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K&L Staff Recommendations
Kalinda can be a lot of things. It can be really good bulk wine that is available to us. It can be a wine that we help create from scratch from a winery we have a great relationship with and wants to work with us. Or in the case of the NV Kalinda North Coast Pinot Noir it can be from a famous and elusive winery that had some extra bits and pieces that they pieced together not because they didn't work for them but because the recent vintages just didn't produce enough fruit to make to make them financially viable for the "secret" winery. Bottom line is th... Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "The texture is plush, with lots of complex flavors, ranging from plum to anise to dusty, cedary oak. Satisfying from start to finish, ending with dusty, nutmeg-scented tannins. (JL)" (6/2016) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This is a lot of heady wine for a relatively affordable price. Aromas of black-cherry syrup, baked black plum, nutmeg, clove and gingerbread make for an attention-grabbing nose. The hearty palate shows similar elements, along with black peppercorn, Christmas spice, dense blackberry paste, chaparral scrub and pine-forest notes." (10/2016) 90 points Decanter: "Complex dark f ...Read More »
If you try to find the exact cepage on this always-fantastic red blend, you might find yourself gazing up at the heavens for an answer, since you won't get one from the winemaker. The Pleiades might be the only super-allocated, cult California wine for under $25, and it's sure to sell out quickly, as previous vintages have. From "one of California's most iconic and mystical winemakers," says Robert Parker: "Sean Thackrey has logged in 20 or more vintages of consistently stunning wines that perhaps say it all with the simple quote on his label: -Sean A. T... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This lower-priced Pinot from the Center of Effort team punches way above its weight in the vintage, showing light cherry-blossom and black-cherry aromas mixed with gamy meat and wet slate. Blackberry pie is cut with orange rind on the sip, with an earthy grip showing flavors of juniper, crushed clove and pipe tobacco." (10/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I found the 2014 Pinot Noir Fossil Point to be straightforward and a touch simple, but at 19 bucks, who can argue. Medium-bodied, well made and with pretty notes of sweet cherries, framboise and spice, this value ...Read More »
James Suckling: "A bright and fresh pinot noir with sliced lemon, strawberry and flower character. Medium body, crisp and clean. Light tannins and clean and fresh finish. Drink now." (6/2016) K&L Notes: Olema is produced by the folks at Amici Cellars. Fruit for their 2014 Pinot Noir is 50% Russian River Valley, 25% Sonoma Coast, and 25% Sonoma County. The wine was aged in 35% new French oak barrels before bottling. From the winery: " A burst of fresh black cherry, ripe strawberry and cola spice on the nose lead to deep flavors of red fruits with hints of earth, warm spice and vio... Read More »
As difficult as it is to produce excellent Pinot Noir, it is even more difficult to do so at a fine value. In their development of the Banshee label, the winemakers gained a stable of quality sources for Pinot fruit from the finest AVAs in California. The 2014 Sonoma County Pinot Noir is the sixth vintage from the enterprising team at Banshee Wines. A large percentage of it is still sourced from the Sonoma Coast, often declassified barrels from vineyards that close followers of top-tier West Coast Pinot may recognize. From the producer: "As with past vin... Read More »
The 2014 Rickshaw Pinot Noir is the sixth vintage from the team at Banshee Wines, known for elegant, food-friendly coastal Pinot and Chardonnay. Via the Rickshaw bottling, Banshee can offer a phenomenal value, thanks to relationships they've built with growers over the years from the finest AVAs in California. The largest share of fruit is sourced from the Sonoma Coast, followed by Anderson Valley and the Central Coast. The appeal of the wine is driven by its balance of fruit and earth tones, so just 10% of the juice sees new oak (the remainder being onc... Read More »
90 points Vinous: "Bright ruby-red. Lively, spice-accented aromas and flavors of fresh raspberry and cherry, with subtle anise and white pepper notes adding complexity. Bright and penetrating on the palate, showing no excess fat. A sexy floral nuance emerges on the back half and the berry note repeats on the finish, which is given shape by even tannins. This label, which owner Brian Talley is quick to say is not a second label for Talley, has steadily improved in recent years and the wines, without exception, deliver big bang for the buck. While it might not be exactly cor ...Read More »
A very shy producing vineyard with soils of volcanic ash and boulders, this site produces old vine Zinfandel of immense proportions.
Wine & Spirits: "A velvety blend based on merlot, this is simple but clean, its strawberry-red fruit lifted...It’s light enough for roast chicken." (8/2015) K&L Notes: Lyeth's Meritage is a blend of the five red Bordeaux varietals with 58% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. With grapes sourced from select vineyards across Sonoma County, it is the flagship wine of the estate and delivers an excellent value. From the winery: "A brilliant garnet in color, this Meritage is rich with aromas of dark cherry, plum, and boysenberry with subtle ... Read More »
Rudy Von Strasser may have got his start in the wine business as an intern at prestigious Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, but he hasn't let his head, or his prices, ascend into the stratosphere. The wine is made up of 100% Diamond Mountain fruit, some of which comes off the Von Strasser Estate. This is a concentrated, elegant, and eminently drinkable Cab delivering more-than-everyday quality for a fantastic price. From the winery: "This bold Cabernet Sauvignon has great perfume of violets. Intertwining aromas of blueberry,cassis and coffee all lead into a ric... Read More »
90 points Vinous: "The 2012 Pinot Noir Bench Break is a classic Cambria wine with exuberant fruit, deep color and exotic spice overtones. Lavender, menthol and cloves add complexity to the dark red and blue-toned fruit. The firm tannins could use another year or two to soften. (AG)" (7/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Better, with a deeper, richer color, the 2012 Pinot Noir Bench Break offers a straightforward, subtle bouquet of black fruits, cherry blossom, underbrush and pretty floral notes to go with a medium-bodied, nicely concentrated profile. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak, it can be enjoy ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A California Côtes du Rhône look-alike, the 2012 Mountain Cuvée is a blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 8% Zinfandel and the rest small dollops of Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Malbec aged 14 months in mostly French oak. It reveals spicy, peppery, meaty notes intermixed with hints of Provençal herbs, dense black cherry and plum-like fruit, medium to full body, an attractive texture, and a seductive finish. (RP)" (11/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "An unidentified mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot sourced from throughout the county, this is a smoky, leathery e ...Read More »
Though the 2014 vintage has yet to be professionally reviewed, Robert Parker praised the 2013: "The 2013 Foxglove Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a nearly 11,000-case cuvée, comes from northern Paso Robles from all hillside vineyards and represents a soft, round, juicy, succulent style of Cabernet. It has black and red currants, loamy soil notes and plenty of juiciness. The wine is delicious and best drunk over the next 2-3 years. The following notes include value-priced wines from the Varner brothers under the moniker Foxglove and they are indeed great va... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Showing incredible depth for such an affordable wine, Andrew Murray does it again with this widely available bottling. The gamy nose shows lamb, rosemary, uncracked peppercorns, light tobacco leaf, soy sauce and a touch of tar. Purple flowers rule the palate, with lavender, violet and blossoming rosemary notes, with thyme and white pepper spicing up boysenberry fruit. (MK)" (7/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Syrah Tous les Jours is a total charmer and checks in as 100% Syrah from a bevy of Santa Ynez vineyards (all are within five miles of the winery). No ...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 »
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 »
93 points Wine Spectator: "Plump and luscious, this is jam-packed with fruit. Lively blackberry, pepper, and other spice box aromas lead to ripe and rich flavors of black raspberry, caramel, and licorice. There are more complex Zinfandels, but few that are more enjoyable to drink. Drink now through 2022." (12/2015)
91 points James Suckling: "This is dense yet fresh and lively with ripe currant, plum and dried mushroom character. Medium to full body, crisp and delicious. Real Napa at a solid price. Drink now." (6/2016) Wine Spectator: "Fresh herb, dill and charry oak notes make this distinctive, if a bit dry and smoky. Retains an elegant mouthfeel. (Web Only—2016)" K&L Notes: Olema is produced by the folks at Amici Cellars. Fruit was sourced from select vineyards around Sonoma County and blended with a splash of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The wine was aged for more than a year in 30% new French oak before bottling.
Though the 2014 has yet to be professionally reviewed, the 2013 garnered 91 points and praise from Wine Advocate: "A blend of 80% Zinfandel, 11% Carignan, 8% Petite Sirah and a splash of Alicante Bouschet, the 2013 Three Valleys has lots of berry fruits, bramble, spice-box and licorice in its medium-bodied, supple, nicely textured, and delicious profile." (JD, 10/2015)
92 points James Suckling: "A big and juicy style of Napa red for those who love the 1990s genre. Yet there's a form and tension to the wine with chewy tannins that make it very drinkable and intriguing. Drink or hold." (1/2016) 91 points Vinous: "A rich, full-throttle wine, the 2013 Red Blend Taken, a Merlot/Cabernet blend is one of the more flamboyant wines readers will come across in this vintage. Unctuous on the palate, the 2013 is loaded with tons of super-ripe fruit and French oak, with all of its elements nicely put together. (AG)" (9/2015) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon with 40% Merlot is y ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "A firm and beautiful red with black currant and berry character. Full-bodied, silky and refined. Shows real Napa Valley Cabernet character. Drink or hold." (7/2015) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* Mostly from estate vineyards, and blended with other Bordeaux varieties, this wine balances dense, chewy, sizable tannins with a juicy core of blackberry, baking spices and leather. Given time, its sense of elegance should rule over its power, while for now, it finishes in bittersweet chocolate. Cellar through 2020. (VB)" (12/2015) Wine & Spirits: "Sour cherry flavors fill this soft Cabernet, ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
After the last few years I think just about everyone has heard us pontificating about just how good, and how insanely inexpensive, the York Creek wines are. Luckily for us and our thirsty customers Fritz Maytag kept deep cellars over the years and still has plenty of wine for us to sell. After the rousing success of past vintages we just keep reloading because the wines are that good and you keep asking us for more. Our latest find is a horizontal of sorts with all three wines coming from the great 2005 vintage. We have two single block Cabernets and a r... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A 100% varietal wine, the 2014 Petite Sirah Tierra comes from the Theopolis vineyard in the Yorkville Highlands (this was previously used by Carlisle and is close to Paul's Halcon site) and was aged in 25% new French oak. It sports a deep ruby/purple color as well as terrific notes of black and blue fruits, tobacco leaf, licorice and chalky minerality. Rich, textured and full-bodied, with beautiful purity of fruit, it has enough texture and richness to shine even today, but I suspect it will evolve for 10-15 years. I continue to love these wines from Pau ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
91 points Vinous: "The 2013 Cuvée Le Bec, Beckmen's entry-level Rhône blend, is absolutely gorgeous. Dark, sensual and inviting, the 2013 hits all the right notes. Black cherry, plum, spice, menthol and licorice blossom into the supple, deeply expressive finish. The 2013 is a bit more Syrah-heavy than in some previous years, which contributes to its personality. Best of all, the 2013 is an absolute steal. The blend is 45% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 8% Counoise and 7% Mourvèdre. (AG)" (8/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from 45% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 8% Counoise and the rest Mourvedre, the 2013 Cuvee le ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir is a seductive style of Pinot, with a medium ruby color, notes of black cherry and raspberry, light tannin, and not much depth, but it is superficially attractive and supple. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. (RP)" (3/2016)
89-90 points Vinous: "Sbragia's 2012 Merlot Home Ranch jumps from the glass with sweet dark cherries, plums, spices, new leather and menthol. A joyous, exuberant wine, the Home Ranch captures the best qualities of the 2012 vintage. Layers of deeply spiced dark red/blackish fruit inform the finish. There is a lot to look forward to here. (AG)" (2/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A bevy of wines made from Bordeaux varietals include the 2012 Merlot Home Ranch, a solidly made, plump, corpulent Merlot revealing notes of black cherries and white chocolate, medium body, a fleshy mouthfeel and a soft finish. (RP ...Read More »
Named for founder Rudy von Strasser, the "Rudy" label is best known around here for top-quality, well-priced Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. Look for fine tannins that complement good acidity and rich, red fruit flavors. 2014 is the 25th vintage for the von Strasser winery, during which time they've won the "Winery of the Year" award from Wine and Spirits magazine an astonishing 12 times.
80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 7% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot. Fermented in 100% stainless steel and aged in 75% neutral oak, 25% new French Oak. According to the winery: "Our Cabernet Sauvignon is a rustic wine with a deep, dark nose of blackberry, currants and cocoa, which show off the natural structure and power of each varietal in the finished blend. Enjoy with a sliced venison loin or hangar steak seared in cast iron and finished in the oven. Chop up some new potatoes; cover them with fresh rosemary and your favorite olive oil. Grab some black... Read More »
From one of the most legendary of vintages we've secured a Cabernet deal that brings both the sensational quality of the Napa Valley with the perfect growing conditions of 2013 and combines them into one unbeatable price. The dark fruit envelopes the palate on the initial sip, while plenty of tannic structure carries through to the finish. This is simply a beautiful wine you can open tonight, or any other day of the week, but with potential to go much longer in the cellar! While we have to remain quiet about the source of this beauty, we can tell you tha... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* With small additions of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, this wine opens in green olive and celery, with a tease of mint, before unleashing a mouthfilling core of black cherry and cassis. Lively acidity presides over all, giving a powerful backbone to a sophisticated wine." (6/2016) Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* Sweet oak makes an immediate play for attention in both the moderately rich aromas and flavors of this nicely rounded and fairly outgoing effort, but steady ripe cherry fruit soon catches up and expediently takes the lead. The wine is subject to a littl ...Read More »
Back in August of last year I was approached by Anne Marie Coyne-Kashkooli, the daughter of Thomas Coyne, who was curious if we were interested in buying a large lot from the Thomas Coyne Winery. To hear that name was a blast from the past for me. For years before I came to K&L I sold the wines out of a little shop in Berkeley that I helped run, and they were always wildly popular with our customers. They were wines of zero pretense, full of charm and ease--so I was all ears. Turned out Thomas, who had been the moving force of the winery, had passed away... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent value that has classic Cabernet notes of black currants, plums, graphite and some herbal aromas and flavors. Blended with 16% Syrah, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Zinfandel, and aged 16 months in French and American oak, drink this medium-bodied, nicely balanced 2014 over the coming 4-5 years. (JD)" (8/2016) K&L Notes: Cabernet Sauvignon excels at Ancient Peaks' estate Margarita Vineyard, where it achieves both ripeness and balance amid one of the coolest, longest growing seasons in the Paso Robles region. Here, their Cabernet S... Read More »
Shebang! is inspired by the Bedrock Vineyard, which was founded in 1854 by business partners and then-Californians William Tecumseh Sherman and Fightin' Joe Hooker, who were trying their hand at the wine country life--until troubles back east pulled them back into government service. Later, it was replanted by Senator George Hearst. Vintner Morgan Twain-Peterson makes this field blend styled wine from 55% Zinfandel, with Carignane, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Alicante Bouchet, Grenache, Syrah, Barbera, and a few aromatic white varieties. Many of these sourc... 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
Producer Note: "Native fermentation, 100% de-stemmed, 100% whole berry, 100% neutral French Oak, unfined and unfiltered, 85% Seaton vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, 15% Totem Ridge vineyard in Knight's Valley. Tasting notes: This full-bodied red wine has blackberry and cocoa flavors, with some pepper and spice on the finish."
Mike Berthoud worked under Richard Arrowood at Chateau St. Jean, then was winemaker at Arrowood Winery. After 15 years at Arrowood, Mike moved on to Mayo Family Winery. Ursus is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petite Verdot. Winemaker's notes: "As always all of the grapes used to produce the blend are grown on the Berthoud estate. Ursus is the Latin word for Bear, while Berthoud is pronounced Bear-2. Just like the bear, Ursus is a muscular wine while maintaining an elegant balance. It is an old world style wine that is b... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Joel Gott's 815 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from some of the most important appellations across California. With inclusion of fruit from Napa Valley, Sonoma, Lodi, Lake County, Paso Robles, and Monterey County, the resulting wine creates a broad snapshot of the stellar 2013 vintage. This perennial value is food-friendly and accessible with a modest 13.9% alcohol and 25% new oak barrels for aging. From the winery: "The 2013 Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon has aromatics of mocha, roasted blue fruits, plums, and cherry spice. The wine enters sweet ... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Offers a rich candied-apple mix of red and dark berry fruit that has a hibiscus scent and a perfumed presence on the finish. (JL, Web-2016)"
Organically grown, Justin's 2014 Cabernet is rich and full bodied. Black fruit, spice, tobacco, violet and savory herbal notes will satisfy any red wine lover.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "There's a very candied red-cherry quality to the nose of this wine from a vineyard that the winery will cease using with this vintage, along with sexy aromas of violet, lilac, clove, cola, peppercorn and rose. A sage-driven character emerges once sipped, giving spice to bright red, slightly sour cranberry fruit. (MK)" (12/2015) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Coming from the estate Verna's Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills and 60% destemmed, the 2013 Pinot Noir Estate Verna's Vineyard was fermented in 1.5 ton open-top stainless-steel fermenters before aging 11 months all in neutral oak. It ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Dense blackberry and blueberry-paste scents mesh with dark chocolate, milk chocolate and graphite on the nose of this bottling from the Hahn family. A lush mouthfeel with ample weight unleashes coffee and mocha flavors, blueberry and black cherry fruit, with hints of fudge and a sweet oak touch." (9/2016) Connoisseurs Guide: "*GOOD VALUE* Tending to berries as much as to the classic cassis of Cabernet Sauvignon, but a wine that sports fine fruity volume with a nice dollop of sweet oak lending no small measure of richness, this balanced, moderately full-bodied wine is structure ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Their great value pick, which has essentially underwritten the winery’s success for many years, is their non-vintage Old Vine, and in this case, the NV Old Vine Red Lot 63, the sixty-third rendition of this lovely blend. Dominated by Zinfandel, but also containing Syrah and Petite Sirah, it’s always meant as a boisterous, exuberant Mediterranean-style red, the likes of which are easy to find in parts of Spain, Southern Italy and Southern France. The oak is pushed back to a minimum, and the NV Lot 63 includes wine from four vintages: 2011, 2012, 2013 and ...Read More »
From the winery: "Blended from premiere benchland vineyards, our Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon is graceful yet profound and youthful yet polished. Inviting aromas of black cherry and blackberry fruit dusted with chocolate, along with dried herbs, cinnamon and vanilla. An elegant, juicy entry with flavors of berry cobbler followed by mocha and wood spice unite, layer by layer to form a finish that is rich with structured tannins." 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petite Verdot, 5% Merlot, 5% Malbec and 3% Cabernet Franc.
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Bold, supple blue fruit gives this cabernet an impression of simple, healthy richness, while that exuberance is held in check by a tannic grip that seems to come from fruit skin as much as oak. It’s already accessible, but may gain additional dimension with a few years in bottle. Well-priced and smartly crafted, it’s a wine for roast beef." (12/2015)
93 points Wine & Spirits: "The Husch family planted the first pinot noir in Anderson Valley in 1971, before selling the winery to the current owners, the Oswalds, in 1979. Vineyard manager Al White has farmed the firm’s grapes since 1974. That wealth of experience and history pays dividends in this bright, refreshing pinot noir from five vineyards, including the Husch estate in Philo and Ferrington in Booneville. The wine is sunny and red-fruited, with a crisp structure, moderate ripeness and a lovely floral aroma that lasts: pure Anderson Valley." (12/2015) K&L Notes: A top value and reliably... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Substantive flavors and a rich, tannic texture form a serious profile for this deeply colored, dry and full-bodied wine. It smells like raspberries, tastes deep and concentrated, and has a very firm and nicely astringent mouthfeel. Pour it with a big steak, chop or roast." (4/2016)