Staff Favorites - David Driscoll

David Driscoll
David Driscoll  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
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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2013 La Chablisienne Chablis 1er Cru "Côte de Léchet"
Review Date: 03-14-2017
Simply put: one of the great values in white wine at K&L, and one of the raciest, freshest, and complex white Burgundies for the money. Getting the chance to work with La Chablisienne is a dream for us at K&L because it gives us access to some of the best wines in Chablis for prices that still seem unreal. The co-op produces all their wines the same way (from over a dozen different vineyards), with clean fruit and little oak, so their line-up reflects one of the most accurate and unadulterated expressions of pure Chablis terroir available. The Cote de Lechet from 2013 is a wine that really showcases the mineral-rich and chalky soils of the premier cru level site. There are flavors of wet stone and talc underneath a vibrant core of stone fruit and citrus. In many ways, Chablis is the last real hold out for top value in Burgundy and the fact that we're working directly with La Chablisienne only adds to that value proposition. This is a must-buy wine for me.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
BH 90

2010 Cune Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 03-10-2017
The Cune is a far more restrained and serious Rioja than the price gives it credit for. This isn't that soft and sultry little Tempranillo that loads up the fruit and oak up front for a short finish on the back. No, no, no! This is a structural, brooding, mouthful of everything we love about Rioja's rustic roots. There's a lovely amount of dried cherry fruit to bolster the wine, but it's accented with firm, but chewy tannins and secondary flavors of earth and spice. I keep telling Bordeaux drinkers that Rioja is their next great adventure (and it's a helluva a lot cheaper). Wines like the Cune show you can still find serious selections with age and depth that are cellar-worthy and will only get better with time. The 2010 Reserva has a lot in common with some of the medium-bodied Bordeaux blends at twice the price.

1996 Arran 20 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 03-08-2017
Arran has captured the hearts of whisky fans everywhere who DON'T want intense, overproofed, or heavily-polarized expressions. For people who want their Scotch to taste like Scotch (just really, really good Scotch), Arran has become a ballast in a sea of saturation. The classic flavors of vanilla from the oak and sweet malt from the whisky itself are mellowed perfectly from two decades of maturity in cask. The extra proof adds a little zip at the back, but this is an utterly drinkable whisky. It begs you for more after each sip is finished.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

2014 Argyle "Reserve" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 03-08-2017
This wine is absolutely stunning just to look at in the glass! It's a gorgeous crimson and violet color that hypnotizes you instantly while you pour it. That's a good thing, however, because the 2014 Argyle Reserve needs about 15 minutes to open up before it really starts to show you what it's got. It's a good idea to just stare at your glass for a bit. When the air opens it up, the wine is textbook Willamette through and through: raspberry notes with hints of forest floor that are fortified by the bright acidity and somewhat firm tannins. It's the whole package for those curious as to what Oregon offers. Don't let the screw cap fool you either - this is a wine that can easily lay down in the cellar for a few years. Oregon pinot fans should be thrilled either way. This is a serious pinot noir that can be decanted for dinner tonight or stored away for a celebration down the line.
Price: $28.99 Add To Cart
WS 93 JS 92

2014 Dassault, St-Emilion
Review Date: 03-07-2017
I read an old review from Robert Parker once where he claimed that while Dassault wines were primarily made to drink in their youth, you would rarely come across a bad bottle. Simple, but damn tasty was his summary. That was exactly the experience I had tasting the 2014 vintage from Dassault, my first from the property as we rarely carry the wine here at K&L. This is one tasty bottle of Bordeaux, full of everything I love about St. Emilion: rich and robust fruit, a supple mouthfeel, and plenty of stuffing on the finish. It's a total sleeper on a shelf full of more expensive options. Along with the 2014 Fonplegade, I think it's the value hit of the 2014 Right Bank offerings.

2011 Bodegas Muga "Selección Especial" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 03-06-2017
When I think back to the first great red wines I tasted in my early twenties - the wines that would ultimately shape my palate and send me into the wine business - the reserva Riojas from Muga might have been the most influential. Not only were the flavors rich, robust, textural, and complex, they were within reach of my limit budget back then. There was no way I could ever splurge on a $150 bottle with my elementary school teacher salary at the time, but I did find a way to scrape together thirty bucks or so for the Muga, a wine that I think represents the essence of what makes Spanish reds so attractive: their quality-to-value ratio. The 2011 Especial Reserve is the best of two worlds, in my opinion. It has fine tannins, a bit of earth, and a rusticity that should please Bordeaux lovers, but it has lush fruit, hints of oak, and a fleshiness that should appeal to those who like riper California reds. More importantly, it's a wine that extends over the party lines and unites all drinkers under one umbrella. I'd be hard-pressed to find a cab or merlot lover who didn't enjoy immensely the character of the tempranillo-dominated Muga. It's so versatile and friendly in so many ways. The point, however, is that I think Muga is a gateway wine. It's a wine that expands horizons and opens doors to exciting new worlds. Without Muga, I never would have found my way to K&L, that's for sure.

2014 Fonplégade, St-Émilion
Review Date: 03-06-2017
I was immediately taken in by this wine, both by the deep-fruited aromatics on the nose and the concentrated palate of rich fruit that lasted for over a minute on the finish. The price, however, doesn't seem to match up with the quality when it comes to Chateau Fonplegade, and when you learn about the location of the vineyards the discrepancy becomes even more compelling. All the fruit from Fonplegade comes from the south slope of St. Emilion and it backs up into Belair-Monage and Ausone, whose wines sell for a helluva a lot more than $34.99, let me tell you. Personally, I haven't had many experiences with Fonplegade, but this is a wine that instantly grabbed my attention at our last tasting with its depth and beauty. It's the kind of wine that makes you want to dig deeper into the storied wines of St. Emilion, which is exactly what I've been doing since tasting it.

2014 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 03-02-2017
Cantemerle hasn't made a bad vintage that I've ever tasted, yet the wines continue to fly under the radar of the mainstream. I think we've done everything we can do at this point to wave the winery's banner here at K&L and it appears our customers are taking the hint. This is serious Bordeaux for a not-so-serious price and the vintages will hold up in the cellar for decades of development. Our 2014 pricing is reflective of the initial reviews of the vintage, back after the harvest when the wines weren't quite showing their best. Two years later, we're seeing that our original assessments were not quite up to snuff. The 2014 is a great vintage and the Cantemerle is an absolute gem of a value from it. The fruit is focused and concentrated, balanced by firm tannins and plenty of structure. It's a classic claret for a price that seems silly considering its quality.

2014 Barde-Haut, St-Emilion
Review Date: 03-02-2017
With Helene Garcin behind the wheel, this is a property that I've started to buy each vintage regardless of the press. It's a hot value in St. Emilion where I often taste wines at triple the price that don't pack nearly the punch. The soft and supple fruit of the 2014 is more restrained than in riper vintages like 2009 and 2015, but that's actually quite a nice thing. The berries are dark and concentrated and the wine finishes with elegance, much like Helene herself.

2014 Malartic-Lagravière, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 03-02-2017
Malartic Lagraviere is one of about ten Bordeaux producers I would say is undervalued and underpriced given the quality of the wine over the last few years. They've been quietly making some of the best wines in Pessac Leognan and the quality in my opinion has been up there with Smith Haut Lafitte, but the price is about half. The 2014 is another example of that winemaking prowess. It's a beautifully balanced wine with equal parts fruit, minerality, and fine tannins. 2014 is going to be a vintage we look back on and wish we had bought more of for the cellar. This is going to be one of the wines I miss the most when it's gone.

2009 Talisker 6 Year Old "Old Malt Cask" Single Sherry Barrel Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 03-01-2017
Talisker isn't an easy whisky to track down in the private cask market, because Johnnie Walker covets every single drop of it. It's only been the last few years that we've seen that tight grasp loosen just a bit, allowing us to snag a few single casks for the store. This OMC version is by far the best we've ever located. It's absolutely brimming with flavors of the sea, all accented and made richer by the sherry influence from the cask. The fruit is chewy on the finish and the salty sea character turns the whole thing into salted caramel and subtle smoke. I could drink this all day long, over and over, and never get tired of it. This one's going to be a real fan favorite, especially for fans of Talisker who rarely get to try something new.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2009 Caol Ila 6 Year Old "Old Malt Cask" Single Sherry Barrel Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 03-01-2017
The nose on this young Caol Ila is absolutely haunting, eminating with seaweed, smoke, and freshly-cut peat, all bolstered by the fruit-forward malty character that I typically associate with the Island distillery. For those of you who swear by Johnnie Walker Black, this is the flavor that binds that whisky together. Caol Ila is the backbone to that whisky's core. Here, however, it's allowed to shine in an expression that's just old enough to showcase complexity, but also young enough to shine a spotlight on the best parts of youth. The smoke is bright, high-toned, and sultry. The sherry turns the sweet malt into a toasted almond note on the finish. The peat is clean and fragrant, rather than tired or marred by oak. This is a lovely whisky and it's one that's just as appropriate for spring as it is winter, in my opinion.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

1996 Allt-a-Bhainne 19 Year Old "Old Malt Cask" Single Sherry Barrel Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 03-01-2017
As the spirits guy here at K&L, I get a lot of emails from consumers (both who shop with K&L and abroad) asking about the availability of classic sherry aged whiskies like Macallan 18 and Glendronach 18; two rich and delightful whiskies that we used to sell in large quantities before the price hikes went into effect. While the new reality of Scotch pricing is old news to most of us at this point, there are still people out there suffering from sticker shock. It was only about six years ago that we were selling Macallan 18 for under $100 and getting single barrel cask strength selections from Glendronach for just above that price. Today, however, those whiskies (and similar options from other distilleries) are in the $160-$250 range due to the lack of mature, sherry-aged selections on the market. It's for that reason that I've spent the last two years digging deep into some of Scotland's oldest cellars, pulling out casks from distilleries that don't have the prestige or the pull, but do have the quality and the value. The Allt-a-Bhainne is another example of that hard work. Normally used as a component for Chivas, this is rich, spicy, and smooth sipping sherry aged single malt for a price that reminds me more of 2007 than 2017. I've been having a lot of fun with this Brexit pricing. I'm hoping you guys are enjoying it too!
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

2016 Kalinda Reserve North Coast Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 03-01-2017
I've tasted a lot of Kalinda wines over the years (there have been many memorable vintages), but I've never been personally more excited to drink this year's North Coast sauv blanc. While the wine was produced in Napa (and some of the fruit hails from there), over 50% of the crop is from Lake County where it didn't get nearly as hot, so the wine is fresh, crisp, and clean on the palate. Rather than the grassy notes of New Zealand, the minerality of Sancerre, or the richness of white Bordeaux, the Kalinda brings something uniquely Californian to the mix: a perfect palate of fresh stonefruit. This nose is bursting with nectarines. Everything about it makes me yearn for summer and the warm months ahead. There's a ripeness of fruit, but there's plenty of acidity and the wine finishes clean and dry. My colleague Ralph Sands and I were trying this together in the tasting bar, looking at one another in delight, and envisioning Giants baseball on a Sunday afternoon with a few bottles of this in the ice bucket. This is a home run for our Kalinda label.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$14.99

2015 Helen's Hill "Ingram's Road" Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Victoria
Review Date: 02-27-2017
I've seen great pinots from the southern hemisphere for under twenty bucks over the last year, but not estate-grown pinot noirs. The fruit at Helen's Hill is meticulously cared for by Allan Halder, a guy who is as passionate about viticulture as anyone I've ever met. The Ingram pinot is not only full of pure pinot flavor, it's fresh and lively on the palate in a way that I wish more Bourgogne rouge value options were. If you're looking for that great bottle of village level Burgundy but don't feel like spending $20+ for an unknown, this is as close to a sure thing as I've ever seen at K&L. I'm thrilled to be working directly with Helen's Hill and I think were on the verge of something very big with this initial release.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JH 94

2014 Powell & Son G-S-M Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 02-24-2017
This is another dynamo from our newly acquired Powell & Sons portfolio. The GSM is like a symphony of roasted meats, dark concentrated berry fruit, and peppery spice with rich and silky mouthfeel accented by dusty tannins and hints of earth on the finish. I can't say enough good things about all the Powell wines, but this one is the most seductive on the nose and palate. There's a lot going on and by the time I've satiated my thirst for more I'm finding the bottle is close to empty. A gangbuster of a GSM blend, pure and simple.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2014 Powell & Son Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 02-24-2017
As an advocate for all alcoholic specialties, I'm a big believer in understanding the essence of any particular style before criticizing it. I have to admit that I thought I understood the nature of all Barossa Valley shiraz years ago after getting hit over the head with high alcohol, big jammy fruit, and loads of sweetness. "This wine just isn't for me," I remember thinking. My colleague Ryan Woodhouse, our buyer for Australia, has enlightened me over the last few years however and forced me to rethink some of my former prejudices. The Powell & Son Barossa shiraz is definitely big and powerful, but at no point is it out of balance of heavy-handed. In fact, it's deeply-concentrated, explosive, and lush on the palate with gorgeous aromatics and plenty of meaty undertones. "This is what REAL Barossa shiraz should taste like," Ryan would go on to say. Now I've changed my tune completely. The Powell & Son wines offer bold flavors and incredible complexity to any wine drinker. Fans of zinfandel or smoky syrahs will want to grab a few of these. They're at the apex of the category in my humble opinion.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique Assemblage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-23-2017
This a fantastic new entry to our DI Champagne program that offers fresh and clean flavors balanced and buoyed by riper apple notes. It's both refreshing as an aperitif and satisfyingly full on the palate like I would expect from a fine cuvee. What's most important to note, however, is that the Neuville "Authentique" stands out from the pack of K&L selections I've grown accustomed to drinking over the years. It's snappier than the Aspasie Carte Blanche, fruitier than the Bonville Blanc de Blanc, and more complex than the Baron Fuente Grand Reserve; generally my three go-to bottles. I'm now adding the Neuville into that line-up as the fourth horseman as it's just so versatile. Also intriguing is the wine's origin from Sezanne; a part of Champagne I know nothing about, so it scratches an intellectual itch as well. A great find by Gary.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 90 WS 90

2014 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 02-03-2017
Domaine de Chevalier is one of my all-time favorite properties in Bordeaux, and that sentiment only intensified after visiting the property this past Spring. Not only were Olivier and his wife humble and charming hosts, their wines were just as enchanting. I like buying wine from people who I respect and admire. It always tastes better that way. To say that the 2014 Chevalier Rouge is subsequently better than any of the other vintages I've tasted would be difficult. I've never had a bad vintage from the property and it's one of the few wines from Bordeaux that I'd say I actually "collect." What is abundantly obvious is that the 2014 is significantly cheaper than its 2015 counterpart (at $65) and the 2012 we have in stock now ($55). The wine is easily as good as both those vintages and if you're looking for one of the last real values in Bordeaux, this is it (another reason why I grab bottles when I can afford to). With delicate aromas of red berries along with fine tannins and the classic acidity of Pessac-Leognan, this is a wine that should develop beautifully for decades. It's a wine that allows everyday guys like me to drink the good stuff every now and again; and, believe me, this is the good stuff. If you only buy one Bordeaux from 2014, I would say it's this.

Old Forester "1920 Prohibition Style" Kentucky Bourbon Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 02-03-2017
This was my favorite single Bourbon release of 2016 and I'm thrilled we were able to get another large allocation of it. Regardless of whether you want to get wrapped up in the story about how this was based on the Prohibition era recipe, there's no doubt about it: this is a delicious bottle of American whiskey and it easily stands out from the crowd of currently available options. There's a weight and a richness that coats the palate and the 115 proof brings plenty of punch with a flurry of baking spices. I love the graham crackery goodness as well. I don't taste a lot of Bourbons these days that really have a deeply concentrated flavor of dark grains. This has it in spades. Add this to your short list of new and exciting Bourbons right now.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2010 Tronquoy de St-Anne, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 02-02-2017
After introducing hundreds of in-store customers to the 2009 Tronquoy de St. Anne (a wine I personally bought more than a case of), it's time to introduce you to the next vintage: the beefier, sturdier, more powerful younger brother from 2010. While both vintages were critically-acclaimed, there's a huge difference between them. 2009 had all kinds of soft, silky fruit with fine tannins that did their job, but from the background. 2010 is like the reverse: the tannins are front and center and need time to get out of the way. But therein lies the beauty of the 2010 Tronquoy de St. Anne: you can decant it and drink it now, or you can sit on it for a few years and watch it get better. It's the best of both worlds, especially considering the provenance of this fruit. Owned by Chateau Montrose, it's a property that offers value far beyond the price. When's the last time you bought a sub-$20 St. Estephe from a classic vintage that could last a decade or more in the cellar?
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2014 Henri de Villamont Meursault "Clos du Cromin"
Review Date: 02-02-2017
Typically when I think of Meursault I picture creamy, rounded waves of riper fruit and toastier oak than what I might find in Chassagne and Puligny, but that's not the case at all with the 2014 Villamont "Clos du Cromin." If I had tasted this blind I might have said Montrachet, mostly because of the focused and laser-like acidity that keeps this wine moving from front to back. The fruit is much more delicate than I was expecting, almost citric in nature, and the nuance of the underlying flavors (toasted almonds and tropical fruits) are accented by a tasteful amount of oak. It's a lovely white Burgundy that moves with lithe elegance over the palate.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
DC 96

2010 Domaine A "petit a" Cabernet Sauvignon Tasmania
Review Date: 02-02-2017
This is Tazmanian cabernet, but--I promise you--submit this into a Bordeaux line-up and you'll have people guessing Phelan Segur or Pontet Canet. Bring it to a California tasting and they'll say Katheryn Kennedy. This is a serious, serious wine with dark and brooding mountain fruit flavors, a slight earthy and herbaceous underbelly, and plenty of guts for the long haul. I was stunned, to be honest. I went back it again and again, but the result was always the same. For the price, this is a steal. It's a lot cheaper than it should be.

2014 David & Nadia "Aristargos" White Blend Swartland
Review Date: 02-02-2017
For fans of the Sadie wines (like myself), consider this blend of white varietals a similar pleasure at a very reasonable price. The textural richness from the South African chenin blanc is on full display here with flinty, rocky, and stony flavors permeating that core from the terroir of the heavy granite soils. There's still plenty of lift from the acidity on the finish, which is simply wonderful. White wine enthusiasts like myself need to be drinking more white blends from South Africa--period. This wine is exhibit A.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
VN 91

2014 Pencarrow Pinot Noir (Palliser) Martinborough
Review Date: 02-02-2017
As pinot noir continues to cut into cabernet's red wine market dominance, the competition is getting fierce and the result is a larger selection of value-priced options with real pinot noir character. I can remember ten years ago when any pinot noir under twenty bucks likely tasted more like fruit juice than fresh cherries and forest floor. Today, however, you can get serious pinot noir for fifteen dollars and the best possible example of this new reality is the Pencarrow, a direct import gem discovered by our buyer Ryan Woodhouse. It's packed with juicy black cherry flavors and a lush mouthfeel with foresty and earthy elements that remind me more of Beaune or Marsannay than California. Those looking for easy drinking Bourgogne Rouge might want to look here. Those looking for value will definitely want to load up.

2015 Pencarrow Sauvignon Blanc (Palliser) Martinborough
Review Date: 02-02-2017
When I first started working at K&L, the Patient Cottat was the great $10 sauvignon blanc; a Sancerre-like bargain bottle from the Loire. While I still think it's a great deal, it's no match for the Pencarrow. At $10.99, this lovely little find by our buyer Ryan Woodhouse has firmly cemented itself as the clean, crisp, and overachieving white wine bargain of the future. While it's from New Zealand, the fruit is from a stony flood plain in Marlborough and the result is a Sancerre-like minerality in the wine (even more so than the Patient Cottat). For those who like zippy, fresh, and lip-smacking sauvignon blanc, this is your new bottle. All hail the new king of Tuesday night: Pencarrow.

1990 Montrose, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 02-01-2017
The 1990 Montrose isn't just a 100 point wine, it's a 100 point wine from an era when Bordeaux was still in its old school phase. There was less pressure back then to make a modern and consumable product, one with ripe fruit and silky tannins that that masses could easily embrace. When you drink the 1990 Montrose, you get a level of secondary depth and complexity that I rarely taste in modern era Bordeaux. There are delicate herbal nuances, hints of violets, and an essence of cassis so pure and fragile that it almost dances across the palate. We had a bottle at dinner after the UGC tasting this past January, and even having tasted a number of great Bordeaux that afternoon, the 1990 Montrose still stood head and shoulders above the rest. It's a supreme wine from a supreme vintage, and it's a wine that truly merits both the price and the reputation. More importantly, it's a wine with a long, long future ahead of it. That's what any 100 point wine should offer.
Price: $499.99 Add To Cart
RP 100

2014 Jax "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 01-31-2017
If I had to pick my number one California winery to watch in 2017, it would be Jax. Kimberly Jackson-Wickam's work ethic and commitment to both quality and drinkability is unmatched right now in the local game. She's running circles around other people with her ground game. She and her family have worked tirelessly to create a modern iteration of Napa that speaks to the quality and integrity of the last four decades while keeping prices reasonable and offering something a little more flashy to today's younger generation. The Jax Napa Estate Cab is the ultimate crossover wine, made in an almost post-modern style (which I would call modernity with restraint). I left a bottle at my parents' house one time and they called me back later in the week asking me if I could get more. Around the same time, I brought my wife's 23 year old cousin to their winery and he thought the cabernet was the most delicious thing he had ever tasted. It doesn't matter who you pour this wine for, the result is always the same: people love it. It's structured, but smooth. It's powerful, yet there's finesse. It's fleshy and dark fruited, but there's more than just fruit underneath. It's everything Napa has to be if it wants to continue connecting with a new generation of California wine drinkers. Most importantly, it's accessible. Bravo!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 WE 90

2014 Clos Bellane Côtes du Rhône-Villages Valréas
Review Date: 01-22-2017
Both of the Clos Bellane wines we have right now drink well beyond their standard "Cotes du Rhone" classification. The Valreas in particular tastes much more like a Crozes-Hermitage or Chateauneuf du Pape with concentrated dark fruit flavors, plenty of spice, leather, and pepper from the syrah. Personally, I've been at the point where the standard 90 point CdR have all started blurring together. In a sea of quaffable value wines the Bellane stands out big time. It offers depth and pureness of flavor of a kind we rarely see for less than twenty bucks.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 - 92

2013 John Duval "Plexus" SGM Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 01-20-2017
This is not the jammy Shiraz from Barossa you had from that bottle of Yellowtail back in 2002. Far from it. This is a dark, brooding, dense, and intriguing expression from John Duval that showcases the intensity and the vigor of what the best parcels in the Barossa Valley can bring to a wine, but without any of the sweetness or the overpowering alcohol. The black and blue fruits are pronounced, yet restrained. There's a meatiness there, but it's merely an undercurrent. The finish is ripe, but simultaneously earthy with soft tannins. I love it when we offer wines that break from the mass market expectations. This is Barossa like you've never tasted it. It's a wine that makes you stand up and take notice.

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: Hidden View Price

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

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

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

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 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

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