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K&L Staff Recommendations
Francois and Jean-Marie Cherrier with father Pierre produce steely and citrus-driven Sancerre from fine parcels of Sauvignon Blanc planted in Sancerre's silex (flint) and chalky soils. Yields are kept low and harvest is done strictly by hand before fermenting in 100% stainless steel. Vibrantly aromatic and mineral-driven, this is quintessential Sancerre.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc comes from three vineyards, predominantly whole-bunch pressed in order to settle as clean as possible, fermentation in 300-liter used barrels where the lees can be worked and limit sulfur for six months. It has a fine, tense and slightly chalky bouquet with touches of Mirabelle coming through. The palate is crisp on the entry with a fine line of acidity. Good tension here, very nicely focused and refined with hints of almond and walnut toward the finish. Very fine." (10/2014) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Peach and straw flavors mingle with brioche and blanched ...Read More »
According to the importer: "This new Loire Valley project is a partnership with Rodolphe and Ludivine Marteau, who took over their family’s estate in 2010 (they are the 4th generation) The 29 hectare property is located on South bank of the river Cher, on siliceous-argilo (clay and flint) soils. Of the 29 hectares of estate vineyards owned by the Marteau family, 20 are planted to Sauvignon Blanc. These vines average 30 years in age and are meticulously tended by the family. Short-cane pruning, selective ploughing, spring debudding, deleafing, grass cover... Read More »
We love these wines for their freshness, charm and affordability, and this is easily our best value Sancerre in the store. From soils of clay and chalk in the village of Bue near the Domaine. The Millet keeps you coming back for more. It is vinified entirely in stainless steel to preserve the wonderful citrus and slightly grassy aromatics and gentle mineral finish.
Inventory: San Francisco
94 points Raymond Chan: "Bright, very pale straw colour with light golden-green hues, pale on rim. The nose is very elegantly presented, tightly bound with pure, mouthwatering aromas of passionfruit entwined with lime fruit, fresh herbs, subtle notes of white florals and stonefruits and thirst-quenching minerals. The aromatics show finesse, intensity and cut. Medium-full bodied, the palate is tightly constructed but has lusciously rich, bright and juicy, lively fruit flavours of passionfruit, gooseberries, herbs and minerals, lifted by fragrant white stonefruits and florals. The ...Read More »
One of K&L's very finest buys from France. This is a reserve cuvée, made from Millet's chalkiest limestone soils. There is a long maceration at very low temperatures to extract as much flavor and character as possible. The resulting wine is intensely charged with stone fruit and minerality, with bright citrus notes. However, due to the amazingly warm vintage, it's quite soft, with layers of rich fruit.
Wine Enthusiast: "Still young, this wine is showing intense herbaceous characteristics that need to soften. Plenty of fruit between the texture needs to fill out. Hints of apples, pears and quince are all there. Drink from 2016. (RV)" (9/2015) K&L Notes: 85% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% Semillon
Invigorating and fresh, with lemony citrus aromas and flavors accented by delicate white flowers. The palate is full and fresh, with balanced acidity and minerality on the finish. This a style of wine that keeps your palate fresh and alive. Although easy to drink, it has complexity and intrigue up and down the aromatic and palate. You'll want another after the first one has disappeared. (Eric Story, K&L Loire buyer)
Cognizant is a collaborative project between K&L and some of New Zealand's finest winemakers. The word "Cognizant" means to have an intimate grasp of knowledge through personal experience. This series of wines will pay homage to talented winemakers and their ability to capture the unique "sense of place" or "terroir" within their wines. The 2015 Cognizant is made specifically for us by TWR (Te Whare Ra). The wine is a blend of three different blocks with a considerable (20%) barrel fermented component. It captures the quintessential flavors of Marlboroug... Read More »
88-90 points Vinous: "The 2014 Reynon Blanc, 100% Sauvignon Blanc, shows lovely varietal character with more of an emphasis on texture rather than grassy/green flavors. Citrus and floral notes come forward in an attractive, aromatic white to drink young. There is a lot to like in this expressive Sauvignon Blanc from proprietors Denis et Florence Dubourdieu. Best of all, the Blanc should be a fabulous value. (AG)" (4/2015)
Picked as a "Best Buy" by Wine Spectator in the 2014 vintage, Honig's Sauvignon Blanc regularly gets a good word from Wine Advocate, as well. Through a variety of trellising options, yeast selection, and mostly stainless steel aging (just 8% in neutral oak tanks, Honig dials in a balance between zingy grapefruit acidity and tropical fruit. The blend is 95% Sauvignon Blanc and 4% Semillon, sauced up with just 1% Muscat.
Cloudy Bay put New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc on the map, but Kim Crawford fits the everyday pocketbook. Great choice for that spring asparagus or summer salads. The winery's tasting note: "Aroma: Citrus and tropical fruits backed by characteristic herbaceous notes for which Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is renowned. Palate: An exuberant wine brimming with juicy acidity and fruit sweetness, providing a balanced flavour profile. The finish is fresh, zesty, and lingering. Cellar: All these factors have resulted in the plethora of fruit flavours, crisp acidity... Read More »
We like Groth's Cabernet Sauvignon, and offer several library vintages of perfectly aged Cab that comes direct from the winery's cellar, as well as the current vintage. But for an aperitif before the main course and the Cabernet, try this vibrant Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc from the same producer. Blending is the key: fruit from both warm and cool areas of the Napa Valley provide a balance of acidity and ripe melon fruit, and some sur lie aging adds complexity.
Made from Sauvignon grapes from both Touraine and Anjou. The wine sees no oak and has a dry, lively nose of white flowers and blackcurrant. The palate is dry, with flavors of passion fruit, lychee and hints of talc along with zippy acidity. Great with fish or cheeses, this lively white wine will perk up any meal.
Salvatore Emmolo immigrated from Italy to Rutherford in 1923 and planted vines. Emmolo was a leading supplier to Napa vintners until Cheryl, the third generation, launched Emmolo Wines in 1994. Today, it's in the fourth generation's hands, with fruit still grown on their grandparents' property. The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc shows fresh citrus notes and lively minerality, making it infinitely sipple.
95 points Bob Campbell: "Ripe and concentrated Sauvignon Blanc, with appealing purity and a thread of welcome chalky mineral character adding extra complexity to gooseberry, capsicum and lime zest flavours. Attractive wine that gives a nod in the direction of Sancerre." (10/2015) 93 points Sam Kim: "This is elegant and restrained, yet not short on fruit concentration and attractive flavours. The bouquet shows elegant aromas of white nectarine, lemon peel, dill and flint, leading to a beautifully weighted and richly fruited palate that is bright and vibrant. The wine shows fine texture and rounded mou ...Read More »
95 points James Halliday: "Hand-picked and sorted, free-run juice cool-fermented in tank. There is a subliminal savoury edge to the bouquet and palate, possibly from more than one yeast at work, and also to crisp, crunchy acidity. You pick up the extra level of flavour from ripe (not overripe) fruit on the back-palate and finish. Has the X-factor many Sauvignon Blancs lack." (9/2015) K&L Notes: Having S.C. Pannell as a K&L exclusive import is like having the national monopoly on Opus One. Steve Pannell is one of the most highly regarded and awarded winemakers in Australian history. Pannell ha... Read More »
Vincent Gaudry is a traditionalist in Sancerre who has gained respect among his peers for dedication to authentic espression of Sancerre terroir. His was the first domaine in Sancerre to be certified biodynamic, and the naturally low yielding vines endow the wines with richness and volume. Mélodie de Vieilles Vignes is sourced from vines up to 90 years old, and the concentration and complexity show driving minerality and savory flavors adorned with notes of grapefruit zest and cut grass.
92 points Bob Campbell: "Made from seven separate hand-picks over an eight-day period. Juicy, fruity sauvignon blanc with ripe nectarine, mango, tropical fruits and a hint of lime zest. A silken-textured wine, with concentration and a perfect balance of sweetness with fruity acidity." 91-92 points Raymond Chan: "Fruit from seven different hand-picks from the Te Awanga vineyard, WBP and indigenous yeast cool-fermented in stainless-steel. The wine aged 6 months on lees. Bright, very pale straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the rim. This has a finely concentrated and tightly packed no ...Read More »
Young winemaker Francis Hutt is crushing it right now, making some of the region's most exciting and sophisticated wines. Classic NZ Savvy but with lots of lees derived texture and drive from the Central Otago's schist soils. (Ryan Woodhouse, K&L NZ wine buyer) Winemaker's Notes: "A very aromatic Sauvignon Blanc. The wine has strong fragrances of lychee, gooseberry and passion-fruit. Initially textural on entry, in the mouth the wine leads into a broad wide acidity with flavours of gooseberry flowing through onto the finish."
Jancis Robinson: "A little bit grassy but mostly riper flavours of stone fruit. Impressive intensity on the mid palate, not just on the attack. Fine, dry length. 17/20 points. (JH)" (5/2016) K&L Notes: Greywacke is the awesome new project from Kevin Judd. Kevin was one of the founders and winemakers behind the legendary Cloudy Bay. There isn't much this guy doesn't know about making Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Vinous: "The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Santa Ynez Valley is laced with lemon peel, white flowers, sage and chamomile, all in a crisp, medium-bodied Sauvignon that offers lovely aromatic presence from a bit of the Musque clone, pliant fruit and terrific overall balance. The 2014 was made from an assortment of vineyards and aged in steel, with a touch of oak (5%) for added texture. This is a superb value from Brander. Brander is one of the historic wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley. The estate vineyard is located in Los Olivos, which is generally better suited to Rhône ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
95 points James Halliday: "*Special Value Selection* Free-run juice from Great Southern/Margaret River grapes has been partially barrel-fermented, the slightly smoky bouquet leading into an intensely focused palate, with the length and clarity more frequently encountered with high quality Riesling, a comparison heightened by attractive citrus notes that accompany stone fruit and gooseberry flavours."
2014 Dry white Bordeaux wines are fantastic and with the strong dollar this wine is a no-brainer. We tasted it on our last night in Bordeaux in April 2015. From Bill Blatch's old company Vintex, this wine has good richness and flavor with that great 2014 acidity.
95 points Bob Campbell: "Is this New Zealand's priciest Sauvignon? Old vine fruit was whole-bunch pressed and fermented with wild yeasts, 30% in old French oak barriques for five months. The result is an intense and complex wine with a great, mouth-filling texture. Assertive yeast and oak characters. Great food wine. It's a bold statement that moves well away from the typical Marlborough style." (11/2010) 92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright yellow. Passion fruit and gingery oak spices on the nose, complicated by a sweaty saline character (from the wild yeasts?). Rich, ripe, tactile and sweet, with an almost g ...Read More »
92 points Bob Campbell: "Tangy Sauvignon Blanc with a mix of ripe passion fruit and guava with less ripe grapefruit and green capsicum characters. There is also a suggestion of nutty lees characters. Quite a richly textured wine thanks in part to a barrel fermented component." (11/2014) 92 points Raymond Chan: "Fruit from 8 different sites in the Wairau Valley, including North Bank, Southern Valleys, Lower Wairau, Conder’s Bend as well as a southerly site near the Awatere, given limited skin contact and fermented in stainless-steel with 7% in barrel to 13.0% alc. and 3.5 g/L RS, the wine aged 3 months on ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "This shows the sunny opulence of the vintage, brimming with tropical- and stone-fruit notes. Guava and nectarine flavors meet ample weight on the palate, balanced by a slightly chalky finish. (JC)" (7/2016) Wine Spectator: "Pear, peach and apricot flavors are spicy and smooth, with a juicy finish and plenty of intensity, finishing with Meyer lemon zest. (MW)" (6/2016)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
90 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Crisp lime, grapefruit, passion fruit and lemongrass flavors show accents of fresh ginger. Smooth and succulent, especially on the finish. (MW)" (2/2016) Jancis Robinson: "Fruit is 60% Awatere Valley, 30% Wairau Valley and 10% Kekerengu Coast, which is further S of Blenheim than Awatere - cool but benefiting from warm sea air so that it has an early budburst but is late to ripen; some limestone. RS 1.4 g/l. Both grassy and stony on the nose, raising expectations of a tight, dry wine but on the palate it is richer with green-fruited ripeness. Plenty of fruit fla ...Read More »
93 points Bob Campbell: "Weighty, textural Sauvignon Blanc with impressive concentration and mouth-feel. Melon, perhaps nectarine and mineral characters with a seasoning of nutty yeast lees. I like the wine's balance of acidity and fruit/alcohol sweetness. It promises to become even more interesting with bottle age. Good food wine." 92-93 points Raymond Chan: "Bright, very pale straw-colour, near colourless on rim. The nose is expressive of finesse, with elegantly and tightly bound, delicate aromas of green stonefruits interwoven with soft herbs, wet-stone minerals, unveiling sweet gooseberry fruit and rainw ...Read More »
A special price on "The Brothers Reserve" bottling from Giesen. Sourced from the estate's top parcels across both the Wairau and Awatere valleys. Absolutely quintessential "Marlborough Sauv Blanc"...packed full of juicy, gooseberry, citrus, tomato leaf, and stony minerals. Tons of flavor, great mouthwatering acidity, and a clean mineral finish. This bottle really shows the high quality of the 2013 vintage. (Ryan Woodhouse, K&L NZ Wine Buyer)
90 points Bob Campbell: "Pure, zesty Sauvignon Blanc with guava, lime zest and subtle herbal flavours. Nice purity and an ethereal texture. Refreshing wine with good varietal characters" (11/2015) K&L Notes: One of the best value Marlborough Sauv Blancs out there. Real family winery, real vineyards, dedicated winemaking team. Just exceptional value for money delivering quintessential NZ Savvy flavors. (Ryan Woodhoue - K&L NZ Wine Buyer) Winemaker's Notes: "This wine is zesty and vibrant, with a base of rich tropical fruit, kaffir lime, lemon grass and herb aromas. On the palate - generous fr... Read More »
Howell Mountain was Napa’s first sub-AVA, and for good reason. The terroir is dramatic, unique and powerful. At between 1,600 and 1,800 feet in elevation, Ladera Vineyards sits above the Napa Valley fog, its grapes cooled instead by the high elevation. Longer, cooler but still very sunny ripening days and a deft hand in the cellar create the dynamic power found in their wine.
93 points James Suckling: "Once again a portion of barrel matured wine and a little semillon added to the mix, this has a sophisticated nose with dried flowers, meadow hay and citrus fruits, gently complex and enticing. The palate delivers a powerful, driving citrus-focused impression, dry and long, handy structure too. Drink now and up to 2020." (1/2016) 92 points Bob Campbell: "Organic/biodynamic Sauvignon Blanc, with 15% fermented in aged French barriques to build texture and complexity. The wine does show some nutty yeast lees characters, although it is still fruit dominant with peach, melon, spice, ani ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The largest Sauvignon Blanc cuvée is the 20,880 cases of the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma. Coming from all the estate vineyards, this wine is partially fermented in neutral oak and has a touch of Semillon and a clone of Sauvignon Blanc (Musqué) added for more flowery and exotic notes. The wine offers up light to medium body and pretty caramelized grapefruit and floral notes along with melons in the mouth. It is dry, crisp, zesty and ideal for drinking over the next several years. (RP)" (10/2015) Vinous: "The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc (Sonoma County) is laced with lively ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Some say Sauvignon Blanc is best for its tropical fruit; for others, a lean palate of minerality's the thing. But don't call the whole thing off, because Twomey's cuvée from their estate vineyards in both Sonoma and Napa counties is made with the aim of bringing both ripe, tropical notes and a citrusy, a mineral-driven, lean style to the table in one bottle. Add a bucket of ice and chilled prawns, and settle into a harmonious evening.
92 points Vinous: "(fermented in mostly old French oak barriques with wild yeasts; roughly two-thirds of this wine went through malolactic fermentation): Fresh scents of lemon verbena tea, menthol and smoke. Boasts terrific clarity, energy and cut to its flavors of tangy citrus fruits, white stone fruits and minerals, along with a complicating tropical fruit element. Sappy, dense Sauvignon Blanc with terrific underlying structure. This wine was bottled in November of 2015 following nearly a year in barrel and several months in tank. The Wild Sauvignon is routinely slightly ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Zesty and floral with bright fruit and cucumber accents. Lots of persistent, bracing acidity. Crushed quartz, chalk, and saline throughout. Drink 2015-2020. *Good Value* (ECB)" (2/2016) Vinous: "Green-tinged yellow. Tightly wound citrus fruit and floral aromas unfold slowly picking up a hint of candied ginger. Taut and linear on the palate, offering bitter lemon and lime zest and pear skin flavors, plus a touch of anise. Closes on a tangy note, with good lift and citrus bite. Most of the Ancient Peaks wines are priced for a large target audience at what are very lo ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
The Ink Grade Vineyard is organically farmed and is the source for the fruit that goes into the 2015 Heitz Sauvignon Blanc. The winemaker notes highlight pronounced aromatics of tropical and citrus fruits followed by a crisp finish on the palate.
92 points Bob Campbell: "Dry, flavoursome and moderately gutsy Sauvignon Blanc, with green capsicum, lemongrass, gooseberry, nut and nettle flavours. The wine also shows a thread of chalky mineral character. Good food wine offering value at this price." (10/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Organic Sauvignon Blanc offers intense notes of gooseberries, freshly squeezed lemons, coriander seeds and grass. Light-bodied with tons of citrus zing in the mouth, it has a lively acid backbone and nice, long, refreshing finish. (LPB)" (2/2015) Wine Spectator: "Floral, with honeysuckle and lemon verbena notes at the core, and jui ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "The wine balances acidity and full fruitiness. These show in the lively, fresh character as well as the rich apple and pear flavors. The end shows more youthful texture, offering the chance to hold this wine until 2015." (10/2014)
Sauvignon Blanc lovers take notice. While the small appellation of Quincy was the second appellation to be recognized by France, it's often overshadowed by its neighbor to the northeast, Sancerre. (Though up until the last half century or so, it was known for offering wines of better quality.) The sandy, silex topsoils over pink limestone are fabulous for Sauvignon Blanc, which was introduced to Quincy by Cistercian monks back in the 12th century. Pierre Ragon has been in charge of his family's 200-plus-year-old domaine since 1973, and his vines average ... Read More »
From the producer: "We started Banshee Wines in 2009 - three of us - friends from the wine business and circumstance, in San Francisco. We were all working day jobs in the trade: importing, marketing and making wine. Without much of a plan, we decided to buy eight barrels of coveted Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from a top producer. The wine was amazing, and the price was insanely low due to dropout of the $60+ per bottle market. We figured we would either sell the wine case-by-case to friends and family or at worst would be drinking great Sonoma Coast Pinot ... Read More »
Founded by Parisian transplant Alain Cailbourdin in 1981, the domaine consists of 11 hectares planted primarily in Sauvignon Blanc, with a minority percentage planted in Chasselas. Alain is part of a new breed of winemakers dedicated to producing a high quality wine and not just a high volume wine. His methods are traditional, yet his yields are low and the wines are concentrated and pure expressions of Sauvignon Blanc. He believes in using a minimum of sulfur dioxide during and after vinification. The Les Cris is a beautiful Pouilly-Fumé, offering th... Read More »
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "John Williams and his team farm their certified-organic vineyards without irrigation, and maintained that regimen in 2015 despite a protracted drought. The result is a refreshing and clean wine with tight flavors of grapefruit and lime-like acidity. The citrus-blossom scents last along with the tart fruit. Chill it for Hog Island oysters." (6/2016)
This Sancerre has a pale yellow color with hints of flashing green. Aromatically, it possesses a nice fruity component of crispy white peaches, melon, yellow plums and the typical presence of place notes of flinty minerals. On the palate, it has a richness and persistence which is nicely balanced with fruit texture, mineral and acidity. The excellent length gets even better as the bottle breathes. If you can get your hands on a round of Crottin de Chavignol, call it a day. Or, try this with pan roasted shellfish with just a touch of butter and a squeeze ... Read More »
93 points Bob Campbell: "Creamy textured Sauvignon Blanc with grapefruit, gooseberry, mineral and a seasoning of hazelnut lees flavours. Quite a grassy style but with concentration and some complexity." (10/2014) 93 points James Suckling: "Grown on heavier clay soils, this has a distinctive chalky edge, it sees no oak and was stirred considerably in 2013 during its 6 months in stainless steel. Smells of citrus, gently tropical notes, a touch of bread and honey - the guava and melon-flavored palate has smooth and rich texture that chisels in neatly through the finish. Nicely crafted response to terroir here. ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
From the winery: "This elegant wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon harvested from our estates and other select premium Napa Valley vineyards. A portion of the Sauvignon Blanc was barrel-fermented in French oak. This technique and the addition of the Sémillon add depth and complexity to the aroma and palate, enhancing the ripe citrus and tropical flavors of the Sauvignon Blanc."
De Martino has arguably undergone one of the more radical transformations the wine world has seen in the past five years. The second largest owner of organic vineyards in Chile, with 740 acres in production, De Martino is stepping up to the plate in other ways as well: the winery is 100% carbon neutral and beginning in 2011 they have stopped purchasing new oak barrels. That year they purchased 140 tinajas, the traditional Chilean clay vessels that resemble amphoras, in varying shapes and sizes. They also invested in 5000l Austrian (Stockinger) foudres an... Read More »