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 Syrahmi "Demi" Syrah Heathcote  
Review Date: 10-21-2014
From a cooler area in Heathcote (Victoria), this is real-deal Syrah, and not just "for Australia," or "given that it's New World," or anything like that. Without qualifiers, this is simply very good Syrah. Given its pure, bright mixed berry fruit, fine acid balance and drinkability, this brings St. Joseph to mind. Now open your mind, subtract $5-10 from that St. Joseph, and get to drinking!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart JH 95 BC 0

2007 Louis Roederer Brut Champagne   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-21-2014
A very pretty, rich aroma, just the right mix of bakery and autolyzed yeast notes and freshness; creamy balance, not too sharp on the acidity--a lot less so than the 2008 Brut Rose. Just so enjoyable!
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart WE 96 BC 0

2012 Ad Lib (Larry Cherubino) "Hen & Chicken" Chardonnay Western Australia  
Review Date: 10-21-2014
Mendoza clones, wild yeast, high solid debourbage according to my colleague Ryan W. With those data points I'm not surprised that this is really quite good! Bright, citric and tasty. The following is not hyperbole but the honest-to-god truth: there is no Chardonnay that can touch this for the price.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart JH 94 BC 0

2012 FRAM Pinotage Citrusdal Mountain  
Review Date: 10-21-2014
Rare indeed is the Pinotage that not only holds our attention, but elicits gushing praise from the peanut gallery. As buyer Ryan W remarked, one can see the true PN (juicy, friendly fruit w/ a bit of structure) and Cinsault (light, floral, so quaffable) parentage of the Pinotage grape on full display with this wine. A revelation. And, damn tasty.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 FRAM Chardonnay Robertson  
Review Date: 10-21-2014
Bright yellow fruits show real minerality as well as an eminently drinkable, effortless style. Is it the addition of Chenin Blanc? The limestone? I'm not sure but this wine right here is one for drinking (and I'm not much of a Chardonnay drinker....)
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Quartz Reef "Zero Dosage" Sparkling Wine Central Otago  
Review Date: 10-21-2014
A nicely textured bubbly, that has bright citric fruit, a nicely ripe yet dry style and very good overall balance that encourage expedient draining of the bottle! Very tasty, indeed.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2004 Tenuta di Sesta Brunello di Montalcino Riserva  
Review Date: 10-21-2014
I gave this Brunello, Three stars, beautifully layered, expressive wine bursting with sweet ripe strawberries, black cherries intermingled with subtle tuscan earth and toasted oak notes, minerals and a hint of bitter chocolate on the on the finish, round and ripe tannins and a long aftertaste. Great for gifts, or the Christmas table. ( Jump on this, it won't be around long. (WARNING!!!)

2009 Tenuta di Sesta Brunello di Montalcino  
Review Date: 10-21-2014
Big wine, little price!!! Do not let the price let you think that this is a lesser wine. This is a Great 2009 Brunello that will develop over the next couple years. I would give this an hour or two decanting time and serve with a winter stew. Yum!

2012 Apaltagua "Envero" Carmenere Gran Reserva Colchagua Valley  
Review Date: 10-21-2014
90% Carmenere and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, this is another delicious bottling of Envero. If you love fuller bodied, richer California cabs, then this would be a terrific introduction to the Carmenere grape. Deeply pitched dark fruits combine with aromas and flavors of roasted coffee, grilled bread and a hint of homemade caramel, a nicely darkened and deeply flavored batch. For under $14, there is very little else out there that provides this intensity of flavor in this bigger style of red wine.

2012 Tenuta di Sesta Rosso di Montalcino  
Review Date: 10-20-2014
Just by the color in the glass you know you are in for a treat! Beautiful rose and violet hues greet you like the warm Tuscan sun. Wonderful aromas of earth and candied red raspberry. Mouth feel of tart cherry and Christmas spice. And this awesome lingering acidity. Nice grip of tannins on the back end. With a super long finish just waiting for that braised meat to come out of the oven.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart WE 90 BC 0

2013 Rutherford Ranch Napa Valley Chardonnay  
Review Date: 10-20-2014
Round and juicy, this Chardonnay is driven by clean, tropical flavors of sweet citrus and pineapple. Its easy-going style, with a price to match, should make it a hit with those looking for an everyday white that has a little more richness than a Sauvignon Blanc, say, but avoids the oak-and-butter side of the Chardonnay spectrum.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart WE 90 BC 0

2002 C.H. Berres Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-20-2014
This ideally matured Kabinett has realized an excellent harmony between the fruit, petrol, and slate. Shades of white peach, lime, and wild strawberry still reside with the spicy and minerally terroir of Wurzgarten. The sweetness has largely dried out, and there's stinging zip that would satisfy even the biggest acid freaks. This wine is in a great place, but would easily hold for several more years. I encourage anyone to discover how dynamic and versatile this would be as an everyday table wine. You would have to try pretty hard to come up with a lousy food pairing.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Rutherford Ranch Napa Valley Chardonnay   | Approved
Review Date: 10-20-2014
Fans of the rich and tropical school of chardonnay should take note. Here's a full flavored Napa offering with tinges of pineapple, ripe apples and oak -- a total palate coater, but with just enough lemon pie acidity to keep it fresh.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart WE 90 BC 0

2010 Yalumba "The Guardian" Shiraz-Viognier Eden Valley   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-20-2014
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Great value Shiraz showing both richness and restraint. This exceptional wine for the price point shows bright, fresh aromatics, has a juicy, fleshy, med-full bodied mid-palate. It displays lots of bramble fruit, forest berries, spice and scorched earth. The cooler, higher elevation Eden Valley fruit source lends lovely mid-palate acidity to give lift and definition. Exotic spices and earth draw out on the finish. A great deal at the MSRP of $20...a steal at our Insider advantage price of substantially less!
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2018

2009 Puy-Marceau Bordeaux  
Review Date: 10-19-2014
A super 2009 value Bordeaux. Nose of blueberries, earth and dried herbs. A charming rusticity on the palate due to its tannins, which makes it all more interesting. Great pairing with charcuterie, sausages and chili beans.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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