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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points James Suckling: "A ripe and decadent nose with licorice, sliced mushrooms and blackberries too. The palate is really savory with a tantalizing salty note that really lifts it up. Precise and linear. Beautiful austerity on the finish. Drink now." (7/2016) K&L Notes: 70% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot
93 points James Suckling: "A solid and chewy young red with dried blackberries, licorice and hints of toasted oak and walnuts. A full-bodied, energetic red from the Chianti Classico region of Panzano. Needs two to three years of bottle age." (8/2015) 93 points Vinous: "A dark, sumptuous beauty, the 2013 La Massa opens with superb depth and textural richness. Inky blue/purplish fruit, smoke, white pepper and violets are all super-expressive. Pliant, concentrated and deep, the 2013 is shaping up to be a real beauty. I especially like the delineation and focus here. This a gorgeous La Massa. (AG) ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "A super refined wine with sliced berry plus hints of cedar and vanilla. Full-bodied, bright and crisp; lovely finish." (10/2015) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Dark berry, underbrush and tobacco aromas lead the nose of this vibrant, structured wine while the palate doles out black cherry, fresh raspberry, licorice and clove. Fresh acidity and supple tannins balance the juicy flavors. (KO)" (9/2015) 92 points Wine Spectator: "*Top 100 of 2016, Smart Buy* This is rich and sumptuous, boasting pure flavors of cherry and raspberry, matched to a juicy texture. There are plenty of tannins neatly folded into the overall st ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*** Editors' Choice *** Delicately scented, this alluring sparkler opens with aromas of white flowers and freshly picked orchard fruit. The vibrant, linear palate delivers crisp apple, pear and a citrus note accompanied by racy acidity and an elegant perlage. (KO)" (12/2015) K&L Notes: San Venanzio has won many awards over the years. At K&L they get the coveted "Guido" award two thumbs up and three stars for value. On the nose, there are generous notes of apples, peaches, tropical fruits and pear blossom. It’s wonderfully balanced and elegant, with a pleasurable spic... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Complex aromas of sliced apples, lemon curd and hot stones. Medium to full body, beautiful fruit and a bright finish. I like the layered texture to this." (11/2016)
Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of dried tobacco leaf, toast, oak and underbrush lead the nose. The bright, approachable palate offers black cherry, espresso and star anise alongside fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity. (KO)" (11/2016) Wine Spectator: "Black cherry fruit is framed by toasty oak in this firm, dense red. Modern in style, with energy and balance, finishing with dusty tannins. Drink now through 2019. (BS)" (8/2016)
33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 17% Montepulciano, 17% Alicante.
93 points James Suckling: "Lots of blackcurrants, grapes and lemon zest character. Full body, firm and silky tannins and a long and flavorful finish. It's firm and very tight. Compact structure. Delicious blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah and sangiovese. Better in 2018." (8/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Pure and fresh, boasting black currant and black cherry flavors, with tar and earth details. Lean, almost racy, with vivid acidity driving the long, mineral-tinged finish. Sangiovese, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2017 through 2023. (BS)" (10/2015)
Wine Enthusiast: "Fragrant blue flower, tilled soil and wild berry aromas lead the nose. The light-bodied, accessible palate offers tart cherry and a hint of chopped herb. It's fresh and easy drinking, with loose-knit tannins. (KO)" (12/2016) K&L Notes: Affectionately named "Catzilla" by our staff because of the seemingly oversized orange cat adorning the label, the Baccinetti hails from south slope Montalcino vineyards adjacent to Lisini. The Baccinetti family has worked their family farm south of Montalcino since 1935, but 2004 was their first vintage of estate-grown wine. Planted ... Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "*#25 on Top 100 of 2016, Best Values* Enticing aromas of violet, black currant and rosemary are accented by licorice and tobacco flavors in this fluid and harmonious red, with fine tannins gracing the long finish. Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Drink now through 2022. (BS)" (11/2016)
91 points Vinous: "A wine of precision and nuance, the 2015 Terlaner Classico once again shows why this is one of Alto Adige's most compelling and delicious wines. The Pinot Blanc/Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc blend that has worked so well here for decades yields a white endowed with striking focus. White flowers, lemon peel, ripe orchard fruit, apricot pit, almond, mint and chamomile form a super-appealing fabric of aromas, flavors and textures. There is a lot to like here. The Terlano has a level of precision that none of these varieties show on their own. Then again, that ...Read More »
The estate was founded in 1897 when the 23-year-old Luigi Einaudi bought the San Giacomo farm in Dogliani with 16 hectares (40 acres) of vineyards. Over the years, Einaudi rose to prominence as an economist and politician, eventually becoming President of the first Republic of Italy in 1948. Despite this, Einaudi was known for never missing a harvest. Einaudi's core release is the Dogliani DOCG Dolcetto, aged in stainless steel tanks, which accounts for around half of the estate's annual 320,000 bottles. Einaudi also makes a more premium Dolcetto wine, ... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Aromas of plums and berry with hints of chalk and stone. Medium to full body, chewy tannins and a flavorful finish. Structured. Serious Chianti Classico. Drink or age." (8/2016) K&L Notes: The production potential of Lamole, now a hamlet of Greve in Chianti, was first discovered by the Romans, who established vineyards and olive groves on the high hills they’d recognized as ideal farming country. Indeed, the well-aspected site overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea is characterized by a natural amphitheatre that is protected by Monte San Michele to the north and exposed to l... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Some dried fruit with strawberry and lemon rind on the nose and palate. Medium to full body. Tangy tannins. Pèppoli is always excellent." (11/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "You'll find aromas of violet, iris, red berry and baking spice on this savory blend of 90% Sangiovese, Merlot and Syrah. The vibrant palate doles out wild cherry, crushed raspberry, cinnamon and a hint of tobacco alongside polished tannins and bright acidity. (KO)" (9/2015) Wine Spectator: "A firm yet juicy red, displaying black cherry and blackberry flavors. The tannins are assertive, so give this air or short-term cellaring. (B ...Read More »
This exceptionally small estate sits above Tenuta di Sesta (sopra means "above" in Italian) on Montalcino’s south slope, but with this small bit of elevation you reach an outcrop of galestro, a marine-based exfoliating shale that gives the most profound Sangiovese.
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 »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Ramitello has enjoyed its own cult following over the years. The 2012 Molise Rosso Ramitello (a blend of Montepulciano and Aglianico) is a delicious expression with a balanced approach that puts just as much emphasis on intensity as it does elegance. The bouquet reveals dark fruit tones with spice and lingering leather at the back. The mouthfeel is reinforced by firm tannic structure and bright acidity. Of all the wineries in Molise, none stands taller than Di Majo Norante in terms of international visibility. Celebrated enologist Riccardo Cotarella help ...Read More »
Monica Larner of eRobertParker.com writes: "The Sportoletti family founded their estate in the late 1970s and farm 26 hectares of vines in the Spello and Assisi area of Umbria. They work with consulting enologist Riccardo Cotarella."
Dario Ermacora was one of our first Italian Direct Imports. His wines have always been textbook, classic, and archetypal for Friulian whites: understated, balanced, with a long finish. His winery is in the Colli Orientali del Friuli, or the Eastern Hills of Friuli, a few scant kilometers from the Slovenian border. Most of Friuli is a flat, glaciated plain running from the Julian Alps down to the top of the Adriatic Sea, but on the eastern border the topography changes. In the Colli Orientali a series of horseshoe-shaped glacial moraines dot the landscape... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I'm not sure how you could possibly beat a deal this good. A 90/10 blend of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera di Lecce, the 2013 Salice Salentino Riserva 50 Vendemmia is given Riserva status because the wine is released two years after the harvest. The wine presents a bold and shapely body of fruit with ripe berry and black cherry on prime view. There are thicker accents of dried prune and plum at the back. The wine reveals a bold and determined style that is in line with the wine style of Puglia. 90+ (ML)" (8/2016) Wine Spectator: "Savory accents of forest floor and game meet ...Read More »
Montalcino's most famous single vineyard is the Montosoli hill, Altesino made this name famous when they designated their best Brunello with their northeastern-facing vineyard's name, Montosoli. Nello Baricci and his family have lived and farmed Sangiovese on their southeastern-facing slope of the Montosoli hill since the 1930s. Their wines are pure, supple, lithe and complex; they are full of tobacco, sweet earth, licorice, violets, rosemary and have long and persistent finishes, as evidenced in this fantastic Rosso, meant to drink now and over the next... Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top 50 Spirits of 2011* There’s no mistaking this classic apéritif, from the vibrant melted lipstick-red color to the distinctive signature bitter finish, clean, clear and strong. It’s high, bitter and faintly floral-fruity in scent. Americanos and Negronis wouldn’t be the same without this jewel-like spirit. (KN)" (12/2011) K&L Notes: The classic bar staple is a must have for any serious drinker. The producer explains the well-guarded secret to Campari's success: "A unique and unmistakable recipe has characterized Campari, the aperitif par excellence, for over 150... Read More »
Vinous: "Bright red. Red cherry aromas are complicated by leather and game. Then more game in the mouth and slightly drying tannins, but with enough rich red fruit to keep this dancing on the palate. Finishes medium-long, fruity and chewy. Needs food. (ID)" (10/2016) K&L Notes: Sella & Mosca is a beautiful and historic winegrowing estate in Sardinia. They place great emphasis on their traditional winemaking values enabled by modern cellars. In the most outstanding vintages, Sella & Mosca produces this Cannonau Riserva bottling from grapes picked in select vineyard parcels of ... Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "Rich, fruity and enticing, this sweet vermouth is warmed with notes of fig and dried cherries, and just faint hints of spiced gingerbread and bitter orange peel. Drinkable solo as an apéritif, or use it as a cocktail-mixing favorite. (KN)" (4/2014) K&L Notes: The world's most beloved sweet vermouth, now in a size that won't oxidize before you can finish the bottle! Hooray!
You pay attention to every detail when making your Manhattan, down to the ice, so why would you garnish your libation with one of those cellulose monstrosities marketed as a maraschino cherry? Instead, try the original Maraschino cherry from Luxardo, which uses real pitted Marasca cherries and Marasca syrup for these delicious little orbs. Extremely high quality--these cherries will enhance your cocktail significantly. These Maraschino cherries were given the Gold Award in June 2012 at the 51st World "Monde Selection," the oldest quality competition of i... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Although many amari boast a secret formula comprising a multitude of ingredients-Fernet-Branca ($30) contains a total of 27, giving it a licorice, menthol and raisin character - certain flavors are well-trodden. Among them are anise, angelica, marjoram, cinnamon, cinchona, gentian, rosemary, saffron, fennel and cardamom, as well as mint and orange. (JB)" (2/2016) K&L Notes: Fernet Branca is an Italian amaro developed in 1845. The family's secret recipe still has never been disclosed, but what they can tell you is that it is a combination of 27 different herbs picked ... Read More »
Rosso di Montalcino too often sits in the shadow of its much bigger brother, Brunello. But some estates put nearly the care and expense into their Rosso as their big guns, and La Fortuna is clearly an example of this sort of winemaking. Intense in terms of fruit, but showing off admirable acidity, this is spicy, full bodied, dry and rich with a softness hiding amid all that tannic structure. A wine to drink while your Brunello ages, yes, but a quality wine nonetheless. From vines 15-25 years of age, aged for one year in barrique, 6 months of this in Fren... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* Made with 80% Sangiovese, 10% Mammolo and 10% Canaiolo, this offers subdued aromas of red cherry, chopped mint and a hint white pepper. The breezy, easygoing palate shows crushed raspberry and orange zest underscored by lively acidity. (KO)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: There were many highlights during our recent spring travels in Italy, and our visit to Poggio Salvi remains among the fondest. The winery is nestled in a picturesque forested area on the south side of Montalcino where the combination of clay soils and Tyrrhenian Sea breezes create ideal terroir for ... Read More »
What makes this DOC of Matelica so special is its geographical position and geological character. This is an inland north-south valley, the only one in the Apennines that blocks the flow of warm coastal air, giving the region more of a continental climate. La Monacesca’s vineyards sit at about 1,800 feet above sea level in what was an ancient salt lake. The marine soil is full of fossils and rich in minerals that add to the wines’ vibrancy and aging ability. The nights are cool and the days are warm all summer long, allowing the grapes to remain on the v... Read More »
Produced in the historic Asti region outside of Torino, this Moscato-based vermouth is a true Vermouth di Torino - one of the only two protected geographical indications of origin for vermouth. The rich, vibrant flavor profile offers complex notes backed by a balanced bitter undertone. Enjoy neat or mixed in numerous classic cocktails. To celebrate its 120th anniversary, the House of Cocchi has resumed production of its original recipe for Vermouth di Torino, first offered in 1891.
91 points James Suckling: "A wine with plenty of dried cherry and citrus fruit aromas and flavors. Medium body, slightly chewy tannins and a fresh finish. How Chianti Classico should be. Drink or hold." (10/2015) 91 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chianti Classico is dark, sensual and beautifully layered in the glass. Freshly cut flowers, sweet red berries, mint and cinnamon are some of the many notes that flesh out in a textured, inviting Chianti Classico endowed with notable depth and personality. In 2013, Rocca di Montegrossi's Chianti Classico is especially dark and powerful. (AG)" (9/2015) 90 points Wine & Spirits: "The stony soils ...Read More »
90 points Vinous: "90+: Bright red. Aromas of red cherry, tar and violet on the enticing nose. Dense but fresh, delivering crunchy red cherry fruit flavors that linger long on the bright floral finish. (ID)" (8/2016) 90 points Wine Spectator: "A vibrant, finely knit red, with a minerally underpinning and rippling notes of crushed raspberry and black cherry fruit. This is medium-bodied, with sleek tannins and a lasting finish that echoes the aromatic herb and spice accents." (10/2016) K&L Notes: About the producer: "The tradition of Illuminati Wines has been going on for over one hundred and twenty years. Innovatio... Read More »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "No tasting note given." (12/2016) K&L Notes: 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.
Ravello, carved into the hillsides overlooking the Mediterranean on Italy's Amalfi Coast, is one of my favorite places on earth. Maybe it's because it is where my husband and I honeymooned, but honestly I was in love with Ravello before I ever set foot there, and that goes back to this wine. Made from 60% Falanghina and 40% Biancolella grown in the rocky, calcareous soils of both Ravello and Scala, this slightly floral, wonderfully mineral, fresh white wine tastes like the crystalline blue sea and sunshine captured in a bottle. It is particularly delicio... Read More »
80% Nebbiolo and 20% Vespolina and Uva Rara. Pebbly, sandy and kaolinic clay soils with shells. Grapes are hand harvested. Maturation takes place over six months in cement tanks and followed by six more months in bottle.
92 points Vinous: "Pale straw. Very pure and precise aromas of white stone fruit complicated by hints of ripe apricot and minerals and perked up by hints of white flowers. Clean fresh and juicy, with almost saline flavors of stone fruit and yellow apple. Long fresh and creamy on the extremely refined finish. Super Prosecco from Follador, whom I consider one of the true masters of the Glera grape variety and wine. 92+ (ID) Silvano Follador is in my opinion the single best producer of Prosecco today...made in a relatively drier style than most of his colleagues, are much s ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Ripe cherry and raspberry flavors exude from this rich red, accented by leafy tobacco notes. This is firm too, with a moderately long finish. Drink now through 2019. (BS, Web-2016)" K&L Notes: An absolutely delicious blend, 85% Sangiovese and 15% a blend of Merlot and Canaiolo. The Sangiovese and Merlot are from the estate’s young vines; the Canaiolo is from a 35-year-old vineyard. The grapes are fermented first in stainless steel, then transferred to second- and third-passage tonneaux where they are aged for six to nine months. The 2015 vintage is absolutely spectac... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "The nose on this sauvignon is reserved with white peaches, daisies, mint and some apple skin. The palate is balanced with compact yellow fruit flavors but lots of depth and a persistent textured finish." (11/2016) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Winkl is one of my absolute favorite Italian white wines and the current vintage is even better than most. The 2015 Alto Adige Sauvignon Winkl is a soft and creamy expression with loads of aromatic definition and depth. The bouquet peels back to reveal thick layers of stone fruit, acacia honey, toasted almond, wild sage and crushed mineral. Think ...Read More »
Dario Ermacora was one of our first Italian Direct Imports. His wines have always been textbook, classic, and archetypal for Friulian whites: understated, balanced, with a long finish. His winery is in the Colli Orientali del Friuli or the Eastern Hills of Friuli, a few scant kilometers from the Slovenian border. Most of Friuli is a flat, glaciated plain running from the Julian Alps down to the top of the Adriatic Sea, but on the eastern border the topography changes. In the Colli Orientali a series of horseshoe-shaped glacial moraines dot the landscape ... 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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "Fresh and fruity, this straightforward red offers aromas of ripe dark-skinned berry, licorice and leather. The soft, juicy palate doles out dried blackberry and spiced blueberry alongside round, smooth tannins. (KO)" (3/2016)
90 points James Suckling: "A creamy and delicious Prosecco with sliced-pear and lemon character. Medium body, a creamy texture and fine bubbles. Drink now." (11/2016) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This luminous sparkler opens with aromas of jasmine, orange blossom and white peach. The crisp, refreshing palate doles out green apple, Bartlett pear and white almond alongside vibrant acidity and a silky mousse. (KO)" (12/2015) Wine Spectator: "A balanced sparkler, fresh and stony, with a subtle mix of crunchy white peach, Thai basil, sliced almond and lemon pith, set on the refined mousse. (AN)" (4/2016) K&L Notes: From medium-elevation hillside v... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* Fresh and savory, this offers aromas and flavors of fresh apple, green Anjou pear and almond. Bright acidity gives it a crisp, clean finish while a hint of saline signals the close. (KO)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: This very special white is made exclusively with Verdicchio grapes cultivated from the east slopes of the Alta Valle Esina, on the foot of the Mount San Vicino. As is typical for Matelica, this is elegant, fresh and very mineral, and just the thing for your most elaborate fish dishes.
95 points James Suckling: "Traditional style Chianti Classico with cedar, dried meat, dark chocolate and tobacco aromas. Full body, silky and polished tannins and a fantastic finish. A wine that shows depth and lots of flavor. Lively acidity too." (8/2015) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 vintage was less problematic in the Castelnuovo Berardenga sub zone compared to other parts of the Chianti Classico appellation. Fèlsina's 2012 Chianti Classico Riserva Berardenga is full, generous and reflects the house style of this celebrated estate. Fruit is sourced from 35-year-old vines and the harvest takes place a ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Among the canon of Italian spirits, Aperol and the Aperol Spritz cocktail are classics, available at a growing range of America's best bars. The lurid red hue is recognizable from across the room. It's light on every count—in terms of alcohol content, sweetness level and texture. The gentle sweet-bitter profile goes down easy—especially when lightened with bubbles. (KO)" (4/2014) K&L Notes: Aperol's unique flavor and color is achieved through a subtle blend of bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb and an array of herbs and roots--using a secret recipe that has been unchang... Read More »
Impressive for its purity and refreshing mineral qualities, Valle dell'Acate takes the Insolia varietal to a whole new level of quality. As a second label, the Case Ibidini range (pronounced 'bidini) consists of varietally labeled wines from the estate intended for more casual consumption. The local name of the area where the estate is situated, Bidini, is drawn from the ancient root Bidis. This in turn referred to the name of a group of early Hellenic settlers who populated the area nearly 20 centuries ago. These wines provide a purity and authenticity ... Read More »
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* This relatively gentle amaro supposedly tastes like artichokes. Instead, the palate finds mellow dark chocolate, walnut and allspice, finishing bittersweet. (KN)" (4/2016) K&L Notes: An artichoke based bitter enhanced by the infusion of 13 different herbs and plants. Totally natural with rich aromatics, it is a modern and versatile digestivo. A great way to end your day.