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K&L Staff Recommendations
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Free-Run Steen Chenin Blanc has a focused, clinical bouquet with pineapple and lemon zest, hints of passion fruit developing just behind. The palate is very well balanced with a fine line of acidity: plenty of tropical fruit on display here but neatly delineated on the tense and citric finish that linger in the mouth. Quite simply, this represents unbeatable value. (NM)" (10/2014) 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 prod... Read More »
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 »
90 points Wine Spectator: "*Ranked #40, Top 100 Wines of 2015* Graceful, with fragrant orange blossom, ruby grapefruit and white peach flavors that are fresh and lively, set on a light, lithe body. Appealing lime zest and passion fruit accents show on the long finish. Drink now. 38,000 cases made." (11/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Pomelo (only 44,000 cases produced) is elegant, crisp, and probably has some residual sugar, but it is light-bodied, fresh and quite enticing. (RP) Mason Cellars certainly knows how to deliver quality and value. The three whites are all big crowd-please ...Read More »
In the region of Cariñena, the Garnacha grape variety seems to find a lovely expression, one which is less high octane and lighter on its feet than in some of the neighboring regions. And, as ever, this is a terrific red wine bargain for anyone looking for an inexpensive house red or wine for any party, wedding, or other event.
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 Wine & Spirits: "Aveleda's estate-grown blend of loureiro (80%) and alvarinho is bright and juicy in 2014. Base notes of stone fruit flavor underlay this wine's floral scents of green fig and mouthwatering flavors of white grapefruit. Its coastal freshness will match shrimp with asparagus."90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Produced from the vines that surround the family house at Quinta da Aveleda, this is an exemplary Vinho Verde. Dry and crisp, with richness as well as freshness, it is a bright, tight and lightly mineral wine to drink now." K&L Notes: A perennial staff and customer favorite, this Vinho Verde continu... 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. 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."
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.
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Malbec Uco Valley is a 4,000-case cuvee aged nine months in French oak, of which 10% was new. A beautiful, full-bodied, seriously endowed Malbec, it possesses a dense purple color along with a sweet bouquet of blueberry and black raspberry fruit interwoven with camphor, licorice and spring flowers as well as a touch of oak. This wonderfully endowed, full-bodied, classic Argentina Malbec should drink nicely for 5-6 years. These three brilliant Malbecs from Argentina are made by former employees of the renowned Catena winery." (2/2014)90 points Wine & Spirits: "A fresh and ...Read More »
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)
Cotes 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 »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The grapes of the 2014 Malbec were harvested very early and 70% of them fermented using carbonic maceration. The freshness is so impressive that I had to look at the alcohol level, which is half a degree lower than in the fresher 2013 vintage! There are some herbal aromas (think raspberry leaf), bright cherries and flowers, even lilies. The palate is very tasty, with some subtle bitter flavors, fine tannins and very good acidity. This is a triumph over the vintage. Bravo! This should be readily available, as they produced 500,000 bottles of it. And it's ...Read More »
This rich South African red blend is the perfect party wine. Gaining depth and spice from Syrah, verve from Mourvèdre, and perfume from Viognier, it is easy to love--and easy to drink by the gallon! Fortunately, its price tag is friendly, too. From the winery: "Ripe blackberries and spicy pepper flavours from the Syrah driving this blend are met with a soft and supple palate. Good density with lingering flavours and a hint of oak. Soft, supple tannins makes for early, easy drinking."
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 »
92 points James Suckling: "Precise and bright with blueberries, minerals and violet aromas. Full body plus ultra-fine tannins and a caressing texture. Very, very fine. Drink or hold" (8/2014) K&L Notes: Based in the Maipo Valley just south of Santiago, Santa Ema has been quietly, reliably producing very good value Cabernet Sauvignon for many years now. However, they clearly have re-doubled their efforts, changing up a bit their winemaking approach and the result is this juicy, purely fruited, elegant, medium bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. At 13.5% ABV, it is incredibly delicious and honest Caberne... 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.
90 points James Suckling: "A Malbec with sense and structure that is more refined and balanced than many. Medium body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Drink now." (6/2015)90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* Cassis and blackberry aromas are bold and show a feral side as this breathes. Fresh and charged up on the palate, this hits with cassis and blackberry flavors in front of a fruity, not oaky finish. Drink this pleasurable, well-made Malbec now through 2017." (10/2015) Wine & Spirits: "Filled with floral aromas, close to the scent of violets, this wine’s ripe cherry flavors flesh out its firm tannins and acidity. Perfect ...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 snow-covered peaks are even more dramatic than the Sierra Cantabria range to the north. Martínez Alesanco's Blanco is made entirely from Viura in iron-rich clay soils. In fact, th... 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 only a modest fee.
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* From one of the largest private vineyards in France (2,300 acres), this wine epitomizes the light and fresh style that comes from Gascony in the hidden southwest of France. It is fruity, citrus-crisp with a touch of honey from the Gros Manseng in the blend." (8/2015)
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 south Tuscan coast is a breadbasket of winemaking, with stable temperatures and a solid history of quality yet no fame and fortune. Incredible price 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.
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." (9/2014)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from vines planted in 1915, the 2013 Garnacha Negra comes from the vil ...Read More »
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.
A certified organic blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo and Syrah, this wine undergoes carbonic maceration to highlight the fresh, high toned qualities of this delicious fruit. Think Beaujolais Village, with a bit more heft. Having planted vines in the national park lands of the Sierra Norte outside of Sevilla, at 700 meters altitude in heavily slate soils, where there is a surprisingly generous amount of rainfall, the results are both delicious and impressive: crisp, bright, varietally true blended wines with great personality that are truly wines ... Read More »
On the border of Tuscany, Lazio, and Umbria--the area that also happens to be the birthplace of the ancient Etruscan civilization--Paolo and Noemia d'Amico have built a winery deeply embedded in tradition. The landscape is a result of a long period of volcanic erosion, and is full of deep valleys of cliffs and rock walls. Their cellar is modeled after the Etruscans, and was built underneath the vines, ensuring that temps are always ideal. This Merlot-Sangiovese blend is full-bodied and bright-toned, with notes of violets and fresh cherries.
93 points James Suckling: "Aromas of flowers, lemon rind and dried cherries follow through to a full body, soft tannins and a savory finish. Really delicious. Drink or hold." (9/2015)
Lora is a blend of certified organic Tempranillo and Syrah from one of the cooler parts of La Mancha (high up on the plateau not too far from the UNESCO heritage city of Cuenca). This is a delicious red - full of fresh fruited drinkability, but surprising structure from the minerality and balanced acidity. The winemaker and person who carefully sources this great organic fruit is none other than our friend Miguel Merino Navajas, son of Miguel Merino of Rioja fame! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)
A tad bit more richness than its counterparts. Nice citrus fruit with exotic lemongrass and textural length.
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Yields for the 2013 Monastrell (100% Monastrell aged six months in neutral French oak barrels, concrete and foudres) were 16 to 25 hectoliters per hectare, which is about half of that permitted in Burgundy. An amazing value, this wine boasts a dense blue/purple color as well as a sumptuous nose of blueberries, blackberries, scorched earth, licorice and forest floor. Stunningly pure and medium to full-bodied with oodles of fruit, this is a remarkable value to drink until the cows come home. Consume it over the next 2-3 years. Considered by many observers ...Read More »
92 points Wine & Spirits: "There are very few Carignans like this in Chile. Made from old vines planted in the 1960s, this takes a light, fresh approach, focused on fruit rather than pushing for superconcentration. With its pure, juicy ripe cherry flavor, it could bolster a plate of grilled sausages or develop for a few years in the cellar." (6/2014)90 points James Suckling: "A spicy and balanced red with blueberries, blackberries and hints of slate. Full to medium body, fresh acidity and a clean finish. A stylish red. Drink now." (8/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Dark purple. Ripe plum and blueberry on the deeply scented nose. Plush ...Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "A white with almost a Semillon character, dried lemon and apples, lime aromas and flavors too, plus saltiness. Full body, bright acidity and a tangy finish." (8/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Relatively restrained, with aromas of orange peel and tangerine, the palate is fresh, with good acidity and a citric finish that is ideal to go with some empanadas. Enjoy! (LG)" (4/2014)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The regular 2011 Crianza has plenty of lactic notes intermixed with roasted aromas, coffee, toast and hints of banana skin and ripe dark plums, The palate is medium-bodied, with polished, fine-grained tannins. It's easy to drink, approachable and an easy to understand Crianza. (LG)" (5/2015) Wine Spectator: "Herbal and smoke notes frame tart black cherry fruit and licorice flavors in this lively red. Crisp acidity leads the light, grippy tannins, giving way to the briary finish. This is a good food wine." (6/2015)
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 »
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!
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!
Always a favorite value-priced Chinon, perfect for everyday drinking. The color of polished garnets, it has bright red and black fruit aromas and flavors, a hint of a violet and pepper, and a vein of spice threaded carefully through from start to finish. Perfect with charcuterie, cool weather braises or grilled lamb chops with gremolata.
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 »
An elegant salmon pink, this rosé exudes aromas of summer cherries and raspberries, with a zippy, refreshing finish.
There is a wonderful element of whimsy and joy at this tiny, family bodega located in Laguardia. The elephant logo, the onsite African art museum, as well as the name (there is no Señor de Lesmos, as it turns out) all speak to the family's joie de vivre and sense of humor. There is nothing funny about the quality of these wines, though. All estate fruit, hand harvested and carefully vinified with native yeasts, this is a hand-sewn wine with the purity, texture and elegance to prove it. Cuarteto is a classic, Alavesa style "maceración carbonica" wine whe... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The basic offering from proprietor Ramon Castano Santa, who owns a whopping 1,000 acres in Yecla, is the 2012 Hecula, which is sourced from a non-irrigated, single vineyard planted with 100% Monastrell. Aged in both tank and French oak, it comes from 60-80-year-old vines planted in limestone soils at a relatively high elevation of over 1,600 feet. Its opaque purple color is followed by copious aromas of blueberries, black raspberries, camphor, licorice, white flowers and a chalky limestone/dusty character. Full-bodied, rich and well-balanced, it is an in ...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)
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 lemon, apple, and pear fruit with the same supple texture, acidity, and minerally finish. Perfect for summer sipping, for camping, boating, picnicking, beaching, or rocking out at the Hollywood Bowl!
92 points Wine & Spirits: "First produced by the Wetzel family in 1978, Sin Zin now comes from vineyards throughout Alexander Valley, from the valley floor to the benchlands and hills. While this wine’s name might suggest excess, it’s not an excessive Zinfandel at all. In fact, it’s quite clean and balanced, its mouthwatering acidity carrying refreshing black raspberry and bay laurel aromas through a cool, granular structure that feels earthy yet polished." (3/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Slightly less concentrated and savory, but still meritorious is the 2012 Sin Zin, a broad, round, juicy Zinfandel reve ...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 »
From the winery: "It’s hard to keep your pinky up when you’re drinking wine from a 375 mL can. These are the most approachable and ready-to-travel anywhere wines we produce. Whether you’re sitting in a hot tub after a good day of riding or heading where other wines dare not travel, we have you covered without sacrificing the craft taste Union is known for. Our new Rosé Wine is a much-anticipated, highly drinkable way to bring out the summer vibes wherever you are. The canned version expands the wherever you are to anywhere you want to go."
40% Refosco, 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.