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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2012 Bench Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 3-28-2015
This has been a SF favorite for years, and this is the best vintage we have tried yet. Full of dark fruits with oak spice and chocolate tones. It rich and polished with enough tannin to give it heft but no so big that you cannot serve as a cocktail.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Akitu "A2" Pinot Noir Central Otago (White Label)  
Review Date: 3-28-2015
Serious, interesting and delicious Pinot for about $20? It doesn't seem to happen often enough so when we tried this I had to stop and do a double take. The wine is driven with a solid core of mineral laced acidity that has gorgeous layers of dark fruit and subtle earthy spice wrapped around it. It is has depth and a unique sense of place, and this is the entry level wine for this estate!
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Antaño Reserva Rioja  
Review Date: 3-28-2015
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Deeply colored, this exceptionally produced Rioja Reserva is loaded with curranty to cassis-like fruit qualities with a creamy, mocha undertone on the nose. All of these excellent qualities carry over well across a broad, lush, bright, flashy palate impression with expansive and deep flavors. The finish is long and warm. You can consume this Gem near-term if you want, but it will age another five to ten years easily. Tons depth and complexity! Rusty has ordered me bring several cases of this Gem home for our enjoyment for the next three to ten years. Exceptional vintage, exceptional value! 13.5% ABV
Drink from 2015 to 2025
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart WS 91 BC 0

1995 Miltonduff 19 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-28-2015
An inviting noise that is expressive, floral and maltly. In the mouth this Miltonduff is pure, round and refreshing. Michale Jackson, the great whiskey writer, used to describe single malts sometimes as resorative, and I think that that is what this single malt is.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2007 Mortlach 7 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-28-2015
This young Mortlach has a lot to offer. It has a pretty aromas that are sweet and floral.It is pure, lively, and soft with a sweet core of maltly flavors. This is one single malt that is hard to put down.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2008 Caol Ila 5 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-28-2015
This is a lovely Caol Ila. It has some nice smoke in the noise but not too much. It is light bodied and very easy to drink. There is a pretty fruity finish. I think that this a single malt to drink and enjoy anytime.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Clos Henri "Petit Clos" Pinot Noir Marlborough New Zealand   | Approved
Review Date: 3-27-2015
This is probably one of my favorite value wines. As New Zealand pinots gain the recognition they deserve, the prices have begun to reflect the wines, but Henri Bourgeois's Petit Clos pinot from Marlborough is an exception. Here we have a lovely wine with characteristic bright cherry and strawberry notes, a generous, soft body, and great balance. Yet somehow it's still only 15.99!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart JS 92 BC 0

2014 Valentin Bianchi "Elsa Bianchi" Malbec Mendoza  
Review Date: 3-27-2015
Yet another tasty, crisply red fruited Malbec from Elsa Bianchi. One of our most popular Malbecs, year in, year out.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2006 Launois "Spécial Club" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (ships as 1.5L)   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-27-2015
Pour me a glass of Launois Champagne any day, and I'll be happy. The 2006 Special Club is a richer, fuller style with plenty for all to enjoy. Save this one for a special occasion.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Castillo de Monseran Garnacha Cariñena  
Review Date: 3-27-2015
This is a very quaffable red, as usual per this cooperative in the Cariñena D.O., locate in Aragon, the heart and Spain's extensive plantings of Garnacha. Red fruit flavors abound, and at 12.5% ABV this is fresh and easy to drink.
Price: $7.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Del Professore Vermouth 750ml  
Review Date: 3-27-2015
Looking for a great Spring Time Apertif? This is semi off-dry Italian White Vermouth is soo delicous and refreshing! Its a great option for someone who wants something a little different than there typical Litllet Blanc or similar. I love it over the rocks with a twist of lemon or other citrus! I will be enjoying this all summer!
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2014 Château les Valentines "Le Caprice de Clémentine" Côtes de Provence Rosé  
Review Date: 3-27-2015
One of my favorite Rosé, year in and year out! When people ask me for Provence Rosé it does not get much better than this. All organic methods of farming in this beautiful little part of Cotes de Provence. When people ask for that light salmon color this wine has that. Delicate with a fresh acidity for a truly magically experience. Got that too. As we used to say back home. This is a true porch sipper!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Casanova di Neri "Tenuta Nuova" Brunello di Montalcino  
Review Date: 3-27-2015
There is something to be said about less thinking more drinking. Opinions and scores be damned! This my friends is just a fantastic glass of wine! Aromatics on this wine are stunning. Picking up just a hint of vanilla. Then comes the dark cherry and violets. Luscious fruit and a rich refined spice pop in your mouth. What a treat to drink. Food or not this wine does not disappoint. This is one wine that is not easy to share. So choice your friends wisely.

2011 Ornellaia "Le Serre Nuove"  
Review Date: 3-27-2015
This is the second label for Ornellaia. Younger vines go into the wine. Pour it in the glass and you can see you are in for a wonderful experience. Deep, dark ruby red greets the eyes. Burst of berry fruits and crushed floral on the nose. This is a full body wine. Great weight on the mid palate. The tannins and acidity are all there for a seamless finish. Great with grilled meat or a heavier cheese. Elegance and power have never paired so well!

Venus "El Ladron" Blue Agave Spirit 750ml   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-27-2015
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Pure Agave encapsulated in a spirit. Fresh, spicy, peppery, Aloe juice, yellow florals. Incredible soft, viscous texture, supple and pure. I get salinity again here...I have found this a few Venus Distilling products...perhaps it relates to the address just a few hundred years from Santa Cruz's rugged coast? Great stuff!
Top Value!
Price: $42.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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