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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 »
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
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 »
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.
Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir (Sonoma County) is a pretty, attractive wine to drink now and over the next few years. Sweet red cherry and floral notes grace the mid-weight, feminine finish. This is a very pretty, understated appellation Pinot that delivers a compelling combination of quality, value and production. The Sonoma County is a blend of declassified barrels and some purchased fruit. (AG)" (2/2016) K&L Notes: 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 winemake... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This full-bodied beauty traffics in cigar, tar and chocolate, expressing a rich, robust and smoky world of goodness. With a velvety texture, it continues to impress beyond the first sip, offering both memorable length and breadth. It blends together 80% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Malbec." (2/2017) 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. ...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)
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 »
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." (6/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another undeniable value is the 2014 Pinot Noir Olema, a Sonoma cuvée that would qualify as a sleeper as well. Pomegranate, allspice and clove intermix with sassafras in this medium-bodied, deliciously fruity, round seductive Pinot Noir to drink over the next several years. Even the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Olema offers plenty of value in an elegant, tasty, cedary, blackcurrant-scented and flavor ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "*** Smart Buy *** 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 beginning to end. Drink now. (JL)" (8/2016)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
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 »
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 »
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 »
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. This is an absolutely ste ...Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a gorgeously light coastal offering, a subdued expression of the variety that unravels its layers slowly and methodically. Red cherry, lavender and blueberry are revealed on the palate as perfumed shocks of rose and salty air permeate the nose. Vibrantly crisp, it has a slight grip to the velvety texture." (2/2017) 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 ...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) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Even the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Olema offers plenty of value in an elegant, tasty, cedary, blackcurrant-scented and flavored wine that has good concentration, light tannin and a tasty, savory mouthfeel. Drink it over the next 4-5 years. This winery has a large and varied portfolio of wines, including their four value picks, which consumers need to notice. (RP)" (12/2016) K&L Notes: Olema is ... Read More »
Vinous: "The 2014 Three Valleys, Ridge's entry-level Zinfandel-based red, is a delicious, value-priced red to drink young, while the fruit remains vibrant. Sweet floral notes and a burst of spiciness round out the 2014 edition. This is an absolutely stellar set of wines from Ridge...Zinfandel fans will find much to like in the 2014s, a vintage that produced super-elegant wines. Of course, the biggest news at Ridge is Paul Draper's retirement, but then again, that has been in the works for so long that it was hardly a surprise when it was formally announced earlie ...Read More »
Much of the fruit for this luscious red comes from Simi's Red Fan and Los Amigos estate vineyards in Alexander Valley, with the remainder sourced from across Sonoma. The 2013 growing season was particularly friendly to red grapes, allowing them to develop concentrated, elegant flavors and bright acidity. Tasting notes for the 2013 vintage from the winemaker: "Deep garnet with a ruby edge, our 2013 Sonoma County Merlot has rich, dark notes of blackberry and plum with cocoa, nutmeg, and earthy hints of cedar and bay laurel. Smoky bacon notes frame bright f... Read More »
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 »
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 »
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 »
95 points Vinous: "The 2015 Pagani Heritage is the most overt and flamboyant of the Sonoma Valley wines. Inky red fruit, wild flowers, violet, mint and plum infuse this super-concentrated, dense Zinfandel-based wine. (AG)" (1/2017) 95 points Wine Spectator: "Potent, rich and loaded with personality, this offers expressive blackberry and smoky pepper aromas and dark, complex currant and blueberry flavors, accented by licorice and Chinese five-spice powder. The tannins are bold but balanced. Zinfandel and other red varieties. (TF)" (3/2017) 92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Pagani Heritage Wine was one of the few barrel samples I ...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 »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon 55 Degrees Slope exhibits an opaque ruby/purple color as well as beautiful, sweet crème de cassis, Asian plum sauce, licorice and forest floor notes. Full-bodied with velvety tannins, and impressive concentration, texture and length, this superb Cabernet can be drunk early in life because of its velvety opulence or cellared for two decades. I was greatly impressed with the Hidden Ridge offerings last year, and once again their current and upcoming releases merit interest. The winemaker is Timothy Milos, and the wines come fr ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast offers aromas of honey-drizzled peaches, poached pears, musk melon and butterscotch. Medium to full-bodied with a pleasant oiliness to the texture and plenty of butter-laced stone fruit flavors on offer, it has great harmony and persistence. (LPB)" (3/2017) K&L Notes: Over 25 years in the business of making Chardonnay, Patz & Hall have carefully cultivated relationships with growers of some of the best grapes in Sonoma County, ensuring that their Sonoma Coast appellation blend is of dependably high quality year on year.
90 points Wine Spectator: "This is loaded with zesty blackberry and raspberry fruit, offering a vibrant structure and appealing accents of toasted sage, white pepper and licorice. Drink now through 2027. (TF)" (3/2017)
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The deep purple colored Zinfandel Pagani Ranch is made in a medium to full-bodied, incredibly elegant and seamless style. The blend is 80% Zinfandel, 17% Alicante Bouschet and the balance Petite Sirah, aged all in American oak, and it boasts fabulous notes of plums, black raspberries, chocolate, spice and potpourri. It’s not a massive wine, but it glides across the palate, has ripe, sweet tannin and integrated acidity. Most importantly, it’s a joy to drink. (JD)" (10/2016) 92 points Vinous: "The 2014 Pagani Ranch is the most immediate and obvious of the 2014 Zinfandels I tas ...Read More »
Eric Story and Alison Smith-Story have a love story for the ages: they met and fell in love while working for K&L! This blend of Zinfandel and Syrah from Dry Creek Valley is named after their beloved dog Lord Sandwich, made in their classic style: fresh and lively and full of heart.
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)
Wine Spectator: "Tight, focused on zesty, citrus-infused green apple and pear flavors, with hints of grapefruit. Cleansing overall. Drink now. (JL)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: Hanzell utilizes young estate vine parcels for their Sebella bottling which will someday be included in their flagship Chardonnay. The style of this bottling celebrates the purity and focus of youthful fruit. The precise profile is allowed to shine by virtue of its vinification and barrel-aging in French oak, but without new wood or malolactic fermentation. As a second wine, Sebella is far from simple and its virtue s... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Made for broad release, this wine impresses for its rounded, approachable layers of dried herb and anise, the tannin and oak lightly applied. Blended with 10% Merlot, it finds a jolt of richness on the finish, a showcase for notions of chocolate, cherry and blackberry." (2/2017) K&L Notes: 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 establis... Read More »
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."
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)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Sauvignon Blanc is nothing new to the Banshee portfolio, as the lucky trio who scored surprise success with their initial, 8-barrel lot of coveted Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (that they purchased by the gallon and turned around in five weeks flat) launched a Sauvignon Blanc label the very next year. We're big fans of the Banshee wines, and suggest that if spring weather seems to be returning to your area, snap up a bottle or two of the 2015 while it's here. The producer's vintage note: "The 2015 version of our Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc was a wild child t... 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)
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 »
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)
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "****#29 in Wine Enthusiast's Best of Year 2015 and an Editors' Choice**** This is a tremendous blend of various vineyard sites, coaxed together into a stunning combination of beautiful floral aromas, ginger and baked lemon. Given time in half new oak, it takes on flavors of apple and vanilla, never venturing out of range and remaining balanced and textured. (VB)" (12/2015)
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.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The unfined, unfiltered 2012 Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard Vinas Antiguas (815 cases produced) is a meaty, dark plum-colored wine exhibiting aromas of grilled steak and herbs. Peppery, spicy, full-bodied and rich with 15.5% natural alcohol, it cuts a broad, expansive swath across the palate. (RP)" (12/2014) Wine Spectator: "Dense and briary, with black raspberry, licorice and underbrush aromas and deep flavors of plum, mineral and cracked pepper. The tannins turn a bit rustic on the finish. (TF, Web-2015)"
93 points Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) is a tremendous appellation level Pinot. Deep, textured and resonant, the 2014 possesses striking depth and elegance not to mention impeccable overall balance. Succulent red cherry, smoke, licorice and blood orange infuse this deeply expressive Pinot Noir from Steve Kistler's Occidental winery. Readers who can find the 2014 should not hesitate. It is every bit as impressive from bottle as it was from barrel. Quite frankly, the Sonoma Coast Pinot is not that far off the level of the vineyard designates. (AG)" (3/2017) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Med ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Mostly tank-fermented and having gone through full malolactic, the 2015 Chardonnay is scented of ripe peaches, honeydew melon and green guava with a touch of baking bread. Full-bodied, rich and with a lovely oily texture, it finishes long and spicy. (LPB)" (3/2017) 90 points Vinous: "The 2015 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) from Paul Hobbs' Crossbarn label, is a gorgeous wine that shows just how compelling this vintage can be. Sweet, floral aromatics, bright orchard fruit and lemon confit give the wine its expressive top notes. The 2015 is a bit creamy for the Sonoma Coast, but t ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Reserve, which was aged 20 months in French oak, is really sensational, with a dense ruby/purple color, beautiful blueberry and blackberry fruit, a judicious use of toasty oak, full-bodied opulence, a multi-layered mouthfeel, and a spectacular finish of 45 or more seconds. This is a great Zinfandel from Dry Creek to drink over the next decade. (RP)" (3/2016)
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Possibly the flagship wine is the 2015 Proprietary Red The Bedrock Heritage. This ancient vineyard is planted with 27 different varieties, so I won’t even begin to list them, as that is a book in itself. This is Rhône Valley-like, with notes of Mediterranean herbs, blackberries, blueberries, loamy soil notes, incense, creosote, steak tartare and pepper followed by a wine of great intensity - built like a skyscraper, with layers of fruit and extraction. It is a sensational effort, super-complex, and best drunk over the next decade. Everybody should recog ...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)
92 points Wine Spectator: "Bold and rich, with a lively, structured core, plus black raspberry and pepper aromas, and ripe, zesty black cherry and sweet black licorice flavors. Drink now through 2026." (1/2017) K&L Notes: This new project from Ehren Jordan, the mastermind behind such labels as Turley, Neyers and Failla, is dedicated to old-vine, Sonoma County Zinfandel. The first vintage comprises a touch of Petite Sirah to round out the blend, showing classic fruity notes of blueberry, raspberry and spices.
About the producer: "Unti Vineyards is a small, family-owned and operated winery specializing in Mediterranean varietal wines with vineyard personality. The winery, established in 1997, produces small lots of estate grown Barbera, Grenache, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Syrah and Zinfandel. We also produce a dry Rose from Grenache and Mourvedre and a White Blend of Vermentino, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul. We use artisan wine making methods to enhance and support our ability to make wines with a sense of place-such as fermenting and aging 45 to 60 different s... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Pure and focused on fresh citrus, with touches of lemon, blood orange and citrus blossom, maintaining a core zestiness through the persistent finish. (JL)" (7/2016) Jancis Robinson: "Creamy, baked apple notes, attractive salty hint and a savoury, yeasty note on the finish. Powerful and satisfying. 17/20 points (RH)" (2/2016) K&L Notes: Hanzell's Estate Chardonnay is the flagship Chardonnay bottling from this venerable, Burgundian varietal specialist in the Sonoma Valley. An innovative winery, Hanzell was the first to create temperature-controlled stainless steel fermenters and isolated ... Read More »