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K&L Staff Recommendations
A partnership between Rodolphe and Ludivine Marteau, the fourth generation to make wine from their family's estate. Of their 29 acres, 20 are devoted to Sauvignon Blanc. With vines averaging 20 years and very detail-oriented farming, they harvest the best quality fruit possible. Tasting notes from the importer: "The nose offers an intense 'fruit basket' dominated by citrus scents with a note of blackcurrant bud. In the mouth, all is suppleness and elegance. The final spicy note emphasizes the freshness and the generous length of this Touraine Sauvignon."... Read More »
97 points James Suckling: "This is the Mouton-Rothschild of Australia - with a screw cap! Incredibly complex aromas of blackcurrants, spices, cigar box, and berries. Full body, a fantastic palate and polished tannins. Goes for minutes. Better in 2017." (3/2016) 96 points James Halliday: "The headline, the main text and the footnotes all say one thing and one thing only: purity. And I suppose I should add elegance. They simply don't come better in this mode." (10/2016) K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "Dark ruby red with a black core. Vibrant and concentrated fruit aroma of abundant blackcurrant, dark cherries and mulberry. B... Read More »
From winemaker Rob Mondavi Jr, Spellbound is one of the most popular California Chardonnays we carry every year, and the 2014 was also a hit with K&L staff. Value priced, it typically lacks for nothing in lush, tropical fruit and acidity. A blend of barrel-fermented and stainless steel-aged Chardonnay.
The wines of this family domaine have been a staple here at K&L since the 1994 vintage, when Franck and Betty Millet drove from Sancerre to Beaune (a long way) to meet Clyde and crew to present the wines. The wines were great even in that tough vintage, and the rest is history. We love these wines for their freshness, charm and affordability, and this is easily our best value Sancerre in the store. From soils of clay and chalk in the village of Bue near the Domaine. The Millet keeps you coming back for more. It is vinified entirely in stainless steel to ... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*** Editors' Choice *** This new sister label from Elk Cove offers 100% Willamette Valley Pinot Noir at an everyday price. Fresh cranberry and raspberry fruit is framed by herb-tinged tannins. The immaculate craftsmanship and clean direct flavors are light years beyond budget Pinot Noir from most other regions. This is your perfect salmon wine. (PG)" (8/2016) Wine & Spirits: "This wine’s scents of cola spice and red cherry take on a pipe-tobacco spiciness with air. The wine’s plush cherry flavor lasts in a texture that’s gripping and firm." (8/2016) Wine Spectator: "Light-footed, this is re ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "A soft sparkler, featuring cherry, peach and strawberry notes, with a pillowy finish. (JM, Web—2013)" K&L Notes: A wine with tiny, long-lasting bubbles, Deligeroy's Cremant de Loire Rosé is a lovely gleaming pink, enticing with a delicate, nervy nose and aromas of fresh red fruit. It's lively on the attack and has lovely aromatic intensity and brightness. Well-balanced in the mouth, this sparkler is enhanced by a fresh but subtle finish. The wine is stored for at least 12 months on racks in freestone cellars before disgorging to make incomparably fine bubbles. The fr... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "This shows tension and depth with sliced lemon and hints of ripe peach. Some cream and flan undertones. Full body, lightly oily and a flavorful finish. All here. Napa chard. Drink now" (3/2017) K&L Notes: The 2015 vintage was a great one for Rombauer--warm weather and low yields translated to exceptional fruit: ripe, concentrated, and full of all the voluptuous pizzazz that is Rombauer's signature. The cool Carneros region, where San Pablo Bay meets both Napa and Sonoma valleys, provides beautiful, fresh acidity and the key sense of balance for these fan-favorite win... Read More »
Leaving behind careers in molecular biology and medicine, Brigid and John Forrest returned to the Wairau River Valley in 1988 to merge their passion for science with their love of wine. Along the way, they've picked up awards and accolades for their structured, rich, aromatic whites and reds. Praise from Raymond Chandler: "From modest beginnings in 1988 when John and Brigid Forrest planted their first vineyard in Renwick, Forrest Wines has grown to be a most significant Marlborough and New Zealand producer. Although the quantities of wine do not rival th... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "*** Best Value *** Ripe and focused, with dark plum and boysenberry fruit lined with licorice snap notes. Shows modest toast through the juicy finish. Syrah, Mourvèdre and Viognier. Drink now. (JM)" (9/2016) K&L Notes: The Wolftrap is a robust, lively blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, and Viognier. From Neal Martin at erobertparker.com: "Robert Parker recently tasted Mark Kent's (a.k.a. Mr Boekenhoetskloof) Wolftrap red and white and came to the same conclusion as I in recent years: these are just wonderful bang for bucks wines that are thoughtfully crafted at this price po... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A steal from Lafage is the 2014 Bastide Miraflors, which is a Cotes du Roussillon, and a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache, with the Grenache aged in concrete tanks and the Syrah in 500-liter demi-muids. Lafage makes more expensive wines than this, but certainly excels with his value lineup. He has really hit a home run with this 10,000-case cuvée. It is deep, ruby/plum/purple, with fresh notes of blackcurrants, plums, Provençal herbs as well as licorice. Deep, medium to full-bodied, with amazing fruit, the purity, authenticity and Mediterranean upbrin ...Read More »
91-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "What looks like another great vintage here, the 2015 AOP Languedoc les Darons is made from 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 5% Carignan; grapes were completely destemmed, and fermented and aged all in concrete tanks. It sees absolutely no oak whatsoever. This medium to full-bodied, plump, rounded, downright sexy 2015 has lots of blueberry, violets, and jammy black cherry aromas and flavors; it has terrific purity of fruit, good acidity and an overriding sense of elegance. If it came from a more prestigious appellation in the southern Rhone, it would go for th ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A crazy value, the 2014 IGP Cotes Catalanes Tessellae Carignan Vieilles Vignes is one of the best examples of this variety from the Roussillon, and the fact that it sells for a song is just icing on the cake for the consumer. Coming all from schist soils and 70-year-old vines, raised 12 months in a mix of concrete tanks and demi-muids, it offers tons of black raspberry and black cherry fruit, licorice and dried spices to go with a super sexy, heady, seamless style on the palate that keeps you coming back to the glass. Drink this blockbuster over the comi ...Read More »
Our newest DI Rioja comes from Rioja Baja, where the climate is a bit warmer and more Mediterranean, but where the Garnacha is arguably the best in all Rioja, the Graciano ripens more easily and shows great promise, and Tempranillo, planted on choice parcels like they are here, is also quite good. Castillo de Viñas was a label put together for us by one of our contacts in Rioja, and is made by the Burgo Viejo winery, a group of growers who have some great quality vineyards in the area. 90% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano. Juicy red and mixed berry fruit, with... Read More »
After the last few years I think just about everyone has heard us pontificating about just how good, and how insanely inexpensive, the York Creek wines are. Luckily for us and our thirsty customers Fritz Maytag kept deep cellars over the years and still has plenty of wine for us to sell. After the rousing success of past vintages we just keep reloading because the wines are that good and you keep asking us for more. Our latest find are two wines from 2007, they are 100% Cabernet and are from single blocks on the Estate. These wines were made by Fritz him... Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "Aromas of blackcurrants, blackberries, mushrooms and spices. Full and very intense with lots of fruit. Firm and silky. Plenty of tension. Layered and intense. Love it now, but this will be better in 2020." (1/2017) 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9/% Petit Verdot and the rest Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, is a classic example of Pritchard Hill, Chappellet and of Napa Valley. Brilliant purity, a dense purple color, superb blackberry and floral-infused blueberry fruit and cassis, a full-bodied mouthfeel, moderate but swee ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is also a winner, slightly more open and precocious, but with plenty of blackcurrant and blackberry fruit, striking minerality (no doubt from the Obsidian rocks) and a full-bodied, luscious, juicy style with a voluptuous texture. Drink it over the next 10-15 years. The black rocks of Obsidian Ridge in Lake County, at an elevation of 2,600 feet, make it one of the more distinctive terroirs in Northern California. Geologists have said that the soils have to be a minimum of 10,000 years old, which perhaps explains the high quali ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Sancerre is deep, clear and aromatic on the nose, yet also discreet in its fruity and floral flavors: Full-bodied, dense and intense on the palate, this is a round and elegant Sancerre with grip, structure and a long and promising finish; it shows a stimulating, phenolic gooseberry grip and a lingering salinity. The 2015 tastes lovely already, but can be kept for a couple of years due to the substance and complexity it reveals. The best is yet to come. (SR)" (10/2016) K&L Notes: Francois and Jean-Marie Cherrier with father Pierre produce steely and citrus-dr... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
91 points Wine Spectator: "A gorgeous nose of ripe raspberry, with hints of vanilla and blackberry. Intense yet subtle. Full-bodied, with lots of fruit, yet refined and layered with silky tannins. Long and caressing. Gets better and better. I like it more than the 2003 or the 2000. (JS)" (3/2007) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A dark ruby/purple hue is accompanied by sweet aromas of black cherries, crushed rocks, flowers, and subtle oak, moderate tannin, excellent ripeness, and a long finish. This charming, medium to full-bodied St.-Emilion offers plenty of punch and depth. If additional complexity emerges, it wi ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Once in a great while you find wines from the Mâcon so good that tasting them blind you might think they're from a much higher (and more expensive) appellation - and this is such a wine. Domaine Renaud is a small operation, making Mâcon, Pouilly-Fuissé and St. Veran from 12 hectares of estate vineyards. Their cellar is modern, and they use upright ovals for many of the wines, and stainless for others. This value is a great alternative to California Chardonnay and an entry into white Burgundy.
91 points Wine Spectator: "*#25 on Top 100 of 2016, Best Values* Enticing aromas of violet, black currant and rosemary are accented by licorice and tobacco flavors in this fluid and harmonious red, with fine tannins gracing the long finish. Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Drink now through 2022. (BS)" (11/2016)
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Certain wines exude a sense of elevated excellence. This one gets to that level via aromas of spice cake, baked plum and tobacco aromas. A stocky saturated palate is structured and built to age, while this tastes of cool blue fruits, herbs, coffee and chocolate. A smoothly textured finish deals cocoa and mocha notes. Drink through 2040. (MS)" (4/2017) 94 points Wine Spectator: "*Top 100 of 2016, Highly Recommended* This generous red shows a traditional character, with leafy, dried herb, tea and spice notes framing dried cherry, licorice and leather flavors. Firm ta ...Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "Fantastic aromas of blackberries, flowers, chalk and blueberries. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Intense and structured." (2/2017) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Tour Saint-Christophe comes from Saint-Christophe-des-Bardes, the lieu-dit Cassevert, where proprietor Peter Kwok has built some quite startling terraces on the slope to improve the terroir (apparently recruited from Spain as only they possess the technical know-how). My, what a Saint Emilion this is. It has a very well-defined bouquet with crisp, pure mineral-rich red and black fru ...Read More »
Just to the north of Corbieres and to the east of the walled city of Carcassonne, lies Minervois. The appellation has equally diverse soils like Corbieres but limestone and clay are its primary ones. This is a warm region with a very Mediterranean climate. The hills are covered with the local scrub, known as garrigue, forests and vineyards. Our newest producer from the region is Domaine Tour Boisée. The domaine dates back to 1826 and is still run by its descendants. Now farming about 200 hectares of vines, the winery was recently certified organic. This... Read More »
Wine & Spirits: "Made by Banshee, one of W&S’s 2015 Wineries of the Year, this contains declassified barrels of their Sonoma Coast wines as well as fruit from Anderson Valley, Monterey and Santa Barbara. It’s aged almost exclusively in used wood, resulting in a balanced Pinot Noir with clean, bold dark-cherry flavors and tangy acidity that drinks far above its humble price." (4/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "A smooth texture and ripe, inviting black cherry flavors make this medium-bodied wine easy to drink and enjoy. Light spicy accents give it extra interest and moderate tannins help build the su ...Read More »
97 points James Suckling: "This is amazing on the nose with blackberry, black truffle, dried cherry and hints of tobacco. So complex on the nose. Almost no need to taste it. Full body, soft and velvety tannins, and a persistent, fabulous finish. The mouthfeel is magic." (3/2016) 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Tignanello represents the beginning of a new chapter for Italy's ultimate game-changer wine. The blend remains 80% Sangiovese with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc but Renzo Cotarella tells me "stylistically-speaking, this is what we wanted to achieve." The winemaking formula remains the ...Read More »
91-93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Barrel Sample* If you're looking for great, ripe black currant fruits, this is where to come. The wine is full and hugely fruity, but it still manages a good Bordeaux sense of proportion. (RV)" (6/2006) Jancis Robinson: "Smokiness dominates the nose at the moment but there’s still evidence of fresh and aromatic cassis underneath. Rich and yet juicy. A slightly leafy aftertaste may not to be everyone’s taste but it does finish fresh. (JH)" (12/2007) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2005 Coufran is much more concentrated than normal, with a big, rich, black cherry, earthy, spicy mouthfeel. Medium-bodied, ...Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Deep ruby. Spice- and smoke-accented cherry and dark berry aromas are complemented by suggestions of candied violet and cracked pepper. Spicy, energetic and sharply focused on the palate, offering concentrated bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors that open up slowly with air. Distinctly northern Rhône in personality and texture, featuring a peppery, floral-dominated finish, smooth tannins and excellent closing thrust and persistence. The quality of this bottling consistently outpaces its price and appellation, and that's especially true in this vint ...Read More »
90-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Carignan that was aged in 50% new demi-muids, the 2014 Kerbuccio Maury Sec has an inky color to go with lots of upfront black raspberry, cassis, licorice, wilder herbs and violet-like aromas and flavors. Coming all from the black schist soils of the newly created Maury Sec AOC, this full-bodied, sexy, supple and yet still fresh and lively 2014 will drink nicely on release and have 4-5 years or evolution. I don’t think it has the depth of the 2013, but it’s not far off. (JD) Jean-Marc Lafage’s Maury-based estat ...Read More »
Domaine de Biéville was established by Jean-Jacques Moreau in the village of Viviers in the 1970s. The contiguous, 65-hectare vineyard was selected for its textbook truffières soil terroir and south/southwest exposure which resembles the premier cru classified vineyards of Chablis. Now with 45+ year old vines, Domaine de Biéville produces a textured and classically styled Chablis which shows its old vine pedigree on a complex and mineral-driven finish.
94-95 points James Suckling: "Soft and velvety wine with blackberry, blueberry and raspberry character. Full body, a dense center palate and a long and pure finish. Another winner." (3/2017) Jancis Robinson: "Deep crimson. Scented and peppery on the nose and then gently sweet on the palate. Much less drying than most. Charming! 17/20 points. (JR)" (4/2017)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Wine & Spirits: "A velvety blend based on Merlot, this is simple but clean, its strawberry-red fruit lifted, the structure easy rather than gripping. It’s light enough for roast chicken." (8/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This wine has a foundation of 57% Merlot, followed by almost equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, then smaller percents of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Perfumed, it expresses itself in tight, chewy tannins before revealing cedar, pencil shavings and cranberry in a medium-bodied package. (VB)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: Lyeth's Meritage is a blend of the five red Bordeaux varietals with 58... Read More »
Vinous: "Light gold. Fresh melon, orange and peach on the fruity nose and in the mouth. Supple and broad on the palate, showing a hint of warmth on the back half. In an easygoing style, finishig with gentle cut and good length. (JR)" (1/2015) Wine & Spirits: "Broad and Cognac-like in its scent, this has an earthy bitterness that pushes back with gingery spice. It’s rich enough to stand up to Shanghai soup dumplings." (12/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "This is the producer’s nonvintage cuvée—a crisp, apple-flavored wine dominated by the softness of Pinot Meunier. It’s fruity with an attractive and zesty acidi ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "*Best Values* This is refined, with a steely spine that lets gooseberry, verbena and white peach flavors streak through. A hint of shortbread adds range and mouthfeel along the edges. The long finish has lovely cut. An amazing value. Drink now through 2019. (JM)" (2/2017)
97 points James Suckling: "Fabulous nose of mushrooms, like porcini, with black truffle that turns to citrus fruits such as orange and tangerine. Some vine bark. Full-bodied yet wonderfully firm and formed with refined and polished tannins. Super definition. Drink in 2018, but wonderful to experience." (1/2015) 95 points Vinous: "Just as magnificent from bottle as it was in barrel, the 2013 Napanook is dense, powerful and brooding, with searing intensity and extraordinary balance. Lavender, plums, violets, licorice and smoke are some of the signatures, but the 2013 exudes finesse, power and intensity. ...Read More »
From the brewery: "Bell's Two Hearted Ale is defined by its intense hop aroma and malt balance. Hopped exclusively with the Centennial hop varietal from the Pacific Northwest, massive additions in the kettle and again in the fermenter lend their characteristic grapefruit and pine resin aromas. A significant malt body balances this hop presence; together with the signature fruity aromas of Bell's house yeast, this leads to a remarkably drinkable American-style India Pale Ale."
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Ercavio Roble is pure Tempranillo that followed a classical vinification, fermentation in stainless steel, malolactic fermentation in cement and a short aging (six months) in used French barriques. The nose is very classic, too, nicely crafted, fine with a nice combination between berry and spice with subtle oak. It has a commercial profile in a very pleasant way. The palate shows very good volume and a fine texture with elegant tannins. It tastes like a much more expensive wine. This is superb value and a faithful representation of Tempranillo ...Read More »
Pineau d'Aunis is a dark-skinned wine grape variety whose story began in the Loire Valley in the Middle Ages. Despite once being popular with royalty on both sides of the English Channel, the variety is now increasingly rare, and is limited to a role in the rosés and light reds of the central Loire. It is valued for the gently peppery spiciness it brings to the area's rosé wines, a role mirrored by the Carignan and Tibouren used to make the famous rosé wines of Provence. When the elements grant the Loire a vintage with warm weather more akin to that foun... Read More »
Erik Banti’s Carato is back! This mini Super Tuscan has a great following at K&L and the new vintage is even better than the last! It’s a Sangiovese-based blend from the Tuscan coast that tastes like it should cost much more because of its full, smooth, flavorful palate presence and excellent balance. A K&L Direct Import that offers you extraordinary value, and at this price you will be saying, "I should buy two!"
90 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "Once again there is plenty of smoky reduction to the citrus and floral-suffused nose that is so transparent that you can easily sense the minerality. There is excellent intensity to the racy, stony and energetic flavors that are bit finer and more complex and this really shows on the lingering finale." (10/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco
Giovanni Blason and his wife Valentina are young producers who continuously surprise us with the price-to-quality ratio of their wines, earning them tons of kudos in Gambero Rosso and beyond. They come from the Isonzo region of Northern Italy, right up against the Slovenian border. Their Pinot Grigio is really sensational, full in the mouth, rich on the palate and extraordinarily drinkable at this price! Very aromatic, with good complexity, length and that subtle elegance that shows muscle and a long and flowing finish.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors’ Choice* Husch is one of the original Anderson Valley wineries and has not been a particular Pinot Noir star, but this fantastic 2014 may start a trend. Fresh and alive, the wine is medium bodied but packs lots of tangy cherry and almost jammy plum flavors into a smooth but lightly tannic texture that provides great structure. Simply delicious, it’s balanced well enough to enjoy time after time." (3/2017) K&L Notes: Husch, founded in 1967, is the oldest winery in the Anderson Valley appellation which over the last decade has become one of the hotbeds of Amer... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This Haut-Medoc sleeper of the vintage from Bordeaux visionary Bernard Magrez possesses copious quantities of black currant and cherry fruit as well as supple tannins presented in a medium-bodied, opulent style... (RP)" (6/2007) Wine Enthusiast: "Now mature, this is a powerful wine for the vintage. It has a spice note, plus tannins that are still present and likely to develop further. The flavors of truffle, gamy beef and beet are are testaments to the age of this wine. (RV)" (2/2013)
Wine Spectator: "The raspberry and plum fruit is lightly mulled, accented by gentle cinnamon and licorice notes. Offers a juicy, open finish. Drink now. 7,500 cases made. (JM)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: Just across the Rhône river from the esteemed vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this 88-acre estate is owned and operated by Rodolphe de Pins, a UC Davis graduate and former member of the winemaking staff at Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe. Montfaucon crafts their Côtes du Rhône to express the intense fruit characteristics of the appellation, blending to achieve harmony and balance.
All-Mesnil grand cru bargain!!!! This wine comes from all estate-grown fruit in the grand cru of Mesnil. It is a very clean wine with pure flavors and a complex, subtle nose. The texture is silky and delicate, but the finish is quite powerful. This is a very stylish wine, and a very good deal thanks to a direct buy from the producer. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne Buyer)
As is the case with so many other great spots in Spain, Bodega Casa Juan is located opposite the village church, in the beautiful walled pueblo of Laguardia. The winery is a converted flour mill, featuring concrete tanks for fermenting and blending the wine; and for ageing, barrels that are used for up to seven years. These are traditional Riojas in elaboration and spirit, though the site specificity of their Laguardia and Villabuena vineyards confers a fruit character all its own to these wines. And what fruit! This crianza is a potpouri of mixed berrie... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Lurid red. Vibrant, sharply focused scents of ripe red berries and candied flowers are complicated by suggestions of cinnamon and allspice. Lithe and appealingly sweet on the palate, offering intense raspberry, cherry and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out with air. The floral note comes back strong on the clinging, spice-laced finish, which is given shape by harmonious, slow-building tannins. This wine delivers outstanding value and is an auspicious inaugural offering for this project, which is owned by the proprietors of California Pinot Noir ...Read More »
93-94 points Raymond Chan: "Bright, very pale straw-green colour, near colourless on the edge. The nose is very fresh with intense, vibrantly fragrant aromas of ripe passionfruit with bright lime and citrus notes, gooseberries, lifted florals and subtle minerally elements. This is delicately detailed and exudes vitality. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, bright and elegantly concentrated flavours of sweet tropical fruits and gooseberries are entwined with passionfruit and mineral notes. The mouthfeel is refreshing and refined, with very fine textures and a crisp, poised palate line. ...Read More »
From La Maison Antech, located in the Southern France region of the Languedoc, comes this beautiful example of Cremant de Limoux. Named after the grande dame of the estate, Eugenie Limouzy, this Cremant is composed of 50% Chardonnay, 40% Chenin Blanc and 10% Mauzac. It is produced along the lines of methode champenoise and spends 12 months on the lees before being disgorged. This balanced and elegant sparkling wine reveals subtle hints of citrus fruits, toast and honey. At less than half the price of a bottle of Champagne, the Cuvée Eugenie is the perfec... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco