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 Bogle "Essential Red" Old Vine Red Blend  
Review Date: 10-14-2014
For this price and quality get outta town! This is going to be everyone's bring-to-a-party pick and not get nervous about everyone gulping it down immediately, and not embarrassed about bringing a sub-$10 wine either! This is a Zin-based red blend that is juicy and full without being cloyingly sweet. It retains balance and gets you in the mood...to drink more!
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart WE 91 BC 0

Michel Couvreur K&L Exclusive Overaged Peated Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 10-14-2014
The magnificence that is Michel Couvreur has always been clear, but it wasn't until we stepped into the special cave, carved out of the rock, in Bouze-Les-Beaune that you can full appreciate the incredible endeavor in process at this fine producer. While this is by definition NOT scotch, because it is aged outside of the country, the old school practices utilized at here are unusual back in Scotland. The fact that these guys literally drive to Jerez to pick out fresh sherry casks (from Equipos Navazos no less) is totally unique in modern times. In fact, no producer of malt whisky is getting access to fresher barrels than these guys. Despite not being able to use the famous moniker, does not preclude this from being one of the most authentic and absolutely delicious malts on the market. Stupendous depth and complexity even at 86 proof, while the sherry is toned down from the standard version a subtle fino/amontillado quality exists in the back ground. This is pointed by a fabulous smokey sweetness, which hints at the source whisky. Maybe an island somewhere, maybe a drop of Islay, wildly high-quality Highland whisky with a French sensibility. A truly unique gem.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Beehive Distilling Jack Rabbit Utah Gin 750ml  
Review Date: 10-14-2014
Easily my gin of the year, and firmly in my "top five" gin rotation (yes, sadly we drink that much gin in my house). The botanical pairing of rose petal and sage makes for a complex, intriguing, and stunning gin. The nose is highlighted by the pretty rose notes, with just a hint of sage and juniper. The palate plays up the sage, soft and supple, with just the right balance of floral notes to keep it from becoming cloying. This bottle was empty exactly one week after I brought it home, I couldn't stop drinking it. Perfect with tonic, I also like it in French 75's or simply in a gimlet. Love it!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Michel Couvreur K&L Exclusive Overaged Peated Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 10-14-2014
Yum! What an awesome addition to our spirits line up. The Davids have done it once again, this time bringing us something really special. Exceptionally smooth, with subtle fruit, peat, smoke and a wonderful fresh tobacco finish. The finish by the way lasts way longer than expected. Like way longer. Bottled at 43%, this has a heck of a lot going on. Don't miss it. This is the real deal.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Pedro Martinez Alesanco Tempranillo Rioja  
Review Date: 10-14-2014
Rounding out their trio of Riojas is this Tempranillo and Garnacha blend, a wine produced from mainly younger vine fruit in lower lying, iron heavy clay vineyards. This has everything I look for in young, unoaked Tempranillo from Rioja. Beautiful, pure mixed berry fruit, on the darker side, with fresh acidity and wonderful, crunchy freshness. Another winner from one of our new favorite producers of Spanish values.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Scarbolo Sauvignon Friuli  
Review Date: 10-13-2014
Friuli is one of the top areas for white wines anywhere. This Sauvignon does not disappoint! Fruit and herbs for days in this wine. Just when you think you are going to get hit with some flabby mouth feel, BAM! Bone-dry acidity. A little more weight to it than your average Sauvignon Blanc. What a wonderfully long lasting finish too!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart JS 93 BC 0

2012 Tatomer "Sisquoc" Santa Barbara County Riesling   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-13-2014
I discovered Tatomer a year or so back at the International Alsace Varietals Festival in Anderson Valley, California, and was impressed with their wines and their focus on Riesling. Although I don't find any "petrol" notes in the 2012 Sisquoc, it's got an intoxicating blend of golden raisin and honey aromas--reminds me of drizzling dark, clover honey in amber rivulets onto a crostini. Even at a higher 14.1% abv, it's got enough acidity to balance whatever residual sugar there may be--the wine finishes dry, with a sensation of sweetness due to the aromatics--anyway, no less dry than most Chardonnays these days! I like this with a cheese plate of goat Gouda and seeded crackers, or creamy spaetzle.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Quinta dos Roques Encruzado Dao   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-10-2014
An incredibly interesting and enticing wine made from the Encruzado grape, which is the most highly regarded white variety in Portugal, usually made in a very rich style, with intent for bottle aging. The Quinta dos Roques is no exception. A full, rich-bodied white with notes of almonds and hazelnuts, snap peas, sweet pears, resin and gorgeous floral notes. Itís bursting with minerality and stone fruits, while there are some noticeable oak characteristics, they are well integrated. This white is for those Chardonnay drinkers who want an Old World style Chard with the added bonus of decadence and the ability to lay this down for years to come.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 FRAM Pinotage Citrusdal Mountain  
Review Date: 10-10-2014
If you sit on the negative side of the fence when it comes to Pinotage, I believe we have found the one to bring you to the positive side. The Fram does not have the classic rustic Band-Aid qualities that most associate with this grape variety. What it does show is the integrity of the two parent varietals, Pinot Noir and Cinsault. The Pinot comes through with an elegant nose of red fruit and red flowers. The Cinsault shows a deep, concentrated mid-palate fruit and spice. The whole thing is complete on the palate with a sexiness that is pure South Africa. I've always said you need to eat the food of South Africa to understand the wines but the Fram is a wine you can drink and better understand the quality that can come from this exciting region.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Stolzle Universal Tasting Wine Glass  
Review Date: 10-10-2014
Stolze calls this their Universal White Wine glass. But it is much more. With a bowl shaped much like a Riedel Chianti glass, this is an all-around glass. The stem is a bit thicker, so you need not worry about breaking it in the dishwasher, or the hands of an exuberant guest. I am buying this for my household in quantity. At this price I am happy to do so, as I'll have party wine glasses I am happy to use. Don't hesitate, buy a dozen. At these prices (below the importer's cost) they will disappear in a flash. A fair value at $9, a steal at $2.99!
Top Value!
Price: $2.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Stūlzle Exquisite Burgundy Glass  
Review Date: 10-10-2014
This is a very good Pinot Noir glass. More graceful in shape than the Spiegelau, with a nice effect for concentrating the nose. It works well on both domestic Pinot Noir and Burgundy, and is most affordable, at these ridiculously low close-out prices.
Top Value!
Price: $3.99 Add To Cart BC 0

La Monacesca "Mirum" MV Verdicchio di Matelica Riserva 20th Anniversary  
Review Date: 10-10-2014
One of my top white wines in the store. This is a treat for any wine drinker. The blend of 85% Verdicchio from the 2008 vintage, with 15% Verdicchio coming from the 2000-2001-2002-2004 vintages. In the hands of Aldo Cifola--and the way he manages wine operation can be seen in every detail. Tropical fruits, honey, ripe citrus and roasted almonds. Finish for days! This is very special wine and at this price it is a steal. With the holidays fast approaching this gift is perfect for any occasion.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Stolzle Universal Bordeaux Glass (ship as 6pk only)  
Review Date: 10-9-2014
This has a shape very similar to that of the Riedel Bordeaux Glass, but with a thicker, more durable stem. If you serve Cabernets or Bordeaux at parties, and want something your guests won't break, but that will show the wine well, here is your answer. At half the original price, this is a compelling value that will survive both the diswasher and exuberant guest, but provide terrific drinking satisfaction. At less than half of the importer's cost, these will not be around for long, so buy now or be sorry later. I already have mine at home.
Top Value!
Price: $3.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Stolzle Universal Tasting Wine Glass  
Review Date: 10-8-2014
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This is perfect for wine tasting and an everyday universal wine glass. We've found this shape to be the ideal shape when you need a glass for multiple types of wine. Even better, it's dishwasher safe and lead free!
Top Value!
Price: $2.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 The Three Foxes Clairette Blanche Coastal Region  
Review Date: 10-8-2014
I'm a sucker for white wines that see skin contact. A whole new range of flavors open up and show a wide range of new complexity. The Three Foxes is one that any drinker can access with its intriguing mouthfeel and flavors of peach and nectarine. There is also some serious minerality with a nose of wet stone and talc. Fascinating stuff and worth spending a long afternoon with.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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