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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)
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.
Wine & Spirits: "Fragrant with bright scents of strawberries, this offers layers of smoky black tannins and notes of saddle leather. Round but not thick, it’s distinctly southern refreshment with anything off the grill." (6/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "Firm and savory, this opens with aromas of ripe berry, clove and graphite. On the palate, notes of clove and black pepper add depth to ripe Morello cherry and crushed raspberry flavors. Supple tannins offer support." (3/2015) Wine Spectator: "*Best Value* Juicy flavors of ripe wild strawberry and red licorice mark the start to this light- to medium-bodied red, with ...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 »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
On the border of Tuscany, Lazio, and Umbria--the area that also happens to be the birthplace of the ancient Etruscan civilization--Paolo and Noemia d'Amico have built a winery deeply embedded in tradition. The landscape is a result of a long period of volcanic erosion, and is full of deep valleys of cliffs and rock walls. Their cellar is modeled after the Etruscans, and was built underneath the vines, ensuring that temps are always ideal. This Merlot-Sangiovese blend is full-bodied and bright-toned, with notes of violets and fresh cherries.
92 points Vinous: "The 2014 Frappato Vittoria opens up with an irresistible fresh red fruit cocktail quality on the nose, followed by very spicy and floral notes, with juicy red berry and cherry. Finishes long and clean with a bright floral echo. A stellar Frappato that makes it impossible to put the glass down. (ID)" (11/2015) 91 points James Suckling: "This shows aromas of blueberry, forest fruit and salt. Medium to full body, bright acidity and a mineral finish. Goes on for minutes. Tangy and savory. Drink now." (10/2014) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Fragrant and fresh, this luminous wine opens with aromas of red berry, blueberr ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "#74 Wine Spectator's Top 100 2014: The up-front mulberry and plum fruit is ripe and fleshy in this balanced red, with polished tannins. Notes of licorice string, graphite, tarry smoke and grilled mushroom push through midpalate and on the finish. Drink now through 2021. 8,500 cases made. (AN)" (4/2014)
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)"
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! It's low in alcohol, with a touch of sw... Read More »
This wine used to be called Testarossa, but though the name on the bottle has changed, the quality of the wine in the bottle has not. It is consistently one of the benchmarks for wine from this mountainous and remote region, smack in the middle of Italy but somehow forgotten by time and tourists.
Wine Spectator: "Fresh earth and leather accents are layered with a snappy note of cherry and hints of pekoe tea and dried cranberry in this tangy red. Medium-bodied, with an aromatic, herbal finish. Drink now through 2023. 3,700 cases made. (Web Only - 2015)"
Negroamaro is a red wine grape variety native to southern Italy. It is grown almost exclusively in Puglia and particularly in Salento, the peninsula which can be visualised as the “heel” of Italy. Wines made from Negroamaro tend to be very rustic in character, combining perfume with an earthy bitterness. The grape produces some of the best red and rosè wines of Puglia, particularly when blended with the highly scented Malvasia Nera. While most varieties of Malvasia produce white wine, Malvasia nera is a red wine variety that is used primarily as a blendi... Read More »
For four generations, the Gangemi family has been devoting itself to viticulture and to the improvement of autochthonous Sicilian vines from the area surrounding Mt. Etna. The Alke is 100% Nero D'Avola, featuring a soft and balanced elegance with notes of red fruits, spice, and subtle hints of vanilla.
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." (9/2015)
Paolo Calì is a pharmacist who began making wine in 2003. In the hot climate of southerneastern Sicily, Calì's grows Nero D'Avola and Frappato in the island's only DOCG, Cerasuola di Vittoria. His Frappato is fresh and aromatic, with notes of strawberries, lavender, and orange zest. He ferments in stainless steel to preserve the brightness of the grape. This wine is a boon companion to any summer picnic--put a slight chill on it and serve it with prosciutto, fried chicken, or pizza.
From the winery: "The grapes used to produce this wine come from the best vineyards in Belvedere Ostrense and San Marcello in the province of Ancona. Ruby red colour. Distinguished floral scent, of rosehip and spices. Full, elegant, medium bodied flavour, which enhances aromas."
The Santoleri vineyards date back to 1968, though the same family has been farming the property since 600! Located at the base of the 2,000 foot Maiella Mountain in the Apennines. Its altitude and proximity to the Adriatic Sea are ideally suited for growing grapes. The vineyards are farmed without the use of pesticides, mineral fertilizers and other invasive products. From the importer: "Ruby red robe with violet hues. Intense aromas with notes of black cherry, balsamic and licorice. Fresh and vigorous on the palate, typical of a young Montepulciano, wit... Read More »
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 »
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
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright red. Captivating, extremely intense aromas of flinty red cherry and raspberry, lifted by violet and mineral notes. Sappy, floral fruit shows lovely sweetness and energy thanks to well-integrated acidity and spicy mineral lift. Dense, chewy and saline on the brisk finish, featuring youthful, building tannins. Made from vines between 75 and 100 years of age, this is a star in the making--a truly great Passopisciaro and the best wine in this year's releases of Sicilian wines from the talented Andrea Franchetti. 92+ (ID)" (3/2014) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Passopisciar ...Read More »
The finest wine in the stable at Corte Rugolin, the Monte Danieli Amarone is sourced from a 60 year old vineyard with excellent sun exposure. It is made from 55% Corvina, 15% Corvinone, 5% Rondinella, and a balance of the other local varieties Olinara, Dindarellla, Oseleta, and Croatina. Harvest began in September and the grapes were loaded onto special racks where they were allowed to dry at room temperature in a ventilated room for three months. This process reduced the original weight of the grapes by 35-40% via dehydration, and in turn concentrating ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Jancis Robinson: "Pale ruby. Wonderful precise spicy strawberry-fruit nose of great focus. Supple, lively, fragrant red fruit with crunchy tannins. Fresh and lithe. (WS)" (8/2015) K&L Notes: A unique varietal wine, grown only in Piedmont. The Castello di Verduno, owned by Gabriella Burlotto and Franco Bianco, is a beautiful old building at the top of the village of Verduno, on the edge of the Barolo zone. The Castello di Verduno wine label unites two cellars, one under the castle in the Barolo zone and the other near the famous 'cru' Rabajà, in the Barbaresco area. Wines are produced ... Read More »
97 points James Suckling: "A gorgeous, sleek wine with super-polished tannins and fabulous fruit. It's full but so refined and sexy. It goes on for minutes. Really fine. What a wine. This Bordeaux blend from here is the best ever. Better in 2016 but great now." (10/2014) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This full-bodied blend of 50% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc offers aromas of ripe black-skinned fruit, crushed Mediterranean herbs, scorched earth and tobacco. The dense palate doles out black cherries, red currants, cedar, anise and mocha alongside ample, velvety tannins. Drink 2016–2021. ...Read More »
You should know that the folks behind this newish label are none other than the children of the famous Amarone producer Bruno Coati. This one is impeccably balanced and rich, with layers of coffee, toffee, nuts, berries and earth. A raising star of the region, and already a frequent Gambero Rosso favorite, try this autumnal red with poultry and long cooked meats, or a rich traditional lasagne.
The Nardalici is a blend of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, grown at an elevation of 2300 in Sicily's famed Etna region. Earthy and red fruited, with hints of cinnamon and black pepper, this is excellent alongside grilled rib eye, pot roast, or aged cheeses.
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)
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."
Inventory: San Francisco
A blend of black Pallagrello and Casavecchia grapes. Notes from the winery: "The wine is a beautiful bright pink color, with delicate scents with notes ranging from floral eglantine roses with hints of cherry and sour black cherry. Its flavor is characterized by a remarkable freshness supported by good acidity that nicely extends the persistence."
90 points Vinous: "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)
91 points Vinous: "Dark ruby-red. Pure aromas of red cherry and rose petal, plus a whiff of alcohol on the enticing, aromatic nose. Big, dense and juicy, but with lively acidity providing lift and nicely extending the bright, sweet red cherry and peppery raspberry flavors on the long, suave finish. This strikes me as having been made with extremely ripe grapes but it's neither cooked nor over the top. A knockout entry-level Aglianico." (9/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco
93 points James Suckling: "The aromas are enchanting with cardamom, ivy and dark fruits. Subtle and fascinating. Full body, round tannins with a complex aftertaste of ash, smoke, light jam and orange peel. Silky. Intense chalk." (10/2014) Wine Spectator: "Tangy dried cherry and cranberry fruit is layered with aromatic herb and woodsy spice in this well-knit red, with light tannins and a subtle finish of fresh earth and smoke. (Web-2015)"
92 points James Suckling: "So much black-cherry aroma, with hints of sliced mushroom and dried flowers. Full body, silky tannins and lots of sour-cherry flavors. Succulent and fruity. From organically grown nero d'avola. Drink now." (10/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Nerojbleo is an IGT expression of Nero d'Avola made with organically farmed fruit from the province of Ragusa in eastern Sicily. The wine shows some evolution at this stage but this only adds to the overall complexity. At the core are bright notes of cherry and cassis, but these primary aromas are followed by bitter almond, tar and lea ...Read More »
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!
Inventory: San Francisco
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The delicious Barolo Chinato is made with a secret blend of herbs, spices and essential oils that are steeped in Barolo wine. This is a delicious product that tastes simply divine with a bite of bitter chocolate. This wine is so alive and vibrant in the mouth and it shows exotic spice, cedar, spice box, dried rosemary, ginger, tar, cinnamon, dried roses and so much more. This digestivo will last decades. (ML)" (7/2013) K&L Notes: The originator of this fabulous bitter aperitif wine, Cappellano is truly top dog when it comes to Chinato. This is absolutely the most ove... 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.
Inventory: Redwood City
Wine Enthusiast: "Made with 93% Schiava and 7% Lagrein, this offers aromas of blue flower and red berry. On the bright palate, almond and baking spice accent crunchy red cherry and crushed raspberry. Polished tannins and fresh acidity provide support. Serve chilled for a perfect summer red." (6/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The top-shelf red is the 2008 Etna Rosso Aetneus that pays homage to this mighty Sicilian volcano with fruit from pre-phylloxera, 150-year-old vines. I tasted this same vintage last year and assigned the wine a score with a question mark because the bouquet appeared muted and muddled. Whatever problem I encountered last year happily did not reappear during this tasting. This is a strong and physical wine with sharp aromas of wild berry, forest floor, wild mushroom and sweet violets. It shows distinct mineral linearity that reinforces the wine's overall e ...Read More »
91 points James Suckling: ""This is a very intense and rich with blackberry, dark chocolate, grilled meat and cherry flavors. Full body with ripe fruit and tannins. Layered and rich. Long finish. Merlot, Sangiovese, syrah and cabernet sauvignon. Drink now."" (10/2014)
About the producer: "Driven by an infallible love for his land, Enzo Manicardi founded his winery in the hills of Castelveto more than 30 years ago. He had the intuition to choose one of the most fertile areas within Emilia Romagna: a prosperous place surrounded by forests and rows of vines. Over the years, leadership of the company has been passed down to the second generation, who grew up cultivating the same principles and sharing the same values of his father. This has in fact been able to maintain that perfect and almost magical balance between Emil... Read More »
92 points Vinous: "Trabucchi's 2006 Amarone della Valpolicella explodes from the glass. Black cherry, tar, incense, smoke and licorice notes all take shape as this big, broad-shouldered wine shows off its personality. Another year or two in bottle should help the 2006 come together even more fully, but it is likely to remain a fairly powerful, hulking Amarone. Still, there is a lot to look forward to here." (3/2014) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Dark, thick and syrupy, this savory Amarone delivers notes of Indian spice, Teriyaki, molasses, plum and dark berry fruit. It has a noticeably sweet finish with ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2003 is a fascinating Serpico. The wine boasts impressive concentration in its dark, rich fruit. This is an incredibly primary Serpico, with little in the way of tertiary development. Ideally, it is best left alone for another few years, but readers fortunate enough to own this are in for a thrilling ride once the wine opens up a bit. Today it remains tightly coiled but full of potential. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2023. (AG)" (8/2010) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "A beautiful wine: sweet cherry and berry fruit nuances are woven within threads of vanilla, toast and ash. Despite the ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico is 70% Covina, 25% Rondinella and 5% Molinara. This classic Amarone blend is carefully studied to bring optimal appassimento results, with bold intensity, good structure and characteristic aromas of dried fruit and spice. Velveteen texture marks the finish. Drink 2014-2020. (ML)" (10/2013) K&L Notes: Massimino Venturini's Valpolicella is a classic of the style. Made from Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella. Dry, aromatic and balanced, with cocoa, cherry and a hint of almond skin.
93 points James Suckling: "A delicious red with super-integrated tannins that are polished and beautiful. Full body, loads of licorice and berry character and a long, long finish. Superb. Better in 2015 when the tannins are softer but so delicious already. Stylish." (12/2013) 92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(15.5% alcohol): Bright, deep ruby-red. Black cherry, bitter herbs, violet and licorice on the slightly warm nose. Sweet and creamy in the mouth, showing the depth and intensity of fresh red fruits to support its tannins. In fact, this offers outstanding balance for sagrantino, and the alcohol is far less appar ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Tenuta di Aglaea cultivates the indigenous and mysterious Nerello grape on the cool volcanic terraces of Sicily's Mount Etna. N'Anticchia is the finest selection of grapes from Aglaea's 100-year-old, own-rooted vines which make up the winery's original, half-hectare vineyard parcel. The wine was aged in 50% new French oak barriques for 18 months before bottling. It is firm and mineral-driven, with delicate notes of strawberry and raspberry. Velvety tannins grace the long finish which hints at complexities that will further develop with cellaring. Try wit... Read More »