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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2011 Barnett Vineyards Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 10-16-2014
The 2011 Barnett Spring Mountain Cabernet is a solid effort for the vintage! It is a focused, balanced and study wine that shows a ton of complexity and minerality. Plenty of fruit fills out the mid-palate while the tannins give the finish a good grip and structure. A Cab drinker's Cab and a great buy for under $40!
Price: Hidden View Price AG 91 BC 0

2013 Blason Cabernet Franc Isonzo  
Review Date: 10-16-2014
Itís back! And as long as I can keep my coworkers at bay, you may be able to buy some for yourself. There is nothing simple about this Cab Franc, it has the classic blueberry, herbaceous plum, and a hint of cola; also a little white pepper on the finish. A staff and consumer favorite for many years now, this is a wine you will want to stock up on.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Baccinetti "La Saporoia" Rosso di Montalcino  
Review Date: 10-16-2014
It's back--but for how long?. When K&L introduced this producer to you last year, everyone who bought a bottle came back for quantities and it sold out quickly. This 2009 will be no exception. This wine is full of ripe Sangiovese fruit, plum, spicy blackberry, and cassis with cocoa powder, coating the palate with a little Tuscan dust on the finish of this full-bodied wine that is showing great acidity and very well-balanced tannins.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Scarbolo Sauvignon Friuli  
Review Date: 10-16-2014
Citrus aromas. Full on the palate. Tasty, bright fruit: peach, citrus, and even a hint of melon. The touch of grassy flavors and pure Sauvignon fruit will give you a great idea of what the Friuli appellation is all about.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart JS 93 BC 0

2012 Tenuta di Sesta Rosso di Montalcino  
Review Date: 10-16-2014
This Rosso was aged for one year in 20hl Slovenian oak barrels and unites the imposing structure of Brunello with the freshness and vivacity of a young wine; classic ripe strawberries, cherry-cola, and cranberry with a hint of leather and spice on the finish. This can be drunk young, but will evolve over the next couple of years. WARNING! This is one of those wines that will make you think: how did that bottle empty itself?
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart WE 90 BC 0

2012 Pessagno "Central Avenue" Monterey County Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 10-16-2014
During a recent visit to the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation we discovered this outstanding value at tiny Pessagno Winery and bought it on the spot. This family-run boutique has a small portfolio of distinctive wines and this refreshing Pinot is one of the most elegant we encountered in the region. This is medium-bodied with aromas of spice, cherry and rhubarb that tingle the senses. The persistent cherry-vanilla fruit is enhanced by hints of tree bark, tea and a surprising minerality that lends a refreshing note to the finish. This is rare quality/price ratio for Pinot Noir.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Blason Pinot Grigio Isonzo (1L)  
Review Date: 10-16-2014
This is a mouthful of Pinot Grigio and a wine that has body and is perfectly balanced with zippy acidity and very aromatic, good complexity, length and that subtle elegance that shows muscle and long and flowing finish. It is a little spicy with red apple and melon, and LOTS of minerals on the aftertaste. The Best P/G they made ( so far) and a liter bottle ( Woohoo ) made for two!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2008 Pewsey Vale "Contours" Museum Reserve Riesling Eden Valley South Australia   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-14-2014
This dry Riesling is just getting started at six years after the vintage. So crisp and refreshing, yet it has also gained bottle characteristics and weight: a floral aroma with honeycomb, lemon pith and lemon oil, and a mouthfeel that's silky and light and has a certain sumptuousness at the same time that swaths and tames the searing, dry finish. This is a great example of South Australian Riesling, and I am sure that I will order more now that the bottle's empty!

2012 Bogle "Essential Red" Old Vine Red Blend  
Review Date: 10-14-2014
For this price and quality get outta town! This is going to be everyone's bring-to-a-party pick and not get nervous about everyone gulping it down immediately, and not embarrassed about bringing a sub-$10 wine either! This is a Zin-based red blend that is juicy and full without being cloyingly sweet. It retains balance and gets you in the mood...to drink more!
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart WE 91 BC 0

Beehive Distilling Jack Rabbit Utah Gin 750ml  
Review Date: 10-14-2014
Easily my gin of the year, and firmly in my "top five" gin rotation (yes, sadly we drink that much gin in my house). The botanical pairing of rose petal and sage makes for a complex, intriguing, and stunning gin. The nose is highlighted by the pretty rose notes, with just a hint of sage and juniper. The palate plays up the sage, soft and supple, with just the right balance of floral notes to keep it from becoming cloying. This bottle was empty exactly one week after I brought it home, I couldn't stop drinking it. Perfect with tonic, I also like it in French 75's or simply in a gimlet. Love it!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Pedro Martinez Alesanco Tempranillo Rioja  
Review Date: 10-14-2014
Rounding out their trio of Riojas is this Tempranillo and Garnacha blend, a wine produced from mainly younger vine fruit in lower lying, iron heavy clay vineyards. This has everything I look for in young, unoaked Tempranillo from Rioja. Beautiful, pure mixed berry fruit, on the darker side, with fresh acidity and wonderful, crunchy freshness. Another winner from one of our new favorite producers of Spanish values.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Scarbolo Sauvignon Friuli  
Review Date: 10-13-2014
Friuli is one of the top areas for white wines anywhere. This Sauvignon does not disappoint! Fruit and herbs for days in this wine. Just when you think you are going to get hit with some flabby mouth feel, BAM! Bone-dry acidity. A little more weight to it than your average Sauvignon Blanc. What a wonderfully long lasting finish too!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart JS 93 BC 0

2012 Tatomer "Sisquoc" Santa Barbara County Riesling   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-13-2014
I discovered Tatomer a year or so back at the International Alsace Varietals Festival in Anderson Valley, California, and was impressed with their wines and their focus on Riesling. Although I don't find any "petrol" notes in the 2012 Sisquoc, it's got an intoxicating blend of golden raisin and honey aromas--reminds me of drizzling dark, clover honey in amber rivulets onto a crostini. Even at a higher 14.1% abv, it's got enough acidity to balance whatever residual sugar there may be--the wine finishes dry, with a sensation of sweetness due to the aromatics--anyway, no less dry than most Chardonnays these days! I like this with a cheese plate of goat Gouda and seeded crackers, or creamy spaetzle.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Quinta dos Roques Encruzado Dao   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 10-10-2014
An incredibly interesting and enticing wine made from the Encruzado grape, which is the most highly regarded white variety in Portugal, usually made in a very rich style, with intent for bottle aging. The Quinta dos Roques is no exception. A full, rich-bodied white with notes of almonds and hazelnuts, snap peas, sweet pears, resin and gorgeous floral notes. Itís bursting with minerality and stone fruits, while there are some noticeable oak characteristics, they are well integrated. This white is for those Chardonnay drinkers who want an Old World style Chard with the added bonus of decadence and the ability to lay this down for years to come.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 FRAM Pinotage Citrusdal Mountain  
Review Date: 10-10-2014
If you sit on the negative side of the fence when it comes to Pinotage, I believe we have found the one to bring you to the positive side. The Fram does not have the classic rustic Band-Aid qualities that most associate with this grape variety. What it does show is the integrity of the two parent varietals, Pinot Noir and Cinsault. The Pinot comes through with an elegant nose of red fruit and red flowers. The Cinsault shows a deep, concentrated mid-palate fruit and spice. The whole thing is complete on the palate with a sexiness that is pure South Africa. I've always said you need to eat the food of South Africa to understand the wines but the Fram is a wine you can drink and better understand the quality that can come from this exciting region.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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