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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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. (JL)" (6/2015) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a taut and trim wine, but with plenty of toasted oak aromas and rich maple and cherry flavors to fill out its firm frame. Flavors combine cinnamon, cardamom, plum and Bing cherry. The texture is moderately tannic and firmly crisp for an attractive, lip-smacking quality. (JG)" (12/2015) K&L Notes: If it looks like a duck, that's because Goldeneye is indeed part of the Duckhorn Vineyar... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
The excellent 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet vintage is yielding fantastic wines, and the entry-level bottlings have greatly benefited with their ample concentration and structure. Honig utilized fruit from their sustainably farmed estate vineyard in Rutherford as well as fruit from other local growers. The wine was aged for 18 months in American oak (35% new) before the lots were selected for inclusion in this final blend. From the winery: "A big Cabernet with balance and finesse, with characters of black fruit, baking spices, black cherry, lavender, toaste... Read More »
Duckhorn has been making Cabernet since 1978. From the ideal 2013 vintage, this is 92% Cabernet Sauvignon blended with 6% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Aged in 100% French oak barrels for 16 months; 45% new, 55% neutral.
From the winery: "This elegant wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon harvested from our estates and other select premium Napa Valley vineyards. A portion of the Sauvignon Blanc was barrel-fermented in French oak. This technique and the addition of the Sémillon add depth and complexity to the aroma and palate, enhancing the ripe citrus and tropical flavors of the Sauvignon Blanc."
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch shows much higher acid profiles, plenty of delicate, fresh pineapple, honeysuckle, pear and lemon oil notes. Of all of the Dutton Ranch Chardonnays, this comes across more like a Grand Cru from Chablis, given its wet stone, gravelly, minerality. A laid back, reticent, but impressively endowed Chardonnay with great acid, the high yields of the year may have rendered wines with less concentration and drama than the 2012, but it comes across a completely different animal, even though the winemaking and vineyard source are id ...Read More »
Though the 2014 has yet to be professionally reviewed, the 2013 earned 91 points and praise from Wine Enthusiast: "The producer's most popular and widely made Zin has a loyal following, and this vintage merits further admiration, offering soft, plummy juiciness on the palate. Not over-oaked, it sparks with black pepper, finishing with elegance." (12/2015)
89 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* An appealing touch of coconut water adds some richness to the peach, melon and citrus flavors, with accents of floral, citrus zest and mango. Drink now." (11/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This white is quite tropical, with a hot, spicy note of jalapeño. Light in terms of texture and body, it finishes with a suggestion of orange peel and mango." (12/2015)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "One of the first releases since Charles Banks invested in Bob Lindquist's pioneering brand, this wine shows Japanese apple, lemon blossoms, lightly browned butter and a touch of tropicality on the nose. Still a bit wound up, the wine conveys potential length, with green-apple skins, nectarine flesh, cement-like minerality and a chive herb lift. (MK)" (6/2016)
92 points Wine & Spirits: "Ivo Jeramaz, Mike Grgich’s nephew, grows this wine at estate vineyards in American Canyon and Carneros, where most of his Sauvignon vines are the musqué clone. He ferments it in foudres, with a small portion in older French oak barrels. That oak is evident in a vanillin scent when the wine is first poured, but the fruit has retained its brightness and clarity, so the oak aging adds depth and plushness while the wine feels tight and concentrated, focused on passion fruit and juicy orange notes." (6/2015) Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Sharing the house style with the Grgich Es ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This serious and concentrated wine has plenty of ripe fruit aromas and flavors, with a smooth texture, and lingering fruitiness on the finish. It resembles black plums and cloves in flavor, and has excellent balance and depth." (12/2015) Wine Spectator: "Offers zesty flavors of bright cherry, smoky herb and lots of cracked pepper. Packs in a lot of character. Drink now through 2018. 11,475 cases made." (6/2015)
Qupé owner Bob Lindquist has been working in the Central Coast vineyards since 1975, while the winemaking trade in the area was still in its infancy. He worked for Jim Clendenen (who would later found Au Bon Climat) at Zaca Mesa Winery and founded Qupé in 1982. From the winery: "This full bodied red is made from grapes sourced from cool and warm climate vineyards. The cool climate components bring spice, freshness, acidity and lower alcohol, and warm climate components provide the deep, forward fruit. Because the wine is nicely balanced it is very enjoya... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Green-tinged yellow. Ripe pear and nectarine aromas show very good depth and clarity, turning spicier with air. Smooth, warm and open-knit, offering an array of pit and citrus fruit flavors that tighten up on the back half. A floral note comes up on the fragrant, focused, fruity finish. (JR)" (9/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Probably the leanest example of this cuvee I've tasted, the 2013 Esprit de Tablas Blanc checks in as 71% Roussanne, 21% Grenache Blanc and 8% Picpoul that saw 10 months in mostly neutral foudre. It offers pretty, salty minerality in its leafy herbs, citrus an ...Read More »
The 2014 vintage in California was a friendly one for Zinfandel, with a long, warm, even-keeled ripening season. Tasting notes from the winery: "Our classic California Zinfandel is dark purple-ruby, with a youthful red hue. The nose entices with scents of raspberry, cranberry, licorice, and spice. Lush and concentrated flavors of ripe cherry, dark berries, and vanilla flood the palate, followed by touches of pepper and spice. Very fine tannins and great length make for a satisfying finish."
As Wall Street Journal wine writers Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher advise, "If you ever see Heitz Cellars' Ink Grade Port...grab it!" (from "Give Sweets a Chance," 10/2009). It's sound advice, for this rich and intensely satisfying dessert-style wine from Heitz sure does hit the sweet spot for under $20! A blend of eight different Portuguese grape varieties with distinctive character from the Ink Grade Vineyard in Napa Valley, the current blend draws from the 2005, 2006, and 2007 vintages. From the winery: "The deep hue of our Ink Grade Port sets the to... Read More »
Gorgeous and golden in the glass, this lusciously aromatic dessert wine will pair perfectly with summer fruit tarts. From the winery: "This 2012 Semillon vintage from a remarkable growing season is rich and powerful, in other words, a knockout wine! We harvested the grapes late on October 2, and let them dry in the sun for two weeks before crushing. That concentrated the sugar to 37 Brix, resulting in 12% residual sugar and 13% alcohol in the bottled wine. With a beautiful golden hue, distinctive honeysuckle character on the nose, and caramel and honey f... Read More »
Jeb Dunnuck of eRobertParker.com writes: "Gianni Abate makes these latest releases from Morgan Winery. They all have well-made, fresh and lively profiles, and in a number of cases, represent terrific values."
Wine Enthusiast: "Fragrant in sugarplum and cherry-vanilla, this summery wine uses Grenache, Merlot and Petit Verdot to string together a dry, likable quaff high in acidity and light-bodied from start to finish." (8/2016)
91 points Vinous: "The 2012 Syrah bursts from the glass with dark red cherry, plum, smoke, lavender and sweet spices. Ample and juicy on the palate, the 2012 is an excellent choice for drinking over the next few years. The style is soft and fruit-forward, with no hard edges and terrific overall balance. (AG)" (7/2014) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Tasted from bottle, the 2012 Syrah Santa Barbara County is a year-in and year-out outstanding wine, as well as a smoking value. Loaded with notions of plum, blackberry, licorice, violets, and hints of olive, this medium to full-bodied, delicious, forward Syrah ...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. Drink now." (7/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Focused and deeply structured, with bold blackberry and cedar aromas and fla ...Read More »
92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Still not bottled, the 2013 Esprit de Tablas (40% Mourvedre, 28% Syrah, 22% Grenache and 10% Counoise) reveals a deep ruby color to go with lots of kirsch, black cherries, rose petal and underbrush. Full-bodied, nicely concentrated, with solid mid-palate depth and a great texture, it should drink nicely on release and keep for a decade or more. (JD)" (8/2015) 93 points Vinous: "Bright ruby. High-pitched red berry, cherry and floral pastille aromas are complicated by suggestions of allspice and smoky minerals. Sappy and concentrated, showing strong spicy lift to its bitter ch ...Read More »
"Please no lemon twist, too strong" Quady advises in the recipe for their Quady Whisper Dry Vodka Martini. Created in 2011 as a followup to the California-made Vya Extra Dry, the Central Valley producer's Whisper Dry is a more subtle, less herbaceous offering, meant to add to but not compete with high-quality spirits.
91 points Decanter: "Stern cherry nose, underlaid by sweet oak. Rich and fleshy with good concentration and typicity and a lively, spicy finish. Assertive and long but not heavy. (GH)" (8/2015) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Red-cherry and strawberry aromas meld with rich fruit and warm baking-spice flavors to make this full-bodied wine hard to resist. The style is in the ripe, pastry shop mode, and soft tannins and acidity complete the picture. (JG)" (8/2016)
Rombauer Vineyards began producing Chardonnay in 1982. In 1990, the Rombauer family made their first Chardonnay from the Carneros region, where San Pablo Bay meets the southern end of Napa and Sonoma valleys. There, the cool climate and clay soils offer ideal conditions for growing superior Chardonnay with the Rombauer hallmarks — intense fruit flavors balanced by fresh acidity. Enticing aromas of ripe apple, bright citrus and melon are layered with creme brulee, baking spices and a touch of butter. Vibrant flavors of tropical fruit, baked apple, citrus... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Offering notes of ripe pear and fresh ginger, this is highlighted by a squirt of lime juice, with a smooth core and crisp minerality that adds definition on the finish. (Web Only-2016)"
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "Pretty mahogany color. First nosings pick up exotic herbal aromas that are delicately sweet and botanical; later passes reveal deeper, more complex scents of autumn woods, mulled wine and holiday spices. In the mouth, it’s sweet, sour and spicy at entry; by midpalate the range of flavors runs from nutmeg to quinine to muscat grapes to orange rind. Aftertaste is long. The finest sweet vermouth available." (12/2002) K&L Notes: Imagine a warm tingling sensation and a spicy aroma. Cinnamon gives warmth while gentian, galangal and nutmeg add spice. Wines from Orange Mus... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "*Very Good/Recommended* Pale gold hue. Opening aromas merely hint at quinine, herbs and botanicals; later on, with further air contact, the quinine becomes the dominant factor. Palate entry is stone-dry, tart, herbal and winey; at midpalate, the wine quality takes a back seat to the herbs and botanicals. Finishes with a flash of quinine." (12/2009) K&L Notes: Can ship to "NO SPIRIT" states because this is wine-based. This California vermouth has hints of lavender, sage orris, and linden that furnish a note of coolness, while wines made from Colombard and Orange Musc... 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." (1/2015)
Producer Note: "Fulfilling aromas and flavors of fresh pears, apricots, casaba melon and a hint of mineral-like complexity complimented by tart notes of kaffir lime. Though this wine sees no oak, it has a slight essence of yeasty toast. It starts lively on the palate then evolves into a round lengthy mouthfeel with a bright, refreshing finish. It is incredibly complex in its natural simplicity. This Pinot Blanc only comes in half-bottles and magnums, because you should either start with it or party with it!"
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "While their generic cuvée, the 2014 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, comes from multiple cool-climate sites, the wine offers Burgundian, earthy forest floor notes, with hints of red cherries, pomegranate, raspberry, a touch of earth, underbrush and forest floor. Vibrant red fruits dominate in this elegant, medium-bodied style. This is their largest cuvée of Pinot Noir at 11,300 cases. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. (RP)" (4/2016)
Many wineries make a Cargasacchi Pinot from these vineyards: Siduri, Loring, Ken Brown and Pali, to name a few. The Cargasacchi-Jalama vineyard is planted to four distinctive clones, including a "mystery" clone and Mt. Eden.
Inventory: Redwood City
Known more for their Merlot, Duckhorn has been making premier wines in the Napa Valley since 1976 and released its first Sauvignon Blanc in 1982.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley has the varietal’s peppery, raspberry and black cherry fruit, earth and spice, nice meatiness, and a character that begs for something prepared outside on the grill. This is a lovely, fresh, pure, medium to full-bodied Zinfandel to drink over the next 3-4 years. (RP)" (3/2016) Wine Spectator: "Sleek and well-balanced, with an elegant sense of complexity, offering flavors of fresh cherry and herb and accents of white pepper and anise. Drink now through 2021." (6/2016)
95 points Vinous: "The 1997 Opus One tastes like it was made yesterday, not 16 years ago. One of the most opulent, racy wines in this vertical, the 1997 literally explodes from the glass. Juicy dark red cherries, menthol, tobacco and licorice all make an appearance as the 1997 opens up over time. Readers holding the 1997 are in for a thrill. Even though the growing season was defined by hot weather, a short maturation cycle and a large crop, the wine turned out beautifully. In 1997 the blend is 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot, 4% Malbec and 1% Petit Ve ...Read More »
Au Bon Climat winemaker Jim Clendenen has been a driving force for high quality wines in Santa Barbara County since the early '80s. His signature style, which deftly merges Old World sensibilities with New World flair manifests in tasty, well-crafted wines from regional blends like this one, to the most sophisticated single-vineyard bottlings. According to the producer: "Great value! This barrel fermented, full bodied Chardonnay has mouth filling citrus fruit and a palate cleansing, bright finish. It will become richer and more complex with age."
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Medium brick colour. Intense nose of dried blackberries and cherries laced with complex aromas of coffee grounds, tobacco leaf, cumin and soy. Nice concentration of mature berry and spice fruit balanced by medium to firm, slightly chewy tannins and medium to high acidity. A more structured style of Opus. Very long finish. Drink now to 2020. Tasted April 2009. (LPB)" (7/2009) 93 points Vinous: "Freshly cut flowers, raspberries, anise and savory herbs jump from the glass in the 1995 Opus One. A beautifully bright, focused wine, the 1995 stands out for its high-toned aromatics ...Read More »
The 2013 is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon with the balance Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, and was aged in 55% new oak for 18 months. Spice notes complement the intense dark fruit while well-integrated tannins give this wine structure and an elegant mouthfeel. Intense and complex, this Cabernet truly delivers. According to the winery: "The 2013 Ladera Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon displays intense aromas of black cherry, vanilla and red licorice with savory notes of olive and dried herbs. The concentrated palate reveals brambly black fruits, toasty oak and ... Read More »
96-100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "An inky/purple color is accompanied by wonderful aromas of smoky black currant and blackberry fruit interwoven with incense, camphor, charcoal and new oak. The wine is deep, multidimensional, full-bodied, rich and opulent with a voluptuous texture. Even as a barrel sample, this stunning effort is irresistible. This deep, prodigious 2012 should be approachable when released and age effortlessly for 25-30 years. The 2012 Insignia (17,500 cases expected to be produced; 14.5% alcohol) is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 10% Merlot and the ...Read More »
90-94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Good red color. Spicy aromas of raspberry, smoke, herbs, mint and licorice. Similar flavors on the palate; supple, sweet, lush and pliant. Sound structure covered by flesh. Finishes with palate-caressing ripe tannins and a note of smoked meat. Stylish and persistent." (12/1998) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Aged in 60% new French oak and bottled without filtration, the deep ruby-colored 1996 Pinot Noir Carneros exhibits a smoky, spicy, more intense nose than its 1995 counterpart. The wine possesses fine ripeness, plenty of cherry/berry fruit with vague underbrush notes, and silky, roun ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
This is a true port-style wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Fermentation is stopped by the addition of a high-proof neutral grape brandy, leaving 7% natural grape sugar in the wine, which is aged in older French oak barrels. Promising to pack a lot of flavor into this little 375ml bottle, it's not just for chocolate and dessert pairings—try it with a cheese plate! The winery's tasting note: "Ripe black cherry, blackcurrant and a subtle berry jelly note mixed with savory Cabernet Sauvignon elements. Full-bodied, sweet but fresh on the palate with ... Read More »
98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from 100% Chardonnay from the Alban Vineyard, the 2005 Mr. K. The Nobleman possesses 235 grams of residual sugar per liter as well as exceptional acid levels. This incredibly rich, sweet white is almost like the Quintessence bottlings from Alsace’s Domaine Weinbach. Its mind-boggling purity, balance, intensity, and sweetness are balanced by the wine’s zesty acidity. An amazing achievement fashioned from 100% botrytised fruit, it will keep for 20 or more years. (RP)" (6/2008) 93 points Vinous: "(for 375 ml.; 235 grams per liter of residual sugar) Orange-gold color. Wild, ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2002 Mr. K The Noble Man (321 grams per liter of residual sugar and 10.25 grams per liter of acidity) is made from 100% botrytised Chardonnay. Its medium gold color is followed by a wine with honeyed complexity, and huge body, sweetness, and thickness. This effort is never as complex or focused as its siblings, but it is still a phenomenal sweet wine that can stand on its own merits against any great sweet wine made in the world. (RP)" (6/2005)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
89 (+?) points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale green-tinged gold color. High-toned aromas of peach, apricot, clove and cinnamon. Not at all unctuous or thick; in fact a bit tart-edged, with slightly shrill flavors of orange peel and overripe pineapple framed by fresh acidity. This is even sweeter than the 2000 version at 16% residual sugar (it's carrying more alcohol as well), and yet the acids seem harder too, at least today. Additional Recommended California Wines." (May/June 03)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale yellow-gold color. Perfumed aromas of lichee, rose water, ginger and quince. Superconcentrated and very intense, with flavors of ginger, flowers, spices and caramel lifted by lively acidity (ten grams per liter, including some added malic acid). Really gets the salivary glands working. This wine should soften in the bottle, but I'd still recommend consuming it over the next two or three years. Features 10.8% alcohol and 16% residual sugar, with about 20% botrytized berries." (May/June 05)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, is a relatively powerful statement from the new owners. Dense ruby/purple in color, with an exceptional nose of crème de cassis, a touch of mulberry and spice. The oak is completely obscured by the lavish, concentrated, ripe fruit and multi-dimensional mid-palate that expands beautifully, but with no sense of heaviness. The wine is rich and full-bodied, but with velvety tannin and stunning purple and black fruits. This is a beauty, with savoriness that’s hard to articulate. The finish ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The monumental 2004 Mr. K. The Straw Man, a Semillon Vin de Pays, possesses 9.9% alcohol and 310 grams per liter of residual sugar yet an amazing 7.6 grams per liter of acidity. An elixir of amazing proportions, there are 2,500 half bottles, which will be released in early 2008. Astounding notes of marmalade, creme brulee, and a liqueur of roasted nuts are accompanied by fabulous acidity, which provides uplift and vibrancy in spite of its enormous richness and unctuosity. The only thing I can say is you must taste it to believe it! I have no idea how lon ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse