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 Bucklin "Old Hill Ranch - Bambino" Sonoma Valley Zinfandel  
Review Date: 3-19-2015
This is one great Bambino - juicy, but structured as well, it's not as much of a mouthful as the Old Hill Ranch, but definitely is a great intro to Bucklin, one of the more underrated Zinfandel producers if you ask us.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Unti Dry Creek Valley Grenache  
Review Date: 3-19-2015
As usual, this is very well made, dark fruited, structured, yet fresh Grenache from the folks at Unti. Mick and crew continue to do a great job with the Rhone varieties, making wines that are honest, balanced, and great at table.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Nalle Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel  
Review Date: 3-19-2015
The flagship, old vine Nalle Dry Creek Zin also has a bit of Petite Syrah and Carignane blended in. Delicious berries, balance, this is so drinkable and ageworthy as well for those enlightened few who prefer to stash some Zinfandel away in their cellars.
Price: $37.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Nalle "Vinum Clarum" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel  
Review Date: 3-19-2015
Classic! This puts the "dry" in Dry Creek, with very fresh fruit, low alcohol (12.8%!) and a crisp drinkable style that many certainly do not equate with Zinfandel. I'll take another glass of Zinfandel, please!
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Porter Creek Mendocino County Old Vine Carignane  
Review Date: 3-19-2015
Juicy, with just enough of Carignane's trademark, edgy/raspy quality, this is fresh and tasty, with satisfyingly grippy tannins. Very good.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2006 Fourcas Dupré, Listrac   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-19-2015
It’s time to pay attention to this delicious Bordeaux in an over-looked vintage. It shows an enticing bouquet of espresso, dark cherries, honey and cocoa with a rich palate of plums, blackberries and chocolate covered cherries. It’s incredibly well balanced with high acid and firm tannins, while integrated enough to drink now, this bottle will age with grace for the next 10 years.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Kalinda Yountville Cabernet Sauvignon   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-19-2015
A bouquet of wild berries and purple flowers leads to a palate of sweet fruits and dark cherries, pencil shavings, and chocolate with well balanced acidity and plush tannins.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2007 Joseph Swan "Trenton Estate" Russian River Valley Syrah  
Review Date: 3-19-2015
Purple fruited, with a lovely combination of softening fruit and secondary flavor development, this is serious Syrah that is surprisingly easy to drink as well. For me, this was possibly the single most surprising (in a good way!) wine of our recent 40 wine domestic staff tasting.

2012 Joseph Swan "Trenton Estate" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 3-19-2015
Very good vintage, awesome wine. This is the flagship Swan Pinot Noir,which you will likely be able to tell the moment you lift the glass and taste. Layered berry fruit, with a great mouth feel, bright acidity, and seamless balance. It's delicious now and should age very well for quite a while.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart ST 92 BC 0

2012 Fort Ross "Sea Slopes-Fort Ross Vineyard" Fort Ross-Seaview Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 3-19-2015
A great value Pinot Noir that should appeal to a wide range of palates, this is all juicy plums, with lovely spice notes and structure. As a fan of higher acid and lighter Pinot Noir, I can still appreciate this wine for its fresh, supple qualities. A very tasty wine from this beautiful Sonoma Coast winery.

2012 Banshee "Marine Layer" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 3-19-2015
Marine layer, a blend of single vineyard sites on the Sonoma Coast, is showing wonderfully right now: juicy, pure red fruits and mixed berry flavors are structured and fresh, but surprisingly generous as well. So much to like here....

Laurent-Perrier "Cuvée Rosé" Brut Rosé Champagne  
Review Date: 3-18-2015
Intriguing rose that begins in an understated elegant way, and builds towards a fuller finish showing off its’ Grand Cru providence. The nose is hauntingly seductive, crushed red fruit, a mineral vein, and the faintest scent of rose petal all intermingled in harmony. The palate is defined by a textural grip that adds weight and importance, but the lifted flavors of wild strawberry and cream, with hits of cherry tart keep the wine extremely elegant and pretty. The finish picks up speed with reinforced dark cherry and minerality that wraps the wine up beautifully.

2012 Nalle Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel  
Review Date: 3-18-2015
This is the kind of wine that I want to bring to France to share with my winemaker friends there... Real California soul wine! Yes, it is sunny in California and yes, our wines should be rich and fruity. But that doesn't mean that our wines have to be heavy or hot! This nuanced, balanced Dry Creek Zin has great poise and elegance without loosing its wild berry fruit. Tasting Zin this good made me proud to be a Californian!
Drink from 2015 to 2022
Price: $37.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2004 Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne  
Review Date: 3-18-2015
Another great bottle of Vintage Champagne from the wonderfully classic vintage that is 2004?. Lively and lifted, this wine possesses a vibrancy that carries it from stem to stern. Pithy and fresh on the entry, lemon cake and sweet almond, a touch of Meyer lemon zest as well to add verve. The palate has a rich lees quality to add balance and depth, more shortbread than brioche. Minerality and lift carry the day though, fresh and clean, lovely vintage offering.

2012 Nalle "Vinum Clarum" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel  
Review Date: 3-18-2015
I thought that Zinfandel in this style had gone extinct. Luckily our California team is out looking for great stuff all the time, and their recent trip to Dry Creek reacquainted them with a classic; Nalle. This is perfect barbecue wine, with lots of wild, brambly fruit, low tannin, good acid and excellent poise and balance. The long finish on this wine surprised me- it has California soul!
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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