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 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 10-2-2014
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I am always excited to taste the most recent release of Cabernet Sauvignon from Joseph Phelps since it is one of my perennial favorites. From the very first sniff from the glass I was brought back to my initial tasting impressions from our En Primeur trip to Bordeaux when we tasted the heralded 2009 vintage. The wine displays amazing depth with layers of fruit flavors as well as aromas cola, crushed berries, five spice and mocha notes. A fresh and lively palate consisting of fresh blackberries, crème de cassis and dusty tannins nicely augments against bright acidity. The wine finishes with a supple display of fruit and silky tannins with just a kiss of dark chocolate lingering at the end.
Drink from 2015 to 2025

2014 Lake Chalice "The Nest" Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand  
Review Date: 10-2-2014
Our third vintage of this NZ classic and still one of our best values in a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc. The slightly cooler 2014 vintage produced a more aromatic wine with tart gooseberry notes, a more pronounced mineral character, and a peppery finish.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Pedro Martinez Alesanco Blanco Rioja  
Review Date: 10-1-2014
For those of you who really enjoy a brisk, bright, bracing white wine, something nicely dry to enjoy while cooking or winding down after work, this is definitely one to add to the rotation. Martinez Alesanco's white Rioja is amongst the most lively and expressive I have yet to find, and for under $10!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2005 Domaine Moillard Vosne Romanée 1er Cru "Malconsorts"  
Review Date: 10-1-2014
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In Burgundy it is all about location, vine age and terroir. Here you have old vines in one of the best vineyards in all of the Cote d'Or. These same vines are now farmed by Dujac and De Montille, and the current vintage will cost you something well above $200, assuming you can get your hands on any! The Thomas/Moillard parcel included vines directly adjacent to the famed DRC La Tâche Vineyard, as well as some of the very best portions of Malconsorts. At $74.99, this is such a deal that I amazed we are able to offer it to you. Only our direct connections in Burgundy, built up over many years, make it possible! I have already stashed some in my personal cellar, as has Clyde Beffa, whose attention is usually on Bordeaux, so I advise you to do the same. This is all that remains in the family cellars in France, so do not hesitate, or you will lose out.
Top Value!
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart BH 93 BC 0

Blason Isonzo Bianco (3L Bag-in-aBox) (cannot ship)  
Review Date: 10-1-2014
Lucky for us in Los Angeles it is a never ending summer. So, no reason not to have this one on hand for family and friends! Heck or just hanging poolside. Wonderful floral and acidity. Super long finish to stand up to any finger food you throw at. Don't forget because of the magically bag it last for weeks in the fridge! Great for camping trips too. Enjoy!!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Il Valentiano "Campo di Marzo" Brunello di Montalcino  
Review Date: 10-1-2014
So often when tasting Brunello I'll find myself loving the wine, but also wondering when would I drink this to appreciate all that it has to offer. Well, this is your chance to enjoy a fine Brunello NOW. Sure, you can hang on to it, but it already shows multiple dimensions with tart dried cherry, cedar, a hint of tobacco, earth, spice and a whiff of tar. On the palate there is a supple fine tannin structure with balanced acidity supporting a long finish. I wish I had this last night with my grilled pork tenderloin. Okay Greg sue me...I had the '12 Baricci Rosso di Montalcino instead!

2009 Il Valentiano "Campo di Marzo" Brunello di Montalcino   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-1-2014
Just when you thought that we had found all of the amazing, tiny producers in Montalcino to bring you incredible Brunello, Greg St. Clair has scored another coup with the Il Valentiano wines. Valentina and Fabbiolo blended their names together to create the name- and we are proud to say that the lovely estate near Caprili is quite the find. This 2009 is showing beautifully right now, but would easily quite happily slumber in your cellar for a while, too. Open it now and decant it, and it will delight you with notes of red cherry, cassis, spice, stewed cherries and earthiness. Medium plus acidity and medium tannin, this elegant, classy Brunello will not disappoint you!

2012 La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-1-2014
This wine is fascinating on so many levels- it feels like it has density and sweetness from wood and residual sugar, but nothing could be further from the truth. Pure, perfect physiological ripeness because of long hangtime, combined with high altitude cool temperatures, ample sunlight, marine soil- and zero oak use- 100% stainless steel. Even better? Sub-14% alcohol! Gorgeous citrus, floral, apricot, saline and mineral with medium plus acidity and rich body- a long, lasting finish create a plush, round, layered wine worthy of your best celebrations! And yes- it comes in magnum format too!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Stéphane Ogier Syrah "d'Ogier" Collines Rhodaniennes  
Review Date: 9-30-2014
Ogier is one of the greats of the northern Rhone Valley. This Syrah has a lush texture, cool spiced fruit and a supple finish. Not tannic but still structured, it coats the palate but never overwhelms. This is truly one of the most complete Syrahs in the store.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Ponzi "Tavola" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 9-28-2014
For anyone interested in reading more about West Coast Pinot Noirs, I'd strongly recommend Pacific Pinot Noir by John Winthrop Haeger, an exhaustively rich tome guaranteed to enhance your pleasure while delighting in a favorite bottle. I discovered, for instance, that Dick Ponzi of Ponzi Vineyards started out as an aeronautical engineer and once designed rides for Disneyland before re-venturing into his first love, winemaking, way back in 1969. His vibrantly talented and energetic daughter Luisa has been the winemaker since 1993, and her mastery of the nuances of their various vineyards in Willamette Valley is evident in this balanced, artfully-blended Pinot Noir. Bright fruits scintillate in the glass, revealing generous aromas and flavors of lush plums, black cherries, fresh violets and cola, with supple tannins and a touch of spice on the finish. A wonderful, generously mouthwatering everyday Pinot for sharing with fine friends and family. Drink up!
Top Value!

2012 Ponzi "Tavola" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 9-26-2014
One of the prettiest wines in all of Oregon! We got to taste this wine in the winery and visit their new facility and I'm excited about what Luisa and Maria are accomplishing! This particular wine has such rich round fruit, and lovely flowers on the first inhale! On the palate is a rich, ripe, succulent fruit with just a hint of herbal undertones. The finish comes off without a hitch and extends long and focused with a subtle spice to it. A lovely effort, and a killer value all wrapped up in one delicious package.

2012 Frog's Leap Rutherford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 9-25-2014
Dark currant, rose petal, black olive, anise, cedar and dusty, earthy flavors are already showing in this young Cabernet. This wine is structured for the long haul, but is so clean and balanced you will love drinking it at any age.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica  
Review Date: 9-24-2014
This 2012 Verdicchio di Matelica, is a very good example for the vintage. Offers crisp and refreshing citric fruit flavors and aromas with the characteristic touch of green herbs, is a wonderful value, a well rounded wine, beautifully structured, soft on the palate but with a slight suggestion of almond (typical for Verdicchio), a great autumn sipping wine and is very food-friendly.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica (1.5L)  
Review Date: 9-24-2014
This 2012 Verdicchio di Matelica, is a very good example for the vintage. Offers crisp and refreshing citric fruit flavors, and aromas with the characteristic touch of green herbs, is a wonderful value, a well-rounded wine, beautifully structured, soft on the palate but with a slight suggestion of almond (typical for Verdicchio), a great autumn sipping wine and is very food-friendly.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Erik Banti "Carato" Toscana  
Review Date: 9-24-2014
I just opened this for our staff tasting recently and this little “Tuscan blend” stopped the show, with lots of oohs and ahhs from my coworkers. This wine has lots of bang for the buck (or EURO, very tough to beat these days). Medium–bodied with dark fruit, good acidity and a really long finish.
Price: $7.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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