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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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. From a stellar vintage, the 2014 Pinot is the whole package: superb balance, texture and flavor. Notes from the winery: "Nestled amongst the coastal redwoods of the majestic Anderson Valley, Goldeneye’s estate vineyards yield wines that exude the characteristics of their surroundings. Charming, but with a hint of wildness, plush yet rustic... 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.
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)
Inventory: Redwood City
It's nice to have a Dashe Dry Creek Valley Zin in handy half-bottle format--not a late harvest Zin (more often seen in 375ml), this eminently totable wine is perfectly sized for a hike and a picnic. Still made in Oakland, California from Dry Creek Valley grapes, this blend of vineyards has earned some good points in recent vintages, too, with the 2014 scoring 90 in both Connoisseurs Guide and Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.
Virginia Boone of Wine Enthusiast raves: "Rhône specialist Bill Easton began making Muscat à Petits Grains in 1995, inspired by his love of Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. A wine he creates only in certain years, it’s a deliciously balanced delight of apricot and honey-nectar flavors with a crème brûlée richness. It pairs perfectly with fresh fruit and cheese, as a first course with foie gras or with fruit or nut desserts."
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A year in, year out killer value, Jaffurs' 2013 Syrah checks in as 84% Syrah, 9% Petite Sirah, 4% Mourvedre and a splash of Grenache that was completely destemmed and aged 10 months in neutral oak. It's gives up tons of classic Cali Syrah notes of brambly blackberries, plums, licorice, violets and pepper herbs to go with a medium to full-bodied, plump, pure and straight-up delicious style on the palate. California (and Syrah) needs to have more of these fabulous wines at these prices. Buy this by the case and enjoy bottles over the coming 4-5 years. (JD) ...Read More »
This Merlot-dominated blend reminds us why Duckhorn earned its reputation as one of California's preeminent sources for Merlot. The 2013 vintage was evenly warm and harvest was early, which the winemaker called "the dream scenario for end-of-season ripening." The perfectly ripe fruit translates in the glass to rich black cherry and plum notes, with an interplay of cedar, cigar box and orange zest. This is delicious now but will cellar well.
90 points Wine Spectator: "Fragrant and succulent, with melon, lime and passion fruit flavors accented by spice and orange sherbet hints. Features a smooth, supple frame and juicy accents. Drink now." (8/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is a blend of 79% Sauvignon Blanc and 21% Semillon. It offers attractive notes of melon, fig and caramelized citrus, and has a texture more akin to Chardonnay than Sauvignon. It also has a very long finish. This is a top flight Sauvignon Blanc to drink over the next several years. (RP)" (12/2016) K&L Notes: Known more for their Merlot, Duckhorn has been making prem... Read More »
90 points Vinous: "Inky ruby. Spice-tinged dark berries, licorice and pungent flowers on the nose, joined by a smoky nuance that builds with air. Shows very good energy and focus in the mouth, offering juicy blackberry and olive flavors and a subtle touch of cracked pepper on the back half. Closes sweet and long, displaying sneaky tannins and bright, peppery persistence. I was reminded a lot of a Crozes-Hermitage. These fruit-driven, generous, accessible wines are mostly built for early enjoyment but the reds also have the concentration and tannic structure to reward at le ...Read More »
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 »
Named 2012 Winery by the Year from the Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine! The new Chardonnay release from Frank Family is sourced from Carneros, in the southern Napa Valley, and displays its signature volume and length, with ripe peachy and tropical citrus fruit aromas and flavors, a lush and creamy mid-palate, and layers of toasty oak spice. Praise for the last vintage from Wine Enthusiast: "Tropical in personality, with a leanness of pineapple and guava, this wine holds a concentration of oak-influenced flavor and texture at its heart. It ends gen... 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)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of the leading practitioners of Sauvignon Blanc in Napa Valley, Honig makes two cuvées – their basic Sauvignon Blanc (blended with 4% Semillon and 1% Muscat) and the Reserve (blended with 10% Semillon and 2% Muscat). Their 2015 Sauvignon Blanc exhibits pleasant honeysuckle, citrus and melony fruit in a light to medium-bodied style, with an attractive fragrance and a dry, crisp finish. Drink it over the next year. (RP)" (12/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "A stainless-steel fermented white, with 4% Sémillon, this bright wine shows vibrant acidity and a lively streak of lemon peel ...Read More »
91-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of the few times where there's almost as much Grenache in the blend as Mourvedre (Jason commented that the Grenache was just that good), the ruby colored 2014 Esprit de Tablas is made from 40% Mourvedre, 35% Grenache, 20% Syrah and the rest Counoise, and was aged mostly in foudre. It reveals solid aromatics of garrigue, black raspberries, pepper and violets to go with a medium to full-bodied, bright, fresh style on the palate. Again, there's some chewy tannin present, yet I suspect they'll round into form once in bottle. (JD)" (8/2016) 92-93 points Vinous: "Bright ruby-red. ...Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Clean and straightforward, apple-like fruit is the centerpiece of this gently oaked offering, and the wine succeeds on the strength of its balance and focus rather than flamboyant richness. It is a mid-sized, slightly pulled-back Chardonnay that will prove to be a versatile visitor at the table, and its lack of big-dollar bombast in no way lessens its fruity appeal." (11/2016)
90 points Vinous: "Keenan's 2013 Merlot is powerful, intense and structured, especially for an entry-level offering. Leather, smoke, tobacco and anise are all pushed forward in a savory, complex Merlot that offers plenty of nuance as well as personality. Hints of menthol and sage add further notes of complexity. A serious Merlot, the 2013 has enough depth to drink well for a good handful of years. (AG)" (10/2015)
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 Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* Spot on in its varietal precision and a nicely managed wine in every respect, Dashe's appellation bottling from the Dry Creek Valley is everything that well-made Zinfandel should be. There are others that can claim more potency and power just as there are some that are deeper and more complex, but this one gets the nod for its constancy, class and cohesion, and it is a flavorful, but never-too-pushy rendition that will drink splendidly with an especially wide range of foods over the next four or five years." (9/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Zinfandel from Dr ...Read More »
Robert Parker writes: "This winery is renowned for their Sauvignon Blanc, but they make very good Cabernet Sauvignon."
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)
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 »
94 points Vinous: "Vineyard 29's 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon 29 Estate impresses for its creamy, generous personality, something that is quite rare in this vintage. Sweet tobacco, cinnamon, savory herbs, menthol, licorice and plums wrap around the palate in an explosive wine loaded with depth and volume. The balance of fruit intensity with the more savory notes typical of the year makes for a wonderfully expressive Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2011 is 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot. (AG)" (11/2013) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The flagship offering is the Cabernet Sauvignon 29 Estate. The deep ruby/p ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyard 29 Estate (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) has to take a backseat to the virtually perfect 2007, but it is another strong effort. Although slightly more austere than the exuberant 2007, it is loaded with fruit. An opaque ruby/purple hue is accompanied by notes of cassis, new saddle leather, camphor and loamy soil. The wine displays sweet tannin, medium to full-bodied flavors, outstanding richness and mild tannins in the finish. It requires 2-3 years of bottle age and should keep for 20-25 years. 93+ points (RP)" (12/2010) K&L Notes: From... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
"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.
Bob Foley (not to be confused with Foley from the Central Coast) has made wine in the Napa Valley since 1977, at Pride Mountain, Paloma and other prestigious labels. His 2010 bottling is 100% Cabernet drawn from vineyards on both the Valley floor and mountaintops. According to the winery: "Flavors of ripe cherry, Logan berry and vanilla flood the palate. Our second vintage of Napa Valley Cabernet produced a more serious wine this year. The 2010 vintage offers a note of sophistication with a more rich, dark, tamed nose that’s seductive and captivating. Th... 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."
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!"
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 »
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
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
98 points James Suckling: "The aromas to this wine are very complex and brooding with blackcurrants, sage and spearmint. Souis bois and wet earth then turn to black fruits. Entrancing nose. This is full-bodied, yet tight and focused with compressed tannins and a long finish. Very intense volcanic sea salt to the wines. A much more subtle and mind-provoking style." (4/2015) 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 mul ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Dolce is Napa's ultimate Sauternes-style dessert wine, with its noble botrytis underpinning and joyful acidity. A combination of late harvest Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc from a 20-acre estate vineyard in the temperate town of Coombsville, the vineyard is naturally sheltered from the wind so that the morning fog and natural humidity lingers to allow botrytis to take hold on the grape clusters. The luxurious Sauternes style is completed by 32 months in new French oak before bottling. The wine will pair well with foie gras, poached figs, blue or washed-rin... Read More »
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2007 To the Rescue Grenache Vin de Paille appears to be a much improved version of the 2005 Grenache Vin de Paille I tasted last year. It possesses 295 grams of residual sugar per liter as well as remarkable acidity, sweetness, and richness, an inky/purple color, and classic aromas of cassis. In spite of its weight, intensity, and unctuosity, the wine is surprisingly delicate and nuanced on the palate. (RP)" (8/2009) 94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Saturated purple. Primary blueberry and boysenberry aromas are complicated by notes of tobacco, candied flowers and smoky minerals. Remin ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2006 To the Rescue Roussanne Vin de Paille has 290 grams of residual sugar per liter. Despite its aging in 100% new oak, there is not a hint of wood to be found in the aromas or flavors. This remarkable sweet white exhibits abundant aromas of orange marmalade, rose petals, honeysuckle, brown sugar, and spice. It looks like 10W40 motor oil, but its ample acidity provides uplift and vibrancy to its enormously endowed, sweet personality. Who knows how long it will last, but it definitely has 15-20 years of longevity, and it may surprise us all by living ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Medium red. Impressively complex nose offers a wild bouquet of raspberry, violet, pepper, smoky Indian spices and vanilla. Juicy red and dark berry flavors are deep, sweet and sappy, with dark chocolate and candied flowers adding complexity. A building spiciness adds energy to the lush, liqueur-like berry flavors. Finishes with outstanding sweet persistence and lingering spices. Seven people took two days to hand-destem a mere 1.3 tons of fruit. Incidentally, the amount of fruit that Krankl pulls from his densely planted, severely green-harvested vineyar ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
90 points Wine Spectator: "Very ripe and sweet, a dark-colored, spicy, pineapple-scented wine that echoes honey on the finish. Delicious. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Sémillon." (4/1995)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
These wines from visionary Jim Clendenen has become the standard in Santa Barbara. From the winery: "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."