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K&L Staff Recommendations
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "BEST BUY: This elegantly structured wine opens with aromas of black plum, mocha, Mediterranean herbs and a hint of scorched earth. The round, enveloping palate doles out ripe black cherry, blackberry, cinnamon and white pepper, while firm, silky tannins provide the framework. A fantastic wine, it’s already enjoyable and will offer fine drinking over the next few years. — K.O" (10/2015) K&L Notes: From the producer: "Made from bush-trained Carignano grapes grown in the coastal area between Capo Teulada and the Iglesiente mountains. The nose offers residual vinous sen... Read More »
A blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, this Valpolicella is ruby-red and super silky in texture, with the quintessential chocolate-covered cherry quality you'd expect from good Valpolicella.
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Even more remarkable is the 2012 Solanera Vinas Viejas, a blend of 70% Mourvedre, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Grenache aged 10 months in a combination of French and American oak. A custom cuvee that is only available through importer Eric Solomon, this amazing red wine displays notes of lead pencil shavings, acacia flowers, black raspberries, blueberries and black currants. This full-bodied, intense 2012 tastes like it should cost three to five times as much. Full-bodied, stunningly pure and textured, it should last for 4-5 years, possibly longer. The ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "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. Drink now through 2018. 1,400 cases imported." (6/2015)
90 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* A zesty red, with personality to spare, offering notes of licorice, blackberry, smoky pepper and grilled herbs. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah and mixed Italian blacks. Drink now through 2019." (6/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Marietta's NV Old Vine Red Lot 62 is one of the very best California wines readers will find for the money. Zinfandel plays the leading role in a hearty, racy red bursting at the seams with flavor. Sweet red cherries, flowers, cedar and new leather add the final notes of complexity. Brothers Jake and Scot Bilbro seem to have breathed new life i ...Read More »
Amarone at this price? I said the same thing myself, but I was really surprised by the quality of this wine. It has the classic richness one would expect of Amarone, and the fruit quality is superb. I've had other inexpensive Amarone but they always taste slightly bitter and overly raisiny, but this wine is really balanced and has just a terrific finish. How can this happen, you ask? Well, in these times of economic uncertainty, sales of high-priced Amarone have dipped. The folks behind the Montechiara label offer a way for a producer to clear out some i... Read More »
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 »
Shebang! is inspired by the Bedrock Vineyard, which was founded in 1854 by business partners and then-Californians William Tecumseh Sherman and Fightin' Joe Hooker, who were trying their hand at the wine country life--until troubles back east pulled them back into government service. Later, it was replanted by Senator George Hearst. Vintner Morgan Twain Peterson makes this field blend styled wine from 55% Zinfandel, with Carignane, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Alicante Bouchet, Grenache, Syrah, Barbera and a few aromatic white varieties. Many of these source... Read More »
On the border of Tuscany, Lazio, and Umbria--the area that also happens to be the birthplace of the ancient Etruscan civilization--Paolo and Noemia d'Amico have built a winery deeply embedded in tradition. The landscape is a result of a long period of volcanic erosion, and is full of deep valleys of cliffs and rock walls. Their cellar is modeled after the Etruscans, and was built underneath the vines, ensuring that temps are always ideal. This Merlot-Sangiovese blend is full-bodied and bright-toned, with notes of violets and fresh cherries.
92 points James Suckling: "Fascinating aromas of dried fruits, orange peel, earth, pomace and meat. Full body with soft and tangy fruit plus a long, flavorful finish. It's decadent and citrusy on the finish besides the opulent and delicious red fruits." (3/2015) Wine Spectator: "Blackberry, loamy earth, spice and tea leaf notes mix in this balanced red, with light tannins on the aromatic finish. Drink now through 2018." (3/2015)
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 2013 "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 »
91 points Wine & Spirits: "There’s intriguing complexity to this firmly structured rosé, a meaty wine that’s dry without feeling tannic. The mousse is finely integrated into the flavor, set to lift the flavors of duck confit or roast quail." (8/2012) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Loxarel 999 Rosat is made up of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Trepat. Salmon pink in color with persistent small bubbles, it is a tasty wine best used as an aperitif." (5/2011) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Orange-pink. Musky red fruits, herbs and flowers on the nose, along with a hint of underbrush. Taut redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors are braced by gentle acidit ...Read More »
A certified organic blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo and Syrah, this wine undergoes carbonic maceration to highlight the fresh, high toned qualities of this delicious fruit. Think Beaujolais Village, with a bit more heft. Having planted vines in the national park lands of the Sierra Norte outside of Sevilla, at 700 meters altitude in heavily slate soils, where there is a surprisingly generous amount of rainfall, the results are both delicious and impressive: crisp, bright, varietally true blended wines with great personality that are truly wines ... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Plum and blackberry flavors show herb and spice accents in this firmly structured red. The tannins dominate the finish now, yet there's plenty of sweet fruit. Best from 2014 through 2022." (10/2012) K&L Notes: "Dainero" is a Super Tuscan composed primarily of Merlot, with 10% Sangiovese, and spends six months in barrel. Praise for the producer from Wine Advocate: "Massimo Ferragamo's Castiglion del Bosco shows the fruits of hard labor and major winery investments with the 2010 vintage. This stellar vintage shows us what his vineyards are capable of because the qualit... Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "Dark bright red. Amarone-like opulence on the nose and in the mouth, with a raisiny nuance to the ripe, soft red cherry, sweet spice and herb aromas and flavors. So velvety and opulent I would have tasted it in Veneto had I tasted it blind, but it’s so well balanced and smooth that it’s pretty irresistible. Finishes long, with lush, smooth tannins and a hint of residual sweetness. I really like this wine because, for all its showy sweetness and opulence, it manages to retain a graceful quality without going over the top. Amarone lovers will score it even ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* A blend of 60% Syrah, 27% Merlot and a handful of other varieties added to the mix, this aromatically pops, with complex notes of plum, blueberry, smoke, chocolate and floral accents. It’s silky smooth in feel, with abundant chocolaty flavors that help it go down far too easy." (12/2014)90 points Wine Spectator: "Plush and generous, with blackberry and plum flavors on a velvety texture, deftly balanced with refined acidity and tannins that persist on the finish. Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Viognier and others. Drink now through 2017." (12/2014)
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 »
Ah, Piedmont! Home to Italy's most long-lived reds, Barolo and Barbaresco. Piedmont also lays claim to this frothy number, a semi-sweet sparkling wine that shares as much in common with Barolo as a turnip does with a root beer float. To begin with, there's the preponderance of wild strawberry fruit, and the effervescent goodness that is not totally dissimilar to Moscato, only this one is pink. Deep pink. Gulpable pink. After a certain age it is unseemly to drink cherry soda pop in public--go for Brachetto instead! No, it isn't Red Moscato, but I couldn't... Read More »
Made from the same set of recipes since 1821, Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry has long been the benchmark for fine French Vermouth. Botanicals found in the Alpine meadows above Chambéry are added to a base wine made from regional grapes to aromatize it, imparting fresh, herbal qualities to the nose and complex flavors to palate. It is then fortified. The Rouge is ideal as an aperitif or in for a wide range of uses in cocktails. In the late 19th century, Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry won medals in Paris, London, St. Louis and Philadelphia and in 1932 earned Chamb... Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Leading off the Bordeaux blends, the 2012 The Creator (mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, yet with 30% Syrah) exhibits lots of tobacco leaf, damp herbs and wet stone-like notes to go with a core of cassis, graphite and lead pencil. Coming 58% from the River Rock Vineyard and 42% from Jack's Vineyard (both of which are in Walla Walla), this full-bodied, classically structured, age-worthy 2012 will have upward of two decades of longevity. As usual, this was a massive lineup by Washington's wild man, Charles Smith. Despite the larger-than-life persona, these wines ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "An absolutely amazing value, the 2013 Proprietary Red is a great blend of 49% Syrah, 38% Petite Sirah and 13% Barbera (11,000 cases produced). The wine, which was aged in French oak, displays a dense ruby/purple color and an attractive nose of blackberries, licorice, tar and a touch of subtle smoke. It is medium-bodied and has surprising density as well as intensity for a wine at this price range. It should drink nicely for another 2-3 years. (RP)" (8/2015)
92 points Wine & Spirits: "There are very few Carignans like this in Chile. Made from old vines planted in the 1960s, this takes a light, fresh approach, focused on fruit rather than pushing for superconcentration. With its pure, juicy ripe cherry flavor, it could bolster a plate of grilled sausages or develop for a few years in the cellar." (6/2014)90 points James Suckling: "A spicy and balanced red with blueberries, blackberries and hints of slate. Full to medium body, fresh acidity and a clean finish. A stylish red. Drink now." (8/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Dark purple. Ripe plum and blueberry on the deeply scented nose. Plush ...Read More »
This is a fresh, low-alcohol, and affordable rosé for your warm summer days. "Les Ligeriens" is a blend of Gamay and Grolleau from the Anjou AOC and is aged in stainless steel to maintain the purity of the fruit. Strawberry-scented with flavors of cherry and cranberry that pop on a crisp, refreshing palate. Drink it as an aperitif or with your favorite foods off the grill. (Eric Story, Loire)
From the importer: "Henri Le Roy farms a few tiny parcels of vineyards in the Cotes du Jura – an area just west of the Swiss border and Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), and just east of Burgundy. He’s an intense man – driven, and smart. In fact, his original career was as a Biologist, in Paris. He was drawn to the Jura by its incredible terroir, with ancient stones and seashells from its Jurassic period namesake. He’s pretty new at this – his first vintage was 2005 – but the results speak for themselves. Unlike many of his counterparts in Jura, he abhors oxidati... Read More »
Tenuta di Aglaea cultivates the indigenous and mysterious Nerello grape on the cool volcanic terraces of Sicily's Mount Etna. Perfumed with minerally aromas, the wine is marked by a firm body and a freshness of fruit tones with gentle tannins. It is a wine of subtlety and will reward several years of cellaring. Try it with antipasti, pasta, vegetable dishes, and lighter meats like pork, veal, and poultry. 100% Nerello Mascalese.
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)
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "A smooth mouthfeel and fresh, fruity flavors make this appealing and easy to enjoy, while a firm texture brings it into the tradtional dry-wine category. It combines blackberry and black cherry aromas and flavors, with hints of vanilla and nutmeg. It’s full bodied, lush and round in texture." (4/2015) K&L Notes: Among the best of the bold, but easy-drinking "red blends" that swept through the California wine scene in the past decade or so, Bogle's "Phantom" is styled on the old vine Zinfandel-based blends. The 2011, however, has more Petite Sirah than Zin: 46% Petit... Read More »
40% Refosco, 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
91 points Wine & Spirits: "Mencía at its best can be sweetly ripe while still tasting as vibrant and juicy as this wine does. It's full of crisp red fruit and nuanced spice-eminently drinkable. In fact, there's little better to accompany charcuterie." (10/2014)90 points Antonio Galloni: "Bright violet color. Lively and focused on the nose, displaying scents of red berries, cherry pit, licorice and fresh flowers. Tangy redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors show very good depth and put on weight with aeration. Clean, minerally and precise, with strong closing thrust and lingering spiciness." (9/2014) K&L Notes: Based in the ... Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(34% grenache, 33% mourvedre and 33% zinfandel; 15.2% alcohol): Bright purple. Ripe raspberry and blueberry on the nose and in the mouth. Juicy, spice-accented berry compote flavors show an appealingly silky quality and pick up a floral nuance with air. Closes on a gently sweet note, with lingering blue fruit and spice qualities. No shortage of fruit here." (11/2012) Antonio Galloni: "The 2010 Lothario is another of the more restrained wines in this lineup from Kukkula. It shows good depth and persistence, with pretty notes of tobacco, wild flowers and dried cherries linger ...Read More »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "This aged for 12 months, half in cement and half in tonneaux, sustaining an inky violet hue and dense flavors of black plum and sour cherry. Firm fruit-skin tannins frame the juicy fruit, leaving a fresh impression. A few years in the cellar may unpack more layers." (8/2015)
From the winery: "Dark purple in color, this 2012 Mambo Red Blend showcases some earthy mushroom and sweet leather aromatics that take a turn to sweet plum and dark blackberry fruit with hints of Herbs De Provence and toasted cedar. In the mouth, the wine has a rich and wonderful depth showcasing flavors of black currants, molasses, tart black cherry, plum sauce, and hints of preserved orange rind, toasted dill, and blackened marshmallow. Our 2012 Hey Mambo red blend brings wonderful rich color and a layered decadent wine to your table. You can see eleme... Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "A heady mix of raspberry and blueberry fruits on the nose of this deeper colored rosé Champagne. This has a crisp, lively lemon and red berry flavored palate, crunchy through the finish." (7/2015)90 points Wine Spectator: "Light-bodied and fresh, this open-knit rosé shows subtle notes of strawberry, almond biscotti and candied lemon zest, with a chalk-tinged finish." (11/2014) Antonio Galloni: "(60% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 10% Chardonnay; L33086): Light orange. Leesy, smoke-tinged aromas of tangerine and white peach, plus hints of dried flowers and ginger. Big and rich but lively too, with r ...Read More »
From the importer: "Les Hautes Noëlles fun loving rouge! To enjoy slightly chilled with grilled meats, fish, and heartier (think duck) salads. Gamay imparts fresh, crunchy red fruits, while the Grolleau Noir lends a touch of pepper and spice. The traditional vinification and addition of Cabernet Franc provides just the right amount of structure on the finish. A great wine to say hé ho! Gamay & Grolleau Noir are vinified via carbonic maceration. Cabernet Franc is destemmed and follows a traditional fermentation with 5 days maceration in stainless steel ta... Read More »
This wine used to be called Testarossa, but though the name on the bottle has changed, the quality of the wine in the bottle has not. It is consistently one of the benchmarks for wine from this mountainous and remote region, smack in the middle of Italy but somehow forgotten by time and tourists.
Wine Spectator: "Lightly spiced and aromatic, with floral and loamy earth notes, this light- to medium-bodied red offers easy-drinking flavors of crushed black cherry, baked plum and cocoa powder. (Web Only—2015)"
90 points Antonio Galloni: "Dark ruby-red. Rich red cherry and red berry aromas are complemented by cinnamon and fresh herbs. Suave, dense and juicy, with superripe red cherry and marzipan flavors complicated by hints of vanilla and mocha. Finishes long, with noteworthy peppery bite." (9/2015)
What happens when a winery is able to secure small lots of fruit from some of the best vineyards in California, but not in large enough quanties to make affordable wine? Banshee's Mordecai is one winery's delicious solution. According to the winery: "The headline grabber of this year's "spice rack" is probably the Petite Sirah from Dry Creek. While not usually our favorite variety on its own, this particular one provides and incredibly deep, dark ballast to the prettier components of the wine. It is like the tuba in the marching band. The resulting wine ... Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "The NV Troublemaker, a blend of 73% Syrah, 12% Grenache, 8% Petit Sirah and 7% Mourverdre, bursts from the glass with masses of dark, jammy fruit. This joyous, mouthfilling red is best enjoyed in its vinous youth. It is an excellent value. (AG)" (8/2011) James Suckling: "A wine that sneaks up on you. Full bodied, with polished tannins. This is peppery and fun but a little light in the finish. Made from 73% Syrah, 12% Grenache, 8% Petite Sirah and 7% Mourvedre." (11/2011) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A big crowd-pleasing and quaffable effort that’s a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah and ...Read More »
Marchione represents the efforts of Importer A.I. Selections to create outstanding value-priced wines with regional authenticity. The fruit for this wine is sourced from 15-18 year old Nero d'Avola vines located in the Agrigento Hills of Sicily. The wine sees no oak and offers a fresh and smoothly textured palate of spicy black cherry and plum fruit. This is certainly an ideal daily table red and perfect for outdoor occasions as well.
Inventory: Redwood City
Amats is both the brand name of the Txakoli as well as one of Zudugarai's vineyards. It's a beautiful vineyard, a sandy substrate covered in naturally growing green cover between the rows, with the Cantabrian Sea in full view to the north. Produced from Hondarribi Beltza grapes, this rosé shows a lovely balance between fresh red berries, hints of watermelon, a very subtle, pleasant bitterness and fizzy quality. It's delicious with cured cheeses (something slightly smoky like Idiazabal works really well), charcuterie, anchovies or your favorite cured ham ... Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "Young and wild red fruits with the trademark peppery edge, some brambly blue fruits and an assertive, spicy thread. This has a supple, fleshy and brambly palate with glossy ripe blue fruit flavors, fine-sheeted tannins and a tangy, saffron-tinged finish." (5/2015)
94 points Wine Spectator: "Powerful, rich and refined, with a lithe mouthfeel and flavors of boysenberry, sandalwood, macerated cherry and damson plum. Very minerally as well, featuring loads of spicy notes on the well structured, lingering finish. Elegant. Drink now through 2022." (5/2015)93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Reserva Old Vines, Crasto's familiar brand, is easily the best intersection of price and quality in Crasto's 2012s, although that is frequently true. It comes awfully close to being the best wine, too. It is a very fine performance in this restrained year. It was aged for 18 months in ba ...Read More »
Produced from primarily Mencía, with a smattering of other local varieties thrown in, this is typically a very nicely made bottle of wine, produced from slate and clay vineyards at different elevations and orientations, in the Bierzo D.O. just west of León. Just as the change in scenery and topography indicates that one is at the border of the central meseta and the cooler northwestern portion of the country, Petalos typically reflects this as well, striking a fine balance between sturdy, medium weight fruit and more mineral, floral components. Enjoy wit... Read More »
Bodegas Re (pronounced "Ray") is a small, family owned bodega located right in the town of Casablanca, in the heart of the Casablanca Valley. Pablo Morandé Debordes is definitely producing some of the most adventurous, interesting and delicious wines in Chile right now. He has some great raw material to work with: the oldest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir plantings in Casablanca and beautiful, old (generally 60+ year-old) dry farmed vines nestled amongst the steep slopes of the coastal range in Chile's Maule Valley. Recolección is a blend of old vine, dry far... Read More »
In 1973, Daniel Dugois bought 2 hectares of vineyard 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 wines... Read More »
From a small appellation dramatically framed by the Alps and an idiosyncratic grape called Mondeuse, this wine is eccentric, complex, and absolutely delicious. From the winery: "Purple in colour, with complex summer fruits, blackcurrant, spices, and empyreumatic [AKA smokey caramel] nose. Its structure asserts itself with supple and silky tannins in the mouth. Racy, it asserts its personality. It can be kept for ten years."
93 points Decanter: "Open, opulent wild mint and berry fruit nose. Rich, succulent summer fruit on the palate: plums and cherries, backed by firm, stony tannins with a touch of black pepper. Bottled with a stopper cork. For drinking now and over the next two years. Drink 2014-2017." (12/2014)93 points Wine Spectator: "Focused and pure-tasting, with concentrated flavors of red plum, crushed raspberry and violet that are broad, rich and plush. Well-sculpted, offering a finish that bursts with dark chocolate and spice notes. Drink now through 2030." (2/2014)92 points Wine & Spirits: "Deep and succulent, this feels modern in its plus ...Read More »