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K&L Staff Recommendations
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "An absolute epic wine is the 2013 Merlot, a blend of 95% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot. It is no wimpy wine either, with the natural alcohol slightly north of 15%. A gorgeous nose including roasted espresso, melted black chocolate, blackberry, plum and cassis offers an exceptional set of aromatics. The wine has beautiful ripeness, headiness and a long finish of close to 45+ seconds. This is a beauty of terrific purity, texture and personality. Few California Merlots will ever be capable of equaling this. Drink it over the next 2 ...Read More »
This Merlot-dominated blend reminds us why Duckhorn earned its reputation as one of California's preeminent sources for Merlot. The 2013 vintage was evenly warm and harvest was early, which the winemaker called "the dream scenario for end-of-season ripening." The perfectly ripe fruit translates in the glass to rich black cherry and plum notes, with an interplay of cedar, cigar box and orange zest. This is delicious now but will cellar well.
From the most noteworthy label of Napa Valley Merlot, Duckhorn turns in a great bottle from the triumphant 2013 vintage. Sourced from both Duckhorn's estate vineyards and some select growers around Napa, the wine includes a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to round it out and was aged in French oak (25% new) for 15 months before bottling. From the winemaker: "This gorgeous wine displays intense aromas of ripe cherry, followed by more nuanced elements of cedar, sweet spices, orange peel and cigar box. On the palate, layers of black raspberr... Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star & Good Value* Clean and nicely composed with an attractive nose of juicy red cherries backed up by a trim bit of creamy oak, this well-crafted offering earns the nod for its fine sense of balance, its steady, well-focused fruit and its youthfully tight, slightly claret-like construction. It shows more winemaking polish and depth than its modest price might lead one to expect, and it has all of the right pieces in place to improve for a good half-decade or more. It is, in short, a lot of wine for the money, and it ranks high on our list of excep ...Read More »
Deep and rich, this full-bodied Merlot displays notes of sun-dried cherries, dark chocolate, pepper and a hint of baking spice. Perfect alongside a plate of ribs or chicken and mole sauce.
Wine Spectator: "Solidly built if slight in scale, with savory flavors of red currant, dusty dried herb and spice. Drink now through 2021. (TF)" (11/2016) K&L Notes: Duckhorn is an iconic Napa Valley estate for Merlot, and they make Decoy as their more value-priced bottling from Sonoma County fruit. A total of 14 vineyards were harvested under ideal conditions and the wine was aged in French oak (40% new) for 10 months before bottlng. The winemaker describes: "This lush and inviting Merlot displays flavors of ripe blackberry, black cherry and cassis, underscored by hints of sweet spi... Read More »
90-93 points Vinous: "Expressive floral and spice notes open up first in the 2014 Merlot. Fresh, nuanced and energetic in the style of the year, the 2014 is a highly representative wine for the vintage. The 2014 is not quite as generous as the 2013, but it offers a touch more vibrancy today, not to mention considerable potential. (AG)" (10/2015)
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This wine comes from an assortment of top sites across the Columbia Valley and it shows. Aromas of dried herbs, pencil lead, toasty spice and blue and red fruit lead to sweet, rich and appealing flavors. There's intensity but also a good sense of acid and chalky tannic structure backing things up, along with undeniable deliciousness. (SS)" (7/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Firm, focused and dense, with green olive—accented black fruit flavors, finishing with licorice and fine-grained tannins galore. This has depth and length. (HS)" (10/2015) Jancis Robinson: "Plum and black cherry fruit, soft and chu ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Plump and supple, with red currant and rose petal aromas and elegantly complex flavors of black cherry, mocha and spice. Drink now through 2026. 14,100 cases made." (11/2016) K&L Notes: When you hear the name Rombauer you probably think of buttery, toasty Chardonnay, but did you know that the first wine made by Rombauer Vineyards was a Cabernet Sauvignon in 1980 and it's first Merlot in 1983? From the winery: "Merlot’s finest qualities emerge in cooler climates and clay soils, thus it is ideally suited for the Carneros region, where San Pablo Bay meets the southern e... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This wine is a standout, with seasoned, full-bodied layers of peppercorn, clove, cinnamon and jammy plum, balanced in weight and length, with just a hint of sanguine character. While it plays the savory card successfully, it dabbles judiciously in dark chocolate, too, finishing like a chocolate kiss. (VB)" (3/2016)
92 points Vinous: "The 2013 Merlot is plump and juicy, with plenty of dark red and bluish fruit. Sweet spice, lavender and rose petal open up in the glass, adding further shades of nuance. The Frog's Leap Merlot is not super complex, but it sure is delicious and impeccable in its balance. (AG)" (10/2015) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "There's a healthy 17% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc in this wine, which is classically structured in red fruit, soft oak and peppery spice. Its cedar notes speak to the Cab within, while the overall texture and breadth of the wine is lengthy, food-ready and impres ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This directly appealing, 100% varietal wine offers aromas of raspberries, cranberries, fresh tobacco and a touch of spice. The fruit flavors are lush and forward, with soft tannins and a finish that won't quit. (SS)" (11/2015) Vinous: "Aromas of raspberry, redcurrant, red cherry, tobacco and spices. Juicy, spicy and energetic in a slightly lean, green style, with red berry flavors complicated by a minty nuance and a touch of tartness. Finishes with a light dusting of tannins and moderate complexity... Unlike some of his neighbors, McClellan has lo ...Read More »
91 points Wine & Spirits: "Good Merlot can often seem workmanlike, this one satisfied to hit fragrant notes of ripe cherries with clarity. It’s not pushed, and though there’s oak present in the tannins, it frames the fruit well." (6/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "Combining estate grapes with others from cooler Carneros, this wine offers a dried herb component and plenty of pencil and cedar. Tannic and oaky before airing, it’ll benefit from a decant." (9/2015)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This big, fat, juicy Merlot (15.1% alcohol) is luscious, pure and ripe. It has a dense ruby/purple color and is plump, not terribly complicated, but savory and fleshy. Drink it over the next 8-10 years. (RP)" (12/2015) K&L Notes: Winemaker Jenny Wagner is the daughter of Caymus's Chuck Wagner, and has been working alongside him for years to learn the trade. Grapes for this Merlot were sourced from the cooler Oak Knoll appellation, with the goal of creating a well-balanced but rich and nuanced wine.
Wine Spectator: "Supple and sleek, with an elegant sense of complexity and accents of red currant, dark chocolate and mineral that linger. (TF, Web-2016)"
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The opaque purple 2013 Merlot Reserve spent 20 months in French oak. It has slightly more wood and tannin than its sibling, but wonderfully rich, concentrated, dark black cherry and blackcurrant fruit, stunning concentration, and world-class quality. What is so noticeable in this line-up of St. Francis wines is how much better the oak is integrated than it was 10 or 15 years ago. This wine will benefit from 5 years of cellaring and last three decades." (3/2016)
Inventory: San Francisco
This Merlot-dominated blend reminds us why Duckhorn earned its reputation as one of California's preminent sources for Merlot. The 2013 vintage had great weather and was perfect for making a rich, seamless, structured wine. Winemaker notes: "The 2013 growing season yielded a riveting expression of Three Palms Vineyard Merlot, with a rich entry and pure and polished flavors of cherry, cassis, pomegranate, and blackberry. On the palate, these gorgeous fruit elements mingle with complex layers of leather, wet river rock, eucalyptus and black tea. Warm earth... Read More »
Twomey is the sister winery of Silver Oak. The 2012 has a touch of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot in the blend and was aged for 13 months in French oak (32% new). From the winery: "Our 2012 Soda Canyon Ranch Merlot from the Napa Valley combines the refinement of old world winemaking with the expressiveness and generosity of California fruit. This textural wine has a garnet color and a nose of blackberry, licorice, graphite, tar, dark chocolate, and cloves. The velvety mouth-feel of this wine is remarkable. The palate begins with a hint of blackberry fru... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Bold aromas of black currant and espresso lead to dense, rich flavors of black raspberry, mocha and spicy cedar. Drink now through 2020. (TF)" (9/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "A mushroomy underbelly lies beneath a layer of leather and graphite, making for a tight, dry wine with sizable tannin structure. Powerfully concentrated, this wine holds 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and is not for the faint of heart. (VB)" (12/2015)
Wine & Spirits: "Soft and simple, this wine’s brandied cherry flavors enrich the texture, making it feel sumptuous without being too sweet. It’s tightened up by the snap of fresh, slightly green tannins. For chopped sirloin burgers." (8/2016) K&L Notes: From the Winery: "2013 is considered one of the finest growing seasons ever in Napa Valley. We could not have asked for better with outstanding spring weather followed by an ideal summer and a harvest with grapes displaying a wonderful balance between ripeness and structure. The grapes were grown in the winery’s Estate Vineyard in Rut... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Sourced from the winery’s estate vineyard, this bottling presents a compelling depth of earthiness, a stony, rocky sense that gives it a savory edge. Tobacco and tea surround ample plum and blueberry. The wine is approachable and soft, with tiny percentages of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. (VB)" (9/2015)
Wine Enthusiast: "An earthy, funky block-designated wine, this tastes thin despite its fuller-bodied alcohol level. A plethora of fresh-picked herb and forest characterizes this effort, which finishes in thick tannin." (3/2016)
The 2014 Bear Flat Merlot combines the berry fruits from a warm region with the savory notes of a cooler growing area. Aromas of plum, spice, and forest floor lead into flavors of cedar, herbs, and black olive. A sumptuous and plush, this merlot is ready to enjoy or will improve with a few years of cellaring.
The Hawke's Butte Vineyard is located on a series of benches and hillsides at the base of Hawks Butte in Mendocino county, at an elevation of approximately 1200 feet above sea level, thirty five miles from the Pacific ocean. Hot summer days and cool nights, tempered by coastal breezes combine with the land's rocky, high-draining soils to produce low yields of intense, structured Merlot.
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Duckhorn takes the soft lushness of merlot and brings along some crisp tailoring. It’s a clean wine with stamina, coasting on soft cherry flavor, darkening to blueberry length. A simple pleasure." (10/2016) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Solidly built, with a lively, focused core and aromas of dark berry and spice mixed with sleek flavors of cherry and licorice. Drink now through 2027." (11/2016)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Bottled but not released, the 2013 Serious Merlot is a step up over the 2012 and has lots of currants, plums and cassis fruit characteristics to go with chocolate, licorice and spice. Medium-bodied, supple, and rounded with an easy drinking texture, drink this charming Merlot over the coming 5-7 years. (JD)" (10/2015)
91 points Wine Spectator: "Polished, focused, multilayered and compelling, with coffee accented black cherry and floral flavors, hinting at apricot as the finish persists. Dances deftly. Drink now through 2022." (9/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One juicy, forward and quaffable beauty is the 2013 Merlot from the Columbia Valley. Medium to full-bodied, textured and straightforward, it gives up lots of juicy black fruits, herbs and earth on both the nose and palate. It’s not going to make old bones, but it will certainly offer plenty of pleasure over the coming 5-6 years. (JD)" (6/2016) Vinous: "Bright, full red. Aromas ...Read More »
90 points Vinous: "Keenan's 2013 Merlot is powerful, intense and structured, especially for an entry-level offering. Leather, smoke, tobacco and anise are all pushed forward in a savory, complex Merlot that offers plenty of nuance as well as personality. Hints of menthol and sage add further notes of complexity. A serious Merlot, the 2013 has enough depth to drink well for a good handful of years. (AG)" (10/2015)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I tasted two Merlots from Freemark Abbey. The 2013 Merlot Napa, which comes from multiple sources, is their biggest cuvée (89.1% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec aged almost 16 months in oak). A deep ruby color, with notes of mocha, white chocolate, black cherry and dried herbs, the wine is medium-bodied, shows loads of supple, lush fruit, easygoing soft tannin and a round juiciness. Isn’t this exactly what buyers of Merlot are looking for? (RP)" (12/2015)
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* This fat and full-bodied Merlot shows the same emphatic imprint of ripeness that marks the two Lewis Syrahs in this issue, and, if not a wine much concerned with subtlety or nuance, it will win admirers of no-holds-barred richness. It deserves a good deal of credit for not abandoning its varietally true, black cherry fruit in the face of so much chocolate and sweet oak, and, even if a little too hot and more gruffly tannic than it needs to be, it is a wine of grand proportion and serious depth." (11/2016) K&L Notes: A scant 175 cases of this voluptuous bea... Read More »
About the winery from Antonio Galloni: "Every time I go to Mayacamas there is something new to see. The redevelopment of this historic estate proceeds at what looks like a very rapid pace, even if it will be many years before the results of the work being done today shows up in the wines... The new team headed by viticulturist Phil Coturri and winemaker Andy Erickson is doing important work in redeveloping the vineyard while keeping the healthier existing vines in production for as long as possible." (10/2015) From the winemaker: "Just a few hundred case... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Merlot Thorn is essentially dominated by Merlot but has small quantities of Malbec and Syrah blended with it. This 4,000-case production cuvée is outstanding. Loads of chocolate, cedar wood, black cherry and mocha notes jump from the glass of this velvety textured, voluptuous and fleshy wine. (RP)" (10/2015) 91 points James Suckling: "This is soft and round with blackberry, walnut and currant aromas and flavors. Full body." (6/2016) 91 points Wine Spectator: "A firm structure combines with ripe, plush fruit to make a winning Merlot. Aromas of currant, espresso and grilled herb open to complex flavors f ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The dark ruby/plum/purple-colored 2012 Merlot possesses sweet black cherry and plum fruit, medium to full body, a lush texture, and impressive purity, length and overall personality. It is difficult to understand why Merlot still receives so much criticism given wines such as this. Enjoy this beauty over the next 7-8 years. (RP)" (10/2014) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a rich, inviting wine with characteristics of dried cranberry and red currant, replete with dusty, spicy tannins and spicy, spiked vanilla. Lush, the tannins are soft and supple, a tad smoky, and the secondary el ...Read More »
According to the winery: "This is a velvety wine with a complex nose of plum, blueberry pie, cedar and dark cocoa. A fleshy mouthfeel is followed by flavorful notes of black cherry, smoked caramel, espresso and toasty vanilla. With full, generous tannins that coat the palate, this wine has impressive length, lasting acidity and a soft, elegant finish."
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of my favorites in the 2013 lineup is the 2013 Pedestal Merlot. Made by Michel Rolland and blended with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and smaller parts Malbec and Cabernet Franc, aged 22 months in 85% new French oak, its deep purple color is followed by fabulous notes of plums, coffee beans, spice box and sweet oak in a full-bodied, decadent, ripe and expansive package. In general, Cabernet was more successful than Merlot in 2013, but you wouldn’t know it by tasting this beauty. Drink it anytime over the coming decade." (6/2016) 92 points Vinous: "(15.2% alcoho ...Read More »
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright ruby-red. Vibrant aromas of cassis, flowers and incense, lifted by a violet topnote. Suave and sexy wine, at once plush and light on its feet, with excellent definition and intensity to its scented flavors of dark berries and brown spices. Finishes long and perfumed, with fine-grained tannins." (12/2008) 92 points Wine Spectator: "Intense and well-focused, showing layered aromas of blackberry, espresso and toasty herbs, with complex flavors of briary plum, sage and hints of leather. The tannins are firm but ripe, with a hint of heat on the finish. Merlot and Cabernet Franc. ( ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The only 2013 I was able to taste from Leonetti, the 2013 Merlot (includes 8% Cabernet Franc) is a blockbuster from this team that’s certainly one of the best examples of this variety in the state. Giving up gorgeously pure notes of blackcurrants, licorice, charcoal and Asian spice, this medium to full-bodied beauty has a voluptuous, layered and seamless texture, building, fine tannin and a terrific finish. Seeing 15 months in new and once-used French oak (small barrels, puncheons and oval botti), it will have 20 years of longevity. (JD)" (6/2015) 92 points Wine Spectator: "Ripe and ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Wine Spectator: "Straightforward and focused, with appealing flavors of red currant, toasted spice, and herb. Drink now through 2020. (Web Only—2015)"
Inventory: Main Warehouse
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "What will be released under a Vineyard Collection sometime in the near future, the 2013 Super Substance Merlot Stoneridge offers a full-bodied, sexy, gorgeously textured style to go with lots of black currants, plums, graphite and licorice. There’s a scant 500 cases produced, but it’s a beautiful Merlot that will drink well for 10-12 years. (JD)" (6/2016) 93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* There’s no question about the variety, with its jazzy aromas of raspberries, blackberries and graphite that lead to plump plush layered fruit flavors. It brings an unabashed sense of del ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "As for the 2013 Merlot Reserve Mailbox Vineyard, this is 95% estate Merlot and 5% estate Cabernet Franc. This shows beautiful fruit, medium to full body, more layers of concentration and interest than the basic Merlot. The wine has excellent purity, loads of black cherry and mocha notes, along with darker berry fruit. It’s full-bodied, ripe and pure and at the same time never loses its sense of elegance or equilibrium. Drink it over the next 10-15 years. (RP)" (12/2015) 93 points Vinous: "The 2013 Merlot Reserve Mailbox Vineyard, from Keenan's Spring Mountain estate vineyard ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Dark and tangy, with an earthy bite to the juicy blackberry flavors on a medium frame, finishing with savory intensity and firm tannins. Best after 2018. (HS, Web-2016)"
Inventory: Redwood City
89-92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Full ruby-red. Smoky, roasted French oak sweetens the currant syrup, black cherry and mocha aromas. Lush and sweet but firm, with sexy, complex flavors of currant, gunflint, mocha, meat, minerals and oak spices. Clearly less green than the '99, as the owners have opened up the canopy to get more sun on the fruit, and discontinued nitrogen treatments to reduce the vigor of the vines. Very right bank in style. Finishes with firm but fine tannins and noteworthy persistence. This should be a merlot to follow as the vines mature." (6/2002) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A top-notch, sexy eff ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2005 Merlot from their holdings on Atlas Peak has fresh brambleberry, mulberry and mocha-infused fruit, medium to full body, excellent acidity, and wonderful vibrancy and vigor. It is youthful at age 10. The alcohol level is listed at 15.2%, but again, it is completely hidden by the wine’s wealth of concentration. This wine can be drunk now, but promises to hold and even evolve for another 10-15 years. (RP)" (6/2015) 92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Good red-ruby. Dark fruit aromas complicated by violet, bitter chocolate and minerals; more complex than the young 2006. Tightly wound bu ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Jancis Robinson: "92% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot. Spicy, lightly herbal aromatics with back notes of blue and purple fruit. Flavours of cocoa and liqueur in a field of dried herbs. Quick burst of upfront flavour...ECB)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: Aromas of ripe blood plums and cherry intertwine with subtle notes of oak. This medium-bodied wine is soft and subtle on the palate with flavors of plums and cherries at the forefront, leading to a lifted, aromatic finish that displays a distinct freshness.
Wine Spectator: "Supple, rich and well-balanced, with ripe cherry, cranberry, anise, sage, tobacco and currant that offer more grace and finesse than most from this vintage." (9/2001) K&L Notes: Winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett uses 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc in this wine to add complexity and balance. The wine is aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 40% of which are new.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Wine Spectator: "Tough-edged, with cedar, lead pencil, leather and firm currant and black cherry flavors that are tightly wound, turn firm and tannic on the finish. Needs cellaring. Best from 2002 through 2010. 1,285 cases made." (3/2001) K&L Notes: 94% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon. The blend comes from three famous Napa vineyards: Richard, Krupp, and Truchard. Ripe dense fruit aromas with a hint of oak. Well balanced, smooth, and rich. (9/2000)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
2009 Blankiet "Rive Droite - Paradise Hills Vineyard" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Bid on this 3-bottle lot of 2009 Blankiet "Rive Droite - Paradise Hills Vineyard" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend (98RP, 96VN, 95ST). Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of the finest Merlot-based wines in all of California, the 2009 Rive Droite Paradise Hills Vineyard is a blend of 79.8% Merlot, 11.8% Cabernet Franc and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon. Unfortunately, there are only 200 cases compared to 510 cases of the 2009 Proprietary Red. It finished at 15.2% alcohol, and reminded me of the pre-1975 vintages of Petrus. Robust and full-bodied with abundant notes of kirsch, mocha, mulberry and plum fruit intertwined with grilled meat and charcuterie, new saddle leather and fudge characteristics. This superb, opulent, voluptuously textured 2009 can be drunk now or cellared for 20-25 years. (RP)" (10/2013)
This lot contains the following items:
2009 Blankiet "Rive Droite - Paradise Hills Vineyard" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend (qty: 3)
End Date: Jan 25 2017 12:00PM PT
92 points Vinous: "(from Loess and Mill Creek Upland): Bright ruby-red. Deep, liqueur-like griotte cherry, wild herb and licorice aromas lifted by a slightly high-toned floral element. A lushly fruity, fine-grained fruit bomb on the palate, gaining creaminess with time in the glass. This wine has a pH of 3.52 following a bit of acidification. As sexy as it already is, the tannins currently impinge a bit on the finishing fruit, so I'd wait a year or two. Merlot for Pinot lovers. Chris Figgins described 2013 and 2014 as "pretty much identical vintages, although 2014 was a mo ...Read More »
Praise from Robert Parker: "Hall has quickly become one of the great superstars in the Napa Valley firmament." (12/2015) Tasting notes from the winery: "Deep garnet in color, this wine starts with a beautiful voluminous entry of cascading red fruit and a soft, lush texture. A pretty, floral, fruit-driven wine with aromas of rose petal, very ripe raspberry, milk chocolate, burning embers and vanilla. A serious Merlot-drinker's wine ideal for everyday celebrations. Still in its youth, decanting is recommended one hour prior to drinking."
Inventory: Main Warehouse