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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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

2011 Dog Point Pinot Noir Marlborough   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 9-5-2014
While this is quite a big Pinot, it manages to maintain that bright freshness we all love in Pinot. A well balanced wine with notes of fresh blackberry juice, juicy black cherry, pine needles and cloves.

2011 Mas des Agrunelles "l'Indigène" Coteaux du Languedoc  
Review Date: 9-5-2014
YUM! Restrained winemaking from the Languedoc? I must have accidentally traveled back in time a few decades. No, wait, this is from the 2011 vintage. What's going on? Beautifully concentrated fruit that showcases the quality of the grape without overripe sweetness, and a bit of black pepper to balance out that lushness. This is a HOT deal if you like Rhone wines with grace and elegance. A stunningly delicious bottle that brings the goods for $20. Top-notch.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Mas des Agrunelles "Les Mauves" Coteaux du Languedoc  
Review Date: 9-5-2014
Man this is such a breath of fresh air from the Languedoc! Instead of big, fat, silky, overly sweet fruit we get crisp, fresh, almost spritzy acidity and a load of tangy berries that taste as if they've just come out of the fridge, rather than off that plate you left sitting in the sun all day long. This is wine for people who love fruit, not dessert. This is real winemaking for drinkers who like balance, not richness. Bravo!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Solutré  
Review Date: 9-5-2014
This vibrant, mineral-laced bargain has been a staff favorite for many years running and always seems to sell out far too quickly. This has more cut and verve than the rounder and richer Macon-Charnay (a non-stop customer favorite) but still has plenty of pear, apple and citrus flavors to temper the palate-cleansing acidity and mouthwatering minerality. Yes, there are still bargains in Burgundy.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2005 Bodegas Franco Españolas "Rioja Bordón" Gran Reserva Rioja  
Review Date: 9-5-2014
This is what I love about Spain! Great values, great wineries, and great wines! This gran reserva has a lovely nose of fruit, has the right amount of fruit and savoriness on the palate, and is rounded off by just the right amount of tannin and acid. This is perfect for drinking right now, and by all means, feel free to hold some for later (if you can).

2011 Dog Point Chardonnay Marlborough   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 9-5-2014
The 2011 Chardonnay needs a little air to open up, but patience will reward you with a nose of toasty, brioche, toasted hazelnuts and a hint of pineapples. The palate is bright and forward with notes of apple, white peach, lemon zest and white pepper. Enjoy with chicken dishes or charcuterie.

2012 Pisa Range Estate "Black Poplar Block" Pinot Noir Central Otago  
Review Date: 9-5-2014
This is a seriously good bottle of wine and I would put it up against any $40.00 Pinot Noir we carry. This has earthy aromas of dark fruits and wild berries touched by herb and spice nuances. The complex array of red and black fruit flavors is followed by a schist-like mineral finish showing fine grained tannins and great length. The impressive depth is tempered by balance and proportion.

2013 Hermanuspietersfontein (HPF) "Nr.7" Sauvignon Blanc Sondagskloof  
Review Date: 9-4-2014
Unmistakably South African--this Blanc is full of lemon peel and asparagus notes with an intensely floral nose. A little Semillon finds its way into HPF's reserve Blanc--and they demand a hefty $15 to enjoy this vibrant and mouthwatering Sauv Blanc. Oh wait, that's not that much money at all!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Oakridge Single Vineyard Series "Oakridge/Whitsend Vineyard" Shiraz Yarra Valley  
Review Date: 9-4-2014
This is not a big and rich Aussie Shiraz. This is cool weather, spicy, and complex Shiraz from perhaps the best producer in the Yarra Valley (one of the coldest appellations in Australia). This Shiraz is delicate and crisp, with brambly notes of cranberry and white pepper tightly wound in an elegant package. A fantastic red for $23!
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart JH 94 BC 0

2010 Scali "Kalkis Vineyard" Pinotage Paarl  
Review Date: 9-4-2014
Quite possibly the best Pinotage I've ever tasted. This mountain vine beauty has loads of cassis and blackberry flavors that cascade into pepper spice. It is ripe and full with a hint of tobacco, and completely lacks the Pinotage stink that is usually associated with the grape. This is what Pinotage is capable of if planted in the right place!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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