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K&L Staff Recommendations
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."
91 points Wine Spectator: "A fresh white, with a quinine edge giving the core of green fig, yellow apple and white peach flavors extra zip through the floral-edged finish." K&L Notes: De Wetshof has been making high-quality wines in South Africa since the 1970s. Winemaker's Notes: "Heavy clay soils rich in limestone allow this Chardonnay to emit optimum varietal expression in a cloak of rich complexity. An un-wooded wine, Limestone Hill has notes of citrus, ripe orchard fruit and nuts, with the complexity balanced by a nuanced elegance ending with a delicate ripeness. The grapes are picked in ... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV Brut Rosé, disgorged March 2015, has a lifted apricot blossom and citrus peel-scented bouquet, perhaps a little more phenolic than I was expecting. The palate is medium-bodied with a slightly waxy texture, nicely balanced with white peach and strawberry notes, a touch of dried orange peel, fanning out gently towards an appealing, easy-drinking finish that lingers in the mouth. (NM)" (9/2015) Vinous: "Very pale orange-copper color. Bright, fresh raspberry and cherry aromas, along with a light leesy nuance. Tastes sweeter than the brut, with strong red berry f ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV Brut that was disgorged in August 2015 after 18-20 months on the lees, has plenty of coconut and brioche on the nose, peach skin developing with time. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, nicely balanced with plenty of peach and apricot notes on the punter-friendly finish. Fine, well made sparkling wine for the masses, and at good value. (NM)" (11/2015) Vinous: "Strong, fresh mousse. Fresh, inviting white peach, lime and apple aromas are complicated by toasty lees and a hint of salinity. Frothy and fresh, delivering lovely lift to the apple and pe ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Grapes were sourced from six distinctive vineyards in Wellington, creating a blend with complexity and verve. From the winemaker: "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."
Too soon? Not for rosé from the Southern Hemisphere, and not for this perennial staff and customer favorite 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, expres... Read More »
Sourced from across the broad Western Cape region of South Africa, Radley & Finch offers this Cabernet Sauvignon at an attractive entry-level price. The 2014 vintage saw a high quality crop with an appropriate amount of rainfall, especially for unirrigated vineyards. From winemaker Thinus Kruger: "Balanced entry reflects classical Cabernet Sauvignon flavours, dark berries, country herbs and a hint of fresh red cherries. Medium weight palate displays an elegant and very approachable tannin."
Sourced from across the broad Western Cape region of South Africa, Radley & Finch offers this Chenin Blanc at an attractive entry-level price. Grapes were sourced from both bush vines and trellised vines primarily in the Agter Paarl and Swartland regions. Winemaker Thinus Kruger primarily utilized indigenous yeasts in a particularly slow fermentation to develop complexity. The result is a citrusy and yellow fruited profile with hints of spice and grain. It is ready to drink right now, but will fill out and add complexity for a couple of years.
Winemaker's Notes: "The wine is translucent with a bright green hue. The nose is opulent with aromas of fynbos, lithci, peardrops, granny smith apples and grapefruit. The palate is lively with flavours of passionfruit, gooseberry and richness from the barrel fermented portion, lingering with fresh acidity and flint. Our Sauvignon Blanc 2016 was made from seven vineyards growing around the Franschhoek valley. The blend includes 5% barrel fermented old vine Semillon. Each vineyard is harvested and vinified separately to insure maximum complexity. All our ... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Old Vine White is just a peach of a wine. It is fairly innocuous at first, saunters around for bit, minding its own business. Perhaps your attention is lowered. Then it evolves these wonderful aromas of almond, beeswax and just a hint of creme brulée. The palate is very well balanced with fine acidity, perhaps not quite as complex as the nose at full flight, but it delivers impressive, almost disarming persistence on the ginger-tinged finish. You will polish off a bottle quicker than you wish. (NM)" (11/2015) 91 points Wine Spectator: "Lovely, with white peach, chamomile an ...Read More »
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 »
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 »
This blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier starts with hand harvest and hand sorting into small boxes. Fermentation takes about three weeks at a controlled temperature of 24°C. The grapes are then pressed in a traditional basket press and the juice is aged for 24 months on the lees - which is an increase from the 16-18 months the winery was doing previous to the 2011 vintage. The winery believes that "(t)he additional 6 months of ageing just meant higher levels of stability and clarity without the sacrifice of any of the other qualities and the character of... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "It has an appealing, lightly honeyed bouquet with touches of nectarine and yellow flowers. The palate is well balanced with a pleasant honeyed texture, a little lower in acidity than its peers (despite being picked earlier) with a waxy-textured finish...there is fine length and sheer drinkability here. (NM)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: The grapes for this wine come from a vineyard high in the mountains of Clanwilliam, 25 miles from the sea at 1600ft elevation. Dry farmed, as there is no longer any water available, these 50 +/- year old vines produce a mere 2.5 tons per hect... Read More »
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
The magnificent Grande Quinquina flavored with cinchona bark and 35 ingredients sourced from the Cape of South Africa. The Badenhorst family starts with Chenin Blanc fortified with grape spirit, lightly sweetened with sugar of the same grapes, bitter with bark from the cinchona tree and flavored with rare Cape botanicals like fynbos, kalmoes, and naartjies. This revival of the famous aperitif wine from centuries past is now upon us with this collaboration between Adi Badenhorst and Danish bar master Lars Lyndgaard. The resulting product is an ever evolvi... Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Andrea Mullineux, 2016 Winemaker of the Year, Editors' Choice* This ripe selection conveys a superb sense of balance and refinement, with forward aromas and flavors of black cherry and brambly berry framed by notes of wood spice, mocha and pressed violet. Velvety in feel, the texture is plush and seductive, with fine yet structured tannins and ample acidity to keep the palate fresh through the close. It’s certainly delicious now, but this should age well through 2022. (LB)" 91 points Wine Spectator: "Black cherry and raspberry fruit streams through, lined with subtle pepper, violet ...Read More »
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 »
91 points Wine Spectator: "Solidly built, with cassis bush, blackberry and fig fruit flavors rolled up with charcoal and bittersweet cocoa notes. The rugged tannins are integrated through the finish, lending this a muscular feel. A buried iron accent should emerge with some cellaring. Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2019. 250 cases imported. (JM, Web-2014)" 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Lady May is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot and sees 100% new oak for 24 months. That wood seems to be deftly absorbed on the nose with precocious black cherry and black curr ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
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 »
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)
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 »
Sourced from across the broad Western Cape region of South Africa, Radley & Finch offers this Sauvignon Blanc at an attractive entry-level price. The 2015 vintage offered a dry and early-ripening season with low yields and high quality fruit. Fruit from the Stellenbosch, Swartland and Paarl areas offer the ripe and juicy fruit character while grapes from the Olifants river area lend a streak of green invigoration. This Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent warm weather sipper, or a companion to fresh seafood and Mediterranean fare.
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) Jancis Robinson: "The name means 'to be best by serving others'. From 12 different vineyards on decomoposed granite and some of them iron-rich. Not that much nose but an attractive sat ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Light ruby. Dusty nose. Real whole-bunch influence with lots of freshness. Bone-dry end. Drink 2016-2020." (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... Read More »
Super fun little wine. Old vine Cinsualt, fermented using partial carbonic techniques. Bright, fresh, only 12.5% alc. Crunchy berry fruits, bramble and dusty minerals. Fantastic wine for white meat, charcuterie or pork tenderloin.
The most planted red grape variety in the world is Grenache Noir. It has had a long standing position in South Africa as well, but it has to be noted that it is very site specific. In South Africa the Piekenierskloof Pass, going north to Citrusdal, has in recent years firmly positioned itself as the leading location for Grenache. The Piekenierskloof took its name from the piekeniers (foot soldiers) who were located at the top of the pass of the mountain to protect the lifestock in this part of the old Cape Colony from theft, hence this parcel of vines be... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Rocking Horse Cape White has a more introspective nose than the Zoetrope, a little more resinous and waxy, yellow flowers developing with aeration. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, a little viscosity. It gently builds in the mouth with hints of fennel and sage towards the focused finish. This is one of those understated wines that only reveals its character with aeration in the glass. In a word...cerebral. (NM)" (9/2015) Jancis Robinson: "37% Chenin Blanc from Bottelary (34 years old) and Swartland (20 years old) – granite soils. 28% Roussanne from V ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "85% Chenin Blanc, 15% Verdelho. Subtle but definite aromas: apricot and apple. Firm, fresh and lightly textured. The blend works well here giving an aromatic profile but also a satisfying texture. Just a slight note of boiled sweets on the finish – some residual sugar, or is it simply fruit sweetness? (JH)" (10/2015)
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)
Winemaker's Notes: "58% Cinsaut, 21% Grenache and 21% Syrah. Grapes are meticulously sourced from a number of altitude and maritime vineyards around the Western Cape. 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 along with new and old large format French Oak is combined to ensure that the essence of South African terroir is captured in the wines. With the flagship Savage red selli... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
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 »
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!
Eben's top red blend. A single vintage panoramic view of the Swartland stitched together from components selected from his most radical sites. A blend of Syrah and Mourvèdre, Southern Rhone varietals particularly suited to the arid climate of the rugged terrain of the Swartland region. Painstakingly crafted using time-honored winemaking machinery (basket press) and methodology (pigage), this wine is a bottled rendering of the very terroir from where it was created. The aim is to produce a unique and honest wine displaying minerality as apposed to more op... Read More »
The Pofadder, named after the snake, is made from Cinsault grown in the Swartland. It is elegant and vibrant with lots of spice and fine but grippy tannin and energetic acidity. A great wine for roasted game. The grapes for this wine are sourced from the Riebeek Mountain, whose snakelike for gives the wine its name. The grapes are carefully sorted to eliminate berries that aren't perfectly ripe and then whole-custer fermented in an open-top fermenter with one or two punch downs each day. After a month on the skins, the grapes are transferred to a small b... 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 »
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
Winemaker's notes: "100% old-vine Chenin Blanc (planted in 1968). Grapes pressed and juice settled overnight, then racked off the lease. Spontaneous/natural, single fermentation at 14°C until 35g/l residual sugar, when the fermenting juice is bottled under crown cap, slowly continuing fermentation in bottle. Aged on the lease in bottle for 14 months, followed by hand riddling, degorging of the lease and corking. Every process is aimed at turning beautiful, fresh juice into wine with no additions of any sort to give this very natural wine in which the bub... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Franschhoek grapes and has a very reserved, tertiary and tobacco-stained bouquet that needs a little more fruit to come forthwith. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, supple red cherry and wild strawberry fruit, mixed with mint and dried herbs towards the long and composed finish. Not the most complex Cabernet Sauvignon, but it's sheer drinkability is a virtue. (NM)" (11/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Ripe and dense, but pleasantly rounded off, with red licorice and mocha notes melding into the plum and blackberry core. Roasted apple w ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Clonal Selection Elgin Syrah is matured in around 40% new oak. It has a subtle red berry, bergamot and violet-scented bouquet that is very defined and sophisticated. The palate is beautifully balanced, smooth and seductive in the mouth, with the acidity very well judged; there is plenty of lush red cherry, wild strawberry and white pepper notes on the finish. This is is very fine, though I personally have a wild crush on the Chardonnay. (NM)" (8/2015) Wine Spectator: "Focused, with a sanguine thread weaving through the core of lightly steeped plum and cherry fruit, giv ...Read More »
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 »
This wine is sourced a single vineyard of old, bush vine Chardonnay that is tended by a sheep farmer, and made by this up-and-coming winery, founded only in 2012 by by John and Tasha Seccombe.
Inventory: Redwood City