Staff Favorites - Bryan Brick

Bryan Brick

Reviews

  
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2013 Sarah's Vineyard Central Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-30-2016
While labeled Central Coast, this is a single-vineyard, estate-grown Pinot that drives forward with crushed cherry and strawberry tones and deeper aromas of Porcini mushroom and old leather. Overall red fruited but with more bass than treble, this is plump but with good energetic tang and a level of seriousness that is rare for under $20. Interwoven fruit, earth, savor and acid are all presented in a fun and pretty frame with a dominating pitchy resonance that has a wealth of cranberry, white cherry, beef blood and Shiitake mushroom that really can’t be beat at this price.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
WE 93

2013 Sinor-LaVallee San Luis Obispo County Chardonnay
Review Date: 11-30-2016
Butterscotch, kettle corn, and notes of grilled peach and vanilla bean fill the intense and fleshy nose. But as soon as you taste this one has to also be impressed with how balanced it is. Freshening up a touch on the entry with lovely lemon meringue and key lime pie flavors that ride over more oak laden tones of stone fruit, shortbread and peach cobbler this is impressively rich and somehow lifting as well. With just enough acid to keep it moving along briskly, plenty of weight to impress the “big” Chardonnay crowd and intense tropicality with lychee, mango and nutmeg flavors in the finish this is a pleasing wine for just about any Chard fan out there.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart
WE 93 VN 90

2013 Love & Squalor Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-30-2016
The main thing that has struck me over the last couple of years with the Love and Squalor wines is just how epically drinkable they are. Sure they are cerebral, sure there is a tremendous acid/fruit structure to the wines, yes they are precise and focused but the thing you always come back to is just how much fun they are to drink. Clove, mace and cinnamon highlights hover over pure loganberry and wild blackberry fruit on the nose. Medium weight and full of layered black fruits with lush cassis and cola notes this is also bolstered by touches of pastilles and sweet fennel on the palate. Dry and mineral driven the finish portrays an overall prettiness and refinement that is just not found often from Pinot Noir at this price point all adding up to a wine that is urging you, pleading with you almost, to drink it not think about it, although both could be done with ease.
Price: $25.99 Add To Cart
WE 93

Marietta "Old Vine Red-Lot #64" California Red Blend
Review Date: 11-30-2016
Lot #64 is another doozy of a wine combining the briaryness of Zinfandel with all of the density and darkness of Petite Sirah, throw in some peppery Syrah spice and the lift and complexity from small quantities of numerous other varietals and this is one special inexpensive wine. The concentration of this wine is instantly apparent which is one of its most enjoyable traits, the old vines here play their role and do it well with zesty aplomb and brooding energy. Full of white pepper, zippy plums, blueberry compote and fried rosemary this is as chuggable as it is serious. In fact I can see this aging incredibly well for the next 4-6 years but who could wait that long.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2014 Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-30-2016
K&L has long been incredibly high on the Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet bottling. Year after year it delivers some of the best value not only for Cabernet coming out of Sonoma but out of all the US. Even the veritable Robert Parker himself called it, “One of the best values in Cabernet Sauvignon anywhere in the world,” high praise indeed. From fruit from Martini’s Frei Ranch Vineyards and Barrelli Creek Vineyard this wine takes the ripeness of Dry Creek and meshes it with the refinement and chiseled fruit of Alexander Valley. Pomegranate, Bing cherry, fresh tobacco, tar and a dollop of spearmint and roasting coffee beans fill the high toned and refreshing nose. Having considerable ripeness and extract is certainly a plus at this paltry price point and it has plenty of it with fleshy, easy going texture and a velvety soft feel but this also has a likable mélange of wild berry, eucalyptus, cedar and sweetened dark chocolate to add a note of precision and focus to the overall ripe feel. Then the finish kicks in and takes this to a whole other level with explosive flavors of black cherry, pipe tobacco and chaparral that wines in this price point rarely have. It’s certainly hard to debate Mr. Parker’s sentiments above after trying this.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2013 Domaine Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-30-2016
One of my personal favorite wineries in California is Mount Eden. It is a truly special vineyard and the folks behind the scenes couldn’t be more dedicated to their craft and to the quality of the wines if they wanted to be. For decades Mount Eden has made some of the best Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon all from the same vineyard-is there another vineyard anywhere in the world that pulls this off?-all for supremely reasonable prices. So a few years back I was even more excited when they told me they were going to make a new sister wine called Domaine Eden and bottle all 3 varietals they have become known for. This took place in about 2007, right around the time that they purchased a second, noncontiguous estate just a few minutes down the road. This old estate was fully planted with some top notch, mature vines and had a reputation in its own right as the old Cinnabar Estate Vineyard. 10+ years later the Domaine Eden label has become known at K&L for incredibly serious wines for amazing values, in fact a big secret is that quite often a big amount of the original Mount Eden Estate fruit makes it into these bottlings.
I know saying that the 2013 Domaine Eden Pinot Noir is like a baby Mount Eden Pinot Noir is a bit redundant but I can’t stress enough how much this really shows the savor, complexity and intertwined structure of its bigger brother. In the past the Domaine Eden Pinots have been delicious wines but in certain vintages they have not had a ton in common with their sibling, this is absolutely not the case with the heady and powerful 2013 vintage. Full of foresty aromatics, hints of warm spice and Amaro the nose is the first real tip off that this Pinot is on a whole other level. Dense and a touch compact in its youth, if you give this a touch of air, or a few years of patience, the reward is substantial with Asian plum, wild blackberry, fern frond and new leather flavors all with a subtle underlying tang and long finishing spiciness. This is so good right now and it’s going to be on the upslope for quite some time. I can only imagine how good this will be when it hits its apex in about 4-6 years.

2013 Domaine Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-30-2016
One of my personal favorite wineries in California is Mount Eden. It is a truly special vineyard and the folks behind the scenes couldn’t be more dedicated to their craft and to the quality of the wines if they wanted to be. For decades Mount Eden has made some of the best Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon all from the same vineyard-is there another vineyard anywhere in the world that pulls this off?-all for supremely reasonable prices. So a few years back I was even more excited when they told me they were going to make a new sister wine called Domaine Eden and bottle all 3 varietals they have become known for. This took place in about 2007, right around the time that they purchased a second, noncontiguous estate just a few minutes down the road. This old estate was fully planted with some top notch, mature vines and had a reputation in its own right as the old Cinnabar Estate Vineyard. 10+ years later the Domaine Eden label has become known at K&L for incredibly serious wines for amazing values, in fact a big secret is that quite often a big amount of the original Mount Eden Estate fruit makes it into these bottlings.
2013 has been a hallmark vintage for Cabernet Sauvignon in the Napa Valley but it was also tremendous in the Santa Cruz Mountains as well. The wines have a similar intensity, depth and savor than their more famous brethren but also have retained the typical Santa Cruz Mountains acid, freshness and foresty spice. The 2013 Domaine Eden Cab is a perfect example of just how well 2013 went in the mountains. The wine has tremendous refinement on the nose with deep set and centered notes of warm, wet asphalt, dried blackberries, red currant and sandalwood. Lifted and high toned this, like all the wines that come from Mount/Domaine Eden has a old world sensibility that never leaves with subtlety and balance over all else. The fruit is there but takes a back seat to the wealth of earth, spice and structure that this wine is built on. Mid-weight this almost feels spry in the canon of over-blown and super-extracted Cabs of the world and rather than club your palate into submission it chooses to charm it with a sweet song.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
VN 92

2013 Domaine Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Review Date: 11-30-2016
One of my personal favorite wineries in California is Mount Eden. It is a truly special vineyard and the folks behind the scenes couldn’t be more dedicated to their craft and to the quality of the wines if they wanted to be. For decades Mount Eden has made some of the best Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon all from the same vineyard-is there another vineyard anywhere in the world that pulls this off?-all for supremely reasonable prices. So a few years back I was even more excited when they told me they were going to make a new sister wine called Domaine Eden and bottle all 3 varietals they have become known for. This took place in about 2007, right around the time that they purchased a second, noncontiguous estate just a few minutes down the road. This old estate was fully planted with some top notch, mature vines and had a reputation in its own right as the old Cinnabar Estate Vineyard. 10+ years later the Domaine Eden label has become known at K&L for incredibly serious wines for amazing values, in fact a big secret is that quite often a big amount of the original Mount Eden Estate fruit makes it into these bottlings.
The 2013 Domaine Eden Chardonnay is flat out stunning and probably the best young Domaine Eden Chardonnay I’ve ever tasted. The pretty nose is layered impeccably with notes of vanilla, caramel, grilled white corn and edges of honeysuckle brightness. Lifting and vibrant there is a fun interplay between the zesty tangerine and Clementine high tones and the more rich, dense flavors of toasted brioche, drop biscuits and a continuation of the vanilla found in the nose. Slick and fleshy this is about as good as it gets for Chardonnay under $30 and is a testament to just how great a job the team at Domaine/Mount Eden does with Chardonnay.

2014 Columbia Crest "Grand Estates" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-28-2016
It’s not often that K&L brings you the latest and greatest wine for $8.99, especially one from a producer that is a household name like Columbia Crest, but this 2014 Grand Estates Cabernet is not your typical $8.99 wine. This is lights out Cabernet for under $10. It’s the wine I’ll tell all my friends to look for when they need something inexpensive for holiday parties. As K&L's domestic wine buyer, I can say it's the best Cabernet or Cab-blend we have in the store at that price--no questions asked. Seriously, it’s that good and the best part is that it is under $10 at a time of year that we all need a little help in our wallets. So buy a bottle, or a case, or numerous cases and see for yourself just how good this darkly fruited, varietal correct, lushly rich and warm spiced Cabernet is for yourself. I know I’ll happily be drinking a case or more of this over the Holidays for the next few years.
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart
WS 91 WE 90

Sean Thackrey "Pleiades XXIV Old Vines" California Red Blend
Review Date: 11-17-2016
Sean Thackrey has long been the champion of wild blends, out of the way or forgotten about sites and fully old school winemaking. His wines are never simply laid out with precise numbers and percentages rather there is always some mystery about what is exactly going on and that mystery creates intrigue and charm more times than not. Never “clean” or “polished” his wines more often than not bring up the descriptors like “rustic” or “old world.” The Pleiades bottling has long been the door into the wild, magical world of Sean Thackery and this cuvee, the twenty fourth, is no exception. A blend with both red and white varietals this is at once delicious, odd, cerebral and loveable all at once and that is something that is quite hard to pull off with regularity in the world of wine.
Resonating aromas of street tar, caraway, tobacco, cherry jam and blackberry cobbler please on the nose carrying a surprising amount of density and weight for such a vibrant, energetic wine. Savory but fruity, ripe but balanced, spicy but soft this is a wine built around pleasant contradictions. A wine where every sip shows something new and exciting. A wine that challenges you and pushes you to pay attention, to listen throughout to what it’s trying to say. Pomegranate, white cherry, blueberry, coffee grounds, black tea and a return of the tar found on the nose, old leather and dried berry fruits are all flavors that swirl around in your mouth as you drink this. There is just so much going on here that you can't help but like this odd, slightly magical, but overall fun and delicious wine.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Tablas Creek "Patelin de Tablas" Paso Robles Rhône Blanc
Review Date: 11-16-2016
Fleshy and full on the nose this has a wealth of tropical Viognier tones of white pineapple and passion fruit but also has a fresh green herbal streak under all this sweet tinged fruit that consists of thyme, white sage and lemon verbena. All aromas typical of the small pieces of Marsanne and Roussanne found here. This wine is whole cluster pressed and fermented with only native yeasts and never sees a lick of oak, letting the true character of this multi-varietal blend shine through. Round and rich with a weight typical of a blend of this nature this continues with its high levels of tropical fruit although they turn more towards citrus on the palate with Kaffir lime and tangelo flavors over a consistent streak of wet stone/granite. With good lift throughout, however far from sharp or tinny this is a rock solid blend that really delivers on its history, pedigree and price point and while this maybe a little out of the ordinary that is exactly why we like it so much and truly believe you will too!

2012 Au Bon Climat "Historic Vineyards Collection-Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 11-16-2016
Toasted pecans and walnuts over grilled white corn and lush apricot preserves with just a touch of lime zest-these aromas alone are worth the price of admission here. As this is a 2012 there is also just a touch of bottle age starting to creep in on the nose as well with a ribbon of caramel and an edge of torched sugar. However the palate is fresh as can be, dare I say even electric at this point with superb entering flavors of lemon meringue, Clementine, marzipan and a wealth of floral material that reminds me of white roses and carnations. Soft and lush on the finish with vigor at its edges and a delicious white peach fruit that sings on this is a lovely, complex and serious Chardonnay that is one of the best values of the year in Chardonnay and one of my top 5 Chardonnays of the year.

2015 Au Bon Climat/K&L Wine Merchants "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-15-2016
This year we incorporated the same blocks as previous vintages, Block 11 and Block 2 from Bien Nacido, but in different proportions and with a different clonal selection. Block 2 dominates this year, making up 90% of the blend, and within that are equal percentages of three parcels: one a mixture of clones 113 and 103—this was the nose and structure of the wine—and another is all clone 115, which added texture and power, while the other equal parcel was all clone 113, which made the finish of this wine something special. The other 10% came from Block 11 and is a mix of Swan and clone 115 that was whole-cluster fermented. This is the glue that holds the wine together, with snappy red fruits, warm spice, and a juicy feel that we think is wildly enjoyable. This is a plush, fresh and rich Pinot that has a little bit of something for everyone: Meaty spice—check. Ample, delicious fruit—check. Earthy savor—check. But possibly the best thing about it is the price. For $30 it is just an insane value—there is simply no other Bien Nacido-based Pinot Noir on the market for this price, or anywhere near it, honestly. As this was bottled in July 2016 I'd dump this in a decanter for an hour or two to really let it open up if you were going to drink it over the next 6 months to a year and I think this is going to be great 5-7 years down the road.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2014 Forman "Château la Grande Roche" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-10-2016
“Super Seconds” is a term we here at K&L throw around quite often to describe some of the best second wines from great Chateaus in Bordeaux. Wines like Clos du Marquis, Pavillon Rouge and Les Forts de Latour come to mind. Tremendous, and at one point at least, all incredibly affordable counterparts to their world famous big brothers. Forman’s "Château la Grande Roche" has long been one of the best “Super Seconds” California has to offer. From the same sites, made in the same way as Forman’s top wine, just with a little less time in oak, this is wonderful Cabernet-based wine that is wildly age-worthy and delicious in its youth, too, with just a touch of patience.
Dark and intense, this wine is brooding and powerful. If you just pop the cork and go, we think if you are going to drink this right away, certainly a decant is in order. Once this opens, with about an hour to an hour and a half in a decanter, it is pure old-school Napa Cab. From a few vineyards spread though out the valley, this displays some of the great dusty, graphite-laden, sandalwood and black currant aromas that Napa Cab has been know for historically. Black fruited and slowly unraveling, this has plenty of savory Cab flavors of dried sage, chaparral flowers and olive tapenade, and then underlying notes of sweet, roadside blackberries. Powerful and firm with long tannin intensity and slightly exotic spices in the finish this is something that should give you amazing return on investment in your cellar or a great wine to ruminate on over a long holiday/special occasion meal.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

2014 Ancient Peaks/K&L Wine Merchants Paso Robles Zinfandel
Review Date: 11-08-2016
Ancient Peaks burst on the scene about a decade ago with one of the highest rated, inexpensive, Zinfandels to ever come out of California by Wine Spectator’s standards. I was intrigued by the winery wondering if they were just a tank farm somewhere down in Paso, or a legitimate producer that we needed to watch out for. In visiting them the following year I realized that they couldn’t be more in the latter camp. Their sizable estate vineyard has to be seen to be believed, with it impeccable vineyard management, incredible diversity of soil types and singular microclimate that betrays the notion of Paso Robles’s intense heat. Since that visit I have touted their wares and we’ve have sung the wineries praises to anyone that will listen.
A few years back, on our initial round of co-branded wines with specific producers, we blended a delicious Zinfandel from Ancient Peaks. Many customers since then have asked us to make another so we obliged this year and we think this will bring back pleasant memories of that wine with its delicate juiciness and wealth of spice. This year this was the most difficult blend we put together. The winemaker and I kept fine tuning the wine trying to get the balance of fruit, ripeness, spice and mouth feel just right but I really believe that our hard work paid off. Blended from numerous different blocks aged in both neutral, newer (2nd & 3rd use barrels) and new oak this has already really integrated incredibly well. Intense and powerful on the nose this screams “I am ZIN!!!” with its mix of briary berry fruits and cracked black peppercorn. On the palate this turns a touch coating and creamy, but never feels heavy or has any residual sugar, and rides a high line of resonating boysenberry, cassis and dried sage flavors all coated in a fine dust of white pepper. The finish has some typical chewy tannins and adds a ton of power, and ultimately longevity, with additions of cocoa powder, black cherry and flowering lavender. If you weren’t a believer before this just might turn the tide, if you were a believer then be ready to become a fanatic.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2006 York Creek "Estate" Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-08-2016
After the last few years I think just about everyone has heard us pontificating about just how good, and how insanely inexpensive, the York Creek wines are. Luckily for us and our thirsty customers Fritz Maytag kept deep cellars over the years and still has plenty of wine for us to sell. After the rousing success of past vintageswe just keep reloading because the wines are that good and you keep asking us for more. Our latest finds are pretty incredible. We have just a smattering of 1999 Meritage Magnums, a 1994 Meritage that has held up exceptionally for such a warm vintage and the 2006 Estate Cab which 10 years out is still wildly fresh and full of intensity.
2006 was a bit of a “sandwich” year for Napa Cab. Everyone was so enamored by the riper, richer vintages of 2005 and 2007 that 2006 largely got ignored. To be honest 2006, on release was not for everyone, the wines were a bit angular with brighter, sometimes edgy acidity, and lots of red fruited lift. Most couldn’t be bothered but I always believed in the vintage and though it really may be the best of the three vintages down the road a ways. If this 2006 York Creek “Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon is any indication of the rest of the wines of the vintage then my prediction has came true. While this is starting to show the beginning of some secondary characteristic on the nose with touches of menthol, wet asphalt, lit cigars and a sort of ashy volcanic note it also has tons of fresh fruit with tangy wild berry and still some warm spice aromas. On the palate it takes a more refined, elegant note with lifted, velvety soft red currant fruit, mocha, eucalyptus, cured olives and fried tarragon. The pieces here after ten years have locked into perfect harmony and this is such a pleasure to drink right now it’s hard to see waiting on this but I believe this is still on the upswing and has 5-8 easy drinking years in it.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2012 Kathryn Kennedy "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-01-2016
Heady and fully varietal in the nose, this has deep-set and yet effusive aromatics of hardwood, clove, red currants, sweet fennel, kirsch and old, warm leather. This pretty, and more uncommon presentation of Cabernet, one that is more about balance and precision rather than full-out bombast and extract, is a treat for any Cab fan of yesteryear or someone with a palate that likes wines to be more traditional in their approach. Fleshy and yet fully in check, with velvety tannins and a tension between fruit and savor in its flavor palate, this deserves to be in the conversation with the other great “old-school” producers of Cab like Heitz, Mount Eden, Ridge, etc. Certainly at $100 this is not a cheap wine, but if you can afford it and you like the style, there is no way that you won’t love this now, or 15 years from now. Truly a phenomenal wine that wants a subtle filet or a classic like beef wellington, it will make everything better and will cure plenty of ills with its sublime nature and graceful flavors.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
WE 97

2014 Concannon Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-24-2016
Black currant, loam and wet clay aromas swirl in the pitchy and surprisingly high-toned nose with good amounts of polish and varietal complexity. That resonating bright edge always rides slightly above the creamy, weighted palate full of berry fruit, sandalwood and soft flexible tannins. The overall impression here is one of juicy freshness but the wine is far from flabby and it certainly firms up as it goes with complex notes of unsweetened cocoa powder and freshly grated nutmeg. Solid in every department, the only thing that is holding this wine back is the possible negative association with this being more of a “supermarket brand.” Trust me when I say that if all wine were this good in supermarkets we’d all be out of a job!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2013 Brassfield "Eruption - Volcano Ridge Vineyard" High Valley Red Blend
Review Date: 10-21-2016
Big, loamy and full of massive and bursting flavors, this wine is packed to the brim with aromas of India ink, pastilles, blackberry candy and a slight bloody character. Entering juicy and broad, the name Eruption is a bit literal—this impresses with black cherry, anisette, wild berry preserves and has quite a bit of umami savor. Ramey’s touch on the finish shows with a classical dryness and spice rather than what so many wines of this ilk do, which is pack in the sugar. This is certainly not a classic claret, or Cabernet -styled blend, but it could certainly take the place of one on a dinner table without much argument from most.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

2013 Gary Farrell "Russian River Selection" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-18-2016
A few years back when Gary Farrell sold his winery we were all pretty bummed out. We thought, “Well there goes another iconic name down the drain.” Honestly time told us we were wrong. Why they may have had some growing pains when Gary finally left in 2007, the last few years the wines have been tremendous, especially since Theresa Heredia (Joseph Phelps, Freestone, Domaine de Montille ) became their full time winemaker in 2012. Since she has taken over we have been incredibly impressed with how the wines are at once delicate and powerful, fruity yet serious and ripe but fully dry. The 2013 Russian River Selection had plenty to offer and wildly overshot its $37.99 price point, and since I originally wrote this the price has come down even further! In fact I’ve tasted plenty of $60 pinots this year that couldn’t hold a candle to this wine. Anise laced cherry fruit, wet red clay, boysenberry, white pepper and a touch of mocha combine on the wonderfully complex and powerful nose. Pliable and soft on entry with an expanse mouth feel this has both tons of fruit but also a skyscraper-like structure. Red and black berry fruits combine with well meshed oak toast, some bay leaf and an acid structure that is reminiscent of fresh farmer’s market persimmons. Blood orange, rhubarb, savory meaty qualities, and a return of the anise found on the nose squeeze into the packed and lovely finish. I’d love to see how this develops over the next 6-10 years; this will only grow into something even more special than it already is.
Price: $32.99 Add To Cart
WE 95

2013 Dunn Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-14-2016
Dunn Vineyards has long been a personal favorite wine for me. From the first time I tasted the wine about 15 years ago I was wildly intrigued by how a wine could be so hardly tannic yet so enjoyable at the same time. How you could have a bushel of earthy, foresty, mushroomy intensity but still a wealth of ripe, rich fruit. How a wine could be so monolithic, yet so captivating while it was in its youth. All of this still applies to Dunn to this day, and the 2013 vintage is no exception. In fact, this may be the most enjoyable young Dunn wine I’ve had since the 2008. The first time I had this was at the winery, back in May, on a larger Napa Valley trip where we visited some of the greats (Dominus, Heitz, Spottswoode, to name a few) and if it were not for the supernova of a wine that is the 2013 Dominus, this would be right up there in the top two or three Cabernets we tasted--along with Dunn’s 2013 Trailer Vineyard Cab, which we can talk about some other time. A stunning wine for your cellar that will reward all the patience you are able to pay into it.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

2015 Kalinda Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-12-2016
Black cherry, bergamot, spiced plum and a touch of cola combine in the compact yet slowly unraveling nose. Medium weight and yet with a sprightly feel this is a young Pinot that is already quite delicious but will grow in leaps in bounds over the next 2-6 months and then slowly develop over the next 3-7 years. With warm red clay notes, cranberry tang, velvety boysenberry preserves and a candied licorice note the palate comes off as inviting and bordering on plush. Finishing with a nice lifting red fruited crunch surrounded by earthy/foresty richness this is one special Pinot Noir and we couldn’t thank the crew at Chehalem for making us such a great wine.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2014 Hahn Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-12-2016
$20 Pinot Noirs are rare these days with the grapes themselves, and the materials to make them “right,” costing too much to have a twomp pencil out in the ledgers and still be able to keep the lights on. However you still see them everywhere, mass produced and not tasting so much like the varietal on the label, we are always apprehensive about the quality before we taste them. So on the rare occasion that we find one that is not only affordable but also varietally and regionally correct and critically acclaimed the only thing we can do is back up the trucks and shout from the heavens, or at least our e-mail platform, “BUY THIS, BUY THIS NOW!”
The Hahn label is not unfamiliar to K&L; the 2012 vintage did extremely well in our wine club and had people coming back for more. The 2013 was one of the top selling Pinot Noirs of the year, and a wild customer favorite, for us last year. The 2014 may be the best of this tremendous run from this producer with just as much deep set, black and blue fruits and warm spice but with a new added lift and Bing cherry brightness that we haven’t seen in the previous vintages. This new resonance and pitch to the wine adds another layer of complexity and packs even more into this bottle that already wildly over delivers.

2013 Walter Hansel "Cahill Lane" Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 09-15-2016
It seems like we e-mail you a few times every year expounding on just how good the wines of Walter Hansel are. You may be getting sick of these e-mails by now. You may be wondering if we owe them some great debt, or if they own a part of K&L, or if they give us a free Volkswagen every time we sell a pallet of their wine. The answer to all of these, of course, is no. The reason why we send these emails to you is that there are very, very few producers in the US right now that make wines that are this consistently crowd pleasing, affordable (the winery has raised prices only once in the last decade), critically acclaimed and just downright tasty.
The 2013 Walter Hansel “Cahill Lane” Russian River Valley Chardonnay is the latest offering that puts emphatic checkmarks by all the above criteria. Full of toasted brioche, almond butter, quince and torched orange peel the nose here has both lifting and weighty qualities that echo throughout the wine. On the palate I was surprised to see a bit more lift and energy than in the last few vintages with distinct citrus and floral intensity. At the same time this is unmistakably Hansel with its oily, mouth-filling richness, toasted corn, almond skin, vanilla and cream flavors. I’d have to say that if the rest of the 2013 vintage is going to be this good from Hansel you should expect a few more e-mail in your inbox over the next 12 months.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
VN 93 RP 90

2013 Walter Hansel "Cahill Lane" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-14-2016
It seems like we e-mail you a few times every year expounding on just how good the wines of Walter Hansel are. You may be getting sick of these e-mails by now. You may be wondering if we owe them some great debt, or if they own a part of K&L, or if they give us a free Volkswagen every time we sell a pallet of their wine. The answer to all of these, of course, is no. The reason why we send these e-mails to you is that there are very, very few producers in the US right now that make wines that are this consistently crowd pleasing, affordable --the winery has raised prices only once in the last decade, critically acclaimed and just downright tasty.
The 2013 Walter Hansel “Cahill Lane” Pinot Noir is wonderful right now. Forward and youthful this Pinot is stacked with earth/spice complexity and fruity charm. Maybe a touch more rustic on the nose than usual this has very enjoyable notes of roasted beets and wet clay over more typical Hansel markers of pomegranate and cherry pit. With that welcome earthy note comes a bit more structure and over-all this comes off with a bit more seriousness than in recent vintages. As that earthy outer layer peels away in the mouth then comes all the typical sassafras, Bing cherry, white sage and white pepper flavors that are so typical and welcome in the Hansel Pinots. This like its Chardonnay counterpart is just coming out of its youthful awkwardness so I’d recommend a decant of about an hour to have this hitting on all cylinders.
Price: $38.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 VN 93

2013 Beckmen "Cuvée Le Bec" Santa Ynez Rhône Blend (375ml)
Review Date: 09-09-2016
As soon as I tasted the 2013 Beckmen “Cuvee Le Bec” I declared it the best Rhone Blend we had in the shop under $20, including wines from the Rhone. With the internationalization of the wines from the south of Rhone and the rising costs of wine all over the world, somehow this sneaks in at a tremendous value and still remains completely true to its parent varietals. Outrageous aromatics of whole black peppercorns, anisette, fennel, cured pork and wild berry fill the alluring nose. Juicy and full in the mouth, this is a ton of wine and is completely accessible currently. Full of blueberry, white pepper, crispy bacon, sage, chaparral and crushed stone the ripeness here is perfectly suited to keep the gamier, earthier flavors in check. I think I found my new go-to value wine!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2012 Keenan "Reserve" Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-08-2016
We’ve long touted the Keenan wines as being some of the best wines in Napa, all for comparatively reasonable pricing, and we are incredibly excited to be able to offer the 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from them. From the best barrels of the Estate Cabernet, and a smidgen of Cabernet Franc, which are planted at 1,700 feet elevation perched high upon Spring Mountain, this is one of the great mountain fruit Cabs year in and year out. Big, brooding and inky dark, this wine is not at all shy, with concentrated aromas of sage, anise seed, caramel-like oak and cassis liquor. It has plenty of the tannins that Spring Mountain is so known for, but it also has all of the savory, scrub brush, porcini mushroom and wild berry flavors that are hallmark for the region as well. The power here is unmistakable and really would be a great investment for 15-20 years down the road; at $100, I can certainly think of numerous wines at twice that price that aren’t half of what this wine is, but I digress. I’d cellar this for at least another 3-5 years and drink it young with a dry-aged rib eye, or lay it down for longer and really let this wine shine. To me, Keenan should really be part of the conversation with the greats of high-elevation Napa Cabs like Dunn, Mayacamas, and Togni, and this wine is a perfect example of why.

2014 Halcón "Tierra" Yorkville Highlands Petite Sirah
Review Date: 09-08-2016
The 2014 Tierra Petite Sirah is one of the most drinkable and accessible Petite Sirahs I’ve tasted all year. Velvety, aromatic, slick and with incredible tannin management, this is just a delicious wine for both fans and skeptics of the varietal. Plum, charred bread, marjoram and sweet coffee tones mesh nicely on the medium-weighted nose, leading to nice integration and, dare I say, subtlety on the palate. Driving but not heavy, this PS impresses not with its sheer force, but how it can retain force while adding some agility and lift on the palate. Add in delicious flavors of cigar tobacco, cassis, violet candy and a subtle Amaro note and this may be the best Petite Sirah I’ve tasted in 2016.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

Kalinda North Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-06-2016
Sadly, while we can't tell you who made this wine for us, we can tell you that it was the same producer that made the 2013 Kalinda “Cuvee 70” Sonoma Coast Pinot and the 2013 Kalinda Anderson Valley Pinot Noir from last year, and the blend is what amounts from those two wines from 2014 and 2015 pieced together from two very small-yielding vintages. The resulting wine is a stunner. Light weight and very ethereal but not lacking in substance, this is very alluring on the nose with notes of cinnamon and rose water over blood orange flesh. With great clarity and drive and just the slightest bit of developing juiciness, this is both ripe and savory, fruit-driven but earthy at the same time, all wrapped up in its floral-laced finish. What a tremendous wine for $20.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2014 K Vintners "Milbrandt" Wahluke Slope Syrah
Review Date: 08-30-2016
Charles Smith, the crazy haired maniac that has helped put Washington State wine on the map is about as big of a character as all the stories, both true and rumored, would have you believe. I have some of my own stories but those would be inappropriate in this, or about any other setting. The one thing about him that I can talk about though without any hesitation is his unflinching commitment to quality whether it is in his massive bottlings of $15 dollar wine or in his one barrel of $150 wine he never cuts corners and the ultimate product is all that matters to him cost or time be damned.
The 2014 Milbrandt Syrah is a perfect example of this attention to detail and overall quality. From two different vineyards, Clifton and Northridge, both farmed and planted by the Milbrandt brothers this 100% Syrah is big and burly with a bursting fruit driven intensity and plenty of cured meat spice. Coffee bean and mocha blend with fennel pollen and white sage on the nose in this flagship Syrah. Plush and velvety this is electric Syrah with the typical K Vintners crushed violet tones, chocolate covered cherries, pan fried bacon and chocolate milkshake flavors. Savory and with tremendous length the white pepper studded finish is on par with some of the best Syrahs the US has to offer. This is one powerful, massive wine that still has good generosity and drinkability, easily enjoyable now or over the next 8-12 years.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2014 Sobon Estate Amador County Red Blend
Review Date: 08-21-2016
The newest superb value in an otherwise packed stable at Sobon Estates is the 2014 "Premium" Red Blend. After years of making single varietal wines, this blend is a deft foray into the ever-expanding world of kitchen sink reds. Made with 47% Syrah, 24% Zinfandel, 21% Barbera, 3% Petite Sirah and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, all from their estate vineyards at high elevation in the Sierra Foothills, this is a fun and fruity red with good snap and plenty of stuffing. Great for the mid-week meals and quaffing with family and friends with its tangy red fruited charm and rich finishing briary spice.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2014 Terra Valentine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 08-10-2016
The 2014 Terra Valentine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is one of Sam’s first new forays, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. First of all it is true Napa Valley Cab that is $29.99. Just that alone should catch people’s attention. With heady aromas of spice cake, pipe tobacco, boysenberry preserves and Oolong tea, the nose here is packed with personality and class found in much more expensive Cabs. Sweet fruited and with good lift, this is a wildly drinkable Cab that opens with ease. Packed with baker’s chocolate, wild berry, black tea, chaparral and spiced plum, there is as much complexity here as found in most Napa Cabs twice this price. This is certainly something to stock the cellar with as it could easily be drunk now and should continue to get better over the next 7-12 years.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

2013 Seghesio "Cortina" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 08-02-2016
Simply put the 2013 Seghesio “Cortina” Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel is a blockbuster in the world of Zin. Combine the mature vines of the Cortina Vineyard in the heart of Dry Creek Valley from one of the great vintages of this decade made by a family with decades of experience and you get one rarified Zinfandel. Poised on the nose with a mélange of fresh wild berries, vanilla bean, whole white peppercorns and a touch of flowering lavender, this is Dry Creek Valley Zin at its finest. Still incredibly youthful, this has plenty of primary berry fruit, but if you’re really paying attention you’ll see the class and subtlety of this wine. Seamless and soft, this has all the makings of a 10-15 year old wine with its superfine tannins, bright integrated acidity and wealth of complex spice. While I think this is going to age supremely, it is hard not to want to drink it now in its juicy, fun, delicious youth.

2014 Chappellet "Signature" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 08-02-2016
Very few Domestic Cabernets have outperformed the Chappellet Signature bottling over the last few years. Both the 2012 and 2013 were gigantic hits with both our customers and staff, selling out quickly and having both asking for more. So when the 2014 was released a few days back, we rushed at the opportunity to try the wine and get it out in front of you before everyone catches on to just how good this wine is again.
From 2014, the third in a series of tremendous and plentiful vintages in Napa, this deeply set, richly hued Cabernet Sauvignon is packed with character and youthful exuberance. Pastilles, spiced plum, figgy pudding, lavender fields and a sweet-hued black currant fruit pack the overt nose. Shockingly seamless for a wine of this ilk and age, this has a long and wide palate of blackberry cobbler, cocoa nibs, cured black olives, white pepper, sweet black tea and nicely positioned tannins towards the back of the mid-palate. I loved the tension here between the sizeable grip and the mass of sweet, exotic fruit that drives the wine forward. There are going to be a lot of $60 Cabs that can’t hold a candle to this released over the next few months, probably with plenty of high scores. We’d recommend grabbing one of the best while you can before the press, or the groundswell of interest, catches up with it.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
WE 93

2014 Casa Smith "Cervo-Northridge Vineyard" Wahluke Slope Barbera
Review Date: 07-10-2016
Some of you maybe wondering why in the hell are we emailing you about a Washington State Barbera? My answer to that is because it is just that delicious and needs to be tried to be believed. This brand new label, Casa Smith, which focuses solely on Italian varieties, is the newest in an ever-expanding series of wines from Charles Smith. The man with the crazy hair that brought some of the best wines Washington State can produce to market, both at value prices (Wines of Substance, Charles & Charles, Kung Fu Girl) and at the pinnacle of quality (K Vintners, Royal City).
Cervo is a single vineyard Barbera from the Wahluke Slope, a veritable hotbed of amazing vineyards, and while not Asti or Alba, it could be the next best place for the varietal if this wine is any indication. This wine has all the vigor and snap Barbera has to offer, with a bit more punch. Bing cherry, sassafras, blueberry and a touch of milk chocolate combine in the nose. Fresh and full of lifted blue fruits, this is a wine that will be certain to wake your mouth up no matter what you are, or are not eating. Adding a layer of tobacco and tar to the energetic fruit adds ballast and dimension and keeps the wine from becoming too linear in its approach, but this wine will surely cut through the richest of foods and help shepherd other high acid tomato based foods along easily and without issue. This should be your new table wine, full stop.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2014 Taken Wine Co. "Complicated" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-08-2016
Anytime you can find $15 Pinot Noir that actually tastes like Pinot Noir it is a major victory and a huge find, something akin to the wine Holy Grail. That is exactly what we found with this Complicated PN. I love the name of this wine because at $15 it should be anything but complicated but I’m happy that it actually is. Delicate blueberry fruit, pliable and perfectly ripe, dictates the nose and rides over subtle sage and mushroom tones and a touch of understated French oak. Surprisingly full and complex on the palate this completely over-delivers with serious notes of ash, chaparral, old leather, red currant and cranberry all while presenting itself in a seamless and complete way. Tangy but not sharp, ripe but never jammy, flavorful but with out excess, this is a great accomplishment in the world of inexpensive Pinot Noir and is instantly one of the best values in the shop.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2014 Martin Ray "Coast Grade Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-08-2016
In recent years we’ve seen the resurgence of the Martin Ray name in the California wine industry. Having no real connection to the historic figure that Martin Ray was this brand has quickly become one of the best negociants in the Domestic market. Starting with affordable wines, like their second label Angeline and their myriad of Cabernets through out the state, we’ve quickly become fond of these wines and thing they are near, or at the top of the heap for large production, purchased fruit wines from California.
In the last year or two they’ve added a more “reserve” tier to their line up with great sub-appellation wines and single vineyard bottlings that have been very impressive. One of these that really caught our eye was the 2014 Coast Grade Vineyard Pinot Noir which knocked our socks off. Naming this one of my Top 10 Pinot Noirs of the year is high praise but this is firmly entrenched on that list already. Crunchy red and black berry fruits ride a high line with exotic undertones of cardamom and star anise aromatically. Full of life and vibrant this is what Pinot should be but more and more rarely is: a perfect combination of earth, fruit, herbal complexity and subtle spice with acid dictating its pace and focus. Long savory and floral in the finish this lingers on the palate long after it is gone for hauntingly pleasing effect.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 95

2013 Mercer "Sharp Sisters" Horse Heaven Hills Red Blend
Review Date: 07-08-2016
Mercer first popped up my radar screen about five years ago when I toured their vast operation in the Horse Heaven Hills of Washington State while on a trade junket. I had tasted a few of their wines before and was impressed with their quality/value ratio but I had no idea how massive and historic their farming operation is. The Mercer family dates back to 1886 in what then would become Washington State. They were the first to plant grapes in the Horse Heaven Hills 1972 and that block became the famed Champoux Vineyard, they are one of the main growers for the Chateau St. Michelle empire, and have started quite an empire of their own with numerous labels under the Mercer moniker.. They also have one of the largest miniature carrot processing plants in the US and farm something like a few thousand acres total.
This Sharp Sisters blend which consists of 47% Merlot, 41% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Sangiovese and 1% Petit Verdot is a perfect example of that aforementioned quality/value ratio. As a somewhat unusual blend this is a crowd pleasing wine that is fully of ruddy, honest charm and plenty of fruit to spread around. Spiced cherry, 60% chocolate, black raspberry and café con leche combine on the dark and lightly spiced nose. Sappy and ripe on entry this opens to show fun red berry fruit laden with more serious black pepper, pipe tobacco and clove notes. This is a versatile and easy going wine that would be a great foil to BBQ fare, burgers or tomato based pasta sauces.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WS 92

2013 Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-02-2016
Always one of our favorite, dare I say, “overlooked” Cabs, this wine always delivers and does so for a relative value. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that this wine is one of the best Napa Cab bottlings I can currently think of for $90 in the store, and will be a sure-fire bet to go 15–20 years in the cellar. Textural without heft or excess, this is poised Cabernet, not bogged down by oak char, high sugar or high alcohol. Classic black fruits intertwined with sage, tobacco and sandalwood make for a classic and classy wine that I would love to see develop over time.

2014 Cave Dog Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 07-02-2016
The 2014 Cave Dog Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend is something really exciting. From Michael Havens, one of my favorite winemakers and a name that should ring far and loud for our longtime customers, this new 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc blend is a recreation, of sorts, of Michael’s “Havens Borriquot.” Made from the same vineyard as the Borriquot, it has the same intense aromatics and spice box nature, with fresh gingerbread, Bing cherry and dry-cured olive aromatics. Soft and velvety on the palate, with the plush, cassis-driven Merlot fruit adding dimension to the delicately spiced Cabernet Franc. A rock-solid offering that should turn heads with its tension and balance.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

2013 Green & Red "Tip Top Vineyard" Napa Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 07-02-2016
From high upon their picturesque vineyards in Chiles Valley, Jay and Pam Heminway and their team have made excellent Zinfandel for decades. Somehow, our entire team had never been to their estate, and we were all completely happy to finally see this very rustic and honest operation. The Tip Top Vineyard is exactly what it sounds like—their highest elevation vines, ranging from 1,400 to 1,800 feet above sea level. Concentrated but without sugar intensity, heavily spiced but without noticeable oak, this wine was a revelation in Zinfandel, and for a completely reasonable price. Black pepper, Asian spice, dusty blackberries and a layered and open nature make this dark-toned wine something to please just about any Zin fan.
Price: Hidden View Price
W&S 94

2014 Varner "Home Block-Spring Ridge Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Review Date: 06-24-2016
I’m not scared to say it, and I have many times, out loud, to real people: I think the Varner Chardonnays are some of the best, if not the best, Chardonnays made in the United States. These wines are still way under the radar for most wine fans, due to their small production, out-of-the-way location--high in the hills above Portola Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountains--and stylistic choices. But for all of us lucky enough to have tasted these wines vintage after vintage, we can’t help but feel this way. The wines are just too good, with pinpoint precision, amazing complexity, and little “winemaking” to get in the way of the amazing raw materials they put into each and every bottle they make. The bad news, however, is that the 2014 vintage will be the last vintage for these wines from the Spring Ridge Vineyard, as the Varners couldn’t come to an agreement with the owner of the vineyard on and extension of the lease for the vineyard. So get them before they are gone forever.
The Home Block is the most focused and fully realized of the trio of Chardonnays in 2014. With a floral aromatic intensity that is not found in the other two wines, this is a lifted and spicy nose packed with lime blossom, honeysuckle and magnolia blossom. Brisk and energetic on entry, this has a touch of a brackish/sea salt quality as a background note that resonates behind the wall of orange pith, nectarine, sweet tobacco and morel mushroom flavors. Precisely balanced and well formed, I found this to be the most instantly drinkable of the three Chardonnays and maybe the most typical, given the history of the brand.
Price: $47.99 Add To Cart
VN 93

2014 Varner "Amphitheater Block-Spring Ridge Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Review Date: 06-24-2016
I’m not scared to say it, and I have many times, out loud, to real people: I think the Varner Chardonnays are some of the best, if not the best, Chardonnays made in the United States. These wines are still way under the radar for most wine fans, due to their small production, out-of-the-way location--high in the hills above Portola Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountains--and stylistic choices. But for all of us lucky enough to have tasted these wines vintage after vintage, we can’t help but feel this way. The wines are just too good, with pinpoint precision, amazing complexity, and little “winemaking” to get in the way of the amazing raw materials they put into each and every bottle they make. The bad news, however, is that the 2014 vintage will be the last vintage for these wines from the Spring Ridge Vineyard, as the Varners couldn’t come to an agreement with the owner of the vineyard on and extension of the lease for the vineyard. So get them before they are gone forever.
The 2014 "Amphitheater Block” is much friendlier than in previous vintages. Historically, this wine has been the most linear and hard-lined of the trio, but not this year. Crushed minerals with notes of crimson clover, persimmon and a touch of caramelized corn swirl in the nose and lead in to the much more round and fleshy set of flavors. Pear, apricot, peach and a honeyed lace dominate the flavors but these rich, lush flavors never tip into overbearing territory. Rather, there is a broad beam of acid that cuts through this pitch like a hot knife through butter. This is the vineyard that intrigues me most every year with its changes and development. I’ll be sad to not to see it continue to grow up.
Price: $47.99 Add To Cart
VN 93

2014 Varner "Bee Block-Spring Ridge Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Review Date: 06-24-2016
I’m not scared to say it, and I have many times, out loud, to real people: I think the Varner Chardonnays are some of the best, if not the best, Chardonnays made in the United States. These wines are still way under the radar for most wine fans, due to their small production, out-of-the-way location--high in the hills above Portola Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountains--and stylistic choices. But for all of us lucky enough to have tasted these wines vintage after vintage, we can’t help but feel this way. The wines are just too good, with pinpoint precision, amazing complexity, and little “winemaking” to get in the way of the amazing raw materials they put into each and every bottle they make. The bad news, however, is that the 2014 vintage will be the last vintage for these wines from the Spring Ridge Vineyard, as the Varners couldn’t come to an agreement with the owner of the vineyard on and extension of the lease for the vineyard. So get them before they are gone forever.
The 2014 “Bee Block,” long the favorite block of most of our local customers, is once again the richest and fleshiest of the Chardonnay trio. Golden fruits, Gala apples, sous bois and a touch of quinine combine on the serious and centered nose. Weight and ripeness abounds here from the moment it hits your palate. This is textbook Bee Block right down to its hallmark honey background tones. Milled corn, grilled peaches and almond skin, all with the slightest bit of creaminess, roll easily over the palate and barrel towards the direct and powerful finish. If you like your Chards on the bigger side, this is as big as the Varner Chards get.
Price: $47.99 Add To Cart
VN 95

2014 Sebastiani "Gravel Bed" Sonoma County Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 06-17-2016
After the massive score, and the attention it brought, on the 2013 Sebastiani “Gravel Bed” Red wine at the end of 2015 we’ve been waiting with bated breath for the release of the 2014 vintage. While the 2014 bottling hasn’t been scored yet it is certainly every bit as complex, plush and spiced as the highly touted previous vintage. Dark and brooding on the nose with heady aromas of wet asphalt, black tea, dark roasted coffee and some oak caramelization this is intense and direct with great power. Silky soft on entry with juicy wild berry, unsweetened cocoa powder, smoked pork and anise seed flavors. Focused yet immensely drinkable this is an affordable blend that really over delivers for under $25 and offers tremendous class for its category.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart

2013 Dierberg "Dierberg Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 06-08-2016
Dierberg has long been on our radar as a tremendous vineyard site where other producers made great wines from. After the success of their 2012 Estate Chardonnay I think they have finally transcended from an up and coming grower to a full fledged winery to watch out for. The 2013 is even better and more fully integrated and formed than the 2012 vintage was at this point. Persimmon, pie crust and apricot fill the nose that has substantial heft with out excessive oak. Those rich, almost oily, tones that fill the nose are instantly counterbalanced by the Bosc pear flesh, lemon curd and orange marmalade that are found on the entry. Gaining polenta-like richness and a pretty honeysuckle lace as it rolls over the palate this is a pretty and balanced Chard rather than one that hits you over your head with its intensity. I found this way too easy to drink and full of friendly accessible character.

2013 Dominus "Napanook" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 06-01-2016
The 2013 Dominus is one of the most heralded wines I’ve seen in quite some time from California, with its multiple 100 point scores collectors have been ringing our phones off the hook for months looking for any way to make sure they are able to secure the wine for themselves. While that wine is just a bit away from release the 2013 Napanook is here and is one of the best values of the tremendous 2013 vintage in the Napa Valley. Made from the exact same vineyard and in the exact same way as the Dominus this wine is about three times less expensive than its big brother and should age almost as long. Tightly wound and powerful on the nose this wine is all about tension and inky weight. The word monolithic came to mind with brooding dark fruit and woody, tannic intensity. In fact I’ve tasted past vintages of Dominus that weren’t this wound up in their adolescence. Savory olive, fresh thyme, black fruits, asphalt and hardwood combine for a powerful and earthen wine. Simply put I was blown away by the intensity, concentration and power of this wine. A cellar wine for sure, in fact if you want to drink this before it’s 10th birthday I think you’d be doing the wine a great disservice. This is one for the cellar for sure.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart
JS 97 VN 95 RP 93
Limit of 12 per customer

2014 Andrew Murray "Tous les Jours" Santa Ynez Valley Syrah
Review Date: 06-01-2016
Somewhat quietly over the last 3-4 vintages one of our best selling Domestic wines has been the Andrew Murray Tous les Jours Syrah, we sold almost 400 cases of the 2013 vintage alone. Andrew has flown under the radar for a long time in the world of Domestic Rhone producers making workman-like wines that punch way above their price points. His wines are always varietally correct with great balance, rich flavors and tons of spice and that is exactly what you get with the new 2014 vintage. With a nose packed with spearmint, pastilles, whole black peppercorns and beef blood this wine gives you more on the nose than most Syrahs twice its price. Plump and ripe on entry this wine rolls around in a big ol’ field of spice as it picks up steam and heads to the darkly hued finish. Concentrated, sun drenched fruit comes out with more aeration but that core of black pepper, cardamom, mace and thyme never leave pulling the wine along effortlessly. At $15 this is easily the best Syrah we have from any region in the store right now!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

2013 Lynmar Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-19-2016
On our recent trip to Lynmar we were stunned by the overall quality of the wines they produce. They spare no expense and are fully dedicated to making top notch wines all from their Estate Vineyards. We have been big on their Pinot Noir for the last couple of months and our customers have responded to it in a big way making it one of the best selling Domestic Pinot Noirs of 2016. At this point we are very excited to bring you their 2013 Russian River Valley Chardonnay which we think is every bit as good and made in that same polished, rich, “something for everyone” style as the Pinot Noir. With a nose full of roasted cashew, apricot preserves and wet stone this has scope and breadth from the on set. Mouth filling and lush with toasty oak folded into flavors of peach pit, marzipan, lime pith and orange marmalade this is a “big” Chardonnay that surprisingly light on its feet. Never cloying or excessive in any way it gives the full flavored Chard fans something to rave about and the more classical fans something to think about. Win-Win
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 94

2014 Wines Of Substance Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-18-2016
Wines of Substance is yet another project from Charles Smith (K Vintners, Sixto, Kung Fu Girl) the famed winemaker and larger than life personality from the state of Washington. Somehow he chugs out case after case of top notch wine for insanely reasonable prices. This Substance Cabernet is a perfect example of that. Bold, fully weighted, complex and encapsulated in spicy oak this is the kind of Cab that generally goes for at least twice this price. Flavors of black currant, grilled beef, blueberry, dried currants and vanilla bean build and build until the lifted and fresh finish put the proverbial cherry on top of this value sundae. Simply a must for anyone on the prowl for value Cabernets.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 - 92

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