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K&L Staff Recommendations
2014 Villa Sparina Gavi $13.99
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 »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Branco Quinta Da Aveleda is a screwcapped blend of 70% Loureiro and 30% Alvarinho, unoaked and coming in at 11.5% alcohol. There is no added carbonation. This was seen earlier this year, but it was tasted only a few weeks after bottling. It is worth revisiting with some time in the bottle. This is typically a super value, real wine at a bargain-basement price. So, too, this year. It seems even better now. This is bright and crisp, but the wonderful fruit is the reason you buy this. Expressive and exuberant, it tastes great, yet the fruit is perf ...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 »
Côtes 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 »
93 points James Suckling: "What a wonderful white with white pepper, sliced apple, lemon, and mineral character. Full to medium body, bright acidity, and a flavorful finish. Love the spice to this. This is an exciting new wine for me. Drink now." (10/2016) K&L Notes: This is an amazing wine, the first vintage ever from the Treves family who's been growing grapes for generations in Val d'Aosta who have decided to make wine from their own grapes, a whopping 280 cases. Petite Arvine is one of the local many indigenous grape varieties in Val d'Aosta, which is nestled in a tiny valley in the Alps c... Read More »
Inventory: Special Order
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
The village of Apremont once sat in the shadow of a great mountain. In 1248 that mountain collapsed, destroying, everything in its path. Fortunately, the mountain itself was made of limestone which is some of the best geological material for growing grapes and the site is littered with limestone scree (broken rock fragments). The grape of choice for the region is Jacquère and some of the best comes from this village. Like most wines from Savoie, the Perret has hallmark aromas of citrus and lemongrass with a touch of peach as well. Where it really excels ... Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "I like the lively and zesty character to this white with green apple and lemon undertones. Full body, loads of fruit, yet firm and focused. Go-to Gavi." (10/2015) Wine & Spirits: "Tart lemon and yellow apple flavors mingle with lightly bitter notes in a round, oily texture. Serve this with a seafood stew." (12/2015) Wine Spectator: "A mix of pear, apple, lemon and earth notes, backed by touches of earth and mineral. Offers a clean, chalky finish." (11/2015)
Made by Guilhem Bascou, whose father, Guy (and founder of the estate) was the president of the Picpoul de Pinet appellation. Both father and son work side by side, while mother Marie-Claude manages the office. The family's 15 acres of Picpoul are planted just west of the Thun Lagoon near the Mediterranean, and the coastal influence is palpable in this licksmackingly refreshing wine. It's a natural companion to seafood, but does equally well with rich cheese and charcuterie.
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.
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 »
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 Wine Spectator: "Fragrant and juicy, offering a charming mix of honeysuckle, peach, apple and lemon verbena, set on a light and effortless frame. A mouthwatering vein runs throughout. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Sémillon and Muscat Canelli. (Web Only - 2016)" (8/2016)
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 »
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 »
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..."
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)
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 »
92 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* This expressive white is aromatic and juicy, featuring a rich, ripe, fleshy core of apricot and peach flavors, with accents of vanilla bean, honeysuckle and melon. A spicy note lingers on the long finish. Viognier, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Chardonnay. Drink now. 5,100 cases made." (10/2016)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
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!
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 »
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)
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 »
91 points Vinous: "Bright gold-tinged yellow. Intense notes of anise and sweet botanical herbs complicate mineral, citrus and orchard fruit aromas. Rich and dense but juicy too, with licorice, sage and white peach flavors lingering nicely through a pure, juicy, very bright finish. One of the better versions of Canayli in years. (JR)" (1/2016)
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)
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 »
Angel Rodriguez Leal produces what is hands down the best wine in Rueda: Martinsancho. A family-owned bodega since 1784, holding some of the best real estate in the D.O., their land boasts Verdejo vines which average 40 years of age and stand in a bed of rounded river stones. Wine is fermented in enamel tanks and aged in very large, neutral oak "cubas." The resulting wine is generous, with delicious peach, melon, and guava notes, textural, as well as mineral, focused, and age-worthy.
Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* Fresh and savory, this offers aromas and flavors of fresh apple, green Anjou pear and almond. Bright acidity gives it a crisp, clean finish while a hint of saline signals the close. (KO)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: This very special white is made exclusively with Verdicchio grapes cultivated from the east slopes of the Alta Valle Esina, on the foot of the Mount San Vicino. As is typical for Matelica, this is elegant, fresh and very mineral, and just the thing for your most elaborate fish dishes.
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 »
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."
Impressive for its purity and refreshing mineral qualities, Valle dell'Acate takes the Insolia varietal to a whole new level of quality. As a second label, the Case Ibidini range (pronounced 'bidini) consists of varietally labeled wines from the estate intended for more casual consumption. The local name of the area where the estate is situated, Bidini, is drawn from the ancient root Bidis. This in turn referred to the name of a group of early Hellenic settlers who populated the area nearly 20 centuries ago. These wines provide a purity and authenticity ... Read More »
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 »
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 »
This family-run estate is farmed with no pesticides and harvested by hand in the heart of Tuscany. This white is complex and refreshing, with bright fruit and herbal notes. A great wine for scallops.
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 Wine & Spirits: "The scent is pure pine forest, cool and refreshing; the flavor is pure, fresh fruit—pears and cold green grapes—the pine notes floating over them as if carried on a breeze. It will keep you cool all summer long, on its own or with a mezes spread." (8/2007) Wine Enthusiast: "Gaia’s Ritinitis Nobilis is another great choice for a modern style. Made from Roditis grapes and a small amount of pine resin, this retsina is clean and refreshing, with herb and eucalyptus aromas, and it pairs wonderfully with curried fish or chicken dishes, or with fried seafood. (KM)" (8/2012) K&L Notes: This is ... Read More »
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 »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The rather young, ultra-pale 2014 Benufet is Garnacha Blanca with 5% Viognier, fermented in stainless steel and bottled unoaked to keep purity of fruit and freshness. The palate is rather simple, fresh and with faint white fruit flavors. (LG)" (6/2015)
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 »
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 elegance. Gerovassiliou treats his Malagousia to prolonged skin contact to fully extract its aroma potential, after which a partial barrel fermentation is followed by several months of aging on the lees to allow for the development of intensity, richness, and texture on th... Read More »
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 »
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
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.
Ravello, carved into the hillsides overlooking the Mediterranean on Italy's Amalfi Coast, is one of my favorite places on earth. Maybe it's because it is where my husband and I honeymooned, but honestly I was in love with Ravello before I ever set foot there, and that goes back to this wine. Made from 60% Falanghina and 40% Biancolella grown in the rocky, calcareous soils of both Ravello and Scala, this slightly floral, wonderfully mineral, fresh white wine tastes like the crystalline blue sea and sunshine captured in a bottle. It is particularly delicio... Read More »
Praise from Ian D'Agata: "The third and fourth generations of the Di Meo family are propelling this estate into the stratosphere of Italian wine production. Along with wines from Mustilli and Contrada Salandra, there are no better Falanghina bottlings made anywhere than these. Following a stint with world-famous consulting enologist Roberto Cipresso, Vincenzo Di Meo is the winemaker here. The estate vineyards are situated in the particularly sandy Campi Flegrei production zone, which seems especially well suited to Falanghina, of which there are at least... Read More »