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K&L Staff Recommendations
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star, Good Value* No matter that this unoaked bottling treds a direct, green apple line with few complex adjuncts in its makeup, such is the way of Chardonnays of its ilk, and this one makes a pretty good stab at capturing lively, somewhat juicy fruit. There is a not unexpected bit of fresh, slightly candied fruit here and little in the way of the rich, buttery side of the variety to be sure. Yet, all in all, this wine is both easy to take and easy on the wallet." (7/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This stainless-steel take shows lime juice, golden apples and white pepper on t ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "The aromas of cedar, fresh dark berries, thyme, garden herbs and flowers provide instant appeal, with woodsy accents following. Lively plum and raspberry flavors back them up, with fine-grained tannins and barrel accents speckled throughout. (SS)" (3/2016) Vinous: "(bottled three weeks before my visit in June): Healthy red-ruby. Pure, expressive aromas of plum, currant, menthol and cigar box. Lusher and more savory than the Merlot but not as suave or consistently ripe as the Petit Verdot, showing a note of chocolatey sweetness to go with its dark berry and spice fl ...Read More »
This 100% Pinot Noir rosé comes from limestone-clay soil of their Sancerre vineyards, which are located two hours south of Paris on the fringes of the Loire Valle. This is a wonderfully food-friendly wine that can stand up to Santa Maria-style tri-tip, grilled sausages or spicy Vietnamese banh mi.
93 points Vinous: "Grilled herbs, tobacco, menthol, licorice and plums all take shape in the 2010 Eloge. Rich, layered and expressive, the 2010 is resonant and deeply expressive throughout. Gently spiced notes appear on the finish, adding dimensions of complexity and nuance. Today the 2010 is a bit closed in on itself and a touch compact, while the aromatics aren't quite as precise as they could be. I was deeply impressed with the wines I tasted at Conn Valley this year. The wines are often terrific, but at the same time, they have also occasionally suffered from the pre ...Read More »
95 points James Halliday: "Interesting, very interesting. The colour, the freshness of the aromas and flavours, the finely sculpted tannins and the overall harmony suggest 13.5% alcohol, not 14.5%. All this conjecture is, of course, irrelevant: it is the outcome that matters - here a distillation of elegance." (2/2016) 93 points James Suckling: "Classic red fruits and chocolate here, boysenberry and bright cassis too. Really upbeat and bright, with a little gravel thread. Super refined palate with smooth and fleshy texture. The tannins spread fine and even and there is plenty of red berry fruit and chocolate ...Read More »
Vinous: "Light, bright orange. Zesty, sharply focused citrus fruit and strawberry scents are complemented by suggestions of succulent herbs and candied rose. Juicy and gently sweet, offering pliant red fruit flavors and a touch of bitter blood orange. Clings with good, spicy tenacity, leaving a subtle rose pastille note behind. (JR)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: Light and pale in color with fresh, crunchy strawberries on the nose and chalky minerals in the background. Fresh and light on the palate with a good focus of fruit throughout. This is a very well made rosé that deserves some ... Read More »
We were so happy with the 2013 Kalinda Napa Cabernet that we went back to the same well for the 2014. From another exceptional year for Napa Cabernet, this wine is lush and quite rich with tons of cassis on the nose and palate. Still quite young and showing some rounded tannins, I would cellar this beauty for five years minimum, but if you must drink it, decant one hour at least and serve with a hearty meat course. One hint: the property whence the grapes came is located quite close to a town that really does not have a wine shop in it. - KL Staffer Dri... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Done in a more oxidized style, this wine shows marzipan, dried apricot, browned butter, dried pineapple and a gunmetal flint character on the nose. The palate is very focused, with flavors of preserved lemon, lime rind, sage-roasted chicken and a faint minty element. (MK)" (11/2015) Wine Spectator: "Trim and leesy, with enough richness and intensity midpalate on to sustain itself, showing a creamy touch to the fig, apricot and green apple flavors. (JL)" (7/2014)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Languedoc Equilibre is a blend of Syrah, Carignan and Grenache that offers a fresh, lively and medium-bodied profile to go with impressive berry fruit, licorice and floral characteristics. Aged mostly in foudre, yet with a tiny percentage in 1 and 2-year-old barrels, it has juicy acidity, good overall balance and a hard to resist profile. (JD)" (4/2015) Wine Spectator: "This supple, full-bodied red layers dried plum, kirsch and milk chocolate notes accented with tobacco leaf and herbal flavors. Smooth tannins surround the sweet spice and floral finish. (GS, Web-20 ...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)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The straight up fabulous 2015 Tavel Les Lauzeraies is a layered, medium-bodied, beautifully textured Tavel that offers lots of flowers, lavender, spice and both cherry and raspberry fruit. Showing a touch of saltiness on the finish, drink this beauty with food over the coming year or so. (JD)" (5/2016) Wine Spectator: "A ripe rosé, with cherry and anise notes that stay focused and fresh, showing a flash of warm stone accents through the finish. Offers a juicy feel overall. Drink now. (JM)" (8/2016) K&L Notes: Rejoice Tavel! In a time when very high quality rosés line our shelves, when ... Read More »
95 points James Suckling: "Aromas of dark chocolate, berries, toasted nuts and vanilla bean follow through to a full body, firm tannins and a juicy finish. Lots of intense, beautiful fruit. Tight, layered red. All there. Better in 2017." (11/2014) 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Fontalloro is a pure expression of Sangiovese with fruit sourced from the Chianti Classico area and the Colli Senesi area. It ages in new and once-used barrique for up to 22 months. Aromas flow with authority, spanning a large swath of fruit and oak-related attributes. The best part, however, is the aromatic layering: Slices of br ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
92 points Wine & Spirits: "Haydon Good makes this wine from vines growing on two different soils: the volcanic soils of the Banks Peninsula and Glasnevin gravel in the Cabal Vineyard. It's a bright, coastal red, spicy, light and glowing with delicate red-berry fruit. Hints of flowers and cedar perfume the finish, clean and refreshing." (4/2016) Wine Spectator: "This red blends cherry, raspberry and cranberry flavors with toasted spice and dried herb notes, all on an elegant frame. Anise, caraway and forest floor details lend a subtle savory element. Drink now through 2027. (MW)" (10/2015) K&L Notes: A fantastic ... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
This is a fresh, snappy berry-driven rosé with delicate floral notes. It's bright and crisp, delicious with or without food. Domaine les Pins has been family run for five generations. They are a small artisanal producer that oversees every stage of the production from start to finish. They have roughly 30 hectares of Cabernet Franc spread out through the Bourgueil and St-Nicolas de Bourgueil regions. They practice sustainable farming, and each and every vine gets singular attention throughout the year. Vines of an average age of 25 years are planted in s... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "A balanced and beautiful red with chili, black currants and blackberry character. Full body, round and firm tannins and a long, long finish. A beautiful Groth. Drink or hold." (7/2015) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "***Cellar Selection*** This structured wine is lithe and ethereal in dried herb and cranberry, with a hint of pencil lead. Puckering tannins suggest aging through 2020, to draw out the more succulent layers of black cherry and plum. The wine has 12% Merlot. (VB)" (11/2015) Vinous: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is dark, powerful and authoritative. Smoke, black cherries, savory herbs, bit ...Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "From chalky soils planted on a unique rolling hillside site, this opens in wafty caramel and butterscotch, providing a decadent nose. The palate follows in luxurious, velvety waves balanced by buoyant acidity. With a mix of fresh peach and apricot, it finishes fresh, spicy and salty." (7/2016) 90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Creamy oak is neatly aligned to plentiful ripe apple fruit here, yet, if so forthrightly fruity in the nose as to presage a certain juicy simplicity in the mouth, this balanced and very well-crafted wine follows with continuous, surprisingly complex flavor ...Read More »
Mouton Cadet has partnered with wine lover and legendary golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. to design this year's Ryder Cup limited edition. This special Mouton Cadet cuvée was the official wine of the 2016 Ryder Cup, and is available only for a short time.
94 points Wine & Spirits: "Jay Heminway got his start in Bordeaux as a college student in the 1960s, working a summer with Alexis Lichine. He founded Green & Red in the eastern hills of Napa Valley in the 1970s, focused on zinfandel. This wine grows at the highest vineyard on the estate, topping out at 1,800 feet, where he planted a northeast-facing slope in the late 1990s. It’s a fruit-driven zin, the freshness and sunny aspects pointed up by his team’s work at the new sorting table installed in 2013. All that fruit seems to glow from within, surrounded by scents of bay and wild ...Read More »
Pineau d'Aunis is a dark-skinned wine grape variety whose story began in the Loire Valley in the Middle Ages. Despite once being popular with royalty on both sides of the English Channel, the variety is now increasingly rare, and is limited to a role in the rosés and light reds of the central Loire. It is valued for the gently peppery spiciness it brings to the area's rosé wines, a role mirrored by the Carignan and Tibouren used to make the famous rosé wines of Provence. When the elements grant the Loire a vintage with warm weather more akin to that foun... Read More »
Light in color, as is typical for Sancerre Rosé, this has lively aromas of small red fruits with soft underlying minerals and just a hint of rich citrus. Light and playful on the palate with some Mirabelle, cherry and watermelon. Although a light and fresh style of rosé, this has nice weight and texture to it on the finish and it's very easy and fun to drink while grilling and chilling with friends. 100% Pinot Noir. (Eric Story, K&L Loire Valley Wine Buyer)
From the leading producer of "cru" wines in Northern Rhône, this deep and supple wine displays seductive aromas of blackberry, currant and baking spice, with a hint of licorice. Wine Advocate praised the producer: "I continue to consider Cave de Tain to be one of the best co-ops in the world, and they make a bevy of truly outstanding wines. This is in part, I’m sure, due to their incredible, state of the art cellar/winery that is located on the outskirts of Tain l’Hermitage. In addition, they have a terrific vineyard management and winemaking team." (11/... Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "I like the lively and zesty character to this white with green apple and lemon undertones. Full body, loads of fruit, yet firm and focused. Go-to Gavi." (10/2015) Wine & Spirits: "Tart lemon and yellow apple flavors mingle with lightly bitter notes in a round, oily texture. Serve this with a seafood stew." (12/2015) Wine Spectator: "A mix of pear, apple, lemon and earth notes, backed by touches of earth and mineral. Offers a clean, chalky finish." (11/2015)
Inventory: Redwood City
Wine Enthusiast: "Cigar-box aromas and a perfumed, fruity character give this wine a typical Cabernet Franc character. It is structured, with some firm tannins at the core, surrounded by ripe red fruits and fresh acidity. The wine is ready to drink. (RV)" (2/2016)
94 points Bob Campbell: "Soft, subtle and silken Rosé, with flavours of crushed strawberry, watermelon, summer berries and a hint of rose petal. A gentle, charming wine that demonstrates considerable power through its lingering finish." (12/2015) K&L Notes: About the producer from Raymond Chan: "The GeorgeTown Vineyard label shot to fame when the 2007 Pinot Noir was awarded the Champion Exhibition Red Wine Trophy at the 2009 Air New Zealand Wine Awards. However the quantity of wine from the vineyard is tiny, as indicated by the ‘Exhibition' status of the trophy, reserved for limited producti... Read More »
Tolosa uses the same vineyard blocks for their No-Oak Chardonnay that they do for their barrel fermented Chardonnays. These are the best sites and clones from the estate's sustainably farmed Edna Ranch. They are found mostly in the older plantings a few miles south of the winery. They include the oldest block in the vineyard. They are a mix of field selected "Heritage" clones and more recently introduced Dijon selections. All are hand farmed with an almost obsessive attention to perfecting each block each vintage.
90 points Wine Spectator: "*** Smart Buy *** 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 beginning to end. Drink now. (JL)" (8/2016)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a sublime, succulent and entirely rewarding white from the great vineyard site that is Durell. The vines used by this producer date back to 1994, 1995 and 2003. Richly defined, the wine is lengthy and complex in honeycomb, ginger and a powerful mix of acidity and texture, finishing in a bite of orange. (VB)" (10/2016) 92 points Vinous: "Butter, smoke, tropical fruit, apricot jam and spices meld together in the 2013 Chardonnay Durrell Vineyard. The creamy, open-knit finish only adds to the wine's considerable appeal in this attractive, classic, California barrel-ferme ...Read More »
(last of vintage) Noblaie's rosé is produced from younger Cabernet Franc vines, which are planted in the deeper soils at the base of the hillside vineyard. It has a clear and smooth pink color, deep, rich aromas of watermelon and cranberry and loads of lovely fresh red fruits on the palate.
Jancis Robinson: "75% Grenache, 25% Syrah hand picked on Nicolas Haeni's relatively new, high estate. 30% free run. Pale lipstick pink. Good substance in the mouth, lightly chewy and just the merest suggestion of sweetness in its strawberry fruit thanks to the Grenache portion. Attractive dry finish. Well made and confident. Definitely southern Rhône rather than Provençal. Juicy." (7/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Giving up some resinous herbs and tart cherry nuances, the 2015 Rose from Domaine Malmont is medium-bodied, fresh and lively, with some tart acidity on the finish. (JD)" (5/2016) K&L Notes: Domaine d... Read More »
La Noue is a 2.5 hectare vineyard plot from which Domaine Claude Riffault makes their red and rosé wine. The plot is divided into seven adjacent vineyards featuring Terres Blanches and Kimmeridgian marl soils with 100% Pinot Noir vines ranging from 8 to 56 years old. The rosé is allowed some light skin contact to gain color, complexity, and aromatic interest during its vinification.
Outlier is a fitting name for this outfit run by winemaker/owner Derek Rohlffs, who orchestrates his unique efforts from his home base in the middle of the San Francisco Bay on Treasure Island.
The Leperchois family, who has been making wine in the Rhône Valley since 1920, turned to organic farming in 1997 when they realized that pollution was impoverishing their soil. Their Lunar Apogé line takes this ethos one step further--it is Demeter-certified organic and biodynamic. They use only natural yeasts and hand harvesting, working intricately with the rhythms of the seasons. 50% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 15% Clairette.
92-93 points Raymond Chan: "Even ruby-red colour, a little lighter edged. This has an elegant, softly fragrant nose of red cherry and berry fruit with subtle herb and red floral aromas. This possesses finesse and is expressed with refinement, unfolding nuances of herbs, liquorice and dark red fruits with aeration. The whole cluster component is integrated and harmonious. Medium-bodied, juicy and succulent aromatic red floral and red berry fruit flavours show with ethereal floral lift. The fruit is supported by subtle tannin extract and structure, lending fine-grained textures, and ...Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* There are family resemblances between this wine and its mate above in their appley focus and supporting oak, but this wine is tight both in aroma and across the palate and comes with acidity that sticks out a bit. It is nearly equal to its mate in ripeness while lacking some of that wine's greater depth and richness, and it is recommended for service with pan-grilled trout, cracked crab and other lighter preparations." (10/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Chardonnay from White Rock Vineyards offers attractive minerality, hints of pineapple and orange rind, medium ...Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "A solid white with sliced apple and lemon aromas and flavors. Medium body. Hints of minerals too." (5/2016) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The nose of the 2014 Chardonnay Legado Reserva reminded me of the character of the Quebrada Seca, it has similar freshness and mineral character. I'd be very curious to taste this next to the Quebrada Seca, as unfortunately I tasted them on separate occasions and with one month's difference. The palate is fresh and vibrant, and leaves a salty taste on your lips. For this price, the quality is very high. (LG)" (12/2015) K&L Notes: De Martino has arguably undergone... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Looking at the reds and the only 2011 I was able to taste (I’m not sure if they produced their other two cuvees or not), the 2011 Vacqueyras G (50/50 blend of Grenache and Syrah aged in 1-3-year-old barrels) is a fruit loaded, medium to full-bodied effort that has fresh, lively aromatics (plum, violets, underbrush and spice), juicy acidity and quality tannin. It’s a rock star in the vintage and should drink nicely through 2021. Covering 45 acres in Vacqueyras, Domaine le Colombier produces four cuvees; a classic white; a traditional, concrete tank-aged ...Read More »
Richard Luftig spent 20 years as a professional wine buyer in New York before turning his focus to making wine in Sonoma. His raison d'être is to make soulful wines for affordable prices that meet his exacting standards (he'd rather scrap a whole vintage than bottle something that doesn't). Along with winemaker Clay Mauritson, he crafts a Sauvignon Blanc from two vineyards in Bennett Valley that, according to his tasting notes, has a "restrained, subtle aroma of lime and sour green apple." This is easy drinking and fresh, with a great mouthfeel.
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Rhone Report: "The 2008 Martinelli Syrah Hop Camp Vineyard 'Gravel Lens' (Grave lens refers to the rare soil characteristic of alluvial soil layers interleaved with layers of gravel) is a big, beautifully fruited Syrah that possess touches of northern Rhone like qualities mainly on the nose. Blackberry, cracked pepper, mineral, and hints of chocolate all emerge, and this fleshes out over the evening and gains floral and violets characteristics, as well as notable complexity and a layered profile. This full-bodied, beautifully textured Syrah has an overall seamless feel ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Fresh orange blossoms and jasmine spring from a chalky backbone on the nose of this clean and crisp semisweet bottling that also shows tangerine pith, lemon-lime soda and a touch of quinine. Though a bit sweet on the sip, it is far from cloying and remains refreshing throughout. (MK)" (12/2016) K&L Notes: 85% Riesling with 15% Gewürztraminer blended in. It has a low alcohol level--12.5%. This juicy, tasty white has aromas of jasmine and honey with flavors of citrus, peach, mandarin orange and wet stone. Zippy and bright with an ever-so-slight tinge of sweetness, it's... Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* The deep gold color of this relatively young wine suggests that oxidation is setting in. But wait! This wine explodes into full glory 24 hours after first being opened. It begins with intense aromas and flavors of dried apricots, apples and a hint of ginger, showing impressive length on the finish. It turns into a breathtaking, spätlese-style effort on the palate, with honey, Meyer lemon and ripe grapefruit flavors." (6/2016)
Inventory: Redwood City
Domaine de Fontbonau is a partnership between the president of Chateau Latour, Frédéric Engerer, and Jérôme Sarda Malet. This blend of Grenache and Syrah is sourced from vines aged 30-70 years. Though the 2012 vintage has yet to be reviewed, Wine Spectator praised the 2011 bottling: "The core of juicy raspberry and blackberry fruit has melded with briary tannins and a backdrop of pepper, tobacco and anise in this late-release. Solid." (Web Only—2015)
95 points James Halliday: "The relatively light color and perfumed bouquet are typical of this Upper Yarra vineyard, as is the understated elegance and finesse of the palate, spicy/savory red fruits and silky tannins in a back-up role. If 250 dozen had been made, not 245, it would have won the Jimmy Watson Trophy." (9/2015) 92 points Vinous: "Vivid red. Vibrant, spice-accented red and dark berry scents pick up notes of succulent herbs and minerals with air. Juicy, focused and energetic on the palate, offering sappy black raspberry and cherry-cola flavors with hints of five-spice powder and mocha. Clos ...Read More »
Classic Coonawarra Cab packed full of blue fruit with lovely tobacco notes and whiffs of mint and eucalyptus. The fruit has great drive and purity. I think Coonawarra is one of the best areas for Cabernet in Australia and this bottle shows why for a pretty inexpensive price. Made by a small family owned operation the Raidis Family. (Ryan Woodhouse - K&L Aussie Wine Buyer).
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2000 Brane-Cantenac is a blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 55% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. It has a really wonderful bouquet that is coming into its own: potent with black truffle and gravel infusing the red berry fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with a saline tang on the entry. It is not a powerful or huge wine, but there is impressive length here and genuine complexity on the finish, with black truffle, cedar and tobacco notes vying for attention. Henri Lurton oversaw a really quite fabulous, almost aristocratic Brane-Cantenac in this millennial ...Read More »
An organically farmed, naturally made Grenache-Cabernet blend from Aubais, a small medieval village south of Nîmes. Winemaker Mark Haynes may be many things: entrepreneur, winemaker, tango dancer; but there is one thing that he is not--conventional. Mark is a spirited man who came to winemaking late in life when he realized that so many producers in the Gard region were turning their backs on winemaking and farming. The region is in the south of France about 30 minutes from Nîmes. It was his summer home in his childhood and he always had a fondness for i... Read More »
Varietals: Garnatxa Blanca, Picapoll Blanca, Xarel.lo
Fattoria Rodano only produces 500 cases of this super Tuscan blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Sangiovese. Grapes were hand-harvested from the organically certified Viacosta vineyard which features 35-45 year old vines with a beautifully situated, south-facing amphitheater-like exposure. For a luxurious touch, the wine was aged in 60% new French barriques before bottling.
95 points Bob Campbell: "Fragrant Chardonnay with power and purity. Flavoursome wine with toast, wet stone, mineral, wild flowers and nutty oak. Always impressive, this vintage is no exception. The wine has an ethereal texture and lingering finish. A very classy Central Otago Chardonnay." 94 points James Suckling: "A very rich nose with plenty of nectarine, grapefruit, yellow peach and an assertive pure fruit edge. There is a strong comparison to Chablis in style here, think Droin or Raveneau, smooth lees, flinty and stony. The palate has a smooth, creamy texture, flavors of peach, nectarine and preserved l ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
As the name indicates, this Pinot Noir is vinified entirely in stainless steel. After hand sorting and destemming, the berries are fermented a style similar to carbonic maceration, resulting in a very aromatic, bright wine.