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Staff Favorites - Diana Turk

Diana Turk

Reviews

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Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-03-2019
Don't let the new label fool you! This release was formerly called Elisabeth Goutorbe, named for the pedigreed winemaker who has charmed guests at many a Champagne Tent Event. She's ventured out on her own and while the name and packaging underwent a makeover, what's inside the bottle is as impressive as ever. Crisp with red cherry Pinot fruit, this is both chalky with elegant mousse, and shows complex leesiness tempered by bright acid and structure. This nonvintage release is drinking beautifully now, and the price - especially for Aÿ - is nearly impossible to beat.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2011 Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Grand Cru Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-03-2019
As vintages go, 2011 is not as celebrated as those that bookend it, but our friends at Egrot – namely winemaker extraordinaire Elisabeth Goutorbe – worked some magic with a difficult year. This release, composed of 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay, is both crisp and rounded, showing off baked apple fruit balanced with chalky minerality. As with all Goutorbe wines, this has a delicate bead, an elegant, dry finish and overdelivers for the price.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2016 Le Clos du Caillou "Cuvée Unique" Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 11-30-2019
A gorgeous Rhône blend with a great backstory to boot: this property is right in the middle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but when the lines of the appellation were being drawn, the winemakers - and hunters - had no interest in participating and chased the surveyors off their land! So Le Clos de Caillou remained as Cotes du Rhône, not designated with the elevated status. But technically, it shares qualities with its more decorated neighbors. Which makes this Cuvée unique. There is the suggestion of dark fruit up front without tilting towards the jamminess that can be displayed in Southern Rhône wines. A hint of spice and licorice notes in the midpalate give way to a long, even finish. Though it's a big wine at 15%, the alcohol doesn't feel overbearing, and the tannins are subtle. Well balanced, earthy, and elegant. CDP without the price tag!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

1995 Clynelish 23 Year Old "Signatory Vintage Black Label" K&L Exclusive Single 2nd Fill Sherry Butt #11239 Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-29-2019
Forget discounted TVs, Clynelish 23 Year Old "Signatory Vintage Black Label" K&L Exclusive is what I'd be willing to fight for on Black Friday. Rounded apple fruit and butterscotch notes sing, and the sherry influence is apparent. An incredible drinking experience, and well worth the price.
Price: $249.99 Add To Cart

2018 Foxglove Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-29-2019
Undeniable quality, impressive pedigree, incredible balance - at all an unbelievable price, Foxglove Cabernet Sauvignon is a go-to wine for everything from BBQs to elegant holiday affairs. A side project from Bob and Jim Varner, of Varner and Neely fame, this wine is beautifully made and sourced from top vineyards. The lovely 2018 clocks in well under twenty bucks and works a both a crowd pleaser and a sophisticated offering for more discerning guests. Do not sleep on this Paso Robles stunner!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2012 Franck Bonville "Pur Avize" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 11-29-2019
When I tried these Champagnes with Olivier Bonville in Champagne last March, I couldn’t wait for them to be available in our stores. Luckily, our intrepid buyer Gary Westby was one step ahead of me and they arrived in California literally the same day I returned. Talk about a warm welcome! Part of a series of Champagnes produced from single village plots in the coveted Côte des Blancs area of Champagne, where Chardonnay reigns, these releases are an exercise in subtlety of terroir. Although these releases are a wine geek’s dream, they’re still accessible and elegant enough to serve at a party and make everyone happy. While I adore each of the releases in its own right, “Pur Avize” might be my favorite. Maybe because it’s the hometown hero and these vines are closest to the Bonville estate, or maybe it’s just due to the complexity of this stunner. Honeysuckle soars out of the glass, while pear and apple fruit drive the palate, with a hint of spice to add gravitas, plus a snappy, super dry finish. The acidity is there, but not as apparent as in the Mesnil release - here, it’s coiled beneath the surface, poised to strike. This Champagne is elegant and bright, but with texture and depth - an extraordinary wine from one of our best Direct Import producers.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

2012 Franck Bonville "Pur Mesnil" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 11-29-2019
When I tried these Champagnes with Olivier Bonville in Champagne last March, I couldn’t wait for them to be available in our stores. Luckily, our intrepid buyer Gary was one step ahead of me and they arrived in California literally the same day I returned. Talk about a warm welcome! Part of a series of Champagnes produced from single village plots in the coveted Côte des Blancs area of Champagne, where Chardonnay reigns, these releases are an exercise in subtlety of terroir. Although these releases are a wine geek’s dream, they’re still accessible and elegant enough to serve at a party and make everyone happy. “Pur Mesnil” is - perhaps unsurprisingly - the raciest of the trio, with steely backbone, citrus fruit, saline notes, and incredible minerality. The chalkiness is extreme on the finish, and this baby will age for decades. This release sells out the fastest from our Hollywood store, and with good reason: it’s a gorgeous representation of an exceptional village.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

2012 Franck Bonville "Pur Oger" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 11-29-2019
When I tried these Champagnes with Olivier Bonville in Champagne last March, I couldn’t wait for them to be available in our stores. Luckily, our intrepid buyer Gary was one step ahead of me and they arrived in California literally the same day I returned. Talk about a warm welcome! Part of a series of Champagnes produced from single village plots in the coveted Côte des Blancs area of Champagne, where Chardonnay reigns, these releases are an exercise in subtlety of terroir. Although these releases are a wine geek’s dream, they’re still accessible and elegant enough to serve at a party and make everyone happy. This "Pur Oger" is the easiest-going of the bunch, with lush, almost tropical stone fruit springing from the glass. There is a noticeable richness up front, with a firm underpinning of raciness and a dry, expectedly chalky finish. The fruit is all from "miracle vintage" 2012, and of the three, is the most ready to drink now.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

2017 Fratelli Barale "Le Rose" Dolcetto d'Alba
Review Date: 11-25-2019
Another must-have red from one of our favorite producers, not only from Italy, but in our entire Direct Import portfolio. One of the oldest estates in the Langhe, Fratelli Barale was founded in 1870, shortly after the Barolo denomination was created. Sergio Barale and his daughters manage the estate today! The wines are incredible quality and the prices are astounding. The staff always has a case or two of Barale tucked away, and it sells out at lightning speed every vintage. This Dolcetto is a food-pairing dream, with lifted cherry fruit and nimble lightness on the palate. This is equally at home with spicy pasta as it would be at a Thanksgiving feast. Plus, the new arrivals from 2017 - a hot, showy vintage - are drinking beautifully now. Get some while you can and elevate your dinner table.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2006 Billecart-Salmon "Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-23-2019
This Champagne is exceptional, both in quality and value. While it’s tricky to label a wine that retails for over $100 as a bargain, the heart and meticulous winemaking that goes into this release makes it worthwhile. The 2006 Cuvée Nicolas François spends an extra two years on the lees than most specialty releases from Billecart Salmon, bringing the total aging to ten years, at least! Some time in barrel gives it a toasty roundness without sacrificing brightness. White floral notes and berry fruit stand out on the nose, thanks to the 60-40% Pinot Noir-Chardonnay composition, with a creaminess to the palate that feels luxurious. But at six grams dosage, it stays balanced, with a crisp, dry finish. Plus, 2006 was such a generous vintage that this baby is ready to drink, and pairs especially well with sushi. Get it while you still can.

K&L Logo 6-Bottle Carry Tote
Review Date: 11-01-2019
There was brief period when these were out of stock, followed by a time when they were just plain Burgundy variety, but now they're back in full force, and with the K&L logo to boot! These are environmentally friendly and handy for carrying 6+ bottles. Thanks to the supportive plastic insert on the bottom, and cloth dividers, it is possible to carry a varying number of bottles with success. These totes are better than your average wine carrier, and will save you the ten cent bag fee. What's not to love?
Price: $1.99 Add To Cart

Pierre Peters "Cuvée de Réserve" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 10-29-2019
Finally, we have enough of this in stock to stack! A classic grower-producer based in the esteemed Grand Cru village Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Pierre Peters really exemplifies the style of Côte des Blancs Champagne. This elegant Cuvée de Reserve Brut is 100% Chardonnay, aged 24 months of the lees. It is sleek and racy, with vivid acidity, chalky minerality through the palate, and a super long finish.

2018 Inkarri Malbec Luján de Cuyo
Review Date: 09-25-2019
Demeter certified, organic, vegan, but most importantly: delicious. The 2018 Inkarri Malbec is both vibrant and dark, with brambly berry fruit, a lot of lift through the palate, and earthy, cocoa powder notes on the finish. This is a perfect weeknight drinker, but sophisticated enough to impress at more elegant events as well.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2008 Gaston Chiquet Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-24-2019
Surprisingly rich for a 2008 Champagne, Dizy’s Gaston Chiquet vintage release is softer than expected for the brisk weather of this celebrated vintage, which is all the better for drinking now! The nose is complex, with hits of ginger and white flowers, and the palate feels well rounded, save for a snap of acidity, thanks to a cépage 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. The finish is pure mineral, showcasing sustainable farming in vineyards on belemnite quadrata chalk. If you’re curious to see how 2008s are drinking but Blanc de blancs are too austere as of yet, try this beauty.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

J. Lassalle "Cachet Or" 1er Cru Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-24-2019
What a lively, historic Premier Cru grower-producer Champagne! A classic blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Meunier, the J. Lassalle "Cachet Or" is still made using a traditional wooden press, and aged three years on the lees! A lot of work goes into this tiny production (farmed from just 16 hectares on clay and limestone soil in Chigny-Les-Roses), which features three generations of women at the helm. This release sings with tangerine and orchard fruit, tempered by a slightly herbaceous, almost camphor, nose and a chalky finish. There is subtle toastiness from the lees, but mostly this is easygoing, bright Champagne – my notes literally read “crushable.” I can’t wait to enjoy a bottle al fresco as summer heat gives way to fall.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Paul Bara "Réserve" Brut Grand Cru Champagne
Review Date: 09-24-2019
An exceptional value for fans of Bouzy Pinot Noir, Paul Bara’s Réserve Brut Champagne exemplifies the rich, powerful style for which this Grand Cru village is best known. In fact, Paul Bara himself wrote the history of Bouzy, and his tiny production (10,000 cases) is all top quality fruit. His daughter Chantal is making the wines now, and her deft winemaking style stays true to Paul’s vision. This release is 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay, and shows bright berry fruit on the nose with a tight, racy core of acidity. This is a food-pairing dream, with enough body to stand up to heavier, less traditional choices and a brightness that keeps it light enough on its feet to be served as an aperitif. Stunning.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Le Gallais "La Grande Vigne" Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-20-2019
Wow. New Direct Import grower-producer Le Gallais is an exciting addition to our Champagne repertoire. The vines for the Blanc de blancs are grown within a clos on east-facing slopes, perfect for providing the bright morning sun that Chardonnay needs. This release – all sourced from 2013 but not labeled as vintage – is both elegant and racy, with lemon fruit and a welcome kick to the clean finish. And aged five years on the lees! Winemaker Charlotte Le Gallais has a deft hand at creating Champagnes that highlight simplicity while maintaining incredible complexity.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2009 Le Gallais Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-20-2019
Super tasty right off the bat, the 2009 Le Gallais Brut perfectly showcases the accessibility of a warmer vintage. Golden pear fruit shines up front, with a rich underlying component – I literally wrote “caramel apple” in my notes – following through to the long finish. While there is undeniably great acidity present, this is a delicious, high quality Champagne for those who like it nice and easy.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

Le Gallais Cuvée du Manoir Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-20-2019
What a special offering! Entirely inside a clos with just 4 hectares of vines, Le Gallais is a house with both history and a modern sense of style. While I generally (think that I) prefer Blanc de blancs Champagnes, Le Gallais’ Cuvée du Manoir was my favorite release in their lineup, a surprise considering the 45% Meunier! This is elegant, gorgeous fruit, with the dark berry character of Meunier sans earthy funkiness that can sometimes overwhelm. The rest of the blend is balanced perfectly by 45% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay. This spends a minimum of 4 years on the lees, and at just 6 g/L, could swing as either brut or extra brut. Creamy, toasty, with a delicate bead and chalky backbone, this checks all the boxes for an incredible Champagne, and at this price, does not disappoint. Le Gallais is a must-try for aficionados who have worked their way through our Direct Imports, and a no brainer for your next party.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2015 Leeuwin Estate "Prelude" Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 08-14-2019
Classic Margaret River at its best. Notes of eucalyptus and mint mingle with heady red currant fruit and a bit of dustiness at the finish. This is sophisticated Cab Sauv from one of the most elegant Aussie producers. And what a price! Don't sleep on this down under dream.

Bollinger "Special Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-13-2019
Bollinger’s classic release, the Special Cuvée, is one of my go-tos when looking for a Grande Marque, since it offers both the prestige name and relative value - the quality feels higher than many fancy brands at a similar price point. On any given day, the wine has a quicksilver character about it: nimble and bright enough to cut through fried foods, yet lush when complementing more classic pairings such as seafood. Founded in 1829, Bollinger clearly cares about luxury and detail at every level. Yet the house itself is set among its own vineyards in the unassuming village of Aÿ. For the Special Cuvée, 80,000 magnums are disgorged by hand! Wines are aged at least three but often five years (more than the appellation’s required fifteen months). Bollinger only seems expensive if you haven’t seen the care that goes in to making it.

Bollinger "Special Cuvée" Brut Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 08-13-2019
Subtly richer than the standard 750 ml bottle thanks to advanced aging through a larger bottle-opening-to-surface area-ratio, the 375ml format of Bollinger’s classic release, the Special Cuvée, is one of my go-tos when looking for a Grande Marque. The half bottles are drinking perfectly now and the wine shows a quicksilver character: nimble and bright enough to cut through fried foods, yet lush when complementing classic seafood dishes. Bollinger somehow offers both the big name and relative value - the quality feels higher than other prestige brands at similar price point. Make your next picnic luxurious!

Kizakura "Bushido Way of the Warrior" Ginjo Genshu Sake 180ml
Review Date: 08-13-2019
Silky in texture with citrus notes and a clean finish, Kizakura "Bushido Way of the Warrior" is a genshu – undiluted – sake that hits hard but goes down easily. A beautifully classic, dry Ginjo sake, perhaps its most intriguing selling point is the packaging: awesome cans with reusable lids! Refreshing and portable, this 180ml release from Kizakura is perfect for an al fresco sushi stop.
Price: $5.99 Add To Cart

Westward "Single Barrel #B-236-11" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 07-30-2019
The oldest barrel Portland’s Westward has ever released (distilled in 2013), our exclusive cask is intense! Immediately aromatic in the glass, Single Barrel #B-236-11 features locally-sourced two row barley from Oregon, showing pleasing malt and cocoa up front. There’s a ton of oak influence through the heady palate, with a take-no-prisoners spicy finish. This 131 proof cask strength version begs for water, but once you’ve found the perfect ratio, it sings with complexity, enhancing everything from caramel pralines to woodsy, slightly herbaceous notes. This experiential whiskey is not for the timid, but can be finessed into something special.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2018 Clos de la Bonnette Syrah "Cuvée Cisselande" VDF
Review Date: 07-04-2019
I love Clos de la Bonnette so much that when their Vin de France appeared on our shelves without fanfare, I immediately scooped it up to drink that night. Classic Syrah, with a gorgeous floral nose, this feels both like a Northern Rhône (where the family winery sits), with its crunchy red fruit and bacon notes, and southern Rhône (where the grapes are grown organically) with its depth. The finish is minerally, the body dense but bright enough for "Cuvée Cisselande" to prove a perfect pairing for garlicky Mediterranean takeout. The 2018 needs air, but even the tightly wound first glass was magnificent, and the bottle held through a second day. Impressive on many levels.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2018 Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 06-28-2019
Classic Marlborough Sauv Blanc without any cloying stereotypes! The tropical fruit is there, plus lush stonefruit, but both are lifted by bright acidity and a crisp finish. This is a sophisticated white that still feels fresh enough for a summer day. The food pairings are endless, and it’s barely twenty bucks for one of the most serious producers in NZ. Wow.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

Tamagawa Kinsho "Heart of Gold" Daiginjo Sake (720ml)
Review Date: 06-28-2019
What an incredible experience! We were lucky enough to taste with expert Kerry San and Tamagawa Kinsho’s Philip Harper, the first non-Japanese sake master. Philip’s sakes are elegant but verge on non-interventionist: perfect for those interested in the natural wine movement. The cleanest option in his range, Heart of Gold is bursting with melon fruit and fresh salinity, with an underlying earthiness, bordering on umami character. The silky texture will impress up front, but it’s the quality and creativity behind the brewery that will keep me coming back. This is easily one of my favorite sake discoveries.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Asahi Shuzo Dassai "50" Junmai Daiginjo Sake (300ml)
Review Date: 06-25-2019
This is my go-to sake for elegance and value. With more “ricey” character than many Daiginjo options, Dassai 50 is so named for 50% of the Yamada Nishiki rice being ground away, making this extraordinary quality sake for the price. Tropical melon fruit shines through the textured palate, giving way to a long finish. Fans of dry style sake will love the weight and finesse here.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2012 Ayala Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-25-2019
Wow, what a stunning offering from Champagne Ayala, another exceptional house based in the grand cru village of Aÿ! Chardonnay fruit is sourced from the “miracle vintage” 2012, and is the first harvest-specific release under winemaking prodigy Caroline Latrive. At a recent tasting, Ayala’s Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne stole the show with its creamy, toasty brilliance. It’s vibrant with racy acidity but maintains a velvety texture and a long finish. If you liked the 2010, wait until you try this beauty.

Asahi Shuzo Dassai "50" Junmai Daiginjo Nigori Sake (300ml)
Review Date: 06-25-2019
One of the driest Nigori sakes I've ever tasted, Dassai's 50 Junmai Daiginjo is made only for the US market, and we’re lucky enough to carry it. Fresh with cantaloupe fruit and a super satisfying creamy texture, this is subtly sweeter than unfiltered sake, yet the finish is bright and crisp. Lovely.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2016 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 06-25-2019
Red-fruited with pure cranberry notes, this 2016 Te Whare Ra Pinot Noir shows complexity, with a bright core of acidity and an earthy finish. One of my favorite Southern Hemisphere Direct Imports, TWR’s quality is unbelievable for the price – biodynamically farmed, handpicked, balanced, and most importantly: delicious.

2012 Alexandre Le Brun "Cuvée Revelation" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-14-2019
What incredible Champagne! Cuvée Revelation easily soars above any concerns that Pinot Meunier isn’t as elegant as its Blanc de blancs counterparts. While the nose does show some of that characteristic earthiness, the palate is airy yet textured, with a velvety mouthfeel and ultra delicate bubbles. This has everything: celebrated vintage, fruit from 100+ year old vines, a vivid snap of acidity and a long, lifted finish, plus the harmony of lean lemon fruit and a hint of welcome toastiness. Revelation is the perfect name for this stunning offering from one of our favorite Direct Imports, Alexandre Le Brun: welcome to a higher level of winemaking featuring Meunier. In fact, when I poured this first at a recent Champagne tasting, customers claimed it ruined the rest of the lineup – nothing else compared to the balance and interest seamlessly joined together in this remarkable release.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

2015 Tongue in Groove "Cabal Vineyard" Pinot Noir Waipara Valley
Review Date: 05-07-2019
This is a gorgeous, underrated wine. The 2015 shows spice and texture, while staying focused. This is a clean, light-bodied style that still feels substantial. Great purity of fruit, savory and herbal notes, lower alcohol and racy minerality makes this a great food red. Plus the winemaker is a woman who excels at minimal interventionist (dare I say natural?) winemaking with a sophisticated edge. Although there is no shortage of interesting Pinot Noir here at the store, I find myself reaching for the Tongue in Groove offerings again and again.

2017 Cantina Andrian Trentino-Alto Adige Pinot Grigio
Review Date: 05-07-2019
Wow! Pinot Grigio isn’t always the flashiest of varietals, but this lovely Alto Adige version really sings. The 2017 Cantina Andrian smells of river rock and white floral; the palate is brimming with crisp minerality and citrusy fruit, which carries through to a surprisingly lush – but of course dry – finish. If you’ve eschewed Pinot Grigio in the past, let this little stunner be your gateway back to the grape.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2017 Domaine Lafage "Novellum" Chardonnay
Review Date: 04-29-2019
Novellum is always a runaway hit for us, but the newly released 2017 stands out as even better than the last vintage! Less tropical than before, this year crunchy pear and golden apple fruit take center stage. While oak is definitely there, it feels better-integrated, and adds texture through to the finish. Like most Lafage wines, Novellum isn’t subtle, but it if balanced, and if you’re looking for a showy, creamy Chardonnay at a bargain price, this is it.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine de l'Amandine Côtes du Rhône-Villages Seguret
Review Date: 04-17-2019
What a value! This is a complex Rhône blend, with high-toned berry fruit and a great peppery finish, thanks to 60% spicy Syrah. This vintage of Domaine de l'Amandine is vibrant but earthy, fruit-forward yet herbaceous, full-bodied and versatile. And although it’s easygoing enough to drink tonight, the 2016 will also age beautifully.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2014 Lepiane "Black Oak Vineyard" Santa Barbara County Grenache
Review Date: 04-13-2019
Punchy, vibrant Grenache with solid earthiness through to the finish, this is a fun yet still incredibly elegant wine, from dynamo winemaker Alison Thomson. Berry fruit shows up in a big way, but still feels light, tempered by the herbaceous quality of including 50% whole cluster. Alison has taken on the task of growing Old World varietals in a classical style, here in Santa Barbara County. This wine is aromatic and textured, sourced from a single vineyard, and crafted with precision and heart. Only 63 cases produced! Look for great things from Lepiane.
Price: $37.99 Add To Cart

2017 Ridge Vineyards "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Review Date: 04-10-2019
Another gorgeous release from Ridge! The 2017 Chardonnay is a bit creamier than previous vintages, but still feels fresh with a lively core of acidity, thanks to the cooler climate Santa Cruz Mountain appellation. The oak is present, but perfectly balanced by rounded Bartlett pear fruit and expressive minerality. Beloved California producer Ridge is always a great choice - elegant and welcome as a sophisticated gift but still easygoing enough for a crowd - and this Chardonnay is no exception.

1995 Charles Heidsieck "Blanc des Millénaires" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-05-2019
Champagne Charlie does it again! Only a handful of vintages have been deemed worthy of being called Blanc des Millénaires: 1983, 1985, 1990, and 1995 (and now 2004), and this release lives up to the name. Made entirely with grand cru fruit from Côtes des Blancs, the 1995 is gorgeous, with honey and apricot notes and a core of lemon freshness. While this is a heady, textured Champagne with richness through the palate, there is an undercurrent of salinity and bright acid, which makes it feel surprisingly youthful. Plenty of brioche toastiness and an intoxicating smokiness round out the complex flavor profile. Plus it’s aged over 20 years on the lees in Heidsieck’s legendary Crayères! Incredible.

2007 Bollinger "La Grande Année" Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 04-02-2019
2007 is the vintage that keeps on giving, with its Champagnes changing beautifully as they age. Fresh with watermelon fruit, Bollinger’s "La Grande Année" Rosé nevertheless feels restrained, with a minerally backbone and subtle salinity, plus luxurious hints of honey throughout the palate. There is juicy fruit present, but the finish is dry. It has strength to stand up to food with finesse, and evolves in the glass. If I could afford to drink this with every meal, I would.

Alexandre Le Brun "Passion" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-01-2019
This was my Valentine's Day Champagne - I couldn't resist the Passion! But I'd still choose Alexandre Le Brun, even without the themed name. Honeycomb notes soar from the nose, followed by gorgeous Meyer lemon fruit and a razor sharp finish. This release is elegant and textured, leesy and bright, and - considering it easily out classes Champagnes at twice the price - an incredible value.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Trudon "Emblematis" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-28-2019
What an awesome addition to our Meunier lineup! While the grape is often coveted for darker fruit and an almost rustic, unctuous quality, Jerome Trudon makes a cleaner style of Meunier, deeply elegant and supremely drinkable, with complexity throughout and a clean, laser sharp finish.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2017 Domaine de Verquière Côtes-du-Rhône
Review Date: 01-29-2019
This incredible Côtes du Rhône is 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, grown in chalky clay soils, which give this stunning red lift and minerality. Plus, there's copious spicy red fruit. This entry-level member of the Verquière lineup is overt and immediately accessible but still has all the classic structure that keeps the wine focused. It is one of our best values in the store and a longtime favorite. So excited the new vintage is here!
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

Dérot-Delugny "Cuvée Fondateurs" Brut
Review Date: 01-19-2019
Expressive on the nose, with hits of white flowers and tropical fruit, this 100% Pinot Gris (!) Champagne displays its uniqueness right out of the gate. The palate shows lush but snappy citrus - think mandarin oranges - followed by a creamy texture through to the super long finish. There’s enough crunchy minerality here to remind you that this is classic Champagne, but it’s balanced with an easygoing drinkability. Dérot-Delugny "Cuvée Fondateurs" Brut would be great with food, and is delicious enough to be a crowd-pleaser that’s a bit out of the ordinary.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2008 Dom Pérignon Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-13-2018
What a beauty this Champagne is: exciting and elegant right out of the gate! Raw honey on the nose, with a hint of white floral alongside coveted yeasty notes, the 2008 vintage Dom Pérignon shines from the very first sip. Heady aromatics give way to sparkling minerality and bright lemon fruit on the palate, with surprisingly nimble richness. While the hallmarks of the racy 2008 vintage come through with laser precision, there is a roundness present as well, making this feel opulent yet vivid, all the way through the long, chalky finish. I can only imagine how incredible this will be with age. Plus, it’s 95% grand cru fruit, with the remaining 5% 1er cru from Hautvillers included as an homage to village of Dom Pérignon's abbey. Historic and celebrated, this 2008 is a stellar release and an experience not to be missed.

2016 Tenshen Central Coast White Blend
Review Date: 07-28-2018
Tenshen is not just a clever name for this California Rhone-style white blend: there's great lift and yes, tension in this 2016 Central Coast white. But while there's good acidity, it doesn't overpower the friendly fruitiness. This wine is a beautiful balance of heavier textured Roussane, floral Viognier, rounded Grenache Blanc, and the unusual but welcome addition of bright Chardonnay. And it's priced under twenty bucks! This is a great summertime white to impress both Francophiles and domestic wine lovers.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

Brasserie Dupont "Saison Dupont" Farmhouse Ale, Belgium (750ml)
Review Date: 06-30-2018
The original! Six or seven breweries in Belgium make true Saisons, and the undisputed classic of the style is Saison Dupont. While there may be some hipper variations that seem more in demand lately, this holds its own against the hyped versions. Saison Dupont is refreshing, with a brightness that is balanced by underlying earthiness. Plus the price is a steal considering the quality, and the fact that this is a 750 ml bottle. At once both crisp and funky, Saison Dupont is a clean, yeasty, satisfying beer, perfect for summer nights.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

Gin Mare Mediterranean Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 06-30-2018
This tastes like what sitting by the Mediterranean, dining alfresco on olive tapenade must feel like. The botanicals are fresh up front, with a notable lavender floral component, but the finish is textured and mouth-coating. This is a unique take on gin that enhances cocktails or could easily be enjoyed with just a bit of ice and soda.
Price: $33.99 Add To Cart

Charles Heidsieck "Brut Reserve" Champagne
Review Date: 06-30-2018
Layered and heady, this Brut Champagne is composed mostly of reserve wines dating back to the 1990s, yet still shows a crisp core of minerality, with a satisfyingly long finish. There's even that coveted hint of brioche character. The value here is really incredible, especially considering Charles Heidsieck's smaller operation, storied history, legendary caves, and quality.

2002 Thienot "Cuvée Alain Thiénot" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-31-2018
This is a monster of a Champagne, in the best possible way. We opened it at a recent customer tasting, and it displayed a quicksilver quality, starting lean and opening up to honeyed complexity. Structured, this could age easily for another decade, but was a treat to drink now, with air and preferably a meal. It showcases the strength of the stellar 2002 vintage while staying true to Thienot's powerful house style.
Price: $99.00 Add To Cart

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