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K&L Staff Recommendations
95 points Decanter: "Enjoys a deep nose with white pepper, graphite notes and bright red fruits. The palate is powerful and intense with black cherry and dark, muscular berry fruit, crisp acid and some neat, grippy, slightly salted tannins. The finish is long with berries and spice." (6/2016) Jancis Robinson: "Tank/cask sample. 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Carignan and other varieties. Four months in foudres and stainless steel. Rich and complete. Nice peppery note. An interesting wine." (10/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cotes du Rhone is mostly Grenache and Syrah, and has a classic southern Rhone ...Read More »
93 points Wine & Spirits: "This blend is focused on Cristom’s four Eola-Amity Hills vineyards. It’s a dense mélange of stem spice, smoke, graham flour and tobacco, with plummy fruit that absorbs the savory elements, and a sturdy oak component that cradles the lot of it in a warm embrace. Tasted over several days it gains polish and elegance, the oak integrating into something more burnished and structural, lending direction without weight." (4/2013) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Kept for 18 months rather than the Jefferson Cuvee’s 12 months in barrels, a higher percentage of which are new, Cristom’s 2009 Pinot N ...Read More »
96-97 points Raymond Chan: "Pale straw colour, even. The nose exudes richness allied to elegance, with layers of spicy green stonefruits interwoven with subtle oak and minerally detail, the flintiness quite subdued. Elegantly presented on palate with tight and concentrated flavours of citrus fruits and spicy green stonefruit. The layers of interest and detail as on nose. Excellent acidity and lifted herbs unfolding, this has real power and drive. Clearly much more interest to emerge, but already with great fruit and depth." 96 points Bob Campbell: "This oak fermented and matured Sauvignon Blanc has a cult fo ...Read More »
A blend of 80 percent Grenache and 20 percent Carignane from a family-run winery in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
This is fresh, minerally and crisp, with that classic Gruner white pepper lift to the nose and tangy green apple and snap pea flavors on the palate. In an easy to open, liter-sized bottle, it's a refreshing go-to for a variety of green salads or veggie dishes, and is particularly complementary to dishes featuring asparagus, Brussels sprouts, or artichoke.The Etz family has been in the wine business since 1898, and the estate is now in the fourth generation. With nearly 40 hectares of vineyard in production, the Etz estate prides itself on synthesizing th... Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I always love the two blockbuster Syrahs from this estate, both of which need to be sought out by readers. Tons of black olive, smoked and salted meats, as well as ripe dark fruits all emerge from the incredibly polished, elegant and layered 2014 Syrah Estate, which is just an off the hook value. Inky colored, layered, yet graceful and light on its feet, with gorgeous fruit, drink this beauty over the coming 4-5 years, although I wouldn't be surprised to see it evolve for longer. (JD)" (7/2016)
91-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "What looks like another great vintage here, the 2015 AOP Languedoc les Darons is made from 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 5% Carignan; grapes were completely destemmed, and fermented and aged all in concrete tanks. It sees absolutely no oak whatsoever. This medium to full-bodied, plump, rounded, downright sexy 2015 has lots of blueberry, violets, and jammy black cherry aromas and flavors; it has terrific purity of fruit, good acidity and an overriding sense of elegance. If it came from a more prestigious appellation in the southern Rhone, it would go for th ...Read More »
Nikka's Miyagikyo distillery is back on the market with a fantastic new offering that doesn't disclose the age, but has no problem disclosing serious flavor. The sherry integration of the whisky is utterly marvelous. It's clearly marked by classic notes of fudge, fruitcake, and toffee, but all three profiles are so harmonious and fluid that it's difficult to hold on to them for more than a second. Nikka's whiskies are always delicate and feminine in style, and this malt is no different. The beauty is what stuns you, rather than the power or the concentra... Read More »
95 points Bob Campbell: "Delicately aromatic Sauvignon Blanc showing impressive subtlety and plenty of power with its long and linear finish. Quite a barrow band of flavours focusing on the citrus, lime zest end of the flavour spectrum without being overtly grassy. Very textural wine with hints of nutty lees character. Impressive." Jancis Robinson: "Creamy with apricots and stone fruit on the nose then tight and more nettley on the palate. Overall less pungent than I expected. Some notes of dried grass. Crisp and long. 17/20 points. (JH)" (5/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough has a nose of fr ...Read More »
Inventory: Special Order
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Based on Pinot Noir the NV Crémant d'Alsace Rosé Brut has a very pale color with just a hint of rosé. Very delicate fruit aroma with hints of red berries and flowers on the very subtle, fresh and elegant nose lead to a full-flavored and quite expressive palate. The wine is quite powerful and fruit intense but in a discreet and elegant way. Firmly structured but provided with fine bubbles and an aromatic aftertaste there is really finesse in this very well-made and distinctive sparkling wine. Still very young though. (SR)" (9/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "Tart strawberry and fizzi ...Read More »
Nikka's latest release from Yoichi distillery no longer carries an age statement, but it does bring a classically Japanese whisky profile back to the market. All the delicacy, grace, and subtle complexity is alive and well in this release, buried deeply into a whisper of malt for those who take the time to let it be heard. The first sip is almost ghostly, but it's the second and third return that yield the slightest hint of peat smoke, the creamiest of malts, and the lovely roundness of sweet stonefruit. This is textbook Japanese whisky: a flavor reserve... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "A bright and balanced red with currant, plum, chocolate and walnut aromas and flavors. Medium to full body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Pretty length and control to this. A blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Drink or hold." (5/2016) 90 points Vinous: "Franciscan's 2013 Red Blend Magnificat is juicy, forward and expressive, all qualities that will allow it to drink well upon release. The flavors are bold, ripe and racy throughout, but all the elements are very nicely put together. (AG)" (9/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The proprietary flagship from Fra ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Dense blackberry and blueberry-paste scents mesh with dark chocolate, milk chocolate and graphite on the nose of this bottling from the Hahn family. A lush mouthfeel with ample weight unleashes coffee and mocha flavors, blueberry and black cherry fruit, with hints of fudge and a sweet oak touch." (9/2016) Connoisseurs Guide: "*GOOD VALUE* Tending to berries as much as to the classic cassis of Cabernet Sauvignon, but a wine that sports fine fruity volume with a nice dollop of sweet oak lending no small measure of richness, this balanced, moderately full-bodied wine is structure ...Read More »
Peach lovers rejoice! This pale ale is fermented with New Hampshire peaches from Applecrest farm--in fact, Allagash uses three pounds of peaches for every gallon of beer. There's a hint of green apple and graham cracker notes to balance the juicy, tart peachiness.
98-100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Kathryn Hall from their Sacrashe Rutherford Vineyard delivers a relatively profound set of aromatics even for a wine that’s only 11 months of age. With almost unreal richness of blue and black fruits, spring flowers, graphite and spice, this is a sensational inky, full-bodied wine that will come close to being a perfect wine when bottled after its full élevage in barrel. Spectacular! (RP)" (10/2014) 93 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* Richness rather than restraint is the watchword here, and the wine definitely inclines to ripeness, but its tilt does n ...Read More »
93 points Wine Spectator: "Solidly ripe, with a full-bodied core of ginger, pear and persimmon notes allied to a racy spine that lengthens the finish, letting ginger, quince and green almond accents play out. This should age well in the cellar. Best from 2017 through 2027. 500 cases imported. (JM)" (9/2016) Jancis Robinson: "Primary but still minerally apple and pear fruit, glorious quince intensity on the palate. A light cedar note enhances the piercing freshness and the fruit is creamy and rich. Fabulous vintage and much too young but already delicious. (JH)" (5/2016) K&L Notes: Maison Huet is a leading force i... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Praise for the producer from Wine Advocate: "One of my favorite Crozes Hermitage estates is the Domaine des Rémizières, which is run today by the Desmeures family, with Philippe Desmeures joined in 2005 by his daughter Emilie and in 2009 by his son Christophe. The estate is located near the town of Mercurol and they make a bevy a terrific Crozes Hermitage, a solid Saint Joseph and two sensational Hermitage (a red and a white). The winemaking is relatively modern and they destem all of their grapes and utilize plenty of new oak; nevertheless, the wines ha ...Read More »
Case in point of a wine that just floored us during our spring 2016 Napa trip, the Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc is so intense, powerful and completely “domestic” in style that its charm overwhelmed all of us. Made mostly in stainless steel, with some new and used French oak and one concrete egg, this is full of brisk aromatics of passion fruit, wet stone and subtle, sweet vegetal qualities like fresh English peas in the pod. Oily and a touch resinous, this is a Sauvignon Blanc that sticks around for a long, long time on the palate and has plenty of intens... Read More »
From the brewery: "The ale by which all others should be measured. With its famous cloudy sediment and its distinctive balance of malt, hops and fruity characters, the old "Red Labe" is a tasty slice of Coopers history. Little has changed since Thomas Cooper produced his first batch of Coopers Sparkling Ale in 1862. It's still brewed naturally using the century old top fermentation method, and it still tastes great!" Contains no additives or preservatives. 5.8% ABV.
Inventory: Redwood City
92-95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The two barrel samples of 2014 that I tasted included the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon McGah Family Vineyard. The wine has a black ruby/purple color, stunning concentration, beautiful floral notes and a great success, with more completeness, than many 2014s. I noted the finished alcohol is about 14.9%. This is another winery that has the Midas touch of the brilliant Mike Smith as winemaker. This wine should drink well for 20-25 years. (RP)" (12/2015)
96-100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The flagship wine of the estate in reds is their Insignia, which has been one of the great Bordeaux blends made in California since the debut vintage in 1974. It usually has 30+ years aging potential, even in lighter vintages, of which the 2012, 2013 and 2014 are decidedly not. The 2013 Proprietary Red Insignia was scheduled for bottling after my visit. A blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest smaller proportions of Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, this is a smaller cuvée of about 12,300 cases. This could turn out even better than t ...Read More »
93 points Wine Spectator: "A light echo of baked apple leads off, followed by quince, powdered ginger and verbena notes at the core. The long, minerally finish features rippling acidity. Still tight, so let this unwind in the cellar. Best from 2017 through 2027. 200 cases imported. (JM)" (9/2016) K&L Notes: Maison Huet is a leading force in the Vouvray appellation. Founded in 1928, the estate now covers 35 hectares, which are divided up between three properties: Le Mont, Le Haut-Lieu and Le Clos du Bourg - all of which have been farmed in the biodynamic method since 1990. These wines are stunn... Read More »
Côtes de Gascogne is primarily known for the production of Armagnac; it wasn’t until the last 20 years or so that producers began to take table wine production seriously. Traditionally, these wines would have been distilled into Armagnac. Producers found that by fermenting at lower temperatures in stainless steel, they could develop and preserve more powerful aromatics. Though yields are high, costs have stayed low and the wines are consequently some of the best bargain whites in France. Domaine de Millet is first and foremost an Armagnac producer. They ... Read More »
95 points Decanter: "Gorgeous nose exhibiting an array of aromas such as peppery mulberry, sour and black cherry, violet and a subtle touch of wild strawberry jam. The palate is full, complex, with a fantastic energy and bursting with ripe dark plums; tannins are impressively silky and freshness is amazing. An exceptional nectar from the Agrelo terroir." K&L Notes: Michael Schachner of Wine Enthusiast writes: "As recently as the 1990s, many Argentine wineries produced crude, inconsistent wines that were heavy and lacked balance. Today, following in the footsteps of quality-minded pionee... Read More »
96 points Wine Spectator: "Gorgeous from the get-go, featuring notes of creamed melon, yellow apple and persimmon that glide effortlessly, inlaid with hints of green tea, verbena, heather and quince. The long finish has beautiful flow, with a buried mineral edge imparting freshness while the fruit plays out. Best from 2018 through 2040. 200 cases imported. –JM" (9/2016)
95-96 points James Suckling: "Very pure lemons and limes here that are concentrated, stony and fragrant. There's very pure fruit focus here, as this has the right balance of acid and texture. It's smooth, fleshy, dense, really deep and will drink early and live long." (6/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Starting with pronounced green apples, citrus and white pepper, the 2015 Riesling leads to some notes of coriander seed and jasmine. Light, dry, lively and fresh on the palate, this Riesling is still a little tight, but possesses some spicy hints and great length. (LPB)" (6/2016) 90 points Vinous: "Light, bright yellow. Ripe citrus ...Read More »
94 points Wine Spectator: "Quite ripe, with tropical mango and papaya notes mixed with peach, apple and quince flavors. Pretty ginger and heather notes fill in the background, while the finish shows a well-embedded mineral edge, imparting tension to match the opulence. Best from 2017 through 2030. 200 cases imported. (JM)" (9/2016) Jancis Robinson: "Ripe pear with a note of quince and just-ripe apricot. Rich, sour and so full in the mouth. Intense, medium dry, utterly mouth-watering. (JH)" (5/2016)
Vinous: "From a riverside site highly susceptible to botrytis and consequently in recent years often problematic, this bottling’s relative success reflects the Spreitzer’s knack in picking and sympathy for alcoholic levity. Crunchy apple and winter pear are wreathed in bittersweet floral perfume, mint and tarragon for a coolingly stimulating performance. The sweetness suffices to enhance the fruit but backs off in the finish. Polished and buoyant... (DS)" (5/2016)
Inventory: San Francisco
95 points Wine Spectator: "Offers a big, broad feel, with layers of glazed pear, apple and peach falling over each other, backed by fresh ginger, honeysuckle and quince notes. Everything pulls together through the finish, with green tea accents and racy minerality providing the foil. Drink now through 2035. 300 cases imported. (JM)" (9/2016) K&L Notes: Maison Huet is a leading force in the Vouvray appellation. Founded in 1928, the estate now covers 35 hectares, which are divided up between three properties: Le Mont, Le Haut-Lieu and Le Clos du Bourg - all of which have been farmed in the biody... Read More »
94 points Wine Spectator: "Features a wide range of apple, green melon, ginger and green plum notes gliding throughout, with the off-dry edge imparting a flattering feel. Latent minerality lengthens the finish. Best from 2017 through 2030. 300 cases imported. (JM)" (9/2016) K&L Notes: Maison Huet is a leading force in the Vouvray appellation. Founded in 1928, the estate now covers 35 hectares, which are divided up between three properties: Le Mont, Le Haut-Lieu and Le Clos du Bourg - all of which have been farmed in the biodynamic method since 1990. Stretching over 9 hectares, Le Haut-Lieu pr... Read More »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Splash this into a decanter to release its fragrance and you’ll find a fresh, brisk chenin. It has the generous, waxy texture of the variety, the chew of the fruit skin, along with hints of lanolin that make it a natural partner to chèvre. Secateurs is Adi Badenhorst’s "second tier" from the 69 acres of unirrigated bush vines he and his cousin, Hein, own in Siebritskloof, on Paardeberg Mountain." (2/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Secateurs Chenin Blanc, which comes from bush vines planted on granite slopes, has a pleasant, simple bouquet with dried lemon peel, a touch of ...Read More »
The legendary Black Forest producer is finally at K&L. The cherry "schnapps" is class Kirschwasser in every way. The fruit is vibrant and clean with the alcohol in perfect balance to the concentration of cherry. Thank goodness someone is making sure this leaves Germany and makes it over to us!
Co-founders of the Vermont-based cidery, David Dolginow and Colin Davis, used nine different apples sourced from both New England and from across the pond, including Browns, Ellis Bitter, Dabinett, Michelin, Jonagold, McIntosh, Empire, Spartan, and Somerset Redstreak. The English varieties give the cider structure and complexity while the American varieties give it refreshing gulpablility.
Chateau de la Grangerie is a property that was built in the 17th century right next to an old monastery. The church and the housing for its servants was actually built in the 11th and 12th centuries and since the Armagnac is aged inside that facility, it might be the only spirit at K&L matured on hallowed grounds. Like many Tenereze producers, Grangerie distills only ugni blanc for its brandies. However, the sandy and gravel-rich soils are much more like the terrain found in the Bas-Armagnac. They fill about ten barrels a year; two of which are used for ... Read More »
The village of Apremont once sat in the shadow of a great mountain. In 1248 that mountain collapsed, destroying, everything in its path. Fortunately, the mountain itself was made of limestone which is some of the best geological material for growing grapes and the site is littered with limestone scree (broken rock fragments). The grape of choice for the region is Jacquère and some of the best comes from this village. Like most wines from Savoie, the Perret has hallmark aromas of citrus and lemongrass with a touch of peach as well. Where it really excels ... Read More »
Dirty Hippie is an Imperial Red Ald that's dry hopped with Summit and Simcoe. It weighs in at 8% ABV and 95 IBUs. There's lots of hoppy goodness balanced with a nice malt backbone. Cheers, Dirty Hippie!
Inventory: Redwood City
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Aromatically compelling with floral, stone fruit and mineral highlights, this offers palate cleansing freshness. The mineral-drenched flavors blend melon, peach and lemon rind, with a finishing burst of lime. It was fermented and aged entirely in stainless steel" (10/2016)
This is one of K&L's favorite Napa producers, and these folks know their Cabernet. Debbie and Randy Lewis say their 2014 is decked out "in a flashy jumpsuit with super plush fruit and sexy oak spices--Elvis is in the house! There's a whole lotta fruit going on, playing out in perfect pitch and velvety voice--it's irresistibly good. Classic, three-chord composition provides structure with notes of cedar, clove and sweet tobacco for added melody. Finely polished with chocolaty tannins, something like blue suede shoes."
This juicy Pale Ale is loaded with Simcoe & Amarillo hops with a featherweight body, big aroma, and moderate bitterness. Fresh and refreshing, this beer will satisfy Pale Ale lovers as well as "Hop Heads".
93 points Wine Spectator: "Offers a flattering feel, with ginger cream and singed almond notes gliding along while the core of warm apple, piecrust and dried persimmon waits in reserve. Fresh acidity ripples underneath, though this maintains a broad, rich feel throughout. Drink now through 2030. 50 cases imported. (JM)" (9/2016)
In terms of dream careers, race car driver and winemaker are often at the top of the list—though not usually held by the same individual. Yet former Indy car driver Randy Lewis has managed to make a living out of both passions, settling in the Napa Valley, where he’s been at the wheel of his family winery since 1992. Lewis Cellars Chardonnays are expertly crafted by winemaker Josh Widaman (formerly of Pahlmeyer) to drive fans to this small family winery. The 2015 vintage saw an early yield for grapes thanks to a warm year, and the flavors in this wine ar... Read More »
Angelique and Damien have 17 and one half acres, mostly in Villers sous Chatillon, but also in Ambonny, Bouzy, Vitry la Francois, and Troissy. Their family has been growing since 1809 and started making their own Champagnes in the 20s. This half and half blend of Meunier and Pinot Noir come from estate vines that average over 70 years old - among the oldest I have ever heard of in Champagne. The wine is vinified in stainless steel and finished with only six grams per liter of dosage. It is a very full-bodied wine, with super power in the middle, yet refr... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV Fino Inocente must be one of the few wines in Jerez that is still fermented in 600-liter American oak botas, which is an incredible amount of work compared with fermenting tens of thousands of kilos of grapes (or even more) in a big stainless steel tank. This method was the norm of yesteryear, but is so labor intense that it was discontinued in most wineries, and gives a big diversity of wines, as each barrel has its own character, which contributes to the complexity of the blend. Furthermore, the bottled wine is on average 8 to 10 years old. One ...Read More »
Inspired by The Lost Blend, a short story written by O. Henry in 1907, this is an elegantly complex union of two fruity Highland single malts from the Clynelish and Allt-A-Bhainne distilleries and a peaty Islay single malt from the Caol Ila distillery. The style is a homage to our own Lost Blend, Eleuthera, that we sadly retired in 2004. It has a sweet, ethereal fruit and herbal character buttressed by an underlying smokiness.
Inventory: Redwood City
90-91 points James Suckling: "Aromas of plums and berries with hints of chocolate and spice. Medium to full body, with firm tannins and a chocolate and berry undertone. Well done. Second wine of Ducru." (4/2012) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The second wine, the sensational 2005 Croix de Beaucaillou, is the finest example of this cuvee I have ever tasted. Sweet black raspberry and black cherry fruit aromas soar from the glass of this open-knit seductress. A dense ruby/purple color, beautiful full-bodied, lush, expansive flavors, low acidity, and sweet tannin suggest this lovely cuvee should be drunk over the next 1 ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Château d'Issan is a property in the Margaux appellation, rated as a third growth in the official Bordeaux Classification of 1855. It is known for its richly aromatic, silky wine of the same name. The estate is located just to the south of Château Margaux, and next door to Palmer. Around 53 of the property's 120 hectares property are under vine (131 of 297 acres). Of that, 40ha (100 acres) fall within the Margaux appellation, with the remainder located in AOC Haut-Médoc and AOC Bordeaux Supérieur. Around 70 percent is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon with ... Read More »
As the amaro renaissance continues to heat up, we're now seeing some local California players enter the market with fantastic results. Amaro Bilaro is made in Sebastopol from a locally-distilled grape base and thirteen different herbs and botanicals by a husband and wife team based in Sonoma. Some of those herbs are grown right in their own backyard, while others like gentian are sourced. The result is a strikingly savory amaro that definitely brings more of the bitter than the sweet side of the spirit. Myrrh, bitter orange, cinnamon, and as well as mint... Read More »
93 points Raymond Chan: "Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the rim. This has a softly full and voluminous nose of passionfruit and tropical fruits along with delicately lifted herbs and limes, seamlessly interwoven, and opening up in richness and detail with aeration. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is softly concentrated with a deep core packed with flavours of passionfruit and gooseberries, tropical fruits and herbs. The mouthfeel is seamless in texture and the wine flows smoothly, unfolding rich capsicum and citrus flavours. ...Read More »
Pumpkin Pie de Brettaville is a mix of barrel-aging and the best of autumnal flavors. Heirloom pumpkins from Bodega Bay are roasted whole to create a deep sugary carmelization. Then, those gourds are added to a brettanomyces fermented beer. Aged in oak casks with whole vanilla beans, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg is what really brings in the cohesion of flavors. The barrels of beer are then blended back together to bring you a true Autumnal treat.
Inventory: Redwood City