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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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 »
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 »
Grown in the hills above the Sonoma Valley on well-drained, volcanic soils, this Chardonnay is known for its elegance and balance. About Kistler's winemaking from Robert Parker: "This winery has long featured some of the finest terroirs on the Sonoma Coast and Russian River for Chardonnays, and their approach has clearly been very Burgundian, with full malolactic fermentation, no acid adjustments and letting the vineyard and clonal material push its personality to the forefront. Perhaps the biggest change of all has been the shift to 100% indigenous yeas... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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: the 2014 Kalinda Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay is a soft yellow hue in the glass with aromas of dry hay, sweet lemon and floral notes. The palate is perfectly balanced with pear, apple and hazelnut flavors nicely mingled against good a... Read More »
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 wines. Tasting notes from the winemaker: "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 fr... 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.
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 »
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 »
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.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Done in a more oxidized style, this wine shows marzipan, dried apricot, browned butter, dried pineapple and a gunmetal flint character on the nose. The palate is very focused, with flavors of preserved lemon, lime rind, sage-roasted chicken and a faint minty element. (MK)" (11/2015) Wine Spectator: "Trim and leesy, with enough richness and intensity midpalate on to sustain itself, showing a creamy touch to the fig, apricot and green apple flavors. (JL)" (7/2014)
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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)
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.
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.
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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "Dried lemon, sliced pineapple, ripe yellow apples and a squeeze of lime show on the light nose of this bottling from the Gallo family. The palate is juicy and showy, but not overbearing, with sliced apples, a pinch of salt and nectarine flavors trending toward tropical edges. (MK)" (4/2016) Wine Spectator: "Simple and easy-drinking, with light-weight fig, melon and butterscotch flavors. (JL)" (6/2016)
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 »
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: "This is a sublime, succulent and entirely rewarding white from the great vineyard site that is Durell. The vines used by this producer date back to 1994, 1995 and 2003. Richly defined, the wine is lengthy and complex in honeycomb, ginger and a powerful mix of acidity and texture, finishing in a bite of orange. (VB)" (10/2016) 92 points Vinous: "Butter, smoke, tropical fruit, apricot jam and spices meld together in the 2013 Chardonnay Durrell Vineyard. The creamy, open-knit finish only adds to the wine's considerable appeal in this attractive, classic, California barrel-ferme ...Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Using fruit mostly from the Bassi Ranch property he recently acquired, Mike Sinor delivers a bright, minerally wine, with aromas of scratched grapefruit skin, orange and peach juice, burned lemons, sea salt, ripe apples and nectarines and fresh-cut herbs. Flavors of salty, lime-juice nectarines emerge once sipped, with hints of butter and white flowers." (11/2015) 90 points Vinous: "Light, bright yellow. Fresh Meyer lemon, pear and jasmine scents are underscored by a zesty mineral quality. Taut, racy and precise, showing firm grip to its spicy citrus and orchard fruit flavor ...Read More »
90 points Vinous: "Pale gold. Fresh pear and tangerine scents are complemented by ginger and honey. Smooth and broad on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering sappy orchard and citrus fruit flavors and a hint of melon. Emphatically fruity Chardonnay with very good closing breadth and cling. This label, which owner Brian Talley is quick to say is not a second label for Talley, has steadily improved in recent years and the wines, without exception, deliver big bang for the buck. While it might not be exactly correct to call them mini-Talleys, the comparison is apt ...Read More »
A benchmark California Chardonnay from vineyards located in the cool region of Coombsville, which enjoys unique protection from wind by the hills east of the city of Napa. Its gravelly loam and volcanic ash soils provide excellent drainage and produce elegant Chardonnay fruit. Tasting notes from the winery on the 2015 vintage: "The 2015 Far Niente Chardonnay presents fresh and bright aromatics of tropical fruit, melon and hints of fig. This vintage is beautifully balanced by lightly toasted oak. A silky entry develops into a smooth and rich midpalate. De... 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 »
Tolosa uses the same vineyard blocks for their No-Oak Chardonnay that they do for their barrel fermented Chardonnays. These are the best sites and clones from the estate's sustainably farmed Edna Ranch. They are found mostly in the older plantings a few miles south of the winery. They include the oldest block in the vineyard. They are a mix of field selected "Heritage" clones and more recently introduced Dijon selections. All are hand farmed with an almost obsessive attention to perfecting each block each vintage.
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 »
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 »
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.
Vinous: "Light gold. Smoky orchard and pit fruit aromas are complicated by a hint of honey and a leesy quality. Round and pliant in texture; juicy nectarine and poached pear flavors pick up a subtle ginger note with air. Brighter citrus notes come up on the supple finish, which leaves behind a note of candied pit fruits. 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 vineyard ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
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)
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 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
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 »
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.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Plenty of exuberant fruit jumps from the glass of the 2014 Chardonnay Carneros. This wine was barrel-fermented in 34% new French oak, the rest in neutral wood, and all aged for nine months prior to bottling. It is a big, rich, exuberant style of Chardonnay - light gold in color, with nice pineapple and honeysuckle, good purity and a broad texture in the mouth without being heavy. (RP)" (12/2015)
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* There are family resemblances between this wine and its mate above in their appley focus and supporting oak, but this wine is tight both in aroma and across the palate and comes with acidity that sticks out a bit. It is nearly equal to its mate in ripeness while lacking some of that wine's greater depth and richness, and it is recommended for service with pan-grilled trout, cracked crab and other lighter preparations." (10/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Chardonnay from White Rock Vineyards offers attractive minerality, hints of pineapple and orange rind, medium ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Very pretty dried fruit with hints of mushroom and light toast. Lemon too. Medium to full body, very fine and tight. Hints of toffee and fresh fruit. Decadent and flavorful. Tight and textured." (6/2016) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Salty caramel rises to the fore of this lovely, medium-built wine, which begins thickly concentrated in Gravenstein apple and vanilla before finding its rhythm in more nuanced, elegant undertones. Lemon and lime lead the way to a hint of guava before finishing fresh and focused. (VB)" (8/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Their 2014 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast also represents a fair value a ...Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "Pure, rich and graceful, centered on a core of green apple, pear, melon and spice, holding focus and ending with a long, persistent aftertaste. A classic old-school Napa Chardonnay." (7/2016) K&L Notes: Antonio Galloni praised the 2014 vintage at Chappellet: "Quality is on the rise at Chappellet, one of the most historic wineries in Napa Valley. Winemaker Philip Corallo-Titus credits new state of the art optical sorting equipment for much of the upswing in quality. Corallo-Titus adds that the recently built new winery also allows him to keep temperatures low during a... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Lemon-lime, ruby grapefruit and green apple flavors are crisp and refreshing, with a note of matcha green tea on the finish. Drink now. 28,000 cases made." (2/2017) K&L Notes: This 100% Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from Mason Vineyard in Lake County's Kelsey Bench, where it picks up its signature grapefruit characteristics. A long, cold fermentation in stainless steel showcases the aromatic intensity of the wine with vibrant fruit flavors. Mouth-watering brightness is found in the tropical fruit flavors with plenty of citrus zest.
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Inclining to ripeness without abandoning fruit and finding a note of creamy sweetness to its dominant theme of juicy red apples, this slightly fat and full-bodied Chardonnay, while in no imminent danger of drying out anytime soon, is a flavorful, easy-to-taste offering whose ready richness and wide-open, soft-edged style make a strong case for drinking before the bloom of youth has faded and worn off." (11/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I enjoyed the Chardonnays, especially the outstanding value, the 2014 Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast. A heck of a Chardonnay for $23.00, ...Read More »
Richard Luftig spent 20 years as a professional wine buyer in New York before turning his focus to making wine in Sonoma. His raison d'être is to make soulful wines for affordable prices that meet his exacting standards (he'd rather scrap a whole vintage than bottle something that doesn't). Along with winemaker Clay Mauritson, he crafts a Sauvignon Blanc from two vineyards in Bennett Valley that, according to his tasting notes, has a "restrained, subtle aroma of lime and sour green apple." This is easy drinking and fresh, with a great mouthfeel.
Inventory: San Francisco
Robert Parker writes: "It is always obligatory when I taste or drink Ferrari-Carano’s Fumé Blancs to reference my mother. This was her favorite wine, and it was the only one where, with prodding, we could get enough in her to become euphoric. Why she liked it so much I never can be sure, but certainly every time I have had it, I can understand its popularity. It basically says one thing, “I am delicious.” In many ways, there is no need for a wine critic or any wine jargon if a wine can make that point quickly."
Wine Spectator: "Young and vibrant, with a racy edge to the firm pear, apple and citrus notes, ending a bit pithy. Needs time. (JL)" (6/2015)
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 »