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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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

2013 Kalinda "Clone 828 Reserve" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 10-7-2014
Exotic, spicy and ripe aromas jump from the glass. The mouthfeel is lush, explosive and layered. The finish is spicy, silky and long. This is flat-out delicious Pinot Noir!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Michel Couvreur K&L Exclusive Overaged Peated Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 10-7-2014
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I love it! Super creamy with a mild peat, lovely sherry character and an absolutely wonderful sexy texture on the palate. What an amazingly charming whiskey!
Top Value!
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Foxglove Central Coast Chardonnay  
Review Date: 10-6-2014
The Foxglove is simply the best under-$15 California Chardonnay in the store! While rich and full-flavored enough to give fans of the big, buttery style something to hang on to, this wine has the balance for those who are tired of the over-the-top style. Excellent quality wine at a very low price!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Foxglove Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 10-6-2014
One of the top values on our shelves for Cabernet, the Foxglove has easygoing dark fruit, round tannins and plenty of body. This is perfect for folks looking for Cabernet to drink on its own, but that isn't manipulated like most of the others in this price range and style.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Ancient Peaks/K&L Wine Merchants Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 10-6-2014
What we agreed upon for the final blend was as follows: 40% Cabernet Sauvignon from Block 15 (the structural and aromatic backbone of the wine), 40% Cabernet Sauvignon from Block 49 “A” (the mouthfeel of the wine and oak richness), 10% Malbec from Block 45 (added mid-palate weight and density), 8% Merlot from Block 3 (finishing complexity and length) and 2% Cabernet Franc from Block 9 (toasty oak and sweet spices). This blend was easily the best on the table creating a complete and complex wine that we thought showed both the style of Ancient Peaks and the collective palate of K&L. Plum, cassis and a touch of mildly toasty oak came together instantly for a surprisingly integrated and pretty nose. Ripe, with plenty of plush fruit and a medium-full weighted palate the wine showed plenty of blue/red fruit interplay along with tobacco, gravel and pencil lead. The finish is bright and juicy with a lovely layer of oak toast adding a nice confectionery spice to long and energetic finish.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Domaine des Niales Rhedon-Marin Mâcon-Villages Vieilles Vignes  
Review Date: 10-4-2014
While the Mâconnais district is well known as a great source of value-priced white Burgundy, the 2012 Domaine des Niales Rhedon-Marin Mâcon-Villages Vieilles Vignes may very well be one of the best Chardonnays under $15 in the store right now regardless of region of origin. While 2012 was a challenging vintage for red wines in Burgundy, the white wines are quite good, and this wine is no exception. Wonderfully mineral in character with hints of wet stone and earth. Bright, fresh citrus notes. Round and smooth textured with surprising concentration and persistence. The old vine character really makes itself felt here. An extraordinary value at a mere $12.99.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Il Valentiano "Campo di Marzo" Brunello di Montalcino  
Review Date: 10-2-2014
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Here again Tuscany shows us they can still produce truly fantastic wines at great values. Here's a beautiful and elegantly composed Brunello with lovely red fruits, silky rose petals, interwoven minerals and fine spices with an absolutely lovely texture hung on fine polished tannins, all in perfect harmony. Greg's imagery of a gemstone is perfect and polished rubies is one of the first images I had upon trying this wine too.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2020

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 Grand Champagne 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

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