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K&L Staff Recommendations
92 points Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) is a fabulous wine at this level. Sweet spices, rose petal, mint and succulent cherry/plum notes all lift from the glass. Supple and beautifully layered throughout, the Sonoma Coast hits all the right notes. A final burst of fruit rushes across the palate on the refreshing, inviting wine. There is so much to like. (AG)" (2/2016) 91 points Wine & Spirits: "The nine vineyards that go into this wine range from Olivet in the middle of the Russian River Valley to Bohan and Hirsch on the far-coast ridges. It’s inviting, with plump red fruit and tangy aci ...Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "Dark yellow in color, this wine shows tangy green apple and a richer, more concentrated element of applespice cake, with supportive, balanced acidity. With a bright, lifted finish, this less-expensive offering compared with many of the producer’s single vineyard designates never lets up on complexity or deliciousness." (2/2017) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Features a tight mix of leesy, pithy citrus, pineapple skin and blood orange rind flavors. Complex, with a long, sustained finish. (JL)" (12/2016) Wine & Spirits: "Drawn from seven Russian River vineyards, including pedigreed sites like Rochioli and A ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a complex, layered and elegantly conceived wine. It’s enjoyable now in its juicy waves of red currant and cassis, with a background hint of brown sugar and toasted oak." (10/2016) Jancis Robinson: "Bright red. Cherry red. Both juicy and dry. I'm not sure I would guess it was Cabernet Sauvignon if I had it blind because tannins are already so velvety for this stage, gentle but not overly soft. (JH)" (10/2013) K&L Notes: Producer Note: "Concentrated aromas of blackberries and black cherries with an inviting hint of cedar. The wine’s silky palate is long and expansive, boasting a b... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Their newer non-vintage blends ratchet up the level of quality, such as the NV Arme Lot 3, a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and the rest Malbec and Petit Verdot. This is a big Bordeaux blend, aged up to three years in neutral oak prior to being bottled. It’s a blend of three vintages, 2011, 2012 and 2013. All the fruit comes from not only their estate, but from many of their close friends located in Sonoma and Mendocino. The wine is a 6,000-case North Coast appellation, with elegant black cherry and blackcurrant fruit as well as tobacco leaf ...Read More »
This new release from Silver Oak is a blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Merlot that was aged for 24 months in American Oak barrels (48% new, 52% once-used) and an additional 15 months in bottle prior to release.
96 points Wine Enthusiast: "An offering meant to toast all manner of celebrations, this wine wows, blending 78% Pinot Noir with 22% Chardonnay in a near-perfect union. Dry and beautifully floral, it opens in a bouquet of marzipan, peach and honey. The mousse is fine, while supporting acidity lends a lemon peel and grapefruit lift. The memory imprinted on the palate will linger long after all the toasts to the happy couple (or whatever else you're celebrating) have been made. (VB)" (3/2017) 91 points Wine Spectator: "Delicate rose petal and strawberry aromas lure you in for a taste, leading to graceful notes of ...Read More »
97 points Vinous: "The 2015 Pinot Noir Bondi Home Ranch, from Marinelli's coolest Pinot site, is another stunner. Silky, nuanced and wonderfully expressive on the palate, the 2015 possesses remarkable intensity but in a decidedly mid-weight style by Martinelli standards. Dense and compact in its center, the 2015 needs at least a few years to open up. Even today, though, it is dazzling. Early to bloom and late to ripen, Bondi Home Ranch enjoys an especially long growing season. (AG)" (3/2017) K&L Notes: Bondi Home Ranch is planted with Pinot Noir clones 115, 777, 667, 828, 943, and Cale... Read More »
92 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* More than once we have found a great deal to like in the straight appellation bottlings of top-notch Pinot producers, and here is just such an example that rivals and even surpasses several of its pricier cellarmates with respect to balance, fruity depth and real varietal beauty. It is moderately full, slightly fleshy in feel and very well-balanced, and, while it impresses as a Pinot of many parts, it impresses at least as much for the way in which those parts are seamlessly joined. It is no stretch to see richness and refinement intersecting ...Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Zinfandel Hartford Vineyard comes from head-trained vines planted over 100 years ago, and they are incredibly low-yielding. The wine was aged in 100% French oak, of which 50% is new, and like all these wines, was bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is a big wine at 15.2% natural alcohol, but there’s not a bit of heat to it. Its flamboyant, dramatic aromatics consist of black fruits, red fruits, licorice, roasted herbs, and smoked game. The wine has fabulous fruit on the attack, is full-bodied, and the red and black fruit combo follows through t ...Read More »
92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Pinot Noir North Slope is fabulous, has a huge upside to it and probably will benefit from several years of bottle age. All of these were scheduled to be bottled in 2015. This is 100% clone 115 and Stephen Hansel says it’s the most fruit-forward of the wines. It is certainly seductive, hedonistic, with a dense ruby/purple color, beautiful black raspberry and black cherry fruit, a big medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, loads of glycerin and hedonism. It should turn out to be exceptional, but I do think it needs some time after it’s bottled to start ...Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Bringing together multiple sites in one wine, this provides a fine example of the sum equalling more than the parts. Well balanced and crafted, it offers aromas of sandalwood and smoked meat that contrast with more exuberant, textured layers of black cherry and citrus peel. (VB)" (2/2017) 90 points Wine & Spirits: "Sourced from vineyards throughout the Russian River Valley, including Hallberg and Galante in the cooler Green Valley AVA, this is a refreshing and mouthwatering pinot noir with the crunchy, tart flavor of blackberries growing in the shade. Open a bottle ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The two vintages of Chardonnay I tasted come from the Jos. Belli Vineyard in Russian River. The 2015 Chardonnay Jos. Belli Vineyards was made from small yields, and according to Dick Arrowood, it is one of the top three vintages in his 50 years of experience. This wine offers loads of peach, honeysuckle, delicate apricot, caramelized citrus and apple blossom in a full-bodied, rich, discreetly oaked style. It is long, promising and super-concentrated. If this is an example of just how strong many 2015s will be, we’re in for another treat from Northern Cal ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Cuvée Alyce, which is made from a field blend of Dijon clones 115 and 777, is also backward and restrained. I can totally understand Stephen Hansel’s statement that the 2013 Pinots are very European with their reserved character. This is a big wine, dense, ruby in color, with terrific fruit intensity, but the tannins still dominate, and the wine has good acidity and a backward personality. It’s not austere by any means and should blossom fully with another 1-2 years of bottle age. It could turn out to be a low- to mid-90 pointer. It’s ...Read More »
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 »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Spicy nutmeg meets a reckoning of lemon zest and grapefruit pith in this light, bright, elegant white that's subtle in oak. Notions of just-ripe pear follow around a rounded, medium-bodied build, providing plenty of juiciness and structure. (VB)" (8/2016)
93 points Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) is terrific. Bright, nuanced and savory, the straight Russian River Pinot has all the attributes of this strong vintage. Sweet floral notes round out a Pinot that is understated and silky. This is a rare appellation-level Pinot that could use another few years in bottle to fully flesh out. Paul Hobbs describes 2013 as a consistently warm, dry year but without excesses. I remember stopping by in January of that year, and being quite surprised when Hobbs told me he was likely to start irrigating imminently, which ...Read More »
Rod and Lynn Berglund carry the mantle for this historic Russian River Valley winery as it marches into its 50th year.
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "It’s hard not to jump up and down about the outstanding value represented here, a wine made from Dutton Ranch fruit that’s juicy and generous in baked strawberry, earth and rose petals. A grippy structure provides weight around nuanced, spicy cherry-pie flavor and plenty of body to satisfy." (12/2016)
Dutton Ranch is a well-respected Sonoma vineyard that Patz & Hall has been working with since 1998. This is mainly an old vines vineyard, with the original block planted in 1969 to California heirloom Chardonnay selections. All the grapes are hand harvested and sorted in the field, then moved to the winery, where they are sorted again and whole cluster pressed. After pressing, the juice is racked into French oak barrels where it ferments slowly on its lees, generally finishing alcoholic fermentation in early winter. The wine then undergoes full malolacti... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a gorgeous, entry-level wine for the estate. Dark cherry, plum, mocha, licorice, spice and gravel are all pushed forward. This is an unusually forward wine although there is plenty of the typical savory/graphite notes that are so typical of this site. (AG)" (2/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate from Monument Ridge is 98% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 18 months in 37% new French oak. It is an outstanding wine, with the oak pushed to the background. Notes of crushed rocks, spring flowers, blackcurrants, plums, and Asian ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Second label of Alysian Wines. Led by the Hambrecht family in partnership with esteemed winemaker Gary Farrell, they are committed to sourcing from the best vineyards in the Russian River Valley. From the winery: "In keeping with the tradition of second label wines, which originated in the cellars of 18th century Bordeaux, ours is a collection of barrels that do not quite fit the philosophy of Alysian. This flexibility in the cellar allows us to select and blend barrels of small lot wines from exceptional and off the beaten path vineyards and craft an ap... Read More »
A member of Jackson Family Wines, Hartford Court is an award-winning producer of appellation-designate and single-vineyard Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and old vine Zinfandel from low-yielding vineyards in prime regions throughout Sonoma County.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Peppery spice and a nose of violets and roses mark the entry and midpalate of this wine, priced moderately for the appellation. Layered, with a twinge of yeasty baked bread, it has a strong personality, stemmy and feral, with a lasting linger of grenadine. (VB)" (7/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir displays straightforward pomegranate, red currant, and sweet and sour cherries in a medium-bodied, pleasant style. (RP)" (3/2016)
92 points Wine Spectator: "Intense yet refined, elegant and zesty, with a core of rich citrus, peach, pear and honeydew. Adds layers of smoky, toasty oak and tapers the flavors on the finish. Sails along gracefully, echoing the core elements. Drink now through 2020." (1/2017) K&L Notes: From one of K&L's favorite Napa producers. The winery notes: "Blazing tropical fruit, exotic spices and sexy ripe citrus come together in this tangerine dream. Like a beach volleyball Olympian, the wine has explosive power plus tremendous depth and range on the palate. Richness and precision are continually on ... Read More »
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "Simply put, this is a very good wine that will appeal both to seasoned Zinfandel fans and relative newcomers alike. It starts out with an attractive nose of well-defined, ripe berry fruit that jumps to the fore in its like-minded flavors and never lets up. It is pleasantly rounded in feel and its scant suggestions of finishing heat are buffered by fruity substance to spare, and, if one might ask for a little more complexity, this is a deep and eminently satisfying, tasty Zin that excels at the price and wins high praise for out-and-out value." (9/2016) K&L Notes: 76%... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "There are approximately 12,000 cases of the NV Christo Lot 3, which is a hedonistic blend of Grenache, Syrah, Petite Sirah and a touch of Viognier to uplift the aromatics. This is, again, aged in neutral oak for two years and a blend of three vintages: 2011, 2012 and 2013. This is my favorite of all of these wines – a wine of exceptional purity and intensity and plenty of character, as this one is 70% Syrah and the rest the other three grapes. It tips the scales at a lofty 15.3% alcohol, but it’s well hidden behind a cascade of blackberry and cassis frui ...Read More »
91 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chardonnay (Russian River Valley) is another terrific entry-level Chardonnay from David Ramey. Here it is the wine's richness and creaminess that really stand out. Honey, apricot pit, mint, butter and dried flowers blossom are some of the signatures. This is a real overachiever in its class. It's hard to know where to begin with these wines from David Ramey, as there are so many highlights, but one common theme is the quality of the entry-level wines. The appellation-level Chardonnays, Pinot, Syrah and Claret all deliver serious quality for the ...Read More »
93 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chardonnay Cahill Lane is another beautiful, precise wine loaded with class and personality. As is the case in this vintage, the flavors are bright, but there is plenty of the signature Hansel texture underpinning the fruit. Lemon, pastry and brioche are some of the notes that meld into the racy, beautifully textured finish. Stephen Hansel is one of the most intelligent winery owners in Sonoma. More interested in getting people to drink his wines than in maximizing short-term profit, Hansel continues to offer some of the very best wines readers ...Read More »
The Wetzel family has been growing Cabernet Sauvignon in Alexander Valley since the 1960s, and embody the Sonoma County spirit of winemaking, charging very fair prices for estate-grown, Alexander Valley wines, yet always innovating and pursuing quality. Wines are aged in their own shotcrete-walled caves, just steps from the winery. According to the winery: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic Alexander Valley wine with medium body, great fruit flavors and polished tannins. Winemaker Kevin Hall added 6% Merlot for structure, a touch of Cabernet Fran... Read More »
96 points Vinous: "The 2015 Pinot Noir Zio Tony Ranch is another fabulous wine from Martinelli. Dark, round and inviting, the 2015 possesses striking depth and intensity. Succulent black cherry, plum, spice, leather and rose petal shape this utterly compelling Pinot. Sweet floral notes add attractive aromatic lift and refinement. (AG)" (3/2017) K&L Notes: Zio Tony Ranch is planted with clones 777, 115, 828, Calera, and Quail Hill. The 2015 vintage was marked by an early growing season and a reduced crop which finished with very good quality. The wine was aged in 70% new French oak for ... Read More »
The 2014 Bench Cabernet Sauvignon exudes a deep, dark purple color in the glass. The nose is vibrant with violets, huckleberry and a touch of vanilla spice. The palate is elegantly wound with dusty tannins and a supple, velvet texture. The long, seamless finish ebbs and flows with flavors of black currant, dark cocoa and black forest floor.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of Marietta’s most serious wines is their 2014 Angeli Cuvée, a Zinfandel-dominated blend with Petite Sirah and Carignan. They make about 2,000 cases of this Sonoma wine. It is a delicious fruit-forward wine with loads of raspberry, black cherry and roasted Provençal herbs. It is Mediterranean in style with medium to full body and a whopper at 15.3% natural alcohol, but there is not a trace of heat. It is fruit-driven, spicy, earthy and hedonistic. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. (RP)" (10/2016)
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Fashioned from yields of 2 to 2.5 tons of fruit per acre, the 2013 Chardonnay North Slope sees 30% new and 70% used barrels. It has nowhere near the generosity of its 2012 counterpart, but it exhibits beautiful nectarine, tangerine and other assorted tropical fruit notes, crisp, zesty acidity and a hint of wet stones that provide unmistakable minerality. Drink now-2018. The consistently run Walter Hansel winery (now in the capable hands of Steve Hansel) has over 40 acres of Chardonnay and 40 acres of Pinot Noir, all family-owned. Visitors to the Sonoma V ...Read More »
Robert Parker writes: "Under owner Don Hartford, winemaker Jeff Stewart continues to produce a stunning succession of Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs (as well as Zinfandels) under the Hartford Court moniker from generally cool-climate sites. His is one of the bright stars in the Kendall-Jackson portfolio of small estate wineries."
Winemaker Rod Berglund, who inherited the job from his father-in-law, the legendary Joseph Swan himself, first made a Pinot Noir from one single row of Saralee's.
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "As for the 2014 Chardonnays, they all possess great acid and obvious intensity. I’ll keep my notes short, but they are all brilliant wines, including the 2014 Chardonnay Russian River, which has plenty of citrus oil, white flowers, quince and peach. Paul Hobbs has emerged as one of the great success stories in Northern California. He’s an international consultant known for his outstanding work in Argentina. He is also now involved in a joint venture in the Finger Lakes region of New York, so hopefully we can anticipate some interesting Rieslings and po ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Zinfandel Estate is primarily Zinfandel, but there are other grapes in this mixed black field blend, including Peloursin, Négrette, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Carignan. This is a sensational Zinfandel, with an explosive nose of pepper, raw meat, blackberry, black raspberry and cherry. Deep, chewy and dense, it finishes at 14.8% natural alcohol... The owners of the well-known Marietta Cellars, the Bilbro family, have taken this once-moribund producer, Limerick Lane, and resurrected it to impressive heights of quality. This estate always had some fab ...Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Chardonnay Chloe gives expressive guava, pink grapefruit and pineapple notes with touches of candied ginger, praline and brioche. Medium to full-bodied with a beautifully oily texture and packed with tropical fruit flavors, it finishes long and toasty. (LPB)" (2/2017) 95 points Vinous: "The 2014 Chardonnay Chloe Ritchie-Lorenzo Old Vines is just as exciting today as it was last year. A wine of energy, tension and breadth, the 2014 has it all. Lemon confit, white flowers, mint and peach infuse a deeply expressive, voluptuous Chardonnay that will drink well for at lea ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Wine Enthusiast: "This is a 100% varietal wine made to be widely distributed and enjoyed by a range of palates. With a slight perception of sweetness, which may just be ripeness, it gives way to fleshy flavors of baked apple and pineapple. (VB)" (6/2016)
French Colombard is the secret Chenin of Sonoma County. Once a ubiquitous variety used in making wines like California "White Burgundy," where no Chardonnay was available, FC enjoys a very small but refreshing revival in the hands of small producers like Woodenhead. This winery also produces a fantastic sparkling wine from old-vine French Colombard! Notes from the producer: "Medium gold in color, you'll first notice aromas of grass, honeysuckle, delicate green apple, and lemon meringue pie. Like a golden Sonoma County field, you're invited in to enjoy a... Read More »
91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* Possessing such a wealth of juicy, well-focused cherry-like fruit that this wine would garner enthusiastic recommendation and a tip of the hat for fine value on its fruity virtues alone, Migration's basic appellation offering is a surprisingly serious Pinot Noir with the depth and careful construction of upper-echelon offerings. It is clean and constant with impeccable varietal focus and layered richness to spare, and, as very good, generously fruited Pinots are wont to do, it is certain to tempt early drinking even though its best lies some ...Read More »
94 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard stands out in this range for its striking aromatics. Sweet floral notes open up first. The Ritchie is just as subtle and nuanced on the palate. Classy and polished throughout, the Ritchie is all about finesse. It should drink well for the better part of the next decade. It's hard to know where to begin with these wines from David Ramey, as there are so many highlights, but one common theme is the quality of the entry-level wines. The appellation-level Chardonnays, Pinot, Syrah and Claret all deliver serious quality fo ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A real beauty is the 2014 Chardonnay Robert Young Vineyard, a non-malolactic Chardonnay that sees a little oak and comes across like a premier cru Chablis. It is elegant, with notes of honeysuckle, white peach and citrus blossom. Fresh, medium-bodied, pure and tasty, it should be drunk over the next several years. It should not be forgotten just how many excellent value wines Château St. Jean continues to produce, especially their lower level Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs. (RP)" (12/2016) K&L Notes: Antonio Galloni praised the producer's 2014 vintage: "Chateau St... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Bordeaux varietals from Château St. Jean have always done well and again are realistically priced. The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley was blended with 5% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot and spent 20 months in a combination of mostly French but some American oak. The wine is a sleeper of the vintage at this price point. Meaty, earthy berry fruit as well as lavender, underbrush, blackcurrants and black cherries jump from the glass of this seriously endowed, fleshy, medium to full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with noticeable but rip ...Read More »
94 points Vinous: "Black cherry, violet, lavender, blueberry and spice notes give the 2014 Zinfandel Papera Ranch much of its distinctive cool, bracing personality. The acids are bright, but not at all intrusive. This is another striking Zinfandel from Carlisle. There is wonderful depth and pliancy here. (AG)" (3/2017) 91-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I’ll just briefly summarize the 2014s. It was the earliest vintage ever for Mike Officer and probably he’ll beat that early harvest record in 2015. In this case, he was finished by October 6, which was a first, and it will be interesting to see if he eclipses ...Read More »
95 points Vinous: "One of the many highlights in this lineup, the 2014 Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard is deep, fleshy and inviting. Blood orange, pomegranate, succulent red cherry, mint and white pepper overtones give the 2014 its aromatic lift and palate presence. A silky, polished, mid-weight wine, the 2014 speaks to finesse above all else. With time in the glass, the wine gains volume, breath and vibrancy. There is so much to like here. (AG)" (3/2017) 94 points Connoisseurs Guide: "Fully ripened and abundantly fruity with a swath of sweet oak adding to its considerable and ongoing richness, DuMOL's Estate ...Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A real killer effort is the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. Alexander Valley has been producing more and more top Cabernets and deserves certainly to be considered up there with some of the best AVAs in Napa. This opaque purple wine has a beautiful nose of blueberry, blackberry, licorice and earthy undertones. Stunningly full-proportioned the wine has terrific depth of fruit and richness. Scherrer was telling me the Cabernet was planted on the old St. George rootstock that was favored and not prone to the Phylloxera scourge that took out all of the AXR rootstoc ...Read More »
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Ruby-red. Blackberry, cherry, sassafras and rose petal on the smoky nose. Pungent, spicy and broad, offering good weight to its dark berry jam, herb and spicecake flavors. Picks up a wild, cured meat nuance with air that carries through a warm, powerful finish firmed by juicy acidity and dusty tannins. Rod Berglund is another grower/winemaker who told me that as seductive as the 2012s can be, the 2011s probably intrigue him more because "there's a freshness, a balance and a restraint to them that's just so classically pinot." With that in mind he thinks ...Read More »
Enkidu is a small, nearly under-the-radar outfit based in a warehouse south of the town of Sonoma, co-founded by career winemaker Phillip Staehle, that turns out big wines with concentration and individuality.