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K&L Staff Recommendations
Costieres de Nimes is at the southernmost part of the Rhone Valley sitting on the opposite bank of Chateauneuf du Pape. One of our best new finds is Chateau 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 pilgirms of Saint Jacques de Compostelle who were traveling the Santiago de Compostela. The property is now owned by Castillon family and today Michel and his son Jerome manage the vineyards and winemaking. The "Victor" is named ... Read More »
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. Grapes in this wine typically include Trajadura, Alvarinho, and Arinto.
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)89 points 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)
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 »
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!
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
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)
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 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A great vintage for whites, the 2013 Cotes du Rhone Blanc (mostly Viognier) has outstanding notes of white peach and tangerine to go with an elegant, seamless style on the palate. (JD)" (12/2014) Antonio Galloni: "Ripe peach and melon aromas are complemented by honey and ginger, with a hint of white pepper adding urgency. Sappy and broad on the palate, showing good lift to its juicy orchard and pit fruit flavors. Ample but not at all heavy, finishing with good sappy persistence and lingering spiciness. (JR)" (2/2015) Jancis Robinson: "Round and fresh. Really big mouthful. Big and ready. Honey ...Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "Pale, watery color with a slightly green tinge. Cherry blossom with stony green apple peel on nose. Crisp, dry but elegant tropical-fruit character, saltiness and tannins offer focused structure. Fresh, elegant finish. An amazing Friulano." (9/2014)
From the importer: "These humble liter bottles represent half of Crnko’s total production and until the 2009 vintage had only been sold locally in the nearby village of Jarenina from where the wine takes its name. All fruit is estate grown and comes from the family’s 6 hectares of mixed white varietals planted to the regions unique marl soils and sustainably farmed. High toned Laski Riesling and Ravenec, aromatic Muscats, and a silty minerality characteristic of the estate define this vintage. Thirst quenching and light on its feet with healthy acidity a... Read More »
From the importer: "A certified organically farmed vineyard on the island of Santorini, Sigalas is producing some of the most sought after white wines in Greece. These intensely aromatic whites, based on the indigenous Asirtiko grape, are grown in the volcanic soils of Santorini, consisting of cinders, rust, lava and pumice stone. These wines have excellent structure, good acidity and a long, full flavored finish. With a unique growing method, whereby the vines are trained into a cylindrical shape, the fruit ripens gently within the basket to protect it ... Read More »
Crisp, appley, and very refreshing, Raza Vinho Verde combines Arinto with Azal, Trajadura and Loureiro to create a lightly fizzy, delicious white that is surprisingly persistent and serious for this inexpensive a white. Quinta de Raza is located in the southeastern portion of the Vinho Verde D.O., an area that has soils rich in quartz and schist, that put their imprint on the wine; this has a little more weight and flavor intensity than other $10 Vinho Verde as a result. It's the perfect post work, pre-dinner wine, though it's also great at table, where... Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "I love the dry, steely character of this white, with peach and nectarine flavors. Green apples. Stones. Full body, dense fruit and a long, flavorful finish. Real Gavi." (3/2015)
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Costa d'Amalfi Furore Bianco Fiorduva is a blend of 40% Ripoli, 30% Fenile and 30% Ginestra that sees six months in wood. This is a dense and full-bodied white wine that would pair with creamy shrimp risotto or spicy crab cakes. The wine shows power and determination (at 13.5% alcohol) with fragrant and thick layers of exotic fruit, pineapple, creamy butter and sweet almond paste. The overall effect is round and opulent. The 2012 vintage was a hot one and this wine feels bolder and bigger as a result. Marisa Cuomo is one of the most important na ...Read More »
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 »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Hatzidakis has his own style, one that combines richness and rusticity in a beguiling way. This 2013 is so ripe it’s golden, with roundness to its lemony fruit and a slight floral note that’s unusual for Santorini. Then the minerality comes on, dark and earthy in its deep savor. It has the structure to age well for another decade." (8/2014) Jancis Robinson: "A blend of Assyrtiko, Aidani and Athiri. Both complex and fragrant from the mix of varieties. Cool creamy lemon and a more stony, dusty character in tandem. Intense, intensely dry, finest of chalky grips on the texture. ...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)
An rich Swartland blend of Chenin Blanc, Clairette, Verdelho, Viognier and Palomino. Then fruit for this wine comes from multiple parcels of Eben's vineyards throughout the region. Many vines are very old, own-rooted, all are dry-farmed bushvines toiling against the elements in this rugged yet inspiring place. 2013 was a cooler vintage so freshness and brightness of fruit was preserved throughout. The other important aspect of this wine is that Eben co-fermented all of the different components together, creating a more integrated and harmonious blend. Th... Read More »
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. Their 2013 Friulano is no exception. The 2012 scored 90 poi... Read More »
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 »
Always a bargain from one of K&L's favorite direct imports. The 37-acre Blason property in Gradisca d'Inzonzo, owned by Giovanni and Valentina Blason, is just a few miles from the Slovenian border. Their Friulano is always rich and complex, but balanced, with round frut, minerality and hints of savory herbs.
Jancis Robinson: "Grenache Blanc, Muscat and Viognier. Fragrant and aromatic – shows the Muscat influence strongly. Broad texture and dry, light finish. (RH)" (2/2014) K&L Notes: The "Champ du Roy," or field of the kin, takes its name from Coupe Rose's 3.7 acre parcel of Viognier. This wine is a blend of Grenache Blanc and Marsanne for body and richness; Viognier for acid and perfume; and a touch of Muscat for exotic aromatics. These grapes were harvested by hand from very low-yielding mountain vineyards, making for a deliciously full yet fresh wine. Cotes du Brian is a zone named aft... Read More »
This 100% Falanghina is wonderful, it's fermented in stainless steel, and then kept on its lees for two months before being bottled. The nose is a complex perfume of elderflowers and white peach, with a bit of crushed stone that is couched in a med-full body, and it has a long and decidedly refreshing finish. (Greg St.Clair, K&L's Italian buyer)
93 points Wine & Spirits: "As is typical for Thalassitis, this is long, lean and tightly wound, needing air to get past the initial green onion notes of reduction. Then it begins to build, slightly herbal and cucumber-crisp, a leesy richness bringing fatness to all the minerality. The wine lasts, one of the most austere of the vintage, wanting another few years in bottle to come into its own." (8/2014)92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Thalassitis is the winery’s flagship, unoaked and sourced from ungrafted, old vines (70-80 years) Assyrtiko (without malolactic fermentation since, says the winery, it has no ...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.
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 »
This is always one of the most popular Italian whites at K&L. 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). Made entirely from Vermentino, The granitic soils force the vines to struggle to survive, but that struggle (like so many) gives the wine its character. The 2013 is dry and full, with lots of white fruit, a touch of green pepper and a salty minerality that makes this a natur... Read More »
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.
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 »
Snappy and fresh aromatic of field herbs and scratch made bread. Nice subtle richness on the palate from the Chardonnay and the Folle Blanche adds a nice snap to the refreshing finish. A well thought out wine which can easily be used as a replacement for its more expensive cousin, Champagne.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Spicy and super zesty in the mouth, the 2013 Vermentino di Gallura Superiore Sciala is redolent of white flower, peach jasmine and dried ginger. Vermentino sometimes has a sage-like edginess and this wine delivers that quality in spades. If you like crisp whites to pair with fried fish, this is a perfect choice. The wine rests on its lees for five months with battonage and this process helps to add dimension and thickness on the finish. (ML)" (12/2014)
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale yellow. Fresh orange, quince, honeysuckle and anise on the nose, with a vibrant mineral overtone. Bitter lemon and pear skin flavors are complicated by a gingery element, with tangy minerality adding lift. Gains x000D weight on the incisive finish while maintaining vivacity and focus, leaving a chalky mineral note behind." (9/2014) Wine Spectator: "The silky texture carries pear, melon and light vanilla flavors in this gentle white, with just enough acidity for structure. (Web-2014)"
Delicious as usual, this mouthwatering vinho verde is 100% Alvarinho based. A combination of ripe golden stone fruits and fruit cocktail aromas lead to a rich, yellow and gold-fruited palate. Rich and with real flavor authority, the wine still shows loads of freshness and a nicely dry finish, perhaps a bit more so than the ebullient nose might suggest. The grapes are organically grown in the Vinho Verde sub-region of Melgaço and Monçao on granite soils. This expressive, more serious style of vinho verde is delicious as an aperitif or accompanied by your ... 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
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)
95 points James Suckling: "Incredible richness of dried papaya and mango with lemon undertones. Peach stone too. Fabulous character of dried fruits and citrus as well as sea salt and oyster shell. Amazing finish." (11/2014)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Green-tinged gold. Musky, lees-accented aromas of yellow apple, melon and cinnamon, with a suggestion of buttered toast. Supple and expansive, offering fresh lime and richer baked apple and guava flavors. Finishes with very good energy and focus, along with a note of vanillin oak. This is an impressively rich white wine, but terroir lovers may find that it fails ...Read More »
94 points Antonio Galloni: "(a 65/35 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and semillon): Full, bright green-gold color. Noble aromas of citrus oil, apple, brioche and curry powder. Wonderfully sappy and concentrated, with guava, lime and mineral flavors complemented but not overwhelmed by sexy oak. Most impressive today on the extremely long, rising finish. I’d love to pour this incredible Washington State white wine next to a young Domaine de Chevalier blanc. Stunning quality for the price. (Stephen Tanzer)" (12/2014)94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another stunning white from this team is the 2013 Chaleur Estate Blanc. A ble ...Read More »
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 »
Produced from vines averaging 30 years of age, grown in the classical coastal area of the Rias Baixas D.O., the Salnes Valley, in vineyards based in Castrelo, this is a lovely Albariño. It is juicy, with abundant stone fruit flavors and a generous, mouth filling quality given the extra time in bottle, as well as the clear quality of the fruit and winemaking. If you are looking for a well-priced Albariño, this is an early front runner for pick of the summer! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)
90 points Wine & Spirits: "The juicy, floral flavors of athiri (25 percent of this blend) give this Santorini a particularly cheerful, sunny feel. The chalky minerality common to Santorini whites is saturated with lemony fruit here, while an oregano-like herbal note gives it extra piquancy. Simply delicious." (8/2015) K&L Notes: A combination of Assyrtiko, with its inherent layers of structure and power, combined with the small addition of the bright lift and aromatics of the Athiri is really a knockout. A very bright aromatic of rich citrus and that one of a kind volcanic minerality, which ca... Read More »
Vini Buoni d'Italia ranked Battistelle's Roccolo del Durlo Soave Classico with its Top Score of a Gold Crown. (08/2015) Praise for a previous vintage from the Wine Advocate: "Luminous and bright, the 2011 Soave Classico Battistelle rests on its lees for six months with continuous batonnage. The wine is creamy and rich with deep layers of stone fruit, yellow flower, honey and almond nut. Pretty mineral nuances bring up the rear." (ML, 10/2013)
Indicative blend: Falanghina 60% and Biancolella 40%
The wines of Ermacora are absolute steals for their price to quality ratios, which is why we continue to bring them in direct, vintage after vintage. Ribolla Gialla is a local selection of the ancient white grape variety Ribola that dates back at least as far as the 11th century, and the variety also has Slavic roots. This straw-yellow white wine is recommended as an aperitif or with delicate, fresh water fish. It also pairs well with hors d'oeuvres and vegetable-based appetizers--but caution on the cheese, advises our Italian wine buyer, Greg St. Clair.
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)