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K&L Staff Recommendations
1963 Croft Vintage Port $249.99
Wine Enthusiast: "* Best Buy * Named after the grapes in the blend (Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon), this easygoing, savory wine doles out juicy blackberry, black currant, black cherry and a hint of licorice. Soft, round tannins provide the framework." (3/2015)
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 »
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 »
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 »
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)
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another baby Priorato, the 2012 Mas Donis, a custom cuvee from Eric Solomon, is composed of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah aged nine months in both new and used French and American oak. The Grenache comes from 70-year-old vines, and the Syrah from 30-year-old vines. It is difficult to find a better value than this incredibly rich effort. The bouquet offers up a smorgasbord of aromas, including crushed rocks, spring flowers, kirsch liqueur and blacker fruits. Full-bodied with a velvety, voluptuous texture, and admirable opulence, density, purity and texture.. ...Read More »
A stunning little rosé. Quite unusually this is made from Petit Verdot. The wine is perfectly poised, aromatic, crunchy bright fruit and floral tones, crushed rock minerality and possesses a lovely palate weight and lees driven texture / complexity. This can be quaffed without much thought or it can be pondered over for hours, so fresh and easy-drinking, but also very layered and complex. A seriously good addition to our 2015 rosé lineup.
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)
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 »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from purchased grapes and vinified in the winery, as opposed to buying bulk wine and blending it, it is indigenous yeast-fermented, and comes across as a high-octane, delicious/yummy, big, full-bodied red with lots of pepper and meaty notes intermixed with red and black fruits, earth, and spice. I believe some of the declassified lots from the Bedrock cuvées also end up in this blend. A terrific bargain, it should drink well for several years. (RP)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: The base for this wine comes from more than 100-year-old vines from the Bedrock vineyard, and... Read More »
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made by Joey Tensley, there are 3,500 cases of the 2013 Red Wine to go around. A blend of Syrah, Grenache, Petite Sirah and Merlot that’s brought up in roughly 20% new oak, it should be a smoking value. Showing lots of purple fruits, white pepper and spring flower like nuances, it has terrific richness, sweet tannin and a big finish. (JD)" (8/2014)92 points Wine Spectator: "Offers a fresh, lively array of complex flavors, extending from ripe, juicy plum and black cherry to subtle tar, rose petal and dried herb notes. Features a supple texture and good length. Syrah, Grenache, Peti ...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 »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I have always loved Muga’s rose, and the 2012 Rosado (a blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Viura and 10% Tempranillo aged two months in American oak vats) is delicious. Lots of strawberry and cherry notes as well as surprising body and underlying power give this a traditional, old style rose character. With both freshness and flavor intensity, this surprisingly fine effort should drink well for a year." (11/2013) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(mostly garnacha, with some viura and tempranillo): Pale orange-pink. Aromas of strawberry, white peach and rose, with a hint of cherry pit adding depth. ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Penya’s 2013 Côtes Catalanes is a beauty, and the finest vintage of this cuvee I’ve tasted. Giving up lots of sweet black raspberry, spring flowers and spice, this medium to full-bodied effort has sweet fruit, a rounded, supple texture and good acidity. It’s a knockout bottle of wine to buy by the case as a house red for drinking over the coming couple of years. (JD)" (4/2015) K&L Notes: From importer Dan Kravitz, the man behind such great values as Cabirau, Syrousse and Le Cirque. Cases de Pene is a tiny village in the Roussillon region of Southern France, just 30 m... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Proprietary Red Blend The Prisoner is a creative blend of 44% Zinfandel, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Petite Sirah, as well as Syrah, Grenache and Chardonnay. This dense, full-bodied, opulent red reveals gutsy, rich, peppery, meaty, blackberry, blackcurrant and licorice notes. A savory, lusty, heady red, it begs for a grilled steak or a big, juicy hamburger. Drink it over the next 4-5 years." (10/2014) K&L Notes: A perennial favorite as a crowd-pleaser and fun Napa red, the 2013 Prisoner is a Zinfandel-based (44%) blend with the balance in Cabernet Sauvignon,... 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 »
Negroamaro is a red wine grape variety native to southern Italy. It is grown almost exclusively in Puglia and particularly in Salento, the peninsula which can be visualised as the “heel” of Italy. Wines made from Negroamaro tend to be very rustic in character, combining perfume with an earthy bitterness. The grape produces some of the best red and rosè wines of Puglia, particularly when blended with the highly scented Malvasia Nera. While most varieties of Malvasia produce white wine, Malvasia nera is a red wine variety that is used primarily as a blendi... Read More »
Wine & Spirits: "Tarry upfront, with scents of green figs and herbs, this is a savory montepulciano that’s ready to serve with a steak." (6/2015) Wine Spectator: "Balanced and fresh, with light tannins framing the tangy mix of wild berry, damson plum and fresh forest flavors. Drink now. 8,000 cases made. (Web Only - 2015)"
91 points James Suckling: "This shows aromas of blueberry, forest fruit and salt. Medium to full body, bright acidity and a mineral finish. Goes on for minutes. Tangy and savory. Drink now." (10/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Vittoria Frappato Il Frappato is an excellent drinking choice. The Il Frappato line is one of my favorite expression of this Sicilian grape and I always keep a few bottles at home for informal drinking occasions. Raspberry, white cherry and almond paste compete for your attention and provide a lively and cheerful bouquet. Balsam herb and white chocolate make for interesting ba ...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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
This blend—Pinot Noir, Portuguieser, with a touch of Dornfelder—was made by Frank Heyden, a second-generation winemaker who's shown much promise in crafting excellent wines from his family's highly rated vineyards in Rheinhessen. His classic wines really outperform for their price tag.
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 »
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)
A second label of Valle dell'Acate, the Case Ibidini range (pronounced ‘bidini) consists of varietally labeled wines from the estate intended for more casual consumption. The local name of the area where the estate is situated, Bidini, is drawn from the ancient root Bidis. This in turn referred to the name of a group of early Hellenic settlers who populated the area nearly 20 centuries ago. These wines provide a purity and authenticity reflective of the philosophy of the estate, all at an affordable price. Made from 100% Nero d'Avola grapes grown in medi... Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "Tangy and fruity with plenty of dark fruits and lemon undertones. Full body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Lovely balance." (8/2013) Wine Spectator: "A firm, fresh and balanced red, with muscular red plum, berry and currant flavors, supported by a sturdy structure. The minerally finish reveals hints of flint. (Web Only-2014)" K&L Notes: Quinta do Vallado's entry-level Douro D.O.C. bottling is sourced primarily from younger vineyards (80%) featuring Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, and Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) plus an inclusion of old vineyards (20%) featuring those and other tradi... Read More »
The color is bright, deep crimson. The nose reveals aromas of blackberries, black raspberries and ripe strawberries with just a touch of anise and spices such as clove and cinnamon. It is a medium bodied wine with graceful texture, balanced acidity and very ripe elegant tannins. The finish is moderately long, full of red fruits with a touch of sweet vanilla and black pepper.
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 »
40% Refosco, 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
100% Limniona. Not only one of my top Greek rosé picks, also one of my top rosé bottlings in general. Bright cranberry and other red fruits with spice and subtle mineral cut on the mid-palate. Has a juicy core of fruit which is bright and refreshing on the palate. (Eric Story, Greek Buyer)
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.
Old-vine, hillside vineyard Lambrusco = serious fun! This is a magnificent wine: dry, slightly fizzy with just a mess of purple froth. We are pretty confident it will be among the most exciting wines you've tried in a while! A perfect match for simple BBQ chicken and burgers or slices of Mortadella and Parmigiano. Some would even venture to suggest a batch of lasagna!
A lovely Brachetto that enchants with a delicate, rosy hue. Its nose is intensely floral--violets, rose petal and geranium--with raspberry undertones that keep it from smelling like grandma's perfume. Served cool, the palate has rose-inflected and raspberry fruit and delightful freshness.
Comprised of 80% Gamay and 20% Pinot Noir. The complexity of the Pinot Noir shows up front with lots of spicy red fruits with a backing of mineral. On the palate the gamy shows its juicy fun side and adds to the juicy texture. I really like the blend of these two grapes and think they play perfectly together. Really fun and cheery everyday style of Rosé. Côteaux du Giennois is a fairly new AOC, established in 1997, and is situated just north of Pouilly Fumé. Only three varietals are allowed to be grown under the AOC designate, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir... Read More »
Paolo Calì is a pharmacist who began making wine in 2003. In the hot climate of southerneastern Sicily, Calì's grows Nero D'Avola and Frappato in the island's only DOCG, Cerasuola di Vittoria. His Frappato is fresh and aromatic, with notes of strawberries, lavender, and orange zest. He ferments in stainless steel to preserve the brightness of the grape. This wine is a boon companion to any summer picnic--put a slight chill on it and serve it with prosciutto, fried chicken, or pizza.
Producer noted: "70% Agiorgitiko, 30% Moscofilero. Bright with medium deep cherry-red with pink hues. Vibrant aromas of ripe cherries and raspberries with hints of sweet spices and floral, rose petal notes. Medium body with moderate high acidity and the slightest hint of very ripe tannins. Flavors are consistent with the aromas with some shades of sweet grass and bubble gum. The finish is moderately long with evolving flavors that add complexity. Skin contact for 24-48 hours at 18ºC for Agiorgitiko, 6 hours at 16ºC for Moscofilero. Blend and alcoholic fe... 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 »
Praise from the Wine Advocate: "Without a doubt, Steve Clifton is producing some of the finest examples of Italian variety wines in California. While I think you get the most bang for the buck from Steve’s more inexpensive whites and reds, his upper-tier Nebbiolos and blends certainly have unique characters and offer high quality." (JD, 08/2013) And from Antonio Galloni's Vinous: "Is there anything Palmina doesn't do well these days? In the past, this lineup of Italian-inspired wines has always had one or two slight underachievers, but not this year. Eve... Read More »
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 »
91 points James Suckling: "A red with plenty of ripe fruit and hints of shaved chocolate and walnut character. Full body, velvety tannins and a clean, fresh finish. Drink now." (7/2014)91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(57% Malbec, 18% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Syrah; aged in second- and third-use French oak barrels): Bright red-ruby. Aromas and flavors of blackberry, cassis, blackcherry and dark chocolate. Dense, creamy and sweet, conveying an impression of elegance for all its volume. A very sweet, spicy blend with harmonious tannins and noteworty length. Year after year, this wine from Michel Rolland ...Read More »
A blend of 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Cabernet Franc, with bright berry flavors balanced by earthy notes, this wine is juicy and delicious. An everyday drinking wine from the famous Bordeaux region of Pomerol at a great value!
Azienda Agricola Barone Cornacchia was esablished in 1577. Now organically farmed from stony calcareous soils, this 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo displays a deep ruby color with a perfumed and plummy bouquet. The rounded and intense palate shows persistence and fine tannins, and should pair well with grilled meats, pasta, and hard cheese.
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 »