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K&L Staff Recommendations
2014 Pétrus, Pomerol (Pre-Arrival) $1,729.99
2010 Franc Mayne, St-Emilion $29.99
2012 Barde-Haut, St-Emilion $28.99
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 »
94 points Antonio Galloni: "Castello di Bossi's 2009 Merlot Girolamo is undeniably sexy. Plump, juicy and wonderfully expressive, the 2009 captures the very best qualities of the year. Dark cherries, plums, menthol and licorice all jump from the glass in this generous, inviting Tuscan Merlot. There is a lot to love about the 2009, starting with its impeccable balance. The purity of the fruit alone is striking. I am not sure how the 2009 is going to age, but it is drop-dead gorgeous today." (8/2013)94 points James Suckling: "Wow. This wine shows an impressive depth of blackberries and blueberries with hints of ...Read More »
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 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 »
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.
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.
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."
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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."
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 »
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 »
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)
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 »
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)"
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)
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 »
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.
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 »
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)
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 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: "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 »
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 »
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 »
95 points Antonio Galloni: "Another gorgeous wine, the 2011 La Ricolma wraps around the palate with fabulous depth and richness. Dark red and black-toned fruit, cloves, menthol, spices and licorice meld together in a supple, radiant wine endowed with notable depth and nuance. Lavender, jasmine and a host of floral notes add gorgeous perfume on the finish. Of all the San Giusto wines, Ricolma seems to get the least attention, but it can be superb, as it is again in 2011." (9/2014)94 points Wine Spectator: "A cool reserve lends a fresh feel to the pure cherry and blackberry flavors in this dense red. Taut, focu ...Read More »
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.
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
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 »
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 »
"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.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "An herbal, 100% Merlot from a nine-acre ranch in Jamieson Canyon, just south of the town of Napa, this wine is steeped in sage, cinnamon and dense, smoky leather. Soft tannins lend succulence and warmth, while the finish is marked by notes of tobacco and toasted oak." (3/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Merlot Suscol Ranch is named for the indigenous American Indians that once lived in Napa Valley. The wine shows chocolate and tangy acidity with a dense ruby/purple color, good mocha and black cherries in a medium-bodied format. It is not the most complex Merlot, but it is s ...Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "A red with plum and berry character, plus lots of hazelnut. Chalky. Full body with chewy tannins and a fresh finish. This is always excellent. Drink in 2015." (2/2014) Wine Spectator: "Bouncy blueberry and cherry fruit flavors are backed by toasted spice. Open knit and fresh." (4/2012) K&L Notes: One of our favorites from the value regions on the right bank. Cotes de Blaye region now referred to as Cotes de Bordeaux. This wine is 90% Merlot and has a lot of blackberry fruit flavors. Decant one hour and serve with a pot roast.
93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Deep red-ruby. Deep, superripe, fully expressed aromas of black raspberry, chocolate, smoke and leather, plus a ripe vegetal nuance that contributes complexity. Velvety, lush and full in the mouth, but rather closed following the bottling; the wine sweetness is currently restrained. Conveys a sense of brooding power. The silky, fine tannins hit the palate very late. A superb vintage for this wine." (6/1998)93 points Wine Spectator: "Beautiful aromas of crushed berries, chocolate and spices follow through to a full-bodied palate, with fine tannins and a spicy, refined aftertaste. (W ...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
Wine Spectator: "Sleek and supple, with notes of succulent cherry, cedar and fresh herb. Drink now through 2017." (10/2014)
Wine Enthusiast: "The wine is sweet, very rich and smooth. Firm tannins are cushioned by the ripe berry and red plum fruits to give a spicy wine with touches of wood, finishing with pepper from the alcohol. Drink from 2017." (10/2014) K&L Notes: A lovely wine from the Cotes de Blaye. Plenty of sweet blackberry fruit. Elegant and delicious now. Will cellar well for five plus years. Along the same lines as the 2009, but with more strength on the palate. Superb value.