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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
93 points Wine Spectator: "Vibrant and mouthwatering, with green apple, Meyer lemon and dried pineapple favors that are fresh and juicy. Lemon verbena and lime sherbet notes reverberate on the long, detailed finish. Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne. Drink now." (11/2016) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This blend of 56% Grenache Blanc, 23% Viognier, 12% Roussanne and 9% Marsanne from nine vineyards offers a pretty nose that mixes Key lime, honeydew, just-ripe nectarine and lily florality. It’s bright and fresh on the tightly wound and texturally intriguing sip, with lime pith and lemongrass flavors ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Viura in reality has the typical mix of old vines where there are maybe some 10% other grapes: Garnacha Blanca, Malvasia Riojana and Calagraño from Rioja Alavesa. It's a late and cool vintage with a late harvest, where the full clusters were pressed in a pneumatic press and the juice put to fermented in 600-liter oak barrels; in this first vintage, the barrels were new, with some 40% of the volume fermented and matured in egg-shaped cement oak vats from Nomblot in order to avoid using 100% new oak in the first year. The wine was kept with the le ...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 »
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."
90 points Wine Spectator: "Offers a juicy, plump feel, with melon, green fig and apple notes bouncing off the ginger and heather accents. Macadamia nut notes caress the finish and echo pleasantly. Drink now through 2017. 800 cases made. (JM)" (11/2016) K&L Notes: An 88-acre estate, Château de Montfaucon sits just across the Rhône River from the esteemed vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It is owned and operated by Rodolphe de Pins, a UC Davis graduate and former member of the winemaking staff at Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe. Over the years, Château de Montfaucon has developed a HUGE following a... Read More »
It’s rare to find estate-bottled wines in Picpoul de Pinet, so we are fortunate to have this direct relationship with one of the greats in the region. 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 companio... 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 »
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 »
95 points Decanter: "Complex and beautiful nose with flinty, floral and guava notes. Clever use of Riesling which highlights Torrontes and works as a perfect partner. Vibrant, fresh and fruity on the palate, with a delicate, mouth-watering salinity. Delicious, fantastic bottle of wine to be served in all Asian restaurants" Vinous: "Very pale, bright yellow. Pure, fresh aromas and flavors of white peach, flowers and mint. Firm and aromatic in the mouth; not complex or fat but offers considerable immediate juicy appeal. Finishes fresh and persistent. I like the crisp, limey citricity bro ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another rock solid vintage for this cuvee, the 2014 Cotes du Rhone Blanc (65% Viognier) offers terrific clarity and purity in its tangerine, citrus and orange blossom, in a clean, crisp, elegant package. It’s a great value to enjoy over the coming 2-3 years. (JD)" (12/2015) 90 points Vinous: "Light, bright yellow. Dried pear, Meyer lemon, white flowers and beeswax on the seductively perfumed nose. Dry and precise, showing impressive mineral lift to the orchard and citrus fruit and honeysuckle flavors. A deeper peach note emerges as the wine opens up and carries through a ver ...Read More »
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 »
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.
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..."
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)
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 »
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)
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)
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 »
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 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.
A light straw yellow with greenish highlights in color, the wine shows a fruity nose with notes of citrus fruit, peaches, and pineapples. The structure and the acidity balance one another and the finish and aftertaste are lively and persistent. This Orvieto is a blend of 50% Grechetto, 25% Procanico, 25% Pinot Blanc and Viognier.
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)
A warm weather superstar, this is 100% Vermentino. Domaine Petroni lies on the eastern shore of Corsica near Lake Diane, one of the great sources for oysters and mussels on the island. Founded in 1885 and run by the Ramazotti brothers, the vineyards are planted on sandy and clay soils overlooking the Mediterranean. Their rosé was one of our great success stories this year, but the white and red have made great strides as well.
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)
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 »
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 »
An organically farmed, naturally made Chardonnay-Viognier blend from Aubais, a small medieval village south of Nîmes. The aromatic and supple Albion won the Gold medal from the Gilbert & Gaillard Wine Guide in 2011 and stands as winemaker Mark Haynes's signature white. Mark is a spirited man who came to winemaking late in life when he realized that so many producers in the Gard region were turning their backs on winemaking and farming. The region is in the south of France about 30 minutes from Nimes. It was his summer home in his childhood and he always ... Read More »
Jesús Puelles is one of the most talented vignerons in Rioja. Hailing from a long line of vineyard worker/owners, Puelles knows the terruño in his little slice of land in the Rioja Alta town of Abalos. Most of the grapes for his red wines come from his own 20 hectares, which are north-facing and located at 600 meters in altitude, affording the visitor with one of the most dramatically beautiful views of Rioja's main mountain ranges: the Sierra Cantabria mountains immediately to the north and the Sierra de la Demanda mountains to the south. This white win... Read More »
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
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.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Proprietary White Blindfold is a cross-AVA blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Marsanne as well as a touch of Semillon. This wine is gorgeous, with oodles of rose petal, honeysuckle, melon and white peach notes in the aromatics and flavors. It is medium-bodied, quite complex, and best drunk over the next 1-2 years. (RP)" (10/2015) Wine Spectator: "Rich and unctuous, a blend of toasted cedar, nutmeg, honeysuckle and vanilla bean notes, with a fleshy stone fruit core and toasted nut accents on the finish. Chardonnay, Viognier, Roussanne, Ma ...Read More »
93 points Wine & Spirits: "Troisi’s basic fiano is less intense than his single-vineyard Aipierti (reviewed above), yet it’s also terrifically impressive. Delicate scents of orange blossom and bee pollen give way to flavors of fresh apple, pear and lemon that take on a honeyed richness with air, developing notes of salted almonds and nori that add a savory character. A stream of salinity runs through the dense, waxy texture and gives direction to the rich fruit flavors, bringing them to an energetic and refreshing finish." (10/2016) 92 points Vinous: "Deep gold-tinged yellow. Knockout Fiano aromas of ...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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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)
Inventory: Redwood City
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 »
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)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A white I normally buy by the case, the 2014 Coudolet de Beaucastel Côtes du Rhône Blanc is a mix of Clairette, Bourboulenc, Viognier and Marsanne that offers lots of citrus blossom, lemon zest and hints of apple in a medium-bodied, racy style on the palate. More racy and lively on the palate than the nose would have you believe... (JD)" (10/2015)
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 »
Albarino is the perfect summer white, but its naturally crisp acidity and peachy citrus flavors make it enjoyable year-round as an aperitif or paired with a variety of foods, particularly shellfish and seafood. It hails from the Rias Baixas zone of Gallicia, on the northwest coast of Spain. Walk through any given fishing village along the "rias" (fjords) in this beautiful, cool, maritime-influenced region and you will find fresh grilled "pulpo" (octopus) vendors at every corner! A classic Albarino nose of white peach, citrus and mineral aromas gives way ... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Alvarinho is unoaked and comes in at 12.5% alcohol. As fans of this classic bottling know, it is very dry, most definitely not fizzy and typically a great value. It is glorious, expressive and fresh in this vintage. In the long, proud history of this fine estate, this seems to be as good or better as any standard, unoaked Alvarinho they have produced. It is also one of the best unoaked young Alvarinhos I've had. We'll see what the future brings--it won't be an unqualified success for Soalheiro if it does not hold well for a decade or much more-- ...Read More »