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K&L Staff Recommendations
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc comes from three vineyards, predominantly whole-bunch pressed in order to settle as clean as possible, fermentation in 300-liter used barrels where the lees can be worked and limit sulfur for six months. It has a fine, tense and slightly chalky bouquet with touches of Mirabelle coming through. The palate is crisp on the entry with a fine line of acidity. Good tension here, very nicely focused and refined with hints of almond and walnut toward the finish. Very fine." (10/2014) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Peach and straw flavors mingle with brioche and blanched ...Read More »
Now a perennial favorite with staff and customers alike at K&L, this is one of our best selling and most raved about rosés every year. Hand-picked from Biodynamically farmed, old Mourvedre vines in a cool coastal sub-region of Stellenbosch, it's a fresh, elegant wine that does a fantastic impression of Bandol (which is also predominantly made from Mourvedre) but at a fraction of the cost! Waterkloof is a stunning property working with very natural, non-interventionist methods, the wines are pure, expressive and precisely balanced. I am excited to work wi... Read More »
This rich South African red blend is the perfect party wine. Gaining depth and spice from Syrah, verve from Mourvèdre, and perfume from Viognier, it is easy to love--and easy to drink by the gallon! Fortunately, its price tag is friendly, too. From the winery: "Ripe blackberries and spicy pepper flavours from the Syrah driving this blend are met with a soft and supple palate. Good density with lingering flavours and a hint of oak. Soft, supple tannins makes for early, easy drinking."
Wine & Spirits: "A tangy rosé with bright spice, this is savory and slightly bitter in the end—a clean wine to chill for aperitifs." (2/2016) K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "DMZ is DeMorgenzon’s value label, where the objective is to produce classic, elegant, well-balanced wines which over-deliver in terms of quality for price. This crowd-pleasing rosé displays alluring aromas and juicy flavours of pomegranate, watermelon and strawberries, accented with delicate floral and spice hints."
94 points Wine Spectator: "Rippling with tension, featuring Jonagold apple, white peach, mirabelle plum and honeysuckle notes coiled at the core. Citrus oil- and mineral-edged finish. Best from 2017 through 2022." (6/2016) 90 points Decanter: "Creamy and complex, with aromas of lemon biscuit and white citrus laced by a gravelly, mineral thread. Seamless and smooth on the palate, filled with pithy lemon, a bright acidity and a lovely, saline finish." Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Hamilton Russell is one of South Africa’s premier estates and both their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have enjoyed a loyal following for good reason...exemplary ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Rosè of Cabernet Sauvignon has a delicate nose of fresh strawberry and rose petal, nicely defined and offering plenty of fruit. This is not a shy and retiring Rosé, but nor is it blowsy. The palate is rounded on the entry, quite plush for a Rosé with red cherry and strawberry fruit, leading to a sweet, mouth-pleasing finish. 'Tis a Rosé to drink, not slurp. (NM)" (9/2015) Wine Spectator: "A plump and very friendly rosé, with strawberry cream and white cherry fruit notes, and a good, juicy finish. Drink now. (JM, Web-2016)"
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 The Curator White Blend is a blend of 50% Chenin Blanc, 36% Chardonnay and 14% Semillon. It has a straight-forward, honey and beeswax-scented bouquet. The palate is easy going, quite sweet and honeyed in texture with a sumptuous citrus peel and peachy finish that will slip effortlessly down throats. This represents excellent value. (NM)" (11/2015) Vinous: "Initially dusty nose quickly cleared to show lively aromas of orange, lime, stone, anise, dusty herbs and lemon oil. Glyceral and long on personality, showing intense honeyed stone and citrus fruit flavo ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Easy and mouthfilling. Tangy and definitely Chenin. A great introduction to New Wave South African wine!" (9/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Secateurs Chenin Blanc has a slightly waxy, toffee apple-scented bouquet that perhaps lacks the complexity of some of the other vintages that I have tasted in the past. The palate is nicely balanced, quite primal in the mouth at first but settling down later on with lime cordial and peachy notes that deliver plenty of flavor. (NM)" (11/2015)
Wine Spectator: "A modest core of singed vanilla, plum and licorice notes is backed by a slightly firm thread of cedar on the finish. (Web-2015)"
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Secateurs Rosé is a blend of 50% Cinsault, 48% Shiraz, and a pinch of Grenache and Carignan. It has a heady, very perfumed vanilla-tinged nose that reminds me of the strawberry macaroons I buy from Merignac airport when I leave Bordeaux (they are delicious incidentally). The palate is more reserved than the nose suggests with crisp acidity and impressive weight. The wine is still a generous and flavor-packed Rosé that retains control and delineation right to the finish. This is an excellent Rosé from Adi Badenhorst. (NM)" (11/2015) Wine Spectator: "A pretty rosé, ...Read More »
Grapes were sourced from six distinctive vineyards in Wellington, creating a blend with complexity and verve. Winemaker's notes: "On the nose distinct coffee, rich dark chocolate and baked plums. The ripe subtle tannins create a wine to be drunk very young. This unique style of Pinotage is a perfect accompaniment to salmon, roast venison and even chocolate mousse."
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 »
Wine Spectator: "Offers dark cherry and red currant fruit, mixed with bramble and licorice snap notes. Features a shot of roasted vanilla on the finish, but good energy keeps this honest. (Web Only—2015)" K&L Notes: Warwick has been family-run for three generations. They are members of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative, devoted to conservation and sustainable practices. From the winery: "The wine has a ruby red hue in the glass. The nose shows red cherry, cedar wood and dark chocolate aromas. The palate is full round with ripe subtle tannins."
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 John X Merriman is a blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon and 38% Merlot with Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec filling in the gaps. Spending 20 months in oak, 35% new, it has a dark plum and blackcurrant-scented bouquet that is more primal than other vintages I have encountered at this stage. The palate is medium-bodied with tobacco-tinged black fruit. This is supple, almost soft in the mouth that lends an easy drinking texture, but it clearly deserves a couple more years in bottle for those tannins on the finish to melt. One of South Africa's ...Read More »
Winemaker's Notes: "Expressive fresh, tropical fruit flavour with well structured minerality. Youthful, friendly and inviting, this wine is ready to be enjoyed now. Sirkel encapsulates our dream of fulfilling our mission to be custodians of earth and guardians of man, caring for what has been entrusted to us. This wine completes the full seasonal circle by giving back to the land and the people committed to its creation. Grapes are hand harvested before being de-stemmed, crushed and pressed. Spontaneous fermentation turns the juice into wine, with minima... Read More »
"In my book, Kanonkop is the king of Pinotage," raves Decanter magazine. (11/2015) This fourth-generation estate has a reputation for being a "first growth" of Stellenbosch. In 2013, they were awarded the title of "South African Producer of the Year" by the International Wine and Spirits Competition. Perfect for tagliatelle with a rich, meaty ragu sauce, Kanonkop's Pinotage exudes aromas of ripe red berries with underlying hints of mocha. It has the tannic structure to age for another 8 years, though it's delicious right out of the gate.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The dark ruby 2013 Kloof Street Swartland Rouge is 85% Syrah, 9% Carignan and the rest Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Grenache. Their tribute to the Southern Rhône of France, the wine possesses more of a St.-Joseph than Côtes du Rhône-like style. It displays cool, peppery, smoky, meaty notes, good acidity, strawberry and cherry. (RP)" (3/2016)
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cartology Bush Vines is Chris Alheit's fourth release since it blazed onto the South African scene. It comes from the same vineyards as previous vintages. Chris said this is completely unfined and unfiltered with a very healthy pH. The nose has a sense of confidence about it, racing out of the blocks with orange zest, honeysuckle, jasmine and a touch of loganberry. The palate is lightly honeyed on the entry, beautifully balanced with a fine line of acidity, gently building in the mouth towards a complex, absorbing finish of lychee, white pepper ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Sirkel Pinotage is fermented 50% in used barrels. It has a simple strawberry winegum-scented nose. The palate is rounded with bulbous strawberry and red cherry fruit and an easy drinking, smooth finish that is clearly designed to appeal to the masses, which it probably will. (NM)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "Expressive fresh, ripe raspberry and red fruit with a hint of sweet herbs. Youthful and elegant, this wine is ready to be enjoyed now. Sirkel encapsulates our dream of fulfilling our mission to be custodians of earth and guardians of man, ca... Read More »
Incredible olive oil from Francisce Dreyer in South Africa's Paarl Valley. A blend of Italian varietals: Favalosa (30%), Frantoio (30%), Delicata (20%), Coratina (10%), Leccino (10%). A beautifully fragrant oil, with a nice delicate spice and vibrant freshness. A K&L Staff favorite!
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Old Vine Chenin Blanc comes from three vineyards between sandstone and granite soils, the former lending the weight and the latter, the freshness. It is raised 30% in oak and 70% in stainless steel for nine months. It has a tightly wound nose at first, with subtle quince and yellow flower, Mirabelle scents that take time to unfurl. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, rounded and voluminous on the entry and then curving in from both sides on the pretty, white peach and Mirin tinged finish. This is very classy. (NM)" (10/2014) 90 points Vinous: "(from vine ...Read More »
The Wolftrap is a robust, lively blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, and Viognier. From Neal Martin at erobertparker.com: "Robert Parker recently tasted Mark Kent's (a.k.a. Mr Boekenhoetskloof) Wolftrap red and white and came to the same conclusion as I in recent years: these are just wonderful bang for bucks wines that are thoughtfully crafted at this price point."
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Old Vine Series Skurfberg (100% Chenin Blanc) has a beautifully defined bouquet with scents of pressed yellow flowers and lanolin. The palate is very tense with deceiving weight in the mouth, almost distant at first but then those gorgeous honeycomb and citrus peel flavors crash upon the shore. Sublime. (NM)" (10/2014) 93 points Wine Spectator: "Richly layered, with Jonagold apple, white peach and mirabelle flavors, this is lined with verbena and chamomile notes and backed by a mineral-lined finish that sails on and on. Very pure and fine-tuned. Should be fun to watch this ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Winemaker's Notes: "This wine is made from: Roussanne (39%) - trellised vines, 8 years old, alluvial soils. Chardonnay (23%) - dryland bush vines, 22 years old, shale and clay soils. Semillon blanc (23%) - trellised vines, 30 years old, alluvial soils. Chenin blanc (15%) - dryland bush vines 33 years old, decomposed granite soils. There’s a lot going on aromatically in this wine. The initial orange blossom, peach and burnt sugar aromas give way to more exotic wax, rosemary, caraway and sea-shore notes. It is layered and complex, and evolves beautifully i... Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* Bold, dark and concentrated, this blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Malbec, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 9% Petit Verdot still shows some youthful restraint on the nose and palate, suggesting this is a wine best enjoyed after 2018 and through 2024. Seductive notes of toasted oak, cocoa nib, licorice and Thin Mint kiss the black-fruit core of boysenberry, blackberry and cherry. The mouthfeel is dense, with a firm structure and bold tannins that grip the long, spicy finish. (LB)" (12/2015) 93 points Vinous: "Bright medium ruby-red. Inviting aromas o ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Perdeberg and Kasteelberg. Spring herbs on the nose. Off-dry impression but with enough acidity. Good tang, this would be a fab house wine. (GV)" (9/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Only recently bottled, the 2015 Kloof Street Chenin Blanc comes from 40-year-old vines. Part of the fruit was matured in stainless steel, as it was done in 2014 for the first time. It has a perfumed pine cone and fennel-tinged bouquet that gently unfurls from the glass. The palate is well balanced, perhaps a little fatter than previous vintages with a fine line of acidity, direct pear, peach skin, and f ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Unwooded Chardonnay, which comes from W.O. Robertson and includes 10% skin ferment and a "bit" of Chenin Blanc, has a very aromatic bouquet with peach skin and fresh pear, a touch of paw paw coming through with aeration. The palate is well balanced, rounded in the mouth, lower acidity than its peers and with a lovely white pepper note on the finish. Enjoy this over the next 2-3 years. (NM)" (9/2015) K&L Notes: Thinus Krüger, CEO/President/Winemaker/Grape Crusher is the sole employee of FRAM, the source of these remarkable "wines of exploration." When K&L Sou... Read More »
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright, pale yellow. Knockout nose combines stone fruits, nutmeg, marzipan, almond butter and dusty herbs. Supple, layered and deep, but with sneaky acidity intensifying the flavors of green melon, musky citrus fruits and brown spices. Finishes firm and long, with lovely lingering perfume. This impeccably balanced wine looks to be the best chardonnay release to date from Glenelly." (5/2013) 90 points Wine Spectator: "A solid, focused style, showing a light toast shading to the core of pear, yellow apple and melon flavors. Features a lingering brioche note, with good length on th ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Sourced from three parts of Stellenbosch, 60% of the fruit from the estate, the 2014 Chardonnay is barrel fermented with 12 months in oak and it goes through full malolactic. It has a very well defined bouquet that is minerally and tense with lime flower and a touch of smoked almond. The palate is medium-bodied with a touch of passion fruit on the entry with well judged acidity, and it gently rolls out on the peachy finish. You couldn't really ask for more at this price. (NM)" (11/2015) 91 points Vinous: "(about 60% from the estate, the rest from other parts of Stellenbosch; ...Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Healthy deep red. High-toned aromas of strawberry and spices, with a suggestion of whole-cluster fermentation. In a very ripe, easygoing style, with lovely sweetness and depth to its strawberry fruit. Not particularly complex but offers terrific sex appeal already. Finishes sweet and long, with gentle tannins." (6/2015) Jancis Robinson: "First year he made it was in 2008 and it's named after his first two (superseded) growers! Four different vineyards mainly Hemel. Different picks, 15% new oak, 10-30% whole bunch. Light ruby. Warm stones on the nose then quite sweet and fr ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Ramnasgras Cinsault comes from a vineyard planted in 1956 and it's a superb take on the variety by winemaker Adi Badenhorst. It has an almost Pinot Noir-like purity on the nose with wonderful definition and lift - Morello cherry, shortcake, a touch of orange zest and cola. The palate is very well balanced with harmonious, refined red berry fruit. The acidity keeps this tensile from start to finish and whilst the variety means that it just lacks the substance and weight on the finish that you might yearn, it remains a bottle that you will finish ...Read More »
A mineral intensive, rich, old vine Chenin Blanc with both concentration and elegance. We have been working with Ginny's beautiful Botanica wines for a few years now and the purity and depth of this Chenin continues to impress year after year. Ryan Woodhouse (K&L South African Wine Buyer)
Inventory: San Francisco
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 White is a blend of 56% Sauvignon Blanc and 44% Semillon, the fruit sourced by Duncan Savage from numerous vineyards around Kaaimansgat for the former and Villiersdorp for the latter. The wine is fermented in 500-liter used oak casks, 25% new, where it ages for 11 months. It has a very refined bouquet with scents of beeswax, honeysuckle, jasmine and touches of praline in the background. The palate is very well balanced with beautifully effervescent orange zest, guava, apricot and honeysuckle notes and a supremely focused, classy finish. Quite si ...Read More »
Praise from Jancis Robinson for a previous vintage: "The only David Sadie wine I have tasted is this quite exceptional 2012 David (Sadie) Grenache 2012 made from an organic vineyard on the granite soils of the Paardeberg in the Swartland. A grand total of two barrels were produced in 2012 although production grew last year when he was able to add the produce of another vineyard and he now has a third in his sights, apparently. He employs some cold soak, a certain portion of whole bunches in the fermentation vat, with ambient yeast, daily punchdowns of th... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Chenin Blanc is matured in used barrels for around ten months, undergoes a little SO2 and bottled. It comes from two vineyards. It has a phenolic bouquet, a little resinous with honeysuckle and jasmine, a touch of warm gravel. The palate is medium-bodied with a fine line of acidity, but this is more about texture than fruit with hints of ginger and lemongrass towards the finish. Drink over the next 5-8 years. (NM)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: Thinus Krüger, CEO / President / Winemaker / Grape crusher / Sole employee of FRAM, brings us these remarkable "wines of exp... Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "A stylish, perfumy wine, with alluring singed sandalwood, rooibos tea, red currant, white pepper, floral and blood orange notes all woven together and carrying through the long, silky finish. Cinsault." (6/2014) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Old Vine Series Pofadder has a warm, sensual bouquet that captures the lighter, more feminine side of the Cinsault variety. The palate is medium-bodied with a very tart entry. There are plenty of pretty sour red cherry and citric notes with just a mote of fieriness toward the finish. There is joie-de-vivre in this Pofadder -- nonchalant an ...Read More »
Winemaker's Notes: "Seductive ripe red fruit and floral notes with pepper, fynbos and fennel spices, and a good dollop of minerality. A long, lingering, well balanced after taste of succulent fruit with excellent tannin structure. We recommend ageing of 3 to 10 years during which time sediment may be deposited in the bottle, and that this wine be decanted to allow it to express it’s true soul! The grapes are hand harvested early in the morning into well vented crates of 10kg capacity and cooled over night to 5°C. Crushing and destemming takes place dire... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Syrah, which may in the future be sourced predominantly from the Porseleinberg site, saw 26 months in second fill French oak with around half spending the final eight months in foudre. It has a very controlled bouquet, nicely defined but not quite "letting go" as I would have expected. Gradually there are hints of wild mint and violet emerging, imparting more varietal character, I think manifested much by the Porseleinberg fruit that constitutes 25% of the current blend. The palate is more comfortable in its own skin: nicely defined with fine gr ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Passion, Art and Tradition are evoked on the front label. Chenin Blanc. Certified organic. Deep, not quite clear straw colour. Definitely ‘natural’ on the nose but there is enough fruit underneath. Intriguing with masses to titillate the palate. It is not short of alcohol but it’s really intense and has sufficient acidity to keep it from being a chore. Honeysuckle, lime, broom and more. Not a wine to sip casually but one to make the average white burgundy look really rather boring. Food wine. Lobster wine? (JR)" (1/2015) Vinous: "(a blend of Chenin Blanc, Roussann ...Read More »
Thinus Krüger, CEO / President / Winemaker / Grape crusher / Sole employee of FRAM, brings us these remarkable "wines of exploration." I recently tasted these with Pascal Schildt, the small, specialist South African importer who brings us these wines, and I was truly blown away by the quality, purity, depth and VALUE of the entire range! (Ryan Woodhouse, K&L South African Wine Buyer)
91 points Vinous: "Bright yellow. Clove, botanical herbs, honey, fennel and aniseed (the latter note very typical of Paardeberg, says Sadie) on the nose. Juicy, intense and energetic, with yellow fruit and honey flavors framed and lifted by a pungent wild herb character that runs through the wine. Finishes quite firm but not at all dry-edged. Sadie recommends pairing this wine with mild curries. (ST)" (6/2015) K&L Notes: The David wines are made by up and coming star David Sadie in South Africa's Swartland region. As part of the Swartland Independent group, David is committed to making... Read More »
90 points Vinous: "Very pale, bright yellow. Pungent, high-pitched aromas of lime, gooseberry, anise, white pepper and quinine, plus a suggestion of tropical fruits; reminded me of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. At once salty, juicy and dense; a bit closed in the middle, then opens out and builds on the finish. Suave, concentrated and adamantly dry; Sauvignon in an adult style. Distinctly dry and salty on the aftertaste. There's no rush to consume this wine: I'd wait six months. (ST)" (6/2015)
Jancis Robinson: "Light ruby. Dusty nose. Real whole-bunch influence with lots of freshness. Bone-dry end." (9/2015) K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "Grapes are meticulously sourced from a number of altitude and maritime vineyards around the Western Cape farmed by passionate South Africans. The small hand selected parcels of fruit receive much love and attention through the growing season with each vineyard’s unique terroir contributing in its own special way to the blend. In the cellar, minimal intervention and old large format French Oak is combined to ensure that the essence of South... Read More »
The Brut Reserve is Saltare's more mature Methode Cap Classique with a minimum of 36 months on the lees, giving it a fuller and more rounded mouthfeel and warmer flavours. It is perfect for matching with a delicious meal and rich enough to stand up to a lot of foods. The wine has almonds, quince, orange peel and camomile flower aromas on the nose. There is creamed honey on the palate followed by layers of brioche, lemon thyme and yellow apple. It has a fine, delicate mousse with a long, complex, creamy, yeasty finish.
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "For reasons unknown, I have never reviewed the 2011 Family White Blend. Tut tut...it's a flippin' gorgeous white blend (of 36% Chenin Blanc, 22% Roussanne, 15% Grenache Blanc, 10% Grenache Gris, 7% Viognier, 6% Verdelho, 3% Colombard and last but not least, 1% of good old Chardonnay. The nose is clean and precise, therefore my first conclusion is some masterful blending because in the wrong hands such a diverse blend can blank each other out. But here are wonderful scents of lemon curd, apricot jam, vanilla, pistachio and walnut. The palate is very well- ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 100% barrel-fermented 2013 Chardonnay has a buttery, brioche-scented bouquet that feels a little old-fashioned, but would certainly attract wide commercial appeal. The palate is well-balanced with tropical tones on the entry, hints of praline in the background, good acidity and toffee notes toward the finish. (NM)" (10/2014) Vinous: "(100% fermented and aged in barrels, 30% new): Very pale straw-yellow. Subtle oak spices lift aromas of apple and pear. Juicy, saline and bright, with brisk acidity giving shape and lift to the flavors of lemon curd and toffee appl ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Crystallum is a boutique winery owned by Andrew and Peter-Allan Finlayson, sons of South African wine legend Peter Finlayson. Paradisum is a Rhone style blend made from Shiraz (50%), Grenache (38%), and Cinsault (12%). The grapes are grown in three different vineyard blocks in the Paardeberg from old, non-irrigated bush vines. The nose is explosive and seductive all at once. Red fruits but intertwined with cinnamon, clove, and exotic spices. The palate is very much old-school Rhone, medium-bodied, elegant and more savoury than the bouquet might suggest. ... Read More »