Ai Fiori Wine List Review- 1 Michelin Star

1/2 Bottles

 

Champagne

 

 Veuve Fourny, Brut Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru, Vertus nv 70- This Champagne is a Blanc de Blanc [all Chardonnay grapes]. I prefer Blanc de Blanc Champagne because it has a “special” quality on the palate.

 

 

White

 

Falanghina del Sannio, La Rivolta, Campania 2016 48- This Italia white wine has intense stones fruit [peach-apricot] flavors.

 

Chardonnay "Vine Hill Vineyard", Kistler, Russian River Valley 2015 94-If it is California Chardonnay you desire, pick this “rich” and “lush” one. It is considered to be one of the best from Sonoma. California’s “Puligny-Montrachet”?

 

 

 

Red

 

 

 

Barbera d’Asti "Cà di Pian", La Spinetta, Piedmont 2013 48- This is a great Italian red. There is dark fruit and “earth” flavors and Barbera’s are a good value wine.

 

Vosne-Romanée, Jean Grivot, Burgundy 2014 80- this Pinot Noir from Vosne Romanee has a cult following. It is believed that the grapes from Vosne Romanee have a “unique” flavor and Grivot is brilliant winemaker. Order this Pinot and see what all the “buzz’ is about.

 

Cháteauneuf-du-Pape "La Crau", Domaine Vieux Télégraphe, Rhône Valley 2014 88- I love Domaine Vieux Télégraphe Cháteauneuf-du-Pape. Great structure, spice, and red and black [plums-blackberries-black cherries] flavors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Champagne

 

 

***Al Fiori has an amazing group of 2008 vintage Champagnes to offer. The 2008 vintage was amazing and the prices listed here are fantastic values.***

 

 

Special Club", Hervieux-Dumez, Brut, Sacy 2008 102- This is a steal! Pick this artisanal Champagne from the great 2008 vintage. This is another steal "Special Club", José Michel, Brut, Moussy 2008 106. Ask the Sommelier to describe these two 2008 Champagnes. See which matches your preferred style of Champagne.

 

"Special Club", Pierre Gimonnet, Blanc de Blanc "Millesime de Collection", Cuis 2008 146- I love Blanc de Blanc [all Chardonnay grapes] Champagne. I think there is a special “quality” in the flavor wine you taste it.

 

"Special Club", Vazart-Coquart, Brut Blanc de Blancs, Chouilly 2008 152- Another “Grower” [small artisanal winery] Champagne from the great 2008 vintage. This one is a Blanc de Blanc [all Chardonnay grapes]. 

 

Cédric Bouchard, Brut "Roses de Jeanne-Côte de Béchalin", Celles-sur-Ouce 2008 189- another “Grower” Champagne from the 2008 vintage.

 

Pol Roger, Brut, Épernay 2008 188- This a Champagne from a major “house” in Epernay from the 2008 vintage. Ask the Sommelier to describe this Champagne and see if it matches your preferred wine style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White

 

 

Under $100.00

 

Dominique Cornin, "Mâcon Chaintré" 2015 58- This French Chardonnay is from the Macon region. An area “off the beaten path” of expensive White Burgundies [Puligny-Chassagne]. You benefit by drinking great wine for a value price.

 

Pacherhof, Kerner 2016 72- Ask the Sommelier to describe [bone dry-dry-semisweet-sweet] the Rieslings from [Germany-Austria-France-Italy]. See which matches your preferred style of wine,

 

Tenuta di Fessina, Etna Bianco"A Puddara" 2014 68- Pick this fantastic Sicilian white wine with “crispness’ and citrus flavors. Volcanic soil imparts a unique flavor to Sicilian wines.

 

Deperu Holler, Vermentino di Gallura Superiore "Fria" 2016 72- The black volcanic soil in Sardinia, imparts a special quality to the grapes grown there. I love Vermentino wines because of the spice and herb flavors.

 

Billaud-Simon 2015 75- Chablis [Chardonnay] is my favorite white Burgundy because of the complex and mineral flavors. This is a “village” [grapes grown in a town vineyard] Chablis and will have “some” of those qualities.

 

Sandhi "Altamarea", Santa Barbara County 2014 75- If it is California Chardonnay you desire, pick this one. It is a great Classic California Chardonnay [nice alliteration?]  for the price.

 

Domaine Ramonet 2014 76- This Aligote [sister grape to Chardonnay] is produced by Ramonet, who is an master winemaker in Burgundy. Here is your opportunity to taste his “magic” at a value price.

 

La Monacesca, Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva "Mirum" 2015 78- I love Verdicchio because it is a great wine and a great value. This wine has notes of apples and honeysuckle.

 

Gerard Boulay, Sancerre "Chavignol" 2016 80- Sancerre [Sauvignon Blanc] could be one of the best value white wines on a restaurant wine list. There are great fruit flavors [citrus+pineapple] and it is usually offered at a great price. 

 

 

 

 

Over $100.00

 

Albert Boxler, Reserve 2015 105- Boxler makes great Rieslings. Ask the Sommelier to describe [bone dry-dry-semisweet-sweet] all the Rieslings [German-Austrian-Italian-Alsacian] at this price point. See which one matches your preferred wine style.

 

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey, "Les Combes" 2015 125- St Aubin is “off the beaten path” of more expensive white Burgundies [Chardonnay}. In St Aubin great Chardonnay is made for a great price.

 

Simon Bize & Fils 1er Cru, "Aux Vergelesses" 2014 158- This Chardonnay from SAVIGNY-LÈS-BEAUNE in Burgundy is “rustic” and flavorful. 

 

Giuseppe Quintarelli, "Secco Ca' del Merlo" 2016 120- Giuseppe Quintarelli is a master winemaker in the Veneto [home of Amarone]. Here he is blending several white grapes to make a great wine. Trust Giuseppe to make a beautiful balanced [The wine acts like a wave. The fruit flavors rise in your mouth, crest, and then recede with a long slow finish.] wine. This is the sign of a great winemaker.

 

Jean-Marc Morey, "Les Champs Gains" 2011 168 This Chassagne [Chardonnay] is produced by one of the most respected winemakers. Jean-Marc Morey knows how to make great wine from the amazing 2011 vintage. This wine has 7 years of bottle age, which allows the fruit to evolve and become more complex. 

 

Edoardo Valentini, Trebbiano 2009 176- This is gem to find anywhere!. Valentini’s Trebbiano is unique. It is “unlike” the mass market Trebbiano’s we have come to know. This one is 9 years old, which allows the fruit to emerge, so you can fully enjoy this wine.

 

PULIGNY-MONTRACHET VILLAGE Jacques Carillon 2015 189- This PULIGNY-MONTRACHET [Chardonnay] is a “VILLAGE” wine [grapes grown in town vineyards]. Carillon know how to express the true terroir in his Puligny.

 

 

Miani, Ribolla Gialla "Pettarin" 2013 182- A great wine with peach and citrus flavors. This wine is also “crisp’”[high acid] wine that allows it to “stand up to” rich food. This is a hallmark of Italian white wine.

 

Auguste Clape, Saint-Péray 2016 138- Here is a white Rhone wine from Saint-Péray. The thing of note is the winemaker. Clape is a master winemaker in Cornas [Syrah}. Here is producing a beautiful white wine with citrus, melon, and mineral flavors.

 

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey, "Les Narvaux" 2015 190-Meursault is the most “feminine” of all the white Burgundies [Chardonnay]. Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey knows how to produce a great wine from the great 2015 vintage.

 

Vincent Dauvissat, "Séchet" 2015 210 Chablis [Chardonnay] is my favorite white Burgundy because of the complex and mineral flavors. Dauvissat knows how to express the true terroir of this Premier Crus [grapes grown in the special “Sechet” vineyard] Chablis.

 

Peter Michael "Ma Belle-Fille", Knights Valley 2015 240- If it is California Chardonnay you desire, pick this one. I have tasted Peter Michael Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs many times, and have always been impressed. So will you.

 

Didier Dagueneau, Blanc Fumé de Pouilly "Silex" 2011 265- This wine by Didier Dagueneau, will make you rethink the meaning of Sauvignon Blanc. A serious wine.

 

 

MAGNUM William Fevre, "Valmur" 1.5 L 2013 270- Fevre is one my favorite Chablis [Chardonnay] producers and his wines are affordable. Here is a great value Magnum of Chablis. If you are going to have 5 or more guests for dinner, a second bottle of wine will be necessary. Nothing says celebration like a big bottle of wine being poured at the table.

 

Joseph Drouhin, "Clos des Mouches" 2015 280- I love this wine and have tasted it many times. This Beaune white Burgundy [Chardonnay] Premier Crus [grapes grown in the special Clos des Mouches vineyard] has a lot of “bang” [great fruit flavors and structure] for the “buck”.

 

Bonneau du Martray 2014 300- This CORTON-CHARLEMAGNE is a GRAND CRU [grapes grown in the best vineyards] and will have all the ‘flinty’, mineral, and spice flavors that you could want. The 2014 was a great vintage and so is this pick. A good price for a GRAND CRUS white Burgundy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rose

 

Château Pradeaux, Bandol 2016 85- I love Chateau Pradeaux Bandol [southern France] red, white, and roses. This wine is not going to be the typical pale and insipid Provence rose wine. Château Pradeaux are great winemakers.

 

 

 

 

Red

 

Under $100.00

 

BEAUJOLAIS Marcel Lapierre, Morgon 2016 65- Don’t mistake this Beaujolais for that “super fruity” wine. This Crus Beaujolais from the Morgon region [my favorite] and can be as complex and nuanced as Burgundy Pinot Noir. Marcel Lapierre is a master winemaker in Morgon.

 

 

BARBERA D’ALBA Ca' Viola, "Brichet" 2014 68- BARBERA wines are a perfect to order in restaurants because you can drink them young and they usually priced right. There are dark fruit [plums-blackberries-black cherries] and spice flavors.

 

CHIANTI Castello di Ama, Classico 2015 78- I picked this Chianti because of the producer. Castello di Ama is considered the Chateau LaTour of Chianti. Here is a chance to taste their Chianti at a good price.

 

Graci, Etna Rosso 2015 75- The volcanic soil of Sicily, imparts a unique flavor to the grapes grown there. A lot of sun, ensures there will be dark [plums-blackberries] and red [strawberries-black cherries] fruit flavors in this wine. A great pick.

 

***CORNS Alain Verset 2010 90- Easily the best red wine value on the whole list. Why? The three key factors when choosing a wine from a restaurant list are: Producer-Vintage-Price. Here is a French Syrah from CORNAS, produced by a good wine maker, from the great 2010 vintage. With 8 years of bottle age, this wine’s tannins will have softened and the fruit will have evolved and become more complex. Wow! What a wine value.

 

VOSNE-ROMANÉE VILLAGE Domaine Jean Grivot 2013 92 20086 Domaine Jean Grivot 2011 82- This Pinot Noir is from VOSNE-ROMANÉE in Burgundy. This is a VILLAGE wine [grapes are grown in the town vineyards].  VOSNE-ROMANÉE is a very coveted wine because the grapes grown there possess a “unique” flavor. 

 

TUSCANY ROSSO DI MONTALCINO Canalicchio di Sopra 2015 82- If you love Brunello di Montalcino, but don’t want to pay the high price for it in a restaurant, look at this wine. ROSSO DI MONTALCINO is the “skinny” and “younger” brother of Brunello. You get a lot of the same flavors with less “weight” [lighter style]. The upside is, that you can enjoy these ROSSO DI MONTALCINO’s when they are young, like this 2015.

 

CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE Domaine Isabel Ferrando, "Colombis" 2014 108- The 2014 vintage was good and this CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE will have all the spice, and dark fruit flavors [cherries-plums-blackberries]. A nice wine for the price.

 

BORDEAUX MARGAUX 11262 Château Brane-Cantenac, "Le Baron de Brane" 2010 112- Every big Chateau uses their “best” grapes in their “marquee” label. The “second best” grapes go into their “second label” [in this case Le Baron de Brane]. In a great vintage like 2010, there is little difference in the quality of the “best” or the “second best” grapes. Here is where you are able to drink great Bordeaux from the 2010 vintage for a small price.

 

CÔTE DE BEAUNE Domaine Lignier-Michelot, Fixin 1er Cru, "Arvelets" 2015 98 This is a Premier Crus Pinot Noir [grapes grown in the special Arvelets vineyard] from Fixin in Burgundy. A “pretty” red fruit [strawberry-raspberry] flavored wine, from the great 2015 vintage.

 

PINOT NOIR Bergström "Cumberland Reserve", Willamette Valley 2015 99- If it is USA Pinot Noir you desire, pick this one from Oregon. I prefer the Oregon Pinot Noirs as compared with the California Pinot Noirs. The Oregon Pinot’s fruit is darker and more complex. Did you know that Oregon and Burgundy France are on the same Latitude?

 

CÔTES DU RHÔNE Domaine Jamet, Syrah des Collines Rhodaniennes 2015 110-CÔTES DU RHÔNE is typically a “table” wine but in the hands of  Domaine Jamet, it is “special”.  Domaine Jamet is a master winemaker, and the 2015 was a fantastic vintage.

 

SPANISH RED WINE Lopez de Heredia, Rioja Reserva "Viña Tondonia" 2004 110- Lopez de Heredia Rioja need bottle age to allow the fruit flavors to emerge. Here you have 14 years of bottle age, which should make this Rioja a beautiful wine at a good price.

 

CROZE-HERMITAGE 20383 Alain Graillot 2015 120- I love CROZE-HERMITAGE because it is great French Syrah for a decent price. Alain Graillot is a master winemaker in CROZE-HERMITAGE. This is a perfect restaurant Syrah because you can drink this wine young, as is this 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over $100.00

 

ZINFANDEL Turley, Zinfandel "Pesenti", Paso Robles 2015 128- Helen Turley knows Zinfandel! A big wine with grace and style. This wine will change your perception of Zinfandel.

 

MAGNUM  [2 bottles]   CALIFORNIA - CABERNET SAUVIGNON Ridge "Estate", Santa Cruz Mountains 1.5 L 2014 280- If you having 5 or more guest for dinner, a second bottle of wine will be necessary. Pick this magnum from an “old school” producer of California Cabernet.

 

SAINT-JOSEPH  Jean-Louis Chave 2014 168- SAINT-JOSEPH is a region where great winemakers go to make great Syrah for a “value” price. Jean-Louis Chave is THE master winemaker in Hermitage, where expensive Syrah is made. You get to taste his expertise for a modest price. I love this wine. This wine is very “closed” when first poured and needs to “breathe” [air out}. Ask the Sommelier to decant this wine and allow the fruit to emerge. I love this great value wine.

 

***BORDEAUX - POMEROL Château Le Bon Pasteur 1996 168- I just finished tasting a few 1996 Bordeaux and they were fantastic. With 22 years of bottle age, the fruit was super complex and the tannins very soft. I have tasted the 1990 Le Bon Pasteur several times and have always been “blown away” by the great evolved [think stewed fruit] Merlot fruit flavors. This is the best value red wine at this price point!

 

CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE  Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe "La Crau" 2008 178-  Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe is my favorite CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE producer. This wine is from the decent 2008 vintage and it has 10 years of bottle age, which allows the fruit to evolve and become more complex. Ask the Sommelier if this wine is past it’s “prime” or is it an exotic “beauty”. If you prefer, choose the 2014 vintage for the same price. It will have “brighter” fruit flavors. For a few dollars more, pick the 2007, which was a fantastic vintage.

 

CALIFORNIA - CABERNET SAUVIGNON Spring Mountain, Spring Mountain District 2012 198- If it is California Cabernet you desire, pick this one. This is a Bordeaux blend [Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot-Cabernet Franc] which offers more complex fruit flavors to emerge [black berries-blueberries-cassis]. Spring Mountain is still producing great Cabernet wines without “over extracting” the grapes and creating “fruit bombs”.

 

CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE Domaine du Pégau "Cuvée Réservée" 2012 220- The 2012 vintage in CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE was fantastic. Domaine du Pégau is a great producer of wine. This wine will dark and spicy.

 

BORDEAUX  PAUILLAC Château Haut-Batailley 1990 230- Another fantastic Bordeaux value. The 1990 vintage was excellent and this 28 year old Paulliac should be super “silky” with tons of fruit flavors. A great wine at this price.

 

CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY VILLAGE 17602 Ghislaine Barthod 2011 235- Chambolle is my favorite red Burgundy Pinot Noir. The wine is almost “ethereal”. Light in body but intense red fruit flavors [strawberries-raspberries]. Ghislaine Barthod is a master winemaker in Chambolle and the 2011 vintage was great. It all adds up to a brilliant Pinot.

 

BURGUNDY VOLNAY PREMIER CRU Marquis d'Angerville, "Champans" 2015 245- The 2015 vintage was fantastic in VOLNAY. This Pinot Noir is produced by one of the best winemakers in VOLNAY. In Burgundy, VOLNAY is considered the “female”. Think of a strong woman!

 

BURGUNDY NUIT ST GEORGE "Les Perrières" PREMIER CRU Robert Chevillon, "Les Perrières" 2015 248- Again, another Pinot Noir from the great 2015 vintage. This PREMIER CRU [grapes grown in the special "Les Perrières” vineyard] should be dark and powerful, which is the hallmark of a “masculine” wine

 

BORDEAUX Château Palmer, "Alter Ego" 2009 260- This is the “second label” of Chateau Palmer, from the amazing 2009 vintage. This is a fantastic wine! I tasted the 2009 Chateau Palmer two years ago and thought it was the best wine I drank all year. This “second label” should be as good.

 

CÔTE-RÔTIE  Domaine Jamet 2010 290- This is Syrah from an amazing producer, in an amazing vintage [2010]. You will be stunned by this wine.

 

GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN PREMIER CRU Domaine Fourrier, "Cherbaudes - Vieilles Vignes" 2015 330- This Pinot Noir is a monster. A serious wine with great structure [think of a gymnasts body-tough-sinewy] from the amazing 2015 vintage. Close your eyes when you taste this wine. You do not want any distractions while you try to identify all the different complex fruit flavors that Domaine Fourrier,  is able to express in the terroir of this Premier Crus [grapes grown in the “old vines” of the  Cherbaudes vineyard] Gevrey-Chambertin. 

 

david kleinA