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K&L Staff Recommendations
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "A generously fruity, just-ripe and refined wine, this offers classic notions of the appellation in a warm, welcoming vintage, from rhubarb, cranberry and cherry to cola spice and clove. Still young, it shows an intensity that should meld and mellow in the bottle in short order. (VB)" (5/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Pinot Noir from Russian River has a similar medium to deep ruby color and notes of sassafras, cola, red cherries and strawberries. It is a little more primary and fruit-driven, but remains medium-bodied and, in this case, very Côtes de Beaune-like. Drink it o ...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)
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 »
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)
We love this co-op, started in 1930 with 30 winemakers and now numbering 200, for their reliably delicious everyday wines. They are located in the foothills of the Languedoc's Cevennes mountains, along the Ceressou volcano, where shale, basalt, and limestone-clay soils meet an ideal Mediterranean climate for grape growing. This voluptuous blend of Syrah and Grenache is ruby red in glass with aromas of cassis and red fruits. It'd be a great accompaniment to a hearty mushroom risotto or a lamb chop.
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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "This opens with pretty, dark concentration and balanced aromas of black cherry and red currant set against leather, cedar and drying mineral notes. That extra density helps soften the sharp acidity." (5/2013)
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 »
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
93 points Bob Campbell: "A blend of Pinot Noir and Malbec. Uncompromisingly dry, flavoursome Rosé with watermelon, summer berries and anise spice. A terrific wine that offers good value at this price." (12/2015) 93 points Sam Kim: "Delightfully fragrant, the bouquet shows rockmelon, citrus and floral characters with a hint of fresh strawberry. It is juicy and brightly flavoured on the palate, and offers silky mouthfeel and a fabulous crisp dry finish. Made from (mostly) pinot noir, this is so refreshing and appealing. At its best: now to 2017." K&L Notes: Winemaker's notes: "Blushing pink watermelon in appearance... Read More »
Situated in to the east of the walled city of Carcassonne and in the shadow of the Montagne Noire (Black Mountains) lies Minervois. The village of Laure-Minervois is home to the winery Chateau Saint Jacques d'Albas a 90 hectare estate in the hills above the village. Some 26 hectares of the estate are planted to vines with the rest composed of forests and creeks acting as a natural barrier to their neighbors. At the winery, a small team led by owner Graham Nutter, craft superb reds, whites and rosés, all of which are farmed organically. The "Domaine Ro... Read More »
97 points Bob Campbell: "Subtle, silken and very complex pinot noir with an array of dark cherry, plum, floral and Oriental spice flavours. A core of sweet fruit perfectly balances fine, drying tannins to give the wine a linear, lingering quality. Power delivered with subtlety. Very impressive. Drink 2016 to 2024." (8/2016) 96 points Wine Spectator: "There’s plenty of purity to the strawberry and cranberry flavors at the core, with toasted rye and nutmeg aromas. Elegant and graceful, with tannins exerting a light grip on the finish, where the aromas expand. Drink now through 2027." K&L Notes: Felton Road, along with pro... Read More »
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.
Wine Enthusiast: "A Zinfandel-based blend, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Syrah, Merlot and Malbec, this wine is hearty, thick and dense. It traffics in smoky char, leathery tannins and a strong taste of tobacco, finishing with a flash of red plum." (12/2015)
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)
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 »
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 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Even better, the 2012 Saint Joseph Cuvee Lautaret sports an inky purple color to go with fabulous notes of ripe black raspberry, cassis, licorice, beef blood and leather. Full-bodied, concentrated and textured, with lots of sweet tannin, it’s a serious Saint Joseph that readers need to buy. (JD)" (12/2014) 92 points Wine Spectator: "Dark roasted plum and fig fruit is melded with succulent licorice and ganache notes in this red, which is broad and fleshy in feel, with an echo of iron on the finish. (JM)" (10/2014) Jancis Robinson: "Leathery and medicinal – really characterful and pure. Appreciably diffe ...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 »
Grown organically in the estate vineyards in Castelnuovo dell’Abate in the southeastern section of Montalcino near the abbey of Sant’Antimo, this 50% Sangiovese and 50% Colorino undergoes a temperature controlled maceration for 7-8 days. It is then matured for 6 months in 500 liter neutral French oak barrels.
Inventory: Redwood City
This happens to be the cousin and neighbor of Martin Kerpen of Heibert Kerpen - go figure right? Anyway, we were turned on to these wines by a friend who is now importing them in Berkeley, and we thank him for that. These are old style Mosel wines from vintages that were not shy on acid and they have not moved from the cellar where they were born until making their maiden voyage last month and landing here on our welcoming shelves. Hello acidity!!! Do you pine for the days when a zippy, and I mean zippy, Mosel wine would bring your palate and salivary gl... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
(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.
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.
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 »
Monterey's first winery sits atop the Gavilan Mountains and boasts vines planted in the highly-desirable granite and limestone soils found there. Perhaps this is why winemaker Robert Cook says, Chalone isn’t a label; it’s a place on earth.
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 »
Located in the plains of Roussillon near the outskirts of Perpignan, the Deneufbourgs are a multi-generational family of vignerons. The "Olympe" is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Marselan, a crossing of Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Each component of this blend is fermented in concrete and then aged in stainless steel to preserve the freshness of the varieties.
90 points James Suckling: "A wine with lots of berry, vanilla and cream aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, round and savory. Intense new wood but delicious all the same. Needs time to come together in the bottle: Drink in 2017." (2/2016)
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Chardonnay Holly's Cuvee is a big, rich and sexy white that nevertheless manages to stay fresh, livey and pure. Possessing lots of tropical fruits, flower oil, honeysuckle and a hint of peach, it's already hard to resist, and I don't see any need to delay gratification either. I suspect this will be the last vintage made by Jim and Bob Varner, who no longer works with the fruit from the Spring Valley Vineyard. (JD)" (10/2016)
Varietals: Garnatxa Blanca, Picapoll Blanca, Xarel.lo
94 points Decanter: "This wine could also be in my 12 greatest Riberas. Delicious, complex, finely sewn, open. Top quality, and at a bargain price. (PBT)" (1/2016) 92 points Vinous: "Opaque purple. Exotic aromas of black and blue fruit preserves, cherry-vanilla, licorice and peppery spices. Plush and open-knit, offering deeply concentrated dark fruit flavors and hints of candied flowers and spicecake. Supple tannins build with air and add shape to a very long, supple finish that leaves cassis and mocha notes behind. This suave wine has the depth to age but drinks very easily now; it was aged for ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
The 2014 Bench Cabernet Sauvignon exudes a deep, dark purple color in the glass. The nose is vibrant with violets, huckleberry and a touch of vanilla spice. The palate is elegantly wound with dusty tannins and a supple, velvet texture. The long, seamless finish ebbs and flows with flavors of black currant, dark cocoa and black forest floor.
The winegrowing estate of Chateau les Valentines is more than a century old. The estate originally brought their grapes to the local cooperative, but when Gilles and Pascale Pons took over in 1997, they decided to make their own wine. They built a modern winery and called the domaine "Les Valentines" after their children, Valentin and Clémentine. Château les Valentines now covers approximately 100 acres. The white is a blend of old vine Ugni Blanc, Rolle and Clairette.
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 »
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 Suckling: "Captivating aromas of blueberries, raspberries, violets and orange peel. Full body with crazy tannins." (9/2013) 94 points Vinous: "The 2011 Giorgio Primo is just as beautiful today as it was last year, even if it has barely budged since then. Blackberry jam, spices, licorice, smoke and new leather meld together in a seamless voluptuous wine endowed with superb depth and pure textural richness. The oak still needs time to integrate, but there is a lot to look forward to here. (AG)" (9/2014) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Giorgio Primo is the latest edition of one of my favorite Tuscan blends. Caber ...Read More »
93 points Vinous: "A dark, imposing wine, the 2012 Roc des Cambes is distinctly dark and brooding. Black cherries, smoke, licorice, tar and dark spices fleshed [?]. Vertical in style and quite structured, the 2012 could use another few years in bottle to fully come together, which will also help the chewy tannins to integrate a bit more fully. Roc des Cambes is 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec that spend 18 months in 100% new French oak. (AG)" (1/2016) Jancis Robinson: "Tasted blind. Lively blackish ruby. Very rich and sweet. Flattering and round with masses of dramatic ripene ...Read More »
It is a classic "partridge's eye" pale pink color, with delicate fruit aromas and flavors accented by notes of savory herb and earthy, peppery spice. Light, refreshing, and complex, this is the perfect partner to savory snacks, salads, fish dishes, cured meats, or picnic fare. Serve chilled. Jean-François is an up-and-coming winemaker in Touraine who we've become a big fan of over the past few years. The rosé is made by direct pressing followed by a traditional vinification of Pineau d'Aunis, the ancient Loire grape variety that grows on chalky clay soi... Read More »
James Halliday: "Pale colour with a hint of spritz. Attractive mix of raspberried fruit and twiggier, spicier, more earthen influences. Finishes fresh." (7/2015) K&L Notes: From old vines. Winemaker's notes: "Bright salmon pink in colour. A highly aromatic wine that opens with strawberries and cream, cherry blossom, talcum powder and a hint of pear skin. This wine has flavours of raspberry iced tea, red apple and pomegranate. A supple and briny texture with a blood orange finish leaves you looking for the next sip. The Grenache that produced this Rosé is either sourced from bush vine... Read More »
Bright and driven style of Gamay Rose. Perfectly dry finish with spiced red fruits and hints of stone fruit. This comes from the little known AOC of Côte Roannaise, which was established in 1994 and sits about 50 kilometers west of Lyon in the Loire Valley. The granitic soils of this southern appellation are well-suited to Gamay, and especially to the family-owned Domaine Robert Sérol, now being run by the fifth generation. The domaine's namesake, Robert, was the first in the family to bottle the wines, and he can be still found wandering the property to... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "A penetrating nose of fresh lime, thyme and pennyroyal leads into a succulent, glossy palate featuring apple and white peach as well as delightful floral and green herbal inner-mouth perfume. A very slight sense of sweetness supports the fruit. A sustained finish soothes and seduces. (DS)" (2/2016)
Inventory: San Francisco
91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* Completing a trio of very fine Pinots from Eric Kent, the Sascha Marie bottling shows an extra measure of fruity richness while still showing its maker's graceful hand. It exhibits exceptional varietal purity even as it inclines ever so slightly more to ripeness, and it has the supple, near-silky feel that marks the best Pinot Noirs. Even if so nicely polished that it will be hard to resist in its youth, it has the depth and the balance to evolve effortlessly for another five or more years." (10/2016) K&L Notes: Sourced mainly from the Roberts Road Vineya... Read More »
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 »
97 points Vinous: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is simply stunning. A real head-turner, the 2013 possesses superb density and tons of pure power. The flavors are deep, powerful and explosive. Mocha, new leather, and licorice wrap around a core of dark, sumptuous fruit. This dense, powerful Cabernet Sauvignon will require considerable patience, but it is super-impressive. And then some. Chris Carpenter crafted the 2013 from an assortment of parcels, most of them mountain sites on Diamond Mountain, Mt. Veeder and Howell Mountain. This is a real stand out. (AG)" (10/2015) 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A bril ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "This is the equivalent of a second wine from Les Valentines, a lighter version of the estate wine. With lively acidity, it is fruity while rounded, crisp but also sweet with ripe strawberry flavors. The acidity at the end is soft, light and bright. (RV)" (7/2016) Wine Spectator: "Pure and fresh, with a core of white peach and cherry pit, backed by subtle tea and wet stone notes on the finish. Cinsault and Grenache. Drink now. (JM)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: The winegrowing estate of Chateau les Valentines is more than a century old. The estate originally brought their grapes to the local ... 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).