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K&L Staff Recommendations
92 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Lithe, supple, lively and expressive, layering boysenberry, pomegranate, floral and coffee notes on a sleek frame, with powdery tannins. Finishes with presence and persistence. (HS)" (8/2016) 91 points Vinous: "Brilliant red. A heady, seductively perfumed bouquet evokes raspberry liqueur, floral pastilles and Asian spices. Sweet and energetic on the palate, offering juicy red berry and cherry flavors that deepen and spread out slowly as the wine opens up. Silky and seamless in texture, delivering strong closing thrust, rounded tannins and an emphatic echo of sap ...Read More »
Allen Meadows - Burghound: "A moderately high-toned nose features notes of red cherry and raspberry along with spice and briar nuances. There is good verve to the delicious and rounded middle weight flavors that possess solid mid-palate density yet the palate impression is one of refinement if not delicacy, all wrapped in a delicious, clean and agreeably dry finale. Lovely and fashioned in an understated style and this reasonably complex effort should drink well young if desired." (4/2016)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Argyle Brut is a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir from high elevation sites, partly from the Spirit Hill Vineyard. It has a lifted lime flower and white peach-scented bouquet, floral in style and very well defined. The palate is fresh and vibrant on the entry with squeezed lime and green apple notes, well-judged acidity and a zesty finish that is just the ticket on a warm summer's day. Recommended. I am often impressed how New World sparkling wine stacks up against much of Champagne, and Argyle is no exception. Nate Klosterman makes s ...Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Brilliant red. High-pitched raspberry and rose scents are complemented by hints of anise and allspice. Shows very good energy and depth to the red berry and floral pastille flavors, which are given lift by a spine of juicy acidity. Closes smooth, spicy and very long; fine-grained tannins frame the juicy, appealingly sweet red fruit. This wine delivers outstanding value and shows impressive nerve for a warm vintage. (JR)" (8/2016) K&L Notes: If you're looking for a Pinot Noir that expresses the "Red Hills of Dundee" or know nothing about Dundee, but want a fresh, fowa... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
91 points Vinous: "Lurid red. Vibrant, sharply focused scents of ripe red berries and candied flowers are complicated by suggestions of cinnamon and allspice. Lithe and appealingly sweet on the palate, offering intense raspberry, cherry and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out with air. The floral note comes back strong on the clinging, spice-laced finish, which is given shape by harmonious, slow-building tannins. This wine delivers outstanding value and is an auspicious inaugural offering for this project, which is owned by the proprietors of California Pinot Noir ...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 »
Deep, dark ruby in color, this wine offers aromas of ripe fig, pumpkin seed and strawberry coulis. The palate is tightly focused with flavors of bright currant, cola and a hint of pungent, wild mushroom. The mouthfeel is supple yet structured with well integrated tannins that provide the integrity for this charming wine.
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 »
Vinous: "Brilliant red. Spice-tinged cherry and red berries on the fragrant nose. Taut and focused, offering bitter cherry and red currant flavors and a sweeter hint of candied rose on the back half. Clings with good tenacity on the finish, which is framed by gentle, even tannins. (JR)" (11/2016) K&L Notes: Established in 1982 by Craig and Claudia Broadley, the estate is now in its second generation, with their son and daughter-in-law joining the team. They meticulously grow fruit on their estate vineyard and source from other top sites in Willamette. The 2014 blend was made ... Read More »
90 points Vinous: "Brilliant red. Spice-tinged cherry and red berries on the fragrant nose. Taut and focused, offering bitter cherry and red currant flavors and a sweeter hint of candied rose on the back half. Clings with good tenacity on the finish, which is framed by gentle, even tannins. For many years, Brooks’ winemaker Chris Williams has been producing some of the finest bottlings of dry Riesling in the New World. His 2014s will only serve to bolster this winery’s already solid spot at the top of the shopping lists of those who love crackling, pure examples of the var ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Cameron Winery is a small operation in the Dundee Hills. They are dedicated to producing sustainably-farmed, naturally made wines from unirrigated vineyards. Owner and winemaker John-Paul Cameron says of the wine: "Aromas of rhubarb and fennel give way to ripe strawberries in the round and luscious mouth. The palate finishes with soft tannins and moderate acidity. A perfect accompaniment to Pecorino, Saint-Aubert or a triple cream blue cheese…which we happened to be tasting the last time we opened a bottle."
As the name indicates, this Pinot Noir is vinified entirely in stainless steel. After hand sorting and destemming, the berries are fermented a style similar to carbonic maceration, resulting in a very aromatic, bright wine.
91 points Vinous: "Brilliant red. Primary dark berry aromas complicated by floral and mineral nuances. Seamless, weighty and gently sweet, offering juicy black raspberry and cherry flavors sharpened and given spicy bite by a suggestion of cracked pepper. The floral note comes back on the long, gently tannic finish, which leaves a hint of candied dark berries behind. Very much in the style of the vintage, but this wine isn't lacking at all for energy. (JR)" (8/2016) Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Reasonably ripe and yet a bit muted in its expression of fruit and following the comparatively const ...Read More »
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 »
Founded in 1972, the home base of Clos du Val has always been the Stags Leap District but they source Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from an estate property in Carneros. A perfect growing season in 2014 was only marred by an earthquake that left a large crack running through the middle of this estate vineyard, but the damage was only cosmetic. From the winemaker: "Brilliant red in color, this Pinot Noir has great clarity. Clove, nutmeg and bayleaf absolutely leap from the glass. This wine is just loaded with an array of spices. The complex nose leads to bold ... Read More »
According to the winery: "With the color of freshly cut cantoulope, our 2015 “Tous Ensemble” Rosé evokes distinct aromas of racy citrus fruits and delicate white flowers. On the palate, juicy watermelon and fresh strawberries are supported by lively acidity to give this gorgeous wine a food friendly structure. The 2015 vintage will be remembered for high quality and lower yields. The growing season started out with unseasonably warm temperatures in late winter and early spring. Cooler temperatures in May caused some uneven fruit set that contributed to s... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
91 points Vinous: "Brilliant ruby-red. Ripe red berry and rose oil scents pick up notes of cola and allspice as the wine opens up. Fleshy and seamless on the palate, offering bitter cherry and black raspberry flavors enlivened by a spicy element that builds with air. The floral note comes back steadily on the gently tannic finish, which lingers with very good tenacity. Here's another entry-level 2014 that performs well above its station. (JR)" (8/2016) K&L Notes: According to the winery: "True to its growing season, our 2014 Dundee Hills is a medium-deep garnet color, with a dark core.... Read More »
90 points Vinous: "Dark red. Ripe red fruits, pungent flowers and a hint of cola on the perfumed nose. Juicy and seamless in the mouth, offering pliant black raspberry and cherry flavors and a refreshing jolt of spicy white pepper. Finishes sweet and long, displaying smooth tannins and lingering floral and dark berry notes. (JR)" (11/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Pinot Noir is a blend of six vineyard sites that goes through a barrel selection, matured in wood for ten months. It offers brambly red fruit on the nose, a little darker than some others, but nicely defined and full of charm. The ...Read More »
Vinous: "Vivid red. Musky cherry pit and underbrush aromas are complemented by hints of white pepper and licorice. Taut and sharply focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry and berry skin flavors that open up slowly on the back half. Displays good energy and a faintly tart edge on the finish, which is firmed by dusty, slow-building tannins. (JR)" (10/2015)
Elegant and Burgundian in style, organically and dry-farmed, Evesham Wood's wines are simply gorgeous examples of Oregon Pinot.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Fermented in an open oak vat and aged in barrel for thre months with full malolactic, the 2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir has a well-defined, fresh, Morello cherry and rosewater scented bouquet. The palate is well balanced with sour cherry, sea salt and a twist of bitter lemon - an edgy and tensile Rosé that cries out to be partnered with food rather than something you would drink on its own. (NM)" (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: "*Editors' Choice* This lower-priced Pinot from the Center of Effort team punches way above its weight in the vintage, showing light cherry-blossom and black-cherry aromas mixed with gamy meat and wet slate. Blackberry pie is cut with orange rind on the sip, with an earthy grip showing flavors of juniper, crushed clove and pipe tobacco." (10/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I found the 2014 Pinot Noir Fossil Point to be straightforward and a touch simple, but at 19 bucks, who can argue. Medium-bodied, well made and with pretty notes of sweet cherries, framboise and spice, this value ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star, Good Value* This engaging, nicely crafted Blanc de Noirs does an exceptionally nice job at being fruity and fresh and moderately yeasty all at the same time. It smacks mildly of juicy cherries while showing plenty of creamy autolysis and is enlivened by perky acidity and a full, frothy mousse. It stands out from its similarly priced, large-production cousins and is an out-and-out steal when found at a discount as it routinely is." (11/2016) 90 points Wine & Spirits: "This isn’t complex, but something about its sweet, sunny fruit and gentle precision feels properly Califor ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A smokin' effort, as well as a terrific value, the 2014 Pinot Noir Hahn SLH (mostly from the Smith Vineyard) offers classic notes of forest floor, toasted spice, licorice and tons of Pinot Noir fruit in its medium-bodied, textured and layered profile. At 30 bucks, I'm hard pressed to come up with a better value in Pinot Noir. Drink this pleasure bent beauty over the coming 4-5 years. An estate that has hit another level of quality over the past few vintages, Hahn Family Wines focuses on estate vineyards in both the Santa Lucia Highlands and the Arroyo Se ...Read More »
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)
Robert Parker writes: "This fine winery continues to turn out well-made, fruity, mid-weight wines that are elegant, vibrant, and immensely satisfying."
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!
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)
90 points Vinous: "Full red. A lively, incisive nose displays red berry and cherry scents accented by hints of white pepper, game and musky herbs. Juicy red currant and bitter cherry flavors unfold slowly, showing very good clarity and a touch of medicinal bitterness. Taut and racy in style, finishing with firm thrust, dusty tannins and a suave, lingering floral pastille quality. I like this wine's tension and detail. (JR)" (11/2016)
A good example of what we can do when a producer doesn't mind us using their name under the Kalinda moniker is the 2015 Kalinda Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. On our recent trip to the Willamette Valley, we spread the word that we were looking for a 2015 Pinot Noir to bottle under our private label. We asked numerous wineries that we know and trust, and a lot of them sent us a lot of really great wine. We already knew 2015 was shaping up to be an outstanding vintage, but we felt that that the bottling we tasted from Chehalem was the best on the table. As ... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Juicy acids brighten up the mouthfeel, with pineapple, citrus and black-cherry-cola flavors commingling. This was aged nine months in 20% new French barrels. (PG)" (6/2016) Wine Spectator: "Taut and expressive, layered with plum, guava, floral and spice flavors that persist against light, crisp tannins on the sleek finish. (HS)" (5/2016) K&L Notes: Ryan Harms is the owner and winemaker at Union Wines, whose motto is "drink with your pinkies down." Union makes killer Oregon wines at different price points (Kings Road represents the middle tier) that showcase the terroir while providing ... Read More »
The "Overlook" Pinot Noir is meant to capture the essence of that year's vintage by sourcing and blending the grapes from the finest cool climate vineyards in California. The 2013 is rich with cherry, spearmint, black tea, baking spice, raspberry and forest floor.
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 »
Winemaker Matt Kinne describes his winemaking methods: "What separates Pinot noir from other red varietals is its ability to express itself in such a confident and understated form. Pinot noir at its finest is red, not black; freshly fragrant; richly and brightly flavored with complexity and length. The winemaker's hand is light to balance, not mute these attributes and promote the purest possible expression a vineyard has to offer. Appropriately, McKinlay Pinot noir ferments with native yeasts, without enzyme additions; ages in modest percentages (25% o... Read More »
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 smooth on the palate. Long finish. Drink now. 750,000 cases made." (11/2016) K&L Notes: Ruby hued with aromas of fresh strawberry and jammy fruits. Boysenberry, blackberry and dark cherry envelop the palate with a supple and silky texture.
Wine Spectator: "Offers a rich candied-apple mix of red and dark berry fruit that has a hibiscus scent and a perfumed presence on the finish. (JL, Web-2016)"
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "There's a very candied red-cherry quality to the nose of this wine from a vineyard that the winery will cease using with this vintage, along with sexy aromas of violet, lilac, clove, cola, peppercorn and rose. A sage-driven character emerges once sipped, giving spice to bright red, slightly sour cranberry fruit. (MK)" (12/2015) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Coming from the estate Verna's Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills and 60% destemmed, the 2013 Pinot Noir Estate Verna's Vineyard was fermented in 1.5 ton open-top stainless-steel fermenters before aging 11 months all in neutral oak. It ...Read More »
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.
Mignanelli focuses on making Pinot Noir from cool climate and mountainous vineyards.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Moving to the reds and offering good Pinot Noir typicity, for not much buck, the 2014 Pinot Noir from Nielson offers forward notes of cherries, strawberries, spice and dried herbs in a medium-bodied, supple, thoroughly enjoyable package. Drink it over the coming couple of years. (JD)" (8/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "Fairly light in aromas, this bottling shows red cherry and raspberry fruit lifted with an herbal edge of crushed thyme. The palate is also dainty in flavors, clinging to wet slate and cement minerality more so than fruit, although touches of cranberry and hibiscus no ...Read More »
Move over Bacchus, Oeno is here and she's ready for her time in the sun. The Greek goddess of wine is this project's spiritual patron, created by industry pro Amy Atwood. Unable to find affordable domestic wines made with native yeasts and neutral oak, she sought out California winemakers who would make these wines to her specifications.
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. Drink now." (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 ...Read More »
Omero Cellars is a small, family-run outfit in the Ribbon Ridge area of the Willamette Valley, and founded in 2008 by Bill and Staci Moore.