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K&L Staff Recommendations
2014 Pétrus, Pomerol (Pre-Arrival) $1,729.99
2010 Franc Mayne, St-Emilion $29.99
This is the second wine from Château d'Aiguilhe, in the far east of Bordeaux. Proprietor and winemaker Stephan von Neipperg is also responsible for the greatness that lies in each bottle of Château Canon-La-Gaffelière, Clos l'Oratoire, Château Peyreau and La Mondotte. The cepage is overwhelmingly Merlot, with a small percentage of Cabernet Franc. The property dates back to the 12th century and is linked to the Knights Templar. The current château, a "fortified farmhouse," was built in the 13th century. The Right Bank terroir, with its clay-limestone soil... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Soft and fruity with milk chocolate. Full and round textured. Goes on for a minute or two. Excellent for the vintage. Better than I remember. And better in 2014, but why wait?" (7/2012) 90-92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Firm tannins, but also ripe, sweet fruits, with a fine balance. While the wine is on the light, fresh side, it does have a good, final structure." (4/2010) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This Merlot-dominated wine displays a dense ruby/purple color, soft berry fruit intermixed with mocha, and hints of white chocolate, herbs, and spice. It should drink well for up to a decade or more. (RP)" (4/2010) Wine Spectator: "Solid, wi ...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."
Wine Spectator: "Soft and forward, with gentle blueberry and plum fruit, laced with a singed vanilla bean note. (Web Only—2015)" K&L Notes: This Great Bordeaux wine has been made by Château Clinet's team at Pomerol since the 2000 vintage. The grapes are selected from amongst the best vineyards on Bordeaux's right bank, and then vinified and blended by Château Clinet. Extraordinary value. 100% Merlot from an outstanding vintage, Great now, it can only get better. Juicy, spicy, sexy wine with tons of upfront blackberry fruit flavors. Some pepperiness also on the palate.
94 points James Suckling: "Fabulous aromas of crushed blueberries and minerals with flowers follow through to a full body, with solid fruit and tannin structure and a long, long finish. Very intense. Better than 2009. Try in 2017." (2/2013)92 points Wine Spectator: "This delivers the profile of the vintage, with spice-infused raspberry, boysenberry and blackberry fruit coursing along nicely, followed by delineated anise and spice notes, all carried by a racy graphite spine. Rock-solid and nicely balanced, this should age elegantly. Best from 2014 through 2024. (Web-2013)" Jancis Robinson: "Rather sweet and sumptuous on the nos ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Set on the plateau of Saint-Émilion, this 12-acre property has produced a structured and firm wine. It is solid with tannins, dark with its black fruits and rich with superripe Merlot. Drink from 2018." (5/2015) K&L Notes: Lovely richness on the palate; typical of Right Bank 2012 wines. Silky wine--a great value. Black licorice flavors; delicious! And for less than $15? What a great finish on this wine.
92 points James Suckling: "Soft red fruit and fresh coffee. Some chocolate and spice. Beautifully textured fruit on the palate with a bright acidity and velvety tannins. Very long and smooth finish. So enjoyable already. Best ever from here? Better in 2015." (2/2013)92 points Wine Spectator: "This has a really nice graphite frame that drives the core of fig, plum and boysenberry fruit authoritatively, with dense ganache, espresso and tar on the finish. The grip is keeping things tight now, but this should meld in the cellar, as the underlying feel is energetic. Best from 2015 through 2025" (3/2013)91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This is one ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Aromas of licorice, tar and some blackberry lead to a medium body, with light tannins and a fruity, delicate finish." K&L Notes: Château La Prade, just four and a half hectares, was purchased by the Thienpont family in 2000. Despite the tiny size, part of the vineyards are on the limestone plateau and the rest are on a south-facing slope rich in iron. This somewhat unique terroir results in a rich Merlot-dominated blend with great structure. We tasted this wine on our April 2014 Bordeaux trip and bought it on the spot. Delicious, fruit-forward wine to enjoy for th... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Nicely toasty, with vanilla and espresso notes up front, but the core of raspberry, blackberry and boysenberry fruit rushes in behind it, with a long, licorice-filled finish. Should settle in nicely. Stéphane Derenoncourt consulting here. Best from 2012 through 2017." (3/2012) Jancis Robinson: "Light crimson. Smells sweet and light. Very forward and rather soft but lots of fun. Fine tannins perceptible only on the very end of the palate." (4/2010) K&L Notes: You heard it from K&L's Clyde Beffa, Jr. (see below): "Buy cases of this." Here's an ultra-value, everyday Bordeaux that's got rea... Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "A fresh style of Merlot with light chocolate and blueberry character. Medium body, firm tannins and a crisp finish. Food matcher." (7/2015) K&L Notes: This Merlot-dominated blend reminds us why Duckhorn earned its reputation as one of California's preminent sources for Merlot. The 2012 vintage, with its long hang time, was perfect for making a rich, seamless, structured wine. Winemaker notes: "From its aromas of Santa Rosa plum, creme de cassis, violet, and Herbes de Provence to its enticing flavors of olallieberry, sticky toffee, and vanilla bean, this is a complex ... Read More »
90-92 points Antonio Galloni: "A rich, explosive wine, the 2013 Merlot races across the palate with dark red and blue fruit, graphite, smoke, tobacco and menthol. Today, the 2013 is unusually firm, but it should start to soften with more time in barrel. White flowers, spices and plums are laced into the super-expressive finish. What a gorgeous wine this is. A splash of Petit Verdot rounds out the blend. 90-92+ (AG)" (12/2014) 88-90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A barrel sample of the 2013 Merlot, which is a similar blend to the 2012, looks like it’s going to be as good, although it plays it closer to the vest and is more ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc. Ripe, expressive, dry fruit. Tannins that sneak up on the finish. Lovely development of flavour, but the palate is a bit angular. Drink to 2018. (RH)" (6/2013) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This appears to be an attractive, elegant, strong effort from Tertre-Daugay. The wine shows deep, sweet, herb-tinged black cherry and currant fruit intermixed with some spice box and fruitcake. It is elegant, medium-bodied, sweet..." (4/2003) Wine Spectator: "Slightly loosely knit, but attractive berry and chocolate character. Medium body, soft tannins. Best after 2007." (3/2004) K&L Notes: A fantas... Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Fine perfume, becoming more meaty. Really moreish, dry and quite firm. Perhaps a little more structure than fruit." (11/2009) Wine & Spirits: "The aroma is complex and layered with rich cherries and smoky oak tones. This is a smooth-textured, traditional St-Emilion. A bit of bottling sulfur will dissipate as the wine ages, and the tannins will soften up for a steak." (10/2008) Wine Spectator: "Vanilla, licorice and violet aromas follow through to a medium-to-full body, with silky tannins and a medium finish. (Web-2008)" K&L Notes: Wow! This wine has really come around in the last few years. It was a bit ... Read More »
90-91 points James Suckling: "Pretty build up on the palate, with spicy currants and berries on the nose and palate. Full and silky. Very well done." (4/2011) 87-90 points Wine Spectator: "*Barrel Tasting* Round and inviting, with plump red cherry, plum and blackberry fruit backed by red licorice and spice. Grip takes over on the licorice-filled finish. (Web Only—2011)"
90-93 points Wine Spectator: "This has the rich, dark blueberry and blackberry fruit of the vintage, with ample graphite and spice and a solid, tannic backbone. Toasty, but with flesh. (Web-2011)"92 points James Suckling: "Fascinating wine with dark fruit and citrus undertones. Full and refined. Lovely finish." (4/2011) 88-90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of the finest Tertre Daugays I have tasted (although the 2009 is also attractive), this sleeper of the vintage exhibits a dense purple color as well as copious aromas of sweet kirsch, black fruits, licorice and graphite. Medium to full-bodied with a corpulent, layered mouthfeel, light to mode ...Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star & Good Value* Although its somewhat juicy, sweetly oaked aromas of ripe cherries send a signal that this is a wine that could and should be enjoyed soon, it turns out to show a little more structure once past its early plumpness and is one on which it would be wise to wait. It has the right fruity pieces in place to commend four or five years of keeping, and it delivers far more than do most at its price level." (11/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "This vineyard from the Santa Margarita Ranch at the southern end of the appellation produces a wine with blackberry, mint, sla ...Read More »
Decanter: "Proper Pomerol richness and attack with black fruit. Fresh and forceful ripe fruit and perfume. Acidity adds balance; very fresh as well." (11/2010) Jancis Robinson: "Sweet and mellifluous and lively with some freshness. Well done! Good balance. Long." (4/2008) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This property appears to be making better and better wines with each vintage. The soft, silky, tasty 2007 boasts copious black cherry and ripe strawberry fruit interwoven with notions of sandy soil. Enjoy this medium-bodied, plush Pomerol over the next 7-10 years." (4/2010) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Deep, bright ruby-red. Musky, rather wild aroma ...Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "A solid structure of blueberry, plum and spices. Full and chewy. Structured and dense. Needs another four or five years of bottle age." (3/2013)90 points Wine Spectator: "Lively, with a taut plum skin frame that eventually melds nicely into the core of raspberry, warm cherry compote and red currant fruit. Charcoal and chalk lend definition and length to the finish, which is well-packed, but racy overall. Drink now through 2020. (Web Only—2013)" Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Arnauton, a blend of 98% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc that came in it at 14.75% natural alcohol, displays a deep ruby color and load ...Read More »
Excited by the quality of their 2012 vintage, the winery notes that, "Our 2012 Merlot is deep garnet in color, with aromatic notes of wet stone, sun-warmed raspberries, and a slightly cooling fresh fennel. The soft, supple tannins and medium body are distinctive and prized features of our Merlots. The finish offers notes of baking spices. Drink now and over the next five years. 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot. Aged 20 months in 45% new French oak."
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Although this winery has been around since 1944, I am unfamiliar with its wines. Packaged in an interesting bottle with a label sporting green ink, this 2012 Merlot is made in an explosively rich, blockbuster style. Its opaque purple color is accompanied by oodles of blackcurrant and black cherry fruit intertwined with hints of espresso and chocolate. Full-bodied and super-rich, but not overly extracted or astringent, this beautifully made, full-throttle, pedal-to-the-metal Merlot should wine the hearts and minds of many California wine enthusiasts. It i ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The palate is quite sweet with a note of fig and raisin. Firm, well-integrated tannins with a rich black, liquorice finish. Very good for a second wine....Tasted July 2004. (NM-Wine Journal)" Wine Spectator: "A pleasant red, with tobacco cedar and plum character. Medium body, fine tannins and fresh finish... Second wine of Nenin. Best after 2002." (3/2002) K&L Notes: Alex and I tasted this beauty and bought it on the spot. Tons of blackberry fruit flavors and a spicy palate impression. Enjoy with rack of lamb. (Clyde Beffa, K&L Bordeaux Buyer)
According to Parker's Wine Advocate: "Cascina Morassino is located in Barbaresco, and the wines reflect the somewhat ethereal, elegant and graceful qualities that are the hallmarks of the wines from this part of the region." (10/09)
91 points James Suckling: "Intense aromas of blueberries and raspberries, with hints of citrus. Full body, with ultra-fine tannins and a fruity finish. Refined and firm. Best in 2018." (2/2012) 88-91 points Wine Spectator: "Pretty Cabernet Franc aromas of crushed berries and some milk chocolate. Medium- to full-bodied, with soft and silky tannins. Long sweet fruit on the finish. (Web-2010)" Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made by Ausone's perfectionist owner, Alain Vauthier, Fonbel is a sleeper of the vintage in 2009. Raspberry and black currant notes intermixed with incense, camphor and a note of crushed wet/rock steeliness offer up a complex s ...Read More »
97 points James Suckling: "This continues to be a benchmark for Napa merlots for me with soft and velvety tannins, earth, mushroom and meat character. White truffle too. Unique nose. Full body and a juicy, long, long finish. Drink or hold." (7/2015)93 points Wine Spectator: "An unapologetically plump and flamboyant style that offers pure pleasure. Blackberry and spicy toast aromas lead to rich, complex flavors of black cherry and mocha, with a hint of dry herb. The finish lasts forever. Drink now through 2020." (11/2014) 90-92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Good red-ruby. Slightly jammy aromas of dark berries, chocolate and graphite. Sweet, plush ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Nose starts with fresh brewed coffee, cedar and chocolate toffee. With a bit of air it shows ripe plum, sweet licorice and fresh leather. Wonderful dark round fruit on the palate with velvety caressing tannins. Full with a long finish with lots of dark fruit. Succulent wine." (2/2013)92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Lush, concentrated black currant and kirsch-like fruit, a hint of licorice and some floral notes and subtle background oak jump from the glass of this blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. It is another relatively large-scaled St.-Emilion at 15% natural alcohol, but the ...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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "Taking time to come around aromatically, it opens up with plum and bright red cherry fruit that follow on the palate, a touch of savory tobacco suggested around the tannins. On the finish expect a balance of spice and sweet as black pepper and caramel compete for affection." (10/2014) Wine Spectator: "Rather plush and jammy for a Merlot, with notes of cherry pie and caramel. Drink now through 2017." (10/2014) K&L Notes: From Duckhorn Wine Company.
Wine Enthusiast: "This soft and approachable Merlot brims in smoke and oak, with subtle plum fruit. A slight layering of spice on the back of the palate is pleasing." (3/2015)
Wine Spectator: "Solid, featuring pomegranate, cherry paste and plum flavors, lined with anise, alder and iron notes. Not big, but has range and purity, with fresh fruit lingering on the finish. (Web-2015)"
91 points James Suckling: "Dark fruit and chocolate aromas with hints of spices. Full to medium body, fine tannins and a medium finish. This is right next to Trotanoy. Excellent value. Needs two or three years to open. Try in 2018." (2/2015) Jancis Robinson: "Very dark with opaque core. Delicate creamy vanilla note over pure black fruit. Expressive and fresh on the nose and then remarkably rounded on the palate, though the tannins are dense and like a deep-pile carpet. A very nice whole, with harmony and freshness." (4/2013) K&L Notes: Blackberry fruit and toasted oak dominate the palate. Great bargain here.
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A cross-Napa Valley blend, the 2012 Merlot is their largest cuvée, and is composed of 85.2% Merlot blended with other Bordeaux varietals. Only 21% new oak is used, so the fruit component dominates. A dense plum/purple color is followed by notes of chocolate, berries, tobacco leaf, forest floor and mocha. This lush, fruit-driven, hedonistic, sensual Merlot can be drunk over the next 7-8 years. (RP)" (10/2014)90 points James Suckling: "A round and simple merlot with plum, chocolate and olive character. Full to medium body, velvety tannins. Grows on you. Drink and enjoy." (7/2015) Connoisseurs Guide: "Nicel ...Read More »
90-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 offers up a beautifully fragrant nose of mocha, coffee beans, black cherries, black currants, spring flowers and forest floor. The complex aromatics are followed by a medium to full-bodied St.-Emilion with beautiful density and purity as well as a touch of toasty oak. Barde-Haut has been an over-achiever since the Garcin-Leveque family acquired it. Bravo! Drink the 2012 over the next 12-15 years." (4/2013) 90-93 points Wine Spectator: "This has a bold, spicy lead, with flashes of anise, cocoa and cinnamon giving way to lightly mulled cherry, raspberry and plum fruit. Delivers ...Read More »
92-94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Firm and concentrated, this wine has great structure and density along with acidity and berry flavor. There is an attractive final spicy element." (4/2012) 88-91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright ruby-red. Aromatic herbs, red fruits and a touch of game on the nose, nicely lifted by sweet spice and violet notes. Bright and fresh in the mouth, with the cassis and herb flavors nicely supported by lively acidity and smooth tannins. Finishes with a coffee note." (5/2012)90 points James Suckling: "The aromas in this 2011 are impressive, with flowers, plums and currants. Full body with velvety tannins and pretty, ripe, ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Wine Enthusiast: "This bombastically brawny Merlot is blended with Syrah and Malbec. The grapes have been sourced from some fine vineyards, including Hudson, Stagecoach and Antica, as well as the cooler Trefethen in Oak Knoll. Juicy blackberry veers into syrupy territory, a thickness that never lets up, accented in smoky oak and vanilla" (9/2015) K&L Notes: Thorn is a new bottling from winemaker Jen Beloz, who wanted to do something special and reverent with Napa Valley Merlot. The grapes are sourced from small, well-established plots of Merlot that managed to survive the extensive re... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Nicely taut, with a mix of damson plum, bitter cherry and red currant fruit racing along, carried by a bright iron note and picking up floral and bergamot notes on the sleek finish. Drink now through 2016." (2/2013)90 points Wine Spectator: "Nicely taut, with a mix of damson plum, bitter cherry and red currant fruit racing along, carried by a bright iron note and picking up floral and bergamot notes on the sleek finish. Drink now through 2016." (3/2013) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "An impressively opulent wine for its price point, the 2010 exhibits notes of vanillin intermixed with spice box, licorice, Provencal ...Read More »
More than a pretty villa, Ferrari-Carano farms 1,400 acres of their own vineyards across Sonoma County, from the bottomland near the Russian River to some of the highest peaks above Alexander Valley, with their own full-time crew and no-expense-spared. Good value in Sonoma County Merlot. "The cool climate, valley-floor vineyards produce supple, fruit-forward wine, while the mountaintop vineyard fruit lends intensity and structure. Upon entering the winery, the hand-harvested grapes are destemmed, cold soaked for five days and then fermented in tank befor... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
91 points James Suckling: "Blackberries, with dried meats and flowers on the nose. Full body, with silky tannins and a long caressing finish. Very fine. Try in 2015." (2/2012)91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A major sleeper of the vintage, this over-achieving St.-Emilion seems to come up big in many of the top vintages and needs more recognition from consumers. Loads of black currants, toasty oak and forest floor notes comprise this large-scaled, substantial wine. With its intense fruit, copius glycerin, and long, complete finish, this wine is successful now but should be better in 3-4 years and last for 15 or mor ...Read More »
95 points James Suckling: "This is really sexy and polished with ultra-fine tannins, dark fruit, dark mushrooms, berries and dried strawberries. Wonderful." (2/2015) 93-95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 exhibits a black/purple color along with a striking nose of incense, spring flowers, blueberries, blackberries and hints of mulberries and crushed chalk. The sumptuous aromatics are followed by a full-bodied, super-concentrated, rich, layered wine that builds incrementally across the palate, finishing with an explosion of fruit, spice, tannin, glycerin and minerality. While neither as backward nor impenetrable ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Wine Enthusiast: "Smoky tar and plum highlight this approachable wine that’s straightforward in focus and intent. Meant for enjoying now, it stays firm and flavorful in the glass, finishing without a fuss." (9/2015)
From the Winery; The 2012 Merlot is medium dark ruby in color with clean aromatics of ripe plums and cherries layered with light touches of spice and sweet French Oak notes. Truly a yummy Merlot across the mouth it is soft and silky, truly a seamless wine. Nice purity of flavors here with an exciting flavor profile, lively but with a nice finish. I love the mouth feel and ripeness we were able to get from our vineyard in 2012. This is an easy wine to love. 96% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvigon, 1% Petit Verdot
"Duckhorn's Three Palms bottling is one of the oldest and most consistent Merlot vineyard designations in California..." wine critic Steve Heimoff wrote in the Wine Enthusiast a few years back. The Three Palms Merlot is grown just off the Silverado Trail near Calistoga, in the warm northern Napa Valley.
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This wine has a beautiful, dense, opaque bluish/purple color, with loads of sweet fruit, no noticeable oak, earth, spice and a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel. The finish is long, opulent and beautifully textured. This is stunning Pomerol in this vintage. Drink it over the next 12-15 years. There is also room for further improvement. The final blend was 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc with the alcohol 14.1% from tiny yields of 22 hectoliters per hectare. (RP)" (4/2015)92 points James Suckling: "A silky and refined wine with superb balance and beauty for the vintage. Full-bodied, v ...Read More »
93-96 points Antonio Galloni: "Exuberant and explosive, the 2014 Canon La Gaffelière is quite forward in style, yet all the elements seem to come together. An open, exotic bouquet melds into sweet red cherries, plums, spices and dried rose petals. The high percentage of Cabernet Franc gives the wine considerable aromatic lift and tons of personality. Floral and savory Franc notes abound on the super, long finish. The 2014 is 55% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Franc and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. (AG)" (4/2015) 93-96 points Wine Spectator: "A strong ganache element flows along with the dark currant and blackberry flavors. A charco ...Read More »
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Pahlmeyer's 1997 Merlot may be the finest Merlot ever produced in California. A profound blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, it offers gorgeous smoky, black cherry liqueur aromas mixed with melted fudge. The wine is unctuously-textured, super-concentrated, low in acidity, rich, and multilayered. This is a spectacular, hedonistic effort to drink over the next 15-20 years." (12/2000)93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Saturated ruby-red. Explosive aromas of black raspberry, cassis, graphite, tar, minerals and toffee. Lush, superripe and very deep, with almost confectionary sweetne ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse