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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points James Suckling: "**No. 9 on the "Top 50 Value Wines Of 2016"** A serious pinot noir with muscle and tension. Full body, spice, cedar and berry character. Long and flavorful. Layers of character. Lots of vibrant cherry, strawberry and chocolate undertones. Subtle. Drink or hold. Only 450 cases made." K&L Notes: I was really pleased to see this wine drop in at No. 9 on James Suckling's Top 50 Value Wines of 2016! I have long believed that South Africa's Pinot Noirs deserve more recognition and to see this wine breaking into Suckling's Top Ten was a revelation. The wine showcases the ty... 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."
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: Another fantastic value from this K&L perennial pick. Juicy, rich, fruit forward but un-oaked Chard with subtle mineral tinges and clean bright acidity. Just so easy to drink and a crowd pleaser for sure. Has the richness and texture that many Chardonnay drinkers love but without the heavy oak flavors that can be so off putting. De Wetshof has been making high-quality wines in South Africa since the 1970s and the... Read More »
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 »
92 points Wine Spectator: "*Best Values* This is refined, with a steely spine that lets gooseberry, verbena and white peach flavors streak through. A hint of shortbread adds range and mouthfeel along the edges. The long finish has lovely cut. An amazing value. Drink now through 2019. (JM)" (2/2017)
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: San Francisco
Kloof Street is an offshoot of Mullineaux Family Wines, which Neal Martin of the Wine Advocate says: "Mullineux epitomize elegant, terroir-driven, traditionally tailored wines that deliver nuanced scents and flavors while rarely treading over 13.5% alcohol. They do not shortchange wine-lovers on flavor, yet at the heart of their best blends there is an intellectual aspect that leaves you wanting more. If you have not discovered Mullineux yet what are you waiting for?"
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 »
Jancis Robinson: "Pale - very pale - ruby. Very sweet, almost strawberry jam, on the nose, yet with sufficient refreshment. Great liveliness, poise and real minerally chew - granite-derived? Really distinguished - a southern hemisphere answer to Gredos Garnacha? Such a lovely take on this variety. 17.5/20 points (JR)" (8/2016) K&L Notes: This is seriously outstanding wine; one of my favorite expressions of the varietal that I have ever tasted. Pure, elegant, refined. Silk like texture, vibrant acidity and distinctive mineral tones. Not a big wine but one that will leave an impression... 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 »
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 »
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 »
93 points Decanter: "Pinotage like you’ve never had it before! David & Nadia Sadie focus on organic, dry-farmed bush vines on different soils across Swartland - these grapes come from the highest plots on the Paardebosch farm in Paardeberg - and they make their wines as naturally as possible. Early harvesting has given great freshness to the spicy, plum fruit and there’s lovely gentle toasty notes from 14 months in old French oak barrels. Beautiful label too, showing the bush vines and contour lines of the vineyard." Jancis Robinson: "So accomplished! A thoroughbred. Excellent crunch and clarit ...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.
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.
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."
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Sauvignon Blanc has a pleasant cut grass and bruised apple-scented bouquet. The palate is clean and fresh with good acidity, plenty of gooseberry and green apple flavors to enjoy, with a well balanced and quite sustained finish. (NM)" (11/2015)
92 points Wine Spectator: "Solid, offering a big core of yellow apple, anise, white peach and mirabelle plum flavors, backed by enticing honeysuckle and jasmine notes. Has weight and cut, with a minerally underpinning on the finish. Roussanne, Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Viognier. (Web Only—2016)" 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Maestro White, now in bottle of course, has a lively, slightly grassy bouquet with touches of gunflint developing in the glass. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, and there is good fruit intensity with fresh pear and citrus lemon combining nicely with ...Read More »
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 »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannin, good depth in the mouth, and a little muscular at the moment with a saline touch to the finish. (NM)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: This wine comes from Ginny Poval's farm located in the Devon Valley just minutes from the heart of Stellenbosch. Big Flower is designed to be an easy drinking wine that really over-delivers for the price point ... and boy it does just that!
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)
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: "30% Syrah, 28% Carignan, 17% Cinsaut, 14% Grenache, 11% Pinotage, on granite and schist. Aged in old oak for 22 months. Pale to mid ruby. This really does smell like the cocktail promised on the back label. Very complex and composed. Still quite a bit of structure - a firm line through all that fruit - but the tannins seem well in balance with all that opulent yet reined-in-by-terroir fruit. Spice and masses of depth. Such a light touch! Long, toasty on the finish, and rich - but with great energy too. Well done! Really very smart indeed, but beautifully ...Read More »
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 »
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
Named after the science of mapmaking, Cartology is Alheit's ode to the geography of the Cape. Comprising heritage grapes (Chenin Blanc and Semillon) grown on mature, bushvines from parcels in the Skurfberg, Perdeberg, Bottelary, False Bay, Franschhoek and Botrivier. Winemaker's notes on the 2015 vintage: "almost think it’s enough to quietly inform you that 2015 was an extremely good vintage for white wine in the Cape. So much so, that we’re keeping quite a bit more than usual for ourselves. This bottling is intensely flavoured; ripe pear, honey and limey... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Clonal Selection Elgin Chardonnay is a wonderful wine and perhaps better than the 2012. It has a very subtle bouquet with apple blossom, lemon zest and coconut scents that are wonderfully delineated. The palate is still showing a little new oak, though that will be absorbed with time. It is pure and balanced, very refined with an almost Burgundy-like finish. This is pure class - and a United States importer should pick this up soon. (NM)" (8/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Offers crystalized ginger and lemon peel notes mixed with bright quinine and honeysuckle accents, car ...Read More »
Neal Martin gives the scoop on all that's going on at De Morgenzon according to Carl van der Merwe: "The cost of farming is high, given the terrace slopes,” he explained. “We have always had quite a strong DMZ base as a value for money line, but I knew we had to work on premium products to justify the cost of farming. In 2011, I made a sparkling wine from a younger block of Chenin Blanc and in 2013 I found a few outstanding barrels that we made into the first Reserve Chardonnay. In terms of planting, we have established a further six hectares of Chardonn... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Bright yellow. Subtle aromas of stone fruits and toasty oak. Rich and broad but lively and precise too, showing good density and lift to the flavors of white peach, licorice and spices. Finishes with a slightly phenolic firmness and excellent length. These vines were planted in 2002 and 1998. (JR)" (6/2015)
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* This unusual whiskey was built like a Bourbon—made with 100% corn and aged in ex-Bourbon casks for an average of five years—but sips like a mellow Canadian whiskey. It's supersoft, with lots of vanilla and sweet maple, plus a gentle, drying finish of allspice and clove. A surprising, rounded black cherry note suggests Manhattans in this whiskey's future. (KN)" (3/2016) Whisky Advocate: "South Africa may be home to an increasingly impressive wine industry — and a noted brandy producer — but the country is also home to two whisky distilleries. Drayman’s in Pretoria ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
John and Tasha Seccombe started Thorne & Daughters in 2012 to celebrate the winemaking heritage of Western Cape. The 2015 was a challenging, but immensely satisfying vintage for them, producing incredible fruit. Praise for the producer from Wine Advocate: "During my time in South Africa, if there was one name on everyone’s lips, one bubbling-under, brand spanking new producer on the scene that you had to have tasted, then it was Thorne & Daughters. It reminded me of the simmering anticipation that preempted the debut release from Chris Alheit, a close fr... Read More »
The Blacksmith is a small project by Tremayne Smith, who trained as a chef before following his passion and becoming a winemaker. The Vin Noir blend is 42% Carignan, 29% Cinsault and 29% Grenache. It's made with natural yeasts and is not filtered or fined.
Three Foxes is another newer, South African "young guns" winery that was set up in 2004 by three friends to produce distinctive wines from small parcels.
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 »
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 »
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 »
Crystallum is an awesome project from “young gun” winemaker and “Zoo Biscuits Wine Gang” member Peter-Allan Finlayson. His father, Peter Finlayson, is pretty much South African winemaking royalty. Peter-Allan is part of a younger generation of winemakers really putting modern South African wines on the map for all the right reasons. This “crew” makes great wines, surfs, Braais and generally has fun. It’s fine wine without any pretentious snobbery—and I love it. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate has this to say about Peter-Allan: “Sometimes you meet a young w... Read More »
From a shallow rocky vineyard on the east facing slopes of the Voor-Paardeberg. The soils are ancient decomposed granite gravels. This rugged rocky outcrop is on the boarder of the Paarl and Swartland regions. The clusters are hand-picked, mostly de-stemmed but a small component left whole cluster. As with all The Three Foxes wines, the wine is fermented using solely wild yeast. The wine stays on the skins for around three weeks for slow gentle extraction. It is then transferred to older 600L French oak Puncheons for 18 months maturation. A natural malo ... Read More »
Winemaker's Notes: "Grapes for our Granite Chenin were sourced from 2 parcels of sustainably farmed old vine, dry farmed Chenin Blanc bush vines planted in the decomposed Granite soils of the Paardeberg. The Vineyards are 38 and 42 years old. These very deep decomposed Granite soils tend to produce wines with great acidity and a flinty, stony aromatic profile. The Granite Chenin tends to exhibit a fantastic natural acidity that balances out the texture and mid-palate that all Swartland white wines possess. The nose is flinty with some stone fruit and cit... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
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)
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!