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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2010 Il Valentiano "Campo di Marzo" Brunello di Montalcino Pre-Arrival  
Review Date: 1-21-2015
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A bit shy at first in the nose but slowly this wine begins to release its core; it’s a gentle flow, exuding a composed center, no rush or hurry here. The nose shows hints of its western slope origins with hints of ripeness but this is layered between spice and earth as it delicately flows from the glass. On the palate the wine the has a really savory quality, salty, iron, leather then, slowly, the fruit escapes from its tightly wound core where hints of wild cherry, plum and cocoa powder mix with fine grain tannin to give a really focused palate presence. The long, persistent finish with layer after layer gradually makes its presence felt with superb balance, and a growing flavor crescendo. Drink in 2-3 years but capable of aging 10-20 years.
Drink from 2017 to 2030
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart JS 92 BC 0

2000 Bel-Air, Pomerol  
Review Date: 1-21-2015
The tiny appellation of Pomerol produced few bargains in the phenomenal 2000 vintage but here is one. This has an evolved nose of red fruit, earth and cedar. The body is plump, smooth, lushly sweet and shows beautiful balance and proportion from beginning to silky, seamless end.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2001 Corbin Michotte, St-Emilion  
Review Date: 1-21-2015
Lots of ripe, red fruits here with a funky dig into the terroir of the St-Emilion/Pomerol border. There are very fine tannins holding the array of cherries and berries together where hints of chalk add persistence to the finish. This is deep, lush and still fresh.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2001 Moulin Haut Laroque, Fronsac  
Review Date: 1-21-2015
This is darkly fruited and quite earthy but with a lush core of sweet, clean and fresh fruit. The tannins are well hidden and there is nice length to the lively finish. This is easy and forward even without decanting.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Raymond Lafon, Sauternes (375ml)  
Review Date: 1-21-2015
Surprisingly viscous, fat and waxy but with great balancing acidity to boot, this seems to hit the sweet spot between flamboyant richness and cool, electric freshness. The pineapple, coconut, honey, citrus and marmalade flavors would be an ideal match for veined cheeses, fruit tarts, pound cake, a plate of butter cookies or my favorite, as an aperitif. The powerful finish here actually leaves an impression of dryness on the palate.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart RP 93 BC 0

2012 Charles Baur Eichberg Riesling Grand Cru   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 1-21-2015
This is a beautiful Alsatian Riesling, bursting with elegance and minerality. The nose provides aromas of pretty little white flowers, peach, nectar, apricot, and wet slate. The palate is full of beeswax and lanolin with fruits like pear and apple and a backbone of minerality like crush wet stone and slate. An absolutely gorgeous wine and a steal at $24.99.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart WE 92 BC 0

1998 Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan  
Review Date: 1-21-2015
This earthy wine is surprisingly rich and hearty for a 1998 Left Bank Bordeaux. Tobacco, mineral and cherry and plum fruit are far more obvious than the slightly firm edge to the stony finish. Decant this tonight with hearty fare.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Terre da Vino "La Luna e I Falò" Barbera d'Asti Superiore  
Review Date: 1-21-2015
This is classic Barbera with dark ripe black cherries and plum, full-bodied with some minerals and dust on the very long and well integrated finish. I would let this open for an hour or so and serve with a grilled Portobello mushroom or burgers and some great friends.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Poggio al Tufo "Rompicollo" Toscana  
Review Date: 1-21-2015
It is just the kind of wine you want when you sit down with a little bread and cheese or when you open something to drink while cooking dinner. Rich and complex, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon. Super Tuscan & Super Price !

2009 Château Musar "Hochar Père et Fils" Red Bekaa Valley  
Review Date: 1-20-2015
This is a total shocker. It's not like I didn't know that Musar has a reputation for greatness, it's that I didn't think their wines would be this good for the money. The Hochar vineyard gives this great old school Bordeaux flavor, but with a concentrated core of sweet red fruit (almost like a combo of Rioja with Bordeaux). This is a fantastic wine that no one should be afraid to spend money on. It's not esoteric or weird, just classic old school wine with great flavor.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart W&S 92 BC 0

2006 Château Musar Blanc Bekaa Valley  
Review Date: 1-20-2015
If you're going to splurge on a white wine, you want one with complexity and stunning nuance. This is that wine. Slightly oxidative on the nose, the aromas are nutty and slightly earthy. The palate has a bit of subtle oak flavor before moving into a saline note and a bit more mineral of a direction. Fascinating and delicious.
Price: $46.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Musar "Jeune" Rouge Bekaa Valley  
Review Date: 1-20-2015
This unoaked Musar is juicy, balanced, and showcases a lovely mouthful of pure red fruit. A charming wine that really delivers for the money.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Tronquoy de St-Anne, St-Estèphe  
Review Date: 1-19-2015
HOT DEAL! WOW, that's a lot of wine for less than $20! Tronquoy is located just across the road from 2nd growth icon Montrose, so you're getting top-notch terroir in this bottle. Perfectly balanced fruit with firm tannins and a lovely finish. How is this under $20?
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart WE 90 BC 0

2012 Barde-Haut, St-Emilion  
Review Date: 1-17-2015
I was worried that the freshness might have left St. Emilion- trampled by points and pundits. Luckily, this very well balanced Barde Haut is proof that refreshing purity can still be found on the right bank of the river. This sweet fruited, pure, plummy Bordeaux will drink well with an hour in the decanter and a skirt steak now, or for many years into the future.
Drink from 2015 to 2027

2011 d'Yquem, Sauternes (375ml)  
Review Date: 1-17-2015
It is very hard for any wine as venerated as Chateau d'Yquem to live up to the expectations that its fame creates. This 2011 delivers on all promises- it is great wine. While it is only a light straw color now, it has authoritative viscosity, full, clean botrytis sweetness and a kaleidoscope of complexity that is impossible to duplicate. Put this in your cellar and forget it for many years and it will be even better than it is now. Wow!
Drink from 2015 to 2061

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