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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From one of the warmest sites in France, the 2014 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Lieu Dit La Narassa comes from 70-year-old vines planted in the black schist soils of Maury. Despite the rugged, hot terroir from where this beauty comes, the wine is pure silk and elegant, with lots of black raspberry, chocolate covered currants, pepper and olive notes giving way to a full-bodied 2014; it has polished tannin and a seamless texture. (JD)" (4/2016) K&L Notes: Proprietors Jean-Marc and Eliane Lafage have become synonymous with quality and value from the Roussillon. They con... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A crazy value, the 2014 IGP Cotes Catalanes Tessellae Carignan Vieilles Vignes is one of the best examples of this variety from the Roussillon, and the fact that it sells for a song is just icing on the cake for the consumer. Coming all from schist soils and 70-year-old vines, raised 12 months in a mix of concrete tanks and demi-muids, it offers tons of black raspberry and black cherry fruit, licorice and dried spices to go with a super sexy, heady, seamless style on the palate that keeps you coming back to the glass. Drink this blockbuster over the comi ...Read More »
91-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "What looks like another great vintage here, the 2015 AOP Languedoc les Darons is made from 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 5% Carignan; grapes were completely destemmed, and fermented and aged all in concrete tanks. It sees absolutely no oak whatsoever. This medium to full-bodied, plump, rounded, downright sexy 2015 has lots of blueberry, violets, and jammy black cherry aromas and flavors; it has terrific purity of fruit, good acidity and an overriding sense of elegance. If it came from a more prestigious appellation in the southern Rhone, it would go for th ...Read More »
A blend of 80 percent Grenache and 20 percent Carignan from a family-run winery in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A steal from Lafage is the 2014 Bastide Miraflors, which is a Cotes du Roussillon, and a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache, with the Grenache aged in concrete tanks and the Syrah in 500-liter demi-muids. Lafage makes more expensive wines than this, but certainly excels with his value lineup. He has really hit a home run with this 10,000-case cuvée. It is deep, ruby/plum/purple, with fresh notes of blackcurrants, plums, Provençal herbs as well as licorice. Deep, medium to full-bodied, with amazing fruit, the purity, authenticity and Mediterranean upbrin ...Read More »
93-95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I was able to taste all of the components of the 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape and this is a vintage described by Marc Perrin where every variety excelled. The Grenache and Mourvèdre were the clear standouts, both possessing terrific concentration, purity of fruit and ripe tannic structure. This will certainly be an outstanding wine, and it has a touch more concentration than the 2012. This reference point estate continues to achieve incredible quality in just about every vintage. They’ve certainly made the wine of the vintage in 2014 with their Hommage a ...Read More »
Inventory: Special Order
93 points Vinous: "Vivid ruby-red. Exotically perfumed scents of raspberry liqueur, potpourri and Asian spices, with a zesty mineral nuance adding lift. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering sweet red fruit flavors that expand and deepen with air. Floral pastille and spicecake notes add complexity to the very long finish, which features gently gripping tannins. (JR)" (4/2015) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Offering more kirsch and dark fruit (over the straight Châteauneuf), with plenty of ground pepper and minerality, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Safres is medium to full-bodied, layered and satiny ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "More ripe and decadent than the 2013, the 2012 Costières de Nîmes Lou Coucardie (49% Mourvèdre, 35% Grenache and the balance Syrah) is a big, mouth-filling effort that gives up loads of chewy black raspberry, black currants, smoked earth and pepper. Full-bodied, concentrated and dense, yet still showing elegance and purity, it has some rustic tannin that needs a year or two to integrate and will be at its best from 2016-2024. (JD)" (1/2015) 92 points Vinous: "Deep ruby. Black raspberry, vanilla, black pepper and candied flowers on the highly fragrant nose. Offers palate-stai ...Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Deep ruby. Spice- and smoke-accented cherry and dark berry aromas are complemented by suggestions of candied violet and cracked pepper. Spicy, energetic and sharply focused on the palate, offering concentrated bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors that open up slowly with air. Distinctly northern Rhône in personality and texture, featuring a peppery, floral-dominated finish, smooth tannins and excellent closing thrust and persistence. The quality of this bottling consistently outpaces its price and appellation, and that's especially true in this vint ...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."
We met Marie Chauffray at the Vinifilles tasting in January of 2015 in Montpellier. The Vinifilles (which means "wine girls") is an association of women producers who own and operate their own estates. From growing to winemaking to marketing, they are involved in every aspect of their wineries' successes. I was invited by our friend Francoise Antech-Gazeau (our sparkling wine producer from the Limoux) to visit and taste her wines and meet some of her other grower-producer friends. Chauffray's was one of the most impressive wines we tasted at the event, a... Read More »
90-92 points Vinous: "Vivid ruby. Fresh red berries, Asian spices and potpourri on the highly perfumed nose. Juicy and sharply focused on the palate, offering energetic raspberry and floral pastille flavors that put on weight and open up steadily with air. Closes spicy and long; harmonious tannins add shape and grip. (JR)" (2/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014s from this estate are solid. Offering lots of cedary spice, dried red fruits and garrigue, the 2014 Gigondas Tradition is medium-bodied, rustic and charming. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years. (JD)" (12/2016) K&L Notes: Jean-Baptiste Meunier is the fift... Read More »
I met winemaker Sophie Guiraudon a few years ago at the organic wine fair Millésime Bio. It's an annual event where organic winemakers from all over the world gather to show their wines. I tasted with her and was immediately impressed with the quality of the wines. So much so, I made an arrangements to visit her winery right after the fair ended. Sophie is a true one-woman show, farming 25 acres of vines while running her humble facility in the region of Corbieres. The vines for the "Lolo" cuvee are planted on silty-clay limestone soils which lend freshn... Read More »
One of our most popular rosés, this fresh and balanced wine comes from one of our favorite co-ops in the south of France. It's a blend of Syrah and Grenache grown in volcanic soils in the heart of the Languedoc. With aromas and flavors of ripe strawberries and raspberries, this crisp, medium-bodied rosé is an ideal complement to spring green salads, light cheeses, mac and cheese, mozzarella cheese salads, goat cheese, cheese and crackers with olives and salumi...or enjoy as an evening aperitif, cheese optional.
Costières de Nîmes is at the southernmost part of the Rhône Valley sitting on the opposite bank of Chateauneuf du Pape. One of our best new finds is Chateau de l'Ermitage which produces three terrific values with imminent drinkability. The estate's history traces back to the 12th century when the winery produced wine for the pilgirms of Saint Jacques de Compostelle who were traveling the Santiago de Compostela. The property is now owned by Castillon family and today Michel and his son Jerome manage the vineyards and winemaking. The "Victor" is named for ... Read More »
An award winner at many French wine competitions, the Dame Victoria is an impressive Rhône red raised not far from the fabled vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Warmly fruited and full of robust, rustic character, the nose offers minerality and blue fruit notes, which are echoed on the palate and joined with berries, berries, and more berries. Elegant on the supple finish, this is just the red to pair with chicken, burgers, roasts and cheesy vegetarian dishes.
Our dear friend and vigneron Sophie Guiraudon is always such a delight to visit. Her vineyards are in one of the higher altitude parts of Corbières. I met winemaker Sophie Guiraudon a while back at the organic wine fair Millesime Bio. It's an annual event where organic winemakers from all over the world gather to show their wines. She adores Carignan as a grape variety and has become one of its great champions in the region. She also farms delicious Grenache, Syrah and a tiny amount of Mourvèdre. We call her the one-woman wrecking crew, as she farms, per... Read More »
94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape is reminiscent of a slightly improved 2005 and has a fresh, classic style with beautiful concentration, notable freshness, first-rate tannin quality, and the classic spice and sweet red and black fruits this cuvee is known for. I suspect this beauty will close down relatively quickly after bottling and take 5-6 years to show at its best, but it will drink well for 15+ years. (JD)" (10/2016)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Côtes du Rhône Sélection Laurence Féraud offers lots of peppery, leather and garrigue characteristics in a medium to full-bodied, classy, charming style. Drink it over the coming 2-4 years (JD)" (10/2016) K&L Notes: Laurence Feraud and her father Paul run the benchmark Chateauneuf du Pape estate Domaine Pegau. Laurence also runs a successful negociant business purchasing grapes farmed to her specifications and they often represent some of the best values in the region. The 2015 Selection Cotes du Rhone may be the best yet from one of the most highly antici... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The straight up fabulous 2015 Tavel Les Lauzeraies is a layered, medium-bodied, beautifully textured Tavel that offers lots of flowers, lavender, spice and both cherry and raspberry fruit. Showing a touch of saltiness on the finish, drink this beauty with food over the coming year or so. (JD)" (5/2016) Wine Spectator: "A ripe rosé, with cherry and anise notes that stay focused and fresh, showing a flash of warm stone accents through the finish. Offers a juicy feel overall. Drink now. (JM)" (8/2016) K&L Notes: Rejoice Tavel! In a time when very high quality rosés line our shelves, when ... Read More »
Just to the north of Corbieres and to the east of the walled city of Carcassonne, lies Minervois. The appellation has equally diverse soils like Corbieres but limestone and clay are its primary ones. This is a warm region with a very Mediterranean climate. The hills are covered with the local scrub, known as garrigue, forests and vineyards. Our newest producer from the region is Domaine Tour Boisée. The domaine dates back to 1826 and is still run by its descendants. Now farming about 200 hectares of vines, the winery was recently certified organic. This... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "This sports a brambly feel, with lots of dark licorice and warm fruitcake notes mixing with lightly steeped plum and blackberry fruit. Maintains good energy through the modestly toasted finish. Drink now through 2017. 4,200 cases made. (JM)" (11/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The top red of the estate is the 2013 Baron Louis Lirac and it’s a blend of 55% Grenache, 15% each of Syrah and Cinsault, and the rest Carignan and Mourvèdre. More concentrated and structured than the straight Lirac, yet also more austere and firm, it has savory notes of wood smoke, black currants, sandalwood ...Read More »
When first tasting the wines of Domaine de la Jaufrette, the name López de Heredia sprang to mind. That famous Rioja producer is known for its late-release and complex reds that are subtle, old school and long lived. Jaufrette, to my mind, is the Rhône equivalent. Jaufrette is run by Frédéric Chastan, the third generation winemaker to oversee this project. The winery sits just outside the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation but has holdings in Vacqueyras, Gigondas and Côtes du Rhône. All the grapes are hand harvested and hand sorted, and the reds are ferment... Read More »
Named for the family's second-generation winemaker, Cécile Chassagne took over the family vineyard in Gigondas which was planted by her father in 1974. This blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah is made in a traditional method without destemming. A long fermentation in open-topped wood tanks followed by aging the wine for four months in new Allier oak. The resulting wine is medium-bodied in a meaty and elegant expression of Gigondas terroir.
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The entry-level Rosé is the 2015 Languedoc Cuvee Prestige Rose, and it continues to be a sensational value. Made from 60% Grenache and 40% Cinsault, it’s light pink color is followed by perfumed notes of strawberries, orange blossom and spring flowers. Juicy, clean and refreshing, yet with texture, buy a case of this. (JD)" (4/2016)
Wine Spectator: "Very fresh, with a racy edge to the blood orange, white cherry and savory notes. Drink now. (JM, Web-2016)"
94 points Wine Spectator: "Generous and expressive, big and brawny, offering a mouthful of tannins but also brimming with flavors and aromas, including Earl Grey tea, dark chocolate, dried violet and toasted gingerbread. Rich notes of plum and black cherry are balanced by forest floor and earthy accents, lingering on the long finish. Petite Sirah, Syrah and Grenache. Drink now through 2030." (4/2016) K&L Notes: Producer Note: (Petite Sirah, Syrah & Grenache) "A nearly opaque color sets in the glass with a hard, red complexion that is almost black. Aromas of ripe blueberries and candied plum mi... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Alain Corcia founded his negociant company back in 1983. Originally focused on bottling urgundy, they expanded their grower relationships to include wines from the Rhone, Bordeaux and even Champagne. Our relationship with the Alain goes back over three decades and he and his wife Patricia have supplied us with some of our greatest values from their respective regions. As a negociant, Mr. Corcia is very hands on with the wines, making each one in its home region and choosing not to blend across appellations, all the better to reflect each wine's true t... Read More »
Costières de Nîmes is at the southernmost part of the Rhône Valley, on the opposite bank of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. One of our best new finds is Château de l'Ermitage which produces three terrific values with imminent drinkability. The estate's history traces back to the 12th century when the winery produced wine for the pilgrims of St-Jacques de Compostelle who were traveling the Santiago de Compostela. The property is now owned by the Castillon family, and today Michel and his son Jerome manage the vineyards and winemaking. The "Victor" is named for the f... Read More »
We love this co-op, started in 1930 with 30 winemakers and now numbering 200, for their reliably delicious everyday wines. They are located in the foothills of the Languedoc's Cevennes mountains, along the Ceressou volcano, where shale, basalt, and limestone-clay soils meet an ideal Mediterranean climate for grape growing. This voluptuous blend of Syrah and Grenache is ruby red in glass with aromas of cassis and red fruits. It'd be a great accompaniment to a hearty mushroom risotto or a lamb chop.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014s from this estate are solid. A step up over the traditional cuvee, the 2014 Gigondas Ventabren (70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Cinsault aged all in old foudre) is loaded with Provencal notes of garrigue, cedary spice, saddle leather and sweet red fruits. It’s mid-weight and charming, with notable elegance and purity. I suspect it will drink well for a decade, yet I see no need to hold off either. (JD)" (12/2016) 88-90 points Vinous: "Full ruby. Dark berries, pungent flowers and a suggestion of cured meat on the deeply perfumed nose. Round and expansive on the palate, ...Read More »
This is a joint venture by three vinous powerhouses: Rhône négociant Michel Tardieu, his winemaker Philippe Cambie, and importer Eric Solomon. Though the 2013 has yet to be professionally reviewed, the 2012 earned praise from Wine Spectator: "Tar and dried herb flavors mingle with cherry and roasted plum notes in this lean and firm red. Despite grippy tannins, fresh acidity keeps the finish lively." (Web Only—2015)
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Looking at the reds and the only 2011 I was able to taste (I’m not sure if they produced their other two cuvees or not), the 2011 Vacqueyras G (50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah aged in 1-3-year-old barrels) is a fruit loaded, medium to full-bodied effort that has fresh, lively aromatics (plum, violets, underbrush and spice), juicy acidity and quality tannin. It’s a rock star in the vintage and should drink nicely through 2021. Covering 45 acres in Vacqueyras, Domaine le Colombier produces four cuvees; a classic white; a traditional, concrete tank-aged ...Read More »
Abstract is a blend of Grenache, Petite Sirah, and Syrah primarily from hillside vineyards in Sonoma County. The aromas are all berry and black fruits, with neatly integrated caramelized oak. A huge entry coats the mouth. The wine has tons of weight on the mid-palate and is dense with layers of ripe cherry and strawberries. The finish is laced with long soft tannins that go on and on.
Situated in to the east of the walled city of Carcassonne and in the shadow of the Montagne Noire (Black Mountains) lies Minervois. The village of Laure-Minervois is home to the winery Chateau Saint Jacques d'Albas a 90 hectare estate in the hills above the village. Some 26 hectares of the estate are planted to vines with the rest composed of forests and creeks acting as a natural barrier to their neighbors. At the winery, a small team led by owner Graham Nutter, craft superb reds, whites and rosés, all of which are farmed organically. The "Domaine Ro... Read More »
Vinous: "Pale orange. Aromas of fresh red berries, orange and lavender are lifted by a suggestion of chalky minerals. Juicy and tightly focused, offering strawberry, blood orange and succulent herb flavors that deepen on the back half. Finishes dry and nervy, showing good focus and lingering citrus and red fruit qualities. (JR)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: Praise for the producer from Wine Advocate: "I continue to be blown away by the quality coming from Domaine de la Bila Haut, which is run with the Chapoutier team. They’ve continued to grow these Roussillon releases, and even at th... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Leading off the reds and California’s take on a quality Cotes du Rhône, the peppery, black and blue fruits and floral-scented 2014 Cuvee le Bec is plump, medium to full-bodied, rounded and beautifully textured on the palate. Drink it over the coming 2-4 years. Note, the blend here is 50% Syrah, 35% Grenache, 8% Mourvèdre and 7% Counoise, which spent 16 months in neutral oak barrels. (JD)" (8/2016) 90 points Vinous: "The 2014 Cuvée Le Bec is an absolutely delicious wine as well as a tremendous value. Supple, vibrant and impeccably well-balanced, the 2014 offers considerable n ...Read More »
Chante Cigale means singing cicada (a type of grasshopper/cricket). The property has been in the family since the 19th century and is currently run by Alexandre Favier who assumed the reins at the ripe old age of 20! The domaine is planted to 40 ha of red and 5 ha of white on 45 different parcels throughout the appellation. L'Apostrophe is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah grown in Travaillan, about 15 km from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This is a fresh and fruity everyday sipper to drink early and often.
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Maury Sec Serge & Nicolas is a blockbuster that goes screaming past its humble price point. Made from a blend of 60% unoaked Grenache and 28% Syrah and 12% Carignan aged in 500-liter demi-muids, it boasts tons of kirsch, peppery herbs, licorice and hints of crushed flowers to go with a full-bodied, layered, and beautifully concentrated feel on the palate. Coming all from the black schist soils around the village of Maury, it pretty much maxes out the QPR scale and is a complete, balanced Roussillon to drink over the coming 7-8 years. (JD) ...Read More »
Just to the north of Cobieres and to the east of the walled city of Carcassonne, lies Minervois. The appellation has equally diverse soils like Corbieres but limestone and clay are its primary ones. This is a warm region with a very Mediterranean climate. The hills are covered with the local scrub, known as garrigue, forests and vineyards. Our newest producer from the region is Domaine Tour Boisée. The domaine dates back to 1826 and is still run by its descendants. Now farming about 200 hectares of vines, the winery was recently certified organic. The v... Read More »
Vinous: "Brilliant ruby-red. Musky cherry pit and garrigue scents are sharpened by a suggestion of cracked pepper. Taut and focused on entry and then fleshier in the middle, offering bitter cherry and raspberry flavors and a touch of succulent herbs. Closes clean and taut, with good length and very soft tannins that make a late appearance. (JR)" (6/2016) Wine Spectator: "Fresh, dusty-edged cherry and plum notes stream through, with flecks of dark tea and sandalwood on the finish. (JM, Web-2016)"
Wine Spectator: "Fresh and direct, with plum and blood orange flavors racing throughout, this is lined with a twinge of sandalwood that leads to a lavender-flecked finish. Drink now. (JM)" (10/2016)
Vinous: "Pale orange. Aromas of tangerine, strawberry and white peach are energized by a hint of white pepper. Clean and racy on the palate, offering fresh red berry and pit fruit flavors and a subtle hint of succulent herbs. Closes taut and nervy, showing good focus and length and lingering spiciness. (JR)" (6/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "This is an immediately attractive, fresh wine with red-currant and clementine-zest flavors. With its light, dancing character, it jumps out of the glass, full of fruit and with a delicious refreshing aftertaste. (RV)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: Domaine de la Colombe is b... Read More »
92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Even more impressive, the estate's old vine cuvee, the 2012 Rasteau La Fontaine, is consistently one of the top 2-3 wines in the vintage. A blend of mostly tank-aged Grenache, with a splash of Mourvedre (aged in demi-muid), this gorgeous effort tastes like the essence of Rasteau. Black fruits, dried spices, garrigue and mineral-like aromas all flow from the glass and this full-bodied, concentrated and blockbuster-styled Rasteau will benefit from a year or two in the cellar, and evolve gracefully for upward of a decade. Located in Rasteau, Domaine La Coll ...Read More »
The "Hissez O" is the pinnacle of production for the Domaine. Sourced from the highest altitude, lowest yielding parcel the wine is composed of 60% Syrah, 35% Grenache and 5% Cinsault. The Hissez O is also aged in large older demi-muid barrels, adding richness and texture to the wine. As with all things Reserve d'O, the farming is certified both Ecocert Organic and Demeter Biodynamic. (Keith Mabry, K&L French Regional Buyer)
92-94 points Vinous: "Inky ruby. Expressive aromas of cherry, black raspberry, licorice and smoky minerals, with a dark chocolate element building slowly. Then tightly wound and focused on the palate, offering intense flavors of dark berries, bitter cherry and candied flowers. Powerful but at the same time quite elegant, finishing with wonderful clarity and length and smooth tannins. (JR)" (4/2015) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape is a beauty and has a rare level of concentration and depth in the vintage. Blueberry, crushed flowers, pepper, and violet aromas and flavors flow nicely ...Read More »
95-97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois possesses a more fruit forward and exuberant character compared to the Barbe Rac and dishes out tons of blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, violets and spice characteristics. Beautifully pure and fresh on the palate, with full-bodied richness, building, sweet tannin and blockbuster length, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this be the best vintage for this cuvée to date. While I’ve always preferred the Barbe Rac cuvée in the past, the quality of the Croix de Bois cuvée continues to soar, and today I find these two wi ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
91 points Vinous: "The 2013 Cuvée Le Bec, Beckmen's entry-level Rhône blend, is absolutely gorgeous. Dark, sensual and inviting, the 2013 hits all the right notes. Black cherry, plum, spice, menthol and licorice blossom into the supple, deeply expressive finish. The 2013 is a bit more Syrah-heavy than in some previous years, which contributes to its personality. Best of all, the 2013 is an absolute steal. The blend is 45% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 8% Counoise and 7% Mourvèdre. (AG)" (8/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from 45% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 8% Counoise and the rest Mourvedre, the 2013 Cuvee le ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
94 points James Halliday: "In beautiful condition and shape. It tastes beautiful. Raspberry, blueberry and blackberry, no alarms or surprises, complemented by woody spice and fine, smoky oak. Everything is where it should, and where you'd hope, it to be." (2/2015) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Medium to deep garnet in color, the 2013 Plexus (a Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvèdre blend) gives slowly evolving raspberry tart, kirsch, potpourri and garrigue notes with underlying spice box and incense hints. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is velveteen textured with layers of expressive red fruits preserves and exotic spic ...Read More »