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K&L Staff Recommendations
91 points James Halliday: "Traditional style. Little sign of oak, sweet core of fruit, deceptively assertive tannin but an overall impression of softness. It doesn't look to be an ageworthy style but it will be. Blackberry, iodine and raspberry notes. Ferrous tannin. Good length." (3/2014) 91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby. Intense red and dark berry aromas complicated by notes of rose, white pepper and licorice. Explosive black raspberry and cherry compote flavors are firmed by a touch of bitter chocolate and show very good depth. Dusty tannins give grip to a long, focused finish. This wine acts like a ...Read More »
91 points Bob Campbell: "*Four Stars* A blend of grapes from the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. One of the first examples of 2015 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc I have tasted. If it is typical of the vintage then it appears to have been an excellent year. A smaller than usual crop might explain greater than usual concentration in this wine. Citrus, grapefruit, melon and a hint of passion fruit supported by juicy acidity. Good value at this price." (7/2015)
On the border of Tuscany, Lazio, and Umbria--the area that also happens to be the birthplace of the ancient Etruscan civilization--Paolo and Noemia d'Amico have built a winery deeply embedded in tradition. The landscape is a result of a long period of volcanic erosion, and is full of deep valleys of cliffs and rock walls. Their cellar is modeled after the Etruscans, and was built underneath the vines, ensuring that temps are always ideal. This Grechetto-Sauvignon Blanc blend is, according to the winery, "well-balanced, fresh, with a good persistence. Sce... Read More »
On a high plateau in the heart of Chianti Classico, the team at Villa Trasqua lives by the "wine is made in the vineyard" ethos. They harvest grapes at their peak, and practice minimal interferance so the aromas of the terroir can shine through. Their "Traluna"—mostly Sangiovese with a touch of Alicante Buchet—is ample and generous, with deep cherry and baking spice notes.
92 points Wine & Spirits: "There are very few Carignans like this in Chile. Made from old vines planted in the 1960s, this takes a light, fresh approach, focused on fruit rather than pushing for superconcentration. With its pure, juicy ripe cherry flavor, it could bolster a plate of grilled sausages or develop for a few years in the cellar." (6/2014) 90 points James Suckling: "A spicy and balanced red with blueberries, blackberries and hints of slate. Full to medium body, fresh acidity and a clean finish. A stylish red. Drink now." (8/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Dark purple. Ripe plum and blueberry on the deeply scented nose. Plush ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Lightly papery tannins underline the loamy earth-inflected cherry and spice flavors on a lovely, sleek and open-textured frame. Shows complexity and deftness, finishing long. Drink now through 2022." (2/2015) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light, bright red. Lively spice-tinged red berry scents show good focus but a touch of heat. Tangy and sharply focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry and redcurrant flavors and a hint of bitter orange pith that gains strength with air. The redcurrant note repeats on the rather rigid finish. (JR)" (8/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "A penetrating whiff of wintergreen is ...Read More »
91 points James Halliday: "Nicely put together. Gives an impression of integrity. Choc, mulberry, blackcurrant and bay leaf notes. The flavours swing through the palate with relative ease, but curls of tannin build as the wine progresses through the mouth. As is customary with Stella Bella wines; balance is judged just so." (7/2015) K&L Notes: Rich, full bodied, powerful Magaret River Cabernet at an exceptional price. Packed full of blackcurrant, cassis, dark chocolate tones, toasted spices from French oak maturation. The texture is ripe, juicy and mouth coating, with lashing of fruit, and fin... Read More »
Quarter Acre is a small project from highly acclaimed winemaker Rod Mcdonald. This tiny range of wines represent small productions for tiny vineyard parcels (hence Quarter Acre) from sites that he thinks have a unique expression of terroir. These are his most "edgy" wines that push the boundaries of non-interventionist winemaking in pursuit of purity and authenticity of place. This Sauvignon Blanc is a lovely illustration of the diversity of styles coming from New Zealand. These grapes were grown at vineyards in Maraekakaho and Tuki Tuki on terraces over... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Wine Spectator: "A balanced white, with modest poached apple, stone, preserved lemon and graphite notes. Juicy. (Web Only—2015)" K&L Notes: Well almost Umbria, actually in Lazio but you can see Umbria from this vineyard!
93 points Decanter: "Bright ruby and transparent, yet you find yourself searching the glass for a skeleton, skate-wing bones of neatly structured and delicate tannins fanning out through the fruit. Fine, focused and extremely drinkable. Drink 2015-2022" (6/2015) 92 points James Suckling: "A beautiful red with delicate but rich flavors, bright acidity and an orange-peel undertone. Medium body with fine tannins and a fresh, clean, savory, salty finish. Very Burgundian. Pure Sangiovese. Drink now or hold." (10/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Here’s a vibrant wine that opens with pretty aromas of blue flower, rose and berry. The savor ...Read More »
95 points Wine & Spirits: "The vines that grew this supremely elegant wine were planted in 1999 on the red volcanic loam of a hillside and benchland vineyard in the southeast corner of Alexander Valley. Douglas and Nancy Ousterhout purchased the vineyard in 2009 and hired a pinot noir winemaker, Micah Wirth of Joseph Jewel, to create this silky, delicate zin. It’s as bright as a red cherry fresh off the tree, feeling almost weightless on the palate. As the wine takes on air, the tannins provide an edgy minerality that focuses and amplifies the fruit into a sunny, ruby-red laser be ...Read More »
90 points Vinous: "(a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo Nero): Bright pink with an orange tinge. Complex aromas of strawberry, violet, botanical herbs and blood orange. Fresh and juicy, with tactile flavors of strawberry, fresh citrus fruit and pepper. Finishes with a hint of residual sweetness and outstanding lift. This is always one of Tuscany’s best rosato wines, and it’s no different this year. (ID)" (6/2015)
This is made from 100% Pinot Noir, hand harvested and all whole cluster fermentation. This is careful, small scale wine-making, and the result is a rosé of distinction, without the usual high levels of sugar many use to mask their lower quality base wine. It has a pretty, pale color, which the French call "Oeil de Perdrix" (Eye of the Partridge) with notes of strawberries on the nose and an elegant finish. Bravo! (Keith Wollenberg, K&L Burgundy buyer)
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright purple. Youthfully wound-up aromas of blackberry, mulberry and violet, plus a strong note of licorice. Deeply pitched dark fruit flavors are given an exotic character by notes of violet pastille and star anise. Supple and expansive on the firm, gripping, intensely spicy finish. This textbook syrah should age well. (ST)" (5/2011) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Syrah Estate Reserve is a peppery, meaty effort that gives up plenty of spice, ground pepper, green olive and rendered bacon fat to go with a medium-bodied, moderately concentrated and focused palate. Nicely balance ...Read More »
92 points Bob Campbell: "Ripe, fleshy, flavoursome and high energy Pinot Noir with dark cherry, berry flavours plus a subtle influence of smoky oak. Attractive wine showing good purity and with a lengthy finish." (10/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Ample spice and sarsaparilla flavors give the core of ripe, fleshy cherry and wild berry flavors plenty of complexity. Black tea, walnut and pine needle details crescendo on the finish. Ripe, plush and fleshy on the finish." (9/2015) K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "This is a stunning example of Marlborough Pinot Noir; it's dark cherry red in colour and incredibly generous on ... Read More »
97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of my favorites is the 2012 Chardonnay Upper Barn, which boasts remarkable intensity as well as lots of tropical fruit, a stony-like minerality, and a full-bodied, layered mouthfeel. This is a multi-dimensional, profound Chardonnay (as it often was when made by Helen Turley) from a vineyard planted with an Old Wente clone as well as the Hyde clone of Chardonnay. It should drink well for 5-6 years. Stonestreet’s wines continue to go from strength to strength under the direction of South African winemaker Graham Weerts. The Chardonnays are spectacular. ...Read More »
98 points Wine Spectator: "An elegant style, full of well-spiced, juicy flavors of raspberry, boysenberry and blueberry that extend with lively acidity and well-integrated tannins. Unctuous and succulent on the finish, which oozes with molten chocolate. Best after 2025." (10/2013) 96 points Wine Enthusiast: "Red and black berries bring out the richness of the year, masking the seriously tannic structure. The wine has great spice, richness and a dark, smoky core of powerful tannins. For long-term aging, but delicious now." (10/2013) 95 points James Suckling: "Aromas of flowers and berries with hints of dried fruits. Full body, medium sweet ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Orange blossoms, nectarines, white flowers and honey all flesh out in the 2011 Chardonnay Bear Point. Another wine that manages to be both rich but not ponderous, the 2011 Bear Point blossoms in all directions as the fruit opens up in the glass. A creamy, highly expressive finish rounds things out in style. The Bear Point is made from the “Peter Michael” Chardonnay clone, which is believed to have originated on this property! Anticipated maturity: 2014-2018. (AG)" (4/2013) 92 points Vinous: "Orange blossoms, nectarines, white flowers and honey all flesh out in the 2011 Chard ...Read More »
95 points James Suckling: "Lots currants, blueberries, vanilla and floral character on the nose and palate. Full body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Edgy contrast of acidity, ripe fruit and wood. Stylish, savory and delicious. A blend of Sangiovese and Merlot. One of the best values amongst Super Tuscan reds. Drink in 2016." (8/2015) Vinous: "The 2013 Crognolo offers notable intensity, with searing tannins that are a bit overpowering at this stage. Dark red cherry, raspberry and white pepper are some of the signatures. Today, the Crognolo is a bit linear and compact. It will be interestin ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
90 points Sam Kim: "It's a treat to see a rose made from Syrah, and this is a goodie. The lifted bouquet shows red cherry, floral and peach characters, leading to a juicy and refreshing palate. The wine shows excellent fruit richness and texture, finishing generous and flavoursome. At its best: now to 2016." (10/2014) K&L Notes: A totally delicious dry rose of Syrah. Hand-picked from some of the best vineyards in Hawke's Bay. Quite deep in color but crisp, dry, mineral with lovel raspberry, cranberry fruit. A K&L Direct Import.
Composed of primarily Tempranillo grapes and made at Covila's facility, this is dark cherry fruited Tempranillo that is unoaked and delicious. The particularly cool conditions of the 2014 growing season produced fresh, crunchy, joven style Rioja this year. Enjoy this with a slight chill to highlight the freshness of the fruit. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese wine buyer)
90 points James Suckling: "A clean, fresh red with dried-strawberry and lemon-rind character. Medium to full body, fine tannins and a chewy finish. Always excellent. Drink or hold." (2/2014) 90 points Vinous: "The 2009 Brunello di Montalcino is a pretty wine, with good freshness and solid overall balance for the year. Sweet tobacco, dried herbs, smoke and spice meld together nicely in the glass. Although a bit compact and forward, the 2009 offers lovely drinking today and should develop nicely for the next decade or so. In 2009, Mastrojanni did not produce their flagship Brunello Schiena d'Asino; that ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Coming from a steep granite hillside near the village of Tupin-et-Semons, just on the outskirts of Côte Rôtie, the 2012 La Rosine Syrah VDP is 100% Syrah that was brought up in mostly older barrels. It’s a beautiful wine that, unsurprisingly, bares more than a passing resemblance to a high-quality Côte Rôtie from the southern part of the appellation. Sweet raspberry, licorice, spice and crushed rock-like qualities flow nicely to a medium-bodied, sexy, supple 2012 that has outstanding purity of fruit and a terrific finish. It’s hard to resist now, but I’v ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "The winery is making new strides by finding the best sites for its wines rather than trying to grow everything on its estate. This Chardonnay is a case in point. High in acidity and low in oak influence, it offers restrained layers of tropical mango, lemon and ginger snap." (3/2015) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light yellow-gold. Lively citrus and orchard fruits on the spicy nose. Shows hints of sweet butter and ginger on the palate, complementing Meyer lemon and apple flavors that tighten up with air. Closes tangy and dry, with an echo of ginger and good, nervy persistence. (ST) ...Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "This is a phenomenal white with sliced pear, apple and cream. Wonderful richness. It's full bodied, very layered and stylish. A petrol, candle-wax and dried-apricot character. Savory finish. Drink now." (12/2014) 3 points Gambero Rosso: "With its extraordinary interpretation of the Matelica DOC, Aldo Cifola's winery is the perfect exponent of the concept of terroir. He reads the potential of Verdicchio, which finds a powerful, flavorsome expression here without losing its acidic, tangy edge endowed by the area and its cool microclimate. Another magnificent verison of the Mirum, th ...Read More »
The 2014 rosé is a blend of 40% Grenache and 60% Cinsault. From the winery: "Powerful nose, white peach with spicy notes, evolving towards candied apricots, guava, exotic fruit. Great fullness in the mouth, a rich wine with great character, excellent aromatic length typical to the unique terroir of Château Saint Pierre. Its innate character is a perfect match for Mediterranean-style cuisine.'
De La Terre is a fascinating project from prolific winemaker Tony Pritchard. The wines are very much a labor of love and I am delighted to be working with De La Terre in this direct import relationship. After a career at some of NZ's top commercial wineries and as a consultant winemaker, Tony has gone back to his roots and set up his own boutique operation making crafting tiny amounts of these delicious wines. The fruit for the wines is largely from a patchwork of unique vineyard blocks on the slopes of Te Mata Peak in Hawke's Bay. The soils here are ver... Read More »
According to the winery: "Crisp and refreshing, typical of NZ Sauvignon that is world famous ... We are a boutique vineyard just five minutes from the Village of Havelock North in Hawke's Bay Wine Country ... All our wines are Estate Grown and the fruit is hand picked. Our elevated north facing site on the lower slopes of the Te Mata hills is not only an excellent location for grape growing it also provides us with stunning views, a warm sheltered micro-climate and a perfect situation for the visitor to spend an hour or two, a night or two or even a week... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
91 points James Suckling: "A firm, silky wine with hazelnut and berry character. Medium to full body with firm tannins and a fresh, clean finish. Chewy. Give it time to soften. Better in 2016." (10/2014) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2008 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva displays a dark, brooding color with evolved aromas of dried spice, autumnal underbrush, cassis, figs and candied prune. As the wine evolves in the glass, it imparts increasingly seductive layers of licorice and dried ginger that build in complexity and momentum in quintessential Brunello fashion. There’s a tightness and firmness to the palate ...Read More »
From the winery: "2012 was an abundant and ideal growing season in the Sta. Rita Hills. The grapes ripened evenly producing both high quality and quantity due to a mild spring and summer with little rain, and no frost. The moderate weather provided for low disease pressure during the growing season. Sta. Rita Hills is one of the premier AVAs for Chardonnay in California. The wines have that rare combination of power and structure that can only come from low yielding, cool-climate, coastal vineyards. This 2012 offers a bouquet of crème brulee and lemon me... Read More »
Lora is a blend of certified organic Tempranillo and Syrah from one of the cooler parts of La Mancha (high up on the plateau not too far from the UNESCO heritage city of Cuenca). This is a delicious red - full of fresh fruited drinkability, but surprising structure from the minerality and balanced acidity. The winemaker and person who carefully sources this great organic fruit is none other than our friend Miguel Merino Navajas, son of Miguel Merino of Rioja fame! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)
Decanter: "Waterkloof follows biodynamic practices. A proportion of the grapes in this tangy yet creamy blend were co-fermented, and the final result is complex and great value, displaying notes of peach, lime and minerals" Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Circle of Life White, a blend of 56% Sauvignon Blanc, 28% Chenin Blanc, 13% Chardonnay and 3% Semillon, half of which was fermented in 600-liter barrels and left on the lees for seven months, has a lilting praline-tinged bouquet that is pure and very attractive. The palate is fresh and vibrant with crisp acidity, touches of orange peel an ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Cherry, leafy, orange peel and light smoky flavors show a traditional character in this savory red. Features light, firm tannins and a clean, slightly bitter finish. Drink now through 2017. (Web-2015)" K&L Notes: Bodegas Campo Viejo was born when two small, historic Rioja estates merged in 1959. The unusual name comes from the block of vineyard next to the original cellar, very old vines that the winemakers called "Old Friend" - Campo Viejo. This wine consists of 100% Tempranillo, aged for four months in oak barrels. While the fruit is red plum and dark cherry, the o... Read More »
Vigneron Marc Barriot has been producing wines in Roussillon since 2004. He sought out ancient vines and uses traditional practices to deliver some truly distinctive wines. Marc uses biodynamic methods, even plowing by horse, and uses minimal sulfur in his winemaking.
93 points Raymond Chan: "Bright straw-yellow colour with green-golden hues, lighter edged. The nose is full and open with lifted aromas of rich and ripe yellow stonefruits, citrus fruits and tropical fruits entwined with creamy barrel ferment and nutty oak notes. The aromatics are fresh and youthful, and still very primary. Medium-full bodied, rich and sweetly mouthfilling flavours of ripe stonefruits and citrus fruits gently flow across the palate. The mouthfeel is soft with a creamy texture from the barrel-ferment and MLF, but follows a fine and tight linear core with piquant ...Read More »
98 points James Suckling: "This is a scintillating wine that fuses concentrated fruit presence and power with assertive structure and bracing acid drive. The nose has chalky notes with fresh hazelnut and a flinty, attractive reductive edge, plus stone fruits and citrus intermingled. The palate has commanding weight, neatly crafted shape and impressive length, with winding white peach and an array of citrus fruit flavors long into the finish. Enlivening, modern Aussie Chardonnay at its finest." (2/2015) 97 points James Halliday: "An exceptionally complex Chardonnay both in terms of texture and flavour; hand-pi ...Read More »
From the winery: "Rich and dense, the 2013 Brunswick Petite Sirah is a beautiful expression of a world class vineyard. Aromatics of fresh black cherries, blueberry cobbler, and dark chocolate, the wine hits the palate with a rush of accompanying flavors. The wine crosses the mid palate and fills the mouth with balanced acid and tannins to match the wines' density. Enjoy with grilled anything, or on a cool autumn evening on the patio. Pack a toothbrush!"
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Brilliant ruby-red. High-pitched red berry and peppery spice aromas show very good clarity and a hint of candied rose. Silky and refreshingly tangy on the palate, offering vibrant redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors that put on weight with air. Closes spicy and long, with a hint of blood orange adding bite and refreshing bitterness. There's something vaguely Pinot-like going on here." (12/2014)
The village of Apremont once sat in the shadow of a great mountain. In 1248 that mountain collapsed destroying everything in its path. Apremont means "bitter mountain" taking its name from the tragic event that occurred. Now, the mountain itself was made of limestone which is some of the best geological material for growing grapes. The site is littered with limestone scree (broken rock fragments). The grape of choice for the region is Jacquere and some of the best comes from this village. Like most wines from Savoie, the Perret has the hallmark aro... Read More »
100% Cabernet Franc from Chinon, Philippe Pichard-Jourdan has farmed biodynamically since 2000. This rosé is aromatic and marked by notes of fresh wild strawberry with a clay-like minerality.
The wines are made by Jean Simonet, the former assistant winemaker at Bandol's famous Chateau de Pibarnon. To make this cuvee, Jean destems the grapes and allows them to macerate on their skins before extracting the juice mostly by direct press. He vinifies the grapes by varietal in stainless steel tanks, and ages the wines in a combination of 90% tank and 10% in oak barrels. The domaine is particular when it comes to oak, and only uses barrels made from 200- to 250- year-old oak trees. The wines from the different grape varietals are blended at the e... Read More »
Chateau la Grande Roche is the second label from noted winemaker Ric Forman.
Wine Spectator: "Smooth and compact, this red offers cherry, vanilla and light smoky notes, with accents of herb and licorice. A bit candied in character, but has lively acidity." (8/2014) K&L Notes: This delicious, 100% Garnacha from the Aragon "Garnacha Belt" D.O. of Campo de Borja, shows all the bright red cherry fruit you'd expect form this grape variety, with the added richness, texture and length which old vines deliver in this portion of Spain. A whole lot of value for the money.
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Languedoc Origine checks in as a blend of Syrah and Grenache that spent 18 months in foudre. Slightly fresher, with bright berry and purple fruits, licorice, roasted herbs and ample background meatiness, this beauty hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, impressive purity of fruit and loads of texture. It should impress over the coming 5-7 years or so, and certainly, there’s no harm in drinking now. This brilliant lineup of wines is made by Eric Prissette, of Saint-Emilion’s Chateau Rol Valentin. Both his 2011s and 2012s are supe ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Yianakohori Hills is a blend of Xinomavro (50%), Merlot (30%) and Syrah (20%) aged for 14 months in well used, French 225-liter and 500-liter barrels. Lovely this year, this is fresh and flavorful up front, with power on the finish. Bright and chock full of flavor, this is superb, showing reasonable concentration and the structure to support the fine fruit. It is immensely appealing at the moment. It will be approachable young, but it will be better next year and it should drink well for the better part of a decade thereafter, or more. How long ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "A sweet and smooth spirit with rich marshmallow notes. Certified organic, this spirit is made with rye. Great for a vodka tonic." (7/2011) K&L Notes: Square One is the world's first certified organic rye vodka. It is handcrafted from 100%-certified organically grown rye grown in North Dakota and produced with an unprecedented organic fermentation process. Using only a single distillation in a four-column still, the resulting spirit is richer and smoother than any vodka on the market. Our staff was lucky enough to meet Allison Evanow the Co-Founder of Square One. We ... Read More »