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K&L Staff Recommendations
2014 Benanti Etna Rosso $18.99
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)
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.
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 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 »
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 »
Inventory: Redwood City
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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)
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 »
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 »
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 »
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)
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
The much maligned grape variety Pinotage doesn't have many champions in the wine world...but I'm one of them. After decades of mediocrity I can't really blame people for thinking that Pinotage sucks. As the South African wine buyer for K&L I admit that most of the ones I taste for potential inclusion in our selections are pretty bad. However this is not the fault of the grape. There isn't anything inherently bad about Pinotage. In my opinion the problem is that much of South Africa's Pinotage is planted in poor vineyard sites and very few winemakers trea... 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 sourc... Read More »
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 »
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 »
Jeff Runquist banked 19 years making wine in California before opening his own winery. During that time, he developed close relationships with growers and is now able to source first-rate fruit for his own wines.
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)
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 Vinous: "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 is a terrific value. (ST)" (2/2015) 90 points Wine & Spirits: "This is tremendously intense in tannins and acidity, while ripe red fruits bur ...Read More »
An all Meunier red wine from the Western Valley of the Marne... The rarest of the rare!
90 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Very suave, with rich minerality and luscious flavors of plum tart and cherry compote. Cedary notes are accented by lots of white pepper and spice on the zesty finish. Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca. Drink now through 2020. (KM)" (6/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Papa Figos (Casa Ferreirinha) is a blend of 30% Touriga Franca, 15% Touriga Nacional, 25% Tinta Roriz and 30% Tinta Barroca, all sourced from Douro Superior. About 20% of the juice was aged in used French oak for six months. Clean and fruity, this lower priced red ha ...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 »
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)
The rule around the Heitz house has long been, the rosé must be ready by Easter! Wine enthusiasts have shared the Heitz Family's affection for this unique wine since 1961. The Grignolino (pronounced green-o-lean-o) Rosé is produced with a northern Italian varietal known in the Piedmont region as the "little strawberry." The original vineyard, since replanted to the Heitz home ranch, was called by its former owner, "The Only One." This rosé is typically fruity and enticing, but very dry on the palate, just the thing for spring salads with goat cheese, or ... Read More »
Indicative blend: 33% Cabernet Franc, 33% Cot, 33% Pinot d'Aunis
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.
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 »
This classic blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara was vinified according to tradition for the Amarone Riserva style and aged for a minimum of four years in oak casks. It is characteristically bold in flavor, with a rich, silky midpalate and lingering taste of chocolate and dried cherries. A full-bodied wine, this pairs well with rich dishes like red meat, game, and strong cheeses. It is also a nice treat to enjoy after dinner on its own or with cheese or chocolate. Decanting or opening the wine at least a half hour before consuming is recommended i... Read More »
Clos Lojen is Ponce's most approachable red, with the lively red and darker fruits showing great purity and generosity, while the precision, fresh acidity and crunchiness all betray Juan Antonio's love of fruit forward, yet structured wines the likes of which his favorite French vignerons produce. 2015 is the best Clos Lojen I have yet to try - delicious, clean fruit Juan Antonio Ponce is one of Spain's leading lights amongst a new, younger set of vignerons who pair their vineyard knowledge with serious discipline and curiosity in the cellar, often borr... Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Chewy, rounded, bright, soft. (RH)" (2/2016) K&L Notes: The wines made by brothers Joan and Josep d'Anguera have changed dramatically in the past three years. Altaroses is relatively younger vine Garnacha, farmed organically (and in fact, Demeter certified biodynamic), and picked relatively early. Trodden by foot periodically for a few days, fermented with its own yeast, and allowed to age in old barrels, there is a delicacy, purity and freshness to this wine that makes it so drinkable. A perfect window into the style here. Another indicator of the rising quality at ... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "A sexy bonarda with fresh mushroom, blackberry and smoke. Full and tight with lots of dark fruit, soya, and cooked shiitake mushroom. Very long and flavorful." (5/2016) K&L Notes: Bonarda, which happens to be the same grape as Charbono, is still very commonly grown in Argentina. This example is fantastic: dark fruits and cracked black pepper aromas lead to a nicely dry, structured palate of mixed dark fruits with just a hint of candied violets. If you're in the shop, just ask for the Chilean red with the dapper donkeys in the three piece suits!
From the producer: "All our wines are produced and matured in our family winery in Jois. Its old vaulted cellars provide an optimal environment for tender, attentive wine-making, and for the wines to peacefully age in large wooden barrels and barrique casks. Since the use of modern aids such as cultured yeasts or excessive cellar technology is avoided in production, we have succeeded in expressing the terroir more precisely. We ensure the quality of our grapes by doing a gentle and sustainable vineyard management. That includes low yields as well as han... Read More »
94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I think the first time its all from Jack's Vineyard in Walla Walla, the 2013 The Creator (70/30 Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah) is still aging in 50% new French oak. It has lots of iodine, dried blood (these are classic Rocks aromatics), pepper, chocolate and peat moss that flow to a full-bodied, voluptuously textured, ripe Cabernet that has plenty of mid-palate depth and sweet tannin. While it's a big, rich, ripe wine, it never comes across as heavy or cumbersome. It should benefit from 2-3 years in the cellar and drink well over the following decade. As ...Read More »
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 »
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!
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)
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)
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 »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Blended from estate vineyards spread across Colchagua, this cuvée offers a clear picture of the region’s carmenère. It’s an enchanting red, with subtle herbal notes woven through round, rich red fruit. While the sweetness of the fruit makes it easy to drink now, it has the potential to become more complex over the next couple of years. Then open it for roast pork." (2/2016)
"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!