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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points James Suckling: "A solid and chewy young red with dried blackberries, licorice and hints of toasted oak and walnuts. A full-bodied, energetic red from the Chianti Classico region of Panzano. Needs two to three years of bottle age. A blend of Sangivoese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Alicante." (8/2015) 93 points Vinous: "A dark, sumptuous beauty, the 2013 La Massa opens with superb depth and textural richness. Inky blue/purplish fruit, smoke, white pepper and violets are all super-expressive. Pliant, concentrated and deep, the 2013 is shaping up to be a real beauty. I especially like the de ...Read More »
96 points James Suckling: "Fantastically complex aromas of spices, dried flowers and plums follow through to a full body, integrated and polished tannins and a superb finish. This is a 2012 Brunello with it all." (11/2016) K&L Notes: "[The 2012s] have more in common with the legendary 2010 vintage and are most like the 2004s, a harmonious and gorgeous year for Brunellos (James Suckling)." ---- Standing at the top of their portfolio, Argiano’s Brunello di Montalcino is the flagship wine for an estate that has a history tracing back all the way to the 1500s. The wine itself is steeped in traditi... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
92 points Vinous: "Pale straw. Very pure and precise aromas of white stone fruit complicated by hints of ripe apricot and minerals and perked up by hints of white flowers. Clean fresh and juicy, with almost saline flavors of stone fruit and yellow apple. Long fresh and creamy on the extremely refined finish. Super Prosecco from Follador, whom I consider one of the true masters of the Glera grape variety and wine. 92+ (ID) Silvano Follador is in my opinion the single best producer of Prosecco today...made in a relatively drier style than most of his colleagues, are much s ...Read More »
Ettore Spina and his wife, Enrica Bandirola, owners of Sesta di Sopra, planted a new vineyard to Sangiovese in 2005. It has the same Galestro soils as the Brunello vineryard, perfect for taming Sangiovese's natural vigor. Unfortunately, in Montalcino all of the Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino vineyards are all registered and controlled, and they aren't allowing any more to be added right now, so the wine that comes from this new vineyard has to be designated an IGT (Indicates Geographic Tipicity). The wine is just bursting with ripe fruit.... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Delicately scented, this alluring sparkler opens with aromas of white flowers and freshly picked orchard fruit. The vibrant, linear palate delivers crisp apple, pear and a citrus note accompanied by racy acidity and an elegant perlage. (KO)" (12/2015) James Suckling: "This is round and delicious with candied-apple and lemon aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, fresh and clean. Drink now." (10/2015) K&L Notes: San Venanzio has won many awards over the years. At K&L they get the coveted "Guido" award two thumbs up and three stars for value. On the nose, there are generous notes of apples, pe... Read More »
98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Flaccianello della Pieve is a commanding wine and a strong protagonist of both the vintage and its territory. Connoisseurs of Sangiovese will be hard pressed to find a wine more authentic, elegant, complex and pristine than this. I am a huge fan of the 2013 vintage in Chianti Classico and the Flaccianello della Pieva is one big reason for this love affair. The bouquet is gorgeous and delineated with wild berry, tangy spice, crushed mineral and forest flower. Yet, the wine's color is dark, brooding and austere. The wine offers exuberance and ener ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Erik Banti's Morellino di Scansano is primarily Sangiovese with a little Merlot to flesh it out. There's so much to love about this red: its lush and inviting aromas, full and round mouthfeel, and food-friendly structure are just the beginning. Factor in the price and you've got one of the tastiest and versatile red wine values in the store! Ready to drink tonight, this juicy, mouthwatering red is an satisfying on its own, and makes a worthy complement to simple pasta dishes, poultry and soft cheeses. A must try!
90 points James Suckling: "A soft, velvety red with plummy, juicy flavors. Full body, lovely tannins and a flavorful finish. Drink now." (2/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The La Fortuna 2011 Brunello di Montalcino reminds us of the elegant and nuanced side of Sangiovese that can be harnessed even in a challenging vintage like this. Despite the warm growing season, this wine shows depth and precision with wild berry tones that are followed by lingering aromas of balsam herb and licorice." (8/2016) Wine Spectator: "Cherry and raspberry flavors are accented by tobacco and earth notes, all wrapped up in dusty tannins. This is bal ...Read More »
Claudia Ferrero’s small property is situated between Argiano and Banfi’s Poggio all’Oro vineyard in Montalcino’s southwestern corner. This gorgeous Sangiovese is full-bodied and ripe with layers of lush black cherry fruit. On the palate it is lively, balanced and fresh and has a long finish. The perfect match for grilled meats drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.
Monica Larner writes: "One of the oldest estates in the Langhe, Fratelli Barale was founded in 1870, shortly after the Barolo denomination was created with the help of Marchesi Falletti and founding father of modern Italy, Count of Cavour, Camillo Benso. Sergio Barale and his daughters manage the estate today."
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "***Editors' Choice*** Made with 85% Nerello Mascalese and 15% Nerello Cappuccio, this radiant red boasts a beautiful fragrance of blue and red flower, ripe berry, cake spice and aromatic herb. The radiant, delicious palate doles out layers of juicy black cherry, raspberry compote, cinnamon, white pepper and clove while a mineral note backs up the lingering finish. It's young but balanced, with bright acidity and tightly wound but refined tannins. (KO)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: #3 Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Wines for 2016: Nerello Cappuccio – Nerello Mascalese is a blend ... Read More »
Tenuta La Fortuna's Fortunello bottling is 100% Sangiovese grown in Tuscany. Vintages are aged for four months in French oak barrels and typically show aromas of raspberries and cherries, with deep chocolaty tones lingering on the finish. This tastes significantly more expensive than it is!
33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 17% Montepulciano, 17% Alicante.
Montalcino's most famous single vineyard is the Montosoli hill, Altesino made this name famous when they designated their best Brunello with their northeastern-facing vineyard's name, Montosoli. Nello Baricci and his family have lived and farmed Sangiovese on their southeastern-facing slope of the Montosoli hill since the 1930s. Their wines are pure, supple, lithe and complex; they are full of tobacco, sweet earth, licorice, violets, rosemary and have long and persistent finishes, as evidenced in this fantastic Rosso, meant to drink now and over the next... Read More »
Rosso di Montalcino too often sits in the shadow of its much bigger brother, Brunello. But some estates put nearly the care and expense into their Rosso as their big guns, and La Fortuna is clearly an example of this sort of winemaking. Intense in terms of fruit, but showing off admirable acidity, this is spicy, full bodied, dry and rich with a softness hiding amid all that tannic structure. A wine to drink while your Brunello ages, yes, but a quality wine nonetheless. From vines 15-25 years of age, aged for one year in barrique, 6 months of this in Fren... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Fragrant blue flower, tilled soil and wild berry aromas lead the nose. The light-bodied, accessible palate offers tart cherry and a hint of chopped herb. It's fresh and easy drinking, with loose-knit tannins. (KO)" (12/2016) K&L Notes: 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 vineyard comprises 3 hectares of young vines that go into their rosso bottling. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and then spends 12 months in barrel before b... Read More »
Giovanni Blason and his wife Valentina are young producers who continuously surprise us with the price-to-quality ratio of their wines, earning them tons of kudos in Gambero Rosso and beyond. They come from the Isonzo region of Northern Italy, right up against the Slovenian border. Their Pinot Grigio is really sensational, full in the mouth, rich on the palate and extraordinarily drinkable at this price! Very aromatic, with good complexity, length and that subtle elegance that shows muscle and a long and flowing finish.
92 points James Suckling: "Very aromatic with dark fruits, dried meats and flowers that follow through to a full body, round tannins and a fresh finish. Tangy and delectable. This is always a delicious Chianti Classico Riserva." (8/2015) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Made with Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, this opens with aromas of red berry, plum, violet and whiff of cedar. The elegantly structured, savory palate delivers juicy black cherry, clove, ground pepper and grilled herb alongside fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity. It's well balanced and already accessible. (KO)" (9/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chianti Cl ...Read More »
91 points Vinous: "The 2012 Barolo Vendemmia is a very pretty entry-level offering from Barale. Sweet floral and spice notes meld into red cherry, tobacco, licorice and leather. Lifted and aromatically expressive, with good depth, the 2012 impresses for its balance and overall harmony. Best of all, the 2012 will drink well with minimal cellaring. The Barolo Vendemmia is a blend of fruit from the Preda, Monrobiolo and Coste di Rose vineyards." (11/2016)
What do you do when you want to make Nebbiolo in a province where Barbera is king (namely, Alba in northern Piedmont)? You get creative! The Bava Brothers, a fun-loving bunch, decided to find a catchy fantasy name for their 100% Nebbiolo wine. They went American and named it after a real American tradition, Band-Aids, (evidently at a winery you go through a lot of them). "Johnson & Johnson" was too long; they switched to "Johnson" but that's unpronounceable for an Italian so... "Gionson!" That's how you say "Johnson" in Italian! Delicious Nebbiolo, drink... Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Red berry, fragrant blue flower, dark spice and a whiff of eucalyptus come together on this one. The taut, structured palate offers dried black cherry, licorice, clove and a hint of grilled sage. Firm, fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity provide balance and support. (KO)" (5/2016) 94 points Wine Spectator: "Aromas of wild herbs and cherry are the hallmarks of this cherryand currant-laced red, backed by a lively structure. This remains balanced in the end. Best from 2019 through 2035. (BS)" (4/2016) 91 points James Suckling: "Some dark berry and cherry with a slightly subdued character. Hints of cooked fruit. ...Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "A wine with lots of berry, vanilla and cream aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, round and savory. Intense new wood but delicious all the same. Needs time to come together in the bottle: Drink in 2017." (10/2015)
95 points James Suckling: "Aromas of dark chocolate, berries, toasted nuts and vanilla bean follow through to a full body, firm tannins and a juicy finish. Lots of intense, beautiful fruit. Tight, layered red. All there. Better in 2017." (11/2014) 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Fontalloro is a pure expression of Sangiovese with fruit sourced from the Chianti Classico area and the Colli Senesi area. It ages in new and once-used barrique for up to 22 months. Aromas flow with authority, spanning a large swath of fruit and oak-related attributes. The best part, however, is the aromatic layering: Slices of br ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
90 points James Suckling: "A fresh and tangy red with dried berry, lemon rind and hints of lemon grass. Medium body, light tannins and a fruity finish." (10/2015)
91 points James Suckling: "A wine with plenty of dried cherry and citrus fruit aromas and flavors. Medium body, slightly chewy tannins and a fresh finish. How Chianti Classico should be. Drink or hold." (10/2015) 91 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chianti Classico is dark, sensual and beautifully layered in the glass. Freshly cut flowers, sweet red berries, mint and cinnamon are some of the many notes that flesh out in a textured, inviting Chianti Classico endowed with notable depth and personality. In 2013, Rocca di Montegrossi's Chianti Classico is especially dark and powerful. (AG)" (9/2015) 90 points Wine & Spirits: "The stony soils ...Read More »
96 points James Suckling: "This is the full treatment white from Italy and it always delivers. Aromas of cooked apple, cream, hints of toasted oak and peach. Full body, bright acidity, with tangy fresh fruit. Hints of yogurt and wood. Complex and truly great. Love the backbone of acidity that gives lovely form." (3/2016) 91 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* There's density to this minerally white, with flavors of kumquat, white cherry, graphite, chamomile and ground anise framed by rapierlike acidity that creates a sleek, almost lean impression on the zesty finish. Like a young Chablis, this should develop ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Sporting a new label design, the 2011 Brunello di Montalcino represents a philosophical divide from previous vintages. In the past, Castiglion del Bosco was focused on soft and immediate Brunellos for near-term consumption. Despite the warm conditions of the 2011 growing season, this wine shows far more elegance, nuance and grace than I expected. This massive property is comprised of various vineyard sites for more blending possibilities. The bouquet is redolent of wild berry, cola and grilled herb. The tannins are silky but long in terms of persistence. ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Lots of blue fruits with fresh mushroom and floral undertones. Full to medium body, integrated tannins and a fantastic polish and balance. Very fine and pretty. A beautifully crafted riserva from one of the great names of Tuscany. Drink now." (8/2016) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A relatively new addition to the Marchesi Antinori portfolio, this wine really begins to show its potential in this classic vintage. The 2013 Chianti Classico Riserva Tenuta Tignanello is mostly Sangiovese with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The addition of this French grape (harvested from the outstanding Tignanell ...Read More »
96 points James Suckling: "A ripe red with lots of prune, cedar, berry and licorice aromas and flavors. Full body, velvety tannins and a long, flavorful finish. So much going on here. Traditional-styled Brunello. Drink or hold." (8/2015) 93 points Wine Spectator: "Fresh and focused, with cherry, strawberry, tobacco and spice flavors staying persistent and long. This is balanced, showing earthy and woodsy notes on the long finish. There's plenty of fruit locked in here. Best from 2018 through 2033. (BS)" (6/2015) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Pretty aromas of red berry, menthol, savory herb and cooking spice lead the nose. The palate offers ...Read More »
97 points James Suckling: "A wine with terrific texture and balance. Very polished tannins that are etheral and harmonious. Full-bodied, yet fresh, this is about combining elegance with power. It's so Latour in style. Excellent depth. Better in 2017, but so fine now. Blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and petit verdot." (8/2015) K&L Notes: From the winery: Oreno, which takes its name from the river that crosses the Ponti estate and the hamlet where the farmhouse is found, is the estate's flagship wine. With ample fruit from the Merlot, structure from the Cabernet Sauvignon, brought together w... Read More »
Vinous: "Crushed flowers, tobacco, worn-in leather and dried flowers are all nicely delineated in the 2014 Rosso di Montalcino. This is an unusually soft, forward Rosso from Uccelliera. (AG)" (2/2016)
Giovanni Blason and his wife Valentina are young producers who continuously surprise us with the price-to-quality ratio of their wines, earning them tons of kudos in Gambero Rosso and beyond. They come from the Isonzo region of Northern Italy, right up against the Slovenian border.
91 points Wine Spectator: "Fruit-driven, boasting black cherry and blackberry flavors, shaded by spice and tar. Firm and dry, with fine balance and a long finish. Best from 2018 through 2024. 2,450 cases imported. BS" (10/2016)
97 points James Suckling: "This is a very sleek and racy wine with lots of stone, white pepper and fresh rosemary character. Then takes off with dried ripe fruits such as currants and blueberries. Dark chocolate too. This a real mouthful yet remains agile and powerful. Linear and long finish. Great precision. Best ever from Guado al Tasso?" (7/2016) 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This is a fantastic wine. The 2013 Bolgheri Superiore Guado Al Tasso reveals soaring aromas of dark fruit, plum, blackberry, savory spice, tobacco and leather. The results are seamless, harmonious and generous in intensity. This is the q ...Read More »
95 points Wine Spectator: "Offers terrific aromas of strawberry, currant and medicinal herbs, revealing hints of anise, tobacco and earth, all backed by a firm, vibrant structure. Stays focused and long, with a succulent finish. Best from 2019 through 2036. (BS)" (6/2015) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of wild berry, savory herb, menthol and toast lead the nose. The vibrant palate delivers crunchy red cherry, eucalyptus, sage and cooking spice alongside youthfully assertive tannins and brisk acidity. It closes on a licorice note. Drink 2020–2030. (KO)" (5/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino is a full-bodie ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* Fresh and savory, this offers aromas and flavors of fresh apple, green Anjou pear and almond. Bright acidity gives it a crisp, clean finish while a hint of saline signals the close. (KO)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: This very special white is made exclusively with Verdicchio grapes cultivated from the east slopes of the Alta Valle Esina, on the foot of the Mount San Vicino. As is typical for Matelica, this is elegant, fresh and very mineral, and just the thing for your most elaborate fish dishes.
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)
This estate has been making Dolcetto in Dogliani (where this grape, not Nebbiolo, is king) longer than anyone.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Rose, violet and red berry aromas waft out of the glass. The vibrant palate offers juicy wild cherry and crushed strawberry while white pepper and anise provide the backup. It's elegantly structured but still young and tight so give this time to unwind. Drink 2019–2027. (KO)" (10/2015)
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Full reviews to follow on their Aug 2016 issue:" (8/2016) K&L Notes: Though the 2014 has yet to be professionally reviewed, the 2013 bottling earned 91 points and accolades from Antonio Galloni's Vinous: "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 terroir." (06/2015)
Inventory: Redwood City
95 points James Suckling: "This is dense and tight with beautiful mushrooms, bark, dark fruit and spices. Full body, velvety tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Wonderful. Lovely now but better in 2017." (9/2015) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Pian di Conte impresses for the seamless presentation it offers. Blackberry and dark cherry nuances segue to spice, leather and tobacco. The bouquet makes these jumps with effortless transitions and it builds important momentum that adds to the wine's length and persistence. Compared to the 2010 Annata, this 2010 Riserva is slightly ...Read More »
97 points James Suckling: "Full body, ultra-fine and silky tannins and a soft and fruity finish. Ripe and balanced with beautiful fruit and freshness. A wine with style and beauty. A tiny-production, single-vineyard red made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot." (8/2015) 94 points Vinous: "Grattamacco's 2012 Bolgheri Superiore Alberello is finely-spun in the glass, with striking finesse and nuance. Sweet cherry, plum, smoke, licorice and spice notes open up effortlessly with air. The 2012 is ripe and juicy, but also quite classic in its mid-weight structure. The 2012 finishes with ...Read More »
98 points James Suckling: "Fantastic aromas of dark fruits, mineral, bark and fresh mushroom follow through to a full body, firm and silky tannins and a long, long finish. Beautiful mouthfeel of velvety tannins. One of the greatest Brunellos ever made by Antinori. Drink or hold." (2/2016) 94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Plum cake, underbrush, dark berry, menthol and a touch of mocha unfold in the glass. The taut, full-bodied palate offers chewy black cherry, raspberry jam, licorice and sage framed in youthfully assertive, fine-grained tannins. A tobacco note closes the finish. Drink 2022-2032. (KOK)" (5/2016) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Here's ...Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "This is very, very ripe with dried strawberry, raisin and boysenberry character. Full body and a fruit-forward style. Round and velvety tannins. Long, fruity finish. Finishes fresh and pretty. Riper style than the normal bottling but delicious." (10/2015) 91 points Vinous: "91+: The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is a powerful, authoritative wine. Firm tannins wrap around a core of black cherry, smoke, plum and leather. The 2010 needs time to soften, but it has excellent depth and more than enough energy to drink well for a number of years. The exuberant finish is invit ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of dried tobacco leaf, toast, oak and underbrush lead the nose. The bright, approachable palate offers black cherry, espresso and star anise alongside fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity. (KO)" (11/2016) Wine Spectator: "Black cherry fruit is framed by toasty oak in this firm, dense red. Modern in style, with energy and balance, finishing with dusty tannins. Drink now through 2019. (BS)" (8/2016)
Wine Enthusiast: "This opens with pretty, dark concentration and balanced aromas of black cherry and red currant set against leather, cedar and drying mineral notes. That extra density helps soften the sharp acidity." (5/2013)