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K&L Staff Recommendations
2014 Conundrum White Blend $22.99
2014 Villa Sparina Gavi $13.99
2014 Edi Keber Collio Bianco $25.99
90 points Wine & Spirits: "This estate-grown blend of loureiro and alvarinho has clean flavor and depth in 2015, its ripeness captured in tart green pear and sweeter lime flavors. There’s a salty snap to the fresh finish, delicious with pan-roasted sea bass or most anything else from the sea. A steal at the price." K&L Notes: A perennial staff and customer favorite, this Vinho Verde continues to deliver the goods, the fizzy, citrus-drenched, delicious goods. If you're looking for a poolside, picnic, or patio sipper, this wine never disappoints.
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Aa is Sigalas' typical blend, 75/25 Assyrtiko and Athiri. An under-the-radar buy, this is very fine again this year, chock full of flavor and possessed of a long finish. What makes it more special, though, is the way it evolves in the glass with air and warmth, gradually showing more and more tension on the finish as well as an increasingly transparent demeanor. This is a beauty and a bargain, the equal of the 2014--and perhaps its better. (MS)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: A combination of Assyrtiko, with its inherent layers of structure and power, combined with the... Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "Always a solid white. Full-bodied, fruity and crisp. Delicious finish. A go-to white from Alsace. A blend of different grape types. Drink now." (9/2015) Vinous: "Pale straw-green. Pure aromas of stone fruits, menthol and fresh herbs. Lively and juicy in the mouth, with clean, precise flavors of orchard fruits and wet stone. Bright and long on the savory finish. I found this vintage of Gentil (a complex blend of Sylvaner, Riesling and Pinot Gris, plus a little Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Muscat d’Ottonel and Muscat d’Alsace) to be Riesling-dominated, wit ...Read More »
Jesús Puelles is one of the most talented vignerons in Rioja. Hailing from a long line of vineyard worker/owners, Puelles knows the terruño in his little slice of land in the Rioja Alta town of Abalos. Most of the grapes for his red wines come from his own 20 hectares, which are north-facing and located at 600 meters in altitude, affording the visitor with one of the most dramatically beautiful views of Rioja's main mountain ranges: the Sierra Cantabria mountains immediately to the north and the Sierra de la Demanda mountains to the south. This white win... Read More »
The appellation of Picpoul de Pinet covers about 3000 acres just off the coast of the Mediterranean. It is famous for two things, oysters and this wine of origin Picpoul. Picpoul itself is the grape and means "lip stinger," which has become a running joke in our Hollywood store. Whenever we taste a new Picpoul we ask each other if it "pics your poul?" We want to know if it has the vibrancy and minerality that are the hallmarks of the region. That brings us to the Montmassot, which is produced at the local cooperative in the village of Florensac. It is so... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Assyrtiko, Sigalas' monovarietal Santorini, comes in at 14% alcohol. If this isn't the unoaked wine of the vintage so far, it is pretty close and certainly on my short list. As always, Sigalas is not necessary the big blockbuster, but the winery provides superb concentration in its own right. Yet, the result always seems very graceful. When you realize how many layers there are, it seems hard to believe because it shows so well on first taste. It doesn't seem overly big. It doesn't seem to be hiding anything. Yet, it is. The wine always shows be ...Read More »
Wine & Spirits: "Buoyant with lemongrass scents and floral lime flavor, this is summery and refreshing." (6/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "Produced at the largest family-owned vineyard in France, this is a fruity, immediately attractive wine. There are both citrus and more tropical fruit flavors in the wine, alongside a herbal, grassy touch from the Sauvignon Blanc and Colombard in the blend. The wine is ready to drink. (RV)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: A blend of 45% Ugni Blanc, 35% Colombard, 10% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Gros Manseng, this white wine is juicy yet crisp. Crack open a bottle at the shore, a picnic, on th... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another rock solid vintage for this cuvee, the 2014 Cotes du Rhone Blanc (65% Viognier) offers terrific clarity and purity in its tangerine, citrus and orange blossom, in a clean, crisp, elegant package. It’s a great value to enjoy over the coming 2-3 years. (JD)" (12/2015) 90 points Vinous: "Light, bright yellow. Dried pear, Meyer lemon, white flowers and beeswax on the seductively perfumed nose. Dry and precise, showing impressive mineral lift to the orchard and citrus fruit and honeysuckle flavors. A deeper peach note emerges as the wine opens up and carries through a ver ...Read More »
Produced from Loureiro and Pederña grapes grown in the granitic soils of the Vinho Verde region, the Santola (or as we here are calling it, "the crab wine") is a delicious, spritely and refreshing white. It doesn't get much more traditional, thirst-quenching or seasonally perfect then this wine. Delicious, low in alcohol, slightly fizzy and way too easy to drink!
Wine Enthusiast: "Muted scents of orchard fruit and a touch of almond lead the nose. The vibrant palate offers pear, citrus zest and mineral accompanied by bracing acidity." (4/2016)
The village of Apremont once sat in the shadow of a great mountain. In 1248 that mountain collapsed destroying everything in its path. Apremont means "bitter mountain" taking its name from the tragic event that occurred. Now, the mountain itself was made of limestone which is some of the best geological material for growing grapes. The site is littered with limestone scree (broken rock fragments). The grape of choice for the region is Jacquere and some of the best comes from this village. Like most wines from Savoie, the Perret has the hallmark aro... Read More »
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 »
Amats is both the brand name of the Txakoli as well as one of Zudugarai's vineyards. It's a beautiful vineyard, a sandy substrate covered in naturally growing green cover between the rows, with the Cantabrian Sea in full view to the north. Produced from Hondarribi Zuri grapes, this is classic Txakoli: zippy, crisp, tart green apple flavors are enlivened by a lovely sparkle from the CO2 retained in tank during fermentation. Try this refreshing, vibrant, low in alcohol white wine with a wide range of foods, from obvious choices such as seafood (grilled sar... Read More »
Although I’ve always liked Soave, I never really "got" what was going on until I visited for four days in September 2014. I toured the Soave Classico region, which is a different DOC from "regular" Soave, and was just blown away by the stunning vineyards and the incredible soils of the extinct volcano that encompasses it. One of the most unique producers we visited there is Le Battistelle, a very small winery that’s been growing grapes for generations but has only begun to bottle its own wine in the last decade. (Greg St. Clair, K&L Italian wine buyer) V... Read More »
Winemaker notes: "The pre-eminent growing area for the arneis grape is the Roero, the area of magnificent hills on the left bank of the Tanaro river. Here, the calcareo-siliceous soils encourage the development of perfumed, elegant wines. After a gentle pressing, the must is given a cultured-yeast fermentation for some 10 days at 16-18°C. A final crucial step is a brief maturation in the bottle to further improve the structure of the wine and the complexity of its bouquet. Colour: Deep straw yellow with greenish highlights. Bouquet: Generous, crisp, and... Read More »
92 points Vinous: "Limpid gold. High-pitched citrus and orchard fruit scents are complemented by honeysuckle and smoky minerals. Juicy, penetrating and pure, offering vibrant pear skin and white peach flavors and a touch of fennel. Becomes spicier and fleshier with air, finishing with excellent clarity and length, leaving mineral and subtle leesy notes behind. (JR)" (1/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Pazo de Senorans is considered one of the handful of top estates in Rias-Baixas and has consistently produced some of the best Albarinos that money can buy. Their old-vine cuvées are especially good. Thi ...Read More »
Gallura is a peninsula on the northeast corner of the island of Sardinia that specializes in Vermentino (the grape is also grown on the coast of mainland Italy, on Corsica and in the south of France under the name Rolle). Mancini's version of the grape is very fresh and forward, with no oak or malolactic fermentation aromas, just grape juice fermented at low temperature in stainless steel. Enjoy this delicious, lively and aromatic white as an aperitif or with seafood (prawns with pasta?). A hint of citrus peel on the finish adds food-friendly complexity.
Impressive for its purity and refreshing mineral qualities, Valle dell'Acate takes the Inzolia 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 »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The entry-level 2015 Bolo wants to showcase Godello at its purest, and therefore is fermented in stainless steel and bottled early without bâttonage to preserve the primary character of the grape. 2015 saw an early harvest because of a warm and dry summer, with some rains in the middle of the harvest, which allowed the remaining vines to reach a better phenolic ripeness. The grapes come from the O Bolo zone, both purchased and from their own vineyards. The wine is quite expressive after bottling, a touch reductive, but with powerful aromas of bay leaf an ...Read More »
Decanter: "Listed by Stephen Spurrier as a "New Zealand Star" - Spurrier writes: A blend of 75% Gewurztraminer, 20% Riesling and 5% Pinot Gris - reminded me of the finest Turkish Delight, just dry and full of charm." K&L Notes: Te Whare Ra is a small, organic, family-run winery in Marlborough's Wairau Valley that we loved so much that we decided to import them directly! That means more bang for your buck. Winemaker's Notes: TORU - which means three in Maori is an aromatic blend from our TWR home block which we first made over 10 years ago. This wine is a true field blend of Gew... Read More »
This three-liter box is 100% Friulano (though, it cannot be labeled as such because the DOC's laws do not recognize box wine, as of yet). I think there is no tastier, more versatile white wine in our store right now that beats this Bianco for value and pure drinkability. It combines the body, weight and richness of what California Chardonnay feels like with the minerality and freshness of how Pinot Grigio tastes, which just makes it the perfect cocktail white. It is ideal for keeping in the fridge (I've tasted them after they've been open for 6 months an... Read More »
Costières de Nîmes is at the southernmost part of the Rhône Valley, on the opposite bank of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. One of our best new finds is Château de l'Ermitage which produces three terrific values with imminent drinkability. The estate's history traces back to the 12th century when the winery produced wine for the pilgrims of St-Jacques de Compostelle who were traveling the Santiago de Compostela. The property is now owned by the Castillon family, and today Michel and his son Jerome manage the vineyards and winemaking. The "Victor" is named for the f... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Upfront, juicy, balanced and deliciously quaffable, the 2015 St Chinian Tradition Blanc (60% Grenache Blanc, 20% Vermentino, 15% Roussanne and the rest Bourboulenc) offers crisp peach, citrus blossom and a kiss of honey on the nose. It has both acidity and texture, and will be versatile on the dinner table. (JD)" (4/2016) K&L Notes: Indicative blend: 60% Grenache Blanc, 20% Vermentino, 15% Roussanne and 5% Bourboulenc.
Nestled on the bank of the Miño River, Adegas Valtea has a special mesoclimate that beautifully ripens its grapes. The best bunches of Albariño are handpicked and gently pressed at the peak of their maturity. Tasting notes from the winery: "Straw-yellow color with green and golden glints, clean and bright. Intense fruity nose of apricot, pineapple, and apple with hints of white flowers. Full and fleshy palate with a balanced acidity that gives it freshness. Persistent with an elegance and lingering finish."
92 points Wine & Spirits: "Full reviews to follow on their Aug 2016 issue:" (8/2016) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "With a little time in the glass, this eventually reveals subtle aromas of toasted almond, pressed yellow flower, beeswax and a whiff of honey. The honeyed note follows over to the enveloping palate, along with candied citrus peel, marzipan and mineral. Fresh acidity brightens the rich flavors and provides balance. It's already enjoyable but hold for more complexity. Drink through 2023." (7/2016) K&L Notes: Praise from Antonio Galloni's Vinous: "La Monacesca, one of the best producers of Verdicchio wines, takes i... Read More »
Ricardo Sanz is one of the leading figures in the Rueda D.O. His 2013 Palacio de Menade is clean, citrusy, and quite refreshing. It is a leaner style, without any of the tropical fruit sometimes present in wines from Rueda. Enjoy this as a delicious change of pace from Sancerre or Sauvignon Blanc. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish Wine Buyer)
95 points Decanter: "Magnificent fruity and floral bouquet, redolent of peach, elderfolwer, lilies and citrus. On the mouth, it has a lovely creamy texture supported by a sharp, refreshing acidity and gorgeous ripe tropical fruits. Exquisite, a tremendous example of how Torrontés can really hit the heights." 90 points Vinous: "Very pale, bright color. Aromas of peach, mirabelle, flowers and wild herbs. Juicy, savory, minty wine with lovely saline lift and intensity to its citrus and orchard fruit flavors. Brisk acidity draws out the tactile, bright finish. (ST)" (3/2016) 90 points Wine & Spirits: "This comes from the height ...Read More »
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.
We started importing the wines of this small family-owned winery in Colli Orientali de Friuli (not far from the Slovenian border) with the 2001 vintage. Back then they were far better known in Italy, where they have continuously garnered accolades from Gambero Rosso, but these days they have quite a following here at K&L, too. Vintage after vintage the wines from the brothers Ermacora (Dario and Luciano) sell out very quickly. And they still adhere to the motto: Do little, in order to do better.
Although I’ve always liked Soave, I never really “got” what was going on until I visited for four days in September 2014. I toured the Soave Classico region, which is a different DOC from “regular” Soave, and was just blown away by the stunning vineyards and the incredible soils of the extinct volcano that encompasses it. One of the most unique producers we visited there is Le Battistelle, a very small winery that’s been growing grapes for generations but has only begun to bottle its own wine in the last decade. (Greg St. Clair, K&L Italian wine buyer)
Ameztoi produces some of the tastiest, most representative and classic txakoli: the delicious, bright, slightly petillant (fizzy), low alcohol wines that are consumed like water in Spanish Euskadi (Basque Country). Vineyards are a stone's throw from the ocean, full of verdant, green cover throughout the year. Predominantly Hondarribi Zuri, with 10% Hondarribi Beltza from 20- to 25-year-old vines, fermented in stainless. Briny and bright, the Ameztoi refreshes with juicy lime fruit and Txakolina's characteristic spritz. Delightful.
91 points Vinous: "Light chartreuse color. Sharply focused, assertively perfumed nose displays an array of citrus and orchard fruit scents complicated by sexy floral and mineral nuances. Sappy, penetrating and pure, offering crackling lemon-lime flavors and suggestions of fresh fig and honeysuckle. The mineral quality comes back strong on the long, nervy finish, along with a subtle touch of spicy ginger. (JR)" (1/2016) 90 points James Suckling: "Plenty of pear and sliced apple character. Full body, fresh acidity and a fresh and clean finish." (7/2015) K&L Notes: Do Ferreiro is a benchmark Albariño. Every year, it ... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I love the traditional 2014 Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc and this blend of equal parts Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc and Clairette offers classic notes of citrus blossom, dried herbs, spice and hints of white flowers on the nose. Medium-bodied, pure, elegant, and lively with racy acidity on the finish, it’s beautifully done and will drink nicely for 4-5 years. (JD)" (10/2015)
93 points James Suckling: "This is an Etna white that delivers lots of mineral, salt and dried apple character that reminds me of a grand cru Chablis. Full and flavorful with so much going on. Fantastic white." (10/2015) Vinous: "Bright yellow. Shows a slightly herbal quality to the opulent citrus and tropical fruit aromas and flavors. Finishes bright and long, with more minerality than past vintages. The precise, Riesling-like Carricante seems to stick out more than usual this vintage--a good thing, as past releases were typically richer but softer. (ID)" (12/2013)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Montenovo is the entry level white, produced with Godello grapes from back slate soils and bottled early trying to preserve the fruit character of the grape. They consider 2015 a Mediterranean vintage, with a dry summer in July, August and September. The grapes are pressed in absence of oxygen and the must fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats, where the wine was kept for three months before bottling. The nose is a bit muted and takes some time to unfurl the white acacia flower and apple aromas. The palate is quite vibrant, cl ...Read More »
This family estate in the Savoie region of France is run by Jean-Francois Quénard, who took over for his father in 1987 after having studied winemaking in Burgundy, Gigondas, Bordeaux, and California. The specialty of the house is Chignin, made from the native Jacquerre grape grown on 50-year-old vines at the foot of the Alps. The village of Chignin has some of the best soil in the region. It is made up of limestone scree (fractured rocks on the slopes).
Winner of the Bronze Medal in the 2013 International Wine Challenge. From the winery: "Garnatxa Blanca Old Vines is for those who seek a bit of extra body and richness in white wines. Vineyards located in the Albera Nature Reserve Area. This wine is aromatic, showing notes of apricot, vanilla, aniseed and fennel. The mouthfeel is round, rich and mouth-coating. For those who know that youth isn't everything..."
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another stunning white from this team is the 2013 Chaleur Estate Blanc. A blend of 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Semillon that barrel fermented, it sports a light gold color to go with a sweet bouquet of buttered citrus, crushed rock, white flowers and toasted almond. One of the few serious white Bordeaux blends being made in the US, this medium to full-bodied beauty has a core of sweet fruit, integrated acidity, sensational purity and dry, clean finish. While I suspect it will age just fine, I see no reason to delay gratification and would drink bottles o ...Read More »
48% Gewurztraminer (Oak Ridge Vineyard) 12% Pinot Gris and 8% Riesling (Underwood Mountain Vineyard) blend from Eisold Smith Wines, the incredible new Oregon project of wine industry veterans Lauren Eisold and Adam Smith.
91 points James Suckling: "Clean and clear with green apple, citrus and cream aromas that follow through to a medium body, crisp acidity and a creamy texture. 90% virua and 10% malvasia. Barrel fermented in new fresh oak and a couple months of aging." (7/2015) 91 points Vinous: "Green-tinged gold. Displays heady aromas of ripe citrus and orchard fruits, along with suggestions of honey, dried fig and toasty lees. Sappy, energetic and sharply focused, offering concentrated tangerine and pear skin flavors that are braced by juicy acidity and a strong jolt of smoky minerality. Combines power and finesse g ...Read More »
90 points Vinous: "The just-bottled 2014 Les Charmes-Godard is vibrant and beautifully layered in the glass. Pear, brioche, peach and smoke meld together in a highly expressive, textured Sauvignon/Sémillon blend that captures the combination of richness and lively acidity that make this vintage so attractive for whites. Winemaker David Suire favors larger 500-liter barrels, which help to keep the flavors bright as there is less exchange with oxygen than there is with standard size barriques. Once again, Les Charmes-Godard is one of the vintage's under the radar jewels. The ...Read More »
Sitting in the northeastern corner of Italy on the border of Slovenia, Collio has an ancient winegrowing history and remains an important DOC zone for quality white wines. Here the Palla family, led by patriarch Giancarlo, produces distinctive wines from these Friulian lands. Densely planted vines produce a terroir-driven Pinot Grigio, which features a flinty profile with notes of pear and fine minerals.
Wine Spectator: "Lightly honeyed and floral, this sleek and silky white shows a refined palate of star fruit, cantaloupe, stone, sliced almond and ground ginger notes, with a lasting, minerally finish. Friulano, Ribolla Gialla and Malvasia Istriana. (Web-2015) (AN)"
Produced by a 25-grower cooperative located in the Condado do Tea sub-zone of Rias Baixas, this is crisp, citrus and yellow fruited Albariño from a challenging, but ultimately rewarding, cooler and damper vintage. The results are a very fresh white that has just enough juicy fruit to balance the clean salinity and crisp acids. This is a perfect aperitif and of course, is a seafood-ready white! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese Wine Buyer)
Ciro Picariello is a producer of outstanding white wines from Campania. While his emphasis is on Fiano, "a few years ago he started making Greco from a rented vineyard, a vineyard that he is now intending to buy," writes importer Oliver McCrum. "The soil is a sandy clay of volcanic origin called tuff, or 'tufo' in Italian (but the name of the appellation refers not to the soil, but to the village of Tufo, which is not far from Avellino). Picariello's Greco is made similarly to his Fiano...Ciro tells me that Greco can age like Fiano; given that he started... Read More »
In the glass, this delightful wine exudes a brilliant golden shimmer with copious bubbles. On the nose, you'll find grapefruit and ripe, golden grape notes, with hints of sage. It's intense and creamy, with a playful sweetness that makes it the perfect pair for fruit or french toast. Try it at brunch and start your day off right!
In 1973, Daniel Dugois bought 2 hectares of vineyard and a house equipped with wine cellars in a village called Les Arsures, where he was born. He cultivated the vineyard and sold his production primarily to Henri Maire, one of the most prominent producers in Jura at that time. In 1982, Daniel made his first harvest in his own cellars and began to sell his wines to consumers. His first ever harvest earned him his first Gold Medal for his Chardonnay at the Jura Wine Contest. Daniel and his wife Monique have continued to work on the quality of their wines... Read More »
Erste e Neue is a highly revered co-op located high up in the Mediterranean Alps in the Alto Adige region of Northeast Italy, where it is famous for producing racy, refreshing, and mineral-driven white wines from the varietals that thrive there. A cross of Riesling and Madeleine Royale, Muller-Thurgau is one of the more widely planted cross-bred varieties in Germany, possessing Riesling's hardiness and intense fruit but with the genes for earlier ripening. This is a fragrant, fruity wine, with soft floral and citrus aromas and flavors, accented by hints ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco