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K&L Staff Recommendations
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* The fruit flavors are apparent, fresh and lively in this medium-bodied, beautifully balanced brut. Light pear and pineapplearomas are followed by richer pear and citrus flavors, and subtle hints of baking spices, almonds and a nice earthy touch emerge." (12/2015) 91 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buy* Sleek and charming, with yeasty apple torte and floral cherry aromas and rich, crisp flavors of lemon curd, spicy vanilla and fresh ginger." (10/2015) Connoisseurs Guide: "As always a very bright and vital wine and, in this case, one that emphasizes freshness more than yeasty complexity, th ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This lovely Mendocino sparkler, crafted from two-thirds Chardonnay and one-third Pinot Noir, has lilting apple and honey aromas buoyed by a thick head of mousse. There is a pleasing follow-through from aroma to flavor and a core of ripe apple. Dry, soft with a long finish, this is a hard-to-resist food-friendly wine ready to pair widely." (12/2013) 90 points Wine Spectator: "A delightfully racy sparkler, with tart apple and floral anise aromas leading to zesty lime and lemon flavors, presenting accents of cinnamon and spicy ginger. (TF)" (12/2013) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light, bright gold. Green apple and ...Read More »
From the producer: "The 2013 Blanc de Blancs has bright and fresh aromas of grapefruit, mango, apricot,lemon, and white peach. The fruitful fragrance intermingles with hints of fresh bread, vanilla cream pie, and rose petals. Freshly sliced Gravenstein apples, zesty citrus, and bright pineapple flavors carry vibrant length on the palate.” – Winemakers Sean Thompson and Hugh Davies
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* A complex and complete wine with everything in place, this tastes delicious from the first whiff to the lingering finish. It has fresh-baked bread and light peach aromas and white-cherry flavors. Well balanced, it’s layered on a subtle level and harmonious." (12/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Vibrant and focused, with aromas of strawberry and mineral leading to crisp flavors of raspberry, nectarine and spice." (12/2015) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale orange. Orange zest and rhubarb on the spice-accented nose. Dry and chewy, with good clarity to its bitter red fruit and citrus pith flavors. ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "It's attractive, but even better is the outstanding NV Mirabelle Brut Rosé, 64% Pinot Noir and 36% Chardonnay. This shows a light pink color, beautiful delicate notes of strawberries and currants, crisp acids, a fresh, lively zesty style and medium body. Both of these are meant to be drunk upon release and are probably at their best within the first year or two of aging. Schramsberg, founded in 1862 by German immigrant Jacob Schram, fell victim to hard times in 1912 but was resurrected by the Davies Family in 1965. The quality seems to be going from str ...Read More »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "An elegant wine with tart and juicy sour cherry flavors, this has the full fatness of ripe California fruit. Yet it's harmonious, not aggressive, a finely balanced sparkler for duck meatballs." (12/2009) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Impeccably dry, with a delicate salmon hue and strawberry and lime aromas. Flavors are vibrant and crisp, with notes of watermelon and graham cracker. (TF)" (12/2011) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light peach skin color, with a slow bead. Musky orange peel and herb aromas, with a hint of white chocolate. Fleshy, weighty and smooth in texture, offering ripe citrus and pit fruit flavors an ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This elegant, dry bubbly has a light-gold color, aromas like peach skin and white cherries, and flavors that are crisp, fruity and vivid. It starts out reserved before opening up to riper, richer tones, partly due to 15% reserve wine in the blend. Not just for toasting, it will make a very good match with seafood." (6/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The two best values from Schramsberg are their non-vintage Mirabelle cuvées. The NV Mirabelle Brut, 61% Pinot Noir and 39% Chardonnay, shows loads of tropical fruit, a touch of delicate pineapple, pear, apple skin and ...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 »
Founded in 1862, Schramsberg is one of the oldest wineries in California. Though the 2013 vintage has not yet been professionaly reviewed, winemakers Sean Thompson and Hugh Davies say: "The 2013 Brut Rosé has generous aromas of mixed red berry, orange blossom, and white peach. Its fruitful nose is complemented by notes of strawberry cream pie and brioche. On the palate, there are bursts of raspberry sorbet, lemon custard, and summer apricot. The wine has a fresh, juicy acidity which drives to a bright, vibrant finish.”
92 points Wine Spectator: "A luxurious sparkler, with toasty brioche, mineral and lemon brûlée aromas and rich, complex flavors of crisp apple and raspberry, showing accents of fresh ginger and spice. Drink now through 2017." (9/2016) K&L Notes: L'Ermitage, Roederer Estate's special Tête de Cuvée, is a sparkling wine made only in exceptional years from pre-selected, estate-grown grapes. Carrying on the tradition of Champagne Louis Roederer in France, Roederer Estate produces its sparkling wines in the traditional French methode and adds special oak-aged reserve wines to each blend. L'Ermitage ... Read More »
92 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* Finding a place at the lighter end of the Rosé spectrum and, in fact, a wine that could easily pass for a Blanc de Noirs, this lightly yeasty version fixes on energetic, slightly juicy, young fruit as its main motif. It is briskly balanced, but its ample acidity enlivens without ever once seeming sharp, and it is wholly free of the astringency that marks its more vinous mates." (11/2010) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The outstanding NV Brut Rosé (66% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay and 1% Pinot Meunier) displays loads of strawberry and Kir cocktail-like notes in a fresh, light t ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* 0 The fruit flavors are apparent, fresh and lively in this medium-bodied, beautifully balanced brut. Light pear and pineapple aromas are followed by richer pear and citrus flavors, and subtle hints of baking spices, almonds and a nice earthy touch emerge. (JG)" (12/2015) 91 points Wine Spectator: "Sleek and charming, with yeasty apple torte and floral cherry aromas leading to rich, crisp flavors of lemon curd, spicy vanilla and fresh ginger. (TF)" (12/2015) Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* As always a very bright and vital wine and, in this case, one that emphasizes freshness more than ye ...Read More »
Making a white wine from a red grape requires great care: handpicked fruit, early morning harvest, optimal fruit maturity and delicate pressing. A balance of bright flavors, crisp acidity and minimal tannins is achieved. Three years of yeast contact knits all the elements together in a mature, toasty style. This wine is especially appealing with lighter meats such as well as smoked fish, or mushroom risotto.
The "Wedding Cuvée" is the very latest iteration of this first-class California sparkling wine, although iteration may be a tad too cool and technical for this festive and elegant wine, what Iron Horse calls their "most romantic bubbly." It's a very pale pink blanc de noirs, from primarily Pinot Noir grapes. Like most Iron Horse sparkling, however, it's fairly dry and lean, with hints of red fruit. A 90+ point wine in recent vintages with all the top wine magazines and critics. This wine, naturally, is made to pair with a variety of foods: "A food friend... Read More »
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "**Good Value** It may be that its fairly high percentage of Pinot Noir affords this impressive non-vintage Brut with a sense of substance and depth not usually found at the price, or it may be the wine's ample autolyzed richness does the same. Either way, the wine is long on character, all of which is quite good. It has a fine, creamy feel, and an insistent stream of small bubbles with lengthy flavors to match, and it is made all the more attractive yet by its reasonably modest price." (11/2014) 90 points Wine Spectator: "A festive sparkler, featuring bright aromas of raspberry and ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
91 points Wine Spectator: "Focused and vibrant, with aromas of creamy apple, cinnamon and hazelnut leading to complex, layered flavors of lemon custard, mineral and almond. The finish lingers." (9/2013) 90 points Wine & Spirits: "Roederer Estate’s Brut is reliably open and delicious, this year’s cuvée bursting with concentrated apple flavor. It’s clean and dry with a long, delicate finish enhanced by the barrel-aged reserve wines that winemaker Arnaud Weyrich blends in. Its bold flavors and vinous texture would be great with cracked crab." (12/2014) Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Taking its usual place among the better basic Bruts ...Read More »
La Clarine Farm makes their wines as naturally as possible while expressing the terroir of the Sierra Foothills from their estate at 2,500 feet in elevation. They are one of leaders in the new generation of young, inspired "natural" winemakers in the US working to bring viticulture and winemaking back to its roots. This impromptu "pet nat" was cooked up just as fermentation had wound down, so they added some fresh Marsanne juice with sugar to turn into bubbles, and bottled it up. The winemaker describes it as between a cider and a Prosecco in fizziness, ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Conundrum was born 25 years ago, and today it still stands for doing things your own way and daring to explore. Its inspiration came from Charlie Wagner, Sr. – co-founder of Caymus Vineyards and father to winery owner Chuck Wagner – who would sit at the dining room table and mix wines to create the “perfect glass” to pair with his meal. At the time, blending wines was considered almost unthinkable, and even Charlie Sr. had no idea that his bold experiment would help usher in a whole new trend. The Conundrum "25th Anniversary" opens with scents of aprico... Read More »
The 2010 Iron Horse Cuvee 50 is a 300-case limited edition commemorating Northern California's hosting of Super Bowl 50.
Inventory: San Francisco
Heidrun is a meadery in Point Reyes Station that specializes in dry and crisp sparkling meads produced from single-varietal flower honeys. All of their meads are produced in a Champagne method--complete with riddling, disgorgement, and secondary fermentation--and are serious, Champagne-inspired sparklers with delicious honey flavors. The alfalfa clover bottling is their lightest mead, with subtle notes of menthol and lavender behind dry honey aromas.
Inventory: Redwood City
96 points Connoisseurs Guide: "This extraordinarily deep, explicitly champenized offering is a study in contrasts when it is compared to Schramberg's 2007 Reserve, for, while both are nearing their tenth anniversaries, this one shows its autolysis in a more refined light and wears its age with more elegance. It is rife with crème brûlée richness but has retained a subtle, but very sure sense of slightly juicy fruit that has not faded with time. It is a complete and compelling package that reveals more and more with each sip, and it ranks among the very best sparkling wines to be made ...Read More »
Originally from Humboldt County, California, Heidrun moved to West Marin in recent years. They make a méthode champenoise style sparkling mead that's all about the terroir of the honey it's made from—no, really: besides their Point Reyes estate mead, they purchase honey from beekeepers who service the ag industry in places like Madras, Oregon, where farms grow carrot for seed—thus the blossom that feed the bees. The result is a sparkling, spicy mead that's just slightly reminiscent of a sour beer or a Jura wine—maybe even patchouli!
Inventory: San Francisco
From the producer: "Brut Rose is the most vivid and bold of our Sparklings, both in terms of flavor and color. Made mostly from Pinot Noir - bright, full, dry with a soft, almost creamy mouthfeel. The gorgeous color comes form letting the Pinot Noir sit on the skins. This vintage is aged 6 plus years en tirage."
A traditional blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, aged an average of four years on the lees in the bottle. Wonderfully rich and creamy, it sends all kinds of memory bells that say "Champagne", though the fruit is unmistakably Sonoma County-Green Valley. It is vintage quality in every sense of the word. The ultimate food wine. Goes with everything--sushi, fried, salty and spicy dishes, rich chicken soup (guaranteed to cure whatever ails you), with popcorn on Oscar night. The best no-fat dessert is Brut and fruit--a handful of fresh berries in summer or sl... Read More »
About the producer: "The Meadery was founded in 1997 in Arcata, California. In 2011, the meadery relocated to a farm in Point Reyes Station (just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco) to develop its botanical and apicultural programs. We produce naturally sparkling varietal meads using the traditional French Méthode Champenoise. Our trademark Champagne-style of mead is light, dry, delicate and refreshing, with subtle exotic aromas and flavors found only in the essence of honey."
Inventory: San Francisco
Vina Simpatica is a new brand offering a "nouveau spin on classic Sangria or Lambrusco" with this sparkling red wine, vinted from hearty Ruby Cabernet.
Sparkling wine from the Santa Lucia Highlands? Yes! This small, family-run winery was established in 2006, and this is their current release brut. The sparkling wine team is run by Michel Salgues, former head winemaker for Roederer Esate. A 60/40 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, aged 4 years sur lies.
Morgan Twain-Peterson of Bedrock Wine Co. and Chris Cottrell have created a new concept in California winemaking--a winery devoted exclusively to making single-vineyard, single-vintage sparkling wines. This is relatively new even for Champagne winemakers, who have long been devoted to the art of the blend, let alone Californians, for whom domestic sparkling wine has remained a small niche part of the market. With sparkling Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and even Carignane, these two trailblazers are shifting the conversation about California wine... ... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Vina Simpatica is a fun new brand of everyday California sparkling wine, offering "a whisper of pear & kiwi" in this light and refreshing French Colombard-based bubbly.