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K&L Staff Recommendations
95 points James Suckling: "Ripe and intense aromas of strawberries and blackberries with hints of black ink. Savory notes, too. Full-bodied, chewy and focused with linear fruit and character. Very finely crafted. Drink or hold." (12/2016) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Viña Alberdi is a Tempranillo blend from different vineyards from what they consider an extraordinary vintage. This wine is matured in American oak barrels built by their own coopers, the first year in new barrels and the second one in third-year barrels with four manual rackings. This is the younger of their wines, with even some red berr ...Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "*Top 100 of 2016, Smart Buys* A thick texture carries plum tart, orange peel, toasted vanilla and anise flavors in this ripe version, balanced by juicy acidity. The spicy, berry-scented finish is long and pure. (TM)" (12/2016) K&L Notes: Alvaro Palacios has roots that run deep into the soil of Rioja. He was born into one the region's most prestigious winemaking families, the force behind Palacios Remondo, yet his interests have always been grander. Rather than slide simply into a position at the family winery, Alvaro decided to go out and do his own thing for a while... Read More »
Mas Codina is a 40 hectare estate in Penedès which dates back to 1681. This Brut Reserva Cava was hand-harvested from 20 to 30-year-old vines and estate bottled. Though it does not say it on the label, the current disgorgement is based entirely on the 2010 harvest. Vines are planted in calcareous and sandy clay soils which keep the wine minerally and lively. The wine undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle, and is aged on its lees for a minimum of two years before disgorgement. Varietals include Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 100% ... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "This has a beautiful depth of fruit with spice and dark fruits. Hints of parsley and cilantro. Full and super silky with a long and beautiful finish." (5/2013) K&L Notes: Composed of the same grapes in the same percentages as the Crianza, the Reserva is a barrel selection of wines that Angel feels can undergo longer aging in barrel and then in bottle. Aged a total of 27 months in barrels, then into concrete for more than a year, the Reserva also sees bottle aging until Angel deems it ready for release. This wine ramps up the intensity of the Crianza, with more pungen... Read More »
92 points Vinous: "Bright violet color. Heady, exotically perfumed bouquet of ripe red and dark berries, incense and candied flowers, with a smoky mineral overtone and a hint of Asian spices. Intense, deeply pitched raspberry liqueur and cherry-cola flavors stain the palate while displaying a distinctly vibrant quality. Blends power, depth and finesse in a way that's uncommon at anywhere near this price point. Closes sweet, supple and very long, with velvety tannins coming in late to add shape and gentle grip. These bush vines date back to the early 1920s and yield less th ...Read More »
As is the case with so many other great spots in Spain, Bodega Casa Juan is located opposite the village church, in the beautiful walled pueblo of Laguardia. The winery is a converted flour mill, featuring concrete tanks for fermenting and blending the wine; and for ageing, barrels that are used for up to seven years. These are traditional Riojas in elaboration and spirit, though the site specificity of their Laguardia and Villabuena vineyards confers a fruit character all its own to these wines. And what fruit! This crianza is a potpouri of mixed berrie... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2004 Gran Reserva leans more towards the black fruit, with some notes of leather, ink and spices. It is a full-bodied wine, with perfumed flavors, meaty, whose tannins are still there and will require some powerful food. A young and powerful Gran Reserva. (LG)" (12/2013)
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Since its inception, Numanthia has never once bottled a disappointing Termes. Aromas of lemon peel and orange rind mix with blackberry and cassis notes. This feels tight and tannic, but structured and appropriate. Dark-berry and chocolate flavors finish tannic but healthy. This is true-to-form Toro. (MS)" (8/2016) 91 points Vinous: "Bright violet color. Powerful, smoke-accented aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, floral pastilles and minerals. Delivers a suave blend of richness and vivacity, offering juicy boysenberry and mulberry flavors and a building n ...Read More »
*A K&L direct import! This is our latest arrival from Miguel Merino, whom we like to call "the hardest working man in Rioja." Having begun his humble "retirement project" in the early 1990s by restoring an older bodega just down the hill from the historic town of Briones, Miguel either owns or rents to own a total of around 8 hectares of vines, all of which are located in Briones; not only is this village specific Rioja, but it happens to come from one of the most sought after villages in all of Rioja Alta, where many top bodegas have some of their most ... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I’ve loved this wine in the past and the 2013, a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 12 months in French oak, is stunning, simply over-delivering in so many different ways. This wine, which offers up copious quantities, of blueberry, black raspberry and black currant fruit, licorice, graphite and meaty notes, offers fabulous aromatics, medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, beautiful, pure texture and a long, heady finish with subtle oak. What’s amazing is the French oak is all two-year-old, super-expensive Darnajou barrels. For $20 this i ...Read More »
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 »
A K&L Direct Import! Jesús Puelles is one of the most talented vignerons in Rioja. Hailing from a long line of vineyard worker/owners, Puelles knows the terruño in his little slice of land in the Rioja Alta town of Abalos. All of the grapes for his red wines come from his own 26 hectares, which are generally north facing and located between 300 and 600 meters in altitude, all within the village of Abalos, very rare in a region where sourcing from various villages and even sub-zones is more the norm. Produced from primarily estate fruit (Tempranillo, with... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A new kid on the block, the pure Garnacha 2013 El Molar carries the name of the vineyards where the vines were planted in 2006 on sand and chalk soils covered with gravel. It was foot trodden and fermented in cement vats and aged for nine months in used 500-liter oak barrels. In 2013 the vines worked until the very end as it was a year where there was more rain than average and a relatively cool summer (sometimes ripening occurs because of dehydration rather than true ripening) resulting in a perfect ripeness but quite contained. It is light ruby color, ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Opened and beautiful nose of pure blackberries and blackcurrants with hints of white truffles and wet slate. Full body and supple and concentrated tannins. So polished and refined. A beauty. Drink now." (12/2016) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The red 2012 Reserva is sold as Crianza or Reserva depending on the market, but it's always a blend of Tempranillo with some 20% Garnacha, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo from the lower part of the valley of the Oja-Tirón river. The varieties are fermented and aged separately until most of it (around 80%) is blended the summer after. Even when they do ...Read More »
This crisp, bright, tangy yet ultimately fresh and appley cider really hits the spot. The balance between rich, phenolic, fine bitter notes, and bright, sour apple high tones is spot on. In Asturias they drink more sidra than anywhere else in Spain (possibly in Europe?) and judging by the quality of this bottling, I can see why! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese wine buyer)
Inventory: San Francisco
93 points Wine Spectator: "*Highly Recommended* Plum, blood orange, black olive, toast and mineral notes mingle in this tight, bright red. Juicy acidity keeps this lively, while firm tannins impart focus. Graceful, with good intensity." (12/2015) 91 points Vinous: "Deep ruby. Deeply perfumed aromas of ripe dark berries, vanilla and mocha. Smooth, broad and sweet, displaying intense blackberry and boysenberry flavors and a repeating vanilla note. Juicy acidity provides focus and lift to the long, sweet, gently tannic finish, with a sexy floral pastille quality lingering. (JR)" (11/2015) 90 points Wine & Spirits: "Red-fruited and f ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 L'Hereu Brut is produced from what Pepe Raventós considers a great vintage that will be considered historic in the future. That year they harvested 25 days later than the recent average, so the grapes had time to ripen slowly to perfection with a long cycle that also held acidity and the wines are very fresh. This is sourced mostly form the Viña de la Plana, which has plenty of clay on the chalky mother rock (120 centimeters below) and quite deep soils that produce wines of good freshness and balance. They also use part of purchased grapes from ...Read More »
A longtime participant in the wine business, Miguel decided that rather than retire, he wanted to fulfill his dream of owning vines and making wine. Based in the Rioja Alta town of Briones, Miguel Merino makes, as he likes to put it, an "updated classic" style of Rioja, all from his own 2 hectares of vines and several hectares of vineyards owned by a close friend. All the fruit is from sloped, primarily chalky clay vineyards (Miguel is a fan of his slopes) within the cooler climate Rioja Alta town of Briones, which makes these wine a terrific showcase o... Read More »
"Costers" is Catalan for slopes, and this single-vineyard wine from the folks at Celler de Capçanes in Montsant comes from vines planted on old terraces carved into granitic slopes. The wine is made from Cabernet Sauvignon plus two clones of Garnacha - Garnacha del Pais (an indigenous Catalan clone) and Garnacha Peluda from the south of France - and a dash Cariñena. It boasts lots of ripe red and blue fruit, with a smoky undercurrent, soft tannins and fresh acidity. Delicious!
This is a delicious Albariño, always one of our top two or three for someone looking for a classic expression of this white wine. A wonderfully mineral nose leads to bright, succulent, yellow stone fruit flavors with more than a wisp of salinity adding freshness and making it pretty difficult to not gulp this one down quickly. Palacio de Fefiñanes is the oldest known brand of Albariño and the first to have bottled their wine. Based in the "birthplace of Albariño," the seaside town of Cambados, the winery purchases fruit from 60 growers, many of whom own... Read More »
Produced by a 25-grower cooperative located in the Condado do Tea sub-zone of Rias Baixas, this is crisp, citrus- and yellow-fruited Albariño from a challenging, but ultimately rewarding, cooler and damper vintage. The results are a very fresh white that has just enough juicy fruit to balance the clean salinity and crisp acids. This is a perfect aperitif and of course, is a seafood-ready white! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese Wine Buyer)
Raventos i Blanc was founded in 1986 by Josep-Maria Raventos, a member of the Codorníu family who wished to create a small, quality-oriented winery that would stand apart from the larger wineries in the area. Today they own about 300 acres of vineyards (with a high percentage of chalk in the soil, like Champagne) planted mostly to local varieties such as Macabeo (Viura), Xarel-lo and Parellada. All three of these grapes, as well as a small portion of direct-press Monastrell, are found in this delicate, beautiful rosé bottling.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2007 Reserva showed a strong reduction when uncorked and should benefit from decanting in advance. Pure Tempranillo, it matured in barrels for 20 months. The nose, after the reduction has blown off, is quite classical but clean showing roasted aromas and hints of dark spices, balsam and perhaps leather. The palate is quite lively, with good, refreshing acidity and fully resolved tannins. (LG)" (4/2015) K&L Notes: Jesús Puelles is one of the most talented vignerons in Rioja. Hailing from a long line of vineyard worker/owners, Puelles knows the terruño in his littl... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Cherry, kirsch and candied orange flavors have a hard-candy character in this juicy red. Sweet-tart acidity and light tannins provide focus. Drink now through 2018. (TM, Web-2016)"
Amats is both the brand name of the Txakoli as well as one of Zudugarai's vineyards. It's a beautiful vineyard, a sandy substrate covered in naturally growing green cover between the rows, with the Cantabrian Sea in full view to the north. Produced from Hondarribi Zuri grapes, this is classic Txakoli: zippy, crisp, tart green apple flavors are enlivened by a lovely sparkle from the CO2 retained in tank during fermentation. Try this refreshing, vibrant, low in alcohol white wine with a wide range of foods, from obvious choices such as seafood (grilled sar... Read More »
Here is a Priorat that is not at all shy or trying to hide its Mediterranean origins, a richer, fuller bodied style especially considering its modest price. This is on the darker-fruited side, generous and slightly savory, a well-balanced, tasty blend of Garnacha, Carignane, and just a tiny amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. Try this with your favorite recipe for braised or stewed lamb. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese wine buyer)
This is as elegant an example of Garnacha (a.k.a. Grenache) as you are likely to find. Catalan winemaker Marc Isart Pinos is taking old vines, applying excellent viticultural work, fermenting in foudre (with some whole clusters used, as well as long maceration on the skins for further complexity/elegance), and bottling with a minimum of sulphur to create this beautiful, expressive wine. A good bit more tangy, racy and serious than most Grenache at this price, the Camino de Navaherreros is sure to please those who prefer layered nuance and energetic flavo... Read More »
Varietals: Garnatxa Blanca, Picapoll Blanca, Xarel.lo
Agusti Torello Mata is one of the leading producers of Cava in Penedès, and also produce some still wines from the same grape varieties.
91 points Vinous: "Bright purple. An exotically perfumed bouquet displays scents of fresh black and blue fruits, licorice, vanilla and peppery spices. Juicy and incisive on the palate, offering sweet boysenberry and cassis flavors that flesh out on the back half. Sappy and concentrated, yet quite lively, finishing with smooth, shaping tannins and a strong punch. This sexy wine went through malolactic fermentation and was aged in French oak barrels for 20 months. (JR)" (1/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The best is the 2013 Tarima Hill, which is 100% Monastrell from vines planted between 1935-1970 in ...Read More »
An elegant blend of Grenache and Carignane from vines up to 100 years old, grown in the foothills of the Montsant mountains. Wine Advocate on this exciting project from importer Eric Solomon: "Black Slate is a project from US importer Eric Solomon who works with different producers across Priorat to create a range of wines that show the character of the different Priorat villages at affordable prices. Each wine belongs to the winery that produces it and they are all village wines that carry the name of the village.... La Conreria de Scala Dei produces a ... Read More »
An excellent value from Spain. Monastrell grapes for this wine came from 45-year-old parcels on their estate vineyards. Shallow, chalky soils on a bed of limestone and rock combine with an arid climate to produce the low yields required for wine of this complexity. After harvesting, the deep purple grapes are whole-cluster macerated for 25 days and aged for 12 months in French oak barrels. The wine possesses a very dark cherry color with purple tones. In the nose it has powerful aromas of red berries and smoky tones. The palate displays excellent fruit a... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The non-vintage Dry Amontillado Los Arcos Solera Reserva reveals a medium amber hue along with a nutty, honeyed, dry personality with great acid... The portfolio of under $25 a bottle selections represents remarkable value for their complex, well-made personalities. Lustau includes a bottling date code as purchasers would want to buy Finos and Manzanillas as young as possible. It is difficult to describe the glories of sherry, but I’ll try. These Solera Reservas are all great reference points at a low price point from Lustau. (RP)" (8/2012) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Walnut, halva, ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "This supple red has good energy, with vibrant acidity fueling the bright berry and cherry fruit. Fresh herb and vanilla accents add interest. Graceful and alluring." (10/2016) K&L Notes: Alvaro Palacios is undoubtedly one of the architects and primary reasons for Priorat's elevation to premier fine wine region over the past 20 years. While it has certainly not always been a smooth ride for the region, Palacios' wines have garnered a following in Spain and abroad, amongst critics and collectors, for their generous fruit, polished tannin structure, and minerality. Cami... Read More »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "A terrific value in Cava, this is soft and smooth, with details of roses and red fruit melding together into thin, crisp layers of flavor. The bubbles are abundant, adding to the fresh impression of the acidity, leaving a juicy feeling at the end." (8/2016)
Produced from a blend of Viura, Malvasia and Tempranillo Blanco, this is a wonderfully fresh, minerally white typical of the best unoaked whites of the region. Perhaps there is a bit more flesh and richness due to the presence of Tempranillo Blanco, a naturally occuring mutation of the Tempranillo grape that gives wine of great character, richness and intensity.
Albarino is the perfect summer white, but its naturally crisp acidity and peachy citrus flavors make it enjoyable year-round as an aperitif or paired with a variety of foods, particularly shellfish and seafood. It hails from the Rias Baixas zone of Gallicia, on the northwest coast of Spain. Walk through any given fishing village along the "rias" (fjords) in this beautiful, cool, maritime-influenced region and you will find fresh grilled "pulpo" (octopus) vendors at every corner! A classic Albarino nose of white peach, citrus and mineral aromas gives way ... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The entry-level 2015 Bolo wants to showcase Godello at its purest, and therefore is fermented in stainless steel and bottled early without bâttonage to preserve the primary character of the grape. 2015 saw an early harvest because of a warm and dry summer, with some rains in the middle of the harvest, which allowed the remaining vines to reach a better phenolic ripeness. The grapes come from the O Bolo zone, both purchased and from their own vineyards. The wine is quite expressive after bottling, a touch reductive, but with powerful aromas of bay leaf an ...Read More »
Angel Rodriguez Leal produces what is hands down the best wine in Rueda: Martinsancho. A family-owned bodega since 1784, holding some of the best real estate in the D.O., their land boasts Verdejo vines which average 40 years of age and stand in a bed of rounded river stones. Wine is fermented in enamel tanks and aged in very large, neutral oak "cubas." The resulting wine is generous, with delicious peach, melon, and guava notes, textural, as well as mineral, focused, and age-worthy.
From a solera begun in 1991, this spectacular Sanluqueño Amontillado contains wine of an average age of 15-20 years old. Blended in, there is a tiny amount of very old wine discovered in the bodega shortly after its purchase. It had been sealed in plaster, as the former owner was apparently determined to keep this pre-phylloxera wine, unblended, all to himself! Aromatics reveal salty flor, followed by toffee. The wine is racy on the palate, until it turns rich and succulent, with buttered and roasted pecan and almond flavors. This is really quite good. (... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buy* A sleek texture carries lively flavors of cherry, mint, licorice and smoke in this fresh red. Light, firm tannins and juicy acidity give this backbone. (TM)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: Located in the town of Roa, which is part of the Burgos district, Lambuena is a producer of D.O. Ribera del Duero wines and is one of our newest Spanish direct imports. Ideally situated in the central growing region of the Ribera del Duero, in an area known for the very high quality of its chalky clay soils and its extreme continental climate, Lambuena makes big, generously fruite... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
La Cartuja is produced from 70% Garnacha and 30% Cariñena. Spicy black fruits on the nose show hints of earth and graphite as well – expressive yet surprisingly discreet aromas for this Mediterranean wine region. I would guess that this is due to a gentler, slightly cooler vintage than normal in 2012. On the palate, there are mixed berries and black fruits on the attack, which show very good presence on the mid-palate and give way to lovely minerality as well. If truly representative, delicious Priorat for under $15 is at all intriguing to you, then this... Read More »
92 points Wine & Spirits: "Juan García Jarana, the motorcycle magnate of Jerez, sells a portion of his soleras to Lustau for this delicate Oloroso. It starts with notes of candied almonds, coconut palm syrup and caramel. The hint of salinity lends complexity and freshness, without diminishing that delicate, pleasing sweetness." (6/2009) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Just add this oloroso to the growing list of excellent Sherries from Lustau. This one is tellingly nutty on the nose, thus the hazelnut and walnut flavors are expected as they become part of a bigger painting that includes coffee, bitter chocolate an ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Pétalos del Bierzo was already up for tasting as they sell the wine quite quickly even if the volumes are not small, but the wine had only been in bottle for one week and it might have been a little closed, especially when compared with the aromatic 2013. However, the aromas, if subtle, are phenomenal, very complete and balanced, with an extra degree of complexity when compared with the 2013. The harvest was a little healthier without being easy (or dry). There is great volume in the palate, fleshy, juicy and rich without being heavy, medium-bod ...Read More »
92 points Vinous: "Limpid gold. High-pitched citrus and orchard fruit scents are complemented by honeysuckle and smoky minerals. Juicy, penetrating and pure, offering vibrant pear skin and white peach flavors and a touch of fennel. Becomes spicier and fleshier with air, finishing with excellent clarity and length, leaving mineral and subtle leesy notes behind. (JR)" (1/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Pazo de Senorans is considered one of the handful of top estates in Rias-Baixas and has consistently produced some of the best Albarinos that money can buy. Their old-vine cuvées are especially good. Thi ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Blackberry, pomegranate and orange peel flavors mingle in this lively red. Sweet-tart acidity imparts a slightly candied character, while chewy tannins keep this grounded. (TM, Web-2016)"
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The orange-wine wannabe 2013 Macerado is a Viura that had long skin contact (approximately one year), as seen in the wines of Georgia. Less orange than others, it's more of a deep golden, and portraying a very personal nose. Initially it smelled of syrup, but it opened up and changed tremendously developing medicinal aromas, hints of herbal tea, notes of mint and quince paste. It was a fascinating nose to follow and the palate was impressive, with bold flavors and great freshness. (LG)" (8/2016) K&L Notes: Honorío Rubio is a Riojano white wine specialist. In a land b... Read More »
92 points Wine & Spirits: "This is a selection from botas of Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez raised separately and then blended to age for three years in solera. The result puts the sweetness of the PX in front, with flavors of plum jam and tobacco. The salinity of the Oloroso brings freshness and fine minerality that play softly in the background." (6/2011) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This traditional wine from Lustau is made in the Cream style. It’s dark and pretty, with PX-ish prune and caramel aromas. It’s not as thick as Pedro Ximénez, and thus isn’t syrupy. But it’s certainly rich and full of cookie, molasses, ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Montenovo is the entry level white, produced with Godello grapes from back slate soils and bottled early trying to preserve the fruit character of the grape. They consider 2015 a Mediterranean vintage, with a dry summer in July, August and September. The grapes are pressed in absence of oxygen and the must fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats, where the wine was kept for three months before bottling. The nose is a bit muted and takes some time to unfurl the white acacia flower and apple aromas. The palate is quite vibrant, cl ...Read More »