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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
95 points Decanter: "An exuberant, complex nose packed full of exotic fruits, asparagus and elderflower with well integrated oak. The palate has a very strong fruity expression with an oily depth and harmony and very impressive length.. All the pieces of the Chablis puzzle are in place here." (6/2016) 92 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "As is usually the case this is more elegant, particularly on the floral and white orchard fruit suffused nose that is nuanced by plenty of classic Chablis elements and in particular mineral reduction. There is also a bit more volume to the caressing, intense and voluminous flavor ...Read More »
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)
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 »
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.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "The aromas of cedar, fresh dark berries, thyme, garden herbs and flowers provide instant appeal, with woodsy accents following. Lively plum and raspberry flavors back them up, with fine-grained tannins and barrel accents speckled throughout. (SS)" (3/2016) Vinous: "(bottled three weeks before my visit in June): Healthy red-ruby. Pure, expressive aromas of plum, currant, menthol and cigar box. Lusher and more savory than the Merlot but not as suave or consistently ripe as the Petit Verdot, showing a note of chocolatey sweetness to go with its dark berry and spice fl ...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 »
The best Cabernet Sauvignon under $10 that I have tasted in nearly 9 years of working here. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish Wine Buyer) This was produced from a 30-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in the Vino de la Tierra de Castilla appellation (a large swath of land in the region of La Mancha), this Cab has delicious, balanced dark currant fruit, and a subtle influence from a six-month stint in American oak barrels. This nicely priced Spanish Cabernet has been a staff favorite for two vintages running.
95 points James Suckling: "Ripe and intense aromas of strawberries and blackberries with hints of black ink. Savory notes, too. Full-bodied, chewy and focused with linear fruit and character. Very finely crafted. Drink or hold." (12/2016) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Viña Alberdi is a Tempranillo blend from different vineyards from what they consider an extraordinary vintage. This wine is matured in American oak barrels built by their own coopers, the first year in new barrels and the second one in third-year barrels with four manual rackings. This is the younger of their wines, with even some red berr ...Read More »
92 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "This remains quite fresh with its cool nose of apple, citrus and exuberant yeast elements that continue onto the crisp, intense and energetic flavors that terminate in a saline-inflected, wonderfully complex and beautifully well-balanced finale. In contrast to some '90s today, this is still in terrific shape and should continue to hold if not improve for years to come. In a word, lovely." (10/2015) 92 points James Suckling: "This famous Yellow Label is is in great shape with a really fresh and complex integrated feel to it from head to toe. The nose has plenty of lemon and grapefrui ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A straightforward, dark plum/garnet-colored effort, the 2001 Labegorce reveals smoky, earthy elements intertwined with cherries, plums, and cedar. Medium-bodied and elegant...(RP)" (6/2004) Wine Enthusiast: "Huge investment is paying off at Labegorce. And it has not resulted in a wine that is simply modern in style. For here the new wood is well integrated, the fruit is structured, and never too extracted, and the ripeness also has layers of Bordeaux dryness. (RV)" (6/2005) Wine Spectator: "Soft and simple, with plum, coffee and light tobacco character. Medium body. Silky finish. (JS) ...Read More »
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.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*** Editors' Choice *** Delicately scented, this alluring sparkler opens with aromas of white flowers and freshly picked orchard fruit. The vibrant, linear palate delivers crisp apple, pear and a citrus note accompanied by racy acidity and an elegant perlage. (KO)" (12/2015) K&L Notes: San Venanzio has won many awards over the years. At K&L they get the coveted "Guido" award two thumbs up and three stars for value. On the nose, there are generous notes of apples, peaches, tropical fruits and pear blossom. It’s wonderfully balanced and elegant, with a pleasurable spic... Read More »
This 100% Pinot Noir rosé comes from limestone-clay soil of their Sancerre vineyards, which are located two hours south of Paris on the fringes of the Loire Valle. This is a wonderfully food-friendly wine that can stand up to Santa Maria-style tri-tip, grilled sausages or spicy Vietnamese banh mi.
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.
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."
Vinous: "Pale pink. Bright and lively on the nose and palate, displaying fresh blood orange and red currant qualities and a suggestion of white pepper. Dry and nervy in character, offering firm closing bite and a subtle touch of candied flowers. (JR)" (6/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "Pale salmon-grey in color, this is perfumed, soft and generously ripe. It is well balanced between the light acidity and the rounded strawberry flavors, and the aftertaste brings in a crisper element. (RV)" (7/2016) Wine Spectator: "Very fresh, with a racy edge to the blood orange, white cherry and savory notes. (JM)" (8/2016)
Inventory: San Francisco
91 points James Suckling: "What a pretty young Chianti giving you all the cherry and strawberry character you could hope for. Medium body, light tannins and a fresh and bright finish. Drink now" (11/2016)
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 Wine Enthusiast: "This nicely made wine balances juicy black fruit with black licorice, flinty dried herb and a velvety texture. Medium bodied, it shows structure and grace within a context of ripeness and depth. (VB)" (12/2016)
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Ranked #9 in Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2016, Cellar Selection* The home vineyard of Madiran's star, Alain Brumont, has yielded a superb wine that is full of dark tannins and with a considerable ability to age. It is balanced, concentrated and touched by spice and toastiness from the wood aging. In tandem with that are generous fruits within a dense structure that is just beginning to smooth out. Drink from 2018-2038. (RV)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: Alain Brumont is one of the stars of Madiran. In 1979 he inherited his father's estate, Chateau Bouscass... Read More »
I met winemaker Sophie Guiraudon a few years ago at the organic wine fair Millésime Bio. It's an annual event where organic winemakers from all over the world gather to show their wines. I tasted with her and was immediately impressed with the quality of the wines. So much so, I made an arrangements to visit her winery right after the fair ended. Sophie is a true one-woman show, farming 25 acres of vines while running her humble facility in the region of Corbieres. The vines for the "Lolo" cuvee are planted on silty-clay limestone soils which lend freshn... 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 »
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 »
Mas Codina is a 40 hectare estate in Penedès which dates back to 1681. This Brut Reserva Cava was hand-harvested from 20 to 30-year-old vines and estate bottled. Though it does not say it on the label, the current disgorgement is based entirely on the 2013 harvest. Vines are planted in calcareous and sandy clay soils which keep the wine minerally and lively. The wine undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle, and is aged on its lees for a minimum of two years before disgorgement. Varietals include Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 100% ... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "The wine, still young, has spice and tannins as well as toasty flavors. Its fruit is still developing but will become ripe and full of red berries. The acidity and crisp aftertaste are balanced and fruity. Drink from 2018. (RV)" (12/2016) K&L Notes: About the winery: "A family business for 3 generations, located in Sauveterre de Guyenne, Vignobles Ballarin produces red wines in Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur appellation, under the names of Château Loyasson and Château Roc Levraut. The vineyard consists of 40 hectares of vines consists of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet ... Read More »
95 points Decanter: "Gorgeous nose exhibiting an array of aromas such as peppery mulberry, sour and black cherry, violet and a subtle touch of wild strawberry jam. The palate is full, complex, with a fantastic energy and bursting with ripe dark plums; tannins are impressively silky and freshness is amazing. An exceptional nectar from the Agrelo terroir." K&L Notes: Michael Schachner of Wine Enthusiast writes: "As recently as the 1990s, many Argentine wineries produced crude, inconsistent wines that were heavy and lacked balance. Today, following in the footsteps of quality-minded pionee... Read More »
We can tell you this much: our Kalinda private label hooks you up with awesome wine at a fraction of what you'd otherwise pay for this exact same wine under its normal label. While we have to remain quiet about the source of this beauty, we can tell you that it sells elsewhere at a much higher premium. Get it while it lasts.
Wine Spectator: "*Best Values* This creamy red takes a modern tack, with mocha and spice accents to the pureed boysenberry fruit. Bright and balanced, with a lightly chewy finish of moderate length. Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon. (AN)" (6/2015)
Invigorating and fresh, with lemony citrus aromas and flavors accented by delicate white flowers. The palate is full and fresh, with balanced acidity and minerality on the finish. This a style of wine that keeps your palate fresh and alive. Although easy to drink, it has complexity and intrigue up and down the aromatic and palate. You'll want another after the first one has disappeared. (Eric Story, K&L Loire buyer)
Franck Bonville today is run by Olivier Bonville, the great grandson of Franck who acts as the proprietor of his family's estate. With 20 hectares of vineyards in the villages of Avize, Oger, Cramant and Mesnil, Bonville's wines are made entirely from Grand Cru-level Chardonnay and therefore labeled as Blanc de Blanc. Their wines always have a wonderful richness balanced by an incredibly chalky minerality that pierces through the Chardonnay flavor. The standard Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc is one of the most popular and successful wines in the history of K&L... Read More »
Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir (Sonoma County) is a pretty, attractive wine to drink now and over the next few years. Sweet red cherry and floral notes grace the mid-weight, feminine finish. This is a very pretty, understated appellation Pinot that delivers a compelling combination of quality, value and production. The Sonoma County is a blend of declassified barrels and some purchased fruit. (AG)" (2/2016) K&L Notes: As difficult as it is to produce excellent Pinot Noir, it is even more difficult to do so at a fine value. In their development of the Banshee label, the winemake... Read More »
Domaine des Remizières comprises fourth-generation winemakers and growers, currently managed by Phillipe Desmeures, his daughter Emilie and son Christophe. They have expanded to 30 ha with vineyards in Crozes-Hermitage, St-Joseph and Hermitage. The basic Crozes-Hermitage comes from the hills of Crozes, on clay-limestone soils with bits of galets (stones) scattered throughout the vineyards. They use 100% destemmed Syrah grapes, then age in large oak casks. About as close to a pure expression of Syrah one could hope to find from this often-overlooked wine ... 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 »
Once in a great while you find wines from the Mâcon so good that tasting them blind you are forced to apply some much higher (and more expensive) appellation to it. Often, such a wine comes from hillside vineyards, with better drainage and cooler nights. This is such a wine, from the slopes below the giant monolith of rock that is Solutré. 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. ... Read More »
Made from 20-year-old Pinot Noir planted in chalk and clay soils, vinified entirely in stainless steel, this is a super fresh and fun style of Pinot. It has everything you want in a Pinot--a touch of spice, pretty red and blue fruits, light tannin and a fresh, juicy finish.
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)
The Antech "Emotion" is a little something different: a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Mauzac and Pinot Noir from AOC Cremant de Limoux in the Languedoc region of southern France. It was a huge hit with our staff beginning with the 2012 vintage; now it is back, to make our evenings and dinner parties sparkle just that much more. Pale pink hue, fine bead, delicate hints of cherry and strawberry with white floral notes. A crisp, elegant sparkler made in the traditional method, spending 15 months in the bottle before disgorgement. At about half the pric... Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "Beautiful and aromatic with red cherries and cranberries plus slate undertones. Medium to full body, a super-soft texture, silky fine-grained tannins and a long, savory finish. A wonderful and elegant wine. Drink now or hold." (12/2016) K&L Notes: Fredi Torres has been steadily making a name for himself in the Montsant and Priorat regions. A leader of the new school in Priorat, Fredi prefers to let the fruit in the vineyard do the talking, playing around with some whole clusters and preferring that the oak imprint be dialed back in his wines. In this case, 85% of th... Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "An subtle nose with plenty of fine autolysis aromas of fresh bread and sweetly fragrant yeasty notes, plus some gentle spice and chalky notes. The palate unleashes beautiful wild strawberry fruit flavors, super fresh, fleshy and pure. Great balance and depth." (7/2015) 93 points Wine Spectator: "A lovely rosé in an almost vinous style, with mouthwatering acidity and a fine, lacy mousse carrying appealing flavors of ripe raspberry, white cherry fruit, star anise, mandarin orange peel and honeysuckle. Lightly chalky on the lasting finish. Enjoy with food. Drink now through 2020. (AN) ...Read More »
33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 17% Montepulciano, 17% Alicante.
94 points James Suckling: "Gorgeous nose of warm stones and dark fruits. Full body with a solid core of fruit and chewy tannins, and a long and intense finish. Best ever." (7/2012) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The best ever wine from this estate (even better than their sensational 2005), this full-bodied wine offers notes of blueberry, black currant, asphalt and burning charcoal embers in a deep, layered and multi-dimensional style. It is impressively pure and well-built, with far greater concentration and length than I ever remember this wine having in the past. Forget it for 5 years and drink it over the foll ...Read More »
A good example of what we can do when a producer doesn't mind us using their name under the Kalinda moniker is the 2015 Kalinda Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. On our recent trip to the Willamette Valley, we spread the word that we were looking for a 2015 Pinot Noir to bottle under our private label. We asked numerous wineries that we know and trust, and a lot of them sent us a lot of really great wine. We already knew 2015 was shaping up to be an outstanding vintage, but we felt that that the bottling we tasted from Chehalem was the best on the table. As ... Read More »
From the brewery: "This beer couldn't have been done without the help from our friends at High West Distillery in Park City, UT and Chicago's-own Metropolitan Coffee. We brewed a rich, malty Imperial Stout with some of Metropolitan's Spice Island blend, then let it vintag-ize in High West Rye and Bourbon Barrels for up to 17 FREAKING MONTHS. It's good to have friends!"
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This full-bodied beauty traffics in cigar, tar and chocolate, expressing a rich, robust and smoky world of goodness. With a velvety texture, it continues to impress beyond the first sip, offering both memorable length and breadth. It blends together 80% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Malbec." (2/2017) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The outstanding 2013 Mountain Cuvée Proprietary Red, which is 80.4% Merlot, 17.4% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Malbec, was aged ten months in a combination of new and used oak. The good news is that there were 16,000+ cases of this outstanding wine. ...Read More »
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 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley has a dense opaque purple color, a kiss of blackberry and cassis fruit, a full-bodied mouthfeel with ripe tannin and a long finish. It is very Caymus in its immediate accessibility, but has plenty of staying power and depth. This is lush, full, intense and pure. Drink it over the next 15 or so years. (RP)" (12/2016)
If you try to find the exact cepage on this always-fantastic red blend, you might find yourself gazing up at the heavens for an answer, since you won't get one from the winemaker. The Pleiades might be the only super-allocated, cult California wine for under $25, and it's sure to sell out quickly, as previous vintages have. From "one of California's most iconic and mystical winemakers," says Robert Parker: "Sean Thackrey has logged in 20 or more vintages of consistently stunning wines that perhaps say it all with the simple quote on his label: -Sean A. T... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Very fresh, with unadorned plum and black cherry fruit streaming through, backed by a pretty violet note on the finish. Has just enough grip to stay honest. (JM)" (12/2016) K&L Notes: An award winner at many French wine competitions, the Dame Victoria is an impressive Rhône red raised not far from the fabled vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Warmly fruited and full of robust, rustic character, the nose offers minerality and blue fruit notes, which are echoed on the palate and joined with berries, berries and more berries. Elegant on the supple finish, this is just th... Read More »
This has been the #1 selling Italian wine for more than 2 decades at K&L! You can't get that kind of continued success without a supremely fantastic quality-to-price ratio. The southern Tuscan coast is a breadbasket of winemaking, with stable temperatures and a solid history of quality yet no fame and fortune. Incredibly priced bargains come out of the region, and the proof is in the bottle. This wine is wonderful, soft, forward and easy-to-drink Sangiovese with an enticing mixture of cherry, plum and earth. Eminently drinkable.