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K&L Staff Recommendations
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Hazana Vinas Viejas is simply one of the greatest values in Rioja that money can buy. A blend of 85% Tempranillo and 15% Graciano, this collaboration between importer Eric Solomon and the owner and winemaker has produced an absolutely amazing Rioja from 45- to 70-year-old unirrigated, head-pruned vines. Loads of lead pencil shavings, black and red currants, licorice and tobacco leaf all jump from the glass of this dense, ruby/purple wine. Soft tannins, medium to full body and fabulous intensity, make for a sensational Rioja to drink over the nex ...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 berries... 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 »
*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 »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Viura in reality has the typical mix of old vines where there are maybe some 10% other grapes: Garnacha Blanca, Malvasia Riojana and Calagraño from Rioja Alavesa. It's a late and cool vintage with a late harvest, where the full clusters were pressed in a pneumatic press and the juice put to fermented in 600-liter oak barrels; in this first vintage, the barrels were new, with some 40% of the volume fermented and matured in egg-shaped cement oak vats from Nomblot in order to avoid using 100% new oak in the first year. The wine was kept with the le ...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 »
93 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* This rich red shows a deep core of plum, bramble and mineral, with notes of loam and game that impart a savory character. Solid tannins support a thick texture, while balsamic acidity keeps this balanced. Austere but harmonious. Drink now through 2024." (5/2016) K&L Notes: Alejandro Fernandez' Condado de Haza may be less famous than its sister winery, Pesquera, but it also produces terrific wines that are classically built Ribera del Dueros. These wines are made not to coat the palate with sweet oak and glycerine, but rather to age gracefully and accompa... 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)
Nestled on the bank of the Miño River, Adegas Valtea has a special mesoclimate that beautifully ripens its grapes. The best bunches of Albariño are handpicked and gently pressed at the peak of their maturity. Tasting notes from the winery: "Straw-yellow color with green and golden glints, clean and bright. Intense fruity nose of apricot, pineapple, and apple with hints of white flowers. Full and fleshy palate with a balanced acidity that gives it freshness. Persistent with an elegance and lingering finish."
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 »
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 »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I had two vintages to taste of the same wine, which always makes for an interesting comparison. The 2011 Rioja Reserva, their volume red, is a blend of 89% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo, 4% Graciano and 2% Garnacha Tinta from a diversity of plots in the Ygay Estate. The different varieties fermented separately in stainless steel vats. It matured in 225-liter American oak barrels for some 20 months, at least during eight months in new oak. The wine very clearly shows much riper fruit than the 2012; it is great to see the wine reflecting the much warmer conditio ...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: "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 »
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 »
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 »
"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!
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid purple. Fresh cherry, blackberry and incense on the highly perfumed nose. Lush, sweet and broad on the palate, offering fleshy blueberry and floral pastille flavors that turn spicier with air. Closes on a sweet note of spicy oak, with supple tannins, very good tenacity and a touch of fruitcake. (JR)" (9/2014) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Tres Picos is the bodegas top cuvée of 100% Grenache from older, head-pruned vines planted on the hillsides of the Moncayo Mountains. Yields were less than two tons of fruit per acre. This was the first of the Grenaches to spend some ti ...Read More »
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 »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Dried cherry, licorice, tobacco and tea flavors mingle in this maturing red. The texture is round and polished, with a light grip and bright, orange peel acidity. Harmonious and still vibrant." (2/2015) Wine & Spirits: "A mature gran reserva, this has fragrant cedar and cigar box notes when first poured, bright and sunny, ready to light up a lamb chop. It turns smooth and Porty with air..." (12/2014) K&L Notes: Bodegas Muriel is located in the town of Elciego in Rioja Alavesa. The vineyards are situated in both Alavesa and Rioja Alta and are planted on clay and limestone soils. Their 2... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
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 »
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)
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "There must be some 10% Garnacha (from Tudelilla on stony soils) and some 5% Mazuelo in the second vintage of the red, so they decided to label the wine 2014 Laventura, as it was not really a varietal Tempranillo. The Tempranillo comes from Laguardia and Mazuelo from San Vicente, the old 'traditional' Rioja blend of the three subzones. It started fermenting with some full clusters in open bins and finished in 600-liter barrels, where it matured until bottling. As I saw with the whites, 2014 seems to be riper, rounder and more approachable, very tasty and ...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)"
Wine Spectator: "This juicy red offers bright cherry and strawberry flavors, with accents of licorice and vanilla. Citrusy acidity and gentle tannins lend support. Balanced and lively. (Web Only-2016)"
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
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.
94 points Tim Atkin: "Combining fruit from two vineyards planted in the 1960s, this is a Tempranillo-based blend with a splash of Graciano and Mazuelo for extra acidity. Deeply coloured, with savoury black fruits, some dried herbs, attractive oak and a chalky, mineral flourish." (June 2015) A longtime participant in the wine business, Miguel sold wine for wine distributors in the States as well as worked as an export manager. Miguel found success every step of the way, and then decided that rather than retire, he wanted to fulfill his dream of owning vin... 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 »
93 points James Suckling: "This shows asphalt-like aromas with some red fruit to boot. White pepper, too. Cool wine on the palate with spice and subtle berry flavors brought to the fore with high acidity. A blend of vijariego negro, tintilla, baboso negro listran negro (mission) and malvasia rosada. Drink now." (12/2016) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The regular 2014 7 Fuentes is a village blend of some 35 separate plots, situated from 300 to 700 meters altitude on a diversity of volcanic soils and expositions; the wine wants to represent the Orotava. 2014 was an easy, healthy harvest without rains or excessive ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A cuvée that has been changing over the years (and getting more focused and Mediterranean, I'd say) the 2012 Las Gravas is a blend of Monastrell with 15% Syrah and 15% Garnacha; the Garnacha vineyards in the state come into production so the winery has more grapes to use. This wine saw a big change with the 2008 vintage, when Cabernet Sauvignon disappeared from the blend and got more focused and true to its birthplace. 2012 could be the finest vintage to date, as there was no 2012 Pie Franco, as quantities were really short and those grapes are in this b ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Agusti Torello Mata Brut Reserva is a blend of classic Cava varieties including 44% Macabeu from 41-year-old vines. It has impressive intensity on the nose with fine yeast and bread aromas with crisp delineation. The palate is packed full of strawberry and Morello fruit on the entry that is counterbalanced by the fine thread of acidity. It finishes in style with a flourish of green apple and a hint of buttered toast. This is a very satisfying Brut Reserva. Drink now-2016. Although Agusti Torello was founded in 1950, this estate sold its Cava t ...Read More »
Can Mayol, which bottles under the trademarked name "Loxarel," is a winery that has been farming organically for more than a decade. The Mitjan family, owners of Can Mayol, also employ some biodynamic treatments. They keep animals, including chickens, a horse and a donkey named Garnatxa. While the focus is on "Brut Nature" (no dosage added) sparkling wine production, they also produce some very interesting still wines as well. In their chalky, high altitude vineyards (above 2,400 feet for their highest vines, among the highest in the Penedès D.O.), Xarel... Read More »
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 »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "There is a new 'village' red, the 2013 Villa de San Lorenzo, which is sourced from the existing vineyards Chano Villar and Lombano, plus a third one planted some 75 years ago that they purchased next to the new Villarín called Fontairo. It was part fermented in cement vats and part in French barrique with indigenous yeasts. Only 30% of the volume matured in third-use French barriques while the rest was kept in the tanks until blending and bottling. The nose screams 'cool climate red' with some hints of acid berries, something earthy and a vegetal twist; ...Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "A fresh nose of currants, black cherries and plums. Some cedary notes, too. Full body, concentrated, polished and juicy tannins a long, fresh and bloody-orange-like finish. Drink now." (12/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Crianza, pure Tempranillo, fermented in oak vats and matured in barrique for 16 months, feels unusually classic in its profile of aromas, nicely developed and with contained ripeness. The medium-bodied palate felt like a great improvement over the 2011 that I tasted last time, with fine tannins and very good balance. (LG)" (8/2016)
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 »
Muga makes one of the most distinctively delicious rosados in Rioja, indeed in all of Spain. It is a style referred to locally as "clarete," which is a lighter type of rosé made by combining white wine with direct press rosé, as opposed to the saignee method where color is derived from a pre-fermentation maceration on the skins of the grapes. Unlike 99.9% of other rosé wines, this one also sees a brief period of time in used oak barrels. The wine is a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Viura, and shows very precise, tangy small red berry fruits, as well ... Read More »
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.
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)"