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K&L Staff Recommendations
2015 Amalaya Malbec Salta $11.99
95 points James Suckling: "A soft and silky red with violet, berry and dark fruits on the nose and palate. Full body, fine tannins and a flavorful finish. Extremely well craft with elegance and style. Made from high vineyards in Uco Valley with consulting enologist from Bordeaux Jean-Claude Berrouet. Drink or hold." (5/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Tapiz Alta Collection Malbec from eight-year-old vineyards in San Pablo (Uco Valley) that are planted on stonier soils and matured in new and used French oak barrels for one year. It's a juicy, quite fruit-driven, ripe Malbec with some notes of cereals ...Read More »
95 points Decanter: "Gorgeous nose exhibiting an array of aromas such as peppery mulberry, sour and black cherry, violet and a subtle touch of wild strawberry jam. The palate is full, complex, with a fantastic energy and bursting with ripe dark plums; tannins are impressively silky and freshness is amazing. An exceptional nectar from the Agrelo terroir." K&L Notes: Michael Schachner of Wine Enthusiast writes: "As recently as the 1990s, many Argentine wineries produced crude, inconsistent wines that were heavy and lacked balance. Today, following in the footsteps of quality-minded pionee... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Serious and rich aromas with blueberry and blackberry character and hints of almonds. Full body, firm and silky tannins and a fresh and bright finish. Drink now or hold." (5/2016) 91 points Wine Spectator: "***Smart Buy*** A ripe and powerful red, with concentrated flavors of dark cherry, smoke and Asian spice that are loaded with chocolate and fresh-ground coffee notes. Creamy and lush on the rich finish. Drink now through 2020. (KM)" (10/2016) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Earthy blackberry aromas are spicy and moderately complex. Structured and sound on the palate, with a strong tannic framework, this tastes of ...Read More »
96 points James Suckling: "This is great wine with fabulous transparency and clarity showing blackberry, blueberry and floral character. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a superb finish. 80% Malbec and 20% Cabernet Franc. A wine that gives pleasure now but will be even better in 2020." (5/2016) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The one blended wine in the BenMarco line that I tasted was the 2014 BenMarco Expresivo, in this case it's 80% Malbec and 20% Cabernet Franc from Gualtallary, from a young vineyard that gives low yields. The fermentation was completely natural, without any added yeasts, and the élevage was e ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Malbec Pizzella Vineyard is from Altamira. The vineyard was originally 17 hectares and the owner planted an additional 12 (and is planting yet more), so there is room to grow. This is the most harmonious, elegant, and at the same time backward, of the three single-vineyard Malbecs. Not as showy as the others in the palate either as the tannins are austere and the chalky minerality sticks to your teeth. The differences between the three Malbecs is clear as they each reflect where the grapes grow. The riper, warmer one from Ugarteche, the fresher, ...Read More »
Pascual Toso is based in Mendoza's Maipú district, a historic, sun-drenched winegrowing region just southeast of the city. Their Malbec is a benchmark of the section for its supple, juicy red and dark fruits. Even better, it carries a very friendly price.
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The red 2016 JI JI JI is a 50/50 blend of Malbec and Pinot Noir from eight-year-old vines in Gualtallary (Tupungato Winelands) on granite and limestone soils with a 20-centimeter layer of sand that fermented together with carbonic maceration. The wine was bottled unoaked. It feels a lot more serious and complete than previous vintages, and they attribute it to the superb vintage in Gualtallary, which surely affected the wines; ripeness was very slow, and there are more floral aromas. They also had a new, dedicated winery, where, even if they had less tec ...Read More »
97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The nose is so spicy and meaty that the best word to describe the first impression is like going into a 'salumeria' in Italy, the shops where they sell their delicious 'salames.' Smelling it just made me hungry, with plenty of savory notes that reminded me of concentrated yeast extract (Marmite or Bovril), terribly spicy and pungent. The vines were planted in 2007, and in 2013 they harvested the grapes slightly earlier than in 2012. The yields are naturally low, as the vines are still finding their balance. The vinification is soft but long, and so is th ...Read More »
95 points Decanter: "Complex and beautiful nose with flinty, floral and guava notes. Clever use of Riesling which highlights Torrontes and works as a perfect partner. Vibrant, fresh and fruity on the palate, with a delicate, mouth-watering salinity. Delicious, fantastic bottle of wine to be served in all Asian restaurants" Vinous: "Very pale, bright yellow. Pure, fresh aromas and flavors of white peach, flowers and mint. Firm and aromatic in the mouth; not complex or fat but offers considerable immediate juicy appeal. Finishes fresh and persistent. I like the crisp, limey citricity bro ...Read More »
This Malbec is always a terrific value, showcasing Mendoza fruit with a California style, and at a great price. No wonder, since Viña Cobos founder Paul Hobbs is a renowned maker of "cult" Cabernet and Pinot Noir in California. He got his start in Argentina back in the 1990s, consulting for Nicolas Catena.
Wine Spectator: "Bright and juicy, with fresh flavors of red plum, currant and raspberry. Offers a plush, round finish. (KM, Web-2016)" K&L Notes: The Elsa Malbec comes from Valentin Bianchi's Doña Elsa estate in the cool reaches of San Rafael, Mendoza. With just a kiss of French oak, the rich fruit dominates this easy-drinking red, which has barely-there tannins. Invoke your inner-Argentine and drink this alongside grilled flank steak with a garlicky chimichurri. Many previous vintages recommended by Wine Enthusiast as a "Best Buy."
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2016 Torrontés is sourced from 50-year-old parral vineyards that yielded 10,000 kilos per hectare from vines planted at 1,700 and 2,300 meters altitude. Some 10% of the grapes were harvested early to provide freshness. It fermented slowly with neutral bayanus yeasts for some 35 days and lots of fine lees and was bottled without malolactic in the month of June. This is perfumed and lightly floral with the Torrontés notes making an appearance in the palate, which fills the mid palate and leaves that sensation of Moscatel pulp. This has the intensity of ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "A dense and very rich red with blueberry, sliced mushroom and earth character. Full body, yet tight and reserved. Gorgeous to drink now but will improve in the next few years." (5/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Malbec Estate has a similar blend of Malbec for the three zones and altitudes (1,700, 2,300 and 2,600 meters) with wines with higher acidity and a stronger tannic structure. It was bottled after 15 months in barrel (15% new), and the oak is nicely integrated. The nose might be a bit shy; there are subtle herbs, wild berries and some spices. Today I give the edge to ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A partial amount of whole clusters were used in the fermentation of the 2014 Terroir Único Pinot Noir. It fermented in cement vats with indigenous yeasts. The aim with the Terroir Único line is to show the expression of the chalky soils of Gualtallary through the naked varietal so the wines never see any oak. The blend comes from three different vineyards with different soils and altitudes (1,00 to 1,450 meters) that each ripen at different times. Light ruby-colored, with aromas of roses and raspberries, this is very pure, perfumed and intoxicating. The ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "There's a minerality and intensity to this wine with limestone and salt. Full-bodied yet so refined. Sexy and beautiful." (5/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Quimera is a multi-zone blend of 50% Malbec, 24% Cabernet Franc, 18% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon matured in new French oak barrels. This is the first vintage where the Malbec takes half of the blend, as they want to increase the Mendoza/Argentina character of the wine reducing the more herbal varieties. Not that the wine has ever been herbal or green, and indeed this 2012 is ripe and aromatic, with just a hint of ...Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "A ripe and rich red with light jammy fruit, firm tannins and a fresh finish. Very drinkable and enjoyable now." (5/2016) 90 points Vinous: "Saturated bright ruby. Sexy aromas of violet, blackberry and licorice, plus oaky torrefaction notes of bitter chocolate and espresso. Floral, firmly built and nicely delineated; still a bit youthfully tight but boasts lovely energy and definition. Again, there's no easy sweetness here. This savory, firmly tannic wine has the spine for mid-term drinking. (ST)" (3/2016) K&L Notes: Roberto de la Mota, son of the legendary Raul de la Mota (former longtim... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Gran Terroir Malbec is a blend from different vineyards in Gualtallary, the highest part of the department of Tupungato in the Valle de Uco. The grapes fermented in cement vats and matured in used oak barrels for approximately one year. It's very perfumed and spicy, aromatic in a way that makes you go to the glass over and over again. The palate has the 2013 electricity and the Gualtallary chalkiness making for supple, tasty and saline flavors and a very long finish. Simply superb! (LG)" (8/2015) K&L Notes: Based in the Gualtallary district of the Uco Valley... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "A more refined red from here than in the past showing blackberry, blueberry and hints of walnuts. Medium to full body, fine tannins and a fresh and clean finish. Why wait on this? Delicious wine." (5/2016) 90 points Vinous: "Bright medium ruby. Aromas of burnished oak, currant, licorice, violet and bitter chocolate. Plush flavors of dark berries and spices spread out to saturate the palate. Offers lovely breadth and sweetness of fruit for a red wine in this price range. Tannins are sweet and seamless. This is already tasty but will keep. (ST)" (3/2016)
Based in the Gualtallary district of the Uco Valley, an area prized for its complex soils containing calcareous, granite, and stone alluvial deposits, Zorzal, and the brothers Michelini who make its wines, are definitely forging a new path for Argentinean wine. Their m.o. is generally to harvest much earlier than everyone else; they prize acidity in their wines and believe that even wines from the warm, sun-drenched Uco Valley should be crisp, vibrant, and refreshing. All the Zorzal wines feature fruit from the aforementioned Gualtallary district, and ma... Read More »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Good dark red. Dried redcurrant, red plum and cherry on the nose, with notes of leather, geranium, licorice and old barrel. Juicy and intense, with strong acidity giving a penetrating character to the flavors of red cherry, plum, currant and leather. Finishes with smooth tannins, good cut and length, and a building dusty oak quality. Very old-style Malbec. (ST)" (4/2013)
Jancis Robinson: "Dark blackish ruby with lots of evolution at the rim. Heady combination of liquorice and Fishermen’s Friend menthol on the nose. Sweet and rounded on the palate with none of the sassy aggression of a typical 2010 Mendoza Malbec. Really very distinctive with a gentle smoky, charry finish and lots of mellow fruit. (JR)" (2/2015) K&L Notes: This is perhaps the most traditionally made red wine in Argentina. It's awesome, I love it, our staff loves it, and I suspect many of you looking for something different from Argentina might love it as well. A blend of 45% Malbec, 35... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
92 points James Suckling: "A bright and fresh white with sliced apple, pineapple, and salt. Full body, tangy finish. Minerally and stony undertone. Stainless driven." (5/2016) Vinous: "Bright yellow. Stone fruits, spices and smoky oak on the nose. Fat, full and sweet; a very rich, broad, ripe style of Chardonnay with yellow stone fruit and tropical fruits flavors dominating. A bit more exotic than the 2014 version, but finishes with slightly edgy acidity. (ST)" (3/2018) K&L Notes: A rich, ripe, fairly classic Chardonnay with old school California leanings except...this one is from Argentina! The Californ... Read More »
92 points Wine & Spirits: "Grown organically in Gualtallary, this is a terrific value, a crystal-clear expression of the grape grown in the heights of the Uco Valley. There’s no oak, or anything extravagant about it, just pure and crunchy cherry flavors and flowery notes, with the mineral acidity to refresh roast duck." (2/2016)
96 points James Suckling: "Extremely beautiful aromas of dried flower, currant, fresh leather and some tar. Full body with silky tannins that give a beautiful texture that leads to ripe currant, orange peel and incense. Complex and complete. 50% Malbec from Agrelo and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon from Valle de Uco. So beautiful now but will age gracefully." (5/2016) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec is overtly woody smelling in support of chunky earthy berry aromas. A full, racy, balanced palate deals structured tannins and salty plum flavors backed by a heavy ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Malbec is also from Perdriel in Luján de Cuyo. Everything here ferments with indigenous yeasts and the wines mature in well-seasoned oak barrels. A traditional, old-style winemaker who is a keeper of the traditions. As he's now selling younger wines like this one, the nose is quite fresh with grapy aromas and notes of red currants that are quite bright and fruit-driven. The palate is medium-bodied and has good acidity that provides liveliness and a tasty finish. A naked, noteworthy Malbec. 12,000 bottles. (LG)" (8/2015) K&L Notes: If you’re curious about how... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "A sexy bonarda with fresh mushroom, blackberry and smoke. Full and tight with lots of dark fruit, soya, and cooked shiitake mushroom. Very long and flavorful." (5/2016) K&L Notes: Bonarda, which happens to be the same grape as Charbono, is still very commonly grown in Argentina. This example is fantastic: dark fruits and cracked black pepper aromas lead to a nicely dry, structured palate of mixed dark fruits with just a hint of candied violets. If you're in the shop, just ask for the Chilean red with the dapper donkeys in the three piece suits!
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The highly polished and aromatic 2014 Llama Malbec is perfumed, clean and pleasant. The palate is soft and approachable, easy to drink. (LG)" (5/2015)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Crios means offspring (as in children). Susana selected a word to express the notion that these are wines that haven't quite 'grown up' to the same level of maturity as her more expensive Susana Balbo signature label wines, but they receive the same loving care and attention throughout the winemaking process. The label features a series of three connected and overlapping hands, an image inspired by a Mayan artifact. The three hands represent Susana and her two children.
96 points Decanter: "Refreshing, beautiful nose with herbal and minty cool notes but also some chalky, mineral nuances so characteristic of the Gualtallary terroir. Bags of red fruits and lemon on the palate, vibrant, with a sensational invigorating freshness. Austere, precise, Malbec is one of the few grapes able to get such a pure expression. Texture is amazing, tannins are finely grained and oak is superbly managed. This is the treasure of Argentina." 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Eggo Tinto de Tiza is a blend from three different vineyards in Tupungato Winelands in Gualtallary. It's a blend of ...Read More »
The first premium gin from Argentina brings not only divine botanical flavor, but a marriage of fine herbs and spices not normally used in standard gin production. Yerba mate is an herb derived from rainforest trees, and consumed primarily in Central and South America where it's made into a beverage called "mate." It is said to have the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate all in one. Made at a small distillery in Mendoza, Renato Giovannoni’s new project uses the famed yerba mate, as well as peppermint, eucalyptus... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chaman Malbec Reserva is from La Consulta from vines planted in 2006, has ripe aromas of dark cherries, and is juicy and spicy, floral and perfumed, with ripe, sweet tannins, good acidity and pure, clean flavors that call for the next sip, like an explosion in the mouth, with a salty, tasty, mineral finish. Great Malbec and even better price. Drink now-2018." (4/2014) K&L Notes: Luis Reginato, a real student of winemaking as well as organic viticulture (he is a particular fan of Randall Graham's writings), produces this Malbec from fruit grown exclusively in... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "This is so savory and subtle with lemon and blackberry character. Full-bodied, yet dense and refined. Such beauty. Pure." (6/2015) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The nose of the 2014 Malbec is remarkably similar to the 2013 showing high-pitched aromas of wild berries and flowers. Its in the palate where you find a little more savoriness, perhaps more spicy flavors with a slightly bitter finish. It's a blend of grapes from different location across Mendoza that represents very well what is the Achával-Ferrer interpretation of Malbec. (LG)" (8/2014) 91 points Wine & Spirits: "No tasting note given." (2/2016) Jancis Robinson: "Very fresh ...Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright medium red. Lively cherry and raspberry aromas are lifted by a floral topnote and a touch of sweet oak; there's something almost Pinot-like about this. Suave and fine-grained, with the floral quality repeating in the mouth. Savory and light on its feet; a distinctly elegant, sexy Malbec with good ripeness and light pepper and herb nuances. Finishes with lovely floral lift and fine-grained tannins. Aeration brought a bit more oakiness." (3/2016) K&L Notes: Lagarde is a producer of primarily Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc based wines in the Lujan ... Read More »
One of only two DOC Lujan de Cuyo Malbecs exported to the US, Luigi Bosca's Malbec shows spicy mixed berry fruit, toast and cracked black pepper on the nose, leading to a spicy palate, with intense fruit, excellent presence, length and overall balance. A great example of why "la primera zona" is one of the best spots on earth to grow Malbec!
Atamisque is the first property you will see upon entering the Uco Valley from the north. Run by Loire Valley native Jean Edward, who was instrumental in establishing Chandon's Argentine operations in the 1970s, Atamisque is making a very good range of wines from their own vineyards. This Malbec comes from 80-year-old vines growing on two separate vineyards in the Uco Valley. A nose of rich, macerated black cherries is intense, nearly pungent, and leads to a palate of big juicy fruit, but with surprising freshness as well. Subtle savory tones and a hint ... Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "A fresh Malbec with blackberries and dried herbs on the nose. Clean, fun and fruity." (5/2016) K&L Notes: Grown in the sand, clay and rock of Lujan de Cuyo with fresh water from the snow melt of the Andes Mountains, this plush wine is a deliciously pure expression of Argentinian Malbec.
Wine Spectator: "Ample spicy notes accent the cherry and brambly flavors. Creamy midpalate, with notes of tangerine on the finish." (5/2016)
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Malbec Q is sourced from La Consulta (Altamira) and Vista Flores. This wine has changed since 2010; now only 30% to 50% of the wine is oaked and the rest is matured in cement vats. The oak is imperceptible, and there are plenty of aromas of violets and blueberries with some aromatic herbs, all fruit. What Sebastian Zuccardi looks for is to have some herbal/countryside aromas and a lively palate with good acidity, which is what you find here. This is really tasty, with a fine, chalky tannin (from Altamira?) and just plain great. (LG)" (8/2015)
El Libre is a private label featuring tasty versions of Argentina's most famous grape varieties. Bonarda is often overlooked, but can produce a wine of real originality and freshness. In this example, savory dark fruited aromas lead to a meaty palate, with some of Bonarda's trademark raspy fruit and rusticity. A great wine for your BBQ's! (Joe Manekin, K&L Argentinean wine buyer)
94 points James Suckling: "This very intense with sea salt, blackberry and dried meat aromas and flavors. Full body, chewy and polished tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Stylish intense wine. A blend of malbec and syrah. Made from biodynamic grapes. Drink or hold." (5/2016) K&L Notes: Ernesto Catena (son of the legendary Nicolas Catena, younger brother of San Francisco resident Laura Catena) produces his Tikal wines in a rich, bold spicy style that from some accounts perfectly emulate his personality and lifestyle. That said, within these big, impressive wines lies tasty fruit and lots ... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Beautiful aromas of blackberry, black licorice and spice follow through to a full body, with ultra-fine tannins and a blueberry, dark chocolate and light nut aftertaste. Drink or hold." (6/2015) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Malbec comes from two old vineyards in La Consulta (Rosas and Paganoto) and some 30% from Gualtallary in the Uco Valley. It has a nose of smoke and peat intermixed with violets, plums and dark cherries. The palate has a fine texture shaped by sweet, round tannins and good freshness. This is a very tasty Malbec. (LG)" (8/2015) K&L Notes: Laura Catena, proprietor of Luca... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Finca Adalgisa is an old-style Malbec from Luján de Cuyo showing a mixture of aromas reminiscent of brick dust, leather, cured meat, violets and spiced-up cherries. The palate is medium bodied and has very good acidity. It's polished, has a fine texture and tastes like the wines from yesteryear. Unusual, with plenty of character. 6,500 bottles were filled in November 2012, and it shows the time in bottle. (LG)" (8/2015) K&L Notes: This comes from 100 year-old Malbec from a .85-hectare parcel on a 3-hectare vineyard site in the Lujan de Cuyo district. Carme... Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Cincuenta y Cinco, pure Pinot Noir from a vineyard planted in 1955 (cincuenta y cinco is Spanish for 55), is an elegant, direct red with tension obtained by fermenting the grapes from those stony, sandy and clay-rich soils in concrete vats with half of full clusters and indigenous yeasts. Forty percent of the wine matured in second use French oak barriques for eight months, while the rest of the volume was kept in concrete until blending and bottling. I tasted it twice because proprietor Piero Incisa della Roccheta was not happy with how the fir ...Read More »
Owned by a brother and sister team in an old tile factory located in the district of Maipu, this is a tasty new Mendoza Malbec we recently added to the section. Spicy, dark and purple-skinned fruit flavors are generous, indeed, quite delicious.
Produced from fruit grown on 4 hectares on the extensive Vines of Mendoza project in Tunuyán, this is delicious Malbec, brought to you by Nicole DeMeo and one of our own local ER doc's, Jen Grayzar. Tasty, plummy dark fruit shows lovely floral qualities as well. A delicious Malbec to enjoy on its own or with your next asado!
Luis Gutierrez of eRobertParker.com writes: "Gen del Alma is the personal project of Gerardo Michelini and his wife Andrea Muffatto. Fresh, light, sometime irreverent wines that are hugely popular among young sommeliers and wine nuts in Argentina. Some wines are bottled and sold very early and I already tasted some 2015s... that were not only bottled, but also sold out! A name to keep in the radar screen."
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2008 Gran Assemblage is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from the same vineyard in Perdriel where the winemaker, year after year, sources the grapes for all his wines. The nose transported me to a past era of classic wines with evolved, tertiary aromas of cured meat, paprika, brick dust and something honeyed, reminiscent of pollen. The palate is polished with earthy Cabernet tannins and pungent flavors that are very tasty and have a classic, austere finish. Back to the future with Carmelo! (AG)" (8/2015) K&L Notes: Produced from on... Read More »
Produced from 100% Lujan de Cuyo Malbec, this is a lovely new rosé addition. Given the soft texture, gentle red fruits and hints of melon, we would be hard pressed to find a rosé from anywhere as elegant, food friendly and tasty as the Bodini! Highly recommended.