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K&L Staff Recommendations
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)
95 points Bob Campbell: "Dense and decadent red with dark berry, plum, chocolate, vanilla, liquorice and a suggestion of spicy oak. Very impressive wine from an outstanding vintage where Merlot was the star, at least at a regional level. Fruit flavours are supported by soft, chewy tannins. Approachable now but with obvious cellaring potential. Great value at this price." 95 points Sam Kim: "This is impressively fruited on the nose displaying dark plum, blueberry, mixed spice, smoked meat and cedar notes on the nose, followed by a dense palate that is focused and silky with abundance of ripe fruit fla ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The light pink colored 2015 Cotes de Provence Rose Cuvee Marie Christine is fabulous. Silky, layered and seamless, with notes of orange blossom, caramelized cherries, salty seawater and distinct minerality, it's impeccably balanced, has perfectly integrated acidity and a great finish. Impressive and Bravo! (JD)" (5/2016) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "From a 1,350-acre family estate divided among five chateaus, this crisp wine is packed with red fruits cut with citrus acidity. Refreshing and mineral textured, it will make a fine apéritif. (RV)" (7/2016) Vinous: "Light, bright pink. Musky red berri ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "*Top 100 Wines of 2014* The up-front mulberry and plum fruit is ripe and fleshy in this balanced red, with polished tannins. Notes of licorice string, graphite, tarry smoke and grilled mushroom push through midpalate and on the finish. Drink now through 2021. (AN)" (4/2014)
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 »
91 points Vinous: "Healthy full red. Deep aromas of blackberry, black cherry and mocha are complemented by balsamic nuances. Concentrated, sappy and savory, displaying saline nuances to the black cherry and plum flavors. Finishes with serious depth and the broad, polished tannins to support aging. (ID)" (1/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cannonau di Sardegna Costera hits all the right buttons. This is a steady and well presented red wine from the heart of the Mediterranean. It shows a high level of confidence and boldness with big, black cherry aromas followed by more subtle nuances of spice ...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 »
92 points Vinous: "The 2014 Frappato Vittoria opens up with an irresistible fresh red fruit cocktail quality on the nose, followed by very spicy and floral notes, with juicy red berry and cherry. Finishes long and clean with a bright floral echo. A stellar Frappato that makes it impossible to put the glass down. (ID)" (11/2015) 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) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Fragrant and fresh, this luminous wine opens with aromas of red berry, blueberr ...Read More »
After the last few years I think just about everyone has heard us pontificating about just how good, and how insanely inexpensive, the York Creek wines are. Luckily for us and our thirsty customers Fritz Maytag kept deep cellars over the years and still has plenty of wine for us to sell. After the rousing success of past vintages we just keep reloading because the wines are that good and you keep asking us for more. Our latest find is a horizontal of sorts with all three wines coming from the great 2005 vintage. We have two single block Cabernets and a r... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Cantele 2013 Salice Salentino Riserva shows a greater level of depth and finesse compared to many of its peers. The wine is packed tight with blackberry fruit, with Maraschino cherry, plum and prune in abundance. The wine is chewy and rich for sure, but it also provides an authentic and generous portrait of a red wine from Puglia. A spicy beef or lamb dish would make the perfect pairing partner. (ML)" (8/2016)
91 points James Suckling: "A ripe, rich red with plum, violet and blackberry aromas that follow through to a full body, firm tannins and a tangy finish. Shows real nero d'avola character." (10/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of ripe plum, blue flower and baking spice lead the nose on this easy-drinking red. The chewy, straightforward palate doles out juicy black cherry, fleshy blackberry and a clove note alongside round tannins. It's made to drink young so enjoy soon. (KO)" (3/2016) Wine Spectator: "Balanced and open-knit, this creamy red offers supple tannins dressed in plum pudding, tar-tinged smoke, cassis, mocha and ...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 Vinous: "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. (JR)" (9/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The entr ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
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 sourc... Read More »
Tenuta Novare is a single estate that was puchased by Bertani in the middle of the 20th century and bottled under the Bertani label. This 2013 Ripasso is bottled from Novare's single estate vineyard which is located in the heart of Valpolicella Classica. Made from 80% Corvina Veronese and 20% Rondinella grapes, which were harvested at the end of September and immediately fermented in steel tanks. After the estate's Amarone fermentation was complete in March, the Ripasso wine underwent a secondary fermentation on the skins of the Amarone. The finished Rip... Read More »
Amicone is made from predominantly Corvina grapes (same grapes that go into Amarone) but are dried for a shorter period and on the vine not on mats like Amarone. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and then aged in French oak tonneaux for 8 months. The result is an easy drinking full-bodied red that has lots of rich soft, smooth texture.
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) Gamay+Grolleau is a blend of two grape varieties usually used in the production of rosé wines in the Loire Valley in northern France. Grolleau Noir is only permitt... Read More »
95 points Bob Campbell: "**Top Ten Rising Star Winemaker** This is a dynamic producer making very good wines that, I believe are destined for greatness. Very smart red with rich, concentrated dark berry, plum, vanilla and chocolate/mocha flavours. Mouth-filling wine that is very easy to appreciate. Delicious wine with a promising future, although it is very accessible right now." (4/2015) 92-93 points Raymond Chan: "A field blend of approx. 80% Merlot, 15% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Franc from the organic ‘Havelock North’ vineyard, co-fermented by indigenous yeasts to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 50% n ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Their great value pick, which has essentially underwritten the winery’s success for many years, is their non-vintage Old Vine, and in this case, the NV Old Vine Red Lot 63, the sixty-third rendition of this lovely blend. Dominated by Zinfandel, but also containing Syrah and Petite Sirah, it’s always meant as a boisterous, exuberant Mediterranean-style red, the likes of which are easy to find in parts of Spain, Southern Italy and Southern France. The oak is pushed back to a minimum, and the NV Lot 63 includes wine from four vintages: 2011, 2012, 2013 and ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Fresh and fruity, this straightforward red offers aromas of ripe dark-skinned berry, licorice and leather. The soft, juicy palate doles out dried blackberry and spiced blueberry alongside round, smooth tannins. (KO)" (3/2016)
This is classic Tannat from Uruguay, full of dark fruit amd damp clay aromas, with that intense, bordering on brutal (in a good way) tannin structure for which the grape is rightfully famous. That said, this Tannat is particularly well balanced, with a texture that also shows some breathability on the palate and and nicely bright flavors as well.
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 »
Muga makes one of the most distinctively delicious rosados in Rioja, indeed in all of Spain. It is a style referred to locally as "clarete," which is a lighter type of rosé made by combining white wine with direct press rosé, as opposed to the saignee method where color is derived from a pre-fermentation maceration on the skins of the grapes. Unlike 99.9% of other rosé wines, this one also sees a brief period of time in used oak barrels. The wine is a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Viura, and shows very precise, tangy small red berry fruits, as well ... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "An IGT Terre Siciliane wine, the 2012 Passopisciaro is 100% Nerello Mascalese aged in botte grande for 18 months. The wine opens to a light garnet hue that is characteristic of the grape and the hot vintage. This Etna grape can easily bleach out its color. The wine's bouquet reveals volcanic tones of brimstone and ash with pretty contours of wild berry, cassis and blue flower. There's a pretty sense of lift and buoyancy in the mouth thanks to the pure energy and intensity of its fruit. Despite the wine's light color, this is a firecracker red in terms of ...Read More »
If you love the liter bottles of Allram's Grüner, then you have to try the 2012 Zweigelt--it's the red wine equivalent: fresh, uncompromising, juicy wine for everyday drinking. Can be served slightly chilled, and make sure you have a good sized glass, you'll save yourself the initial trip of having to get up and get more. Lighter bodied red with a touch of spice and cool blue and red fruits. A fun time red, for sure.
Inventory: San Francisco
Vinous: "Deep purple-ruby. Almost overripe dark fruits and musky herbs on the opulent nose. Fresher on the palate: fleshy and open-knit, offering gently sweet blackberry and tar flavors that firm up with air. A hint of pepper adds bite to the long, smoke-tinged finish. (Ian D'Agata)" (5/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco
Producer Note: "Phantom, Bogle’s mysterious apparition of ripe berry and relentless spice, returns to haunt wine lovers. Full of concentration and intensity, this wine will tease, tantalize and linger long after the last sip is gone. A symphony bewitches your senses immediately: juniper berry and spice, with just a wisp of toasted coconut hinting at the American oak aging. Sparkling rubies catch the light and tempt your first sip. Juicy plums and brawny blackberries are succulent and intoxicating, as the full bodied structure takes hold. Abundant, ... Read More »
Vinous: "Bright pink. Aromas of black cherry, blueberry, licorice and dried flowers. Sweet and rather soft on entry, then nicely stuffed with energetic, perfumed fruit in the middle. (IDA)" (3/2016) K&L Notes: From 100% Negroamaro, a late-ripening red grape variety (whose name translates to "dark bitter") that produces some exciting and distinct rosé wines from the Puglia region. Tormaresca sourced the hand-harvested grapes from the Maime estate in San Pietro Vernotico. The grapes were softly pressed and fermented at a low, controlled temperature before settling for several m... Read More »
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)
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)
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 Zinfandel, the latest N.V. Troublemaker is loaded with sweet blackberry, charred meat, tobacco and vanilla. Full-bodied, rich and loaded with fruit, it is a straightforward party wine... (JD)" (8/2013) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(...made from a blend of wines from the 2010, 2011 an ...Read More »
53% Petite Sirah, 37% Syrah and 10% Barbera.
About the producer: "Banshee Wines was founded by three friends from the Midwest and East Coast who shared a passion for wine and a lifelong dream of owning their own winery. Their fascination with wine started early in life. While their peers were drinking Milwaukee's Best, they had an af?nity towards collecting European wines and hosting dorm room wine tastings. Post-college, each pursued a career in the wine industry, ranging from importing wines, to winemaking, to distribution and sales. When their paths ultimately converged in San Francisco, they s... Read More »
For three generations, Costaripa has been producing quality rose wines from the Lake Garda area in the Lombardy region.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Paestum Aglianico Donnaluna is an easy-going wine with earthy aromas of crushed mineral and wet terra-cotta. The bouquet shows wild and untamed layers of red fruit, forest floor, pressed rose and cola. Donnaluna delivers a medium dark color and consistency with sweet cherry flavors on the close. The tannins are solid but round and there's a good dose of freshness on the close. (ML)" (4/2015)
Plavac Mali is a well-known red wine grape in its homeland of Croatia, providing the basis of many of the nation's most sought-after red wines. It is one of Croatia's most planted varieties, and is known for producing dense and robust reds with black cherry flavors and notes of pepper, smoke and spice. Plavac Mali wines are high in alcohol and tannins, and have excellent aging capabilities, a trait not often seen in Croatian wines.
92 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Broad and distinctive, with orange peel and exotic spice notes surrounding black cherry and licorice flavors, gliding easily against polished tannins on the long, expressive finish. Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2021." (3/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "Merlot and Syrah make up the majority of this blend. Aromas of cherry, coffee, pencil lead and barrel spices are initially light and elusive while the plum and vanilla and flavors are much more generous." (3/2016)
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!
92 points Wine & Spirits: "This is Roland Velich’s most basic blaufränkisch, a textbook example of the variety in Burgenland. It tastes as if it has assimilated the warm sun in its juicy blue fruit as well as the cool mountain breezes in its tart berry acidity; it offers a sense of the surrounding forests in its spice, as well as the primary rock under the vines in its firm, dark minerality. It’s entirely of a piece and of a place." (6/2015) Vinous: "Aromas of cherry, rosemary and cocoa. At once intense and subtle, offering sweet wild berry flavors and a hint of citrus on the palate. A nicel ...Read More »
About the producer: "Zaccagnini company was established in 1978. Starting from a family-run business, the Winery has grown rapidly and steadily with the goal of “absolute quality, from cluster to glass”, reaching the current condition of an international reality with more than 300 hectares of beautiful vineyards, well-kept and monitored at every production stage. Excellence, passion and devotion to job have made Tralcetto’s wines the pride of Abruzzi’s wine production appreciated all over the world."
This is an extraordinarily unique blend of Portugeiser, Dornfelder and Pinot Noir. It has a bright, fragrant nose, super creamy mousse with pretty strawberry fruit flavors accented by a hint of lemon zest and a dry, refreshing finish. It is great on its own, but has the body to complement a variety of foods, making it an excellent and versatile choice for entertaining. Try it with grilled pork sausages!
The Côtes du Frontonnais winemaking region is located on the left bank of the Tarn River about 20 miles north of Toulouse. The area is generally flat, with occasional hills that create small slopes. The subsoil is composed of ice age deposits, topped by alluvial soil and rouget, a material very rich in iron that evokes parallels to the character of the wines. The typical climate of the region is similar to that of Bordeaux: warm and dry in the summer, and mild and wet in the winter. The grape that sets Fronton apart from other winemaking regions in Franc... Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "This is very aromatic with dried-berry, mineral and floral character. Full body with firm tannins and a juicy finish. Lots of tannins but polished and chewy." (3/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "Blue flower, ripe black fruit, black pepper and cedar are just some of the aromas offered by this blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Sagrantino. The palate features ripe black cherry, coffee, espresso, vanilla and grilled sage alongside bracing tannins. Drink after 2016." (2/2015) Wine Spectator: "A fresh red, offering fragrant herb and smoke notes, with flavors of tangy raspberry, wild strawberry, salumi and spi ...Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "A tangy and fresh red with lemon rind and blueberry flavors plus hints of new oak. Full-bodied, round and fruity. Always a delicious red. Drink now." (10/2015)
One of the lesser known grape varietals from Piemonte - home, of course, to Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera and Dolcetto - it's unfortunate that this traditional indigenous grape so often gets overlooked. But leave it to importer Oliver McCrum to find one, and to find a great one at that. Made by Pino Pavia from Agostino Pavia, a 50-year-old, small, family-run estate. McCrum describes it like this: "Misleadingly pale color, but a very distinctive and flavorful wine; wild strawberries, rhubarb, a touch of herbs, the perfect wine with salumi or pizza. I put it... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Dried red berry and raspberry flavors are chewy and fresh. Shows herbal notes at the edges, with a firm finish of dark chocolate. (Web Only—2012)" K&L Notes: Winzerkeller Andau is a 300-member co-op located in the tiny village of Andau, on Austria's border with Hungary. In recent years, the governing body of Austrian wine co-ops has started to pay a premium for grapes, which has allowed the growers to lower yields and greatly improve quality. For you that means you get a better Zweigelt, but still at co-op prices.
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The entry-level 2013 Etna Rosso unfolds to beautiful notes of wild berry, sour cherry, spice, grilled herb and volcanic ash. It shows elegant simplicity and a balanced level of intensity that is both genuine and bright. There are no rough edges to this Nerello Mascalese. The mouthfeel is silky and long with more fruit flavors to come. This is a well-made expression born in volcanic soils." (9/2015)
93 points James Halliday: "A blend of Pinot Noir, Syrah and Pinot Meunier crushed and left on skins for 24 hours. Pale, but vivid, pink; it has a savoury, highly textured, dry palate with a curling wave of faintly citrussy acidity lifting the lingering finish. Food an optional extra." (10/2015) K&L Notes: Having S.C. Pannell as a K&L exclusive import is like having the national monopoly on Opus One. Steve Pannell is one of the most highly regarded and awarded winemakers in Australian history. Pannell has the rare distinction of winning not one but two Jimmy Watson Trophies (the most prestigio... Read More »