Staff Favorites - Melissa Smith

Melissa Smith
Growing from a Redwood City sales position in 2009, to the company sake buyer in 2011, and then to the Head Sommelier in 2013 my love of wine spreads the gamut from mineral laden Sancerres to California Zinfandels aged over 20 years, Urban wines to classic Bordeaux, and 99% of the spirits that we carry. As a CIA trained chef I spent 15 years in some of the top kitchens in the country until my love of wine won out and I transitioned to the wine industry in 2004 where I began utilizing my skills as an instructor, a writer, and a restaurant consultant after passing the introductory level exam of The Court of Master Sommeliers. In 2010, I developed the first iPhone app for wine pronunciation, the Enotria Guide. In 2011, I became one of the few certified Sake Sommeliers in the country through the Sake Education Council. Outside of K&L I run private and corporate wine and spirits events around the Bay Area, consult on private cellars, and attempt to write professionally.

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2008 Taylor LBV Port   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-22-2014
This filtered LBV is ready to drink now. Its purple hue reflect the nose of enticing violets, blackberries, blueberries, plums and the faintest hint of peat. Its medium-sweet palate is full of dark plums, figs, dates, cocoa, and exotic spices. A beautiful after-dinner drink or for pairing with dessert.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Elderton "Estate" Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia  
Review Date: 10-22-2014
There is a fine sense of proportion and balance to this big, brash wine which offers a measure of restraint to the bold fruit. The flavors and aromas of blackberry, plum, pepper, mint, spice and smoke are lifted by fine grained tannins, moderate acid and a persistent limestone infused finish. In today's market for world class wines, this is a screaming value.

Michel Couvreur K&L Exclusive Overaged Peated Malt Whisky 750ml   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-22-2014
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One of the best bottles of "Scotch" I have had in a long while. I have been moving away from peated malts recently...but this bottle has the perfect marriage of smoke and sherry. The malt has a beautiful chewy texture and richness on the palate (perhaps owing to the fact that they don't remove any of the first fill sherry barrel residue before bottling). It is brimming with red forest fruits, sweet rancio tones, wood spice and earthy nuances. A really complete drop and serious value for the money, in my book.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Russell's Reserve K&L Exclusive Single Barrel #17 Kentucky Bourbon 750ml  
Review Date: 10-22-2014
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Fantastic, simply fantastic. Sometimes that's all that you need to say. With great Bourbon getting so hard to find I'm sure this will be gone soon, too, so grab some while you can.
Top Value!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Rutherford Ranch Napa Valley Chardonnay  
Review Date: 10-22-2014
While this attractive charmer may not quite qualify as the "Hunter Pence" of Chardonnays, it does express his buoyant, infectiously-engaging personality and ability to generate hits with its unabashed aromatics and "give-it-your-all" flavors of ripe, luscious peach, glistening apple, creamy pineapple and mouthwatering citrus. It even manages a kiss of oak to balance the vibrant array of orchard fruits. A surefire hit with your base, and one to keep around for all your post-game and holiday celebrations......
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart WE 90 BC 0

2011 Clos des Fous Cabernet Sauvignon Cachapoal Valley  
Review Date: 10-22-2014
This is as elegant an everyday-priced Cabernet Sauvignon as I've had from Chile in a while. It's not the most powerful, not the richest, but certainly the most nuanced, layered, and balanced, with classy red fruited aromas and flavors nicely melding with subtle savory goodness and very polished, fine tannins. If you appreciate Cabernet with subtlety and style (not two words I associate often with under $15 Cab!) then this may be a wine to load up on.

Lustau Dry Amontillado "Los Arcos" Solera Reserva   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-22-2014
This dry Amontillado is a perfect accompaniment to cured meats and other Spanish style snacks. With its beautiful amber color, this Amontillado has pungent aromas of roasted nuts, coffee and dried figs, while the palate includes candied orange peel, seawater, toffee and butterscotch. Its pronounced flavors open up your pairing possibilities to more than just snacks, it could even hold up to a full array of grilled meats.

2012 FRAM Pinotage Citrusdal Mountain  
Review Date: 10-22-2014
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Wow! Here's a Pinotage that will win over even those who have been avoiding the varietal for years. Beautifully pure and missing the distinctive tarry herbal notes that keep many from enjoying Pinotage. There are a few great Pinotage that I've tasted over the years, and this certainly adds to that list.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Rutherford Ranch Napa Valley Chardonnay   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-21-2014
What a fun, fresh, and easy-going Chardonnay. Notes of peach, nectarine, orange citrus, and Fuji apple come out beautifully. Light acidity keeps things refreshing. This is great for those in need of a delicious value from California Chardonnay.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart WE 90 BC 0

2013 Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough  
Review Date: 10-21-2014
Juicy. Stone fruit. Round and bright, with nary a tropical or pyrazine note to be found. When I think of Martinborough SB, this is pretty much exactly what comes to mind. Tasty and a solid value as well.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 93

2013 Syrahmi "Demi" Syrah Heathcote  
Review Date: 10-21-2014
From a cooler area in Heathcote (Victoria), this is real-deal Syrah, and not just "for Australia," or "given that it's New World," or anything like that. Without qualifiers, this is simply very good Syrah. Given its pure, bright mixed berry fruit, fine acid balance and drinkability, this brings St. Joseph to mind. Now open your mind, subtract $5-10 from that St. Joseph, and get to drinking!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2007 Louis Roederer Brut Champagne   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-21-2014
A very pretty, rich aroma, just the right mix of bakery and autolyzed yeast notes and freshness; creamy balance, not too sharp on the acidity--a lot less so than the 2008 Brut Rose. Just so enjoyable!
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart WE 96 BC 0

2012 Ad Lib (Larry Cherubino) "Hen & Chicken" Chardonnay Western Australia  
Review Date: 10-21-2014
Mendoza clones, wild yeast, high solid debourbage according to my colleague Ryan W. With those data points I'm not surprised that this is really quite good! Bright, citric and tasty. The following is not hyperbole but the honest-to-god truth: there is no Chardonnay that can touch this for the price.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart JH 94 BC 0

2012 FRAM Pinotage Citrusdal Mountain  
Review Date: 10-21-2014
Rare indeed is the Pinotage that not only holds our attention, but elicits gushing praise from the peanut gallery. As buyer Ryan W remarked, one can see the true PN (juicy, friendly fruit w/ a bit of structure) and Cinsault (light, floral, so quaffable) parentage of the Pinotage grape on full display with this wine. A revelation. And, damn tasty.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 FRAM Chardonnay Robertson  
Review Date: 10-21-2014
Bright yellow fruits show real minerality as well as an eminently drinkable, effortless style. Is it the addition of Chenin Blanc? The limestone? I'm not sure but this wine right here is one for drinking (and I'm not much of a Chardonnay drinker....)
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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