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K&L Staff Recommendations
91 points James Suckling: "This is really refined and fresh with sliced apple and lemon aromas. Hints of stone too. Medium to full body, an almost salty undertone. Medium finish. Bright and tangy. Gorgeous limey undertone." (6/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "#1 in "Best of 2016: Robert Parker, Top 3 Greatest Value Wines of the Year"...The 2014 Chardonnay Olema at $15.00 from Sonoma is a heck of a bottle of wine, with honeysuckle, lemon blossom and a touch of white peach all present in this wine that offers clean, pure fruit, medium body and a distant hint of wood. This is a terrific value and sleeper selecti ...Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star, Good Value* No matter that this unoaked bottling treds a direct, green apple line with few complex adjuncts in its makeup, such is the way of Chardonnays of its ilk, and this one makes a pretty good stab at capturing lively, somewhat juicy fruit. There is a not unexpected bit of fresh, slightly candied fruit here and little in the way of the rich, buttery side of the variety to be sure. Yet, all in all, this wine is both easy to take and easy on the wallet." (7/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This stainless-steel take shows lime juice, golden apples and white pepper on t ...Read More »
For decades now, our Kalinda private label has been providing K&L customers with awesome wines at a fraction of what they'd normally pay under the producers' mainstay labels. That being said, no producer wants their wines on the market for less than what they'd usually sell for, so the trade-off is anonymity. While we have to remain quiet about the source of this beauty, we can tell you that wine from this prestigious producer sells elsewhere under the winery label at a much higher premium. Our 2016 Sauvignon Blanc release was produced in Napa, but the f... Read More »
From winemaker Rob Mondavi Jr, Spellbound is one of the most popular California Chardonnays we carry every year, and the 2014 was also a hit with K&L staff. Value priced, it typically lacks for nothing in lush, tropical fruit and acidity. A blend of barrel-fermented and stainless steel-aged Chardonnay.
92 points James Suckling: "This shows tension and depth with sliced lemon and hints of ripe peach. Some cream and flan undertones. Full body, lightly oily and a flavorful finish. All here. Napa chard. Drink now" (3/2017) K&L Notes: The 2015 vintage was a great one for Rombauer--warm weather and low yields translated to exceptional fruit: ripe, concentrated, and full of all the voluptuous pizzazz that is Rombauer's signature. The cool Carneros region, where San Pablo Bay meets both Napa and Sonoma valleys, provides beautiful, fresh acidity and the key sense of balance for these fan-favorite win... Read More »
92 points Decanter: "Sweet spices and preserved lemons on the nose; memories of a weekend in Marrakech. A mineral palate with restrained oak, nice grip and lots of character. Long and very complex with a full body and promise of more to come." (5/2016) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Josh Jensen’s appellation blend is arguably the best American white wine for the price. This vintage offers squeezed tangerine, fleur de sel, lily, apple blossom, apple fritters and a touch of tropicality on the nose. The palate is more steely in structure, with chalk and concrete minerality followed by grapefr ...Read More »
We can tell you this much: our Kalinda private label hooks you up with awesome wine at a fraction of what you'd otherwise pay for this exact same wine under its normal label. While we have to remain quiet about the source of this beauty, we can tell you that it sells elsewhere at a much higher premium. Get it while it lasts.
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.
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 »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The wine does not go through malolactic fermentation, and the aim is to produce pure varietal fruit with virtually no oak in the formula. The 2013 is a beauty with notes of flowers, white peach, honeysuckle and a touch of tropical fruit. It is crisp, elegant, medium-bodied and, as promised, very pure. (RP)" (10/2015) Vinous: "The 2013 Chardonnay is a fabulous wine for the money. Lemon oil, white flowers and white pepper are all laced together in an impeccably balanced, layered Chardonnay long on class and personality. The 2013 is a blend of fruit from vineyards in ...Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice and #14 in Best 100 of 2016* From one of the preeminent Chardonnay producers in the country comes their least expensive yet perhaps most stunning bottling, showing strong lemon rind, sea salt, Gravenstein apple and a floral touch of honeysuckle on the nose. The wondrously zippy and saline palate is framed by a grippy, grapefruit-rind-led tension, but opens just enough to allow the slightest hints of lemon curd and delicate marzipan warmth. (MK)" (9/2016) 92 points Vinous: "Fogarty's 2013 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains is delicate and beautifully layered in ...Read More »
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 »
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Proprietary White Mannequin, which draws fruit from diverse regions of Northern California such as the Carneros Basin and the Sonoma Coast, is actually a blend of 76% Chardonnay, 8% Viognier, 6% Marsanne, 5% Grenache Blanc, 3% Muscat and 2% Roussanne. This is amazing wine, a gorgeous, full-throttle, honeyed wine with a light-gold color, oodles of tropical fruits including pineapple and mango, rose petal and floral notes, and beautifully integrated oak (aged in 40% new French oak on its lees for 11 months). This full-throttle wine is completely d ...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
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 »
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.
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.
Wine Spectator: "Shows a strong, pithy lemon peel bitterness that subsides a bit but dominates the core fruitiness. (JL)" (6/2015)
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "From chalky soils planted on a unique rolling hillside site, this opens in wafty caramel and butterscotch, providing a decadent nose. The palate follows in luxurious, velvety waves balanced by buoyant acidity. With a mix of fresh peach and apricot, it finishes fresh, spicy and salty." (7/2016) 90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Creamy oak is neatly aligned to plentiful ripe apple fruit here, yet, if so forthrightly fruity in the nose as to presage a certain juicy simplicity in the mouth, this balanced and very well-crafted wine follows with continuous, surprisingly complex flavor ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Medium yellow. Slightly high-toned aromas of yellow apple, dried fruits, nuts and spices. Dry and chewy in the mouth, with a pronounced phenolic character to the flavors of pear skin, cyanic peach pit, green almond and bitter herbs. Suggests a good bit of skin contact. Not a fruity style but this distinctly idiosyncratic blend should be endlessly flexible with food. Hipster alert! (ST)" (5/2014) K&L Notes: Yes, he finally did it. A white wine from Sean Thackrey. Made a lot like the Pleiades red, this is a blend of many different grape varieties. Sean Thackrey has bee... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "*** Smart Buys *** Fragrant and juicy, offering a charming mix of honeysuckle, peach, apple and lemon verbena, set on a light and effortless frame. A mouthwatering vein runs throughout. (MW, Web-2016)" (8/2016) K&L Notes: This is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscat Canelli and Viognier sourced from Napa, Monterey, Santa Barbara, San Benito and Tulare counties. Yes, a fascinating wine! Wild aromas of peach, jasmine and lemon curd spring from the glass while on the palate the wine displays flavors of apricot, pear, citrus and lemon meringue pie. A... Read More »
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 points Vinous: "Pale gold. Pungent aromas of poached pear, peach and honey take on a hint of buttered toast with air. Broad and fleshy on the palate, offering lush orchard and pit fruit flavors accented by a refreshingly bitter pear skin nuance. Finishes smooth and round, leaving sweet butter and peach notes behind. One of the pioneering wineries in the region, Talbott’s first vines were planted in 1982 at the Diamond T Vineyard. By the end of the ‘80s the Talbott wines were already on most wine lovers’ short lists of top California Chardonnays. The vineyards are plante ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Tart aromas of sour cream, yogurt, candied lime and pressed quince show on the nose of this stylishly structured Chardonnay. The palate carries the theme forward, with pithy pink grapefruit notes, lime ade and brie rinds, showing firm tension on the tongue and bound-up energy that will keep this bottle alive for years. (MK)" (2/2016)
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 »
This is a delicious collaboration between Talley winemaker Eric Johnson and our domestic buyer Bryan Brick. A wonderfully balanced, beautiful Chardonnay, if we do say so ourselves.
Wine Spectator: "Lemon, melon and peach flavors are fleshy and juicy. Mouthwatering on the intense finish. (MW-Web-2016)"
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "First, their non-malolactic 2014 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch comes from a cool-climate vineyard in Carneros. This is aged in 75% oak casks and 25% stainless steel, which seems to be the perfect marriage for showcasing this wine’s rich fruit. The wine has loads of tangerine oil, citrus blossom, a hint of apples and orange marmalade. The oak is subtle, the wine medium to full-bodied, pure and rich. (This is the official tasting note, but I shared two bottles with some friends of mine at the casual Market restaurant in St. Helena, and it was a huge hit.) ...Read More »
Banshee started in 2009 when three wine industry buddies made a gamble and bought eight barrels of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir--a gamble that paid off when they were able to sell all the wine within five weeks. Since then, they've developed relationships with some of the best growers in the area and have been producing beautiful wines with winemakers Ross Cobb (Hirsch, Flowers, Williams-Selyem) and Katy Wilson (Larue, Flowers). The 2015 coastal Chardonnay comes from Charles Heintz Vineyard, Wildcat Mountain Vineyard in Petaluma Gap and Bohemian Green Valley.... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Features a delicious core of vibrant grapefruit and lemon-laced tangerine and white peach notes, with zesty acidity that keeps the flavors fresh and jumping. (JL)" (5/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A good crisp, Chablis-like character defines the 2014 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast. This wine reveals a touch of lemon oil, citrus blossom and green apple in a medium-bodied, refreshing and pure style. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. (RP)" (3/2016)
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)
Wine Spectator: "Casts Chardonnay in a pleasing fruit cocktail essence. Pure, moderately rich and persistent, if somewhat cloying on the aftertaste. Drink now." (12/2016) K&L Notes: According to the winery: "Rich, bold and luscious, this is an easy-to-love creamy California Chardonnay. Made in the tradition of Californian winemaking, the fruit we choose has juicy, ripe, stone fruit and baked-lemon aromas. Cold fermented to the perfect, rich creaminess and aged in our own blend of oak, gives this wine a lovely, long, vanilla finish that’s uniquely Butter!"
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 »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Made in a style that will appeal to fans of both creamy, fruity richness and more austere notes of fresh grass, this wine is dry, herbal and juicy. It offers accents of vanilla and white plum, as well as the aforementioned fruitiness of peach and pear." (9/2016) Wine Spectator: "Succulent lemon meringue flavors at the core show accents of toast, hay and dried chamomile, lingering on the finish. Drink now." (10/2016)
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 Vinous: "Domaine Eden's 2013 Chardonnay is subtle, poised and gracious to the core. Dried pear, dried flowers, sage, mint and chamomile grace the palate in this understated, exquisite Chardonnay. Hints of smoke, slate and dried pear reappear on the super-classic, expressive finish. What a gorgeous wine this is. Quite simply, the 2013 Domaine Eden Chardonnay is a tremendous wine for the money. In 2013, the blend is approximately 72% declassified Mt. Eden juice and 28% wine from the Domaine Eden estate proper. Jeffrey Patterson is one of the most laid back producer ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Crisp, yet fuller bodied, with a creamy voluptuousness to the mouthfeel, this wine offers a taste of lemon pith and peach, accented by a floral bouquet of orange blossom. Measured acidity keeps it ebullient in the glass, ending in a hit of Tahitian vanilla." (12/2015)
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Light on the nose, this shows delicate aromas of Asian pear, honeysuckle, squeezed lemon wedge, fresh coconut flesh and a tiny bit of butter. The palate is also demure yet delicious, with lightly poached apples, squeezed lime and a chalky textural grip. (MK)" (3/2017) 91 points Wine & Spirits: "Get past this wine’s initial toasty scent of oak and you’ll find some delicious fruit; its sunny papaya flavor and salty, marine tang feel like textbook Santa Rita Hills chardonnay, capturing this high-elevation south-facing hillside vineyard with roots in marine sediments. Serve it as you wo ...Read More »
From Monterey and Santa Barbara vineyards, the fruit is fermented in stainless steel to preserve freshness, then aged in neutral, air-dried French oak to add an element of texture. Tasting notes from the winemaker: "The nose is reminiscent of preserved Meyer lemons, wet stones and a hint of lime blossoms. The rich body and texture builds as it envelops your mouth, while layers of Kaffir lime, guava, and pineapple tantalize; followed by light, creamy texture of whipped lemon curd. The lingering finish is clean and crisp, preparing your palate for more."
89 points Wine Spectator: "This white is precise, showing mango, lemon verbena and lime sherbet flavors that are fragrant and juicy. A hint of honeysuckle lingers on the finish. Drink now." (11/2016)
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Sourced from a number of coastal vineyards, including Flowers’ mature vines at Camp Meeting Ridge, this is as bright and fresh as it is creamy, its almond-like richness lifted by a pretty orange-blossom scent and lemony acidity. It’s a textural pleasure for filet of sole." (4/2016) K&L Notes: In 1989 Walt and Joan Flowers, with great expertise in agriculture and nurseries, turned their attention and passion to the beautiful Sonoma Coast and its perfect position for growing both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Their success in this venture is quite well known in the wine c... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "A hearty cradling of oak provides a tinge of vanilla sweetness here, before richer notions of apple pie and cinnamon tug at the wine’s fuller-bodied core. It’ll appeal to fans of this richer, riper style, while still finishing in a measure of acidity." (8/2016)
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "One of the greatest Chardonnays made in California each vintage, this bottling blends riper elements of yellow peach and honey with the tension of tangerine rind and pink-grapefruit pith on the nose. The palate is very energetic and tangy, with orange peels, crushed sea shells and a touch of salt hanging from an extremely well-chiseled structure. (MK)" (11/2016) 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Pure silk on the palate, the 2013 Chardonnay Estate offers textbook notes of buttered apples, brioche, toasted bread and hints of minerality to go with medium to full-bodied richness, beautiful pur ...Read More »
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
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Chardonnay Holly's Cuvee is a big, rich and sexy white that nevertheless manages to stay fresh, livey and pure. Possessing lots of tropical fruits, flower oil, honeysuckle and a hint of peach, it's already hard to resist, and I don't see any need to delay gratification either. I suspect this will be the last vintage made by Jim and Bob Varner, who no longer works with the fruit from the Spring Valley Vineyard. (JD)" (10/2016)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Scented of grass, lemon peel, grapefruit and bell peppers with a waft of green apple skins, the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is medium-bodied, delivering crisp, clean flavors and a slight yeastiness on the finish. (LPB)" (3/2017) Wine Spectator: "Aromatic and distinctive, with a touch of green papaya and dried pineapple adding a tropical note to the core of citrus and dried chamomile flavors on the finish. Drink now." (10/2016) K&L Notes: The Sauvignon Blanc program at Matanzas Creek may not be new, but it may be producing some of the most exciting wines from the estate. It's an obsession for... Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Builds intensity and nuance from a firm core, with the light spicy oak joining hands with rich fig, melon and peach notes. This is young and unevolved, so short-term cellaring will be a plus. Drink now through 2020. (JL)" (4/2017) K&L Notes: In terms of dream careers, race car driver and winemaker are often at the top of the list—though not usually held by the same individual. Yet former Indy car driver Randy Lewis has managed to make a living out of both passions, settling in the Napa Valley, where he’s been at the wheel of his family winery since 1992. Lewis Cellar... Read More »
92 points Connoisseurs Guide: "This serious, nicely composed opus impresses in all of the ways that very good Chardonnay can, and it hits the right marks from its concentration and keen focus to its exemplary balance and vitality. It teams deep, optimally ripened fruit with just the right amount of sweet, ever so slightly toasty oak, and, while always quite rich, it is wonderfully lively and dynamic from beginning to end. There is so much going on that it is fascinating right now, but this is one that will prove just how well fine Chardonnay can age, and we see it improving for at lea ...Read More »