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Staff Favorites - Keith Mabry

Keith Mabry

Reviews

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Doc Swinson's 15 Year Old "Rare Release" Exploratory Cask Series Nonchillfiltered Small Batch Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 02-25-2020
Destined to be one of our top spirit offerings this year, you would be foolhardy to overlook the gem that is Doc Swinson's 15 year. On its face, it is everything a hardcore Bourbon enthusiast is looking for with its age statement and almost nebulous backstory. But, where it really delivers is in the glass. This has a beautiful and layered intensity that delivers waves of flavors. I tasted from a single pour over several days and each time I went back to it, it offered me something new. From brown sugar to vanilla to maple, the sweetness on the nose is defined. The aromas of caraway, chicory, orange peel and cherry pits are equally engaging. The palate is seamless and even at a cask strength of 59.1% abv, this is smooth and lifted. The finish is minutes if not hours long. A tremendous offering that needs to be on your back shelf.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart

2017 Domaine de Marcoux Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 02-24-2020
Every year I go to Chateauneuf du Pape, one of my must visit places is Domaine de Marcoux. They make some of the most pristine and charming wines year after year and they never lose their sense of place. The 2017 is another great success following the gorgeous 2015 and stunning 2016. As always the wines leans towards more red fruit - loaded with brambly strawberry, plum and red currant flavors. The palate is awash in roasted fig surrounded by notes of dried thyme and marjoram. It finishes with that whisper of potpourri that will continue to grow as the wine ages more. Showing exceptional balance for this concentrated vintage (I expect no less!), this is another exquisite wine from Marcoux.

2017 Susana Balbo "Crios" Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 02-19-2020
Always a favorite in my weeknight red wine line-up, the Crios has delivered consistency and quality for the decade plus that I have been buying and enjoying this wine. Pure Malbec joy with its black raspberry fruit, chocolatey tones and supple and smooth finish. A must for my Taco Tuesday!

2017 Domaine Giraud "Tradition" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 02-19-2020
The Giraud always fires on all cylinders when it is released. It is a sexy forward style showing flavors of Chambord, bay leaf, cardamom and violets. Sumptuous as always, the concentration of the 2017 vintage lingers on the palate. Always one of my favorites for its youthful exuberance but this is a wine that will deliver untold pleasures for years to come.

2017 Maison les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 02-19-2020
The 2015 of this vintage was one of the big hits of our Northern Rhone campaign last year. The 2017 is a terrific follow-up to one of our most popular releases. All from sourced fruit but still made under the watchful eye of the Perrin family, this is maybe one of the most perfectly styled northern Rhone Syrahs on the shelf right now. Smoky bacon is intermingled with toasted spices, dried tobacco, blackberry and cherry fruit. Unmistakably Rhone, this savory successor is a must for all fans of Syrah.

2017 Famille Perrin "Les Cornuds" Vinsobres
Review Date: 02-18-2020
For those on the hunt for a classically-styled Rhone, the Perrin Vinsobres is a must buy. Under the stewardship of Beaucastel's Perrin family, this gorgeous blend of Grenache and Syrah comes from the northenmost Cru in the southern Rhone. Syrah excels here and this exposition and the higher altitudes bring freshness and classic spices to the wine. This is also a lower alcohol rendition clocking in at around 13.5% for those wanting something without quite as much overt heft but without any shortage of flavor. This is brambly and berry filled with redcurrants, strawberries and peppery notes. The cut of mineral and garrigue adds to the layered and long finish. An impressive return to this traditional style!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2016 Gulfi "NeroSanlore" Nero d'Avola Sicilia
Review Date: 02-13-2020
Gulfi is one of the most accomplished wineries at what they do... bringing Nero d'Avola into the mainstream. I have tasted many of these over the years and this is the single greatest standout. The "NeroSanlore" evokes an almost Chateauneuf quality with its gorgeous strawberry and cherry fruit, dried herbal tones and potpourri of floral notes. It is seamless on the palate and has a wave of richness on the finish. The finest example of Nero d'Avola I have tasted to date and one of the best wines I have had from Sicily in some time. You would be remiss to overlook this emerging grape from one of its best producers.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2018 Cellier des Dauphins "Réserve" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 02-13-2020
The Cellier des Dauphins is one of our best new values. Classically made from sourcing fruit from some of the top Village and Cru appellations in the southern Rhone, this is a harmonious and delightful wine. It carries brambly red and black fruit flavors intermingled with pepper and spice. The nice confiture of red fruit on the palate makes it all the more pleasing. This is a beautiful textbook Rhone that will rapidly become your favorite weeknight wine.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2017 Domaine de l'Amandine Côtes du Rhône-Villages Seguret
Review Date: 02-13-2020
One of my favorite additions to our Rhone portfolio comes from this humble little estate just below the picturesque village of Seguret. I met winemaker Alex Suter and his daughter Mathilde a couple of years ago and this family driven and generously spirited winery were the perfect fit for our Direct Import program. The wines were an immediate success as we quickly sold through both the 2015 and 2016 Seguret bottlings. The 2017 builds on the rich and supple fruit we saw in the previous releases and you can see in the wine now that Alex has taken on more of the winemaking duties and day-to-day operations. It is a pure expression of Seguret with supple strawberry and red plum fruit surrounded by notes of smoky meats and garrigue. The palate is balanced and pure. Another tremendous effort from this family operation that continues to build on its past while still delivering wonderful value.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2018 Bodega Chacra "Barda" Pinot Noir Rio Negro
Review Date: 02-13-2020
Bodega Chacra is easily one of the finest Pinot producers working in South America. This is a bright and beautifully fruited wine with flavors of raspberry, rhubarb and toasted spices. It has lovely balance and complexity that makes you think of California or Oregon wines at twice the price. This is a New World venture that should be on the tip of every Pinot fan's tongue.

2016 Tenuta Roveglia "Vigne di Catullo" Lugana Riserva
Review Date: 02-06-2020
Consistently Roveglia puts out vintage after vintage of gorgeous Lugana wines. The Riserva is a full-ish bodied Italian white with a crunchy mineral laden palate that delivers beautiful pear and white flower notes. This has a light pithy citrus and mineral edge giving the wine more structure and complexity that when asked the question, "one more glass?" The answer can only be "YES! Please!!"
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2017 Fèlsina Chianti Classico
Review Date: 02-06-2020
My relationship with Felsina goes back to my earliest days working in the wine business some 20 years ago. They have always been on the top of my short list for Tuscan red wines. Tasting this took me down that path I journeyed so many years ago, reminding me of my time spent with these wines when I was an Italian specialist for another wine retailer. I have been fortunate to taste this many, many more times over just as many vintages and the 2017 is probably the freshest and most expressive version I have tried in recent memory. This is the goods! Ripe raspberry, black plum and cherry aromas carry through to a palate laced with fresh cut herbs, violets and that pleasing Maraska cherry finish. Another great success, that demonstrates yet again, that Felsina firmly belongs in the hierarchy of great Tuscan wines.

2017 Domaine Lafage "Narassa" Côtes-du-Roussillon
Review Date: 02-06-2020
It must be said that Jean-Marc Lafage is maybe the greatest producer of value wines in the world. His use of amazing old-vine sites, clean wine-making style and unerring eye for detail brings some of the highest quality wines to the market making him the King of quality-to-price-ratio! The Narassa is Grenache heavy (with about 20% Syrah) showing a deep black fruit intensity that delivers wave after wave of flavor. Currant jam, violets, tobacco and smoked meats. This succulent wine shows that it is from warm ripe environs of Roussillon. This is a wine to pick up by the case as it will drink beautifully over the next several years. Another tremendous success from the King of QPR!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2015 John Duval "Plexus" GSM Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 02-06-2020
Consistently one of the greatest values coming out of Australia, the 2015 Plexus is another triumph for master winemaker John Duval. In the grand scheme of things, $25 is not a lot to pay for a wine of this caliber. A deep infusion of black fruits, Asian spices and a light menthol note firmly put this into Barossa, but there is a tremendous lift to this wine giving a balance that elevates it above so many other wines at two to three times the price. Do yourself a favor and grab a few of these, they age beautifully and will over deliver for years to come.

2016 Bien Nacido "Estate" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 02-06-2020
Bien Nacido continues to be one of the benchmark vineyards in Santa Maria. Its fruit is so esteemed, that in any given vintage over 20 top producers source fruit from these vines. The Estate bottling is the pinnacle of that selection and one can immediately see the detail and power behind this release. Filled with a deep core of cherry and raspberry fruit, the wine evolves with notes of sandalwood, rhubarb, clove and allspice and crescendos with wafts of roses and minerals. It is shockingly complete in the mouth with a silky texture but has abundant structure that will benefit from just a few more years in the cellar. This is one of the brightest stars in the already star-filled sky that is Bien Nacido.

2015 Eric Kent "Kalen's Big Boy Blend" Sonoma County Syrah
Review Date: 02-05-2020
I have been a long time supporter of the Eric Kent wines and the Big Boy Blend has always been one of my favorites in their line-up. It is great to see how far winemaker Kent Humphries has come in the last decade plus of his career. This is pure and on-point Syrah with its flavors of blackberry, currant and Indian spices. For this price, you will be hard pressed to find a better Syrah value anywhere else in our store.
Price: Hidden View Price

2013 Markovitis Xinomavro Naoussa Greece
Review Date: 02-05-2020
Greece has rapidly become one of the most interesting and exciting wine regions to buy for with its eclectic mix of varieties and historic wine regions. No grape variety has caught my eye more than Xinomavro. It is a native variety grown throughout the north of Greece and the Naoussa region has become one of the most recognized areas for its cultivation. The Markovitis has beautiful red currant, dried strawberry and floral notes intermingled with flavors of cherry, porcini and dried rose petals. We have equated many of our Xinos to Italy's Nebbiolo grape and its easy to see the similarities with Xinomavro's slightly grippier structure and flavor profile. This is a most elegant version though, offering incredible accessibility and a lot of opportunities to pair with food. Absolutely delightful!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2017 Ferraton Père et Fils "Lieu Dit Bonneveau" Saint-Joseph
Review Date: 01-28-2020
As pure an expression as you could hope, the "Bonneveau" has all of that wonderful bacon fat and rich black fruit, and at such a young age! This has so much purity, you will be hard pressed not to enjoy it. And you should, but don't forget to tuck away a few extra bottles for posterity. This rivals the best from Chave, Gonon and Chapoutier himself!

2017 Ferraton Père et Fils "Lieu-Dit Patou" Cornas
Review Date: 01-28-2020
Along with all the other Lieu-Dit bottlings, the Patou is something really exceptional. This is a rich and full throttle Cornas that has so much going for it now, you will be hard pressed not to enjoy it. It's hard to insist that you wait when this wine delivers so much heft and joy now, but think of the potential. Hide a bottle or two away if you can. This is a stunner!

2017 Ferraton Père et Fils "Lieu Dit Les Picheres" Crozes-Hermitage Rouge
Review Date: 01-28-2020
Under the watchful eye of Northern Rhone icon Michel Chapoutier, Ferraton has become one of the best iterations for small vineyard/terroir bottling expressions in the region. Each one has such precise detail, they emulate a more Burgundian sensibility but still reflect their true expression of Syrah from each site. Les Picheres is a beauty, packed with red fruit, smoky nuances and a depth of flavor that embodies the chalkier sites in Crozes. It is layered and will unfold for hours in the glass now but this is a bottle that wants to spend a few more years in hiding. Give it a that time and you will not be disappointed.

1995 L'Encantada 24 Year Old "Lous Pibous #146" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 01-22-2020
I'll let David, our spirit's buyer, better explain the background of this Armagnac. It is quite fascinating for sure. I however would like to talk about this expression. This is one of the deepest and most concentrated Armagnacs I have had in years. Roasted apples, treacle, marmalade, allspice are just a few of the aromas that push out of the glass. For purists, I would still urge a drop or two of water as this will unlock an even greater depth of complexity on the nose. The palate is rich and defined. Again, those drops of water will let your tongue and brain process even more of what is happening. This will surely be one of the great fruit spirits we offer this year. Don't wait to include this in your collection.
Price: Hidden View Price

2017 Guy Farge "Harmonie" Cornas
Review Date: 01-16-2020
This is now the third vintage of this wine we have imported and each subsequent vintage has in some way topped the previous. The 2015 was a powerhouse. Structured and powerful, it will benefit with years in the cellar to show it best self. The 2016 was perfumed and open. One of the best drinking Cornas' we had from that vintage and will continue to delight for years to come. The 2017 is the "most" Cornas though. This just feels so much like the region, the smell of the fruit, the smoky bacon, the crushed herbs. In your glass it transports. That is my favorite expression in any wine. I've been fortunate enough to visit Guy Farge and this region and every swirl, sniff and sip brings me back to Cornas. For a relatively humble price at this quality level, you don't need to get on a plane to be transported. Just open a bottle of this amazing wine.

2017 Baron de Montfaucon Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 01-16-2020
I had a conversation with winemaker Rudi des Pins a few years ago when I tasted his very first vintage of Chateauneuf, the 2014. "Why haven't you been making Chateauneuf all this time!" was something along the lines of my exclamation. Rudi is a devout Lirac producer and ardent promoter of his home region, so it's easy to see why he didn't dive fully into this more famous neighboring region. But opportunity struck when one of his vineyard managers inherited this small piece of property. We are all the better for it. Rudi's restrained winemaking style allows the beauty and perfume of the fruit to really show through. This is vibrant red fruit with a floral perfume that shows the weight of the 2017 vintage but the elegance of Rudi's style. The reception to the wine in past vintages has been so overwhelmingly positive we have sold through the so quickly it has been difficult to keep up with the demand. On top of that the critical recognition has been tremendous. No wonder this has been one of our most in-demand Chateauneufs. This is now the 4th vintage and in just this short time it is now one of the biggest wines to watch in the region.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2016 Thistledown "Cunning Plan" Shiraz Langhorne Creek
Review Date: 01-16-2020
The Thistledown is a delicious walk down memory lane when Australian Shiraz was lush, peppery and fruit filled. Dynamic and lusty on the palate this is a gorgeous full throttle wine that is unapologetically Aussie. We became a little numb to the "Barossa" style years ago but it is worth revisiting because it's so damn fun to drink! My new go-to wine for grilled lamb chops!
Price: Hidden View Price

2017 Walter Hansel "Cuvée Alyce" Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 01-16-2020
"SPOT ON!" was my comment when tasting this classic Cali Chard. But "spot on" in the old school sense. Not a big butter bomb but a true classic Chardonnay that reminds me of the truly old days when Chardonnay had structure to age. This is brimming with beautiful pear and apple fruit, surrounded by layers of toasted brioche. A hint of reduction gives it a smoky mineral age but also says this wine is built to last. Gorgeous texture and finesse now, but oh to discover one in my wine locker 5 to 10 years down the road.
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart

2018 Fundamental Wines (Tensley) Central Coast White Blend
Review Date: 01-16-2020
Gorgeous aromas of papaya and pear dominate the nose with more layers of tropical fruits and jasmine hiding in the background. A terrific sipper on its own but would pair well with roast chicken and grilled pork tenderloin. This is sleek and inviting wine truly transcends its humble price point.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2017 Guy Farge "Reynarde" Cornas
Review Date: 01-15-2020
A couple of years ago, I met with Guy Farge and tasted his exceptional St-Joseph wines. When I found out he also made a small production Cornas from two tiny plots in the appellation, I was thrilled. When I found out one of those plots was the coveted "Reynarde" lieu-dit, I was sold. The vines of this vineyard in Reynarde sit between two of the great icon producers of the Rhone, Thierry Allemand and Auguste Clape. Good company by far. The soils are decomposing granite and they are so friable that the winery's team has to diligently work the vineyards to help prevent too much erosion that could have long term effects on the vineyard. This translates well to such a character filled wine, though. The last two Cornas vintages we worked with from Guy were his "Harmonie" bottlings where this parcel of Reynard was always included in that cuvee. This is the first vintage available where he separated a couple of barrels to do this special bottling. When I first visited the winery I remember tasting out of these barrels with his son Thomas after which he asked me, "Do you think we should bottle this as its own cuvee?" It was a resounding, "YES!" on my side. Thus truly began my journey with this wine. That first tasting was almost two years ago, and I have eagerly anticipated its arrival since. The second time was at a wine fair in 2019, where I met again with Thomas. He pulled this special bottle out from under the table with excitement. "It's finally in the bottle," he exclaimed. I had just come from the Clape table (Cornas' greatest producer) and this had the measure of those wines (some of the best at the tasting). Now, in country, this is the third time I have tried the "Reynarde." I have to say, it is more exquisite now than when I first tasted it. Each time it has gotten more integrated and complete. The aromatics are expansive showing jasmine, oolong tea, roasted blackberries and crushed bay leaf. It unfolds almost immediately on the nose but the palate is where it truly sings with its fine and balanced structure. It has such a purity that is unmistakably Cornas. Surely a few more years of cellaring are a good suggestion as this extraordinary wine is really only beginning its journey. But oh what a journey! I've waited two years since that first taste, what's a few more?

2016 Pedro Martinez Alesanco Garnacha Rioja
Review Date: 01-08-2020
Rioja in name but decidedly an outlier in style. This is rich and overt with fruit and much more subtle on the oak tones than a more classic style. What really shines through is the age of the vines through the concentration of the wine. This is rich and full while maintaining supple structure. Front loaded copious amounts of red fruit and finishing long with loads of spice complexity. A perfect foil for some Spanish chorizo or some grilled lamb.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2017 Mas de Sainte Croix "Passion d'Une Terre" Côtes du Rhône-Villages Valreas
Review Date: 01-08-2020
The "Passion" is yet another charming release from one of my favorite producers in the southern Rhone, Mas de Sainte Croix. The village of Valreas is one of the furthest north in the southern Rhone and sits at higher altitudes, yielding fresher and brighter styles that are a great contrast to some of the heavier styles of Rasteau and Plan de Dieu further south. Father and son team, Jacques and Julien Coipel, are by no means afraid of fruit expression though. This has plenty of it but that underlying elegance and spice from the grenache, plus a hefty dose of Mourvedre goes a long way to keep this beautifully balanced. There is no shortage of great values in the Rhone but count this as one of my favorites for sure.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2017 Losada Mencia Bierzo
Review Date: 01-08-2020
I have long been a fan of Mencia from Bierzo. I was out there years ago putting these wines in people's hands. I'm glad that after years of pushing it, people are now asking for it. The Losada is the kind of wine that can open new doors though. This might be one of the best expressions I have tasted in years. I always compared the wines to gamay and syrah with a touch of cabernet franc character thrown in for good measure. This is pure Mencia though. Vibrant bright red fruit of cherries and pomegranites are surrounded by notes of red flowers and fresh herbs. It is juicy and sumptuous. This is exciting wine that holds a price point that makes you want to load up. It would be worth doing so, because I guarantee if you only get a few bottles, they will be long gone before you see what they can truly evolve into. You'll win either way though because it is a gorgeous drink right now.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine de Verquière Côtes du Rhône-Villages Sablet
Review Date: 01-07-2020
Winemaker Thibaut Chamfort continues to bring some of the best appellation value wines in all of the southern Rhone, all while doing it organically and all for under $20 each. The Sablet is his home village and the vines are on primarily sandy soils (sablet is sand in French). This wine always has a little more structure and power behind it than other villages like the Rasteau and Plan de Dieu. He holds the wine back another year and when it releases, it always has more elegance to it. This is spicy and classic with red fruit, clove and herbs de Provence notes. One of the finest offerings from this producer and only $15? Yes, please!

2017 Jeff Carrel "Les Darons" Languedoc Rouge
Review Date: 01-07-2020
The Les Darons by Jeff Carrel has developed a bit of a cult following, especially in our LA store. When asked for, they say where is that Steve Carrel wine? Just so you know, there is no known relation. But people love it and year after year, it provides exceptional value. The 2017 is bursting with red fruit and just offers the most pleasing and generous weight on the palate. Not too heavy, not too light, this is the just right style of everyday wine drinking. You'll need a case or two to enjoy over the next few months for sure. Another outstanding bargain from value-maestro Jeff Carrel (again, no relation to Steve Carrel)!

2017 Château Grezan "Les Schistes Dorés" Faugères
Review Date: 01-07-2020
The wines of Faugeres are not that well known and this may be the best first place to introduce yourself. The soils there are very schist heavy which produces meaty muscular wines with an undercurrent of finesse. Made up of Syrah and Mourvedre, the "Schistes Dores" has the feel of an Hermitage meets Bandol mash-up. Full of rich black brambly fruit and exotic spices, it has these big caressing velvety tannins that glide the wine to its long plum and currant finish. This wants big meals to pair with or some lusty ripe cheeses as well. One of the best wines I have tasted from this region in recent memory.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2017 Moulin de la Gardette "Cuvée Ventabren" Gigondas
Review Date: 01-07-2020
Winemaker JB Meunier knocks another one out of the park! This is a stunning offer and rivals the equally stunning 2016 from last year. The warmth of the 2017 vintage shows but JB's deft hand keeps the fruit in check with its balancing acidity and structure. This is a panoply of Provencal herbs and sweet fruit. The wine is suffused with the terroir of the higher altitude vineyards and their marl soils. It captures the character of Gigondas brilliantly. Just beautiful. Worthy of a few years in the cellar but definitely worth a taste now. How can you not?

2017 Chateau de L'Ou "Infiniment" Côtes Catalanes Rouge
Review Date: 12-10-2019
The 2016 Infiniment was a superb followup to the 2015, but I must say the 2017 is probably my favorite to date. Loaded with framboise, kirsch and spices, this is a saturated and supple red that explodes out of the glass while never overwhelming. It is lush and polished and will be one of the great drinks on your table for years to come.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2017 Château de L'Ou "Secret de Schistes" Côtes Catalanes
Review Date: 12-10-2019
Firing on all cylinders, the wines of Chateau de L'Ou's Severine Bourrier are some of our most popular and well received. The depth of fruit is tremendous and they cross the appeal of modern and fleshy with French sensibility. They have been compared to the style of Manfred Krankl's Sine Qua Non's many times in the past and it is hard not see why. The Secret is the flagship wine that first really caught my attention. All farmed on a small plot of brown schist, these older vines yield some of the most concentrated Syrah produced anywhere in the Roussillon. The wine goes through barrel aging for about a year and then rest in bottle for another year before shipping. That concentration needs a little time to unwind but when it does, the layers come flooding through. Blueberries, cherry compote, creosote, smoked paprika. There is a lustiness to the wines but loads of complexity underlying there as well. The 2017 reaches the heights of the past two successes, both the 2015 and 2016, so its hard not to see why she's one of our favorites.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2018 Domaine du Haut Bourg Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu Sur Lie
Review Date: 12-10-2019
You don't often see the words SHOWSTOPPER in the review of a Muscadet and especially one that is only $12, but if ever there was one, this is it! I love the clean lines of Muscadet and please remember this has no affiliation with Muscat, the aromatic-often-semi-sweet variety. Muscadet is the region in the western Loire that is famous for its crisp, mineral driven whites with no oak, that pair easily with shell fish (it is one of the most classic oyster pairings out there) while also making an equally great aperitif. We've been playing with the extra-lees-aged versions from Haut Bourg as well as a few other producers' and they have really elevated the overall quality and intrigue that is coming out of Muscadet. But, I must say, this is one of the best classic, sur lie aged versions I have ever tasted. It is a remarkable Muscadet that delivers Pippin apple, lemon zest and wet stone on the nose. It has tension and length on the palate. It is complex, yet quaffable. Just a remarkable overall expression that will more than satisfy fans of Chablis, Pinot Grigio or any other fans of clean vibrant whites.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2017 Domaine des Rémizières "Cuvée Christophe" Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 12-10-2019
The wines from the Desmeures family have become some of my favorite in our Northern Rhone portfolio. They are rich and saturated with loads of Syrah flavor but they still reflect their region and land with balance and grace. The 2017 Cuvee Christophe is reminiscent of the 2015 which was so deep and so rich. That had the backbone of the 2015 vintage and really wanted to rest for a few more years before it really shows all it has to give. The 2017 offers more immediacy in its approachability. Deep red and black fruited notes riding high on black cherry followed by a panoply of African spices and smoked bacon. I recently tasted this wine over the course of a couple of days and it opened and developed even more. Even with this accessibility it still has loads of concentration for aging. Another triumph from this emerging estate!

2017 Domaine Vincent Carême Vouvray Sec
Review Date: 12-03-2019
Vincent Careme has become my favorite go-to producer in Vouvray. From top-to-bottom, he creates cuvees that are sensational reflections of their soils and sites. This favorite son of the region has worked (and continues to work) abroad in South Africa but his native soil of Vouvray is where he makes some of the most outstanding Chenin Blancs coming from anywhere in the world. The Sec is pure delight with Pippin apple, Anjou pear and lemon rind rounded by a host of spices including nutmeg, ginger powder and allspice. It is linear and focused on the palate, with years of aging potential but why wait, really? A perfect foil for salty and/or spicy dishes, but perfect really with a rotisserie chicken if you want to keep things simpler.

2016 Les Vignerons de Tautavel Vingrau "Silex" Côtes du Roussillon-Villages Tautavel
Review Date: 12-03-2019
I was introduced to the wines of les Vignerons de Tautavel Vingrau (VTV) on my first buying trip to the Roussillon. It was a snowy day, which is a rather rare occurrence in the region (making it even more memorable) and I dropped into the tasting room and met the whole crew behind the wines of VTV, Cabirau and special guest/vigneron Jeff Carrel. I tasted through 20 or so wines across the entire range and all were impressive. That day cemented in my mind the quality and range of wines coming from the Roussillon and what great partnerships we could establish going forward. Now, several years later, I am that much happier to taste some of the new releases of VTV. This year, one of the great standouts is the "Silex." A grenache inspired red that delivers incredible intensity of fruit but significant balance as well. Deep blue fruit tones with loads of black plum, this has notes of earth, chalk and savory herbs that bring a lot of complexity to the table. This is a deeply satisfying red to kick the changing season off with and should aptly pair with loads of braised dishes from pork shoulder to brisket. Pure deliciousness.

2012 Château Montus Madiran
Review Date: 12-03-2019
Bouscasse was the home estate for Alain Brumont. There, he followed in his father's footsteps as he began to transform the Madiran region. Montus is the turning point though. When he acquired this noble estate, he began to create some of the boldest and most expressive Madirans to come from the region. Brumont considers these his ultimate expressions from the region. The 2012 Chateau Montus shows you what just a few years can do to develop and lengthen these wines. Filled with spices and leathery goodness, the Montus delivers depth and richness and some of the most velvety and plush tannins one could hope for in such a mouth-filler of a wine. Currants, graphite, smoked brisket, this wine is teeming with expressiveness. This is hearty wine that will please the most ardent fans of big Bordeaux and Cabernet offerings. A must buy for the collector and curious alike!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 Château Bouscassé Madiran
Review Date: 12-03-2019
Wine maestro Alain Brumont revitalized the Madiran region with his home estate of Bouscasse and then Montus shortly thereafter, and when you taste the wine, it is easy to understand why. Traditionally, the wines of Madiran needed years in the bottle to shed their tannic cloak but Brumont's methodology and winemaking practices have brought out the more nuanced and expressive parts of the Tannat grape. The new vintage of Bouscasse is from a riper year which adds density and weight to an already mouthfilling and plush red. Madiran always feels like winter wine with its brooding and robust structure and the Bouscasse is perfectly primed for that thick cut of roasted meat or slow roasted brisket. It is a plush and polished full-bodied red that will warm you up on a cool winter's night.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2017 Jeff Carrel "Lilac" Côtes du Roussillon-Villages
Review Date: 12-03-2019
The Lilac delivers a lot of just that - lilac, along with lilies and violets. The perfume on this wine is bold and exotic, maybe even transporting you away from some of the more lush profiles of other Roussillon reds, but fear not, the fruit abounds as well. Winemaker Jeff Carrel has been making some of our favorite value reds from the Languedoc-Roussillon and this slightly more serious red is a deeper fuller expression of his more daily drinker - Les Darons. The Lilac delivers a medley of red and black fruit with those beautiful floral tones wafting from the glass. This is a promising wine that will deliver a lot to enjoy for the next few years. One of the best wines yet from this very talented winemaker.

2016 La Fortuna "Magnus" Sant'Antimo Rosso
Review Date: 12-03-2019
La Fortuna nails it with this Super Tuscan inspired blend. Staying well within the lines of classic Italian red, the addition of Cabernet and Petit Verdot add a lot of texture and weight to this wine. Brimming with lush red fruit of raspberries and cherries, it unwinds to show notes of sage intermingled with savory spices all while finishing nicely with smooth and supple tannins. This is a superb mid-week red for enhancing that marinated skirt steak or herb-crusted pork tenderloin.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2017 Ferraton Père et Fils "La Matinière" Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 11-19-2019
Ferraton has really come on the scene in the last few years under the stewardship of Michel Chapoutier. The overall set has developed in richness, weight and superb regional character. This entry level Crozes is one of the superb values in their entire portfolio. Pure Syrah, this has an explosive nose of lavendar, incense and spicy red fruit. The palate has weight but is not too heavy, the tannins are supple. This is a wonderful drink now but should continue to evolve and develop for a decade more. All this and it's under $20? You'd be hard pressed to find a better Syrah value, this classic and pure, anywhere else in the world.

2017 Ferraton Père et Fils "Samorens" Côtes du Rhône Blanc
Review Date: 11-19-2019
Ferraton is really over delivering in the QPR right now. This wonderful white is pure white peach, lilies and wet stones. Lovely texture, clean and fresh nose, I can think of fewer whites that would make such a great aperitif. Also great with creamier richer dishes as this has just the right amount of acidity to cut through it.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2017 Ferraton Père et Fils Côtes du Rhône-Villages Plan de Dieu
Review Date: 11-19-2019
Ferraton is best known for their Northern Rhone efforts but they make some pretty spectacular Southern Rhones as well. This Plan de Dieu is truly one of the great standouts. More old-school with its brambly red fruit, potpourri and dusty spices. Providing weight, richness and elegance, this is many a staff members' favorite classically styled Cotes du Rhone, especially my own!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2012 Domaine du Haut Bourg "Origine" Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu
Review Date: 11-14-2019
What an intriguing wine! The region of Muscadet is undergoing a renaissance in winemaking. Many new Cru appellations have been added to the region focusing on individual terroirs and soil types. These new Crus also allow the wines to be aged for an extended period of time on the lees while keeping them in the appellation. The whole Sur Lie aging (resting the wine on the fine residue of yeast and particulate matter) is what gives Muscadet its racy mineral character, allowing the wines to build in complexity. For an entry level wine you have crisp apple/pear notes and wet stone mineral characteristics. So what happens when you do it for several years instead of several months? Well here is a prime example for you to try! Haut Bourg has been doing this for a long time. The "Origine" has spent just over 6 years aging on the fine lees in stainless steel vats and the results are quite spectacular! The wine opens with the classic apple fruit but as it unfolds more tropical nuances develop in the glass. It becomes lush and generous but still with great underlying acidity and an subtle smokiness that evokes the character of an aged dry Riesling. The wine is nuanced and complex. It some respects it is reminiscent of a great 1er Cru or Grand Cru Chablis. There is no wood aging here - this is pure expressive white that has a whole new dimension added to it. So, come explore these wonderful new expressions from a region that is currently on the rise.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

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

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