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K&L Staff Recommendations
The bounty of the 2012 vintage is certainly showing its stuff. The Kirkham Peak Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir was made for us by a very notable Central Coast winery (we can't tell you who), and this bottling is the real deal at a fraction of the price. The winery who (for contractual reasons) needs to remain nameless, has a long list of highly-rated wines from various critics. And with the perfect raw materials in 2012, they've fashioned another winner. This has a profile of bright fruit--lovely raspberry and strawberry aromas that reverberate on t... Read More »
Great Price - Just Reduced! Last year’s Ancient Peaks/K&L Zinfandel bottling was such a hit with our staff and customers that we could have done another vintage of it and we all would have been incredibly happy. However, that would be too easy, and that is simply not the K&L way. I started talking to the folks at AP early this year when we began the discussion about doing another bottling together. We both knew that we wanted to, but I really wanted to show off the winery's incredible Cabernet vines and I didn’t know if they had enough Cab to let us have... Read More »
Willowbrook is a largely under-the-radar label from Joe Otos, winemaker at Owl Ridge Wines in Sebastopol. We've got some great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from choice vineyards from Willowbrook in the past, and now this Syrah. It comes from the Altes Vineyard, located in the Rincon Valley area in the middle of Sonoma County--not far from the hot Kick Ranch vineyard.
Wine Spectator: "Features juicy sour pineapple and tropical fruit notes that are pure and direct. More simple than complex. No oak." K&L Notes: From the winery: "A pale yellow hue, the wine is well balanced with great structure. Bright minerality, pink grapefruit and key lime characters shine through on the nose, followed by lemon zest and stone fruit. The mid-palate displays intriguing notes of lemon meringue, quince and citrus, complemented by a crisp acidity that carries through from start to finish. The higher acidity in this wine makes it a perfect accompaniment to a wide array ... 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 Santa 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.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay The Arsonist is one of the super-values in the marketplace. There are only 1,700 cases of this beauty. Copious notes of crisp honeysuckle, pineapple, white peach and caramelized pears are followed by a medium-bodied, surprisingly rich, concentrated, pure wine with zesty acids buttressing its intensity. Drink it over the next 1-2 years. (RP)" (11/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "In an era of proudly unoaked Chardonnays, this is a staunch throwback. It has a rich yellow-gold color, powerful aromas of toasted oak barrels and toasted walnuts, full body and viscous te ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "There’s some age showing on the nose of this wine, with cherry liqueur aromas most prevalent. It’s very tasty once sipped, and still strongly tannic, with dark cherry and black clove." (12/2014) K&L Notes: From Central Coast winery owner Nebil "Bilo" Zarif, who also founded Barnwood Vineyards, Summerland is a small (3,000 cases in the single vineyard collection) Pinot Noir specialist. The famed Bien Nacido Vineyard was planted in 1973, before the modern era of the Dijon clones, to Pommard and Martini.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
A joint project from your K&L domestic buying team and a high-profile winery in the Santa Barbara area. The fruit for this wine comes from a cooler vineyard site with a north-facing slope. Clone 828 is a Dijon clone that matures early and often shows lots of structure, color and complexity. In general, the clone shows great acidity, red and blue fruits and palate presence. Because of its roundness and completeness, clone 828 makes an excellent individual bottling.
Wine Enthusiast: "Daryl Groom is making these wines from Livermore Valley vineyards mostly and the wine is no doubt big in every way-15.6% alcohol with big tannins and big black, spicy fruit flavors hiding in there at first. It definitely needs time to open. And a giant, slathered-in-sauce kind of steak or other red meat." (11/2011)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "A minty aroma wafts from this wine, fresh and herbal, intermingled with the smell of sun-warmed tomato leaves. In taste, cranberry and savory black tea surround soft layers of well-built acidity and subtle red cherry fruitiness. It’s an intriguing wine that gets better in the glass." (10/2014)90 points Wine Spectator: "The plum, black cherry and raspberry flavors are pure and intense, showing some finesse, with star anise, clove and black pepper details that crescendo on the finish. Drink now through 2018." (9/2013)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Wine Enthusiast: "Woodenhead does Pinot Noir well, too, but here it shows its skill with Zinfandel, producing a structured, peppery and leathery version bright in briary blackberry and plum. With fierce minerality at its core, this is a distinctive Zin for those who prefer their wines savory and earthy." (8/2013) K&L Notes: Mendocino County is possibly the most overlooked source for Zinfandel in California, with long-established vineyards which deliver substantial and structured expressions. The Venturi family has owned this vineyard site since 1924 which sits just west of the Redwood... Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(34% grenache, 33% mourvedre and 33% zinfandel; 15.2% alcohol): Bright purple. Ripe raspberry and blueberry on the nose and in the mouth. Juicy, spice-accented berry compote flavors show an appealingly silky quality and pick up a floral nuance with air. Closes on a gently sweet note, with lingering blue fruit and spice qualities. No shortage of fruit here." (11/2012) Antonio Galloni: "The 2010 Lothario is another of the more restrained wines in this lineup from Kukkula. It shows good depth and persistence, with pretty notes of tobacco, wild flowers and dried cherries linger ...Read More »
92 points The Prince of Pinot: "Sourced from Cougar Rock Vineyard. Harvest Brix 22.8º. Whole cluster pressed, native primary and secondary fermentations in 100% French oak barrels, 33% new. Aged 10 months before a light fining and filtration. · Light golden yellow and clear in the glass. Lovely aromas of lemon curd, lime zest, Granny Smith apple and buttery brioche. Very clean, crisp and juicy on the palate, with pleasing flavors of lemon, pear, honey and caramel. Nicely composed, with a lip-smacking, acid-driven finish."
96 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is fabulous. Gorgeous, expressive aromatics meld into dark red stone fruits in a Cabernet of pure breed and class. These cool sites in Coombsville yield a Cabernet built on savory aromatics, perfume and depth. There is so much going on in the glass that words prove superficial in trying to describe just how beautiful the 2012 is. Majestic. That might do it. This is the finest and most complete set of wines I can remember tasting from Arietta. Proprietor Fritz Hatton and winemaker Andy Erickson seem to have reached a new level ...Read More »
From the winery: "A compilation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, and Merlot; this red blend entices the palate with flavors of ripe black cherry, mission figs and anise. Subtle notes of spice and tobacco finish on soft tannins."
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Concentrated and bright, this blend of 63% Grenache and 37% Syrah has deep flavors of strawberry and licorice. Ready to age for several years, it has a mountain’s worth of tannins, and yet it is incredibly light on its feet." (4/2013)91 points Wine Spectator: "Pleasing for its mix of rustic, gravel-laced dark berry, black cherry and blackberry flavors, gaining depth and firmness on the finish. Grenache and Syrah. Drink now through 2022. (Web-2013)" K&L Notes: We called this wine “The Brat” because it is based in Grenache and Grenache is a temperamental grape that basically is difficult to culti... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Anthology exhibits a dense purple color as well as attractive floral, blackcurrant and blue fruit-dominated aromatics. The enticing bouquet is followed by a medium-bodied, pure, complete wine with a solid attack, mid-palate and finish. There is noticeable, but well-integrated tannin in this excellent/outstanding effort. Drink it over the next 10-12 years. (RP)" (10/2014)
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From the Rockpile AVA, the 2012 Zinfandel Botticelli Vineyard reveals slightly more acids as well as more briary, mountain berry-styled fruit, a tangy, spicy headiness, a full-bodied mouthfeel, and impressive purity, texture and length. It, too, should be consumed over the next 7-8 years. Jeff Cohn makes a dizzying array of wines, all of which have enormous appeal and character. (RP)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: From the winery: "The Botticelli fruit comes from one of the highest elevation vineyards at 1,800 feet. Dark like wearing sunglasses at midnight and loaded with ras... Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "Brothers Jake and Scot Bilbro seem to have breathed new life into Marietta, one of Sonoma's historic wineries. This year, the Bilbros have two new wines; the NV Christo, a Syrah-based red, and the NV Armé, which features Bordeaux varieties. All four wines in this range deliver outstanding quality and value. I wish every Vinous reader could sit down for a tasting with the Martinelli family as I have had the privilege of doing for the last handful of years. Of all the estates I visit in California, Martinelli is the one of the very few properties where vir ...Read More »
The winery notes, "Dark blue-black color, concentrated, extracted, dark aromas of boysenberry, blackberry, dark cocoa, subtle mint, chamomile, fresh herb and Earl Grey tea and lychee. Polished, gentle but building tannins, round, deep mid-palate fruit, fresh acidity. Supremely age worthy. A layered, textural and complex blockbuster of Coombsville Zinfandel. If cellared well, this wine will continue to improve for the next 3-5 years." Only 494 cases were produced.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Opaque ruby. Ripe cherry and black raspberry aromas are complicated by notes of licorice, cola and smoky herbs. A sexy floral nuance comes up with air, adding lift to weighty berry and espresso flavors. Takes a brighter turn on the long, sappy finish, featuring raspberry compote and floral pastille qualities." (5/2014) Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* This may be the ripest of the new Ravenswood lot, but it does not go the way of chocolaty heaviness, and it delivers a fair bit of bright, slightly raspberry-like fruit. It is fleshy, big-bodied and a bit hot in the bargain, and i ...Read More »
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Inky purple. Pungent, smoke- and spice-accented aromas of black and blue fruits, licorice, vanilla and violet. Fleshy and broad on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering sappy blueberry and black raspberry flavors and a zesty touch of cracked pepper. Closes on a sweet note, with impressive energy and slow-building tannins. I'd give this one at least another five years of bottle age." (5/2013) K&L Notes: Ravenswood's Icon, once a Syrah-based Rhone blend, has been reinvented as a distinctly California-style, premium Zinfandel-based blend balanced with Peti... Read More »
94 points Antonio Galloni: "Lail’s flagship wine, the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon J. Daniel Cuvee, is another rich, extroverted offering. Mocha, plums, chocolate, cloves, licorice and spices all emerge from a surprisingly big, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2011 is explosive, rich and intense, with equally imposing tannins that are going to need at least a few years to settle down. This is an impressive showing from Lail. The J. Daniel Cuvee is built on a core of fruit from Heimark, plus Mole Hill and Vine Hill Ranch. 94+" (7/2014)91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright ruby. Blackberry, cassis, leather and a hin ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A 400-case blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 25% Mourvedre, the 2012 High Road James Berry Vineyard has a seamless, pure and elegant character to go with rock-solid ripeness. Showing plum, cassis, violet, licorice and crushed rock-like nuances on the nose, it is full-bodied, fresh and supple, yet has a serious spine of tannin that comes through on the finish. I love the purity here, but it needs another year or two in the cellar, and will have just under a decade of longevity. Winemaker Cris Cherry continues to push the whole cluster and savory style ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay Charm Acres is an exuberantly fruity effort displaying hints of tropical fruits, white peaches, no evidence of oak, and crisp, fresh, pure flavors. While not particularly complex, it will provide satisfying drinking over the next several years. It should be immensely popular among consumers." (12/2013) K&L Notes: Winemaker's Tasting Notes: "A big impressive Chardonnay with toasty oak, bread dough, lemon curd and lime zest. Rich with lively acid and great weight, mineral-laden and hints of lychee and pear on its long finish."
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon possesses a deep ruby/purple color in addition to classic notes of crème de cassis, blueberries and a hint of that mountain wildflower character that is a part of the Spring Mountain District appellation. Sweet tannins, beautiful ripeness, and a long, textured mouthfeel are found in this beauty. It is one of the finest wines the Barnetts have made since this winery was founded in 1983." (10/2014)91 points Wine Spectator: "Well-proportioned, with a complex mix of red berry, cherry and wild berry, turning supple and subtle midpalate and ending with a tasty ...Read More »
94 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Bondi Home Ranch is all about texture. Seamless and expressive in the glass, the 2013 impresses for its balance and overall sense of harmony. The 80% new oak barrels are totally integrated in this impeccable and highly expressive Pinot. Sweet floral and spice notes add the final layers of complexity. Bondi Home Ranch is the coolest Pinot site Martinelli works with and is distinguished by its very long vegetative cycle. I wish every Vinous reader could sit down for a tasting with the Martinelli family as I have had the privilege of doi ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Gallo's "Signature Series" wines are billed as a return to hands-on winemaking for third generation winemaker Gina Gallo. Indeed, this wine is a single vineyard selection, from the Olson Ranch, "a cascading vineyard perched atop the terraces of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range with a terroir that echoes that of Burgundy." The "Signature Series" Pinot Noir has received positive tasting notes and a 93 points from Wine Enthusiast in recent vintages. Confidently bearing the Gallo name, this wine represents the new era of quality for the winery...yet at a very ... Read More »
From the winery: "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. This full-bodied red wine has blackberry and cocoa flavors, with some pepper and spice on the finish."
From the winery's estate Margarita Vineyard, which is situated at the gateway between the cool marine-influenced south and the warm inland area of Paso Robles. Two harvests spaced two weeks apart layered this Sauv Blanc with a foundation of acidity, and riper fruits on the top. The winery's note: "The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc offers refreshing aromas of pear, gooseberry and citrus with a suggestion of jasmine and mineral. A full palate unfolds with rounded flavors of peach, grapefruit and guava. Notes of lime zest add lift to a clean, quenching finish."
Inventory: San Francisco
91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a pretty wine from Chateau Montelena. Expressive floral and savory notes add complexity to the dark, pliant fruit in a soft, open Cabernet that is already quite tasty. I expect the 2011 will drink well early, but then again, these wines can be deceptively age worthy. That said, there are no hard edges or vegetal notes at all. Montelena's 2011 Estate impresses for its balance and overall sense of harmony. (AG)" (12/2014)
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "An inky black 100% Petite Sirah that’s smoky and soft, luxurious in nuanced and complex layers of black and blueberry fruit, black pepper and wild game. An incredible offering from the Napa Valley." (10/2014) Wine Spectator: "Shows an appealing juiciness to the blackberry, blueberry and raspberry flavors, with thick, velvety tannins and clove, vanilla bean, tobacco and crushed rock details. Features impressive intensity and focus. The tannins never get in the way. Drink now through 2025. 192 cases made." (11/2014)
Sourced from Staglin's estate vineyards, this 2013 Chardonnay displays the quality of the flawless 2013 growing season. Rich and concentrated, the wine was barrel-fermented and aged in 61% new wood for 10 months before bottling, but malolactic fermentation was partially restricted to retain brightness and energy. From winemaker Fredrik Johansson: "The flaxen hued 2013 Salus Chardonnay exudes restraint as a result of an abundantly warm growing season juxtaposed by some earlier-than-usual picks to capture and preserve the wonderful freshness the fruit was ... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
This Sonoma County bottling from Martin Ray is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the Dry Creek, Alexander and Sonoma Valley appellations. The wine was aged for 18 months in a mix of both French and American oak, both new and previously filled. From the winery: "The blend of these different appellations adds a wonderful complexity to this wine, which shines through as savory spices, woodsy earth tones and sweet, baked cherries alongside wild boysenberry jam. This medium-bodied but full Cabernet has a rich front and mid-palate, which is concentrated by ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
95 points Wine & Spirits: "Rainy and unseasonably cold, the 2011 vintage wasn’t a year for beginners, but for better or worse it was Bettina Sichel’s first vintage at Laurel Glen, after she purchased the property from Patrick Campbell. In March of that year she brought in Phil Coturri to manage the vineyard, which he began cultivating organically while dialing back the irrigation. The vineyard, perched on a saddle of volcanic soil above the fog line yet sheltered from the coastal wind, did manage to fully ripen, just later than normal. The final grapes were harvested on November 1 ...Read More »
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Green-tinged yellow. Tightly wound citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complemented by notes of sweet butter and iodine. Silky and appealingly sweet, offering intense Meyer lemon and pear skin flavors that pick up a vanilla nuance with aeration. Closes spicy and long, with bright mineral lift and very good clarity. (ST)" (5/2014)
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Estate grown, this is the only white from the Wayfarer Vineyard out on the Fort Ross-Seaview coast, and it’s stunning. Culled from several distinct blocks planted to a handful of clones, including Mt. Eden and Old Wente, the aromas are pretty in orange blossom and peach, the body expansive and flinty. Succulent, the wine offers a lot of layered complexity ..." (3/2015)92 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Chardonnay Wayfarer Vineyard impresses for its energy and focus. Grapefruit, lemon oil, pears, chalk and white flowers all take shape in the glass. Today, the 201 ...Read More »
Zinke Wine Co. specializes in hand crafted, single vineyard Rhone varietal wines sourced from the Grand Crus of the central coast. Winemakers Notes: "The 2012 Gypsy is composed of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Viognier. Each lot was fermented and aged separately, and blended together before bottling. Fermented in 1.5 ton lots with twice daily punchdowns and daily pumpovers." Tasting Notes: "The 2012 Gypsy is the red headed step sister of the Grenache. She's edgy yet sexy, and un-apologetic for her wild ways. The nose has ethereal notes of raw red ... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
94 points Antonio Galloni: "Mocha, red plums, spices and new leather meld together in the 2012 H Block, Arietta's Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend. Soft, textured and silky on the palate, the 2012 impresses for its depth and creamy, resonant personality. This is another winner from Arietta. Texturally, the H Block is a bit softer in its contours than the Merlot. This is the finest and most complete set of wines I can remember tasting from Arietta. Proprietor Fritz Hatton and winemaker Andy Erickson seem to have reached a new level of quality with the 2012s and 2013s, both of which are b ...Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "Dark red cherries, orange peel, game, mint and spices open up in the 2012 Pinot Noir Coastlands Vineyard. There is lovely mid-palate depth and richness in the glass...(AG)" (1/2015)
From the famous 'Bella Vineyard' !
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From the coldest site, the 2012 Pinot Noir Seascape Vineyard reveals a dark ruby color along with lots of spice box, pomegranate, red currants, smoky herbs and forest floor notes. Savory with excellent richness and vibrant acidity, it can be drunk over the next 5-6 years. Part of the Jackson Family empire, Hartford Court is run with incredible enthusiasm and competence by Don Hartford and his winemaker, Jeff Stewart. One of the bright shining stars in California winedom, their Chardonnays are clearly Burgundian, but with sensational purity and ripeness ...Read More »
93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Inky ruby. A complex bouquet presents dark fruit liqueur, licorice, violet and fruitcake, with a smoky overtone and a hint of black pepper. Stains the palate with sappy boysenberry and cherry-cola flavors that spread out on the back half and pick up a suave floral pastille nuance. Dusty tannins build through a sweet, strikingly persistent finish brightened by a vibrant, spicy jolt of peppery spices. I suspect that this will be the longest-lived of this year's set of Zins here, but I don't think that it will take forever to unfold, either." (5/2014)91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two St ...Read More »
Winemaker notes: "Garnet color in the glass. Aromas of bright cherry pie, fresh herbs, rose petals, and sasparilla. On the palate, plum and raspberry with notes of cardamom, graphite, mint, and hints of cedar. Framed with soft tannins and firm acidity, this elegant offering will benefit from decanting or time in the bottle. 38% new French oak. 150 cases produced."
Inventory: San Francisco
New to K&L from Topanga Vineyards, the Chroma Cab is sourced from Paso Robles' Bootjack Vineyard and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is varietally correct with fine, supple integrated tannins and great texture on the palate. Its juicy rich fruit is well-balanced by its suprising Paso acidity and the wine is superbly food friendly. If you're looking for your next weeknight red for under $20, then look no further. This will deliver the goods! (Christie Cartwright, Hollywood Buyer)