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K&L Staff Recommendations
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Aa is Sigalas' typical blend, 75/25 Assyrtiko and Athiri. An under-the-radar buy, this is very fine again this year, chock full of flavor and possessed of a long finish. What makes it more special, though, is the way it evolves in the glass with air and warmth, gradually showing more and more tension on the finish as well as an increasingly transparent demeanor. This is a beauty and a bargain, the equal of the 2014--and perhaps its better. (MS)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: A combination of Assyrtiko, with its inherent layers of structure and power, combined with the... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
The signature sweet Muscat dessert wine from this cooperative on the Aegean island of Samos, one of Greece's original co-ops and a top producer of the island's famous Muscat. Samos boasts an extremely steep terrain, which means many of the vineyards here, especially those at high elevation, are planted on pezoules, or terraces. The trouble this provides in terms of necessitating hand harvesting is more than made up for by the wine's quality and immensely pleasurable taste. This dessert wine is fortified to 15% abv. It offers the unctuous, exotic flavors ... Read More »
If it weren't for the conservation efforts of Vangelis Gerovassiliou, along with a handful of concerned Greek vitculturalists, the endangered, ancient Greek Malagousia vine would surely have gone extinct, and we'd never get to enjoy its lovely mango-scented aromas, silky mouthfeel, and elegance. Gerovassiliou treats his Malagousia to prolonged skin contact to fully extract its aroma potential, after which a partial barrel fermentation is followed by several months of aging on the lees to allow for the development of intensity, richness, and texture on th... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Saint George, the winery's regular Agiorgitiko, was aged in second-use French oak for 12 months. It is nicely done this year, bright, with some persistence on the finish, enticing aromatics and fresh flavor. It has enough structure to seem serious, but it will be approachable young... (MS)" (6/2016) Wine & Spirits: "This is bold in its oak and fruit flavors, a forward agiorgitiko for burgers." (8/2016)
From Santorini, this is a stainless steel fermented, fresh style of Greek wine made from Assyrtiko. Yiannis Argyros is a wine lover who works very hard to obtain high quality grapes in order to make superior quality wines. And there are many professionals in the Greek wine market who think of Yiannis Argyros as the best Greek winemaker in dry white wines and dessert wines. His efforts to produce high quality wines have been acknowledged worldwide, as indicated by the award by Wine & Spirits Magazine as one of 100 best wineries in the world for 2005 and ... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Santorini is an Assyrtiko coming in at 13.5% alcohol. This old vines white (40 to 80 years) is simply gripping, filled with youthful, unevolved fruit and a certain salty nuance on the end. (I think that is a descriptor too often used–but it seems to fit here.) Elegant, yet concentrated enough for this level, this is impressive on many fronts for the regular Assyrtiko. As it airs and warms, it seems wonderfully fresh and completely delicious, yet always persistent. Admittedly, it is not exactly the most concentrated Santorini as it airs out, but ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Zoe White is the typical, unoaked, 60/40 blend of Roditis and Moschofilero. This perky white can be a go-to favorite for casual summer outings. It doesn't ever have a lot of body and it isn't supposed to age, so drink it young. This year, it maintains the perkiness... The mid-palate is modest, but that is usually so. It is still very tasty and fresh. Given the modest price point, it is still a nice picnic white. Drink it this summer for best results. (MS)" (4/2016) Wine Spectator: "A crisp and floral white, the taut acidity to the grapefruit and green apple flavor ...Read More »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "The scent is pure pine forest, cool and refreshing; the flavor is pure, fresh fruit—pears and cold green grapes—the pine notes floating over them as if carried on a breeze. It will keep you cool all summer long, on its own or with a mezes spread." (8/2007) Wine Enthusiast: "Gaia’s Ritinitis Nobilis is another great choice for a modern style. Made from Roditis grapes and a small amount of pine resin, this retsina is clean and refreshing, with herb and eucalyptus aromas, and it pairs wonderfully with curried fish or chicken dishes, or with fried seafood. (KM)" (8/2012) K&L Notes: This is ... Read More »
100% Xinomavro. Established 20-plus years ago by Konstantinos Karydas and now run by his son, Petros, this small six acre estate is absolutely stunning. The philosophy is simple yet painstaking: grow nothing but the absolute best fruit nature can allow and then have a minimalist winemaking style. The vineyard is a sandy, clay hillside while the winery thoughtfully sits right in the middle. Fantastic spicy fruit with mid-weight texture and power with integrated but firm tannins. If you're a fan of Northern Italian Nebbiolo you should definitely try this a... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Thalassitis is Gai'a's familiar, old-vines Assyrtiko, unoaked and without malolactic fermentation (as the winery points out, "due to the climate conditions of Santorini the wine contains no malic acid, thus no malolactic fermentation is required"). It comes in at just 12.9% alcohol. This is just gloriously fresh and makes a statement right off the bat. Clean and remarkably delicious, with the fruit lifted and zipped into the palate, this is a nervy Thalassitis that I liked a lot. There is just a tinge of lemon on the finish. The fruit dances ove ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Xinomavro Hedgehog Vineyard is the latest iteration in this bargain-priced brand, also part of this issue's focus on Amyndeon terroir. It was just recently released. It was aged for 12 of months in French oak (half new, half used). The Hedgehog is a perennial value point in the lineup these days, a wine that always provides value with some distinction. This is another beauty. Perfectly focused, it is tight and pointed, yet deep and rather lush, relatively speaking. Its oaky initial demeanor faded with aeration, leaving a wine with increasing pur ...Read More »
65% Villana - 35% Vidiano. Mark Squires of eRobertParker.com writes: "Crete is a happening place these days. A new entrant here is Karavitakis. Importer Andrea Engliss gave this brief bio: 'The winery is located near the main city of Chania. The family has been involved in wine production for approximately 50 years. However, approximately 10 years ago they decided to vinify and bottle wine produced from their own vineyards. While they make wines from international varietals in addition to the wines we import, we decided to focus on the indigenous varieta... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Liatiko Dafnios is all Liatiko, a red grape indigenous to Crete and sourced from vines approximately 30 years old. It was aged for nine months in a mixture of used French oak (80%) and stainless steel (20%). Fresh and pure, this features, sappy, up-front fruit flavor with a nod to Beaujolais, but it also adds a fresh and vibrant feel with mild tannins, some persistence on the finish and a bright personality. It is a lovely red that can and should be chilled down a bit (around 60F works well) and drunk as an uncomplicated sipper. In the short-run ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
80% Agiorgitiko (St. George), 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. The color is very deep and intense purple. In the nose it is dense, concentrated and complicated. Shows nice and elegant. Aromas of ripe fruit such as blackberries and raspberries are coupled with a spicy characteristic, smoke and a touch of leather that all fill the nose. In the mouth it is silky but powerful, framed by delicate tannins and gentle acidity and offering flavors of ripe fruits, cloves, black pepper and just a touch of herbs.The aftertaste has extended length and a great complexity. Ferm... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Agiorgitiko, the regular Nemea "classic" from Driopi (Tselepos) is a beauty, one of the best regular Nemeas produced here. Coming in at 14% alcohol, it was aged for nine months in a mixture of French (90%) and American oak (10%); 30% new, 30% each second- and third-use. Beautifully focused and reasonably concentrated for the level, this might not be quite as fat as its 2012 predecessor, or as rich as the Reserve, also very fine, but it manages to project some elegance, too. More importantly, it has the tightly-wound feel of a fine, refined wine. ...Read More »
From Santorini, labeled within the larger Cyclades appellation, this is a stainless steel fermented, fresh style of Greek wine made from a blend based on Assyrtiko, with dashes of Athiri and Aidani. Yiannis Argyros is a winelover who works very hard to obtain high quality grapes in order to make superior quality wines. And there are many professionals in the Greek wine market who think of Yiannis Argyros as the best Greek winemaker in dry white wines and dessert wines. His efforts to produce high quality wines have been acknowledged worldwide, as indicat... Read More »
Nikteri is a more traditional style of making Assyrtiko wine in Santorini, using barrel fermentation and aging. The wine's time in barrel contributes to a layered, decadent complexity, which provides a beautiful counterbalance to the natural saline and citrus notes of the grape. Serve this with a plate of grilled Halumi cheese and it'll sing sweet "opas" in your ear.
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Robola is unoaked and sourced from high altitude (500 meters) vines. It comes in at 13% alcohol and is very dry. Rather terrific this year, this fragrant, lively and sunny Robola is fresh and forward, dancing nicely over the tongue. I stuck this beauty back in the fridge for six hours and it seemed far better, fleshing out, opening up and showing better depth than I normally see from this level. Granting that I'm seeing this a bit early, it seems to have a lot going on. Right now, it is one of the most impressive performances from a young Robola ...Read More »
This wine is a blend made exclusively from Greek varieties (Xynómavro 33%, Krassato 33% and Stavroto 33%). It is an appellation Rapsani from high elevation (800 meters) fruit from open canopied, untrained vines. Vinification is designed to maximize the best features of the varieties: controlled temperature fermentation, 6-8 days of skin contact, a year in first and second year barrels and at least two years in bottle. It offers smoky notes and layers of red cherry fruit. Great tannic structure makes it ideal for lamb herbed with rosemary.
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Moscofilero is glorious for its flavor and aromatics. Rumors (well, reports) about the lack of maturation in this vintage are noted. It is true that the wines are not on the fatter, riper side. They may tail off faster and not age as well–although, acidity preserves. This was still one of my favorites in this report and it was awfully tasty. Who can argue with these fine aromatics, the fresh feel, the delicious and crisp finish? Sometimes, a little less ripeness and maturity can create a different style that has its own virtues. This is moderate ...Read More »
Wine & Spirits: "Unburdened by oak, this blend of 65 percent kotsifali and 35 percent mandilari is plummy and juicy, with a little of the spice and baked fruit character expected from Crete’s warm climate. It’s pitched in price and flavor to pour liberally at barbecues this summer." (8/2015) K&L Notes: A blend of Kotsifali and Mandilari from one of Crete's up-and-coming wineries. They also make "international" wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, but the importer has put the emphasis on their indigenous varietals from Crete for the American marketplace.
Inventory: San Francisco
The Dalamaras family has been making wine since 1840 and now the fifth generation carries on their heritage. Paliokalia refers to the area, located on the eastern foot hills of Mount Vermion, where the grapes are planted. Lying at an altitude of 250-300 meters above sea level, the vineyards benefit from a Mediterranean climate of dry summers and mild winters. According to the winery: "This 100% Xinomavro's medium tannins, high acidity and flavors range from ripe raspberry, rhubarb and black olive to sun-dried tomatoes. Like a red Burgundy, Xinomavro offe... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
100% Limniona. Not only one of my top Greek rosé picks, also one of my top rosé bottlings in general. Bright cranberry and other red fruits with spice and subtle mineral cut on the mid-palate. Has a juicy core of fruit which is bright and refreshing on the palate. (Eric Story, Greek Buyer)
Inventory: San Francisco
A.K.A. Limnio in Thessaly, not to be confused with the Limnio from other regions. Starts off a little wound up in the nose, but, with a minute of swirling it really begins to open up. Lots of really pretty blue fruits with good intensity. Very clean and pure expression of this little-known varietal. The tannin structure is soft and lush which complemented the broader acidity on the back end. I knew we had to bring this in the moment I stuck my nose in the glass. (Eric Story, K&L Greek Wines Buyer)
91 points Wine & Spirits: "Peach blossom scents nod toward the Malagousia in this blend, while Assyrtiko provides the drive, a bracing mineral tension that propels the lime-scented fruit forward. It feels firm but filigreed, delicate enough to treat a fillet of sole with respect." (8/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 White Estate with just Ktima Gerovassiliou on the front label, is a 50/50 blend of Assyrtiko and Malagousia, with about one-third of the Malagousia fermented in barrel. It comes in at 13.5% alcohol. I suspect most will find this irresistible. A fine bargain, this is a wine that shows more ...Read More »
100% single vineyard Xinomavro. This is a rustic, old school style of Xinomavro with salty black olive and dusty earthiness to it. A very nice stretched out tannin structure and a juicy back end acidity. Needs decanting and food.
Inventory: Redwood City
This aromatic Greek white is made from the Moschofilero grape, a variety known for its exuberant floral perfume and lively acidity, making it a natural pair to Mediterranean cuisine. This version comes from the Troupis family's private vineyards, produced with low yields and the utmost care. The wine is sensuous and richly perfumed, with notes of jasmine, white peach and pear. Serve with a lemony, oily fish for a true sensory indulgence.
Agiorgitiko is a deeply flavorful red grape from the hills around Nemea. This version from Troupis Winery has a sultry personality and velvety tannins, with notes of pomegranate and hints of caramel. Serve slightly chilled with a bright tomato sauce.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Agiorgitiko, i.e., the Nemea, was just bottled in December, 2013, then aged in French oak for 10 months, 40% new, the rest 2- to 3-years-old. This is a fairly fat regular Nemea from Driopi. Beautifully constructed, it shows good balance, fine mid-palate depth and caressing texture. The flavor and personality is a bit subdued at the moment – it's still young and recently bottled. It may well show better yet. It should age well for a regular Nemea and it is a pretty good value point. As it airs out, it shows some crispness and persistence, lingeri ...Read More »
100% estate grown, from the Gofas family's vineyards in the prestigious Koutsi region of Nemea, where elevation, mesoclimate and loamy clay soils create ideal conditions for growing grapes with ripeness, structure and natural acidity. Farmed and vinified according to traditional methods, this is a versatile dry red composed of 50% Agiortiko and 50% Syrah. Bold and spicy, with great depth of flavor and persistence on the finish, it's a no-brainer for Greek and Mediterranean cuisine!
This Greek red comes from Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. The grape is Liatiko, found in the central and eastern parts of the island. 2006 is the current release of the Liatiko; Winemaker Gianni Economou holds back his wines until he feels they are ready, so you can find other bottlings of his with current releases dating back to 1999. His wines are balanced, pure and earthy expressions of Greek varietals. The 2006 Liatiko is drinking superbly, with aromas of cured meat and white flowers and flavors of figs, cherries and leather. At this point ... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Malagousia is unoaked. This is a bit delicate, with only modest concentration, but as a fresh summer white it works well. Aromatic and lively, it just plain tastes great and the price is very right. Drink it as young and as fresh as possible. (MS)" (8/2016)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Domain Mercouri Estate red is a blend of Refosco (85%) and Mavrodaphne (15%), aged for 12 months in used French oak. This is sunny and flavorful, with a bright and elegant feel to it. The tannins are another matter–not so elegant and able to subdue the fruit at times. Still, after the dark, earthy, brooding and older reds that Mercouri presents this issue, this had a youthful exuberance that was quite enticing. There's not much mid-palate concentration, but it is intensely flavorful and nicely structured. (MS)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: 85% Refosco, 15% Mavrodaphn... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Limniona was aged for 12 months in a mixture of French and Austrian oak (30% new). It comes in at 13.1% alcohol. This has intense nuances of rhubarb and red fruits, with some tightness on the finish in its youth. It is wonderfully fresh with a silky mid-palate. As with most of these, the one quibble is the modest mid-palate concentration. At the price point, though, it offers plenty of value and it is rather delicious. It succeeds because the fruit is lifted, not cloying. The intensity of flavor alone is sufficient to make many fall in love with ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Aidani (unoaked) seems like a pretty vigorous and concentrated Aidani in its youth, with tension on the finish and intensity of flavor, in a controlled way, to be sure. Viscous, fresh and pure, this is a big winner just now. These aren't the best cellar candidates, but should be in good form for a few years, too. The "other white," the junior partner of Assyrtiko, is in pretty fine form these days. (MS)" (6/2016) Jancis Robinson: "Lemon and tangy freshness, a slight grip in the texture increasing that freshness, with the merest hint of blossom adding to the fragran ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco