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K&L Staff Recommendations
94 points Wine & Spirits: "Jay Heminway got his start in Bordeaux as a college student in the 1960s, working a summer with Alexis Lichine. He founded Green & Red in the eastern hills of Napa Valley in the 1970s, focused on zinfandel. This wine grows at the highest vineyard on the estate, topping out at 1,800 feet, where he planted a northeast-facing slope in the late 1990s. It’s a fruit-driven zin, the freshness and sunny aspects pointed up by his team’s work at the new sorting table installed in 2013. All that fruit seems to glow from within, surrounded by scents of bay and wild ...Read More »
91 points Wine & Spirits: "For all its plumpness, this feels sophisticated, its sense of fatness coming from abundant, perfectly ripe tannins rather than jammy, overripe fruit. Its clean, dark berry flavors are harmonious and lasting, the structure seeming at one moment supple and easy, at the next more deep and stony. Give it another five years in the bottle before pouring it with a standing rib roast." (2/2016) 90 points Vinous: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley is terrific... Sweet red cherry, pomegranate, spices, mint and gravel meld into the voluptuous, racy finish. There are plenty of ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A small step up over the Katherine’s Vineyard, the 2012 Chardonnay Bench Break shows slightly more toasty oak in its apple and orchard fruits, white flowers and hints of nuttiness. Full-bodied, rich and layered, it’s a big, full-flavored effort that stays beautifully balanced and pure. Spending roughly 10 months in 57% new French oak, enjoy bottles over the coming 3-4 years. (JD)" (8/2014) 90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light yellow-gold. Ripe, lees-accented orchard fruit and melon aromas are complicated by notes of orange pith, tarragon and sweet butter. Smooth and expansive on the pa ...Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "Unctuous red with blueberry, blackberry and hints of vanilla on the nose and palate. Full body, very fine tannins and a fresh, clean and beautiful finish. Better in 2018 but already a joy to taste." (1/2016) 90-92 points Vinous: "Clos du Val's 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is a pretty wine with lovely balance and an understated personality to match. Plums, black cherries, tobacco, cedar, flowers and mint are laced into the silky, expressive finish. Overall this is an attractive, mid-weight Cabernet built on a classic sense of structure. It should drink well for the next decade or mor ...Read More »
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Revealing the great blending skills of Beringer’s winemaking team, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve is a winner. Having purchased Private Reserves for many years, I can attest that they age incredibly well. The 1991, one of the great successes of that vintage, is still aging beautifully at nearly 25 years of age. The sensational 2012 (10,000 cases) boasts an opaque purple color along with abundant aromas of charcoal, burning embers, creme de cassis, chocolate, blackberries and licorice. The long, complex, compelling, full-bodied texture along ...Read More »
92 points Rhone Report: "The 2008 Martinelli Syrah Hop Camp Vineyard "Gravel Lens" (Grave lens refers to the rare soil characteristic of alluvial soil layers interleaved with layers of gravel) is a big, beautifully fruited Syrah that possess touches of northern Rhone like qualities mainly on the nose. Blackberry, cracked pepper, mineral, and hints of chocolate all emerge, and this fleshes out over the evening and gains floral and violets characteristics, as well as notable complexity and a layered profile. This full-bodied, beautifully textured Syrah has an overall seamless feel ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Soft and fruity in black cherry and plum, this wine offers a solid foundation of cinnamon spice atop a mountain of blackberry. The acidity is well measured and the finish medium in length and breadth." (11/2015)
95 points Vinous: "Varner's Chardonnay Amphitheater Block is rich, ample and super-expressive. Lemon peel, almonds, chamomile, earthiness, dried apricot and sage meld together effortlessly. The 2013 Amphitheater is a classic Varner Chardonnay built on phenolic intensity and plenty of savory/floral notes that add nuance, while the fruit is pushed a bit into the background. Bob and Jim Varner have turned out another magnificent set of wines at Varner and Neely. Vintage 2013 appears to have favored the Chardonnays - which are truly superb - over the Pinots. The Varners descr ...Read More »
93 points Wine Spectator: "Impeccably focused and distinctive, with floral cherry, mineral and fresh sage aromas and flavors that combine subtle power with lively acidity, offering notes of raspberry and spicy herb. Drink now through 2024." (10/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "As far as the single vineyards go, the 2013 Zinfandel Rockpile has a completely different aromatic profile, with more Mediterranean notes of lavender, Provençal herbs, pepper and spice. It is medium-bodied and doesn’t seem to have the weight of the Old Vine, but it displays plenty of dusty terroir notes. This medium to full-bodied wine ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Tightly structured and quiet in oak, this wine instead exudes bright notes of lemon peel and orange blossom, offering plenty of well-traced minerality on the palate. It finishes lean and crisp, refreshing enough to enjoy all night long.(VB)" (11/2015)
Fruit-forward with soft tannins and restrained oak, this Cabernet Sauvignon is made in a vibrant and substantial style that is very drinkable in its youth. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were sourced from select vineyards across Napa Valley and vinified by Christian Moueix's winemaking team (also responsible for Dominus) at their facility in Yountville. This excellent value in Napa Cab evokes tones of red fruit, cassis, and eucalyptus.
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a hearty Meritage employing all five red Bordeaux varieties. The color is black and the fruit equally dark and rich, offering muscular tannins around rich notes of blackberry, cedar and herb. (VB)" (3/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Proprietary Red Meritage, a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 4% Malbec, reveals surprisingly soft, round, easygoing flavors of black cherries, black currants, spice and earth. Medium-bodied, charming and more sensual and seductive than the more expensive 2010 Signature, the Meritage ca ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Unusually dry and crisp, this gives up tangy green apple, kiwi and lemon flavors backed by electric acidity, rather light body and a touch of enervating astringency that’s unusual in a white wine. Fresh oysters, please." (2/2015) Connoisseurs Guide: "Bright and brisk from the outset and a wine that reins in ripeness without sacrifice of keen Chardonnay fruit, this tangy offering is true to the racy Carpe Diem style and sports plenty of acid yet never wanders into lemony austerity. It shows a nice sense of polish and is complete without being big and bold, and it will make a fi ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Very attractive aromas of blackberry, black currant and lavender follow through to a full body with big velvety tannins that remain polished. Fresh, bright and savory at the finish. Drink or hold." (1/2016) 90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley shows plenty of freshly crushed blackberry and cassis fruit, real good acidity and terrific fruit purity – all characteristics of this magic vintage. This should drink well for 10-15 years or more." (10/2014) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "A dark, rich color imparts a hearty feel to this wine, which features velvety tannins around integrated oak. ...Read More »
Sourced from the Garvey, Genny’s, Stagecoach, Hudson & Hyde Vineyards. Harvested August 28 - September 27, 2013 at 22.4 - 26.2 Brix. Elevage takes place in 30% new French oak 30& used oak, and 40% stainless steel with 50% malolactic fermentation. According to the winery: "Sourced from low-yielding vineyards in Napa Valley, our Chardonnay is characterized by crisp apple, ripe melon and citrus flavors gently balanced with toasty French oak. Our winemaker uses a malolactic fermentation in moderation to retain the wine’s bright acidity. More than a decade af... Read More »
According to winemaker Janet Myers: "Over three decades ago, Justin Meyer took over the winemaking at Franciscan Estate with a highly meticulous approach. Dividing our Oakville Estate into sections, he fermented and aged each vineyard block separately to bring out the best expression of each lot, then blended the best lots together to create wines of distinction. Thus began our tradition of small-lot winemaking, which I am proud to continue today. Each vintage, we make over 200 separate lots of Bordeaux varietals, honing the blend during 18 months of bar... Read More »
94 points Vinous: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon showcases the relaxed, easygoing personality of the year. Soft, supple and voluptuous, the 2012 is a great choice for drinking while some of the more structured vintages rest comfortably in the cellar. Sweet mocha and spice notes wrap around the silky, seamless finish. 94+ (AG)" (12/2014) 93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(15% alcohol): Good bright red. Reticent but pure aromas of raspberry, cherry, pomegranate, licorice, mint and sexy oak (60% new). Conveys lovely balance and obvious sweet fruit and licorice flavors but comes across as very closed today, with i ...Read More »
From the producer: "The nose reminds us of fall, with bright ripe cranberry notes, hints of forest, brown sugar, golden brown marshmallows, and cinnamon. This Zinfandel has a dominant presence right when it hits the front palate, which leads into a broad mid palate and enjoyable mouthwatering finish. The acidity perfectly balances out the bright fruit from the core and makes this wine perfect for food pairings or enjoying on its own."
94 points Vinous: "Pine, menthol, savory herbs, licorice, dark cherry and plum notes emerge from the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. With time in the glass, the 2011 fleshed out beautifully while retaining a classic, mid-weight profile. My sense is that the 2011 will develop along the lines of the 1994, a wine that remains distinctly floral, savory and medium in body, with less of the explosiveness of years such as 1985 or 1997, but with tons of class and style. It is going to be interesting to find out. The 2011 was bottled just a few months ago, so I will not be surprised if it ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Lastly, the 2013 Merlot is a beauty. Rich, concentrated, fleshy and fat, this wine from their own vineyard displays plenty of berry fruit, judicious use of toasty oak and a long finish. This is sexy, plump and succulent. Drink it over the next decade or more. (RP)" (12/2015)
According to the winery: "Notes of black licorice, anise seed, and alluring perfume dance in and out without dominating. The finish is full of watering, pleasing fruit and polished tannins. This wine shows beautifully now, and will only become more complex with cellaring."
93 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* Although mildly minty, framed with sweet oak and hinting ever so slightly at a bit of dusty dry earth, this very deep and confident, young Cabernet Sauvignon is directed first and foremost by its incisive, keenly varietal, blackcurrant fruit. It is fleshy and quite supple on entry with an early inclination to roundness, but ample structural tannins then make their mark even if they are fairly refined and far from abrasive. The wine's lack of toughness means that it will be approachable soon, but this one has the kind of careful balance and de ...Read More »
Another project from celebrated Central Coast duo, winemaker Sashi Moorman and sommelier Rajat Parr, LWC was founded to bring Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from excellent vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills region, at a great value.
Inventory: Redwood City
Wine Enthusiast: "Seamless and soft, this medium-built expression of clove, tobacco and dark red plum offers integrated tannins and a punch of oak, before settling into a whispered finish. (VB)" (12/2015)
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of their best efforts ever (and that says something, given how many fine wines have been produced under the Bacio Divino moniker), the 2013 Bacio Divino, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (sourced from four different vineyards) and Sangiovese (from the Benessere Vineyard in St. Helena), is a beautifully complex wine with big, sexy notes of new saddle leather, blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, silky tannins, a full-bodied, voluptuous texture and lots of personality and glycerin-filled fruit. (RP)" (10/2015)
According to Jeb Dunnuck writing for The Wine Advocate: "Greg Brewer is the genius behind these brilliant wines from the Sta. Rita Hills in California’s Santa Barbara County... They release a number of single-vineyard Pinot Noirs... Most see a healthy dose of stem inclusion, are fermented in stainless steel, and aged all in neutral French oak. This is one lineup where the different releases show distinct and individual characters, and are always a joy to taste through."
93-95 points Vinous: "The 2013 Syrah Jack Robert's Run Gregori Vineyard is quite a bit more floral and lifted in style than the Eddie's Patch. Rose petal, sweet red berries, mint and pomegranate are nicely delineated in the glass. Overall, the Jack Robert's is quite feminine and gracious in style. There is plenty to look forward to. I was deeply impressed with the wines I tasted at DuMol this year. Winemaker Andy Smith is no longer at Larkmead and is now solely focused on DuMol, which can only be a good thing for these wines ... DuMol occupies a pretty solid position in the m ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Inventory: Redwood City
This "new California" Chenin Blanc was listed in the San Francisco Chronicle's "Top 100 Wines: The Best of the West Coast in 2014." Since-departed wine critic Jon Bonné explained this wine's appeal in this tasting note: "Winemaker Craig Haarmeyer preaches 'Sacramento terroir,' and this taps nearby Clarksburg’s best-known grape for a profound barrel-fermented Chenin. Austere on one side, almost like crushed oyster shells, but then revealing the grape’s full, funky apple-pulp side, with maitake mushroom and green olive accents, and a wonderful fullness to ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Franc Spring Mountain has good freshness and acidity, ripe raspberry and blackcurrant fruit, lovely texture and good vibrant acids. Only 480 cases were produced and the wine emerges from a relatively high elevation of their high-elevation estate vineyard (about 2,000 feet). Drink over the next 5-7 years. (RP)" (7/2014) K&L Notes: It’s for good reason that Cabernet Sauvignon plantings dominate Napa Valley. But what happens when your estate isn’t suited to producing top-notch Cabernet Sauvignon on every planted acre? While the Keenan estate was orig... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "A 100% varietal wine, this offers a depth of earthy mushroom and forest, especially on the nose, before expansive waves of juicy raspberry and blackberry take over on the palate. Enjoyable now, it reveals a touch of dried herb and violet as it progresses in the glass. (VB)" (10/2015)
94 points Vinous: "The 2012 Chardonnay Solomon Hills is quite a bit brighter than the Bien Nacido, with more of citrus-inflected profile and plenty of mineral-infused cut. Lime, lemon oil, white flowers and white pepper add the final notes of complexity. This is another strong showing. (AG)" (8/2015) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Showing an almost Bien Nacido level of salty, marine-like minerality, the 2012 Chardonnay Solomon Hills has beautiful stone fruits and white flower characteristics to go with a medium-bodied, fresh, pure and elegant feel on the palate. Barrel fermented and aged 16 months in 28% ...Read More »
93-95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay Stone Cote Vineyard (a block within the Durell Vineyard planted on gravelly riverbed soils) is 100% barrel-fermented and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Made from a combination of Old Wente clones and some of the newer Chardonnay clones, it exhibits a terrific wet rock/powdered stone-like minerality along with beautiful aromas of exotic fruits (mangoes and tangerines), great intensity, full body, terrific acidity, and 14.8% alcohol. This beautiful Burgundian-styled Chardonnay should be enjoyed over the next 7-8 years. One of the most ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Wine Enthusiast: "This is a big, dry Rhône-style wine with a medium color. It offers aromas of wild berry, earth and oak, along with clove and pomegranate-juice flavors and a firm, tannic texture. It’s not what you’d call a cocktail wine, but it should be versatile at mealtime with meats and pastas. (JG)" (12/2015)
Wine Spectator: "Clean, lively and supple-textured, with pure, rich peach, fig and honeydew flavors, offering hints of apricot and butterscotch. (Web Only—2016)"
Wine Spectator: "Sleek and supple, with notes of succulent cherry, cedar and fresh herb. Drink now through 2017. (TF)" (10/2014)
99 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon J. Daniel Cuvée is probably the qualitative equivalent of the 2012, but slightly more backward and coiled tight. Coming from three vineyards that Robin Lail uses in Napa Valley: one in Calistoga, one in Oakville and the other on Howell Mountain. This is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 20 months in about three-fourths new French oak. Just under 1,000 cases are produced. The 2013 comes across like a Napa version of the famous Château Montrose in Bordeaux’s St.-Estephe. Earthy notes intermixed with chocolate, blackcurrant liqueur, g ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Lindquist’s homage to a southern Cotes du Rhone is his 2005 Los Olivos Cuvee, a blend of 40% Syrah, 37% Mourvedre, and 23% Grenache. It is a world-class effort displaying notes of tapenade, sweet black cherry and cassis fruit, earth, pepper, roasted herbs, and a subtle hint of smoke. This wine comes across like a Crozes-Hermitage from a fine vintage in France’s northern Rhone Valley. (RP)" (8/2007) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(40% Syrah, 37% Mourvedre and 23% Grenache) Medium red. Cherry and blackberry on the nose, with a mocha quality building with air. Bitter cherry and dark chocol ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
92 points Vinous: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Satisfaction Kessler-Haak Vineyard, is the most aromatic and lifted of the three Pinot Noirs I tasted from Steve Clifton's new La Voix label. Sweet tobacco, herbs, rose petal, pine, mint and dried cherries are woven together in a distinctly feminine Pinot Noir built on a sense of delicacy. Hints of orange peel and white pepper add an exotic flair on the mid-weight finish. It will be interesting to see what happens when Kessler-Haak becomes a regular part of the lineup starting in 2015. I was quite taken with the new Pinot Noirs I tast ...Read More »
Gorgeous and golden in the glass, this lusciously aromatic dessert wine will pair perfectly with summer fruit tarts. From the winery: "This 2012 Semillon vintage from a remarkable growing season is rich and powerful, in other words, a knockout wine! We harvested the grapes late on October 2, and let them dry in the sun for two weeks before crushing. That concentrated the sugar to 37 Brix, resulting in 12% residual sugar and 13% alcohol in the bottled wine. With a beautiful golden hue, distinctive honeysuckle character on the nose, and caramel and honey f... Read More »
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright ruby. Perfumed aromas of blackberry and violet. Then fatter, riper and sweeter than the basic 2003 Bien Nacido syrah, with blackberry, floral and spice flavors enlivened by harmonious acidity. Very suave use of oak here. Finishes long and uncompromisingly dry, with toothdusting tannins and a suggestion of cinnamon." (7/2005) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The late-released 2002 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard Hillside Estate reveals licorice, smoke, camphor, and oak characteristics. This firmly-structured, smoky, black currant-scented and flavored wine is long, rich, and backward. Giv ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* Brawny, with an explosive concentration of blackberry, this intense wine offers hints of tobacco, smoked meat and black licorice elevated on the palate. Blended with small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, it finishes on a bittersweet note and with some black pepper." (9/2015) Wine Spectator: "Firm, with a tight core of dried dark berry, savory herb, cedar, tobacco and sage notes, tilting toward progressively drier tannins. (Web-2015)"
95 points Vinous: "Mount Eden's 2010 Chardonnay is stunning. Honeysuckle, tangerine, apricot, and crème brulee literally jump from the glass A vivid, exotic wine, the 2010 is constantly changing in the glass. Stylistically, the 2010 is a little richer than Mount Eden fans are used to, but all the elements are in the right place. The 2010 verges on the edge of tropical aromas and flavors that are quite rare for young Mount Eden Chardonnays. Ideally, the 2010 is best left alone for a few years to allow some of the baby fat to drop off. I imagine it will always be a bit on th ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
95 points Connoisseurs Guide: "Back on track after its relatively austere showing the year prior, Hillside Select rebounds in 1996 with one of its richest, most succulent renditions to date. Currants, black cherries and sweet oak abound still, and the wine does a fine balancing act between being slightly supple and polished and still having an appropriate backbone of varietal tannins. It outdoes the vintage in terms of its richness and range and sheer wealth of fruit, and it has the right pieces in all the right places to grow for a good many years." (3/2007) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A drought year produced the ...Read More »
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Good deep ruby-red. Black cherry, loamy underbrush and high-pitched exotic spices on the nose and palate. Creamy-sweet and highly concentrated. More of a fruit bomb than the sharply focused, perfumed 2011 release but Bill Hunter assured me that in spite of this wine's impression of sucrosite, it finished with less than two grams per liter of residual sugar." (5/2014) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Pinot Noir Umino (200 cases produced) exhibits sweet plum, raspberry and black cherry fruit, medium to full body, a fleshy, opulent mid-palate, and a long, pure, well-endowed finish. ...Read More »