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K&L Staff Recommendations
95 points James Suckling: "Terrific aromas of currants, berries, cinnamon and perfume. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a dense palate. Superb length and refinement. Compact. Super length. Superb quality considering the price. More delicate and refined than the 2010. Precise." (12/2016) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The blend of the 2012 Rioja Reserva is significantly different from previous vintages, with more Graciano and Garnacha. The blend was approximately 77% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, 8% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo. After a very dry growing season, the harvest was saved by some rains at the end of September, ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "This has a beautiful depth of fruit with spice and dark fruits. Hints of parsley and cilantro. Full and super silky with a long and beautiful finish." (5/2013) K&L Notes: Composed of the same grapes in the same percentages as the Crianza, the Reserva is a barrel selection of wines that Angel feels can undergo longer aging in barrel and then in bottle. Aged a total of 27 months in barrels, then into concrete for more than a year, the Reserva also sees bottle aging until Angel deems it ready for release. This wine ramps up the intensity of the Crianza, with more pungen... Read More »
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.
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 »
92 points James Suckling: "Floral and subtle fruit character on the nose follows through to a full to medium body, soft and silky tannins and a flavorful finish. So refined. Hints of herbs and pepper towards the end. Drink or hold." (12/2016) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Baked, rooty aromas of sandalwood, exotic spices and berry fruits are attractive. Though slightly grabby on the palate, this shows the right structure and build. Flavors of up-front oak, herbal plum and raspberry finish dry, with firm, pinching tannins. Drink through 2021. (MS)" (8/2016) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Pretty fruit flavors of strawberry and raspberry mingle wit ...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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
*A K&L direct import! This is our latest arrival from Miguel Merino, whom we like to call "the hardest working man in Rioja." Having begun his humble "retirement project" in the early 1990s by restoring an older bodega just down the hill from the historic town of Briones, Miguel either owns or rents to own a total of around 8 hectares of vines, all of which are located in Briones; not only is this village specific Rioja, but it happens to come from one of the most sought after villages in all of Rioja Alta, where many top bodegas have some of their most ... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A new kid on the block, the pure Garnacha 2013 El Molar carries the name of the vineyards where the vines were planted in 2006 on sand and chalk soils covered with gravel. It was foot trodden and fermented in cement vats and aged for nine months in used 500-liter oak barrels. In 2013 the vines worked until the very end as it was a year where there was more rain than average and a relatively cool summer (sometimes ripening occurs because of dehydration rather than true ripening) resulting in a perfect ripeness but quite contained. It is light ruby color, ...Read More »
92 points Vinous: "Bright violet color. Heady, exotically perfumed bouquet of ripe red and dark berries, incense and candied flowers, with a smoky mineral overtone and a hint of Asian spices. Intense, deeply pitched raspberry liqueur and cherry-cola flavors stain the palate while displaying a distinctly vibrant quality. Blends power, depth and finesse in a way that's uncommon at anywhere near this price point. Closes sweet, supple and very long, with velvety tannins coming in late to add shape and gentle grip. These bush vines date back to the early 1920s and yield less th ...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 »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Since its inception, Numanthia has never once bottled a disappointing Termes. Aromas of lemon peel and orange rind mix with blackberry and cassis notes. This feels tight and tannic, but structured and appropriate. Dark-berry and chocolate flavors finish tannic but healthy. This is true-to-form Toro. (MS)" (8/2016) 91 points Vinous: "Bright violet color. Powerful, smoke-accented aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, floral pastilles and minerals. Delivers a suave blend of richness and vivacity, offering juicy boysenberry and mulberry flavors and a building n ...Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "*Top 100 of 2016, Smart Buys* A thick texture carries plum tart, orange peel, toasted vanilla and anise flavors in this ripe version, balanced by juicy acidity. The spicy, berry-scented finish is long and pure. (TM)" (12/2016) K&L Notes: Alvaro Palacios has roots that run deep into the soil of Rioja. He was born into one the region's most prestigious winemaking families, the force behind Palacios Remondo, yet his interests have always been grander. Rather than slide simply into a position at the family winery, Alvaro decided to go out and do his own thing for a while... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A north-facing vineyard in the Catalan area of Spain, this 2014 Cara Nord red blend of 42% Grenache, 38% Syrah and 20% Garrut (an indigenous grape of Conca de Barbera, which is northeast of Priorat and Montsant) has produced a very fragrant Pinot Noir-style of wine, with notes of earth, forest floor, black and red currants, in a medium-bodied, easygoing, savory, lush style. Drink it over the next several years. (RP)" (7/2015)
Emporda is a small Catalan D.O. located along the Costa Brava, in the heart of Salvador Dali country! Espelt is a leading producer for value-oriented Garnatxa (Grenache). Always a popular favorite, this 2015 is fantastic. Floral and mixed berry aromas lead to a juicy and racy palate, with blackberry and floral notes, subtle candied and floral aspects and a pleasing, subtle bitter snap to the finish. A lot to like in this Grenache!
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 »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid purple. Fresh cherry, blackberry and incense on the highly perfumed nose. Lush, sweet and broad on the palate, offering fleshy blueberry and floral pastille flavors that turn spicier with air. Closes on a sweet note of spicy oak, with supple tannins, very good tenacity and a touch of fruitcake. (JR)" (9/2014) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Tres Picos is the bodegas top cuvée of 100% Grenache from older, head-pruned vines planted on the hillsides of the Moncayo Mountains. Yields were less than two tons of fruit per acre. This was the first of the Grenaches to spend some ti ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2007 Reserva showed a strong reduction when uncorked and should benefit from decanting in advance. Pure Tempranillo, it matured in barrels for 20 months. The nose, after the reduction has blown off, is quite classical but clean showing roasted aromas and hints of dark spices, balsam and perhaps leather. The palate is quite lively, with good, refreshing acidity and fully resolved tannins. (LG)" (4/2015) K&L Notes: 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 littl... Read More »
A longtime participant in the wine business, Miguel decided that rather than retire, he wanted to fulfill his dream of owning vines and making wine. Based in the Rioja Alta town of Briones, Miguel Merino makes, as he likes to put it, an "updated classic" style of Rioja, all from his own 2 hectares of vines and several hectares of vineyards owned by a close friend. All the fruit is from sloped, primarily chalky clay vineyards (Miguel is a fan of his slopes) within the cooler climate Rioja Alta town of Briones, which makes these wine a terrific showcase o... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I’ve loved this wine in the past and the 2013, a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 12 months in French oak, is stunning, simply over-delivering in so many different ways. This wine, which offers up copious quantities, of blueberry, black raspberry and black currant fruit, licorice, graphite and meaty notes, offers fabulous aromatics, medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, beautiful, pure texture and a long, heady finish with subtle oak. What’s amazing is the French oak is all two-year-old, super-expensive Darnajou barrels. For $20 this i ...Read More »
Seventh generation winemaker Joan Sangenis has found an incredible niche in the village of Porrera, one of the eleven villages within the Priorat D.O. Making wine here since 1875, the Sangenis are one of the oldest grower families in the region, literally producing wines from vines planted by Joan's great grandfather. Mas d'En Compte is one of the few revered Catalan properties whose wines are actually consumed in other regions of Spain. A blend of Garnatxa Negra, Carinyena and Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 14 months in 30% new French oak and 70% in foudre... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Cherry, kirsch and candied orange flavors have a hard-candy character in this juicy red. Sweet-tart acidity and light tannins provide focus. Drink now through 2018. (TM, Web-2016)"
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. The Reserva quality fruit, combined with a warmer, more structured vi... Read More »
This is as elegant an example of Garnacha (a.k.a. Grenache) as you are likely to find. Catalan winemaker Marc Isart Pinos is taking old vines, applying excellent viticultural work, fermenting in foudre (with some whole clusters used, as well as long maceration on the skins for further complexity/elegance), and bottling with a minimum of sulphur to create this beautiful, expressive wine. A good bit more tangy, racy and serious than most Grenache at this price, the Camino de Navaherreros is sure to please those who prefer layered nuance and energetic flavo... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "There must be some 10% Garnacha (from Tudelilla on stony soils) and some 5% Mazuelo in the second vintage of the red, so they decided to label the wine 2014 Laventura, as it was not really a varietal Tempranillo. The Tempranillo comes from Laguardia and Mazuelo from San Vicente, the old 'traditional' Rioja blend of the three subzones. It started fermenting with some full clusters in open bins and finished in 600-liter barrels, where it matured until bottling. As I saw with the whites, 2014 seems to be riper, rounder and more approachable, very tasty and ...Read More »
Algueira proves with this wine that they not only excel at making first rate, oak aged wine from their Ribeira Sacra holdings, but a delicious unoaked example as well. This bottling typically shows spicy dark cherry and plum fruit, and a delightfully fresh and crisp palate. Nuanced, layered flavors for a mere unoaked young Mencia based wine. Very highly recommended!
Here is a Priorat that is not at all shy or trying to hide its Mediterranean origins, a richer, fuller bodied style especially considering its modest price. This is on the darker-fruited side, generous and slightly savory, a well-balanced, tasty blend of Garnacha, Carignane, and just a tiny amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. Try this with your favorite recipe for braised or stewed lamb. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese wine buyer)
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The joint venture between Jordi Vidal and US importer Eric Solomon also produced a custom red, which is the 2014 Black Slate Scala Dei. It is a blend of 90% Garnacha with 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2% pinch of Cariñena. The grapes were harvested at different times and fermented separately in stainless steel and oak vats. The Garnacha matured in 5,000-liter oak vats and the rest in barrique for some 18 months. It's floral and portrays a chalky soil character from the higher altitude parts of the hamlet of Scala Dei, a feature that makes the wines very di ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The first of the reds here is the 2008 Viña Cubillo Tinto Crianza from a cooler vintage that produced some austere and serious wines--a year with higher acidity and lively fruit. It feels effervescent and it makes you salivate. This is usually a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo from 50-year-old vines that ferments in ancient oak vats, and ages in barrel for three years. This cuvée has increased its quality tremendously since the 1990s. These cooler years provide citric freshness, and a very fine texture and vibrant acidi ...Read More »
"Costers" is Catalan for slopes, and this single-vineyard wine from the folks at Celler de Capçanes in Montsant comes from vines planted on old terraces carved into granitic slopes. The wine is made from Cabernet Sauvignon plus two clones of Garnacha - Garnacha del Pais (an indigenous Catalan clone) and Garnacha Peluda from the south of France - and a dash Cariñena. It boasts lots of ripe red and blue fruit, with a smoky undercurrent, soft tannins and fresh acidity. Delicious!
91 points Vinous: "Bright purple. An exotically perfumed bouquet displays scents of fresh black and blue fruits, licorice, vanilla and peppery spices. Juicy and incisive on the palate, offering sweet boysenberry and cassis flavors that flesh out on the back half. Sappy and concentrated, yet quite lively, finishing with smooth, shaping tannins and a strong punch. This sexy wine went through malolactic fermentation and was aged in French oak barrels for 20 months. (JR)" (1/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The best is the 2013 Tarima Hill, which is 100% Monastrell from vines planted between 1935-1970 in ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
An excellent value from Spain. Monastrell grapes for this wine came from 45-year-old parcels on their estate vineyards. Shallow, chalky soils on a bed of limestone and rock combine with an arid climate to produce the low yields required for wine of this complexity. After harvesting, the deep purple grapes are whole-cluster macerated for 25 days and aged for 12 months in French oak barrels. The wine possesses a very dark cherry color with purple tones. In the nose it has powerful aromas of red berries and smoky tones. The palate displays excellent fruit a... Read More »
A longtime participant in the wine business, Miguel Merino decided that rather than retire, he wanted to fulfill his dream of owning vines and making his own wine. Based in the Rioja Alta town of Briones, Miguel Merino makes - as he likes to put it - an "updated classic" style of Rioja, all from his own 2 hectares of vines and several hectares of vineyards owned by a close friend. All the fruit is from sloped vineyards (Miguel is a fan of his slopes) within the Rioja Alta town of Briones, which makes these wine a terrific showcase of the terroir (especia... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Opened and beautiful nose of pure blackberries and blackcurrants with hints of white truffles and wet slate. Full body and supple and concentrated tannins. So polished and refined. A beauty. Drink now." (12/2016) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The red 2012 Reserva is sold as Crianza or Reserva depending on the market, but it's always a blend of Tempranillo with some 20% Garnacha, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo from the lower part of the valley of the Oja-Tirón river. The varieties are fermented and aged separately until most of it (around 80%) is blended the summer after. Even when they do ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "This shows asphalt-like aromas with some red fruit to boot. White pepper, too. Cool wine on the palate with spice and subtle berry flavors brought to the fore with high acidity. A blend of vijariego negro, tintilla, baboso negro listran negro (mission) and malvasia rosada. Drink now." (12/2016) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The regular 2014 7 Fuentes is a village blend of some 35 separate plots, situated from 300 to 700 meters altitude on a diversity of volcanic soils and expositions; the wine wants to represent the Orotava. 2014 was an easy, healthy harvest without rains or excessive ...Read More »
Acustic is based in the Montsant village of Marça, which incidentally is where the RENFE train station is located along with a solid café should you need a quick lunch, snack or beer on your way back from a winery visit! This blend of 70% Cariñena and 30% Garnacha is all juicy mixed berry fruits, round in texture with a generous, mouth-filling quality that is open knit and delicious to drink. It's crowd pleasing yet authentic and satisying. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish Wine Buyer)
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 »
Inventory: Redwood City
Jancis Robinson: "Rich dark cherry red. The alcohol shows a little on the nose initially but gives way to herbs and both red and black fruit, and black olive, with those same flavours on the palate. Very fine, upright tannins giving a dusty texture, refined and long. Juicy and fresh even with this definite tannic structure. Should soften to release even more of Graciano's lovely fragrance. Still very tightly wound. (JH)" (11/2014)
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "There is a new 'village' red, the 2013 Villa de San Lorenzo, which is sourced from the existing vineyards Chano Villar and Lombano, plus a third one planted some 75 years ago that they purchased next to the new Villarín called Fontairo. It was part fermented in cement vats and part in French barrique with indigenous yeasts. Only 30% of the volume matured in third-use French barriques while the rest was kept in the tanks until blending and bottling. The nose screams 'cool climate red' with some hints of acid berries, something earthy and a vegetal twist; ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Pétalos del Bierzo was already up for tasting as they sell the wine quite quickly even if the volumes are not small, but the wine had only been in bottle for one week and it might have been a little closed, especially when compared with the aromatic 2013. However, the aromas, if subtle, are phenomenal, very complete and balanced, with an extra degree of complexity when compared with the 2013. The harvest was a little healthier without being easy (or dry). There is great volume in the palate, fleshy, juicy and rich without being heavy, medium-bod ...Read More »
From vines growing in Hormilla (near Najera in Rioja Alta), growing in limestone, clay and sand, this Rioja is very complete, plummy, round yet mineral and fully formed. Three months ageing in used barrels adds texture and complexity. A fine Rioja to enjoy anytime.
Toro, known for its hefty, tannic reds from the local clone of Tempranillo known as tinto del pais, can really hit the spot in a successful vintage like 2014, a year in which many winemakers in both Toro and Ribera del Duero say that they had the conditions to make some of their wines to date. The Yaso shows structured dark fruits, with some notable mineral notes, though ultimately plenty of juicy fruit which provides the wines with lots of charm.
Based in the village of La Horra, an area within the district of Burgos where some of the best terroirs in all Ribera del Duero are found, Asenjo & Mansa took advantage of a fantastic 2014 vintage to produce this young red. Bright and savory dark cherry and plum fruit aromas lead to a crisp, bright, juicy and poised palate, with excellent cut and fruit purity.
Wine Spectator: "This supple red has good energy, with vibrant acidity fueling the bright berry and cherry fruit. Fresh herb and vanilla accents add interest. Graceful and alluring." (10/2016) K&L Notes: Alvaro Palacios is undoubtedly one of the architects and primary reasons for Priorat's elevation to premier fine wine region over the past 20 years. While it has certainly not always been a smooth ride for the region, Palacios' wines have garnered a following in Spain and abroad, amongst critics and collectors, for their generous fruit, polished tannin structure, and minerality. Cami... Read More »
Featuring lively, fresh, high-toned red and dark fruits (aromatically the wine is literally a bowlful of macerated fruits, skins and pips), Pino is another phenomenal Bobal from Juan Antonio Ponce, the man making the most perfumed, elegant, and well structured wines in eastern La Mancha, Spain. In fact, Juan Antonio's wines are some of the most complete, complex, detailed, and beautiful wines made anywhere on the Iberian peninsula. Great terroir, skillful viticulture, and detailed, inquisitive, cellar work focused primarily on large format wood makes all... Read More »