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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points James Suckling: "A fresh, clean red with balsamic and chocolate character, plus fresh cherry. Full body, firm tannins and a juicy finish. Ripe, generous fruit. Always outstanding from here. A polished Super Tuscan. Drink or hold." (10/2014)93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Giampaolo Motta’s 2012 La Massa wraps clean around the palate, imparting sassy tones of Mexican spice, tobacco and dark berry fruit. The blend is 60% Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Alicante. The wine shows luscious dark concentration with equal billing to both the dark fruity component of the wine and its spicy, oak-driv ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "BEST BUY: This elegantly structured wine opens with aromas of black plum, mocha, Mediterranean herbs and a hint of scorched earth. The round, enveloping palate doles out ripe black cherry, blackberry, cinnamon and white pepper, while firm, silky tannins provide the framework. A fantastic wine, it’s already enjoyable and will offer fine drinking over the next few years. — K.O" (10/2015) K&L Notes: From the producer: "Made from bush-trained Carignano grapes grown in the coastal area between Capo Teulada and the Iglesiente mountains. The nose offers residual vinous sen... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Aromas of pears, green apples and dried mangoes with hints of minerals and stones as well as salty undertones. Full body, plenty of fruit and great acid tension. Long and flavorful. Unique white that has a history for aging well. Drink or hold." (5/2015)91 points Antonio Galloni: "Medium-deep gold-tinged yellow. Enticing aromas of apricot, savory herbs and minerals. Rich, ripe stone fruit and balsamic herb flavors are nicely buoyed by lively acidity. The long finish features resonating mineral lift. This outstanding, archetypal Verdicchio wine speaks clearly of the cooler Matelica t ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Floral with ruby stone and fresh strawberry on the nose. Hints of pine nut and hazelnut with fresh strawberry jam accompany silky tannins. Good structure. Better in 2016." (10/2014) K&L Notes: While 2010 was a glorious vintage in parts of Tuscany and created an incredible Vino Nobile di Montepulciano from TorCalvano, the 2011 might be even better. Whereas the 10 had all the sweetness of fruit from the warm vintage, the 2011 showcases that fruit more subtly, leading into more complex flavors of leather, spice, and even fresh pine nut. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano ofte... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This straightforward, inviting Barolo boasts classic Nebbiolo aromas of rose, leather, berry spice and tilled earth. It’s not loaded with complexity, but the sour cherry, black pepper and clove flavors are delicious. It closes on a note of subtle oak alongside a drying, tannic finish. (KO)" (10/2014)
From the producer: "Our vines are all registered in the Brunello di Montalcino roll: so, every harvest, potentially, is all a Brunello one. Nevertheless, each year we decide to set aside a part of the production to Rosso di Montalcino wine, to diversify our products and take a role in both markets. The main difference between these kinds of wine is solely the lasting of the ageing period, not the fermentation, nor the barrel material, nor the bottling procedure, which is still not filtered. The Rosso wine is aged almost one year in the same oak barrels t... Read More »
The Baccinetti family has worked their family farm south of Montalcino since 1935, but 2004 was their first vintage of estate-grown wine. Planted with 100% Sangiovese, the vines comprise 3 hectates of young vines which to into their rosso bottling. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and then spends 12 months in barrel before bottling.
A blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, this Valpolicella is ruby-red and super silky in texture, with the quintessential chocolate-covered cherry quality you'd expect from good Valpolicella.
Amarone at this price? I said the same thing myself, but I was really surprised by the quality of this wine. It has the classic richness one would expect of Amarone, and the fruit quality is superb. I've had other inexpensive Amarone but they always taste slightly bitter and overly raisiny, but this wine is really balanced and has just a terrific finish. How can this happen, you ask? Well, in these times of economic uncertainty, sales of high-priced Amarone have dipped. The folks behind the Montechiara label offer a way for a producer to clear out some i... Read More »
This sparkling white wine was obtained, as you might guess by the name, from the Prosecco grape using the Charmat method in autoclave. It is the epitome of prosecco, where the harmony of its elegant body is accompanied by a delicate bouquet. The freshness and fragrance of this wine, together with a fine and persistent perlage, make it ideal for any occasion. And the price doesn't hurt either! Serve at a cooler temperature than most whites, and watch bottle after bottle disappear at your next party.
Claudia Ferrero and her husband/winemaker Pablo Härri's estate is called the Podere Pascena and it sits in the southwesterly corner of Montalcino (they are bordered by Argiano and Banfi's Riserva vineyard "Poggio all'Oro"). The wines from this zone are really rich and you can feel the sun shining on these grapes, ripening, and filling them with a dense richness, while their wines show lots of black cherry, plum, chocolate with a satiny texture, round, full and broad on the palate. When we were first introduced to this winery, we thought it was so soft, f... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Aromas of lemons, ginger and honeysuckle follow through to a full body with intense lemon-rind and citrus undertones. Some granite and minerals. Superb. Drink now." (10/2015)2 points Gambero Rosso: "2 Red Glasses: This year's Valdobbiadene Brut offers a particularly elegant, expressive nose, showing flowers interwoven with white fleshed fruit, suddenly giving way to garden vegetables. We see a change of gear on the palate, with the fizz exalting a lean, dry, supple body with extraordinary flavor, and a long spirited finish." (1/2015)
93 points James Suckling: "An exotic dry white wine with cherry blossom, olive oil, dried herbs, sea salt, wet stones and dried apricots. Bone-dry with persistent acidity. One of the best Sauvignons in Friuli. Drink now." (9/2014)
92 points James Suckling: "Fascinating aromas of dried fruits, orange peel, earth, pomace and meat. Full body with soft and tangy fruit plus a long, flavorful finish. It's decadent and citrusy on the finish besides the opulent and delicious red fruits." (3/2015) Wine Spectator: "Blackberry, loamy earth, spice and tea leaf notes mix in this balanced red, with light tannins on the aromatic finish. Drink now through 2018." (3/2015)
92 points James Suckling: "There's a purity of fruit here with intense blackberries, blueberries and citrus rind on the nose. Full body, delicate tannins and a long and delicious finish. So savory and beautiful. Made from biodynamically farmed grapes. Drink now." (9/2013)91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2011 Chianti Classico Querciabella has that extra bit of depth, creaminess and mid-palate pliancy missing in the 2010, all while maintaining plenty of brightness, freshness and Sangiovese character. Freshly cut roses, sweet red berries and a hint of spices are woven into the exceptionally elegant, refined finis ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "What a subtle, beautiful nose to this wine with fresh-lemongrass, plum and light cherry character. It's full-bodied with fine tannins and a long finish. Lovely powdered-chocolate and hazelnut undertones. Drink or hold." (3/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A flagship wine from Sardinia, the 2010 Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva presents a very authentic portrait of the island's most celebrated red grape. There is austerity here and a sense of vinous earnestness that distinguishes the wine's unique personality. Instead of banal softness or richness, here you get firm lines and sharp conto ...Read More »
The Bronca sisters grow their own fruit in steep hillside vineyards, then make base wine and perform the secondary (sparkling) fermentation on non-vintage batches three or four times a year, to ensure freshness. Low yields and hillside-grown fruit ensures that the wine has good concentration and acidity. This one's a clean, crisp and ultimately refreshing sparkler that is one of our favorites.
90 points Wine Spectator: "Plum and blackberry flavors show herb and spice accents in this firmly structured red. The tannins dominate the finish now, yet there's plenty of sweet fruit. Best from 2014 through 2022." (10/2012) K&L Notes: "Dainero" is a Super Tuscan composed primarily of Merlot, with 10% Sangiovese, and spends six months in barrel. Praise for the producer from Wine Advocate: "Massimo Ferragamo's Castiglion del Bosco shows the fruits of hard labor and major winery investments with the 2010 vintage. This stellar vintage shows us what his vineyards are capable of because the qualit... Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "Dark bright red. Amarone-like opulence on the nose and in the mouth, with a raisiny nuance to the ripe, soft red cherry, sweet spice and herb aromas and flavors. So velvety and opulent I would have tasted it in Veneto had I tasted it blind, but it’s so well balanced and smooth that it’s pretty irresistible. Finishes long, with lush, smooth tannins and a hint of residual sweetness. I really like this wine because, for all its showy sweetness and opulence, it manages to retain a graceful quality without going over the top. Amarone lovers will score it even ...Read More »
From a one-acre plot of vines in Monforte d'Alba, a hand-harvested blend of Arneis, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
92 points James Suckling: "A refined, complex red with blackberry, blueberry and light chocolate character. Medium body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Lots of black licorice. Delicious now but better in 2015. Excellent value. 50% Sangiovese and the rest Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon." (10/2014)91 points Antonio Galloni: "Sweet tobacco, bright red fruit, underbrush and cedar are some of the many notes that come together in the 2013 Rosso di Notri. Precise, delineated and beautifully layered in the glass, the 2013 is striking in its purity and juiciness. The late harvest produced a gorgeous wine loade ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "This is is rich and dense with a fabulous silky tannin mouthfeel. Full body, with loads of fruit and a long, flavorful finish. Lively acidity keeps the wine agile and fresh. Better in 2016 but so delicious now. A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc." (7/2013)93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Valdisanti (Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc) is staked tall with bold fruit nuances of dark cherry, blackberry, spice, tobacco and Spanish cedar. Crushed white pepper and grilled herbs also play into the mix. This is a large, extracted wine ...Read More »
Owner/Winemaker of Cascina La Ghersa, Max Pastura, passionately directs the winery his family has run since 1928. The Piagè, or 'toll' in the Piemontese dialect, represents a killer value in 100 percent Barbera. Fruity, bright, and exuberant on the nose, with aromas of dark red fruits and underbrush, the palate is full of cherries and plums with a persistent and always fresh mouthfeel.
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Wine Spectator: "*#80 Top 100 Wines of 2013/Smart Buy* This ripe red boasts flavors of cherry, cedar and herb matched to a medium-bodied frame. The acidity and tannins are in the correct proportions, offering a lingering finish. Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Best from 2015 through 2024." (9/2013) James Suckling: "Aromas of currants and mint with hints of chili powder. Medium body, with fine tannins and a medium finish. Polished and delicious. Made from biodynamic grapes." (9/2012)
90 points Antonio Galloni: "(a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo Nero): Bright pink with an orange tinge. Complex aromas of strawberry, violet, botanical herbs and blood orange. Fresh and juicy, with tactile flavors of strawberry, fresh citrus fruit and pepper. Finishes with a hint of residual sweetness and outstanding lift. This is always one of Tuscany’s best rosato wines, and it’s no different this year. (ID)" (6/2015)
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of Spanish broom, ripe apricot and yellow peach lead the nose and carry over to the round palate. Fresh acidity accompanies the juicy fruit flavors while an almond note closes the finish." (10/2015) K&L Notes: Gallura is a peninsula on the northeast corner of the island of Sardinia that specializes in Vermentino (the grape is also grown on the coast of mainland Italy, on Corsica and in the south of France under the name Rolle). Mancini's version of the grape is very fresh and forward, with no oak or malolactic fermentation aromas, just grape juice fermented at... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Here’s a structured but elegant wine that opens with aromas of wild berry, mint, clove and a balsamic note. The firm, fresh palate offers dried black cherry, raspberry, menthol, white pepper, grilled herb and a note of well-integrated oak while velvety tannins provide support. It’s great now but it will be even better in a few years. Drink through 2020." (7/2015)90 points Antonio Galloni: "Rich and explosive in the glass, the 2012 Chianti Classico is a beauty. Dark red stone fruits flesh out in a round, sensual wine built on pure texture. This fleshy, supple Chianti Classico offers ...Read More »
Impressive for its purity and refreshing mineral qualities, Valle dell'Acate takes the Inzolia varietal to a whole new level of quality. As a second label, the Case Ibidini range (pronounced 'bidini) consists of varietally labeled wines from the estate intended for more casual consumption. The local name of the area where the estate is situated, Bidini, is drawn from the ancient root Bidis. This in turn referred to the name of a group of early Hellenic settlers who populated the area nearly 20 centuries ago. These wines provide a purity and authenticity ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
95 points James Suckling: "Lots currants, blueberries, vanilla and floral character on the nose and palate. Full body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Edgy contrast of acidity, ripe fruit and wood. Stylish, savory and delicious. A blend of Sangiovese and Merlot. One of the best values amongst Super Tuscan reds. Drink in 2016." (8/2015) Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Crognolo offers notable intensity, with searing tannins that are a bit overpowering at this stage. Dark red cherry, raspberry and white pepper are some of the signatures. Today, the Crognolo is a bit linear and compact. It will be interestin ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Rosso di Montalcino is pleasantly rustic and bold, with plenty of Sangiovese character. Sweet red cherry, tobacco, spice and cedar abound. The 2013 is a bit rough around the edges, but intriguing at the same time. Grippy, dusty tannins support the expressive finish. (AG)" (2/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Fermented in stainless steel and then moved to oak for brief four-month period, the 2013 Rosso di Montalcino shows easy fruit appeal. Aromas include small tones of forest berry and white cherry backed by more evident aromas of balsam herb, cola and licorice. You get the ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Focused white with pure, clean stone, flint and minerals. Nose of focused green-pear, exotic ripeness and juicy character. Great balance and finesse with an extended finish. One of the best-value in Pinot Grigios." (9/2014) Wine Spectator: "A sleek, zesty white, with lots of ground spice and stony mineral notes underscoring the clean-cut flavors of glazed apricot, kiwifruit, sliced almond and preserved lemon. Subtle finish. Drink now through 2018. (Web-2015)" K&L Notes: From one of Northern Italy's finest producers, the aroma on this Pinot Grigio is typically intense, full and fruity, ... Read More »
This three-liter box is 100% Friulano (though, it cannot be labeled as such because the DOC's laws do not recognize box wine, as of yet). I think there is no tastier, more versatile white wine in our store right now that beats this Bianco for value and pure drinkability. It combines the body, weight and richness of what California Chardonnay feels like with the minerality and freshness of Pinot Grigio tastes like that just makes it into the perfect cocktail white. It is ideal for keeping in the fridge (I've tasted them after they've been open for 6 month... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The non-vintage Prosecco del Valdobiaddene Particella 68 comes from a hillside vineyard planted with 40-60-year-old Glera vines in rocky soils. It reveals more minerality along with honeyed grapefruit and apple-like fruit. Crisp and light-bodied with more intensity and flavor than its sibling ... (RP)" (6/2014)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright straw-green. Sexy, clean aromas of floral white peach, apricot and tangerine. On the palate, soft citrus and pineapple flavors are enlivened by vibrant acidity and nicely extended on the creamy, luscious back end." (9/2011) Jancis Robinson: "Very different from ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "There are mushrooms on the nose of this Chianti Classico, but these soon give way to subtle, deep aromas of blackberry crumble with hints of mint and ivy. It soon fills up the mouth with beautifully dense fruit and fine tannins, nutty, woody undertones and long finish. Gorgeous now, but better in 2016." (10/2014) Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Chianti Classico is a great introduction to the wines of Felsina. Deeply varietal and expressive to the core, the 2012 graces the palate with the essence of Sangiovese from the southern part of the Chianti Classico zone. Sweet tobacco, un ...Read More »
Ah, Piedmont! Home to Italy's most long-lived reds, Barolo and Barbaresco. Piedmont also lays claim to this frothy number, a semi-sweet sparkling wine that shares as much in common with Barolo as a turnip does with a root beer float. To begin with, there's the preponderance of wild strawberry fruit, and the effervescent goodness that is not totally dissimilar to Moscato, only this one is pink. Deep pink. Gulpable pink. After a certain age it is unseemly to drink cherry soda pop in public--go for Brachetto instead! No, it isn't Red Moscato, but I couldn't... Read More »
One of the best deals going in Pinot Grigio, this wine is from the Grave del Friuli DOC, an area perfectly suited to the varietal. The 2013 is crisp, fruity and fresh, exhibiting that classic subtle bitter hint on the palate that makes it such an ideal match with dishes like spaghetti with clams, or sauteed freshwater trout. It also makes a fine pairing with sushi. Enjoy while young and fresh.
Sitting in the northeastern corner of Italy on the border of Slovenia, Collio has an ancient winegrowing history and remains an important DOC zone for quality white wines. Here the Palla family, led by patriarch Giancarlo, produces distinctive wines from these Friulian lands. Densely planted vines produce a terroir-driven Pinot Grigio, which features a flinty profile with notes of pear and fine minerals.
Antonio Galloni: "Generous black stone fruits, smoke, tobacco and menthol are some of the notes that emerge from the estate's 2012 Rosso di Montalcino. The style is rich, ample and intense to the core." (5/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright red. Tightly wound but not dry or edgy, showing a distinctly medicinal cast to the red cherry and flint aromas and flavors. Showing limited complexity today but has the juicy acidity and spine, along with firm supporting tannins, to gain in nuance with a couple years of cellaring." (12/2014)
Wine Spectator: "A balanced white, with modest poached apple, stone, preserved lemon and graphite notes. Juicy. (Web Only—2015)" K&L Notes: Well almost Umbria, actually in Lazio but you can see Umbria from this vineyard!
From the producer: "Rosso di Montalcino comes from the same Sangiovese Grosso grapes as the Brunello di Montalcino. This younger wine brings the consumer closer to the taste of Montalcino's wines and accompanies a large range of different foods. Its name is established during harvest and is already perfect after a 12 months maturation period in oak wood barrels."
90 points Wine & Spirits: "This aged for 12 months, half in cement and half in tonneaux, sustaining an inky violet hue and dense flavors of black plum and sour cherry. Firm fruit-skin tannins frame the juicy fruit, leaving a fresh impression. A few years in the cellar may unpack more layers." (8/2015)
90 points Antonio Galloni: "Dark ruby-red. Rich red cherry and red berry aromas are complemented by cinnamon and fresh herbs. Suave, dense and juicy, with superripe red cherry and marzipan flavors complicated by hints of vanilla and mocha. Finishes long, with noteworthy peppery bite." (9/2015)
Poderi San Lazzaro is a 15-hectare, organically-farmed estate in the Marche, located between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea. This lovely and wonderfully affordable Sangiovese shows hints of smoke to complement the floral, cherry-inflected nose. The fruit is clean on the palate, which is medium-bodied, with good acidity, soft tannins and a vein of minerality. Great for pasta night.
Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* Real Lambrusco is a rarity in this country, but here it is, purple hued, with just enough fizz to help cut through the fattiness of fine salume. It’s grapy and dry, with hints of anise and herbs that prevent it from being too simple." (12/2003) K&L Notes: Lambrusco is not part of the upper echelon of Italian wine. To begin with, it is not expensive. Also, it doesn't come from Tuscany or Piedmont or any of the well know wine-producing regions of Italy. It comes from Emilia-Romagna. And then there's the fact that it's red and sparking. Actually, foaming is c... Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "Young and wild red fruits with the trademark peppery edge, some brambly blue fruits and an assertive, spicy thread. This has a supple, fleshy and brambly palate with glossy ripe blue fruit flavors, fine-sheeted tannins and a tangy, saffron-tinged finish." (5/2015)