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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Crystalline cranberry, concentrated violets and rose petals and a shred of cola show on the nose of this upper-level bottling from one of the appellation’s longtime stars. The palate shows graphite and dried strawberry fruit amped up with woody coyote scrub elements, reflective of the chaparral that surrounds the property." (12/2015) 92 points Wine Spectator: "Impressive, showing density, concentration, depth and persistence, with layers of blackberry, mocha, cedar, spice and berry pie. Finishes with a strong presence." (10/2015) 90 points Vinous: "Brilliant ruby-red. Perfumed scents of raspberry, cherr ...Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Absolutely magnificent is the 2013 Pinot Noir The North Slope. This wine is deep, rich, with forest floor, blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, licorice and Asian spices. It is full-bodied, somewhat primordial and dense, but muscular, rich, concentrated, and has the biggest upside and potential for complexity of all of the 2013s. Give it another several years of bottle age and drink it over the following 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 W ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
From the winery website, "When we say Fossil Point rocks - we mean it! Calcareous shale and coarse sand were uplifted from the floor of an ancient ocean and then weathered into place over millennia. It became a place of deep beauty and vast potential. Fossil Point is a rugged headland with sweeping views of the coastline stretching from Port San Luis to the Guadalupe Dunes. The Point is just five miles due west of the vineyards that are its namesake. Sunny afternoons are cooled by marine breezes sweeping off the Pacific Ocean, along Fossil Point to the v... Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "This red offers a lively, refreshing and complex mix of snappy wild berry and raspberry flavors that are firm and vibrant, ending long, clean and complex. Drink now through 2020. Tasted twice, with consistent notes." (9/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "The price-quality ratio is inviting for this wine, a light, lifted expression of cranberry and herb. The grapes were sourced from both the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations, about half of each, before aging less than a year in managed oak, 30% of it new. The wine finishes in swirls of vanilla-cola." (6/2015) K&L Notes: From our fr... Read More »
The 2014 Rickshaw Pinot Noir is the sixth vintage from the team at Banshee Wines, known for elegant, food-friendly coastal Pinot and Chardonnay. Via the Rickshaw bottling, Banshee can offer a phenomenal value, thanks to relationships they've built with growers over the years from the finest AVAs in California. The largest share of fruit is sourced from the Sonoma Coast, followed by Anderson Valley and the Central Coast. The appeal of the wine is driven by its balance of fruit and earth tones, so just 10% of the juice sees new oak (the remainder being onc... Read More »
Bench is one of the labels of Brack Mountain Wine Company, which sources this Pinot Noir mostly from the renowned Sangiacomo vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA. From the winery: "Deep ruby purple in color, this wine offers intense, dark forest fruit and notes of plum on the nose. The palate is tightly focused with bright currant, cola and cedar. The mouthful is supple with well integrated tannins that provide the integrity for this noteworthy wine."
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 winemakers gained a stable of quality sources for Pinot fruit from the finest AVAs in California. The 2014 Sonoma County Pinot Noir is the sixth vintage from the enterprising team at Banshee Wines. A large percentage of it is still sourced from the Sonoma Coast, often declassified barrels from vineyards that close followers of top-tier West Coast Pinot may recognize. From the producer: "As with past vin... Read More »
"Year in and year out one of our best values is Pinot Noir. If you don't believe me, just ask any K&L customer." (Illya Haase, K&L Staff Member) This wine comes to us from Sonoma County's Martin Ray Winery, owned by Courtney Benham (creator of the Blackstone brand). This multi-county blend of Pinot Noir has been well-received in recent years, maybe not tipping the point-scales over 90, but earning consistent praise for the solid, varietal character it delivers for only a modest fee.
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Fragrant with scents of rose petal and pinecone, this is clean and brisk. Lifted rather than layered or complex, it’s ready to decant for herb-stuffed trout baked in parchment." (4/2015) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Shy and reserved, this cool-climate wine opens coyly with a burst of spearmint on the nose, evolving into layers of flavor steeped in rhubarb, black cherry and tea. Soft and lilting, the wine’s finish conjures thoughts of strawberry cream." (7/2015) Vinous: "The 2013 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) is an excellent choice for drinking now and over the next few years. The flavors are floral ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Starting out slightly reductive, the 2012 Pinot Noir Hidden Block Spring Ridge Vineyard opens up nicely with air and shows lots of forest floor, currants, mushroom and earth in a medium-bodied, supple, nicely textured and balanced package. Certainly showing the more earthy, underbrush and darker end of the spectrum, it should benefit from a year or two in the cellar and drink nicely through 2023. Some of my favorite Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in California come from Jim and Bob Varner. As I wrote last year, all of these releases come from the estate S ...Read More »
Founded in 1983 by Claiborne (Clay) Thompson and Fredericka Churchill, former teachers at the University of Michigan (Clay specialized in Old Norse Languages and Literatures and Fredericka taught German), the winery focuses on Alsatian varietals in the first straw bale winery in California. Grapes are purchased from premium growers around the cool Edna Valley, with 2/3 of the production being Dry Riesling and Dry Gewürztraminer. At Claiborne & Churchill, traditional European winemaking techniques prevail, including extensive use of barrel-fermentation an... Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*#12 in Wine Enthusiast's The Enthusiast 100 of 2015 and an 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." (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, o ...Read More »
From the producer: "Our 2014 Tous Ensemble Pinot Noir’s aroma is layered with fresh red fruits, rose petal, and vanilla. The body is redolent of damson plums, red apple skin and bing cherries, with a silky texture and smooth tannins."
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This is an easy-to-like wine, light, clear and spicy in aromas of cardamom and flowers. Earthy, silky and tingling in acidity, it offers a spicy experience on the tongue backed by enough crisp red fruit to please many palates. For the comparatively modest price, it’s a steal." (7/2015) Vinous: "Crushed flowers, sweet red berries, mint and spices lift from the glass in the 2013 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast). Savory and floral notes add nuance on the ethereal, somewhat fleeting finish. This mid-weight, young-vines Pinot is an excellent choice for drinki ...Read More »
Medium to medium-deep ruby red in color, this lovely Sonoma Coast production from this great vintage offers distinctive dried rose petal to strawberry fruit aromas with chalky, slate-like mineral notes in the nose which carries over nicely to a well-balanced, well-integrated set of flavors. Good complexity, excellent structure and acid backbone, this Gem is integrated, deep in flavor, and long on the finish. Rusty has ordered me to bring home several cases of this Gem for our near-term consumption over the next four to seven years. This is a Great Value ... Read More »
This is the second label of Russian River Valley's beloved DuMOL, made from younger fruit with an eye toward value and food-friendliness. The wine is aged in French oak for ten months before release. Notes of cola, cranberry and cherry harmonize on the rich palate and bright finish.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby-red. Wilder and deeper in pitch than the 2011 version, displaying powerful black raspberry and boysenberry scents and smoky floral and herbal nuances. Juicy acidity adds lift and structure to the ripe, subtly spicy dark berry flavors. The finish features chewy tannins, an echo of candied flowers and very good persistence." (6/2014) K&L Notes: An entry level Pinot Noir from one of K&L's longtime favorite producers.
Les Voisins, meaning "the neighbors" in French, is an hommage to the great, small-production grape growers in California. Copain sources fruit from the cool Anderson Valley to fashion this Pinot Noir.
92 points Wine Spectator: "The subtle intensity builds and gains depth, holding focus and delivering a mix of dusty wild berry, plum, black licorice and cassis notes. Impressive on the finish. Drink now through 2021. (Insider)" (6/2015) K&L Notes: 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.
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Offering more minerality, with lots of toasted spice, dried earth and wild strawberry aromas and flavors, the 2012 Pinot Noir Upper Picnic Block Spring Ridge Vineyard is another red from the Varner brothers that has a rocking core of sweet fruit, a balanced, harmonious personality and a great finish. While it has solid acidity and tannin structure, everything is nicely integrated and it should drink nicely for upwards of a decade. Some of my favorite Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in California come from Jim and Bob Varner. As I wrote last year, all of thes ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Savory, earthy aromas of mushrooms, black pepper, iron and cranberry arise from this blend of nine vineyards, many of which are usually featured in single-vineyard selections. Umami rules the palate, and it’s quite full for a lighter-colored wine, with brown spice, light red fruit flavors and expertly balanced acidity." (3/2015) Vinous: "Calera's 2013 Pinot Noir is quite pretty, lifted and expressive. In this vintage, savory and floral overtones dominate over some of the more overt, fruit-driven notes that are often found in this bottling. The 2013 is made from a n ...Read More »
Grapes from sites throughout Central Coast were harvested at optimal maturity, then de-stemmed and gently placed into open-top stainless steel fermenters and cold soaked for 3 days prior to initiating fermentation. During fermentation, each tank is punched down two to three times per day. The fermented wine then was racked to oak for aging. During the aging process the wine lots were tasted throughout and blended back together.
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby-red. Assertive aromas of raspberry, cherry and fresh rose, with Asian spice and woodsmoke accents building in the glass. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering gently sweet red berry flavors and a hint of candied rose. Shows impressive energy and clarity on the long, focused finish, which features a zesty mineral nuance. Really lively for the vintage and balanced to age." (6/2014) 92 points Vinous: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Estate Sta. Rita Hills is gorgeous. Bright red berries, red currants, rose petals and mint all lift from the glass in a beautifully delineated ...Read More »
2013 DuMol Russian River Valley Tasting Lot
Bid on this 3-bottle lot of 2013 DuMol Russian River Valley Tasting Lot, including 1-bottle of 2013 DuMol Russian River Valley Chardonnay (91CG), 1-bottle of 2013 DuMol Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, and 1-bottle of 2013 DuMol Russian River Valley Syrah. Of the 2013 DuMol Russian River Valley Chardonnay,Connoisseurs Guide writes: "Neatly matched elements of Meyer lemons, ripe apples, crème caramel and toast are teamed in the rich, well-composed aromas and iterated again in the deep and very complete flavors of this wonderfully expressive Chardonnay. The wine is at once slightly viscous, fairly mouthfilling and very energetic, and, while never impressing as a powerhouse, its potent but polished flavors last and last. It will make ideal drinking with salmon in sauce, and it has more than enough weight and richness to complement pan-roasted duck breasts." (12/2015)
This lot contains the following items:
2013 DuMol Russian River Valley Chardonnay (qty: 1)
2013 DuMol Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (qty: 1)
2013 DuMol Russian River Valley Syrah (qty: 1)
End Date: Feb 14 2016 2:30PM PT
DuMol was established in 1996 by Kerry Murphy and Michael Verlander. Andy Smith joined as winemaker in 2000 and partner in 2005. Most of the grapes are sourced from the Green Valley appellation where DuMOL has a 25-acre Estate Vineyard, with other grape sources originating in the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Since the beginning, DuMol has striven to make well balanced wines. Known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnays, they also do small amounts of Syrah and Viognier. For much of the winery's existence, the wines have generally been so... Read More »
According to the winery: "Great value! A particularly wonderful vintage of this wine. Aromas and flavors of strawberries and raspberries are joined by anise and clove notes with mouth filling intensity."
90 points Vinous: "Brilliant ruby-red. Strawberry and raspberry on the perfumed nose, along with suggestions of allspice and smoky minerals. Deeper and darker in character on the palate, offering sappy red and dark berry flavors, with a hint of white pepper adding vivacity. This lithe, nicely focused Pinot finishes with appealing sweetness, easygoing tannins and very good persistence. (JR)" (6/2015) K&L Notes: Look for bright red fruits and spice in this wine: Pomegranate, Bing cherry, and raspberry with Earl Grey tea highlights, according to the winemaker's notes: "The vintage deliver... Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby-red. Red fruit preserves on the nose, with complicating notes of licorice and allspice. Lively raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show very good precision, complemented by a bright mineral quality that gains strength with air. This silky, energetic pinot finishes with strong cut, persistent sweetness and sneaky, interwoven tannins. (JR)" (12/2014) 90 points Vinous: "Crushed flowers, rose petals, sweet red cherries and mint lift from the glass in the 2013 Pinot Noir Estate Verna's. This is the most ethereal and delicate of the 2013 Melville Pinots. Following the h ...Read More »
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "* Good Value * Generously fruited with a wealth of ripe cherries well-matched with temperate oak, this deep and very well-balanced bottling is one that outperforms at the price. It is long and insistent with a great sense of precision, and its fine sense of crafting makes it eminently inviting right now even though it is a wine that will age famously. Drink it up soon without guilt if patience comes hard, but know that good things lie ahead for those who are willing to wait for another three to six years." (2/2015) 90 points Vinous: "Bright ruby-red. Lively, focused aromas ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I loved the 2012 Pinot Noir de Villiers. It's a beautifully complete, balanced and satisfying Pinot Noir that does everything right. Giving up tons of sweet black raspberry and strawberry fruits, spice-box, dried flowers and potpourri characteristics, it's medium to full-bodied, layered and seamless, with a ripe, supple texture that keeps you coming back to the glass. While there's more than enough fruit to keep this enjoyable now, there's some solid tannin and depth in there as well, so it will age. (JD)" (8/2015) 93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Hard cinnamon candies, cherry juice, pome ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Oaky and full bodied, this conveys a strong impression of big berry fruit. Spice and herbal components are underplayed, letting the fruit come forth in all its glory. This is an attractive and ready-to-drink wine." (3/2015)
Inventory: Redwood City
93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby. Sexy red berry and rose pastille aromas show very good clarity and a good dose of Asian spices. Silky, sweet and expansive on the palate, offering energetic raspberry and cherry flavors and an exotic touch of blood orange that adds a bitter edge. Pure and precise, with excellent finishing lift, cut and gentle tannins that fold into the lively red fruit. The most elegant of this set of Pinots today, and one that should age well on its balance." (5/2014) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Fashioned from Dijon clone 777, the 2012 Pinot Noir South Slope comes from a vineyard where t ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
From an environmentally oriented winery that's owned by noted philanthropists, a followup to the 2012, which was scored 91 points in Wine Enthusiast, with the following notes: "The winery’s most accessible and available Pinot Noir-still quite small in production-is from several vineyards, including single-vineyard sites like Jenkins. It offers classic Russian River Valley cola spice and bright aromatics and acidity, the texture soft and structured, a smaller percentage of new French oak used for aging." The winemaker is Shane Finley, formerly assistant a... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Intense and concentrated, with dark berry, earth, graphite and cedar pushing in several directions. Fans out and gains tannic muscle on the finish. Drink now through 2025." (3/2015)
By focusing exclusively on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Patz & Hall has become one of the standout names among California wineries intent on stealing a bit of Burgundy's thunder. The 2012 edition of their Sonoma Coast blend scored 90 points with Wine Advocate, Stephen Tanzer, and Wine Enthusiast. Props from Robert Parker: "Patz and Hall has long been a model for how to run a high-quality négociant business, buying fruit from top vineyards and crafting it into wines that can compete with the finest from estate vineyards. They now own one estate vineyard, bu... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Menthol and sweet sage aromas leap off this wine from Steve Clifton. They spice up the black cherry and blackberry juice backbone that comes from this Nipomo vineyard, located seven miles from the Pacific. The palate shows lots of energetic verve, with flavors of dried cranberries, raspberries, licorice and slate, finishing long on a sagebrush-driven sense of chaparral." (8/2015) 91 points Vinous: "Brilliant red. High-pitched raspberry, floral pastille and Asian spice aromas are deepened by notes of cola and licorice. Nervy and precise on the palate, offering sweet cherry an ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Plush, with floral strawberry and brioche aromas and rich, layered flavors of blood orange, gingerbread and almond. Drink now" (10/2015) K&L Notes: From Winemakers Sean Thompson and Hugh Davies: “The 2012 Brut Rosé has generous aromas of mixed red berries, orange blossom, and white peach. Its fruitful nose is complemented by notes of shortcake and cream. The palate bursts with flavors of raspberry sorbet, lemon custard, and summer apricot. The wine has a fresh and juicy acidity which drives to a supple, round finish.” 76% Pinot Noir, 24% Chardonnay
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Pinot Noir Mills Vineyard comes from 26-year-old own-rooted vines and was harvest September 20 to October 17. Aged 18 months in 30% new French oak, its semi-opaque ruby color is followed by sensational notes of ripe currants and darker fruits, scorched earth, smoked meats, licorice and chalky minerality. Big, rich, full-bodied and layered, with a huge core of fruit that never seems over the top or heavy, this elegant, profound Pinot Noir can be enjoyed anytime over the coming decade or more. These latest 2013s from Josh Jenson were superb across ...Read More »
According to the winemaker: "Classic Russian River Valley red fruit aromas of pomegranate, cherry and strawberry leap from the glass accompanied by hints of oak-inspired spice. The vibrant red fruit is echoed on the palate, where lovely pumpkin pie spice notes of nutmeg and clove carry through to a long, satisfying finish."
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 amongst 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.
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Delicious aromas of ripe cherry pie and black cardamom are quite sexy. The palate is far more complicated and layered, with the tartness of plum skins, richness of strawberry, balsamic reduction and spiciness of black sage." (7/2015) 90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(made from fruit grown in the Bien Nacido, Riverbench and Solomon Hills vineyards; no new oak): Bright red. Highly perfumed scents of spicy redcurrant, raspberry, fresh flowers and smoky minerals. Juicy red berry flavors pack a solid punch but come off as lithe. Brisk red berry skin and white pepper qualities dominate a long, ...Read More »
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.
Wine & Spirits: "In 2012 the dry-farmed vines at Hallberg gave a simple, welcoming pinot noir with dark fruit that suggests black plum and blueberry. The plump texture finds its balance against juicy acidity, ready for a pork chop roasted with a sprig of rosemary." (4/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This is a high-toned, structured wine with vibrant acidity that is layered in earth, spice, raspberry and black tea. After a medium-sized weight to the midpalate, it finishes soft and round." (2/2015)
The Pinot Project was founded in 2009 by well-known wine importer Michael Skurnik. After more than 25 years of importing wines from around the world, Michael, who also represents a who’s who portfolio of the finest California wineries, reached out to his roster of quality winemakers with a project to help him craft the finest quality Pinot Noir on the market for under $20 per bottle. Along with the deft hands of a consulting winemaker who seeks out individual lots of Pinot Noir from the finest growing areas of Northern California, a soft, silky, fruit-fo... Read More »