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K&L Staff Recommendations
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* This is an impressive effort, especially considering it is the winery’s mass-production cuvée. All in proportion, it’s built upon an acid/mineral base, with tangy, just-ripe berry fruit. It feels quite delicate, yet has the persistence and structure of a more substantial wine. Aged for 10 months in one-quarter new French oak, it’s worth tucking a few bottles away for a long-term look." (12/2014)92 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Taut, tart and surprisingly generous, blooming with juicy, cranberry-accented blackberry, cherry and spice flavors that linger easi ...Read More »
This is a lovely pinot noir from Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery. They're located in the up-and-coming Corralitos area in the southern end of the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation and close to the cool Monterey Bay. One-time residents of the area might recognize this as another delicious product from the founders of the original Alfaro's Bakery! From the producer: "Ruby in color, medium in body. Bright cherry and raspberry on the nose, with abundant Bing cherry, spice and vanilla flavors on the palate. This wine has well-integrated tannins and refres... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "**Editors' Choice** A fascinating wine, it was processed in a carbonic fashion, in which the juice is allowed to ferment inside the mostly intact grape skins, much like what’s done in Beaujolais. The result is a transparent, ruby red wine that offers scents of a dust storm mixed with crushed rock and chile pepper herbaciousness. It’s warm and soft on the mouth with a presence that suggests something between peppercorns and bell peppers." (9/2014)90 points Antonio Galloni: "Pale red. Sexy, high-pitched aromas of wild red berries, Asian spices and white pepper, with a minerally nuance ...Read More »
90 points Antonio Galloni: "Pale red. Sexy, high-pitched aromas of wild red berries, Asian spices and white pepper, with a minerally nuance coming up with aeration. Clean and focused on the palate, offering tangy strawberry and bitter redcurrant flavors with hints of allspice and mace. Clean, spicy and precise on a finish that features silky tannins and subtle sweetness. Reminded me a lot of an energetic, fruit-driven Beaujolais from a top-notch producer. (Josh Raynolds)" (12/2014)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby. Sexy red fruit aromas show good clarity and lift, with Asian spice and floral nuances addi ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Brut is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay undergoing a 5% malolactic fermentation and disgorged in September 2014. It was matured in 20% neutral oak and 80% stainless steel. It has a vibrant citrus-driven bouquet that is well defined and offers a little touch of peach with aeration. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, touches of brioche and pineapple with a fresh, vivacious finish. Excellent - and great value, too." (3/2015)90 points Wine Spectator: "Light and appealing, with an airy texture and smoky, toasty watermelon and floral flavors, finishing ...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 »
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: "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 »
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.
Great Buy - Just Reduced! On our recent trip to Oregon this summer we certainly found plenty of great wines and met with a multitude of amazingly talented people. Many of the wines we found on that trip have already come in and sold out mostly due to our sheer excitement about the quality of wines we found. One of the most exciting opportunities from that trip was to work closely with our friends at Bethel Heights to put together a Pinot Noir exclusive to K&L as part of our burgeoning Co-Branded project. This 2013 Bethel Heights/K&L Wine Merchants Eola-A... Read More »
Bishop's Peak is a second label of Talley Vineyards representing the greater Central Coast region. The fruit is sourced from the McCullough, Stone Corral, C-Bar, Las Ventanas, East Rincon, and Marcam Vineyards. From the winery: "Brilliant garnet in color, the 2013 vintage of Bishop’s Peak Pinot Noir bursts with aromas of strawberry and raspberry complimented with subtle notes of earth and soil. This medium bodied wine has elegant flavors consistent with its aromas, soft tannins and refreshing acidity. Enjoy a glass with a wedge of Fontina cheese or garl... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "* Editors' Choice * This is made from Pinot Noir grapes grown in two unlikely places in the Napa Valley: the Foss Valley near Atlas Peak and Spring Mountain. There is incredible deliciousness going on in this ever-so-lightly hued wine that is vibrantly crisp in grapefruit rind and earthy cranberry and raspberry. With the slightest salinity on the back palate, it remains thirst-quenching and memorable from start to finish." (6/2015)
From the winery: "The Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is a blend from highly regarded vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Black raspberry, anise, and spicy notes of nutmeg,cinnamon. Mid-palate burst of balanced acid and tannin with flavors of black cherry, cranberry and spice with a crisp full mouth finish. A successful blend from the best of the Willamette Valley 2013 vintage."
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This single-vineyard selection from the Jackson Family’s Santa Maria Valley winery kicks off with scents ranging from red, blistered tomato to pomegranate reduction and mole sauce. On the palate, flavors vary from sweeter berry to tart cherry, with a savory, roasted pork element rounding out the wine." (10/2014)
90 points Wine Spectator: "Light and focused, with real transparency to the cherry and rooibos tea flavors, dancing deftly against polished tannins on the sleek finish." (2/2015)
Inventory: Redwood City
According to the winery: "All wines at Chalk Hill are estate bottled, but our philosophy goes beyond the conventional definition. Each of our 60 vineyard blocks are tended throughout the year individually. The grapes are then hand harvested, parcel by parcel and fermented in small, distinct lots. This meticulous handling of the vines, grapes and finished wine allows the ultimate expression of Chalk Hill's many and varied terroirs."
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)
From the winery: "The 2014 vintage boasts a clean and refreshing mouthfeel, full of delicious strawberry and raspberry flavors, with hints of green tea. It’s hard to resist the bright cherry and rhubarb aromas that leap straight out of the glass. This flavorful rosé is sure to pair well with grilled chicken thighs, asparagus-cheese tartines, herb-infused flatbread or roasted beet salad. With just over 250 cases produced, it’s best to stock up before it’s too late!"
Inventory: Redwood City
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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "A powerful spice rack of mace, allspice and cinnamon stick coat aromas of roasted tomatoes on this wine from the longtime Alsatian-focused producer. The flavors come and go quickly, but feature orange peel-driven acidity, squeezed plum fruit and cranberry juice." (2/2015)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
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 »
From the winery: "With a gorgeous hue of pale pink, our 2014 Rosé jumps out of the glass with crisp red fruit flavors. The supple texture is backed by a vibrant freshness and appealing acidity, making this a wonderfully versatile food wine. The 2014 vintage started dry but abundant February rain came just in time to break the winter draught. Warm spring temperatures encouraged an early budbreak that kept vineyard development ahead of schedule through the entire season. Our harvest was condensed beginning September 3rd and concluding on September 24th. Fo... Read More »
Two of three sites sourced for this wine were farmed specifically for rosé, not as a riper, saignée cuvée. The winery's notes: "We are very pleased with the result from our firth rosé of Pinot Noir. We are again reminded of the more Sancerre style Loire rosé wines with the distinct mineral and briny profile. The wine is showing floral and spice nose with savory and wild strawberry aspects. The palate mineral rich, like wet rock, and intense in strawberry and Rainier cherry. The wine is light and crisp and has an intense wild pink salmon color. Out of the... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
According to the winemaker: "Always one of my favorite bottlings, this year's Eola Amity blend greets one with dense and pure black and red cherry and hints of cinnamon. Those cherry flavors follow through to the lively mid-palate where fresh herbs and plum flavors join, followed by a silky finish."
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."
According to the winery: "This rosé is vinified differently from most: fully barrel fermented in neutral oak, it is aged 6 months before bottling. Full-flavored and rich, with creamy strawberry notes. It is balanced with a lingering finish that lasts just long enough for you to pour yourself another glass.
Connoisseurs Guide: "Quite dark in color and suggesting a fair sense of extract with a tilt to ripe cherries and plenty of size on the palate, this somewhat uneven youngster turns out to be a bit stiff in feel with obvious acidity providing a tart counterpoint to its short-lived sensations of suppleness. The richness first promised is hard to find at the finish, and, while it may find better integration with time, it is a wine that needs a few years of age and bit of good luck if it is to grow into real beauty." (2/2015) Wine & Spirits: "Ripe and grapey, this lasts on simple, sun-warmed blue f ...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 »
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)
Gallo's "Signature Series" wines are billed as a return to hands-on winemaking for third generation winemaker Gina Gallo. Indeed, this wine is a single vineyard selection, from the Olson Ranch, "a cascading vineyard perched atop the terraces of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range with a terroir that echoes that of Burgundy." The "Signature Series" Pinot Noir has received positive tasting notes and a 93 points from Wine Enthusiast in recent vintages. Confidently bearing the Gallo name, this wine represents the new era of quality for the winery...yet at a very ... Read More »
Robert Goyette was the original founder of La Crema, as well as an integral part of Chalk Hill and Benziger Family Wineries
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Hometown is a very pretty entry-level offering from Hitching Post. Partial aging in stainless steel keeps the flavors bright and nuanced throughout, with plenty of sweet red cherry, cherry pit, mint and spice nuances that come through. A dollop of Valdiguie rounds out the blend. At $21 a bottle, the Hometown is one of the best values in California Pinot Noir. Frank Ostini is quite humble in talking about how Sideways basically changed his life and made his Hitching Post II restaurant a hugely popular tourist destination, which in turn ...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.
This is made by Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat. Aged in 75% new French oak barrels, the 2009 "Les Reveles-Elke Vineyard" Pinot Noir is a complex, earthy style, with floral and spicy red fruit aromas and flavors accented by notes of cherry and sandalwood on the zesty finish.