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 Oakridge Single Vineyard Series "Guerin Vineyard" Pinot Noir Yarra Valley  
Review Date: 9-15-2014
I served this for a friend the other night, and her response was "Oh my...what a pretty wine." Across the board, the wines from Oakridge have shown great varietal character with superb balance, detail and drive. The Guerin Pinot Noir is bright and lifted, with a bouquet of dried rose petals, tar, raspberry, tart cherry, rhubarb, clove, earth and dried orange peel. On the palate, the wine is silky and supple with superb balance and a long, persistent finish.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart JH 95 BC 0

2012 Oakridge Single Vineyard Series "Oakridge/Whitsend Vineyard" Shiraz Yarra Valley  
Review Date: 9-15-2014
This wine shows the beautiful character of cooler climate Shiraz. The nose offers notes of white pepper, meats, camphor, and a mix of red and black fruits with plum and boysenberry in the mix. On the palate, there is good structure with ripe fine-grained tannins and very good length.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart JH 94 BC 0

2012 Oakridge Single Vineyard Series "Guerin Vineyard" Pinot Noir Yarra Valley   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 9-15-2014
The Oakridge Pinot Noir is really amazing. The Guerin Vineyard displays very nice intensity with a great mixture of fresh, just-ripe fruit aromas with lots of earthy secondary components. For a girl who loves her mineral-driven, earthier style Pinot Noir, this is right up my alley. The wine finishes with soft baking spices and great complexity.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart JH 95 BC 0

2012 Oakridge Single Vineyard Series "Oakridge/Whitsend Vineyard" Shiraz Yarra Valley   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 9-15-2014
Woo! What a spicy little guy. There's fresh black pepper, green tobacco, dash of green olive notes right off the bat along with the classic raspberry. This is NOT your typical big tannin, high alcohol Australian Shiraz at all, but more reminiscent of a Northern Rhone style. Elegant and classy!
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart JH 94 BC 0

Singani 63 Bolivian Muscat Brandy 750ml   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 9-15-2014
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Seriously one of the coolest things I have tasted in a while. It's amazing how this retained so much of the pure Muscat flavor profile through distillation. Fantastically floral aromatics, very delicate and yet flavorful all at the same time. Like the finest Muscat-based wines this is not about sweetness but about perfume and delicacy on the palate. I can only imagine what people will think up to do with this intriguing little spirit but it is certainly something worth having on your bar.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Singani 63 Bolivian Muscat Brandy 750ml  
Review Date: 9-15-2014
Exactly what we love to drink. After a "serious day in the office" tasting as many as 40 different whiskies, the Singani is the type of spirit I want to come home to, delicious. Fresh, and lively, you get the essence of the Muscat grape, floral, with ripe peach and apricot, this is super clean and dangerously drinkable. So much to do with it: Pisco sour stand-in, add some tonic, or lemon soda with a twist; I would even venture to say it would be killer in a Mojito.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Singani 63 Bolivian Muscat Brandy 750ml  
Review Date: 9-15-2014
The is the do-it-all spirit for your liquor cabinet (and you don't even know what it is!). Fruity, floral, and clean, this can be substituted into a number of different cocktails in place of tequila, vodka, gin, and rum. I've made Singani Daiquiris, Singani Margaritas, Singani Negronis, Bloody Maries, Singani and Tonic, Singani Sangria--they're all fantastic. Bolivia's finest export may indeed be Singani. Now you just need to queue up "Che" on Netflix-instant, imagine you're Soderbergh drinking Singani on the set, and drink until your heart's content.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1996 Giboin K&L Exclusive Fin Bois Vintage Cognac 750ml  
Review Date: 9-15-2014
This Cognac is a wonderful and interesting spirit with floral and herbal aromas. In the mouth it surprises, with bright fresh flavors that are integrated and complex. The Giboin Cognac should add joy to any occasion.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Mount Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Rosé of Cabernet Franc  
Review Date: 9-12-2014
I have been waiting for four long years for Mount Eden to make another Rose of Cabernet Franc! As soon as we tasted it, Cinnamon and I bought a case... Last night I drank a bottle out of that case with some fried rice that I made with leftover rib-eye and a selection of hot and savory peppers from our local farmers market. This easy to drink wine has a lot more depth and power than your average rose, and my dad, who I was enjoying it with said that it had a pronounced rhubarb flavor. I think that is a dead on description! This is vinous stuff, and reminded me of old fashioned, light Cote du Rhone. I am glad we have 11 more!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Züm Mosel Riesling  
Review Date: 9-12-2014
The Zum qba has flavors of lemon, and lime, mineral, and sweet golden apple. Sweet-tart, this has a round mid-palate followed by bracing acidity. All in all, this is a tasty, low-alcohol, balanced bottle of Riesling; and at a price where you can twist the cap off with abandon.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart WE 89 BC 0

2010 La Prevostura "Muntacc" Coste della Sesia Rosso  
Review Date: 9-11-2014
There is plenty of fruit, good acidity, soft tannin structure, some minerality and white pepper with a lengthy finish. The combination of blue/dark fruit and the black cherry comes from the Nebbiolo. I also find some tar and roses on the lengthy finish.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 La Prevostura Lessona  
Review Date: 9-11-2014
The wine’s perfume is pure Nebbiolo: raspberry fruit and dried rose petals with a touch of tobacco and lots of cedar, bursting with sweet fruit, tar, minerals, displaying outstanding depth and fine overall balance. This wine will drink well now and over the next few years, best with the heartiest meats or stews. Better yet, serve after dinner with some great aged cheeses (Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Asiago) and an olive tapenade.
Price: $42.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Joseph Jewell Russian River Valley Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 9-11-2014
Rich with integrated tannins and flavors of powdered cocoa, ripe dark cherry and pomegranate, this Pinot Noir is a classic example of Pinot Noir grown in the Russian River Valley.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart W&S 95 BC 0

2008 Caraccioli Cellars Santa Lucia Highlands Brut   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 9-11-2014
The 2008 Brut had a nice richness to it, with brioche, nectarine, peach and ripe stone fruit notes. It was a little more yeasty than the older bottlings, and a little drier than the 2007.
Price: $47.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Talley/K&L Wine Merchants Edna Valley Chardonnay  
Review Date: 9-10-2014
This was one of the big stars from our comprehensive California staff tasting yesterday. This Chardonnay from Talley has a smoky, high toned nose and great richness that doesn't go over the top into heaviness. It is medium bodied, concentrated, dry and long finishing. I was very impressed by how much it reminded me of Chassagne-Montrachet and I think it is one of the best California Chardonnays in the store. Don't miss it!
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2018
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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