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K&L Staff Recommendations
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This is such a good offering at this price, or many other prices, that it would be a worthy house wine to stock for regular consumption. Richly luxurious and softly layered, its texture stands out among well-integrated jolts of earth, black tea and strawberry-rhubarb." (6/2016)
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.
James Suckling: "A bright and fresh pinot noir with sliced lemon, strawberry and flower character. Medium body, crisp and clean. Light tannins and clean and fresh finish. Drink now." (6/2016) K&L Notes: Olema is produced by the folks at Amici Cellars. Fruit for their 2014 Pinot Noir is 50% Russian River Valley, 25% Sonoma Coast, and 25% Sonoma County. The wine was aged in 35% new French oak barrels before bottling. From the winery: " A burst of fresh black cherry, ripe strawberry and cola spice on the nose lead to deep flavors of red fruits with hints of earth, warm spice and vio... Read More »
93 points Wine Spectator: "Plump and luscious, this is jam-packed with fruit. Lively blackberry, pepper, and other spice box aromas lead to ripe and rich flavors of black raspberry, caramel, and licorice. There are more complex Zinfandels, but few that are more enjoyable to drink. Drink now through 2022." (12/2015)
Wine Enthusiast: "A well-crafted wine made in relatively large quantity, this has a tropical edge, sidelining stone fruit and apple. It also offers a lightness of pear skin, atop light, ripe layers of vanilla and oak. The finish puts memorable touches to a generous, expressive palate. (VB)" (10/2015) Wine Spectator: "Easy-drinking, with fresh flavors of zesty tangerine, melon, Golden Delicious apple and light baking spices, ending clean and refreshing. Drink now. 35,000 cases made. (JL)" (7/2015)
As difficult as it is to produce excellent Pinot Noir, it is even more difficult to do so at a fine value. In their development of the Banshee label, the winemakers gained a stable of quality sources for Pinot fruit from the finest AVAs in California. The 2014 Sonoma County Pinot Noir is the sixth vintage from the enterprising team at Banshee Wines. A large percentage of it is still sourced from the Sonoma Coast, often declassified barrels from vineyards that close followers of top-tier West Coast Pinot may recognize. From the producer: "As with past vin... Read More »
Deep, dark ruby in color, this wine offers aromas of ripe fig, pumpkin seed and strawberry coulis. The palate is tightly focused with flavors of bright currant, cola and a hint of pungent, wild mushroom. The mouthfeel is supple yet structured with well integrated tannins that provide the integrity for this charming wine.
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 collector world now, and they produce some of the most striking Sonoma wines around. They produce both estate wines from their Camp Meeting Ridge and Sea View Ridge vineyards, and wines from vineyards they carefully oversee and control in Sonoma County. Their wines always show the ... Read More »
Wine & Spirits: "A velvety blend based on Merlot, this is simple but clean, its strawberry-red fruit lifted, the structure easy rather than gripping. It’s light enough for roast chicken." (8/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This wine has a foundation of 57% Merlot, followed by almost equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, then smaller percents of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Perfumed, it expresses itself in tight, chewy tannins before revealing cedar, pencil shavings and cranberry in a medium-bodied package. (VB)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: Lyeth's Meritage is a blend of the five red Bordeaux varietals with 58... Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "This is dense yet fresh and lively with ripe currant, plum and dried mushroom character. Medium to full body, crisp and delicious. Real Napa at a solid price. Drink now." (6/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "This soft, simple wine, with small touches of Malbec and Petit Verdot, delivers sizable tannin atop notable acidity. Tart red currant and cherry meet cedar and a taste of toffee, allowing for a pleasantness on the palate that’s rich and ripe." (12/2016) Wine Spectator: "Fresh herb, dill and charry oak notes make this distinctive, if a bit dry and smoky. Retains an elegant mouthfeel. (Web Only—2016)" ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The outstanding 2013 Mountain Cuvée Proprietary Red, which is 80.4% Merlot, 17.4% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Malbec, was aged ten months in a combination of new and used oak. The good news is that there were 16,000+ cases of this outstanding wine. Dense purple in color with a big beautiful nose of black cherries, cassis, chocolate and espresso roast, this opaque, full-bodied wine has gorgeous purity, a beautifully layered texture and a heady, rich finish. This is a stunner and quite a steal in the marketplace. Gundlach Bundschu has hit home runs wit ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of the best values in Cabernet Sauvignon anywhere in the world remains Louis Martini’s Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County (89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot and the rest Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc and other varieties) is just a beautiful wine. Dense ruby/purple with classic tobacco leaf, blackcurrant, loamy soil notes and a touch of wood spice, this wine (aged 16 months in French and American oak) has relatively modest alcohol for Cabernets these days (13.5%), and what’s even more remarkable is that there are 408,0 ...Read More »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "This iteration of Flowers’ multi-vineyard blend from western Sonoma is a bit lush compared to some other vintages, perhaps due to the warmth of the 2014 growing season, yet it’s stitched together by brisk coastal acidity and the tannins of fruit grown on sandy ridgetops. Its initial dark cherry flavor gains levity in the finish, heading toward spicy suggestions of apple skin and pomegranate, drawing a line of red fruit that’s delicious and immediate, ample but not heavy." (4/2016)
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)
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." (8/2016) Wine Spectator: "Taut and vibrant, with a tender edge to the ripe pear, melon and spicy ...Read More »
94 points Vinous: "The 2014 Lytton Springs is another absolutely gorgeous wine...there appears to be plenty of complexity and depth hiding behind the acidity and tannin. Far from an easygoing Zinfandel, the 2014 Lytton is a wine to buy and cellar for at least a handful of years. The wine's richness, persistence and vertical intensity all lead me to believe it will be special in time. Black cherry, pomegranate, mint and sweet spices meld into the resonant finish. A kick of tannin from the Petite adds personality, something the 2014 has in spades. 94+ Points. (AG)" (6/2016) 91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "No ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Starts rich and then trims, offering upfront honeydew and honeysuckle notes, and shades of spice and citrus, ending with a minerally aftertaste. (JL, Web-2016)"
Wine Enthusiast: "A field blend with defined amounts of Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouschet, this wine is perfumed and light bodied, exhibiting soft, persistent waves of black pepper and crisp red fruit that give it a cool-climate edge of approachability and intrigue. (VB)" (4/2016)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Chardonnay seems much more fruit-forward, with plenty of tropical notes such as mango and pineapple in addition to the telltale honeysuckle and white peach. It’s well-made, medium to full-bodied, totally delightful, and already exhibiting complexity. Drink it over the next 4-5 years." (3/2016) Vinous: "The 2014 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) is one of the best California Chardonnays readers will find in its price point. Orange blossom, apricot pit and buttery notes meld together in an exquisite, beautifully layered entry-level Chardonnay ... (AG)" (2/2016)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "For starters, there are four Chardonnays, which include the 2014 Chardonnay Home Ranch – a terrific value in Chardonnay that is barrel-fermented in about 30% French oak and aged 10 months prior to bottling. The wine reveals discrete oak, caramelized citrus, a touch of honey and has an attractive, light gold color with a greenish hue. It is medium-bodied and exhibits a gravelly minerality. Drink it over the next several years. (RP)" (2/2016) K&L Notes: From Ed Sbragia, the winemaker behind many great vintages at Beringer. As Robert Parker says, "Sbragia has always de... Read More »
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, with notes of tropical pineapple and caramelized orange, this elegant, crisp, medium-bodied wine sells for a song. It is 94% barrel fermented, aged in 15% new French oak, American oak and bottled after eight months. (RP)" (10/2015)
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 winemaker Marcia Monahan-Torres, who vinifies dozens of small lots of Sauvignon Blanc in order to hit just the right, delicate notes in the final blend. The wine is aged in 17% neutral oak barrels, rounding out a little of the stainless steel fermented portion's keen edge. The winery's tasting note: "Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc blends a handful of select clones planted across 35 individual blocks a... Read More »
Influenced by his experiences making wine in Europe as well as from two decades working with the respected wine importer Kermit Lynch, Bruce Neyers was an early adapter of the hands-on, natural and organic winemaking approach in the Napa Valley when he and his wife Barbara founded Neyers in 1992. His point of reference for Chardonnay are the great Burgundies of France. "After you try a Chablis from Raveneau or a Burgundy from Méo-Camuzet," he tells us in an Uncorked interview from April of 2011, "you have a frame of reference, an objective to seek." The ... Read More »
95 points Wine & Spirits: "David Jeffrey’s estate, in the hills east of the Russian River Valley, tends to give a cool, taut expression of the Bordelaise grapes, thanks to maritime influence and the vineyard’s sandstone and shale-based soils. This Merlot-based blend includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec; in 2012, the wine’s flavors are vigorous and cohesive, with hints of black plum and mint, though the overall impression is primarily mineral, the refreshing glints of fruit completely tied to the structure. It evolves slowly over several days of air, barely l ...Read More »
This is 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 12% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot from--as the name suggests--some of the winery's more gravely vineyard sources, including the famed Cherryblock, with Mountain Terraces and Bedrock. Though the 2014 has yet to be professionally reviewed, the 2013 earned 97 points from Robert Parker, who enthused about the venerable Sonoma winery's recent successes: "If you haven’t noticed the qualitative efforts by winemaker Mark Lyon and the Sebastiani team over the last decade or more, it’s time to take notice. Not only are the ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Sea Slopes gets its name from overlooking the Pacific Ocean at an elevation of 1,200 to 1,700 feet. The wine spent nine months in 10% new French oak prior to being bottled unfined and unfiltered. This wine offers loads of Chinese black tea, pomegranate, floral notes and a hint of raspberry in a medium-bodied, fresh, lively, Côte de Beaune style. Drink it over the next 5-7 years. Early - Drink 2016-2023" K&L Notes: From Fort Ross Vineyard's estate property, the Sea Slopes bottling sources Calera, Pommard, Swan, and Dijon clone vines. The wine was ... Read More »
Valravn is a small project by the folks behind Banshee Wines, with one clear mission: helping the Zinfandel grape live up to its potential glory. Their dry-farmed, bush-pruned vines range from 50 to 105 years old. Made by hand on a small scale, these wines are the antithesis to the jammy mass-produced Zins you can often find on the market. From the winery: "Layers of richness and complexity wrap around a core of wild strawberry and raspberry. Intoxicating aromatics with scents of mocha, espresso roast, violets and ripe red berries. Rich on the palate wit... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A California Côtes du Rhône look-alike, the 2012 Mountain Cuvée is a blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 8% Zinfandel and the rest small dollops of Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Malbec aged 14 months in mostly French oak. It reveals spicy, peppery, meaty notes intermixed with hints of Provençal herbs, dense black cherry and plum-like fruit, medium to full body, an attractive texture, and a seductive finish. (RP)" (11/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "An unidentified mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot sourced from throughout the county, this is a smoky, leathery e ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "With time, the cedary oak edge should work into the core of green apple, melon and pithy citrus skin notes. (JL)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: This classic Chardonnay walks the tightrope between elegance and richness. In a creamy, medium-weight style, it exudes notes of pears and peaches, apples and melons, with a bright acidity and a ton of finesse.
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."
92 points Vinous: "The 2014 Pagani Ranch is the most immediate and obvious of the 2014 Zinfandels I tasted at Ridge. Ripe, forward and opulent, the Pagani will please readers who like a more flashy, up-front style. I expect the Pagani will offer most of its charms sooner rather than later, which makes it a terrific choice for drinking on the young side. I don't see the pedigree or complexity of the best Zinfandels in the lineup, but the Pagani is delicious. This site seems to naturally produce a riper style as full flavor development and tannin maturity only take place lat ...Read More »
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Arrowood deserves a lot more credit than he often gets for his Cabernet Sauvignons, which are long-lived. Some of the early Château St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignons have stood the test of time, and those made under the Arrowood label, especially his Reserves, are 30+ year wines at the minimum. The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, which is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot, is brilliant. Notes of graphite, crème de cassis, blueberry and blackberry along with some espresso are all present in this dense, full-bodied wine with great fruit, beautiful puri ...Read More »
About the producer: "Since the inaugural vintage of our Decoy Napa Valley Red Wine almost a quarter century ago, Decoy has taken an important place in the Duckhorn Wine Company family of wines. With a reputation for delivering great quality at a remarkable price, Decoy has established a loyal following for its distinctive style, which emphasizes ready-upon-release wines that are capable of expressing their full charm and complexity in their youth. Building on this foundation, Decoy has evolved from being a single wine that supported the Duckhorn Vineyard... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Cortina, which comes from their lowest yielding, dry farmed vineyards, exhibits perhaps the deepest level of fruit intensity, with loads of raspberries, black cherries, some spice, a full-bodied earthiness, moderately high alcohol (as all of these do) at 14.8%, but a long, layered finish. This is probably one of my favorites of this grouping. (RP)" (3/2016) 94 points Wine Spectator: "*Highly Recommended* This captures such a distinct sense of place it almost smells like Dry Creek Valley. Briary raspberry and smoky cinnamon aromas lead to complex, layered flavors o ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "For a large-production sparkler made from an almost 50-50 split of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, a dollop of Pinot Meunier blended in, this is impressive, dry and refreshing in acidity. Flavors of stone fruit, apple and almond linger on the palate, balanced by a distinct layering of fresh-squeezed citrus, from orange to lime. (VB)" (8/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The least expensive sparkling is their NV Cuvée 20, a non-vintage blend made from 50% Chardonnay, 49% Pinot Noir and the rest Pinot Meunier. Crisp notes of red delicious apple skins, brioche and white currants are fresh an ...Read More »
95 points Vinous: "The 2014 Petite Sirah Lytton Estate is outstanding. Deep, luscious and intense, but with none of the aggressiveness Petite so often presents, the 2014 is utterly captivating from the very first taste. Dark red and blue-hued stone fruits, mint, spices and licorice are front and center. The purity of the fruit here is simply remarkable. As hard as it may be to believe, the 2014 can be enjoyed on the young side. This is a tremendous wine. Don't miss it! This is an absolutely stellar set of wines from Ridge. (AG)" (6/2016)
90 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) is a gorgeous introduction to the vintage at Ramey. Lemon curd, white flowers, mint and lightly honeyed notes open up in an expressive, beautifully textured Chardonnay to drink now and over the next decade. Martinelli's Charles Ranch and Platt are the main fruit sources." (2/2016) Connoisseurs Guide: "Although there is a nice sense of youthful energy and brightness at work here, this moderately deep, but comparatively closed-in working is still on the tight-fisted side with regard to outgoing fruit. It offers teasing glimpses of fresh apples, ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Baked pineapple and mango rise to the fore in this nutty, slightly grassy and herbal wine. It's lightly bodied and creamy in texture. (VB)" (11/2016) Wine Spectator: "The Key lime, citrus zest, honeydew melon and green apple flavors are juicy and lively, with a refreshing finish. (MW)" (11/2016)
Connoisseurs Guide: "As has been the case with past Ponzo bottlings, this wine drifts away from the Ridge tendency toward complexity and offers up a distinctly clearer view of Zinfandel berries and zestiness. It is clean, polished and, as has been the norm for Ponzo, it is also readier to drink than most of its siblings. Medium-depth fruit holds nicely from front to back and only a couple of years in bottle are called for, if any at all." (9/2016) K&L Notes: Fresh cherry and raspberry lead into lively acidity and an elegant finish. Bright and spicy, this wine pairs nicely, with game and... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Earthy dried herb and truffle provide a rough-and-tumble point of view in this wine, a mix of complexity and contoured acidity. The shy, juicy red fruit is cradled in integrated oak." (10/2016) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Bold raspberry and toasty spice aromas combines with lively, jammy flavors of black cherry, smoky anise and dried sage. Drink now through 2027. (TF, Web-2016)" (10/2016)
92 points Vinous: "Healthy medium red. Captivating scents of black raspberry, minerals, licorice and lavender. Dense, sweet and spicy, with raspberry and crushed rock flavors showing an almost chocolatey richness and communicating an impression of chewy extract. Finishes with serious but fine-grained tannins and excellent juicy length. Even more extroverted today than the Hyde Pinot but has the stuffing and structure to age. 92+? (ST)" (5/2015) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Pungent, spicy earth and cinnamon rise out of the wine's bouquet, inviting one to enjoy a structured expression of cranberry, raspbe ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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)
Robert Parker muses about Matanzas Creek: "More promising wines seem to be emerging from Matanzas Creek Winery, which was acquired some time ago by the Jackson family and has been a work in progress ever since."
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Pinot Noir is a bright ruby color and exhibits nice, straightforward cherry and strawberry notes as well as medium body, good purity and ripeness. (RP)" (3/2016)
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Offering gorgeous floral scents of lavender, plum, smoke and raspberry, this casts a wide net of red and dark fruit, veering toward toasty oak on the finish. A nice ride from start to finish. (Web-2016) (JL)"
89-90 points Vinous: "Sbragia's 2012 Merlot Home Ranch jumps from the glass with sweet dark cherries, plums, spices, new leather and menthol. A joyous, exuberant wine, the Home Ranch captures the best qualities of the 2012 vintage. Layers of deeply spiced dark red/blackish fruit inform the finish. There is a lot to look forward to here. (AG)" (2/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A bevy of wines made from Bordeaux varietals include the 2012 Merlot Home Ranch, a solidly made, plump, corpulent Merlot revealing notes of black cherries and white chocolate, medium body, a fleshy mouthfeel and a soft finish. (RP ...Read More »
From the producer: "We started Banshee Wines in 2009 - three of us - friends from the wine business and circumstance, in San Francisco. We were all working day jobs in the trade: importing, marketing and making wine. Without much of a plan, we decided to buy eight barrels of coveted Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from a top producer. The wine was amazing, and the price was insanely low due to dropout of the $60+ per bottle market. We figured we would either sell the wine case-by-case to friends and family or at worst would be drinking great Sonoma Coast Pinot ... Read More »
93-96 points Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir Aidan Wildrose Vineyard is all about tension and energy. Beautifully chiseled throughout, the 2014 is loaded with the essence of dark red/purplish fruit, wild flowers, mint, cinnamon and crushed rocks. I very much like the verve in the 2014, a wine that is shaping up to be a real gem. This is a strong set of new releases from DuMOL. Winemaker Andy Smith has really dialed in his approach here over the last few years, and it shows. Harvest dates have been moved up, while in general Smith is seeking a bit more freshness in his wines than ...Read More »