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K&L Staff Recommendations
91 points Wine & Spirits: "(Best buy) Another great value from the Bousquet family, this is made from organic grapes grown in the chalky and stony soils of Gualtallary. The high altitude shows in a subtly herbal scent, while the wine focuses on ripe red fruit and spices. This is a textbook cabernet, with the firm acidity and a solid structure, but it's also easy to dirnk and ready for steak." (4/2016)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 The Nest Sauvignon Blanc has a yeasty nose over a core of ripe apples, fresh pears and orange blossom plus a waft of sage. Medium-bodied, it is both refreshing and understated compared to most of this region's offerings with a touch of minerality to the long finish." K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "A bright clean appearance with fresh lime green hues. Pleasing aromas of grapefruit and white peach, with a floral lift. This medium bodied, dry wine has a refreshing and moreish palate. Mouth-watering acidity is balanced by an elegant, mineral finish."
Wine Spectator: "This creamy red takes a modern tack, with mocha and spice accents to the pureed boysenberry fruit. Bright and balanced, with a lightly chewy finish of moderate length. Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2018. 1,400 cases imported." (6/2015)
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 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.
This has become a go-to favorite for customers and staff at K&L. Priced at a level that allows for corks to pop any old time it suits you, the Montechiara phenomenon continues to gain followers by the hour. See for yourself why this value sparkler is getting so much attention.
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 grown 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.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Branco Quinta Da Aveleda is a screwcapped blend of 70% Loureiro and 30% Alvarinho, unoaked and coming in at 11.5% alcohol. There is no added carbonation. This was seen earlier this year, but it was tasted only a few weeks after bottling. It is worth revisiting with some time in the bottle. This is typically a super value, real wine at a bargain-basement price. So, too, this year. It seems even better now. This is bright and crisp, but the wonderful fruit is the reason you buy this. Expressive and exuberant, it tastes great, yet the fruit is perf ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Light and bright with plenty of fruit and a lsoft texture, this lemon-flavored wine has crisp acidity and a ready-to-drink freshness." (11/2015) K&L Notes: Sancerre at half the price! The Fournier family, with roots as deep as their vines in this region, seem to be related to just about everyone in some way. They've been farming and producing wines in Sancerre for generations. We are pleased to have been offered this wine, yet again, at such a great price. Soft, subtle mineral notes are wrapped up in aromatics of melon and citrus. Clean, bright and refreshing, this i... Read More »
A blend of 80 percent Grenache and 20 percent Carignane from a family-run winery in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
This Chardonnay is produced by the three brothers Couillaud at the Château de la Ragotière, a few minutes from the Atlantic near the mouth of the Loire River, where the maritime climate is ideal for producing whites that are refreshing and bright. The Couillauds age most of this wine on its lees until bottling to add weight and texture with around 10% being barrel-fermented in French oak for the faintest touch of toastiness. Saveur magazine wrote about a previous vintage: "This value-priced Chardonnay tastes crisp and bright. It comes from the western Lo... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Tart aromas of sour cream, yogurt, candied lime and pressed quince show on the nose of this stylishly structured Chardonnay. The palate carries the theme forward, with pithy pink grapefruit notes, lime ade and brie rinds, showing firm tension on the tongue and bound-up energy that will keep this bottle alive for years. (MK)" (2/2016)
In the region of Cariñena, the Garnacha grape variety finds a lovely expression, one which is less high octane and lighter on its feet than in some of the neighboring regions. This easy drinker is a terrific bargain for anyone looking for a house red or a wine for a celebration.
The appellation of Picpoul de Pinet covers about 3000 acres just off the coast of the Mediterranean. It is famous for two things, oysters and this wine of origin Picpoul. Picpoul itself is the grape and means "lip stinger," which has become a running joke in our Hollywood store. Whenever we taste a new Picpoul we ask each other if it "pics your poul?" We want to know if it has the vibrancy and minerality that are the hallmarks of the region. That brings us to the Montmassot, which is produced at the local cooperative in the village of Florensac. It is so... Read More »
The Wolftrap is a robust, lively blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, and Viognier. From Neal Martin at erobertparker.com: "Robert Parker recently tasted Mark Kent's (a.k.a. Mr Boekenhoetskloof) Wolftrap red and white and came to the same conclusion as I in recent years: these are just wonderful bang for bucks wines that are thoughtfully crafted at this price point."
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 »
90 points James Suckling: "Lots of nice fresh fruit with strawberry and lemon aromas and flavors. Medium to light body. Clean finish. Drink now" (7/2016) K&L Notes: This blend of Sangiovese and Merlot is concentrated and sexy, with intense notes of forest berries, baking spice, and vanilla. It's deep and round, a perfect match for aged cheeses and roasted meats.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A softer, more lush and voluptuous texture can be found in the 2013 7 Deadly Zins, which is also 100% Zinfandel from Lodi. The production here is 280,000 cases! To produce such a high-volume wine of this quality is pretty remarkable winemaking. Loads of ripeness, fruit, glycerin and medium to full-bodied silky mouthfeel make for a delicious effort.... Year in year out, this is one of the best value wineries in the entire world. Working from grape sources in Lodi, they offer an assortment of wines, but their top cuvées are always the rather solid, full-fl ...Read More »
Coming from a single, small tank of press wine from their Casablanca Valley vineyards, located close to the cooling influence of the Pacific, this is delicious Pinot Noir! Brightly fruited, and bolstered by firm tannins that provide structure without distraction, I would be hard pressed to think of a tastier, more honest expression of Pinot, especially if what you are after is a highly drinkable wine that does not aim to be the biggest, the most fruity or the most highly awarded. This is a great deal in everyday Pinot! (Joe Manekin, K&L Chilean wine buye... Read More »
This has been the #1 selling Italian wine for more than a decade at K&L! You can't get that kind of continued success without a supremely fantastic quality-to-price ratio. The southern Tuscan coast is a breadbasket of winemaking, with stable temperatures and a solid history of quality yet no fame and fortune. Incredibly priced bargains come out of the region, and the proof is in the bottle. This wine is wonderful, soft, forward and easy-to-drink Sangiovese with an enticing mixture of cherry, plum and earth. Eminently drinkable.
93-94 points Raymond Chan: "Approx. 35% clone 5, 15% Abel, 7% 10/5, the remainder Dijon clones, the fruit from 45% Southern Valley hillside and 50% Southern Valleys flat sites, and 5% from the company’s ‘Conders Bend’ vineyard, vines around 10 y.o., partially indigenous yeast fermented to 13.5% alc. with 5% whole bunch, the wine spending 25 days on skins and aged 10 months in 20% new French oak barriques. Full and even, purple-hued ruby-red colour, lighter on edge, youthful in appearance. The nose is fresh and softly voluminous with primary aromas of ripe black cherries, along with ...Read More »
Costières de Nîmes is at the southernmost part of the Rhône Valley, on the opposite bank of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. One of our best new finds is Château de l'Ermitage which produces three terrific values with imminent drinkability. The estate's history traces back to the 12th century when the winery produced wine for the pilgrims of St-Jacques de Compostelle who were traveling the Santiago de Compostela. The property is now owned by the Castillon family, and today Michel and his son Jerome manage the vineyards and winemaking. The "Victor" is named for the f... Read More »
90 points Vinous: "Brilliant ruby. Smoke-accented dark berries and cherry on the fragrant nose. Smooth, sweet and open-knit, offering pliant blackberry and violet pastille flavors that tighten up and gain focus on the back half. Nicely plays richness off vivacity and finishes with very good persistence and supple tannins, leaving a juicy berry note behind. This wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks, with the malo taking place in clay amphoras, followed by eight months of aging in used French and American oak. (JR)" (12/2015)
91 points Wine Spectator: "***Best Values*** This ripe red is filled with plenty of dark chocolate and Asian spice notes up front, wrapped around flavors of roasted plum, dark currant and wild herb. Features a luscious mouthfeel, with a finish supported by medium-grained tannins. Drink now through 2020. 30,000 cases imported. (KM)" (5/2016)
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Free Run Steen Chenin Blanc has an attractive nose with fresh grapefruit and passion fruit scents that are well defined and articulate the variety with clarity. The palate is well balanced with crisp grapefruit and light honeyed tones, very harmonious with well judged acidity and a composed, quite elegant finish. This is an excellent Chenin Blanc. (NM)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "We source our Chenin Blanc from selected vineyards in the Agter-Paarl region. The vineyards are all unirrigated and bush-vine (untrellised) that produce concentrated, ... Read More »
91 points Bob Campbell: "A blend of grapes from the Wairau and Awatere Valleys. One of the first examples of 2015 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc I have tasted. If it is typical of the vintage then it appears to have been an excellent year. A smaller than usual crop might explain greater than usual concentration in this wine. Citrus, grapefruit, melon and a hint of passion fruit supported by juicy acidity. Good value at this price." (7/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Light and crisp, with tangy lime, melon and peach flavors that are succulent and smooth, finishing juicy, with plenty of focus and intensity. Dri ...Read More »
92 points Bob Campbell: "Bright, fresh and reasonably concentrated Pinot Noir with strongly varietal plum and cherry flavours. Nice purity and a fine-grained texture. The wine has an honesty and vinosity (as opposed to "fruitiness") that I like. Excellent value at this price. SRP $17.99" K&L Notes: Exceptional value in Pinot Noir. This wine from Mt. Hector is truly one of the best value reds we have in store. Given that it's Pinot Noir (a notoriously difficult / expensive grape variety to cultivate) the quality for price ratio is even more astounding! Master of Wine Bob Campbell (NZ's most p... Read More »
"The best Cabernet Sauvignon under $10 that I have tasted in nearly 9 years of working here." - Joe Manekin (K&L Spanish Wine Buyer) This was produced from a 30-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard in the Vino de la Tierra de Castilla appellation (a large swath of land in the region of La Mancha), this Cab has delicious, balanced dark currant fruit, and a subtle influence from a six-month stint in American oak barrels. This nicely-priced Spanish Cabernet has been a staff favorite for two vintages running.
Costières de Nîmes is at the southernmost part of the Rhône Valley, sitting on the opposite bank of Chateauneuf du Pape. One of our best new finds is Château de l'Ermitage which produces three terrific values with imminent drinkability. The estate's history traces back to the 12th century when the winery produced wine for the pilgrims of St-Jacques de Compostelle who were traveling the Santiago de Compostela. The property is now owned by the Castillon family, and today Michel and his son Jerome manage the vineyards and winemaking. The "Victor" is named f... Read More »
Winemaker notes: "The pre-eminent growing area for the arneis grape is the Roero, the area of magnificent hills on the left bank of the Tanaro river. Here, the calcareo-siliceous soils encourage the development of perfumed, elegant wines. After a gentle pressing, the must is given a cultured-yeast fermentation for some 10 days at 16-18°C. A final crucial step is a brief maturation in the bottle to further improve the structure of the wine and the complexity of its bouquet. Colour: Deep straw yellow with greenish highlights. Bouquet: Generous, crisp, and... Read More »
From Matahiwi Estate, Wairarapa, New Zealand, here's a textbook NZ Savvy from the winery's biggest-selling range of fresh and value-priced wines. Look for lime, passionfruit and, yes, that famous gooseberry on the nose, with zest and a hint of minerality. "We love to drink it with seafood and pasta dishes and delicious summer salads," the producers suggest.
"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.
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(raised entirely in concrete): Brilliant ruby. Pure, high-pitched aromas of redcurrant, strawberry, blood orange and fresh rose, plus a bright mineral overtone. Vibrant and precise on the palate, offering sappy red fruit and floral pastille flavors lifted by spice and mineral nuances. Closes spicy, nervy and long, with silky tannins making a late appearance. Finding a wine with this much clarity and precision is a tough job at double and even triple the price of this one. (JR)" (9/2014) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from vines planted in 1915, the 2013 Garnacha Negra comes from th ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
This 100% Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from Mason Vineyard in Lake County's Kelsey Bench, where it picks up its signature grapefruit characteristics. A long, cold fermentation in stainless steel showcases the aromatic intensity of the wine with vibrant fruit flavors. Mouth-watering brightness is found in the tropical fruit flavors with plenty of citrus zest.
Côtes de Gascogne is primarily known for the production of Armagnac; it wasn’t until the last 20 years or so that producers began to take table wine production seriously. Traditionally, these wines would have been distilled into Armagnac. Producers found that by fermenting at lower temperatures in stainless steel, they could develop and preserve more powerful aromatics. Though yields are high, costs have stayed low and the wines are consequently some of the best bargain whites in France. Domaine de Millet is first and foremost an Armagnac producer. They ... Read More »
Vinous: "Pale orange. Aromas of fresh red berries, orange and lavender are lifted by a suggestion of chalky minerals. Juicy and tightly focused, offering strawberry, blood orange and succulent herb flavors that deepen on the back half. Finishes dry and nervy, showing good focus and lingering citrus and red fruit qualities. (JR)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: Praise for the producer from Wine Advocate: "I continue to be blown away by the quality coming from Domaine de la Bila Haut, which is run with the Chapoutier team. They’ve continued to grow these Roussillon releases, and even at th... Read More »
Based in the Rioja Alta village of Badarán, Martínez Alesanco is a truly original bodega producing tasty, characterful wine for laughably low prices. They are entirely self reliant in grapes, all of which are grown in their home village of Badarán, one of the coldest zones of Rioja Alta. The vineyards are closer to the Sierra de la Demanda mountains, a range whose elevation and visible snow covered peaks are even more dramatic than the Sierra Cantabria range to the north. This is made from Tempranillo grown in iron rich clay soils. In fact, this red tin... Read More »
From the importer: "Chateau Cap de Merle is a delicious St-Emilion that represents excellent value. The owners and winemakers — brothers Alain and Jean-Marie Bel — use no wood in vinifying Cap de Merle so its pure, rich and savory Merlot fruit comes through directly upon tasting. The winery’s excellent plateau vineyard on sandstone soil assures optimal ripeness of fruit and supple tannins...2012 is a superb vintage at Cap de Merle. It saw the continuation of the advances in the Bel’s winemaking, aimed at making Cap de Merle even more deeply colored, fres... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from 100% Grenache planted in decomposed granitic soils, and aged four months in new and used French oak, this deep ruby/purple-colored 2012 Garnacha Old Vines demonstrates what high quality can be found in obscure Spanish appellations. Aromas of kirsch, lavender and strawberries emerge from this medium-bodied, dense, rich 2012. (RP)" (11/2013) 90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Inky ruby. Deeply scented bouquet of dark berries, bitter chocolate and black pepper, with a smoky quality gaining strength with air. Juicy and sweet, showing a chewy texture to its pungent blackberry and blueb ...Read More »
Winner of the Bronze Medal in the 2013 International Wine Challenge. From the winery: "Garnatxa Blanca Old Vines is for those who seek a bit of extra body and richness in white wines. Vineyards located in the Albera Nature Reserve Area. This wine is aromatic, showing notes of apricot, vanilla, aniseed and fennel. The mouthfeel is round, rich and mouth-coating. For those who know that youth isn't everything..."
Rich, ripe, soft, full bodided, fruit driven Cabernet that is great drinking for the money.
95 points Decanter: "Gorgeous nose exhibiting an array of aromas such as peppery mulberry, sour and black cherry, violet and a subtle touch of wild strawberry jam. The palate is full, complex, with a fantastic energy and bursting with ripe dark plums; tannins are impressively silky and freshness is amazing. An exceptional nectar from the Agrelo terroir." K&L Notes: Michael Schachner of Wine Enthusiast writes: "As recently as the 1990s, many Argentine wineries produced crude, inconsistent wines that were heavy and lacked balance. Today, following in the footsteps of quality-minded pionee... Read More »
A lovely nose of apples, citrus, tropical fruits and dusty gravel. This is a bright and energetic wine which also carries good texture and finishing length. Very well balanced from start to finish which makes for a very well focused drink while retaining a higher quality level. Made from 35 year old vines planted in sandy clay soils. After harvest the fruit is allowed to rest on its skins for a bit longer in order to extract a bit more aromatic and palate complexity and then pressed off. Fermentation is low and slow and done in 100% stainless steel tank.... Read More »
Produced from Loureiro and Pederña grapes grown in the granitic soils of the Vinho Verde region, the Santola (or as we here are calling it, "the crab wine") is a delicious, spritely and refreshing white. It doesn't get much more traditional, thirst-quenching or seasonally perfect then this wine. Delicious, low in alcohol, slightly fizzy and way too easy to drink!
The Elsa Malbec comes from Valentin Bianchi's Doña Elsa estate in the cool reaches of San Rafael, Mendoza. With just a kiss of French oak, the rich fruit dominates this easy-drinking red, which has barely-there tannins. Invoke your inner-Argentine and drink this alongside grilled flank steak with a garlicky chimichurri. Many previous vintages recommended by Wine Enthusiast as a "Best Buy."
Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* This wine has a strong layer of spicy oak from the first sniff through the lingering finish. Deep, ripe black cherry and blackberry flavors fill in the palate, and the full body of moderate tannins creates a mouthfeel that’s plush." (7/2016) K&L Notes: Producer notes: "Dark garnet in color with a bouquet that is full of dark berry fruit, such as Blueberry, Blackberry and Black Cherry. Oak aging has contributed just a hint of smoke to the nose. The round, creamy wine delivers an abundance of the fruit flavors promised by the olfactory. The fruit and oak are... Read More »
This is a fresh, low-alcohol, and affordable rosé for your warm summer days. "Les Ligeriens" is a blend of Gamay and Grolleau from the Anjou AOC and is aged in stainless steel to maintain the purity of the fruit. Strawberry-scented with flavors of cherry and cranberry that pop on a crisp, refreshing palate. Drink it as an aperitif or with your favorite foods off the grill. (Eric Story, Loire) Gamay+Grolleau is a blend of two grape varieties usually used in the production of rosé wines in the Loire Valley in northern France. Grolleau Noir is only permitt... 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."
If you love the liter bottles of Allram's Grüner, then you have to try the 2012 Zweigelt--it's the red wine equivalent: fresh, uncompromising, juicy wine for everyday drinking. Can be served slightly chilled, and make sure you have a good sized glass, you'll save yourself the initial trip of having to get up and get more. Lighter bodied red with a touch of spice and cool blue and red fruits. A fun time red, for sure.
Inventory: San Francisco
Wine & Spirits: "Buoyant with lemongrass scents and floral lime flavor, this is summery and refreshing." (6/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "Produced at the largest family-owned vineyard in France, this is a fruity, immediately attractive wine. There are both citrus and more tropical fruit flavors in the wine, alongside a herbal, grassy touch from the Sauvignon Blanc and Colombard in the blend. The wine is ready to drink. (RV)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: A blend of 45% Ugni Blanc, 35% Colombard, 10% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Gros Manseng, this white wine is juicy yet crisp. Crack open a bottle at the shore, a picnic, on th... Read More »
From the second label of Sobon estates comes Shenandoah Vineyards' full-bodied, full-fledged Amador-style Zinfandel. Its perfume hints at blackberries, cherries and cocoa while the mild tannins, elegant structure and strong fruit flavors make this a satisfying pairing for meats and cheeses.