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K&L Staff Recommendations
Wine Spectator: "*** Best Value *** Ripe and focused, with dark plum and boysenberry fruit lined with licorice snap notes. Shows modest toast through the juicy finish. Syrah, Mourvèdre and Viognier. Drink now. (JM)" (9/2016) K&L Notes: The Wolftrap is a robust, lively blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, and Viognier. From Neal Martin at erobertparker.com: "Robert Parker recently tasted Mark Kent's (a.k.a. Mr Boekenhoetskloof) Wolftrap red and white and came to the same conclusion as I in recent years: these are just wonderful bang for bucks wines that are thoughtfully crafted at this price po... Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "*Best Values* This is refined, with a steely spine that lets gooseberry, verbena and white peach flavors streak through. A hint of shortbread adds range and mouthfeel along the edges. The long finish has lovely cut. An amazing value. Drink now through 2019. (JM)" (2/2017)
91 points Wine Spectator: "A fresh white, with a quinine edge giving the core of green fig, yellow apple and white peach flavors extra zip through the floral-edged finish." K&L Notes: Another fantastic value from this K&L perennial pick. Juicy, rich, fruit forward but un-oaked Chard with subtle mineral tinges and clean bright acidity. Just so easy to drink and a crowd pleaser for sure. Has the richness and texture that many Chardonnay drinkers love but without the heavy oak flavors that can be so off putting. De Wetshof has been making high-quality wines in South Africa since the 1970s and the... Read More »
Too soon? Not for rosé from the Southern Hemisphere, and not for this perennial staff and customer favorite at K&L. This is one of our best-selling and most-raved-about rosés every year. Hand-picked from biodynamically farmed, old Mourvèdre vines in a cool coastal sub-region of Stellenbosch, it's a fresh, elegant wine that does a fantastic impression of Bandol (which is also predominantly made from Mourvèdre), but at a fraction of the cost! Waterkloof is a stunning property working with very natural, non-interventionist methods. The wines are pure, expre... Read More »
Kloof Street is an offshoot of Mullineaux Family Wines, which Neal Martin of the Wine Advocate says: "Mullineux epitomize elegant, terroir-driven, traditionally tailored wines that deliver nuanced scents and flavors while rarely treading over 13.5% alcohol. They do not shortchange wine-lovers on flavor, yet at the heart of their best blends there is an intellectual aspect that leaves you wanting more. If you have not discovered Mullineux yet what are you waiting for?"
Sourced from across the broad Western Cape region of South Africa, Radley & Finch offers this Sauvignon Blanc at an attractive entry-level price. The 2015 vintage offered a dry and early-ripening season with low yields and high quality fruit. Fruit from the Stellenbosch, Swartland and Paarl areas offer the ripe and juicy fruit character while grapes from the Olifants river area lend a streak of green invigoration. This Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent warm weather sipper, or a companion to fresh seafood and Mediterranean fare.
92 points Wine Spectator: "Solid, offering a big core of yellow apple, anise, white peach and mirabelle plum flavors, backed by enticing honeysuckle and jasmine notes. Has weight and cut, with a minerally underpinning on the finish. Roussanne, Chardonnay, Grenache Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Viognier. (Web Only—2016)" 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Maestro White, now in bottle of course, has a lively, slightly grassy bouquet with touches of gunflint developing in the glass. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, and there is good fruit intensity with fresh pear and citrus lemon combining nicely with ...Read More »
Sourced from across the broad Western Cape region of South Africa, Radley & Finch offers this Chenin Blanc at an attractive entry-level price. Grapes were sourced from both bush vines and trellised vines primarily in the Agter Paarl and Swartland regions. Winemaker Thinus Kruger primarily utilized indigenous yeasts in a particularly slow fermentation to develop complexity. The result is a citrusy and yellow fruited profile with hints of spice and grain. It is ready to drink right now, but will fill out and add complexity for a couple of years.
Jancis Robinson: "Perdeberg and Kasteelberg. Spring herbs on the nose. Off-dry impression but with enough acidity. Good tang, this would be a fab house wine. (GV)" (9/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Only recently bottled, the 2015 Kloof Street Chenin Blanc comes from 40-year-old vines. Part of the fruit was matured in stainless steel, as it was done in 2014 for the first time. It has a perfumed pine cone and fennel-tinged bouquet that gently unfurls from the glass. The palate is well balanced, perhaps a little fatter than previous vintages with a fine line of acidity, direct pear, peach skin, and f ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Sirkel Pinotage is fermented 50% in used barrels. It has a simple strawberry winegum-scented nose. The palate is rounded with bulbous strawberry and red cherry fruit and an easy drinking, smooth finish that is clearly designed to appeal to the masses, which it probably will. (NM)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "Expressive fresh, ripe raspberry and red fruit with a hint of sweet herbs. Youthful and elegant, this wine is ready to be enjoyed now. Sirkel encapsulates our dream of fulfilling our mission to be custodians of earth and guardians of man, ca... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Old Vine White is just a peach of a wine. It is fairly innocuous at first, saunters around for bit, minding its own business. Perhaps your attention is lowered. Then it evolves these wonderful aromas of almond, beeswax and just a hint of creme brulée. The palate is very well balanced with fine acidity, perhaps not quite as complex as the nose at full flight, but it delivers impressive, almost disarming persistence on the ginger-tinged finish. You will polish off a bottle quicker than you wish. (NM)" (11/2015) 91 points Wine Spectator: "Lovely, with white peach, chamomile an ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Pale - very pale - ruby. Very sweet, almost strawberry jam, on the nose, yet with sufficient refreshment. Great liveliness, poise and real minerally chew - granite-derived? Really distinguished - a southern hemisphere answer to Gredos Garnacha? Such a lovely take on this variety. 17.5/20 points (JR)" (8/2016) K&L Notes: This is seriously outstanding wine; one of my favorite expressions of the varietal that I have ever tasted. Pure, elegant, refined. Silk like texture, vibrant acidity and distinctive mineral tones. Not a big wine but one that will leave an impression... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Bright yellow. Clove, botanical herbs, honey, fennel and aniseed (the latter note very typical of Paardeberg, says Sadie) on the nose. Juicy, intense and energetic, with yellow fruit and honey flavors framed and lifted by a pungent wild herb character that runs through the wine. Finishes quite firm but not at all dry-edged. Sadie recommends pairing this wine with mild curries. (ST)" (6/2015) K&L Notes: The David wines are made by up and coming star David Sadie in South Africa's Swartland region. As part of the Swartland Independent group, David is committed to making... Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "85% Chenin Blanc, 15% Verdelho. Subtle but definite aromas: apricot and apple. Firm, fresh and lightly textured. The blend works well here giving an aromatic profile but also a satisfying texture. Just a slight note of boiled sweets on the finish – some residual sugar, or is it simply fruit sweetness? (JH)" (10/2015)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Sauvignon Blanc has a pleasant cut grass and bruised apple-scented bouquet. The palate is clean and fresh with good acidity, plenty of gooseberry and green apple flavors to enjoy, with a well balanced and quite sustained finish. (NM)" (11/2015)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Clonal Selection Elgin Syrah is matured in around 40% new oak. It has a subtle red berry, bergamot and violet-scented bouquet that is very defined and sophisticated. The palate is beautifully balanced, smooth and seductive in the mouth, with the acidity very well judged; there is plenty of lush red cherry, wild strawberry and white pepper notes on the finish. This is is very fine, though I personally have a wild crush on the Chardonnay. (NM)" (8/2015) Wine Spectator: "Focused, with a sanguine thread weaving through the core of lightly steeped plum and cherry fruit, giv ...Read More »
Crystallum is an awesome project from “young gun” winemaker and “Zoo Biscuits Wine Gang” member Peter-Allan Finlayson. His father, Peter Finlayson, is pretty much South African winemaking royalty. Peter-Allan is part of a younger generation of winemakers really putting modern South African wines on the map for all the right reasons. This “crew” makes great wines, surfs, Braais and generally has fun. It’s fine wine without any pretentious snobbery—and I love it. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate has this to say about Peter-Allan: “Sometimes you meet a young w... Read More »
Sourced from across the broad Western Cape region of South Africa, Radley & Finch offers this Cabernet Sauvignon at an attractive entry-level price. The 2014 vintage saw a high quality crop with an appropriate amount of rainfall, especially for unirrigated vineyards. From winemaker Thinus Kruger: "Balanced entry reflects classical Cabernet Sauvignon flavours, dark berries, country herbs and a hint of fresh red cherries. Medium weight palate displays an elegant and very approachable tannin."
Inventory: San Francisco
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Chenin Blanc is matured in used barrels for around ten months, undergoes a little SO2 and bottled. It comes from two vineyards. It has a phenolic bouquet, a little resinous with honeysuckle and jasmine, a touch of warm gravel. The palate is medium-bodied with a fine line of acidity, but this is more about texture than fruit with hints of ginger and lemongrass towards the finish. Drink over the next 5-8 years. (NM)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: Thinus Krüger, CEO / President / Winemaker / Grape crusher / Sole employee of FRAM, brings us these remarkable "wines of exp... Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "30% Syrah, 28% Carignan, 17% Cinsaut, 14% Grenache, 11% Pinotage, on granite and schist. Aged in old oak for 22 months. Pale to mid ruby. This really does smell like the cocktail promised on the back label. Very complex and composed. Still quite a bit of structure - a firm line through all that fruit - but the tannins seem well in balance with all that opulent yet reined-in-by-terroir fruit. Spice and masses of depth. Such a light touch! Long, toasty on the finish, and rich - but with great energy too. Well done! Really very smart indeed, but beautifully ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Mid crimson. Lots of interest and drive on the nose . Very satisfying and complete. Succulent. Great balance. Dry finish. Open but not facile. Long, firm finish. (JR)" (11/2016) K&L Notes: Crystallum is a boutique winery owned by Andrew and Peter-Allan Finlayson, sons of South African wine legend Peter Finlayson.
Winemaker's notes: "100% old-vine Chenin Blanc (planted in 1968). Grapes pressed and juice settled overnight, then racked off the lease. Spontaneous/natural, single fermentation at 14°C until 35g/l residual sugar, when the fermenting juice is bottled under crown cap, slowly continuing fermentation in bottle. Aged on the lease in bottle for 14 months, followed by hand riddling, degorging of the lease and corking. Every process is aimed at turning beautiful, fresh juice into wine with no additions of any sort to give this very natural wine in which the bub... Read More »
Three Foxes is another newer, South African "young guns" winery that was set up in 2004 by three friends to produce distinctive wines from small parcels.
Jancis Robinson: "Light ruby. Dusty nose. Real whole-bunch influence with lots of freshness. Bone-dry end. Drink 2016-2020." (9/2015) K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "Grapes are meticulously sourced from a number of altitude and maritime vineyards around the Western Cape farmed by passionate South Africans. The small hand selected parcels of fruit receive much love and attention through the growing season with each vineyard’s unique terroir contributing in its own special way to the blend. In the cellar, minimal intervention and old large format French Oak is combined to ensure that the... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Super fun little wine. Old vine Cinsualt, fermented using partial carbonic techniques. Bright, fresh, only 12.5% alc. Crunchy berry fruits, bramble and dusty minerals. Fantastic wine for white meat, charcuterie or pork tenderloin.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannin, good depth in the mouth, and a little muscular at the moment with a saline touch to the finish. (NM)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: This wine comes from Ginny Poval's farm located in the Devon Valley just minutes from the heart of Stellenbosch. Big Flower is designed to be an easy drinking wine that really over-delivers for the price point ... and boy it does just that!
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Andrea Mullineux, 2016 Winemaker of the Year, Editors' Choice* This ripe selection conveys a superb sense of balance and refinement, with forward aromas and flavors of black cherry and brambly berry framed by notes of wood spice, mocha and pressed violet. Velvety in feel, the texture is plush and seductive, with fine yet structured tannins and ample acidity to keep the palate fresh through the close. It’s certainly delicious now, but this should age well through 2022. (LB)" 91 points Wine Spectator: "Black cherry and raspberry fruit streams through, lined with subtle pepper, violet ...Read More »
The Blacksmith is a small project by Tremayne Smith, who trained as a chef before following his passion and becoming a winemaker. The Vin Noir blend is 42% Carignan, 29% Cinsault and 29% Grenache. It's made with natural yeasts and is not filtered or fined.
From a shallow rocky vineyard on the east facing slopes of the Voor-Paardeberg. The soils are ancient decomposed granite gravels. This rugged rocky outcrop is on the boarder of the Paarl and Swartland regions. The clusters are hand-picked, mostly de-stemmed but a small component left whole cluster. As with all The Three Foxes wines, the wine is fermented using solely wild yeast. The wine stays on the skins for around three weeks for slow gentle extraction. It is then transferred to older 600L French oak Puncheons for 18 months maturation. A natural malo ... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Secateurs Rosé is a blend of 50% Cinsault, 48% Shiraz, and a pinch of Grenache and Carignan. It has a heady, very perfumed vanilla-tinged nose that reminds me of the strawberry macaroons I buy from Merignac airport when I leave Bordeaux (they are delicious incidentally). The palate is more reserved than the nose suggests with crisp acidity and impressive weight. The wine is still a generous and flavor-packed Rosé that retains control and delineation right to the finish. This is an excellent Rosé from Adi Badenhorst. (NM)" (11/2015) Wine Spectator: "A pretty rosé, ...Read More »
93 points Wine Spectator: "High-pitched, with bright savory and shiso leaf notes out front, giving this a piercing feel as blood orange, damson plum and bitter cherry fruit races in behind. The long, mineral-edged finish has lovely tension. (JM)" (3/2017)
Winemaker's Notes: "Grapes for our Granite Chenin were sourced from 2 parcels of sustainably farmed old vine, dry farmed Chenin Blanc bush vines planted in the decomposed Granite soils of the Paardeberg. The Vineyards are 38 and 42 years old. These very deep decomposed Granite soils tend to produce wines with great acidity and a flinty, stony aromatic profile. The Granite Chenin tends to exhibit a fantastic natural acidity that balances out the texture and mid-palate that all Swartland white wines possess. The nose is flinty with some stone fruit and cit... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
92 points Wine Spectator: "Solidly built, with a core of succulent raspberry and blackberry puree flavors, lined with anise, singed alder and black tea details. A streak of iron races through the finish. (JM)" (3/2017) K&L Notes: Grown on 17-year-old vines in the stony shale and schist soils of Roundstone Farm on the Kasteelberg.
Inventory: Redwood City
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The dark ruby 2013 Kloof Street Swartland Rouge is 85% Syrah, 9% Carignan and the rest Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Grenache. Their tribute to the Southern Rhône of France, the wine possesses more of a St.-Joseph than Côtes du Rhône-like style. It displays cool, peppery, smoky, meaty notes, good acidity, strawberry and cherry. (RP)" (3/2016)
Inventory: Redwood City
Jancis Robinson: "Passion, Art and Tradition are evoked on the front label. Chenin Blanc. Certified organic. Deep, not quite clear straw colour. Definitely ‘natural’ on the nose but there is enough fruit underneath. Intriguing with masses to titillate the palate. It is not short of alcohol but it’s really intense and has sufficient acidity to keep it from being a chore. Honeysuckle, lime, broom and more. Not a wine to sip casually but one to make the average white burgundy look really rather boring. Food wine. Lobster wine? (JR)" (1/2015) Vinous: "(a blend of Chenin Blanc, Roussann ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "This has an alluring, honeyed feel, with heather, ginger and warm hazelnut notes leading the way for creamed yellow apple and quince flavors. Toasted finish, with a lingering hazelnut husk hint. For fans of the style. (JM, Web-2016)" K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "The Patatsfontein Chenin Blanc was pressed in a wooden hand press, allowed to settle in tank and taken straight to used oak barrel where the wine was naturally fermented and nothing added. This natural and minimalist winemaking approach allows Patatsfontein Chenin Blanc to be a true representation of the te... Read More »
Named after the science of mapmaking, Cartology is Alheit's ode to the geography of the Cape. Comprising heritage grapes (Chenin Blanc and Semillon) grown on mature, bushvines from parcels in the Skurfberg, Perdeberg, Bottelary, False Bay, Franschhoek and Botrivier. Winemaker's notes on the 2015 vintage: "almost think it’s enough to quietly inform you that 2015 was an extremely good vintage for white wine in the Cape. So much so, that we’re keeping quite a bit more than usual for ourselves. This bottling is intensely flavoured; ripe pear, honey and limey... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Clonal Selection Elgin Chardonnay is a wonderful wine and perhaps better than the 2012. It has a very subtle bouquet with apple blossom, lemon zest and coconut scents that are wonderfully delineated. The palate is still showing a little new oak, though that will be absorbed with time. It is pure and balanced, very refined with an almost Burgundy-like finish. This is pure class - and a United States importer should pick this up soon. (NM)" (8/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Offers crystalized ginger and lemon peel notes mixed with bright quinine and honeysuckle accents, car ...Read More »
John and Tasha Seccombe started Thorne & Daughters in 2012 to celebrate the winemaking heritage of Western Cape. The 2015 was a challenging, but immensely satisfying vintage for them, producing incredible fruit. Praise for the producer from Wine Advocate: "During my time in South Africa, if there was one name on everyone’s lips, one bubbling-under, brand spanking new producer on the scene that you had to have tasted, then it was Thorne & Daughters. It reminded me of the simmering anticipation that preempted the debut release from Chris Alheit, a close fr... Read More »
Eben's top red blend. A single vintage panoramic view of the Swartland stitched together from components selected from his most radical sites. A blend of Syrah and Mourvèdre, Southern Rhone varietals particularly suited to the arid climate of the rugged terrain of the Swartland region. Painstakingly crafted using time-honored winemaking machinery (basket press) and methodology (pigage), this wine is a bottled rendering of the very terroir from where it was created. The aim is to produce a unique and honest wine displaying minerality as apposed to more op... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Bright yellow. Subtle aromas of stone fruits and toasty oak. Rich and broad but lively and precise too, showing good density and lift to the flavors of white peach, licorice and spices. Finishes with a slightly phenolic firmness and excellent length. These vines were planted in 2002 and 1998. (JR)" (6/2015)
This blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier starts with hand harvest and hand sorting into small boxes. Fermentation takes about three weeks at a controlled temperature of 24°C. The grapes are then pressed in a traditional basket press and the juice is aged for 24 months on the lees - which is an increase from the 16-18 months the winery was doing previous to the 2011 vintage. The winery believes that "(t)he additional 6 months of ageing just meant higher levels of stability and clarity without the sacrifice of any of the other qualities and the character of... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Wine Spectator: "Gorgeous nectarine and tangerine notes lead the way, followed by creamy-textured persimmon and peach flavors. Shows a racy edge through the finish, with an orange blossom note lingering. Long and pure, and should age well. (JM)" (4/2015) 90 points Vinous: "Brilliant yellow-green. Sharply focused aromas of yellow fruits, white plum and dried herbs. Juicy, dry and classic, showing building pliancy and sweetness as it opens in the glass. Citrus peel and a waxy lanolin quality are complicated by sexy oak tones. Bone-dry at 1.3 g/l r.s., this Semillon should make a very flexible ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Wine Spectator: "Starts off light, with silky cherry and blackberry fruit flavors gliding through, picking up shiso leaf, pepper, sage and iron notes along the way. A lovely black tea echo emerges on the sneakily long finish. (JM)" (3/2017) K&L Notes: The Pofadder, named after the snake, is made from Cinsault grown in the Swartland. It is elegant and vibrant with lots of spice and fine but grippy tannin and energetic acidity. A great wine for roasted game. The grapes for this wine are sourced from the Riebeek Mountain, whose snakelike form gives the wine its name.