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K&L Staff Recommendations
2014 Villa Sparina Gavi $13.99
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Sour berry, rose, and chopped herb aromas follow through to the full-bodied palate along with black raspberry, licorice and a hint of mocha. Firm, ripe tannins provide the framework while a balsamic closes the finish. Drink 2018-2031. (KO)" (2/2016)
Winemaker notes: "The pre-eminent growing area for the arneis grape is the Roero, the area of magnificent hills on the left bank of the Tanaro river. Here, the calcareo-siliceous soils encourage the development of perfumed, elegant wines. After a gentle pressing, the must is given a cultured-yeast fermentation for some 10 days at 16-18°C. A final crucial step is a brief maturation in the bottle to further improve the structure of the wine and the complexity of its bouquet. Colour: Deep straw yellow with greenish highlights. Bouquet: Generous, crisp, and... Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "I like the lively and zesty character to this white with green apple and lemon undertones. Full body, loads of fruit, yet firm and focused. Go-to Gavi." (10/2015) Wine & Spirits: "Tart lemon and yellow apple flavors mingle with lightly bitter notes in a round, oily texture. Serve this with a seafood stew." (12/2015) Wine Spectator: "A mix of pear, apple, lemon and earth notes, backed by touches of earth and mineral. Offers a clean, chalky finish." (11/2015)
Wine Enthusiast: "Alluring aromas of jasmine and wild flower lead the nose. The fresh palate offers mature apple, white peach and a citrusy note alongside bright acidity. A touch of white almond note fills in the finish. (KO)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: This full bodied white made from 100% Cortese is fresh and fruity with scents of white flowers and a pleasantly though quite dry palate. Rich and balanced, this elegant white is soft and round, but somehow structured; it is well-matched to fish and fowl dishes. The 25 hectare Carmelitani estate was planted in the fourteenth century by the Car... Read More »
The Langhe Nebbiolo is 100% Nebbiolo, harvested in the beginning of October. It spends a brief 6-7 day fermentation on the skins and then is aged in barrique for 10 months on the lees. The result is a fresher, lower alcohol (12.5%) Nebbiolo that is drinkable yet still complex and flavorful. The perfect accompaniment to lighter pasta dishes or chicken.
91 points James Suckling: "A tangy, delicious red with a soft texture and plenty of ripe fruit such as blueberries and blackberries. Hints of citric acidity. Full and savory." (10/2015) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Fragrant and fresh, this offers scents of blue flowers, wild berry, moist earth, chopped herbs and a hint of baking spice. The vibrant, supple palate doles out juicy black cherry, crushed raspberry, white pepper and star anise alongside fresh acidity. (KO)" (11/2015) 90 points Wine & Spirits: "No tasting note given." (12/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Lush and juicy, boasting blackberry, black currant and sweet spice flavors. Shows tannins from oak, and r ...Read More »
This is the original Americano, a low-alcohol, wine-based aperitif from the Asti region of Piedmont intended to be consumed before eating to enliven the palate while whetting the appetite. It has been produced in Asti since 1891 and is still made according to the original recipe, which is essentially white wine aromatized with many herbs and spices. All the ingredients are natural, with no artificial additives or coloring of any kind. It is produced in limited quantities and matured for a year before being released for sale. Traditionally, it is served c... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Extremely perfumed with rose, dark-fruit and strawberry aromas and flavors. Full body, firm tannins and a clean, crisp finish. So delicious to taste." (10/2015) 90 points Vinous: "The 2010 Gattinara is a firm, classically austere wine with persistent tannins and a slightly compact personality. It will be interesting to see if the 2010 puts on weight in bottle, or if the tannins soften...Sweet dried cherries, tobacco, crushed herbs and dried flowers add shades of nuance through the middle and finish...Travaglini is one of the historic names in Gattinara. Quality has been up a ...Read More »
Guido Rivella had a multi-decade career as the winemaker for Angelo Gaja. Now retired, he and his daughter have a tiny estate in Barbaresco. This Barbera comes from a vineyard next to the Barbaresco vineyard "Cole." It is an eastern-facing, 1.4 acre piece. The wine is fermented in stainless steel for 12-14 days and then aged in used barrique for six months. Barbera has naturally high acid, but this wine shows exceptional balance and is supple and layered, with complex earthy aromatics.
91 points James Suckling: "Lots of dried berry, apple and lemon aromas and flavors. Medium to full body, outstanding acid tension and a long and flavorful finish." (10/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Barbera d'Alba Bricco dei Merli is a dark and generous wine that is loaded tight with bright fruit flavors. The Cogno family describes it as having the exuberance of the 2011 vintage and the elegance of 2012. It's true that 2013 marches to the beat of its own drum with pretty fruit contours surrounded by a fringe of spice and light leather. It ages in large oak casks for 12 months and rests on the lees ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Moscato 100% Intense grape, floral and honey aromas. Spicy. Sweet with crisp acid to balance. Moderately fine bubbles. Light body and alcohol (7%). Long finish, straightforward, some minerality. (LPB)" (3/2010) K&L Notes: Muscat grapes, being particularly aromatic, require a special winemaking technique in order to preserve the fruit's potent fragrance and to create a wine that is light on its feet and a fine accompaniment to fruit and nut-based desserts. The gently pressed grape juice is kept in refrigerated tanks until it is processed into the autoclave to obtain a... Read More »
As the Bava Brothers like to say this is Moscato with an Altitude! Grown in south east facing limestone soils in the Alta Langa it is a classic representation of the floral vibrancy of Moscato full of floral and fruit character low in alcohol. Just a bit of fizzy bubbles, not fully sparkling. Moscato is the perfect intermezzo or afternoon refresher and a perfect post dinner dessert wine because it is so delicate and low alcohol. It is also an excellent match to spicy savory dishes not just a sweet wine!
Made from the Malvasia of Schierano, a black skinned Malvasia that is cold macerated on the skins for 2 days and then gently pressed to preserve its aromatics. The result is nothing short of marvelous, extraordinary aromatics likened to Dog Rose and because it has a bit of tannin from the skins the wine feels remarkably dry. I really think this is an exceptional accompaniment to spicy Asian beef dishes, the sweetness absorbs a bit of the shock from the spiciness and the tannic grip and aromatics go exceptionally well together.
To plant Chardonnay in one of Barolo's most prestigious vineyards, "Bussia," was viewed as a rather heretical move back in 1982. But once you taste the results in today's wine, you can thank them. Fermentation in stainless steel with extended lees contact. The wine shows a forceful minerality and a long finish.
This blend of Sauvignon and Timorasso is fermented in stainless steel vats and sees brief aging in bottle.
92 points James Suckling: "Aromas and flavors of plums, chocolate and light prune. Full body, soft and velvety tannins and a savory finish." (9/2015) 91 points Vinous: "The 2011 Barolo Neirane is a lovely, mid-weight wine that captures plenty of Verduno personality in its lifted, perfumed aromatics and bright, finely sculpted fruit. Sweet tobacco, amaro herbs, anise, dried flowers and cherry pit are all laced together in an attractive, gracious Barolo that will drink well now and for at least another handful of years. This is a strong showing from Bosco Agostino." (3/2016) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Enticing aromas of red rose, w ...Read More »
Vietti's Roero Arneis is one of the most delicious and consistent versions of this varietal we carry every vintage. The grapes for this wine come from 25-year-old vines in Santo Stefano Roero. Fermented in stainless, they suppress malo to preserve the crisp acidity and freshness. And it is fresh, with mineral accents that complement its floral, citrus and melon aromas and flavors. Delightful with food.
Ca' del Baio is the labor of love of four generations of family producers. The Grasso family manages the 22 hectare vineyard and winery based in Treiso. They follow a hands-on winemaking philosophy founded in the belief that great wine is made in the vineyards; these hand-tended Barbera vines were planted in 1995. The Grassos have been able to successfully integrate new technology into their traditional methods to produce wines today that showcase the unique terroir characteristics of the Langhe. This Barbera bottling undergoes a controlled fermentation ... Read More »
From the producer: "Monferrato proved to be an excellent area for white grapes that here ripen well and, if harvested early, give a top quality product maintaining a balanced sugar and acidity ratio. This Chardonnay shows all of the character of the terroir in terms of “muscatés” scents; on the other hand, it is also recognaizable for its bouquet of orange blossoms, acacia, linden, banana and honey. The palate is dry, fine and ample not having aged in the barriques: when this is the case, the wine expresses its best character after two to five years of a... Read More »
96 points Vinous: "Dark, rich, and enveloping, the 2012 Barolo Ginestra Casa Matè wraps around the palate with serious intensity. The flavors are deep and boldly sketched throughout. Plum, black cherries, menthol, licorice and cloves build to the voluptuous, explosive finish. The Barolo Ginestra Vigna Casa Matè is another wine that is going to require considerable time in bottle, but it is fabulous, even at this very early stage. The Casa Matè is one of the most vivid, dramatic Barolos of the vintage. (AG)" (3/2016) 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Barolo Ginestra Casa Maté is a thickly layered and ...Read More »
Meaning "middle son", Moliss is a Piedmontese word, not Italian. This is one of two single vineyard Barberas produced by Agostino Pavia and his sons Giuseppe ("Pino") and Mauro, of which total production is less than five thousand cases. It is made from old vines and aged in large Slavonian oak ovals, which impart subtle oak aromas and can add texture when new, Moliss is stylistically similar to a traditional Asti but cleaner and much more concentrated. Importer Oliver McCrum writes: "Barbera d'Asti used to have a reputation for having acidity like that ... Read More »
Terre da Vino's La Lune e I Falò Barbera d'Asti comes from a variety of vineyards with varying soils and microclimates located between the towns of Nizza Monferrato and Agliano Terme. Aged in one-third new oak barrels for a year, this is an intense, purple-fruited Barbera with anise and vanilla spice that carries from the bouquet to the palate. Soft on the palate, with lots of fruit and integrated spice, finishing long.
It all began in 1897, when 23-year-old Luigi Einaudi (who was to become Italy’s first President in 1948) purchased the first of the Einaudi estates (poderi) at San Giacomo, near Dogliani, heart of Dolcetto country.
About the producer: "The heart of the estate’s guiding philosophy is the search for the highest quality obtainable in full respect of the tradition of the place. The human passion of the wine grower translates into long-term projects and investments, into patience waiting for the land to be ready, for the vines to grow, for the grapes to ripen – just once a year – and the wine to mature. In 1999, Paolo De Marchi ad his son Luca dusted off the long Piedmontese family tradition with the goal of bring the legendary wines of North Piedmont back into the li... Read More »
92 points Vinous: "The 2011 Barbaresco is round, sensual and inviting, with tons of near and medium-term appeal. This is an especially large-scaled, ample entry-level Barbaresco that shows just how compelling this vintage is here in the Barbaresco zone. Ripe, silky tannins wrap around the voluptuous, engaging finish. The Barbaresco emerges from a parcel just outside Montestefano with a more northerly exposure that in this vintage helped preserve nuance and precision. This is a striking wine from the Rivella family. (AG)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: The Barbaresco comes from 1.5 acres of viney... Read More »
94 points Wine Spectator: "Textbook aromas and flavors of rose, cherry and tar, along with shadings of tobacco and mineral, combine with a firm, vibrant structure in this elegant, intense red. The long aftertaste echoes the flavors, while the juicy texture enhances them. Best from 2018 through 2032. (BS)" (9/2016) 92 points Vinous: "The 2012 Barbaresco Ronchi is a bit more immediate than the Ovello, but with larger-grained tannins and more power, both of which give it that slight burliness that Barbarescos from Ronchi can sometimes show. Dark cherry, plum, smoke, licorice and game hit the palate in a ...Read More »
Anna Maria Abbona is a Dolcetto specialist in Dolgiani, a sub-region of Piedmont where Dolcetto is the star, not content to play backup to Nebbiolo or Barbera. All of the best sites in the area are planted to Dolcetto, producing wines that are deep, concentrated and complex. Abbona uses micro-oxygenation, oak and picking for phenolic ripeness to keep Dolcetto's aggressive tannins in check. According to importer Oliver McCrum: "This is classic Dogliani Dolcetto, fermented and aged in stainless steel. It shows great color, reddish purple and violet-tinged,... Read More »
97 points James Suckling: "This is fabulous Barolo with burnt orange, blackberry, meat, earth, and fresh herb. Full-bodied, round and velvety. So flavorful and crazy. Drink now. Why wait? But it will age wonderfully." (9/2015) 92 points Wine Spectator: "A fluid, spicy version, with cherry, strawberry, licorice, black pepper and cumin flavors. This is balanced and glides to a lingering finish that displays sweet fruit and tobacco notes. Best from 2018 through 2028. 1,800 cases made. (BS)" (2/2016) 91 points Vinous: "The 2011 Barolo Riva del Bric is a bit richer and deeper than it usually is, yet all the elements are very nicely ba ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Though the 2014 has yet to be professionally reviewed, the 2013 earned 91 points and praise from Antonio Galloni: "Cascina Ca' Rossa's 2013 Birbèt (Brachetto) is beautifully perfumed and aromatic, with plenty of spice, crushed rose petal and stone fruit overtones. A dash of mint and white flowers add freshness on the finish. I especially admire the purity of the flavors here." (05/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "This gorgeous wine offers classic Nebbiolo aromas of pressed rose, mature berry, crushed mint and baking spice. The structured, savory palate offers juicy wild cherry, raspberry, star anise, tobacco and clove alongside firm, fine-grained tannins. Drink 2018–2028. (KO)" (2/2016)
Grown on part of the Prevostura hill, from a typical northern Piedmont blend of varieties Nebbiolo (70%), Vespolina (20%) and Croatina (10%). The soils here are 35% old marine sand, 25% clay and 40% silt, and they are acidic; the grapes are picked typically in early October, and the wine is fermented in stainless steel with a fairly long maceration (18 days after the end of fermentation). The wine is aged in small barrels (not new) for 21 months before bottling. In effect this is declassified Lessona with a little Croatina added, so the flavors tend towa... Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "Young and wild red fruits with the trademark peppery edge, some brambly blue fruits and an assertive, spicy thread. This has a supple, fleshy and brambly palate with glossy ripe blue fruit flavors, fine-sheeted tannins and a tangy, saffron-tinged finish." (5/2015)
One of the lesser known grape varietals from Piemonte - home, of course, to Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera and Dolcetto - it's unfortunate that this traditional indigenous grape so often gets overlooked. But leave it to importer Oliver McCrum to find one, and to find a great one at that. Made by Pino Pavia from Agostino Pavia, a 50-year-old, small, family-run estate. McCrum describes it like this: "Misleadingly pale color, but a very distinctive and flavorful wine; wild strawberries, rhubarb, a touch of herbs, the perfect wine with salumi or pizza. I put it... Read More »
This estate has been making Dolcetto in Dogliani (where this grape, not Nebbiolo, is king) longer than anyone.
92 points Wine Spectator: "Aeration coaxes out the enticing cherry, raspberry and floral aromas and flavors of in this elegant red, which is balanced, vibrant and firm, with a long finish of mineral and spice. Best from 2016 through 2029. (BS)" (12/2013) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This offers aromas of red rose, wild berry, dark cooking spice and a whiff of sun baked earth. The ripe palate offers black cherry marinated in spirits, licorice, game and a hint of chocolate alongside velvety tannins. The warmth of alcohol closes the finish. Drink 2018-2029." (12/2015) K&L Notes: The Riserva Bussia is a selection of the Bussia ... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Well-spiced and fruit-forward, with candied black cherry and crème de cassis notes, backed by lively acidity. Graphite, spice and orange zest details show on the finish." (12/2015)
In the glass, this delightful wine exudes a brilliant golden shimmer with copious bubbles. On the nose, you'll find grapefruit and ripe, golden grape notes, with hints of sage. It's intense and creamy, with a playful sweetness that makes it the perfect pair for fruit or french toast. Try it at brunch and start your day off right!
Inventory: San Francisco
Vinous: "Brovia's 2013 Dolcetto d'Alba Vigna Villej is dark, juicy and deeply expressive. Black cherry, plum, mocha, menthol and licorice are all pushed forward. Drink this rustic, old-school Dolcetto over the next few years." (12/2015)
94 points James Suckling: "So perfumed with black cherry, strawberry and flowers. Tar undertones. Brick, too. Some minerals. Stone fruit. Full body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Barbaresco with clarity and finesse. This has some wine from the top crus of Gaja such as Sori Tildin and Sori San Lorenzo in the blend because they were not bottled. Drink or hold." (10/2015) 94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* In 2012, Gaja didn’t bottle his single-vineyard crus because they didn’t reach his high quality standards, and many of the grapes from these celebrated vineyards finished in this elegant, firmly s ...Read More »
90 points Decanter: "Clean, fresh and long, this is still closed and unyielding at present, but it does hint at considerable depth and purity of fruit. Even more so than other Nizza wines, Bava, Piano Alto, Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza 2011This one for the cellar and ought to turn into something special." (5/2016) K&L Notes: The Bava family's oldest vineyard sits atop the south-facing, all limestone "Crena" vineyard near the village of Agliano, thought to be the premier site for Barbera in Asti. The wine is fermented on the skins in stainless steel tanks for 10 days and then spends 18 ... Read More »
Piano Delli Perdoni is a 7 hectare cru from which Mossio sources this special Dolcetto d'Alba bottling. Sandy limestone clay soils are hand-cultivated and the vines are typically harvested at the end of September. The wine's ruby red color introduces a high-toned aroma of black cherry with hints of mocha. The scents reverberate on the palate with a stately savory character before the finish echoes fruit and balsamic tones.
95 points James Suckling: "Wow. This is superb with a rich and powerful palate yet polished, velvety textured, and long and rich. Needs time to come together. This is better than 2010. Try in 2018." (4/2015) 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Barolo Brunate is layered and thick with that high caliber of red fruit intensity you should expect from this celebrated single vineyard. Brunate is known for wines that are powerful and well structured. You get both those qualities here. But you also get enduring aromas of red fruit, blue flower, spice, anise seed and toasted nut that give the wine a sense of gravitas ...Read More »
94 points Vinous: "Sperino's 2009 Lessona is drop-dead gorgeous. Sweet red berries, tobacco, menthol and licorice all flesh out in a juicy, soft Nebbiolo with no hard edges and plenty of supple, deeply expressive fruit. This is an unusually resonant, generous young Lessona built on balance and symmetry. I expect the 2009 will be even better in another few years, but it is already a drop-dead gorgeous beauty. (AG)" (3/2014) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of dark berry, menthol, crushed violet, mint and pipe tobacco open this elegant expression of Nebbiolo. The palate offers black cherry, ripe raspbe ...Read More »
93 points Wine Spectator: "A supple, expressive style, this features strawberry and cherry fruit, accented by licorice, leather and white pepper. Firm yet balanced, with a lingering finish. Best from 2018 through 2030.—B.S." (11/2015) K&L Notes: From the importer: "In Serralunga d’Alba, in the heart of the Langhe, the Azienda Agricola Schiavenza has been working since 1956. The estate was founded by brothers Ugo and Vittorio Alessandria and is now managed by the second generation of the family: daughter Maura along with her husband Luciano Pira, agronomist responsible for overseeing the produc... Read More »
A rising star producer from the Roero in Piedmont, Marco Porello produces wines of depth and richness. Look for hints of wild strawberries and violets in this young Nebbiolo, which was aged 12 months in large Slavonian oak barrels.
About the producer: "The farm of Elvio Tintero is located in the steep but extraordinary hills of the City of Mango (CN) in Gramella place. Tintero’s family handle with care land and grapevine just on these hills since three generations. At the moment Tintero’s Farm is lead by Marco, Elvio, Adriana."
From the people who brought you Cocchi Americano and Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, comes the brand new rose colored, quinine-flavored, aperitif wine you've been anxiously waiting for. The Cocchi Americano Rosa has the lush mouthfeel and weight of a sweet vermouth, the fruit of a sangria, and the spice of a mulled wine, finishing with a tingle of bitterness on the tongue. It's absolutely delicious. Time to make a rose-colored gin martini!
Vinous: "A fresh, attractive Barbera d'Alba, the 2013 Serra de' Gatti offers lovely pliancy and pure appeal in its perfumed, plummy fruit, all in a supple style well suited to drinking over the next few years. (AG)" (5/2015) K&L Notes: This Barbera comes from the biodynamically farmed Serra Gatti Vineyard, which is perched at 820 feet above sea level in the Priocca zone of the Alba DOC. Typical vintages of this bright and intense red are flavorful, fresh and forward, and it's naturally quite food-friendly. Try it with braciole or sauteed chicken livers smeared on crostini.