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 Tongue In Groove "The Mound Vineyard" Riesling Waipara Valley   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 11-19-2014
This Tongue and Groove Riesling is a fun wine at a great price! It is a medium dry style Riesling brimming with stone fruits, honeysuckle, chalky acidity and zesty minerality. Enjoy!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
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One of my go-to Chateauneuf-du-Papes, Guigal has been fashioning one of the most dependable and value-oriented Chateaneuf-du-Papes for as long as I can remember. The 2009 vintage in the Rhone Valley was a hot vintage and the 2009 Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape displays all the character of a warmer vintage with intense aromatics of marzipan, clove, grilled meat and cherry kirsch explode from the glass while the palate blends spicy cherry fruit, cranberry, red licorice and spice into a tightly-wound package. Dense and chewy this large-scaled offering is just beginning to open up and show all that it has to offer. This is shaping up to be one of the better Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Papes I have had.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2030

2009 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
Guigal is synonymous with the Rhone Valley. Consistently producing some of the region's best wines, their Chateauneuf is no exception. The 2009 CdP is decidedly old school, which is a very welcome expression. The nose has beautiful notes of Turkish coffee, roasted plums and spiced blackberries. The palate is loaded with even more exotic spices, marzipan and confiture of raspberries. This is finely balanced and expressive. This 2009 has that extra something that a lot of Chateauneuf has been lacking as of late - finesse! Ready to drink now with its polished tannins or worthy of laying away for a few years. Either way this is a terrific drink worthy of stocking up on.

2012 Mount Edward "Estate" Pinot Noir Central Otago  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
I've completely curbed my Burgundy spending in favor of our newest direct imports from New Zealand; specifically the Mount Edward wines. The cherry fruit is soft and pretty, the mixture of floral notes and baking spices in the estate selection enticing. Perfect balance of acidity. A fabulous Pinot Noir.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart JS 92 BC 0

2013 Mount Edward Estate "Morrison Vineyard" Riesling Lowburn Central Otago  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
Hot deal. There's not much, so grab what we have. Petrol, minerality, stoney schist, serious Riesling.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Quarter Acre Viognier Hawke's Bay  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
Viognier isn't everyone's bag; it's definitely not mine. But this is just pure peaches and pears, not an ounce of overpowering perfume or flagrant floral notes. There's no sweetness either; instead just a crisp layer of acidity. I wish all Viognier tasted like this. Then it definitely would be my thing.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Quarter Acre Sauvignon Blanc Hawke's Bay  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
This is a barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc and that wood influence makes a huge difference in the flavor of this wine. I'm not a big grassy, grapefruity NZ Sauv Blanc guy. I like the mineral-driven wines with leesy richness. The Quarter Acre is definitely in the latter group. This is a crisp, stony, acidity-driven SB with great weight and balance. The barrel influence just takes the edge off, rather than providing toasty oak or chardonnay flavors. It's like a high-end white Bordeaux but for a way better price.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Erik Banti "Carato" Toscana  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
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Erik Banti’s Carato is a Mini Super Tuscan! It’s a blend of 75% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and 10% Ciliegiolo aged for 10 months in oak barrels and is just delicious. The wine tastes like it should cost much more, full, smooth, flavorful with excellent balance. A K&L Direct Import that offers you extraordinary value, and at this price you will be saying--Wow!
Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $7.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Lestruelle, Médoc   | Approved
Review Date: 11-18-2014
An amazing value from the northern tip of Bordeaux's Left Bank, the 2010 Chateau Lestruelle is an excellent representation of the region's classic character and complexity. A blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, this bottling has everything I want in a red wine. Opening with strong tannins that mellow out before going down smoothly, this is a rich and complex wine, combining elements of blueberry, tobacco, flint, and pencil lead on the back end. This all leads to a satisfying finish that makes you insist upon one thing, and one thing only: ANOTHER GLASS!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Elephant Hill "Le Phant Rouge" Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
This wine is so good, I'm not sure whether to age it or drink it. Again, I'm not the kind of guy who looks too far from Bordeaux for my Bordeaux blends, but this is a serious wine with both pure, unadulterated fruit flavor and serious structure. You could decant it with a steak tonight, or throw it down in your wine cellar for 3-5 years. Either way, you're in good shape. The price is just insane.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Quarter Acre Bordeaux Blend Havelock Hills Hawke's Bay  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
I'm not usually one to buy my Bordeaux blends outside of Bordeaux, but for this guy I'll make an exception. This Merlot/Malbec blend is dark fruited, slightly structured, and shows lovely mineral notes underneath all the earth and berries. For the money, it's an absolute incredible find by Ryan, our buyer.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape   | Approved
Review Date: 11-18-2014
Ron Burgundy once famously confused Chateauneuf Du Pape with Heinz Ketchup. Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth, a fact especially evident with this 2009 bottling from the famed producer of Rhone wines. Medium bodied and evenly laced with plenty of dark fruit, tobacco, and chocolate, the wine hits you in the face with complexity, while also being very approachable. The moderate tannins sit nicely in the middle of the spectrum between too dry and too sweet,and is sure to please lovers of both fuller, more tannic wines and those wanting something a bit more mellow. A lovely representation of the area.

2010 Majo di Norante "Contado" Riserva Aglianico di Molise  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
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Aglianico is a big, bold powerful grape and in Majo Norante’s Contado Riserva you get a real mouthful for the price. Smokey, earthy nose that seems to deepen as it escapes the glass, full of dense fruit and hints of vanillin. On the palate this wine is powerful, structured and decisive; layers of flavor explode across your tongue and leave you saying holy wow. The wine finishes with a bit of a reassuring grip long lasting flavors. This wine comes from one of Italy’s least know Regions called Molise, it’s on the Adriatic side of the peninsula between Abruzzo and Puglia.
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

Bibi Graetz "Casamatta" Toscana  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
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Hard to imagine that you can get such good quality at this price but yes you can! One of the ways is to make a multi vintage blend (non vintage sounds so passé) like this one where one vintage’s lesser characteristics can actually balance out another’s. This wine is full of bold cherry and plum fruit, with lots of soft fleshy richness on the palate, just a wonderful drinking wine! Try it with your favorite pizza, or sausage and pepper pasta.
Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart JS 90 BC 0

2008 Bisceglia Aglianico del Vulture "Gudarrà"  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
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I love this wine’s complexity, layers of wild brush, smoke, truffle, tar, saddle leather and big bold plumy fruit. Aglianico is a powerhouse grape and the wines that come from Vulture, in Basilicata (the instep of the boot) have origins that come from an ancient volcano and that soil lifts and brightens this tannic variety into a superbly balanced and delicious wine. While definitely having a tannic signature this wine has such great balance that it is really drinking well right now and will age well for another 5-8 years. This is a wine that is perfect for braised meats or hearty pasta dishes.
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

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