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K&L Staff Recommendations
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star, Good Value* No matter that this unoaked bottling treds a direct, green apple line with few complex adjuncts in its makeup, such is the way of Chardonnays of its ilk, and this one makes a pretty good stab at capturing lively, somewhat juicy fruit. There is a not unexpected bit of fresh, slightly candied fruit here and little in the way of the rich, buttery side of the variety to be sure. Yet, all in all, this wine is both easy to take and easy on the wallet." (7/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This stainless-steel take shows lime juice, golden apples and white pepper on t ...Read More »
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 are two wines from 2007, they are 100% Cabernet and are from single blocks on the estate. These wines were made by Fritz him... Read More »
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 are two wines from 2007, they are 100% Cabernet and are from single blocks on the Estate. These wines were made by Fritz him... Read More »
We were so happy with the 2013 Kalinda Napa Cabernet that we went back to the same well for the 2014. From another exceptional year for Napa Cabernet, this wine is lush and quite rich with tons of cassis on the nose and palate. Still quite young and showing some rounded tannins, I would cellar this beauty for five years minimum, but if you must drink it, decant one hour at least and serve with a hearty meat course. One hint: the property whence the grapes came is located quite close to a town that really does not have a wine shop in it. - KL Staffer Dri... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Tart aromas of sour cream, yogurt, candied lime and pressed quince show on the nose of this stylishly structured Chardonnay. The palate carries the theme forward, with pithy pink grapefruit notes, lime ade and brie rinds, showing firm tension on the tongue and bound-up energy that will keep this bottle alive for years. (MK)" (2/2016)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley has slightly more intensity and richness, with supple tannins, a deep ruby/purple color, good, ripe blackcurrant fruit and spice box. It’s meant to be drunk over the next 7-8 years. (RP)" (12/2015)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Crisp, yet fuller bodied, with a creamy voluptuousness to the mouthfeel, this wine offers a taste of lemon pith and peach, accented by a floral bouquet of orange blossom. Measured acidity keeps it ebullient in the glass, ending in a hit of Tahitian vanilla." (12/2015)
93 points Vinous: "Grilled herbs, tobacco, menthol, licorice and plums all take shape in the 2010 Eloge. Rich, layered and expressive, the 2010 is resonant and deeply expressive throughout. Gently spiced notes appear on the finish, adding dimensions of complexity and nuance. Today the 2010 is a bit closed in on itself and a touch compact, while the aromatics aren't quite as precise as they could be. I was deeply impressed with the wines I tasted at Conn Valley this year. The wines are often terrific, but at the same time, they have also occasionally suffered from the pre ...Read More »
From Monterey and Santa Barbara vineyards, the fruit is fermented in stainless steel to preserve freshness, then aged in neutral, air-dried French oak to add an element of texture. Tasting notes from the winemaker: "The nose is reminiscent of preserved Meyer lemons, wet stones and a hint of lime blossoms. The rich body and texture builds as it envelops your mouth, while layers of Kaffir lime, guava, and pineapple tantalize; followed by light, creamy texture of whipped lemon curd. The lingering finish is clean and crisp, preparing your palate for more."
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Chardonnay Holly's Cuvee is a big, rich and sexy white that nevertheless manages to stay fresh, livey and pure. Possessing lots of tropical fruits, flower oil, honeysuckle and a hint of peach, it's already hard to resist, and I don't see any need to delay gratification either. I suspect this will be the last vintage made by Jim and Bob Varner, who no longer works with the fruit from the Spring Valley Vineyard. (JD)" (10/2016)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Lighter, leaner flavors like cranberry, rhubarb and tart cherry light up this wine from the first sniff through the tangy finish. Balanced on the fresher, crisper side of the spectrum, it has firm tannins, an appetizing dry texture and medium body. The focused fruit flavors and light spicy accents make it distinctive. (JG)" (10/2015) Wine & Spirits: "This is simple and approachable, with a soft red cherry flavor that ends with spark of alcohol, the fruit accumulating just enough sandy grip to hold everything together." (4/2016) Wine Spectator: "Well-focused on a narrow mix ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Arbe Garbe is a blend of Malvasia, Tocai and Ribolla Gialla. This is an exotic fruit cocktail of a wine with gorgeous aromatics of mango, caramelized melons, honeysuckle, apricot, a touch of pineapple, strawberry and even cherry notes, making for an intense, round and juicy wine. It is an intriguing wine that merits serious attention from Wine Advocate readers. These are two terrific wines from Italian winemaker Enrico Bertoz, who hails from the Alto Adige sector of Italy. (RP)" (10/2016) 92 points Vinous: "The 2015 White Wine (Sonoma County) is absolutely gorgeous. ...Read More »
Outlier is a fitting name for this outfit run by winemaker/owner Derek Rohlffs, who orchestrates his unique efforts from his home base in the middle of the San Francisco Bay on Treasure Island.
91-94 points Vinous: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon comes across as quite polished and nuanced, with lovely brightness, tension and energy. Dark red and bluish fruit, spices, mint, licorice and sweet spices are some of the signatures. Today, the 2014 is quite impressive. (AG)" (10/2015) 91-93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright medium ruby. High-toned, very primary aromas of blueberry, licorice and menthol. Densely packed but not yet particularly sweet, with sexy mineral lift to the black fruit flavors. The largest-scaled of these three vintages and evolving quite slowly. The fruit comes from western St. Helena an ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Fresh orange blossoms and jasmine spring from a chalky backbone on the nose of this clean and crisp semisweet bottling that also shows tangerine pith, lemon-lime soda and a touch of quinine. Though a bit sweet on the sip, it is far from cloying and remains refreshing throughout. (MK)" (12/2016) K&L Notes: 85% Riesling with 15% Gewürztraminer blended in. It has a low alcohol level--12.5%. This juicy, tasty white has aromas of jasmine and honey with flavors of citrus, peach, mandarin orange and wet stone. Zippy and bright with an ever-so-slight tinge of sweetness, it's... Read More »
91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* Completing a trio of very fine Pinots from Eric Kent, the Sascha Marie bottling shows an extra measure of fruity richness while still showing its maker's graceful hand. It exhibits exceptional varietal purity even as it inclines ever so slightly more to ripeness, and it has the supple, near-silky feel that marks the best Pinot Noirs. Even if so nicely polished that it will be hard to resist in its youth, it has the depth and the balance to evolve effortlessly for another five or more years." (10/2016) K&L Notes: Sourced mainly from the Roberts Road Vineya... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "This is a pretty wine in terms of floral aromatics, resplendent shocks of orange blossom and orange peel inviting in their exotic freshness. Lime and orange follow on the palate, which is bristling in acidity, the finish light and bright. (VB)" (2/2015)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Bedrock Vineyard has a brooding, primordial character with a dark ruby/plum/purple color, forest floor, pepper, meat, herbs, and red and black fruits. It is elegant, medium to full-bodied, and by no means over-extracted or too rich. A nice take on Zinfandel from this famous source, it should drink well for 4-5 years. (RP)" (3/2016)
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The inky purple 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon displays plenty of classic creme de cassis and lead pencil shavings along with some licorice, charcoal and vanilla notes. It is full-bodied and opulent, with good integration of sweet tannin and bright acids. This wine is still young but approachable, and certainly capable of evolving for 10-15+ years. I didn’t see the usual dramatic difference between the single-vineyard Cabernet and the regular Cabernet in 2013, but both are exceptional wines and realistically priced for high-end, world-class Napa wines. (RP) ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Reserve, which was aged 20 months in French oak, is really sensational, with a dense ruby/purple color, beautiful blueberry and blackberry fruit, a judicious use of toasty oak, full-bodied opulence, a multi-layered mouthfeel, and a spectacular finish of 45 or more seconds. This is a great Zinfandel from Dry Creek to drink over the next decade. (RP)" (3/2016)
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 »
97 points James Suckling: "*#30 in The Top 100 Reds of Napa Valley 2016* Subtle aromas of crushed berries and tile. Mushrooms. Almost dusty. Full to medium body, powdery tannins and mouthfeel. Bright acidity that gives the wine beautiful and enticing freshness. Gentle and ethereal red. The first vintage of the new wine from the owners of Dominus. The vineyard is located in Oakville near Vine Hill. Drink or hold." (1/2016) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Ulysses (800 cases) is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest other Bordeaux varietals. A structured, dense purple wine that displays plenty of cedar wood, c ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "The two-family winery produces a lovely and layered wine, with aromas of blueberry extract, wet black tobacco, cinnamon roll, smoked oak and aromatic herbs. Purple flowers of violet and lavender come alive on the palate, with licorice in the midpalate and tartness on the finish. (MK)" (2/2015) Wine Spectator: "Sleek and ripe, with appealing flavors of raspberry, caramel and spice. Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2020. (TF, Web-2015)" K&L Notes: Blend: 80% Syrah, 15% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre.
Proprietor Blair Pence teams with winemaker Sashi Moorman to produce the Pence Ranch wines in Santa Barbara. Pence says, "We strive for honesty and elegance in our wines, reflecting the beautiful landscape where our grapes are grown, the richness of the clay soils feeding their roots, and the abundant sunshine that provides life’s energy. The colors, aromas, and flavors in each bottle are the pure manifestation of our vineyard and our efforts to support it."
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Pedregal Vineyard has a deep garnet-purple color and nose of ripe black berries, crushed black currants, pencil lead and dried herbs with hints of dark chocolate and menthol. Medium to full-bodied with a great intensity and harmony, it has a solid backbone of firm grainy tannins and great length. Still very youthful and primary, give it another 2-3 years in bottle and drink it over the next 20+ years. 95+ points. (LPB)" (3/2017) 95 points Vinous: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvigno ...Read More »
This blend of 69% Pinot Grigio and 31% Greco is a meditation on the classic white wines of the Mediterranean.
Inventory: San Francisco
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* From the famed vineyard named for the colorful author, this wine remains a standout for the producer, and a tremendous deal for the quality. It exudes notes of eucalyptus on the nose, before unveiling big-boned but balanced tannins, with leather and cranberry notes meeting a tensile line of minerality. It finishes with a taste of mocha." (4/2016) Wine Spectator: "Shows lots of dill, cedar and dried herb notes amid the mocha and dark berry flavors, making this complex and focused. Ends with a long, pure finish and moderate tannins. Drink now through 2024. ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Wine Enthusiast: "An earthy, funky block-designated wine, this tastes thin despite its fuller-bodied alcohol level. A plethora of fresh-picked herb and forest characterizes this effort, which finishes in thick tannin." (3/2016)
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A California version of Corton-Charlemagne, the 2013 Chardonnay Lolita Ranch, which comes from old Wente clone, shows lemon meringue pie, a hint of crushed rock, and ripe apple and peach blossom notes. The wine has terrific fruit and should continue to drink well for another 5-8 years. One of the great families of Northern California, and of course, one of the highest quality producers, the Martinellis - and rather remarkably so - only estate-bottle 15% of their production from over 300 acres of beautifully situated vineyards in the Russian River Valle ...Read More »
This is always a great value Cab, coming from the Beckstoffer family's Amber Knolls Vineyards in Lake County. Plenty of blue and red fruit on the nose to get you excited, plus underlying notes of pencil lead and spicy oak, all of which carry over to the full palate. Fresh acidity and well-integrated tannins will make this a nice complement to your table and help this age well beyond what it's modest price point suggests.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Here is a genuinely elegant offering that manages to be brilliantly fruity while holding pushy ripeness at bay, and, while a somewhat lighter wine than "The Pianist" from the same maker, it sacrifices nothing in the way of varietal interest. It is comparatively low in alcohol -- only 12.9% according to its label -- but it does not so much as glance in the direction of greenness and is instead lithe and quite refined in feel with a trim touch of acidity making an enlivening, eleventh-hour appearance. Mark it for service with lighter meats and m ...Read More »
With fruit sourced from this notable Napa Valley site, Massican has produced yet another of their stunning white wines. The lower yields from the 2015 vintage meant more intense fruit, making this Chardonnay a very expressive wine.
Connoisseurs Guide: "Marginally riper than the typical Marimar style and solidly fruited with an overlay of creamy oak and dusty rose spice to its extracted core of dark cherries, this somewhat supple, fairly full-bodied offering more than makes up in richness for what it may lack in grace. It allows a touch of heat to emerge at the finish but does not let go of its hold on youthful fruit, and it can be expected to gain a bit of welcome polish during the coming three or four years." (6/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "Tight in tannin, a reflection of the vintage, this has a lushness of black cherry lurk ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Mise En Place, from Oakville, shows loads of licorice, Christmas fruitcake, sweet black fruits and a touch of oak in a medium to full-bodied, pure, concentrated style that is in keeping with the epic style of this vintage. Drink it over the next 12-15 years. (RP)" (12/2015) Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Ripe and yet nervy/vital at the same time, this young Cabernet manages to find emerging generosity within its slightly reluctant first nose, and its palatal impacts reflect similar tension between the black cherry, somewhat curranty flavors and a h ...Read More »
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Redwood Valley section of the Mendocino AVA. French oak, 25% new, for 18 months. Only 20 barrels produced.
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Very Pauillac-like (as usual), the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Wight has a similar character, with loads of creme de cassis, smoke, licorice and graphite as well as a full-bodied texture, dense, rich fruit, impressive purity and ripe tannin. This is a beauty, but interestingly, it doesn’t show the dramatic difference in quality that it often does at such a young age, although that may well evolve. Give it several more years of bottle age and drink it over the following two decades. I didn’t see the usual dramatic difference between the single-vineyard Caber ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "***Editors' Choice*** More immediately accessible and affordable than the producer's great estate bottling, this wine invites the nose with petrol, smashed white flower, wet chalk, lemon curd and pink-grapefruit aromas. The acidity is finely pointed on the refreshing and bitter sip, with lime skin, mandarin-orange pith, quinine and pink grapefruit flavors. (MK)" (6/2016)
Shelter is an exciting and different project. When winemakers put their blends together, they are often faced with tough decisions. For example, say there are 10 barrels each, of Cabernet from 4 different vineyard blocks. They are all great, and they have different personalities. However, when blended, one of the blocks characteristics overwhelms the others too much, so it would be better to put only 8 of those barrels into the blend. What do you do with those extra 2 barrels of awesome Cabernet? This is is where SHELTER comes in. Shelter is comprised of... Read More »
The few other labels that carry the Rochioli Vineyard designation may be better known, but Castalia is at the heart of it: winemaker Terry Bering is cellar master at Rochioli Vineyards. From the winery: "This wine should age for at least ten years and be in its prime in from 4 to 7 years. Castalia Pinot Noir possesses the full-bodied complexity and subtle cherry essence that are so typical of the finest Russian River Pinot Noirs."
Robert Parker writes of Martinelli: "One of the great families of Northern California, and of course, one of the highest quality producers, the Martinellis – and rather remarkably so – only estate-bottle 15% of their production from over 300 acres of beautifully situated vineyards in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. No doubt Helen Turley, who worked at Martinelli and mentored its winemaking team, left a profound influence on the quality of the Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, Syrahs and Zinfandels, a fact that can’t be overstated. The Chardonnays all ... Read More »
This is the pet project of Peter and Cathy Seghesio (yes, that Seghesio), as they aim to produce great wines from their San Lorenzo Winery property with the help of their sons.
Inventory: San Francisco
This hunting and fishing-themed brand makes an easygoing Chardonnay that's suited to fish or fowl.
94 points Vinous: "The 2011 Opus One comes across as quite powerful and intense. Raspberry jam, rose petals, savory herbs and mint, all come together beautifully in the glass. The tannins are going to need a few years to soften, but the 2011 continues to develop very nicely in bottle. This is a very strong showing, especially within the context of the year. The 2011 is dark and even a bit rough round the edges, particularly when tasted alongside the surrounding vintages. The lithe, mid-weight, savory style is at times more Old World than New, yet all the elements are in th ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "A vivid gold color distinguishes this grand wine at the first glance, and then lightly spicy aromas and a gorgeous combo of buttery and fruity flavors come forward. Generous flavors make it very compelling, while the texture that is at once lightly acidic and smooth completes the package. (JG)" (12/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco
Wine & Spirits: "This weaves together sweet, simple red fruit and barnyardy funk, the texture a bit chalky and astringent at the end, like apple skin. It’s a brash, rustic wine for roast chicken." (6/2016)
95 points James Suckling: "Blueberry and mineral give this an almost slate character. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and fabulous length. Very, very fine. This is the finest Onda ever. Hints of hazelnut and chocolate. Pure definition of the vineyards of Dana. Better in 2017." (7/2015) 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The largest case production is the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Onda, which is essentially their second wine culled from the top lots of Lotus, Hershey, Helms and Crystal Springs. It’s a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot (888 cases) that spent 20 months in 70% new French oak. Th ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
93 points Vinous: "Bright yellow. Smoky melon, quince and nectarine aromas show excellent precision and thrust, with sweet butter, honeysuckle and lemon pith notes adding complexity. Taut and light on its feet but deep in ripe citrus and orchard fruit flavors, picking up chalky minerals and a hint of iodine with air. Finishes with impressive cut, focus and strong, mineral-driven persistence, leaving a suave floral note behind. (JR)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: From the winery: "Sourced from adjacent north and south facing blocks on the western edge or our estate, this bottling is comprised of... Read More »
From the producer: "Almost every year, when we sit down at the blending table to taste through each of the barrels, we see wines that seem so tightly coiled in their barrels that I am compelled to allow them to rest and evolve for an additional year in barrel and to produce a small cuvee from these wines. This has been the case since my very first vintage and every subsequent vintage save 2010. These used to be bottled in the nameless blue/not blue label that only served to confuse everyone. That was not, in any way, my intention. These wines have now b... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse