Staff Favorites - David Driscoll

David Driscoll
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David Driscoll likes to drink alcohol when he is not working at K&L. His main interests include wine, beer, and distilled spirits. Before he worked here he went to college at a decent school, got a masters degree from an OK school, worked as a waiter and taught elementary school in Chinatown. He decided to get into the wine business after reading a few books about wine and realizing that one cannot seriously learn about wine solely through reading. His career goals include: trying to convince K&L customers that he does know something despite his youthful appearance, and learning everything about everything about every single wine ever made.


Reviews

  
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2015 D'Arce, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 01-19-2017
I love this wine from the Garcin family, the folks behind Barde-Haut and L'Eglise on Bordeaux's Right Bank. It's a perfect expression of everything I love about the 2015 vintage in Bordeaux. The flavors are delicate and fruit-driven, but they're pretty rather than punchy. The red fruits are pure, accented with mineral notes and a core of clean acidity, and the tannins are elegantly structured. We tasted this with Helene Garcin at the property this past Spring and I loved it then, but the wine is really showing its splendor right now. Not only is it delicious, it's also versatile. It's rich enough to pair with beef, but juicy enough for chicken and pork as well. It's a wine I could drink everyday for the price, yet that tastes serious enough to bring to a dinner party. It's the type of Bordeaux I never want to be without and it's a fantastic preview of what's to come from 2015. Good thing we have a lot of it!!

2002 Dailuaine 14 Year Old "Old Particular K&L Exclusive" Single Sherry Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 01-17-2017
Let's be clear: sherry-aged cask strength whisky is in incredibly high demand. In fact, it's so popular that prices for whiskies in that style have gone way, way up, completely changing the idea of "value" when it comes to Scotch. With this cask of Dailuaine 14 year, however, we've outdone ourselves once again. Not so much with the selection, mind you. Anyone who tastes this whisky can tell it's absolutely delicious. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out. It's brimming with sweet sherry flavors, a creamy mid-palate, and loads of baking spice on the finish. The real accomplishment here is the price. We've managed to offer a single barrel, cask strength, sherry-matured Highland whisky for less than what a standard market, water-reduced, general offering would normally cost! The Arran 14 year sherry cask edition is a hundred bucks!! That's probably the closest comparison on the market right now. Yet, this Dailuaine is better.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

2013 Carpe Diem Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 01-11-2017
We taste a lot of Cabernet here at K&L, simply because we're living in California where Cabernet is king. Given the fact that I may taste 30-40 different Cabs every week, it takes something special to stand out from that voluminous line-up. The Carpe Diem isn't only a stand out, it's a value to boot. Twenty dollar Cabernet never gets old, but when it's as soft, nuanced, and graceful as the 2013 Carpe Diem it's worth casing up. This isn't big, oaky, or in-your-face Cabernet. It's elegant, polished, and restrained in character and it drinks like a $30-$40 bottle. That all makes sense when you learn it comes from the Dominus team, but it's still striking to taste. If you were to put this in a blind tasting with 100 other Cabernets between $15 and $25, I think the Carpe Diem wins unanimously.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

2014 Domaine Aubaï Mema "Albion" Gard Blanc
Review Date: 01-11-2017
As a fan of everyday white wine (because I drink white wine everyday), I love it when I can switch things up a bit and get outside my normal comfort zone, yet still maintain many of the qualities I enjoy. I like clean and fresh white wines. I don't mind extra richness or texture, but there must be balance. This blend of Chardonnay and Viognier from Aubai Mema has a suppleness that coats your mouth, but it's still refreshing. It's full of tropical notes, a floral flutter, and stone fruit, but it never becomes too hedonistic. It's a delicious bottle of wine that brings serious bang for the buck. It's also organic and a direct import! Lots to love here.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2015 Clos Bellane "Petite Bellane" Côtes du Rhône-Villages
Review Date: 01-11-2017
This wine is absolutely delicious and seems to capture much more of the Syrah than you typically find in a Cotes du Rhone. It's bursting with black pepper, dark savory fruit, and a meatiness that's practically begging for BBQ. But that's not to say it's heavy handed or tannic. There's loads of dark fruit underneath all that spice, making this more like a St-Joseph than your standard Grenache-based CdR. It's a serious deal, especially if--like I do--you find this scratches more of a Northern Rhone itch.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2013 Domaine Aubaï Mema "Liverna" Gard Rouge
Review Date: 01-11-2017
If you're a person who loves bargain Rhone wines or classic bistro style reds, this is a new K&L direct import that brings that same character, but with more depth and panache. There's a round, juicy, and fleshy mouthfeel to "Liverna" that pops in all the right places. It's seductive and easy on the palate with concentrated berries from the grenache and structure from the cabernet. In a sea of nondescript French reds, all of which more or less consist of grenache and something else, this is the one that stands out, grabs your attention, and demands a second pour. Don't miss it.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

2000 Lanson "Noble Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 01-11-2017
Most ready-to-drink Champagnes are not released as single vintage expressions because they’re blended with reserve wines to create a more balanced drink. When you do see a vintage Champagne, it’s usually a bit pricier, but that’s because it’s meant to age in the cellar. You’re supposed to drink the non-vintage cuvees and save the vintage editions for later. In the case of the 2000 Lanson, you’re getting a serious discount on a vintage Champagne that’s already been aged for you! After sixteen plus years in the bottle, the wine is in a perfect spot. The oak is toasty on the nose, but integrated on the palate. The wine itself is rich and full of creamy brioche, yet still light on its feet and fresh. By no means is it even close to getting tired, not does it exhibit any sign of slowing down. What newcomers to vintage Champagne have here before them is an opportunity to see what happens after a wine spends a decade and a half in the cellar, without having to actually wait! That’s the real bargain here, if you ask me.

2013 Bodegas Palacios Remondo "La Montesa" Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 01-10-2017
This is the most complex and enticing sub-$20 red wine that I've tasted in years. But the more our buyer Joe Manekin told me about the winemaker Alvaro Palacios, the more I understood the dynamism of the "La Montesa." Do a Google search for Alvaro and you'll find nothing but praise, respect, and gratitude for his work on behalf of Spanish wine over the last three decades. He's a heralded leader for the genre, especially in Rioja where he's returned home to enhance his family's Bodegas Palacios Remondo property. The 2013 La Montesa is an absolute revelation in the glass. The nose is full of berries, brush, earth, and even a bit of black truffle. On the palate, there's a savory element mixed with fine tannins, linear minerality, and a lithe freshness on the finish. This is more than just a "smart buy" or an everyday red. This is a serious bottle of wine made by a master. The only reason it's $14.99 is because Rioja hasn't quite yet established itself with Bordeaux and Burgundy at this point. But Alvaro is working to change that. With more wines like this, he might just have a chance.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

2014 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc "Oncle Vincent"
Review Date: 01-06-2017
This is the great twenty dollar bottle of white Burgundy. It's everything I love about the region's Chardonnay wines all wrapped up into one easy, well-priced bottle. I could probably drink this every single day and never get tired of it. The acidity is like a laser beam of citrus with subtle notes of stonefruit for just enough weight. The influence of the oak is minor, but it's there and it holds the wine together beautifully. It's clean, racy, and mouthwatering. This is your workhorse French Chardonnay. It's the bottle you go to night in and night out. Dependable, delicious, and always satisfying.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 90 WS 90

2004 Barde-Haut, St-Emilion
Review Date: 12-28-2016
This is currently my favorite Bordeaux in the store. We rarely get aged Right Bank wines this good for this good of a price, but the 2004 Barde Haut is a great example of a merlot-based wine in its absolute prime. The fleshiness of the fruit is still apparent on the palate, but it's bolstered by potent flavors of mushroom and soy sauce; so much so that I can't imagine drinking this again with a giant portobello or a steak covered in sauteed mushrooms with a soy glaze. It's rich and layered through the mid-palate with soft tannins and plenty of body, and the finish is complex with accents of earth and dark plum. This is simply an outstanding bottled of mature St. Emilion and it's something I'd like to see more of around here. We bought these directly from Helene Garcin at the Barde Haut estate this past April. I hope there's more.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

2000 Domaine d'Ognoas 16 Year Old Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 12-23-2016
If you're a Bourbon drinker, Ognoas is like the Wild Turkey or Four Roses of Armagnac. It's lighter, rounder, and less spicy than most of the other selections we carry that have a heavier dose of both wood and spice. This 16-year-old 2000 vintage edition of Ognoas is a beautifully balanced brandy that operates at equal levels of oak, fruit, and richness. It's a mellow, yet intricate and layered Armagnac with plenty of supple and resinous fruit at its core. Cognac drinkers with also appreciate its grace and refined character. It's an elegant Armagnac, through and through.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

1998 Faultline 17 Year Old "K&L Exclusive" Caribbean Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 12-23-2016
Now that relations with America have recently warmed, thawing the remnants of our Cold War stand-off, we're finally bringing real "Caribbean" rum back to our thirsty rum drinkers. This unsweetened 100 proof edition brings richness from 17 years in oak, but it's still a dry and ester-driven rum with loads of fruit and a little bit of funk to balance it out. Those picturing Havana Club need to imagine a bit less sugar and bit more tropical fruit with an earthy cane finish. Without a doubt, however, this is one of the best rums we've ever carried and if you've got a hankering for cigars, this "Caribbean" edition makes for a fine pairing.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

Domaine de Maouhum Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 12-23-2016
This is essentially a Baco grape-based version of our Age de Glace Armagnac, but this one's made by Christelle Lasseignou over at Domaine de Maouhum. At only five years of age, this is a young little overachiever that has a striking amount of richness and bold Baco character for such a short amount of time in wood. There's a woody and earthy note, followed by a bit of that vinous grappa profile that you sometimes get in grape-based spirits. There's a lot going on here for thirty-five bucks. I tried making a Manhattan with this last night and it absolutely slayed. I'm going back for Sidecars and Old Fashioneds tonight!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Domaine d'Ognoas Reserve Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 12-20-2016
For those of you who enjoyed our Ognoas XO editions of the past, this is pretty much the same Armagnac. A gorgeous, round, and elegant sipping Armagnac with plenty of fruit and soft richness for a great price. This batch is based on the 2006 vintage, so it's a minimum of 10 years of age. I've drunk two bottles already and we just got this in last week :)
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

Jacques Esteve Petit Champagne Hors d'Age Cognac (750ml)
Review Date: 12-20-2016
We're previously focused on Esteve's 25 year and older Cognacs (to great success!), but this time around we wanted to find something more reasonable and accessible for everyday drinking. This Hors d'Age edition has the clean and lean character of our other caramel-free Cognacs, but with a bit more oak spice and richness on the finish. It's the picture of grace with its lithe flavor profile of stonefruit and subtle vanilla notes. I think we'll have people coming back for this again and again.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

2015 Jean-Michel Dupre "Haut Ronze" Regnie
Review Date: 12-18-2016
Back up the truck, clear out a space in my cellar, and get out of the way: I just found my new house bottle of red. The new vintage of Regnie is an absolutely beautiful balance of dark berries, violets, minerality, and spice, all for the low, low price of $12.99 per bottle. Our Burgundy team has struck gold with this vintage of Regnie from Dupre. While we've brought in some fantastic wines from the lesser-known Beaujolais village, this is the best I've ever tasted. It's also the most affordable. Juicy, plump, but with structure and acidity. Complex, layered, enticing, and just a hot deal all around.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
VN 93 RP 90

2015 Jean-Michel Dupre "1935" Morgon
Review Date: 12-15-2016
You get all the beauty of carbonic maturation on the nose (the crunchy red fruits, the fresh fleshiness of the grapes) without any of the nouveau banana in this lovely cru level Morgon from Dupre. The nose is a charming array of berries with subtle spice. The palate is fleshy, but with plenty of acidity. You could almost chill this down and do it as a dark rose if you wanted. Juicy and dark on the finish, this is practically begging for a roasted chicken with potatoes. I'm almost afraid to try that combination because I know in my heart I could probably put away two bottles of this on my own within an hour. Dangerously drinkable and a must buy for any fan of Beaujolais or Burgundy.

2010 La Rioja Alta "Viña Alberdi" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 12-15-2016
The most important fact to know about the 2010 Alberdi is that it needs to breath. The difference between this wine thirty seconds after opening the bottle and thirty minutes is night and day. I decanted this beauty and was absolutely spellbound once the initial intensity blew off and the fruit opened up underneath. This is classic Spanish food wine, full of dark berries and chewy tannins. It's not a big juicy garnacha by any means, but rather an old school Rioja with finesse and style. It has restraint and on the finish there are lingering notes of wood and dark berries. Cook up a steak or a rack of lamb and dump a bottle of this in the decanter for some mighty fine living!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 95 RP 91

2009 Caol Ila 7 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice - K&L Exclusive" Single Wine Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-15-2016
We're not sure which type of red wine barrel this Caol Ila was matured in, but my colleague Andrew thinks it has to be syrah, simply because of all the meatiness that's added to the flavor profile from the wine influence. This is a bold, brash, and in your face Caol Ila. It's a peat monster in every sense of the word. It's also pink, which is both hilarious and awesome. Pull the cork and let this baby rip. It's maritime to the max.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

1997 Auchentoshan 19 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice - K&L Exclusive" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-15-2016
If I have to single-handedly keep advocating for triple-distilled Lowland Scotch whisky, I'll do so. While my friends are destroying their palates with uber-peaty Islay malts, 16% cabernets, and 14% super-duper, nuclear-level IPAs, I'll happily sit back with a glass of mellow, intricate, and utterly-satisfying Auchentoshan. The pride of Glasgow is well alive in this edition. Nothing more than you'd expect: vanilla, biscuits, sweet grains, and subtle citrus. We've got the standard 18 year on the shelf for $120, so why not take the extra digit and the higher proof and save yourself forty bucks?
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

1998 Royal Brackla 18 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice - K&L Exclusive" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-15-2016
The first time I tasted through these casks of Royal Brackla I thought whisky must have been aged in barrels that were used to mature peated whisky, simply because there's almost something phenolic going on. The aroma borders on smoke, but then it becomes almost fruity and chocolate-y in a way that almost confuses my taste buds. I love it! It's so full of flavor and explosive on my tongue. I wish more Scotch tasted as good as this for the money.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

1992 Strathmill 24 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice - K&L Exclusive" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-15-2016
This is a fun chance for those of you who want to understand the subtle richness of 20+ year old Highland whisky to enjoy that tastiness at an extremely affordable price. This is slow-matured and supple Scotch that is neither peated, nor aged in sherry wood. There's nothing here but the evolution of straightforward single malt in a hogshead barrel over two and a half decades. You get the supple, candied fruit that's been penetrated by the oak. There's vanilla, but it's more like creme brulee at this point. It's also soft and reduced over time, so you don't have to futz around with adding water. It's simply a really nice whisky for a really nice price.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

2012 Damilano "Lecinquevigne" Barolo
Review Date: 12-15-2016
This is the classically-styled, yet accessible and mainstream-oriented Barolo I've been waiting for all year. The old world nebbiolo I can drink now during the holidays without waiting until I'm 75 for it to soften up. This wine is absolutely gorgeous, but it needs air and a big hearty meal. Nebbiolo can be as aromatic and delicate as a fine pinot noir, but as tannic as a cold-vintage Bordeaux, so it's a complex animal. That being said, it always plays second fiddle to Brunello and other sangiovese-based wines here at K&L because it remains a misunderstood varietal. If you've been looking to understand or ascertain the intricacies of Italy's "other" great wine, this is the bottle for you. The nose is a haunting bouquet of berries, brush, and spice. The palate is structured and solid, but under all that power is a symphony of violets, raspberries, and earth. This is a rare treat for us Barolo lovers.

2014 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir North Canterbury
Review Date: 12-15-2016
I remember when pinot noir for less than $20 was suspect. That, of course, was before my friend Ryan Woodhouse started scouring the New Zealand countryside in search of ridiculous pinot noir values that continue to put the rest of the wine industry to shame. Not only is the Mt Beautiful a delicious wine, it's a classically flavored one, closer to Burgundy in style than Santa Barbara. The palate is full of crunchy red fruits with rose petals galore and exotic spice. I do a lot of mid-week take out in my house, so I'm usually grabbing roasted chicken, Chinese stir-fry, and Indian curry on the regular. I could pair this wine with all three of those meals and drink incredibly well (especially for a school night!). You don't have to settle for less when you drop underneath that $20 floor in the pinot noir category. You just have to expand your horizons a bit. Trust in Ryan. He has a nose for bargain pinot.
Price: Hidden View Price
DC 92 SK 91

2014 Errazuriz Chardonnay Aconcagua Costa
Review Date: 12-09-2016
This wine is just flat out delicious. It quenches my white wine thirst like a glass of cold lemonade does on a hot day, and it's likely one of the best whites I've ever tasted from South America. Picture the mineral drive of a great Chablis, but with the acidity and juiciness New Zealand style citrus, and that's pretty much the Errazuriz in a nutshell. Clean, focused, and expressive lemon flavors with stone fruit roundness on the finish, plenty of zest on the finish. I don't care what kind of white wine you like to drink, be it Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, or even dry Riesling, this is one of those "don't miss out" kind of wines; a wine that you've never heard of that comes out of nowhere and shocks the heck out of you.

2014 Borsao "Tres Picos" Garnacha Campo de Borja
Review Date: 12-09-2016
Yuuuuuuum! That's what I say to myself every time I drink Spanish Garnacha; something I don't do nearly enough these days. The Tres Picos is a juicy, palate-pleasing burst of red fruits that offers far more than just boozy drinkability. Unlike some of the sweet or cloying American bargain wines I run into, the Spanish seem to understand restraint and balance as it pertains to table red. There's both acidity and minerality acting as ballasts against the fruit. This is a big hit with our customers in just about every vintage. The 2014 will be just a popular.

2015 Bernabeleva "Camino de Navaherreros" Garnacha Vinos de Madrid
Review Date: 12-09-2016
I've been hand-selling this wine in the store for years now, but I guess some secrets are simply too good to keep to yourself. Since we're doing a bit of email and letting the cat out of the bag, I guess I'd better do some of the same gushing here. This is quintessential Spanish red wine, the kind that opens your eyes, electrifies your taste buds, and has you asking: "Are the other wines from Spain this good and this affordable?" I feel that way about most of the Garnacha wines we carry, but this is the best Garnacha I've ever had. It's plump, concentrated, and simply bursting with red fruit, but it's not monolithic or one-noted by any means. There are earthy undertones; brooding waves of darker berries and savory herbs. It's a complex wine, one that morphs over the palate into a number of incarnations. Bernabeleva has been my go-to sub-$20 red since 2012 and I've probably put over 500 bottles of it into the hands of Redwood City customers over the years. Now the secret's out. Please don't drink all of it!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2006 Worthy Park 10 Year Old "Golden Devil" Single Barrel Jamaican Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 12-07-2016
I could just nose this rum all day long and never get tired of it. The aromas are so enticing, full of flat cola, tropical fruits, vanilla bean, and pineapple. Then you get the bitter ester notes like earth, petrol, and polish on the palate, but they're balanced by just enough sweetness from the barrel. You can do so many different things with this Worthy Park: sip it on the rocks, make a cocktail, or even pour yourself a shot after a long day. It's utterly complex, intriguing, and I discover new flavors each time I taste it. That being said, if you're used to Zaya or Zacapa, this might cause your head to explode.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2007 Monymusk 9 Year Old "Golden Devil" Single Barrel Jamaican Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 12-07-2016
If you're looking for a Jamaican mixing rum, this is the best we've ever carried in the store. The high-ester funk in this Monymusk is balanced and there's only a slight bit of sweetness from the wood. What you have is a wonderfully dry component to make daiquiris with, but it also makes the best rum and Coke I've ever tasted. So much of mass market rum's character is stripped out and then replaced with caramel (much like our processed foods), so if you've never tasted "real" rum, this is a great place to start.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2012 Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva
Review Date: 12-06-2016
It's been a while since I've tasted Chianti that balanced the softness of the wild cherry with the savory, meatier flavors this well. Everything about the Antinori Riserva's profile is harmonious and fluid in its flavor. It's equal parts old school and new school, equal parts fruit and leather, equal parts structure and suppleness. It's a complex Chianti, one that expands beyond the simple table wine elements we adore so much and blooms into a more expansive experience. I could drink this with pasta, with a steak, with pork tacos, or just on its own after a long day at work. You can cellar it, or you can decant it and enjoy it now. This is a can-do Chianti.

2012 Michel Gassier "Lou Coucardié" Costières de Nîmes Rouge
Review Date: 11-30-2016
This is not at all the ripe or decadent wine that I read about before tasting. This is a wonderful surprise! Instead of over-extracted blue fruits I got real acidity, plush dark fruit, and the meatiness of the Mouvedre. Fans of Cote du Rhone will get far more than their money's worth here, and Southern Rhone drinkers will rejoice in tasting a wine that has more to offer than just richness and texture. There is real nuance here in this bottle and it's dialed back enough to where you can pair it with a number of meals.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 VN 92

2015 Domaine Paul Pernot Beaune Rouge "Clos des Marconets"
Review Date: 11-30-2016
This wine is a godsend for those of us in the Burgundy department who are constantly looking for new, drinkable selections to recommend. The Clos des Marconets is not only delicious now, it has enough acidity and focus to develop nicely over the next five to seven years. The whole tasting experience is a piercingly pure note of red cherry, foresty notes, and classic Burgundian baking spices. It's utterly charming from front to back, and it tastes so good right now you'd be hard pressed to lay off it once the bottles are in your possession.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Paul Pernot Puligny-Montrachet
Review Date: 11-30-2016
While we have a number of other premier cru selections from Paul Pernot right now, I was most impressed with the standard village grade Puligny Montrachet at our recent tasting. At the moment, it's easily the most drinkable and the most attractive of the bunch, so if you're not the cellaring type this is clearly the one for you. It tastes expensive. It's remarkably clean, vibrant, and balanced in terms of acidity, fruit, and richness. There's a seamless transition from lemon citrus to stonefruit on the palate and the wine finishes with both textural richness and length. If I were looking for a nice bottle to bring to a special dinner that I knew would cater to a number of different tastes and preferences, this would be high on my list.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2014 Columbia Crest "Grand Estates" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-28-2016
I think the price and the points are what held your attention long enough to even bother reading these staff reviews. The question now is: does the wine deliver as advertised? I think the Wine Enthusiast notes are pretty much dead on. I took a sip and I immediately tasted sweet cherry, dark cocoa, and milk chocolate. It's pretty straightforward stuff--deliciously straightforward. There's a good amount of oak here, but it's not sweet vanilla oak or extracted wood chips like you might expect in the sub-$10 cab region. It's a nice little dollop of toast that adds complexity to the ripeness of the fruit. What you get is a classic, value-priced Washington wine that harkens back to the days when Columbia Crest was banging out winners right and left. If you like silky reds with plenty of body, yet with a certain level of finesse, this is a real gem.
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart
WS 91 WE 90

Taittinger "La Francaise" Brut Champagne Jeroboam (3L)
Review Date: 11-27-2016
I was quite taken aback by the quality of wine in this major brand-labeled bottle. The Taittinger "La Francaise" is a wonderful combination of leesy richness with firm acidity, that glides effortlessly over the palate, hitting all the right notes. The finish is full of citrus and rich, bready flavors. It tastes like it should cost twice as much. It tastes way better than 2003 Dom, which does cost twice as much. (9/2013)
Price: $229.00 Add To Cart
RP 90 WS 90

Taittinger "La Francaise" Brut Champagne Methuselah (6L)
Review Date: 11-27-2016
I was quite taken aback by the quality of wine in this major brand-labeled bottle. The Taittinger "La Francaise" is a wonderful combination of leesy richness with firm acidity, that glides effortlessly over the palate, hitting all the right notes. The finish is full of citrus and rich, bready flavors. It tastes like it should cost twice as much. It tastes way better than 2003 Dom, which does cost twice as much. (9/2013)
Price: $499.00 Add To Cart
RP 90 WS 90

2012 Marquis de Terme, Margaux
Review Date: 11-22-2016
Yet another gorgeous wine from the 2012 vintage that really puts into perspective just how under-priced these wines are compared to years like 2009 and 2010. This wine is dark and fleshy with loads of cassis fruit and lightly gritty tannins that provide just enough structure for a quick five year cellar run. It's a pretty wine, one that expands for minutes on the finish. To drink Margaux in any vintage for forty bucks is nice. To drink one this good from a beautiful vintage like 2012 is wonderful. This is Bordeaux you can afford and one that delivers on every level.

Siembra Valles "Ancestral" Blanco Tequila (750ml)
Review Date: 11-22-2016
For serious agave nuts, this is as close as Tequila will ever get to mezcal in that David Suro's team used many Oaxacan production methods to make this spectacular expression. In fact, in order to help consult on the project Suro brought up a number of Oaxacan distillers to help explain the process to the Tequileros. He said to me, "It brought a tear to my eye; seeing mezcaleros and Tequileros working side by side." This is a historic Tequila, but it's also an unbelievably delicious one. Huge notes of roasted agave, citrus, and spice coat the palate. At 50.1% there's a little kick on the finish as well. This isn't for people who want smooth. It's for people who want maximum flavors at all costs. In this case, David Suro paid the costs for that flavor. He spared no expense.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

1995 Glenburgie 21 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Signatory" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-11-2016
This 21 year old Glenburgie achieves exactly what its predecessor did (that 20 year old cask we bought last year): it provides high quality, no frills Scotch whisky goodness with maturity and punch for a hot price. There's nothing out of the ordinary here, just rich vanilla, oak, malted grains, stone fruits, and a nice smooth finish. Chalk up another win for no-name single malt whisky and those who trust in it.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

1997 Linkwood 19 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Signatory" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-11-2016
Linkwood is such a great whisky and it's so dependable. I've never really had a bad version of it, be it from Gordon & MacPhail or elsewhere. What's paramount, however, is that you give the whisky its due. Linkwood is incredibly delicate, nuanced, and precise. You almost need to sip it in the absence of any other sensory distractions. Doing that will allow you to hone in on the brilliance of the spirit itself. There's citrus, cereal grains, shortbread, and ginger spice lying in wait for those who make the effort to coax all the beauty out of the glass. This is yet another fantastic example of the elegant Scotch whisky.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

1995 Imperial 20 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Signatory" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-11-2016
If you're someone who's interested in tasting whisky from one of Scotland's many "lost" distilleries, don't let your hunt for Port Ellen and Brora distract you from this remarkable Imperial. Once owned by Pernod Ricard, the distillery was demolished a while back to make room for a new distillery called Dalmunach: a new state-of-the-art facility with all the bells and whistles. While I'm sure the new whisky will be delicious, it's pretty tough to beat this 20 year old Imperial, especially if you like Clynelish with that waxy, oily, lemony core that's wrapped in sweet malt goodness. A fitting goodbye to a lost friend!
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

1997 Dufftown 18 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Signatory" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-11-2016
I'm all about bringing in new distilleries for our customers to try, mainly because David OG and I try so many interesting whiskies that never make it back across the Atlantic with us. Dufftown is a working man's whisky from the Speyside town of the same name, normally an ingredient in the Johnnie Walker blends, but in this case bottled on its own. There's a robust spiciness and intense oaky richness on the first sip that slowly dissipates into sweet barley and classic Highland Scotch flavor. This is the first time we've ever bought a cask of Dufftown and, because of the fact it's not a household name, the price is a right.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2013 Tenuta Sette Ponti "Oreno" Toscana
Review Date: 11-11-2016
While it's always difficult to think of Tuscany as producing anything other than top-notch sangiovese wines, the cabernet and Bordeaux style blends from the region have continued to improve and impress over the last decade. If I had tasted the Oreno blind or as part of a Napa staff tasting, I would have easily been fooled. This rich, structured, and dynamic marriage of merlot, cab, and petit verdot is like a hybrid of the riper California fruit with the structure and acidity of a fine Bordeaux. Aged in French oak, it's a wine for the big and bold cab drinker who thinks he's tried everything.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
JS 97

2015 Giesen Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 11-09-2016
As if the clean and herbaceous flavors of the Giesen weren't tempting enough, and the round stonefruit flavors enticing in their own right, the most incredible thing about the 2015 Giesen sauvignon blanc is the price. When you see "$9.99" on any bottle of wine the first thought that should come into your head is "inexpensive purchased fruit." But Giesen owns all of their own vineyards, so all the grapes used to make this lovely wine are estate-grown. Giesen is also family-owned. It just happens to be a big family-owned company with enough scale to offer reasonable prices. So you're getting an outstanding, highly-rated, delicious and affordable wine from a family-run winery that uses all estate fruit. Did I mention it's $9.99? Go big. Go deep.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
DC 95 BC 90

2014 Domaine Lafage "Tessellae Vieilles Vignes" Carignan Côtes Catalanes
Review Date: 11-09-2016
This is the $10-$15 red that you drink cases of each winter and ends up being your favorite wine of the season. After reading the reviews, I thought this vintage of Tessallae would be too over the top for me, but the fruit is incredibly balanced and restrained compared to what I expected. There's a lovely plushness to the red berries and the acidity helps preserve that union of fruit and refreshment. Carignan isn't a grape most drinkers are familiar with, but if you like standard Cotes du Rhone wines or French bistro-style drinkers, this is a can't miss bottle. You buy this by the case.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2015 Au Bon Climat/K&L Wine Merchants "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-08-2016
I love doing K&L cuvees with ABC because I love having another Au Bon Climat pinot noir to choose from! The Bien Nacido Vineyard is brimming with fresh strawberries and spice, subtle tannins, and a core of refreshing acidity that balances out any ripeness from the fruit. This is holiday wine, pure and simple. It's practically begging to be paired with roasted turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. I know what I'm drinking on Thanksgiving. This. And probably a bottle of the ABC Bien Nacido chardonnay as well.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2012 Au Bon Climat "Historic Vineyards Collection-Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 11-08-2016
This is the type of California chardonnay that needs to be more readily available: a textural, yet clean and focused style that has both the subtle honeyed and faintly-rich notes of classic California goodness, but with restraint and elegance. This is a stunning wine, one that brings to mind Chassagne-Montrachet, rather than Rombauer, with its grace and elegance. The wine is deceptively round and supple, offering fruit and hints of tropicality without sacrificing its core tenets. It's a brilliant balance of two worlds, a praise-worthy achievement that stands among the finer chardonnay's I've tasted from ABC.

2014 Ancient Peaks/K&L Wine Merchants Paso Robles Zinfandel
Review Date: 11-08-2016
Every now and again I ask myself: why don't I drink more zinfandel? Then I buy a bottle of something that's too ripe, too sweet, and too high in alcohol and I remember. But tasting this beautifully balanced offering from Ancient Peaks, I'm reminded of all the things I really love about zin: the juicy, mouthwatering fruit, the fleshy berries that coat my palate, the supple and soft mouthfeel that washes down the finish. It's all happening here in this K&L cuvee, but all the elements are harmonic. It's a zinfandel you drink again and again.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2013 Provenance Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-08-2016
A slam dunk California cabernet that really covers all the bases: great price, great flavors, great complexity, and great accessibility. You don't have to be an expert to appreciate the quality of the 13 Provenance. The seductive textures, the concentrated fruits, and the ease at which the wine glides over the palate will be recognizable to any lover of red wine. You could pair this with a burger, pop open a bottle for happy hour, or pour a few glasses over the course of a few days. The wine is so deliciously drinkable on its own that I could imagine people buying cases of this and enjoying it for a variety of different occasions. When you taste the Provenance, you'll get an inkling of just how good the 2013 vintage was for Napa cab. It's the best Provenance I've ever tasted.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2014 Antinori "Cervaro della Sala" Chardonnay Umbria
Review Date: 11-07-2016
I have to admit two: I eat a lot of Italian food and I drink a lot of white wine. What I often struggle with, however, is how to take both of those enjoyments to the next level for a special occasion. I can always go out to Stella Alpina in Burlingame if I want a fine Italian meal, but what high-end Italian white do I bring for the occasion? I've got a cellar full of great Barolos, Brunellos, and various other interesting reds, but what do I break out when I need a stunner in the Italian bianco category? After months and months of revisiting the same old selections (verdicchio, soave, vermentino, etc), our buyer Greg put this bottle in my hand and told me to have fun. As a fan of white Burgundy, I was excited to find an Italian equivalent and I was not disappointed by the Antinori. It had everything I was looking for: nuance, clean flavors, underlying complexity, and just enough richness. It tastes expensive. Those of you looking for a next-level white for your next Italian dinner need look no further.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
JS 96 WS 91

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