I have recently seen the light, a true path to happiness and fulfillment. As it would happen, alcohol was involved, as was a very large cut of beef. Having never been to Argentina I have no first-hand experience with their cuisine, but I listen rapturously to the tales of people who have just returned. For me I have to settle for El Raigon, an Argentine restaurant here in the City. This was the sight of my epiphany. I have known of the synergy of Malbec and BBQ, but I have never experienced it on this level. Words fail me, only one thing comes to mind when they bring the plate of Bife de Chorizo out. Happy! Hopefully these wines can increase your happiness as well. 2004 Vistalba Corte C ($9.99) This blend of malbec and merlot is a charmer. The merlot adds an extra degree of depth to the fruit as well as softening the texture. The fruit is bright and expressive, with dark berries and red fruit, and the palate is round and open-knit. 2003 Luigi Bosca, Malbec ($16.99) This blends old world with the new world. Longer, more elegantly structured with ripe pure fruit. It is medium to medium-full with juicy dark fruits that are plump and rich on the mid-palate. The fruit is augmented with smoke, leather, and savory spices. It just begs for meat cooked over an open flame. 2002 Alamos Selección Malbec ($14.99) This is a new project for the company: single farmer wines to showcase the uniqueness of the individual terroirs and the talent and dedication of the people. As a fan of their regular line up, I was enthusiastic to try this wine. It is easily three times better, more concentration and length. Balanced with elegance, this is a wine not to miss! —Kirk Walker
2004 Bodegas Borsao Tres Picos (Garnacha), Campo de Borja ($12.99) 91 points Robert Parker: “…old vine Grenache vineyard cropped at an amazing two tons of fruit per acre, the 2004 Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha was aged half in stainless steel and half in French oak for ten months. It is a lovely, expressive, deep ruby-tinged wine offering sweet aromas of kirsch liqueur, licorice, white pepper, and dusty, loamy characteristics. Full-bodied, supple textured, flashy, and flavorful, it is an unreal value.” 2003 Cellers del Roure, Les Alcusses ($13.99) 92 points Parker: “...a blend of Tempranillo, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvedre, and Mando. This beauty boasts a dense ruby/purple color along with a fragrant display of black cherries, raspberries, currants, white flowers, and background notes of wood smoke. Ripe, medium to full-bodied, and gorgeously pure with admirable elegance, palate penetration, and acidity, it is an expressive, artistic Spanish red.” 2004 Bodegas Hijos de Juan Gil, Juan Gil, Jumilla ($13.99) 90 points Parker: “A serious effort, the 2004 Juan Gil is fashioned from 45-year-old Mourvedre vines and is aged for 12 months in American and French oak. This rich, full-bodied, inky/purple-tinged cuvee exhibits aromas of scorched earth, blueberries, licorice, and pepper, a savory, layered texture, and remarkable opulence for a Mourvedre.” 2004 Finca Luzón Jumilla Altos de Luzón ($13.99) 90 points Parker: “The seriously endowed 2004 Altos de Luzon is a blend of 50% old vine Mourvedre (52 years) and equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo, aged 12 months in a combination of French and American oak. A dense ruby/purple color is followed by beautiful aromas of smoky licorice, black currants, cherries, and earth. Offering wonderful ripeness, an alluring texture, sweet tannin, and adequate acidity, it certainly over-delivers for its price. Drink it over the next 2-4 years.” Buen Provecho! —Anne Pickett, email@example.com
No, they’re not from Champagne or even California, but they are all really tasty and well under twenty dollars. Do I have your attention yet? The first two of these fantastic wines are from the Loire Valley and the other two from Alsace. These are all outstanding wines for almost any event, whatever it may be: weddings, an evening sipper while relaxing on the porch, brunch with somebody special, or not so special. You get the picture! Domaine de l’Ecu (Guy Bossard) Cuvée Ludwig Hahn Sparkling ($13.99) 45% folle blanche (Gros-Plant), 25% chardonnay, 20% melon de bourgogne (Muscadet) and 10% cabernet cauvignon ( I know, this was a first for me too). The complexity and length that you get out of this bottle is outstanding for a $14-bottle of bubbles. François Pinon Vouvray Pétillant Brut ($16.99) This sparkling chenin blanc comes from soils that are clay and silica on a base of limestone (tuffeau) with flint (silex), and the area is rated among the top sites in the appellation. Fantastic earthy characters with warmth and charm make this a great fit for a variety of foods. If you have never tried a sparkling Chenin I really suggest that this be the first one. Jean Philippe & Francois Becker Cremant d’Alsace ($14.99) A blend of pinot noir, chardonay and pinot blanc that is bright and edgy but a bit shy all at the same time, a lot like me! The sharp minerality and focus always leaves me wanting more than just that first glass. Charles Baur Cremant d’Alsace ($14.99) Made up of pinot blanc (40%), auxerrois (40%) and chardonnay (20%), this has a happy aromatic character with a creamy richness running through the middle giving it more of a softer, rounder finish. Don’t be scared of the unknown, you never know what kind of interesting and special things you may find! —Eric Story
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