Staff Favorites - Kaj Stromer

Kaj Stromer

Reviews

2016 Tenshen Central Coast White Blend
Review Date: 07-12-2018
I’ve been a fan of this wine for the last couple of years. It’s an excellent alternative to Chardonnay for when you want something a little different but still slightly familiar. Lovers of Rhone-style white wines appreciate how this mélange of grapes come together to create something much bigger than the sum of its parts. The Viognier brings the wild aromatics, the Roussanne a touch of nutty earthiness, the Grenache Blanc with its bright melon fruit flavors, and finally the Chardonnay ties it all together. The wine is complex, balanced, and lively. It is amazingly food friendly but will serve as an aperitif just as well.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JD 92

2017 Bodegas Colomé Torrontes Valle Calchaquí Salta
Review Date: 07-12-2018
This might just be the single most complex white wine in the store for under $10. You’re immediately greeted by the charming aromatics Torrontes is so well known for. Peaches, apricots, and a touch of honey emit from the glass. The wine is clean and pure on the palate with stone fruits taking center stage. I really enjoyed the texture of the wine which offers a light grip reminiscent of peach skin. The wine tastes like a much more expensive white wine from Alsace.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
DC 93 JS 91

2015 Fontesteau, Haut-Medoc
Review Date: 07-12-2018
I agree with my esteemed colleague Greg St. Clair that this wines savory character is proudly on full display here. This is a particularly strong showing for Fontesteau. This is the perfect opportunity for the uninitiated to wade into the Bordeaux waters while not spending too much money or getting a wine that needs 10+ years in the cellar. The wine is well-balanced and can hold a light chill making it a summer-time sipping Bordeaux. Don’t over think this wine; it’s delicious, it’s accessible now, and would pair perfectly with a cheeseburger off the grill. This is my kind of Bordeaux.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2015 Domaine de l'Enchantoir "Le Pied à L'Étrier" Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame Rouge
Review Date: 07-12-2018
Don’t be fooled by the long name. This easy-to-like Cabernet Franc is the perfect example of why this grape is so revered in the central Loire Valley appellation. The aromatics of this wine immediately draw you in. I love the combination of red berry fruit, a touch of meatiness, and a whiff of smoky tobacco. The wine is medium weight, perfectly balanced, and has a savory character that keeps you coming back for more. It will hold a light chill making it super versatile as a summer red. This is easily one of the most enjoyable Cab Francs I’ve tried all week!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2017 Domaine Louis Moreau Petit Chablis
Review Date: 07-12-2018
I generally believe that Petit Chablis should consumed young and only when in France. However, this offering from Louis Moreau has me rethinking that position. I was very impressed by the classic Chablis character of this wine. This is a clean and fruit driven wine. It's 100% tank fermented and clocks in at a mere 12.5% alcohol making it a contender for my "wine of the summer". This is a thirst quenching and refreshing wine that will pair well with simple meals and backyard lounging. As they say, it drinks well above its weight class.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2016 Pence Ranch Estate Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-12-2018
Blair Pence may have fallen in love with Burgundy, but it's in the Sta. Rita Hills where he creates Pinot Noirs that are inspired by the complexity of the Cote d’Or but balanced by the warmth of the California sun. Notes of wood spice, red and black cherries, are all crafted into one juicy but complex wine. I can’t think of another Pinot Noir from the Sta. Rita Hills that I've like more at this price point. Truth be told, I can’t think of another Sta. Rita Hills appellation Pinot Noir for less than $20. This is a best buy and one to buy by the case.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 WE 92

2015 Martin Ray Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-04-2018
The Martin Ray winery has been turning out some of the best-value, high-quality California wines every vintage. This particular Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a great example. By sourcing from select vineyard sites throughout Napa Valley, they’re able to craft amazingly delicious Cabernet that have all the hallmarks of much more expensive wines. The fruit for this bottling comes from various valley floor vineyard sites as well as some choice hillside selections on Diamond Mountain. I’ve long been a fan of the Martin Ray wines. My first introduction was the 1997 vintage Saratoga Cuvée which turned out to be one of the best selling Cabernets of the year. The quality, price, and value were without peer. The 2014 vintage was one of our top selling Cabernet’s of last year. The 2015 is its worthy successor. The wine possesses all that dark cassis, black berry, and floral notes you’d expect from wines costing well above $50. Layers of ripe Mulberry, wild violets and spice are framed by well-structured tannins and just a dusting of French oak.
Drink from 2018 to 2018
Price: $25.99 Add To Cart
JS 91

2015 Ritual Chardonnay Casablanca Valley
Review Date: 07-03-2018
Local hero and winemaker Rodrigo Soto is backed up by legendary winemaker Paul Hobbs. Together the two have access to some amazing vineyards. The grapes are organically grown and and harvested with minimal intervention allowing the fruit to come into the winery as naturally as possible. Fermentation is done using only native yeasts. The result is a sexy spiced apple aromatic that invites the taster into this best-buy Chardonnay. The wine has green apple and hazelnut notes with a hint of oak and vanilla. Really quite a pleasant glass of wine.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 93

2015 Feudi di San Gregorio "Rubrato" Aglianico Irpinia
Review Date: 07-03-2018
This wine crept up on me like an elegant Caremma from the northern Piedmont. Though the grape here is Aglianico, not Nebbiolo, I could see how they can be cut from a similar cloth. The wines color may be a lighter shade of red but don’t be fooled. The power and intensity of the grape is clearly on display. Sour cherry, roasted herbs, and ripe but firm tannins greet the taster. I especially enjoyed the hint of pepper and spice on the finish. This is a must have for more rustic, country style dishes.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
JS 95 WE 90

2015 Robert Oatley Chardonnay Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 07-03-2018
I was impressed how this wine marries its crisp and lively acidity with the medium to full bodied richness. It delivers on the classic apple, pear, and peach notes but also offers a deft touch of oak which introduces some creaminess. The Margaret River has a solid reputation for creating excellent white wines. This is really quite a bit of wine for this price point.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JH 95 WE 91

2012 Louise Brison Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-03-2018
This bottling is my first introduction to the wines of Louise Brison and I can now see how they fit into our Champagne program. Stylistically the wines go straight down the middle. They are neither that crisp, taught, nervy style nor are they over-the-top yeasty, bread dough, and brioche. Instead, this champagne is more classically vinous in style highlighting the fruit aspect of the wine. A refreshing change of pace. Equal split between Chardonnay and Pinot Noir give this wine great balance and complexity.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2016 Clos de la Bonnette "Roches d'Arbuel" Condrieu
Review Date: 06-28-2018
Condrieu is ground zero for the world’s greatest expression of Viognier. Several of the Rhone’s greatest wines come from this hallowed land. The Roches d’Arbuel bottling from Clos de la Bonnette is a wonderful demonstration of the grape's most beguiling characteristics. Hints of peach, honeysuckle, apricot and orange zest ooze from the glass. There is plenty of bracing acidity to keep the wine lively and fresh on the palate. I was particularly impressed with this bottling. The wine is quite savory today for present enjoyment but could offer a few years in the bottle for added pleasure.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 JD 90

2015 Savage "White" Western Cape
Review Date: 06-26-2018
This is one of the most compelling and delicious white wines I’ve ever tried from South Africa. The blend of four varietals creates such a unique wine where each gets its chance to shine yet they fall beautifully in line to create something new. Initially it reminded me of a quality white Bordeaux but with time it was obvious it stood as its own unique wine; perhaps like the famed Remelluri Rioja Blanco. It has intense aromatics of citrus, herbs, and white flowers followed by stone fruits (peaches!), almond notes, and baking spices. The wine closes with a long savory finish which leaves you craving the next sip. Bravo!

2017 Zudugarai "Amats" Rosé Getariako Txakolina
Review Date: 06-26-2018
The white wines of the Basque region are renowned for the their thirst quenching Muscadet / Picpoul-like character. These wines have long served as the local liquid to wash down the exceptional harvest from the sea. With laser-like focus and pin point precision this wine offers up zesty citrus and floral notes. A pinch of CO2 greets the taster followed by brisk lemon, apple, and a lovely floral component. A tray full of fresh shrimp or sardines would go splendidly with this wine.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2011 Foundi "Estate" Xinomavro Naoussa Greece
Review Date: 06-19-2018
The Greek wine renaissance is in full swing and more and more compelling wines are hitting the US market. I was especially taken by this engaging Xinomavro. This particular grape reminds of the regal Nebbiolo. Perhaps a baby Barbaresco? With an aromatic lift that engages the senses, the red berry and herbal nose follow on the palette with a gentle dusting of faint tannins. The wine would be the perfect accompaniment to grilled lamb chops with rosemary and a splash of olive oil. Another tremendous value driven wine of character and quality.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 95 DC 91

2012 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 06-19-2018
If you're craving a Brunello di Montalcino on a Thursday night but don't have access to your vast private wine locker, stop by your local, friendly K&L wine shop for a few bottles of this majestic red. Long barrel aging and warm vintage conspire to produce a wine of generous proportion that has all the telltale notes of Brunello without requiring long term aging. Pour the wine into a decanter, wait 30 minutes, serve your dinner, drink up. Red and black cherry along with a brambly note inspired by the rugged Montalcino hillsides make this an easy-to-like style ready to drink now.

2015 Bodegas Abanico Hazaña Viñas Viejas Rioja
Review Date: 06-19-2018
I've been an ardent fan of Spanish wine for almost as long as I've been in the business. For my money, it's hard to beat the value that can be had from so many of Spain's wine growing regions. Most of all, I'm a hard core fan of Rioja. The historic growing area is renowned as Spain's finest and for good reason. The silky smoothness of Tempranillo is almost Burgundian. The texture and complexity in this wine is augmented by the addition of 15% Graciano, a local varietal that adds a touch of rustic earthiness that reminds of Rioja's rugged and gorgeous landscape.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart
JD 91

2016 Kaiken "Ultra" Malbec Mendoza Las Rocas
Review Date: 06-19-2018
Malbec fever swept the nation several years ago. Its robust nature and smooth texture made it a natural fan favorite. Over time, the fever may have tempered slightly but in the right hands, like the legendary Montes family, the argument for Malbec is strong. Precise wine making along with premium Mendoza vineyards combine to make the stunning Ultra Malbec from Kaiken. I was most impressed by its suave and balanced nature. The wines pedigree is revealed by red and black fruits along with a dusting of distant oak and a hint of cocoa. Together they belie the exceptionally low price point. This has a tremendous quality-to-price ratio and is just a delicious, versatile wine.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 94

2013 Rymill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra South Australia
Review Date: 06-14-2018
I was drawn into this wine from the very first moment I put my nose in the glass. The aromatics burst forth from the glass and scream out its unique deliciousness. I was especially intrigued by the tandem aromatics of black berry pie, eucalyptus, and a hint of wood spice. The dark berry aroma dominates followed by that classic Australian hint of menthol. The wine possesses bold power on the palate and coats the tongue with brambly fruit and a dusting of properly integrated tannins. The finish is long and cool. This wine is a must have for all lovers of bold reds. I’d suggest it could easily go head-to-head with any comparable wine in the $30 to $40 range. I’m impressed and I’m sold.

2015 Guy Farge "Harmonie" Cornas
Review Date: 05-28-2018
When I last toured the vineyards of Cornas, I was taken aback by the steep and rugged nature of the hill. The antiquity and the rusticity of the area attest to some of the most authentic wines-of-place one will come across in France. The Harmonie cuvee from Guy Farge channels all of the potential of the land into one of the finer, more elegant, and flat out delicious bottles of Cornas I’ve tasted in recent memory. This wine is another stunner sourced through our direct import program. Dark, brooding, and deeply aromatic with hints of cassis and blackberry fruit. This is a real crowd pleaser while remaining true to its origin.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
JD 94 RP 91

2015 Malescasse, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 05-24-2018
This is the kind of wine that will have flocks of new wine lovers running to Bordeaux. If the regions reputation has suffered over the years from being considered too expensive, only built for aging, or just too stuffy…well think again. For a mere $20.00 this bottle delivers all the red wine deliciousness you could ever dream of. The wine critics all agree that this wine is one of the best values from the much ballyhooed 2015 vintage and I couldn’t agree more. There’s plenty of sexy upfront fruit supported by that classic Bordeaux structure. Best of all, you can drink this wine immediately as the style is extremely user friendly. If you’re Bordeaux curious but overwhelmed by choices and the fancy names, this is a great place to start.

2016 Les Freres Perroud "Vieilles Vignes" Brouilly
Review Date: 05-17-2018
While the 2015 vintage for Beaujolais produced wines of structure and depth, the 2016 vintage yielded wines that emphasize elegance and grace. The slightly cooler vintage favors villages like Brouilly and Fleurie. This tandem of towns has produced tremendous buzz in the wine world over the last few years. The old vine bottling from Les Freres Perroud displays all of the hallmarks of great Brouilly; crunchy red fruit, medium body, just a hint of tannic grip, and a long clean finish comprised of fresh strawberries and herbs. It is remarkably food friendly and its versatility is without peer.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
VN 90

2016 Domaine Jean-Marc Boillot Bourgogne Blanc
Review Date: 05-16-2018
This is unbridled white Burgundy born from genuine Puligny roots. The Boillot family has proven time and again, that they have a deft touch for crafting some of the Cote’s finest white Burgundies. On the nose the wine offers up roasted hazelnuts, bright apple, zesty lime, and just a touch of wood spice. It’s a dead ringer for a village level Puligny. The wine undergoes full malolactic fermentation in oak barrels, of which 1/3rd is new. This kind of treatment is usually reserved for pricier bottles, but it is Jean-Marc’s goal to make rich, full-bodied Chardonnay’s that over delivers for the price.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart

2017 Chateau Vitallis Macon-Fuissé
Review Date: 05-16-2018
Once upon a time, wine shops were filled with these classic yet casual bistro wines. However, over the last decade, I’ve noticed a lack of value driven Macon wines. But thanks to the aggressive nature of our Burgundy buying team, K&L has an amazing assortment to offer. The Macon-Fuisse from Vitallis embodies the spirit and flavor of a wine you’d pour from a carafe while feasting on a perfectly baked whole chicken with a side salad. Green apple, pear, and a touch of peach round out this clean, pure Chardonnay. This is one solid, pleasing wine.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2014 Bedouet "Expression du Pallet Vieilles Vignes" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie
Review Date: 05-15-2018
The coastline along Malibu is filled with casual outdoor seafood restaurants. I frequent these locations on my day off (Monday) and Muscadet is my common companion. Watching the waves while feasting on fresh fish requires refreshment and the simple glory of Muscadet is hard to beat. While some may consider these wine as a mere simple refresher, it’s obvious that if you go deeper, the better producers craft superior wines that will catch your attention. The clean purity of this wine reminds me of the finest Finnish mineral water, with salinity, a spritz of citrus, and a lightly waxy texture. With some aeration, the wine becomes more and more complex.
Price: Hidden View Price

2016 Kalinda "Lot 2" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-15-2018
During my many years as a wine merchant, one of my top priorities has been making sure my clients have access to a high quality, value-driven Cabernet Sauvignon; preferably from Napa Valley. The Lot #2 bottling from Kalinda is just that wine. It possesses the perfect combination of red and black fruit with the proper amount of structure and grip. I reviewed this wine against several more expensive alternatives. Time and again I came back to the Lot # 2 as my go-to wine. It embodies precisely what you seek when the situation calls for a casual mid-week red or if you’re entertaining a group. Leave your Dunn’s and Montalena’s in the cellar for another year. Open a bottle of Kalinda Lot # 2 instead. You’ll be glad you did.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$19.99

2017 Domaine la Colombe Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé
Review Date: 05-15-2018
Rosé season has begun and our latest container carrying the finest selections from Europe has landed just in time. While I am a booster of drinking rosé all year round, spring time does augur in the new releases. The Domaine la Colombe was the first of many rosés I’ve tasted over the last month and it immediately set the tone. The wine embodies the classic spirit of the season. It’s a wholly unpretentious, poolside sipping wine. It is a lip smacking, refreshing style rosé, that glides across the palate and with a lightly savory finish encouraging the next sip. Rose petal, spring berries, and a touch of watermelon grace the mineral driven finish. Put a case of this in the pantry and plan on serving it regularly.
Price: $12.99 Add To Waiting List