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

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: Hidden View Price

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

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

2004 Charles Ellner "Prestige" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-24-2016
What a year 2004 was! My beloved Red Sox finally gave "the curse of the bambino" a line drive straight into history. What was arguably the best television sitcom in history ended its incredible ten year run (can you guess what show?) A little website called FACEBOOK was launched. However, there was one more thing that took place that we simply cannot ignore. That is the amazing vintage of Champagne that is wonderfully represented here by Charles Ellner. This is rich, creamy, and has such lovely honey notes to it. 2004 may have been the year in which one 86 year curse, ended, but with this champagne being so meticulously crafted, I can see it as the beginning another decades long adventure! This will age for that long!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
WS 93 WE 91

1998 Dom Pérignon "P2" Brut Champagne (no gift box)
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
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

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

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

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