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 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

2012 Pisa Range Estate "Black Poplar Block" Pinot Noir Central Otago  
Review Date: 9-4-2014
An excellent addition to our New Zealand Pinot stock! This one has a dark core of wild raspberry and grippy tannin. Racy and bright with a crisp edge to it; a perfect cool weather Pinot.

2013 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Charnay  
Review Date: 9-4-2014
Best in class. This 100% Chardonnay from the Macon never fails to impress. Lovely weight and ripeness. Classic mineral and citrus notes. Superb value vintage after vintage.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc Pre-Arrival  
Review Date: 9-4-2014
Pretty floral fruit, spicy, red currants, focused and balanced, fresh, tannins are integrated and firm--will be a wine to buy if price is right. 89-91 points.

2013 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc Pre-Arrival  
Review Date: 9-4-2014
I always love this wine; over-delivers every vintage given its price and quality ratio. Nice berry fruit, impressive complexity and good layers of fruit. Looks to compete favorably with the last few vintages.

2011 Crystallum "Peter Max" Pinot Noir Hemel-en-Aarde Walker Bay  
Review Date: 9-4-2014
You can tell this one is South African from its very earthy flavors, but it is elegant and delicious with a very long mouthfeel. Another triumph from Walker Bay - and now for just $20!
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price BC 0

2012 Domaine les Grands Bois "Cuvée Maximilien" Côtes du Rhône-Villages Cairanne  
Review Date: 9-3-2014
Deep dark youthful purple color. Very enticing nose of juicy blueberries, violets, blood orange and sweet vanilla. The palate reveals delicious Asian spices, freshly roasted coffee beans, chocolate and brown sugar. It is full-bodied and ripe, well balanced however by its acidity that holds it all in check. With autumn fast approaching, this beautiful wine will be a perfect paring with game birds and wild mushroom sauce!

2012 Domaine les Grands Bois "Cuvée Maximilien" Côtes du Rhône-Villages Cairanne   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 9-3-2014
What a stellar, beautiful Cotes du Rhone. Its elegant deep purple color is reflected on the nose and the palate with evident notes of fresh violets. The nose is full of minerality, like fresh dirt and wet stones. The wine’s soft, round texture takes over your taste buds with notes of fresh ground pepper, blackberry juice, cloves and a sultry chocolate finish. Easily my favorite Cote du Rhone this season.

2013 Michel Delhommeau "Harmonie" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie  
Review Date: 9-3-2014
Dynamite bottle of Muscadet here! Light, lively, and fresh as a spring breeze, the 2013 Harmonie has flavors of lemon, lime, and blossom, with just a suggestion of sweetness to them, and enough body to keep everything from seeming austere when the chalky, wet stone, borderline-saline finish kicks in.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Michel Delhommeau "Harmonie" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie  
Review Date: 9-3-2014
Rocks. So much truth lies in rocks. And these particular ancient volcanic rocks named for a famous Swedish actress (or haven't you ever heard of Greta...Gabbro?), when married harmoniously to the right vines and gently cultivated sensibilities of a magnificent winemaking couple, will turn out splendid, finely-cut wines like the Harmonie, aptly named for both the lovely, leesy richness and tropical fruits that embrace and embellish the palate. These have always been personal favorites and I look forward to their return year after year after year. Enjoy!
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Oakridge Single Vineyard Series "Oakridge/Whitsend Vineyard" Shiraz Yarra Valley   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 9-3-2014
A Shiraz that will leave you wondering why they didn’t label it Syrah. A very classic expression of cold weather Syrah such as Northern Rhone. Full of baking spices, black pepper, blood orange and a slightly vegetal palate of carrots and tomatoes. An outstanding, complex Shiraz out of the Yarra Valley, very impressive!
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart JH 94 BC 0

2012 Mount Trio Estate Riesling Porongurup Western Australia   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 9-3-2014
Oysters, clams, ceviche!!! This Riesling is perfect for any fresh or raw seafood! The nose of that classic petrol but the palate provides bracing acidity and salinity, a perfect crisp, dry Riesling for seafood.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart JH 94 BC 0

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