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K&L Staff Recommendations
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another incredible wine that's shockingly good for the price, the 2013 Tessellae Old Vines checks in as a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 20% Mourvedre that was aged all in concrete tank. It offers brilliant notes of black cherries, blueberry, licorice, clove and spring flowers in its medium to full-bodied, gorgeously pure profile. Showing more and more finesse and elegance with time in the glass, as well as classic Roussillon minerality on the finish, it has loads of fruit and texture yet is never heavy, cumbersome or cloying. It's hard to believe ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I have loved the wines from Domaine Lafage in the past, and this 2013 Bastide Miraflors Cotes Catalanes is one of the greatest red wine values I have tasted in the last year or so. A custom cuvee put together by Eric Solomon and Jean-Marc Lafage, it is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache that spent one year in 80% concrete tank (Grenache) and 500-liter demi-muids (Syrah). From a Roussillon vineyard dominated by gallets roules that resembles many Chateauneuf du Pape vineyards, the wine undergoes a long maceration of six weeks. The result is an inky/blue ...Read More »
91-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A wine that blew me away was the 2014 Languedoc Les Darons by Jeff Carrel. Still in barrel, it offers thrilling notes of black and blue fruits, violets, and peppery spice to go with a medium to full-bodied, elegant, seamless profile on the palate. A blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Carignan and 10% Syrah that was fermented and aged all in concrete tank, it has striking purity, integrated acidity and a great finish. It should drink nicely on release and have 7-8 years of overall longevity. (JD)" (4/2015) K&L Notes: From the importer: "An accessible wine with loads of charac... Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "*Good Value* Sweet spices, juicy red fruit, a touch of marzipan and appreciable tannic grip for Côtes du Rhône. Nicely made – more serious than most." (3/2015) K&L Notes: Just across the Rhône river from the esteemed vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this 88-acre estate is owned and operated by Rodolphe de Pins, a UC Davis graduate and former member of the winemaking staff at Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe. Montfaucon crafts their Côtes du Rhône to express the intense fruit characteristics of the appellation, blending to achieve harmony and balance.
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A custom cuvee and joint venture with importer Eric Solomon, the 2013 Tessellae Vieilles Vignes is 100% Carignan and comes from 70-year-old vines and the schist soils of Maury and Les Aspres. It is an off-the-charts value that offers up thrilling notes of black raspberry, chocolate, graphite, tar and licorice to go with a voluptuous, decadent, yet seamless and gorgeously pure feel on the palate. Seriously, this wine is smoking good and should thrill for 4-5 years, if not longer. Just pretend you paid more for it. Most of these wines are custom cuvees mad ...Read More »
Just to the north of Cobieres and to the east of the walled city of Carcassonne, lies Minervois. The appellation has equally diverse soils like Corbieres but limestone and clay are its primary ones. This is a warm region with a very Mediterranean climate. The hills are covered with the local scrub, known as garrigue, forests and vineyards. Our newest producer from the region is Domaine Tour Boisée. The domaine dates back to 1826 and is still run by its descendants. Now farming about 200 hectares of vines, the winery was recently certified organic. This ... Read More »
The Verquiere estate has been passed down from father to son for many generations and is now managed by brothers Romain and Thibaut Chamfort. Following age-old traditions and as well as sustainable practices, the estate was recently certified organic. The Cotes du Rhone is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, grown on chalky clay soils with loads of large pebbles in the vineyards. Verquiere recently returned to us after a long hiatus and we are pleased to have them back.
A blend of 80 percent Grenache and 20 percent Carignane from a family-run winery in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. From the winery: "Ruby red colour with purplish reflections. On the nose, red fruits, raspberry, typical of young Grenache noir. On the palate, very aromatic and fresh supported by discreet, soft tannins. Smooth, quaffing."
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Youthful purple color. Ripe dark berry and cherry-cola scents are enlivened by a peppery quality and a hint of violet. Round and fleshy on the palate, offering gently sweet blackberry and cassis flavors and a zesty spine of acidity. Finishes long and spicy, with building sweetness, soft tannins and a hint of smokiness." (3/2014)90 points Wine Spectator: "Bay leaf, olive and iron notes weave around a core of steeped black cherry and black currant fruit, with a sanguine accent leaving a mouthwatering edge on the finish. Drink now through 2016." (11/2014)
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A new cuvee, the 2012 Baron Louis Lirac is a gorgeous Lirac that has pretty black raspberry, spice and floral aromatics, medium-bodied richness and an overall elegant, polished and layered style. It's a serious wine that will have 8-10 years of longevity. (JD)" (1/2015) K&L Notes: An 88-acre estate, Château de Montfaucon sits just across the Rhône River from the esteemed vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It is owned and operated by Rodolphe de Pins, a UC Davis graduate and former member of the winemaking staff at Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe. Over the years, Château d... Read More »
One of our most popular rosés, this fresh and balanced wine comes from one of our favorite co-ops in the south of France. It's a blend of Syrah and Grenache growing in volcanic soils in the heart of the Languedoc. With aromas and flavors of ripe strawberries and raspberries, this crisp, medium-bodied rosé is an ideal complement to spring green salads, light cheeses, mac and cheese, mozzarella cheese salads, goat cheese, cheese and crackers with olives and salumi...or enjoy as an evening aperitif, cheese optional.
Jancis Robinson: "Fruit cake, generous and jammy but without being hot or over-cooked. Classic red fruit and spice. Standard...well balanced and tasty." (3/2015) Wine Spectator: "Fresh and direct, with a beam of raspberry coulis and melted red licorice flavors, exhibiting a juicy feel on the finish. A solid crowd-pleaser. Drink now." (11/2015)
87-90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Also with outstanding potential, the 2012 Cotes du Roussillon Villages is a structured, medium-bodied effort the will benefit from a year or two in the cellar once released. Toast, spice box and loads of crushed stone and rocky minerality give way to a floral tinged core of sweet kirsch and black raspberry, and it opens up nicely with time in the glass. A blend of 55% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 10% Carignan that’s aged 12 months in 20% new barrels, enjoy it over the coming 5-7 years. These three impressive barrel samples were made by Caroline Bonville from ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The most impressive of the trio, the 2012 Vacqueyras La Cantarelle is an incredible blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah that spent 24 months all in concrete tanks. It too is a custom cuvee between Eric Solomon, Philippe Cambie and the Bernard family. Named after a house that’s located in the vineyard, it comes from 100+-year-old vines and primarily limestone soils, and there’s a scant 600 cases to go around. Inky purple in color, it gives up meaty aromas and flavors of olive tapenade, cassis, melted licorice and earth to go with a very full-bodied, volup ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Praise for Mas Karolina's 2013 vintage from the Wine Advocate: "These three impressive barrel samples were made by Caroline Bonville from her small estate in the Roussillon. They all showed beautifully, with solid purity of fruit and lively, fresh profiles that made them a joy to drink."" (4/2014) K&L Notes: Mas Karolina is the project of Caroline Bonville, cousin of Olivier Bonville proprietor of one of our favorite Champagne houses Franck Bonville. Caroline originally hails from Bordeaux where much of her family still resides. Looking for her own property, she se... Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Maury Sec Serge & Nicolas is a blockbuster that goes screaming past its humble price point. Made from a blend of 60% unoaked Grenache and 28% Syrah and 12% Carignan aged in 500-liter demi-muids, it boasts tons of kirsch, peppery herbs, licorice and hints of crushed flowers to go with a full-bodied, layered, and beautifully concentrated feel on the palate. Coming all from the black schist soils around the village of Maury, it pretty much maxes out the QPR scale and is a complete, balanced Roussillon to drink over the coming 7-8 years. (JD) ...Read More »
93-95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Still not in bottle (it will be in bottle by the time you read this), the 2013 Coteaux du Languedoc la Closerie du Pic is an incredible looking barrel sample that's made from equal parts Syrah and Grenache, with the Syrah aged in barrel (some new) and the Grenache in concrete tank. It exhibits terrific amounts of cassis and black raspberry fruit to go with additional notes of pepper, smoked meats, violets and crushed rock. Full-bodied, beautifully pure, layered and elegant, yet rich and textured, it should drink nicely on release, yet also evolve gracefu ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I loved the 2013 Côtes du Roussillon from Domaine Cabirau. A blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Carignan that was aged mostly in tank, it offers a voluptuous, sexy personality to go with lots of kirsch and black raspberry fruit, savory herbs, pepper and dried earth. This medium to full-bodied, complex, elegant red has a core of sweet fruit, fine tannin and a great texture, all of which come together nicely on the finish. It’s already hard to resist, and I see no reason to delay gratification. These blockbuster efforts are made by Dan Kravitz at the ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Fresh and light, showing a floral edge to the brisk core of peach pit and rose water. Shows lots of zip through the finish, but remains just a touch lean in the end." (6/2015) K&L Notes: Domaine de la Colombe is based in the village of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, located at elevations between 900 and 1,300 feet. The terroir includes clay-limestone soils in combination with sandier soils in the valley.
90 points Antonio Galloni: "Ruby-red. Deeply pitched black and blue fruit aromas are accented by a peppery nuance and a hint of smoky minerals. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry and boysenberry flavors that smooth out and fatten up on the back half. Gentle tannins give shape to the finish, with the boysenberry and smoke notes echoing. (JR)" (5/2015)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of my favorite estates in Gigondas, Moulin de la Gardette fashions two superb Gigondas. Starting out, the 2012 Gigondas Tradition is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Syrah and 5% Cinsault that comes fro ...Read More »
Domaine Dragon is located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, in southeastern France where its vineyards benefit from the kind of calcareous clay soils that are ideal for producing Rhone varietals with concentration and freshness. It consists of 60 hectares with 24 hectares under vine, planted on hillside terraces to promote perfect ripening. With delicate strawberry and peach aromas and flavors, this is quintessential Provencal rose, a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Cinsault that was fermented in stainless steel to preserve freshness of ... Read More »
91 points Antonio Galloni: "Vivid salmon-skin color. Fresh, incisive aromas of orange zest, redcurrant and white flowers, with hints of honey and lavender in the background. Silky and light on its feet, offering intense red berry and citrus fruit flavors that deepen and spread out with air. Packs a solid punch but comes off as lithe and precise, with excellent finishing cut and floral persistence. Put aside the celebrity cachet of this wine and judge it for what it is: an outstanding, classically built Provençal rosé that happens to be made by the highly esteemed Perrin family of C ...Read More »
The Verquiere estate has been passed down from father to son for many generations and is now managed by brothers Romain and Thibaut Chamfort. Following age-old traditions and as well as sustainable practices, the estate was recently certified organic. The Plan de Dieu is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah, grown on clay-limestone soils with rounded pebbles in the vineyards. Verquiere recently returned to us after a long hiatus and we are pleased to have them back.
Classic pink Provence blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault and 20% Syrah. Notes from the winemaker: "Light pink in color, with violet shades, this wine possesses a memorable and complex aroma. A lively wine that is smooth and possessing a certain sweetness. Very fruity, this rosé is particularly well suited as an aperitif or with salads and vegetable dishes."
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Tasted out of barrel, the 2012 Languedoc Pezenas Equilibre is similar to the 2011, yet I think could be even better. Offering loads of black fruits, pen ink, licorice and toasted spice, this medium to full-bodied effort has a plush, polished texture, fantastic purity of fruit and no hard edges, with fine tannin coming through on the finish. It should have a decade of ultimate longevity." (4/2014) K&L Notes: Villa Symposia was founded in 2003, after Bordeaux vigneron Eric Prissette was passing through the Languedoc and fell in love with the region. He stopped at Aspi... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Also superb, as well as a fantastic value, the 2012 Volcae Cuvee Speciale (a custom cuvee made specifically for the U.S. market) checks in as a blend of 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 20% Carignan that spent 12 months in barrel (Grenache all in tank). Hedonistic, up-front and voluptuously textured, with medium to full-bodied richness and depth, it offers loads of kirsch, raspberry, spice box, incense and hints of flowers on the nose. Possessing no hard edges and a forward personality, it can be consumed anytime over the coming 4-5 years, and given its balan ...Read More »
This nicely priced Rhone blend is a selection from negociant Alain Corcia of Burgundy.
Rejoice Tavel! In a time when very high quality rosés line our shelves, when pink wines from Spain, the U.S., South Africa, Italy and all over the land of France are finally getting some much-deserved attention in the press and from our customers, we must give Tavel its special due. This is the original rosé appellation. In fact, so good is the fabled rosé from Tavel, that by law no other sort of wine can call itself Tavel! Layers of wild strawberries collide with a spicy note, a dash of citrusy acidity and so much fruit and flower aroma, it is almost to... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Even better and comprised of equal parts Grenache and Syrah (the Grenache was aged in stainless steel and the Syrah in new French oak), the 2011 Cotes du Ventoux La Terre du Petit Homme offers awesome aromas and flavors of roasted herbs, melted licorice, earth and black cherry-styled fruit in a medium to full-bodied, deep, layered and rich profile. Gorgeous all around, with excellent mid-palate depth and sweet tannin, it’s another smoking value from this producer that readers need to check out. One of the up-and-coming producers in the Cotes du Ventoux ...Read More »
Château Trillol sits high in the hills of southwestern France. The vineyard is located in between two of the Corbières terroirs: Termenès and Quéribus. The local grape varieties, Grenache, Syrah and Carignan, are harvested by hand and blended to produce authentic wines that are packed with character and a strong sense of place. From the winery: "The intense colour with deep purple highlights heralds in a wine with depth and complexity. Expressive, frank nose exuding aromas of red fruit, redcurrant, blackcurrant and a hint of oak. The front-of-palate is s... Read More »
I met winemaker Sophie Guiraudon this past winter at the organic wine fair Millesime Bio. It's an annual event where organic winemakers from all over the world gather to show their wines. I tasted with her and was immediately impressed with the quality of the wines. So much so, I made an arrangements to visit her winery right after the fair ended. Sophie is a true one woman show, farming 25 acres of vines while running her humble facility in the region of Corbieres. The vines for the "Lolo" cuvee are planted on silty-clay limestone soils which len... Read More »
An elegant salmon pink, this rosé exudes aromas of summer cherries and raspberries, with a zippy, refreshing finish.
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Deep red. Ripe cherry and raspberry aromas are complemented by notes of black cardamom, fruitcake and minerals. Concentrated and energetic, offering powerful red berry and floral pastille flavors and a touch of smokiness. The cherry quality repeats on the finish, which is broad, gently sweet and impressively long. (JR)" (1/2013)90 points Wine Spectator: "A pretty, perfumy style, with anise and sandalwood notes leading to gentle plum and cherry fruit flavors. The tobacco edge slowly takes over on the elegant finish. Drink now through 2019." (4/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The tank-aged 2010 Chateauneuf du P ...Read More »
92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Easily one of the top Cotes du Rhones in the vintage, the spectacular 2012 Cotes du Rhone Village Vieilles Vignes, which is a blend of 100% old vine Grenache, aged half in barrel and half in tank, sports off the hook aromas and flavors (garrigue, strawberry, spice), full-bodied richness and a seamless, silky textured that has to be tasted to be believed. Getting more than one "Wow" in my notes, this is one barrel sample I can’t wait to taste from bottle. It should be ready to go on release and evolve gracefully for 7-8 years. (JD)" (12/2013)
I met winemaker Sophie Guiraudon this past winter at the organic wine fair Millesime Bio. It's an annual event where organic winemakers from all over the world gather to show their wines. I tasted with her and was immediately smitten with the quality of the wines. I made an appointment to visit her winery right after the fair ended. Sophie is a one woman show farming 25 acres of vines while running her humble facility in Corbieres. The region is kind of a hodge podge of soil types but Sophie's vines are planted on silty clay-limestone. Her "Les ... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Still muscular, with blackberry and black currant fruit, black tea, graphite and espresso notes that all meld together nicely on the lengthy finish. (Web-2009)" Jancis Robinson: "Very rich and smooth and still quite vigorous. No loss of fruit from its time in bottle. There is still considerable ripe fruit character and quite a bit of dry tannin on the finish. No hurry to drink this." (12/2009) K&L Notes: Just across the Rhône river from the esteemed vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this 88-acre estate is owned and operated by Rodolphe de Pins, a UC Davis graduate and former member of t... Read More »
92-94 points Antonio Galloni: "Inky ruby. Highly complex, exotic aromas of black raspberry, cherry-cola, blueberry, potpourri, minerals and woodsmoke. Suave, lush and seamless, offering concentrated, palate-staining flavors of black and blue fruits and lavender pastille are braced by tangy acidity. Finishes with supple tannins, an echo of candied flowers and outstanding persistence." (4/2015) K&L Notes: The blend for the "Cuvée Réservée" is ususally 80% Grenache, fermented in cement vats and aged in large oak barrels for two years. Domaine du Pégaü has been on a roll and this wine is a increasing... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Proprietor Jean-Marc Autran is the fourth generation in his family to grow grapes in the Rhone village of Sablet. He produced his first wine in 1985. With his family, he cultivates 30 hectares of vines with 3.5 in Gigondas, 12.5 in Sablet and 14 in Côtes du Rhône. The domaine has a variety of soil types for the vineyards including: sandy decalcified red clay, flint, clay, silt, chalk and gravel. The vine age ranges between 20 and 45 years old and everything is hand harvested. All the reds, with the exception of the Cotes du Rhone, are bottled unfined and... Read More »
89-91 points Antonio Galloni: "Bright ruby-red. Heady smoke- and spice-accented aromas of dark fruit preserves, mustard seed, white pepper and lavender are enlivened by a mineral nuance. Palate-coating blueberry and cherry compote flavors are lifted by smoky mineral and floral nuances. Expands and deepens on the finish, which is framed by smooth, subtle tannins. This sexy, floral wine should be appealing on the young side but it also looks like it has the depth to age. (JR)" (5/2015)
This comes from the producer of one of our favorite summer rosés. It's a fresh and easy-drinking blend of Syrah and Grenache. Perfect for a week night BBQ!
Wine Spectator: "Ripe and fleshy in feel, this offers good weight to the plum and blackberry fruit, with a fruitcake-accented finish. Lacks range, but remains tasty enough." (11/2014)
If you are a fan of the gorgeous rosés of Pradeaux, you will love this enticing dry rosé from Domaine Dupuy de Lôme. Farmed organically, this is a classic Bandol rosé at Provencal price. Peachy citrus fruits with hints of berry skin and cut flowers, this is fresh, complex, and invigorating all at once. It is perfect grilled fish and seafood dishes, but balanced to take on more complex and spicy dishes too. For a traditional pairing, try it with bouillabaisse, or be more adventurous and pair it with Pad Thai or fish curry.
60% Syrah 40% Grenache Notes from the Wine Maker: "Rich, deep, dark hue. After decanting, the wine releases aromas of red fruit (blackcurrant, blackberry) and the complexities of underbrush. The palate is silky, marked by powerful and velvety tannins. The explosion of flavors is dominated by savory licorice, violet with chocolate buttons."
94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Showing much more open and expressive than when I tasted it last year (or said another way, I under-rated it), the 2012 Côtes du Rhône Villages Vinsobres les Hauts de Julien comes from close to 100-year-old vines located in the northern part of the Southern Rhône. A blend of Syrah and Grenache that’s still in barrel, it offers thrilling notes of smoked dark fruits, pepper meats, graphite and big minerality to go with a full-bodied, focused, concentrated and serious feel on the palate. This is impressive across the board, and might be the greatest Vinsobr ...Read More »
The 2014 rosé is a blend of 40% Grenache and 60% Cinsault. From the winery: "Powerful nose, white peach with spicy notes, evolving towards candied apricots, guava, exotic fruit. Great fullness in the mouth, a rich wine with great character, excellent aromatic length typical to the unique terroir of Château Saint Pierre. Its innate character is a perfect match for Mediterranean-style cuisine.'
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Côtes du Rhône Villages Sablet is a fruity, jammy, Provençal effort that has straightforward cherry, garrigue and hints of leather to go with medium-bodied richness and depth. Drink it over the coming couple of years. (JD)" (1/2015) K&L Notes: The Verquiere estate has been passed down from father to son for many generations and is now managed by brothers Romain and Thibaut Chamfort. Following age-old traditions and as well as sustainable practices, the estate was recently certified organic. The Sablet is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre, 5... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, from 40- to 60-year-old vines bordering Châteauneuf, the 2013 Côtes du Rhône is a pretty, pure and elegant effort that offers juicy berry and kirsch-like fruit, crushed flowers and licorice that turn more savory and classic Côtes du Rhône-like with time in the glass. Medium-bodied, elegant and lively, with fresh acidity, it won't make old bones, but will dish out loads of pleasure over the coming 3-4 years. There are few wines I’d rather drink than a great vintage of Domaine de Marcoux’s Châteauneuf d ...Read More »
La Selve is certified organic and may technically be in the Rhône Valley, but really lies just to the west. The blend is decidedly un-Rhône, though, made up of 40% Cinsault, 30% Grenache and 30% Merlot. It has ripe cherry and berry flavors with notes of freshly tilled earth. This is a terrific value and a great introduction to this little-known region.
The wines are made by Jean Simonet, the former assistant winemaker at Bandol's famous Chateau de Pibarnon. To make this cuvee, Jean destems the grapes and allows them to macerate on their skins before extracting the juice mostly by direct press. He vinifies the grapes by varietal in stainless steel tanks, and ages the wines in a combination of 90% tank and 10% in oak barrels. The domaine is particular when it comes to oak, and only uses barrels made from 200- to 250- year-old oak trees. The wines from the different grape varietals are blended at the e... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "A fresh and racy style, with violet-edged plum and raspberry fruit that drives through the stone-tinged finish. Grenache and Syrah. Drink now. 1,300 cases made." (9/2014) K&L Notes: Courtois is a property acquired by the Jaume family in 2003. The winery itself had fallen into disrepair but the vineyards were in remarkable condition. What distinguishes Vinsobres is its elevation, with vineyards sitting at 350 to 450 meters, and the latitude being the northernmost of the Côtes du Rhône crus.