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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2013 Ancient Peaks/K&L Wine Merchants Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 10-2-2014
This is seductive Cab. I am taken with the lush fruit and hints of herb on the nose. The fruit on the palate is obvious dark fruit with blueberry, and a little graphite on the finish. The tannins are noticeable yet soft and approachable. Although it doesn’t have some of the “power” that some of the big boys have, that’s exactly what makes this cab great--it’s inexpensive and it’s drinking lovely right now!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Ponzi "Tavola" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 10-2-2014
Let’s just make this as simple as possible. The 2012 Ponzi "Tavola" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is one of the best bottles of Pinot Noir we have under $25. From the first moment I tasted the wine back in May at the Ponzi’s beautiful new winery and tasting bar I knew this was a wine that we would sell by the case--in fact I wrote just that in my notes that day. A perfect storm of a high yielding, forward fruited vintage and two generations of experience have made this one of the best entry level wines of 2012 in Oregon. Darkly fruited and showing considerable spice, this has a nose of a Pinot that could be twice its price. Juicy and fresh on the entry this has a wealth of loganberry, plum, violet, sandalwood and spice cake all wrapped into a simplistic yet wildly enjoyable wine. Long and savory on the finish this is one stellar wine that will take great care of you over the next few years if you can somehow not drink it all right away.

2013 Pedro Martinez Alesanco Rosado Rioja  
Review Date: 10-2-2014
Unlike white shoes, rosé wine is most definitely OK after Labor Day! A good thing, because what was going to be the rosé I put in everyone's hands did not quite make it in time for the summer season. That said, this is a mouthwateringly delicious, tangy rosé, full of warm citrus and red fruits. Whether you enjoy as an aperitif, with a platter of charcuterie, alongside a perfectly grilled piece of salmon or with a take home rotisserie chicken, Martinez Alesanco's rosé is amongst the best in this category.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Scarbolo Sauvignon Friuli  
Review Date: 10-2-2014
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This is an excellent example of Friulian Sauvignon Blanc, far more subtle than the rash of Jalapeno like versions awash in the market, this is a muskier, earthier aromatic complimented by hints of white flowers and dried sage and it is couched in a richly textured body. The flavors are more integrated, saturated and have a long, persistent finish filled with flavor and hints of mineral while having superb balance. This is a wine that is perfect for Crustaceans, shrimp or crab would be spectacular or it would bring a bit of spice to a rotisserie chicken. Altogether a superb wine.
Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart JS 93 BC 0

2012 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 10-2-2014
If you have not had this wine recently this is the perfect vintage to renew your acquaintance with this unparalleled Napa value. Since 2009 Phelps has shifted entirely to estate grown fruit, reducing their overall production and improving quality. They now consider their estate wine something of a "second wine to Insignia" at one third of the price. This 2012 vintage is stunning, with loads of dark fruit and fine tannins. If you are a fan of Napa Cabernet, this is a "must try." Do not miss out.
Top Value!

Michel Forgeron K&L Exclusive XO Cognac 750ml  
Review Date: 10-2-2014
A relatively full-bodied Cognac that is absolutely delicious. The expressive, soft and complex flavors are more concentrated than one usually gets in a Cognac, making this attractive and inviting. A "must try" for lovers of small Cognac producers.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Erik Banti "Carato" Toscana  
Review Date: 10-2-2014
A great buy. A nice medium-bodied wine with expressive fruit flavors that are balanced with a nice dry finish. It will be good alone, or with pizza, pasta and lighter meat dishes. A lot of wine for this price.
Price: $7.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Rosenblum Contra Costa County Zinfandel  
Review Date: 10-2-2014
I have sold Rosenblum over the course of 25 years now. Some vintages are better than others, and I find this to be one of their best values, and a classic Zinfandel.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 10-2-2014
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I am always excited to taste the most recent release of Cabernet Sauvignon from Joseph Phelps since it is one of my perennial favorites. From the very first sniff from the glass I was brought back to my initial tasting impressions from our En Primeur trip to Bordeaux when we tasted the heralded 2009 vintage. The wine displays amazing depth with layers of fruit flavors as well as aromas cola, crushed berries, five spice and mocha notes. A fresh and lively palate consisting of fresh blackberries, crème de cassis and dusty tannins nicely augments against bright acidity. The wine finishes with a supple display of fruit and silky tannins with just a kiss of dark chocolate lingering at the end.
Drink from 2015 to 2025

2014 Lake Chalice "The Nest" Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand  
Review Date: 10-2-2014
Our third vintage of this NZ classic and still one of our best values in a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc. The slightly cooler 2014 vintage produced a more aromatic wine with tart gooseberry notes, a more pronounced mineral character, and a peppery finish.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Pedro Martinez Alesanco Blanco Rioja  
Review Date: 10-1-2014
For those of you who really enjoy a brisk, bright, bracing white wine, something nicely dry to enjoy while cooking or winding down after work, this is definitely one to add to the rotation. Martinez Alesanco's white Rioja is amongst the most lively and expressive I have yet to find, and for under $10!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2005 Domaine Moillard Vosne Romanée 1er Cru "Malconsorts"  
Review Date: 10-1-2014
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In Burgundy it is all about location, vine age and terroir. Here you have old vines in one of the best vineyards in all of the Cote d'Or. These same vines are now farmed by Dujac and De Montille, and the current vintage will cost you something well above $200, assuming you can get your hands on any! The Thomas/Moillard parcel included vines directly adjacent to the famed DRC La Tâche Vineyard, as well as some of the very best portions of Malconsorts. At $74.99, this is such a deal that I amazed we are able to offer it to you. Only our direct connections in Burgundy, built up over many years, make it possible! I have already stashed some in my personal cellar, as has Clyde Beffa, whose attention is usually on Bordeaux, so I advise you to do the same. This is all that remains in the family cellars in France, so do not hesitate, or you will lose out.
Top Value!
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart BH 93 BC 0

Blason Isonzo Bianco (3L Bag-in-aBox) (cannot ship)  
Review Date: 10-1-2014
Lucky for us in Los Angeles it is a never ending summer. So, no reason not to have this one on hand for family and friends! Heck or just hanging poolside. Wonderful floral and acidity. Super long finish to stand up to any finger food you throw at. Don't forget because of the magically bag it last for weeks in the fridge! Great for camping trips too. Enjoy!!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Il Valentiano "Campo di Marzo" Brunello di Montalcino  
Review Date: 10-1-2014
So often when tasting Brunello I'll find myself loving the wine, but also wondering when would I drink this to appreciate all that it has to offer. Well, this is your chance to enjoy a fine Brunello NOW. Sure, you can hang on to it, but it already shows multiple dimensions with tart dried cherry, cedar, a hint of tobacco, earth, spice and a whiff of tar. On the palate there is a supple fine tannin structure with balanced acidity supporting a long finish. I wish I had this last night with my grilled pork tenderloin. Okay Greg sue me...I had the '12 Baricci Rosso di Montalcino instead!

2009 Il Valentiano "Campo di Marzo" Brunello di Montalcino   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-1-2014
Just when you thought that we had found all of the amazing, tiny producers in Montalcino to bring you incredible Brunello, Greg St. Clair has scored another coup with the Il Valentiano wines. Valentina and Fabbiolo blended their names together to create the name- and we are proud to say that the lovely estate near Caprili is quite the find. This 2009 is showing beautifully right now, but would easily quite happily slumber in your cellar for a while, too. Open it now and decant it, and it will delight you with notes of red cherry, cassis, spice, stewed cherries and earthiness. Medium plus acidity and medium tannin, this elegant, classy Brunello will not disappoint you!

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