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Staff Favorites - Will Blakely

Will Blakely

Reviews

2016 Black Slate "Porrera" Priorat
Review Date: 09-13-2019
The new vintage has arrived, and it's stunning. This time around it's taken on a different profile, however; more savory and rustic, some of the overripe fruit has made way for woody spice and brighter acid. The bold berries are still present, but the balance feels better overall -- a bit less extracted and a bit more structured. This is one that you can age in the cellar just as easily as you can drink case after case of it now.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JD 94 RP 92

2017 Susana Balbo "Signature" Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 09-13-2019
If ever I need to explain why Susana Balbo is such a celebrated winemaker, I simply point to this wine. Dark, perfumed, and voluptuous, it might appear at first sniff to be a dense beast of a wine. Not so: silky tannin, exquisite fruit, and high-toned acid paint a perfect picture of Mendoza Malbec that is at once easily approachable yet remarkably refined. Endlessly drinkable, this is one you'll want to revisit again and again.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 94

2016 Alain Jaume "Terrasses de Montmirail" Gigondas
Review Date: 09-13-2019
Gigondas consistently offers world-class, terroir-driven wines that come at a fraction of the price of its Chateauneuf-du-Pape counterparts, and Alain Jaume has delivered a nigh-perfect expression of this stellar vintage. Garrigue and violets on the nose revealing only a hint of the savory edge underneath. Plush, dark fruit flows sumptuously across the palate with a striking mineral core. Balanced, elegant, and with just enough grip and spice, this is on my short-list for the fall season's top reds.

2008 Kavalan "Solist - K&L Exclusive" Sherry Cask Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Taiwanese Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-05-2019
The amount of sherry flavor the people at Kavalan manage to impart to their whisky outright astonishes me. Forgive the pun, but frankly, it's nuts. Salted nuts and caramel corn explode across the palate with the power and dynamism that Kavalan consistently over-delivers. The wild spice of their unique malt profile shines through that intense and savory sherry, bringing with it banana, peach compote, and rich barley syrup. If you like sherried whiskey, this is a no-brainer. Even if sherry normally gives you pause, this is the kind of cask strength malt you don't want to miss.
Price: $209.99 Add To Cart

Foursquare Rum Distillery 14 Year Old "Empery" Exceptional Cask Selection Mark IX Single Blended Barbados Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 09-05-2019
An unexpected blend from one of the foremost experts in rum, this release is a godsend. One shudders to imagine what the stock aged in Oloroso barrels tasted like before it was married with the purely bourbon-aged batch. Even 4 years in the tropics caused the sherry cask to fill this bottling to the gills with a wealth of savory, nutty character. Impossibly dense, it features the same charred caramel we know and love from Foursquare, but with it stone fruits, a touch of waxy honey, and ample baking spice. But this is by no means sweet; all this flavor is balanced perfectly with a snappy, spicy, gloriously dry finish. My words do not begin to do this justice; you'll just have to try it to see for yourself what makes this so special.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2007 Foursquare Rum Distillery 12 Year Old "Ex-Bourbon Cask" Exceptional Cask Selection Mark VI Single Blended Barbados Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 09-05-2019
Foursquare was the first rum that captivated me and led me down the lengthy rabbit hole that is sugarcane spirits. I used to say these static-aged ex-bourbon barrel releases drink like cask-strength bourbon made from molasses instead of corn. While there's an element of truth to that with flavors of caramel, toasted oak and woody spice, these rums show distinctly tropical qualities you don't find in Kentucky whiskey. Hints of ripe banana and papaya play off the dark sugar tones, though the finish remains perfectly dry. The concentration and density are unparalleled as well, a result of time spent ageing on the island.
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

2018 Aurore Dezat Sancerre
Review Date: 09-05-2019
Aurore Dezat's wines continue to impress with an effortless precision and grace. The words that immediately sprang to mind were, "So fresh and so clean." Delicate orchard flowers, tangy grapefruit, candied orange peel, and subtle hints of white peach converge with lip-smacking acid, ending on refreshing, mineral-laden finish. So dangerously quaffable, you'll need to stock up on several bottles at once.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

2018 Bodega Chacra "Sin Azufre" Pinot Noir Rio Negro
Review Date: 09-05-2019
Bodegas Chacra continues to amaze me with the quality and care displayed in their wines. Last year's Sin Azufre was a delightful surprise; I hadn't imagined finding modern pinot from Patagonia so expertly crafted and refined. This year does not disappoint, and once again I am floored by the elegance and finesse of these wines. Perhaps brighter in style, more red fruit than black, it features the same savory herb tones and perfectly integrated spice. The finish is long and clean, bringing with it the stony minerals I've come to love from the Rio Negro area wines. I would compare this favorably with Burgundy in the same price range; the styles and terroir differ, but there is no question that this wine is on the level.
Price: $35.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

2010 La Rioja Alta "904" Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 09-05-2019
I could not contain my excitement when I saw the new vintage hit our inventory, and this bottling did not disappoint. Toasty American oak gives this heft and a bold structure, but by no means overwhelms. Layer upon layer of ripe fruit, sweet flowers, warm earth, aptly balanced spice and savory herbs seem to extend further and further down a deep well of flavor the bottom of which I cannot find. The wine just keeps giving. It's still in its infancy, so I revisited it several over the course of 36 hours, sampling at as many intervals as I could manage. Every time, without fail, more complexity built up in the glass. So much life in it yet, I cannot wait to see where it will be in 20 years.

2016 Silares, Garnacha Tintorea Almansa
Review Date: 08-23-2019
Honestly, I did not know what to expect when I popped the cork, but I am so glad I did. It opens with a nose like espresso and roasted roots with just a hint of the underlying fruit. Once it hits your taste buds, though, that fruit steals the show - brambly blackberry, ripe raspberry and purple-fleshed plums flood the palate, but remain remarkably light. Peppery spice and twiggy underbrush provide perfect counterpoint aided by just a touch of brine and stone. Fragrant flowers hit the roof of your mouth, and a savory meaty quality rounds out the long, delightful finish. Such an astoundingly complex wine for the price, I wish I'd picked up a case.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

Leopold Bros. "Summer" Limited Edition Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 08-09-2019
Personally, I remain adamant that if you're going to use a gin in cocktails, it should be perfectly palatable without adulteration. Leopold's Summer Gin accomplishes that feat with aplomb. It smells like a summer breeze through a picturesque garden complete with citrus trees on the outskirts. The juniper here is ever-present, but by no means aggressive. Clean, fresh, and right on the mark in every respect, it carries its weight with poise and finesse, but there's nothing pretentious about it. This gin would do just as well with a single ice cube as in an extravagant cocktail that looks like a peacock in a Collins glass and costs you an arm and a leg in Hollywood. I highly recommend picking up a bottle before it hibernates for the winter.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

Douglas Laing's "The Gauldrons" Batch #1 Limited Edition Campbeltown Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-25-2019
If anyone is curious about what separates Campbeltown malt from the rest of the mainland or its counterparts on Islay, I would show them the Gauldrons. The welcoming smell of barley fields kissed by sea air is enough of a selling point for this region's extraordinary whiskies in and of itself. Beyond that, honey-coated golden apple lights up the palate followed by delicious dark chocolate. Crunchy cereal and pleasant wood smoke linger, finishing with just a hint of meaty umami. There is definitely some older whisky in the blend, giving it a touch more weight and texture than Springbank's 10 year release. Whether new to Campbeltown or just looking for a new everyday, this is a great choice for your home bar.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

2017 Sierra de Toloño Rioja
Review Date: 07-25-2019
Sandra Bravo is working with some top-notch fruit from high elevation sites in Rioja Alavesa. I am a huge fan of her winemaking philosophy, which is to highlight the natural acidity and purity of her grapes. This 100% tempranillo shows juicy cherry and blackberry, with pungent, fresh floral aromas. Aging in neutral oak allows the fruit to remain prominent against the backdrop subtly savory oak. This is the perfect Rioja to enjoy right now while you let your Gran Reservas mature.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2016 Rafael Palacios "Louro" Godello Valdeorras
Review Date: 07-25-2019
While our group was tasting this vintage of Louro, we attempted to categorize Godello by comparing it to other, more familiar grapes. Chardonnay shares its variability, the firmer weight, and its tendency toward orchard fruit flavors. Albariño shares some of its acidity and minerality. The aromas can be reminiscent of Chenin Blanc. But ultimately, Godello is its own masterpiece of a varietal, and this is a wonderful way to experience it. Crisp, tart apple, a touch of pineapple, and refreshing mineral texture make this a delight to drink. The oak doesn't feel heavy or overbearing; instead, it frames the fruit, giving it structure and a savory counterpoint. The last vintage of this felt a bit overripe and flabby, but the 2016 is taut with vibrant, mouthwatering acidity. This is a perfect summer wine, with or without food. Sit down, relax, and sip at your leisure.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

Westward "Single Barrel #B-236-11" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 07-25-2019
So often when we taste in a professional setting, we try our best to break things down into qualities that readers can identify, interpret and evaluate with relative ease. This, however, is one of those rare occasions where a spirit bucks conventional characterization, as it is so much greater than the sum of its parts. Truthfully, I tasted this four times before writing, and each time I got a different impression; there is so much going on here. Sweet, crunchy grain; savory dough and marzipan; plum and cherry; tons of spice; and sweet caramel with a touch of fudge, all wrapped up in a taut, fiery expression of young but astoundingly complex malt. Candied almonds and chamomile in the midpalate arrive suddenly at a snappy, savory, spicy finish that lingers with dark, brooding chocolate and toasted oak. With enough water to cut the proof, suddenly it feels like a much tamer beast: salty pralines, banana and peach cobbler purr softly, with some of the heat replaced by nutmeg and allspice. Either way you sample it, this is delicious, and definitely worthy of multiple revisits.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

Barrell Bourbon "K&L Exclusive" 14 Year Old Cask Strength Single Barrel #E522 Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 07-25-2019
Sweet scents of fruit struck me right away - tangerines, apples, and almost a hint of banana - followed by a subtle fragrance of roasted nuts. On the palate, ample caramel apple and more candied nuts come in just ahead of delicate honeysuckle and vanilla. I enjoy how youthful and dynamic this feels, especially in contrast to the savory wood of other 14 year-old bourbons of late. Big fleshy fruit, chalky minerality and enchanting aromas make this a slam dunk.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

Hillrock Estate Solera Aged Single Barrel "#143-A" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 07-11-2019
A wave of sticky nectars and brown sugar rushes from the glass, betraying the decadence therein. Looking past that, however, one finds subtler aromas akin to fine armagnac, and perhaps a whiff of flor as though from serious aged sherry. Stewed peaches, cherry compote and crème brûlée achieve an effortless harmony without feeling too heavy. A youthful undercurrent of sweet corn and fresh grass does remind you that this is, in fact, bourbon, but one could easily mistake this for fine brandy. Be sure to pick up this one-of-a-kind bottle before they're gone.
Price: $139.99 Add To Cart

Fukano 10 Year Old K&L Exclusive Single Cask Japanese Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-11-2019
Fukano once again proves that rice-based distillates can achieve flavors and concentration just as pronounced and delectable as their malted barley counterparts. The oak provides tremendous texture, but the flavors are balanced and sweet. Ample butterscotch, aromatic vanilla, candied citrus and summer flowers humbly but firmly vie for attention. The finish boasts honey and chamomile but with a spicy ginger element that offsets the sweetness perfectly. Whether a seasoned whisky afficionado or a casual newcomer, this bottle is sure to satisfy most anyone's palate.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2018 Lucia Rosé "Lucy" Santa Lucia Highlands
Review Date: 07-11-2019
Fragrant peach and wild red berries balanced by gravelly minerals make this an easy choice for those looking to elevate their drinking this rosé season. Framed by a touch of savory character on the finish, the fruit feels poised and refined. Definitely a wine worthy of the acclaimed highlands from which it hails.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
VN 92

2018 Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 06-27-2019
Astrolabe arrives just in time to replace the breakout hit from Fromm and save your summer. Gorgeous tropical fruit flies out of the glass without a moment's hesitation. Tautly balanced and intensely aromatic, it defies logic with a wealth of passion fruit and guava but a firmly crunchy, dry finish. This wine is what caused us to fall in love with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, which is something I have had more and more trouble finding in recent months. The enviable freshness and ease will have you coming back for more every time. Get it before it's gone.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
BC 95

2007 Don Q "Limited Edition" Single Barrel Rum 750ml
Review Date: 06-27-2019
Truly a deal that is too good to pass up, this "Single Barrel" should be in everyone's cart this summer. Classic, dry dark rum has grown increasingly expensive in recent years, and I for one am excited to see something so affordable and with such high quality. Vanilla, toasted spice, a hint of molasses and whiffs of coconut combine with caramelized brown sugar to create something much greater than the sum of its parts. Whether in a cocktail, with a large rock and twist of orange, or simply served neat, this always goes down a treat.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Celler de Capçanes "Mas Donis" Old Vines Montsant
Review Date: 06-27-2019
This head-turning wine is back with a vengeance in a vintage that is better than ever. Dark, brambly berries are apparent upfront but defer to rich, coffee-like earth, bound together by firm, even-handed structure. The aromatics are spot-on - garrigue and violets showing the pedigree of the Montsant terroir. Though it lacks Priorat's famous black slate, the soil there is chock full of limestone and clay, and the Mas Donis displays the mineral qualities of the region beautifully. This is a lot of wine for the price, and I am excited to see it in the store again.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
JD 94

2005 Bruichladdich Peated (Port Charlotte) 12 Year Old "Alexander Murray" Cask Strength Small Batch Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 04-25-2019
I find myself giddy with anticipation whenever I catch word of a new Port Charlotte bottling. Though this Alexander Murray cask was not what I originally expected, I was very pleasantly surprised. The strong whiff of peat on the nose dissipates, revealing a treasure trove of unique flavors. Fresh herbs, candied citrus and golden raisin form exquisite layers of flavor, married by a pleasant sea salt vein. With the peat in the back seat, we are free to appreciate apricot-glazed and cured meat with a peppery finish. The whole harmonious experience left me thirsting for more. Pick up a bottle before they disappear; you won't regret it.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2005 Laphroaig 12 Year Old "Alexander Murray" Cask Strength Small Batch Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 04-25-2019
Fans of Laphroaig should rejoice with this bottling. It's a vigorous expression of all the characteistic tones of iodine, briny sea air and burning peat smoke. The extra few years in barrel provides an underlying cocoa and a savory meat edge, finished with sweet malt and lemon zest. Subtlety is not the name of the game, but I do find this bottle a touch more nuanced than the standard 10-year offering. Overall outstanding.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2014 Bodegas Muga "Selección Especial" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 04-11-2019
Truly an astounding expression of the 2014 vintage, it begins with aromas of fresh-baked four berry pie and potpourri. Flavors of marionberry, raspberry and plum meld effortlessly with silky tannin and cocoa nibs. There is an incredible umami about this wine, born of clean earthy tones and healthy salinity. The oak is ever-present, but it lifts the profile; adding volume and texture, it enhances the subtle flavors rather than overpowering them. With such sophisticated poise and balance, this wine is an easy choice for most any occasion. I find myself wishing I had picked up a second bottle already.

2017 Collier Creek "Front Coach" Lodi Chardonnay
Review Date: 04-04-2019
Easily one of the most delightful discoveries from California of late. Papaya, guava and fresh lime burst from the glass and dance across the tastebuds. Crisp, vibrant and insanely affordable, I was impressed to find out that Collier Creek's wine is certified sustainable. I cannot find fault with this wine, except perhaps a touch of residual sugar that you won't find unless you're looking. Exceptional quality and endlessly fun, this is one to buy by the case.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

2005 Balblair 13 Year Old "K&L Exclusive" Cask No. 224 Cask Strength Single Cask Highland Single Malt Whisky 750ml (ships as 1.5L)
Review Date: 03-27-2019
Balblair has been a consistent favorite of mine among highland malts for some time. Even the lower-proof distillery bottlings boast impressive quality and feel very much worth the price they command. This cask strength offering delivers some of the best flavor I have had from their line, and for under $100. Creamy toffee envelops banana, pear and apple, belying a persistent, nutty undercurrent. Ample spice compliments the rich sweetness, with nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla vividly framing the dense flavors and adding dimension. The structure here is immaculate, and even with a splash of water, the flavor remains absurdly dense. This is a truly special bottle, and I encourage any fan of classic Highland Scotch to pick up a bottle for themselves and other connoisseurs in their whiskey circles.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

El Caballito Cerrero "Agave Chato" Blanco 46 Jalisco Destilado de Agave (750ml)
Review Date: 03-21-2019
This bottle is a must-try for agave aficionados - a perfect example of the complex, rustic flavors of a properly made agave-driven spirit. Earthy, vegetal aromas create a dramatic first impression that quickly develops secondary characteristics of bright acid and tropical fruits. The palate is marvelous, marrying grassy herbs, saline and roasted peppers in a voluptuous, mouthwatering texture. The finish is remarkably clean, carrying an impressive mineral quality and a more meaty flavor than "proper" blue weber tequila. The chato displays a wonderful umami that I rarely see in the other steam-cooked spirits coming out of Jalisco. I wish we could see more products like this, rather than the homogenized recipes created by some of the stricter regulations in the state.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

1988 Fitte et Laterrade 30 Year Old "Domaine Le Chaou" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-21-2019
These surprising Armagnacs are a bourbon-drinker's delight. Crashing waves of oak bring vanilla and ample spice to the forefront, followed closely by robust flavors of nuts and caremlized sugar. Savory earth and fragrant citrus peel create a firm structure that supports the dense flavors. Figs, leather and toasted oak show the maturity that develops from 30 years in barrels. The lingering spice and toasted oak finish make this a treat for anyone craving a strong wood influence and a drier-style of Armagnac. Definitely outside the norm for this region, but a stunning bottle for the price.
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart

2009 Caol Ila 8 Year Old "Signatory" K&L Exclusive Single Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 03-16-2019
For fans of Islay, Caol Ila should be a consistent feature in a well-stocked cabinet. This bottling is a singular example - an unadulterated expression of everything the distillery has to offer. The peat here is perfectly integrated, combining smoky mesquite wood, sea air and mossy earth. There is a subtle sweetness, with green fruit and vanilla wafting above a firm structure. A dose of water reveals further depth, with iodine and herbs entering the smoky fray balanced by ocean brine and a hint of lime essential oil. The flavors here are indelible and inseparable. An exquisitely expressive dram.
Price: Hidden View Price

Mortlach 16 Year-Old "Distiller's Dram" Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) (ships like a 1.5 L bottle due to shape)
Review Date: 03-10-2019
This is a much more serious bottling than the 12 Year Old, to be sure. The wood influence is ramped up considerably, leading to mature and complex flavors. Layers of dried fruit, cocoa, red berries, savory herbs -- thyme and fennel -- precede dense oak and ample spice, finishing with a meaty salinity and lingering notes of flaky pastry. The 16 Year packs a lot of sherry and malt character into a surprisingly affordable package.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
WA 91

Mortlach 12 Year Old "The Wee Witchie" Single Malt Scotch Whisky 750ml (ships like a 1.5 L bottle due to shape)
Review Date: 03-06-2019
This makes for a fantastic introduction to the Mortlach line, showcasing vibrant fruit while retaining that savory, meaty character that fans of the distillery know and love. A youthful nose promises good, balanced acid while teasing orchard fruit. The palate delivers ripe apple, golden raisin, toasted oak and vanilla. There's a nuttiness here that rounds out the profile, providing umami throughout the whole experience. Overall, this is a fun and tasty dram for a great price.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

1998 Chateau de Vacquié 20 Year Old Unfiltered Haut-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-06-2019
Perhaps more poised and restrained than the decadent 1991 vintage bottling, this Armagnac is by no means lean or lacking in flavor. Instead, it is a powerhouse of caramel, plums and raisins with mouthwatering spice and bright acid. As I tasted more, crumb cake and coffee followed poached pears, countered by vanilla and a hint of pepper. Truly a mind-boggling value from a part of Armagnac few aficionados have ventured. Hats off to Bruno and this magnificent brandy.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

1991 Chateau de Vacquié 27 Year Old Unfiltered Haut-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-06-2019
When I heard the story of Vacquie from our buyer, I didn't know what to expect. Haut-Armagnac is seldom talked about in the domain of high-end spirits, so I braced myself for the first foray into this 100% ugni blanc juice. I was rewarded with one of the most impressive and mouthwatering Armagnacs I've ever had the pleasure of sampling. Extraordinarily rich and surprisingly youthful, this boasts a brilliantly floral and slightly tropical nose. The flavors are full and approachable yet refined and complex. Dried dates, sweet syrup and fruit cobbler play beautifully alongside tremendous spice and a firm but dynamic structure. I was shocked to find this comes in just under $100, fully expecting something in the $120-$150 range. The finish is extraordinarily long, leaving a sense of faceted flavors in a gem-like structure. I couldn't help but pour myself a little more to savor the taste a little longer. I cannot recommend this highly enough.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2016 Mas Codina Cabernet Sauvignon Penedes
Review Date: 03-03-2019
One of our favorite Cava producers, Mas Codina dabbles in a diverse selection of grapes on the side. This Cabernet is impossibly good for the price, boasting ripe blackberries, soft tannins and a dynamic core of earth, mocha and peppery herbs. It is a dream with food or on its own, and an easy choice for dinner parties. Yet another testament to the tremendous value offered in Spanish wines.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$8.99

2016 Viña Olartia Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 02-28-2019
I was struck immediately by the dense, beautiful color - almost like a polished gem. Whiffs of fresh-tilled earth, black olive and exquisite floral tones further delight the senses and entice you toward your first sip. On the palate, blackberries and dark cherries ride a plush, velvety texture through a charming midpalate complete with vibrant acidity and subtle cocoa nibs. Toasted oak and pleasant earth create a firm backbone that holds this wine together beautifully. You would be hard-pressed to find a better bottle for this price.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

Wathen’s Barrel Proof "Barrel #40 Los Angeles" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 02-21-2019
These Wathen's barrel picks are completely unlike anything else on the bourbon market today. Whiffs of banana and nut give way to fresh cut grass and sweet cereal. The complex taste features salted caramel, praline, ripe banana and ample barrel spice. Butterscotch and toasted wood linger on the long finish. A few drops of water add brown sugar and nutmeg to the fruit and highlight the vanilla and oak that were initially hidden just beneath the surface. One might balk at the price, but it's definitely worth it for something so unique.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

2010 Caol Ila 8 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 02-21-2019
One of my favorite aspects of Caol Ila is how the smell evokes a sea breeze on a cloudy but eerily beautiful coastline. Moss, salty air and fragrant barley make for a friendly introduction to the dram. What follows is perfectly integrated smoke and raging spice. There's a hint of bell pepper there, accompanied by smoked meat and sweet orchard fruit. With water, the softness of the grain really shines through, bringing ripe pear and golden apple. The finish is long and savory compounded by subtle cocoa and a tinge of pine. This barrel really shows what Caol Ila is all about.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2017 Bishop's Peak San Luis Obispo County Chardonnay
Review Date: 02-21-2019
The folks at Talley have been making some of our favorite Chardonnay in the area for quite a while. While their Bishop's Peak line sees less oak, it undoubtedly delivers the same quality and value of their main brand. This wine brims with tropical fruit - guava, passion fruit and melon - and finishes brisk and clean. The subtle oak adds texture and a longer finish, but sits more in the background, letting the fruit and acid shine. At this price, it may become your go-to everyday Chardonnay.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
VN 91 WE 90

2015 Bodegas Norton "Privada - Family Blend" Red Blend Mendoza
Review Date: 02-21-2019
This is a lot of wine for the price. From first pour, alluring aromas of violets and dark berries offer a suggestion of modern Bordeaux. On the palate, however, this distinctly new-world wine explodes with black and red berries, plum and a healthy dose of spice. Backed up by gravelly earth and rich mocha, the profile feels bold yet balanced. The tannins here are firm but not aggressive, making it a dream to drink. You might find yourself questioning whether the price is correct. I have good news: it is.

2016 MWC (McPherson Wine Co.) Shiraz-Mourvèdre Victoria
Review Date: 01-26-2019
Such a delightful discovery. Majority Shiraz with just enough Mourvedre to elevate, this wine is astoundingly elegant. Dense, ripe blackberries and a kiss of cocoa dominate at first, but soft earth and black tea tannins follow quickly behind. Pepper and a refreshing herbal finish keep it consistently interesting, and I found myself wishing I had bought a second bottle.

Dérot-Delugny "Cuvée Fondateurs" Brut
Review Date: 01-23-2019
Being 100% Pinot Gris makes this an oddity, but it is certainly not a gimmick. This is serious, world-class champagne. Vivid aromas of ripe apple and citrus blossom fly out of the glass, and the complexity therein is immediately apparent. Apples, pears and nectarines strike the palate accompanied by bright acid and further wake the senses. The finish brings crisp limestone and a supple, mouth-coating texture. One of the most unique bottles for the price, and its quality is unquestionable.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Westward American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 11-29-2018
The gorgeous and effusive nose indicates this whisky has nothing to hide. White peach, sweet apricot and soft, pale wood paint a delightful picture of what you're going to taste. The sweetness of the malt is balanced by a hearty savory quality and sufficient salinity. Fruit, sage and perfectly integrated oak create something undeniably approachable and uniquely American. Truly a delight to taste.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
WE 94

McKenzie Bottled-in-Bond Wheated Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 11-29-2018
From Larceny to Weller, David Nicholson to Pappy, wheated bourbon has always put a smile on my face. McKenzie's bottled-in-bond offering makes an impressive addition to the list. Alluring aromas of nuts, bananas and roasted corn make a pleasant enough first impression, but tasting this reveals a plethora of tropic fruits and soft spice. The sweet cereal grain is contrasted nicely by citrus peels and bright acid. With a good body and relatively long finish, this should fit nicely into any whisky collection.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

Còdigo 1530 K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Rosa Tequila (750ml)
Review Date: 11-29-2018
When I first heard of the Rosa, I was suspicious; red wine barrel aging sounded like to me like a gimmick, but the wine and the wood add a lot here. A touch of grape must and pepper on the nose immediately separates this from Codigo's Blanco, and the palate is quite a bit richer. Red berries and currant compliment the agave fruit beautifully. Capped off by a pleasant herbal finish, this makes for a fun and unique gift as well as a great bottle for the home bar.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

1997 Hector Macbeth (Glenfiddich) 21 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-24-2018
There is a lot of life in this bottle for a whisky that is old enough to drink itself. Orange blossom and pleasant salinity on the nose make for a gracious, friendly introduction. There is also a subtle whiff of nutmeg and marmalade. Honeyed biscuits, creamy orange and a touch of cocoa envelop the palate in an exquisite texture that lingers indefinitely. With a few drops of water, the aromas explode from the glass, and the heat from spices surprisingly increases on the tongue, though is offset by sweet cereal and fresh mandarin. This packs a lot of delicate flavor into every drop without ever sacrificing balance or lift. Easily the best expression of Glenfiddich malt I've ever tasted.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

2017 Domaine du Petit Clocher Anjou Blanc
Review Date: 11-24-2018
There is a lot to enjoy here for a surprisingly low price. Expressive floral and citrus aromas meld with crisp green apple and vivid acidity, culminating in a powerful and lively finish. A slightly honeyed texture softens and offsets the harsher aspects of this wine's youth. If you're looking for a cheerful, full-flavored dry chenin, look no further.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

Compass Box Story of the Spaniard Blended Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 10-18-2018
This latest release from Compass Box reflects the mastery of their blending techniques in a bottle everyone can enjoy. Cozy scents of sea air, marzipan and apricot greet you immediately, imploring you to sit and savor the dram. Though relatively light in body, it provides impressive concentration of flavor. Its complex charactger pairs candied citrus and salty caramel with delicate spice and a savory finish. I consider myself fortunate to sample such a friendly, generous whisky; I encourage you to treat yourself to a taste.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

2016 Borsao "Tres Picos" Garnacha Campo de Borja
Review Date: 09-27-2018
An astounding value from an underappreciated region outside Zaragoza, the Tres Picos gives Rhone grenache a run for its money. The concentration in this wine is superb, especially considering its price point. Dried flowers and dark berries waft from the inky nectar revealing only a hint of oak spice. Brambly blueberries and blackberries swirl on the palate, almost adhering thanks to slightly sticky tannins, and leave behind traces of warm baking spice. It finishes with a touch of savory smoke - a nod to its time in the barrel - that rounds out the package nicely and keeps things interesting. This wine makes a perfect partner for smoked meat or a just cozy night in front of the TV.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JS 92 JD 91

Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 06-22-2018
The Three Wood beautifully showcases the movement away from age statements and toward creative cask finishes. On the nose, it immediately offers enticing aromas of dried fruit, orange peel, caramelized sugar and ample spice. On the palate, it tastes full and complex despite its three distillations. Vanilla and dry sherry dominate at first but give way to soft tones of toffee and raisins. Typical of lowland malts, the finish brings a lingering nutty sweetness, but with a hint of charred wood. Altogether, it makes for an endlessly enjoyable dram that satisfies most any palate. I highly recommend this bottle for fans of bourbon or Irish whisky trying to break into Scottish single malts. It's also a great pick for scotch drinkers looking for something new in a sherry-focused style.
Price: $56.99 Add To Cart
WE 94