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Staff Favorites - Kaj Stromer

Kaj Stromer

Reviews

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2015 Galia "Villages" Tierra de Castilla y León
Review Date: 12-05-2019
This is the first wine I’ve had the pleasure to try from this producer. The wine is darkly hued with gorgeous aromatics of plums, black cherries, and wood spice. I like the brooding aspect of this wine. It’s firm, hearty and robust in one very complete, seamless package. The wines of the region are assertive and bold. Yet this wine has a velvety texture that makes it a true pleasure to drink. I’d pair this with grilled lamb chops.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2015 Silla Il Piaggione Chianti Classico Riserva
Review Date: 12-03-2019
I found this to be a textbook Chianti Classico at the Riserva level. This is quite a bit of wine for just under $20. I consider myself an unabashed Chianti/Sangiovese enthusiast. For me they represent the best of countryside cooking and simplicity. Anyone who’s been to Chianti is familiar with its beautiful rolling hills and intermittent quaint towns. There’s a reason this is one of the world’s most adored regions. The food and the wine back it all up. One sip of this elegant little red reveals the bright red cherry charm and warm spice with just a touch of leather.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 La Fortuna "Magnus" Sant'Antimo Rosso
Review Date: 12-03-2019
I love the cool cherry nose of Sangiovese followed by darker notes of black cherries and wood spice. Surprisingly, even with the addition of 60% Cab Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, its the Sangiovese that carries this wine. Improbable yet there it is. This is a wonderful Italian house red that highlights the red fruit spectrum but has enough robustness to support even heartier fare. Another great value.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2012 Château Montus Madiran
Review Date: 12-03-2019
The often overlooked appellation of Madiran is ruled by one very important property; the Chateau Montus. Montus and its Tannat driven flagship red is one of the most impressive wineries and wines from the region. With an addition of 20% Cabernet Sauvignon the wine comes off as familiar yet unusual. Tannat has a rough and tumble quality that feels both primal and exotic. Yet, there is a velvety texture to this wine that reveals its lofty pedigree. Put this wine in your repertoire of winter drinking and put a few bottles in the cellar. At seven years old, this beauty is just starting to hit its stride.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 Château Bouscassé Madiran
Review Date: 12-03-2019
Hailing from one of France’s less well-know appellations, the Bouscassé Madiran is the kind of wine that will pave the way for a Madiran popularity contest win. The dominant grape of Madiran is Tannat, long known for its burly and brutish ways. However, when blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, suddenly it reminds you of your old friend Bordeaux. This is the perfect wine for winter nights, hard cheeses, and a standing rib roast.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Les Vignerons de Tautavel Vingrau "Silex" Côtes du Roussillon-Villages Tautavel
Review Date: 12-03-2019
This one leans a bit into the modern vernacular; which I think will increase its popularity; but that pure clean fruit is cut by wild notes of Asian spice and wet stone. Initially I thought the wine was a bit one-dimensional, but with sufficient air, the underlying complexity became more and more apparent. I tasted this wine over two days and found it to be extremely enjoyable both nights. A suitable match up for winter stews and roasts.

2017 Jeff Carrel "Lilac" Côtes du Roussillon-Villages
Review Date: 12-03-2019
Jeff’s wines are a perennial staff favorite and our savvy clients grab them while they can The "Lilac Wine" (homage to Jeff Buckley?) is one of the most delicious offerings I’ve had yet. Though it is a classic southern France blend, it reminds me of a fine cru Beaujolais with chutzpah. It possesses all that silky soft charm of a pedigreed Gamay but follows it with that savory gaminess only the Roussillon can deliver. Dark black and red fruits with herbs and a hint of licorice make this one of the most complex and interesting wines I’ve come across. I highly recommend this fascinating red which also happens to be an amazing value.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2018 Fundamental Wines (Tensley) Central Coast White
Review Date: 11-24-2019
As owners one of the most successful and highly acclaimed wineries along the California Central Coast, Joey and Jennifer Tensley have now created a new line of wines built to deliver on that same level of quality but at a more consumer friendly price point. Inspired by the great yet inexpensive wines found around regional France, the Tensley's now offer their own line value-driven, everyday drinkers. This lovely Rhone-style white blend over-delivers at the price point, resulting in a most surprisingly delicious value. The combination of stone fruits and spice make this a timely wine to serve during the holidays. Share this one with friends and family on a daily basis while your more prized collectibles gain additional complexity in your cellar. A great find!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2018 Tensley "Colson Canyon Vineyard" Santa Barbara County Syrah
Review Date: 11-24-2019
Explosive aromatics of dark berries, flowers, and forest floor charge from the glass. The wine is full-bodied and densely packed but it all rides on a firm structure of ripe tannins and elevating acidity. The wine screams across the palate like a fine-tuned precision race car. I’ve been a fan of this bottling for the last several years and this is their best offering yet. We managed to lock up a healthy parcel of this wine in order to get it out to you during the holidays. This is a perfect holiday/winter wine that you should not miss out on. And if you forget a few bottles in the cellar for several years…all the better. This is a best-of-show award winning Santa Barbara Syrah. Bravo to Joey Tensley and team!
Price: $39.95 Add To Cart

2015 Carmel Road "North Crest Panorama Vineyard" Monterey Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-14-2019
Here comes one more (and final?) amazing offer from our friends at Carmel Road. These offerings are the best Pinot Noir opportunities I’ve come across all year. The pedigree of these wines is without question. This offers up a lovely aroma of juicy berries with a hint of spice and a touch of forest floor. The wine is elegant on the palate but delivers loads of flavor, complexity, and a long lingering finish. At $20 per bottle, these wines are the Pinot Noir bargain of the year. This one came along just in time for the holidays as we roll into Thanksgiving and the rest of the winter months. So if you’ll be entertaining over the next couple of months, or just enjoy opening bottles of fine Pinot Noir, I strongly encourage you to load up.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2017 Liparita Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-12-2019
Few wine offers in K&L history have been as hugely successful as our Liparita string of victories. This historical brand was resurrected by long time Napa native Spencer Hoopes as a way to produce sub-appellation designated, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from some of his best sources. This time around, we’re offering a $20 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon from Rutherford; land of the famed Rutherford dust. The appellation is in the center of Napa Valley and has been home to some of the regions most historic and world-renowned wineries such as Beaulieu Vineyards, Rutherford Hill, Raymond Vineyards, and the Inglenook Winery. The wine is fruit forward and generous displaying all the tell-tale Cabernet characteristics of black currants (cassis), blackberry, black cherry, dried herbs and a touch of cedar. This may be our last chance to go to the well for these amazing Cabernet Sauvignon values. Buy early and buy often. Come back for more before the party ends.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Edward Lewis Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-05-2019
Attention lovers and collectors of bold Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon! This might just be the Cabernet deal-of-the-year...so far. Edward Lewis is the micro-boutique winery created by Ed "Lewis" Snider of Beau Vigne. Much like the beloved wines from Beau Vigne, this is bold, plush, classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon crafted by famed winemaker Kirk Venge. It's replete with a bowl full of red and black berries. The wine is deep purple, structured with notes of cherry, fig, and rose petals. Hints of dark chocolate and wood spice give the wine ample frame and structure. The 2016 vintage for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was truly special. You can taste it in the wine.
Price: Hidden View Price

2018 Aurore Dezat Sancerre
Review Date: 09-05-2019
Sancerre conjures up visions of a cool glass of citrus driven wine savored while sitting at a streetside café consuming a simple fish or chicken dish. The Aurore Dezat has all that and more. It offers a touch more complexity than many of its peers, due to an unusually fine vintage. I enjoy the fact that it has a bit more body than some of its peers and a structure that is really quite impressive. Word has it that the 2018 was a favored vintage in Sancerre with conditions that benefited the wines. That attribute is clearly on display here. Bravo!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Zorzal "Eggo - Tinto de Tiza" Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 09-04-2019
This is one of the more engaging and fascinating red wines I’ve tasted in a while. I’d have to concede that I wasn’t quite sure of the varietal when I first tasted it. This is a rather distinct interpretation of Malbec. The wine was fermented with 10% whole-cluster in concrete, egg-shaped vats. The result is a wine that is more savory than fruity; more herbal than spice. I’m really intrigued by the flavor profile and can’t wait to see how it pairs with a grilled grass-fed rib-eye. If your love of Malbec has ebbed of late, you must give this a try. This is an invigorating interpretation.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2017 BOLD Wine Co. Monterey County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-28-2019
This is a must try Pinot Noir. We’ve had some amazing success already with several wines from Seabold / Bold Wine Co. The Monterey Pinot is possibly the most versatile wine out of winemaker Chris Millers portfolio. Along with the bright red cherry aroma there’s also a tough of smoke on the nose. On the palate you get bright, crunchy, red apple and just a hint of cranberry and wood spice. This may be the perfect Thanksgiving dinner red. Is it too early?
Price: $19.95 Add To Cart

2015 Peake Ranch Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 08-21-2019
Over the last two years we’ve paid serious attention to Peake Ranch, one of our favorite emerging wineries in the Sta. Rita Hills. Several recon missions to the winery confirmed our earlier suspicions; this is one serious property. Thanks to the strength of our relationship, we were able to secure the last 20 cases of their inaugural release Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay direct from the cellar. This wine turned heads upon release but has now really reached a special place. I took a bottle home over the weekend and savored it over 3 days. I was particularly impressed how well the wine had integrated. The additional time in bottle has resulted in a wine that melds the best of what these cool climate vineyards can produce when placed in the hands of incredibly talented winemaker Paul Lato. Full-bodied, rich and layered, it should drink well for several years to come. This Chardonnay should be front and center at your next dinner party.
Price: Hidden View Price

2017 Quivira "Alder Grove" Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 08-21-2019
The single-vineyard Alder Grove Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favorite offerings from Quivira. The wine is partially barrel fermented and aged in a mix of small and large French oak barrels, of which 15% is new. The remaining wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. When blended together, the result is a rather complex wine with gorgeous aromatics, a luxurious mouthfeel, with a refreshing lift of acidity. White flowers, lemon zest, lime, and Thai basil rise from the glass. The wine is refreshing on the palate with that tell-tale body of the Musque clone. There’s just a touch of green grassiness here but it’s merely seasoning on this fruit driven, mineral inflected wine. Rightfully so, this is one of the top-rated California Sauvignons in a field of wines twice the price.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2017 Guy Farge "Terroir de Granit" Saint-Joseph
Review Date: 08-21-2019
Guy Farge, who was once exclusively a grower, has gradually withheld more and more of his fruit in order to bottle wine from the family estate. The result of which is a winery steadily gaining in esteem with critics and our customers alike. After perusing the lovely aromatics of blue fruit, dark flowers, licorice and spice I was taken by the firm grip on the palate. The wine is assertive and bold and lets you know it is to be taken seriously. But there is a charm underneath that structure that rewards the taster with flavors of blueberry pie, spice, and tar. This is a terrific representation of all that’s going right at Guy Farge as well as reminding you just how impressive the wines from Saint-Joseph can be when in the right hands.

2018 Domaine Vincent Carême "Spring" Vouvray Sec
Review Date: 08-21-2019
My colleague Keith Mabry continues to win me over with one exceptional representation of Chenin Blanc after another. Chenin has been the “it” grape for so many years now it’s finally got the broad public appeal it always deserved. The "Spring" bottling from Vincent Careme is pure Chenin deliciousness. The peach fruit aspect of this wine along with the mineral salinity inflected nature makes you salivate after every sip and keeps you picking up your glass for more. I can see myself drinking this wine alongside a soufflé with baked goat cheese and pancetta. If you know how to make that dish, please call me, I'll bring the Chenin.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2016 Alpha Estate "Hedgehog Vineyard" Xinomavro Amyndeon Greece
Review Date: 08-14-2019
As soon as I tasted this wine I knew it would become one of my new favorite summertime reds. There’s a beautiful herbal note on the nose that’s quickly followed up by red cherries and strawberries. The body is light to medium but don’t be fooled by the translucent color. There’s plenty of structure and grip here to make it interesting. This will be a go-to wine for grilled lamb chops with a dusting of fresh rosemary and a splash of best quality olive oil. The quality of our Greek wine selection is without peer. It’s wonderful to see just how well our clients respond to these wines. A wine whose time has come..now it’s your turn to try.

2015 Sportoletti "Villa Fidelia" Umbria Rosso
Review Date: 08-14-2019
The “Villa Fidelia” bottling from Sportoletti has long been a personal favorite of mine. This is one of the benchmark producers from Umbria whose annual offerings have been greeted with high praise from critics and consumers alike. This Merlot based Bordeaux style blends drinks like a much more expensive wine. There’s gorgeous dark berry fruit with a touch of wood spice and smoky notes on the nose. On the palate the wine expresses itself with a fine mélange of red and black berries. There’s enough structure and tannin to keep the wine interesting but not so much that it impinges on the tasters palate. This should be one of our best sellers while supplies last.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2015 La Massa "Giorgio Primo" Toscana
Review Date: 08-14-2019
My colleague Mike Parres summed up the tasters initial response, “…a little bit of Tuscany in this glass…” Your first whiff immediately conjures up images of the Tuscan countryside. As Italy’s interpretation of Bordeaux, you have to give them credit for creating such a spectacular offering. Yet, the wine stands on its own as uniquely Italian. I think of Bordeaux as being defined by its tannic structure but the Italian iterations are defined by their brisk and lively acidity. Hailing from Panzano, one of Tuscany’s great wine villages, the Giorgio Primo bottling from La Massa is a wine to be reckoned with. I look forward to tasting this wine again 5 to 10 years from now.

2015 La Lecciaia Sassarello Toscana
Review Date: 08-14-2019
This is the prototypical little red blend from Tuscany that just seems to go with every dish you’re making. The wine is light on its feet and could even support just a light chill. There’s a freshness to the wine that defies a vintage better known for making rich bold reds. I’m bringing a box of these beauties home to serve alongside a casual mid-week dinner. Pair with hamburgers, pizza, pasta, or your moms trusted meatloaf.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2015 Kir-Yianni "Ramnista" Naoussa Greece
Review Date: 08-07-2019
Big time fan, long time drinker. The Xinomavro from Ramnista has been one of my favorite expressions of this wine for several years. It’s no secret that the renaissance of Greek wine is in full swing, producing some of the most interesting and compelling wines in all of Europe. Fortunately, the prices are still very reasonable for this level of quality. This is a classy little number that reminds the drinker of a Nebbiolo from the Alta Piemonte. This will pair brilliantly with a fatty piece of lamb with some olives and feta cheese.

2015 Elio Grasso "Gavarini Chiniera" Barolo
Review Date: 08-07-2019
To my taste, this bottling comes across as the most traditional, old-school of the two cru Grasso Barolos we’re offering. You pick up a hint of dusty cellar, red and black cherries, wet stone, and a hint of umami. Your palate is embraced by polished yet firm tannins. Each sip begets another and keeps you focused on the broad panoply of wild complex flavors. I adore this wine.

2015 Elio Grasso "Ginestra Casa Matè" Barolo
Review Date: 08-07-2019
Oh my, this is another insane Barolo offering from Elio Grasso. There’s so much going on here it’s hard to know where to begin. The aromatics are intense, beguiling, and compelling. On the palate, the wine is structured, firm, and dense. This is prototypical Barolo of the highest order. I would strongly urge fans to squirrel a few bottles of this away for a several years. But, for those of your who are “Casa Mate” curious, three to four hours in a decanter alongside a giant slab of beef should work. But do save a few bottles for the future.

2015 Massolino Barolo
Review Date: 08-07-2019
Unlike the rather warm 2000 vintage, I find that the 2015 vintage produced complex and structured wines that retain an element of freshness and lift that make these wines surprisingly approachable in their youth. The Massolino Barolo is no exception. It possesses all the tell-tale aromatics and flavors you desire from Barolo; red cherries, licorice, red flowers; while remaining rather lively on the palate. There’s enough primary fruit to make it delicious now (decanting will help) but lord knows it has years of life ahead of it. This is superb pedigree for a mere $40. I give this a strong “buy” recommendation.

Westward "Single Barrel #B-236-11" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 08-06-2019
The American whiskey is one of the most exciting products in today's beverage scene and has grown well beyond its original roots in the deep south. The Westward whiskeys represent the cutting edge of what’s happening in the Pacific Northwest. Our spirits team secured another K&L exclusive with this 6-year-old single malt. It’s an assertive little number, but with a splash of spring water, you can tame this robust libation and enjoy the purity of cask-strength American whiskey. The nose is amazingly complex, bursting forth like a fire hydrant with cocoa, nuts, caramel, flowers, pepper, and herbs. With just the right amount of water, to your taste, you can enjoy the palate's interpretation of one of the most interesting and compelling domestic whiskeys I’ve tried in quite some time. This is just one more example of why K&L has one of the most dynamic spirits programs in the US.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2016 Taken Wine Co. "Complicated" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-31-2019
There’s nothing complicated about this. For less than $15 you get a delicious Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir with true regional and varietal character. This is classic red cherry and cranberry fruit on the nose with hints of wood spice and mint. This is an impressive little wine that over-delivers on quality. It reminds me of wines that cost twice the price. Elegant on the palate with a structure and finish that beguile the taster. This will be your summertime Pinot Noir.
Price: $14.95 Add To Cart

2014 Jonata "Todos" Ballard Canyon Santa Ynez Valley Red Blend
Review Date: 07-24-2019
Ever since their arrival, Jonata has been pushing the qualitative envelope of the Santa Barbara wine scene. This is one of the few wineries in the area specializing in big bold reds based on Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. The Todos is an unusual blend of all the red varietals planted on the estate plus just a pinch of Viognier. Somehow it all comes together to form one of their most distinctive wines. I’ve poured this wine several times this year for our staff training and customer tasting and it’s been the standout wine every time. It really is a most remarkable creation. It’s dark and brooding with an amazing amount of energy and lift.

2017 Château de L'Ou "Compartir" Cotes du Roussillon Villages Rouge
Review Date: 07-24-2019
The Grenache dominant aromatics rise as you swirl your glass. There are heady aromas of fresh berries, strawberries, and a field of dried herbs. Then the Syrah asserts itself with its dark and brooding character. Black cherries, blueberries and a touch of wet slate inform the taster that this is a rather serious wine. Though full bodied and rather powerful, there is still an understated charm and elegance. While I’m inclined to put a few bottles in my cellar, I’d still enjoy drinking this young with a healthy slab of beef or a rack of lamb.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2014 Bien Nacido Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-24-2019
The pedigree of this wine is immediately obvious as you pour it into your glass. At five years of age it possesses the translucence of a fine Volnay. The aromatics are surprisingly complex complete with hints of creamy red cherry compote, black tea, and spice box. It’s apparent that it comes from old-vines, some planted as far back as 1973. While the Miller’s have been selling their Bien Nacido fruit to other top winemakers forever, this bottling proves that they have a unique perspective on how to coax the most out of their vines. This embodies all the virtues of Pinot Noir as the most elegant of all wines. The palate is as smooth as silk with a long enduring finish.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2017 Seabold Cellars "Olson Vineyard" Monterey Chardonnay
Review Date: 07-04-2019
The Olson Vineyard is considered one of the coolest wine growing sites in all of California. As a result, the grapes achieve and maintain a bracing acidity along with perfect phenolic ripeness. Like a fine Mosel Riesling, the wine's complexity rides on the streak of racy acid. There’s much to love here. The aromatics are complex with traces of Meyer lemon, ripe peach, white flowers and a dusting of spice. This is a perfect accompaniment to briny oysters or succulent lobster. I’d guess that the wine could be even better with just a couple of years in the cellar as it gets a chance to stretch out its legs. This is a noteworthy effort and a winery to watch.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2018 Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 06-26-2019
Few wines scream summertime more than fresh squeezed New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. They are the perfect pool party or happy hour wine. There is so much bright zesty fruit here that you can use it to slake your thirst or use it to wash down fresh crudo or a shrimp salad with mango. We’ve had tremendous response with Astrolabe and this wine carries the tradition. It’s packed with both juicy tropical and stone fruit. The fruit is complemented by the fresh cut herbs and bright acidity.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine du Petit Clocher Anjou Villages Rouge
Review Date: 06-26-2019
This is one of the most exciting red wines I’ve tried from the Loire in quite a while. It’s better than half Cabernet Sauvignon with the rest Cabernet Franc. It’s an unsual blend allowed only in the Anjou-Village appellation. The bold ripe fruit of the Cabernet Sauvignon carries the weight of the wine but ultimately its true character is informed by the Cabernet Franc which rules this area. It’s not really Bordeaux but it’s not exactly your typical central Loire red. It’s that curious aspect that draws me to this wine. Also, it just tastes great. At $15 this is one of the best red wine buys in the store.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 Broadley "Shea Vineyard" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-26-2019
Shea vineyard is arguably the original Grand Cru status Pinot Noir source in Oregon. Its reputation continues as a handful of wineries still clamber to buy this fruit. As such, this might be the most complete of the three wines. It’s also probably the most age worthy. It captures both the bright high-toned fruits seen in the Marcile Lorraine bottling but also has those base notes witnessed in the Claudia’s Choice. Ultimately, it stands on its own as one regal Oregon Pinot Noir. You won’t see any other Shea Vineyard Pinot Noirs at this price point. You’d be well served to put a few of these away for the next couple of years. It’s glorious stuff.
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Broadley "Marcile Lorraine" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-26-2019
This single-vineyard wine possesses the greatest amount of high-toned fruits such as raspberries and strawberries. Red fruits abound here. True to its Willamette Valley roots, it still has that lovely touch of wood spice and forest floor. But the persistence on the palate drives the main theme of creamy red fruit compote. The wine just glides over the tongue leaving a long delicious finish of fresh berries with a hint of red and green apples. This is probably the most appropriate selection in terms of short-term drinking. It’s just too delicious to hold on to.
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Broadley "Claudia's Choice" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-26-2019
Of the three offerings from Broadley, the Claudia’s Choice bottling is the most brooding and dark. Ripe black cherry and plum fill the glass. On the palate the wine has the most richness and texture and would stand up to the most hearty fare; perhaps a duck breast cooked with morels. There’s a hint of wood spice and potpourri that really makes this one beguiling, mysterious wine.
Price: Hidden View Price

2016 Rafael Palacios "Louro" Godello Valdeorras
Review Date: 06-19-2019
Much like Italy, Spain prides itself on having several unique indigenous varietals. One of the most substantial and interesting whites is Godello, and few producers have a better handle on this grape than Rafael Palacios. The Louro bottling is fresh and round with hints of stone fruits that reminds a bit of Chenin Blanc. The wines is fermented in large oak casks which help the wine with complexity without adding oak to a wine that does not need it. I strongly recommend you try a bottle in order to grown your appreciation for the great white wines of Spain.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Westwood "Legend" Sonoma County Red Blend
Review Date: 06-19-2019
The “Legend” in the name must be referring to the one and and only, winemaker extraordinaire Philippe Melka. Philippe has made a career out of making other people famous. He has created some of the most sought-after, top-scoring wines from California for over two decades. With this inaugural release, he’s doing it for himself. This fascinating hypothetical meeting of Bordeaux and Chateauneuf-du-Pape is really quite intriguing. The flavor profile is an amalgam of red and black fruits with a hint of leather and earth all framed by ripe, soft, dusty tannins and quite a long finish. It tastes like the perfect steakhouse wine as I cannot image a more perfectly suited wine. I anticipate that this will be making lots of new friends once the corks get pulled.
Price: $49.95 Add To Cart

Inverroche Classic Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 06-12-2019
This dead ringer for a dry London gin is actually from South Africa. The particular blend of local botanicals creates a near-perfect gin that leaves the drinker with the envious challenge of deciding whether to make a refreshing G&T or a classic martini. While the olive will work fine, I would recommend you go with the cocktail onion. Ultimately, either choice will serve you well. This bottle will be featured in my liquor cabinet for the summer. Gin & Tonics or martinis anyone?
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Brockman's Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 06-12-2019
This particular gin really caught me off guard. It’s not your typical juniper-driven martini gin. There’s a entire panoply of tropical fruits and red berries in the glass. This would be a workhorse for countless cocktails, though I imagine some might just like it on ice, or with a splash of soda and a twist. This is fun in a glass.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Siembra Valles Blanco Tequila (750ml)
Review Date: 06-12-2019
This glorious tequila smells like a vacation in a glass. As soon as I put it to my nose, the aromatics just swept me away. This super-premium tequila was the recent best-in-class finisher at our weekly staff tasting. The freshness, the fruitiness, the complexity, all make this a standout amongst peers. This is arguably one of the best all-arounders at the price point.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2018 Trians Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé
Review Date: 06-05-2019
Summer is firmly taking its grip on southern California and the clients are clamoring for chilled rosé. The Trians has become my Provencal rosé of the moment as it embodies most of what I seek in these wines. First and foremost, the wine is refreshing with a touch of tart cranberry, a dusting of strawberry essence, and aromatics of roasted herbs. While being Grenache dominant, I love the generous dollop of Cinsault, rounded out with Syrah. Secondly, the terroir here looks like it was destined for great rosé. 50 year old vines are situated on hillsides comprised of clay and limestone overlooking the Rhone Valley. It’s perfect as an aperitif or accompanying light summer fare such as fresh olives or an herb roasted chicken.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2017 Raul Perez "Ultreia St-Jacques" Mencía Bierzo
Review Date: 06-05-2019
Raul Perez is a rock star in Bierzo and this wine is a testament to his fame. A bold, new-wave of Spanish winemakers has lifted Bierzo out of the back woods obscurity to international prominence on the success of the Mencia grape. It does not surprise me at all to see consumer demand growing all the time. The Mencia grape offers all the charm of Pinot Noir meets Syrah…sort of. It has that silky polish of Pinot Noir but with the bold fruit of Syrah. I’m a big fan of this wine and it looks like the critics are as well. Another tremendous value from Spain.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2015 Casa Castillo "Las Gravas" Jumilla
Review Date: 05-15-2019
I’ve twice visited this property located deep in the countryside of Jumilla. The area is remote and wild and seems to be one of the best places on earth to grown Monastrell (aka Mourvedré). Often considered one of the “cult” wines of Spain, the single vineyard “Las Gravas” bottling remains somewhat off the collectors radar in the US. But having tasted this wine on many occasions I can attest to its quality and ageability. The Monastrell dominant wine reminds me somewhat of a poor mans Beaucastel; which is only intended as a compliment. Once while touring the vineyards, we heard gun shots in the distance. When we inquired about the shooting, our guide informed us they were hunting rabbits for the evenings paella.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2017 TED by Mount Edward Central Otago Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-01-2019
The wines of Mount Edwards comes from a band of individuals who label themselves as insubordinate, revolutionist, mischievious, jocular and witty. They’re also really talented wine makers. This group is fully committed to organic agriculture, they employ traditional wine making techniques using natural yeasts with minimal intervention. The resulting wines display elegance, precision, clarity and more importantly, they taste really good. This is a fine little Pinot Noir from the ever on-the-rise Central Otago. There’s no question that New Zealand is carving out its own identity as a Pinot Noir producer. This is an awesome value and well worth a look.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2017 Cantina Andrian Trentino-Alto Adige Pinot Grigio
Review Date: 05-01-2019
Summer time just landed in your glass. The entire staff paused while tasting this amazing little wine. This is the kind of Pinot Grigio that gives the grape a good name. The wine is flavorful, interesting, refreshing, and makes you want to come back for more after each sip. There’s plenty of pretty white flowers on the nose from jasmine to gardenia. It smells like a spring garden with just a hint of verbena and citrus. You better have a case of this in your pantry for your upcoming summer parties.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2016 Titus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-01-2019
You may not be familiar with the Titus name, but you may very well have had one of Phillip Titus’s wines, since he’s been the winemaker at Chappellet since 1990. Over the course of time, he’s crafted some legendary (and 100 point!) wines. Brothers Phillip and Eric run the Titus family estate nestled in the heart of the St. Helena appellation at the foot of Howell Mountain and have been doing so for 30+ years. I’ve been a major fan and supporter of these wines for years. Not only are the wines flat out delicious, but they’re a relative steal compared to wines of the area. I love the high-toned juicy style of these wines. Bright cherry, pomegranate, and black berry notes are enhanced by crushed flowers, herbs, and a dusting of mocha. Ripe tannins give the wine the proper amount of structure while retaining a silky smoothness. Big fan!

2017 Domaine Lafage "Novellum" Chardonnay
Review Date: 04-29-2019
As an unrepentant Chardonnay enthusiast, I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed this wine. For a mere $10 you get a wine that truly captures the charm of Chardonnay. It has plenty of bright apple and pear on the nose. The palate is greeted by more fresh fruit but eventually, the creamy nature of the wine takes over. There’s enough acidity to keep it bright and fresh. This is a perfect mid-week wine that can be enjoyed on its own or with well-prepared simple dishes.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

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