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K&L Staff Recommendations
Jesús Puelles is one of the most talented vignerons in Rioja. Hailing from a long line of vineyard worker/owners, Puelles knows the terruño in his little slice of land in the Rioja Alta town of Abalos. Most of the grapes for his red wines come from his own 20 hectares, which are north-facing and located at 600 meters in altitude, affording the visitor with one of the most dramatically beautiful views of Rioja's main mountain ranges: the Sierra Cantabria mountains immediately to the north and the Sierra de la Demanda mountains to the south. This white win... Read More »
Amats is both the brand name of the Txakoli as well as one of Zudugarai's vineyards. It's a beautiful vineyard, a sandy substrate covered in naturally growing green cover between the rows, with the Cantabrian Sea in full view to the north. Produced from Hondarribi Zuri grapes, this is classic Txakoli: zippy, crisp, tart green apple flavors are enlivened by a lovely sparkle from the CO2 retained in tank during fermentation. Try this refreshing, vibrant, low in alcohol white wine with a wide range of foods, from obvious choices such as seafood (grilled sar... Read More »
92 points Vinous: "Limpid gold. High-pitched citrus and orchard fruit scents are complemented by honeysuckle and smoky minerals. Juicy, penetrating and pure, offering vibrant pear skin and white peach flavors and a touch of fennel. Becomes spicier and fleshier with air, finishing with excellent clarity and length, leaving mineral and subtle leesy notes behind. (JR)" (1/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Pazo de Senorans is considered one of the handful of top estates in Rias-Baixas and has consistently produced some of the best Albarinos that money can buy. Their old-vine cuvées are especially good. Thi ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The entry-level 2015 Bolo wants to showcase Godello at its purest, and therefore is fermented in stainless steel and bottled early without bâttonage to preserve the primary character of the grape. 2015 saw an early harvest because of a warm and dry summer, with some rains in the middle of the harvest, which allowed the remaining vines to reach a better phenolic ripeness. The grapes come from the O Bolo zone, both purchased and from their own vineyards. The wine is quite expressive after bottling, a touch reductive, but with powerful aromas of bay leaf an ...Read More »
Nestled on the bank of the Miño River, Adegas Valtea has a special mesoclimate that beautifully ripens its grapes. The best bunches of Albariño are handpicked and gently pressed at the peak of their maturity. Tasting notes from the winery: "Straw-yellow color with green and golden glints, clean and bright. Intense fruity nose of apricot, pineapple, and apple with hints of white flowers. Full and fleshy palate with a balanced acidity that gives it freshness. Persistent with an elegance and lingering finish."
Ricardo Sanz is one of the leading figures in the Rueda D.O. His 2013 Palacio de Menade is clean, citrusy, and quite refreshing. It is a leaner style, without any of the tropical fruit sometimes present in wines from Rueda. Enjoy this as a delicious change of pace from Sancerre or Sauvignon Blanc. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish Wine Buyer)
Ameztoi produces some of the tastiest, most representative and classic txakoli: the delicious, bright, slightly petillant (fizzy), low alcohol wines that are consumed like water in Spanish Euskadi (Basque Country). Vineyards are a stone's throw from the ocean, full of verdant, green cover throughout the year. Predominantly Hondarribi Zuri, with 10% Hondarribi Beltza from 20- to 25-year-old vines, fermented in stainless. Briny and bright, the Ameztoi refreshes with juicy lime fruit and Txakolina's characteristic spritz. Delightful.
Produced by a 25-grower cooperative located in the Condado do Tea sub-zone of Rias Baixas, this is crisp, citrus and yellow fruited Albariño from a challenging, but ultimately rewarding, cooler and damper vintage. The results are a very fresh white that has just enough juicy fruit to balance the clean salinity and crisp acids. This is a perfect aperitif and of course, is a seafood-ready white! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese Wine Buyer)
91 points James Suckling: "Clean and clear with green apple, citrus and cream aromas that follow through to a medium body, crisp acidity and a creamy texture. 90% virua and 10% malvasia. Barrel fermented in new fresh oak and a couple months of aging." (7/2015) 91 points Vinous: "Green-tinged gold. Displays heady aromas of ripe citrus and orchard fruits, along with suggestions of honey, dried fig and toasty lees. Sappy, energetic and sharply focused, offering concentrated tangerine and pear skin flavors that are braced by juicy acidity and a strong jolt of smoky minerality. Combines power and finesse g ...Read More »
Winner of the Bronze Medal in the 2013 International Wine Challenge. From the winery: "Garnatxa Blanca Old Vines is for those who seek a bit of extra body and richness in white wines. Vineyards located in the Albera Nature Reserve Area. This wine is aromatic, showing notes of apricot, vanilla, aniseed and fennel. The mouthfeel is round, rich and mouth-coating. For those who know that youth isn't everything..."
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Montenovo is the entry level white, produced with Godello grapes from back slate soils and bottled early trying to preserve the fruit character of the grape. They consider 2015 a Mediterranean vintage, with a dry summer in July, August and September. The grapes are pressed in absence of oxygen and the must fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats, where the wine was kept for three months before bottling. The nose is a bit muted and takes some time to unfurl the white acacia flower and apple aromas. The palate is quite vibrant, cl ...Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Light chartreuse color. Sharply focused, assertively perfumed nose displays an array of citrus and orchard fruit scents complicated by sexy floral and mineral nuances. Sappy, penetrating and pure, offering crackling lemon-lime flavors and suggestions of fresh fig and honeysuckle. The mineral quality comes back strong on the long, nervy finish, along with a subtle touch of spicy ginger. (JR)" (1/2016) 90 points James Suckling: "Plenty of pear and sliced apple character. Full body, fresh acidity and a fresh and clean finish." (7/2015) K&L Notes: Do Ferreiro is a benchmark Albariño. Every year, it ... Read More »
This is a delicious Albariño, always one of our top two or three for someone looking for a classic expression of this white wine. A wonderfully mineral nose leads to bright, succulent, yellow stone fruit flavors with more than a wisp of salinity adding freshness and making it pretty difficult to not gulp this one down quickly. Palacio de Fefiñanes is the oldest known brand of Albariño and the first to have bottled their wine. Based in the "birthplace of Albariño," the seaside town of Cambados, the winery purchases fruit from 60 growers, many of whom own... Read More »
Produced from vines averaging 30 years of age, grown in the classical coastal area of the Rias Baixas D.O., the Salnes Valley, in vineyards based in Castrelo, this is a lovely Albariño. It is juicy, with abundant stone fruit flavors and a generous, mouth filling quality given the extra time in bottle, as well as the clear quality of the fruit and winemaking. If you are looking for a well-priced Albariño, this is an early front runner for pick of the summer! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)
Inventory: Redwood City
Made from Macabeo and Xarel-lo from vines up to 50 years old in the Penedes region, best known for Cava (Avinyo also makes good Cavas) this is a delicious, thirst quenching wine that hints at Muscat's floral and herbal, tarragon-like qualities, but also shows great cut, with delicious citrus and appley fruits, refreshing fizziness, and a dry finish that begs another (large) sip. Think Txakoli, but with a touch lower acidity and an appealing faintly herbal quality. A great wine for grilled veggies (particularly asparagus) and an ideal white for spring and... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV Fino Inocente must be one of the few wines in Jerez that is still fermented in 600-liter American oak botas, which is an incredible amount of work compared with fermenting tens of thousands of kilos of grapes (or even more) in a big stainless steel tank. This method was the norm of yesteryear, but is so labor intense that it was discontinued in most wineries, and gives a big diversity of wines, as each barrel has its own character, which contributes to the complexity of the blend. Furthermore, the bottled wine is on average 8 to 10 years old. One ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Very rare, rescued variety (only 2 ha exist). Ambient yeast for barrel fermentation, where it is aged on lees for four months. Organic fruit. Initially a herbal aroma, creamy too, some green apple and citrus. Stony, even dusty/chalky, on the palate, dry, a slight grip but filled out by deep citrus flavours that become more herbal on the finish. Distinctive, crisp and persistent. I imagine it would age for a few years too, though I have not tasted wines with bottle age to be confident. (JH)" (11/2014)
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* This round white has texture and grip, with rich and focused flavors of apple, almond, green olive and brine. Offers plenty of fruit, but remains grounded thanks to the briny character. Expressive and balanced." (11/2012) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV La Guita Manzanilla has always had a very strong and marked character of brine, green olives and mustard seeds, with an overall sweet sensation. The medium-bodied palate is precise, very dry and intense, with some brine and rancio flavors and great length. The quality of this wine has increased notably in the last few ...Read More »
91 points Wine & Spirits: "Gently floral, with hints of iodine and pepper, this is a subtle and delicate Fino. The acidity keeps up the tension while the texture feels soft. Give it time in the glass and spicy scents emerge, along with an intriguing fruitiness." (10/2013) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The non-vintage Fino offers up aromas and flavors of sea salt and roasted nuts. It is excellent as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to sushi." (2/2007) Jancis Robinson: "Quite subtle and light. Delicate but not thin - tangy and bright, in fact." (9/2012) K&L Notes: El Maestro Sierra is a terrific boutique sherry bodega in Jerez de la Frontera. ... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Superb within its class, the NV La Bota de Fino Macharnudo Alto is sourced from the Inocente solera from Valdespino, a barrel-fermented, 10 year under flor Fino from the Macharnudo Alto vineyard, one of the most famous in Jerez, bottled unfiltered from a selection of butts from the Inocente solera of Valdespino, a Fino averaging 10 years of age under flor when bottled, with a strong flor character. It has a powerful nose of esparto grass, dried herbs, iodine, brine and almonds. The palate is medium to full-bodied with great power and concentration. This ...Read More »
Produced from 100% Albilla, a white grape variety indigenous to the Manchuela D.O. on the eastern most portion of Castilla La Mancha, this is delicious, bone dry white, punctuated by citric fruits and intense minerality. You can really sense the chalkiness of his vineyards in this pure expression. Juan Antonio Ponce is one of Spain's leading lights among a new, younger set of vignerons who pair their vineyard knowledge with serious discipline and curiosity in the cellar, often borrowing techniques from the north of the border, where their influences are ... Read More »
Angel Rodriguez Leal produces what is hands down the best wine in Rueda: Martinsancho. A family-owned bodega since 1784, holding some of the best real estate in the D.O., their land boasts Verdejo vines which average 40 years of age and stand in a bed of rounded river stones. Wine is fermented in enamel tanks and aged in very large, neutral oak "cubas." The resulting wine is generous, with delicious peach, melon, and guava notes, textural, as well as mineral, focused, and age-worthy.
Produced from two butts of a solera at Bodega del Drago, located just a mile from the beach in El Puerto de Santa María, this crisp Fino is detailed and focused, a truly great aperitif or accompaniment to a plethora of different foods. Fortunately for all of us fans of "en rama," or minimally filtered and minimally processed Sherries, Lustau bottles three excellent examples from their extensive holdings. These bottlings present a real opportunity to enjoy a young Fino or Manzanilla in a state that most faithfully approximates a barrel-drawn solera sample... Read More »
The long awaited saca of La Guita Manzanilla en Rama has finally arrived! Under the same ownership as Valdespino, La Guita is one of the historic brands of Manzanilla which has seen a noticeable uptick in quality over the past decade. Enjoying a bottle of their Manzanilla en rama (en rama loosely translates as "unfiltered") is as close to a visit to Sanlucar as you can get. To add to the authenticity of your La Guita en Rama experience, be sure to have plenty of chorizo, jamon, olives, and, for those who know their way around a kitchen, tortilla and croq... Read More »
An incredibly elegant series of barrel-selected Sherries, personally chosen by Alex Russan, a passionate Sherry evangelist. Alex's belief that Sherry can be amongst the most complex, versatile, and deeply satisfying of all wines, particularly when they are carefully selected, blended, and minimally processed, is one with which we here completely agree. This Fino is fresh and lively enough to pair with savory foods as well as delicate desserts.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV Barbiana Manzanilla Pasada, also from Palomino grapes from the Miraflores vineyard, is a 30,000-bottle selection with a nose of salty sunflower seeds, a strong Manzanilla character and an intense palate, long, with subtle saline flavors and a very dry finish. I cannot see the pasada character here (it’s what it said on the label), but it is a superb Manzanilla. Drink 2013-2014. (LG)" (8/2013) K&L Notes: The Barbiana Manzanilla Pasada comes from a solera from Rodriguez La-Cave, purchased in 1978. The Rodriguez La-Cave bodega was located in the barrio alto whe... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Going one step beyond, the NV Amontillado en Rama Cruz Vieja is aged for five years under 'flor' and then a further seven years in topped up barrels once the alcohol was adjusted to 17.5% in the 'soleras' and 'criaderas' system for an average of seven years. It is an elegant, floral wine, with subtle notes of hazelnuts, pine nuts, flowers, honey and a very sharp, salty palate, that makes it extremely long. This is the May 2014 bottling (Lot-141603), and I consider this a great value Amontillado. 1,000 bottles were filled. (LG)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: We are thrilled to... Read More »
This minimally filtered, en rama Fino comes from a fairly large solera in Jerez, and is characteristically the richest and fullest in body of the "3 En Rama" series. Fortunately for all of us fans of "en rama," or minimally filtered and minimally processed Sherries, Lustau bottles three excellent examples from their extensive holdings. These bottlings present a real opportunity to enjoy a young Fino or Manzanilla in a state that most faithfully approximates a barrel drawn solera sample (which, of course, is Sherry at its most romantic and its most delici... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Light, offering crisp, bitter citrus and blanched almond notes, with a hint of tarragon. Refreshing finish. (Web Only—2013)" K&L Notes: This is one of the best, freshest, most representative lighter-style finos around. Gutierrez Colosia enjoys a prime location in El Puerto de Santa Maria, which, due to the confluence of the Atlantic and Guadalete River, allows for the development of a healthy layer of flor year-round to protect their soleras and contribute the tell tale salty, slightly almondy notes to the wine. For any fan of bone dry, mineral white wine who has no... Read More »
Vinous: "Light, bright yellow. Vibrant, mineral-accented citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complemented by suggestions of jasmine and green tea. Silky and focused on the palate, offering bitter citrus zest and green apple flavors that stretch out on the back half. Shows a refreshingly bitter quality on the tangy, lingering finish. (JR)" (1/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "Apple and peach aromas are clean and pure. This feels round yet compact, with orange, nectarine and pithy flavors. Green-apple tartness and malic acidity push a pure finish that doesn't balk." (2/2016) K&L Notes: 100% Hondarribi Zuri ... Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Really above the average of Montilla Moriles Fino. Delicate, refreshing, salty, marine with an elegant yeasty character. Vivid but with a nutty appeal with really marked ageing notes such as toast and biscuit. Great intensity and depth. Extremely fresh bottle - although I know Spaniards are at an advantage in terms of sherry freshness. (FC)" (3/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV Electrico del Lagar Fino is aged, unfortified, under flor for an average of 10 years in the solera created 60 years ago before being bottled into half liter bottles. It is called Electrico, and it used ...Read More »
Agusti Torello Mata is one of the leading producers of Cava in Penedès, and also produce some still wines from the same grape varieties.
Bohigas is a very high quality producer of Cava as well as table wines. Xarel-lo, the basis for most Cavas, can be a little green and lacking in character when made as a table wine. Unless, of course, it is carefully grown and harvested when fully ripe. This white is very mineral, with clean, precise flavors joining an elegant texture. One of the best Xarel-lo based whites I have had, and it's under $10! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)
92 points Vinous: "Light, bright gold. Deeply pitched aromas of dried citrus and orchard fruits, fennel and white flowers, with smoky mineral and iodine flourishes adding complexity. Sappy and penetrating on the palate, offering concentrated Meyer lemon and pear skin flavors that tighten up on the back half. This rich yet nervy wine finishes with excellent focus and mineral drive. Made from vines between 50 and 70 years of age and fermented in used French oak barrels, then aged on its lees for six months in used barriques and another year in a stainless steel tank. (JR) ...Read More »
Here is a crisp, bright, virtually unfiltered Manzanilla, the lighest on its feet of Lustau's newly released "3 en Rama" series of Sherries. Fortunately for all of us fans of "en rama," or minimally filtered and minimally processed Sherries, Lustau bottles three excellent examples from their extensive holdings. These bottlings present a real opportunity to enjoy a young Fino or Manzanilla in a state that most faithfully approximates a barrel drawn solera sample (which, of course, is Sherry at its most romantic and its most delicious!) Also, given the thr... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV Fino en Rama Cruz Vieja is an unfiltered and un-fined Fino aged for an average of five to seven years under 'flor'. It has a textbook Fino nose of albariza soil, esparto grass, green olives and iodine, balanced and pungent. It has a medium-bodied palate with some volume and sweet green olive flavors. Only 1.260 bottles produced, which are for now sold in Spain and Japan. This is the bottling from May 2014. (LG)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: We are thrilled to introduce you to the newest winery in Jerez, Bodegas Faustino Gonzalez, who just began commercializing and bot... Read More »
An incredible 8-10 year average age Manzanilla, the Aurora is our newest Manzanilla and one of our more exciting Sanluqueño offerings in quite a while! A blend of two different soleras: one in barrio bajo which contributes umami driven savoriness and the other in barrio alto which lends a round richness, this is a Manzanilla that satisfies and clearly is punching beyond its weight class. Aromas of flor and tarragon lead to a lovely appley palate with surprising textural weight and length. A must try for fans of the inimitable dry Sherries of Sanlucar de... Read More »
From a solera begun in 1991, this spectacular Sanluqueño Amontillado contains wine of an average age of 15-20 years old. Blended in, there is a tiny amount of very old wine discovered in the bodega shortly after its purchase. It had been sealed in plaster, as the former owner was apparently determined to keep this pre-phylloxera wine, unblended, all to himself! Aromatics reveal salty flor, followed by toffee. The wine is racy on the palate, until it turns rich and succulent, with buttered and roasted pecan and almond flavors. This is really quite good. (... Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Salt, fresh green apple, iodine and mushroom with a winning creamy texture and lovely clarity. Excellent, as usual. (RH)" (11/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Talking about which, the NV Tio Pepe Fino is an icon of Sherry wine. Produced from Palomino grapes aged in the Tio Pepe solera for an average of four years under flor. It has a light nose of dried flowers, almonds and olives, in a subtle way and a dry palate dominated by the chalky notes. Light and easy to drink, it is a good introduction to Fino Sherry. (LG)" (8/2013) Wine Spectator: "Shows a rounded edge for a fino, with blanched almond and wh ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Shows a light piney hint before bright chamomile and honeysuckle aromas fill in. Rather nervy through the palate, featuring a finish of green almond and fennel notes. (Web-2014)" K&L Notes: A wonderful expression of Manzanilla, the La Cigarrera always comes to us very fresh, expressing the briny, sea air quality for which these wines are known. It is bone dry, appley and has suggestions of loquat fruit and pits, with terrific complexity, no doubt due to the bodega's prime location in the "barrio bajo" section of Sanlucar, as well as its use of an amazing eight criade... Read More »
93 points Wine & Spirits: "Extremely dry, this austere Amontillado comes from the white chalky albariza soils of the famed Macharnudo vineyard. It aged under flor for about eight years, and then spent eight more years aging oxidatively before being bottled. At first, it shows only the classic flavors of iodine and salt, with enchanting sea breeze notes. You have to wait for the fruit flavors to emerge, notes of roasted white fruit and nuts emerging in the midst of its cool flavors. Only for fans of super-dry Sherry, this is ideal for mojama, cured tuna belly." (10/2015) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV Tio D ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The impressive line-up is opened with the pale-colored NV Manzanilla Deliciosa, which is produced with Palomino grapes from the Miraflores vineyard and aged for five years under yeast. It is a finer version of La Guita, easy to drink, with a sweet note of apples in the nose, a polished and gentle palate, ending with a saline touch. Drink 2013-2014." (8/2013) Wine Spectator: "Lovely salt, Brazil nut and floral notes combine with a bitter citrus oil accent on the taut finish. Drink now. (Web-2013)"
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "According to the website, it is one Luis Gutierrez who came up with the term: 'Florpower.' As stated on the label in Roman numerals, Lot 44 La Bota de Vino Blanco MMX 'Florpower' comes from the 2010 vintage: unfortified Palomino from chalky Sanlucar soils that spends 32 months under flor and 8 months in sherry casks. Jesus mentioned that he did not want to risk excessive oxidation. It has a very attractive nose of beeswax, honeysuckle, smoked walnut that is clean and supremely well-focused. The palate is poised with impressive weight and presence in the ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
We are thrilled to introduce you to the newest winery in Jerez, Bodegas Faustino Gonzalez, who just began commercializing and bottling wine from their very old solera in 2014. Formerly an almacenista and supplier to Domecq, Faustino Gonzalez first started ageing wine in soleras in the late 18th Century. They source fruit from their own vineyard, located in the Pago de Montealegre, and also choose to ferment their musts in old American oak instead of the more common stainless steel. A 10 year-old Oloroso, the wine has aromas and flavors of walnuts, dark t... Read More »
Produced from two butts of a solera at Bodega del Drago, located just a mile from the beach in El Puerto de Santa María, this crisp Fino is detailed and focused, a truly great aperitif or accompaniment to a plethora of different foods. Fortunately for all of us fans of "en rama," or minimally filtered and minimally processed Sherries, Lustau bottles three excellent examples from their extensive holdings. These bottlings present a real opportunity to enjoy a young Fino or Manzanilla in a state that most faithfully approximates a barrel drawn solera sample... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Jancis Robinson: "Pale gold hue – as befits en rama. Quite dilute, but there is merit in its delicacy and I like the Marmite yeast flavour on the finish. Understated fruit, but pleasantly fresh to finish. (RH)" (12/2015)
Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* Seductive caramel, toffee and hazelnut aromas lead to an equally nutty palate that features maple and more toffee. Not the most complex Sherry going; it’s more forward and easy to grasp, so novices should enjoy the sweet and salty mix and the marathon-length finish. (MS)" (8/2005)
Inventory: Redwood City
A delicious fresh vintage of Txakoli from the region of Alava ('Araba' in Basque). this is a blend of the indigenous Hondarribi Zuri and Hondarribi Zuri Zerratia (HZZ for short, also known as Petit Courbu in France). Fresh and fizzy, though slightly less so than our other Txakolis. While zippy and bracing, this Txakoli does show a slightly richer texture and rounder, more intense fruit quality, owing as much to its production as to the vineyards' location further inland from the sea (Alava also happens to be part of Rioja wine country). Add this to the s... Read More »
Based in the Rioja Alavesa town of Ollauri, Valencisco recently started producing a very limited amount of Rioja rosado and blanco. This wine is aged in all Russian oak, imparting a slightly nutty/sweet spiciness to an otherwise bright, steely, crisp, and mineral white wine. 70% Viura, 30% Garnacha Blanca. White Rioja continues to be a vastly underappreciated, overlooked style of wine, particularly white Rioja as well made as Valenciso's.