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K&L Staff Recommendations
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Proprietary White Mannequin, which draws fruit from diverse regions of Northern California such as the Carneros Basin and the Sonoma Coast, is actually a blend of 76% Chardonnay, 8% Viognier, 6% Marsanne, 5% Grenache Blanc, 3% Muscat and 2% Roussanne. This is amazing wine, a gorgeous, full-throttle, honeyed wine with a light-gold color, oodles of tropical fruits including pineapple and mango, rose petal and floral notes, and beautifully integrated oak (aged in 40% new French oak on its lees for 11 months). This full-throttle wine is completely d ...Read More »
Cool climate Carneros fruit and Rombauer's house style of élevage make this Chard a top choice vintage after vintage.
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "As for Stonestreet’s red wines, these were by far the strongest efforts I have ever tasted from this estate. The five 2012 cuvées I tasted are all from amazing elevations. For example, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate comes from vineyards between 500 and 2,400 foot elevations. A blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot and Malbec aged 17 months in 30% new French oak, it exhibits an inky/blue/purple color as well as a terrific nose of wet pebbles, blueberries, blackcurrants, lead pencil shavings and charcoal presented in a full-bodied, rich, ...Read More »
94 points Antonio Galloni: "Beringer's 2013 Chardonnay Private Reserve emerges from Gamble Ranch in Oakville. Classy, polished and restrained, the 2013 is absolutely superb. Above all else, the 2013 is a wine of finesse. Hints of pastry, baked apple and spices are woven into the super-expressive, oily finish. This was my first tasting at Beringer following Laurie Hook's move into the role of Winemaker Emeritus. Mark Beringer, the great-great grandson of founder Jacob Beringer, is the newly arrived Chief Winemaker. These are all Laurie Hook's wines, though. Needless to say, it will ...Read More »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Fragrant with scents of rose petal and pinecone, this is clean and brisk. Lifted rather than layered or complex, it’s ready to decant for herb-stuffed trout baked in parchment." (4/2015)90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Shy and reserved, this cool-climate wine opens coyly with a burst of spearmint on the nose, evolving into layers of flavor steeped in rhubarb, black cherry and tea. Soft and lilting, the wine’s finish conjures thoughts of strawberry cream." (7/2015) Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) is an excellent choice for drinking now and over the next few years. The flavors are floral ...Read More »
As of press time, the 2014 has not yet been reviewed, but the 2013 vintage garnered praise from Robert Parker: "Delicate grapefruit, fig, melon and gravelly aromas jump from the glass of the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. Light to medium-bodied and flavorful with zesty acidity, good crispness and focus." (10/2014)
30 vineyards went into this Napa Valley blend, picked over the span of one entire month. 83% Sauvignon Blanc, 17% Sémillon, aged in French oak and 10% barrel-fermented. The winemaker's notes: "The 2014 vintage has yielded a complex and silky Sauvignon Blanc with alluring aromas of lemongrass, Kaffir lime, vanilla and green papaya. On the palate, racy acidity underscores lovely flavors of lemon meringue, star fruit, candied ginger and minerality, carrying the wine through to a long, bright finish."
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Savory, earthy aromas of mushrooms, black pepper, iron and cranberry arise from this blend of nine vineyards, many of which are usually featured in single-vineyard selections. Umami rules the palate, and it’s quite full for a lighter-colored wine, with brown spice, light red fruit flavors and expertly balanced acidity." (3/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Calera's 2013 Pinot Noir is quite pretty, lifted and expressive. In this vintage, savory and floral overtones dominate over some of the more overt, fruit-driven notes that are often found in this bottling. The 2013 is made from a n ...Read More »
95 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Lytton Springs has really come together over the last year, far exceeding my early expectations. Powerful and explosive in the glass, the 2013 boasts tons of inky blue/purplish fruit, mocha, spices, new leather, lavender and licorice. Readers will have to give the Lytton Springs at least a few years to shed some baby fat, but it is nearly impossible to resist, even at this early stage. Once again, the team at Ridge has produced an absolutely compelling Lytton Springs. The 16% Petite Sirah in the blend adds an unmistakable air of gravitas. (AG) ...Read More »
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Vibrant, young, green apple fruit is the driving force of this sleek, nicely made opus with mildly toasty, lightly laid-on oak a constant, if comparatively quiet, companion. The wine is firmly framed and conveys a clear impression of substance and depth, and, while its hard-to-miss acidity may leave it a little taut and tight at the moment, there is no question but that it has very good places to go. Leave it untouched for a couple of years, and know that it will hold for a good many more." (1/2015)
91 points Wine & Spirits: "Artemis is SLWC’s cabernet blend from purchased grapes and, in 2012, it’s broad and juicy, emphasizing full-on depths of plum-skin flavor and richness while retaining freshness in the fruit. Generous in its creamy texture, this is a match for filet mignon." (6/2015)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Already bottled, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Artemis is similar to its siblings. It offers delicious blackcurrant fruit, not as much complexity as the Fay or S.L.V., but an attractive meaty, rich blackcurrant fruitiness, well-integrated wood, and hints of spice and oak. Fleshy and medium-bodied ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "A subtle red with red pepper, berry and sweet tobacco character. Full-bodied, balanced and refined. Very fine and polished tannins. Needs a few years to come completely around. Drink or hold." (7/2015) 89-90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright red-ruby. At once riper and more medicinal on the nose than the 2011, offering aromas of plum syrup, blueberry and spices. Firm and nicely refined, with an attractive juicy quality to the black fruit and spice flavors. Finishes with rather suave tannins. This cuvee seems to be better than ever, as Bo Barrett has done a good job of leavening the concen ...Read More »
93 points Wine & Spirits: "A captivating balancing act, this blend of fruit from the Camp Meeting Ridge estate and other coastal sites feels at once concentrated and weightless. The first impression is one of healthy, plump fruit-ripe apricot, perhaps a hint of caramelized sugar-but it hews to a clean line, the flavors growing more earthy as taut acidity pulls toward crisp, green-tinged suggestions of seashells and borage flowers. More than the flavors themselves, it’s the overall impression of satiny grace that gives this coastal white its beauty." (4/2015)92 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay (Son ...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) K&L Notes: From a top Sonoma County Zinfandel producer, and sourced from near the top of Sonoma County, high above Dry Creek Valley in the stony, thin-soiled Rockpile AVA, this Zinfandel displays spicy aromas, with "intense flavors of currant, candied apple and Zinfandel’s briary essence. Soft entry with focused acidity and an extremely long finis... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The impressive 2012 Reserve Tapestry, a blend of Bordeaux varietals, is more elegant and slightly less intense than the Private Reserve. It offers up sweet black cherry fruit notes intermixed with licorice, spice box and dusty, loamy soil undertones. Medium to full-bodied and deep with loads of ripe fruit, low acidity and sweet, velvety tannins, it can be enjoyed over the next decade." (10/2014)91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Reserve Tapestry, BV's Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend, is pliant and supple in style, with an extra kick of mid-palate juiciness from the Merlot and Malbe ...Read More »
Killer new price! Produced and bottled by Brewer-Clifton, the "B-C" Kessler Haak Pinot Noir is a single vineyard wine that comes from the organically farmed Kessler-Haak Vineyard. It is located off Highway 246, about 7 miles west of the town of Buellton, in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. The blend is made up of 25% Clone 667, 25% Clone 113 and 50% of Clone 115. Only 161 cases were bottled of this unique wine.
94 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Zinfandel Geyserville is every bit as fabulous from bottle as it was from barrel last year. Ripe and voluptuous on the palate - yet with a super-classic conception of structure, the 2013 offers superb depth and impeccable overall balance. Waves of dark red cherry, pomegranate, spice, tobacco lead to more savory/ferrous notes that develop in the glass. Saline notes give the 2013 much of its energy and vivacity. This is a tremendous effort from Ridge. As is my custom, I have included Ridge's Sonoma wines here for ease of reference. Readers should ...Read More »
85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. According to the winemaker: "Ripe aromas of dark fruits, pepper and cassis, with deep and complex flavors of cocoa powder, black cherries, raspberries and coffee. Though youthful and exuberant now, this wine has the structure to reward cellaring for 10-15 years."
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Decadent aromas of golden pear and Tahitian vanilla rise to the top of this incredibly well-crafted wine, a blend of multiple vineyard sources, most of them single-vineyard designated in other wines. Steely minerality buoys the overall experience, with a touch of vanilla custard. The wine is rich on the aroma yet balanced in taste, with a finishing accent of orange blossom." (6/2015)91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay Russian River (nearly 14,000 cases produced) reveals leesy notes in addition to wet pebbles, white peach, delicate pineapple and caramelized citrus. Medium ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "The subtle intensity builds and gains depth, holding focus and delivering a mix of dusty wild berry, plum, black licorice and cassis notes. Impressive on the finish. Drink now through 2021. (Insider)" (6/2015) K&L Notes: If it looks like a duck, that's because Goldeneye is indeed part of the Duckhorn Vineyards family of wineries, including Migration and Decoy. Goldeneye is the Napa Valley winery's far-north outpost, in Anderson Valley.
96 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay Bee Block is the creamiest and most expansive of the three Varner Chardonnays. Pastry, lemon oil, honey, wild flowers and mint are some of the many aromas and flavors that develop in the glass. While the Amphitheater Block and Home Block could use another year or two in bottle, the Bee Block is already quite open and expressive. There is so much to like here. 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 ...Read More »
From the winemaker: "2012 LATERAL - Dark opaque color...Graphite and cedar nose reminiscent of ripe Bordeaux. Deep brooding fruit aromas with purple plums and dark chocolate aromas followed by hints of loam and cocoa. Plush entry and dense mouth-filling texture. Youthful and structured but with ripe tannins that are fine grained and soft on the finish. A stunning rendition of our “Right Bank” style. A huge and impressive LATERAL vintage: sure to please. A perfect entry with medium-light mouthfeel and elegant texture but not too lean. Small scale... Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) is bright, floral and nuanced, with expressive aromatics, red toned fruit and plenty of citrus-inflected overtones that give the wine its lift and aromatic top notes. This is an especially lithe, delicate wine with good balance but less concentration than is the norm. Crushed rose petals, mint and white pepper add the closing shades of nuance. (AG)" (10/2015)
91 points James Suckling: "A very ripe red with dried fruit and lots of chewy tannins. Full and a little hot. Needs time to soften. Phenolic character and texture suggest cold soaking before fermentation which is a little annoying, but it should come together with bottle age. Better in 2017." (7/2015)90 points Wine Spectator: "Taut and vibrant, with rich, juicy black cherry, plum and blackberry flavors, accented by touches of dusty, cedary oak, loamy soil, black licorice and spice on the aftertaste. Offers fine-grained tannins. Drink now through 2026." (10/2015) Jancis Robinson: "Forward style. Intense nose of cocoa powder, cas ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "A wine with currant and blackberry aromas and flavors. Full body, fine tannins and a long and beautiful finish. Lovely tension and finesse. Drink now." (7/2015)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Faust is designed as a second wine so that only the top lots end up in the Quintessa. It exhibits a dense ruby/purple color, sweet crème de cassis fruit, chocolate, licorice and underbrush characteristics in a delicious, fruit-forward, open-knit style. Enjoy it over the next decade or more." (10/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright, full medium ruby. Brooding aromas of cassis and black cherry sh ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Benefiting from a larger percentage of Three Palms Vineyard fruit than ever before, this majority Merlot also holds Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The result is a density of rich, soft and spicy red fruit supported by structured tannins. This is ready for the table and a wide range of pairings." (12/2015)90 points James Suckling: "A fresh style of Merlot with light chocolate and blueberry character. Medium body, firm tannins and a crisp finish. Food matcher." (7/2015) K&L Notes: This Merlot-dominated blend reminds us why Duckhorn earned its reputation as one of Cal... Read More »
92 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Estate Sta. Rita Hills is gorgeous. Bright red berries, red currants, rose petals and mint all lift from the glass in a beautifully delineated Pinot endowed with striking beauty. This is a great introduction to the Melville wines and house style. The 2013 is a blend of 16 clones across the property, done with 35% whole clusters. Winemaker Greg Brewer turned out a gorgeous set of 2013 Pinots at Melville. The wines are consistently of very high quality, something that was not easy to achieve in a year with huge yields. As always, Brewer ...Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "A red with lots of iodine, stone, currant and spice character. It's full-bodied, chewy and juicy. I like this slightly better than the Estate Bottled in 2010. Needs a least three or four years to soften: better in 2016." (5/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon’s dark ruby/purple color is followed by clean, pure aromas of black currants and underbrush, medium body, excellent purity and an alluring texture. This delicious, accessible Cabernet Sauvignon should also drink well for 7-8 years. Moreover, the pricing is realistic for Napa. (RP)" (10/2013) Wine & Spirits: "This is a new ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Shows richness and balance with blackberry and black currant character. Full-bodied, firm and silky. Tight and serious. Needs two or three years to soften." (7/2015)92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa is a much more friendly, supple, fruit-forward style of wine with loads of créme de cassis, plum, licorice and spice. This opulent, full-bodied wine is certainly going to be a big hit with consumers. It is broad, savory and pretty much everything one wants in a delicious Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Bring on the grilled meats! This wine should drink well for 10-15 ...Read More »
Wine & Spirits: "In 2012 the dry-farmed vines at Hallberg gave a simple, welcoming pinot noir with dark fruit that suggests black plum and blueberry. The plump texture finds its balance against juicy acidity, ready for a pork chop roasted with a sprig of rosemary." (4/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This is a high-toned, structured wine with vibrant acidity that is layered in earth, spice, raspberry and black tea. After a medium-sized weight to the midpalate, it finishes soft and round." (2/2015)
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." (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 can be ...Read More »
Kathryn Kennedy's stature in the Santa Cruz Mountains enables the producer to have access to the best fruit from the finest small vineyards in the appellation. These growers even include residential homeowners whose grapes arrive at the crush pad in very small lots. Limited in production, the Small Lot Cabernet is vinified using the same small-scale techniques employed for Kathryn Kennedy's estate wine. Aged in a combination of French and American oak, this wine shows classic Santa Cruz Mountains brambly black fruits with woodsy spice and distinct minera... Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "The Chardonnay Cahill Lane is the brightest of the three 2012 Chardonnays I tasted. Lemon oil, white flowers, almonds and mint are all laced together in a finely knit, super-refined Chardonnay long on balance and class. This is a terrific showing. The large crop has resulted in a relatively open, expressive Cahill Lane that can be enjoyed upon release. (AG)" (1/2015)93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "More tropical in character with lots of orange marmalade and peach jam notes is the 2012 Chardonnay Cahill Lane, which comes 100% from Old Wente clones planted in Goldridge soils. Stephen Hans ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Deeply coloured. Very intense nose: blueberry and blackberry fruit, bramble, sweet saddle leather and oak spice with cocoa. Elegant mouthfeel with very tight but integrated tannins despite its youth. Intensity continues on the palate with consistent flavours. An elegant, Old-World-style restraint and excellent balance. Very long, complex and big but still elegant finish. (MD)" (4/2015)
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "Very fruity and fresh in aroma, this elegant wine has light, crisp apple and lemon flavors, fresh-baked bread accents and lively acidity. A layered texture seems to blend in accents of almond and vanilla, increasing complexity with each sip. It’s one of California’s bluechip bubblies." (12/2015)93 points Wine Spectator: "*60 on the Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2015* Impeccably refined and elegant, with floral aromas of fresh brioche, baked apple and roasted hazelnut. The flavors are layered and well-focused, showing notes of mineral, fresh ginger and subtle raspberry. Drink now throug ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This is an easy-to-like wine, light, clear and spicy in aromas of cardamom and flowers. Earthy, silky and tingling in acidity, it offers a spicy experience on the tongue backed by enough crisp red fruit to please many palates. For the comparatively modest price, it’s a steal." (7/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Crushed flowers, sweet red berries, mint and spices lift from the glass in the 2013 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast). Savory and floral notes add nuance on the ethereal, somewhat fleeting finish. This mid-weight, young-vines Pinot is an excellent choice for drinki ...Read More »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Dry and tannic in youth. It’s not a particularly ripe wine, but subtle in meshing blackberry fruit flavors with sweet dried herbs and bitter coffee. They strove for balance and harmony, and succeeded." (3/2005) K&L Notes: Winery-direct Cabernet from a famous longtime Napa Cab producer. At this price this is a tremendous opportunity to try a great Cab with a few years on it. We won't have this around forever so take advantage.
Low-key Limerick Lane was listed on the "Excellent" list in Robert Parker's "Best producers of Zinfandel" guide, 1999, and has continued to satisfy its faithful with bright red berry, elegant table wine interpretations of the varietal. Since 2011, the winery has been run by the Bilbro family, of Marietta Old Vine Red fame, which bodes well for its future.
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Newton’s 2012 Chardonnay Unfiltered exhibits lots of honeysuckle, tropical fruit and marmalade, good minerality and excellent acidity that buttresses and provides uplift to the full-bodied, lavish, extravagant nature of this Chardonnay. As this wine ages, it will undoubtedly take on more Burgundy, Bâtard-Montrachet-like characteristics, but it is hard to resist young (which I know from personal experience). Enjoy it over the next 6-10+ years. This cuvée has been one of California’s great classic Chardonnays for over two decades. It also has remarkable ag ...Read More »
94 points Wine & Spirits: "George Hendry once helped farm the Brandlin Ranch on Mount Veeder, where he took cuttings of the old-vine Zinfandel when the property was sold in 1995. He grafted that budwood onto St. George rootstock at his benchland vineyard west of Napa and north of the San Pablo Bay, where morning fog and offshore breezes in the afternoon help to cool the vines. This 2012 parallels the hearty depths of an old-vine Zin, the ripe sour-cherry flavors driven by alcohol but not heated by it, the tannins buzzing with energy. It’s brisk and bright, complex and joyous. ...Read More »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby-red. Wilder and deeper in pitch than the 2011 version, displaying powerful black raspberry and boysenberry scents and smoky floral and herbal nuances. Juicy acidity adds lift and structure to the ripe, subtly spicy dark berry flavors. The finish features chewy tannins, an echo of candied flowers and very good persistence." (6/2014) K&L Notes: An entry level Pinot Noir from one of K&L's longtime favorite producers.
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "A lovely Cabernet, ripe and delicious, yet complex enough to hold your interest. It’s just beginning its journey in the bottle. Very dark in color, with hard tannins, it has an immense core of blackberries and cherries. Give it at least 6–8 years, but it could still be rocking in 2022." (8/2013)91 points Decanter: "Concentrated flavors of brambly blackberry and cassis supported by notes of bay leaf, pepper and graphite. Full and mouthfilliung, the wine's tannins are stout but polished. Drink 2015-2023." (9/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Monument is gorgeous and totally juicy ...Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Delicious aromas of ripe cherry pie and black cardamom are quite sexy. The palate is far more complicated and layered, with the tartness of plum skins, richness of strawberry, balsamic reduction and spiciness of black sage." (7/2015)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(made from fruit grown in the Bien Nacido, Riverbench and Solomon Hills vineyards; no new oak): Bright red. Highly perfumed scents of spicy redcurrant, raspberry, fresh flowers and smoky minerals. Juicy red berry flavors pack a solid punch but come off as lithe. Brisk red berry skin and white pepper qualities dominate a long, ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Wine Spectator: "Tilts toward green apple, pear and citrus flavors, making this bright and refreshingly clean and pure. Drink now. 40,000 cases made." (3/2015) K&L Notes: Cakebread's popular Napa Valley Chardonnay blends the best qualities of grapes grown in the Carneros region on San Pablo Bay with those of warmer areas of the Napa Valley. Look for fresh apple, melon and pear, spicy oak, and rich fruit flavors balanced with mineral tones.
92 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon is beautiful. Dark red cherries, tobacco, mint and graphite are some of the many notes that inform this hugely attractive, medium-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. The finish is long, silky and exceptionally polished. Tobacco, dried cherries, mint and smoke add nuance on the close. This is another relatively soft, gorgeous 2011 from Keeenan." (11/2013)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa is a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot. Surprisingly rich, ripe and heady with lots of black currant and black cherry fruit, no hint of herba ...Read More »