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K&L Staff Recommendations
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "***Editors' Choice*** This is such a good offering at this price, or many other prices, that it would be a worthy house wine to stock for regular consumption. Richly luxurious and softly layered, its texture stands out among well-integrated jolts of earth, black tea and strawberry-rhubarb." (6/2016)
92 points Wine Spectator: "The texture is plush, with lots of complex flavors, ranging from plum to anise to dusty, cedary oak. Satisfying from start to finish, ending with dusty, nutmeg-scented tannins. (JL)" (6/2016) 90 points Decanter: "Complex dark fruit aromas with toasted oak and mineral notes and nuances of tobacco. Zesty, intense palate of raspberry coulis, a touch of oak, soft tannins, and acidity that is refreshingly clean and long." (7/2016) K&L Notes: $20 Pinot Noir is a competitive category, but not always tops with the critics: if the wines are praised, more often than not it's in the "great for weekni... Read More »
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 is part of the higher-end Center of Effort brand. From the winery: "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... Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "***Editors' Choice*** There’s a rugged earthiness and delicious meaty character to this fantastic bottling, which shows dried cranberries, dried olallieberry, smoked pork and hummingbird sage on the brawny nose. A similar power infects the palate, where red and black cherry meet with plum, mulberry, cola, shaved chocolate and a deepening sage character, finishing on crushed mint. (VB)" (8/2016)
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 »
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) K&L Notes: Olema is produced by the folks at Amici Cellars. Fruit for their 2014 Pinot Noir is 50% Russian River Valley, 25% Sonoma Coast, and 25% Sonoma County. The wine was aged in 35% new French oak barrels before bottling. From the winery: " A burst of fresh black cherry, ripe strawberry and cola spice on the nose lead to deep flavors of red fruits with hints of earth, warm spice and vio... 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 »
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 »
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 »
90 points Vinous: "Bright ruby-red. Lively, spice-accented aromas and flavors of fresh raspberry and cherry, with subtle anise and white pepper notes adding complexity. Bright and penetrating on the palate, showing no excess fat. A sexy floral nuance emerges on the back half and the berry note repeats on the finish, which is given shape by even tannins. 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 cor ...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) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Coming from a number of vineyards spread throughout the Central Coast (30% from Laetitia Vineyard, which is the largest component), the 2013 Pinot Noir Central Coast spent 11 months in 10% new French oak prior to bottling. It has a ...Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Light but plump red strawberry fruit mixes with sandalwood, dried sage and thyme on this nose of this estate wine from winemaker Greg Brewer. Lots of spicy herbals show on the palate, from peppercorn and cardamom to thyme and oregano, giving deeper character to the light red-fruit core. (MK)" (12/2015) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of the best values in Pinot Noir out there is Melville's 2013 Pinot Noir Estate and it overdelivers in just about every vintage. Firing on all cylinders on this occasion, with complex red fruits, rose petal and sous bois aromas and flavors all soaring fr ...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 a modest price.
Wine Enthusiast: "Simple but classy aromas of red currant and raspberries show on the nose of this bottling from an all-star team of the appellation. The palate is light and easy, with tart cranberry and a large boost of tannic grip, a surprise for how light it feels. (MK)" (12/2015)
Praise from the Prince of Pinot for the winemaker: "Gary Farrell is considered by many the father of Russian River Pinot Noir. Since the 1980s, his wines have been among the best from the Russian River Valley." Winemaker's tasting notes: "Many of the vineyard lots used to make this cuvée sat on skins for about a week after fermentation. My intention was to increase the tannin to add more complexity in the mouthfeel after some cellaring. This wine is quite approachable and crowd pleasing and I recommend opening the bottle about 15 minutes before drinking ... 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. (JL)" (6/2015) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a taut and trim wine, but with plenty of toasted oak aromas and rich maple and cherry flavors to fill out its firm frame. Flavors combine cinnamon, cardamom, plum and Bing cherry. The texture is moderately tannic and firmly crisp for an attractive, lip-smacking quality. (JG)" (12/2015) K&L Notes: If it looks like a duck, that's because Goldeneye is indeed part of the Duckhorn Vineyar... Read More »
With a goal of affordability and accessibility for everyone, Union Wine Company delivers its Rosé in a can that is "approachable and ready to travel."
92 points Wine & Spirits: "*Best Buy* Ponzi's entry-level red, this lacks any pretension and airs. But its youthful energy, a lively red cherry scent, a plush middle-palate and a Jory-soiled redness to the fruit flavors, not to mention a volcanic grip of tannins, make this a lot of wine for the dough." (2/2016) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Who puts their lowest-priced Pinot Noir in 20% new French oak, and includes fruit from their best vineyards in the blend? Ponzi does, and the result is a terrific vintage for Tavola. Bright, compact, aromatic and lushly fruited with plum and black cherry, th ...Read More »
91 points Vinous: "The 2013 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) is a wonderful introduction to the vintage. Plump, juicy and forward, but with good underlying energy, the 2013 is impeccably balanced from start to finish. Dark red cherry, blueberry, spice, new leather and menthol are pushed forward in an impeccable appellation-level wine to drink now and over the next handful of years. (AG)" (2/2016) Connoisseurs Guide: "...DuMOL's appellation bottling is a well-focused Pinot whose richness lends it a distinct family stamp. It is supple, slightly fleshy and moderately full on the palate with a touc ...Read More »
Stephen Vincent Wines is a partnership between Stephen Vincent Situm, (marketing guru behind such brands as Mondavi, J. Lohr, and Louis Roederer) founder of La Crema, Bob Goyette, vineyard manager Hossein Namdar, and sales and marketing master Stephen Vincent Situm III. Together these men have 100 years of experience in different facets of the wine business and they seek to use that experience to create exceptional wines at super-attractive prices.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice" Sourced from two vineyards, including Sangiacomo Amaral Ranch, a cool site near the bay, this is a tremendous offering for the price. The wine is light, bright and brambly in raspberry and cherry kirsch, with a mischievous streak of cola. Pretty and fresh, it finishes in a tease of black tea." (5/2016) K&L Notes: 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 fores... Read More »
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 strawberry, rich raspberry, earl grey tea, and dried rose petals. The cool summer temperatures of the Santa Lucia Highlands create these expansive aromatics. While the rugged, granite soils deliver the wine's texture - layers of tannins unfold into a broad finish with great depth of flavor and bright acidity."
91 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buy* Fresh and inviting, open-textured and refined, with plum, currant and floral flavors that dance through the supple finish. Shows generosity and finesse, finishing on a roasted note. (Web-2016) (HS)" Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Nicely ripened and yet balanced to firmness with a solid streak of youthful, cherry-like fruit running its length, this well-made, mid-sized Pinot wine goes right to the varietal point. It is slightly juicy and comes with a careful trim of sweet oak, and, if not an especially potent wine, it has the fruity confidence and balance to hold u ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir is a seductive style of Pinot, with a medium ruby color, notes of black cherry and raspberry, light tannin, and not much depth, but it is superficially attractive and supple. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. (RP)" (3/2016)
According to the winery: "Dark garnet in color, this wine showcases bright red fruits on the nose with hints of thyme, tea, and caramel. On the palate, dried cherry and tea flavors dominate the palate, along with secondary earthy, spicy notes, which come together for a long finish. Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County AVA in California. Cooperage: 10 months in barrel; 30% new French oak. Technical Data: 14% alcohol by volume; bottled June 2015, 3,140 cases produced."
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This new sister label from Elk Cove offers 100% Willamette Valley Pinot Noir at an everyday price. Fresh cranberry and raspberry fruit is framed by herb-tinged tannins. The immaculate craftsmanship and clean direct flavors are light years beyond budget Pinot Noir from most other regions. This is your perfect salmon wine. (PG)" (8/2016)
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.
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 »
93 points Vinous: "The 2013 Pinot Noir South Slope once again stands out for its boisterous, explosive personality. Bold, intense flavors race across the palate as this powerful, resonant Pinot shows off its class and personality. Expressive spice notes wrap around a core of dark red fruits in an expressive Pinot that delivers the goods, and then some. Stephen Hansel is one of the most intelligent winery owners in Sonoma. More interested in getting people to drink his wines than in maximizing short-term profit, Hansel continues to offer some of the very best wines readers ...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."
The fruit for the 2015 rosé was grown on the extreme coast of Sonoma County, in some of the most marginal--and rewarding--vineyard sites in the state. The cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean and the rocky, well-drained soils impart bright acidity and fresh red-fruited aromas. Tasting notes from the winemaker: "Brilliant, coral-salmon hue with lifting aromas of strawberry, raspberry, white nectarine, and pink grapefruit. These layered aromatics unfold on the complex palate with verve, tension, and texture precisely balanced by the signature of coastal ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Vinous: "The 2013 Pinot Noir is an attractive wine to drink now and over the next few years. Freshly cut flowers, mint, sweet red cherries and hard candies give the 2013 its lifted, gracious personality. The inclusion of 10% whole clusters adds to the wine's aromatic presence and overall brightness. (AG)" (6/2016)
Toulouse’s scenic vineyard is established as a proven site that has produced 94 point wines. Their fruit is purchased by some of the most renowned winemakers in Anderson Valley, such as the McPhail Family Wines, Phillips-Hill Estates, and Baxter Winery.
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."
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! From the winery's tasting notes: Cherries, raspberries, and chocolate."
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 Spectator: "Offering gorgeous floral scents of lavender, plum, smoke and raspberry, this casts a wide net of red and dark fruit, veering toward toasty oak on the finish. A nice ride from start to finish. (Web-2016) (JL)"
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)
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." (8/2016)
Producer Notes: "Our Carneros Pinot Noir is medium-bodied with rich aromas of dark berry, plum, leather and tobacco. On entry, the wine displays plum and dark berry flavors with earthy and sweet oak notes throughout the mid-palate. The spicy finish lingers on the palate framed by fresh fruit and silky round tannins. Our Pinot Noir fruit is a blend of Pommard and Dijon clones from carefully selected vineyards in the Carneros region. All grapes are hand-picked at night and early mornings to keep the fruit at optimal temperatures. The fruit is then de-s... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Estate, made mostly from Rochioli clonal material and a small portion of the so-called Swan clone, is a beautiful Pinot Noir, very Burgundian, with notes of forest floor, loamy soil undertones, sweet black cherries and Asian plum sauce. It is dark ruby, lush, medium to full-bodied and ideal for drinking over the next 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 Walter Hansel Wine & Bistro on Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa... The ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Rich and textural, this gloriously mixes raspberries, cherries, baking spices, cola, cocoa and coconut components, all woven together seamlessly. It’s forward and juicy, yet built for medium-term aging. Drink now through 2026." (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. 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 aroma... Read More »
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 »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* A complex and complete wine with everything in place, this tastes delicious from the first whiff to the lingering finish. It has fresh-baked bread and light peach aromas and white-cherry flavors. Well balanced, it’s layered on a subtle level and harmonious." (12/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Floral aromas of raspberry and white chocolate open to crisp, festive flavors of graham cracker, spice and red apple." (11/2014) Wine & Spirits: "This captures the frank, delicious energy of Anderson Valley pinot noir (60 percent of the blend) in tones of red raspberry, orange peel and cherry ...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.
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "This includes grapes from the winery’s Jerusalem Hill vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, in addition to the Dundee Hills sites, hence the more general Willamette Valley designation. It was aged in 65% new French oak for 16 months. It’s open and generous, offering bright berry, cherry and red currant fruit matched to defining acids, all set in a fine-tuned frame of new oak. Re-tasted 24 hours after being opened, it remained fresh, dense and satisfying." (8/2015) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Pinot Noir Evenstad Reserve was picked from late summer after one of the driest on r ...Read More »