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K&L Staff Recommendations
Wine Spectator: "*Best Values* This creamy red takes a modern tack, with mocha and spice accents to the pureed boysenberry fruit. Bright and balanced, with a lightly chewy finish of moderate length. Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon. (AN)" (6/2015)
93 points James Suckling: "Lots of blackcurrants, grapes and lemon zest character. Full body, firm and silky tannins and a long and flavorful finish. It's firm and very tight. Compact structure. Delicious blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah and sangiovese. Better in 2018." (8/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Pure and fresh, boasting black currant and black cherry flavors, with tar and earth details. Lean, almost racy, with vivid acidity driving the long, mineral-tinged finish. Sangiovese, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2017 through 2023. (BS)" (10/2015)
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 »
Amicone is made from predominantly Corvina grapes (same grapes that go into Amarone) but are dried for a shorter period and on the vine not on mats like Amarone. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and then aged in French oak tonneaux for 8 months. The result is an easy drinking full-bodied red that has lots of rich soft, smooth texture.
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Ramitello has enjoyed its own cult following over the years. The 2012 Molise Rosso Ramitello (a blend of Montepulciano and Aglianico) is a delicious expression with a balanced approach that puts just as much emphasis on intensity as it does elegance. The bouquet reveals dark fruit tones with spice and lingering leather at the back. The mouthfeel is reinforced by firm tannic structure and bright acidity. Of all the wineries in Molise, none stands taller than Di Majo Norante in terms of international visibility. Celebrated enologist Riccardo Cotarella help ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Aromas of dried berries, dried flowers and shaved chocolate open to a full body, firm and silky tannins and a polished, textured mouthfeel. So very pretty and harmonious. Drink now." (11/2016) K&L Notes: Monica Larner writes: "In 2005, Paolo Caciorgna visited with Marco De Grazia on Etna and fell in love with a half-hectare vineyard planted to ancient pre-phylloxera vines in the Contrada Marchesa near Passopisciaro. After that initial purchase, he acquired more tiny plots of land. He started a tiny production (n’anticchia means “a tiny bit” in Sicilian dialect) of wi... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Fresh and fruity, this straightforward red offers aromas of ripe dark-skinned berry, licorice and leather. The soft, juicy palate doles out dried blackberry and spiced blueberry alongside round, smooth tannins. (KO)" (3/2016)
Old-vine, hillside vineyard Lambrusco = serious fun! This is a magnificent wine: dry, slightly fizzy with just a mess of purple froth. We are pretty confident it will be among the most exciting wines you've tried in a while! A perfect match for simple BBQ chicken and burgers or slices of Mortadella and Parmigiano. Some would even venture to suggest a batch of lasagna!
One of the lesser known grape varietals from Piemonte - home, of course, to Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera and Dolcetto - it's unfortunate that this traditional indigenous grape so often gets overlooked. But leave it to importer Oliver McCrum to find one, and to find a great one at that. Made by Pino Pavia from Agostino Pavia, a 50-year-old, small, family-run estate. McCrum describes it like this: "Misleadingly pale color, but a very distinctive and flavorful wine; wild strawberries, rhubarb, a touch of herbs, the perfect wine with salumi or pizza. I put it... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Vinous: "90+: Bright red. Aromas of red cherry, tar and violet on the enticing nose. Dense but fresh, delivering crunchy red cherry fruit flavors that linger long on the bright floral finish. (ID)" (8/2016) 90 points Wine Spectator: "A vibrant, finely knit red, with a minerally underpinning and rippling notes of crushed raspberry and black cherry fruit. This is medium-bodied, with sleek tannins and a lasting finish that echoes the aromatic herb and spice accents." (10/2016) K&L Notes: About the producer: "The tradition of Illuminati Wines has been going on for over one hundred and twenty years. Innovatio... Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "A soft and velvety texture red with orange peel, chocolate and plum aromas and flavors. Medium to full body, fresh acidity and a flavorful finish. Subtle at the same time. This is always one of Italy's excellent value reds. Drink or hold." (7/2016)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I'm not sure how you could possibly beat a deal this good. A 90/10 blend of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera di Lecce, the 2013 Salice Salentino Riserva 50 Vendemmia is given Riserva status because the wine is released two years after the harvest. The wine presents a bold and shapely body of fruit with ripe berry and black cherry on prime view. There are thicker accents of dried prune and plum at the back. The wine reveals a bold and determined style that is in line with the wine style of Puglia. 90+ (ML)" (8/2016) Wine Spectator: "Savory accents of forest floor and game meet ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "There is a brightness and freshness to this with so much aroma. Yet it is austere and lively with tannin tension and focus. Medium body. Berry, stone and chocolate. Single vineyard. Deluxe wine." (11/2016) 92 points Decanter: "Sweet tobacco and dusty books on the nose with candied fruit and vibrancy. There is a really great sense of terroir and variety here; extremely charming, accessible but smart." (12/2016) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas that recall red berry, dark baking spice and grilled Mediterranean herb lift out of the glass. The elegantly structured palate shows black cherry, wild strawberry, ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "This easy-drinking red is light- to medium-bodied and balanced, offering a creamy mix of crushed cherry, mocha and cream notes. (AN)" (2/2017)
This Aglianico pours a shade of deep ruby red and opens with aromas of morello cherry and cracked black pepper that lead to harmony and freshness on the palate.
91 points James Suckling: "A rich and beautiful red with lots of berry fruit plus hints of chocolate and vanilla, yet there's a freshness and edge to this wine that keeps it lively and delicious. One of the best Italian wines for the money." (11/2016)
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of scorched earth, underbrush, chopped herb and dark spice lead the way on this full-boded wine. The firm, hearty palate offers dried dark cherry, raisin, clove, anise and tobacco framed in solid, fine-grained tannins. (KO)" (12/2016) 90 points Wine Spectator: "This harmonious red features ripe and juicy black cherry fruit and tarry mineral character, accented by delicate spice and grilled herb notes. Fresh and appealing, with a lightly chewy finish. Drink now through 2021. (AN)" (10/2016)
91 points Wine & Spirits: "Nero d’Avola and Frappato grown in red, sandy soils coexist harmoniously in this smooth and polished wine, with notes of spice and licorice accenting its red cherry fruit. The flavors are rich and concentrated, lifted by light floral scents. This would make a delicious companion for roasted leg of lamb." (6/2016) 90 points Vinous: "Deep ruby-red. Spicy and leafy nuances complicate aromas and flavors of ripe red and black cherry, coffee and cocoa. Polished on the palate, with bright, harmonious acidity and smooth tannins providing solid supporting backbone. The long finish sh ...Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "A fresh and zesty valpo with dried-watermelon and lemon character. Light body and a pretty linear backbone of acidity." (11/2016) Wine Spectator: "Hints of incense and star anise perfume this creamy red, which shows plumped cherry and singed orange peel notes underscored by loamy earth accents. Bright finish. (AN, Web-2016)" K&L Notes: Musella, one of my favorite Amarone producers, is now back in stock. They’d been out of the market for some time but now they are back! Musella’s wines have an elegance, a supple grace to them and don’t carry that "heavy" connotation that most would tag ... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Well-spiced and fruit-forward, with candied black cherry and crème de cassis notes, backed by lively acidity. Graphite, spice and orange zest details show on the finish." (12/2015)
91 points James Suckling: "A fresh and fruity red with dried cherry and strawberry. Hints of lemon rind. Medium body. Fruity finish. A delicate and fruity Etna red." (11/2015) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The entry-level 2013 Etna Rosso unfolds to beautiful notes of wild berry, sour cherry, spice, grilled herb and volcanic ash. It shows elegant simplicity and a balanced level of intensity that is both genuine and bright. There are no rough edges to this Nerello Mascalese. The mouthfeel is silky and long with more fruit flavors to come. This is a well-made expression born in volcanic soils. (ML)" (9/2015) 91 points Vinous: "Bright r ...Read More »
Pasetti's vineyards lie in the heart of Italy's Abruzzo, between the Tirino and Pescara valleys at the foot of Gran Sasso and Maiella. The location's favorable climate, varied terrain and clay chalk and skeleton-rich rocky subsoils result in some of the best wines coming out of Italy today. Made by husband and wife team Franco and Mimma from vineyards at 550 meters above sea level, their Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is aromatic, balanced and elegant. The perfect weeknight red.
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "This gorgeous wine opens with aromas of smoke, baking spice, red berry and flint. The mineral note carries over to the vibrant, silky palate, accenting juicy Morello cherry, white pepper, star anise, Mediterranean herb and tobacco. Polished tannins and fresh acidity provide impeccable balance. Hold for more complexity. Drink 2019-2027. (KO)" (9/2016) 92 points Vinous: "Bright red. Sweet botanical herbs, minerals and intense red cherry aromas on the captivating nose. Sweet on entry, then focused and penetrating; savory, saline soil tones currently dominate red primary fruits. ...Read More »
Vinous praised the wines of Pasetti: "Owner Domenico Pasetti, helped by his wife Laura and children Massimo, Davide and Francesca, represents a modern success story in Abruzzo wine, as his judiciously oaked, easy-to-drink wines have been extremely popular, especially in Italy, over the past decade. The cellar is located in Francavilla by the sea, but the grapes come mainly from two different estates high up in the Apennine range in the region’s interior, at Pescosansonesco and Capestrano. Pasetti is just one of many Abruzzo producers who credits Luigi Ca... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "This shows iron, dried cherries and violets too. Ripe and juicy with dark fruit flavors that conclude with a wonderful dried apricot-like finish." (11/2016) 91 points Wine Spectator: "A harmonious, medium-bodied red, with fine-grained tannins that provide a supple frame for the layered palate of crushed black cherry, subtle spice, hints of fig bread and accents of smoky mineral. Lovely, with a lingering, aromatic finish. Corvina, Rondinella and Oseleta. (AN)" (9/2015)
93 points James Suckling: "Very beautiful with soft and silky tannins that give this wine finesse and harmony. Medium body, a dense center palate and plenty of berry, plum and vanilla character. Drink now." (11/2016) K&L Notes: Monica Larner writes: "In 2005, Paolo Caciorgna visited with Marco De Grazia on Etna and fell in love with a half-hectare vineyard planted to ancient pre-phylloxera vines in the Contrada Marchesa near Passopisciaro. After that initial purchase, he acquired more tiny plots of land. He started a tiny production (n’anticchia means “a tiny bit” in Sicilian dialect) of wine,... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "The nose is initially subdued but eventually reveals inviting aromas of spiced plum, leather, vanilla and a whiff of blue flower. The structured but elegant palate conveys blackberry, dried cherry, mint, savory herb and clove alongside bracing but fine-grained tannins and bright acidity. The lingering finish ends on a licorice note. Drink 2016–2023. (KO)" (3/2015) 90 points James Suckling: "A soft, fruity red with a plum, milk-chocolate and almond aftertaste. Full and delicious." (11/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Here's a wine that gives ample room to varietal expression. The 2012 Negroamaro Masseria Maìme d ...Read More »
97 points James Suckling: "Aromas and flavors of blueberries, blackberries and cherries follow through to a full body, round and velvety tannins and a flavorful finish. A big and rich wine with so much density and complexity. Made from biodynamically grown grapes. Better in 2020." (11/2016) Jancis Robinson: "Biodynamic. Fermented in amphora. Single vineyard. More stony than the Morei. Smoky and a little peppery but still juicy and elegantly structured. Extremely fine tannins and under that pepper is some pure dark fruit. (JH)" (8/2016)
This wine is a blend of 50% Calabrese Nero and 50% Nocera. Fermentation in steel tanks for 10 days under a controlled temperature. Aged for six months in Allier oak barrels.
Though the 2014 has yet to be professionally reviewed, the 2013 earned 91 points and praise from Antonio Galloni: "Cascina Ca' Rossa's 2013 Birbèt (Brachetto) is beautifully perfumed and aromatic, with plenty of spice, crushed rose petal and stone fruit overtones. A dash of mint and white flowers add freshness on the finish. I especially admire the purity of the flavors here." (05/2015)
Vinous: "The 2013 St. Magdalener Classico stands out for its texture and polish. Sweet tobacco, crushed flowers, mint and dried cherries lift from the glass in this super-classic, mid-weight Alto Adige red. The 2013 is quite pretty, not to mention a terrific example of Schiava. (AG)" (5/2015)
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* Crushed iris, baked plum, cedar, tobacco and new leather aromas seamlessly come together on this bold full-bodied red. Smooth and ripe, the full-bodied palate doles out mature black cherry, raspberry jam, licorice and mocha framed in well-knit, velvety tannins. (KO)" (12/2016) 90 points Wine Spectator: "This bright, medium-bodied red shows well-knit tannins and appealing flavors of juicy, sun-dried cherry, lavender, dried fig and spice. An accessible version, with a lightly chewy, citrusy finish. (AN)" (2/2017) K&L Notes: Musella, one of my favorite Amarone producers, is now b... Read More »
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright ruby-red. Flinty, slightly herbal nuances to the red berry and dark plum aromas and flavors, lifted by a hint of violet. Long, clean and fresh, showing a strong saline note on the long smooth finish. An outstanding Piedirosso of sneaky concentration. Very well done. (ID)" (11/2016)
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Vinous: "Very dark red-ruby. Aromas of ripe plum, black cherry jam and violet. Juicy, lively and classically dry, conveying a light touch to the blackberry, spice and ink flavors. Nicely perfumed and vibrant on the finish. Made from century-old Corinto Nero vines. (ID)" (12/2015)
Wine Spectator: "Sun-dried cherry and currant fruit notes are framed by sculpted tannins in this medium-bodied red delivering fresh, loamy earth, grilled thyme and mocha flavors. Chewy finish. (AN, Web-2016)" K&L Notes: Musella, one of my favorite Amarone producers, is now back in stock. They’d been out of the market for some time but now they are back! Musella’s wines have an elegance, a supple grace to them and don’t carry that "heavy" connotation that most would tag on Amarone—but to really understand Amarone you must understand Valpolicella first! I really like folks to work thei... Read More »
Producer Note: "Dense ruby red colour. A rich and intense nose, featuring fruits with marked notes of citrus and wild berries. Subtle scents of aromatic herbs. Elegant and fresh on the palate. Very persistent and fruity finish."
Inventory: San Francisco
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This is Gulfi's base wine with some 65,000 bottles produced. The 2012 Sicilia Nerojbleo (100% Nero d'Avola made as a DOC wine) is an opulent and expressive wine that presents the muscular and brawny side of this mighty Sicilian red grape. The bouquet delivers ripe fruit tones with black olive, caper, toasted pistachio nut and a hint of wild fennel. The approach over the palate is steady and muscular. 91+ (ML)" (8/2016) 90 points Vinous: "Bright purple-ruby. Black cherry, plum and floral aromas and flavors have a grapey character. Youthfully chewy and tactile, showing a savor ...Read More »
95 points Vinous: "Fully saturated ruby. Pure, very deep aromas of black cherry, red plum, medicinal herbs and minerals. Rich, dense and suave, with complex flavors of saline red berries and dark plum complicated by repeating botanical herb and balsamic nuances. Finishes seamless an long. A wine of noteworthy purity, with an excellent balance of sweetness, acidity and tannins. This is Gulfi's closest vineyard to the sea and almost always gives the estate's most elegant, refined wine. (ID)" (12/2015)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Antonio Galloni writes: "De Conciliis is located in the Cilento, a part of Campania known for the richness of its natural, rugged landscapes."
Inventory: San Francisco
The I Favati winery is located in Cesinale, a town and surrounding hilly area in the heart of Irpinia (east of Naples, in the region of Campania), a land with a profound calling to the creation of quality wines. Irpinia's unique, indigenous grape varieties make up all of I Favati's vineyards, which benefit from a perfect exposition to the sun. Each year, the harvest is carefully supervised by brothers Piersabino and Giancarlo Favati, founders of the winery. The region of Irpinia contains the DOCG of Taurasi, which is considered by many to produce the gre... Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* New leather, black cherry, underbrush, sweet baking spice and a whiff of white pepper are just some of the aromas you'll discover on this stunning red. The structured, delicious palate doles out mature black cherry, raspberry, licorice, Mediterranean herb and a note of exotic spice alongside a backbone of polished, refined tannins. It already seamlessly combines power and finesse but will continue to develop complexity over the next decade. Drink 2018–2028. (KO)" (3/2016) 91 points Vinous: "Deep ruby. Spicy aromas of red berries, minerals and cocoa. Brigh ...Read More »
Monica Larner writes: "Despite generations of history as a vineyard, Corte Rugolin starts its modern chapter as a winery with sister-brother team Federico and Elena Coati."
70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 10% Barbera. 15% of the Corvina grapes are dried for four weeks, 20% of all fresh grapes are vinified as normal. 65% of the grapes are “repassed” on the skins of Amarone to gain colour and structure.
90 points Vinous: "Purple. Bright fruity aromas and flavors of fresh plums and blackberry are complicated by a violet note. Lively acidity lifts and extends the dark berry and grapy flavors on the long back end, which is bright and juicy. A very pretty, floral, easy-to-drink version of Piedirosso devoid of any of the green streaks that often plague lesser wines made with this variety. The hot year undoubtedly helped the Piedirosso reach optimal physiologic ripeness." (11/2016)
Oblio is a blend of Lambrusco Salamino, Lambrusco Maestri and Ancellotto. This is not as dry as their Terra Calda and not as sweet as their Lambruco Dolce. Dense and full-bodied, it possesses just a hint a sweetness, reminiscent of strawberries and wild flowers, with a dry, dusty finish. This Rosso Frizzante is a must-serve for your holiday parties.
Inventory: San Francisco
Jancis Robinson: "Considered a riserva from a 45-year-old vineyard with ridiculously low yields of 30 hl. Vineyards in Montefalco and Bevagna, and the cantina is in Foligno. Beautiful mid ruby with the beginning of orange tinges. Savoury more than fruity at the moment and a little locked up on the nose. Yet it has a supple palate and not heavy at all. Rich tannins on the finish. Aged for at least 18 months in new barrique, which is pretty amazing, because you hardly notice it on the nose. It may have added more tannins, whereas with less new oak you would have had a reall ...Read More »
Made with Piedirosso Aglianico, 20% Sciacinoso and other local varieites.