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K&L Staff Recommendations
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Côtes du Roussillon Vieilles Vignes is a terrific, medium-bodied, bright and juicy effort that's loaded with notions of citrus blossom, lime and hints of green herbs. Made from 80% Grenache Blanc and 20% Roussanne that was brought up almost exclusively in tank (10% in new oak), buy this beauty by the case... Jean-Marc Lafage's Maury-based estate, Saint Roch pulls from vines planted on the black schist soils around Maury, but ALSO from the more cooler, more granite-dominated terroirs around the villages of Lesquerde and Saint Paul de Fenouillet. ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Aromas of pears, green apples and dried mangoes with hints of minerals and stones as well as salty undertones. Full body, plenty of fruit and great acid tension. Long and flavorful. Unique white that has a history for aging well. Drink or hold." (5/2015)91 points Antonio Galloni: "Medium-deep gold-tinged yellow. Enticing aromas of apricot, savory herbs and minerals. Rich, ripe stone fruit and balsamic herb flavors are nicely buoyed by lively acidity. The long finish features resonating mineral lift. This outstanding, archetypal Verdicchio wine speaks clearly of the cooler Matelica t ...Read More »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Aveleda's estate-grown blend of loureiro (80%) and alvarinho is bright and juicy in 2014. Base notes of stone fruit flavor underlay this wine's floral scents of green fig and mouthwatering flavors of white grapefruit. Its coastal freshness will match shrimp with asparagus."90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Produced from the vines that surround the family house at Quinta da Aveleda, this is an exemplary Vinho Verde. Dry and crisp, with richness as well as freshness, it is a bright, tight and lightly mineral wine to drink now." K&L Notes: A perennial staff and customer favorite, this Vinho Verde continu... Read More »
Cotes de Gascogne is primarily known for the production of Armagnac; it wasn’t until the last 20 years or so that producers began to take table wine production seriously. Traditionally, these wines would have been distilled into Armagnac. Producers found that by fermenting at lower temperatures in stainless steel, they could develop and preserve more powerful aromatics. Though yields are high, costs have stayed low and the wines are consequently some of the best bargain whites in France. Domaine de Millet is first and foremost an Armagnac producer. They ... Read More »
Founded in 1927 in the village of Jongieux, the Perret family has worked with many of the same seasoned growers for four generations. The wine is 100% Jacquere, a rather productive grape, that benefits from being planted on the depleted soils of the region which limit its growth. The wine is the pure essence of the region, with its crystaline focus and vibrant nose of yellow apples, lemongrass and crushed limestone.
Based in the Rioja Alta village of Badarán, Martínez Alesanco is a truly original bodega producing tasty, characterful wine for laughably low prices. They are entirely self reliant in grapes, all of which are grown in their home village of Badarán, one of the coldest zones of Rioja Alta. The vineyards are closer to the Sierra de la Demanda mountains, a range whose elevation and snow-covered peaks are even more dramatic than the Sierra Cantabria range to the north. Martínez Alesanco's Blanco is made entirely from Viura in iron-rich clay soils. In fact, th... Read More »
93 points Raymond Chan: "A field blend of Gewurztraminer, Riesling and Pinot Gris from the ‘TWR Home Block’, hand-picked and hand-sorted, various parcels destemmed, given skin contact and WBP, co-fermented in tank and seasoned large format oak to 13.8% alc. and 7.0 g/L RS, the wine aged on lees. 970 cases made. Bright, pale straw-yellow colour with slight green hues. The bouquet is soft in expression with excellent vinous presence and a finely concentrated core that unfolds etheral rose-petal florals with exotic jasmine and lime aromas, expressed with a steely freshness. Off-dry ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* From one of the largest private vineyards in France (2,300 acres), this wine epitomizes the light and fresh style that comes from Gascony in the hidden southwest of France. It is fruity, citrus-crisp with a touch of honey from the Gros Manseng in the blend." (8/2015)
94 points James Suckling: "This is a phenomenal white with sliced pear, apple and cream. Wonderful richness. It's full bodied, very layered and stylish. A petrol, candle-wax and dried-apricot character. Savory finish. Drink now." (12/2014)3 points Gambero Rosso: "With its extraordinary interpretation of the Matelica DOC, Aldo Cifola's winery is the perfect exponent of the concept of terroir. He reads the potential of Verdicchio, which finds a powerful, flavorsome expression here without losing its acidic, tangy edge endowed by the area and its cool microclimate. Another magnificent verison of the Mirum, th ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I found Le Cirque’s 2014 Côtes Catalanes Grenache Gris to be outstanding, with lots of citrus, dried pineapple and rocky nuances, medium-bodied richness, and a fresh, crisp, juicy feel on the palate. (JD)" (4/2015) K&L Notes: Le Cirque is crafted by the modern and very progressive Les Vignerons de Tautavel in the village of Tautavel. Aptly named after the vast, ampitheater-shaped bowl of vineyards stretching north towards Vingrau, the wines represent phenomenal values and perfectly reflect the rugged, wind-swept terroir on which they are grown. The Grenache Gris is ... 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" and it has been 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 i... Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "A white with almost a Semillon character, dried lemon and apples, lime aromas and flavors too, plus saltiness. Full body, bright acidity and a tangy finish." (8/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Relatively restrained, with aromas of orange peel and tangerine, the palate is fresh, with good acidity and a citric finish that is ideal to go with some empanadas. Enjoy! (LG)" (4/2014)
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!
90 points Wine Spectator: "This offers a delicious, unctuous mix of apricot, anise, peach and melon flavors, backed by light almond and brioche notes. A good juicy edge keeps this energetic. Drink now. 100 cases imported. (JM)" (7/2015) K&L Notes: From the winery: "This white wine is made in the same spirit as Baron Louis and with a lot of delicacy. All the grapes (Marsanne, Viognier, Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul) are picked by hand in 20 kg cases and pressed directly. I let the juice settle naturally for ten to twenty hours before racking it into oak barrels where the wine ferments n... Read More »
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
From biodynamically farmed Torrontes, this wine is produced from some of the highest elevation vines in production anywhere in the world, at more than 7,000 feet above sea level! Very floral aromas with juicy yellow plums and white peaches leads to a lovely, slightly spicy and floral, yet refreshing palate. Another great effort from one of our favorite Argentine wineries.
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of Spanish broom, ripe apricot and yellow peach lead the nose and carry over to the round palate. Fresh acidity accompanies the juicy fruit flavors while an almond note closes the finish." (10/2015) K&L Notes: 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... Read More »
Lora is a blend of certified organic Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc grapes from one of the cooler parts of La Mancha (high up on the plateau not too far from the UNESCO heritage city of Cuenca). Bright citrus fruits combine with stone fruits and hints of melon, with crisp mineral tones and loads of personality. The winemaker and person who carefully sources this great organic fruit is none other than our friend Miguel Merino Navajas, son of Miguel Merino of Rioja fame! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
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 Pinot Grigio tastes like that just makes it into the perfect cocktail white. It is ideal for keeping in the fridge (I've tasted them after they've been open for 6 month... Read More »
Produced from younger estate grapes from Carballal's 15 hectares of vineyards, as well as purchased fruit, this Albariño is always hand harvested from carefully grown grapes, organic whenever possible, with treatments used only when absolutely necessary. Very refreshing, with nice bracing acidity, there are hints of exotic fruits as well as stone fruits. A wine to sip with warm weather fare as well as the absolute perfect match with fish and shellfish, the mainstay of coastal Galician cuisine. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish Wine Buyer)
Ameztoi produces some of the tastiest, most representative and classic txakoli: the delicious, bright, slightly petillant (fizzy), low alcohol wines which 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.
This exquisite vineyard was planted in the 1870s (that's not a typo). These old gnarly vines with their highly restricted yields produce some of the richest most concentrated Clairette in the entire Rhone Valley. Planted on a mix of sand, clay and pudding stones, this wine is the essence of sleek minerality. A touch of barrel fermentation adds volume and structure. The flavors resonate with ripe stone fruit flavors and white flowers, a touch of anise rounds out the finish. This reminds us of Chateau de Beaucastel's Chateauneuf Vieilles Vignes Blanc... 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.
Notes from Gilbert & Gaillard: "Brilliant light gold. Distinctive nose with predominant floral aromas, broom and also a touch of hazelnut. Abundant fat and richness yet also freshness on the palate, combining to produce a dense, aromatic and quite persistent wine. Serve with snails." (2014)
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Aa is the typical blend from Sigalas (75/25, Assyrtiko and Athiri), unoaked and coming in at 13.0% alcohol (so I'm told, although the label says 13.5%). Often undervalued, this blend does tend to be a bit lighter and more accessible, but it also has a ton of personality and better aging ability than you might think (if you care, note that there is a synthetic cork here). Simply put, this bottling is on a roll and it is a terrific value. If you haven't tasted some of Sigalas' Big Boy Assyrtikos, you might think this was one. There is plenty of po ...Read More »
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 »
Maybe they should rename this wine 'Simply Yum,' since it's hardly a conundrum anymore. Once again a blend of popular and esoteric white grapes (including in no special order: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Viognier and Muscat), this a quintessential sipper offering copious amounts of ripe, silky fruit, tropical in nature, along with vanilla notes, honeysuckle and melon.
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light yellow. Intense, mineral-accented aromas of dried citrus fruits, pear and white flowers, with a hint of tarragon in the background. Fleshy and dry on the palate, offering sappy lime and bitter pear skin flavors that firm up and become more stony with air. Bright, minerally and focused on the penetrating finish, with the floral and pear notes repeating emphatically. I wouldn't have guesses that this elegant wine came from a rough vintage." (9/2014) K&L Notes: Do Ferreiro is a benchmark Albariño. Every year, it delivers the goods, showing a degree of aromatic com... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Costa d'Amalfi Furore Bianco is a blend of 60% Falanghina and 40% Biancolella. Vines are planted in near vertical fashion on a sea facing cliff and range in altitude from 100 meters above sea level to an impressive 750 meters. That's a steep drop. The wine shows beautiful marine and saline tones of sea salt and oyster shell. It also offers white flowers, peach and honeydew melon. Its appearance is luminous and bright. The finish is long and silky." (4/2015) Jancis Robinson: "Candied lemon, garden herbs and lime, inviting and pretty and fresh. The palate is quite fu ...Read More »
From limestone soils of the Languedoc, Picpoul (which translates as "lip-stinger") delivers a reliably invigorating and affordable white. Picpoul de Pinet is the grape's spiritual home and varietally named AOC, where the Mediterranean breezes moderate the daytime temperature and slow the ripening. From the producer: "Crystal clear color with green highlights. A soft, delicate nose, with pleasant hints of acacia and hawthorn blossom. Delicate and fresh in the palate with and excellent acidity and structure balance."
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 aperitive and of course, is a seafood-ready white! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese Wine Buyer)
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Creamy and delicious, this beautiful white offers aromas and flavors of juicy pear, ripe green apple, white almond, sea salt, wild herb and ginger. Fresh acidity brightens the creamy flavors." (10/2015)
Antonio Galloni: "Pale yellow. Fresh orchard and pit fruit aromas are sharpened by lemon pith and white pepper. Fleshy and dry on the palate, offering bitter pear skin and honeysuckle flavors joined by a deeper touch of nectarine on the back half. Finishes with good cling and bite, repeating the lemon and pear notes. (JR)" (2/2015) Jancis Robinson: "Floral and citrus aroma. Very pretty on the nose but there's a hint of something more steely that I did not expect from Clairette. More full-bodied and minerally than I expected on the palate but shot through with excellent freshness, then filled ...Read More »
88-90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cotes Catalanes Blanc is a possibly outstanding 100% Grenache Gris that will see upwards of 10 months in 33% new barrels. Medium-bodied, juicy and lively, it’s made in a crisp, delicious style and has plenty of tropical fruits, pineapple and honeyed minerality on the nose. It should be versatile on the dinner table and drink nicely for 2-3 years, if not longer." (4/2014)
Not many people have heard of the Italian wine Pigato, but you'll certainly be happy you did once you try it! The 2012 was even a pleasant surprise for K&L Italian wine buyer Greg St. Clair: "Ligurian whites don't normally make me jump up and down but this Pigato has been the best of its kind for me. Yes it has the classic length, and fresh acidity one expects in an un-oaked Ligurian white but it is the palate weight and balance that set it apart, so supple and enticing still with the bright acidity and saltiness one gets in coastal Italian whites. The f... Read More »
From the importer: "Fabio [Marchioni] makes less than four thousand cases of Verdicchio, which he used to bottle, cork and label by hand in his tiny cantina (now he's sprung for a bottling machine). The romance isn't the point, though; the point is that this wine is racy, vivid, and excellent with all kinds of seafood dishes. It is fermented and matured entirely in stainless steel (no oak) and does not undergo malolactic fermentation. Use it like you might use a Sauvignon Blanc, because Verdicchio has some of the same herbal aroma and flavor as Sauvignon... Read More »
91 points Wine & Spirits: "Peach blossom scents nod toward the Malagousia in this blend, while Assyrtiko provides the drive, a bracing mineral tension that propels the lime-scented fruit forward. It feels firm but filigreed, delicate enough to treat a fillet of sole with respect." (8/2015) K&L Notes: If it weren't for the conservation efforts of Vangelis Gerovassiliou, along with a handful of concerned Greek vitculturalists, the endangered ancient Greek Malagousia vine would surely have gone extinct and we'd never get to enjoy its lovely mango-scented aromas, silky mouthfeel, and delicate eleg... Read More »
This is a delicious Albariño, always one of our top two or three for someone looking for a classic expression of this white wine. A wonderfully mineral nose leads to bright, succulent, yellow stone fruit flavors with more than a wisp of salinity adding freshness and making it pretty difficult to not gulp this one down quickly. Palacio de Fefiñanes is the oldest known brand of Albariño and the first to have bottled their wine. Based in the "birthplace of Albariño," the seaside town of Cambados, the winery purchases fruit from 60 growers, many of whom own... Read More »
Decanter: "Waterkloof follows biodynamic practices. A proportion of the grapes in this tangy yet creamy blend were co-fermented, and the final result is complex and great value, displaying notes of peach, lime and minerals" Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Circle of Life White, a blend of 56% Sauvignon Blanc, 28% Chenin Blanc, 13% Chardonnay and 3% Semillon, half of which was fermented in 600-liter barrels and left on the lees for seven months, has a lilting praline-tinged bouquet that is pure and very attractive. The palate is fresh and vibrant with crisp acidity, touches of orange peel an ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV Fino Inocente must be one of the few wines in Jerez that is still fermented in 600-liter American oak botas, which is an incredible amount of work compared with fermenting tens of thousands of kilos of grapes (or even more) in a big stainless steel tank. This method was the norm of yesteryear, but is so labor intense that it was discontinued in most wineries, and gives a big diversity of wines, as each barrel has its own character, which contributes to the complexity of the blend. Furthermore, the bottled wine is on average 8 to 10 years old. One ...Read More »
Indicative blend: Falanghina 60% and Biancolella 40%
Frascati doesn't have the best reputation--it's often the innocuous white wine served as "house wine" across Rome--but this one from Casale Marchese transcends any preconceived notions. Made from Malvasia del Lazio, Trebbiano Toscano, Malvasia di Candia, Bonvino and Bellone grown on family farms in the Tusculo hills and brought to us by one of our favorite Italian importers, Oliver McCrum (it's how you KNOW it's going to be good), this is fresh and delightful. Notes of basil complement peach and nectarine with a slight almond underpinning. It's fresh, ea... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco