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K&L Staff Recommendations
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)
Wine Enthusiast: "* Best Buy * Named after the grapes in the blend (Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon), this easygoing, savory wine doles out juicy blackberry, black currant, black cherry and a hint of licorice. Soft, round tannins provide the framework." (3/2015)
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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* This bright blend of 75% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and 10% Ciliegiolo discloses aromas of ripe berry and cooking spice. The soft, easy-drinking palate offers black cherry, white pepper and grilled sage alongside round tannins." (7/2015) K&L Notes: This Carato is a blend of 75% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot, and 10% Ciliegiolo and is just delicious: full, fleshy, voluptuous, sumptuous, truly hedonistic. We think at this price you too will be saying wow!
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 »
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 »
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 »
Wine Spectator: "Lightly spiced and aromatic, with floral and loamy earth notes, this light- to medium-bodied red offers easy-drinking flavors of crushed black cherry, baked plum and cocoa powder. (Web Only—2015)"
Inventory: San Francisco
97 points James Suckling: "Extremely impressive ripe dark fruits of blueberries, plums and blackberries follow through to a full body, round texture and bright acidity. The finesse and depth to this red is stunning making it a wonderful successor to the 2011 Solaia. Needs three or four years to soften and open. Better in 2018." (8/2015)97 points Wine Enthusiast: "This stunning expression of Solaia opens with ample aromas of exotic spices, tilled soil, mature black-skinned fruit and an underlying whiff of fragrant blue flowers. The vibrant, elegantly structured palate doles out high-toned black cherry, ripe bl ...Read More »
Inventory: Special Order
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 »
91 points Antonio Galloni: "Le Ragnaie's 2012 Rosso di Montalcino emerges from two parcels in Castelnuovo dell'Abate. Ample and full on the palate, yet also restrained in style, the 2012 impresses for its overall balance. There is a lovely element of stoniness that gives the fruit an extra kick of freshness and energy in this warm, dry vintage. This is the first vintage the Rosso spent two full years in cask, which marks a move to a more serious style." (2/2015)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Le Ragnaie's 2012 Rosso di Montalcino is initially tight and compressed with focused tones of cassis, licorice and balsam h ...Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "This is a phenomenal white with sliced pear, apple and cream. Wonderful richness. It's full bodied, very layered and stylish. A petrol, candle-wax and dried-apricot character. Savory finish. Drink now." (12/2014)3 points Gambero Rosso: "With its extraordinary interpretation of the Matelica DOC, Aldo Cifola's winery is the perfect exponent of the concept of terroir. He reads the potential of Verdicchio, which finds a powerful, flavorsome expression here without losing its acidic, tangy edge endowed by the area and its cool microclimate. Another magnificent verison of the Mirum, th ...Read More »
Tenuta di Aglaea cultivates the indigenous and mysterious Nerello grape on the cool volcanic terraces of Sicily's Mount Etna. Perfumed with minerally aromas, the wine is marked by a firm body and a freshness of fruit tones with gentle tannins. It is a wine of subtlety and will reward several years of cellaring. Try it with antipasti, pasta, vegetable dishes, and lighter meats like pork, veal, and poultry. 100% Nerello Mascalese.
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 »
Known for small berries and "spontaneous abortion" of the flower, Picolit fashions one of the rarest Italian passito wines. Golden hued with sumptuous honey, tropical and citrus notes, this complex white successsfully rivals Vin Santo for its ability to stand up to hearty cheeses or in a glass all by itself.
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!
Antonio Galloni: "Forward and expressive, the 2012 Barbera d'Alba is loaded with sweet red berries, mint, cloves, lavender and spices. Drink this supple, juicy Barbera over the next year or two, while the fruit remains vibrant." (5/2015) James Suckling: "A red with sliced-lemon and berry character, a medium body and a fresh, clean finish. Very lemony. Drink now." (3/2015)
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Elena Fucci's latest release is the 2012 Aglianico del Vulture Titolo. The wine shines bright with primary aromas of dark fruit, herb, oak spice and dark volcanic tones of crushed granite and smoke. Given the proven track record of this wine, I'd expect this vintage to age for 15 to 20 years without a hitch. The 2012 vintage was only slightly warmer than average and those ripe fruit flavors do a lot to round out and soften the firm tannic backbone of the wine. There's a notable point of acidity that helps the wine to achieve an impressive sense of balanc ...Read More »
99 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* One of Italy’s most iconic bottlings, the 2012 Sassicaia is drop-dead gorgeous. A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, it boasts sensations of blue flowers, cedar, juicy red currants, ripe raspberries, white pepper and a balsamic note. Structured, radiant and loaded with finesse, it delivers everything you’d expect from a world-class wine and more. Drink 2018–2032." (8/2015)95 points James Suckling: "Lots of lavender, minerals and black currants on the nose. Turns to black berries. Full body, ultra-refined tannins and an exquisite finish. This ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "A very successful 2012 with a beautiful texture of ripe tannins plus cherry, chocolate and berry character. Full body and a silky texture. Outstanding harmony and balance." (10/2014)91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Torrione is seriously beautiful. Dark red cherry, plum, spice and mocha notes flesh out in a supple, radiant wine endowed with gorgeous depth and pure resonance. All the elements meld together in this gracious, juicy Sangiovese-based red from Petrolo. Dollops of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon round out the blend. (AG)" (9/2014)91 points Wine & Spirits: "Pure red Sangiovese flavors predominate in ...Read More »
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)
From the winemaker: "This wine is the product of the fermentation of Valpolicella Classico on the pressed grapes of Recioto and Amarone that are still full of sweet wine. The result is a high quality long lasting wine with strong and decisive characteristics and an intense bouquet of cherries and plums."
According to Parker's Wine Advocate: "Cascina Morassino is located in Barbaresco, and the wines reflect the somewhat ethereal, elegant and graceful qualities that are the hallmarks of the wines from this part of the region." (10/09)
From the winery: "Ruby red in color with violet reflections, this wine is nicely toned in scent with hints of sour black cherry and cherry on recalls of coffee cream. Rich and tonic in the mouth, almost austere, this unique wine has a balsamic and fruity finish."
Inventory: San Francisco
Wine Enthusiast: "Subdued aromas of red berry and rhubarb take shape in the glass. The reserved palate offers up crushed cherry, green tea and a hint of vanilla alongside fresh acidity and slightly astringent tannins." (6/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco
Organically grown Nero d'Avola that's fresh, fruit-filled and affordable. A touch of bay leaf and mint complements the volcanic soil, sweet red fruit and peppery spice on this wine's nose and palate. Delicious!
Inventory: Redwood City
K&L Italian Wine Buyer Greg St. Clair knew that Albatreti was a real find the moment he put his nose in a glass of the 2010 Brunello: "We’ve been travelling to Montalcino for more than 20 years and have tasted a veritable ocean of Brunello. We’d never even heard of this producer, the first vintage was the 2009 and we hadn’t seen it in the market at all. We re-tasted another bottle just to make sure we didn’t get mis-poured, and the second time we had a “Double Wow”! So we went out to meet the producer, Gaetano Salvioni and found a self proclaimed “hobbyi... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The pretty 2012 Fiano di Avellino represents the single wine made by Tenuta Sarno 1860. This is a fresh and clean expression of the grape with bright notes of citrus, peach, pear, white flower and honey. Sur lie aging gives the wine good tension and density in the mouth. It wraps smoothly over the palate with layers of yellow fruit and crushed mineral. Mauro and Adele Sarno run the boutique Tenuta Sarno 1860 estate in Avellino. They make a single wine, a Fiano di Avellino, that sees fruit harvested from a high density vineyard planted 630 meters above se ...Read More »
93 points Decanter: "Bright ruby and transparent, yet you find yourself searching the glass for a skeleton, skate-wing bones of neatly structured and delicate tannins fanning out through the fruit. Fine, focused and extremely drinkable. Drink 2015-2022" (6/2015)92 points James Suckling: "A beautiful red with delicate but rich flavors, bright acidity and an orange-peel undertone. Medium body with fine tannins and a fresh, clean, savory, salty finish. Very Burgundian. Pure Sangiovese. Drink now or hold." (10/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Here’s a vibrant wine that opens with pretty aromas of blue flower, rose and berry. The savor ...Read More »
Salento is a stones throw away from the Adriatic Sea. You get a hint of that salinity in this Primitivo and a lot of sunshine. The dark brooding fruit and milk chocolate will lure you in and coat your mouth with brandied cherries, mulberry jam, ginger and tobacco. An intense wine likes intense food. Pasta with wild boar ragu, pork stew, tripe, fire roasted beef, rich tomato sauce. This wine received award at Gambero Rosso, one of the highest regarded Italian wine festivals in the world.
A blend of Grechetto and Voignier, this wine ages 'sur lies' in 10-hectoliter oak and chestnut barrels. The color is a clear, golden-yellow, the result of sitting on the lees. The aromas are surprisingly complex, mineral, intense yet elegant, with a pleasing fruit component that is not too ripe. There is white peach, medlar and perhaps some fresh almond, along with flint and gentian flower. The flavor is balanced, soft, piquant and perfectly upheld by a brackish, Mediterranean acidity.
90 points James Suckling: "Bright, fruity red with plums, cranberries and flowers. Full to medium body, firm tannins and a bright, citrus finish. Drink or hold." (10/2014)
97 points James Suckling: "A tight and silky red with compacted fruit and tannin texture featuring blackcurrant, mushroom and bark undertones. Full body, firm tannins and a minerally finish. Excellent structure and mouthfeel. A cooler style of Ornellaia, bringing it back to the classicism of this celebrated region. Bordeaux blend. Better in 2018." (8/2015)
92 points James Suckling: "Fresh red fruits with layer of ruby stone, steel, mineral on nose. Ginger with fresh strawberry with hint of dry white mushroom. Silky elegant finish. Always one of the best Rosso di Montalcinos." (10/2014)92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Enticing aromas of violet and rose, pressed powder and perfumed berries waft from the glass of this elegant wine. The juicy palate weaves together red cherry, strawberry, clove and cinnamon alongside fresh acidity and silky-smooth tannins. Balanced and enjoyable, this will make fine drinking now–2017." (11/2014)90 points Antonio Galloni: "A voluptuous, bold wine, the 2012 Rosso di ...Read More »
The Castelcerino vineyard is planted on predominantly volcanic soil, giving a distinct minerality to the 100% Garganega fruit.
Established in 1984 for Arturo Pelizzatti Perego, and now run by Arturo's children Isabella, Emanuele, and Guido, ArPePe makes rare wines that are a point of reference for the unique Valtellina terroir, where the famed Nebbiobo grape goes by the name Chiavennasca. New York Times wine writer Eric Asimov recently noted, "...no Italian-accented wine list can be considered in vogue these days without at least one of the excellent Valtellinas from ArPePe..." (03/2014) According to the winery: "Made with only Nebbiolo grapes, thanks to its intriguing simplicit... Read More »
91 points Antonio Galloni: "Iron, smoke, white truffles, menthol, spices and anise are some of the many notes that meld together in the 2012 Roero La Val dei Preti. Juicy and expressive in this vintage, the Val dei Preti is an excellent choice for drinking now and over the next few years. I wouldn't wait too long, as the mid-weight structure suggests the 2012 is best suited to medium-term drinking, but all the elements are very nicely balanced just the same. (AG)" (5/2015)
Luigi Giusti's Visciola is made in a centuries-old Marche tradition of making dessert wine with cherries. The production is actually quite complicated, as two varieties of cherries are processed separately with half of them being dried in the sun for 40 days. Grape wine from the current vintage is used as a base wine, but the fermented cherries are not pressed. Rather, a ripasso process is employed with some wine from the previous vintage. Sour cherries are then also utilized with residual sweetness retained. The resulting dessert wine has a potent sour ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Costa d'Amalfi Furore Bianco Fiorduva is a blend of 40% Ripoli, 30% Fenile and 30% Ginestra that sees six months in wood. This is a dense and full-bodied white wine that would pair with creamy shrimp risotto or spicy crab cakes. The wine shows power and determination (at 13.5% alcohol) with fragrant and thick layers of exotic fruit, pineapple, creamy butter and sweet almond paste. The overall effect is round and opulent. The 2012 vintage was a hot one and this wine feels bolder and bigger as a result. Marisa Cuomo is one of the most important na ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Non Confunditur ("NC" is written on the front label) is 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 20% Sangiovese. The wine takes an easy approach with nice freshness, bright fruit flavors and sweet lines at the back. (ML)" (8/2014)
Wine Enthusiast: "Made with organic grapes, this fruity blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo/Colorino begins with aromas of ripe red berries, spice and espresso. The dense palate delivers fleshy black cherry, black pepper and balsamic herbs supported by youthfully aggressive, chewy tannins. Drink 2015-2020." (4/2014)
93 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Rosso di Montalcino is round, supple and beautiful from the outset. The radiance and generosity of the vintage comes through in spades in an open, textured Rosso that shows a little more weight and raciness than is the norm here. At the same time, there is plenty of underlying structure and tannin. This is a great introduction to the vintage. Jan Erbach describes 2012 as a year with dehydration and high skin to juice ratios. Quite simply, this is one of the Rossos of the vintage." (2/2015)