Staff Favorites - Jim Barr

Jim Barr

Reviews

2015 Sobon Estate "Rocky Top" Amador County Zinfandel
Review Date: 09-15-2017
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Planted before the turn of the last century by the original owners, the d’Agostini family, this old, head-pruned vineyard sits at an elevation site in the Sierra foothills that is one of highest in California (bordering 3000 feet). Yet, it consistently produces one of the riches, most complete and complex Zins to be found domestically, and at an unheard of ridiculously low price. I thought that the 2014 was one of most complete, definitive Zins to come from this estate and that it would be near impossible to duplicate its overall quality; that is, until this 2015 'Rocky Top' showed up at our door. Medium-deep ruby in color, the opulent, magnificent bouquet of blackberry, currants, violets, white pepper, and anise with undertones of cedar, mocha, and lava earthiness minerality, is profoundly distinctive and room-filling set of aromas. In its rich, lush, viscous, well-structured, yet elegant and balanced palate presentation, you will be treated to a complex, silky, round and totally assimilated Zin that has a long, warm, flashy finish. Regardless of price, this remarkable Zinfandel Gem is one of the best available on market, and Rusty and I plan to bring home cases of it for our consumption over the next three to five years. One final quick note: I was lucky enough to get a half of a ton of grapes for two years running, from this vineyard from Leon Sobon in the mid-1990s that, in both years, made some of the best wines that I have ever created. AN AMAZING VALUE - ENJOY!!! ***** 14.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Husch "Nash Mill Vineyard" Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-12-2017
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The ensuing wine review will be totally objective and non-prejudicial. After spending two-plus years {ending in 2002} clearing a just over four acre parcel of South facing hillside at my place in the Anderson Valley, I had trucked in a hundred and fifty tons of crushed limestone and fifty tons of compost, to which Christine [my better half} and I had ripped into the site with a three way, three foot deep dredge. We then seeded the hillside with clover for ground cover and let it sit for a year. At that point, we planted it to three different clones of Pinot Noir; half to Pommard, and a quarter each to 115 and 667. In 2006 {its first harvest}, we sold the property including the vineyard to Zac Robinson of Husch Vineyards. Husch has subsequently kept the productions coming off of this site separate from everything else that they were vinifying. This 2014 is perhaps the best that has come from this site to date and what has been produced thus far has been wonderful. This 2014 Gem is medium-deep ruby in color, has an opulent, floral nose of violets and dried rose petals, with undertones of strawberries and black cherries fruit combined with clove-like to a rustic Burgundian forest floor notes. On the palate, it is lush, balanced, well-integrated, really fine and elegant, and uniquely complex, all of which leads to a long, silky finish. Rusty already has had me bring home two cases of this Gem, and we toying with the idea of maybe another case. Even though it is delicious right now with airing, we plan to age it for another ten-plus years. A GREAT WINE VALUE!!! ***** 13.9% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2015 Baccinetti "La Saporoia" Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 08-30-2017
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About a year ago, I made the profound decision that with this great vintage {2015} of Rossos and Brunellos coming from Montalcino I would buy in small lots {i.e., 3 to 4 bottles each} of those wines that I really liked the best due to the fact that I am sitting on over 200 cases of wine in my wine room and do not have that much space left. Welllllll, it began that way with some of early arriving Rossos and would have continued that way, until this Gem arrived from Baccinetti. Okay, I will buy six bottles of this beauty, I said to myself, before I broke down and ended up buying a case. Medium-deep ruby in color, the opulent, flashy nose is loaded with wild black cherry to forest floor to spicy anise characteristics with undertones of cedar and clove-like herbal notes. Broad and lush across the palate, this amazingly complex, deeply flavored, well-structured, yet balanced though powerful declassified Brunello is a stunning wine that shows well now, but will age easily (which I plan to do) for another ten-plus years. Rusty has told me to bring home at least another case, maybe two, of this exceptional Gem, which I think I will. A PHENOMENAL VALUE!!! …..A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT….. ***** 14.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Gainey "Estate" Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 08-30-2017
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I believe one of the very few aspects of this wine business that still captivates me is that there are a handful of domestic producers that make exceptional wine each year, but, for whatever reason, never seem to promote themselves via the national/international wine critics who give high ratings and rankings. You see this with Navarro Vineyards in the Anderson Valley, Dehlinger in the Russian River Valley, Fort Ross in the Sonoma Coast region, and Gainey Vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills area of the Central Coast. The Gaineys have been making excellent varietals, particularly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, for over forty years and yet very little press is released about their wines. This lovely Chardonnay is an excellent example of what I am asserting here. Distinctive aromas of cinnamon apple to tropical fruit abound in the nose that is underscored by a pronounced vanillan, creamy note. Rich in the mouth, yet not overdone, this Gem is well-structured, lush, yet balanced and offers a pure Central Coast spiced Chardonnay presentation. The Bean has demanded that I bring home at least a case of this Chardonnay Gem for our enjoyment over the next several years. A FANTASTIC VALUE!!! ***** 13.9% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: Hidden View Price
VN 92

2016 Franck Millet Sancerre Rosé
Review Date: 08-25-2017
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As with the Rhone Valley’s Chateau de Montfaucon’s owner, UC Davis graduate Rodolphe de Pins, productions that we have been also importing for over twenty years, Franck Millet brought his production samples of Sancerres to Clyde on one of his buying trips to Bordeaux way back when to see if he could convince our fearless leader into directly importing his wines to K&L. And, as with Montfaucon, Clyde was so taken with the incredible quality of Millet’s wines, he had no choice but to do so. Initially it was strictly the Sauvignons from Millet that we brought in, but as our Rosé sales exploded five-plus years ago, Clyde made the wise decision to also begin including his Rosé. And, we are all glad he did. This 2016 has a striking pink hue about it, and offers a lovely perfume of current and strawberry, with just a hint of Chilean Jasmine floral notes. In the mouth, this gorgeous Gem is crisp and mouthwatering, yet rich, creamy, and dry, which leads to a bright, refreshing finish. This also continues the run of exceptional Rosés from them. The Bean and I see a bucket of steamed clams sitting in front of us to go with this excellent Gem, and has ordered me to bring home cases of this exceptional Rosé – plus, buckets of clams. Don’t miss this Gem! AN AMAZING ROSÉ VALUE!!! …..A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT….. ***** 12.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2016 Les Vignerons de Fontès "Prieuré Saint-Hippolyte" Languedoc Blanc
Review Date: 08-24-2017
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Several years back while on one of his many buying trips to France, Clyde discovered the exceptional productions of this Southwestern, Languedoc producer and decided to begin importing them for us. Instead of importing their entire line, Clyde made the decision, at that time, to bring in only their fabulous Rosé, which we rapidly sold through some 400 cases after it arrived. Then last year, he decided to also bring in not only their Rosé, but also their Blanc and Rouge, which were equally wonderful wines. I am solidly in love with their Blanc, which is a blend of Grenache Blanc (75%) and Viognier (25%). This is a lovely refreshing, clean, crisp, mouthwatering Gem with the Grenache Blanc providing a lime zest to Chilean jasmine fruit tone, while the Viognier adds a honeydew melon quality with viscosity and weight (not reductive from wood aging – all stainless steel) in the mouth. The nose is distinctive and floral, and the finish refreshing and bright. According to The Bean, we need several cases of this Gem to have with our fish dinners. Drink near-term. A DELIGHTFUL. QUAFFING VALUE!!!…..A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT….. ***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2012 Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva
Review Date: 08-23-2017
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I pointed out several months ago to Greg St.Clair, our Italian wine buyer, that he was an evil person, imposing horrible buying habits on most of us, including yours truly, at K&L. What drove me to this realization is that for the first time last year, I discovered that I have more Tuscan red wine (mostly Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino) in my wine room than I do Bordeaux. And, it is all his deceitful, conniving fault. He forced me into buying these wines, and, in reality, I am really grateful that he did; I have some incredibly great wines aging in that room. Well, I am adding this classic Antinori Riserva to that collection. Medium-deep ruby in color with dense, thick legs, the nose is opulent and powerful with red berry fruit driven characteristics, and mosswood, leathery, dusty notes with a touch of mild toastiness. Rich, broad, viscous, and distinctive in the mouth, all these qualities carry over nicely to a wine of incredible complexity, depth, and structure, yet with perfect balance. This Gem refuses to quit on its bright, lush finish. Both Rusty and I absolutely love this Riserva Gem and plan to put several cases in our wine room for future consideration. If you want to try it near-term, decant and air (of course!) for an hour or so, to give it time to really open up. A GREAT LONG-TERM VALUE!!! …..A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT….. ***** 13.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2020 to 2020

2013 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 08-23-2017
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From one of my favorite Rioja houses comes this lovely, perfectly balanced and distinctively elegant 2013 Crianza Rioja. Deeply colored, the nose abounds with classic red cherry to strawberry to blueberry fruit characteristics that is underscored by spicy anise to truffle-like notes all of which is structured by a touch of cedary oak. Viscous, rich, layered, and well-focused in its complex palate impression, this amazing Rioja Gem has a bright and fresh purity in its presentation from entry to its long, warm finish. Drinking really well now with decanting and airing, Rusty and I plan to put down several cases of this high profiled, perfumed Gem for the next three to ten years. THIS IS A PERFECTLY BALANCED VALUE!!! …..A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT….. ***** 13.0% *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2008 Bodegas Puelles Rioja Reserva
Review Date: 08-22-2017
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I believe that of all the Reservas that our Spanish winebuyer, Joe Manekin, has brought in directly from Bodegas Puelles, this 2008 may be their finest and best production to date. And that evaluation is nothing to sneeze at, for the previous vintages have been outstanding to exceptional. Medium-deep ruby in color with youthful reddish edges, the opulent, highly perfumed nose is loaded with blackberry to plumy to vanillan to anise to cedary set of overtones that are completely uniformed and complementary to each quality. Carrying over wonderfully to a broad, rich, viscous, elegant, and pure, yet totally balanced, complex palate impression at entry to finish, this is an amazing Rioja Gem with layers of flavor and a presentation that says “You can drink me now, but I will get better with more aging!” I have brought several cases of this Gem home at Rusty’s urgent demands for consumption over the next ten to fifteen-plus years, and he honestly thinks that you need to seriously do the same. AN EXCEPTIONAL NEAR-TERM/LONG-TERM VALUE. ENJOY! …..A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT….. ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2007 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 07-19-2017
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We have been directly importing the outstanding Rhone Valley wines of Chateau de Montfaucon since 1995 and, although many of you know the story of this property, I think that it is still appropriate to repeat. This 85+ acre estate lies across the Rhone River from the village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and its red and white wine grape make-up are similar to what goes into making CDPs. The problem, however, is that the river is the appellation line and Montfaucon, therefore, cannot be called CDP, and is relegated to a general Cotes du Rhone classification. My attitude is that if it smells and tastes like CdP, than treat it like CdP. With that out of the way, I can tell you that the 2007 Cotes du Rhones from Montfaucon are the best that I have tasted from this estate since we have been importing them. Produced from the older sections of their vineyard (60- to 90-year-old vines), the Cuveé Baron Louis(40% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Cinsault and 10% each Carignan, Mourvedre and Counoise) would be a great and classic CdP if wasn't for that #*&^ river. With its deep, richly appearing hue, the opulent, perfumed nose of blackberry, purple plum, white pepper spiciness, hints of smoked meats and forest floor explodes from the glass. It is concentrated and lush, with broad fruit in the mouth that is complex yet soft and round, with silky tannins, all leading to a long, warm, ongoing finish. I plan to lay this Gem down for a few years to give it additional development, but it is an amazingly wonderful wine now, particularly with decanting and airing {10/13/2009}...A K&L WINE MERCHANTS' DIRECT IMPORT... ***** 14.0% ABV ***** {RETASTED 07/13/2017: Has become absolutely incredibly delicious; comparable to any $150.00 or much more older wine available in our stores}
Drink from 2009 to 2009
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Bart Marsannay Rouge
Review Date: 07-19-2017
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See my tasting notes for the 2015 Domaine Bart Bourgogne Rouge. ***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Kalinda Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-18-2017
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Produced by one of the oldest established Cabernet estates {and we cannot tell you who it is} in Napa Valley, which had its first crush in 1882, this absolutely astounding wine is deeply colored and offers opulent, powerful aromas of cassis, currants, blackberries, and violets, all of which is underscored by cedary, creamy, and dusty (Rutherford dust, of course!} qualities. This carries over fabulously to a broad, viscous, concentrated, yet integrated palate impression that offers excellent complexity, depth, balance, and richness. The finish is long, warm, and elegant. Although you can drink this Gem, with decanting and an hour or so of airing, currently, it will age easily another ten-plus years, which Rusty and I plan to do. Rusty wants me to bring home several cases of this amazing Gem and thinks that you need to give some serious consideration in doing the same. A GREAT VALUE! .....A K&L WINE MERCHANTS' EXCLUSIVE..... ***** 14.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine Cherrier Père & Fils Sancerre
Review Date: 07-13-2017
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Another exceptional vintage for this excellent Loire Valley estate has produced a Sauvignon Blanc of brilliant character and an elegant presentation. Aromas of honey-dew melon, lime zest, and fig-like qualities leads to a rich, yet snappish, clean, and crisp set of flavors across the palate, with undertones of a chalky, slate-like mineral nature. The finish is refreshing and mouthwatering. The Bean has demanded that I bring home at least several cases of this wonderful Gem to to serve with our shellfish dinners or to simply have with an aperitif plate in the afternoon. A MOUTHWATERING VALUE!. …A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT… ***** 12.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2014 Château de Montfaucon Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 07-12-2017
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I think of all the years that we have been directly importing the wines from this very old estate, their regular Côtes-du-Rhônes have been of consistent superb high quality and drinking extremely well in the near-term. This 2014 not only continues that evolution, but I feel may be the best that they have produced to date. Rich in appearance with a medium-deep ruby robe, the flashy, bright nose offers aromas of blackberry, violets, white pepper, anise, and mocha, with background notes of forest floor and filings. In its broad, juicy palate presentation you will be treated to a Gem that is beautifully balanced, lush, and silky, yet provides exceptional structure and depth of flavor that leads to a long, almost creamy finish. Although this Gem drinks wonderfully now, it will age and “improve” for another four to eight years. Rusty and I love this Gem, regardless of its price point, and plan to make it one of our house reds for however long it is available. A LUSH AND SILKY VALUE! …..A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT….. ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2015 Rickshaw California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-30-2017
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Produced mostly from vineyards from the cooler North Coast and Central Coast appellations {Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, Monterey, and Santa Barbara} from a vintage that most of you know I feel as being a sensational vintage for Pinot Noir, this second label production from Banshee Vineyards is perhaps the best they have created since we have started from the very beginning carrying this wine several years ago. Native yeast fermented and aged ten months in both stainless steel {45%} and French oak {55% of which 10% was new}, and very reflective of this superior, low crop yield vintage, this lovely Pinot shows an excellent rich appearance and deep robe of medium to medium-deep ruby color, with a distinctive perfume of a violet floral to black cherry to plummy quality, with mild undertones of a forest floor to wet river stone quality. Following through well into its soft, silky, round palate impressions, this gorgeous, near-term drinker has a defined, weighty, yet juicy mid-range, excellent integration and a long, nicely definitive finish. Again, this is a near-term production, with Rusty wanting me to bring home several cases of this Gem for our enjoyment over the next couple of years. A NICELY DRINKING VALUE! ***** 13.9% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 D'Archambeau, Graves
Review Date: 06-24-2017
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Great vintages, as with 2015, in Bordeaux will give you a plethora of excellent quality wines, both red and white, across the gamut that you can buy to age {and spend a great deal of money for in some cases} and to also drink near-term, which tend to be from the chateaux from the lesser growths and cru bourgeouis from all the various regions of this infamous area. This production surprised the hell out of me with its superb quality, particularly when you view the price point. It definitely reminds me of a drinkable Chateau Carbonnieux from that area, but without the need for a lot of aging. Medium-deep to deep ruby in color, the nose is pronounced and focused offering lush, yet classic Graves-like minerality of filings and gravelly notes with an opulent presentation of cassis, blackberry to blueberry fruit. In the mouth, it is round, rich, integrated, well-structured, and full of character, all of which leads to a soft, elegant finish. An amazing wine for the money and probably the best that this chateau has ever made. Rusty has asked me to bring home several cases of this Gem for our near-term consumption for the next three to five years. A DELICIOUS, WELL PRICED VALUE! …..A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT….. ***** 13.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 88 - 90

2015 Domaine Jean-Michel Giboulot Pommard "En Brescul"
Review Date: 06-23-2017
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Most of you who know me well, are aware that I have not seriously collected Burgundy for my wine cellar since the 1999 vintage was released. And not because I am getting to the age where those wines might outlive me or that I am sitting on 200-plus cases in my cellar. I just wasn’t convinced that such vintages as 2005 and 2009 in Burgundy, in general, were as exceptional as the press presented to us. I did buy a few wines from each vintage, but not in the quantity that I did with the 1999s. That is about to change! The 2015 is one of those to-die-for vintages and even the declassified productions are truly outstanding. This production from Giboulot is a great example of what I am asserting. I honestly believe that this is declassified Pommard, probably from the lower hillside of their vineyard sites, and it is a remarkable wine. Rich in appearance and color, the opulent nose is loaded with classic rose petal, plumy, blackberry fruit tones with a lovely creamy to forest floor background. This all carries over exceptionally well to a broad, rich, viscous, silky, round palate impression that leads to a long, warm finish. I am going to both age some of this Gem for five to ten years and drink it near-term, and Rusty has ordered me to bring home several cases of this gorgeous puppy. By the way, I also purchased for my cellar a half of a case of the 2015 Domaine Giboulot Pommard, “En Brescul” which is truly great wine, to which I plan to age for well over ten years. BOTH ARE EXCEPTIONAL VALUES!!! …..A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT….. ***** 12.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2025 to 2025
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2013 Vidal-Fleury Côtes-du-Rhône
Review Date: 06-23-2017
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We have carried the Rhone Valley productions from Vidal-Fleury for well over ten years, with the bulk of the production selections being the Côtes-du-Rhône Rouge, which have been consistently wonderful near-term drinkers. And, just as I was beginning to wonder when this Northern Rhône Valley house was ever going to release their 2013, it arrived here in June {2017}. They must have felt that the 2013, since it is a much more reserved type of vintage, needed some extra bottle time development to show itself in a much better fashion. And it dose! Medium-deep ruby in color, this Grenache/Syrah base wine offers a lovely, distinctive bouquet of white pepper, anise, and violet-like qualities with undertones of truffles and forest floor to underbrush notes. Lush, broad, round, well-structured, yet balanced palate impressions lead to a warm, fleshy finish that lingers well. Rusty thinks that this Gem is a perfect wine to go with our occasional cassoulet and that I need to bring home several cases of it for our near term consumption for the next three to six years. A REALLY NICE VALUE! ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2014 Jacques Bavard Bourgogne Blanc
Review Date: 06-22-2017
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If you have never been to Burgundy in France, it is a must trip for any serious wine consumer/collector. The vineyards are so closely planted and the “Clos” are so near each other with so many different, undefined growers/owners, you will ask yourself how do the Burgundians decide what gets declassified to a Bourgogne Rouge or Blanc, and what gets just a villages description. Single vineyard designations are simple. You will be amazed, for instance, that the difference between DRC’s La Tache and the Romanee Conti vineyard is a ten foot wide gravel roadway and two stone walls on each side. The vineyard that produces this exceptional Bourgogne Blanc is in that kind of position – it is a roadway that just separates it below one of the great vineyards of Puligny-Montrachet. Distinctive aromas of wet river stone minerality to green apple to hints of honeydew melon and lime-zest fruit abound in this Gem. All of this carries over prominently to a well-structured and well-defined Chardonnay that is clean, crisp, and bright both on entry and through its exceptional mid-range set of flavors and leads to a mouthwatering, delicious finish. The Bean has told me to bring home cases of this Gem for our consumption over the next five to ten years. GREAT VALUE! >>>A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT<<< ***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Cave de Rasteau "Dame Victoria" Rasteau
Review Date: 06-21-2017
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We have been importing the productions from this growers’ co-operative from the village area of Rasteau in the Southern Rhone Valley for nearly twenty years, now, and the quality consistency has just been outstanding year after year. And when take into account a great vintage in that area as the 2015 is, the quality of wine suddenly becomes stunning even when you consider the price point. Traditionally produced from Grenache {70%}, Syrah {20%}, and Mourvedre {10%}, this medium-deep ruby in color wine offers lush, distinctive aromas of white pepper, anise, blueberry fruit with creamy to truffle-like background notes in the nose that carries into a rich, round, nicely balanced palate impression. Good fullness and weight in the midrange, with excellent structure and silkiness that leads into its long, warm finish, this Gem is one to consume in the near-term which Rusty and I plan to do for the next three to six years – maybe longer. I have been ordered to bring home cases of this Gem and he thinks that you should think in the same terms. A DELICIOUS VALUE! …..A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT….. ***** 14.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2015 Hahn "SLH" Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-14-2017
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The 2015 Pinot Noirs from our best coastal growing areas continue to astound me with their exceptional richness and presentation, and the 2015 Hahn SLH is a great example of the super high quality of this vintage. Rich in appearance, the color is deep ruby with lovely reddish hue, while in its opulent bouquet you will be treated to a Pinot of lush, ripe smells of blueberry, strawberry, and violets, with hints a creamy, wet river stone, mild toasty characteristics. All of this carries over nicely to a broad, viscous, elegant mouthfeel that leads to a long silky finish. We need cases of this Gem, according Rusty, to which I totally agreed… so be it! A WONDERFUL VALUE!!! ***** 14.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: Hidden View Price
WE 91 WS 90

2015 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 06-14-2017
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Previous vintages of TWR Pinots that we have brought in have been excellent productions that show some real classic Pinot characteristics bordering on a cross between a really nice Pommard from Burgundy and some “new-world” qualities without going over the top. But, this 2015 production has kicked up those wonderful qualities of their previous productions threefold to a level that is absolutely superb. Medium-deep ruby in color, the opulent nose is loaded with lush floral fruit notes {rose petals to violets}, black cherry to ripe strawberry to blueberry tones, that is reinforced by creamy to wet river stone mineral qualities. In its complex, silky smooth, rich palate, this exceptional Gem is balanced, elegant, fleshy, and well-structured, has a viscous mid-range, all of which leads to a long, succulent, juicy finish that seems to go on and on, and it is only 13.0% ABV {???}. This is great New Zealand Pinot, and Rusty has ordered me to bring home cases of this exceptional Gem for our consumption over the next seven to ten years. A GREAT VALUE!!!” …..A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT ***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017

2015 Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-07-2017
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We have a string of great vintages taking place this decade, starting with 2012 harvest and up to 2016 that I honestly believe has been unmatched in the history of California winemaking. The closest decade that gave us close to the strength of these five vintages was the mid-1990s (1994 to 1997) with some real exceptional wines being produced. Again, starting with 2012 and thus far ending with 2016, the wines that are coming from the one vintage that I have anxiously been waiting for is 2015, which I consider is the best of those five years and, in particular, the Pinot Noirs from the cooler coastal appellations (Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, and Santa Lucia Mountains). The Banshee Pinots have always been outstanding productions and at very reasonable prices, but this 2015 is breathtaking and an absolute steal at the price we are offering it for. Deeply colored, although it is only 13.6% alcohol, the nose gushes forth opulent aromas of dried rose petals, strawberry, black cherry, and plum-like characteristics with undertones of truffles, structured by forest floor to stone-like slate minerality. All of this carries over to a broad, viscous, concentrated, fleshy mouthfeel that is amazingly deep and complex with finely etched tannins, leading to a silky, round, and elegant finish that refuses to go away. Although this Gem drinks incredibly well now, especially with decanting and airing, Rusty and I plan to put several cases of this great Pinot down for another eight to fifteen years or longer; it will only get better, believe it or not. A GREAT VALUE!!! ***** 13.6% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart
VN 90

2014 Bodegas Puelles Segundo Año Rioja
Review Date: 05-31-2017
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An early release from one of our favorite Rioja producers, Bodegas Puelles, this delicious Gem is deeply colored, with a pure fruit bouquet that offers white pepper to black cherry to black olive scents with just a hint of slate-like minerality and cedar that accentuates its upfront tones. Broad, lush, deeply flavored, concentrated, and rich across the mouth, this Gem is still elegant and balanced to the finish, with a lovely complexity and focused presentation. Rusty has demanded that I bring home cases of this Gem for our enjoyment for the next five to ten years. AN AMAZING VALUE!!! >>>A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT<<< ***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

2015 Blason Pinot Grigio Isonzo
Review Date: 05-31-2017
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Greg St.Clair’s review of this lovely Gem on our web-site is right on target! This is not your typically watery, simple Pinot Grigio. This is a for real white wine with fleshiness and depth of character. We have been importing the Blason wines for well over ten years now, ever since Greg discovered them way back when, and each year their wines seem to knock up the quality by a notch or two. This gorgeous Pinot Grigio is perhaps the best that has come from them thus far; of course, 2015 is a great vintage in Europe, and this wine totally reflects that fact. Rich and lush, the nose shows high perfumed amounts of jasmine and cream, with hints of pear and anise, while in the mouth it is deep in flavor, yet balanced and lush across a clean, crisp, and mouthwatering mid-range and finish. The Bean wants me to bring home several cases of this Gem; she wants it with her seared ahi tuna dinners. A SUPERB WHITE WINE VALUE! >>>A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT<<< ***** 12.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2005 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 05-31-2017
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After all these years in retail, one of the many misperceptions by many, many customers that still make me shake my head is how we have a tendency to associate the supposed quality of a wine with its price point. In other words, the higher the price the wine is the better its quality. Recently I had a customer come up to me in the store and ask me what was wrong with this Coufran because of its cheap price, and I confronted him with why he was thinking in those terms. This notion of higher the price vis-à-vis higher the quality level is Wrong! We have been brainwashed (and I won’t get into by who, which is a whole article in and of itself); I have tasted some absolutely awful $150.00+/- Cabernets the last several years that I wouldn’t even spend $10.00 for, wines that are super high in alcohol, have no acid backbone, and, even worse, have residual sugar left in the finish product. This 2005 Coufran is a prime example of a first-class drinking red wine that is not going to cost you this month’s mortgage or rent payment to purchase a single bottle, and is a showcase for the thousands of excellent wines that are still available at better than reasonable prices in today’s market. Merlot-driven, the color of this Gem is medium-deep ruby with a soft pinkish edge to it, while in its wonderful bouquet you will discover developed, distinctive aromas of cassis, currants, blackberries, and plum-like notes with undertones of cedar, leather, and clove-like spiciness. All of this carries over decisively to a broad, well-integrated, balanced, complex set of aged flavors, with a lush, soft, silky mid-range, that leads to a long, generous, elegant finish. Okay; ask me that question again about what’s wrong with this wine because it is so “cheap.” It is time to change your way of thinking! Rusty has demanded that I bring home several cases of this Gem for consumption over the next five to ten years. AN ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE VALUE!!! >>>A K&L WINE MERCHANTS' DIRECT IMPORT<<< ***** 13.5% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 - 93

2015 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Charnay
Review Date: 05-24-2017
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We have directly imported this lovely single vineyard production from the Reanuds for over five years, and this effort is, without a doubt, their best Chardonnay production to date. A superb nose of tropical fruit, white peach, and jasmine-like fruit is enhanced by undertones of wet-river stone to slate-like minerality, all of which carries over to a rich, lush, elegant palate impression that shows excellent structure and broadness of flavor on through its mouthwatering finish. This Gem is a fabulous representation of what wonderful wines can come from this area. Many of my colleagues have called this an excellent "crossover wine for our customers," and I just maintained that it doesn’t matter; it is just a brilliant production of Chardonnay. The Bean has demanded that I bring home several cases of this Gem for our consumption over the next three to five years. A SUPER VALUE” >>>A K&L WINE MERCHANTS’ DIRECT IMPORT<<< ***** 13.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 Les Freres Perroud "Vieilles Vignes" Brouilly
Review Date: 05-20-2017
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It is really a delight to find Cru Beaujolais available on the market like this old vine production. Nearly fifty years ago, the French seriously considered ripping out the Gamay vineyards in Southern Burgundy because wine sales from that area, for many reasons, had virtually come to a halt. Regardless what you feel about the nouveau wines of Beaujolais, that evolution saved the Gamay vineyards of Beaujolais. Many producers have returned, since then, to making Gamay in the fashion that it was created fifty-plus years ago, much like its clonal parent of Pinot Noir is produced in the heart of Burgundy. This villages Cru is a perfect example as to how the wines from Beaujolais use to be made. Medium ruby in color, the aromatics are distinctive and pronounced with upfront strawberry to clove-like notes with an obvious mild cedary oak {yes, some barrel aging took place} background note, The palate is bright, balanced, yet rich, reductive, and subtle, with silky, very fine tannins and a finish that is long and deep. This Gem would give many villages Burgundy a great run for their money, and, according to Rusty, will be one of our house reds for the next couple of years. A K&L Wine Merchants' Direct Import. A WONDERFUL BEAUJOLAIS BUY! ***** 11.0% TO 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
VN 90

2016 Kalinda Reserve North Coast Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 05-20-2017
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I am in total agreement with Clyde’s review of this amazing, killer SB. After being here at K&L for over thirty years, I have seen a ton of excellent SBs that were produced for us come and go, and I don’t think any of them would come close to the wonderful aromatics and flavors of this one. In the nose, you will be treated to a distinctive, opulent set of aromas of honeydew melon, lime zest, Chilean Jasmine, and ripe apricots, all of which carries over brilliantly to a bright, perfectly balanced, voluptuous, yet clean and crisp set of refreshing flavors that leads to a mouthwatering, rich, long finish. If you were to serve this Gem to me blindly, my first reaction would have been a great, single vineyard Sancerre from a great vintage and from a great producer. The Bean is absolutely in love with this Gem and has ordered me, in no uncertain terms, to bring home cases of this great SB for our consumption for the next three to five years. A K&L Wine Merchants' exclusive. SUPER VALUE!!!***** 12.9% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$14.99

2014 Trébiac Rouge, Graves
Review Date: 05-20-2017
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After thirty years in the retail business, I think one of the aspects that still keeps me motivated is finding excellent quality wine, as with the 2014 Trébiac, in this price range. I have always found it easy, if not boring, to sell the expensive 'stuff' that has received a b'zillion points from the many different wine writers, but finding wine as this and selling it in quantity to our customers continues to excite me. This Gem is medium-deep ruby in color, offers a lovely nose of black cherry to cedary to earthy tones whcih carries over nicely to a soft, round, drinkable Bordeaux with a silky finish. Rusty has demanded that I bring home several cases of this Gem for our near-term consumption. GREAT VALUE!!!
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2015 Kalinda Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-21-2016
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There is a difficult decision facing us currently, but until this gorgeous Gem was released, recently, our everyday house red was the Kalinda Anderson Valley Pinot Noir (we're on our fourth case). Medium-deep ruby in color, the nose is opulent with dried rose petals to jasmine-like floral qualities combined nicely with a strawberry to red fruit-driven set of aromatics, and a nice touch of granite-like mineral notes. Lush, balanced, wonderfully integrated, and silky, all the elements in the nose carry over to a complex, deeply flavored Pinot with excellent structure and backbone in the mouth. This is "classic" Willamette Valley Pinot and Rusty has ordered me to also bring home cases of this Gem for our daily consumption. It seems that we are going to have two Pinot Gems in our house for our everyday consumption. By the way, this wonderful Pinot was put together (it's a very limited barrel selection) by our Domestic Wine Buyer, Bryan Brick, at one of the small, but well-known producers in the Willamette Valley. YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THIS GEM! ***** 13.9% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon Tupungato Valley
Review Date: 08-12-2016
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I am totally astonished at some of the wines that our Spanish/Portuguese/South American wine buyer, Joe Manekin, is finding from these locations at some astonishingly great quality levels, particularly at some astonishingly great low prices. This Gem is medium-deep ruby in color that leads to an opulent, distinctive nose of black cherry to a spicy clove-like quality. This fruit-driven quality of the same characteristics carries over nicely to a Cabernet of balance, brightness, and elegance with excellent acid structure and a silky, energetic finish. This is an astonishing Cabernet at this price point and Rusty has demanded that I bring home at least two cases of this Gem for our near-term enjoyment. AN ASTONISHINGLY GREAT VALUE!!! ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
W&S 91

2014 Von Strasser "Rudy" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-29-2016
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I thought the 2013 Pinot was a wonderful, near-term great drinker, but this 2014 absolutely steals the show. Rich in appearance and color, this highly refined, well-structured Pinot shows incredible aromas of strawberry, dried-rose-like petals in a Burgundian sense to forest floor qualities on the nose, that carry over exceptionally well to a long, complex, rich, viscous, deeply flavored palate impression. A broad mid-range, this is an outstanding Pinot Gem at a ridiculously low price that is obviously meant for near-term consumption, although I thoroughly believe that it will age nicely and improve well beyond that [five to ten years+++]. Rusty wants at least two cases of this Gem in our wine room. GREAT VALUE; DON’T MISS THIS WONDERFUL PINOT! ***** 14.2% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2014 Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 12-31-2015
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As many of you know, the 2012, 2013, and 2014 domestic vintages were back-to-back-to-back exceptional vintages (the 2015 vintages is also following into the same vein), and Banshee created some exceptional Sonoma Pinots in the first two vintages. Produced mostly from Sonoma Coast vineyard sources (as were the `12 and `13), the 2014 continues the wonderful qualities of the previous vintages. Medium-deep ruby in color, the nose is loaded with dried rose petal, black cherry, and a mild spicy clove-like fruit notes with hint of slate-like mineral undertones. Carrying over nicely to a well integrated, well-balanced, viscous set of flavors, this superb Gem shows excellent structure and depth, with excellent complexity and a superb long finish. Although thoroughly enjoyable now, this puppy will improve for the next five to eight years of aging. Rusty has demanded that I bring home at least several cases of this Gem and suggest that you do the same. Wonderful wine! Wonderful Value! ***** 13.6% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart

2005 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Reserva Especial Rioja
Review Date: 12-30-2015
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One of my favorite Rioja producers, Bodegas Senor de Lesmos, has just released and sent over to us via our direct import program, this amazing fleshy 2005 Reserva Especial Rioja. Deep ruby in color, the opulent, distinctive nose shows blackberry, cassis, and currants fruit notes with a chocolate, mocha, and toasty undertone. In the mouth, this young Gem is expansive, ever evolving, and focused with the same characteristics as in the nose to lead to an wonderfully complex, viscous, broad set of flavors with creamy, lush undertones, and a long, complete finish. Rusty has ordered me to bring home several cases of this Gem for our enjoyment over the next five to ten-plus years. An amazing Value! Don’t miss this Gem! 13.5% ABV
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Jean-Louis Denois "Tradition" Extra Brut Reserve
Review Date: 12-22-2015
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It is fascinating that once you get outside of the Champagne appellation and into other areas of France that produce "sparkling wines" in a similar method, the price for those wines seems to de-escalate substantially. Of course, there is the question of quality comparisons, which can be a realistic appraisal, but once in a while you will find a sparkler from those other regions that will rival its much more expensive cousins in Champagne and at one-third the price or less. Such is case with this beautifully created sparkler from the Languedoc region of Southwestern France. We have been importing Jean-Louis Denois wines for well over ten years, and have found his productions to be of superb quality in general, and when the price is taken into consideration, ridiculously ‘cheap’ vis-à-vis the outstanding quality level. Produced from equal amounts of estate grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this lovely sparkling wine spent eighteen months on yeast (Cremant style), yet in its rich-smelling aromatics and lush flavors, this Gem behaves as if it has been on yeast for five to six years. Creamy, nutty, toasty, and pronounced both, again, on the nose and in the mouth, this finely beaded, dry, clean, and mouthwatering Gem provides tons of elegant and delicious flavors, which do defy the low price. The Bean has ordered me to bring home cases of this wonderful Gem and strongly recommends that you do the same. An Incredible Value.” ***** 12.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2007 Bodegas Puelles Rioja Reserva
Review Date: 05-29-2015
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What has become some of my two favorite Rioja producers are Bodegas Puelles and the productions from the fabulous house of Bodegas Casa Juan Senor de Lesmos, which are DIs for us. This 2007 traditional style Rioja offers a lush and fresh presentation, with incredible balance and structure, a long and complex finish. This Gem drinks nicely now, but will age another ten-plus years. Rusty wants at least two cases of this Gem in our wine room for future drinking. ***** 14.0% ABV *****
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-14-2014
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It is remarkable to me, and to much of our wine staff, some of the unique, profoundly produced Champagnes from the small producers that Gary Westby, our Champagne Wine Buyer, has discovered over the last decade. Virtually all of these producers, including the Aristons, are making sparkling wine strictly from estate fruit from Grand Cru recognized vineyard sites, and in small lots. As with any small producer, these wines are “hands-on” creations that are given extensive individual attention and long term aging before being disgorged. The Ariston “Carte Blanche’s” exquisite, superb quality is at a mind boggling low price vis-à-vis its style and complexity. Rich and authoritative both on its nutty, doughy yeasty nose and in the mouth, the very fine mousse leads to an amazingly rich, full style brut, with a long, intense finish. Some of you will probably not enjoy this Gem, due to the fact that you have gotten use to flavorless, bulk productions from the international, well-known, simply made name “brands,” but for those of you that seek complexity and profoundness in your Champagne, you will not find one even close in quality to this Gem at this price. The Guys (Rusty, Eby, The Beaner, and Rizzo) have forcefully made this our house sparkling wine forever. Don't be afraid to age this wonderful Champagne; it will only keep getting better. ABV 12%
Drink from 2014 to 2014
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 10-17-2013
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12.0% ABV

2005 Verdignan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 08-21-2013
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Medium deep ruby in color, this wonderful Cru Bourgeois from a truly great vintage offers tons of complex flavors and opulent aromatics. Cassis, currants, and antiqueish ceder-like tones abound in the nose and across its viscous palate impression, with violets and truffles to forest floor notes, integrated tannins, excellent acid structure, and a finish that refuses to give up. Rusty has informed me that this Gem will be one of our house reds for the next three to five years. Great value for a wine with some age. 13% ABV.
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2005 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 12-26-2012
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From my favorite Rioja producer, this stunning, complex, high-profiled “Reserva” offers all the elements that I look for in a great wine: an opulent bouquet, abundant structure and depth, exceptional mid-range, focus, a broad and powerful fruit presentation, and a finish that is satisfyingly long and warm. Medium deep ruby in color, the nose is loaded with an anise spiciness in concert with currant and cassis-like fruit characteristics, with undercurrents of game and mild toasty notes. All of these remarkable features carry over to its extraordinary set of flavors and overall presentation. This Gem will age easily for another ten to fifteen years, but you will find it difficult to keep your hands off of it for the near term once you taste it. Rusty has anointed this wonderful Gem as one of our house reds for however long it is around and has ordered me to buy cases of it for our cellar. 13.5% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2010 Clarke Rothschild, Listrac
Review Date: 12-04-2012
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This may be the best production coming from this property, ever. Deep ruby in color, the nose explodes with currants, mocha, roasted coffee bean, and chocolate (I had to view the label again to make sure it wasn’t from Napa Valley). On the palate, this Gem is broad, lush, viscous, well-integrated, and loaded with depth of character. Wonderfully complex, even at its youthful age, this puppy represents some of the best coming from this wonderfully soft , near-term vintage. Rusty has informed me that this Gem will be one of our house reds for the next three to five years. 14.0% ABV
Drink from 2013 to 2013

2006 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 02-17-2012
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This is a great drinking Haut Medoc Gem and shouldn’t be missed, and will be one of our house reds for the month, according to Rusty. 13.0% ABV (Jim Barr)
Drink from 2012 to 2012
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2006 Doisy-Védrines, Sauternes
Review Date: 03-08-2011
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The ’06 vintage was not great for Sauternes due to heat and other climatic conditions, but properties who took the time to crop and leaf thin to attain ripe, pure grape fruit made some excellent wine, and this includes Doisy-Védrines. There is a lack of botrytis in this vintage, and with this wine, but it is still wonderfully rich, honeysuckled, succulent and thick on the palate. The nose is perfumed and distinctive, with ripe floral notes and a butterscotch set of aromatics. All the guys have told me that this will be our house sweetie for the month. 13.5% ABV. (Jim Barr)
Drink from 2011 to 2011
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
WE 93 ST 90