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K&L Staff Recommendations
2014 Hugel "Gentil" Alsace $11.99
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.
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 »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Full reviews to follow on their Aug 2016 issue:" (8/2016) K&L Notes: Though the 2014 has yet to be professionally reviewed, the 2013 bottling earned 91 points and accolades from Antonio Galloni's Vinous: "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 terroir." (06/2015)
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!
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."
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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)
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 »
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 »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Santorini is all Assyrtiko and comes in at 13.8% alcohol. Sunny and graceful on opening, this is the lighter-styled, regular Assyrtiko from Hatzidakis, showing less concentration and power, but a lot of elegance. That's relatively speaking. It still has a fair bit of power and its expressive fruit is lovely. It finishes with a bang as it airs and warms, showing more power than I thought it had at first. It should drink very well in the short to the mid-term. (MS)" (10/2015) Jancis Robinson: "Strong green leafy aspects on the nose. Creamy texture. Racy and super ten ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A solid blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Clairette and Bourboulenc, the 2014 Côtes du Rhône St Esprit Blanc offers plenty of buttered citrus, flowers, hints of minerality and tangerine in a medium-bodied, beautifully textured, yet juicy and refreshing style. It’s a no brainer and is made in enough quantity that it should be easy to find." (3/2016) K&L Notes: Though the 2014 vintage has yet to be reviewed, Wine Spectator praised the 2013: "Juicy, with a twinge of yellow apple skin framing the green plum, white peach and lemon curd flavors. A stony hint on the finish... Read More »
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)
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 »
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 »
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.
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)
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 »
90 points James Suckling: "A balanced, attractive Fiano with sliced limes, minerals and almonds. Full-bodied, fruity and delicious. A new producer for me. Try it. Drink now." (3/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The pretty 2012 Fiano di Avellino represents the single wine made by Tenuta Sarno 1860. This is a fresh and clean expression of the grape with bright notes of citrus, peach, pear, white flower and honey. Sur lie aging gives the wine good tension and density in the mouth. It wraps smoothly over the palate with layers of yellow fruit and crushed mineral. Mauro and Adele Sarno run the boutique Tenuta Sarn ...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..."
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)
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.
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.
The Reserve d'O Blanc is a small one acre parcel on the domaine that is co-planted with Chenin Blanc, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. The Chenin is not legally allowed in the Terrasses du Larzac appellation, so it is declassifed to the IGP Saint Guilhem le Desert. Another interesting thing about this parcel: it is co-harvested in one pass, pressed together and co-fermented. Elevage is in stainless steel tanks to preserve freshness in the wine. Wildly unique and super cool wine. (Keith Mabry, K&L French Regional Buyer)
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 heights of Colomé, one of the highest points in the already very high region of Salta, in the north of Argentina. Dry and austere at first, with air it slowly reveals a core of ripe white fruit flavors and intense spice. Ready to drink with white sausages, this is one of the best values you c ...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. 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 »
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!
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 »
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)
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
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Tasted out of bottle, the 2012 Deusyls de La Peira Blanc is a blend of Roussanne, Viognier and Marsanne that was fermented in concrete and aged in small barrels. Medium-bodied, pure, layered and elegant, with fabulous citrus blossom, white flowers, vanilla, creme and assorted toasty nuances, it’s a smoking white that deserves a classy meal. (JD)" (4/2014)
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Alvarinho Contacto is all Alvarinho and comes in at 13% alcohol. It is dry and unoaked, sourced from vines averaging 15 years in age. If I wasn't quite as thrilled with the 2013 and 2014, this vintage is letting it all hang out. Richer than its Muros Antigos sibling, if you're wondering, this has mouth-coating fruit and beautiful structure. It tightens with air on the finish, showing fine tension. Give it some air and it demonstrates transparency and refinement, too. Its broad, classic flavors roll over the tongue. The fruit is delectable. It is ...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 2014 The Curator White Blend is a blend of 50% Chenin Blanc, 36% Chardonnay and 14% Semillon. It has a straight-forward, honey and beeswax-scented bouquet. The palate is easy going, quite sweet and honeyed in texture with a sumptuous citrus peel and peachy finish that will slip effortlessly down throats. This represents excellent value. (NM)" (11/2015) Vinous: "Initially dusty nose quickly cleared to show lively aromas of orange, lime, stone, anise, dusty herbs and lemon oil. Glyceral and long on personality, showing intense honeyed stone and citrus fruit flavo ...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 »
This aromatic Greek white is made from the Moschofilero grape, a variety known for its exuberant floral perfume and lively acidity, making it a natural pair to Mediterranean cuisine!
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.
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 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) K&L Notes: This is a modern interpretation of Retsina. Made from the Roditis base wine that is used in Notios White, a small amount of pine resin is allowed to pass through the wine to give it that familiar, yet subtle resinated character. A clean and refreshing zip of mint and eucalyptus explode from the glass whi... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "A succulent white, sporting melon, floral and peach flavors, backed by tangy acidity. Vibrant and long, ideal for a summer quaff. Favorita. (Web Only—2015)"
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 »
Made from Macabeo and Xarel-lo from vines up to 50 years old in the Penedes region, best known for Cava (Avinyo also makes good Cavas) this is a delicious, thirst quenching wine that hints at Muscat's floral and herbal, tarragon-like qualities, but also shows great cut, with delicious citrus and appley fruits, refreshing fizziness, and a dry finish that begs another (large) sip. Think Txakoli, but with a touch lower acidity and an appealing faintly herbal quality. A great wine for grilled veggies (particularly asparagus) and an ideal white for spring and... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Green-tinged yellow; less gold in color than the Furore Bianco. Apple, sage and flowers on the bright nose are complicated by a note of liquid slate. The flavors of apple, pear and mint are similarly joined by mineral nuances. Finishes broad, smooth and persistent. I find this much fresher and more precise than the Furore Bianco." (9/2015) K&L Notes: Indicative blend: Falanghina 60% and Biancolella 40%
Roussette de Savoie is not the easiest appellation to describe as it encompasses vast parts of the region of Savoie. The most important thing to remember is that these are usually some of the best sites and they are 100% Altesse (aka Roussette). Altesse is a grape that seems to have more in common with Chenin Blanc rather than the local Jacquere. It is loaded with vibrant citrus notes and Mandarin orange qualities. It is distinctly mineral driven as well. The Perret is largely from the Marestel region which is perhaps THE best growing region for Alt... Read More »