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Staff Favorites - Joe Manekin

Joe Manekin
Joe Manekin  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
Joe arrived at our doors in February 2007 from far away, Washington, DC to be exact. Just so no one gets the wrong idea, though, he was merely earning a living in DC; Joe’s cultural identity, as well as his professional sports allegiances and, when he has a few drinks in him, his accent, are all Baltimore through and through. After working on the wholesale side of the business for nearly 4 years, Joe decided that he wanted to work wine retail with the best, so he emailed Cindy Westby at K&L and the rest is history. While Joe is well versed in a number of wine regions, he most enjoys the wines of Europe, though he is growing increasingly interested in the great wines of the Santa Cruz mountains. When he is not at K&L, Joe enjoys cooking, traveling, catching up on The Wire, doing occasional PR, booking and recording work for reggae band JohnStone (www.johnstonemusic.com), and writing for his wine, food and music blog, Old world Old School (www.oldworldoldschool.blogspot.com)


Reviews

2010 Los Autores "El Brujo" Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 02-05-2019
Los Autores is of course Spanish for "The Auteurs," and the idea behind this series of limited, top quality Riojas is to pay homage to some of the most talented creative minds in the region, in this case to none other than the legendary Ezequiel "El Brujo" Garcia. This is a selection of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo, and even a tiny portion of white Viura grapes (as was common back in the day), allowed to age in Ezequiel's hand picked barrels (which were almost always some of the oldest still in use at the winery, typically 8-10 years old) for over three years prior to additional ageing in bottle. The structured dark fruit, quiet intensity, balanced acidity and fine tannins speak to a wonderful 2010 vintage and to time tested practices in the cellar. Whether this classic will endure for as long as the Tondonias, Imperiales and 904's of the world is almost besides the point - though I suspect that it will - and the really cool thing about this collectible is the legacy and insider Rioja history that the wine conveys. Our "El Brujo" gran reserva Rioja bottling is undoubtedly one of the most special wines we have picked up as a direct import from Spain.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2011 Cune "Imperial" Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 01-31-2019
Cune's Imperial is always one of the Gran Reserva releases that I most look forward to. The profile, one might say over in Rioja, is "alta, alta" - meaning, it comes from vineyards in the coldest part of Rioja Alta. This is the epitome of structured, nicely chiseled, high-toned Rioja that is built for the long haul. I would concede that 2011 was a particularly warm and dry year, which from my experience really benefited Rioja Alta wineries that have the ability to select and blend from many excellent sites. Drinking beautifully now, this will continue to blossom in bottle and develop complexity over the next decade, while it will drink well and last well beyond that. A gran reserva that is not to be missed!

Dérot-Delugny "Cuvée Fondateurs" Brut
Review Date: 01-22-2019
I was incredibly excited to try this 100% Fromenteau, but as so often happens with great wines, the terroir and style overrides the grape variety. While I didn't get much of an indication of Pinot Gris, the wine is a joy to drink, the Derot Delugny is classy, with golden fruits, a fine bead, and a nicely dry palate impression. There is something old fashioned and timeless about the flavors, texture and overall impression of this wonderful Champagne.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2016 MWC (McPherson Wine Co.) Shiraz-Mourvèdre Victoria
Review Date: 11-07-2018
MWC focuses on value wines, and judging by this Shiraz Mourvedre blend ,the effort has more than paid off. Mixed berries, creosote and menthol notes on the nose lead to a supple, forward and brightly fruited palate in this easy to drink red. Subtly spicy barrel notes and hints of dark chocolate present themselves as well, but are secondary to the delicious fruit on full display.

2017 Stolpman "Para Maria" Santa Barbara County Red Blend
Review Date: 11-01-2018
This primarily Syrah driven blend is fantastic - I strongly suggest trying a bottle. Aromas suggest freshly cracked black pepper and licorice, as well as a forward, juicy "carbonic" aspect which, without getting too much in the weeds, simply refers to how the wine is made and the fact that it is more fresh and refreshing than most California Syrahs out there. To that point, this wine seems to take the forward quality of California fruit and balance it out with some old world, refreshing refinement. Dare I say it reminds me of a well made Bierzo (Spanish) red? Kudos to the Stolpmans for this cool project and for producing another delicious red wine.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2012 Louis Roederer Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-09-2018
Amongst the grande marques, there is no other house bottling vintage Champagnes that are as delicious, affordable, as Louis Roederer. Whether it is their vintage rosé or this 2012, the quality is simply self evident. I think that the Chardonnay here, while not the majority of the cuvee, really marks the wine, with savory and salty fruit. A fantastic, wonderfully expressive vintage Champagne from Louis Roederer.

2012 Alexandre Le Brun "Cuvée Revelation" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-09-2018
In Champagne, as in anywhere else, there are old vine cuvees, and then there are truly ancient old vine cuvees. Here we are dealing with the latter, as the youngest vines comprising this blend were planted back in the 1950´s, and the oldest ones were planted many, many years prior to that. While I have previously sung the praises of top quality Pinot Meunier based Champagnes, this particular bottling from Alexandre Le Brun is truly singular: intense, long, mineral, wonderfully balanced, serious but with an easy to drink quality that I love in my favorite Meunier based Champagnes. Classy and classic, cool and relevant all at the same time, Revelation earns my highest recommendation.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

Fallet-Dart "Grande Sélection" Brut Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 09-11-2018
The mere fact that this cuvee from Fallet Dart has a whopping seven years on the lees should immediately grab your attention. That said, it's not all about the lees, you need to start with great base wine. This is absolutely the case for this delicious bottle of Pinot Noir based bubbles made an hour west of Epernay. A bright nose loaded with citric fruits leads to a focused, lively, fresh and engaging palate. Compared to their also tasty Grande Reserve, this wine comes across as drier and slightly lower dosage. Fantastic value for money, and a likely selection for house Champagne at our place. If you are inclined to do the same, it will be super affordable at under $35!
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

2015 Tapiz "Alta Collection" Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza
Review Date: 09-09-2018
In terms of winemaking pedigree, you cannot do much better than to have someone who was responsible for making a $2,500 bottling of wine perfect, year in year out, for 44 years. That is exactly what Jean Claude Berrouet did at Petrus, and what he now does as well at Tapiz. The popularity of Tapiz Cabernet cannot be overstated: last year we sold many hundred of bottles of the 2014, and even in dollar terms it represented our best selling wine of 2017. We feel strongly about the 2015 vintage as well. It has all of the structure of 2014, perhaps with even more depth of flavor and savory Cab complexity. It is very hard to find a better bang for your buck Cabernet Sauvignon out there; this wine is just tough to beat!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

San Venanzio Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore Brut
Review Date: 08-21-2018
This is fun, easy drinking prosecco, with an effortless balance between ripe appley fruit and fizz. It finishes dry, not bone dry, and is just really easy to drink! Wildly popular bubbles, and with good reason.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2017 Torti Pinot Noir Pavia
Review Date: 07-31-2018
While some Pinot Noirs are light, floral, subtle, others richer, flashier and more fruit forward, this Torti is neither, with a simple, nearly candied red fruit quality that makes it just about right for drinking on its own or with small bites prior to a meal. Light, fruit forward, easy going Pinot for the summertime.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2015 Mount Langi Ghiran "Cliff Edge" Shiraz Victoria
Review Date: 06-19-2018
According to many, this is one of the top five Shiraz producers in all Australia. Judging by the quality of this sub $25 bottling, I can see why. Pure blue fruit shows intensity and freshness, with a subtle underlying littoral forest aspect - not full on eucalyptus but definitely a little bit. The tannins are incredibly supple, and as delicious as this wine is now, it has both the balance and the stuffing for improvement in bottle.

Woodinville Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 06-13-2018
The Woodinville label proudly states "real craft whisky" and I would encourage you to buy a bottle and taste the bourbon inside it; you will likely agree that it is indeed real, and craft, and delicious! I'm not sure whether it is the fact that they grow their own grain, include an important portion of rye in the mash bill, or simply that they just know what they're doing with distillation and ageing, but this has to be one of the most exciting new Bourbons I have tried in a while. The nose suggests vanilla pastry cream and roasted peanut shells, leading to a Bourbon that is sufficiently sweet, but also well framed by spicy barrel notes. Highly recommended.
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart

2013 Bersano "Mantico" Barbaresco
Review Date: 02-01-2018
This is a supple, lovely, floral and forward Barbaresco from the great 2013 Piemonte vintage. Unlike many of those 2013's, however, this will not set you back $60+ dollars and will not require years of cellaring. The price is right, the wine tastes great now, and any fan of Nebbiolo should absolutely load up!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2005 Can Mayol Loxarel "109 Mesos" Gran Reserva Brut Classic Penedes
Review Date: 12-14-2017
109 Mesos is the tete de cuvee at Can Mayol. The oldest vine Xarel-lo vines are blended with a 10% dash of Chardonnay, and as the name suggests aged on its lees for 109 months, under cork. In fact, it is never disgorged, as winemaker Josep Mitjans believes that for this cuvee the lees, which contributes to the wine's complexity, longevity and freshness, should be allowed to do so right up until the point of purchase. That said, you will need a toolbox on hand to grab a pair of pliers, bend the iron prongs and disgorge this beauty yourself. You will be amply rewarded with one of the most original bottles of bubbles in our inventory. Maybe about seven years ago, I tasted just a few of the bubblies from Loxarel at a Spanish wine trade show. Ever since then I have been hooked. I have consumed so many bottles across their dizzying array of products, and built up so much product conviction along the way, that I would put these up against any sparkling wines in the store.
Price: Hidden View Price

1977 Quarles Harris Vintage Port
Review Date: 11-14-2017
This little known port house is actually one of the oldest, first founded in 1680 and held by the same family up until 1920 or so, at which point the Symington family (who own Graham's, Dow's, and Warre's) purchased it. This wine is in great shape, likely re-conditioned with what appears to be a newer cork. Relatively light on the palate, there is a perfectly balanced sweetness, notes of candied violet, lovely minerality and an overall sense of subtlety and elegant balance. Not a blockbuster, but rather a beauty, Quarles Harris also happens to be the most reasonably priced of our 1977 vintage ports.
Price: $93.99 Add To Cart

1977 Graham's Vintage Port
Review Date: 11-06-2017
Graham's Vintage Port from a vintage as strong as 1977 is truly one of the greatest and most long lived wines around. This '77 shows all the trademark richness and generosity on the palate, with a lovely herbal and almost amaro-like complexity which certain fine vintage Ports begin to acquire after 40 years of bottle age. A great bottle of wine and ideal gift for 40th birthdays or anniversaries.
Price: $189.99 Add To Cart

1977 Dow's Vintage Port
Review Date: 11-06-2017
This is an absolutely delicious, impeccably balanced bottle of port from the great 1977 vintage. Dow's style is relatively drier than most of the other houses, except perhaps Taylor's, and after 40 years of ageing, it has reached prime drinking: beautiful florals, perfectly sweet fruits and a graceful mouth feel all combine to make this one of the more memorable vintage ports I have yet to enjoy. A real treat, and a perfect gift to mark that 40th birthday or anniversary.

Billecart-Salmon "Sous Bois" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-23-2017
Containing base wine that is barrel fermented, and then given a generously long ageing on its lees, this cuvée is rich, elegant and expensive tasting. That said, given the quality of the base wine and the blocking of malolactic, there is a fine line of acidity marking this rich barrel aged Champagne, as well as a soft bead as well. A great Champagne for a meal, though for my taste I would be just as happy sipping on this and simple hors d'oeuvres as I would be enjoying it with a sumptuous meal.

2012 du Glana, St-Julien
Review Date: 10-12-2017
This is currently a go to Bordeaux bottle for me. Unsurprisingly it is from my favorite commune, St. Julien, which continues to be home to some of the most elegant, wonderfully savory and textbook value examples of left bank Bordeaux. This 2012 shows the supple red fruited qualities of the vintage, with lovely floral undertones and admirable balance. Thinking of this wine has me craving a nice steak and reaching for the decanter - not a bad notion for your next Friday evening at home!
Price: $32.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$29.99

2013 Quinta do Popa Douro
Review Date: 08-30-2017
While you will not likely hear anyone extolling the virtues of the challenging, atypically cool 2013 Douro vintage, personally I love it. A few of my favorite wines from this year show fine aromatics, with more delicate floral notes, and a fresh, well delineated compliment of flavors perked up by slightly higher acidity and nicely toned by a combination of lower alcohol, more subtle fruit and firm grape tannins. Quinta do Popa made a wonderful Douro blend this year, focusing as usual on their Touriga Franca, a grape whose aromatics and freshness stand in contrast to the more common leading actor, Touriga Nacional (no doubt a fine talent but perhaps prone to overdoing it from time to time). 30% Tinta Roriz and some other varieties round things out for this blend. The wine is both red and dark fruited, mineral, tautly structured, and perfect for whatever you may decide to throw on the grill.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

Trudon "Emblematis" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-08-2017
During our recent Champagne tasting, we were discussing the Pinot Meunier grape - its unique personality, versatility, ability to make a delicious wine on its own and even its contribution of savory richness to the Krug house style. Well, we have a new Meunier based Champagne (70% PM, 30% PN) from Trudon, and it is delicious - a fantastic example of the power and tastiness of this grape variety. Juicy, subtly spicy and refreshing, Trudon Emblematis reminds me of Michel Loriot Brut Reserve, whose bottles I have nearly depleted in my cellar over the past couple years. I will surely be replacing them with Trudon. Delicious, and affordable, Champagne!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 08-08-2017
I'm a big fan of this relative newcomer to our stable of DI Champagnes, so I was excited to have the opportunity to taste their rose. Containing 67% Chard and 33% Pinot Noir, there is a bit less PN than in the Brut bottling; this wine's color actually comes from a 17% portion of Pinot vinified as red wine. A creamy nose of red cherries leads to delicious flavors and texture on the palate - as much a testament to 3.5 years on the lees and ageing on cork as it is to distinguished, chalky soils and an excellent terroir.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$34.99

2014 La Fleur Peyrabon, Pauillac
Review Date: 06-28-2017
Structured dark fruits, currants and a subtle leafy savory quality all reveal themselves on this classic, built to age, value Pauillac.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

Bollinger "Special Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-07-2017
Oh man, is this good, soooo good! We have to be careful around here about picking favorites in the Champagne category, because the fact is that we all love Champagne and our current favorite may be bested by yet another delicious bottling before long. That said, for many of us, Bollinger is a long-time favorite amongst the grande marques, a true original and - without going into detail - a process that is ridiculously labor intensive, manual and expensive even for their Special Cuvee. With aromas of loquat, and a slightly savory, Beurre Blanc like note, the current bottling immediately drew me in in. It may be the 1/3 barrel fermented aspect of the base wine, the presence of 10-20 year old reserve wine, or my experience with the other great chalky soil based wine region of Europe, but I detected just a passing resemblance to Manzanilla here! A bright, delicious, complete and complex palate seals the deal and Bollinger continues to be one of my absolute faves.

Laurent-Perrier "Grand Siècle" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-07-2017
Laurent Perrier's flagship Grand Siecle is a fine Tete de Cuvee. Though its not the best known tete de cuvee, and is certainly not anywhere near the largest or most widely distributed, it does accomplish the main goal of these wines; originality and house style. This cuvee is based on the 2002 vintage, and features a 50-50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Aromas that are ever so slightly toasty and smoky lead to an incredibly vinous palate: think a blend of Puligny and Meursault 1er with bubbles. Just a trace of red fruited nuances seem to kick in towards the finish. For a celebratory splurge, anniversary or closing gift, this just might be the bottle you're looking for.

Laurent-Perrier "La Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-07-2017
Laurent Perrier will soon be releasing a new bottling of their NV Brut, which will go by the name of "La Cuvee." It is not simply a re-launch with a neat new package (well it's that too, of course), but a wine that sees 5% more chardonnay - reflecting their recent purchase of another house with prime Chardonnay holding - as well as an additional 6 months ageing on the lees for a total of 3.5 years lees ageing. And how is the wine? Well, tasted side by side with a bottle of LP's former cuvee, there is a notable difference. Yellow and white fruits on the nose lead to a nicely rich palate, with great presence and autolytic, yeasty qualities. It's saline, intense, and dry, seemingly with a lower dosage than in the past. I like them both, though for my money this new release is definitely a step up!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Fallet-Dart "Grande Sélection" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-07-2017
The mere fact that this cuvee from Fallet Dart has a whopping seven years on the lees should immediately grab your attention. That said, it's not all about the lees, you need to start with great base wine. This is absolutely the case for this delicious bottle of Pinot Noir based bubbles made an hour west of Epernay. A bright nose loaded with citric fruits leads to a focused, lively, fresh and engaging palate. Compared to their also tasty Grande Reserve, this wine comes across as drier and slightly lower dosage. Fantastic value for money, and a likely selection for house Champagne at our place. If you are inclined to do the same, it will be super affordable at under $35!
Top Value!
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique Assemblage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-06-2017
Located in the Seazanne, an area that apparently is geologically similar to the much more expensive Cote de Blancs, I suppose I am not surprised at how serious and convincing a Champagne this is! Unique aromas, with tangerines and a bracing, salty quality to them, lead to a dry and laser focused palate. Seriously delicious or deliciously serious, take your pick! Either way, this is one of my favorite new direct import Champagnes - I will certainly be buying some.

2011 Can Mayol Loxarel "MM" Gran Reserva Brut Nature Classic Penedes
Review Date: 08-11-2016
Whoa - Loxarel has stepped up their game with this Pinot Noir driven Blanc des Noirs. A beautiful deeper golden hue, the MM shows its Gran Reserva authority both in elegance of texture and intensity of chalk. Speaking of chalk, the Pinot Noir here grows at some of the highest elevations of the property in very calcareous soil. Arguably Spain's finest producer of methode champenoise sparklers, Loxarel definitely continues to come correct with their delicious bubblies. 5+ years on the lees, and loads of class for just $25!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

A.D. Coutelas "Cuvée Louis Victor" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-07-2015
A blend of Chard, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, what makes this Champagne unique is that the wine comes from a single 6,000 liter foudre, which is fractionally blended so that in includes more vintages than your typical NV Champagne. Interestingly earthy on the nose, the palate is rich, with flavors of apples and, maybe this is just the power of suggestion given the fractional blending (which is sort of like a one barrel version of a solera) but it has some very gentle oxidative and Manzanilla like notes. A great value Champagne for those looking for great quality and originality.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Caves Messias Santola "Crab Wine" Vinho Verde
Review Date: 06-12-2015
Beware the crab! This inexpensive summer sipper is a delicious, sweet-tart apple, slightly fizzy vinho verde and amongst our most popular wummer whites. Refreshing and so easy to drink!
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart

Mas Codina Cava Brut Reserva Penedès
Review Date: 05-20-2015
Mas Codina is a humble family operation, and man do they make delicious sparkling wine! They have been slowly ramping up the amount of Pinot Noir in their otherwise traditional cava blend, in order to gain a bit more in color and mid-palate presence. These are very drinkable cavas, wines that strike a great balance between ripe, bright, snappy fruit, weight, and texture. For under $14, the detail and value of this wine is undeniable.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

Westland Peated American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 04-07-2015
In a serious line-up of some of the most detail oriented, authentic tasting, and yet wholly original non-Scottish, Scotch style single malt whisky, the Peated Single Malt from Westland especially impressed me. It has noticeable yet balanced peat smoke, coupled with a chewy, viscous, downright delicious flavor and texture that reminds me of Springbank. You should absolutely take notice of this name; they will be a big deal soon but remember where you heard about them first!
Price: Hidden View Price

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-07-2014
Carte Blanche is always tasty, a Champagne with a soft bead, nice toast, crowd appeal and great value. This current batch, though, based on the very strong 2008 vintage, is impressive. Brighter than usual, with great purity and tasty fruit, easily the most impressive batch we have received. I'd be happy with this at $40, but for $28 it's one of our great values right now.
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List

La Guita Manzanilla Sanlucar de Barrameda
Review Date: 07-04-2013
This is not white wine. It's as refreshing, more complex, and has a far more storied past than nearly any white wine I can think of. The wine is Manzanilla, the lightly fortified white wine aged for several years in old oak casks in the seaside town of Sanlucar de Barrameda. Bright, appley, with notes of sea spray and subtle suggestions of almonds, Manzanilla offers quintessential summer drinking, whether it is as an aperitive with snacks, to accompany cheese and charcuterie, or to pair with your favorite grilled, fried or cured seafoods. Give this a try and see what all the renewed interest in Manzanilla and Fino Sherry is all about!

Michel Arnould "Reserve" Brut Verzenay Champagne
Review Date: 07-06-2009
Very, very good for the money. MIxed wild berry fruit show good richness with terrific cut and focus as well. Did I mention that this is a lot of wine for the money??
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 07-06-2009
Very easy to like - soft textured, citrus and cream flavors. Plump, round and delicious. For someone who usually goes for a bit lean and austere, I'm always surprised I like this as much as I do. It's just delicious stuff.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla Sanlucar de Barrameda (500ml)
Review Date: 07-14-2008
Hey you - I'm talkin' to you. You're probably not a sherry drinker. It would not be at all uncommon, since sherry has been woefully out of fashion for years now. What you should know, however, is that some of the best values in the wine world continue to be sherry, and amongst the best of the best is this humble little manzanilla from La Gitana. Salty, appley and with a pleasant finishing note of walnuts, this is an amazing accompaniment to dry-cured hams, cheeses, olives, or any other number of dishes, Spanish or otherwise. If you don't like dry sherry (and yes, there was a time when I didn't) then I recommend you take the approach of repetition: try this manzanilla every so often, perhaps several times a year, until you like it. Force yourself to like it, it's that simple! In all seriousness, you should try this and I do hope that you like it the first time.
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart