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K&L Staff Recommendations
2014 Benanti Etna Rosso $18.99
Wine Spectator: "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. Drink now through 2018. 1,400 cases imported." (6/2015)
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)
91 points Vinous: "Healthy full red. Deep aromas of blackberry, black cherry and mocha are complemented by balsamic nuances. Concentrated, sappy and savory, displaying saline nuances to the black cherry and plum flavors. Finishes with serious depth and the broad, polished tannins to support aging. (ID)" (1/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cannonau di Sardegna Costera hits all the right buttons. This is a steady and well presented red wine from the heart of the Mediterranean. It shows a high level of confidence and boldness with big, black cherry aromas followed by more subtle nuances of spice ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
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 »
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 »
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)
91 points James Suckling: "A ripe, rich red with plum, violet and blackberry aromas that follow through to a full body, firm tannins and a tangy finish. Shows real nero d'avola character." (10/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of ripe plum, blue flower and baking spice lead the nose on this easy-drinking red. The chewy, straightforward palate doles out juicy black cherry, fleshy blackberry and a clove note alongside round tannins. It's made to drink young so enjoy soon. (KO)" (3/2016) Wine Spectator: "Balanced and open-knit, this creamy red offers supple tannins dressed in plum pudding, tar-tinged smoke, cassis, mocha and ...Read More »
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)
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
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)
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)
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 »
This classic blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara was vinified according to tradition for the Amarone Riserva style and aged for a minimum of four years in oak casks. It is characteristically bold in flavor, with a rich, silky midpalate and lingering taste of chocolate and dried cherries. A full-bodied wine, this pairs well with rich dishes like red meat, game, and strong cheeses. It is also a nice treat to enjoy after dinner on its own or with cheese or chocolate. Decanting or opening the wine at least a half hour before consuming is recommended i... Read More »
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)
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."
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)
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
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.
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 »
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 »
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)
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)
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 »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A step up in intensity and power compared to Grifalco's entry-level wine, the 2013 Aglianico del Vulture Gricos is a moody and ethereal expression that offers a medley of dried fruit with crushed mineral, balsam herb and licorice root. The wine boasts an earthy and raw side that ties it to the darkened landscape of the Vulture volcano. This wine falls on the lean and more streamlined side of the Aglianico scale. Winemakers Fabrizio and Lorenzo Piccini farm organically in the Venosa, Ginestra and Maschito areas of the Vulture to make the wines of Grifalco ...Read More »
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)
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!
97 points James Suckling: "Complex aromas of blackberry, stones, cracked black pepper and tar. Full body with soft, round tannins and a juicy, fruity finish. Soulful and refined from this estate. This is a magical wine from Southern Italy." (2/2014) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From a hot vintage, the 2011 Roccamonfina Terra di Lavoro is a soft, round wine with a large presence of dark cherry fruit and blackberry. This wine has broader shoulders compared to 2010 and 2012. Dark fruit, prune, plum and dried cherry lift heavily from the bouquet. Those more obvious aromas are followed by ethereal touches of ash, li ...Read More »
Made with Piedirosso Aglianico, 20% Sciacinoso and other local varieites.
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This is a wine from Grifalco that I was previously unfamiliar with. The 2011 Aglianico del Vulture Daginestra is released five years after the harvest and represents the most sophisticated wine in this estate's portfolio. The bouquet is dark and savory with spice, cured meat, licorice, dried fruit, black mineral and ash. The results are balanced and tight and I admire the tannic definition that lends so much backbone. This is a terrific Aglianico. Winemakers Fabrizio and Lorenzo Piccini farm organically in the Venosa, Ginestra and Maschito areas of the V ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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.
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Intensely perfumed, this offers enticing scents of wild red berry, rose, violet and exotic spice. The polished, linear palate delivers ripe black cherry, spiced blackberry, cinnamon and star anise alongside silky tannins and refreshing acidity. (KO)" (3/2016) 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. Thi ...Read More »
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.
About the producer: "Paolo Caciorgna is Tuscan born and bred, and comes from a wine producing family. His experience as a gifted oenologist has taken him to California and France, but it is in Italy that his heart belongs. Since becoming a consultant in 1997 he now consults for over thirty of the finest wine producers in his native country , including over twenty in Tuscany. He continues to oversee the production of his family’s own wine, Caciorgna Pietro."
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 »
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 »
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 »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Montefalco Sagrantino Collepiano offers a modern interpretation of a traditional wine once made by monks. The extra oak intensity leads to soft tones of chocolate, dark cherry and spice. This wine ages in barrique for 22 months. Each producer finds his or her own way to tame the brutal tannins of Sagrantino. One way Marco does this is with oak. (ML)" (8/2013) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Polished and spicy, this structured wine features aromas of leather, truffle, blackberry and savory herb. The juicy palate delivers layers of fleshy black plum, black cherry, freshly ground p ...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."
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."
Starting in 1963, the Venturini family has made vintage after vintage of stunning wines from the Valpolicella DOC.
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.
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.
Inventory: Redwood City
91 points Vinous: "Dark bright red. Piedirosso-typical herbaceous notes greet the nose, but aeration brings bright strawberry and red cherry aromas too. Clean and fresh in the mouth, with juicy, precise strawberry and raspberry flavors that build and linger long on the suave aftertaste. A benchmark Piedirosso wine. (ID)" (9/2015)
For three generations, Costaripa has been producing quality rose wines from the Lake Garda area in the Lombardy region.
91 points Vinous: "Deep ruby. Spicy aromas of red berries, minerals and cocoa. Bright, fresh and suave, with precise flavors of red cherry and tobacco complicated by licorice and sweet spices. The finish is bright, juicy and long but increasingly austere. Another outstanding wine from the Lonardo family. 91+? (ID)" (9/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco