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When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural regions within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows and glasses to be raised around the world. We've been selling domestic wines since 1976 and all three of our stores are located in California, so it's safe to say that this territory has a special place in our heart. Take a look...
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K&L Staff Recommendations
For decades now, our Kalinda private label has been providing K&L customers with awesome wines at a fraction of what they'd normally pay under the producers' mainstay labels. That being said, no producer wants their wines on the market for less than what they'd usually sell for, so the trade-off is anonymity. While we have to remain quiet about the source of this beauty, we can tell you that wine from this prestigious producer sells elsewhere under the winery label at a much higher premium. Our 2016 Sauvignon Blanc release was produced in Napa, but the f... Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star, Good Value* No matter that this unoaked bottling treds a direct, green apple line with few complex adjuncts in its makeup, such is the way of Chardonnays of its ilk, and this one makes a pretty good stab at capturing lively, somewhat juicy fruit. There is a not unexpected bit of fresh, slightly candied fruit here and little in the way of the rich, buttery side of the variety to be sure. Yet, all in all, this wine is both easy to take and easy on the wallet." (7/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This stainless-steel take shows lime juice, golden apples and white pepper on t ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "An absolutely fabulous value is the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa. This comes from multiple sources and there are 46,000+ cases of it. A stunning Cabernet Sauvignon and a classic example of Napa viticulture, this blend of 75.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, was aged just over two years in oak. Loads of sweet blackcurrant fruit, cocoa, a touch of toast, earth, and baking spice are all present in this wine that has terrific fruit on the attack and mid-palate, a full-bodied mouthfeel, no hard edges and a lus ...Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "This is really refined and fresh with sliced apple and lemon aromas. Hints of stone too. Medium to full body, an almost salty undertone. Medium finish. Bright and tangy. Gorgeous limey undertone." (6/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "#1 in "Best of 2016: Robert Parker, Top 3 Greatest Value Wines of the Year"...The 2014 Chardonnay Olema at $15.00 from Sonoma is a heck of a bottle of wine, with honeysuckle, lemon blossom and a touch of white peach all present in this wine that offers clean, pure fruit, medium body and a distant hint of wood. This is a terrific value and sleeper selecti ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is also a winner, slightly more open and precocious, but with plenty of blackcurrant and blackberry fruit, striking minerality (no doubt from the Obsidian rocks) and a full-bodied, luscious, juicy style with a voluptuous texture. Drink it over the next 10-15 years. The black rocks of Obsidian Ridge in Lake County, at an elevation of 2,600 feet, make it one of the more distinctive terroirs in Northern California. Geologists have said that the soils have to be a minimum of 10,000 years old, which perhaps explains the high quali ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "For many years I have been touting the old-vine red put together by Marietta cellars as one of the great values in all of winedom. I got to taste two of the old-vine reds, Lot 64 and Lot 65, and there is no reason to change my opinion. This is a blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah and mixed Italian blacks. It usually hits about 13.5% alcohol, which is modest, and aged largely in neutral oak and stainless steel. Production is about 30,000 cases and, of course, they sell it like they are giving away free hotcakes it is so delicious. As for the NV Old V ...Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "Aromas of blackcurrants, blackberries, mushrooms and spices. Full and very intense with lots of fruit. Firm and silky. Plenty of tension. Layered and intense. Love it now, but this will be better in 2020." (1/2017) 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9/% Petit Verdot and the rest Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, is a classic example of Pritchard Hill, Chappellet and of Napa Valley. Brilliant purity, a dense purple color, superb blackberry and floral-infused blueberry fruit and cassis, a full-bodied mouthfeel, moderate but swee ...Read More »
Grown in the hills above the Sonoma Valley on well-drained, volcanic soils, this Chardonnay is known for its elegance and balance. About Kistler's winemaking from Robert Parker: "This winery has long featured some of the finest terroirs on the Sonoma Coast and Russian River for Chardonnays, and their approach has clearly been very Burgundian, with full malolactic fermentation, no acid adjustments and letting the vineyard and clonal material push its personality to the forefront. Perhaps the biggest change of all has been the shift to 100% indigenous yeas... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors’ Choice* Husch is one of the original Anderson Valley wineries and has not been a particular Pinot Noir star, but this fantastic 2014 may start a trend. Fresh and alive, the wine is medium bodied but packs lots of tangy cherry and almost jammy plum flavors into a smooth but lightly tannic texture that provides great structure. Simply delicious, it’s balanced well enough to enjoy time after time." (3/2017) K&L Notes: Husch, founded in 1967, is the oldest winery in the Anderson Valley appellation which over the last decade has become one of the hotbeds of Amer... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*** Editors' Choice *** This new sister label from Elk Cove offers 100% Willamette Valley Pinot Noir at an everyday price. Fresh cranberry and raspberry fruit is framed by herb-tinged tannins. The immaculate craftsmanship and clean direct flavors are light years beyond budget Pinot Noir from most other regions. This is your perfect salmon wine. (PG)" (8/2016) Wine & Spirits: "This wine’s scents of cola spice and red cherry take on a pipe-tobacco spiciness with air. The wine’s plush cherry flavor lasts in a texture that’s gripping and firm." (8/2016) Wine Spectator: "Light-footed, this is re ...Read More »
The 2015 vintage was a great one for Rombauer--warm weather and low yields translated to exceptional fruit: ripe, concentrated, and full of all the voluptuous pizzazz that is Rombauer's signature. The cool Carneros region, where San Pablo Bay meets both Napa and Sonoma valleys, provides beautiful, fresh acidity and the key sense of balance for these fan-favorite wines. Tasting notes from the winemaker: "Enticing aromas of ripe apple, bright citrus and melon are layered with creme brulee, baking spices and a touch of butter. Vibrant flavors of tropical fr... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Lurid red. Vibrant, sharply focused scents of ripe red berries and candied flowers are complicated by suggestions of cinnamon and allspice. Lithe and appealingly sweet on the palate, offering intense raspberry, cherry and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out with air. The floral note comes back strong on the clinging, spice-laced finish, which is given shape by harmonious, slow-building tannins. This wine delivers outstanding value and is an auspicious inaugural offering for this project, which is owned by the proprietors of California Pinot Noir ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "The aromas of cedar, fresh dark berries, thyme, garden herbs and flowers provide instant appeal, with woodsy accents following. Lively plum and raspberry flavors back them up, with fine-grained tannins and barrel accents speckled throughout. (SS)" (3/2016) Vinous: "(bottled three weeks before my visit in June): Healthy red-ruby. Pure, expressive aromas of plum, currant, menthol and cigar box. Lusher and more savory than the Merlot but not as suave or consistently ripe as the Petit Verdot, showing a note of chocolatey sweetness to go with its dark berry and spice fl ...Read More »
Wine & Spirits: "A velvety blend based on Merlot, this is simple but clean, its strawberry-red fruit lifted, the structure easy rather than gripping. It’s light enough for roast chicken." (8/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This wine has a foundation of 57% Merlot, followed by almost equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, then smaller percents of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Perfumed, it expresses itself in tight, chewy tannins before revealing cedar, pencil shavings and cranberry in a medium-bodied package. (VB)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: Lyeth's Meritage is a blend of the five red Bordeaux varietals with 58... Read More »
From winemaker Rob Mondavi Jr, Spellbound is one of the most popular California Chardonnays we carry every year, and the 2014 was also a hit with K&L staff. Value priced, it typically lacks for nothing in lush, tropical fruit and acidity. A blend of barrel-fermented and stainless steel-aged Chardonnay.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of the best values in Cabernet Sauvignon anywhere in the world remains Louis Martini’s Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County (89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot and the rest Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc and other varieties) is just a beautiful wine. Dense ruby/purple with classic tobacco leaf, blackcurrant, loamy soil notes and a touch of wood spice, this wine (aged 16 months in French and American oak) has relatively modest alcohol for Cabernets these days (13.5%), and what’s even more remarkable is that there are 408,0 ...Read More »
We can tell you this much: our Kalinda private label hooks you up with awesome wine at a fraction of what you'd otherwise pay for this exact same wine under its normal label. While we have to remain quiet about the source of this beauty, we can tell you that it sells elsewhere at a much higher premium. Get it while it lasts.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This nicely made wine balances juicy black fruit with black licorice, flinty dried herb and a velvety texture. Medium bodied, it shows structure and grace within a context of ripeness and depth. (VB)" (12/2016)
Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir (Sonoma County) is a pretty, attractive wine to drink now and over the next few years. Sweet red cherry and floral notes grace the mid-weight, feminine finish. This is a very pretty, understated appellation Pinot that delivers a compelling combination of quality, value and production. The Sonoma County is a blend of declassified barrels and some purchased fruit. (AG)" (2/2016) K&L Notes: As difficult as it is to produce excellent Pinot Noir, it is even more difficult to do so at a fine value. In their development of the Banshee label, the winemake... Read More »
93 points Wine Spectator: "Firm and refined, with baby powder—like tannins around the raspberry, strawberry, peach skin and hibiscus notes. Comes together harmoniously on a sleek and transparent frame, finishing long. Best from 2018 through 2024. (HS)" (2/2017) 92 points James Suckling: "Aromas of strawberries, flowers and watermelon follow through to a medium to full body, fine tannins and a bright and fruity finish. A beauty" (11/2016) K&L Notes: From the winery: A laudable glimpse of the Willamette Valley's finest offerings, our Reserve Pinot Noir is truly a celebration of balance. All three of our vineyards are based ... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This full-bodied beauty traffics in cigar, tar and chocolate, expressing a rich, robust and smoky world of goodness. With a velvety texture, it continues to impress beyond the first sip, offering both memorable length and breadth. It blends together 80% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Malbec." (2/2017) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The outstanding 2013 Mountain Cuvée Proprietary Red, which is 80.4% Merlot, 17.4% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Malbec, was aged ten months in a combination of new and used oak. The good news is that there were 16,000+ cases of this outstanding wine. ...Read More »
97 points James Suckling: "Fabulous nose of mushrooms, like porcini, with black truffle that turns to citrus fruits such as orange and tangerine. Some vine bark. Full-bodied yet wonderfully firm and formed with refined and polished tannins. Super definition. Drink in 2018, but wonderful to experience." (1/2015) 95 points Vinous: "Just as magnificent from bottle as it was in barrel, the 2013 Napanook is dense, powerful and brooding, with searing intensity and extraordinary balance. Lavender, plums, violets, licorice and smoke are some of the signatures, but the 2013 exudes finesse, power and intensity. ...Read More »
A good example of what we can do when a producer doesn't mind us using their name under the Kalinda moniker is the 2015 Kalinda Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. On our recent trip to the Willamette Valley, we spread the word that we were looking for a 2015 Pinot Noir to bottle under our private label. We asked numerous wineries that we know and trust, and a lot of them sent us a lot of really great wine. We already knew 2015 was shaping up to be an outstanding vintage, but we felt that that the bottling we tasted from Chehalem was the best on the table. As ... Read More »
If you try to find the exact cepage on this always-fantastic red blend, you might find yourself gazing up at the heavens for an answer, since you won't get one from the winemaker. The Pleiades might be the only super-allocated, cult California wine for under $25, and it's sure to sell out quickly, as previous vintages have. From "one of California's most iconic and mystical winemakers," says Robert Parker: "Sean Thackrey has logged in 20 or more vintages of consistently stunning wines that perhaps say it all with the simple quote on his label: -Sean A. T... Read More »
93 points Vinous: "Grilled herbs, tobacco, menthol, licorice and plums all take shape in the 2010 Eloge. Rich, layered and expressive, the 2010 is resonant and deeply expressive throughout. Gently spiced notes appear on the finish, adding dimensions of complexity and nuance. Today the 2010 is a bit closed in on itself and a touch compact, while the aromatics aren't quite as precise as they could be. I was deeply impressed with the wines I tasted at Conn Valley this year. The wines are often terrific, but at the same time, they have also occasionally suffered from the pre ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley has a dense opaque purple color, a kiss of blackberry and cassis fruit, a full-bodied mouthfeel with ripe tannin and a long finish. It is very Caymus in its immediate accessibility, but has plenty of staying power and depth. This is lush, full, intense and pure. Drink it over the next 15 or so years. (RP)" (12/2016)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This is such a good offering at this price, or many other prices, that it would be a worthy house wine to stock for regular consumption. Richly luxurious and softly layered, its texture stands out among well-integrated jolts of earth, black tea and strawberry-rhubarb." (6/2016)
90 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* A fresh and inviting red, with crisp acidity set against a plush layer of well-formed blueberry and floral flavors, picking up spicy notes as the finish plays out. (HS)" (10/2015) Vinous: "Bright medium red. Lively aromas of cherry, cranberry and mint display a slightly candied character. Juicy, spicy red fruit flavors are straightforward and fresh. This light, dry blend finishes with dusty tannins and a refreshing bitter edge, with more acidity than tannins. (ST)" (12/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Sangiovese, Malbec and Merlot take the lead on this blend. Red cherry, plum and ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Serious red with plum, currant, walnut and stone aromas and flavors. Full-bodied yet tight and reserved. Silky and firm tannins. A wine with tone and character. Better in 2020." (5/2016) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a big, lush, juicy wine with grip and a fully-formed body, accented with smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. A great deal for the quality, it’s well made and deeply satisfying in highlights of coffee, cedar, mocha and blackberry, girded by a firm structure." (8/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa is a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cab ...Read More »
We were so happy with the 2013 Kalinda Napa Cabernet that we went back to the same well for the 2014. From another exceptional year for Napa Cabernet, this wine is lush and quite rich with tons of cassis on the nose and palate. Still quite young and showing some rounded tannins, I would cellar this beauty for five years minimum, but if you must drink it, decant one hour at least and serve with a hearty meat course. One hint: the property whence the grapes came is located quite close to a town that really does not have a wine shop in it. - KL Staffer Dri... Read More »
"Year in and year out one of our best values in Pinot Noir. If you don't believe me, just ask any K&L customer." (Illya Haase, K&L Staff Member) This wine comes to us from Sonoma County's Martin Ray Winery, owned by Courtney Benham (creator of the Blackstone brand). This multi-county blend of Pinot Noir has been well-received in recent years, earning consistent praise for the solid varietal character it delivers at a modest price.
91 points Vinous: "Translucent red. High-pitched red berry, cherry and rose pastille scents are lifted by blood orange and mineral nuances. Silky, weightless and focused on the palate, offering juicy raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that become deeper and sweeter with air. Shows impressive depth of flavor but comes off lithe, even delicate. Clings with serious tenacity on the gently tannic finish, which strongly echoes the red fruit and floral notes. Talley's side project, which is not exactly a second label as the wines may include fruit that is sourced from outside Ar ...Read More »
92 points Decanter: "Sweet spices and preserved lemons on the nose; memories of a weekend in Marrakech. A mineral palate with restrained oak, nice grip and lots of character. Long and very complex with a full body and promise of more to come." (5/2016) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Josh Jensen’s appellation blend is arguably the best American white wine for the price. This vintage offers squeezed tangerine, fleur de sel, lily, apple blossom, apple fritters and a touch of tropicality on the nose. The palate is more steely in structure, with chalk and concrete minerality followed by grapefr ...Read More »
From the second label of Sobon estates comes Shenandoah Vineyards' full-bodied, full-fledged Amador-style Zinfandel. Its perfume hints at blackberries, cherries and cocoa while the mild tannins, elegant structure and strong fruit flavors make this a satisfying pairing for meats and cheeses.
Wine & Spirits: "Made by Banshee, one of W&S’s 2015 Wineries of the Year, this contains declassified barrels of their Sonoma Coast wines as well as fruit from Anderson Valley, Monterey and Santa Barbara. It’s aged almost exclusively in used wood, resulting in a balanced Pinot Noir with clean, bold dark-cherry flavors and tangy acidity that drinks far above its humble price." (4/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "A smooth texture and ripe, inviting black cherry flavors make this medium-bodied wine easy to drink and enjoy. Light spicy accents give it extra interest and moderate tannins help build the su ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Tart aromas of sour cream, yogurt, candied lime and pressed quince show on the nose of this stylishly structured Chardonnay. The palate carries the theme forward, with pithy pink grapefruit notes, lime ade and brie rinds, showing firm tension on the tongue and bound-up energy that will keep this bottle alive for years. (MK)" (2/2016)
95 points Decanter: "A fresh, fruity nose brings out notes of white flowers, golden apples and a certain touch of oak. This leads into a round, savoury palate loaded with new oak characteristics, hints of butter and butterscotch, a touch of apple and peach and a long finish." (9/2016) 95 points James Suckling: "Extremely complex white showing dried apples, toasted oak, smoke and toffee and lime undertones. Full-bodied, dense and layered with superb texture and tension. A vibrant Napa chardonnay that combines both intensity and tension. Complex and long. Drink or hold." (1/2017) 92 points Wine Spectator: "The fruit is ripe and juicy ...Read More »
James Suckling: "A bright and fresh pinot noir with sliced lemon, strawberry and flower character. Medium body, crisp and clean. Light tannins and clean and fresh finish." (6/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another undeniable value is the 2014 Pinot Noir Olema, a Sonoma cuvée that would qualify as a sleeper as well. Pomegranate, allspice and clove intermix with sassafras in this medium-bodied, deliciously fruity, round seductive Pinot Noir to drink over the next several years. Even the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Olema offers plenty of value in an elegant, tasty, cedary, blackcurrant-scented and flavor ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "The nose of this wine is quite shy at first, and it takes patience to pull out aromas of plum, crushed berries and a touch of charcoal. The palate opens up more quickly, showing elderberries and elderflowers, plus rose hips and a touch of fennel. (MK)" (11/2016) 90 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Strikingly rich and complex, with a dense core of dark berry, black licorice, earth and cedar flavors that hold their own, easing up on the finish. Drink now." (9/2016)
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* A substantial complement of nicely ripened, white melon fruit spreads out beneath this ample effort's mildly weedy, vaguely straw-like varietal veneer, and a bit of enriching oak makes a subtle, but welcome appearance as well. On the palate, it is a somewhat fuller and richer rendition, but it stops well short of being at all oversized and stays in very comfortable balance all the way to a lengthy, well-focused finish. It is a Sauvignon Blanc best suited to service with flavorful fare such as poached salmon or chicken sautéed in plenty of butt ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "*** Smart Buy *** Offering gorgeous floral scents of lavender, plum, smoke and raspberry, this casts a wide net of red and dark fruit, veering toward toasty oak on the finish. A nice ride from beginning to end. Drink now. (JL)" (8/2016)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Juicy and lively, with lots citrus blossom, lychee and a touch of lime, the 2015 Riesling Kung Fu Girl is medium-bodied, vibrant and crisp on the palate, with terrific purity, integrated acidity and a great finish. It's a steal at the price and will drink nicely for a year or more. These latest releases from Charles Smith check in at the top of the pyramid and are flat out incredible wines that I wish every reader could taste. Readers should also check out the new label, Wines of Substance, which are also included in this report. Going forward, the K Vin ...Read More »
Entirely sourced from Edna Valley in San Luis Obispo County, Fossil Point is named for the headland area along the rugged coastline. The marine breezes have a distinct influence on the Edna Valley terroir that is itself uplifted, ancient sea floor. Pinot Noir grapes grow in small clusters and Fossil Point vinifies traditionally in small lots before the wine is aged in neutral and once-used French oak barrels. The wine displays floral aromas with bright and vibrant cherry and berry fruit, leather, and vanilla.
91 points Vinous: "Pale gold. Pungent aromas of poached pear, peach and honey take on a hint of buttered toast with air. Broad and fleshy on the palate, offering lush orchard and pit fruit flavors accented by a refreshingly bitter pear skin nuance. Finishes smooth and round, leaving sweet butter and peach notes behind. One of the pioneering wineries in the region, Talbott’s first vines were planted in 1982 at the Diamond T Vineyard. By the end of the ‘80s the Talbott wines were already on most wine lovers’ short lists of top California Chardonnays. The vineyards are plante ...Read More »
Named for founder Rudy von Strasser, the "Rudy" label is best known around here for top-quality, well-priced Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. Look for fine tannins that complement good acidity and rich, red fruit flavors. 2014 is the 25th vintage for the von Strasser winery, during which time they've won the "Winery of the Year" award from Wine and Spirits magazine an astonishing 12 times.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent value that has classic Cabernet notes of black currants, plums, graphite and some herbal aromas and flavors. Blended with 16% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Zinfandel, and aged 16 months in French and American oak, drink this medium-bodied, nicely balanced 2014 over the coming 4-5 years. (JD)" (8/2016) Vinous: "Dark purple. Spice-accented dark fruits and pipe tobacco on the perfumed nose. Supple and appealingly sweet, showing good depth to the ripe black currant and cherry flavors. Finishes smooth, broad and a touch warm ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of toast, char, and milk chocolate along with blue and black fruit are followed by velvety soft fruit flavors. It shows an appealing sense of balance and polish. (SS)" (12/2016) Wine Spectator: "Broad and toasty, with tobacco and cedar overtones to the cherry and red plum flavors, persisting on the well-mannered finish. Best from 2018 through 2022. (HS)" (12/2016)
95 points Wine Spectator: "*Top 100 Wines of 2016, Collectibles* Zeroes in on a rich, hedonistic core of wild berry, blackberry, plum and currant, with a graceful, elegant mouthfeel and supple, caressing tannins leading to a long, powerful and refined aftertaste that keeps reverberating while maintaining a strong personality. (JL)" (7/2016) 92 points James Suckling: "The full-throttle character is here as expected with lots of ripe fruit and toasted oak. Sage and mint. Silky tannins; the ripe fruit dominates. But it shows form and juiciness." (5/2016)
The most approachable and affordable of Cain's production, the NV cuvees possess a certain kind of "old world" rustic charm not usually found in wines from the Napa Valley today. For a Bordeaux-lover branching out to California wines, or a California connoisseur seeking something different than your go-to Cab, the NV12 is well worth a try.