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K&L Staff Recommendations
The 50 by 50 Estate is a twenty-three acre property situated southeast of the Atlas Peak AVA and north of the Wild Horse AVA. More specifically, it sits on the Monticello Road incline in the Wooden Valley of Napa, California. Starting at a roadside elevation of 830 feet, it meanders pleasantly down to 600 feet. The gentle slopes are covered with forward gravelly loam, a rich volcanic soil that drains well and lends itself perfectly to the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot varietals that are presently being planted there for the purpose of pro... Read More »
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) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Deceptively light and tight when first opened, this wine has flavors and character more in line with Gamay than most Pinots. Tart cranberry and raspberry fruit carries into a tangy finish, with citrus, mineral and herbal highlights. (PG)" (8/2016)
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 »
If you're looking for a Pinot Noir that expresses the "Red Hills of Dundee" or know nothing about Dundee, but want a fresh, foward-drinking Pinot Noir, the Arterberry Maresh will be right up your alley. It's a fantastically red-fruited Pinot Noir, with dense Dundee flavors deftly interwoven with spice and earth notes. This is declassified Maresh fruit (planted in 1970), with some supporting fruit from the exemplary Juliard and Winderlea vineyards.
Averaen Pinot Noir comes from the folks at Banshee, and is made in Oregon by winemaker Adam Smith, who made Banshee's first batch! They always make a spot-on quality-for-price Pinot, and we're excited to see them in action in Oregon. The winery's vintage notes: "A mild winter led to early bud break, and early flowering. Weather was perfect around bloom, giving way to excellent fruit set. The hot, dry summer brought accelerated ripening. Warm/early sites came off the vine first week of September, breaking records for red-wine harvest timing. Warm, windy ... Read More »
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 »
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 »
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 with destemmed fruit and fermented with wild yeasts in stainless steel. According to the winery's tasting notes, "raspberry and cherry aromas dominate, with hints of cranberry, spice and subtle mushroom/earth... Flavors of black raspberry, pomegranate, leather and earth open mid-palate ... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Broad and open-textured, with firm tannins around a generous core of cherry and spice flavors, lingering well. Drink now through 2020. 3,811 cases made." (2/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "Put this into the budget category (for Oregon Pinot Noir) where it shines. Fruity and forward, there’s plenty to like in the mix of orange flesh and rind, and strawberry and cherry hard candy. The fruit is backed with ample tannin, and a warm touch of mocha and toast fills in the finish." (12/2016)
90 points Vinous: "The 2012 Pinot Noir Bench Break is a classic Cambria wine with exuberant fruit, deep color and exotic spice overtones. Lavender, menthol and cloves add complexity to the dark red and blue-toned fruit. The firm tannins could use another year or two to soften. (AG)" (7/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Better, with a deeper, richer color, the 2012 Pinot Noir Bench Break offers a straightforward, subtle bouquet of black fruits, cherry blossom, underbrush and pretty floral notes to go with a medium-bodied, nicely concentrated profile. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak, it can be enjoy ...Read More »
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."
Connoisseurs Guide: "Freshness rather than fruity volume is the major message here, and, if the wine is light on richness, it gets good marks for vigor and its close-to piquant, red cherry and strawberry traits. Its acidy inflection becomes more pronounced at the finish, and it may prove to be a little too tart for some tastes, but it will make useful drinking with entrees that call for a crisp Rosé with decidedly zesty acidity as a mate." (7/2016) Vinous: "The 2015 Rosé Hopkins Ranch is crisp and refreshing, with plenty of cranberry, orange zest and floral notes. The 2015 is absolutel ...Read More »
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.
Connoisseurs Guide: "Reasonably ripe and yet a bit muted in its expression of fruit and following the comparatively constrained model of most of its siblings early on, this medium-full-bodied Pinot displays a little more fruity amplitude and depth in its flavors than expected. It is structured to firmness and finishes with a touch of late-arriving angularity that will become less apparent with time, and, while we like the wine now, we anticipate liking it more once three or four years have passed." (10/2016) K&L Notes: Estate-grown Pinot Noir from Ridgecrest Vineyards (60%), Corral Creek... Read More »
The Cherry Tart bottling pulls fruit from three distinctive vineyards in different parts of California: Sonoma Coast, Santa Lucia, and Santa Barbara. From the winery: "The 2014 Cherry Tart Pinot Noir jumps from the glass with aromas of raspberry, nutmeg, sandalwood and light smokiness, lifted by a floral note. Silky and delicate up front, with ripe acidity framing the rich, sweet flavors of red berries, red cherry and earth. Offers good fat without excess weight, finishing with a fine dusting of tannins and very good length."
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 »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Pretty is the word that comes to mind upon sniffing and sipping this wine, with its beguiling strawberry and cherry fruit. It gathers strength in its core, while maintaining an elegant, well-structured acid/tannin frame. It's an outstanding value in Oregon Pinot from a top producer. (PG)" (4/2016)
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 »
This wine is a collaboration between Jesse Skiles of Fausse Piste, Tom Monroe of Division Winemaking Company, and Barnaby Tuttle of Teutonic. According to Olga Tuttle of Teutonic: "The Tripod Project was formed by a three-way friendship between Barnaby, Jesse and Tom who share the same philosophy about wine, but different winemaking techniques and styles. They wanted to see how a wine would taste made literally three different ways and then brought back together. The Riesling and Pinot Noir fruit was split up three ways and all went to separate wineries ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Located on SE Division in Portland, Oregon, Division is an urban winery inspired by the wines of the Loire, Beaujolais, Burgundy and the Northern Rhone.
Inventory: San Francisco
According to the winery: "True to its growing season, our 2014 Dundee Hills is a medium-deep garnet color, with a dark core. On the nose, the wine is refined, with clear notes of spice, rose, black cherry, plum, and sweet red fruits, all wrapped in an earthiness that lends a surprising rustic touch. On the palate, the aromatics follow through with layered spice, white pepper, dark cherry and black berry, framed by youthful tannins. The finish is long and the texture has real depth."
According to the winery: "With blissfully plummy color, this wine puts its structure first in line. It produces a snoot-full of spicy cranberry, crushed stones, lilac and cherry. Punctuated with a vibrant palate of blueberry & mescal, generous with lush acidity and framed with oak. 30% whole cluster, aged 12 months in barrel."
Inventory: San Francisco
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 palate is medium-bodied with a soft, approachable entry. There is good volume in the mouth with blackberry, raspberry, white pepper and truffle-Iike notes with a structure underlying the fruit-driven finish. Good value Oregon Pinot Noir. Yeah...I like Elk Cove. I like the cut of their jib. These are examples of Oregon ...Read More »
From the winery: "The delicate nature of Oregon Pinot Noir requires a soft hand in the cellar. The clusters were 100% destemmed with a few select lots having small amounts of stems added back to the fermenter for phenolic augmentation. The must underwent an extended cold soak, ranging from five days to two weeks, and during fermentation both punch-down and pump-over techniques were utilized. We monitor the separate lots and tailor the extraction methods to the needs of each one. We find this style of reactive winemaking is the best way to coax the optima... Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Good dark red. Complex aromas of smoky raspberry, cassis, black cherry, minerals and earth. Lovely concentration and purity of raspberry flavor; offers sappy freshness and a silky texture. Finishes long and subtle, with light, dusty tannins. Still quite young. This seems superior to the '97 release. The crop level was low in '98 and the berries were small, notes Soter, who added that there were more problems with heat in both '96 and '99. (ST)" (5/2000)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
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. From the winery: "Very forward with plum, dark cherry, red cherry with a slightly sweet smokiness reminiscent of a toasted marshmallow. It will be fun to watch this wine evolve over the next five years."
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 »
Single-vineyard wines that express terroir is the end game for this winery, and the name says as much, as it translates from the Latin to "Spirit of Place."
Inventory: Main Warehouse
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Small in production and clearly defined from Carneros, this Blanc de Noirs blends 92% Pinot Noir with 8% Chardonnay to great effect. Pretty in peach color, the intense flavors are a combination of fresh-cut herb and strawberry kirsch." (12/2014) Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* On the one hand bright and fruity and on the other showing a bit of yeasty richness even as it flirts ever so slightly with candied cuteness, this effervescent offering is lifted by its youth and finds a very comfortable place in the mainstream of affable, easy-to-drink California Blanc de Noirs that a ...Read More »
91 points Decanter: "Stern cherry nose, underlaid by sweet oak. Rich and fleshy with good concentration and typicity and a lively, spicy finish. Assertive and long but not heavy. (GH)" (8/2015) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Red-cherry and strawberry aromas meld with rich fruit and warm baking-spice flavors to make this full-bodied wine hard to resist. The style is in the ripe, pastry shop mode, and soft tannins and acidity complete the picture. (JG)" (8/2016)
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 »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(made with fruit grown in seven different vineyards; includes 5% Valdiguie): Vivid red. Primary red berry and cherry skin aromas offer straightforward appeal. Tangy cherry and redcurrant flavors show good clarity and lift, with a peppery element adding bite. Finishes clean and slightly tart, with no obvious tannins and an echo of peppery spices. (JR)" (12/2014) Vinous: "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 cher ...Read More »
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!
Wine Enthusiast: "Here's a second-label, inexpensive Pinot Noir with genuine character and style. Full flavored, it offers clean and substantial fruit—ripe plum and cherry—along with a dash of sweet spice and mocha. (MK)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: The Jezebel is a fruit-forward, early-drinking Pinot Noir, with the balanced acidity and bright fruit flavors that you would expect from Oregon Pinot. It is a blend of wine from vineyards in the Willamette Valley and from the Applegate Valley in southern Oregon. The fruit is cropped around two to three tons per acre and fermented in small lots wit... Read More »
90 points Vinous: "Deep, lurid pink. A wild, highly perfumed bouquet evokes medicinal red fruits, blood orange, potpourri and quinine, with a zesty white pepper overtone; smells exactly like a Negroni. The palate offers incisive redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors and a jolt of orange pith, along with a hint of candied ginger. Dry and minerally on the long, precise finish, which shows resonating spice and floral notes. The Brooklyn and Portland crowd will especially go nuts for this but I suspect that plenty of un-hip wine lovers will as well; I did and I'm an old suburba ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
The K&L Kalinda wines are consistently among the best values in our store. We work closely with top producers to bring you first-rate wine at reasonable prices. We can't reveal our sources, but we can say that this is a steal.
Kalinda can be a lot of things. It can be really good bulk wine that is available to us. It can be a wine that we help create from scratch from a winery we have a great relationship with and wants to work with us. Or in the case of the NV Kalinda North Coast Pinot Noir it can be from a famous and elusive winery that had some extra bits and pieces that they pieced together not because they didn't work for them but because the recent vintages just didn't produce enough fruit to make to make them financially viable for the "secret" winery. Bottom line is th... Read More »
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 »