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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2010 Terre da Vino "La Casa in Collina" Barbaresco  
Review Date: 11-4-2014
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The first thing youíre going to think when seeing this offering is that it canít be real or it's flawed wine somehow or another. Well, I know how you feel, I felt the same. Yet this wine is really good at the price, and you want to know why? Well Terre da Vino is a co-op, made up of co-ops; their economy of scale is incredible and because of that they can offer wines at prices way under the market value. I was skeptical, but after tasting this wine I said OK, this is actually really good! The nose is a classic Barbaresco, leather, spice with hints of rose petals and smoke; on the palate the wine is archetypal, the tannins frame the wine on your palate but are supple, sweet yet give the wine that firm edge that says yes this is Barbaresco. This wine is full-bodied but very well balanced good palate weight and a long smooth finish. Try it with your favorite risotto, hopefully with wild mushrooms, pasta with meat based sauces or with braised meats, youíll love this.
Drink from 2014 to 2022
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Rickshaw California Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 11-4-2014
Wow! This is really one of the best Pinot Noirs I've tasted at this price point. The bouquet has notes of plum, dark strawberry, clove, chocolate and earth. On the palate there is beautiful balance, with good acidity, soft tannins and very good length. If you're a fan of Pinot, don't miss this great value.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Fujanera "Arrocco" Nero di Troia  
Review Date: 11-4-2014
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Hands down the best Nero di Troia I've had! OK, so what does that mean to you? An indigenous grape to Puglia that has traditionally been blended into other wines, but by itself this wine is Sensational! Wild, spicy aromatics of cedar, rosemary, leather lead into the palate that shows serious palate presence but only at 13% alcohol. Supple and smooth in the mouth but with a soulful rendition of intrigue and terroir. Truly an exceptional wine at the price point. Try it with roasted chicken, tomato based pasta or grilled sausage.
Drink from 2014 to 2017
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Sesta di Sopra Sangiovese Toscana  
Review Date: 11-4-2014
From one of our all-time-favorite Brunello producers. This wine could easily compete with wines twice the price. Drinkable now, utterly delicious in fact, but could age beautifully if you wanted to lay a couple bottles down. Highly recommended.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Arnaldo Caprai Rosso di Montefalco  
Review Date: 11-4-2014
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This is a bold and spicy Umbrian wine that shows what high quality Sangiovese can do when given a backbone of Sagrantino (15%). Wild cherry aromatics laced with spicy cedar notes, nutmeg, sage and finishes with hints of vanilla. The wine spends a year in big Slavonian oak barrels and then finishes with four months in French oak barriques. Supple, rich and exceedingly well-balanced, this is a superb wine for the price and is the perfect accompaniment for grilled meats or rich, meat sauce pasta.
Drink from 2014 to 2019

2006 Castello di Monsanto "Nemo" Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 11-4-2014
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Tuscany and Napa meet together in this 30-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard. The classic structure of Tuscany's 2006 vintage is showing well in this full, spicy wine. 18 months in French oak barrique have developed Nemo's initial structure but another six years in the bottle have blossomed into a rich, complex and well-developed Cabernet. To imagine a Napa Cabernet at this age and at this price is...well, hard to imagine. This wine has a lot of similar character to Napa, lots of black fruit, full of berry flavored richness with a touch of toasty vanillin in the finish. All of you California Cab lovers should give this a try!
Drink from 2014 to 2024

2012 Turnbull Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 11-4-2014
The 2012 Napa explodes from the glass, while the texture is rich, decadent and lush in the mouth. There is lots of structure and tannin here but the tannins are juicy and ripe. Still a baby, this is a big wine that is surprisingly drinkable at this stage but will keep improving in the bottle over the next 5-10 years.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Girard "Old Vine" Napa Valley Zinfandel  
Review Date: 11-4-2014
Remember the good old days when you could get a briary juicy Zinfandel for under $10? Well here's some roll-back pricing! The Girard is pure pleasure in a glass. Sweet cherry and blackberry fruit, subtle pepper spices and a touch of baking spice. It's like mom's cobbler with a little extra kick. Perfect for the season's foods. Braise some short ribs in this wine and drink it along side. This is definitely a case buy!
Price: Hidden View Price WS 90 BC 0

2012 Turnbull Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc  
Review Date: 11-4-2014
The 2012 Sauvignon Blanc from Turnbull shows lots of citrus flavors with a mid-core of creamy fruit. The finish comes back with some zing and is bright and fresh. Love this wine at 12.7% ABV.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 11-4-2014
In warm vintages such as 2007, I feel Insignia is too much for me. The cooler 2011 vintage really allows this wine to still have that typical Phelps fruit but with much more restraint and a bit more elegance and finesse. This is a solid effort for the vintage!

2012 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 11-4-2014
Fans of California Cabernet will love this wine. It is rich, concentrated in the mouth with blackberry fruit, graphite and spicy oak, which lingers in the back. What I loved about this wine is the richness of fruit without being sweet. There is structure and tannin but it is balanced, seamless and silky on the finish

2013 Charles Smith "Kung Fu Girl" Columbia Valley Riesling  
Review Date: 11-3-2014
Charles Smith knows how to make wine that always outperforms the price point. This is a user friendly Riesling vintage after vintage. 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.

2012 Lewis Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 11-3-2014
Lewis Cellars is consistently a customer favorite at K&L Wine Merchants. This is just what all were hoping for, an epic 2012 from Randy and the gang. A ripe forward Cabernet Sauvignon with great layers of flavors. Cedar, vanilla, coffee and chocolate. Hints of tobacco and earth finish of the kaleidoscope of flavors. Napa Cabernet fans rejoice!!!!
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart WS 94 BC 0

2012 Lewis Cellars "Mason's" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 11-3-2014
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Only 800 cases of the Masonís Cabernet were produced in 2012. This 100% Cabernet screams from the glass with rich, mocha laced red fruits, hints of vanilla bean and black cherries. In the mouth the wine is lush and mouth coating with a long spicy finish.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart WS 91 BC 0

2012 Lewis Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 11-3-2014
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The 2012 Napa Cabernet is out of this world. Rich and lush, exotic fruits fill the glass and dance across the palate. This is a big, structure wine with lots of backbone, but the wine is so polished and seamless, you are not even aware of its size. I expect this wine to sell out quickly; long before its ďsure to getĒ high Spectator score!
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart WS 94 BC 0

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