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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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 »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From one of the warmest sites in France, the 2014 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Lieu Dit La Narassa comes from 70-year-old vines planted in the black schist soils of Maury. Despite the rugged, hot terroir from where this beauty comes, the wine is pure silk and elegant, with lots of black raspberry, chocolate covered currants, pepper and olive notes giving way to a full-bodied 2014; it has polished tannin and a seamless texture. (JD)" (4/2016) K&L Notes: Proprietors Jean-Marc and Eliane Lafage have become synonymous with quality and value from the Roussillon. They con... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "**Editors' Choice** This is a powerful wine, full of dark fruits and dense dry tannins. Even at four-years-old, it is still young. It is impressive in its concentration with fine acidity and black-plum flavors mingling with the tannins. Drink this serious wine from 2018. (RV)" (11/2016) K&L Notes: Is Cahors France’s greatest undiscovered wine? In the southwestern French winegrowing region of Cahors, the majestic Malbec varietal finds its ancestral home, often producing wines of great intensity and character. The indigenous Malbec was cultivated here during Gallo-Roma... 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 »
Jancis Robinson: "*Good Value* Apple nose. Refreshing but not much depth. Very clean. Not a bad value...Super clean and long." (9/2011) K&L Notes: Antech's Brut Nature is produced with no added dosage, which translates to a super clean and crisp glass of bubbles. It is composed of 90% Mauzac, 5% Chenin Blanc and 5% Chardonnay. All harvesting is done by hand. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel, and the wine undergoes a 12 month elevage on the lees a la methode traditionelle for 12 months before being disgorged. The Brut Nature is the perfect way to start off the evening's fest... Read More »
The village of Apremont once sat in the shadow of a great mountain. In 1248 that mountain collapsed, destroying, everything in its path. Fortunately, the mountain itself was made of limestone which is some of the best geological material for growing grapes and the site is littered with limestone scree (broken rock fragments). The grape of choice for the region is Jacquère and some of the best comes from this village. Like most wines from Savoie, the Perret has hallmark aromas of citrus and lemongrass with a touch of peach as well. Where it really excels ... 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 »
One of our most popular rosés, this fresh and balanced wine comes from one of our favorite co-ops in the south of France. It's a blend of Syrah and Grenache grown in volcanic soils in the heart of the Languedoc. With aromas and flavors of ripe strawberries and raspberries, this crisp, medium-bodied rosé is an ideal complement to spring green salads, light cheeses, mac and cheese, mozzarella cheese salads, goat cheese, cheese and crackers with olives and salumi...or enjoy as an evening aperitif, cheese optional.
Wine Spectator: "Very fresh, with a racy edge to the blood orange, white cherry and savory notes. Drink now. (JM, Web-2016)"
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 »
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 »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Checking in as a blend of 50% Grenache Blanc, 30% Chardonnay and 20% Roussanne that spent four months in tank, on lees, the smoking good 2015 IGP Cotes Catalanes Cote d’Est comes from vineyards located right up against the Mediterranean Sea. This medium-bodied, juicy and deliciously fresh white is almost overflowing with notes of orange blossom, peach, salty sea breeze and honey on the nose. It’s a terrific value that should be bought by the case... I’ve raved time and time again about the quality - and value - coming from Domaine Lafage’s Jean-Marc La ...Read More »
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 »
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Cotes du Roussillon Centenaire is a racy, medium-bodied blend of mostly Grenache Blanc (and Gris), with 20% Roussanne. Crushed rocks, mint, lime and citrus blossom are some of the nuances here, and it hits the palate with medium-bodied richness, beautiful purity of fruit and a clean, dry finish. It’s certainly an outstanding white to enjoy over the coming 2-3 years. I’ve raved time and time again about the quality - and value - coming from Domaine Lafage’s Jean-Marc Lafage. A large estate that pulls from vines in the Agly Valley, the Aspres r ...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 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A custom cuvee created by importer Eric Solomon, the 2015 IGP Cotes Catalanes Novellum is a smokin’ value that’s made from 100% Chardonnay that spent three months in tank (on Viognier lees) followed by three months in barrel. Tasting like it cost three times the price, it offers lots of orchard fruits, white peach, honeysuckle and a hint of vanilla to go with a medium to full-bodied, crisp, yet still textured and mouth-filling style on the palate. You can’t go wrong at the price and this is a terrific wine to enjoy over the coming year or two. (JD) ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "*Very Good Value* From Limoux, but without Chenin Blanc in the blend it can't be called Crémant de Limoux. Full bodied, showing some lovely development with a neat bead. Mouthfilling citrus tang, and very satisfying. Would put many champagnes to shame, quite frankly. (TC)" (7/2014) K&L Notes: Outstanding sparkling wine from the Languedoc? Absolutely and resoundingly, yes! There may be those who would scoff at the price of this wine, and claim that a sparkling wine set so low could never be worth any serious consideration. Well, we're happy to confidently report a cou... Read More »
Our dear friend and vigneron Sophie Guiraudon is always such a delight to visit. Her vineyards are in one of the higher altitude parts of Corbières. I met winemaker Sophie Guiraudon a while back at the organic wine fair Millesime Bio. It's an annual event where organic winemakers from all over the world gather to show their wines. She adores Carignan as a grape variety and has become one of its great champions in the region. She also farms delicious Grenache, Syrah and a tiny amount of Mourvèdre. We call her the one-woman wrecking crew, as she farms, per... Read More »
It’s rare to find estate-bottled wines in Picpoul de Pinet, so we are fortunate to have this direct relationship with one of the greats in the region. Made by Guilhem Bascou, whose father, Guy (and founder of the estate) was the president of the Picpoul de Pinet appellation. Both father and son work side by side, while mother Marie-Claude manages the office. The family's 15 acres of Picpoul are planted just west of the Thun Lagoon near the Mediterranean, and the coastal influence is palpable in this licksmackingly refreshing wine. It's a natural companio... Read More »
We love this co-op, started in 1930 with 30 winemakers and now numbering 200, for their reliably delicious everyday wines. They are located in the foothills of the Languedoc's Cevennes mountains, along the Ceressou volcano, where shale, basalt, and limestone-clay soils meet an ideal Mediterranean climate for grape growing. This voluptuous blend of Syrah and Grenache is ruby red in glass with aromas of cassis and red fruits. It'd be a great accompaniment to a hearty mushroom risotto or a lamb chop.
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 »
Situated in to the east of the walled city of Carcassonne and in the shadow of the Montagne Noire (Black Mountains) lies Minervois. The village of Laure-Minervois is home to the winery Chateau Saint Jacques d'Albas a 90 hectare estate in the hills above the village. Some 26 hectares of the estate are planted to vines with the rest composed of forests and creeks acting as a natural barrier to their neighbors. At the winery, a small team led by owner Graham Nutter, craft superb reds, whites and rosés, all of which are farmed organically. The "Domaine Ro... Read More »
Outstanding sparkling wine from the Languedoc? Absolutely and resoundingly, YES! There will be those of you who scoff at the price of this wine, and claim that a sparkling wine set so low will never be worth any serious consideration. Well, those of you would be WRONG. One of the rising stars of the Languedoc, Jean Louis Denois makes exciting, world class wines that nonetheless remain amazingly inexpensive, owing to his location more than anything else. His vineyards sit in the very southwestern corner of France, at the foot of the Pyrenees, and he produ... Read More »
We met Marie Chauffray at the Vinifilles tasting in January of 2015 in Montpellier. The Vinifilles (which means "wine girls") is an association of women producers who own and operate their own estates. From growing to winemaking to marketing, they are involved in every aspect of their wineries' successes. I was invited by our friend Francoise Antech-Gazeau (our sparkling wine producer from the Limoux) to visit and taste her wines and meet some of her other grower-producer friends. Chauffray's was one of the most impressive wines we tasted at the event, a... Read More »
Wine & Spirits: "This sparkler's zingy lemon-lime flavors evolve into fuller pineapple and citrus notes, a yeasty character adding breadth and weight. The full flavors and light, cardamom-like spice suit it to the dinner table, with rich fish or roasted chicken." (6/2010) K&L Notes: You should always have a handful of bottles of this sparkler on hand for impromptu parties (because a sudden Tuesday night fete with your pals is, of course, better with bubbly). This wallet-friendly "Blanc de Blancs" drinks like an expensive French Champagne, with a rich yeasty nose and body to match. It... Read More »
Côtes de Gascogne is primarily known for the production of Armagnac; it wasn’t until the last 20 years or so that producers began to take table wine production seriously. Traditionally, these wines would have been distilled into Armagnac. Producers found that by fermenting at lower temperatures in stainless steel, they could develop and preserve more powerful aromatics. Though yields are high, costs have stayed low and the wines are consequently some of the best bargain whites in France. Domaine de Millet is first and foremost an Armagnac producer. They ... Read More »
Vinous: "Pale orange. Aromas of fresh red berries, orange and lavender are lifted by a suggestion of chalky minerals. Juicy and tightly focused, offering strawberry, blood orange and succulent herb flavors that deepen on the back half. Finishes dry and nervy, showing good focus and lingering citrus and red fruit qualities. (JR)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: Praise for the producer from Wine Advocate: "I continue to be blown away by the quality coming from Domaine de la Bila Haut, which is run with the Chapoutier team. They’ve continued to grow these Roussillon releases, and even at th... Read More »
An organically farmed, naturally made Chardonnay-Viognier blend from Aubais, a small medieval village south of Nîmes. The aromatic and supple Albion won the Gold medal from the Gilbert & Gaillard Wine Guide in 2011 and stands as winemaker Mark Haynes's signature white. 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 Nimes. It was his summer home in his childhood and he always ... Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Organically grown in the hills of Limoux. Very delicate - a light touch - but definitely fully ripe from a rewarding year. It needs a bit more time to develop seductive perfume but I am confident it will grow into something really very charming. Excellent texture and balance. Nothing in excess. GV for lovers of red burgundy." (5/2016)
Domaine Begude is a small, family-owned property located high in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the Limoux region of the Languedoc. The long, cool growing season lends itself perfectly to the production of crisp and delicate wines, and this Sauvignon Blanc is no exception. More in the style of a Loire Valley Sancerre, with its fine, mineral-laden nose and fresh citrus fruits on the palate, this is the perfect accompaniment to grilled fish, oysters or just by itself. Make this one your house white! Organically certified by Ecocert.
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* Produced from organically grown grapes, this powerful impressive expression of pure Malbec is generous while also solid and firm. It has plenty of dark tannins to go with the solid fruits and tense acidity. Produced from selected parcels, it is a wine to age further. Drink from 2019.(RV)" (11/2016) K&L Notes: Is Cahors France’s greatest undiscovered wine? In the southwestern French winegrowing region of Cahors, the majestic Malbec varietal finds its ancestral home, often producing wines of great intensity and character. The indigenous Malbec was cu... Read More »
In 1973, Daniel Dugois bought 2 hectares of vineyards and a house equipped with wine cellars in a village called Les Arsures, where he was born. He cultivated the vineyard and sold his production primarily to Henri Maire, one of the most prominent producers in Jura at that time. In 1982, Daniel made his first harvest in his own cellars and began to sell his wines to consumers. His first ever harvest earned him his first Gold Medal for his Chardonnay at the Jura Wine Contest. Daniel and his wife Monique have continued to work on the quality of their wine... Read More »
Domaine Begude is a small, family-owned property located high in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the Limoux region of the Languedoc. The long, cool growing season lends itself perfectly to the production of crisp and delicate wines, all organically certified by Ecocert. This is a zippy and bright Chardonnay, with citrus, apple and pear notes underlined by a refreshing minerality.
Negly's La Cote is a "CGSM," or 30% Carignane, carbonically macerated, with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Aged in 50% oak and 50% concrete tanks, it promises a toasty, opulent aroma with cassis and licorice, and a palate fit for a T-bone.
Located in the plains of Roussillon near the outskirts of Perpignan, the Deneufbourgs are a multi-generational family of vignerons. The "Olympe" is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Marselan, a crossing of Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Each component of this blend is fermented in concrete and then aged in stainless steel to preserve the freshness of the varieties.
Agnes and Henri Gaussen cultivate the vineyard of Château de la Noblesse, which has been in their family for generations. The wine is a blend of 50% Mourvedre, 25% Grenache and 25% Cinsault. The Noblesse Rosé was recently featured in the Forbes Top Twenty Rosés for the 2016 summer season: "This is about as good as it gets in Provence rosé...well almost as good as it gets, and certainly as good as it gets for the money. With its intense purity, its ripe, tangy fruit - thinking melon with a tinge of grapefruit here - and mineral-layered complexity it shows... Read More »
The winegrowing estate of Chateau les Valentines is more than a century old. The estate originally brought their grapes to the local cooperative, but when Gilles and Pascale Pons took over in 1997, they decided to make their own wine. They built a modern winery and called the domaine "Les Valentines" after their children, Valentin and Clémentine. Château les Valentines now covers approximately 100 acres. The white is a blend of old vine Ugni Blanc, Rolle and Clairette.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Dry, crisp, fresh and incredibly fragrant, this sparkling wine is a terrific bargain. The good news is there are around 4,000 cases of it, although I do not know how much is imported by Kermit Lynch ... This cuvee may qualify as the 'wine bargain of the year.' A Champagne-like sparkling rose from the largely forgotten area of Bugey (which only received appellation status in 2009), this low alcohol (8%) offering is made from 90% Gamay and 10% Poulsard (an indigenous grape of the region). (RP)" (2/2012) K&L Notes: According to the L.A. Times: "Ever so slightly sweet, i... Read More »
A warm weather superstar, this is 100% Vermentino. Domaine Petroni lies on the eastern shore of Corsica near Lake Diane, one of the great sources for oysters and mussels on the island. Founded in 1885 and run by the Ramazotti brothers, the vineyards are planted on sandy and clay soils overlooking the Mediterranean. Their rosé was one of our great success stories this year, but the white and red have made great strides as well.
Jancis Robinson: "Aromas of guavas and tarte-tatin. Soft, feathery mousse. Honeyed, baked pears, delicately floral. Very creamy, like thick Greek yoghurt and honey. Lime and elderflower piquancy to balance the sweetness. A wonderful wine to have with apple pie or fruit salad and cream. (TC)" (7/2009)
94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Coteaux du Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac La Peira is similar in style, with lively and fresh cassis, black raspberry, graphite, licorice and cedar notes flowing to a medium to full-bodied, profile on the palate. Pure, focused and nicely concentrated, enjoy it over the coming 10-12 years. One of reference point producers in the Languedoc, and in my view, easily one of the top estates in all of France, La Peira en Damaisela was created in 2004 by Australian composer Rob Dougan, with the talented Jeremie Depierre making the wines. Covering 11 hec ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Domaine Begude is a small, family-owned property located high in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the Limoux region of the Languedoc. Proprietor James Kinglake believes that Viognier has incredible potential in the region. The natural climatic influence of the Pyrenees to the south, the Atlantic to the west and the Mediterranean to the east provides a haven for grape varieties that excel in a cooler climate. The Viognier vineyards are at approximately 240 meters and are planted on a mix of clay-limestone soils. Though they are not going for Condrieu, ... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "This is the equivalent of a second wine from Les Valentines, a lighter version of the estate wine. With lively acidity, it is fruity while rounded, crisp but also sweet with ripe strawberry flavors. The acidity at the end is soft, light and bright. (RV)" (7/2016) Wine Spectator: "Pure and fresh, with a core of white peach and cherry pit, backed by subtle tea and wet stone notes on the finish. Cinsault and Grenache. Drink now. (JM)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: The winegrowing estate of Chateau les Valentines is more than a century old. The estate originally brought their grapes to the local ... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "A blend of Grenache and Cinsault, this wine comes from old vines in an estate revived in 1997 by Gilles Pons and Pascale Massenot. It's all about aromatic fruit, with grapefruit, pineapple and red currants playing in the flavors. A rich element contrasts pleasurably with the tight, crisp acidity. The wine will benefit from a few more months aging, so wait until the end of 2016. (RV)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: The winegrowing estate of Chateau les Valentines is more than a century old. The estate originally brought their grapes to the local cooperative, but when Gilles and ... 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 it... Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Maury Sec Serge & Nicolas is a blockbuster that goes screaming past its humble price point. Made from a blend of 60% unoaked Grenache and 28% Syrah and 12% Carignan aged in 500-liter demi-muids, it boasts tons of kirsch, peppery herbs, licorice and hints of crushed flowers to go with a full-bodied, layered, and beautifully concentrated feel on the palate. Coming all from the black schist soils around the village of Maury, it pretty much maxes out the QPR scale and is a complete, balanced Roussillon to drink over the coming 7-8 years. (JD) ...Read More »
An organically farmed, naturally made old-vine Carignane from Aubais, a small medieval village south of Nîmes, and unconventional winemaker Mark Haynes. 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. Half of the grapes for this wine undergo carbonic maceration to preserve freshness in the fruit and the other half are fermented traditionally. The result, as the winery puts it, is an "engaging nose of red fruit flesh with a delicate, ... Read More »
Vinous: "Light bright orange. Fresh and racy on the nose, displaying aromas of fresh red berries and orange zest. Fleshy, dry and focused, offering bitter cherry and red currant flavors that show a touch of warmth as the wine opens up. Closes soft and broad, displaying good cling and a lingering suggestion of candied orange zest. (JR)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: Château Viranel is a small family-run domaine located in the picturesque Languedoc appellation of Saint-Chinian. The domaine's rosé is perfect for an apéritif but is also ideal served throughout a meal because of its richnes... Read More »