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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 »
Based in the Rioja Alta village of Badarán, Martínez Alesanco is a truly original bodega producing tasty, characterful wine for laughably low prices. They are entirely self reliant in grapes, all of which are grown in their home village of Badarán, one of the coldest zones of Rioja Alta. The vineyards are closer to the Sierra de la Demanda mountains, a range whose elevation and snow-covered peaks are even more dramatic than the Sierra Cantabria range to the north. Martínez Alesanco's Blanco is made entirely from Viura in iron-rich clay soils. In fact, th... Read More »
Produced from younger estate grapes from Carballal's 15 hectares of vineyards, as well as purchased fruit, this Albariño is always hand harvested from carefully grown grapes, organic whenever possible, with treatments used only when absolutely necessary. Very refreshing, with nice bracing acidity, there are hints of exotic fruits as well as stone fruits. A wine to sip with warm weather fare as well as the absolute perfect match with fish and shellfish, the mainstay of coastal Galician cuisine. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish Wine Buyer)
Lora is a blend of certified organic Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc grapes from one of the cooler parts of La Mancha (high up on the plateau not too far from the UNESCO heritage city of Cuenca). Bright citrus fruits combine with stone fruits and hints of melon, with crisp mineral tones and loads of personality. The winemaker and person who carefully sources this great organic fruit is none other than our friend Miguel Merino Navajas, son of Miguel Merino of Rioja fame! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)
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 »
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..."
Produced in the slightly warmer Rias Baixas sub-zone of O Rosal, Columna's 2013 is a lovely balance between granite-driven, subtly smoky minerality, salinity and fairly rich yellow stone fruit. This would be wonderful to enjoy before a meal or alongside seafood and shellfish. Once again, as it was last vintage, the Columna shows lots of character and value for the price.
Ameztoi produces some of the tastiest, most representative and classic txakoli: the delicious, bright, slightly petillant (fizzy), low alcohol wines which 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.
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: "hows a rounded edge for a fino, with blanched almond and whi ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Jancis Robinson: "Saline and citric. Almond and floral character too. Orange peel, pithy. Great substance and density. (RH)" (7/2015) K&L Notes: Another delicious Montenovo bottling from Valdesil! In this cooler vintage, the bright, appley fruit has even more drive and crisp, Valdeorras minerality to give it some spine. Try this with oysters or Dungeness crab! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)
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 »
Xurxo Alba is a top talent in Rias Baixas. He knows his way around the Albariño! With vineyards that he tends in the district of O Castrelo (Cambados), Xurxo makes a crisp, lively and linear style of Albariño. With great acidity and wonderful fruit purity, this is a seriously good wine and a terrific value at under $20. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Lightly briny aromas of sea foam blend nicely with crisp apple and mineral scents. This is focused on the palate, with a core of acidity and minerality that are the wine’s foundation. Apple, orange, mango and melon flavors end clean and minerally." (12/2015) Wine Spectator: "This juicy white offers bright, crisp flavors of grapefruit, tart peach and tarragon, with floral and mineral notes. The acidity is fresh and gives the wine focus." (11/2015)
The Valdeorras D.O., which lies immediately to the east of Ribeira Sacra, is known for two things: they produce over 70% of the world's slate, and they probably produce 99.99% of the world's most delicious Godello! Rafael Palacios is one of the leading producers in this region. His "Louro do Bolo" bottling is 95% Godello (which is aged 5 months in foudre) and 5% Treixadura. Rich, slightly spicy citrus aromas, with some orange notes, leads to a palate that is surprisingly viscous and yet fully fresh, with pithy tangerine flavors. Very tasty. (Joe Manekin,... Read More »
Certified organic Chardonnay (by CAAE, Comité Andaluz de Agricultura Ecológica), from outside of Sevilla! Colonias de Galeon is a labor of love headed by Elena Viguera and Julián Navarro. They set out in 1998 to prove that Andalucía is capable of producing delicious red and white wine (in addition to the famous wines of Jerez). Having planted vines in the national park lands of the Sierra Norte outside of Sevilla, at 700 meters altitude in heavily slate soils, where there is a surprisingly generous amount of rainfall, the results are both delicious and i... Read More »
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 »
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 aperitive and of course, is a seafood-ready white! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese Wine Buyer)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The white 2014 Vinel.lo, is a blend of Garnacha Blanca, Macabeu, Moscatel, Vinyater, Xarel·lo, Parsé, and Parelleda with good freshness and high acidity. It's easy to drink, a cloudy white harvested early, with a very short maceration and a nose of baked apples and tempera paint, somehow organic, aromatic (the Moscatel finally comes through) with a light palate with sour flavors, a little hollow. To be honest all these whites are very similar, and I think they are for an early consumption. (LG)" (6/2015)
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 criaderas (the norm for these wines is three-to-four). So there is a depth of flavor for Manzanilla which is rare. Enjoy this as a perfect aperitif, or with olives, almonds, shrimp an... Read More »
Do Ferreiro is a benchmark Albariño. Every year, it delivers the goods, showing a degree of aromatic complexity, nervy minerality, and pure intensity of flavor that always makes it stand out from the rest. Delicious upon release, it is also one of the few Albariños to improve in bottle for up to a decade (maybe longer?) beyond the vintage year. There is bright fruit intermingling with the classic Do Ferreiro salty/smoky mineral bite. Enjoy this wine on its own or with all types of seafood. This would even be terrific with a hearty bean soup. (Joe Manekin... 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)"
Wine & Spirits: "A blend of Viura (80 percent) with Garnacha Blanca, this is all about leesy, nutty flavors. It’s a lean, savory white to serve with duck liver pâté." (12/2013) K&L Notes: Longtime former Cune winemaker Basilio Izquierdo has been hard at work in his Laguardia winery, producing excellent, highly original Rioja wines from older vineyards he personally sources for the high quality of their fruit. This particular wine is produced primarily from old, massale selection Viura blended with Garnacha Blanca. The vineyard, located in San Vicente, has very poor, minimal top soil ... Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright yellow. Powerful scents of mineral-tinged orchard and pit fruits, with a lemony nuance adding lift. Sappy and penetrating on the palate, offering juicy nectarine, pear, orange and honeysuckle flavors underscored by chalky minerality. Shows very good clarity and lift on the finish, with the pear and citrus fruit notes echoing. One doesn't encounter much Treixadura as a varietal bottling." (9/2014)
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
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 Manzanilla is hot off the presses--just bottled in 2015.
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)
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV Tio Diego Amontillado Palomino from the Macharnudo vineyard, is fermented in botas, aged biologically for 10 years under flor in a solera separated from Inocente, and with a further five years of oxidative aging. It has a beautiful, perfumed nose of dry flowers, very elegant and clean, subtle, with some saline notes, both in the nose and the palate, where it is balanced, medium-bodied and elegant. A very fine Amontillado, showing superb value for a 15-year-old wine. Drink 2013-2019." (8/2013) 92 points Wine & Spirits: "Notes of limestone and salt frame the center of this Amon ...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)
Here are some terrific notes on Alberto Nanclares courtesy of the importer: "Nanclares wines are angular and vin-de-garde in style, with great concentration and crystalline precision. He produces 5 different wines: Dandelion, a delicious village wine from multiple plots in and around Cambados. Next is the acid-driven, profound and classic Alberto Nanclares Albariño from thirty to sixty years old vines. Currently (we'll see some new single vineyard Cambados in the future) there are three vinos de parajes or single vineyard wines coming from Meaño: The ser... 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 »
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.
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 »
Albarín, no relation to Albariño of Galician fame, is a variety indigenous to Asturias, the beautiful portion of Spain best known for great blue cheeses and tart ciders. While the region is not yet well known as a wine growing region, it is not without its ideal climates and soils for fine wine production, and grapes have been growing in the slate soils of Cangas for a long time. This is delicious white wine, more than a mere curiosity from a beautiful, under-explored region, or an example of a novel grape variety. The fruit flavors are bright and focuse... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Lovamor is a white produced with Albillo Real grapes sourced from different plots around Penafiel. The destemmed grapes were macerated in contact with the skins for one week before fermenting in 1,000-liter stainless steel tanks. The wine has a cloudy, golden color with some orange tints and a nose of baked apples, green apples, honey and chamomile. The palate is medium-bodied, with marked acidity (no malo) with a chalky, austere texture, quite sharp, unlike the nose. This is a white of strong personality that will not please everyone. It was bo ...Read More »
This bottling, from a very well run cooperative in the area of Melgaçao, is a very tasty example of a Vinho Verde with the strong, slightly smoky, granitic inflection of Alvarinho. Ripe yellow skinned fruits and tangy stone fruit flavors show a freshness, overt fruitiness, and hint of residual CO2 that suggest a recent bottling. Enjoy this on its own, while prepping a meal, or with your favorite seafood or vegetable based dinners. Fresh seafood is an obvious choice to pair with this wine, but even something less apparent, for example one of the many Isr... Read More »
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 »
A clean, bright style, Aizpurua's 2014 txakoli shows crisp granny smith fruit flavors and the requisite Getariako Txakolina fizz. Put out some snacks, invite the neighbors over, serve this well chilled and watch this quickly disappear - better have a second bottle on hand just in case!
Wine Spectator: "Tasty, though not a typical fino. Tastes slightly more like oxidation than flor, with honey and walnut flavors and a broad feel on the palate. 100 cases imported. (Web Only - 2006)" K&L Notes: Lots of attention has recently been placed on the historic region and stunning wines of Jerez. Given all the newspaper articles, restaurant by-the-glass placements, even a serious new book on the topic, the spotlight has generally avoided Rey Fernando de Castilla. Now that we finally have the wines available to us in California, it is our intention to change that and spread th... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV Antique Amontillado is amber-colored and has a subtle nose of tobacco, some iodine, pollen, beeswax and hazelnuts. The medium- to full-bodied palate shows lots of concentration and acidity, with a very intense finish. 4,000 bottles are produced yearly. Drink 2013-2017. (LG)" (8/2013) 91 points Wine Spectator: "A dry, nervy style, offering balsam wood, clove, dried orange peel and Brazil nut notes that weave together through the lacy finish. Shows range, but stays delicate in feel overall." (10/2013) K&L Notes: Lots of attention has recently been placed on the historic region and stunning... Read More »
93 points Wine & Spirits: "Benito Santos helped found the DO Rías Baixas and championed Albariño as the grape that best suits this rainy region. Pago de Xoan comes from the original vineyard Santos planted almost 90 years ago. It’s a complex Albariño, with smoky scents and earthy flavors of mushrooms, white ripe fruit and pointed acidity that brings freshness to the wine." (8/2015) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Sold much later than its siblings and presenting as a completely different animal, the 2010 Pago de Xoan is a serious Albariño form the original Benito Santos vineyard, 0.55 hectares of very old vines on ...Read More »
From the winery: "This is an unfortified white wine, exclusively from the 2010 vintage (a date that cannot be printed on the label due to bureaucratic impediments, hence our use of MMX on the capsule, cork, and lot number on the backlabel). Bottled at 11.5% alc after losing over 1% to the effects of the flor yeasts, the wine is 100% palomino fino sourced from Sanlúcar vineyards (mainly from the Pago Miraflores) and fermented in stainless steel tanks. After fermentation--towards December 2010--it was moved to 15 butts where it aged under flor for 8 months... 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 »
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. The Palo Cortado is aged one year under flor and then an additional 10 ye... Read More »
Xurxo Alba is a top talent in Rias Baixas. He knows his way around the Albariño! With vineyards that he tends in the district of O Castrelo (Cambados), Xurxo makes a crisp, lively and linear style of Albariño. O Perreiro is a single parcel at 200 meters above sea level, overlooking the Ría Arousa. Old vines and a generous amount of time in tank on the lees makes this a complex, stunningly mineral and serious wine. As delicious as it is now, I would suggest buying some extra to age for several years. Phenomenal Albariño! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buy... Read More »
1583 commemorates the birth year of the Viscount of Fefinanes, who built the castle of Fefinanes (back in 1647!) that houses the winery. This historic producer was the first to bottle wine under the DO Rias Baixas denomination. Their wines are 100% Albariño, and very much express the tradition of the region. In this bottle, you'll find a bright and silky wine with ripe fruit notes and a touch of roundness from oak aging. Pour it alongside shellfish or grilled chicken.
This blockbuster of rich, yet defined and refined, mineral drenched Albariño, is brought to you by two of Spain's most highly regarded winemakers, particularly for whites: Rodri Mendes and Raúl Pérez. Almost entirely planted to granite soil, the Finca Genoveva site is much different from sandy, coastal lots. Over 10 years ago, Rodri Mendez & Raul Perez began farming this vineyard. They found out that the Albarino vines produced fruit of phenomenal quality, and therefore coddle with an "old fashioned" style elevage: afterr a 24 hours skin soak, spontan... Read More »