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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points James Suckling: "Lots of blackcurrants, grapes and lemon zest character. Full body, firm and silky tannins and a long and flavorful finish. It's firm and very tight. Compact structure. Delicious blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah and sangiovese. Better in 2018." (8/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Pure and fresh, boasting black currant and black cherry flavors, with tar and earth details. Lean, almost racy, with vivid acidity driving the long, mineral-tinged finish. Sangiovese, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2017 through 2023. (BS)" (10/2015)
Wine Spectator: "*Best Values* 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. (AN)" (6/2015)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "For many years I have been touting the old-vine red put together by Marietta cellars as one of the great values in all of winedom. I got to taste two of the old-vine reds, Lot 64 and Lot 65, and there is no reason to change my opinion. This is a blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah and mixed Italian blacks. It usually hits about 13.5% alcohol, which is modest, and aged largely in neutral oak and stainless steel. Production is about 30,000 cases and, of course, they sell it like they are giving away free hotcakes it is so delicious. The NV Old Vine Red ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
Does Jean-Louis Denois ever fail to impress us? So far, this talented winemaker has an exceptional track record with K&L customers and staff alike. Denois' latest offering is this nifty little red that seriously over-delivers in the price-quality ratio department. The 2014 "Les Garrigues" is composed of Syrah, Grenache, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. It exhibits a gorgeous pomegranate color, with fresh aromas of small red berry fruit and delicate hints of spice box. Subtle notes of tobacco leaf and licorice provide extra dimension that be... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Ramitello has enjoyed its own cult following over the years. The 2012 Molise Rosso Ramitello (a blend of Montepulciano and Aglianico) is a delicious expression with a balanced approach that puts just as much emphasis on intensity as it does elegance. The bouquet reveals dark fruit tones with spice and lingering leather at the back. The mouthfeel is reinforced by firm tannic structure and bright acidity. Of all the wineries in Molise, none stands taller than Di Majo Norante in terms of international visibility. Celebrated enologist Riccardo Cotarella help ...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 »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "***Editors' Choice*** Made with 85% Nerello Mascalese and 15% Nerello Cappuccio, this radiant red boasts a beautiful fragrance of blue and red flower, ripe berry, cake spice and aromatic herb. The radiant, delicious palate doles out layers of juicy black cherry, raspberry compote, cinnamon, white pepper and clove while a mineral note backs up the lingering finish. It's young but balanced, with bright acidity and tightly wound but refined tannins. (KO)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: #3 Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Wines for 2016: Nerello Cappuccio – Nerello Mascalese is a blend ... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I'm not sure how you could possibly beat a deal this good. A 90/10 blend of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera di Lecce, the 2013 Salice Salentino Riserva 50 Vendemmia is given Riserva status because the wine is released two years after the harvest. The wine presents a bold and shapely body of fruit with ripe berry and black cherry on prime view. There are thicker accents of dried prune and plum at the back. The wine reveals a bold and determined style that is in line with the wine style of Puglia. 90+ (ML)" (8/2016) Wine Spectator: "Savory accents of forest floor and game meet ...Read More »
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Pessimist is one of the more forward, ready to go and sexy releases in the lineup. Made from 37% Syrah, 27% Zinfandel, 31% Petite Sirah and the rest Tannat and Grenache, it gives up tons of sweet dark fruits, spice box, vanilla bean and sweet oak in its full-bodied, nicely balanced, mouth-filling style. It will be ready to go on release.. (JD)" (8/2016)
90 points Vinous: "90+: Bright red. Aromas of red cherry, tar and violet on the enticing nose. Dense but fresh, delivering crunchy red cherry fruit flavors that linger long on the bright floral finish. ID" (8/2016) K&L Notes: About the producer: "The tradition of Illuminati Wines has been going on for over one hundred and twenty years. Innovation and research abilities have been growing too in the course of time, without forgetting the essential characteristics of homemade products: a genuine and transparent wine, reflecting the territory where it is produced. The knowledgeable art of ... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "A Zinfandel-based blend, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Syrah, Merlot and Malbec, this wine is hearty, thick and dense. It traffics in smoky char, leathery tannins and a strong taste of tobacco, finishing with a flash of red plum." (12/2015)
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)
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 »
Winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson says, “This wine is made from grapes sourced from the beautiful and diverse state of California. Grapes are hand picked, native yeast fermented, aged in French Oak barrels (a small fraction of which are new) and assembled into this wine with the same care and love as all of our wines. The hope is to make a delicious, perfumed and satisfying wine from top quality grapes without too much pretension, marketing BS nor excessive budgetary duress on your part."
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 »
Negly's La Cote is a "CGSM," or 30% Carignane, carbonically macerated, with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Aged in 50% oak and 50% concrete tanks, it promises a toasty, opulent aroma with cassis and licorice, and a palate fit for a T-bone.
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "This gorgeous wine opens with aromas of smoke, baking spice, red berry and flint. The mineral note carries over to the vibrant, silky palate, accenting juicy Morello cherry, white pepper, star anise, Mediterranean herb and tobacco. Polished tannins and fresh acidity provide impeccable balance. Hold for more complexity. Drink 2019-2027. (KO)" (9/2016) 92 points Vinous: "Bright red. Sweet botanical herbs, minerals and intense red cherry aromas on the captivating nose. Sweet on entry, then focused and penetrating; savory, saline soil tones currently dominate red primary fruits. ...Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "A fresh and zesty valpo with dried-watermelon and lemon character. Light body and a pretty linear backbone of acidity." (11/2016) Wine Spectator: "Hints of incense and star anise perfume this creamy red, which shows plumped cherry and singed orange peel notes underscored by loamy earth accents. Bright finish. (AN, Web-2016)" K&L Notes: Musella, one of my favorite Amarone producers, is now back in stock. They’d been out of the market for some time but now they are back! Musella’s wines have an elegance, a supple grace to them and don’t carry that "heavy" connotation that most would tag ... 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." (10/2014) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Fragrant and fresh, this luminous wine opens with aromas of red berry, blueberry, violet, ...Read More »
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)
Herdade do Rocim is located in the lower Alentejo region (southern Portugal). This property got its start in 2000 focusing primarily on local grapes like Aragonez, Touriga Nacional and Alicante Bouschet. They also work with several international grapes like Cabernet and Syrah, which is becoming more common in the Alentejo region. Catarina Viera and her team strive to create wines that are elegant, complex and strong. She is inspired by her love and respect for her grandparents, her father and her family, her connection with nature, and a true and unwaver... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best of 2016* The name of the wine comes from the huge horseshoe bend of the Douro River that surrounds the Meão vineyards on three sides. This is the second wine of the estate, ripe with tannins and packed with black fruits. (RV)" 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Meandro do Vale Meão is a blend of 38% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Roriz and 12% miscellaneous grapes aged for 12 months in second and third use Allier barriques. After finishing the first round of tasting, I poured out the glass and took a new one just to make sure I wasn't mixing this up with the ...Read More »
Located in the plains of Roussillon near the outskirts of Perpignan, the Deneufbourgs are a multi-generational family of vignerons. The "Olympe" is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Marselan, a crossing of Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Each component of this blend is fermented in concrete and then aged in stainless steel to preserve the freshness of the varieties.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Pure and delicious, this generous, lightly spicy and velvet-textured wine does a great job of combining ripe, tasty fruit flavors with an enticing oaky layer that seems to bring subtle sweetness. While full bodied it is not heavy, and has firm, fine-grained tannins to add texture." (2/2017) K&L Notes: Wild berries, black pepper and hints of juniper invite the nose and lead the palate towards explosive black fruits layered with complexity. Big and bold, this wine can be enjoyed tonight or will improve with cellaring. Spooky good.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This full-bodied wine packs a lot of punch in terms of mouthfeel and flavor. The color is extremely dark, and the flavors resemble dark chocolate, black cherries and baking spices. It is dry in style, with lip-smacking, nicely astringent tannins that counterbalance all that richness. (JG)" (11/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The best red is the 2013 Proprietary Red Eruption, another intriguing blend of Malbec, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Mourvèdre. The good news is there are 23,000 cases of this excellent value, which exhibits dark berry fruit along with some plums, Asian spice, and to ...Read More »
A perennial, the 2015 Prisoner is a Zinfandel-based blend with the balance in Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah and just a splash of Charbono. It was sourced from well-known vineyards such as Somerston, Solari, York Creek and Hudson. The wine was aged in a combination of French and American oak before bottling. This eclectic crowd pleaser has found a following from lovers of fruit-forward and jammy wines, but it has enough substance to please those who prefer their California reds a bit more structured. Not just a cocktail wine, this hefty red pair... 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."
Inventory: San Francisco
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)
95 points Vinous: "Fully saturated ruby. Pure, very deep aromas of black cherry, red plum, medicinal herbs and minerals. Rich, dense and suave, with complex flavors of saline red berries and dark plum complicated by repeating botanical herb and balsamic nuances. Finishes seamless an long. A wine of noteworthy purity, with an excellent balance of sweetness, acidity and tannins. This is Gulfi's closest vineyard to the sea and almost always gives the estate's most elegant, refined wine. (ID)" (12/2015)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
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 »
Wine Spectator: "Well-spiced and fruit-forward, with candied black cherry and crème de cassis notes, backed by lively acidity. Graphite, spice and orange zest details show on the finish." (12/2015)
Eric Story and Alison Smith-Story have a love story for the ages: they met and fell in love while working for K&L! This blend of Zinfandel and Syrah from Dry Creek Valley is named after their beloved dog Lord Sandwich, made in their classic style: fresh and lively and full of heart.
An organically farmed, naturally made old-vine Carignane from Aubais, a small medieval village south of Nîmes, and unconventional winemaker Mark Haynes. Mark is a spirited man who came to winemaking late in life when he realized that so many producers in the Gard region were turning their backs on winemaking and farming. Half of the grapes for this wine undergo carbonic maceration to preserve freshness in the fruit and the other half are fermented traditionally. The result, as the winery puts it, is an "engaging nose of red fruit flesh with a delicate, ... Read More »
Pelaverga (often known as Pelaverga Piccolo) is a rare red grape from the hills of Piedmont in northwestern Italy. It is also known by many other names, including Carola, Cari, Fra Germano and Taddone. The village of Verduno, just west of Alba on the banks of the Tanaro River, is right at the northern edge of the Barolo DOCG catchment area. Verduno's growers have resisted the temptation to eradicate Pelaverga entirely from their vineyards, even though the Nebbiolo vines that produce the grapes for Barolo's prestigious cuvées are much more valuable. But e... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of scorched earth, underbrush, chopped herb and dark spice lead the way on this full-boded wine. The firm, hearty palate offers dried dark cherry, raisin, clove, anise and tobacco framed in solid, fine-grained tannins. (KO)" (12/2016) 90 points Wine Spectator: "This harmonious red features ripe and juicy black cherry fruit and tarry mineral character, accented by delicate spice and grilled herb notes. Fresh and appealing, with a lightly chewy finish. Drink now through 2021. (AN)" (10/2016)
"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!
Shirley and Leon Sobon originally founded Shenandoah Vineyards in 1977, and with the purchase of another winery in Amador County in 1989, they created Sobon Estate.
Inventory: San Francisco
An elegant blend of Grenache and Carignane from vines up to 100 years old, grown in the foothills of the Montsant mountains. Wine Advocate on this exciting project from importer Eric Solomon: "Black Slate is a project from US importer Eric Solomon who works with different producers across Priorat to create a range of wines that show the character of the different Priorat villages at affordable prices. Each wine belongs to the winery that produces it and they are all village wines that carry the name of the village.... La Conreria de Scala Dei produces a ... Read More »
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 James Suckling: "Aromas of dried berries, dried flowers and shaved chocolate open to a full body, firm and silky tannins and a polished, textured mouthfeel. So very pretty and harmonious. Drink now." (11/2016) K&L Notes: Monica Larner writes: "In 2005, Paolo Caciorgna visited with Marco De Grazia on Etna and fell in love with a half-hectare vineyard planted to ancient pre-phylloxera vines in the Contrada Marchesa near Passopisciaro. After that initial purchase, he acquired more tiny plots of land. He started a tiny production (n’anticchia means “a tiny bit” in Sicilian dialect) of wi... Read More »
An organically farmed, naturally made Grenache-Cabernet blend from Aubais, a small medieval village south of Nîmes. Winemaker Mark Haynes may be many things: entrepreneur, winemaker, tango dancer; but there is one thing that he is not conventional. Mark is a spirited man who came to winemaking late in life when he realized that so many producers in the Gard region were turning their backs on winemaking and farming. The region is in the south of France about 30 minutes from Nîmes. It was his summer home in his childhood and he always had a fondness for it... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Reserva Old Vines is a fine success. Granting that I don't have this side-by-side with the 2011, the difference doesn't seem to be as great as you might think on paper. Winemaker Manuel Lobo said Crasto maintained quality here by deleting three typically-used vineyards that underperformed in the vintage. It seems to have worked nicely so far. Hopefully, it will reward cellaring, too. This opens very elegantly. It is beautifully balanced, with a feel of sophistication and refinement--which is pretty much how most of Crasto's wines show these days ...Read More »
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!
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!
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2006 Taurasi Radici hits the palate with masses of blueberries, black berries, flowers and spices. The 2006 is a big, explosive wine in need of considerable cellaring. That said, it is remarkably accessible for a young Taurasi from this historic property. Layers of fruit continue to build towards the exotic, concentrated finish. This is a marvelous wine in the making. The 2006 spent two years in a combination of casks and smaller French oak barrels. (AG)" (5/2011) 95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This is a gorgeous, compelling wine of power and finesse. It has a capt ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "*#39 on the Top 100 Wines of 2015, and a Best Value* A taut, sinewy style, with notes of slate and white pepper to the roasted plum and dried red berry flavors. Medium-grained tannins emerge on the snappy finish, showing ferrous accents. Drink now through 2020. (KM)" K&L Notes: Relatively speaking for this region, 2013 was a cooler, fresher vintage in the Douro. This WS Top 100 wine shows these vintage traits in the wine, with gently extracted dark fruits and subtle hints of licorice. It's a great example of a Douro red for a value price. (Joe Manekin, K&L Portugues... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "This shows iron, dried cherries and violets too. Ripe and juicy with dark fruit flavors that conclude with a wonderful dried apricot-like finish." (11/2016) 91 points Wine Spectator: "A harmonious, medium-bodied red, with fine-grained tannins that provide a supple frame for the layered palate of crushed black cherry, subtle spice, hints of fig bread and accents of smoky mineral. Lovely, with a lingering, aromatic finish. Corvina, Rondinella and Oseleta. (AN)" (9/2015)