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K&L Staff Recommendations
Wine & Spirits: "Made by Banshee, one of W&S’s 2015 Wineries of the Year, this contains declassified barrels of their Sonoma Coast wines as well as fruit from Anderson Valley, Monterey and Santa Barbara. It’s aged almost exclusively in used wood, resulting in a balanced Pinot Noir with clean, bold dark-cherry flavors and tangy acidity that drinks far above its humble price." (4/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "A smooth texture and ripe, inviting black cherry flavors make this medium-bodied wine easy to drink and enjoy. Light spicy accents give it extra interest and moderate tannins help build the su ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors’ Choice* Husch is one of the original Anderson Valley wineries and has not been a particular Pinot Noir star, but this fantastic 2014 may start a trend. Fresh and alive, the wine is medium bodied but packs lots of tangy cherry and almost jammy plum flavors into a smooth but lightly tannic texture that provides great structure. Simply delicious, it’s balanced well enough to enjoy time after time." (3/2017) K&L Notes: Husch, founded in 1967, is the oldest winery in the Anderson Valley appellation which over the last decade has become one of the hotbeds of Amer... Read More »
Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir (Sonoma County) is a pretty, attractive wine to drink now and over the next few years. Sweet red cherry and floral notes grace the mid-weight, feminine finish. This is a very pretty, understated appellation Pinot that delivers a compelling combination of quality, value and production. The Sonoma County is a blend of declassified barrels and some purchased fruit. (AG)" (2/2016) K&L Notes: As difficult as it is to produce excellent Pinot Noir, it is even more difficult to do so at a fine value. In their development of the Banshee label, the winemake... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Translucent red. High-pitched red berry, cherry and rose pastille scents are lifted by blood orange and mineral nuances. Silky, weightless and focused on the palate, offering juicy raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that become deeper and sweeter with air. Shows impressive depth of flavor but comes off lithe, even delicate. Clings with serious tenacity on the gently tannic finish, which strongly echoes the red fruit and floral notes. Talley's side project, which is not exactly a second label as the wines may include fruit that is sourced from outside Ar ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This is such a good offering at this price, or many other prices, that it would be a worthy house wine to stock for regular consumption. Richly luxurious and softly layered, its texture stands out among well-integrated jolts of earth, black tea and strawberry-rhubarb." (6/2016)
Field Recordings is a small winery in Paso Robles that was started by Andrew Jones, who began his wine journey as a nursery vine grower and has stepped foot in nearly all the vineyards on the Central Coast of California. All his vineyard expertise is translated into his bottled wine, Field Recordings and Wonderwall (and also wine-in-a-can under the labels Alloy Wine Works and Fiction). Wonderwall focuses on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from extreme Central Coast vineyards.
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "The nose of this wine is quite shy at first, and it takes patience to pull out aromas of plum, crushed berries and a touch of charcoal. The palate opens up more quickly, showing elderberries and elderflowers, plus rose hips and a touch of fennel. (MK)" (11/2016) 90 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Strikingly rich and complex, with a dense core of dark berry, black licorice, earth and cedar flavors that hold their own, easing up on the finish. Drink now." (9/2016)
Entirely sourced from Edna Valley in San Luis Obispo County, Fossil Point is named for the headland area along the rugged coastline. The marine breezes have a distinct influence on the Edna Valley terroir that is itself uplifted, ancient sea floor. Pinot Noir grapes grow in small clusters and Fossil Point vinifies traditionally in small lots before the wine is aged in neutral and once-used French oak barrels. The wine displays floral aromas with bright and vibrant cherry and berry fruit, leather, and vanilla.
Named for founder Rudy von Strasser, the "Rudy" label is best known around here for top-quality, well-priced Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. Look for fine tannins that complement good acidity and rich, red fruit flavors. 2014 is the 25th vintage for the von Strasser winery, during which time they've won the "Winery of the Year" award from Wine and Spirits magazine an astonishing 12 times.
James Suckling: "A bright and fresh pinot noir with sliced lemon, strawberry and flower character. Medium body, crisp and clean. Light tannins and clean and fresh finish." (6/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another undeniable value is the 2014 Pinot Noir Olema, a Sonoma cuvée that would qualify as a sleeper as well. Pomegranate, allspice and clove intermix with sassafras in this medium-bodied, deliciously fruity, round seductive Pinot Noir to drink over the next several years. Even the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Olema offers plenty of value in an elegant, tasty, cedary, blackcurrant-scented and flavor ...Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "It’s hard not to jump up and down about the outstanding value represented here, a wine made from Dutton Ranch fruit that’s juicy and generous in baked strawberry, earth and rose petals. A grippy structure provides weight around nuanced, spicy cherry-pie flavor and plenty of body to satisfy." (12/2016)
91 points Vinous: "Bright ruby-red. Blackberry, cherry pit and a hint of licorice on the fragrant, spice-accented nose. Juicy and seamless on the palate, offering bitter cherry and dark berry flavors that tighten up and become sweeter with air. A smoky nuance arrives on the gently tannic finish, which hangs on with strong, spice-driven persistence. One of the pioneering wineries in the region, Talbott’s first vines were planted in 1982 at the Diamond T Vineyard. By the end of the ‘80s the Talbott wines were already on most wine lovers’ short lists of top California Chardon ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "This is the brand’s first bottling under new ownership, and the result of this blend of Monterey, Sonoma and Santa Barbara county fruit is familiarly ripe— due in part to the inclusion of 10% Merlot, 6% Chardonnay and 2% Syrah. Pomegranate, clove, vanilla and rum aromas lead into a juicy palate of candied red fruit, slate, anise and Earl Grey tea. It’s slightly sweet but easily enjoyable. (MK)" (4/2017) Wine Spectator: "An enticing if weighty mouthful, rich and deeply flavored, anchored by tiers of blackberry, blueberry, wild berry, cherry and raspberry flavors. Round and ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
91 points Vinous: "Brilliant ruby. Vibrant, highly perfumed red and dark berry and floral scents show very good clarity and suave spicecake and cola nuances. Sweet, seamless and energetic on the palate, offering intense black raspberry and rose pastille flavors supported by a spine of juicy acidity. Finishes sappy and quite long; smooth tannins provide frame for the lush berry fruit. (JR)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: Producer notes: "The 2014 Luli Pinot Noir has a beautiful combination of aromatics and texture. Deep ruby in color, the wine starts out with an exuberant display of wild strawberr... Read More »
Outlier is a fitting name for this outfit run by winemaker/owner Derek Rohlffs, who orchestrates his unique efforts from his home base in the middle of the San Francisco Bay on Treasure Island.
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* A complex and complete wine with everything in place, this tastes delicious from the first whiff to the lingering finish. It has fresh-baked bread and light peach aromas and white-cherry flavors. Well balanced, it’s layered on a subtle level and harmonious. (JG)" (12/2015) 92 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* While many sparkling Rosés emphasize vinosity and substance, Roederer versions have always aimed in a brighter, more buoyant direction, and this latest is no exception. It marries plenty of vigorous young, lightly cherry-like fruit with well-delineated yea ...Read More »
Poppy hails from Monterey County, one of the coolest climates in California, where the long, slow growing season results in fragrant and supple Pinot that really stands out from the competition in the under $15 category. A long-standing staff and customer favorite, Poppy Pinot is typically fruity and easy to drink, perfect for entertaining or for Tuesday night takeout.
Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir Hometown is a refreshing, light-weight wine to drink now and over the next few years. Crushed flowers and sweet red cherry fruit are the signatures. In 2014, the Hometown is on the lighter side. As such, I would prefer to drink it sooner rather than later. In 2014, the blend includes a dollop of Valdiguie. (AG)" (9/2016)
If it looks like a duck, that's because Goldeneye is indeed part of the Duckhorn Vineyards family of wineries, including Migration and Decoy. Goldeneye is the Napa Valley winery's far-north outpost, in Anderson Valley. From a stellar vintage, the 2014 Pinot is the whole package: superb balance, texture and flavor. Notes from the winery: "Nestled amongst the coastal redwoods of the majestic Anderson Valley, Goldeneye’s estate vineyards yield wines that exude the characteristics of their surroundings. Charming, but with a hint of wildness, plush yet rustic... Read More »
Vinous: "Crushed flowers, sweet tobacco, dried cherries and mint are some of the notes that lift from the 2014 Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard. Distinctly savory and aromatic, the Pinot is a very pretty wine. Ideally, it might have a bit more mid-palate richness to fill out its frame, but nevertheless, this is a strong debut from the Varner brothers. And the price? A steal in the realm of handmade wines. (AG)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: About the producer: "Varner Wine is devoted to the production of handmade Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Barbara and Paso Robles wines."
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Red cherry, vanilla, chaparral scrub and cranberry puree show on the nose of this bottling from the longtime estate, and then come the intriguing olive and Middle Eastern spices. The palate hones in on that Mediterranean spice character, with Kalamata olives blending into lavender, exotic mulberry and thyme-laced cherry-plum sauce." (7/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A well made, charming effort that offers lots of raspberry, cherry and spice aromas and flavors, the 2014 Classic Estate Pinot Noir (from various clones) is forward, nicely textured and ready to go. I ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Mignanelli focuses on making Pinot Noir from cool climate and mountainous vineyards.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir is a seductive style of Pinot, with a medium ruby color, notes of black cherry and raspberry, light tannin, and not much depth, but it is superficially attractive and supple. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. (RP)" (3/2016)
For everyday drinking, JackHammer is your go-to Pinot Noir. Founded by California wine industry veterans Stephen Dooley and Sandy Garber with the express purpose of making delicious wine that won't break the bank. Juicy, fruity, and not to be missed!
90 points Vinous: "Pale, bright orange. Pungent red berries, orange pith and candied rose scents are sharpened by a suggestion of spicy white pepper. Smooth and fleshy yet lively as well, offering juicy red currant and strawberry flavors that show a refreshingly bitter edge. Clings very nicely on the finish, leaving behind suave floral and spice notes. (JR)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: As with all of Tatomer's wines, production is very small, so grab this excellent rosé while you can! According to the winery: "A lively, fresh rosé with an elegant yet firm texture. Its color is light pink/salmo... Read More »
Poppy Reserve hails from the Santa Lucia Highlands, one of the coolest climates in California and in close proximity to the Pacific Ocean. The long, slow growing season results in a fragrant and complex Pinot that really stands out from the competition in the under $20 category. Fruity and spicy, with a hint of earth, this is a versatile and food-friendly wine.
Bottled unfined and unfiltered, this wine finds its roots on the 18-acre ranch that sits in the foothills of the Los Padres Mountains--a cooler site that boasts loamy soils accented with gravel. This wine was made 50% whole cluster in neutral French Oak barrels.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "While their generic cuvée, the 2014 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, comes from multiple cool-climate sites, the wine offers Burgundian, earthy forest floor notes, with hints of red cherries, pomegranate, raspberry, a touch of earth, underbrush and forest floor. Vibrant red fruits dominate in this elegant, medium-bodied style. This is their largest cuvée of Pinot Noir at 11,300 cases. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. (RP)" (4/2016)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Peppery spice and a nose of violets and roses mark the entry and midpalate of this wine, priced moderately for the appellation. Layered, with a twinge of yeasty baked bread, it has a strong personality, stemmy and feral, with a lasting linger of grenadine. (VB)" (7/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir displays straightforward pomegranate, red currant, and sweet and sour cherries in a medium-bodied, pleasant style. (RP)" (3/2016)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Named for founder Rudy von Strasser, the "Rudy" label is best known around here for top-quality, well-priced Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. This is the winery's first Pinot Noir from the Paicines, in the Central Coast. "This delightful Pinot Noir has a bouquet of fresh blackberries and blueberries," according to winery tasting notes. Look for fine tannins that complement good acidity and rich, red fruit flavors.
Inventory: Redwood City
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Pinot Noir Overlook, the least expensive cuvée from Landmark, is a cross-county blend of 53% from Sonoma, 39% from Monterey and 8% from San Benito. This is a juicy, cherry-dominated, spicy, effusively fruity style of Pinot Noir that is medium-bodied and shows a touch of strawberries and spice. It is meant to be drunk in its exuberant first 3-4 years of youthfulness. Landmark has had an enviable, long record of consistent quality, having been founded by Damaris Deere Ford, the great-great-granddaughter of John Deere. All in all, this is a strong ...Read More »
With fruit sourced from three vineyards, this wine spends 11 months in neutral French oak barrels before bottling. 13.8% ABV
Believing that "wine is not an athletic event," Robert Sinskey does not send wine out for review, but his organic and biodynamically farmed wines in the Carneros region--unusual for Cabernet Sauvignon, but it has a history there--and Stags Leap District are highly regarded.
This Edna Valley Pinot Noir smells savory and spicy, with some tart red fruit to complement the rustic earthiness on the palate. Made from grapes grown at Chamisal, the first vineyard in the Edna Valley, which was replanted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay by Domaine Alfred owner and winemaker Terry Speizer in 1996. Aged for 10 months, sur lies, this wine saw about 60% new French oak and is unfined and unfiltered.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Hand-crafted by the Pisoni family, the 2010 Lucia Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir is composed of fruit sourced exclusively from Pisoni Vineyards and Garys' Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands, incorporating the best of what both reputed sites have to offer. Fermented and aged in French oak and bottled unfiltered, this Pinot Noir exhibits classic Santa Lucia Highlands ripe red berry and plum aromas and flavors, with hints of clove and allspice. It is full and round, with fine midpalate weight and textured, spicy finish.
Inventory: Main Warehouse