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K&L Staff Recommendations
A K&L Direct Import! Jesús Puelles is one of the most talented vignerons in Rioja. Hailing from a long line of vineyard worker/owners, Puelles knows the terruño in his little slice of land in the Rioja Alta town of Abalos. All of the grapes for his red wines come from his own 26 hectares, which are generally north facing and located between 300 and 600 meters in altitude, all within the village of Abalos, very rare in a region where sourcing from various villages and even sub-zones is more the norm. Produced from primarily estate fruit (Tempranillo, with... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From the last vintage where the vineyard was managed by Wes Hagen, the 2014 Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard sports a deep ruby color as well as serious ripeness in its big, exuberant, black fruit, black raspberries, roasted herbs and overflowing spice aromas and flavors. Drink this petal to the metal, yet always balanced and still fresh Pinot Noir anytime over the coming 4-5 years. It’s always a blast to taste with Brian Loring, and these latest releases are rock solid. Brian called 2014 the best vintage since 2010, going on to say the vintage offered b ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Complex aromas of sliced apples, lemon curd and hot stones. Medium to full body, beautiful fruit and a bright finish. I like the layered texture to this." (11/2016)
Based in the Rioja Alavesa town of Samaniego, Ostatu has worked diligently to fine tune the style of their rosado and truly has produced one of our favorite, everyday value pink wines from Spain over the past few vintages. A blend of Tempranillo with some Garnacha and Viura, this rosé's gently hued pink color suggests a light touch and relatively quick skin maceration, as does its fresh, lively, red fruited profile. This is a big gulp type of wine, delicious on its own or with charcuterie, cheeses, veges and aioli, grilled fish, cured anchovies, roasted ... Read More »
The product that put Fever Tree on the map. Their tonic water is crystal clear with a citrus perfume that carries over to the palate to balance the natural bitterness of quinine. It's also got lots of bubbles, making it a refreshing complement to brighten the taste of your favorite cocktail. About Fever Tree: "Following a 'tonic tasting' in 2000 to find the best on the U.S. market, Charles Rolls--who had built his reputation running Plymouth Gin--joined forces with Tim Warrillow, who had a background in luxury food marketing, to analyze the composition o... Read More »
96 points Bob Campbell: "*Five Stars* From a clay and fragmented limestone soils of a vineyard in North Waipara. Around 35% whole-bunches were used to give structure and intensity. An impressively complex wine, with a mix of cherry, plum and chalky/mineral flavors, with a more savory, baked earth, dried herb character. Nicely structured so the wine is accessible but promises to age well." (1/2015) 94 points James Suckling: "I like the florals to this dark, burgundy-colored pinot such as the rose and violet perfumes as well as crushed roses. This is a pinot with some earthy nuances too and a very attractive ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "More ripe and decadent than the 2013, the 2012 Costières de Nîmes Lou Coucardie (49% Mourvèdre, 35% Grenache and the balance Syrah) is a big, mouth-filling effort that gives up loads of chewy black raspberry, black currants, smoked earth and pepper. Full-bodied, concentrated and dense, yet still showing elegance and purity, it has some rustic tannin that needs a year or two to integrate and will be at its best from 2016-2024. (JD)" (1/2015) 92 points Vinous: "Deep ruby. Black raspberry, vanilla, black pepper and candied flowers on the highly fragrant nose. Offers palate-stai ...Read More »
90 points Vinous: "Honeydew, fennel and lily-of-the-valley on the nose are joined by crunchy evocations of cucumber and cress on a bright yet subtly creamy palate that features positively invigorating phenolic cut as well as alluring inner-mouth perfume. Ore-like, stony intrigue lies beneath the surface of a buoyant, consummately refreshing finish. And this harmonious ripeness was ready for picking in mid-September, for a finished alcohol level of only 11.8 percent. Ott continues to purchase some fruit for this bottling from parcels whose organic farming and eventual harve ...Read More »
The most approachable and affordable of Cain's production, the NV cuvees possess a certain kind of "old world" rustic charm not usually found in wines from the Napa Valley today. For a Bordeaux-lover branching out to California wines, or a California connoisseur seeking something different than your go-to Cab, the NV12 is well worth a try. Merlot 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 32%, Cabernet Franc 10%, Petit Verdot 4%, Malbec 4%.
100 points Decanter: "A captivating bouquet of violets, lilac, black fruit, blood orange and meaty soil tones is striking for its extravagent range and amplitude; and on the palate, the wine is three-dimensional, sophisticatedly savoury, and massive but refined. Tod Mostero remarks that, having crafted the 2013 Dominus, he can die happy as a winemaker. Selection here was especially rigorous, as the team wanted to realise the vintage's unparalleled potential as fully as possible, so only 3,500 cases were produced. A special label commemorates the 30th anniversary of Dominus Es ...Read More »
In the early 1990s, Pine Ridge crafted this unusual and delectable blend as an experimental bottling, creating one of their most beloved and popular wines. This unique marriage of two varietals that would never share the same bottle in their native France unites the crisp, honeyed fruit of Chenin Blanc with the plush body and juicy stone fruit notes of Viognier, for a wine that is both sophisticated and easy to enjoy.
This ultra hoppy, ultra dank, west coast IPA features huge amounts of whole cone 07270 hops as well as Citra, Mosaic, and Ella in the dry hop.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Laurent-Perrier NV Brut is a blend of 50% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 15% Meunier, and is based on 2009 plus 15-30% reserve wines from two or three vintages. Citrus colored, this signature LP has a refined, fresh and elegant nose with brioche and delicate citrus flavors. Lean, refined and elegant on the palate, this is a dry and silky textured, vivacious, and perfectly fresh and balanced aperitif Champagne. It does not have the opinion-dividing thrill and tension of the Ultra Brut, but will probably find more friends. (SR)" (3/2016) 90 points Wine & Spirits: "This wine’s fres ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "This has impressive ripe stone fruits on the nose with peaches, mangoes, melon and cherries. Really upbeat and attractive purity. The palate follows the same thread of fruit characters with a clever balance of flesh and crunch, a bright finish and good balance. A blend of roughly equal thirds of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier." (10/2016) 91 points Wine Spectator: "This bright Champagne is sleek and mouthwatering, with tightly knit flavors of glazed apricot, biscuit, nectarine and verbena. Clean-cut and lacy on the finish. (AN)" (11/2016) 90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light, bright gold. Fresh red berries ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "The perfect proof. Rich in color, aroma, and flavor. It begins with powerful caramel, baking spice, chocolate, cherries, cinnamon, and toffee. Then nuance and complexity. Honey, jalapeño, rosemary, crème brûlée, malt, and fruit, from the spicy citrus of grapefruit to prunes and dried apricots. Hard to believe this is over 100 proof, as you never sense the strength challenging you to find what’s next amidst the subtlety. Extremely long finish with cherry, cinnamon, and caramel. Value Pick. (FM, Winter 2016)" K&L Notes: As one of the few distilleries allowed to remain ... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "The producer pulls from its estate Su'skol Vineyard for this wine, which opens in an aromatic flirtation of sweet honeysuckle, revealing the site's abundance of musqué clone. Crisp on the entry and midpalate, it shows a full-bodied style as it opens—notes of pear and fig are wrapped between spicy nutmeg and a viscous bite of oak on the finish. (VB)" (3/2017) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Readers looking for one of the big-time sleepers of the vintage, and a great value, need look no further than the 2014 Chardonnay Estate Napa. This is 100% Chardonnay from Napa and it sells for a song ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of dried tobacco leaf, toast, oak and underbrush lead the nose. The bright, approachable palate offers black cherry, espresso and star anise alongside fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity. (KO)" (11/2016) Wine Spectator: "Black cherry fruit is framed by toasty oak in this firm, dense red. Modern in style, with energy and balance, finishing with dusty tannins. Drink now through 2019. (BS)" (8/2016)
90 points Wine Spectator: "Fragrant and succulent, with melon, lime and passion fruit flavors accented by spice and orange sherbet hints. Features a smooth, supple frame and juicy accents. Drink now. (MW)" (11/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is a blend of 79% Sauvignon Blanc and 21% Semillon. It offers attractive notes of melon, fig and caramelized citrus, and has a texture more akin to Chardonnay than Sauvignon. It also has a very long finish. This is a top flight Sauvignon Blanc to drink over the next several years. (RP)" (12/2016) K&L Notes: 79% Sauvignon Blanc, 21% Sémillon
90 points Wine Spectator: "*Best Values* All the pieces fall into place, with lime, mango and green apple flavors that are bright and juicy, revealing a touch of pineapple on the vivid, bright finish. (MW)" (10/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Mohua Sauvignon Blanc gives a nose of fresh pears, green apples and white peaches with hints of white pepper, wet pebbles and capsicum. Light-bodied with just enough flavor intensity and a crisp backbone and finish, it is a simple, straight-up crowd-pleaser. (LPB)" (12/2015)
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "Rich, fruity and enticing, this sweet vermouth is warmed with notes of fig and dried cherries, and just faint hints of spiced gingerbread and bitter orange peel. Drinkable solo as an apéritif, or use it as a cocktail-mixing favorite. (KN)" (4/2014) K&L Notes: Carpano's Antica Formula, from the original recipe developed by Antonio Benedetto Carpano in 1786, is a sweet vermouth of the highest quality. This distinctive and powerful aromatized wine should be considered a standard component in any respectable bar. It can be served chilled as an aperitivo, a digestivo or a... Read More »
90 points Vinous: "Pale straw. Easygoing aromas and flavors of lemon, apple and fresh white flowers complicated by a delicate hint of ginger. Bright and juicy, offering noteworthy lift and a strong saline slant to the juicy, long back end. Sneaky concentration here. (ID)" (12/2016)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Merlot Barrel Select ratchets up things rather nicely, with more mocha, black cherry fruit, slightly more body, deeper color and more substance and depth. This wine should turn out to be quite nice. (RP)" (10/2014)
Fürst makes this easy-going white to be delightful as a picinic wine or aperitif. It is made in a feinherb style which means it's a whisker off-dry, but to be honest doesn't show any notable sweetness at all. Elbling is a historic vinifera grape varietal that was cultivated primarily in the Mosel Valley since Roman times and eventually spread to dominate the extensive plantings of medieval Germany. Very few producers are left making wines from this varietal but Fürst take theirs very seriously and this is a fantastic bottle of wine. Ultimately quaffable,... Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "***Editors' Choice*** Made with 85% Nerello Mascalese and 15% Nerello Cappuccio, this radiant red boasts a beautiful fragrance of blue and red flower, ripe berry, cake spice and aromatic herb. The radiant, delicious palate doles out layers of juicy black cherry, raspberry compote, cinnamon, white pepper and clove while a mineral note backs up the lingering finish. It's young but balanced, with bright acidity and tightly wound but refined tannins. (KO)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: #3 Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Wines for 2016: Nerello Cappuccio – Nerello Mascalese is a blend ... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is an impressive blend of 45% Merlot with 25% estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah from Stagecoach Vineyard and 10% Biale Zinfandel. It comes together seamlessly in a twist of structured blackberry, leathery tannin and tomato leaf, priced to be enjoyed by many." (3/2017) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A terrific value and an amazing sleeper of the vintage is the 2014 Y3 Taureau Proprietary Red, a mélange of 45% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah and 10% Zinfandel. This is a steal at $20, and Napa could certainly use more wines that are creatively put together like this ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* The initial aroma is sweetish, winey and oaky; aeration allows the aroma to expand to include marzipan, treacle, molasses, honey, vanilla bean, cinnamon and cocoa butter. The palate entry is sweet, creamy and assertive; at midpalate the flavor becomes intensely nutty, buttery and bacon fat-like, with the beginnings of rancio. Remains one of Speyside's standard-bearer 12 year olds." (4/2008) K&L Notes: In his book, Kindred Spirits, international whisky authority Paul Pacult describes The Macallan 12 as "simply the best 12 Year Old single malt around," and w... Read More »
From the distillery of Enrique Fonseca, the man behind the legendary K&L Fuenteseca, comes this value-priced label of liter-sized tequila that seems almost too good to be true. I'm willing to bet we'll have a problem selling the Cimarron selections, rather than the ridiculous success we should experience, simply because people will wonder why it's so cheap? Don't let the price tag sway you, however -- this is clean, fresh, easy-drinking tequila made from 100% agave that is definitely up to Enrique's high standards. The reposado is mellow and soft on the ... Read More »
The chance to work with Michel Couvreur on a special K&L whisky project was something that David and I had been dreaming of for years. We had heard the stories. This crazy Belgian had moved to Burgundy in the '60s, carved out a wine cellar inside a mountain, only to fill it with Scottish single malt whisky instead of Pinot Noir. He set up camp in Beaune, ordered new-make spirit to be delivered by tanker, and drove down to Jerez himself, selecting his own sherry butts to insure only the finest quality casks for his contracted spirit. Unfortunately, Michel... Read More »
A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc, this intense yet balanced wine offers blackcurrant, cherries, clove, toasted oak, and cocoa. Brambly, rich, supple yet firm, this lovely will bring pleasure tonight or for years to come.
These OBSVs are becoming harder to find every day. The distillery probably makes more of this recipe than any other because it is used in their flagship "Single Barrel" product. Nonetheless we see this recipe very infrequently when tasting at the distillery. So when they roll one out to be bottled at Cask Strength we take note. It's even better when we get in there and taste a real stunner. OBSV is generally very good and it's a profile we love, with tons of fruit and tons of spice, and a rich creamy texture. Fits right in that profile and will likely se... Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top 50 Spirits of 2011* There’s no mistaking this classic apéritif, from the vibrant melted lipstick-red color to the distinctive signature bitter finish, clean, clear and strong. It’s high, bitter and faintly floral-fruity in scent. Americanos and Negronis wouldn’t be the same without this jewel-like spirit. (KN)" (12/2011) K&L Notes: The classic bar staple is a must have for any serious drinker. The producer explains the well-guarded secret to Campari's success: "A unique and unmistakable recipe has characterized Campari, the aperitif par excellence, for over 150... Read More »
In the 1960s, Heitz Wine Cellars was part of the new wave of the Napa Valley, and their sought-after Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was perhaps one of the first "cult" Cabs. Today, Heitz is better known as one of the "old guard" of Napa, hewing to a classic and balanced style of Cabernet that's aged for half of its elevage in large oak ovals and tanks--the way it was in decades past. Producer Note: "Our 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet encapsulates the freshness of a near-perfect growing season. Aromas of fresh-picked blackberry and cassis abound from thi... Read More »
Albarino is the perfect summer white, but its naturally crisp acidity and peachy citrus flavors make it enjoyable year-round as an aperitif or paired with a variety of foods, particularly shellfish and seafood. It hails from the Rias Baixas zone of Gallicia, on the northwest coast of Spain. Walk through any given fishing village along the "rias" (fjords) in this beautiful, cool, maritime-influenced region and you will find fresh grilled "pulpo" (octopus) vendors at every corner! A classic Albarino nose of white peach, citrus and mineral aromas gives way ... Read More »
From the leading producer of "cru" wines in Northern Rhône, this deep and supple wine displays seductive aromas of blackberry, currant and baking spice, with a hint of licorice. Wine Advocate praised the producer: "I continue to consider Cave de Tain to be one of the best co-ops in the world, and they make a bevy of truly outstanding wines. This is in part, I’m sure, due to their incredible, state of the art cellar/winery that is located on the outskirts of Tain l’Hermitage. In addition, they have a terrific vineyard management and winemaking team." (11/... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "#63 2016 Wine Spectator Top 100: There's a rich, mouthfilling quality to this medium-bodied red, offering a velvety mix of spiced cherry, mulberry and herbed olive, with accents of mocha and graphite. Plush tannins show on the juicy finish. Drink now through 2021." (12/2016)
Amicone is made from predominantly Corvina grapes (same grapes that go into Amarone) but are dried for a shorter period and on the vine not on mats like Amarone. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and then aged in French oak tonneaux for 8 months. The result is an easy drinking full-bodied red that has lots of rich soft, smooth texture.
93 points James Suckling: "Very fine and pretty with a balance and refinement delivering light chocolate and blueberry character. Medium body, super silky and a long finish. Cool single vineyard wine." (8/2016)
Produced from Loureiro and Pederña grapes grown in the granitic soils of the Vinho Verde region, the Santola (or as we here are calling it, "the crab wine") is a delicious, spritely and refreshing white. It doesn't get much more traditional, thirst-quenching or seasonally perfect then this wine. Delicious, low in alcohol, slightly fizzy and way too easy to drink!
91 points Wine Spectator: "A fresh white, with a quinine edge giving the core of green fig, yellow apple and white peach flavors extra zip through the floral-edged finish." K&L Notes: Another fantastic value from this K&L perennial pick. Juicy, rich, fruit forward but un-oaked Chard with subtle mineral tinges and clean bright acidity. Just so easy to drink and a crowd pleaser for sure. Has the richness and texture that many Chardonnay drinkers love but without the heavy oak flavors that can be so off putting. De Wetshof has been making high-quality wines in South Africa since the 1970s and the... Read More »
At all levels, the Perrin family delivers quality wines from their Cheateau de Beaucastel to the classic Côtes du Rhône. Fruity and fleshy with beautiful tannins, it’s a great everyday wine made almost exclusively from the Grand Prébois vineyards (for the Grenache) and theirVinsobres vineyards (for the Syrah). A beautiful everyday wine that should always be on hand!
Dario Ermacora was one of our first Italian Direct Imports. His wines have always been textbook, classic, and archetypal for Friulian whites: understated, balanced, with a long finish. His winery is in the Colli Orientali del Friuli, or the Eastern Hills of Friuli, a few scant kilometers from the Slovenian border. Most of Friuli is a flat, glaciated plain running from the Julian Alps down to the top of the Adriatic Sea, but on the eastern border the topography changes. In the Colli Orientali a series of horseshoe-shaped glacial moraines dot the landscape... Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "A fresh Malbec with blackberries and dried herbs on the nose. Clean, fun and fruity." (5/2016) K&L Notes: Grown in the sand, clay and rock of Lujan de Cuyo with fresh water from the snow melt of the Andes Mountains, this plush wine is a deliciously pure expression of Argentinian Malbec.
Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of toast, char, and milk chocolate along with blue and black fruit are followed by velvety soft fruit flavors. It shows an appealing sense of balance and polish. (SS)" (12/2016) Wine Spectator: "Broad and toasty, with tobacco and cedar overtones to the cherry and red plum flavors, persisting on the well-mannered finish. Best from 2018 through 2022. (HS)" (12/2016)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Languedoc-La Clape la Cote is a medium-bodied, juicy effort that gives up lots of darker fruits, damp underbrush, violets and pepper in a pretty, nicely balanced style. Made from 30% each of Carignan, Syrah and Grenache, with 10% Mourvèdre that was aged in equal parts tank and concrete, it has plenty of fruit, good freshness and a lovable, easy-drinking character. Drink it over the coming 4-5 years. (JD)" (4/2016) K&L Notes: Negly's La Cote is a "CGSM," or 30% Carignane, carbonically macerated, with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Aged in 50% oak and 50% conc... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Alluring aromas of jasmine and wild flower lead the nose. The fresh palate offers mature apple, white peach and a citrusy note alongside bright acidity. A touch of white almond note fills in the finish. (KO)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: This full bodied white made from 100% Cortese is fresh and fruity with scents of white flowers and a pleasantly though quite dry palate. Rich and balanced, this elegant white is soft and round, but somehow structured; it is well-matched to fish and fowl dishes. The 25 hectare Carmelitani estate was planted in the fourteenth century by the Car... Read More »
While the market for mature, sherry-aged single malt whiskies continue to soar, we're using our wits to secure outstanding under-the-radar single cask selections and save our customers some serious dough. Allt-a-Bhaine is a Speyside distillery that's part of the Chivas Blended empire and the whisky rarely sees the spotlight as a single malt release. It's never been released by Chivas as an official brand, but it does pop up every now and again on the independent market. While the malt itself is classically Speyside in character with vanilla, fruit, and a... Read More »
Another set of excellent single barrels from Four Roses is here and already selling out. These two casks were hold overs from our last visit, which thanks to the bottle neck at the single barrel bottling line cracked that magic 10 year old threshold. Of course, age isn't everything and these were delicious back when we tried them at 9.5 years old, but we're happy that they made it over the mark because it's simply going to be impossible to continue supplying the market with anything over 10 years from Four Roses. Regardless of the age these whiskies are ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
You pay attention to every detail when making your Manhattan, down to the ice, so why would you garnish your libation with one of those cellulose monstrosities marketed as a maraschino cherry? Instead, try the original Maraschino cherry from Luxardo, which uses real pitted Marasca cherries and Marasca syrup for these delicious little orbs. Extremely high quality--these cherries will enhance your cocktail significantly. These Maraschino cherries were given the Gold Award in June 2012 at the 51st World "Monde Selection," the oldest quality competition of i... Read More »
Cognizant is a collaborative project between K&L and some of New Zealand's finest winemakers. The word "Cognizant" means to have an intimate grasp of knowledge through personal experience. This series of wines will pay homage to talented winemakers and their ability to capture the unique "sense of place" or "terroir" within their wines. The 2015 Cognizant is made specifically for us by TWR (Te Whare Ra). The wine is a blend of three different blocks with a considerable (20%) barrel fermented component. It captures the quintessential flavors of Marlboroug... Read More »