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K&L Staff Recommendations
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I always love the two blockbuster Syrahs from this estate, both of which need to be sought out by readers. Tons of black olive, smoked and salted meats, as well as ripe dark fruits all emerge from the incredibly polished, elegant and layered 2014 Syrah Estate, which is just an off the hook value. Inky colored, layered, yet graceful and light on its feet, with gorgeous fruit, drink this beauty over the coming 4-5 years, although I wouldn't be surprised to see it evolve for longer. (JD)" (7/2016)
Inventory: Special Order
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 »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A softer, more lush and voluptuous texture can be found in the 2013 7 Deadly Zins, which is also 100% Zinfandel from Lodi. The production here is 280,000 cases! To produce such a high-volume wine of this quality is pretty remarkable winemaking. Loads of ripeness, fruit, glycerin and medium to full-bodied silky mouthfeel make for a delicious effort.... Year in year out, this is one of the best value wineries in the entire world. Working from grape sources in Lodi, they offer an assortment of wines, but their top cuvées are always the rather solid, full-fl ...Read More »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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)
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 »
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 »
92 points James Suckling: "Intense aromas of blueberry and blackberry. Hints of minerals. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a fresh and clean finish. A firm and well-formed red with interest. Better in 2019. (JS)" (1/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa, which is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, has a deep ruby/purple color, a sweet blueberry and blackcurrant fruit-scented nose...medium to full body, good purity, lushness and an attractive price for Napa. Drink it over the next 10-12 years. (RP)" (12/2015) Vinous: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauv ...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)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
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 »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of the two flagship cuvées, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Georges de Latour is a fabulous wine. Obviously, this is the one wine that received the most meticulous attention from their outside consultant Michel Rolland. A great effort in 2013, as one might expect in this vintage, this wine needs 5-6 years and seems capable of lasting 30-40 or more, given the history of the great BV Private Reserves. Inky purple to the rim, with an extraordinary nose of créme de cassis and kirsch, licorice, cedarwood, and a touch of underbrush, the wine hi ...Read More »
Inventory: Special Order
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.
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: "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 its big, broad, ...Read More »
From the producer: "The 2014 Petite Sirah maintains incredible darkness, power, and purity of fruit. Petite Sirah likes to get ripe, and 2014 was a consistently warm and sunny vintage. It has gobs of dark cherry and black fruit flavors, spice and licorice aromas. Approachable as a young wine, it will also reward additional cellaring."
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)
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 »
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)
91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars, Good Value* Rich in ripe apple fruit and long on sweet oak with touches of toast, roasted grain and a note of fresh lemon tossed in for good measure, Fel's Anderson Valley appellation bottling is a deep and generous wine of real ambition. It is moderately full-bodied with a firming streak of fruity acidity keeping it lively and vital, and, if still on the young side and all of its parts are not yet knit together, this is a Chardonnay with pieces aplenty and a fine future ahead. It commends keeping for at least a year or two, and it has the po ...Read More »
"Rich aromatics of dark stone fruits and soft French oak mingle together to frame a very sophisticated entry with more than ample weight," according to the producer. Look for a bright mid-palate, with concentration and high toned ripe cherry and cassis flavors. "The finish is broad and expansive and lingers elegantly for over half a minute."
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
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 »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Traditionally, Robert Craig has done a brilliant job with their selection from Mount Veeder, and the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder (80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot) shows that haunting blueberry, raspberry, black raspberry and floral notes that seem characteristic of that AVA. A dense ruby/purple color, beautifully sweet purity, full-bodied opulence with a layered mouthfeel as well as sweet tannin make for another great 2013 that can be drunk young or cellared for 20-25 years. (RP)" (12/2015) 93 points James Suckling: "The spices and fresh herbs come through the cool fr ...Read More »
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."
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Crisp lemon and a light touch of oak provide a framework around memorably spicy bits of lemongrass and ginger. Along with a tightness of minerality, there’s a complexity and succulence to this wine, which lingers elegantly in all of its elements on the finish." (4/2016) 90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale gold. Mineral-accented citrus and orchard fruit aromas show excellent clarity, with a buttery nuance adding another dimension. Supple and open-knit, offering intense tangerine and pear flavors that become spicier with air. Finishes broad and smooth, with building flor ...Read More »
Monterey's first winery sits atop the Gavilan Mountains and boasts vines planted in the highly-desirable granite and limestone soils found there. Perhaps this is why winemaker Robert Cook says, Chalone isn’t a label; it’s a place on earth.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2003 Tapestry, a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, exhibits a more complex nose than its more famous and expensive sibling, the Georges de Latour. I enjoyed it slightly more because of its nuances and additional complexity. Medium-bodied, well-balanced and elegant, although not profoundly concentrated, it is a very good example of a Napa wine that plays it relatively safe. The finish could be longer, but it is a stylish wine and those who think Napa is incapable of making a finesse-styled Cabern ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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)
Wine Spectator: "Sleek and supple, with notes of succulent cherry, cedar and fresh herb. Drink now through 2017. (TF)" (10/2014)
Inventory: San Francisco
The first new brand from Moët Hennessy to be released in 16 years, this Chardonnay is sourced mainly from Russian River Valley, Carneros, and Sonoma Coast. From the San Francisco Chronicle: "The Chardonnay (13.9%) is mildly rich, hitting the palate initially with an impression of toasty sweetness. Golden apple and exotic spice notes are held up by a decent backbone of acid. Though its flavors are assertive, this wine doesn't express them loudly." (09/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco
About the producer: "Nalle Winery is about as "family" as it gets. Son Andrew runs the joint, while father and mother Doug and Lee Nalle give wisdom from 31 years of winery experience. Younger son Sam, a scientist in San Francisco, gives encouragement and support. Then there's our bevy of friends who magically appear at the right moment to lend a hand. Steve Edgar, from Arizona, still shows up for crush, and has, since 1991. Our winery and home rest on land that has been in Lee's family, the Henderlongs, since 1927. Her cousins, the Saini family, run th... Read More »
LVE wines are made at Raymond Vineyards in Napa Valley in collaboration with award-winning recording artist John Legend. The winery's tasting note: "Our 2014 LVE Chardonnay is fruit forward and balanced, delivering aromas of honeydew melon, toasted hazelnut and créme brulée. Seductive and rich texture on the palate, flavors of vanilla créme and toasty oak are balanced with a touch of baking spices and the creamy, rounded mouthfeel leads to a vibrant finish."
From the producer: "The 2012 Acaibo is a very special wine to us as it represents the first vintage of our new endeavor here in California. Coming on the heels of two rather tough years, this vintage proved to be spectacular. The grapes on our estate enjoyed a long hang time with warm days and cool nights that led to a mid October pick. Through a series of tasting sessions and after much contemplation, we arrived at a final blend of 53 percent Merlot, 46 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and a sprinkling of 1 percent of Cabernet Franc to add complexity and crea... Read More »
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
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2000 In Flagrante (a 725-case blend of 86% Syrah, 10% Grenache, and 4% Viognier) is a world-class, provocative effort. It reveals many of the same aromatic and flavor components found in the 2001 Midnight Oil and 2002 Syrah-dominated, unnamed offering. A black color is followed by a seamless effort loaded with blackberry, honey, and flower aromas, and an extraordinarily long, concentrated finish. As with all great wines, tasting notes/descriptors just can’t do it justice. Among the recent SQN Syrahs, it is a strikingly elegant and powerful wine that ...Read More »
Producer notes: "Are you struggling to find the perfect Pinot Noir; torn between your yearn for funky earthiness and desire for luscious fresh fig and cherry fruit flavors? You may be suffering from “Pinot Envy.” Don’t panic just yet. We have the perfect cure in this 2013 bottling of Hopkins Ranch Pinot Noir. IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: Drinkers of this wine may also experience toasted oak, creamy vanilla bean, and baking spice aromas of clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Side effects may include inability to consume any other Pinot Noir. Talk to your docto... Read More »
93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Glass-staining ruby. Heady aromas of cassis, blackberry liqueur, violet oil and olive are enhanced by exotic notes of Indian spices and woodsmoke that gain strength with air. Deeply pitched black and blue fruit flavors show impressive concentration but there's an unlikely elegance here too. Packs a serious punch and finishes silky and long, with lingering spiciness. (ST)" (5/2011) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From a cold site in the Petaluma wind gap, the 2008 Syrah Armagh Vineyard (less than 100 cases produced) reveals Northern Rhone-like aromas of bacon fat, tapenade and smoke. If t ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
From winemaker Heidi Barrett: "The 2012 Merlot is medium dark ruby in color with clean aromatics of ripe plums and cherries layered with light touches of spice and sweet French Oak notes. Truly a yummy Merlot across the mouth it is soft and silky, truly a seamless wine. Nice purity of flavors here with an exciting flavor profile, lively but with a nice finish. I love the mouth feel and ripeness we were able to get from our vineyard in 2012." 96% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvigon, 1% Petit Verdot
Wine Spectator: "Bold and spicy, with fleshy peach, apricot and melon flavors that have a rich side, mingling with fresh acidity and details of almond skin on the finish. Drink now. 450 cases made." (8/2016)
Producer notes: "Aromas of smoky vanilla, ripe raspberries, brown sugar, thyme and blueberries and violets. Tastes of tangerines, tea leaves, pomegranates. Tart with good weight, vibrant verging on powerful. There's a clear and focused finish perfect for aging. It's 98% Zinfandel, 2% Carignane from winemaker Andrew’s great grandpa’s 86 year old, dry farmed Zin vines that continue to produce bountiful crops, making classic dry creek Zin. It was made by destemming and fermenting in open top fermenters for 7-14 days, aged for 20 months in 8 neutral french ... Read More »
96 points James Suckling: "This is superb wine with dark chocolate, berry and spice. Extremely perfumed. Full body, super silky tannins. Great finish. This is so delicious. Ripe yet fresh. Tannins are polished and elegant." (7/2015) 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The seductive 2012 Proprietary Red Bettina offers up a more Margaux-like femininity compared to the overwhelming power and richness of the Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is a blend sourced from three of David Abreu’s vineyards – Madrona, Thorevilos and Lucia. Notes of Christmas fruitcake, underbrush, blackcurrants, black cherries, l ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
92 points Wine Spectator: "Pure, rich and graceful, with a charming core of blackberry, currant and oak, this wows with finesse and refinement, hitting the high and low notes with equal comfort. Drink now through 2027. (Web Only—2016)"
Connoisseurs Guide: "Playing on its youthful zestiness and firm, citrusy orientation, this moderately grassy effort looks to lemon blossoms and lime-like green edges for its central character. It is lively yet somewhat rich in tactile impression, and although it is not a bold wine, it is nonetheless one that has a clear sense of direction, and its ability to serve with grilled seafoods will stand it in good stead for the next year and more." (8/2015)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Fruity, grapey, berry jam and espresso, light body, developed tannins and long finish. 36 months French oak.