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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points Wine & Spirits: "This blend is focused on Cristom’s four Eola-Amity Hills vineyards. It’s a dense mélange of stem spice, smoke, graham flour and tobacco, with plummy fruit that absorbs the savory elements, and a sturdy oak component that cradles the lot of it in a warm embrace. Tasted over several days it gains polish and elegance, the oak integrating into something more burnished and structural, lending direction without weight." (4/2013)91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Kept for 18 months rather than the Jefferson Cuvee’s 12 months in barrels, a higher percentage of which are new, Cristom’s 2009 Pinot N ...Read More »
Inventory: Special Order
The 2013 Rickshaw Pinot Noir is the fifth vintage from the team at Banshee Wines. 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, and Rickshaw was born out of this bounty. 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... Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "Banshee's 2013 Pinot Noir (Sonoma County) is supple, racy and flat-out delicious, especially for the money. Raspberries, crushed flowers and soft spices linger on the effortless, gracious finish. Drink this soft Pinot over the next few years. This is one of the best values readers will find in Sonoma Pinot Noir. (Antonio Galloni)" (1/2015) 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 winemakers gained a stable of quality sources for Pinot fruit fro... Read More »
96 points Bob Campbell: "Produced from four Pinot Noir clones on Greystone’s hillside estate featuring predominantly calcareous clay soils with sand stone and grey limestone. The wine spent 30 days in the skins before being pressed to French oak barrels (30% new). Rich, weighty and flavoursome Pinot Noir with dark-fleshed plum, dark cherry, liquorice and subtle spicy flavours. More concentrated that usual with a silken and almost luscious texture. Lots of power as evidenced by the wine’s lengthy finish. Very impressive. (Gourmet Traveller)" (4/2014) 95-96 points Raymond Chan: "Very dark, deep, black-hued rub ...Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "This red offers a lively, refreshing and complex mix of snappy wild berry and raspberry flavors that are firm and vibrant, ending long, clean and complex. Drink now through 2020. Tasted twice, with consistent notes." (9/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "The price-quality ratio is inviting for this wine, a light, lifted expression of cranberry and herb. The grapes were sourced from both the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations, about half of each, before aging less than a year in managed oak, 30% of it new. The wine finishes in swirls of vanilla-cola." (6/2015) K&L Notes: From our fr... Read More »
From the winery website, "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 weathered into place over millennia. It became a place of deep beauty and vast potential. Fossil Point is a rugged headland with sweeping views of the coastline stretching from Port San Luis to the Guadalupe Dunes. The Point is just five miles due west of the vineyards that are its namesake. Sunny afternoons are cooled by marine breezes sweeping off the Pacific Ocean, along Fossil Point to the v... Read More »
Bench is one of the labels of Brack Mountain Wine Company, which sources this Pinot Noir mostly from the Sangiacomo vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA. Great aromatics of red fruit and orange peel and a smooth finish.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Menthol and sweet sage aromas leap off this wine from Steve Clifton. They spice up the black cherry and blackberry juice backbone that comes from this Nipomo vineyard, located seven miles from the Pacific. The palate shows lots of energetic verve, with flavors of dried cranberries, raspberries, licorice and slate, finishing long on a sagebrush-driven sense of chaparral." (8/2015)91 points Antonio Galloni: "Brilliant red. High-pitched raspberry, floral pastille and Asian spice aromas are deepened by notes of cola and licorice. Nervy and precise on the palate, offering sweet cherry an ...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) Antonio Galloni: "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 »
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) Wine Enthusiast: "This fruity, friendly Pinot opens with ripe berry aromas mixed with touches of minerality and latex. It feels fresh and sturdy, with black cherry and raspberry flavors. A pure, sweet, lightly chocolaty finish wraps things up." (8/2015) Wine Spectator: "A juicy and savory red, with touches of richness to the cherry and crushed red plum flavors. Notes of bergamot linger on the le ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Terroir Unico Pinot Noir follows the idea of the Terroir Unico range, to show the pure expression of the grape and the place in a line of unoaked wines. This was 20-30% whole-cluster fermented and is very pale colored, almost a rose, very perfumed, with aromas of red fruit and flowers opening to a light to medium-bodied palate, high acidity (blood orange), and a pure, fresh finish. Highly drinkable. Can the price be real? (LG)" (4/2014) K&L Notes: Based in the Gualtallary district of the Uco Valley, an area prized for its complex soils containing calcareous,... 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 only a modest fee.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Mt Jefferson Cuvée Pinot Noir comes from vines located above the winery augmented by purchased fruit from notable vineyards. It contains around 40% whole-cluster fruit (one of the central tenets at Cristom), and only undergoes one racking during its 12 months in barrel: one just before filtration and then just before bottling. It has an attractive tertiary/woodland-scented bouquet with dried rose petal notes coming through, much less fruit driven than many other 2012 Pinot Noirs. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip on the entry. It is ...Read More »
Coming from a single, small tank of press wine from their Casablanca Valley vineyards, located close to the coolin 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 buyer... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Rich, with black cherry, black currant, violet and mineral flavors, this is flavorful and smooth. The vibrant structure and fine harmony carry through the long finish. Best from 2017 through 2027. 75 cases made." (6/2015) K&L Notes: Located in Marsannay at the northern end of the Côte de Nuits, Domaine Bart is a small property that owns 19 hectares of vineyards in both Marsannay and Fixin. The wines have a reputations as being classically-flavored and dependable in just about any vintage, year after year. I did a double take when I tasted this wine and saw that it wa... Read More »
94 points James Halliday: "An opulent, full-bodied pinot noir, flexing its muscles from the bouquet through the palate and the finish in particular; it is the finish that saves the wine from the 'dry red' description, the ultimate insult to a pinot noir; here there is a vibrant and intense line of dark cherry and plum that is pure pinot. It will age very well indeed." (7/2014) K&L Notes: Wine writer Huon Hooke says, "Sit back and watch, as Dalwhinnie etches a name for itself, not only among the great wines of Australia, but the world."
96 points Sam Kim: "This engaging Pinot comes from the dark side of the most seductive places. Gorgeous aromas of dark fruit, game, spice and truffle fill the nose with subtle background notes of bouquet garni. It is concentrated and expansive with velvety texture and layers of delicious flavours. Tannins are fine, chalky and in abundance, providing classic structure to this compelling wine. At its best: now to 2025." (4/2015)95 points Bob Campbell: "Dense and moderately concentrated Pinot Noir from a renowned Marlborough hillside vineyard. Classy wine with mineral, cherry, violet and subtle spicy f ...Read More »
Founded in 1983 by Claiborne (Clay) Thompson and Fredericka Churchill, former teachers at the University of Michigan (Clay specialized in Old Norse Languages and Literatures and Fredericka taught German), the winery focuses on Alsatian varietals in the first straw bale winery in California. Grapes are purchased from premium growers around the cool Edna Valley, with 2/3 of the production being Dry Riesling and Dry Gewürztraminer. At Claiborne & Churchill, traditional European winemaking techniques prevail, including extensive use of barrel-fermentation an... Read More »
A brand new Kalinda Pinot! This great Pinot is hand-picked from a beautiful, steep, hillside vineyard in Marlborough's Omaka Valley. The vineyard owner / winemaker Dave Eatwell hand-crafts this wine at Te Whare Ra winery just down the road from the hillside site. Only 100cs were made of this Kalinda bottling. It has a nice mixture of rich dark fruit, toasted spice, some savory, forest floor and earthy qualities with a subtle flinty, dried herb note to balance the dark berry fruits. Great palate weight and juicy fruit from the top notch 2013 vintage in Ne... Read More »
95 points Sam Kim: "A hugely promising pinot, it's finely scented and impressively complex showing notes of dark cherry and game, with a touch of dried herb, elegantly dressed by spicy oak. The palate is concentrated and refined with poise and harmony, leading to an extremely long, delicately dry finish. The wine is multi-dimensional and complex but hasn't lost the varietal purity, indicating the wine will evolve gracefully to show even greater depth and breath. Grapes were grown on Te Whare Ra vineyard in Renwick and Rawiri in Omaka. At its best: 2016 to 2023."94 points James Suckling: "This is a sup ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Lightly papery tannins underline the loamy earth-inflected cherry and spice flavors on a lovely, sleek and open-textured frame. Shows complexity and deftness, finishing long. Drink now through 2022." (2/2015) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light, bright red. Lively spice-tinged red berry scents show good focus but a touch of heat. Tangy and sharply focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry and redcurrant flavors and a hint of bitter orange pith that gains strength with air. The redcurrant note repeats on the rather rigid finish. (JR)" (8/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "A penetrating whiff of wintergreen is ...Read More »
Evesham Wood harvests their entry-level 2013 from several vineyards in Northern Willamette Valley. With a focus on quality viticulture, these vineyards are all dry-farmed and cultivated sustainably. Grapes are harvested and sorted by hand, fermented in small lots, and aged in French oak (10% new) for 10 months before bottling. This adds up to an excellent value for deftly handmade and terroir-driven Pinot Noir. The winery describes the profile as "Bright and crunchy with cranberry, red cherry and cinnamon with a bit of firmness on finish."
Inventory: Redwood City
93 points James Suckling: "Lovely, sultry black- and dark-berry fruits on the nose, with deep spice, a touch of undergrowth and deep, earthy tones. Lovely shape on the palate as the dark, spicy fruit flows forth. Plenty of spice and meaty notes with an aura of leaf litter and forest floor surrounding the fruit charcters. Perfectly poised on the finish. Give this a good decant and settle in. Drink in 2015." (10/2014)91 points Raymond Chan: "Dark, deep ruby-red colour with a black-hued heart and lighter garnet on rim. The bouquet is gentle and even with ethereal perfumes of dark red berry fruits and fresh re ...Read More »
Killer New Price! -Produced and bottled by Brewer-Clifton, the "B-C" Kessler Haak Pinot Noir is a single vineyard wine that comes from the organically farmed Kessler-Haak Vineyard. It is located off Highway 246, about 7 miles west of the town of Buellton, in the heart of the Santa Rita Hills appellation. The blend is made up of 25% Clone 667, 25% Clone 113 and 50% of Clone 115. Only 161 cases were bottled of this unique wine.
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Delicious aromas of ripe cherry pie and black cardamom are quite sexy. The palate is far more complicated and layered, with the tartness of plum skins, richness of strawberry, balsamic reduction and spiciness of black sage." (7/2015)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(made from fruit grown in the Bien Nacido, Riverbench and Solomon Hills vineyards; no new oak): Bright red. Highly perfumed scents of spicy redcurrant, raspberry, fresh flowers and smoky minerals. Juicy red berry flavors pack a solid punch but come off as lithe. Brisk red berry skin and white pepper qualities dominate a long, ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Shows off ripe plum and wild berry flavors, with firm, grippy tannins. Gains depth and richness, adding a touch of dried herb. Needs time. Drink now through 2022." (4/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Burgundian in its earthy, feral aromas, yet simultaneously jammy in flavor, this boasts gamy undertones and a soft texture. The producer recommends decanting an hour minimum before serving, and this will most likely help to blow off the wine’s rustically wild side." (8/2014) K&L Notes: The 2012 Carpe Diem Anderson Valley Pinot Noir displays admirable power, depth and density with deep aromas of blac... Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "Vivid red. High-pitched red berry and floral pastille scents show a spicy overtone. On the palate, peppery redcurrant and strawberry flavors deepen and stretch out with air while retaining an urgent character. Closes clean and lively, leaving a subtly sweet red berry note behind. 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 correct to call them mini-Talleys, the comparison is apt as ...Read More »
Excited by the quality of their 2013 Pinot Noirs, the winery describes this multi-vineyard blend. "Strawberries and raspberries aromas slowly climb out of the glass. Overtime more of the anise and clove will mix with these other aromas. Currently the wine is young with mouth filling intensity. Complexity will increase as the wine ages, but this wine should stay youthful for 6 or 7 years. Like all Au Bon Climat wines, this is a food wine."
91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) is quite pretty, with a little more aromatic nuance, brightness and overall delineation than the 2012, but a bit less mid-palate exuberance. Dark red cherries, blueberries, cloves, lavender and mint flesh out in a juicy Russian River Pinot full of near-term appeal. There is a savory, delicate quality in the 2013 that makes it irresistible. About 40% of this fruit is estate." (1/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "My tasting notes on these same Pinot Noir cuvées in 2013 revealed slightly smaller production numbers, and wines with more crisp aci ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Black cherry, floral and earth flavors are married to a rich texture, underlined by vibrant acidity and light tannins. Fine length. Drink now through 2018. (Web Only—2015)" K&L Notes: Located in Marsannay at the northern end of the Côte de Nuits, Domaine Bart is a small property that owns 19 hectares of vineyards in both Marsannay and Fixin. The wines have a reputations as being classically-flavored and dependable in just about any vintage, year after year. A screaming value! I am always on the lookout for everyday drinking red burgundy for under $20 and the 2013 Dom... Read More »
Dark fruits highlighted with spicy notes of cinnamon and cedar lead into a medium bodied wine with flavors of cassis and licorice. The bright acidity makes this wine go with a variety of foods.
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!
93 points Bob Campbell: "Silken textured Pinot Noir with supple tannins giving a pleasantly drying finish. Elegant wine with ripe plum, dark cherry, violet, thyme and liquorice. Attractive Pinot Noir from a good vintage. Accessible now but will age well."93 points Raymond Chan: "Deep, ruby-red with purple hues. The nose is full and packed with aromas of dark raspberry fruit and plums, along with savoury whole-cluster complexities and suggestions of game. Fulsome on palate, the fruit is sweet and juicy with dark berry fruit, raspberry compote and savoury herb and game elements, supported by plenty of tann ...Read More »
Allen Meadows - Burghound: "An attractively fresh nose of distinctly earthy red and dark currant aromas leads to precise, intense and utterly delicious middle weight flavors that possess better than average depth, length and balance for a wine at this level. Worth considering plus it should reward a few years of cellaring too if desired." (4/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "This fresh wine is all about fruit. Soft tannins and attractive strawberry flavors are lightly cut with acidity. Coming from vines between 50 and 60 years of age, it has some extra concentration. Drink this fragrant wine now." (7/2015) K&L Notes: Nicola... Read More »
A joint project from your K&L domestic buying team and a high-profile winery in the Santa Barbara area. The fruit for this wine comes from a cooler vineyard site with a north-facing slope. Clone 828 is a Dijon clone that matures early and often shows lots of structure, color and complexity. In general, the clone shows great acidity, red and blue fruits and palate presence. Because of its roundness and completeness, clone 828 makes an excellent individual bottling.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editor's Choice* This 7,000-case effort retained the quality for which the winery’s limited-production wines are known. The fruit-laden 2012 vintage helps, and the wine beguiles from first sniff to last sip. Cherries, chocolate, sandalwood and saffron interweave. The mouthfeel is soft and supple, and the delicate balance of fruit, acid and barrel never lets you down." (2/2015)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Brilliant ruby-red. Intense raspberry and cherry aromas are complemented by white pepper, allspice and smoky minerals. On the palate, juicy, sharply focused red fruit flavors stre ...Read More »
DuMol was established in 1996 by Kerry Murphy and Michael Verlander. Andy Smith joined as winemaker in 2000 and partner in 2005. Most of the grapes are sourced from the Green Valley appellation where DuMOL has a 25-acre Estate Vineyard, with other grape sources originating in the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Since the beginning, DuMol has striven to make well balanced wines. Known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnays, they also do small amounts of Syrah and Viognier. For much of the winery's existence, the wines have generally been so... Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby-red. Red fruit preserves on the nose, with complicating notes of licorice and allspice. Lively raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show very good precision, complemented by a bright mineral quality that gains strength with air. This silky, energetic pinot finishes with strong cut, persistent sweetness and sneaky, interwoven tannins. (JR)" (12/2014)90 points Antonio Galloni: "Crushed flowers, rose petals, sweet red cherries and mint lift from the glass in the 2013 Pinot Noir Estate Verna's. This is the most ethereal and delicate of the 2013 Melville Pinots. Following the h ...Read More »
From the winery: "Red fruit aromas (blackcurrant, raspberry, cherry) with spicy scents of underbrush. Its long finish and round tannins will continue to amplify with age."
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From one of the cooler terroirs on the estate, the 2012 Pinot Noir Ryan Vineyard offers full-bodied richness and depth to go with ample sweet black cherries, cassis, sassafras, crushed flowers and toasted spice. A decidedly hedonistic, full throttled example of this cuvee, this superb Pinot Noir firms up nicely on the finish and has a full, layered mid-palate. Drink it now, or cellar it for a decade. These latest 2013s from Josh Jenson were superb across the board and at the top-end were some of the most impressive Pinot Noirs I was able to taste for th ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "The subtle intensity builds and gains depth, holding focus and delivering a mix of dusty wild berry, plum, black licorice and cassis notes. Impressive on the finish. Drink now through 2021. (Insider)" (6/2015) K&L Notes: If it looks like a duck, that's because Goldeneye is indeed part of the Duckhorn Vineyards family of wineries, including Migration and Decoy. Goldeneye is the Napa Valley winery's far-north outpost, in Anderson Valley.
92 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Estate Sta. Rita Hills is gorgeous. Bright red berries, red currants, rose petals and mint all lift from the glass in a beautifully delineated Pinot endowed with striking beauty. This is a great introduction to the Melville wines and house style. The 2013 is a blend of 16 clones across the property, done with 35% whole clusters. Winemaker Greg Brewer turned out a gorgeous set of 2013 Pinots at Melville. The wines are consistently of very high quality, something that was not easy to achieve in a year with huge yields. As always, Brewer ...Read More »
Small-production Oregon Pinot Noir can be hard to find outside of the state. It's more often the "big names," established in the 1970s, that you will find--if any! Holloran is a small winery located in West Linn, a suburb of Portland, Oregon. Since 1999, they've sourced from small, estate vineyards in Dundee and around the Willamette Valley.
Inventory: Redwood City
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright ruby. Appealing, expressive aromas of black raspberry, cherry compote and candied flowers are lifted by a hint of white pepper. Pliant red and dark berry flavors become sweeter with air, picking up spice and cola nuances. Shows very good energy and cut on the spicy finish, which is firmed by silky, harmonious tannins." (7/2014)90 points Wine Spectator: "Relatively light in structure, with fine tannins around a glowing core of cherry, cinnamon and cream flavors, persisting into a long, vivid finish." (2/2015)
Inventory: Redwood City
93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby. Sexy red berry and rose pastille aromas show very good clarity and a good dose of Asian spices. Silky, sweet and expansive on the palate, offering energetic raspberry and cherry flavors and an exotic touch of blood orange that adds a bitter edge. Pure and precise, with excellent finishing lift, cut and gentle tannins that fold into the lively red fruit. The most elegant of this set of Pinots today, and one that should age well on its balance." (5/2014)91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Pinot Noir South Slope is likely to be the last of the 2012s to be released, and wit ...Read More »
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 »
Wine & Spirits: "In 2012 the dry-farmed vines at Hallberg gave a simple, welcoming pinot noir with dark fruit that suggests black plum and blueberry. The plump texture finds its balance against juicy acidity, ready for a pork chop roasted with a sprig of rosemary." (4/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This is a high-toned, structured wine with vibrant acidity that is layered in earth, spice, raspberry and black tea. After a medium-sized weight to the midpalate, it finishes soft and round." (2/2015)
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This is an easy-to-like wine, light, clear and spicy in aromas of cardamom and flowers. Earthy, silky and tingling in acidity, it offers a spicy experience on the tongue backed by enough crisp red fruit to please many palates. For the comparatively modest price, it’s a steal." (7/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Crushed flowers, sweet red berries, mint and spices lift from the glass in the 2013 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast). Savory and floral notes add nuance on the ethereal, somewhat fleeting finish. This mid-weight, young-vines Pinot is an excellent choice for drinki ...Read More »