It is amazing to me that thirty-five years ago I started in this business, and, come June, I will have been with K&L for nineteen years. I keep telling our young, rookie-type wine specialists to “not blink; you will suddenly realize that you have been employed in this industry for thirty-plus years and it will seem as if you just started yesterday.” It has all been a blur, and not just because of all the wine I have drunk! One of the many things I’ve discovered over the years is that it is incredibly easy to buy and sell high-quality expensive, cult-type wines. Finding inexpensive high quality wine for customers has not only been much more challenging, but one of positive attributes that has kept my interests alive and fresh for all these years. A perfect example of this is with the 2004 Domaine La Tour Saint-Martin Menetou Salon Morogues ($13.99), a sauvignon blanc-based white coming from the Loire Valley. Rivaling some of the great Sancerre sauvignons, this Menetou Salon, which is just southwest of its much more famous neighbor, shows perfumed aromas of lime peel zest and wet stone minerality that carries over onto a clean, crisp, mouthwatering set of flavors. This lovely creature is the perfect wine for shellfish. This will be our house white for the month. Our new 2003 Kalinda El Dorado Cabernet Sauvignon ($12.99) was a major surprise when I first tasted it, due to the fact that it presents itself more in the style of a Stag’s Leap cabernet rather than the Sierra foothills. Medium deep ruby in color, the nose offers cassis to blackberry fruit with a hint of vanilla bean and dust. On its amply complex, broadly fruited palate, it shows superb focus, excellent structure, soft round tannins, and a long, silky finish that refuses to quick. Anderson has informed me that this will be one of our house reds for the month. One of my favorite Rhone Valley producers has returned with the introduction of their new vintage. The 2003 Château du Montfaucon Cotes du Rhone “Cuvee Baron Louis” ($14.99) offers a complete wine with its deeply colored robe, pronounced violet to white pepper spice to plum fruit on the nose and in the mouth, superb depth and richness, and soft, round tannins. This grenache (60%), syrah (20%), mourvedre (10%), and carignan (10%) Châteauneuf-style blend is a classic, elegant wine that will drink wonderfully now and for the next three to six years. Anderson has informed me that this will be our other house red for the month. It amazes me just how the 1997 Bordeaux have evolved; they continue to pick up fleshiness and broadness, yet are immensely enjoyable to consume now. Such is the case with 1997 Château Les Ormes-de-Pez, St-Estèphe ($19.95). This is a delicious drink that is medium deep ruby in color with developed, aged bouquet of blackcurrants, cedar, and tobacco. In the mouth, this is round, soft, and resolved, with well-integrated, sleeky tannins, wonderful fullness, layers of character, and a long, warm, distinctive finish. As Anderson has pointed out to me, “this wine screams drink me!” and you need to put some in your collection for that special occasion or dinner. If you have any questions regarding these wines, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy this month’s selection or else! —Jim, Anderson, & Eby
This month I will be talking about two of my favorite producers from two of my favorite wine producing countries, Germany and Austria. Schlossgut Diel has been producing some of the Nahe’s finest wines for quite sometime now. The 2004 Schlossgut Diel Dorsheimer Pittermännchen Spätlese ($39.99) is a rich style of spätlese balanced out by a fantastic splash of red spices and tropical fruits with a cleansing acidity that lingers on the finish, most likely due to the slate, quartzite and gravel vineyard site. The 2004 Schlossgut Diel Riesling Classic ($23.99), a zippy wine with just a smidge more residual sugar than a trocken, reminds me of ripe green apples. A great match to lighter first course dishes for that next dinner party you are having. The wines of Leo Alzinger are everything the Wachau region of Austria should represent: power, grace and beauty. We are happy to have the 2004 Alzinger Grüner Veltliner Loibenberg Smaragd ($49.99). With its peppery aromas, surrounded by white stone fruit and earthy mint, and a full body richness that mingles around a juicy yet stony mineral backbone of love, this is one of the best ’04 Grüners I have had to date. There is also the 2004 Alzinger Riesling Steinertal Smaragd ($54.99), a true testament to what top notch Riesling from a great region and a great producer should be. This one has set the bar way up there! A bit of smokiness, a bit of tart apple, spicy peach and a juicy sense of a stone that has been dipped into a cold mountain stream, this wine is brilliance in a bottle!!! —Eric Story
2004 Bodegas Muga Rioja Blanco ($11.99) 90 points Robert Parker: “The finest white wine I have yet tasted from Muga is the 2004 Blanco, a value-priced blend of 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia. Spring flower garden notes intertwined with notions of honeyed pear and citrus soar from the glass of this perfumed white. It is well-textured, with terrific fruit, wonderful purity, and surprising body...” 2004 El Quintanal, Ribera del Duero ($10.99) Made from 100% tempranillo, El Quintanal is a red wine that is sure to please many a palate. The lush black cherry fruit is complemented by vanillin oak and a long round finish, showing all of the balance and depth of the 2004. Enjoy with grilled lamb chops with garlic mashed potatoes! 2004 Vina Y Tia De Lozar, Ribera del Duero ($10.99) 89 points Robert Parker: “Wow! What a super bargain ... A tasty, surprisingly textured, rich offering, it displays notes of melted licorice, creme de cassis, cigar smoke, cedar wood, and spice box. This fleshy, medium to full-bodied, pure, persistent, savory, unfiltered cuvee will provide immense pleasure over the next 2-3 years.” 2001 Bodegas Y Vinedos Pujanza Pujanza, Rioja ($24.99) 90 points Robert Parker: “...Precise notes of graphite, sweet currants and cherries, cigar tobacco, spice box, and subtle wood are present in both the aromas and flavors of this medium to full-bodied, supple-textured, spicy, well-knit offering.” 2001 Finca Villacreces Reserva, Ribera de Duero ($31.99) 91 points Robert Parker: “A blend of 75% Tempranillo, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Merlot ... A complex nose of dried herbs, blueberries, black currants, licorice, and espresso is followed by a ripe, full-bodied, opulent, pure, elegant as well as nuanced wine.” —Anne Pickett
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