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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)
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Taurasi Riserva Piano di Montevergine is a standout wine that excels on all fronts. The bouquet delivers an enormous level of harmony and intensity with well-articulated tones of spice, dark fruit, pressed blackberry, clove, cola and balsam herb. Nuanced mineral notes stand out very nicely and render a great sense of definition and focus. Equally impressive is the mouthfeel that moves over the palate with determination and elegance. The tannins are finessed, silky but extra firm. Thanks to the balanced acidity and its natural structure, this win ...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.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Cantele 2013 Salice Salentino Riserva shows a greater level of depth and finesse compared to many of its peers. The wine is packed tight with blackberry fruit, with Maraschino cherry, plum and prune in abundance. The wine is chewy and rich for sure, but it also provides an authentic and generous portrait of a red wine from Puglia. A spicy beef or lamb dish would make the perfect pairing partner. (ML)" (8/2016)
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 »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Deep red. Sexy, expressive aromas of red fruits, lead pencil, licorice and flowers. Silky-sweet, broad and mouthfilling, with concentrated dark fruit and aromatic herb flavors. Finishes long and serious, with ripe, broad tannins and lingering, very intense floral notes. Very drinkable already but still young at six years of age, this Riserva is one of the best wines (Graticciaia excepted) from Agricole Vallone in years. (ID)" (3/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2008 Salice Salentino Riserva Vereto is a pure expression of Negroamaro that is aged in botte grande for up to eight mo ...Read More »
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." (10/2014) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Fragrant and fresh, this luminous wine opens with aromas of red berry, blueberry, violet, ...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)
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 »
91 points James Suckling: "This is very aromatic with dried-berry, mineral and floral character. Full body with firm tannins and a juicy finish. Lots of tannins but polished and chewy." (3/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "Blue flower, ripe black fruit, black pepper and cedar are just some of the aromas offered by this blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Sagrantino. The palate features ripe black cherry, coffee, espresso, vanilla and grilled sage alongside bracing tannins. Drink after 2016." (2/2015) Wine Spectator: "A fresh red, offering fragrant herb and smoke notes, with flavors of tangy raspberry, wild strawberry, salumi and spi ...Read More »
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."
Inventory: San Francisco
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)
Pelaverga (often known as Pelaverga Piccolo) is a rare red grape from the hills of Piedmont in northwestern Italy. It is also known by many other names, including Carola, Cari, Fra Germano and Taddone. The village of Verduno, just west of Alba on the banks of the Tanaro River, is right at the northern edge of the Barolo DOCG catchment area. Verduno's growers have resisted the temptation to eradicate Pelaverga entirely from their vineyards, even though the Nebbiolo vines that produce the grapes for Barolo's prestigious cuvées are much more valuable. But e... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Paestum Aglianico Donnaluna is an easy-going wine with earthy aromas of crushed mineral and wet terra-cotta. The bouquet shows wild and untamed layers of red fruit, forest floor, pressed rose and cola. Donnaluna delivers a medium dark color and consistency with sweet cherry flavors on the close. The tannins are solid but round and there's a good dose of freshness on the close. (ML)" (4/2015)
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)
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, going from 1,800 bottles in 2005 to 5,000 in 2009."
90 points Vinous: "Deep red. Perfumed aromas of red cherry, dark berries and violet. Deep, dense and juicy, offering bright flavors of red berries and spices. Finishes pure and long, with suave tannins and bright acidity that leave the taste buds refreshed. (IDA)" (12/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Nerojbleo shows extra heft and grit due to the warmer vintage conditions. This expression of Nero d'Avola is packed tight with red cherry and blackberry aromas. It also shows plum, cassis, spice, tobacco and roasted almond husk. There is a smoky cigar-like aroma followed by cured meat and leather ...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)
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)
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.
About the producer: "Zaccagnini company was established in 1978. Starting from a family-run business, the Winery has grown rapidly and steadily with the goal of “absolute quality, from cluster to glass”, reaching the current condition of an international reality with more than 300 hectares of beautiful vineyards, well-kept and monitored at every production stage. Excellence, passion and devotion to job have made Tralcetto’s wines the pride of Abruzzi’s wine production appreciated all over the world."
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points James Suckling: "A tangy and fresh red with lemon rind and blueberry flavors plus hints of new oak. Full-bodied, round and fruity. Always a delicious red. Drink now." (10/2015)
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 »
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!
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.
Wine Enthusiast: "This dry sparkling red wine opens with an inky dark color and offers pulpy tones of raw fruit and blackberry jam with tart cherry and cranberry on the finish." (8/2013) K&L Notes: Concerto is the world’s first single vineyard vintage Lambrusco. A sparkling dry red wine, its lively bubbles are achieved through natural fermentation. Grapes from the prestigious Tenuta La Rampata vineyard in Reggio Emilia province are grown on Cordone Speronato (cordon trained and spur pruned) vines in clay soil with highly limited yields. The wine is best served at a temperature of 57 t... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
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)
Corvina 70%, Molinara 5%, Rondinella 25%. After harvest, 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 via dehydration, in turn concentrating the flavors. After pressing and fermentation, the wine spent two years in barrique before being bottled and allowed to age a further year before release.
Starting in 1963, the Venturini family has made vintage after vintage of stunning wines from the Valpolicella DOC.
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 »
Tenuta Novare is a single estate that was puchased by Bertani in the middle of the 20th century and bottled under the Bertani label. This 2013 Ripasso is bottled from Novare's single estate vineyard which is located in the heart of Valpolicella Classica. Made from 80% Corvina Veronese and 20% Rondinella grapes, which were harvested at the end of September and immediately fermented in steel tanks. After the estate's Amarone fermentation was complete in March, the Ripasso wine underwent a secondary fermentation on the skins of the Amarone. The finished Rip... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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, in turn concentrating the ... Read More »
Made with Piedirosso Aglianico, 20% Sciacinoso and other local varieites.
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)
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."
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 »
A familiar-looking bottle even if you haven't seen it before, Tenuta Novare was puchased by Bertani in the middle of the 20th century and bottled under the Bertani label. This 2011 Amarone is bottled as Novare's single estate vineyard which is located in the heart of Valpolicella Classica. Comprised of 80% Corvina Veronese and 20% Rondinella, grapes were air dried after harvest in the second week of September until being pressed in mid-January once the withered and rich character of Amarone was realized. After a long and cold maceration and fermentation,... Read More »
92 points Vinous: "Bright copper-tinged pink. Knockout aromas and flavors of red berries, nectarine, minerals, herbs and orange peel. Creamy but with juicy verve and lovely floral lift extending the stone and citrus fruit flavors on the long back end. Outstanding; this is the best Rosato bubbly from Murgo I have memory of. (ID)" (4/2016) 90 points Wine & Spirits: "Nerello Mascalese grapes harvested for this wine underwent twenty-four hours of skin contact, imparting a pale salmon color and delicate flavors of red berries underlined by a fine minerality. Polished and elegant, it has the concentration t ...Read More »
Antonio Galloni writes: "Trabucchi makes intense, fruit-forward wines from biologically-certified vineyards in Illasi, one of the valleys that emerges on the eastern side of the Valpolicella zone."
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Aglianico del Vulture Titolo offers a rich and savory interpretation. The wine reveals earthy notes of freshly tilled earth and button mushroom and it also shows autumnal layers of crushed leaf and black currant. Together, these various elements come together in smooth harmony. The fruit element at the back is a good guarantee of the wine's future aging potential. The finish offers solid tannins and earthy grittiness. Titolo does malolactic fermentation in oak and is aged in French barrique for 12 months. (ML)" (8/2016) 93 points Wine Spectator: "Initially smoky and reduced ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Vinous: "Bright pink. Aromas of black cherry, blueberry, licorice and dried flowers. Sweet and rather soft on entry, then nicely stuffed with energetic, perfumed fruit in the middle. (IDA)" (3/2016) K&L Notes: From 100% Negroamaro, a late-ripening red grape variety (whose name translates to "dark bitter") that produces some exciting and distinct rosé wines from the Puglia region. Tormaresca sourced the hand-harvested grapes from the Maime estate in San Pietro Vernotico. The grapes were softly pressed and fermented at a low, controlled temperature before settling for several m... Read More »
Made from Corvina Veronese, Corvinone, and Rondinella. After harvest, the grapes are dried for at least 4 months resulting in at least 40% must weight loss. The grapes are then macerated for 30 days, then aged in oak 24 months with maturation in bottles for a further six months.
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 »
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 rising 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.
92 points James Suckling: "This is very polished and refined with polished tannins and a fruity finish. Full body and bright acidity. Drink now." (12/2013) 91 points Vinous: "Inky ruby. Deep nose of black cherry, aromatic herbs and vanilla. Dense and smooth, this gently tannic wine shows lovely fruit–acid–tannin balance for a Sagrantino wine. Long and perfumed on the bright floral finish. (ID)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: "Dark garnet with ruby tints. Mature nose of spice, menthol, mocha and black fruits with an elegant oak patina. Velvety, concentrated, massive and warm palate with refined tannins that are still present.... Read More »
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) K&L Notes: About the producer: "The tradition of Illuminati Wines has been going on for over one hundred and twenty years. Innovation and research abilities have been growing too in the course of time, without forgetting the essential characteristics of homemade products: a genuine and transparent wine, reflecting the territory where it is produced. The knowledgeable art of ... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Lots of sweet strawberry character on the nose and palate. Very pure. Full body, soft, silky tannins and a long, intense finish. Loads of flavor but lively and tangy. Drink or hold." (10/2014) 93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of wild berry, crushed violet, leather, menthol and a whiff of lightly toasted oak waft from the glass. The savory but refined palate delivers juicy wild cherry, black raspberry, ground white pepper, licorice, sage and a mocha note alongside chewy tannins. It's structured but elegant, with a mineral-driven finish. (KO)" (4/2015) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "There is no mistaking the 2012 Et ...Read More »