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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points Wine & Spirits: "This blend is focused on Cristom’s four Eola-Amity Hills vineyards. It’s a dense mélange of stem spice, smoke, graham flour and tobacco, with plummy fruit that absorbs the savory elements, and a sturdy oak component that cradles the lot of it in a warm embrace. Tasted over several days it gains polish and elegance, the oak integrating into something more burnished and structural, lending direction without weight." (4/2013)91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Kept for 18 months rather than the Jefferson Cuvee’s 12 months in barrels, a higher percentage of which are new, Cristom’s 2009 Pinot N ...Read More »
Inventory: Special Order
The 2013 Rickshaw Pinot Noir is the fifth vintage from the team at Banshee Wines. 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, and Rickshaw was born out of this bounty. 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... Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "Banshee's 2013 Pinot Noir (Sonoma County) is supple, racy and flat-out delicious, especially for the money. Raspberries, crushed flowers and soft spices linger on the effortless, gracious finish. Drink this soft Pinot over the next few years. This is one of the best values readers will find in Sonoma Pinot Noir. (Antonio Galloni)" (1/2015) 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 winemakers gained a stable of quality sources for Pinot fruit fro... 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 »
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 Antonio Galloni: "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 »
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 »
Bench is one of the labels of Brack Mountain Wine Company, which sources this Pinot Noir mostly from the Sangiacomo vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA. Great aromatics of red fruit and orange peel and a smooth finish.
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) Antonio Galloni: "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 »
"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.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Mt Jefferson Cuvée Pinot Noir comes from vines located above the winery augmented by purchased fruit from notable vineyards. It contains around 40% whole-cluster fruit (one of the central tenets at Cristom), and only undergoes one racking during its 12 months in barrel: one just before filtration and then just before bottling. It has an attractive tertiary/woodland-scented bouquet with dried rose petal notes coming through, much less fruit driven than many other 2012 Pinot Noirs. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip on the entry. It is ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Offers an exciting interplay of berry, oak, earth and spice notes. This is rich yet medium-weight, with subtle edges to the blueberry, raspberry, mocha and fresh-turned earth flavors, ending with a tasty melted black licorice aftertaste. Drink now through 2020." (5/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This has a very deep-red color with a reddish-purple rim, followed by very ripe, jammy aromas like boysenberry jam with spicy, smoky oak accents. Flavors are ripe, effusive and nearly sweet, as the wine goes for broke in terms of well-ripened grape flavors and generous helpings of sweet-sp ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "There’s some age showing on the nose of this wine, with cherry liqueur aromas most prevalent. It’s very tasty once sipped, and still strongly tannic, with dark cherry and black clove." (12/2014) K&L Notes: From Central Coast winery owner Nebil "Bilo" Zarif, who also founded Barnwood Vineyards, Summerland is a small (3,000 cases in the single vineyard collection) Pinot Noir specialist. The famed Bien Nacido Vineyard was planted in 1973, before the modern era of the Dijon clones, to Pommard and Martini.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From one of the cooler terroirs on the estate, the 2012 Pinot Noir Ryan Vineyard offers full-bodied richness and depth to go with ample sweet black cherries, cassis, sassafras, crushed flowers and toasted spice. A decidedly hedonistic, full throttled example of this cuvee, this superb Pinot Noir firms up nicely on the finish and has a full, layered mid-palate. Drink it now, or cellar it for a decade. These latest 2013s from Josh Jenson were superb across the board and at the top-end were some of the most impressive Pinot Noirs I was able to taste for th ...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 »
Killer New Price! -Produced and bottled by Brewer-Clifton, the "B-C" Kessler Haak Pinot Noir is a single vineyard wine that comes from the organically farmed Kessler-Haak Vineyard. It is located off Highway 246, about 7 miles west of the town of Buellton, in the heart of the Santa Rita Hills appellation. The blend is made up of 25% Clone 667, 25% Clone 113 and 50% of Clone 115. Only 161 cases were bottled of this unique wine.
Evesham Wood harvests their entry-level 2013 from several vineyards in Northern Willamette Valley. With a focus on quality viticulture, these vineyards are all dry-farmed and cultivated sustainably. Grapes are harvested and sorted by hand, fermented in small lots, and aged in French oak (10% new) for 10 months before bottling. This adds up to an excellent value for deftly handmade and terroir-driven Pinot Noir. The winery describes the profile as "Bright and crunchy with cranberry, red cherry and cinnamon with a bit of firmness on finish."
92 points Wine Spectator: "Lightly papery tannins underline the loamy earth-inflected cherry and spice flavors on a lovely, sleek and open-textured frame. Shows complexity and deftness, finishing long. Drink now through 2022." (2/2015) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light, bright red. Lively spice-tinged red berry scents show good focus but a touch of heat. Tangy and sharply focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry and redcurrant flavors and a hint of bitter orange pith that gains strength with air. The redcurrant note repeats on the rather rigid finish. (JR)" (8/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "A penetrating whiff of wintergreen is ...Read More »
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 »
Excited by the quality of their 2013 Pinot Noirs, the winery describes this multi-vineyard blend. "Strawberries and raspberries aromas slowly climb out of the glass. Overtime more of the anise and clove will mix with these other aromas. Currently the wine is young with mouth filling intensity. Complexity will increase as the wine ages, but this wine should stay youthful for 6 or 7 years. Like all Au Bon Climat wines, this is a food wine."
Antonio Galloni: "Vivid red. High-pitched red berry and floral pastille scents show a spicy overtone. On the palate, peppery redcurrant and strawberry flavors deepen and stretch out with air while retaining an urgent character. Closes clean and lively, leaving a subtly sweet red berry note behind. This label, which owner Brian Talley is quick to say is not a second label for Talley, has steadily improved in recent years and the wines, without exception, deliver big bang for the buck. While it might not be exactly correct to call them mini-Talleys, the comparison is apt as ...Read More »
91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) is quite pretty, with a little more aromatic nuance, brightness and overall delineation than the 2012, but a bit less mid-palate exuberance. Dark red cherries, blueberries, cloves, lavender and mint flesh out in a juicy Russian River Pinot full of near-term appeal. There is a savory, delicate quality in the 2013 that makes it irresistible. About 40% of this fruit is estate." (1/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "My tasting notes on these same Pinot Noir cuvées in 2013 revealed slightly smaller production numbers, and wines with more crisp aci ...Read More »
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)
This is the same delicious Underwood Pinot Noir as the bottle, but in an easy-to-transport pop top can! No, it doesn't affect the taste--it's still packed with strawberry and pomegranate fruit, with the same supple texture, acidity and peppery spice and minerally finish. Perfect for summer sipping, for camping, boating, picnicking, beaching or rocking out at the Hollywood Bowl!
Dark fruits highlighted with spicy notes of cinnamon and cedar lead into a medium bodied wine with flavors of cassis and licorice. The bright acidity makes this wine go with a variety of foods.
A joint project from your K&L domestic buying team and a high-profile winery in the Santa Barbara area. The fruit for this wine comes from a cooler vineyard site with a north-facing slope. Clone 828 is a Dijon clone that matures early and often shows lots of structure, color and complexity. In general, the clone shows great acidity, red and blue fruits and palate presence. Because of its roundness and completeness, clone 828 makes an excellent individual bottling.
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 »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editor's Choice* This 7,000-case effort retained the quality for which the winery’s limited-production wines are known. The fruit-laden 2012 vintage helps, and the wine beguiles from first sniff to last sip. Cherries, chocolate, sandalwood and saffron interweave. The mouthfeel is soft and supple, and the delicate balance of fruit, acid and barrel never lets you down." (2/2015)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Brilliant ruby-red. Intense raspberry and cherry aromas are complemented by white pepper, allspice and smoky minerals. On the palate, juicy, sharply focused red fruit flavors stre ...Read More »
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.
92 points Antonio Galloni: "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 Pinot endowed with striking beauty. This is a great introduction to the Melville wines and house style. The 2013 is a blend of 16 clones across the property, done with 35% whole clusters. Winemaker Greg Brewer turned out a gorgeous set of 2013 Pinots at Melville. The wines are consistently of very high quality, something that was not easy to achieve in a year with huge yields. As always, Brewer ...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 Antonio Galloni: "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 »
Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Tous Ensemble is a gorgeous entry-level offering from Copain. Crushed flowers, sweet tobacco and red stone fruits are all laced together in a pretty, silky Pinot that over delivers for its very modest price tag. The Tous Ensemble is now made from 100% estate vineyards in Anderson Valley, which is quite remarkable at this level. (AG)" (1/2015) K&L Notes: From fruit grown on several sites in Anderson Valley, Tous Ensemble is an immediately appealing Pinot Noir and a great introduction to the style of winemaker Wells Guthrie, who delivers cool climat... Read More »
Small-production Oregon Pinot Noir can be hard to find outside of the state. It's more often the "big names," established in the 1970s, that you will find--if any! Holloran is a small winery located in West Linn, a suburb of Portland, Oregon. Since 1999, they've sourced from small, estate vineyards in Dundee and around the Willamette Valley.
90 points Wine Spectator: "Shows off ripe plum and wild berry flavors, with firm, grippy tannins. Gains depth and richness, adding a touch of dried herb. Needs time. Drink now through 2022." (4/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Burgundian in its earthy, feral aromas, yet simultaneously jammy in flavor, this boasts gamy undertones and a soft texture. The producer recommends decanting an hour minimum before serving, and this will most likely help to blow off the wine’s rustically wild side." (8/2014) K&L Notes: The 2012 Carpe Diem Anderson Valley Pinot Noir displays admirable power, depth and density with deep aromas of blac... Read More »
90 points Antonio Galloni: "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 »
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) Antonio Galloni: "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 »
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright ruby. Appealing, expressive aromas of black raspberry, cherry compote and candied flowers are lifted by a hint of white pepper. Pliant red and dark berry flavors become sweeter with air, picking up spice and cola nuances. Shows very good energy and cut on the spicy finish, which is firmed by silky, harmonious tannins." (7/2014)90 points Wine Spectator: "Relatively light in structure, with fine tannins around a glowing core of cherry, cinnamon and cream flavors, persisting into a long, vivid finish." (2/2015)
Inventory: Redwood City
$11.99 for California Pinot Noir? Yes, you read correctly. Under the Four Bears label, Sean Minor consistently produces solid, easy-drinking values that are balanced, food-friendly, and generously overdeliver for the price. According to the winery: "Our Central Coast Pinot Noir is a medium bodied wine which displays aromas of floral components, red fruit and dark cherries. On the palate, the Pinot offers luscious flavors of dark cherry, strawberry and violets, combined with subtle layers of spice. The integrated bright acidity and sweet oak nuances provi... Read More »
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.
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) Antonio Galloni: "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 »
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 Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Pinot Noir South Slope is likely to be the last of the 2012s to be released, and wit ...Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "The aromas are ripe and rich, offering plum, currant and roasted potato notes as the flavors come together and finish with precision against firm tannins. Best from 2017 through 2022." (2/2015)90 points Wine & Spirits: "A vinous Pinot Noir, this is quiet and mildly tense, its scents of dried cherries carried on a sleek texture. It needs some cellar time and then something delicate to match, like arctic char." (8/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Brilliant ruby-red. Spice-accented red berry and floral pastille aromas show good clarity and a touch of succulent herbs. Silky and sweet on the palate, offering juicy ...Read More »
Robert Sinskey Vineyards is the cult winery that nobody calls a cult winery, an early adopter of organic and Biodynamic winegrowing on over 200 acres of vineyards in the Carneros and Stags Leap districts, and a very culinary-centric operation, too. The winery's note on the vintage: "The 2012 vintage created wines that are as close to perfect as we have ever seen. The translucent, ruby red color triggers symptoms of synesthesia as you think you can almost smell or taste the wine just by looking at its vibrant color. Aromas and flavors of cranberry and ras... Read More »
Winemaker's Notes: "Destemmed in 1¼ ton lots, Jim’s light touch in the winery allows the intrinsic character of the wine to blossom. Passive temperature management ensures spontaneous fermentation proceeds and is monitored and guided by sensory analysis, gentle extraction techniques and low peak temperatures. Immediately upon reaching dryness, the lots are gently pressed in a half-ton wood bladder press and settle 2-4 weeks before being transferred to 5%-10% new French oak barrels for twenty months. They are only racked to prepare for bottling. Maresh Vi... Read More »
Clark & Telephone Vineyard, named after the streets it borders in the Santa Maria Valley, benefits from Pacific wind and fog that winds its way down a channel of the Santa Maria River. The site is planted to the Martini clone of Pinot Noir, which is considered something of a lost treasure. The 2014 has yet to be rated, but the 2013 earned 90 points from the Wine Spectator: "Presents a distinctive mix of raspberry and huckleberry flavors that border on jammy, shaded by smoky, toasty oak. Turns graceful and elegant, with supple, refined tannins and lingeri... Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Light and silky, bright with cherry, raspberry and cinnamon, coming together harmoniously against refined tannins on the expressive finish. Best from 2016 through 2022. 8,000 cases made." (2/2015)91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This bottling occupies the middle step between Ponzi’s Tavola and reserve-level Pinots. The exceptional 2012 vintage delivers a wine with unusual concentration for its price. It presents a refreshing mix of briary berry, mineral, hints of chive, pepper, chocolaty barrel notes and a suggestion of yeast, and is finished with fine-grain tannins." (2/2015)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby-r ...Read More »
92 points Antonio Galloni: "Brewer-Clifton's 2013 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills is a beautiful example of the appellation. Juicy dark cherries, plums, exotic spices and lavender meld together in an effortless, gracious Pinot endowed with depth and personality. Gently spiced notes add shades of nuance on the racy finish. This is a strong set of new releases from Brewer-Clifton. The Chardonnays in particular are brilliant, once again showing just how compelling this vintage can be. As always, the Chardonnays are built on texture and phenolic intensity. The Pinot Noirs are done with 100% ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "There are equal parts strawberry and earth in this Pinot, sourced from the who’s who of vineyard sites in Russian River, including Toboni, Hallberg, Floodgate, Rochioli and Bacigalupi. The components come together in mesmerizing ways, making for a balanced and restrained Pinot that’s fresh in strawberry and cherry as well as seasonings of herb and cinnamon spice, building power as it goes." (12/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The dark ruby-hued 2012 Pinot Noir Russian River reveals a seductive bouquet of black cherries, plums, earth, spice and a hint of oak. Medium-bodied, well-bal ...Read More »