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K&L Staff Recommendations
Wine Spectator: "Ripe plum and chocolate flavors have a slightly candied character in this round, supple red, backed by sweet-tart acidity and light tannins that give way to a fresh finish. Drink now. 8,500 cases imported. (TM, Web-2016)" K&L Notes: In the region of Cariñena, the Garnacha grape variety finds a lovely expression, one which is less high octane and lighter on its feet than in some of the neighboring regions. This easy drinker is a terrific bargain for anyone looking for a house red or a wine for a celebration.
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.
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 »
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 »
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)
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 »
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)
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
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.
"Year in and year out one of our best values in Pinot Noir. If you don't believe me, just ask any K&L customer." (Illya Haase, K&L Staff Member) This wine comes to us from Sonoma County's Martin Ray Winery, owned by Courtney Benham (creator of the Blackstone brand). This multi-county blend of Pinot Noir has been well-received in recent years, earning consistent praise for the solid varietal character it delivers at a modest price.
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!"
From the second label of Sobon estates comes Shenandoah Vineyards' full-bodied, full-fledged Amador-style Zinfandel. Its perfume hints at blackberries, cherries and cocoa while the mild tannins, elegant structure and strong fruit flavors make this a satisfying pairing for meats and cheeses.
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 »
Made from Cabernet Franc grapes grown on a clay-limestone hillside, this fruity and aromatic wine drinks wonderfully, even when the wine is very young. The Cabernet France grapes are completely destemmed and vatted for 12-18 days, depending on the year. Fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. The result is is an elegant, round and easy-to-drink wine that smells of violets and tastes of heaven!
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!
90 points James Suckling: "Lots of nice fresh fruit with strawberry and lemon aromas and flavors. Medium to light body. Clean finish. Drink now" (7/2016) K&L Notes: This blend of Sangiovese and Merlot is concentrated and sexy, with intense notes of forest berries, baking spice, and vanilla. It's deep and round, a perfect match for aged cheeses and roasted meats.
Wine Enthusiast: "Cigar-box aromas and a perfumed, fruity character give this wine a typical Cabernet Franc character. It is structured, with some firm tannins at the core, surrounded by ripe red fruits and fresh acidity. The wine is ready to drink. (RV)" (2/2016)
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 »
An organically farmed, naturally made Grenache-Cabernet blend from Aubais, a small medieval village south of Nîmes. Winemaker Mark Haynes may be many things: entrepreneur, winemaker, tango dancer; but there is one thing that he is not--conventional. Mark is a spirited man who came to winemaking late in life when he realized that so many producers in the Gard region were turning their backs on winemaking and farming. The region is in the south of France about 30 minutes from Nîmes. It was his summer home in his childhood and he always had a fondness for i... Read More »
91 points Wine & Spirits: "*Best Buy* Another great value from the Bousquet family, this is made from organic grapes grown in the chalky and stony soils of Gualtallary. The high altitude shows in a subtly herbal scent, while the wine focuses on ripe red fruit and spices. This is a textbook Cabernet, with the firm acidity and a solid structure, but it's also easy to drink and ready for steak." (4/2016)
Costières de Nîmes is at the southernmost part of the Rhône Valley sitting on the opposite bank of Chateauneuf du Pape. One of our best new finds is Chateau de l'Ermitage which produces three terrific values with imminent drinkability. The estate's history traces back to the 12th century when the winery produced wine for the pilgirms of Saint Jacques de Compostelle who were traveling the Santiago de Compostela. The property is now owned by Castillon family and today Michel and his son Jerome manage the vineyards and winemaking. The "Victor" is named for ... Read More »
This is the same delicious Underwood Pinot Noir as the bottle, but in an easy-to-transport pop top can! No, it doesn't affect the taste--it's still packed with strawberry and pomegranate fruit, with the same supple texture, acidity and peppery spice and minerally finish. Perfect for summer sipping, for camping, boating, picnicking, beaching or rocking out at the Hollywood Bowl! From the winery's tasting notes: Cherries, raspberries, and chocolate."
Does Jean-Louis Denois ever fail to impress us? So far, this talented winemaker has an exceptional track record with K&L customers and staff alike. Denois' latest offering is this nifty little red that seriously over-delivers in the price-quality ratio department. The 2014 "Les Garrigues" is composed of Syrah, Grenache, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. It exhibits a gorgeous pomegranate color, with fresh aromas of small red berry fruit and delicate hints of spice box. Subtle notes of tobacco leaf and licorice provide extra dimension that be... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Bright and juicy, with fresh flavors of red plum, currant and raspberry. Offers a plush, round finish. (KM, Web-2016)" K&L Notes: The Elsa Malbec comes from Valentin Bianchi's Doña Elsa estate in the cool reaches of San Rafael, Mendoza. With just a kiss of French oak, the rich fruit dominates this easy-drinking red, which has barely-there tannins. Invoke your inner-Argentine and drink this alongside grilled flank steak with a garlicky chimichurri. Many previous vintages recommended by Wine Enthusiast as a "Best Buy."
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The basic offering from proprietor Ramon Castano Santa, who owns a whopping 1,000 acres in Yecla, is the 2012 Hecula, which is sourced from a non-irrigated, single vineyard planted with 100% Monastrell. Aged in both tank and French oak, it comes from 60-80-year-old vines planted in limestone soils at a relatively high elevation of over 1,600 feet. Its opaque purple color is followed by copious aromas of blueberries, black raspberries, camphor, licorice, white flowers and a chalky limestone/dusty character. Full-bodied, rich and well-balanced, it is an in ...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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "This is an attractively ripe blend of Niellucciu, Syrah and Grenache. Softly textured with a warm backdrop of blackberry fruit, the wine is spicy and has a distinctly southern-France feel. Its softness means it is ready to drink now. (RV)" (12/2016) K&L Notes: Domaine Petroni is an estate on the eastern side of Corsica near Lake Diane. Lake Diane is a famous lagoon, where the local aquaculture produces gorgeous oysters and mussels. Now run by the Ramazotti brothers, this idyllic location overlooks the Mediterranean with its vineyards composed of sandy and clay soil... Read More »
Rich, ripe, soft, full bodided, fruit driven Cabernet that is great drinking for the money.
Bob Campbell: "Reasonably concentrated, vibrant Pinot Noir with raspberry, cherry and spice flavours. Slightly rustic tannins balance sweet fruit to give a moderately drying finish. Offers good value at this price." (8/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Medium to deep ruby-purple in color, the 2013 Pinot Noir has ripe cherry and raspberry notes on the nose with nuances of dried herbs, lavender and fallen leaves. Light to medium-bodied, fresh and lively in the mouth with just enough fruit and rounded tannins, it finishes medium to long. (LPB)" (12/2014) Wine Spectator: "Marked by plenty of vegetal details of herbs and ...Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "A fine and silky red with plum and chocolate character, medium body and a fresh finish. Real Chianti." (8/2016)
90 points Wine Spectator: "*#42 on the Top 100 wines of 2016, and a 'Best Values' designation* There's minerally freshness to the ripe dark plum, blackberry and cherry flavors, with peppery hints. Well-structured and crisp mid palate, featuring Asian spice and black fig notes on the finish. Drink now through 2020. (KM)" Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I got exactly what I expected from the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Classic Series, a soft, polished, and easy to drink Cabernet that is both straightforward and pleasant. (LG)" (12/2015) K&L Notes: Having placed in the top 50 of Wine Spectator's 2016 Top 100 list, the Montes Cabernet... 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 Spectator: "Bright and expressive, this is a light-footed, fruity style, with blackberry and spice flavors on an easygoing frame. Drink now. (Web Only-2016) (HS)" K&L Notes: Steak House Cabernet Sauvignon delivers an excellent value as an unusual cross region blend. It includes roughly 1/3 parts of the blend from each the Snake River Valley (ID), Columbia Valley (WA), and Lodi (CA).
From the winemaker: "Deep ruby in color, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon from McManis Family Vineyards has aromas of bright blackberry. The medium body is accompanied by flavors of black cherry and black currant. The well rounded, creamy tannin structure is followed by hints of mocha and a smokey finish."
Wine Spectator: "Glazed red berry, floral and spice notes mingle in this plump, open-knit red, with supple tannins leading to a finish of black tea and bergamot. Needs air. (GS, Web-2017)"
Based in the Rioja Alta village of Badarán, Martínez Alesanco is a truly original bodega producing tasty, characterful wine for laughably low prices. They are entirely self reliant in grapes, all of which are grown in their home village of Badarán, one of the coldest zones of Rioja Alta. The vineyards are closer to the Sierra de la Demanda mountains, a range whose elevation and visible snow covered peaks are even more dramatic than the Sierra Cantabria range to the north. This is made from Tempranillo grown in iron rich clay soils. In fact, this red tin... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from 45% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 8% Counoise and the rest Mourvedre, the 2013 Cuvee le Bec is a smokin’ value and savvy readers should buy a case. Giving up lots of ripe dark fruits, ground herbs, licorice and wood smoke, it’s ripe, mouthfilling and loaded with charm. Drink bottles over the coming 4-5 years. (JD)" (8/2016) Wine Spectator: "A red blend that's loaded with pepper, plus zesty flavors of black raspberry, toffee and smoky herb. Syrah, Grenache, Counoise and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2022. 5,000 cases made." (3/2016)
James Suckling: "A fresh and simple red with dried cherry and lemon aromas and flavors. Medium body, crisp finish." (11/2015)
Wine Spectator: "This light-bodied red displays a creamy palate of cherry, pureed raspberry and marjoram flavors, with licorice snap and light smoke details lingering into the lightly chewy finish." (11/2016) K&L Notes: C'est Arrivé! The Beaujolais Villages Nouveau is always produced in much smaller quantities than the regular Beaujolais Nouveau bottling, and our staff finds it to be the much better wine. This is the gold standard in Nouveau, and certainly always popular. An excellent foil for holidays dishes like turkey and ham - lentil loaf, too.
Sourced from across the broad Western Cape region of South Africa, Radley & Finch offers this Cabernet Sauvignon at an attractive entry-level price. The 2014 vintage saw a high quality crop with an appropriate amount of rainfall, especially for unirrigated vineyards. From winemaker Thinus Kruger: "Balanced entry reflects classical Cabernet Sauvignon flavours, dark berries, country herbs and a hint of fresh red cherries. Medium weight palate displays an elegant and very approachable tannin."
Inventory: San Francisco
El Libre is a private label featuring tasty versions of Argentina's most famous grape varieties. Bonarda is often overlooked, but can produce a wine of real originality and freshness. In this example, savory dark fruited aromas lead to a meaty palate, with some of Bonarda's trademark raspy fruit and rusticity. A great wine for your BBQ's! (Joe Manekin, K&L Argentinean wine buyer)
Wine Spectator: "Ample spicy notes accent the cherry and brambly flavors. Creamy midpalate, with notes of tangerine on the finish." (5/2016)
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors’ Choice* The vineyard is in the heart of the Haut-Médoc, midway between Margaux and Saint-Julien. The wine is solid, dark and with plenty of firm tannins. At the same time, it has concentrated black fruits and a fine blend between black-currant acidity and ripe jammy fruitiness. Drink from 2020. (RV)" (4/2017) 90-91 points James Suckling: "A solid wine with tar, dark chocolate and berry character. Full and chewy. Impressive." (3/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Beaumont has a straightforward blackberry and raspberry bouquet that feels a little subdued at the moment and needs a tad more harmony. T ...Read More »
Beach wine alert — Pinot in a can! For everyday drinking, JackHammer is your go-to Pinot Noir. Founded by California wine industry veterans Stephen Dooley and Sandy Garber with the express purpose of making delicious wine that won't break the bank. Juicy, fruity, and not to be missed!
This wonderful value Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon is as old school and traditional as the burlap covered bottle itself! Red fruits combine with subtle leafy and earthy notes and balanced acidity in this well made, traditional Chilean Cab from the Maipo Valley. Terrific value. (Joe Manekin, K&L Chilean and Argentinean wine buyer)
Inventory: Redwood City
91 points James Suckling: "A soft and velvety texture red with orange peel, chocolate and plum aromas and flavors. Medium to full body, fresh acidity and a flavorful finish. Subtle at the same time. This is always one of Italy's excellent value reds. Drink or hold." (7/2016)