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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1963 Glenfarclas Family Casks Single Malt Whisky 750ml   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-29-2014
A very fine dram. Lovely served neat at room temperature. On the nose, caramel and dark maple syrup are intertwined with a malt and Crème brûlée. On the palate a fine, lithely textured spirit expresses vanilla, spice cake and cinnamon finishing with agreeable warmth and a long note of baking spices and malt. The addition of a dab of water really highlights the depth of spices, and blooms the malty caramel finish. What a treat!
Price: $849.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Fuenteseca Reserva "2014 Edition" K&L Exclusive Extra Añejo Tequila 750ml   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-29-2014
Mouthwatering Tequila, pure, expressive, complex and very tasty. The nose really jumps, with agave nectar, freshly squeezed lime juice and toasty oak. In the mouth, this graceful, nimble spirit delivers generous and intense flavors of vanilla and freshly crushed piña. The long rewarding finish maintains the remarkable purity and intensity of this wonderfully made spirit. Finishing with the floral notes of a sweet white blossom, vanilla and toasted baking spices; this tequila comes across as curiously complex and captivating.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Montechiara Amarone  
Review Date: 10-29-2014
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If you're a fan of Amarone you might be balking at the price of this wine and think that it is nothing, but it is really a great value, and yes it does taste like Amarone. OK, maybe a mid-week Amarone but you're not paying the Weekend prices either. This wine has a lush palate presence, and a ripe but focused center, not raisiny just dense fruit, if you're a Zin lover this wine will rock your boat!
Drink from 2014 to 2017
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Cantine Ascheri Barolo  
Review Date: 10-29-2014
This wine has a vibrant, ruby red hue, with super intense notes of bing cherry, red licorice, exotic Asian spice and black tea. The oak is present, but very well integrated. On the palate the wine is medium bodied with soft tannin's but no astringency. The streak of acidity pulls it all together into a seamless, utterly gorgeous wine. Could easily hold it's own against Barolos twice it's price. The only draw back to this wine is also an attribute, that being that the tannin structure that makes the wine so appealing now means it's one for the short to mid term, not a 20 year wine. So practice that risotto recipe or score yourself some lamb shank and enjoy al fresco with loved ones.
Price: $25.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Castello di Verduno "Basadone" Pelaverga  
Review Date: 10-29-2014
I first tried this grape varietal with the 2008 vintage, when I met Mario Andrion (Oenologist) and I soon planed a trip to visit the winery in May of 2010 (www.castellodiverduno.it) they have a great hotel ! Pelaverga has a DOC, in the region of Piedmont in Italy. The small zone has a vineyard area of only eight hectares, and includes the commune of Verduno, as well as parts of the communes of La Morra and Roddi d´Alba in the province of Cuneo. It’s an amazing medium-bodied red, intense fragrant nose, showing spicy overtones with lots of black pepper, as well as fruity sensations reminiscent of black cherries and strawberries. Truly a taste sensation, (I give this a slight chill) and a must try.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Russell's Reserve K&L Exclusive Single Barrel #18 Kentucky Bourbon 750ml  
Review Date: 10-29-2014
Another wonderful single barrel selection from Wild Turkey. The #18 has almost elegant aromas that are subtle and inviting. In the mouth that are carmel and other flavors that round out this exceptional bourbon.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

High West K&L Single Barrel Rendezvous Rye Whiskey 750ml  
Review Date: 10-29-2014
Sweet and pretty aromas lead to a generous and delicous rye. For those who are familar with the regular Rendezvous, the K&L selection is more concentrated and a touch richer.The K&L selection has a little spice and alot of flavor and is very good.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Cadenhead's Classic Green Label Rum 750ml  
Review Date: 10-29-2014
A drier style rum. It is medium bodied with a nice rum richness that is balanced and delicious. Another great product from Cadenhead.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 The Three Foxes Clairette Blanche Coastal Region   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-29-2014
This is one of the reasons I love South Africa, they aren't afraid to try things like this, oh and just so happen to perfectly execute it as well. Clairette partially macerated on its skins for 3 months, the outcome, quasi-orange wine. It shows notes of fresh pressed apples, chalky minerality, white flowers, and hops. The more I let the wine open, the more it unveiled itself, continuously opening and changing. Organically farmed and unfined and unfiltered. Delicious.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 FRAM Pinotage Citrusdal Mountain   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-29-2014
Never have I experienced such an elegant Pinotage in my life. None of those unwanted burnt rubber aromas. If you’re not an admirer of Pinotage, this wine will certainly convert you. This is (hopefully) the new movement in Pinotage. It provides aromas of purple flowers, blackberries and cocoa, a palate of plush, fine tannins, juicy black fruits, plums and figs, with violets and spice to round it out. A Pinotage full of complexity and class.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Quartz Reef "Zero Dosage" Sparkling Wine Central Otago   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-29-2014
While the nose may provide you with some toasty, brioche notes, the palate of the zero dosage is incredibly racy. Its high, mouthwatering acidity and frisky bubbles provide a great pairing for oysters or ceviche. The wine’s acidity is exceptionally balanced with ripe fruits and minerality. This bubbly is the perfect excuse to find something to celebrate.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Charles Smith "Kung Fu Girl" Columbia Valley Riesling  
Review Date: 10-28-2014
Charles Smith knows how to make a wine that always outperforms the price point. This is a user friendly Riesling vintage after vintage. Charles Smith knows how to make a wine that always outperforms the price point. Fresh stone fruits, great acidity and just a touch off dry. If you need a glass for take away Chinese or Thai, a picnic or just something on a Wednesday night, this is your girl.

2010 Cantine Ascheri Barolo  
Review Date: 10-28-2014
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This wine is powerful; a bold and forceful statement on the palate says BAROLO in a big way. The nose is a classic full of spice, smoky earthiness and intense fruit and is replicated on the palate. While a big wine it hasn’t lost any grace or balance, and that comes through in the waves of flavor, the cedar like spice, the truffled earth and a bold cherry and plum center. The wine has plenty of structure to age for another couple decades yet still has drinkability now with the luscious fruit and supple texture. This is the perfect accompaniment to a Brasato al Barolo (Piemontese Pot Roast) or a porcini laced risotto.The price is incredible and enough so that you should drop a case or two into your cellar.
Drink from 2014 to 2030
Price: $25.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Elderton "Estate" Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia  
Review Date: 10-28-2014
I been visiting this property and the Ashmeads for well over a decade and before winemaker Richard Langford joined in 2003. In fact meeting Richard was an uplifting experience...literally. I was having dinner with John Duval (name drop)at the Vintner's Bar and Grill and expressively waving my hands in conversation, when I was lifted out of my seat by my forearms. Now I'm 5'8" on a good day, and Richard is about 6'6", so I remember it well, and we met the next day to barrel sample and have a more "grounded” experience. His hand has been evident over the years with better balance and integration of wood being a focal point. The 2012 Shiraz which comes from some 100+ year old material that is matured in 600lt puncheons that shows a purity of brambly dark cherry and blackberry fruit. That is coupled with some bittersweet chocolate notes and a hint of winter mint on the back end of the palate. This is a pure and fine tuned Barossa Shiraz that is sure to please.

2013 Charles Smith "Kung Fu Girl" Columbia Valley Riesling  
Review Date: 10-28-2014
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True Kungfession: I get a real kick out of this super-smooth, fun and funkadelic wine from our talented neighbor to the north, Charles Smith, who somehow conjures up a domestic Riesling releasing zingy flavors of Fuji apple, Asian pear, ripe apricot and citrus blossom that manages to hit me smack dab right in the center field of my price to quality comfort zone, and easily scores big on the home palate. Blame it on playoff fever mixed with the need to take in plenty of essential stress-quenching liquids during this nailbiter Fall Classic, but this pure and luscious, slightly off dry beauty with the krazy name remains a world-serious wine and a surefire winner. Don't miss it!

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