom calls and asks "Are you married yet?" Simply breath, pull the cork, and let Mordecai calm you down.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2014 Banshee "Bohemian Vineyard" Green Valley of Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 03-22-2016
You need to confess. Mother, you've killed a man! Why, I ask? Why get swept up in this RHAPSODY of rage. It seems pointless, especially when you could have been drinking this BOHEMIAN Chardonnay from Banshee. This wine is as rich as the estate of a certain Mr. Mercury, with its oily texture, balance of peach and nectarine fruit, and floral aromatics. Yes, mother, this wine is all you need, and if you will buy it, I shall finally concede and call you by your preferred nickname: GALILEO FIGERO!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
VN 92

2013 Challen "Scarlett" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-04-2015
A long-time fan of all things SCARLETT, from the letter itself and Ms. O'Hara, I found myself quite excited upon the discovery of this lovely Santa Maria Valley Pinot's name. This is an absolute dream for November, and all the turkey that comes with it. A plush, velvety texture accompanies the dark fruit, supple tannins, and long finish! This wine is so good that you should VOLUNTARILY wear the letter A in public. Of course, A stands for AMAZING!
Price: $37.99 Add To Cart

Cut Spike Nebraska Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 07-26-2015
I'm a whiskey guy! I love drinking it...smelling it... and collecting it! Easily, of course, my favorite of those three activities is the drinking, which makes this wonderful Nebraska whiskey so dangerous! It's so smooth that, if you're like me, you'll end up drinking way too much. Rich and savory in texture, this 2 year bottling is highlighted by an immense floral and herbaceous qualities. Along with a pronounced element of creamy vanilla, this is such a delight!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Singani "63" Bolivian Muscat Brandy (750ml)
Review Date: 06-24-2015
What a great night we had last evening at Delphine, celebrating this wonderful spirit, and exploring its amazing versatility. Thanks to esteemed filmmaker Steven Soderburgh, this super-clean and floral muscat brandy is finally available here in the states, and is a perfect addition to any bar, especially for when someone wants an amazing cocktail, yet is sick of their usual tequila-gin-vodka selections. Be sure to try this soon!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-23-2014
This Champagne is one of the most perfectly balanced bottles I've tried in quite awhile, especially notable with it being such a complex blend of both Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, as well as various vintages. Vibrant apple and pear notes, crisp bubbles, and a long finish make this a winner at twice the price.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2008 Bruno Michel "Les Roses" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 12-23-2014
A wonderful example of a brut rose, this bottling is slightly fuller than some others, with a subtle hint of spice on the back palate. Lovely!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart