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K&L Staff Recommendations
Our staff loved the 2005--"Wow this is decadent Champagne!" pretty much sums up the rave reviews--and we're excited now to offer the 2006. We began importing the Champagnes of Launois about a decade ago, though we haven't been able to promote them properly because our allocations were very tight. Fortunately for us, Bernard Launois has decided to export more! Champagne Launois' wines are highly sought after, so much so, in fact, that we've sold their Champagne to Champenois who can't get it at home! Bernard Launois does things differently than the rest o... Read More »
Made from 20-year-old Pinot Noir planted in chalk and clay soils, vinified entirely in stainless steel, this is a super fresh and fun style of Pinot. It has everything you want in a Pinot--a touch of spice, pretty red and blue fruits, light tannin and a fresh, juicy finish.
91 points Wine Spectator: "Firm and focused, this structured version offers a well-meshed range of dried apricot, almond biscotti and cassis flavors, showing a clean chalkiness to the texture. Drink now through 2026." (3/2014) K&L Notes: Baron Fuente is a négociant that owns almost 90 acres of vines and purchases another 90 acres "sur pied," meaning that they pick the grapes. This is an important distinction since many négociants buy "sur lattes," meaning in bottle! The Grand Millésimé is a blend of 45% Chardonnay, 40% Meunier and 15% Pinot Noir that spent more than seven years on the lees. (G... Read More »
96 points Decanter: "A sophisticated array of aromas and flavours; acacia, lemongrass and lemon curd with hints of smoke and minerality. Complex on the palate with lip-smacking acidity, creaminess and juicy fruit. An elegant length is topped off with a fine grained flinty finish. Charming and harmonious." (7/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "Soft and fruity, this is a lemon-scented wine that has an attractive tang of minerality. The texture is laced with acidity, with a nervous energy. It's fresh and ready to drink. (RV)" (10/2015)
As the oldest existing brewery in the world, the Weihenstephaner brewery occupies an exalted site atop Weihenstephan Hill in the Bavarian city of Freising. Brewed for the 500-year anniversary of the Bavarian Purity Law!
Inventory: Redwood City
The Wehlener Sonnenuhr is, without question, the most famous of vineyard sites within the Prüm Estate if not all of the Mosel Valley. With its south-southwest exposure, weathered grey slate and ridiculous steepness (up to 70%) it provides an optimal growing climate for Riesling. The wines from here show fantastic depth of stone fruit flavors accompanied by a fine line of minerality and length. From the cellar of J.J. Prüm, this is a perennially classic, collectible Riesling.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Laphroaig's new Lore expression is a blend of 7- and 21-year-old bourbon casks, 9-year-old full-term quarter casks (whisky aged from day one), along with a few sherry and European oak casks for fun. It stands out from the standard Laphroaig portfolio in a big way. It's richer, darker, more savory, and far more dense. It tastes like you're drinking a very old whisky while simultaneously taking a sip of something much younger. Unlike the bright, medicinal peat that explodes off the bat in the 10 year old, the Lore takes you much deeper into the peat bog wi... Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Appealing nose of very pure Mosel Riesling. Impressive undertow. Very juicy and precise. Featherlight. Very racy. (JR)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: Just upstream from the famed Wehlener Sonnenuhr is the Graacher Himmelreich. With deeper, richer soils, this site is a little less steep and its south-west exposure ensures the wines from this site always have a racy and juicy acid background that really makes them sing. Weingut Joh. Jos. Prüm was founded in 1911 by Johann Josef Prüm. Today it is owned and managed by Dr. Manfred Prüm and his daughter Dr. Katharina Prüm. They focu... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
98-99 points James Suckling: "A significant pinot noir that displays immense quality, depth and completeness tasted ahead of bottling. Very complex indeed with exotic spices, meaty charcuterie and game meats. A fabulous array of different cherry fruit characters, hints of citrus zest and saffron plus some foresty bracken to add. The palate has immense energy and depth yet treads lightly on balanced structure and even shape, the tannins wind out and around supple flesh, gathering together and fanning at the finish, the acidity is bright throughout and the finish holds long. A masterpi ...Read More »
From the brewery: "Gose with Passion Fruit and Guava- A sour gose that's tart, fruity, complex, and delicious. The sour, salty base beer brings the funky refreshment, while the heavy dose of passion fruit and guava turns the whole thing into a remarkably delicious tropical fruit bomb. A marvelous mix of flavors that works remarkably well."
Jancis Robinson: "Almonds on the (rather intense) nose. Extremely tense and tight. Marked acidity and juiciness. Needs quite a bit of time to open out I suspect. (JR)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: Just upstream from the famed Wehlener Sonnenuhr is the Graacher Himmelreich. With deeper, richer soils, this site is a little less steep and its southwest exposure ensures the wines from this site always have a racy and juicy acid background that really make the wines sing. Weingut Joh. Jos. Prüm was founded in 1911 by Johann Josef Prüm. Today it is owned and managed by Dr. Manfred Prüm and his daugh... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
While Bas-Armagnac gets all the press and the Haut-Armagnac gets completely ignored, the Tenareze region of Armagnac is quietly producing some of the best brandies in the world. Much like the Borderies region in Cognac, the Tenareze brandies seem to have more fruit and a bit more life than the more classic Armagnac style. Using only new or first-fill barrels for the beginning years of maturation, the Armagnacs have richness, weight, and spice. The 2001 vintage is going to be a bourbon-drinker's delight: there's a rich, round mouthfeel of charred oak and ... Read More »
Long regarded as the top domaine in the Côte de Brouilly, Château Thivin is also the oldest estate on Mont Brouilly, built on an ancient volcano back in the fifteenth century. Run by the third generation of the Geoffray family, who have been farming the estate since 1977, the current proprietors--Claude, his wife Evelyne and their son Claude-Edouard--practice lutte raisonnée, planting herbs and flowers between the rows of 50-plus-year-old vines, plowing regularly and using natural composts to keep their vines healthy. The Côte de Brouilly comes from Gama... Read More »
For centuries the Prüm family has called the village of Wehlen home. Their ancestors were living in or near Wehlen as early as the year 1156. The Prüm estate as we know it today began with Sebastian Alois Prüm. His brother Jodocus constructed both of the famous Wehlener and Zeltinger sundials (Sonnenuhr). Of his six sons only Mathais married. Johann Josef Prüm (1873 - 1944), the son of Mathias, founded the J.J. Prüm estate in 1911. His grandson, Dr. Manfred Prüm, leads the estate and continues the legacy. Today, the very long lived wines of J.J. Prüm hav... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
The estate wine comes from plantings which are embedded in a mix of silex, chalk and clay. This is a vibrant and zesty Sauvignon Blanc with a touch of flinty smoke and citrus. I would consider this a step above a "Classic Sancerre" due to the higher concentration of silex. It is very clean with loads of energy and bright freshness throughout. Domaine Vacheron, currently run by two cousins, Jean-Laurent & Jean-Dominique, sits along the eastern edge of the Sancerre appellation. It was certified organic back in 2003 and now has been integrated into biodynam... Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "Lots of plum, chocolate and rose aromas. Licorice and cloves too. Very subtle yet rich. Full-bodied, very fine and balanced. Lovely firm and silky mouthfeel. It still needs some bottle age to soften but is already long and beautiful. Elegant. Drink or hold." (7/2015) 93 points Vinous: "Saturated ruby. Spicy, intensely perfumed cherry and dark berry aromas are complemented by vanilla, potpourri and an exotic Indian spice quality. Smooth, round and concentrated, offering sweet, focused red and dark berry compote flavors lifted by juicy acidity. Appealingly sweet and broad on t ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Free Run Steen Chenin Blanc has an attractive nose with fresh grapefruit and passion fruit scents that are well defined and articulate the variety with clarity. The palate is well balanced with crisp grapefruit and light honeyed tones, very harmonious with well judged acidity and a composed, quite elegant finish. This is an excellent Chenin Blanc. (NM)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "We source our Chenin Blanc from selected vineyards in the Agter-Paarl region. The vineyards are all unirrigated and bush-vine (untrellised) that produce concentrated, ... Read More »
Just upstream from the famed Wehlener Sonnenuhr is the Graacher Himmelreich. With deeper, richer soils, this site is a little less steep and its south-west exposure ensures the wines from this site always have a racy and juicy acid background that really make the wines sing.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
From the brewery: "Our team came up with the idea for this beer after having the opportunity to taste local avocado flower honey. With its huge floral flavor, we decided it was the perfect ingredient for this special beer. Since the name of our street is Citracado Parkway, combining Citra hops with avocado flower honey in this double IPA seemed like a natural thing to do! A fantastic beer with which to celebrate our 20th anniversary!"
From the brewery: "Originally inspired by recipes of two Team Stone members, Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout became an instant classic. The onyx-hued beer also proved to be an ideal barrel-aging specimen, thanks to its rich, thick mouthfeel and chocolate-heavy flavors and aromatics. CELLAR NOTES: An already magnificent beer’s mouthwatering recipe of unsweetened chocolate, flaked oats and dark-roasted malts is made even more deliciously complex care of oak barrels that previously nurtured bourbon. These amazing vessels impart oak and... Read More »
Praise from Wine Advocate: "If you are seeking traditionally crafted Beaujolais without perhaps the airs and graces you sometimes find in northern Beaujolais, then this is the place to come. Perhaps most impressive of all was just how well both their whites and reds age. Their 2009 Beaujolais Blanc, their first to be imported into the US by Kermit Lynch, continues to sing a merry tune with freshness and complexity. Perhaps it is a shame that much of their production will not be cellared, but I certainly recommend tucking away one or two bottles. I look f... Read More »
The steep, grapevine-spiked slopes of Wehlener Sonnenuhr comprise among the most iconic vineyards of the Mosel. From the cellar of J.J. Prüm, this is a perennially classic, collectible Riesling.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
97 points James Suckling: "Deep Pinot-driven presence is the first and lasting impression. Power with control. Superfine bead, bread and spiced biscuits, candied ripe red fruits and a sense of tight-knit complexity. Some grapefruit, lemon pith & gently flinty notes too - impressive nose. In the mouth it is rich, powerful, mouth-filling and flavoursome with a core of the same biscuity red fruit flavour, savoury nutty notes and a wrap of assertive, persistent acidity that holds rich powerful flavour deep and focused whilst maintaining a polished, gently creamy texture. Long chalky b ...Read More »
From the brewery: "Do you like doing stuff? Yeah, we do too. We designed this beer for people like us who don't want their beer to get in the way of a good time; people who drink beer for the taste. This Session IPA blends the lightness of pilsner malts with enough Mosaic hops to satisfy even the biggest hop head. Are you ready for your next adventure. Better Check Yourself!"
95 points James Suckling: "Ripe aromas of dried fruits, plums and prunes. Flowers too. Full body, round and ripe textured tannins. Intense and powerful fruit. Layered. Powerful style. Very long. Richer than normal due to the the hot growing seasons of 2003. Aged for six years in old American oak barrels. Drink or hold." (7/2015) 91 points Wine Spectator: "Cigar box, cedar and balsamic notes frame cherry, raisin and licorice flavors in this lean, firm red. Displays grip and focus, with firm tannins and orange peel acidity. The spicy finish is fresh and long. A traditional style. Drink now through 2023. ...Read More »
95 points James Suckling: "A soft and silky red with violet, berry and dark fruits on the nose and palate. Full body, fine tannins and a flavorful finish. Extremely well craft with elegance and style. Made from high vineyards in Uco Valley with consulting enologist from Bordeaux Jean-Claude Berrouet. Drink or hold." (6/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Tapiz Alta Collection Malbec from eight-year-old vineyards in San Pablo (Uco Valley) that are planted on stonier soils and matured in new and used French oak barrels for one year. It's a juicy, quite fruit-driven, ripe Malbec with some notes of cereals ...Read More »
For centuries the Prüm family has called the village of Wehlen home. Their ancestors were living in or near Wehlen as early as the year 1156. The Prüm estate as we know it today began with Sebastian Alois Prüm. His brother Jodocus constructed both of the famous Wehlener and Zeltinger sundials (Sonnenuhr). Of his six sons only Mathais married. Johann Josef Prüm (1873 - 1944), the son of Mathias, founded the J.J. Prüm estate in 1911. His grandson, Dr. Manfred Prüm, leads the estate and continues the legacy. Today, the very long lived wines of J.J. Prüm ha... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* Delicate aromas of white flowers, stone fruit and pear lead the way. On the palate, a core of green apple and citrus is carried by vibrant, fresh acidity. Small, lively bubbles lend finesse. (KO)" (12/2015) Jancis Robinson: "Quince, herbs and a touch of aspirin. This really has a lot more fruit depth than most Proseccos at this price. Medium dry but finishes fresh. Well priced, just a slight sensation of boiled sweets on the finish – but I’d rather this than the more bland style that seems so common now Prosecco is everywhere." (11/2015) Wine Spectator: "A clean Prosecco, with appl ...Read More »
97 points James Halliday: "Vivid crimson; the fragrant array of black cherry, blackberry, spice and cracked pepper aromas feed into the beautifully textured and proportioned palate, where silky tannins provide perfect support and mouthfeel. A top notch successor to the acclaimed '12." 96 points James Suckling: "A distinct evolution has happened around this wine with a more fragrant, spicy, lithe and lively style taking shape here. Smells of ripe red and dark cherries, cassis, blackberry and plum fruits abound with plenty of spice and gently toasty oak. There's a distinctive graphite-like edge, and whole bunch ...Read More »
Chateau Pellehaut has been one of our top direct imports for the past year here at K&L. We've visited the Ténarèze producer twice over the past few years, always finding something new to bring home for our brandy fans. What really excited us this year, however, was a new project they were working on called L'Age de Glace: a young brandy meant to drink on the rocks (hence the name "Ice Age"). The fruit of the Armagnac takes center stage here, melding wonderfully with the small hint of vanilla from the wood. It's all distilled from Folle Blanche fruit and ... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The elegant 2013 Harrison Hill is reminiscent of lighter weight Chateau Margaux with its beautiful aromatics of tobacco leaf, sandalwood, lead pencil and black cherries. These give way to a medium to full-bodied, supple, seamlessly textured 2013 that has sweet tannin, no hard edges, and beautiful purity and focus in the finish. It's already approachable, but will evolve gracefully on its balance and overall harmony. (JD)" (6/2016)
On Friday, October 14, join Clyde Beffa, Wine Director at K&L Wine Merchants for a special meal at Mathilde Restaurant in San Francisco featuring the incomparable wines of Château Léoville Las Cases. One of the oldest Medoc estates, Domaine de Léoville belonged to some of the wealthiest and most influential noble French families before it was acquired by the Las Cases family. The estate was split up between 1826 and 1840 as a result of the French Revolution. Château Léoville Las Cases was created, thanks to a kind of birthright, from 3/5 of the original ... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Bottled early in June, the 2014 Condrieu la Doriane is neck and neck with the 2013 in terms of quality. It too has sensational, full-throttle notes of tangerines, spice, buttered peach and citrus oil in a medium to full-bodied, elegant, vibrant personality. Give it six to 12 months of bottle age and enjoy bottles through 2020. One of the highlight tastings during my two weeks spent working in the northern Rhône was with Philippe and Marcel Guigal, who in this critic’s opinion, consistently fashion some of the greatest wines in the world. Looking at the ...Read More »
95 points Wine Spectator: "***Highly Recommended*** Rich and creamy, this white features apple, lemon cake, citronella and toasted spice aromas and flavors. Beautifully put together, with the vibrant intensity of the vintage, ending with an expansive, complex aftertaste. Best from 2018 through 2027. (BS)" (6/2016) 91 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "A subtle application of wood serves as a backdrop for the mostly white orchard fruit and lemongrass aromas. The middle weight flavors possess a seductive texture thanks to the abundant dry extract that coats the palate and buffers the moderately firm acid spine on the beau ...Read More »
From the brewery: "Barley, wheat, rye and oats combine with hops and citrus peel in this new American saison. Created by men and women who have forged their own paths to craft your beer, here’s a liquid reward for heroic people everywhere who take pride in an honest day’s work."
From the brewer: "This electrifying transformation of our famed Golden Monkey may just blow your mind. Tastefully twisted to offer nuances of sweet fruit and a sharp tang of tartness, this exhilarating combination of flavors makes this brew a Monkey all its own. Respect the Monkey and Taste Victory"
A rare and exceptional wine, late released and arriving soon. Manfred held this back feeling that it was still too powerful to release. His wines from Zeltingen have all the poise and elegance of the Wehlen wines with added structure and minerality, some people argue that this is the best piece of this contiguous south facing slope. Very limited.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "Up the slope above the Grand Cru of Le Montrachet, this vineyard once grew hemp (hence the name cheneve). This poised wine is both stylish and rich, with good acidity allied to ripe apple and citrus fruits. These cut through the mineral texture and promising a generous wine as it ages. Drink from 2020." (8/2016) 94 points Wine Spectator: "An expansive, mouthfilling version that's both broad and focused. Vivid acidity drives the peach, melon and lemon flavors, while spice and pastry notes add depth. Shows fine equilibrium and length, with a mineral element lingering. (BS)" (9/2016) 90-93 points Vinous: "Pal ...Read More »
From the brewery: "We are excited to announce the debut of Anchor Dry-Hopped Steam Beer™, a limited release inspired by Anchor Steam® Beer, the original California Common. San Francisco’s famous Anchor Steam® Beer is unique for its brewing process which has evolved over many decades and is like no other in the world. To give this classic beer a radically traditional twist, Brewmaster Scott Ungermann created Anchor Dry-Hopped Steam Beer. Made with its own special recipe, the brew is dry-hopped with a blend of new and traditional hops. The result weds the ... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Beringer's 2014 Private Reserve Chardonnay is creamy and rich, with toasty notes and an overall sense of balance. The fruit is primarily sourced from their Gamble Ranch property in the Oakville AVA of Napa Valley. Each lot was kept separate from harvest all the way through the winemaking process. The wine was aged for 9 months in predominately new French oak with full malolactic fermentation, and the lees were stirred weekly to enrich the texture and profile. Only the finest lots were then selected for inclusion in this Private Reserve bottling. Winemake... Read More »
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Fleurie “Les Moriers” has more fruit intensity on the nose compared to the 2013, with ebullient red cherries and vibrant strawberry scents. The palate is medium-bodied with a fleshy opening. There is good depth here, a fine line of acidity with quite a solid, tannic finish that really shows the terroir. Readers should look forward to this Beaujolais once in bottle. (NM)" (6/2015) 92 points Vinous: "Deep ruby. Ripe raspberry and lavender pastille scents, with a zesty mineral quality and a hint of white pepper lending vivacity. Juicy red and dark berry flavors are giv ...Read More »
Made with Tongan, Ugandan, and Mexican whole vanilla beans, then aged in fresh bourbon barrels. This is silky and dreamy, with notes of chocolate, caramel and molasses.
93 points Connoisseurs Guide: "Darioush Cabernets are among the richest, deepest, and tastiest that are produced in these parts, and that might be good enough on its own to make them likeable, but the reason why they have been so very popular is that they also have carried plenty of juicy, well-focused varietal fruit. And, this wine is not only clearly made in the winery style, but it is among their most impressive yet. Its generous aromas of black cherry, cola and graphite are lifted by lashings of creamy oak, and its full-bodied sense on the palate is supple to start with a bit of a ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2004 Viña Tondonia Reserva is a completely different story. It is a worthy follower of the 2001, the greatest of the Viña Tondonia Reservas of recent times. It has the usual blend and usual levels of alcohol and acidity, bottled after six years in oak barrels. The nose feels savory (if that's possible–umami?) and developed, with tertiary aromas and good balance between spices, leathery notes, cherries and balsamic notes of cigar box and incense. The palate is both round and crisp, with refined tannins. It has very good balance with subtle acidity and ...Read More »
Whisky Advocate: "Cinnamon bark, oak, overripe nectarines, salted peanuts, and faint herbal notes open up this blended whiskey housed in the bottle with the clever geographical label. The structure starts light on the first sip, with Golden Delicious apples and honey lozenges, but then it thickens up mid-palate when the spiciness kicks in... A decent spicy buzz finishes this perfectly serviceable blend composed by these determined newcomers to the Irish whiskey scene. (JC, Spring-2015)"
Tuthilltown Spirits is located along New York Hudson's River and has the distinction of being the first New York distillery to (legally) make bourbon since Prohibition. The Hudson Baby Bourbon is a single-grain bourbon made entirely from New York corn, and it is aged in small American oak barrels that impart vanilla caramel notes and soften the spirit's edges. Mild, this is a great introduction to bourbon, but enjoyable for even the most discerning connoisseur.
92 points Vinous: "Vivid orange-pink. Displays vibrant, sharply focused scents of fresh red berries, blood orange and pungent flowers, joined in the glass by a mineral nuance. Silky and dry in the mouth, offering energetic strawberry and orange zest flavors that flesh out slowly with air. Shows excellent clarity and stony cut on the finish and leaves suggestions of berry skin and honeysuckle behind. (JR)" (6/2016) 92 points Wine Spectator: "Shows range to the blood orange, peach pit, white raspberry and white cherry fruit flavors, gilded with notes of sandalwood and savory through the finish. Sneakily ...Read More »