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K&L Staff Recommendations
1963 Croft Vintage Port $249.99
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)
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)
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 »
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 »
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 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 »
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.
Wine & Spirits: "Good value." (8/2015) Wine Spectator: "A plump and friendly style, with peach and white cherry fruit backed by a hint of mango on the rounded finish. A crowd-pleaser. (Web Only—2015)"
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.
Amats is both the brand name of the Txakoli as well as one of Zudugarai's vineyards. It's a beautiful vineyard, a sandy substrate covered in naturally growing green cover between the rows, with the Cantabrian Sea in full view to the north. Produced from Hondarribi Beltza grapes, this rosé shows a lovely balance between fresh red berries, hints of watermelon, a very subtle, pleasant bitterness and fizzy quality. It's delicious with cured cheeses (something slightly smoky like Idiazabal works really well), charcuterie, anchovies or your favorite cured ham ... Read More »
91 points 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)
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 »
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 »
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)
Amarone at this price? I said the same thing myself, but I was really surprised by the quality of this wine. It has the classic richness one would expect of Amarone, and the fruit quality is superb. I've had other inexpensive Amarone but they always taste slightly bitter and overly raisiny, but this wine is really balanced and has just a terrific finish. How can this happen, you ask? Well, in these times of economic uncertainty, sales of high-priced Amarone have dipped. The folks behind the Montechiara label offer a way for a producer to clear out some i... Read More »
93 points James Halliday: "Grunty, muscular red with a softer side to its personality. Plum, tar, iodine and blackberry with dried herb complexity. Tannin has flex and bump but the fruit is slinky and easy-going. The combination works." (7/2014) K&L Notes: Durif is a local hero and is sometimes referred to as Rutherglen Durif, known here as Petit Sirah, this vibrant red combines ageworthiness with vibrant color and dark berry flavors. All Saints is one of the most historic wineries in Victoria as it was founded in 1864.
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 »
Working in the southern Catalunya D.O. of Terra Alta, Xavier Clua makes delicious reds as well as this crisp, generously fruited yet dry rosé, from Garnatxa and Syrah. A bright, intense pink color, the Clua shows ripe red fruited aromas and similar notes on the palate. This is not the provencal style, but rather a fruitier and fuller flavored rosé not dissimilar from our popular Saint-Hippolyte. Pair with a caprese salad, charcuterie, or romano beans simmered with onions, a touch of water, olive oil and salt, served alongside a tomato rice pilaf. (Joe Ma... 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 »
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 »
91 points James Suckling: "Young and wild red fruits with the trademark peppery edge, some brambly blue fruits and an assertive, spicy thread. This has a supple, fleshy and brambly palate with glossy ripe blue fruit flavors, fine-sheeted tannins and a tangy, saffron-tinged finish." (5/2015)
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 »
A certified organic blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo and Syrah, this wine undergoes carbonic maceration to highlight the fresh, high toned qualities of this delicious fruit. Think Beaujolais Village, with a bit more heft. Having planted vines in the national park lands of the Sierra Norte outside of Sevilla, at 700 meters altitude in heavily slate soils, where there is a surprisingly generous amount of rainfall, the results are both delicious and impressive: crisp, bright, varietally true blended wines with great personality that are truly wines ... Read More »
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 »
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 »
Marchione represents the efforts of Importer A.I. Selections to create outstanding value-priced wines with regional authenticity. The fruit for this wine is sourced from 15-18 year old Nero d'Avola vines located in the Argiento Hills of Sicily. The wine sees no oak and offers a fresh and smoothly textured palate of spicy black cherry and plum fruit. This is certainly an ideal daily table red and perfect for outdoor occasions as well.
92 points Wine & Spirits: "There are very few Carignans like this in Chile. Made from old vines planted in the 1960s, this takes a light, fresh approach, focused on fruit rather than pushing for superconcentration. With its pure, juicy ripe cherry flavor, it could bolster a plate of grilled sausages or develop for a few years in the cellar." (6/2014)90 points James Suckling: "A spicy and balanced red with blueberries, blackberries and hints of slate. Full to medium body, fresh acidity and a clean finish. A stylish red. Drink now." (8/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Dark purple. Ripe plum and blueberry on the deeply scented nose. Plush ...Read More »
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 »
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 »
Wine Spectator: "Lightly spiced and aromatic, with floral and loamy earth notes, this light- to medium-bodied red offers easy-drinking flavors of crushed black cherry, baked plum and cocoa powder. (Web Only—2015)"
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
The Santoleri vineyards date back to 1968, though the same family has been farming the property since 600! Located at the base of the 2,000 foot Maiella Mountain in the Apennines. Its altitude and proximity to the Adriatic Sea are ideally suited for growing grapes. The vineyards are farmed without the use of pesticides, mineral fertilizers and other invasive products. From the importer: "Ruby red robe with violet hues. Intense aromas with notes of black cherry, balsamic and licorice. Fresh and vigorous on the palate, typical of a young Montepulciano, wit... 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 »
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "An absolutely amazing value, the 2013 Proprietary Red is a great blend of 49% Syrah, 38% Petite Sirah and 13% Barbera (11,000 cases produced). The wine, which was aged in French oak, displays a dense ruby/purple color and an attractive nose of blackberries, licorice, tar and a touch of subtle smoke. It is medium-bodied and has surprising density as well as intensity for a wine at this price range. It should drink nicely for another 2-3 years. (RP)" (8/2015)
A blend 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 varieties are allowed to be grown under the AOC designate: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir a... Read More »
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)
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 »
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.
This wine is a collaboration between Charles Smith and Charles Bieler, both accomplished vintners who came together in 2008 to make world-class rosé in the Columbia Valley. 2014 was a hot vintage, tempered by a slightly cooler September. To maintian the tautness they were seeking in the wine, they sourced fruit from many cooler vineyard sites. From the winery: "Our 2014 Rosé is quite simply the most awesomely complex and complete Rosé we’ve made to date. The winemaking hasn’t changed a great deal over the years; so we attribute much of this complexity to... Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(34% grenache, 33% mourvedre and 33% zinfandel; 15.2% alcohol): Bright purple. Ripe raspberry and blueberry on the nose and in the mouth. Juicy, spice-accented berry compote flavors show an appealingly silky quality and pick up a floral nuance with air. Closes on a gently sweet note, with lingering blue fruit and spice qualities. No shortage of fruit here." (11/2012) Antonio Galloni: "The 2010 Lothario is another of the more restrained wines in this lineup from Kukkula. It shows good depth and persistence, with pretty notes of tobacco, wild flowers and dried cherries linger ...Read More »
Maison Angelot is run by the brothers Eric and Philippe Angelot. Their 57 acres of vineyards are divided into about 20 different parcels, some hillside and others along the valley floor. Harvest is both manual and with machine (depending on the parcel), and their modern winery houses temperature-controlled stainless-steel and fiberglass tanks. The mondeuse is 100% destemmed and fermented through carbonic maceration preserving freshness and brightness delivering a wine similar to a Beaujolais with more spice qualities.
This is a Plavac Mali from Dingac Winery, Croatia, which bears some resemblance to its cousin, California Zinfandel. That's because Plavac is a hybrid of Crljenak kastelanski, which is the direct ancestor of Zinfandel - its DNA is identical, in fact. Plavac Mali, or "little blue grape," is a different wine, however, and fascinating to taste and compare. From importer Blue Danube: "Near constant sunshine beating down on local herbs like rosemary, thyme and oregano imparts a sweet menthol like herbaceousness to Plavac grown along the Dalmatian Coast. 'Plav... 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!
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)