Staff Favorites - Susan Thornett

Susan Thornett
I’ve been with K&L since summer 2007, moving to retail from a restaurant background. I love coming up with fun food and wine pairings! I tend to enjoy and review wines that convey something interesting about their region of origin, and I usually prefer subtle, savoury wines. That said, dessert wines are always a particular weakness of mine! Often my reviewed wines- aperitif, main course or pudding- will be from France, Germany, or Austria. You will also see me recommending heaps of beers- so if you always dreamed of having a personal beer sommelier you can sign up for that. My ideal beer is a crispy English session ale but I enjoy exploring many different styles, from Californian double IPAs to sour Belgian Gueuzes. I’m not a beer expert by any means but we have a great selection here at K&L and I’m having a great time working my way through - hope you can join me!

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2012 Talley Estate Arroyo Grande Chardonnay  
Review Date: 4-16-2014
The secret is out: Talley makes incredible wine, and now we can barely keep it on our shelf. Their Chardonnay has been a favorite to sell for parties, weddings, and just about any get together that needs both crowd pleasing wine and a wine that goes the extra mile for the "serious wine drinkers" of the group. Bright apple and mild toast (15% new oak) show on the nose, continuing onto the palate with hints of tropical fruit and mouthwatering acid. Once again, the texture shines in this Chardonnay, having a creamy palate yet fresh, bright, and clean fruit flavors.
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Chardonnay  
Review Date: 4-16-2014
The 2012 Chardonnay from ABC is just unfair to other Chardonnays in the $20 range. Everything is done right with truly impeccable balance; creamy mid palate, texture, citrus and stone fruit, mild toast, and great mineral and acid to really round out the whole package. Serious wine for $20!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc  
Review Date: 4-16-2014
This 75% Pinot Gris/ 25% Pinot Blanc has great floral and peach characteristics, with great mid palate weight, fresh stone fruit, and medium acidity. Another solid, refreshing white blend from ABC!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Fort Ross "Symposium" Fort Ross-Seaview Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 4-16-2014
If you are ever driving Highway 1 along the beautiful Sonoma Coast, do yourself a favor and take a quick detour to Fort Ross for a tasting. The views are spectacular, and you can get a feeling for how truly special this area is among the California wine growing locations. Their Symposium offering is earthy and gamey, yet strays from getting too heavy on the palate. It is full of bright, clean red and black berry fruit, mineral, and a touch of white pepper.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart RP 93 BC 0

2011 Fort Ross "Fort Ross Vineyard" Fort Ross-Seaview Chardonnay  
Review Date: 4-16-2014
This wine is made from estate fruit grown in vineyards with an ocean view, giving a hint of salinity among zesty acid, a bright mineral streak, and ripe pear, peach, and citrus flavors. This is classic Sonoma Coast, another serious and balanced Chardonnay offering from Fort Ross!
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart WE 93 BC 0

2010 Fort Ross "Symposium" Fort Ross-Seaview Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 4-16-2014
To see this Sonoma Coast winery and its vineyards in the newly formed Fort Ross Seaview AVA reinforces what makes these wines so unique: complex, poor soils on sloped vineyards, proximity to the Pacific, and the region's sense of remote beauty - how disappointing would it be if Pinot Noir from here was anything other than memorable and delicious? Fortunately, as expected Fort Ross' Symposium Pinot Noir is indeed a terrific expresion - with bright, clean berry fruit flavors, given a subtle savor and depth of darker berry flavors from a small amount of Pinotage grapes. This is a delicious wine heading into the spring and summer season - not to be missed.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart RP 93 BC 0

2012 Kirkham Peak Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 4-16-2014
This is a bargain from an appellation known for richer, fuller Pinot Noir, but at prices substantially higher than you see here. Bold and smooth with an array of red fruit flavors and a touch of tannin on the finish, this would stand up to hearty food and even summer BBQ. Although drinking well now, short term ageing should do wonders for this delicious value.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône  
Review Date: 4-16-2014
Vintage after vintage I am amazed at the quality of this massive production and fairly priced wine. The 2010 bottling shows the power of the vintage in a full and chewy style, showing ripe black cherry fruit, kirsch, spice, tapenade and a hint of earth with some food friendly tannin on the finish. For those of you who missed the fantastic 2010 Southern Rhones, here is last call.

2009 I Greppi "Amore" Toscana  
Review Date: 4-16-2014
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I have to admit I was really impressed by this wine from the Tuscan coast in Bolgheri that is a 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc blend. Impressed because usually I am not impressed by this regions wine because they seem a bit too international sometimes, this wine however speaks of Tuscany. The nose is full of sweetish, refreshing fruit aromatics with hints of spice in the back but it is on the palate that the wine really shines. At only 13% alcohol the wine is supremely balanced and that full fruit and spice character follows through but it is the balance that really struck me and the finish that stayed long on my palate that seemed to grow with each passing second. Lovely structure, good acidic balance and a supple texture that allows the wine to be really drinkable now but will age well over the next 3-5 years.
Drink from 2014 to 2018
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart JS 90 BC 0

2008 Bodegas Puelles Crianza Rioja  
Review Date: 4-16-2014
This wine seems to get better each new vintage we get. The red fruited character of the Crianza shines in the 2008 vintage, but it isn't as big or as obvious as a Rhone wine or as over the top as something California. It's a perfect hint of berry balanced by acidity and minerality. It's the red table wine of the summer, for sure, and it's my new go-to bottle for customer recommendations. You get it all for less than $20.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart RP 89 BC 0

1999 Bodegas Puelles Gran Reserva Rioja  
Review Date: 4-16-2014
While we carried the 1999 Reserva in the past, this most recent batch tastes more evolved and the flavors more integrated. The fruit is still there, although it takes a back seat to the soft tannins and the hints of earth that have appeared during maturation. The Puelles wines have always offered supreme value for the money and this wine is no different. Put the 1999 up against a great Bordeaux at your next steak dinner and see which wine wins out.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

2013 Bodegas Puelles Blanco Rioja  
Review Date: 4-16-2014
The best white wine deal in the store -- period. Hands down. End of story (drops microphone and walks off stage). The refreshingly citric acidity is zippy and lively on the palate, but there's plenty of stonefruit and mineral goodness on the finish. For $9.99 you're getting a whole lot of wine for your money. Case up. 12 bottles still won't be enough.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône  
Review Date: 4-15-2014
How Guigal manages to produce such a consistently delicious and well priced Cotes-du-Rhone never ceases to amaze me. And with the stellar quality of the 2010 vintage, boy are we in for a added treat. This perenially over-acheiving wine offers up rich dark berried fruit aromatics, along with just a touch of black tea and mineral nuance. A fine texture, and a clean buttoned up finish make for a well balanced wine with ripe tannins and good acidity. And despite its ubiquity, Guigal's rendition still remains for me the most quintessential Cotes-du-Rhone.
Drink from 2014 to 2017

2011 Cameron "Abbey Ridge" Dundee Hills Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 4-15-2014
I'm proud to be the only retailer in California to carry this bottling. Delicious black plums are followed by cracked black pepper, and vegetal and herbal notes that add to the intrigue.

2012 Kirkham Peak Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 4-15-2014
A wine made for us by a respected winery that we are huge fans of. This is a bright, rich wine with lovely red fruit, baking spice, leather and cinnamon. A fruit forward wine with a nice backbone to give it balance. An excellent example of the 2012 vintage from the Santa Lucia Highlands.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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