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K&L Staff Recommendations
90-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another stunner from the team at Charles Smith, the 2013 Substance is a Cabernet Sauvignon dominated blend that comes from the higher elevation vineyards of Goose Ridge and Frenchman Hills. Harvested in early November and aged in 40-50% new French oak, it sports gorgeous aromas and flavors of cassis, violets, pencil shavings and tobacco/herbs to go with a medium to full-bodied, layered, rich and beautifully balanced profile on the palate. Scheduled to be bottled in December, it tastes like a wine that taste 3-4 times what this is going for. It is a knock ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* A blend of 60% Syrah, 27% Merlot and a handful of other varieties added to the mix, this aromatically pops, with complex notes of plum, blueberry, smoke, chocolate and floral accents. It’s silky smooth in feel, with abundant chocolaty flavors that help it go down far too easy." (12/2014)90 points Wine Spectator: "Plush and generous, with blackberry and plum flavors on a velvety texture, deftly balanced with refined acidity and tannins that persist on the finish. Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Viognier and others. Drink now through 2017." (12/2014)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*#31 in the Top 100 Best Buys of 2014* Half barrel-fermented and half done in stainless steel, this classy effort seems to overdeliver. It starts with good fruit, but the feeling is that winemaker Jessica Munnell did everything right, and maxxed out the complexity. It’s a sensuous mix of grape and barrel, steel and butterscotch, with a lively, lingering finish." (11/2014) K&L Notes: A very warm 2013 growing season with dry harvest conditions made for a very successful Chardonnay from Mercer Canyons. Grapes were sourced from Sagemoor Vineyard in the Columbia Valley an... Read More »
Columbia Crest's H3 Cabernet Sauvignon is a perennial value and very, very tough to beat at this price.
90 points Wine Spectator: "Polished, creamy and refreshingly balanced, with tobacco-accented pineapple and coconut flavors that come together smoothly and linger well. Drink now through 2016." (12/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* Screwcapped, fresh and racy, this seemingly all-stainless Chardonnay is a total lemon fest. Ripe and flavorful--not sour--it brings scents and tastes of lemon oil, lemon peel and lemon meringue into play. It’s medium-bodied, forward and generous." (12/2014) K&L Notes: Charles & Charles is a collaboration between Charles Smith (of his namesake winery and K Vintners) and Charles Bieler. ... Read More »
Charles Smith is a self-taught winemaker who developed a passion for wine while on the road as a manager for The Ravonettes. In 1999 he moved to Walla Walla and began making wine meant to be enjoyed immediately (the way most people drink today), but still true to the varietal and vineyard. Tasting notes on the 2014 Riesling from the winery: "Crushed minerals run through the heart of this pure and satisfying Riesling. The aromas of white peach, lime leaves, Linden tree, and crush stone echo in the palate with a long, fresh finish."
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "The Cabernet is stiffened up with small amounts of Petit Verdot, Cab Franc and Malbec, resulting in a firm, herbal, but very well-balanced Bordeaux-style blend. There’s compact cassis fruit, streaked with light stem, earth and herb. This is a wine that should improve with bottle age through 2019." (7/2014)90 points Antonio Galloni: "(14.4% alcohol): Bright ruby-red. High-pitched aromas of cassis, black cherry, licorice, menthol and violet. More tightly coiled and backward than the Seven Hills Vineyard Merlot, showing distinctly darker flavors of black cherry, bitter chocolate and li ...Read More »
An almost-Bordeaux-style blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 12% Syrah. What an easy and none-too-spendy way to introduce yourself to the great red blends being made in Washington State these days. From the winery's note: "Dark ruby color. A hint of sweetness, medium plus body with well integrated tannins that linger on the long finish....CMS Red, Washington State's original blended red wine, has been produced and bottled by the estate since 1987. Consistently recognized as one of the best values in Washington State, CMS Red combines elegance... Read More »
94 points Antonio Galloni: "(a 65/35 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and semillon): Full, bright green-gold color. Noble aromas of citrus oil, apple, brioche and curry powder. Wonderfully sappy and concentrated, with guava, lime and mineral flavors complemented but not overwhelmed by sexy oak. Most impressive today on the extremely long, rising finish. I’d love to pour this incredible Washington State white wine next to a young Domaine de Chevalier blanc. Stunning quality for the price. (Stephen Tanzer)" (12/2014)94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another stunning white from this team is the 2013 Chaleur Estate Blanc. A ble ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Dark, concentrated and with a structured, tannic feel, the 2010 Col Solare (90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Malbec) is a longer-term prospect and should be purchased by those with some patience. Smoked black fruits, scorched earth, licorice and graphite give way to a full-bodied, layered, masculine and tannic palate that needs 3-4 years of cellaring. It will have over two decades of ultimate longevity. A partnership with the Antinori family, these efforts are made by Marcus Notaro and focus on their Red Mountain estate vine ...Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This wine is a blend of four distinctive sites-Minick and Olsen in the Yakima Valley, and SJR and Stoney Vine in the Walla Walla Valley. It pulls together the best of all of them, with brooding notes of mineral, wet stone, earthy funk, coffee, smoked meat and black and green olive. The palate steals the show, with hypnotic savory flavors that coalesce around a vibrant, extended finish. It’s a textural marvel that is simply impossible to put down." (7/2015) 91-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Moving to the 2012’s, and the first vintage for the cuvee, the 2012 Syrah Columbia ...Read More »
Winemaker notes: "This medium-bodied Merlot delivers aromas of spice and blackberry, with a perfect balance of earth, cocoa and ripe cherry flavors with a rich, velvety finish."
Seattle's single malt sensation Westland Distillery is back with a new expression aged in sherry that mimics some of the finest and most beloved Speyside malts from Scotland's Highland region. In the style of Macallan or Glenfarclas, the supple, soft, fudgy, cocoa flavors are more pronounced from the sherry maturation and the richness of the palate is enhanced beyond what we've seen in the standard Westland ex pression. It's a more decadent version of what we already love about America's top single malt distillery and an exciting glimpse into what's prom... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "A blend of Zinfandel (41%), Sangiovese (34%), Lemberger (9%), Malbec (11%) and Merlot, this appealing wine suggests plum, currant and red fruit. It’s supple in feel with cranberry and raspberry flavors backed by tart acidity." (5/2015) Wine & Spirits: "In 2013 Abbot’s Table is composed of zinfandel, sangiovese, malbec, blaufränkisch and merlot, and more or less takes on the character of the lead variety, with its broad plummy red fruit and plush texture. For a barbecue party." (4/2015) K&L Notes: From the winery; "Reminiscent of the bold Abbot’s Table blends of past vintages, this 2013... Read More »
89-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Coda comes mostly from estate vineyards and is a blend of roughly equal parts Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Medium to full-bodied, rounded, textured and beautifully fruited, it offers loads of spice, graphite, cedar and ample blackberry and currant- styled fruit. A perfect intro into the style of this estate, it will have at least a decade of longevity. Winemaker Ben Smith continues to fashion classic, old school and age-worthy Bordeaux blends from his Seattle based winery... The 2012s are fantastic here and the wines show the ...Read More »
This wine is a collaboration between Charles Smith and Charles Bieler, both accomplished vintners who came together in 2008 to make world-class rosé in the Columbia Valley. 2014 was a hot vintage, tempered by a slightly cooler September. To maintian the tautness they were seeking in the wine, they sourced fruit from many cooler vineyard sites. From the winery: "Our 2014 Rosé is quite simply the most awesomely complex and complete Rosé we’ve made to date. The winemaking hasn’t changed a great deal over the years; so we attribute much of this complexity to... Read More »
92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay Columbia Valley sees no new oak and is a blend from the three vineyards (Frenchman Hills, Moxee and Roza Hills). Loaded with lychee, citrus blossom, lemon and crushed rock-like minerality, this medium-bodied, beautifully pure and elegant effort has superb mid-palate richness and picks up additional nuttiness on the finish. While my favorite cuvee here is probably the Frenchman Hills Vineyard, when you factor in price, this straight Columbia Valley is a no-brainer. It, too, should evolve gracefully over the coming 3-4 years, if not lon ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
The flagship whiskey for Seattle's Westland Distillery is one of the first American single malts that actually tastes like Scottish single malt. At the core of this whiskey’s flavor profile is a grain bill comprised of five different roasted and kilned barley malts giving the malt a character that's Scotch-like, but still distinctly different. The base is a pale malt, grown in the state of Washington. To that they add specialty malts, a concept inspired by the vibrant craft brewing culture of the Pacific Northwest. Belgian brewer’s yeast further enhances... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Functioning as a second wine, the 2012 D2 Proprietary Red Wine checks in as a blend of 50% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc that spent 20 months in 100% new French oak. It's one hell of a second wine and offers up awesome notes of blackcurrants, wood smoke, graphite, chocolate, truffle and damp earth to go with a full-bodied, ripe, layered and still focused and lively profile on the palate. This is a serious wine on all accounts and it has beautifully integrated acidity, moderate, sweet tannin and a great finish. It's easy to appreciate ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Soft and supple, with notes of tea leaf and orange peel adding interest to the cherry and tobacco flavors, which linger gently. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Malbec." (3/2014) K&L Notes: The 2011 Hedges Red Mountain Red Blend, this winery's flagship wine, looks like a Bordeaux style blend on the surface, but another look reveals a small amount of Syrah added to the blend of Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc and Malbec. All of the fruit comes from Washington's Red Mountain AVA, representing all of the vineyards Hedges farms, and is aged for 10 months in a... Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Saturated bright ruby. Reticent, high-pitched aromas of black raspberry, kirsch, licorice and violet, complemented by some sweet oak. Very ripe, dense and smooth, showing an almost liqueur-like quality to its black cherry and saline flavors. Not at all overly sweet but the tannins are suave and fine-grained. This has enough juicy energy to expand in the bottle. As in most recent vintage, a terrific value in Washington Syrah." (12/2014)91 points Wine Spectator: "Focused, dense and polished, with blackberry, cherry and floral flavors on a glassy, smooth texture, lingering easily and ...Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This offers reserved notes of cherry and raspberry compote, cranberry, earth and assorted dried herbs. With the oak pleasantly dialed back, the focus remains on the fruit. The palate displays exquisite purity, elegance and detail, with a light grip of tannins pulling it all together. It’s drinking beautifully now, but you could open it up in 2025 or 2030 and it wouldn’t bat an eye." (7/2015)92 points Wine Spectator: "Focused and expressive, centering blueberry and currant fruit on a medium frame, wrapped with tannins. Hints of cedar and cream add to the depth of t ...Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "(12% alcohol): Pale bright straw-yellow. Tangy white peach, tangerine, lime blossom and dusty stone on the nose and palate, with a riper pineapple element emerging with aeration. Offers good chewy texture and breadth without any undue weight, conveying an impression of dusty extract and a nice sugar/acid balance. More open-knit and less bracing than the 2010 release but with no shortage of energy. Relatively dry for this bottling--and a satisfying drink already. Finishes with good subtle length. (Stephen Tanzer)" (12/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "This wine shows some pleasing aro ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Fresh, lively and sleek, with red berry, raspberry and spice box flavors in a neat package, lingering expressively. Drink now through 2017. 34,740 cases made." (12/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The forward, juicy, quaffable and delicious 2013 Charles Smith Boom Boom Syrah was co-fermented with 3% Viognier, with 100% whole clusters, and aged on lees in tank prior to bottling. Juicy blackberry, pepper, wild herbs and a touch of licorice all show in this nicely balanced, medium-bodied, forward and easygoing effort. There’s not a lot of depth here, but that’s not the point, and this ...Read More »
94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Syrah River Rock Vineyards comes all from The Rocks region of Walla Walla and was fermented with 100% whole clusters. Giving up massive minerality, with ground herbs, gunpowder, smoked earth, olive and assorted dark fruits, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a layered, elegant feel and notable tannin that comes through on the finish. As with the Rock Garden Syrah, it should have 10 to 15 years of prime drinking. One of the highlight (and largest) tastings for this report, the team at K Vintners consists of wild man himself, ...Read More »
From the winery: "100% Cabernet Franc from our own Two Blondes Vineyard. This fresh, medium bodied wine with ageing capabilities is extraordinarily good as well as being a very good value. An often overlooked varietal that is used more often for blending, Cabernet Franc is well suited to planting at the relatively cool Two Blondes Vineyard."
This reliable Cabernet value is back with a particularly strong 2012 vintage which featured a warm and even growing season. Grapes were sourced from AVAs around the Columbia Valley including the Cold Creek, Canoe Ridge Estate and Indian Wells vineyards. The wine was aged in 1/3 new oak (both French and American) and blended with 10% Merlot, 4% Syrah, and 2% of each Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Mourvedre. This Cabernet is very tough to beat for under $10.
Wine Enthusiast: "This lightly aromatic wine offers notes of butterscotch, peach and toasty spices. It’s lighter in style with a creamy feel to the stone and tropical fruit flavors." (5/2015) K&L Notes: Chateau Ste. Michelle's Indian Wells bottlings bring a ripe and rich profile to your table... a result of the fruit sourced from the warmer climate of Washington's Wahluke Slope. The long and even growing season in 2013 ideally suited the region, and this Chardonnay displays a ripe pineapple and butterscotch profle with a creamy texture throughout. Cool nighttime temperatures retain ac... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
95-97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Reserve is another gorgeous Bordeaux blend by Chris. Made from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and equal parts Malbec and Petit Verdot, it offers up plenty of cassis, licorice and chocolate in its sexy, seamless and incredibly polished profile. Concentrated, with plenty of tannin, it will round into form with a few years in the cellar and, like the straight Cabernet, have two decades or more of longevity. (JD)" (6/2014)94 points Wine Spectator: "A swarm of fine tannins swirls around a sleek core of peppery black cherry and plum flavors. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Smooth and palate-coating, it’s 100% varietal, with just the right balance between blackberry and black cherry fruit, and barrel-induced flavors of toffee, toasted macadamia nuts, and café crème." (7/2014)91 points Wine Spectator: "Polished and supple, with ripe flavors of red berry and dark cherry. Almost syrupy in intensity, this is balanced with mineral nuances and buffed to a sheen on the finish. Drink now through 2019." (11/2014) Jancis Robinson: "Pleasantly juicy, blackberry fruit. Slightly smoky on the finish. Well made, easy-going, liquorice and Worcestershire sauce on the fi ...Read More »
By distilling a highly-peated single malt whisky and marrying that with an entirely unpeated single malt whisky, Seattle's Westland Distillery has created something magically delicious, more akin to Talisker or Springbank, rather than Ardbeg or Lagavulin. The smoke and phenolic elements are definitely present, but never detract from the soft, oily fruit and the inherent creaminess of the spirit, which are definitely the stars of the show. Imagine everything you love about Longrow or Bunnahabhain, but in a different package distilled in the Pacific Northw... Read More »
94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Also from barrel sample, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon gives up knockout creme de cassis, scorched earth, lead pencil and burning ember-like qualities to go with a full-bodied, decadently textured profile on the palate. Possessing plenty of sweet tannin and ample concentration, it stays remarkably graceful and elegant on the palate. It will evolve nicely for two decade or more. (JD)" (6/2014)94 points Wine Spectator: "This sturdy style sports rich cherry, herb, smoke and spice flavors on a generous, expansive frame. Offers prickly, peppery tannins. Best from 2018 through 2025. ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A total stunner, the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc is made in a more dense, almost Loire-like style and was fermented and aged in a combination of concrete tank and barrel. Exotic lime, melon, dried herbs and wet stone qualities all emerge from this medium-bodied white that has racy acidity as well as ample texture and depth. Beautifully done, and also unique in that you don't see many Sauvignon Blancs from Washington made in this style, drink it over the coming year or so. Readers need to check out these latest Charles Smith offerings released under the Substan ...Read More »
From the winery: "Food friendly syrah from vineyards across the Pacific Northwest, 80 % whole cluster fermentation with aging in older neutral French oak barrels and puncheons for 11 months on the lees. Our garde manger is a blend of each vineyard we source syrah from in each vintage. bottled unfined with minimal so2 addition."
91 points Wine Spectator: "Vibrant, open-textured and appealing, with satiny black cherry and blackberry fruit, floating through the long, expressive finish." (10/2014) K&L Notes: From the Winery: "The family of Lady Hill owners Jerry and Elaine Owen has been blessed with a bounteous lineage of females embodied today by Elaine Owen and her eight daughters. Our Lady Hill label is a tribute both to the family farm that has been home to the Owen forebears since the 1860s, and the lady-laden ancestry of the Owen family. Our Lady Hill Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a tasty combination of Cab... Read More »
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Barbera
Inventory: Redwood City
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This standout blend of Sémillon (60%) and Sauvignon Blanc dazzles with notes of fig, pineapple, kiwi and herbs. It's richly flavored, with a creamy texture and a supremely long finish. -S.S." Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(a 60/40 blend of semillon and Sauvignon Blanc) Aromas of orange blossom, pear, white peach, minerals and spices, plus a whiff of vanilla. Juicy, saline and quite dry, offering good intensity to its pear, apple and vanilla flavors. Initially a bit warm, and dominated by the semillon component, but gained in verve with aeration, showing good limey lift on the afterta ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from 100% Syrah and most likely the best vintage of the wine to date, the 2012 Syrah Boushey Vineyard Arnaut is a smoking-barrel sample that’s loaded with potential. Blackberry, pepper, bloody meat, salty minerality and earth are just some of the nuances here. This full-bodied effort has fantastic texture, substantial, yet sweet tannin and a terrific finish. It should evolve nicely for 3-4 years and drink well through 2027." (6/2014)95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice" This wine shines with notes of smoked meat, mineral, dark coffee and earthy funk. The flavors are de ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Scrappy's Bitters are inspired by nineteenth century recipes. As featured in Imbibe Magazine: "...bartender Miles Thomas has been making Scrappy's Bitters since 2008. Thomas now sells styles ranging from a classic orange to lavender, chocolate and cardamom. While his emphasis is on bitters that feature a single flavor, each style requires the use of multiple ingredients such as grains of paradise, angelica root, horehound and mace." (Sept/Oct 2010) Try this, courtesy of Scrappy's Bitters: Frog Leg - 2 oz Rye, ½ oz Cynar, ¼ oz Amaro Nonino, ½ oz dry vermo... Read More »
Charles Smith, he of the "Kung Fu Girl" Riesling, offers a new Columbia Valley classic Cab in the sweet spot: take it seriously, but get change for your twenty. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot, 1% Malbec. Have with roasted leg of lamb with rosemary-mustard sauce.
92 points Antonio Galloni: "Saturated red-ruby. Fresh aromas of black raspberry and cocoa powder are complemented by sexy earth tones. Sweet, broad and fine-grained, showing lovely energy and lift to its flavors of dark berries and dark chocolate. Really spreads out to dust the palate with fruit. Finishes classy and very long, with well-integrated ripe tannins. This was bottled a month before I tasted it but showed no sign of shock or fatigue. A steal for the price. (ST)" (12/2014)92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* This blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon comes fr ...Read More »
A must for the superior rum punch or hot toddy, Scrappy's Cardamom Bitters are made the old-fashioned way. Try it with "The Elegant Spice: 1½ oz white rum, ½ oz fresh grapefruit, ½ oz cointreau, ½ oz dry Vermouth, 1 to 2 dashes of Scrappy’s cardamom bitters serve on the rocks." (Recipe from Scrappy's)
Who knows when you'll be asked to conjure up a vodka-based "Perfect," or a rye whisky-fueled "Black Manhatten." Scrappy's retro-style bitters, made from all-organic toasted cacao nibs, with a hint of spice and oak, imparts an essence of chocolate with that little extra. A wise addition to any well-stocked bar.
Hailing from a classically warm and long vintage in Washington, the Indian Wells bottling is Chateau Ste. Michelle's ripe, generous, and unabashedly New World rendition of Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a characteristic of the fruit from the Wahluke Slope region, including their estate Indian Wells Vineyard. After careful vinification to extract concentrated flavor and color without harsh tannins, the wine was aged in a combination of French and American oak barrels (51% new) for 16 months before bottling.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Inventory: Redwood City
Inventory: Main Warehouse
A must-have for the well-stocked bar. The Bergamot: ½ oz montnegro, ½ oz earl gray gin, ¼ oz marshino, 2oz rye, ½ oz dry vermouth, 1 dash of Scrappy’s orange. "A sniffer of earl gray tea."