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 Mas des Agrunelles "Les Mauves" Coteaux du Languedoc  
Review Date: 9-8-2014
The wines of Mas des Agrunelles fall into what we call the "Natural" category - unfined, unfiltered, native yeast fermentations, minimal to no sulfur, no additions really of any kind. I'm a sucker for old vine, single-varietal wines. So to find 100% Cinsault in as pure form as possible is a real treat. This has great depth of flavor that evolves over hours. Fresh blueberries and raspberries (like a bowl of fruit right off the vine) dominate the nose. Spice and complexity evolve across the palate. This just keeps going. This is a fascinating wine.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Dog Point Chardonnay Marlborough  
Review Date: 9-8-2014
Spending 18 months in mainly used French oak, the Dog Point Chardonnay comes across as a modern style white Burgundy. The nose shows flint, light matchstick, wet stone, baked apple, pineapple, ginger and lemon zest. On the palate, the wine is round and juicy with moderate plus acidity and very nice persistence on the back end.

2011 Dog Point Pinot Noir Marlborough  
Review Date: 9-8-2014
The Dog Point Pinot Noir has a lifted bouquet that offers brambly raspberry, cherry, cranberry, a floral violet note, sandalwood, light toasted oak (18 months in mainly used French oak), earth, clove and a hint of white pepper spice. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied with fine balance, supple tannins, and good length. Somebody throw this dog a bone!

2011 Dog Point Chardonnay Marlborough   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 9-8-2014
Ok, I will admit it--this Chardonnay shocked the heck out of me! The nose is all butter, toast, and sweet cream, so I was expecting a rich, fat, Carneros style Chardonnay. I was stunned when those aromas turned into zesty, lively, high acidity, with lovely apple pie spice on the palate, mineral, and then the butter and sweet cream followed. Fabulous balance. Really interesting Chardonnay--incredibly unexpected. Wow.

2011 Dog Point Pinot Noir Marlborough   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 9-8-2014
Bright, vibrant fruit--Red cherry, cranberry, spice, red currant with lovely acidity and soft tannin. Easy to love!

2012 Eyrie Vineyards "Estate Grown" Dundee Hills Chardonnay  
Review Date: 9-8-2014
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Please note that our inventory of Eyrie wines is always rather scarce, as they just don't make very much wine, but what they do make, well… this latest Chardonnay reflects what has been described by many as an epic vintage—the warmest summer in years, a long growing season allowing for perfectly balanced ripeness and acidity levels. But as with everything Eyrie, it's in the raw material—the Burgundian clonal varieties scrupulously hand-chosen by David Lett over forty years ago that sets this delicately straw-colored Chardonnay apart, imbuing it with refined elegance and lingering aromatic complexity. Liminal notes of poached pear, quince, lees, apple and spice play upon the palate in a stunning wine that will continue to evolve for at least a decade, probably two.

2011 Dog Point Chardonnay Marlborough   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 9-8-2014
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Very complex and edgy Chard that walks a very interesting and tense line between breadth and linearity. The nose opens with flint, struck match, spicy white oak and freshly picked pears. I expected a very focused linear type wine and yet the palate exploded with rich baked orchard fruits, brioche, even kettle corn-like caramelization...a big rich Chard with soft round texture and weight on the palate. Just when I thought I was fooled back came the stunningly bright acidity and focus. Minerals, citrus zest, flint. A long mouthwatering finish that leaves the taste buds tingling. Wow what a journey in one sip!

2011 Dog Point Pinot Noir Marlborough   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 9-8-2014
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A lovely example of deep, complex Marlborough Pinot. The nose shows plum preserve, spicy red fruits, rhubarb, anise and sandalwood. The palate accurately matches the nose and has some well defined, integrated, fine tannin. Medium-bodied, the wine has a nice combination of expressive fruit, structure and deeper more savory complexities. Dog Point showing again that they make some great multi-layered, intriguing wines from a region so often unfairly pinned as a one trick pony.

2012 Domaine la Garrigue "Cuvée Romaine" Côtes du Rhône  
Review Date: 9-8-2014
Always a pleaser amongst our staff and our customers. Classic Cotes du Rhone style with lots of brambly black fruit and spice.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

2012 Eyrie Vineyards "Estate Grown" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 9-8-2014
It always shocks me that people don’t know more about Eyrie Vineyards. The history is rich: they were the first to plant Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley and the first to plant Pinot Gris in the New World; their prices are comparatively reasonable; and the quality of the wines is second to none. A perfect example of why Eyrie should be known more than they are is this 2012 Eyrie Vineyards "Estate Grown" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($32.99). This stunning wine rivals any Pinot from anywhere in the world at the price point. Truly exceptional. Heck, I even wrote the word “Superstar” in my notes the first time I tasted it. Deeply perfumed on the nose, the wine expresses itself openly with layers of blood orange, rose water, crushed lavender, and white cherry. Long, open and sort of lanky, this is a pretty, Old World-influenced Pinot with no manipulation, just a pure expression of the great estate vineyards. Light to medium weight but bursting with flavor and complexity, this is packed with sassy flavors of loganberry, wild blackberry, clay, sous bois, tangy red cherry and a subtle herbal quality. Simply put, I don’t know of any better Pinot Noir on the shelves right now in this price range.

2011 Mas des Agrunelles "l'Indigène" Coteaux du Languedoc  
Review Date: 9-8-2014
Venturing into the realm of "Natural Wine" can be treacherous. Often the wines are unstable and may show some unusual or off flavors that are not to everyone's taste. But, the wines of Mas des Agrunelles are something special to behold. The l'Indigene is a beautifully balanced wine showing bright fruit flavors. It has great acidity and mellow tannins and an appealing complexity that is just, well, natural! More fresh blackberries and raspberries here with notes of crushed herbs. There is a vibrancy that seems the antithesis of what we expect from Languedoc. If you want bold ripe flavors, these may not be for you. If you shop at the farmers' market weekly and like the thrill of discovery, look no further. This wine is made for you.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Boniperti "Rosadisera" Nebbiolo Rosato  
Review Date: 9-5-2014
Robust Nebbiolo character: a salmon pink color, fascinating aromas of wild mountain strawberries, some floral notes and lots of great acidity, even a touch of mineral on the long-lasting aftertaste. This is a great wine for the brunch crowd. (Really--the wine is a palate refresher.) Or sip some while sitting on the porch with a favorite book.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Domaine Renaud Pouilly-Fuissé "Cuvée Vieilles Vignes"  
Review Date: 9-5-2014
The Renaud Macons have been a staple at my home for weekday enjoyment for quite a few years now. The Charnay is always a bit more forward and rounder while the Solutre shows more rocky minerality. I also love the old vine Pouilly-Fuisse and have served it to many of my friends and relatives at more serious dinner parties. The Renaud wines always show great freshness, laser-beam focus and drive. Great values!
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Charnay  
Review Date: 9-5-2014
The Renaud Macons have been a staple at my home for weekday enjoyment for quite a few years now. The Charnay is always a bit more forward and rounder while the Solutre shows more rocky minerality. I also love the old vine Pouilly-Fuisse and have served it to many of my friends and relatives at more serious dinner parties. The Renaud wines always show great freshness, laser-beam focus and drive. Great values!
Top Value!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Solutré  
Review Date: 9-5-2014
The Renaud Macons have been a staple at my home for weekday enjoyment for quite a few years now. The Charnay is always a bit more forward and rounder while the Solutre shows more rocky minerality. I also love the old vine Pouilly-Fuisse and have served it to many of my friends and relatives at more serious dinner parties. The Renaud wines always show great freshness, laser-beam focus and drive. Great values!
Top Value!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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