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K&L Staff Recommendations
Provenance Vineyards began all the way back with the release, in the early 2000s, of the 1999 version of this Rutherford Cab. At that point in time I was new in the wine biz and just learning the ropes. I was working at a small shop and we tasted a ton of wine together, which really helped bring my palate along rapidly, and I can still remember tasting the first vintage of this wine. Tom Rinaldi had just left Duckhorn to help start this winery and everyone was intrigued about why he would do such a thing...I mean, he made wine for like 20+ years at Duckh... Read More »
97 points James Suckling: "Fabulous nose of mushrooms, like porcini, with black truffle that turns to citrus fruits such as orange and tangerine. Some vine bark. Full-bodied yet wonderfully firm and formed with refined and polished tannins. Super definition. Drink in 2018, but wonderful to experience." (1/2015) 95 points Vinous: "Just as magnificent from bottle as it was in barrel, the 2013 Napanook is dense, powerful and brooding, with searing intensity and extraordinary balance. Lavender, plums, violets, licorice and smoke are some of the signatures, but the 2013 exudes finesse, power and intensity. ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This nicely made wine balances juicy black fruit with black licorice, flinty dried herb and a velvety texture. Medium bodied, it shows structure and grace within a context of ripeness and depth. (VB)" (12/2016)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
94 points James Suckling: "Aromas of blackcurrants, blackberries, mushrooms and spices. Full and very intense with lots of fruit. Firm and silky. Plenty of tension. Layered and intense. Love it now, but this will be better in 2020." (1/2017) 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9/% Petit Verdot and the rest Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, is a classic example of Pritchard Hill, Chappellet and of Napa Valley. Brilliant purity, a dense purple color, superb blackberry and floral-infused blueberry fruit and cassis, a full-bodied mouthfeel, moderate but swee ...Read More »
After working as the vineyard manager for Newton Vineyards for over 30 years, Lupe Maldonado bought a 10-acre piece of land in the cool southern tip of Napa (in Jamieson Canyon), and planted vineyards in the dark, gravelly clay soil. He brought in Jean Hoefliger from Newton as his consulting winemaker. Winemaker notes: "Clean and light with aromatics of white nectarine, citrus and orange blossoms... Fermented in Stainless Steel.
93 points James Suckling: "Serious red with plum, currant, walnut and stone aromas and flavors. Full-bodied yet tight and reserved. Silky and firm tannins. A wine with tone and character. Better in 2020." (5/2016) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a big, lush, juicy wine with grip and a fully-formed body, accented with smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. A great deal for the quality, it’s well made and deeply satisfying in highlights of coffee, cedar, mocha and blackberry, girded by a firm structure." (8/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa is a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cab ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley has a dense opaque purple color, a kiss of blackberry and cassis fruit, a full-bodied mouthfeel with ripe tannin and a long finish. It is very Caymus in its immediate accessibility, but has plenty of staying power and depth. This is lush, full, intense and pure. Drink it over the next 15 or so years. (RP)" (12/2016)
92 points James Suckling: "Flamboyant and concentrated red in an old school way. Full-bodied and very velvety. Big and juicy. Needs time to soften and come together but some may like its full-throttle style now." (1/2016) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Faust 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon comes largely from vineyards in southern Napa Valley’s Coombsville and Atlas Peak, but also includes some cross-AVA material from areas such as Yountville, Mt. Veeder, St. Helena and Rutherford. It is a well-made, ripe, concentrated, deep ruby/purple-colored Cabernet Sauvignon with sweet tannin, an attractive, cedary, licorice-infu ...Read More »
95 points Decanter: "A fresh, fruity nose brings out notes of white flowers, golden apples and a certain touch of oak. This leads into a round, savoury palate loaded with new oak characteristics, hints of butter and butterscotch, a touch of apple and peach and a long finish." (9/2016) 95 points James Suckling: "Extremely complex white showing dried apples, toasted oak, smoke and toffee and lime undertones. Full-bodied, dense and layered with superb texture and tension. A vibrant Napa chardonnay that combines both intensity and tension. Complex and long. Drink or hold." (1/2017) 92 points Wine Spectator: "The fruit is ripe and juicy ...Read More »
In the early 1990s, Pine Ridge crafted this unusual and delectable blend as an experimental bottling, creating one of their most beloved and popular wines. This unique marriage of two varietals that would never share the same bottle in their native France unites the crisp, honeyed fruit of Chenin Blanc with the plush body and juicy stone fruit notes of Viognier, for a wine that is both sophisticated and easy to enjoy.
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* A substantial complement of nicely ripened, white melon fruit spreads out beneath this ample effort's mildly weedy, vaguely straw-like varietal veneer, and a bit of enriching oak makes a subtle, but welcome appearance as well. On the palate, it is a somewhat fuller and richer rendition, but it stops well short of being at all oversized and stays in very comfortable balance all the way to a lengthy, well-focused finish. It is a Sauvignon Blanc best suited to service with flavorful fare such as poached salmon or chicken sautéed in plenty of butt ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is an impressive blend of 45% Merlot with 25% estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah from Stagecoach Vineyard and 10% Biale Zinfandel. It comes together seamlessly in a twist of structured blackberry, leathery tannin and tomato leaf, priced to be enjoyed by many." (3/2017) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A terrific value and an amazing sleeper of the vintage is the 2014 Y3 Taureau Proprietary Red, a mélange of 45% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah and 10% Zinfandel. This is a steal at $20, and Napa could certainly use more wines that are creatively put together like this ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "The producer pulls from its estate Su'skol Vineyard for this wine, which opens in an aromatic flirtation of sweet honeysuckle, revealing the site's abundance of musqué clone. Crisp on the entry and midpalate, it shows a full-bodied style as it opens—notes of pear and fig are wrapped between spicy nutmeg and a viscous bite of oak on the finish. (VB)" (3/2017) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Readers looking for one of the big-time sleepers of the vintage, and a great value, need look no further than the 2014 Chardonnay Estate Napa. This is 100% Chardonnay from Napa and it sells for a song ...Read More »
100 points Decanter: "A captivating bouquet of violets, lilac, black fruit, blood orange and meaty soil tones is striking for its extravagent range and amplitude; and on the palate, the wine is three-dimensional, sophisticatedly savoury, and massive but refined. Tod Mostero remarks that, having crafted the 2013 Dominus, he can die happy as a winemaker. Selection here was especially rigorous, as the team wanted to realise the vintage's unparalleled potential as fully as possible, so only 3,500 cases were produced. A special label commemorates the 30th anniversary of Dominus Es ...Read More »
Indicative blend: 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 6% Semillon and 4% Sauvignon Musque. For the past 40+ years, Cakebread has been growing Sauvignon Blanc. Bright and fresh, the 2015 vintage is fragrant with honeydew, grapefruit, guava, and white floral. Rich, vibrant, and silky, the flavors of citrus and gooseberry shine through to a succulent finish. A Napa classic, this will pair perfectly with seafood, grilled vegetables, and polenta.
The most approachable and affordable of Cain's production, the NV cuvees possess a certain kind of "old world" rustic charm not usually found in wines from the Napa Valley today. For a Bordeaux-lover branching out to California wines, or a California connoisseur seeking something different than your go-to Cab, the NV12 is well worth a try. Merlot 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 32%, Cabernet Franc 10%, Petit Verdot 4%, Malbec 4%.
We were so happy with the 2013 Kalinda Napa Cabernet that we went back to the same well for the 2014. From another exceptional year for Napa Cabernet, this wine is lush and quite rich with tons of cassis on the nose and palate. Still quite young and showing some rounded tannins, I would cellar this beauty for five years minimum, but if you must drink it, decant one hour at least and serve with a hearty meat course. One hint: the property whence the grapes came is located quite close to a town that really does not have a wine shop in it. - KL Staffer Dri... Read More »
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. (MW)" (11/2016) 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: 79% Sauvignon Blanc, 21% Sémillon
A perennial, the 2015 Prisoner is a Zinfandel-based blend with the balance in Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah and just a splash of Charbono. It was sourced from well-known vineyards such as Somerston, Solari, York Creek and Hudson. The wine was aged in a combination of French and American oak before bottling. This eclectic crowd pleaser has found a following from lovers of fruit-forward and jammy wines, but it has enough substance to please those who prefer their California reds a bit more structured. Not just a cocktail wine, this hefty red pair... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Merlot Barrel Select ratchets up things rather nicely, with more mocha, black cherry fruit, slightly more body, deeper color and more substance and depth. This wine should turn out to be quite nice. (RP)" (10/2014)
80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 7% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot. Fermented in 100% stainless steel and aged in 75% neutral oak, 25% new French Oak. According to the winery: "Our Cabernet Sauvignon is a rustic wine with a deep, dark nose of blackberry, currants and cocoa, which show off the natural structure and power of each varietal in the finished blend."
95 points Wine Spectator: "*Top 100 Wines of 2016, Collectibles* Zeroes in on a rich, hedonistic core of wild berry, blackberry, plum and currant, with a graceful, elegant mouthfeel and supple, caressing tannins leading to a long, powerful and refined aftertaste that keeps reverberating while maintaining a strong personality. (JL)" (7/2016) 92 points James Suckling: "The full-throttle character is here as expected with lots of ripe fruit and toasted oak. Sage and mint. Silky tannins; the ripe fruit dominates. But it shows form and juiciness." (5/2016)
Every year, Heitz produces a limited amount of their Grignolino rosé. With its vibrant pink hue, vibrant wild strawberry and orange zest flavors, this wine isn't just refreshing, it's a pleasure.
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 »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A realistically priced wine from Napa, the 2012 Pauline's Cuvee is an outstanding blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec (7,500 cases) is a beauty from four vineyards in Napa Valley, showing the vintage’s telltale purity, dense purple color, lushness and seductive mocha, espresso and chocolaty notes intermixed with black cherry and blackcurrant fruit. This is a medium to full-bodied, lush, heady wine to drink over the next 5-10 years. (RP)" (10/2015) 90 points Vinous: "The 2012 Pauline's Cuvée is a sexy Merlot-based red, is another ...Read More »
98 points Vinous: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is a towering majestic wine. Rich, powerful and yet massively tannic, the 2013 possesses a stunning combination of super-ripe fruit, bright acids and plenty of supporting structure. In the early going, the Howell Mountain is a bit reticent, especially next to the Trailer, but after several hours, the vibrancy of the Howell Mountain bottling dazzles. Dunn's Howell Mountain Cabernet is without question one of the wines of the great 2013 vintage. Randy and Mike Dunn's 2013s are off the charts. The Napa Valley Cab ...Read More »
In the 1960s, Heitz Wine Cellars was part of the new wave of the Napa Valley, and their sought-after Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was perhaps one of the first "cult" Cabs. Today, Heitz is better known as one of the "old guard" of Napa, hewing to a classic and balanced style of Cabernet that's aged for half of its elevage in large oak ovals and tanks--the way it was in decades past. Producer Note: "Our 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet encapsulates the freshness of a near-perfect growing season. Aromas of fresh-picked blackberry and cassis abound from thi... Read More »
Ladera selects from blocks of varying clonal selection, soil type and aspect in their own estate vineyards to endow their Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Vineyards were selectively harvested over a long period at the end of the perfect 2013 growing season. The wine was aged for 18 months in French oak (55% new) and blended with 4% Malbec, 2% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. Tasting notes from 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.... Read More »
Vinous: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is an absolutely delicious, mid-weight wine to drink now and over the next few years. This is a decidedly fruit, soft mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, but all the elements are nicely balanced throughout. Bright red cherry, plum and mint add further shades of nuance throughout. Best of all, the 2014 is very fairly priced by Napa Valley standards. (AG)" (12/2016) Wine Spectator: "Very complete and refined, with an elegant mix of cedar, currant, gravel and wild berry flavors, ending with grippy tannins and a clipped finish. (JL, Web-2017)"
"Blue Chip." That is always one of the phrases I use when talking about the Silver Oak Napa Valley bottling. Year after year Silver Oak produces some of the most reliably delicious wine that Napa has to offer. It might not be most "culty," nor the highest rated on someone's 100 point scale but it is always exactly what you know it to be: rich, powerful, heavily fruited, laced with spicy oak and full of structure but still enjoyable upon release. Perfect for gifts, important client meetings, special dinners and a great mid-term wine for any smart collecto... Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Papillon Proprietary Red is 100% from Napa and is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. This killer wine has an inky purple color and offers notes of espresso roast intermixed with white chocolate, creme de cassis, blackberry and a touch of toasty oak. The wine was aged 16 months in French oak, of which 40% was new. Broad and opulent, with great intensity, purity and depth, this is another stunner from Dave Phinney, a.k.a. Orin Swift. Dave Phinney, better known for his winery called Orin Sw ...Read More »
93 points Vinous: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon One Point Five offers up scents of lavender, cloves, menthol, licorice, spice and graphite. Savory, delineated and tightly wound, the 2014 is a picture perfect example of the vintage. Winemaker Elias Fernandez adds that the drought was more severe in 2014 than it was in 2013. This is another strong showing from Shafer." (12/2016) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon One Point Five shows beautiful purity, not the weight, profound depth and structure of the 2013, but it is still medium to full-bodied, elegant, graceful and a classic exampl ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Shows a strong, pithy lemon peel bitterness that subsides a bit but dominates the core fruitiness. (JL)" (6/2015)
91 points Vinous: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is dark, fleshy and seductive, but also light on its feet and gracious. Black cherry, plum, rose petal, smoke, tobacco, licorice and cedar are some of the signatures. Classic and medium in body, this tasty Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon will drink well with minimal cellaring. Because of its mid-weight structure, Montelena's Cabernet is one of the more approachable wines of the vintage, not to mention a real beauty. (AG)" (10/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Chateau Montelena’s lower-level 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon shows nice, soft fruit, medium body, dark col ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "John Kongsgaard told me that when the unfiltered Chardonnay from Newton was first launched in the early 1980s, the fruit came entirely from what is now the Judge Vineyard of Kongsgaard. No wonder that wine was so spectacular in those days. It also had an incredible aging curve as well. This wine continues to be a strong effort. The 2013 Chardonnay Unfiltered exhibits notes of white peach, honeysuckle and some brioche in a medium to full-bodied, lusciously fruity, rich, complex and full style. It doesn’t have the minerality of the old days of the early 19 ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
93 points Vinous: "Grilled herbs, tobacco, menthol, licorice and plums all take shape in the 2010 Eloge. Rich, layered and expressive, the 2010 is resonant and deeply expressive throughout. Gently spiced notes appear on the finish, adding dimensions of complexity and nuance. Today the 2010 is a bit closed in on itself and a touch compact, while the aromatics aren't quite as precise as they could be. I was deeply impressed with the wines I tasted at Conn Valley this year. The wines are often terrific, but at the same time, they have also occasionally suffered from the pre ...Read More »
The 2014 Reserve Cabernet has radiant color and soaring aromas of blackberry, black truffle and cappuccino. The texture is fleshy and supple, and the flavors are rich and layered.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley has slightly more intensity and richness, with supple tannins, a deep ruby/purple color, good, ripe blackcurrant fruit and spice box. It’s meant to be drunk over the next 7-8 years. (RP)" (12/2015)
93 points James Suckling: "This is very underground sauvignon blanc from Napa from old head pruned vines at the top of Spring Mountain. Full body, yet fresh and lively with sliced dried apple, pear and lemon. Pretty length too. This is a serious white. 185 cases made. Drink now." (6/2016) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This light, bright and remarkably floral white from the Musqué clone impresses in its balance and lingering mouthfeel. Subtle flavors of nectarine and peach invite one in and become more pronounced in the glass over time, providing refreshment and elegance." (12/2016) Wine Spectator: "Crisp and linear, with lime zest ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Named for the legendary 1909 Rolls-Royce "Silver Ghost," this opulently-styled Napa Cabernet is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon with Petit Verdot and Merlot from vineyard sources in Rutherford, St. Helena, and Pope Valley. The wine is aged for 24 months in French oak of which 50% is new. Dark red in color, with aromas of black cherry, blueberry and cassis, this has flavors of black cherry, blackberry, smoked herbs and coffee notes and shows phenomenal purity and an opulent texture, with well-integrated tannins and oak accents. This is a sleek, lush wi... Read More »
Avalon makes this incredibly affordable Cab sourced from a variety of Napa Valley appellations. A classic Napa Valley Cab and at a ridiculously fair price!
98 points James Suckling: "Fabulous subtle aromas of black currants, violets and lilacs with a hot stone undertone. Full-bodied and dense, it shows such wonderful energy and synergy that delivers a firm yet gentle tannin backbone and complex mouthfeel that seduces you. Evolves wonderfully. Second wine from this new estate, which is owned by Christian Moueix of Dominus and Bordeaux." (1/2016) 97 points Decanter: "Wild notes of briary blackberry, red plum and elderberry are complemented by rich earth and herbs in the bouquet of the 2013 Ulysses, the second vintage for Christian Mouiex's new project in sou ...Read More »
Vinous: "The 2012 Zinfandel, from Ink Grade, is soft, floral and perfumed throughout. Sweet red cherry, mint and wild flowers are all knit together in a delicate lifted wine. Drink this fragrant, juicy Zinfandel over the next few years. (AG)" (10/2015) K&L Notes: This Zinfandel is fresh, lively and very balanced. Zesty aromas lead to raspberry, black cherry, sweet anise, and a dash of black pepper.
92 points James Suckling: "Blueberry, blackberry and cherry aromas with hints of walnuts. Medium to full body, velvety tannins and a fresh finish. Like the energy to this. Drink now, but this will improve with age." (1/2017) Vinous: "Buehler's 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is a soft, pleasing wine to drink now and over the next few years. Mocha and expressive spice notes add character to this dark, fruit-driven, open-knit Cabernet Sauvignon. (AG)" (12/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "Structured with firm, sticky tannin, this wine is built to age and impress over time, dusted with mocha and spicy black cherry flavor. Moderate ...Read More »
96 points Vinous: "The 2014 Chardonnay is brilliant. Lemon oil, white flowers, mint, almonds and smoke are all beautifully delineated in this transparent, super-finessed Chardonnay built on total finesse. The decision to pick a touch earlier plus the blocked malo style result in a focused, energetic Chardonnay that hits all the right notes. Every time I go to Mayacamas there is something new to see. The redevelopment of this historic estate proceeds at what looks like a very rapid pace, even if it will be many years before the results of the work being done today shows up ...Read More »
From a hot, dry vintage, this blend was sourced from both the Napa Valley floor and the Vaca Mountain range to create a yin-yang of concentration and complexity in the fruit. Tasting notes from the producer: "Dark plum, cocoa, blackberry and sage aromas with powerful, well-delineated flavors of dark-chocolate-covered cherry, macerated strawberry, wild herbs, mineral and a touch of caramel. Well balanced with fine tannins, this wine is deep and multi-dimensional. Will play well for 15-20 years."
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Dark golden-hay in color, this white was fermented mostly in 900-gallon French oak foudres, with the remainder fermented in smaller French oak barrels. Nutty lime and gooseberry provide intrigue and saltiness against bright acidity, making for a complex and compelling impression on the palate." (2/2017) K&L Notes: Grgich Hills grows their Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc in American Canyon and Carneros vineyards where the cool climate and clay soils allow the vines to be dry-farmed organically. The juice is fermented with natural yeast... 80% in large 900-gallon casks, an... Read More »
The intensely flavorful wines from Rutherford's Trailside Vineyard have been part of the Heitz range since 1989. The vineyard is flanked by the Silverado Trail on one side and Conn Creek on the other and is certified organic. According to the winery: "From first sip to glorious finish, the 2004 Trailside Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon captures the essence of this superb vintage. This wine is a Rutherford classic, deeply-hued and powerful, with a lush bouquet of fresh raspberry. Its vibrant core of Cabernet fruit is beautifully wrapped in French oak with a s... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Sites from throughout the valley contribute to the lovely layering of this accessible wine, softly structured and classically inspired in its dried herb and distinct purity of cassis. Delicate despite its ripeness and power, it leaves a smoky hint of sweet tobacco on the finish." (3/2017) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Deep garnet-purple, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is scented of crème de cassis, ripe plums and pencil shavings with hints of sautéed herbs and beef drippings. Medium to full-bodied, it fills the palate with concentrated black fruit and earth flavors, framed by grainy tanni ...Read More »