Joseph Phelps Insignia Tasting Vertical: 09, 10, 11

Wine Club Miami capped off a milestone with a vertical tasting of the wine that is considered the 1st bordeaux style wine in Napa. 2004 was the first vintage of Insignia to be 100% estate grapes and every subsequent release is as well. A cult following and a flair for the expensive allowed Joseph Phelps winery to make its mark and raise the bar along with the price tag for these highly rated vintages.

Wine list from the the infamous Greycliff in Nassau with a pricey 2011 Insignia at $680 a bottle

2009 Joseph Phelps Insignia
Full-bodied and structured. Dark fruit and licorice on the nose, dark chocolate, black fruit jam, oak and espresso on the palate. Hold until 2020
 2010 Joseph Phelps Insignia
A superb wine. Inky purple in the glass with notes of dry leaves, spice, chocolate mousse, violets and dark berries. The palate is sumptuous: full-body, and loaded with fine, chalky tannins but also fresh. Flavors of blackberry jam, moist charcoal and chocolate.

2011 Joseph Phelps Insignia
The vintage is illustrated in this wines Right Bank character. Though only 1% Cabernet Franc and 2% Merlot, the fruit is red and the overall vibe savory with dry leaves, coffee, leafy spic
e and shiitake. Drinking very well now. Reviews provided by




Great Wines of Italy 2017

James Suckling needs no introduction into the Wine World. Wine Club Miami made their entrance into the sold out event to only find hand selected array of top wine makers, producers and owners of Italy’s best wines. Held at the historic Moore Building in Miami’s Design District was the proper location for hosting this event. Predominately Italian was being spoken but the main language was Italian wine.

Upon walking into the main room, you are immediately ready for your first glass of Franciacorta. This traditional method “metodo classico” of this sparkling wine is of no other. It is mostly of Chardonnay and hand crafted to perfection. By looking at the bubbles fizz you know that it is high quality. Either it be a vintage or non-vintage, they are a “Spumante” to be of high standards. We “cin can” (Italian for Cheers) each other and continue the tour.
There were over 150 bottles to sample. Mostly leaning towards the Tuscan area but James knows his wines. This tour was from the hard to find Barolos to the delicacy of the Nero d’Avolas. If you don’t know what I mean by that, it is saying from the northern to the southern wines. This event was what Italian wine is about. Old World, refined wine making, historic production, aged vines, soil that in admirable and the list goes on.

Wesley Castellanos visiting the Antinori table

This was a tour of Italy that only Mr. Suckling can collaborate into one room. Wine Club Miami was ever so grateful to have spent a few hours to experience most of Italy’s top wines. Wine Club Miami graciasly thanks James and his team, along with the collaborators to make this experience one of the best someone can experience.


Out(side the box) to dinner- Alter Miami

Sometimes ya gotta just get out of the box! Getting out of your comfort zone is often the only way to grow, learn, and evolve — and that is exactly what we did going out for our dinner and wine pairing at Alter Miami.


223 NW 23rd St, Miami, FL 33127 Phone: (305) 573-5996



Alter Miami ( is a cozy little spot in the heart of Wynwood. For those of you not familiar with Wynwood you should drop everything and familiarize yourself with it right away! Wynwood has emerged as Miami’s (and one of the country’s) most cutting edge art districts. Some of the most incredible street art, galleries, music venues, and restaurants have popped up here. And when you follow the arts and music throughout history it has lead to some wonderful places!
manaquin-alterAs you can see we had some wonderfully creative and tasty dishes! The wine pairings were also very unique! I’ve certainly never heard wine descriptors such as “skunky marijuana, Dr. Browns Cream Soda, or Gummy Bears!”  It was a treat to just enjoy a fun dinner with you all. Also, a special thanks to Stephen for popping the bottle of Malbec at the end!

David Yarus, Wine Club President 2016




South of the Border:

Scoring high quality South American wine is no easy feat! Let alone, high quality with some age on them.. I was lucky to acquire some wonderful wines from a client that were exciting to open. Would they have held up over the years?! Who the heck would have thought to save these kinds of wines for this long? Interesting…!


Obviously South America hasn’t been producing high quality recognizable wines for nearly as long as Europe, but that’s exactly where many of the grape varietals came from.   We tasted blind and the group was very humbled. Everyone was very impressed with the quality of the 2002 Clos Apalta & the Cheval des Andes each of which come from a nice pedigree!


David Yarus, Wine Club President 2016



California Cult Wine Tasting

cult/kəlt/ noun: cult; plural noun: cults
1) a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.

California Cult Wines Tasting: September 2016
The Wine Advocate – “Pure sensuality in the glass, the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Kayli Morgan Vineyard is going to be nearly impossible to resist in its youth.”

California Cult Wines Tasting: September 2016- Trends come and go, but good wines never go out of style. Some wines — being so good — even develop a certain mystique around them. Such is the case for this special line up. A special thanks to my friend Rafael Balestra for helping curate the wine!

Winemaker Jesse Katz knocks another one out of the park with his Devil Proof Malbec. If you haven’t had a chance to try his stuff please do! You will not be disappointed!

The Kayli Morgan Vineyard is located just north of Saint Helena, California at the base of Howell Mountain. The soils are a chocolaty clay; holding moisture to keep the vines cool. As summer progresses, the ground forms micro-cracks, allowing the roots to seek water deeper and deeper into the earth; as they do, they pick up minerals that give Kayli Morgan its distinctive characteristics. Kayli Morgan is a single estate vineyard and 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

David Yarus, Wine Club Miami President


Wine Spectator Tasting with Bruce Sanderson

Photos from my Wine Spectator Inglenook & 2012 Alex Gambal‘s Montrachets

IMG_2548  IMG_2540  IMG_2546



Why Follow WineClubMiami via the Blog and Instagram?

Many wine writers will often direct you on the path they traveled.  We spend the time to listen to everyone’s experience and paths’ to conclude what we would consider the best route.

Wine Club Miami is a group of wine lovers that try all types of wine to educate you with.  Each member of the team has their preferences.   I think we all can agree that Mr. James Suckling will never leave Europe.

When we try a wine we beginning by pooling our thoughts and feelings.  Then by combining our personal experiences we all agree amonst the group.  We sometimes agree to disagree but we do take that experience into consideration for our blog.

What is the wine telling you?  Unless you drink often enough and experiment, you can not create a conversation with the wine.  However we often do.  We try not to lead you into what Andrew C. or David Y. may think, but rather to what WineClubMiami says.

We stand by our tastings!  Most importantly, we spend this time to prepare you for your tastings.

Please follow us on Instagram too at WINECLUBMIAMI.





June ’15 – Argentina’s Fine Malbec Vertical “Achaval Ferrer”

June is when Miami locals begin to thin their blood.  We prepare ourself to embrace the scorching heat that is about to come in the summer. And we do this by drinking wine. We truly don’t care about the color but as long as it is therapeutic.

Wineclubmiami was hosted at Matt J’s home. This was my second time far out from South Beach and Downtown Miami, but the scenic route through what trumps a Miami Vice movie is what make Miami. The landscaping to Matt’s home was amazing lush and unique.  The other ten thousand plus s.f. homes made it memorable.

Once we walk in, Jeff immeidately poured juice into our glasses (BYOG – Bring your own glasses). We sneak a peak at the label and read “Kosta Browne”.20150617_201916

Bottle #1 – ’13 Kosta Browne, One Sixteen, Russian River Valley, Chardonnay –The wine was a bright gold. Shimmered in the lighting. It had hints of sour apple and roasted pecans with an Oaky finish. It had a nice texture and body.

Jeff then feeds us about the history of Kosta Browne and their Chardonnay.  We all sipped it to fast for Jeff to finish his sentence.

Special Guest with a Special Wine Bottle #2

Arnie is then introduced as the guest for the evening.  He was kind enough to share a bottle he purchased and held for 23 years. He did not tell us anything about the bot other than he wanted us to experience it.  The team begins with their small case of Tourette symptoms.   We concluded the wine following:


Bottle #2 – Brick brownish color. A sense of age on the nose. It was complex with strong a musty character. The body was absent on this bottle. It lacked texture on the palate and the finish dissolved quickly. However, we knew about the age so we kept studying the wine. It began to open slowly, but still had the strength to make a statement. We felt this bottle was past its prime and it should be drank immediately.  Steven G called out “Petrus”.  Then to our surprise it’s the same maker for this bottle.

1991 Dominus, Napa Valley Napanook Vineyard

Bottle #3 – ’08 Achaval Ferrer. Finca Altamira, La Conulta Mendoza – Inky dark plum, ripe berries on the nose. No tannins and blueberry hints.  The body complimented the flavors, but it could age for many years (5-7). This was an outstanding high quality made wine. The French oak completed the wine.

Bottle #4 – ’03 Achaval Ferrer. Finca Mirador, Medrano Mendoza – Inky plum. The color sticks to the glass. High alcohol on the nose. Cranberries, fennel, cinnamon stick. The finish was of a sweet cranberry. A superb wine. WOW we all said. It was so perfect with the dinner. The was the favorite of the evening.

Bottle #5 – ’02 Achaval Ferrer. Finca Mirador, Medrano Mendoza – Inky and dark. Light rim variation. Looked older than the rest. Sweet spices on the nose. A robustness on the palate. This aged bottle had structure and texture that was one to always remember. We loved this bottle.



All the wines were quiet until we paired them with a flame grilled porterhouse steak and roasted vegetables. Once these two met it was an explosion of finesse and quality.   It was as if the two introduced themselves followed by dancing the entire night. The kosher salt in the beef balanced the wines. The food and wine combination was simply amazing and perfect. At the end of our evening we concluded that Bottle #4 was our favorite for the evening.  We suggest you pick up this bottles from Agrentina and by quantity.  Try them every three years and experience them age with the same dish.


May ’15 – Castello Banfi & Tuscany

Hosted by Brian Connors and Sarah Brownell of Cru Artisan Wines

The club was grace with the Highly Knowledgeable Wine Legend Brian Connor and one of Castello Banfi’s Brand Ambassadors, Sarah Brownell. Both are Certified Master Sommeliers.   They have battled the arduous path to get these certifications so our club can learn it in just a few hours for the cram course.  Just kidding, their certifications are not easy to come by, which made me remember when I was taking the Boards.  20150512_202415

Jeff warms the red sauced based Italian dishes. Brian Connors begins his Italian tour. He is tall and slender. His slicked-to-the-side hair gives the appearance that he was one of “The Outsiders”.  He lectures on the classifications, his personal experiences, archeological findings and the length of time Italians take to classify a wine.   I suggest you hunt him down and get a chance to talk wine with him.  He can keep a conversation about wine interesting for quite some time.

Brian introduced Sarah.  She is professionally dressed and has a look of knowledge. Sitting in the chair, she tells us about how Castelo Banfi makes outstanding wines. Castello Banfi (CB) needs no introduction as they produce some of the popular wines from Tuscany. CB has patented a new wine making process that captures the pure essence of the sangiovese grape quality. The Banfi Family is a successful wine making family, but they are consistently reinvesting their profits in pursuit of the highest quality wines to be made.20150512_214433

2013 Rosso di Montalcino

2012 Poggio Alle Mura Rosso Di Montalcino DOC

2010 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

2009 Poggio Alle Mura Brunello De Montalcino DOCG

All the wines expressed high quality. I have been drinking Castello Banfi since 2001 in their restaurant. and a staple of Tuscany’s superb grapes.





April ’15 Pinot Noir – France and USA

The Pinot Noir is such a fine grape. It is sensitive, soft, and subtle but tenacious enough to grow in may areas. France, Italy, Romania, Argentina, USA. All this while the list can continue on.

April was dedicated to the Pinot grape. Wineclubmiami are highly over obsessive oenophiles. We bow down and praise to Bacchus & Dionysus for the libations. Then the ohms begin. Unless it’s just me who does this.

Hosting this month’s tasting was Pauly aka Padrino. His historic Miami Villa felt as we were entered into a time lapse with all the intricate hand tooled details softly distressed but well maintained. This added charm our evening needed. We began to settle inside his formal dining room filled with his eclectic art collection framed to compliement each piece.

Our first glass was accompanied with soft cheeses, dried fruits, fresh baguette and quality EVOO.

May Pinot Noir

The blind tasting begins.

Brown bag #1. – Brick ruby, high alcohol. Heat on the nose that made me cough. Slow legs. Sandlewood we presumed French oak. Slight tartness. It was definitely Old World. Complex but opened well.

Brown bag #2. – Ruby red, small rim variation. Strong bouquet. Black cherry, soft body. Subtle alcohol on the palate. I felt this was classic old world.

Brown bag #3. – Brick color and murky. Dull shine on the surface. Less viscosity from the prior. I felt we transition the styles. Very earthy nose of soil and . Long finish with hints of leather. A robust wine

Brown bag #4 – Ruby. Bright. A young looking wine. Soft mushroom nose. Sour and textured finish.

The wines were being paired with a nice top sirloin steak, bakes vegetables and roasted potatoes.

Bottle #1 – ’09 Solena, Domaine Danielle Laurent, Willamette, Oregon. Superb wine! A great bottle. Such a high quality we felt it could pass for Burgundy.

Bottle #2 – ’12 Bergström Wines, Bergstöm Vineyards. Dundee Hills, Oregon

Bottle #3 – ’09 Domaine Faiveley, Clos De Vougeot Grand Cru, Burgundy

Bottle #4 – ’12 Domaine Stephane Magnien, Morey-Saint-Denis 1st Cru, Cuvee “Aus Petites Nois

May Pinot Noir

We were all surprised about the qualities of these Oregonian wines. The characteristics were of one a French wine producer can accomplish. The Burgundy wines are always true to their quality, when paying the price. However for the price of the Pinots from the US to the Burgundians, I would invest in drinking wines from Oregon to develop your palate.