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Staff Favorites - Joe Bruno

Joe Bruno


2014 Cristom "Estate" Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-24-2018
One of my favorite Pinot Noirs I’ve had the chance of trying recently. Hailing from Oregon, the 2014 vintage was warmer than typical, and that is reflected in the aromas of the wine. Ripe berries and cherries are the first notes expressed. A bouquet of rose petal is also present on the back end. On the palate, the wine shows ripe red fruit, especially cherry, along with a firm structure that leads into silky tannins. All the while, there is a pleasant juiciness and bright acidity that cuts through the ripeness of the fruit. Hints of spice on the finish. A layered and complex Pinot Noir that while priced under-$40 drinks as if it were $50 or more

2009 La Rioja Alta "904" Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-24-2018
La Rioja Alta does it again with another spectacular offering, this time their ‘904’ bottling from the 2009 vintage. Classic aromas of dried cherries and leather, along with American oak bouquet of dill and vanilla. Great acidity on the palate, with a pleasant balance also between the tannin structure and fruit. Quite well integrated, this wine will continue to improve with cellar time, but at just shy of 10 years old, it is drinking nicely at the moment. A fantastic wine with a variety of food offerings. I would recommend this to go with lamb roast. Pork chops or game bird would be also great pairing options
Drink from 2019 to 2019

2015 Frog's Leap "Estate" Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-07-2018
One of my favorite Cabernet Sauvignon wines in store, especially for under $50. Aromas of black currants, dried herbs, and barrel spice. On the palate, flavors of intense and layered dark fruits play with firm but silky tannins. Lovely Rutherford dust minerality on the finish as well. Tasting well now, but certainly will improve immensely with time. A true Napa Valley classic that possesses the power, finesse, and grace to last 20 years and further.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
VN 92 W&S 91

2016 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel
Review Date: 07-07-2018
One of the best Zinfandels in store pound for pound. Aromas of ripe berries, plums, and dark cherries. The palate expresses quintessential ripe dark fruits and subtle stone fruits. Along with balanced acidity, this is everything you come to expect from Sonoma Zinfandel and done fantastically at such a great price.
Top Value!
Price: $19.95 Add To Cart
WS 93

2016 Castro Candaz "Finca El Curvado" Ribeira Sacra
Review Date: 06-18-2018
A delicious and unique offering from Ribeira Sacra. Fresh and bright on the nose, with aromas of plums, cherries, and berries. A bouquet of wild herbs and flowers, with a noted black pepper note. On the palate, the wine's freshness comes through again, with crunchy dark and red fruit at the forefront. The wine's elevated acid comes through, as does the granitic minerality. A great food wine as well; pairing nicely with various white meats and tomato-based dishes

2016 The Burn "Borne of Fire" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-27-2018
Easily one of the best red wine values in store at the moment. Lively aromas of mulberries and dark currants are accented by a nicely balanced palate. Not overly ripe, robust flavors of dark berries present, and silky tannins. A pleasant savory quality on the lengthy finish. A great introduction to Washington state Cabernet Sauvignon, and currently one of the best price points for domestic red wine in store
Top Value!
Price: $19.95 Add To Cart
JS 96 W&S 91

2013 Maysara "Cyrus - Momtazi Vineyard" McMinnville Pinot Noir (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 05-06-2018
In my opinion, one of our best Pinot Noir offerings in store for under $30. Aromas of red cherries and dried raspberry intermingle with subtle and nuanced tertiary notes of soy sauce, leather saddle, dried flowers, and potpourri. The palate is juicy and possesses mid-palate weight that is complemented by relatively low alcohol. Flavors of dried red fruits like cherries come to the forefront along with savory notes of porcini mushrooms and an earthy minerality that lingers on the finish. Decant this wine for 30 minutes and this will shine beautifully as food pairing option for selections like duck confit or cedar plank salmon. Delicious!
Top Value!

2016 Brezo Mencía Bierzo
Review Date: 05-06-2018
I have always been a big fan of Mencía wines from Bierzo, and this offering from the producer Brezo furthers affirms that sentiment. Aromas of juicy, ripe berries on the nose, along with a classic bouquet of savory herbs and spices. On the palate, flavors of red berries, dark plum, and pomegranate are complemented by dried thyme and fresh cracked black pepper. The fresh, vibrant acidity and ripeness of fruit make this wine very drinkable on its own, or a perfect complement to everything from burgers, pizza, or grilled meats. A perfect choice to serve at your next dinner party or BBQ cookout!
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

Caves Messias Santola "Crab Wine" Vinho Verde
Review Date: 04-30-2018
A light, fresh, and juicy white from Portugal that will be sure to please. Aromas of lemon, grapefruit, and orchard fruit. Hints of white flowers additionally. Flavors of bright citrus and green apple. I love the slight fizziness the wine exhibits as well. This is a summer-sipper staple; be sure to grab some for your next get together!
Top Value!
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine des Rémizières Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 03-30-2018
A great Northern Rhône Syrah that delivers tremendous value. Aromas of dark fruits, pepper, violets, and baked earth. On the palate, rich, unctuous currants and blackberries move towards tart black cherry, soy sauce, and mineral notes. A marked spice note on the finish as well. While the fruit quality is ripe, there is a contrast against this with a pleasant freshness and silky tannin structure. This would be a nice choice with various food options, especially roasts. Fantastic quality with respect to the under-$20 price point
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

Billecart-Salmon "Sous Bois" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-13-2018
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I had the pleasure of trying this Champagne about a week ago along with a couple other Billecart-Salmon offerings. This was my favorite, for its inherent richness. The aroma was very reminiscent of a white Burgundy; dried orchard fruit, custard, and chalky minerality. On the palate, creamy fruit, lemon juice, and pear flavors play with an elegant toast and round mouthfeel. Acidity is still elevated; the chalkiness also comes through. This Champagne's power and balance come together wonderfully; worth every penny!

2013 Louis M. Martini "Monte Rosso Vineyard" Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 02-13-2018
A classic and powerful Cabernet Sauvignon from the folks at Louis Martini. This wine hails from the recently christened Moon Mountain AVA in Sonoma. Big and brooding aromas of cassis and dark berries play with a bouquet of earl grey tea, milk chocolate, and fruitcake. On the palate, the wine expresses flavors of sugar plum, blue fruit, and black currant along with pipe tobacco, spice, and cocoa powder. There is a lovely stone minerality on the finish as well. While bold in expression, there is quite a sense of balance and finesse in the winemaking style here. Drinking well now, but as with other California Cabernet Sauvignon wines in the 2013 vintage, it will only get better with time. Lovely aging potential. Also a fantastic choice for an evening at your favorite steakhouse

2014 Amapola Creek "Monte Rosso Vineyard" Sonoma Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 02-13-2018
A delicious Zinfandel that pays homage to California wines of old. Sourced from the Sonoma Valley Monte Rosso vineyard that is over 125 years old, the quality is thusly reflected in the wine. Aromas of berry medley, plum, peach preserves, and vanilla extract. On the palate, unripe peach, ripe pluots, boysenberry, black cherry, and bay leaf on the palate. Lighter and less weighty on the palate than other California Zinfandels I’ve tried recently. A fantastic option for grilled chicken and other light BBQ fare
Price: $29.95 Add To Cart
RP 94 JD 90

2014 Miguel Merino Mazuelo de Quinta Cruz Rioja
Review Date: 01-30-2018
A great example of a cool climate mazuelo (a.k.a. carignan / cariñena) from Spain. Both on the nose and on the palate, fresh, crunchy dark & red fruits are expressed; think plum and dark cherries. A hint of spice accents this quite nicely, as does the earthiness on the finish. A fantastic choice in a food pairing applications to accompany grilled fish or game meats
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 12-29-2017
This is the newest iteration of Brut Rosé from producer Le Brun De Neuville. The previous non-vintage version consisted of 2/3 Chardonnay and 1/3 Pinot Noir. It now is primarily Chardonnay (~96%), with only ~4% Pinot Noir. Still, the wine evokes light red fruit aromas and accompanying floral notes. A distinct yeast characteristic is exhibited as well. On the palate, the wine is both fresh and savory; possesses a distinct weight that is most likely derived from 5% of oak aging. Elevated acidity as well; nicely crisp. Quite a pleasant Brut Rosé, one that is a great choice on its own or with light food fare.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club


2014 Viña Real Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 12-09-2017
This 2014 Crianza primarily consists of 90% Tempranillo, with the remaining 10% comprising of Garnacha, Graciano, and Mazuelo. The oak influence in this wine draws from multiple sources: the oak barrels used in fermentation are French Oak barrels and the barrels used in the 13-14 month aging process are American. Dominant fruit aromas of ripe blackberries and raspberries, macerated cherries, and plum. Bouquet of vanillas, balsamic, cedar, and dill. Warming spices as well, underlying. On the palate, dried berries and cherries play with a wonderful lively acidity. Tannins are there, but certainly not overwhelming. The mouthfeel and acidity lend it to being a great option with food pairings: think roast chicken and bell peppers or pork chops
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JS 92 VN 90

2011 Viña Real Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 12-04-2017
This wine stands out in the 2011 vintage with more liveliness and bright fruit than typically seen that growing season. An expansive nose of dark cherries, plum, and dates followed by caramel, oak barrels, and spice notes. The flavor profile on the palate evolves seamlessly with prunes, both dark and red cherries, and strawberries. Cocoa powder flavors play with silky tannins and the aforementioned elevated acidity. This wine is built for the long haul; drinking nicely now but another 4-6 years would put this in a really fun place. Pair with paella; preferably of the fennel sausage and rabbit variety!

2015 Cune Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 12-04-2017
An easy-going, tasty Crianza. Initial aromas of red cherries and plum, along with a bouquet of herbs, dust, and cedar. On the palate, a pleasant and lively elevated acidity, along with flavors of both dried and ripe cherries. Some plum and vanilla on the finish. A quintessential wine pairing with a plethora of various tapas choices; think Serrano ham or Manchego cheese
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

Valdespino "Tio Diego" Amontillado Jerez
Review Date: 12-01-2017
A classic and quintessential example of Amontillado sherry from the folks at Valdepsino. Tio Diego has quite an expansive nose, with aromas of bruised yellow apple, green fig, and preserved lemon. Equally as compelling is the bouquet of black walnut, bitter almond, burnt sugar, and oolong tea. On the palate, notes of dried orchard fruit, dried apricot, brazil nut, and toffee. There are both rich and saline notes that make it a perfect accompaniment to various food options. Would be perfect with whole grilled prawns, brick-cooked chicken, or even a Portuguese seafood stew

2016 Au Bon Climat/K&L Wine Merchants "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-28-2017
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Really, really impressed by this recent collaboration with Au Bon Climat. The grapes for this wine are sourced from the famed Bien Nacido vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley. After some time decanting (preferably at least 30 minutes), this wine shines with the best of what California Pinot Noir has to offer. Aromas of tart bing cherries and red currants are accented by a bouquet of mulling spices, wet leaves, and balsam fir. On the palate, tart cranberries, bright red cherries, pomegranate, and fresh herbs dance on the palate with a wonderfully pleasant elevated acidity and crunchy texture. This is showing exceptional right now, but an additional 2-5 years could put this wine in a really special place. A great food pairing option with cedar plank salmon
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

Miquel Pons Cava Brut Penedes
Review Date: 11-06-2017
Talk about a deal for the upcoming Holidays! Beautiful orchard fruit on the nose accompanied by notes of lilies and sea spray. On the palate, it checks all the boxes for quality sparkling: clean, ample fruit, and a dry, crisp finish. Notes of red delicious apple and pear play with a light brioche toast and saline qualities. Easily one of the best under-$10 sparkling we are currently offering company-wide
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2005 Bodegas Puelles Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 06-09-2017
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Hailing from a great vintage in Rioja, this delivers a whole lot of wine for under $20. Prunes, tomato jam, blackberry, and cherry intermingle with hints of vanilla, leather and red licorice. Dried red fruit and lengthy, plush savory notes are accompanied by a long finish. Texturally, this wine is rich but possesses a lively acidity that dances on the palate. Complex as it is crowd pleasing, this wine is perfect for your next dinner party with friends and family.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 90