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K&L Staff Recommendations
96 points Decanter: "*Highest Rated 2014 New Zealand Pinot Noir* Exotic, fragrant, floral and fruity: ripe red berry fruits, wild ferment aromas of honey, light dried herb and sweet new oak. Lots of texture and spice with firm ripe tannins - delicious!" 95 points Sam Kim: "A beautifully styled Pinot; aromas of dark cherry, violet and game with nuances of truffle and dried herb notes on the nose. The palate is concentrated and richly textured, and delivers refined mouthfeel as well as impressive power, beautifully wrapped in plenty of supple tannins. Seamless, engaging and promising. Grapes were s ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "The texture is plush, with lots of complex flavors, ranging from plum to anise to dusty, cedary oak. Satisfying from start to finish, ending with dusty, nutmeg-scented tannins. (JL)" (6/2016) 90 points Decanter: "Complex dark fruit aromas with toasted oak and mineral notes and nuances of tobacco. Zesty, intense palate of raspberry coulis, a touch of oak, soft tannins, and acidity that is refreshingly clean and long." (7/2016) K&L Notes: $20 Pinot Noir is a competitive category, but not always tops with the critics: if the wines are praised, more often than not it's in the "great for weekni... 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 James Halliday: "Light, clear colour; there aren't many pinots from the Yarra and King Valleys buzzing around with this degree of varietal fruit, its varietal purity suggesting little or no oak. It's a drink tonight bargain of some magnitude." (10/2015) 90 points Vinous: "Bright red. Lively and focused on the perfumed nose, displaying fresh red berry, potpourri and five-spice powder scents along with a hint of smokiness. Lithe and subtly sweet, offering vibrant raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that become sweeter and spicier with aeration. In an elegant, fat-free style, with silky tannins ...Read More »
94 points James Halliday: "**Top 100 Reds Under $20** Full crimson-purple hue; a fine web of earth and spice is wound through the dark cherry and damson plum fruit of both the bouquet and palate alike, providing an extra measure of texture and structure. Still in its infancy, but promises much for the future - and an enticing price. (Halliday on Winemaker Tim Knappstein) - With 50+ years of winemaking and more than 500 wine show awards under his belt...the prices for almost all of the wines are astonishingly low." (9/2015) K&L Notes: A pure, aromatic, rich, juicy, fruit-driven Pinot from highl... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Attractive youthful complexity here that ranges through floral aromas, meaty nuances, spice and dark cherry-plum fruit. The palate has grainy tannin texture, plenty of dark cherry-plum flavor and finishes with succulent resolve." (4/2014) 90 points Vinous: "Bright medium red. Complex perfume of dark cherry, raspberry, earth, herbs, lavender, sandalwood and woodsmoke. Supple but juicy and tangy, with terrific spicy, peppery, herbal lift from a percentage of whole-cluster vinification. Lovely subtle sweetness and definition to the sappy raspberry and red cherry fruit flavors. ...Read More »
96 points James Suckling: "There's impressive clarity and depth here, and this is nicely struck. Ripe-dark-cherry and plum fruit aromas abound, along with a subtle spice and fragrant layer, too; this is gently herbal, flinty and complex. The palate is immaculately cast in the form of the tannins that ride side by side with crunchy, dark-cherry-fruit flesh and flavors. This is a super-even, impressively balanced and elegantly powerful wine. One of their finest and purest Pinots to date. The structure is mesmerizing. Drink now." 95 points Bob Campbell: "Impressively complex Pinot Noir with reasonably intense ...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. 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 »
The 2014 Rickshaw Pinot Noir is the sixth vintage from the team at Banshee Wines, known for elegant, food-friendly coastal Pinot and Chardonnay. Via the Rickshaw bottling, Banshee can offer a phenomenal value, thanks to relationships they've built with growers over the years from the finest AVAs in California. The largest share of fruit is sourced from the Sonoma Coast, followed by Anderson Valley and the Central Coast. The appeal of the wine is driven by its balance of fruit and earth tones, so just 10% of the juice sees new oak (the remainder being onc... Read More »
A K&L Exclusive Direct Import. Made by 20+ year veteran, Yarra Valley winemaker David Bicknell. David is considered by many as one of the best winemakers in all of Australia. The "Over The Shoulder" label is basically estate fruit that didn't quite make the cut for the much more expensive single vineyard bottlings but still represents excellent quality and an exceptional value. This is a more elegant, medium bodied style with very moderate alcohol, bright, crunchy berry fruit, spice and lovely earthy, forest floor nuances. Think of it like a great bottle... Read More »
92 points Bob Campbell: "Bright, fresh and reasonably concentrated Pinot Noir with strongly varietal plum and cherry flavours. Nice purity and a fine-grained texture. The wine has an honesty and vinosity (as opposed to "fruitiness") that I like. Excellent value at this price. SRP $17.99" K&L Notes: Exceptional value in Pinot Noir. This wine from Mt. Hector is truly one of the best value reds we have in store. Given that it's Pinot Noir (a notoriously difficult / expensive grape variety to cultivate) the quality for price ratio is even more astounding! Master of Wine Bob Campbell (NZ's most p... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This lower-priced Pinot from the Center of Effort team punches way above its weight in the vintage, showing light cherry-blossom and black-cherry aromas mixed with gamy meat and wet slate. Blackberry pie is cut with orange rind on the sip, with an earthy grip showing flavors of juniper, crushed clove and pipe tobacco. Editors' Choice. - MK" (10/2016) K&L Notes: This is part of the higher-end Center of Effort brand. From the winery: "When we say Fossil Point rocks - we mean it! Calcareous shale and coarse sand were uplifted from the floor of an ancient ocean and then ... Read More »
94 points Sam Kim: "Elegant, poised and fragrant on the nose; aromas of ripe cherry, floral and almond with hints of game and mushroom complexity. The palate delivers excellent fruit weight and silky texture, beautifully enhanced by layers of ripe fruit flavours and subtle savoury undertones, finishing long and finely dry. Stylish and attractive, and pristine and complex at the same time. At its best: now to 2022. Certified organic." 92 points Bob Campbell: "Elegant and reasonably powerful Pinot Noir with spicy cherry, smoky oak and violet flavours. A firmly structured wine that can be appreciated no ...Read More »
96 points James Halliday: "Hand-picked, destemmed, whole berry, 14-day ferment, matured for 11 months in French oak. Willowlake is the oldest Upper Yarra vineyard, and always has that little bit extra in fruit complexity - both red and black fruits, even if red is still the leader - fine tannins and oak totally in balance." (9/2015) K&L Notes: Another fantastic single vineyard Pinot from Oakridge, this time it's the Willowlake Vineyard Pinot Noir. Oakridge's wines re-define what many people think of Australian wines...they're the polar opposite of the over-ripe, over-extracted, "Fruit Bombs" p... Read More »
90 points Vinous: "Bright ruby-red. Lively, spice-accented aromas and flavors of fresh raspberry and cherry, with subtle anise and white pepper notes adding complexity. Bright and penetrating on the palate, showing no excess fat. A sexy floral nuance emerges on the back half and the berry note repeats on the finish, which is given shape by even tannins. 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 cor ...Read More »
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 »
Made from 20-year-old Pinot Noir planted in chalk and clay soils, vinified entirely in stainless steel, this is a super fresh and fun style of Pinot. It has everything you want in a Pinot--a touch of spice, pretty red and blue fruits, light tannin and a fresh, juicy finish.
Coming from a single, small tank of press wine from their Casablanca Valley vineyards, located close to the cooling influence of the Pacific, this is delicious Pinot Noir! Brightly fruited, and bolstered by firm tannins that provide structure without distraction, I would be hard pressed to think of a tastier, more honest expression of Pinot, especially if what you are after is a highly drinkable wine that does not aim to be the biggest, the most fruity or the most highly awarded. This is a great deal in everyday Pinot! (Joe Manekin, K&L Chilean wine buye... Read More »
90 points Vinous: "The 2012 Pinot Noir Bench Break is a classic Cambria wine with exuberant fruit, deep color and exotic spice overtones. Lavender, menthol and cloves add complexity to the dark red and blue-toned fruit. The firm tannins could use another year or two to soften. (AG)" (7/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Better, with a deeper, richer color, the 2012 Pinot Noir Bench Break offers a straightforward, subtle bouquet of black fruits, cherry blossom, underbrush and pretty floral notes to go with a medium-bodied, nicely concentrated profile. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak, it can be enjoy ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This new sister label from Elk Cove offers 100% Willamette Valley Pinot Noir at an everyday price. Fresh cranberry and raspberry fruit is framed by herb-tinged tannins. The immaculate craftsmanship and clean direct flavors are light years beyond budget Pinot Noir from most other regions. This is your perfect salmon wine. (PG)" (8/2016)
93 points James Suckling: "A super bright wine in the glass, this has a pristine bright red and dark cherry nose, really neatly expressed, there's an undercurrent of dark toasted spice here too. The palate delivers tangy acid freshness that drives bright cherry flavour, tannins roll in with delicious grainy texture, builds nicely to the finish. Great wine." (4/2014) 92 points Wine & Spirits: "Blended from the varied blocks at this Bannockburn estate, this 2012 shows a spark of mineral power that cuts through the kind of oaky scent a young grand cru Burgundy might offer. It’s peppery black, with rooty tannins ...Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Light but plump red strawberry fruit mixes with sandalwood, dried sage and thyme on this nose of this estate wine from winemaker Greg Brewer. Lots of spicy herbals show on the palate, from peppercorn and cardamom to thyme and oregano, giving deeper character to the light red-fruit core. (MK)" (12/2015) 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of the best values in Pinot Noir out there is Melville's 2013 Pinot Noir Estate and it overdelivers in just about every vintage. Firing on all cylinders on this occasion, with complex red fruits, rose petal and sous bois aromas and flavors all soaring fr ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Savory, earthy aromas of mushrooms, black pepper, iron and cranberry arise from this blend of nine vineyards, many of which are usually featured in single-vineyard selections. Umami rules the palate, and it’s quite full for a lighter-colored wine, with brown spice, light red fruit flavors and expertly balanced acidity." (3/2015) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Coming from a number of vineyards spread throughout the Central Coast (30% from Laetitia Vineyard, which is the largest component), the 2013 Pinot Noir Central Coast spent 11 months in 10% new French oak prior to bottling. It has a ...Read More »
93 points Bob Campbell: "Rich, concentrated and quite complex Pinot with bright red cherry and plum flavours together with a hint of fresh herbs and spices. Quite burgundy-like. Elegant wine that is accessible now but promises to age well." 92-93 points Raymond Chan: "Even, dark ruby-red colour, lighter on the rim. The nose is elegantly proportioned with intense aromas of fresh, ripe, dark red berry fruit entwined with savoury thyme herbs, dried herbal elements, sour cherries and game notes. Some complexing secondary undergrowth nuances are beginning to emerge. Medium-full bodied, tight and well-concentrated ...Read More »
Praise from the Prince of Pinot for the winemaker: "Gary Farrell is considered by many the father of Russian River Pinot Noir. Since the 1980s, his wines have been among the best from the Russian River Valley." Winemaker's tasting notes: "Many of the vineyard lots used to make this cuvée sat on skins for about a week after fermentation. My intention was to increase the tannin to add more complexity in the mouthfeel after some cellaring. This wine is quite approachable and crowd pleasing and I recommend opening the bottle about 15 minutes before drinking ... Read More »
Coming from one of the top producers of Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) this "entry level" Pinot is a spicy treat. With the chalky soils in the area, Becker produces some of Germany's finest Pinot Noir. Full of spicy strawberry and bright cherry fruit, just a hint of tobacco and a dusty earthiness and layers of subtle textures tell you that you paid way too little for this offering. Delicious on its own, but also complements heavier seafood, poultry and fine cuts of beef or game.
Jancis Robinson: "Eight-year-old vines in Grands Champs. Used to be Gamay for the workers. Bright pale cherry red. Simple but simply fruity with an attractive Gevrey-like kick on the end. Much more complex than the average Bourgogne. (JR)" (11/2015)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir is a seductive style of Pinot, with a medium ruby color, notes of black cherry and raspberry, light tannin, and not much depth, but it is superficially attractive and supple. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. (RP)" (3/2016)
93-94 points Raymond Chan: "Approx. 35% clone 5, 15% Abel, 7% 10/5, the remainder Dijon clones, the fruit from 45% Southern Valley hillside and 50% Southern Valleys flat sites, and 5% from the company’s ‘Conders Bend’ vineyard, vines around 10 y.o., partially indigenous yeast fermented to 13.5% alc. with 5% whole bunch, the wine spending 25 days on skins and aged 10 months in 20% new French oak barriques. Full and even, purple-hued ruby-red colour, lighter on edge, youthful in appearance. The nose is fresh and softly voluminous with primary aromas of ripe black cherries, along with ...Read More »
Named for founder Rudy von Strasser, the "Rudy" label is best known around here for top-quality, well-priced Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. Look for fine tannins that complement good acidity and rich, red fruit flavors. 2014 is the 25th vintage for the von Strasser winery, during which time they've won the "Winery of the Year" award from Wine and Spirits magazine an astonishing 12 times.
92 points Wine & Spirits: "*Best Buy* Ponzi's entry-level red, this lacks any pretension and airs. But its youthful energy, a lively red cherry scent, a plush middle-palate and a Jory-soiled redness to the fruit flavors, not to mention a volcanic grip of tannins, make this a lot of wine for the dough." (2/2016) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Who puts their lowest-priced Pinot Noir in 20% new French oak, and includes fruit from their best vineyards in the blend? Ponzi does, and the result is a terrific vintage for Tavola. Bright, compact, aromatic and lushly fruited with plum and black cherry, th ...Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "***Editors' Choice*** There’s a rugged earthiness and delicious meaty character to this fantastic bottling, which shows dried cranberries, dried olallieberry, smoked pork and hummingbird sage on the brawny nose. A similar power infects the palate, where red and black cherry meet with plum, mulberry, cola, shaved chocolate and a deepening sage character, finishing on crushed mint. (VB)" (8/2016)
The K&L Kalinda wines are consistently among the best values in our store. We work closely with top producers to bring you first-rate wine at reasonable prices. We can't reveal our sources, but we can say that this is a steal.
This is the same delicious Underwood Pinot Noir as the bottle, but in an easy-to-transport pop top can! No, it doesn't affect the taste--it's still packed with strawberry and pomegranate fruit, with the same supple texture, acidity and peppery spice and minerally finish. Perfect for summer sipping, for camping, boating, picnicking, beaching or rocking out at the Hollywood Bowl! From the winery's tasting notes: Cherries, raspberries, and chocolate."
93 points James Suckling: "Crushed ripe strawberries with blackberries. Some mineral undertones too. Full body, firm tannins, and a fresh and racy finish. Shows some granite and slate as well. Balanced, fruity style." (7/2015) Jancis Robinson: "Veramonte’s Monster Vineyard apparently. Bright blueish crimson. Lightly but not unattractively sweaty on the nose. Lifted, seductive, crystalline fruit. Very attractive, well-balanced Pinot for fairly early drinking. Not one of the most ambitious or complicated but very user-friendly." (2/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Ritual Pinot Noir is sourced from the east of Casablanca V ...Read More »
95 points Sam Kim: "What a fabulous Pinot. Deeply scented and immensely delicious, this complex wine shows black cherry, plum, floral and nuances of game, spice and cedar characters on the nose. The palate is concentrated and richly fruited, offering an abundance of lovely flavours and layers silky texture. It is beautifully styled and exhibits elegant opulence. At its best: now to 2022." 92-93 points Raymond Chan: "Very dark, black-hued ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, a little lighter on rim. The nose is elegantly proportioned with intense aromas of black cherry and black berried fruits with ...Read More »
"Year in and year out one of our best values is Pinot Noir. If you don't believe me, just ask any K&L customer." (Illya Haase, K&L Staff Member) This wine comes to us from Sonoma County's Martin Ray Winery, owned by Courtney Benham (creator of the Blackstone brand). This multi-county blend of Pinot Noir has been well-received in recent years, maybe not tipping the point-scales over 90, but earning consistent praise for the solid varietal character it delivers for a modest price.
The Mercurey Clos Rond comes from a single vineyard in Mercurey. The name means "the walled vineyard in that brambly area," derived from the local word "Ronde" instead of the more usual French "Ronce," meaning brambles. In a land where ownership is usually splintered, this vineyard is a rare case where the entire vineyard is under one owner, Domaine Faiveley. It lies on a gentle slope, with rich red-brown soil, a fairly high clay content, and buried limestone beneath. The result is a Pinot Noir displaying rich, round fruit, both red and black, and just a... Read More »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby-red. Wilder and deeper in pitch than the 2011 version, displaying powerful black raspberry and boysenberry scents and smoky floral and herbal nuances. Juicy acidity adds lift and structure to the ripe, subtly spicy dark berry flavors. The finish features chewy tannins, an echo of candied flowers and very good persistence." (6/2014) K&L Notes: An entry level Pinot Noir from one of K&L's longtime favorite producers.
Producer notes: "The 2014 Luli Pinot Noir has a beautiful combination of aromatics and texture. Deep ruby in color, the wine starts out with an exuberant display of wild strawberry, rich raspberry, earl grey tea, and dried rose petals. The cool summer temperatures of the Santa Lucia Highlands create these expansive aromatics. While the rugged, granite soils deliver the wine's texture - layers of tannins unfold into a broad finish with great depth of flavor and bright acidity."
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Pretty is the word that comes to mind upon sniffing and sipping this wine, with its beguiling strawberry and cherry fruit. It gathers strength in its core, while maintaining an elegant, well-structured acid/tannin frame. It's an outstanding value in Oregon Pinot from a top producer. (PG)" (4/2016)
98-99 points James Suckling: "A significant pinot noir that displays immense quality, depth and completeness tasted ahead of bottling. Very complex indeed with exotic spices, meaty charcuterie and game meats. A fabulous array of different cherry fruit characters, hints of citrus zest and saffron plus some foresty bracken to add. The palate has immense energy and depth yet treads lightly on balanced structure and even shape, the tannins wind out and around supple flesh, gathering together and fanning at the finish, the acidity is bright throughout and the finish holds long. A masterpi ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "There's a very candied red-cherry quality to the nose of this wine from a vineyard that the winery will cease using with this vintage, along with sexy aromas of violet, lilac, clove, cola, peppercorn and rose. A sage-driven character emerges once sipped, giving spice to bright red, slightly sour cranberry fruit. (MK)" (12/2015) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Coming from the estate Verna's Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills and 60% destemmed, the 2013 Pinot Noir Estate Verna's Vineyard was fermented in 1.5 ton open-top stainless-steel fermenters before aging 11 months all in neutral oak. It ...Read More »
96 points Bob Campbell: "*Five Stars* From a clay and fragmented limestone soils of a vineyard in North Waipara. Around 35% whole-bunches were used to give structure and intensity. An impressively complex wine, with a mix of cherry, plum and chalky/mineral flavors, with a more savory, baked earth, dried herb character. Nicely structured so the wine is accessible but promises to age well." (1/2015) 95 points Decanter: "Wonderfully complex and enticing bouquet of limestone like mineral, ripe red berry fruits, distinctive oak and spice moments. Highly textured, complex, dry, ripe berry flavors, layers of ...Read More »
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 Bob Campbell: "The 2009 vintage of this wine offered outstanding value although the subsequent vintages were slightly less of a bargain. This vintage is a truly excellent buy at this price. Dark cherry, black-fleshed plum, spice and floral flavours with a silken texture. Classy wine at a great price." (1/2014) 92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editor's Choice, Top Value Pinot Noir* This shows the immediate appeal of Central Otago's 2013 vintage. Yes, the acids and tannins stick out a bit, but they're cushioned by loads of ripe berry fruit. Hints of dried bracken and chocolate add complexity, while the f ...Read More »
92-93 points Raymond Chan: "Moderately dark, even ruby-red colour, with a lighter edge, youthful in appearance. The nose is elegantly and firm with softly concentrated aromas of dark-red berry fruits lifted by red florals , unfolding subtle layers of thyme herbs. Some spice and liquorice notes emerge, and the nose builds in depth and concentration in the glass. Medium-full bodied, the palate features bright, juicy and sweet soft red berry and cherry fruit flavours, entwined with thyme herbs, spices and liquorice notes. The fruit forms an elegantly concentrated line with fine, grain ...Read More »