Staff Favorites

If you’re going to have Robert Parker or Stephen Tanzer over for dinner, selecting a wine they’ve rated highly will be a nice choice. However, when you’re buying wines for yourself, we’d love to see you find wines that match up your unique palate and pocketbook. We have a large staff of friendly and knowledgeable wine professionals that taste hundreds of wines each week. They can put you in touch with bottles that you are likely to love, often at a much lower cost than the highly-rated gems that often see a run-up in price and frequent availability issues. Like any great group of opinionated professionals, our staff has varied tastes themselves. Often our customers will find a particular staff member with a style that corresponds to their own. That concept works extremely well in our retail stores, and this section is our effort to bring you the same online. Don’t get us wrong, we love the highly rated wines from the press and will continue to offer them, but we think you’re missing out if you’re not augmenting those selections with picks from our excellent staff. Here are their favorites. (Click on a name to see their other selections - or to drop them a line.) Cheers!


Reviews

Page:  <<   prev  4  5 6   next  >>
2006 Baron Fuente "Grand Millésimé" Brut Champagne
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/10/2014 | Send Email
  Richer, rounder, and a touch more RS than the other Baron Fuente bottlings. Another stunning champagne at an incredible price.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart WS 91 BC 0

Baron Fuenté "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/10/2014 | Send Email
  Such an incredibly made Champagne, and an incredible price! Spending three years on the lees, the texture of this wine is lush, while the stainless steel aging preserves the racy acidity and aromatics. This is a daily drinker champagne.
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart WS 91 BC 0

2012 Dare (Viader) Napa Valley Cabernet Franc
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/10/2014 | Send Email
  It is such a privilege to be able to carry this passion project by Viader. In 2003 Delia Viader decided to start bottling her estate grown Cabernet Franc. An integral part of the signature Viader blend, on its own the Cab Franc is crushed blueberries, violets, cocoa, and pencil shavings. A stunning representation of the varietal.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Viader Napa Valley Proprietary Red
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/10/2014 | Send Email
  I recently ventured to a property I haven't visited in nearly a decade, and just as before it took by breath away. We sat on the balcony overlooking the northern region of Napa Valley, high above the Valley floor, and directly above the organically farmed "hillside" (it's more like a cliffside). Viader's commitment to quality, and honestly made wines is so evident in the glass, it's a wonder that not more people know of this exclusive, small production wine. Dark fruit, with stunning balance, elegant aromatics...the property is captured in the glass. Once you taste Viader, I am confident you will strive to experience previous vintages, and collect their future releases. Our ability to obtain the current releases was a generous offer from Viader, thanks in part to a very passionate plea to carry their stunning wines.

Kilchoman K&L Exclusive Single Bourbon Barrel #74 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
 By: Jeffrey Jones | Review Date: 3/10/2014 | Send Email
  At first there is a burst of smoke that is followed by aromas of something sweet and pretty. In mouth there is peat and smoke but also a soft subtle creaminess.A first class single malt.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Kilchoman K&L Exclusive Single Bourbon Barrel #172 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
 By: Jeffrey Jones | Review Date: 3/10/2014 | Send Email
  There is a smokey greeting with hints of something else going on. In the mouth cask 172 has a certain amount of subtle richness in comparison to cask 74. This single malt is complex and very good. To enjoy and contemplate.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva
 By: Mike Parres | Review Date: 3/10/2014 | Send Email
  I met Fabrizio Bianchi from Monsanto in the early eighties and have been a fan and follower ever since. Mr. Bianchi is certainly one of the earliest pioneers in trying to change the image of Chianti as well as the grapes involved. Fabrizio is a big believer in Sangiovese, the main grape in Chianti and the backbone of most Tuscan wines. He was one of the first in Chianti to make wines 100% Sangiovese in the early '70s. The terroir of this region is evident and expressed consistently, spicy, mineral laden, complex fruits and good acidity. I love this 2010, but be warned! It will go quick!

2010 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva
 By: Greg St. Clair | Review Date: 3/10/2014 | Send Email
Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image
  The fabulous 2010 vintage provides another stunning wine. Monsanto was one of my first loves in Italian wine. It is amazing how they have maintained such high quality for so long, without ever changing style. This wine has more richness, a broader fuller feel on the palate than for most of their wines and the aromatics are a lot more open and vibrant but underneath you can feel the classic Monsanto length and depth. So much fruit now but that baby fat will go away in a year or so and then it will age extraordinarily well.
Drink from 2014 to 2025

2012 Neyers "Sage Canyon" Rhone Blend
 By: Mahon McGrath | Review Date: 3/9/2014 | Send Email
  Gamy strawberry aromas pair with floral brightness in this vivacious, light-medium bodied, moderately tannic red. Taste it, and the florality takes the upper hand; the wine seems to ascend, though it keeps some dry spice flavors lower down, which emerge on the finish, and tether this balloon to earth. You may not imagine yourself in the French Mediterranean while sipping this, but for a California red blend in that style, this is compelling and integral.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart WS 91 BC 0

2010 Joseph Jewell "Hallberg Vineyard" Russian River Pinot Noir
 By: Mahon McGrath | Review Date: 3/9/2014 | Send Email
  Rich dark cherry aromas mingle with sassafras on the nose of this Russian River Pinot Noir. On the palate, the fruit has a very natural, un-confected power to it, with shadings of rosehip leading to a lively, vibrant finish.

2010 Joseph Jewell "Hallberg Vineyard" Russian River Pinot Noir
 By: Patrick Cu | Review Date: 3/9/2014 | Send Email
  Joseph Jewell offers this gem of a Pinot Noir from Hallberg Vineyard in Russian River Valley. Pleasant aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry jam, herbs, and subtle spice lead the way to a very balanced wine. The mouth feel is soft and round as flavors of deep red fruits, a touch of earthiness, and cedar come together seamlessly. This Pinot has good restraint, and never reaches the point of being overripe or too flabby. It's showing really well right now, especially for $30.

2012 Niepoort "Docil" Loureiro Vinho Verde
 By: Christie Cartwright | Review Date: 3/9/2014 | Send Email
  I'm very excited for this newest addition to our Vinho Verde family! In LA, where we have Vinho Verde weather all year round, it couldn't have come any sooner. Unlike your typical VV, this one is more vinous on the palate, with less crazy spritz and more of a elegant zing or fizz if you will. This is mouthwateringly refreshing with zippy acidity and wonderful texture. I'm getting a case before it disapears!!!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart RP 90 BC 0

Daniel Ginsburg "Grande Reserve Sous Bois" Brut Champagne
 By: Jim Boyce | Review Date: 3/9/2014 | Send Email
  Impeccable balance is the key to this Champagne. Somehow, amidst the rich and toasty qualities, the wine stays so fresh and vibrant and finishes completely dry. Another amazing Champagne from Daniel Ginsburg!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Shenandoah Vineyards "Special Reserve" Zinfandel
 By: Jim Boyce | Review Date: 3/9/2014 | Send Email
  Our longtime staff and customer favorite Zinfandel from the Sobon Estate winemakers returns better than ever in 2012! Brambly and full of lush red fruit, this zin is ready to take on any picnic or backyard bbq. Shenandoah is an awesome party wine and crowd pleaser at $10. Stock up!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Niepoort "Docil" Loureiro Vinho Verde
 By: Keith Mabry | Review Date: 3/9/2014 | Send Email
  Bright, clean and snappy on the palate. This is a more amped up version of your standard Vinho Verde. Notes of meyer lemon, mandarin orange and crunch minerality, it has just a touch of CO2 for a nice zippy finish. One of the best versions of its kind and at an exceptionally low price!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart RP 90 BC 0

2012 Niepoort "Docil" Loureiro Vinho Verde
 By: Krista Johnson | Review Date: 3/9/2014 | Send Email
  Absolutely refreshing! This zippy V.V. is full of every citrus zest you can imagine. Its racy acidity leaves your palate quenched, and the fresh "wet rock" mineral finish just begs you for more sipping. This is a warm weather staple.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart RP 90 BC 0

2011 Te Mata "Estate" Cabernets/Merlot Hawkes Bay New Zealand
 By: Mike Barber | Review Date: 3/8/2014 | Send Email
Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image
  This is a fantastic value for any fan of hearty Cab/Merlot blends. A rich, dark fruit core and just enough tannin structure and spice make this a very serious wine for not a lot of money.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2019
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Te Mata "Coleraine" Bordeaux Blend Hawkes Bay
 By: Mike Barber | Review Date: 3/8/2014 | Send Email
Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image
  The lesser known, warmer weather bay of the New Zealand wine country, Hawkes Bay is capable of producing world-class Cabernet and Syrah, and this bottle is one of its best. The skills of the Te Mata winemakers shine in this Bordeaux blend from a great vintage. Richer than most Bordeaux but still balanced and delicious, it has incredible layers of flavors with a good backbone and just a touch of leather.
Drink from 2016 to 2029
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart BC 96 JS 93

2012 Te Whare Ra (TWR) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand
 By: Mike Barber | Review Date: 3/8/2014 | Send Email
Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image
  The biodynamic Te Whare Ra estate produces very expressive, quintessential cool weather wines. They like acid in their wines and it shows. Their Sauv Blanc is always one of our best, with searing bright melon and flowers that leave a lasting impression on the palate.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2017
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Te Whare Ra (TWR) Pinot Noir Marlborough New Zealand
 By: Mike Barber | Review Date: 3/8/2014 | Send Email
Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image
  Classic New Zealand Pinot from this cool weather estate. This beauty is bright and sharp, with lean red fruit, plenty of acidity, and a long finish.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2019
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1989 Cragganmore 23 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
 By: Mike Barber | Review Date: 3/8/2014 | Send Email
Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image
  I don't say things are perfect very often, especially when rating wine and spirits, but this Cragganmore might be. The pedigree of the distillery is well known (it was always the great whisky writer Michael Jackson's favorite), but it takes a special barrel like this to show what the distillery can really do. The evolution of flavor in this malty beast is incredible, and your taste buds will thank you with every sip. A perfect representation of Speyside, it starts with toasted almonds and light caramel flavors that warp into a mixture of coffee, leather, and chili spices. Beautiful whisky!
Drink from 2014 to 3014
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2005 Glenrothes 8 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Sovereign" Single Sherry Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
 By: Jeffrey Jones | Review Date: 3/8/2014 | Send Email
  A delicious pleaser. It is rich, round and soft and very easy to drink. There is a nice long subtle spicy finish that keeps this Glenrothes interesting. As with most cask strength single malts, a splash of water helps open up the flavors of the spirit.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1997 Glengoyne 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Sovereign" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
 By: Jeffrey Jones | Review Date: 3/8/2014 | Send Email
  This single malt is for those who want a whisky that is not too heavy but is more medium bodied. This Glengoyne offers a lot of complexity with layers of flavors. There is a nice long finish to round out the experience.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Montefresco Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/8/2014 | Send Email
  If you're looking for a wine in the under $15 category this is a steal! Peppery, with lush fruit, this is great for a backyard barbecue or weeknight sausage loaded pizza party.
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2004 Larrivet Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
 By: Steve Bearden | Review Date: 3/8/2014 | Send Email
  Aromas of gravely earth, hot rocks, baked cherries and a whiff of smoke jump from the glass when this is poured. Ripe currant fruit, minerals and spice are present in the middle which is surprisingly rich for the vintage and appellation. OK, maybe not a baby Haut-Brion, but you get the idea.

Bruno Michel "Rebelle" Extra Brut Champagne
 By: Christie Cartwright | Review Date: 3/8/2014 | Send Email
  This extra Brut will surprise and seduce your palate. Aromas of baked stone fruits of apples, pear, and pie crust. The palate is focused and intense but gives way to its lovely biscuity notes with piercing minerality and acidity on the finish. For an extra Brut I would say this has more flavor and texture than most, especially at the price!
Price: Hidden View Price BC 0

Bruno Michel "Rebelle" Extra Brut Champagne
 By: Mari Keilman | Review Date: 3/8/2014 | Send Email
  I typically don't drink a lot of extra brut because it always makes me want a giant plate of fresh oysters (which are hard to get in LA), but the Bruno Michelle Rebelle is so full of ripe, baked pomme fruit that it's delicious on its own, with sushi or a plate of oysters (if you have easy access to one). The Rebelle is an extra brut in the way extra brut was meant to be; enough ripe natural sugar the way mother nature intended so that additional sugar isn't needed!
Price: Hidden View Price BC 0

2010 Wiston Estate "South Downs Cuvée Brut" West Sussex, England
 By: Joe Manekin | Review Date: 3/8/2014 | Send Email
  ENGLISH METHOD! That's right, the methode champenoise has origins in England. That's not where the Champagne comparison ends for Wiston, as their vines grow on prime chalky soils, they have been farming their land for over 250 years, and the grapes grown are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. How's the wine? It's spectacular. Very linear, focused and brightly citric, with incredible minerality and length on the finish. It sort of reminds me of Bruno Michel's Blanc de Blancs, that kind of crackling, bright, acid and chalk driven style. Definitely worth a try.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Niepoort "Docil" Loureiro Vinho Verde
 By: Joe Manekin | Review Date: 3/8/2014 | Send Email
  This is spectacular everyday white wine! If Quinta da Aveleda is a great introduction and ol' reliable bottling of vinho verde, consider the Niepoort "Docil" as another, more subtle, more serious take on the style, but every bit as gulpable (maybe even a bit more?) 100% Loureiro grapes, softly textured, all crisp tart apples and citric flavors, and as I mentioned earlier, so very drinkable. Dirk Niepoort continues to be one of the most versatile winemakers around, and I love that he still thinks it important to make great, affordable white wine!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart RP 90 BC 0

2011 Castello di Buttrio "Mon Blanc"
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/7/2014 | Send Email
  A very interesting white, that reminded me of those little wax bottle candies filled with colored liquid, minus any residual sugar.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Erik Banti Il Vermentino Toscana
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/7/2014 | Send Email
  A Summer quaffer filled with tropical fruits and mouth watering acidity!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Sartarelli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/7/2014 | Send Email
  Nice texture, a bit creamy, and surprisingly layered. A perfectly good wine at a great price.
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart JS 91 BC 0

2012 Pieropan Soave Classico
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/7/2014 | Send Email
  As my introduction to Soave several years ago, the Pieropan is still making a delicious, light, refreshing, mineral driven wine. Lime pith comes through on the clean finish finish.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart JS 91 BC 0

2012 I Stefanini "Selese" Soave
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/7/2014 | Send Email
  Just a touch off dry with great acidity, and a touch of green almond. I'd stick a straw in it.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Blason Pinot Grigio Isonzo (1L)
 By: Illya Haase | Review Date: 3/7/2014 | Send Email
  Move over Grüner! You are not the only liter in town. Great aromatic's of floral and Autumn fruit. Wonderfully round mouth feel and succulent acidity. This is the perfect poolside wine!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart GR 2 BC 0

2011 Poggiarellino Rosso di Montalcino
 By: Illya Haase | Review Date: 3/7/2014 | Send Email
  This was one of the highlights at K&L's recent tasting. Just lovely fruit and structure that go seamlessly together. Beautiful accents of red cherry and Tuscan herbs. With integrated tannins and acidity. This should be your go to weekday wine!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Lynch Bages Blanc, Pauillac
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/7/2014 | Send Email
  The white wine that is produced by Lynch Bages, is nothing short that exquisite. It is the definition of delicious. This is a wine that I either want to hoard all to myself, or share with someone that will appreciate the true bold grace of the blend. I'd be hesitant to prepare any dish that would interfere with the dynamic nose and palate of this wine. Herbaciousness that would compliment a pristine fillet of locally caught river fish, napped with a seductive butter sauce that has been slowly infused with fresh thyme and melted leeks.

Lallier Grande Reserve Grand Cru Brut Champagne
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/7/2014 | Send Email
  Served at Fete with tasty passed hors d'oeuvres encased in puff pastry, this champagne was absolutely delicious. Full, rich texture, palate cleansing acidity, and fine streams of magic bubbles.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

WINE CLUB

Club Price: $34.99
WE 92 BH 91 ST 90

2011 Montrose, St-Estèphe Pre-Arrival
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/7/2014 | Send Email
  Tasted at Fete- Great fruit, savory notes of sage, racy acidity that comes through, extending the finish. Velvety tannins. I'm looking forward to tasting how this one evolves.

2011 Bodegas Olivares "Altos de la Hoya" Jumilla
 By: Jim Barr | Review Date: 3/7/2014 | Send Email
Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image
  Medium-deep ruby in color, this puppy is loaded with fruit of a cassis, blackberry to raspberry, and Chilean Jasmine nature with white pepper spiciness and a creamy tone as a back note both on the nose and across its broad, rich, viscous, deeply flavored palate impression. On the finish it is long, warm and gives a wet forest floor note of minerality in what has to be one of the most amazingly complex, “cheap” red wines that I have ever tasted. Rusty has demanded that I bring home cases upon cases of this wonderful Gem to be one of our house reds for the next ten thousand years. And, no, it was not named after a professional boxer. 14.0% ABV
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart ST 91 BC 0

2009 Tolaini Valdisanti
 By: Greg St. Clair | Review Date: 3/6/2014 | Send Email
Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image
  I often hear sales pitches from salesmen that pit the wine in question with some well known favorite that is very expensive. In this case they'll say this 2009 Tolaini Valdisanti is the “Poor Man’s Tignanello.” My guess is that most "rich men" buy low and sell high rather than the converse, and are always ahead of the curve... that’s how they get to be rich! However this 2009 Tolaini Valdisanti (Super Tuscan) is going to make you rich as well. I loved its complex blend of earth, wild herbs and cigar box like aromatics. Then on the palate the 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc cuvee shows lots of power, and although there is solid structure underneath, the wine is supple, excellently balanced and has a lengthy finish. I was really surprised by the quality of this wine and how much I liked the Cabernet-based blend from southeastern Chianti Classico. After tasting, I was ready for a price point that was going to be 2-3 times what this is! This is truly an outstanding deal - drinkable now and will age very well for a decade to come.
Drink from 2014 to 2024
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart RP 94 BC 0

1992 Longmorn 21 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
 By: Mike Barber | Review Date: 3/6/2014 | Send Email
Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image Reviewer image
  Great release here from a well known distillery that never puts out distillery bottlings in the U.S. This single malt does the best when it is expressed with sherry barrels like this one: dark, decadent and very rich.
Drink from 2014 to 3014
Price: $115.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Bodegas Valdemar "Inspiracion" Rioja
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/6/2014 | Send Email
  Ripe, crushed blackberries, a little port-y, and a lovely floral finish.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart WS 91 BC 0

2010 Palacios Remondo "La Montesa" Rioja
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/6/2014 | Send Email
  Bright fruit, balanced, and soft to medium tannins. I think it will be hard to find someone that doesn't find this wine enjoyable.

2012 Tinto Negro Malbec Uco Valley
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/6/2014 | Send Email
  Consistently a great wine! Almost extremely sweet on the entry, and then pushed aside by refreshing, juicy acidity on the finish.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

2009 Château Thénac Bergerac Rouge
 By: Ralph Sands | Review Date: 3/6/2014 | Send Email
  During my 45 visits to southwestern France I have tasted hundreds of Bergerac reds and this is by far the best I have ever tasted. It's a big dark wine with lots of powerful fruit but without the rough and rustic tannins this area is known for. This wine is made by one of the great winemakers in Bordeaux Denis Durantou the owner of Ch. Eglise Clinet in Pomerol. Ralph Sands
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart WE 90 BC 0

2010 Chalone "Limited Release" Chalone Pinot Noir
 By: Keith Wollenberg | Review Date: 3/6/2014 | Send Email
  This is serious Pinot Noir, clearly showing focus and minerality from the limestone soil in which it is grown. Delicious and rather Burgundian in character, this is California Pinot for the Connoisseur. And it will not break the bank! Don 't miss this, unless you really love the jammy fruit-forward style, which this is definitely not. But if elegant, food-friendly Pinot is a favorite, DO try this one.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart W&S 92 BC 0

2009 Querciabella Chianti Classico (6L)
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/6/2014 | Send Email
  Guaranteed to impress your friends. Lush, nuanced, with great structure this wine shows black cherries, sweet balsamic vinegar, cocoa, and baking spices. Ready to drink, but certainly able to age another 5+ years in a bottle of this size.

2009 Bladnoch "Young" K&L Exclusive Heavily Peated Single Barrel #57 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/6/2014 | Send Email
  Very Mezcalesque. I'm excited to play with this in various cocktails. First on the list is something involving ripe Santa Rosa plums, and fresh rosemary.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1992 Longmorn 21 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
 By: Melissa Smith | Review Date: 3/6/2014 | Send Email
  Dynamic, with overtones of dried orange peel and wood.
Price: $115.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Page:  <<   prev  4  5 6   next  >>