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Staff Favorites - Keith Mabry

Keith Mabry

Reviews

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2017 Domaine de Verquière Rasteau
Review Date: 11-13-2019
Vigneron Thibaut Chamfort has been impressing us with all his wines for the last few years and has been a superb addition to our portfolio. His entry Cotes du Rhone remains one of our best selling Rhones. His two wines that always blow me away for pure QPR though are the Sablet and this little Rasteau here. More on the Sablet another time... Most of his Rasteau holdings sit on a plateau overlooking the Rhone. One site is fractured limestone gravel over chalky clay and the other is beige marl with river pebbles. The altitude and hillside exposure often give you wines that have a Chateauneuf feel but since they are from Rasteau, they generally don't hit Chateauneuf prices. Deeper berry fruit tones, purple flowers, spices, this has it all. It's hard to argue with Thibaut's continued successes, especially when they're right here in my glass.

Balcones "K&L Exclusive" Cask Strength Single Barrel #16003 Texas Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-13-2019
The nose on the Balcones is an explosion of tropical fruits and spices. From papaya, coconut and dried mango, it even draws out some intense coffee and vanilla notes with a bit of candied fig on the finish. The color is supremely dark for something this youthful, but there is no shortage of flavor here on this very impressive whisky.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

5 Sentidos Espadin "Batch ESALB01-19" K&L Exclusive (Alberto Martinez) Santa Catarina Albarradas Uncertified Oaxacan Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 11-13-2019
When I think of Mezcal, I often drift into thoughts of American barbecue. In some regions of the US, the smokier the better. But I want to taste the meat, and that's exactly what brings me to one of the most impressive Mezcals I have tasted this year. The use of oak and acacia in the smoking process gives a subtle more refined character. This smoking and all the hand processing really allows the aromas and the flavors of the Espadin to shine through. Citrus, spice and that peppery vegetal tone accentuate the smoky palate. Don't think of this as a less smoky alternative though, think of it as a more appropriately smoked version. I am definitely putting this on the shelf of my home bar.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

2017 Coudoulet de Beaucastel Côtes du Rhône Rouge
Review Date: 11-13-2019
The wines of Beaucastel never disappoint. Often the Chateauneuf can be a little out of reach for a good week night wine and that's where the Coudoulet comes in! I love the slightly more Mourvedre driven styles with more of the underbrush and smoky meat qualities that Mourvedre brings to the party. Brambly spices powered by cherry and strawberry fruit leads to savory notes on the finish. In a blind tasting, you might even think you're drinking the bigger brother but without the loftier price tag.

2017 Liparita Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-13-2019
Maybe the most charming of the three wines we have offered to date, the Rutherford is the most elegant by far. It has wonderful red currant, cherry and spice tones. It has more of that old-school Napa charm that feels like a much more restrained wine. A few minutes in the glass and the wine opens with even more fruit on the palate. This is a bit more medium- to full-bodied than its predecessors but should fit beautifully on the table with a whole host of Holiday Meals, from richer fowl dishes to pork and even that standing rib roast.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2017 Domaine de la Ganse Vacqueyras
Review Date: 11-13-2019
The warm and charming Coralie Onde is always one of my favorite visits in the Southern Rhone. I first met her at an organic wine fair about 3 years ago and I immediately knew, she would be a great fit in our Direct Import program. The wine - and there was only one at the time - was her Vacqueyras and it was as engaging a wine as she is a person. She has since added a deluxe cuvee and will soon produce a white and rose now that she has expanded some of her holdings. But it is always this wine, the Vacqueyras, that speaks to me most. Old vines, planted over tiny pebbles and clay-limestone and surrounded by scrubby forest speak the terroir from the glass. Black cherry, dried raspberries, a whiff of bay and fennel are the aromas that erupt into the nose. Coralie's wines are perfumed but not over-the-top. She knows how to keep the focus and balance in the wine from growing up and working in her winemaking family. Striking out on her own several years ago, she has found her footing and I think the 2017 is her best wine to date. This is a beauty that will continue to grow and evolve just as much as the winemaker has. I look forward to checking in with this wine in a couple more years as well as with Coralie as we see what other treats she has to come.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JD 91

2010 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Selección Especial Rioja
Review Date: 11-07-2019
A tremendous offering (again!) from La Rioja Alta. There's a reason that the Seleccion Especial is offered only in a few key vintages and when you taste the wine, it is all summed up in the glass. This is overt and rich with deep red cherry fruit surrounded by allspice, coconut and sandalwood. This tannins are sweet and the acid provides all the background structure. The wine is explosive and sexy now but should continue to evolve for decades to come. I'm just starting on my 2001s, so I recommend putting a few of these away, you know I will!

2014 Baricci Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 11-07-2019
It's not hard to sing the praises of Baricci here at K&L. They always rank as one of my top 3 Direct Import Brunellos. They always have old school Italian style with just enough polish to avoid diving into the far to rustic territory. The 2014 is superb drinking and offers a nice immediacy that a more structured vintage like 2012 might hide. Perfumed and full of deep cherry and spice notes, this has all the hallmarks of a fleshier full-bodied style with enough backbone to sustain some short term cellaring. This is a great six pack purchase worthy of drinking now with some hearty fall/winter fare but even better if you discover a few more in your cellar down the road.

2018 Domaine Petroni Corse Blanc (Corsica)
Review Date: 11-06-2019
Things have progressed beautifully with the Petroni wines over the last few years. The rose has been a perennial favorite since we started bringing it in to our stores. The rouge is one of the top value reds in our set and continues to fly out the door. The white has always remained a little in the background though as whites from Corsica, don't always get the attention they deserve. Well, no more, I say! Out front and center, the white, made from Vermentinu (aka Rolle and aka Italy's Vermentino) is the noble white grape on the island. This is gorgeous with crystalline focus, flavors of mango, pineapple and Meyer lemons on the mid-palate and finishing with a hint of jasmine. This is no substitute for a rich Chardonnay nor explosvie Sauvignon Blanc. This is for fans of subtler more refined whites. If you love Muscadet, Picpoul, Pinot Grigio and of course Italian Vermentino, you will find a lot to like here.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
JD 92

2017 Moulin de la Gardette "Tradition" Gigondas
Review Date: 10-17-2019
The 2017 vintage is another benchmark for Moulin de la Gardette. I first tasted this wine out of barrel last year and was blown away by the richness and intensity. The vintage was a drought year, so the wine had a lot of dry extract and concentration. As with most of winemaker Jean-Baptiste's wines though, they get more elegant and refined as they mature before and after bottling. I revisited it again earlier this year and true to form it showed that concentration but much more refined qualities. A panoply of spices and savory black fruit emerged. Now that's it finally here, one more taste and it is showing the best yet. This is pure and expressive Gigondas. The garrigue notes have emerged, showing fragrant floral and dried savory, thyme and fennel. All paired with that elegant black fruit and you will agree, this is another great release from Moulin de la Gardette.

2017 Clos Saint-Jean Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 10-09-2019
The 2017 vintage is another superlative expression from Chateauneuf du Pape and with no shortage of great wines coming from the region, Clos Saint Jean gets top marks. This full-bodied and saturated wine gives length and intensity with its profound fruit flavors of cassis, kirsch and roasted dates. Sexy now, expressive and supple tannins but will yield its best with just a few short years in the cellar. Yet another gem from another outstanding vintage!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
JD 94 RP 93

2018 Bedouet "Clos des Grands Primos" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie
Review Date: 10-09-2019
Muscadet has become a region to watch with renewed development and many of the regions adopting new Cru appellations for some of the singular producing sub-regions. Based in Pallet (a newly elevated Cru), the Bedouet family is now on their third and fourth generation, making wines organically (since 2010) and pushing towards low intervention winemaking in their overall style. Their efforts continue to pay off as the purity of the Clos des Grands Primos is so precise and focused, it is a laser beam of stone fruit and crushed rocks. I visited the family earlier this year and we drank this beauty with a rillette of mackerel with buckweat crackers. Though mackerel is not for everyone, the brininess of the fish and the acidity of the wine matched beautifully. Ever more versatile, fish and shellfish alike are a must to try with the wine but even more land driven foods like poultry and pork will pair nicely as well. Another great payoff from one of our Direct Import producers.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2018 Domaine de la Noblaie "Le Temps des Cerises" Chinon
Review Date: 10-09-2019
There is something to be said about the reemergence of Chinon as a category. They are versatile and pure and deliver at a price that is well below what the market should be demanding for them. The wines from Noblaie are maybe one of the best places to start if you're not familiar. The purity of fruit is exquisite. They are clean and precise and the wines hum with vibrant red and black fruits with those classic savory notes in the background. The Temps des Cerises just about delivers everything I want in this category. From black cherry to violets to a smoky rosemary, it is explosive on the nose and sings with a harmony that only Cabernet Franc can deliver. It has freshness and a medium bodied texture that creates a sumptuous food wine through and through. It will pair with such versatility - from duck, to turkey, to smoked fish, to a pork loin, there is very little I could not find to enjoy this wine with.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2018 Domaine de la Noblaie "Goutte de Rose" Chinon Rosé
Review Date: 10-09-2019
It's never too late in any season to enjoy a good rose and sometimes its even better to wait a few extra months from their release to let the wines come together better in the bottle for optimal drinking. The Noblaie is one such rose that goes beyond and was probably best suited for late season (read - fall/winter) drinking anyways. As it is wholly Cabernet Franc, the background flavors of red fruits, herbs and spices make an ideal foil for the roasted poultry and heartier dishes of the late in the year seasons. You'll be pleased to drink this now and it should easily carry you through to next year's rose season.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2018 Tenuta Roveglia "Limne" Lugana
Review Date: 10-02-2019
Consistently one of my favorite whites from Italy, this resonates with class and character. The fruit notes of roasted pear and nectarine are balanced by a light saline note with lovely acidity carrying to a fine and lingering finish. This is as pure and delightful a white as I can imagine, working well as a simple aperitif or pairing beautifully with any host of antipasti.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

2017 Guy Farge "Terroir de Granit" Saint-Joseph
Review Date: 09-05-2019
A visit to Guy and Thomas Farge's property screams terroir. Driving up the hill was reminiscent of a French farce where my GPS sent me up a nearby dirt road that was all slippery decomposing gravel instead of the slightly better paved road 50 meters away. I got half way up the hill when another neighboring producer gave the knowingly sad head-shake when I realized I was on a fool's errand and had to slowly back/slide down the hill in reverse. I made my correction and arrived a few minutes later at the winery's door. Guy and Thomas welcomed me and we took a quick tour of the property and vineyards. I kept looking back down the hill, which gave me an appreciation for the difficulty of working these hillside slopes (let alone driving up them). Granite is really what great St-Joseph is all about though. The hills erode under your feet (or tires) crumbling into gravel and sand when it reaches the bottom of the hill making for great (but difficult) conditions for Syrah production. The Terroir de Granit is a classic expression with its red and black fruit flavors evolving in the glass and showing the light herbal undertones and savory spice notes. This is a wine that is destined to have a long life and a few bottles discovered years in the future will have even more of the hallmark profile of smoky bacon fat added for great measure. Right now, it is joyous with its lush but balanced fruit and silky tannins. I can't wait to visit the Farge's again, this time though I'll adjust my route to favor the paved road. I'll leave the difficult hillsides to the producers.

2016 Edward Lewis Cellars "Pretty Woman" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-04-2019
The "Pretty Woman" has that extra something that distinguishes GREAT Napa Cabernet from the regularly very good pack. Leaning towards deep layers and fleshy and ripe fruit this wine is loaded with copious amounts of cassis, coffee and , the wine is reminiscent of the top cuvees from Darioush, Cliff Lede and even Tim Mondavi's Conundrum. All of which could send you well north of $150. And this was up there at one time! Sure, it's still not cheap but where most noteworthy Napa cabs start around $50, for just a few dollars more, you're drinking from the upper echelons of the Valley! This is serious juice for sure.
Price: Hidden View Price
JD 97

2016 Zorzal "Eggo - Tinto de Tiza" Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 09-04-2019
Big overt styles of Malbec seem to have become synonymous with most of Mendoza's plantings but that is far from the range of styles that are actually available. I have always been a fan of the Zorzal wines for their outlier style focusing on acid structure and impeccable balance. Their "Eggo" fills the glass with loads of red fruit, ranging from raspberry to pomegranate. The perfume of flowers, herbs and spices contribute to the complexity of the nose and keep it firmly Malbec. The Zorzal never strays into overt heaviness but still captures all the Malbec intensity we have come to love from the region. This is a superb pairing with some of the richer grilled meats. A little slow grilled short rib ought to do it justice!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 95

2018 Bodega Chacra "Sin Azufre" Pinot Noir Rio Negro
Review Date: 09-04-2019
A few years ago, we delivered to you our faithful K&L customers some of the most exciting Pinots from New Zealand. They are now a staple in our program and yield some of the most exciting Pinots at any price in our portfolio of wines. There's a new kid on the block now! The impressive Bodega Chacra Pinot proves that Patagonia is the new terroir to be reckoned with. The wine is complex with notes of black cherry, crushed herbs, red flowers and rhubarb. It is bright and focused and has secured itself as one of the top pedigree wines for the region. Drinking great now and should yield years of evolution and enjoyment.
Price: $35.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

2018 Aurore Dezat Sancerre
Review Date: 09-04-2019
Aurore Dezat was a happy addition to our Sancerre portfolio last year. Taking over her family vineyards in 2011 from her father and uncle, her winemaking has improved and grown dramatically as she has added more harvests to her resume. Aurore's 2017 was the wine that really turned our heads, full of energy and fruit, it drank even more impressively as we came down to the last few bottles earlier this year. The 2018 is even more striking! Planted on a mix of Terres Blanches (marl) and Caillotes (limestone rocks) the soil yields a wine that captures the essence of Sancerre with its flavors of lime, Meyer lemon and lingers with a long but crunchy vibrant finish. The 2018 vintage adds a little more weight and a slight tropical edge that is at once inviting but also promises to deliver more as it develops for a few more years in bottle. This is a great bottle for any night of the week!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

2017 Château de la Negly "La Falaise" La Clape Rouge
Review Date: 08-28-2019
One of our best "Get's" in the last few years was our direct import relationships with Chateau de la Negly. Under the stewardship of the Paux-Rosset family and with consulting winemaker Claude Gros, Negly is the benchmark producer in the Languedoc. Their Clos de la Truffiere and Porte du Ciel wines have been ranked as two of the best and most consistent top reviewed wines in the whole south, often garnering 99 and 100 point reviews. The La Falaise is really the workhorse though. Using draconian selection and low yields, you can reach towards perfection at the top-end of your production but the true measure of a quality estate is how you do your "regular" cuvee. The La Falaise has never disappointed. Saturated with red fruit, the flavors of raspberry coulis, violets and minerality leap from the glass! Given its concentration, this is surprisingly elegant on the palate, showing harmonious tannin integration. It is sexy elegant however with its lush and long finish. I have been stressing for years the quality of this producer and year after year, they continue to exceed my expectations. Grab a few bottles for the cellar too, this is a wine that will over-deliver for years to come.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JD 95 RP 92

2016 Alpha Estate "Hedgehog Vineyard" Xinomavro Amyndeon Greece
Review Date: 08-15-2019
I have been singing the praises of Greek whites for some time but there are a few Greek reds that are worthy of your attention. The Alpha "Hedgehog" is one such bottling and is the finest and most fun example of a Xinomavro I have tasted in some time. Xino - is often called the Nebbiolo of Greece and with its high acidity and sometimes muscle-y tannins it is hard not to see why. But... this Xino, while having many of those qualities, has a freshness and lively fruit quality that distinguishes it from the pack. It is a pure and joyful expression that is humming with strawberry jam, red flowers, potpourri and dried spices. It has a bright fleshiness that is inviting and a medium bodied texture that counter balances the light grip of the tannins. This is great drinking Xinomavro that is wonderfully accessible and puts Greece's reds in a whole new light.

2015 Domaine Michel & Stephane Ogier "La Combe de Malleval" Condrieu
Review Date: 08-15-2019
Ogier is probably most famous for their Cote-Rotie wines but they make exceptional Condrieu as well. Condrieu is the region of Viognier production and home to the world's best examples. The wines often fetch a hefty price where even entry level wines from top-producers fetch $50+ a bottle. Though a comparable Burgundy could reach 2 to 3 times the price, Condrieu might offer some comparative value but is still not a household name. Perhaps it should become more so and when I tasted the 2015 of the Ogier, I knew we had a sweet spot wine that could delight already ardent fans but introduce a few new people to this overlooked category. The Ogier checked several boxes for me: First - Quality - with a few years of bottle age the wine is humming along beautifully. The profile has shifted from overt floral notes to roasted nectarine and dried pears offering a deeper complexity of minerals and white flowers. Second, cost - the supplier was parting company with the producer, so a great take all price was offered for this gorgeous wine. Finally, availability - well, just enough to make a small offer but I wish there was more. Let's say two and a half boxes. This is limited but the Ogier La Combe is a worthy addition to any cellar but also offers insanely good drinking right now.

2015 La Massa "Giorgio Primo" Toscana
Review Date: 08-14-2019
Deep, rich and concentrated for days, La Massa's Primo is the ultimate expression of a classic Super Tuscan styled red. I have always loved the wines of La Massa, the basic is always a favorite weeknight wine, but the Giorgio Primo turns up the volume and adds layers of fruit and deep complex tones that must be tasted to be believed. Certainly destined for the cellar for a few years, this should evolve with the best of the them and at half the price of most other Super Tuscans of this caliber, this will deliver equal pleasures throughout its life.

2015 Leeuwin Estate "Prelude" Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 08-07-2019
Margaret River is continues to be my favorite Cabernet producing region in Australia. The Prelude is filled with juicy currant fruit and ripe blueberry notes. The palate is smooth and supple with savory spices and light floral tones. It has a wonderful minty edge that never veers in the heavier eucalyptic notes of the southern Australian cabs. This is fresh and vibrant and easily gives any other New World Cabernet a run for its money at twice the price.

2015 Massolino Barolo
Review Date: 08-07-2019
Another outstanding wine from Massolino and for certain a great rendition of the 2015 vintage. Perhaps the warm confiture of cherry fruit gives away the vintage but the structure and impeccable balance keep it all focused. This is a wine that will certainly cellar for years if not decades but the appeal is almost immediate. Absolutely gorgeous and also for a price that will keep even a modest collector such as myself certain to squirrel away a few bottles.

2015 Elio Grasso "Gavarini Chiniera" Barolo
Review Date: 08-07-2019
Exquisite in every way, the Gavarini Chiniera speaks with voluminous fruit that is tempered by the structure of this classically built wine. It is supple and rich and almost decadent -- for Barolo. The palate is sumptuous and should reward patience. I wouldn't mind showing this beauty off right now.

2015 Elio Grasso "Ginestra Casa Matè" Barolo
Review Date: 08-07-2019
The Casa Mate is the consummate Barolo. Filled with gorgeous floral notes and red fruit it has all the leathery tannins that keep this somewhat riper vintage at bay. This is a Barolo that will reward a little more time in the cellar but with a properly rich meal, would not disappoint in any way. A classic pure and simple!

2018 Skouras Moscofilero Péloponnèse Greece
Review Date: 08-07-2019
I visited the Skouras property a few years ago and it was incredible to see the strides that proprietor George Skouras was making as both an oenologist and ambassador for Greek wines. Being one of the first generation of winemakers to study abroad and then bring his knowledge home, George dazzles with his vibrant personality and limitless wine knowledge. Skouras has done amazing things with red wines, playing with classic indigenous varieties like Agiorgitiko as well as tweaking the international grapes like Cabernet and Merlot into something wholly Greek in their character. George was the first person to make a "Super Greek" wine when he blended Cabernet and Agiorgitiko in his now titular, Megas Oenos cuvee. Our first encounter was a dinner with a group of buyers and sommeliers at a beach side restaurant outside of his home village of Argos, near Nafplion. He started us with an aperitif of his Moscofilero with some mezza of lightly fried fish, olives and dolmas. The grape itself is actually rose colored like a Pinot Gris but produces a white wine with much more aromatic punch like a Muscat or Viognier. It was an exceptional way to refresh the palate and begin the evening. We recently received the newest vintage of the 2018 which immediately brought me back to that evening with the water lapping at the sand on the beach, laughter of my wine geek friends in the air and servers sneaking off to watch bits and pieces of an important football (soccer) game on television. All the floral punch is there but the beautiful thread of lemony acidity keeps the wine from becoming heavy or overwhelming. With its crispness and expressive nature, this white, much like George Skouras himself, is the perfect ambassador to the Greek wine experience whether you sip it on a beach, serve it at a garden party with little nibbles or drink it while watching baseball or soccer on TV.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
W&S 92 RP 90

2015 Kir-Yianni "Ramnista" Naoussa Greece
Review Date: 08-07-2019
A few years ago, I visited this stunning property in northern Greece. It was a warm day and we sat out among the vines having a spectacular picnic lunch. Shortly after we started eating a thunder storm seemingly came out of nowhere and chased us out of the vineyard in search of shelter. We sat in a little barn under cover sipping the wines of Kir-Yianni and noshed on the plates of food we could grab as we scattered. It is still one of the most memorable moments of one of my most memorable wine trips. It connected me to the wines of the region and the country of Greece. That trip put Kir-Yianni firmly in my sights and over the years I have tracked the progress of their winemaking as it has evolved. I liked the wines a lot back then but they have continued to grow by leaps and bounds (as have many of the other Greek producers I visited on that trip). The Raminista is a top-tier reflection of Xinomavro from the region. Having the classical spice and leather notes, it is rounded by precise winemaking that gives the black fruit a fleshy and appealing profile. A perfect accompaniment to most Greek fare but that day we had it with a lot of grilled sausages, marinated pork chops and vegetables. A fitting wine indeed for making new memories.

2016 Cantina Terlano "Vorberg" Pinot Bianco Riserva Alto Adige
Review Date: 08-06-2019
Pinot Bianco doesn't get much play in the wine industry but there are two in the world that make me take pause. One is the Pinot Blanc from Weinbach, a top tier Alsace producer; the other is this little gem from Cantina Terlano. It's a little reductive to say things like, "it drinks Burgundian," or some other such nonsense, because when you taste this, you will probably wish that more Burgundies tasted like it. At once the nose is brimming with perfectly ripe white peaches and roasted pears. The mouth is filling, with a creamy richness that is at once opulent but is so focused and balanced you're left with more of a long memory than anything else. This is an impactful and special wine that deserves your attention.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
JS 95 RP 95

2018 Papagiannakos Assyrtiko Attica Greece
Review Date: 07-31-2019
Assyrtiko jumped from the island of Santorini to the the mainland of Greece several years ago. It has taken some time for the producers to get the measure of the varietal right though and the Papagiannakos is one of my favorite success stories. All from limestone soils (different than Santorini's volcanic ash), this gets you so close to the island style, you won't even know you're only a few miles outside of Athens. That limestone translates well, filling the wine with aromas of crushed rocks, lemon zest and a lingering perfume of white flowers. Even more important, it has the glycerol texture that makes Assyrtiko so interesting and an elegance that shows why it is Greece's most noble white grape. Stacked up against the nearly twice the price estate Assyrtikos from Santorini and this wine comes out pretty high on the spectrum of must try new wines!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
W&S 93

2014 Bien Nacido Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-24-2019
The "Grand Cru" vineyard of Santa Maria delivers again! The fruit from this vineyard is fabled and yes, there are certain blocks that may deliver more intensity than others. The Bien Nacido namesake though is a tremendous version that captures the cherry and sassafras notes that make this site such a standout. Elegant tannins frame complexity that is just starting to tip towards tertiary (bottle aged) notes. This is almost bold but stops just short, so it never feels overwhelming. A fine Pinot to add to any collection.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
VN 95

2018 Villa Maria "Taylor's Pass" Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 07-24-2019
Reaching way beyond the "cheap and cheerful" designation of Marlborough Sauv Blanc, the Villa Maria has real class and elegance in its bottle. From nose to pallet, this delightful white has aromas and flavors of white peach, Kaffir lime leaf and fresh lemon grass. The finish is long and intense and gives the suggestion that this has a good long life ahead of it. There's no reason not to forget a couple of bottles for discovery in a year or two but mine's chilled and ready to go.

2016 Cantina Terlan "Porphyr" Lagrein Riserva
Review Date: 07-23-2019
Not a grape varietal that gets much due, but Lagrein can be quite enticing when done well. And let's just agree that Terlan does it well. The Riserva is a wine to behold though, in it's full glory, it is redolent of black cherry and boysenberry flavors with aromas of grilled meats and smoky spices. It is a saturated wine that might make you shake your head and little to remind you that yes, you are in fact in Italy. But that's when the structure and balance of the wine come forth. Acid is there, tannin is there, both giving the supporting framework to keep this beast at bay. It's time to give this wine it's due for certain.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart
JS 96 RP 93

2016 Domaine Lafage "Fundacio" Cotes du Roussillon Villages
Review Date: 07-17-2019
This newest offering from Jean-Marc Lafage really demonstrates the deft abilities of one of our favorite winemakers. Known for his exceptional values, like the Bastide Miraflors and Tessellae, the Fundacio ratchets the intensity and profile up by several degrees. Flavors of currant jam, creosote and potpourri are just the beginning. This fleshy, full-bodied wine swings back-and-forth between sweet spices, black fruit, and meaty, savory tones. The finish is long. The profile reminds me of a hypothetical Cornas meets Chateauneuf in its character. Yet another benchmark wine from one of our favorite producers that is sure to offer great pleasure for years to come.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart
JD 96

2016 Alexana "Terroir Series" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-17-2019
Confession - I tasted this after an exceptional flight of Burgundies and.... It held it's own! And that's saying something, as the retail value of the other wines were on average twice what this little guy was priced at. Now, I'm not going to call this Burgundian by any stretch. This is a sumptuous and forward drinking Pinot that offers incredible concentration, sweet fruit and super fine tannins. It is at once mouthfilling but offers delicious raspberry and cherry tones that are seamlessly balanced with the structure of the wine. This is a pretty damn good find!
Price: $29.95 Add To Cart
WS 94 WE 91

2017 Château de L'Ou "Compartir" Cotes du Roussillon Villages Rouge
Review Date: 07-17-2019
One of the great standouts in Severine Bourrier's, proprietor of Chateau de L'Ou, line-up had to be this Grenache dominant Roussillon blend - the Compartrir. She took me to the site in Maury and together we climbed up the hard scrabble hill of schist to survey the beauty below. The site alone says - "I may be difficult to work, but I grow exceptional grapes!" The winemaking though is pure Severine. It is at once opulent but with her deft hand she keeps the wine focused and in balance. The fruit delivers in waves but with no shortage of excitement. The finish is superbly long - long enough to endure a flight back to France so I can go visit her vineyards again and taste more of her incredible wines!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JD 96

2015 Keller Estate "La Cruz Vineyard" Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 07-17-2019
Long one of my favorite whites from the Sonoma Coast, it had been some time since I had seen the Keller Estate on our shelves. Not only am I happy to have it back, but right now it is half the price for what I used to pay for it. I tasted a bottle recently and what a pleasure! Gorgeous Pippin apple notes on the nose followed by butter poached pears, the palate was really humming with notes of tropical fruit and peaches. This has great structure, is harmonious and drinking perfectly right now.
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WE 94

2017 Domaine du Petit Clocher Anjou Blanc
Review Date: 07-11-2019
Petit Clocher was one of my favorite discoveries for the Loire portion of our DI program a couple of years ago. A family owned estate - the three Denis cousins now work the various parts of the operation in the region of Anjou. Specializing in Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc, they craft delightful and well structured wines that have great varietal and regional profiles, all for a very reasonable price. The Chenin each year is always a staff favorite and we just received the last drops of the 2017 vintage. It is an exceptional wine with its profile of pear, roasted apple, crushed quartz and kaffir lime. It continues to develop but for even an entry level wine - this has some real stuffing that will allow it to drink well and even evolve for years to come. Come try what the staff is all talking about - the Petit Clocher wines!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

Hillrock Estate Solera Aged Single Barrel "#143-A" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 07-11-2019
What a standout! This is one of the most polished cask strength Bourbons I have tasted in some time. The aromas of spice cake and dried fruits abound with an underlying subtle grain note. The average aggregated age of 13 years gives this a distinct creaminess on the palate and subdues all of the heat from the high proof. This is a superb single cask that could reach cult status down the road.
Price: $139.99 Add To Cart

Fukano 10 Year Old K&L Exclusive Single Cask Japanese Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-11-2019
I am a huge fan of Japanese Whiskies but few are as distinct as the Fukano stuff. Sure it's rice based which may throw some people off but this has a lovely elegance on the palate with tropical fruit notes of papaya, dried mango and a hint of coconut. A light caramelization of said fruit gives a long finish. One of the best I have tasted from this producer!
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2017 Domaine du Somail "Vin de Plume" Minervois
Review Date: 07-11-2019
The 2015 "Vin de Plume" was one of our sleeper hits of last year. It was a brambly, meaty red with lots of peppery spice and black fruit. It was great to check in again with Domaine du Somail and taste their new release. All that delicious garrigue, spice and smoky meatiness is present. The main difference... finer tannins and a bit more fruit ripeness. I equated the last vintage to a Baby Bandol and that holds true here as well. It offers up that rustic rich edge that is famous for southern French Mourvedre based wines. The main distinction here is it's only $15, where a similarly profiled Bandol would cost you twice that price. This is my new go-to red for summer barbecues from a simple mixed grill to a rotisseried leg of lamb.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2016 Domaine du Petit Clocher Anjou Villages Rouge
Review Date: 06-26-2019
Anjou is typically more famous for it's delicious Cabernet Francs but this beautiful red is a Cab Sauv dominant blend. In the cooler climate of the Loire, you don't typically see the reds reaching Bordeaux levels of extraction but Petit Clocher's Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Francare are planted on warmer volcanic soils that contribute more richness. This makes for s a gorgeous medium plus bodied expression of these grapes. Lush currants, black cherries and notes of crushed sage, tobacco and bay leaf give a complex overtone that way over-delivers in Cab quality for the humble price of $15. This is my favorite new weeknight red!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2018 Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 06-26-2019
Astrolabe takes me back to the days when Marlborough offered some of the best cost to quality drinking in the Sauvignon Blanc category. The Astrolabe has all that freshness but a very serious undertone that speaks of the quality this producer is offering. Also reminiscent of the Cloudy Bay of yore, this has all those beautiful tropical notes and zestiness that makes these wines so much fun to drink. I can think of nothing better than drinking this with a nice piece of sauteed halibut, some grilled asparagus and creamy celery root puree.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
BC 95

2015 Broadley "Claudia's Choice" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-26-2019
More expressive and generous, the Claudia's Choice is the fleshiest and most overt of the trio of Broadley wines. Rounder riper cherry fruit with light notes of potpourri and baking spices. This is dynamite drinking now and would pair well with anything from duck confit to a meaty pork chop fresh off the grill.
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VN 93 WE 92

2015 Broadley "Shea Vineyard" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-26-2019
One of my favorite vineyards in Willamette has always been Shea Vineyard. The fruit is superb and this Broadley expression is tremendous. Red currants, potpourri, cherries and cardamom are offered up on the nose. The palate is seemless, yet youthful. This is a great balanced expression now and should offer even greater pleasure in a few more years.
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VN 92 WE 92

2018 Château de Montfaucon Lirac Rosé
Review Date: 06-20-2019
The inaugural offering - this Lirac Rose was one of our biggest hits amongst the field of roses in our staff training. Drifting stylistically towards Tavel, this is a touch richer on the palate then a comparable Provence rose. Red cherry, light strawberry and lush texture. This is a great new offering from one of our most favored producers.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2018 Franck Millet Sancerre Blanc
Review Date: 06-20-2019
It's no surprise that this is another gorgeous offering from one of our favorite Direct Import producers. For the last decade plus, we have been getting delightful Sancerres from Franck and Betty Millet and the 2018 is one of their best to date. The vintage was superb with lots of dry extract but where the 2015s were a little heavy and tropical, this has all the cut and clarity of a pristine diamond. Long on citrus with grapefruit peel and key lime, it also has those nervy notes of lemon grass and fresh bay. It is loaded with chalky minerality giving focus and declaring that I am a wine from the Loire Valley.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

2018 Trians Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé
Review Date: 06-05-2019
This is exciting project from Varois is making some pretty fabulous Provencal rose. Farmed organically, it is filled to the brim with ruby red grapefruit, light strawberry tones and a kiss of classic Herbes de Provence. It has the right balance of freshness and light structure to give it meaning all through rose season. This is sure to provide many a backyard excursion as the perfect complimentary wine.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

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