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 Joseph Jewell Russian River Valley Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 9-22-2014
I first brought in the Joseph Jewell wines back in the 2009 vintage. I always thought the wine was well made and our customers have always enjoyed them. The 2012 Russian River has reached new heights for the winery. A very feminine style of Russian River Pinot Noir with lovely cherry fruit, baking spice and just a hint of vanilla and cedar. Earthy notes show nicely throughout the mouth and the generous acidity weaves well through the lovely ripe fruit. Adrian and Micah have added another notch on their belt with this one.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart W&S 95 BC 0

2010 Von Strasser "Estate" Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 9-22-2014
A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec and 4% Merlot, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain is a gem. A blend of five vineyards from Diamond Mountain which Rudy has complete control of. Dark black and blue fruit with touches of cedar and spice with soft tannin and a lovely mineral backbone. Decant for an hour or hold for 3-5 years.

2012 La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica  
Review Date: 9-22-2014
This is one of my top five white wines! Late harvest, low yields and a mineral-laden soil produces such a amazing wine. I know it is great when I can sit for a half an hour with one glass. Wonderful with food or on its own. No oak involved and none needed. Did I mention superb natural acidity? Give it a good decanting and watch the magic unfold. Intense, dry and fruity! What more could you want from a bottle under $20?
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Joseph Jewell Russian River Valley Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 9-22-2014
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Very pretty nose of red cassis, dark cherry, cream and light earth. Unfined and unfiltered, yet, not blocky or chunky. Bright cherries on the palate, with notes of spice and earth. Excellent acidity on the finish that adds grace and balance. A very substantial, and delicious, effort.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart W&S 95 BC 0

2011 Robert Craig Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 9-22-2014
If I had to pick a Napa mountain that I love the wine from, Howell Mountain would be at the top of my list. Dunn, Ladera, Neal Family, O'Shaugnessey and of course Robert Craig. Bright blue fruit combined with chocolate, menthol, pepper and cedar. The wine is deep and powerful with incredible length. A cellar candidate for sure.

2012 Von Strasser "Rudy" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 9-22-2014
How does a winery make a wine of such beauty and balance for only $ 19.99? Rudy Von Strasser can. A nice balance of Diamond Mountain structure and acidity with valley floor ripeness just kissed with a touch of wood. One of my favorite wines on our California shelf.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Black Quail "Estate" Pinot Noir Bannockburn Central Otago  
Review Date: 9-22-2014
The Black Quail is a new find for us and a continuation of great Pinot Noir coming from Central Otago. The bouquet shows opulent dark plum, black cherry, boysenberry, some Asian spice, damp earth and a hint of dried orange peel. On the palate, the wine is rich and full bodied with good acidity and refined tannins that are superbly balanced and lead to a long persistent finish. This is the first time for us bringing this wine to the States, but it won't be the last! If you haven't discovered the joys of New Zealand Pinot Noir, it's time to get in the game.

Cain "Cuvée NV10" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend  
Review Date: 9-21-2014
Wow! I have always loved the Cain NV releases, and this NV10 did not disappoint. Instead of manipulating young wine to make it drinkable early, they blended two vintages to make a Cabernet blend that is naturally ready to go. The deft combination of even parts 2010 and 2009 has made for a curranty, fresh, medium bodied, fabulous drink!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart JS 92 BC 0

2004 Cain "Five" Spring Mountain District Bordeaux Blend  
Review Date: 9-21-2014
This library release, straight from Cain, is one of the most exciting domestic wines in the building. With an incredible bouquet of earth, dark fruit and leather and a rich mountain texture, this Cabernet blend has it all. If you are looking for a top bottle from Napa to go with your steak, look no further... I would rather drink this than any $500+ cult wine in the building!
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Cain "Cuvée NV10" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend  
Review Date: 9-21-2014
Combining the richness of the 2009 vintage with the freshness of the 2010, this incredible multi-vintage red offers an extraordinarily balanced Napa Cab. The dark fruit is layered with notes of raspberry and currant, laced with savory leather. To add balance to this blend, the 2010 brings freshness, red cherry and herbal components, fresh mint and crushed sage. The sum is greater than the parts in this case.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart JS 92 BC 0

2013 Honig Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc  
Review Date: 9-21-2014
Always a stellar value for 100% pure, estate-grown, Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc at a price that hasn't gone up in over 10 years! Great citrus and mineral notes, juicy mouthwatering acidity, and easy to drink with or without food. It's a no-brainier if you ask me!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Ramey Napa Valley Claret  
Review Date: 9-21-2014
Always one of my favorite Bordeaux blends of the Napa Valley that is done in an old-school style that actually has gorgeous structure and minerality. I even get a touch of gravel from the soil on the finish. Well integrated French oak and purity of fruit. Love the forward quality of 2012s; this you can enjoy or keep for years to come!

2011 Carpe Diem Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 9-21-2014
One of my top favorite Napa Cabs for under $20. It's actually pretty ridiculous if you think about the fruit that's going into this bottle. Can you believe this is Dominus and Napanook fruit that goes into this? A great New World meets Old World style!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 La Monacesca Verdicchio di Matelica  
Review Date: 9-21-2014
Matelica is a north-south running valley with warm days and cool nights, resulting in some of the best Verdicchio in all of Italy. This richly textured wine has sweet pit fruit, stony minerality and a super intense finish. Don't miss this unique and delicious bargain.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Black Quail "Estate" Pinot Noir Bannockburn Central Otago  
Review Date: 9-21-2014
Wow! Drink like you’re royalty! Wasn’t quite sure what I expected but this… this is like velvet slippers for your mouth! Dried flowers, perfume, and fruit lift plentifully out of the glass with just the slightest hint of forest floor. The palate is full of dark fruit offset perfectly by a hint of black pepper and finishes rather elegantly with lively fruit and lovely spices. There’s a new region on my radar for exciting, pure, poised Pinot Noir!

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