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K&L Staff Recommendations
We can tell you this much: our Kalinda private label hooks you up with awesome wine at a fraction of what you'd otherwise pay for this exact same wine under its normal label. While we have to remain quiet about the source of this beauty, we can tell you that it sells elsewhere at a much higher premium. Get it while it lasts.
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*#12 in Wine Enthusiast's The Enthusiast 100 of 2015, Editors' Choice* This might be one of the best values on the market, given the quality. Equal parts pretty and funky, it’s a tightly wound, savory, fruity wine that’s elegant and compelling. The tannins and oak are lightly imprinted around strawberry-rhubarb and fresh-cut rose, and the texture seductively silky. This is a delicious treat of a wine that should also age. (VB)" (12/2015) Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Perhaps, because it is not quite so severe, we like this bottling a tad better than its mate below. It is, of ...Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The two vintages of Chardonnay I tasted come from the Jos. Belli Vineyard in Russian River. The 2015 Chardonnay Jos. Belli Vineyards was made from small yields, and according to Dick Arrowood, it is one of the top three vintages in his 50 years of experience. This wine offers loads of peach, honeysuckle, delicate apricot, caramelized citrus and apple blossom in a full-bodied, rich, discreetly oaked style. It is long, promising and super-concentrated. If this is an example of just how strong many 2015s will be, we’re in for another treat from Northern Cal ...Read More »
This new release from Silver Oak is a blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Merlot that was aged for 24 months in American Oak barrels (48% new, 52% once-used) and an additional 15 months in bottle prior to release.
92 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* More than once we have found a great deal to like in the straight appellation bottlings of top-notch Pinot producers, and here is just such an example that rivals and even surpasses several of its pricier cellarmates with respect to balance, fruity depth and real varietal beauty. It is moderately full, slightly fleshy in feel and very well-balanced, and, while it impresses as a Pinot of many parts, it impresses at least as much for the way in which those parts are seamlessly joined. It is no stretch to see richness and refinement intersecting ...Read More »
92 points Rhone Report: "The 2008 Martinelli Syrah Hop Camp Vineyard "Gravel Lens" (Grave lens refers to the rare soil characteristic of alluvial soil layers interleaved with layers of gravel) is a big, beautifully fruited Syrah that possess touches of northern Rhone like qualities mainly on the nose. Blackberry, cracked pepper, mineral, and hints of chocolate all emerge, and this fleshes out over the evening and gains floral and violets characteristics, as well as notable complexity and a layered profile. This full-bodied, beautifully textured Syrah has an overall seamless feel ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The proprietary red wine, the 2014 Geyserville from Alexander Valley is a big boy at 14.6% alcohol. Made from a blend of 60% Zinfandel, 24% Carignan, 12% Petite Sirah and the rest Mourvèdre, this is a big-time winner in 2014, with copious quantities of juicy blackberry and black cherry fruit, some wood spice and loamy soil undertones. Full-bodied, fleshy and seductive, the wine is clean, pure, textured, and offers sensational drinking now and over the next 7-8 years. (RP)" (8/2016) 93 points Vinous: "The 2014 Zinfandel Geyserville is just as beautiful from bottle as it was f ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A blend of three clones - Dijon clones 114 and 115, as well as Rochioli material - the 2013 Pinot Noir Cahill Lane has a dark ruby color and a fragrant style with floral and earth tones intermixed with strawberries and black cherries. The sweetness of the tannin as well as the heady glycerin and lushness make for a hedonistic and intellectually satisfying Pinot Noir to drink over the next 7-10 years. Some of the best values in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir emerge from Stephen Hansel’s winery in the Russian River Valley. He also has the wonderful Walter Han ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Cuvée Alyce, which is made from a field blend of Dijon clones 115 and 777, is also backward and restrained. I can totally understand Stephen Hansel’s statement that the 2013 Pinots are very European with their reserved character. This is a big wine, dense, ruby in color, with terrific fruit intensity, but the tannins still dominate, and the wine has good acidity and a backward personality. It’s not austere by any means and should blossom fully with another 1-2 years of bottle age. It could turn out to be a low- to mid-90 pointer. It’s ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Spicy nutmeg meets a reckoning of lemon zest and grapefruit pith in this light, bright, elegant white that's subtle in oak. Notions of just-ripe pear follow around a rounded, medium-bodied build, providing plenty of juiciness and structure. (VB)" (8/2016)
92 points Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) is a fabulous wine at this level. Sweet spices, rose petal, mint and succulent cherry/plum notes all lift from the glass. Supple and beautifully layered throughout, the Sonoma Coast hits all the right notes. A final burst of fruit rushes across the palate on the refreshing, inviting wine. There is so much to like. (AG)" (2/2016) 91 points Wine & Spirits: "The nine vineyards that go into this wine range from Olivet in the middle of the Russian River Valley to Bohan and Hirsch on the far-coast ridges. It’s inviting, with plump red fruit and tangy aci ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Zinfandel Russian River (1,500 cases) is full-bodied, offering terrific black raspberry and black cherry fruit and peppery, earthy, meatiness. Very lush, with well-integrated wood, alcohol and acidity, this is a beauty with a sensational texture and length. Drink it over the next 7-8 years. With proprietor Don Hartford in full control, and brilliant winemaker Jeff Stewart having access to some magnificent cool-climate sites (for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel), Hartford Family Winery continues to be one of the great success stories in Cal ...Read More »
Producer Note: "Native fermentation, 100% de-stemmed, 100% whole berry, 100% neutral French Oak, unfined and unfiltered, 85% Seaton vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, 15% Totem Ridge vineyard in Knight's Valley. Tasting notes: This full-bodied red wine has blackberry and cocoa flavors, with some pepper and spice on the finish."
Stuhlmuller Vineyards sits at the southern edge of Alexander Valley where it borders both Chalk Hill and the Russian River Valley AVAs. Five blocks of the estate vineyard are planted with Chardonnay grapes, 80% of which are the sought-after Gauer Upper Barn clone. The wine was brought up in small barrels (82%) and larger casks (18%), all of which were French oak (6% new). The wine was fermented on the lees for eight months and underwent 80% indigenous malolactic fermentation. The winery's vintage note: "This medium-bodied wine offers an alluring orchard-... Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This is a bright, integrated and extremely impressive blend of different estate vineyard sources. Effortlessly enjoyed, it’s nonetheless plenty complex underneath the pleasing fruit and acidity. Tart plum, raspberry, pomegranate and touches of cola and mocha combine for a seamless, satisfying experience." (12/2016) K&L Notes: Lynmar is an environmentally oriented winery that's owned by noted philanthropists. The 2014 promises the same quality as their entry-level 2013 Russian River Valley Pinot, which scored 94 points with Wine Enthusiast, and was p... Read More »
Rod and Lynn Berglund carry the mantle for this historic Russian River Valley winery as it marches into its 50th year.
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a creamy, thick and food friendly white with highlights of honey and green apple and a lingering decadence of ginger, just hinting at anise. Medium-bodied, it represents the vintage and the appellation well, at a price that's nice. (VB)" (8/2016) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Elegantly styled and moderately rich, with nectarine, honeydew, anise and green apple flavors. This is a wine of finesse, showing more grace than power and richness. Drink now. (JL)" (6/2016)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a complex, layered and elegantly conceived wine. It’s enjoyable now in its juicy waves of red currant and cassis, with a background hint of brown sugar and toasted oak." (10/2016) Jancis Robinson: "Bright red. Cherry red. Both juicy and dry. I'm not sure I would guess it was Cabernet Sauvignon if I had it blind because tannins are already so velvety for this stage, gentle but not overly soft. (JH)" (10/2013) K&L Notes: Producer Note: "Concentrated aromas of blackberries and black cherries with an inviting hint of cedar. The wine’s silky palate is long and expansive, boasting a b... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chardonnay (Russian River Valley) is another terrific entry-level Chardonnay from David Ramey. Here it is the wine's richness and creaminess that really stand out. Honey, apricot pit, mint, butter and dried flowers blossom are some of the signatures. This is a real overachiever in its class. (AG)" (2/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Chardonnay Russian River is a relatively large cuvée of between 12,000 and 15,000 cases. It offers up loads of baking spices, orange marmalade, white peach and honeysuckle. It is medium to full-bodied, pure, and at the same time, combin ...Read More »
93 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chardonnay The Meadows has a real sense of phenolic weight and density, yet the flavors remain bright, focused and beautifully nuanced throughout. Lemon peel, hazelnut, butter, spice and mint blossom as this beautifully textured, layered Chardonnay shows off its notable personality and pure class. Stephen Hansel is one of the most intelligent winery owners in Sonoma. More interested in getting people to drink his wines than in maximizing short-term profit, Hansel continues to offer some of the very best wines readers will find for the money. I ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Refreshingly marked by a tangy acidity, this white is made to please, fermented entirely in stainless steel. It sings in zesty, medium-bodied layers of peach and lime that are fresh and juicy on the palate, yet it somehow maintains some unexpected complexity." (8/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Roth has produced a tasty 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, with a delicate light straw color and plenty of honeysuckle and melon fruit as well as some caramelized citrus. This is a Bordeaux style of Sauvignon, medium-bodied, but floral and effusively fruity. I liked its delineation as well. Drink it ov ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Bordeaux varietals from Château St. Jean have always done well and again are realistically priced. The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley was blended with 5% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot and spent 20 months in a combination of mostly French but some American oak. The wine is a sleeper of the vintage at this price point. Meaty, earthy berry fruit as well as lavender, underbrush, blackcurrants and black cherries jump from the glass of this seriously endowed, fleshy, medium to full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with noticeable but rip ...Read More »
The Wetzel family has been growing Cabernet Sauvignon in Alexander Valley since the 1960s, and embody the Sonoma County spirit of winemaking, charging very fair prices for estate-grown, Alexander Valley wines, yet always innovating and pursuing quality. Wines are aged in their own shotcrete-walled caves, just steps from the winery. According to the winery: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic Alexander Valley wine with medium body, great fruit flavors and polished tannins. Winemaker Kevin Hall added 6% Merlot for structure, a touch of Cabernet Fran... Read More »
93 points Wine & Spirits: "In her second vintage at Gary Farrell, Theresa Heredia drew on seven vineyard sites, including pedigreed vineyards like Rochioli and Allen, to compose this vibrant Russian River wine. It’s an intense chardonnay, with a spicy, floral scent that brings chanterelle mushrooms and apple skin to mind. It holds that abundance of flavor in a texture that’s clean and breezy, seemingly weightless. Decant it and explore its nuances over a multicourse dinner." (12/2015) 91 points Wine Spectator: "Ripe and pithy, with a mix of lemon, fig, apricot and tangerine flavors. Light-weight, presenting a ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Tightly structured and quiet in oak, this wine instead exudes bright notes of lemon peel and orange blossom, offering plenty of well-traced minerality on the palate. It finishes lean and crisp, refreshing enough to enjoy all night long.(VB)" (11/2015)
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Estate, made mostly from Rochioli clonal material and a small portion of the so-called Swan clone, is a beautiful Pinot Noir, very Burgundian, with notes of forest floor, loamy soil undertones, sweet black cherries and Asian plum sauce. It is dark ruby, lush, medium to full-bodied and ideal for drinking over the next decade. Some of the best values in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir emerge from Stephen Hansel’s winery in the Russian River Valley. He also has the wonderful Walter Hansel Wine & Bistro on Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa... The ...Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "This voluptuously seductive wine is also elegantly balanced. Citrus, wet stone and sea salt lift the minerality to pronounced levels, accented by a crispness of lemon peel and papaya wrapped in blossoming jasmine. Many of the vines on the site date back nearly 40 years, a demonstration that in age there is beauty. (VB)" (9/2016) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch is a rather complex blend of multiple heritage clones from California, such as the Wente, Robert Young, Rued, the U.C. Davis Clone 4, and the Spring Mountain Clone. The wine offers up plenty of whit ...Read More »
91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* Possessing such a wealth of juicy, well-focused cherry-like fruit that this wine would garner enthusiastic recommendation and a tip of the hat for fine value on its fruity virtues alone, Migration's basic appellation offering is a surprisingly serious Pinot Noir with the depth and careful construction of upper-echelon offerings. It is clean and constant with impeccable varietal focus and layered richness to spare, and, as very good, generously fruited Pinots are wont to do, it is certain to tempt early drinking even though its best lies some ...Read More »
93 points Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) is terrific. Bright, nuanced and savory, the straight Russian River Pinot has all the attributes of this strong vintage. Sweet floral notes round out a Pinot that is understated and silky. This is a rare appellation-level Pinot that could use another few years in bottle to fully flesh out. Paul Hobbs describes 2013 as a consistently warm, dry year but without excesses. I remember stopping by in January of that year, and being quite surprised when Hobbs told me he was likely to start irrigating imminently, which ...Read More »
91-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "If you already know what Mike Officer does, and the style of his wines, you won’t be disappointed in his 2014s. You may even like them as much as any vintage, given the fact that this year shows a lot of up-front fruit and charm. (RP)" (10/2015) 91-93 points Vinous: "The 2014 Zinfandel Old Vine is another superb, entry-level wine from Carlisle and proprietor Mike Officer. Succulent and expressive, the 2014 offers tons of near and medium-term appeal in the forward, fruit-driven style that is the signature of the Russian River. A host of sweet red cherry and plum notes wrap aroun ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "87% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest mostly Merlot with a little Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The wine has a dark ruby/purple color and lovely blackcurrant, licorice-infused notes with subtle background wood spice. It is ripe, has an excellent texture, is medium-bodied and is best drunk over the next 3-4 years. (RP)" (3/2016) K&L Notes: The Wetzel family has been growing Cabernet Sauvignon in Alexander Valley since the 1960s, and embody the Sonoma County spirit of winemaking, charging very fair prices for estate-grown, Alexander Valley wines, yet always in... Read More »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Bold, supple blue fruit gives this cabernet an impression of simple, healthy richness, while that exuberance is held in check by a tannic grip that seems to come from fruit skin as much as oak. It’s already accessible, but may gain additional dimension with a few years in bottle. Well-priced and smartly crafted, it’s a wine for roast beef." (12/2015)
Wine Enthusiast: "This is a 100% varietal wine made to be widely distributed and enjoyed by a range of palates. With a slight perception of sweetness, which may just be ripeness, it gives way to fleshy flavors of baked apple and pineapple. (VB)" (6/2016)
Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) is plump, juicy and forward. Dark cherry, plum, spice, menthol and cola race out of the glass. This exuberant, flamboyant Pinot is sure to deliver considerable pleasure over the next few years. The addition of the fruit that would have been used for the Sonoma Coast bottling has improved the Russian River Pinot. (AG)" (2/2016) Wine Spectator: "Offers lots of flavor in a layered style, with tiers of smoky oak and dark berry-roasted savory herb. Easy to enjoy now. (Web Only-2016) (JL)"
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Fashioned from yields of 2 to 2.5 tons of fruit per acre, the 2013 Chardonnay North Slope sees 30% new and 70% used barrels. It has nowhere near the generosity of its 2012 counterpart, but it exhibits beautiful nectarine, tangerine and other assorted tropical fruit notes, crisp, zesty acidity and a hint of wet stones that provide unmistakable minerality. Drink now-2018. The consistently run Walter Hansel winery (now in the capable hands of Steve Hansel) has over 40 acres of Chardonnay and 40 acres of Pinot Noir, all family-owned. Visitors to the Sonoma V ...Read More »
Sourced from two distinct Russian River Valley vineyards, Buehler's Chardonnay is a tastefully made wine which represents a food friendly style at a reliable value. The winery employs minimal intervention in the cellar and an appropriately modest amount of new French oak so that the subtlety and terroir or the grapes show through. From Buehler: "The floral, mineral, and lime aromas and steely structure of the River Vineyard are complemented by the peach and apricot aromas and more fleshy structure of the Wood Vineyard. Balance and proportion best describ... Read More »
92 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* Finding a place at the lighter end of the Rosé spectrum and, in fact, a wine that could easily pass for a Blanc de Noirs, this lightly yeasty version fixes on energetic, slightly juicy, young fruit as its main motif. It is briskly balanced, but its ample acidity enlivens without ever once seeming sharp, and it is wholly free of the astringency that marks its more vinous mates." (11/2010) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The outstanding NV Brut Rosé (66% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay and 1% Pinot Meunier) displays loads of strawberry and Kir cocktail-like notes in a fresh, light t ...Read More »
93 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chardonnay Cahill Lane is another beautiful, precise wine loaded with class and personality. As is the case in this vintage, the flavors are bright, but there is plenty of the signature Hansel texture underpinning the fruit. Lemon, pastry and brioche are some of the notes that meld into the racy, beautifully textured finish. Stephen Hansel is one of the most intelligent winery owners in Sonoma. More interested in getting people to drink his wines than in maximizing short-term profit, Hansel continues to offer some of the very best wines readers ...Read More »
A member of Jackson Family Wines, Hartford Court is an award-winning producer of appellation-designate and single-vineyard Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and old vine Zinfandel from low-yielding vineyards in prime regions throughout Sonoma County.
92 points Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir Estate is absolutely delicious. A super-classic Russian River Pinot brimming with fruit intensity, the 2014 hits all the right notes. Sweet red cherry, plum, mint and exotic spices are all beautifully delineated in the glass. The interplay of intense fruit and bright, salivating minerality is simply compelling. This is a tremendous showing from the Estate, Tom Rochioli's entry-level Pinot. (AG)" (2/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Pinot Noir Estate offers loads of black cherry and strawberry fruit, some underbrush and forest floor notes. It is medium to ...Read More »
Second label of Alysian Wines. Led by the Hambrecht family in partnership with esteemed winemaker Gary Farrell, they are committed to sourcing from the best vineyards in the Russian River Valley. From the winery: "In keeping with the tradition of second label wines, which originated in the cellars of 18th century Bordeaux, ours is a collection of barrels that do not quite fit the philosophy of Alysian. This flexibility in the cellar allows us to select and blend barrels of small lot wines from exceptional and off the beaten path vineyards and craft an ap... Read More »
Twomey sources this Pinot Noir from three sustainably farmed, estate vineyards in the Russian River Valley. From the winery: "Our 2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir speaks of this classic growing region while being bold and powerful, yet elegant and nuanced. This rich red wine has the expected strength and deep purple fruit characterized by this lush valley, and there is a refinement, a thread of perfumed spice woven into the bouquet. This wine has a color reminiscent of the black-skinned Santa Rosa Plums native to this region. The breadth and attack i... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This floral wine opens as if in a damp but not wet forest, surrounded by ripe, red cherry trees. Likable from the start, it's grippy on the palate, expressively juicy, seductive and refined. Blackberry and dried herb pop on the finish, providing a darker side to the red fruit. (VB)" (12/2015) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Those looking for complex Burgundian-style Pinot Noirs need look no further than Farrell’s 2013 Pinot Noir Hallberg Vineyard. This wine displays notes of roasted herbs, underbrush, red and black cherries and forest floor in a decidedly Côte de Nuits- ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Zinfandel Dry Creek has briary fruit, not quite the density of the 2013s, but beautiful berry fruit, especially raspberries and black cherries, medium to full body, and again, stunning purity. I think this is the first time I’ve had a good look at these wines, and I’m impressed. Drink this one over the next 5-6 years. It is likely to be shorter-lived than the 2013s." (3/2016)
Wine Spectator: "Complex, if on a modest scale, with graceful plum and raspberry fruit, shaded by fresh earth and spice notes. Holds focus and gains depth on the finish. Drink now through 2022." (9/2014) K&L Notes: Winemaker Rod Berglund, who inherited the job from his father-in-law, the legendary Joseph Swan himself, first made a Pinot Noir from one single row of Saralee's. By 2012, it was an important vineyard source for Swan, but the last vintage under the guidance of the late Saralee Kunde.
92 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* This serious, nicely composed opus impresses in all of the ways that very good Chardonnay can, and it hits the right marks from its concentration and keen focus to its exemplary balance and vitality. It teams deep, optimally ripened fruit with just the right amount of sweet, ever so slightly toasty oak, and, while always quite rich, it is wonderfully lively and dynamic from beginning to end. There is so much going on that it is fascinating right now, but this is one that will prove just how well fine Chardonnay can age, and we see it improvin ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Tom Rochioli makes two Sauvignon Blancs. The 2015 Sauvignon Blanc offers beautiful citrus, gun flint and wet gravel in a medium-bodied but concentrated, crisp style with hints of grapefruit and white currant. (RP)" (3/2016)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Their newer non-vintage blends ratchet up the level of quality, such as the NV Arme Lot 3, a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and the rest Malbec and Petit Verdot. This is a big Bordeaux blend, aged up to three years in neutral oak prior to being bottled. It’s a blend of three vintages, 2011, 2012 and 2013. All the fruit comes from not only their estate, but from many of their close friends located in Sonoma and Mendocino. The wine is a 6,000-case North Coast appellation, with elegant black cherry and blackcurrant fruit as well as tobacco leaf ...Read More »
A classic Dry Creek Valley Cabernet from an ideal vintage, this has the tannic structure and concentration to match a thick, juicy steak. From the winemaker: "Our Ferrari-Carano Cabernet Sauvignon comes from mountain-grown fruit in Alexander Valley. Vibrant aromatics of cassis, smoky cedar, mint, caramel and leather awaken the senses, while full-bodied flavors of juicy boysenberry jam and plums generously fill the palate. Lingering notes of toasty licorice round out the finish."