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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 & Spirits: "A velvety blend based on merlot, this is simple but clean, its strawberry-red fruit lifted...It’s light enough for roast chicken." (8/2015) K&L Notes: Lyeth's Meritage is a blend of the five red Bordeaux varietals with 58% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. With grapes sourced from select vineyards across Sonoma County, it is the flagship wine of the estate and delivers an excellent value. From the winery: "A brilliant garnet in color, this Meritage is rich with aromas of dark cherry, plum, and boysenberry with subtle ... 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)
91 points Wine & Spirits: "For all its plumpness, this feels sophisticated, its sense of fatness coming from abundant, perfectly ripe tannins rather than jammy, overripe fruit. Its clean, dark berry flavors are harmonious and lasting, the structure seeming at one moment supple and easy, at the next more deep and stony. Give it another five years in the bottle before pouring it with a standing rib roast." (2/2016) 90 points Vinous: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley is terrific... Sweet red cherry, pomegranate, spices, mint and gravel meld into the voluptuous, racy finish. There are plenty of ...Read More »
Though the 2014 has yet to be professionally reviewed, the 2013 garnered 91 points and praise from Wine Advocate: "A blend of 80% Zinfandel, 11% Carignan, 8% Petite Sirah and a splash of Alicante Bouschet, the 2013 Three Valleys has lots of berry fruits, bramble, spice-box and licorice in its medium-bodied, supple, nicely textured, and delicious profile." (JD, 10/2015)
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Fragrant with scents of rose petal and pinecone, this is clean and brisk. Lifted rather than layered or complex, it’s ready to decant for herb-stuffed trout baked in parchment." (4/2015) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Shy and reserved, this cool-climate wine opens coyly with a burst of spearmint on the nose, evolving into layers of flavor steeped in rhubarb, black cherry and tea. Soft and lilting, the wine’s finish conjures thoughts of strawberry cream." (7/2015) Vinous: "The 2013 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) is an excellent choice for drinking now and over the next few years. The flavors are floral ...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 »
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 Spectator: "Fresh herb, dill and charry oak notes make this distinctive, if a bit dry and smoky. Retains an elegant mouthfeel. (Web Only—2016)" K&L Notes: Olema is produced by the folks at Amici Cellars. Fruit was sourced from select vineyards around Sonoma County and blended with a splash of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The wine was aged for more than a year in 30% new French oak before bottling.
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 »
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 ...Read More »
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)
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 points Wine Spectator: "Impeccably focused and distinctive, with floral cherry, mineral and fresh sage aromas and flavors that combine subtle power with lively acidity, offering notes of raspberry and spicy herb. Drink now through 2024." (10/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "As far as the single vineyards go, the 2013 Zinfandel Rockpile has a completely different aromatic profile, with more Mediterranean notes of lavender, Provençal herbs, pepper and spice. It is medium-bodied and doesn’t seem to have the weight of the Old Vine, but it displays plenty of dusty terroir notes. This medium to full-bodied wine ...Read More »
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)
Mike Berthoud worked under Richard Arrowood at Chateau St. Jean, then was winemaker at Arrowood Winery. After 15 years at Arrowood, Mike moved on to Mayo Family Winery. Ursus is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petite Verdot. Winemaker's notes: "As always all of the grapes used to produce the blend are grown on the Berthoud estate. Ursus is the Latin word for Bear, while Berthoud is pronounced Bear-2. Just like the bear, Ursus is a muscular wine while maintaining an elegant balance. It is an old world style wine that is b... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The less expensive label for Paul Hobbs is his Crossbarn label. He has done a magnificent job of elevating the quality of these wines, which are all made from purchased fruit. (RP)" (2/2016) K&L Notes: Made just down the road from Paul Hobbs' home winery on Highway 116 in Sebastopol, toward the southern end of the Russian River Valley appellation, this internationally renowned winemaker's "second label" has become a go-to for quality and value in recent years. Our staff raved about the 2014 Crossbarn Sonoma Coast Chardonnay: "Paul Hobbs is a known and celebrated win... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Fig Tree Vineyard is a dead ringer for a Loire Valley Fumé Blanc. Loads of gun flint, melon fruit, lemon zest and other caramelized citrus, including kiwi, jump from the glass of this medium-bodied, dry, crisp, delicious Sauvignon. Drink it over the next 1-2 years. (RP)" (2/2016) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Light with a floral, jasmine-like bouquet, this perennial classic shows lemony crispness around a medium-bodied core of juicy acidity and weight, remaining balanced and fresh. On the finish, expect a length and depth of fig flavor. (VB)" (12/2015) Wine Spectator: "Medium-bo ...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)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Consistently one of the great values in Cabernet Sauvignon from Northern California is Louis M. Martini’s Sonoma County 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot, Petitie Sirah, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. They make 353,000 cases of it, so there shouldn’t be many complaints about finding it. This is another beauty from the Martinis, aged in a combination of French and American oak staves in tank. The wine is dark ruby/purple and displays delicious black and red currant fruit with some underlying soil and underb ...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 »
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 »
From Fort Ross Vineyard's estate property, the Sea Slopes bottling sources Calera, Pommard, Swan, and Dijon clone vines. The wine was aged for 10 months in French oak (10% new) before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. From teh Our Sea Slopes Pinot Noir is blended for earlier release and is ready to enjoy sooner than our other Fort Ross Vineyard Pinot Noirs. This expressive ruby hued Pinot Noir has bright black cherry, wild berry, and violet aromas that are gracefully balanced by touches of dried orange peel. Generous raspberry and mulberry integrated... Read More »
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 »
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)
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 »
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 »
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 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.
Stephen Vincent Wines is a partnership between Stephen Vincent Situm, (marketing guru behind such brands as Mondavi, J. Lohr, and Louis Roederer) founder of La Crema, Bob Goyette, vineyard manager Hossein Namdar, and sales and marketing master Stephen Vincent Situm III. Together these men have 100 years of experience in different facets of the wine business and they seek to use that experience to create exceptional wines at super-attractive prices.
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)"
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 »
Connoisseurs Guide: "***Good Value*** Clean as a whistle, mid-density in weight and volume and evident if moderate oakiness lifting its mix of ripe and slight green apple fruitiness, this wine is exactly what a $20 Chardonnay should be. It is somewhat rounded in texture with enough youthful energy for balance ..." (5/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "High-toned Meyer lemon and edgy minerality give this coastal wine a freshness on the palate, along with a complexity of fennel and apple. Juicy and medium bodied, it picks up a fullness on the texture as it goes, while remaining balanced and pleasing. (VB) ...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.
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This 100% varietal wine from the cooler outpost of Freestone is so deliciously crisp, bright in minerally lemon and fresh pear. It lingers on the palate in complex ways, elusive one moment, then exuberant the next-a celebration of ideal vintage and place." (12/2015) 92 points Wine & Spirits: "There’s a taut and penetrating depth of flavor at the core of this chardonnay, from a wind-cooled vineyard among the redwoods near Freestone. It’s resolutely dry, with a tangy blood-orange verve, the grip of oak and creaminess of lees providing a context for the clean intensit ...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)
From the winery: "Blended from premiere benchland vineyards, our Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon is graceful yet profound and youthful yet polished. Inviting aromas of black cherry and blackberry fruit dusted with chocolate, along with dried herbs, cinnamon and vanilla. An elegant, juicy entry with flavors of berry cobbler followed by mocha and wood spice unite, layer by layer to form a finish that is rich with structured tannins." 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petite Verdot, 5% Merlot, 5% Malbec and 3% Cabernet Franc.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "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. In any event, the 2014 Fumé Blanc has a delightful, rather compelli ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I tasted five Zinfandels from St. Francis. The 2013 Zinfandel Old Vines, made from 50- to 110-year-old vines, is a gorgeous Zinfandel - deep ruby purple, with loads of blackberry and black cherry fruit, full-bodied opulence, good purity and richness. Drink it over the next 5-6 years. (RP)" (3/2016)
This is the second label of Russian River Valley's beloved DuMOL, made from younger fruit with an eye toward value and food-friendliness. The wine is aged in French oak for ten months before release. Notes of cola, cranberry and cherry harmonize on the rich palate and bright finish.
Wine Enthusiast: "This is a medium-bodied, low-in-oak white, linear in vanilla and lime, with a freshness on the palate. It will serve well as both an apéritif and at the table with lighter fare, a well-made and distributed wine to please many palates. (VB)" (12/2015) Wine Spectator: "Smooth melon, pear and citrus flavors have details of apple blossoms and fresh herbs, with a refreshing finish. (MW, Web-2015)" K&L Notes: Decoy is a label of Napa Valley's Duckhorn Vineyards, which has been making Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc since 1982. More recently, they've begun sourcing Sauvignon Blanc from neighborin... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Rustic and briary, but complex in structure, with notes of black cherry, licorice and smoky herb. Drink now through 2023. 1,042 cases made." (6/2016)
Made in a classic California Chardonnay style, but with plenty of complexity and breed, this is a blend of grapes from eight of Farrari Carano's estate vineyards. It is richly tropical, verging on fat, owing much of its body and voluptuousness to 100% barrel fermentation, 95% malolactic fermentation, and 10 months barrel aging with lees contact. According to the winery: "The 2014 Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay from Sonoma County has superior lots of wine from our vineyards in Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley and Carneros. This full-bod... Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Readers who love Rhone whites need to grab a few bottles of the 2014 The First Date, which reminds me of a great vintage of Beaucastel's Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc! Made from 52% Roussanne, 46% Grenache Blanc and 2% Viognier, its light gold color is followed by awesome notes of buttered citrus, white flowers, peach and crushed rock-like minerality. Pure, full-bodied, beautifully textured and layered, it has a core of sweet fruit, integrated acidity and a great finish. It's a blockbuster white readers shouldn't miss. (JD)" (8/2016)
91 points Connoisseurs Guide: "Despite its touted 100% Zinfandel composition, this bottling is brawnier than one would expect of Ridge, especially one with all Zin as its cepage. That said, it reaches out with deep and highly concentrated blackberry scents augmented by rich vanilla bean oakiness and a hint of black pepper spice. It is full and somewhat supple to start, then gains a certain muscular astringency towards the finish without compromising its attractive personality. Three to six years in bottle are possible here." (9/2016) 91 points Vinous: "Ridge's 2014 Zinfandel East Bench is a standout, espe ...Read More »