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K&L Staff Recommendations
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A smokin' effort, as well as a terrific value, the 2014 Pinot Noir Hahn SLH (mostly from the Smith Vineyard) offers classic notes of forest floor, toasted spice, licorice and tons of Pinot Noir fruit in its medium-bodied, textured and layered profile. At 30 bucks, I'm hard pressed to come up with a better value in Pinot Noir. Drink this pleasure bent beauty over the coming 4-5 years. An estate that has hit another level of quality over the past few vintages, Hahn Family Wines focuses on estate vineyards in both the Santa Lucia Highlands and the Arroyo Se ...Read More »
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 »
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)
Wine & Spirits: "Gentle strawberry fruit fills this soft rosé, its zesty finish keeping it clean. A fine aperitif." (4/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Full, ripe wine, layered with fruits and a dry, more mineral core. The wine has good depth of flavor, strawberries, red currants and a citrus cut that keeps the wine fresh at the end. (RV)" (11/2013) K&L Notes: This delightful sparkling rosé wine comes from Burgundy. It is made of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Gamay Noir. The charming eye of the swan color comes from the addition of Pinot Noir to the wine when the lees are disgorged, following the traditional fermentati... Read More »
Brothers ("freres") Michel and Robert Perroud who aim to follow in the footsteps of their father at their Beaujolais house. "Together we invested in our roots and bought our first 4 acres of vines in Brouilly. Then we decided to reconstruct a vineyard from a few of our old family plots in Cogny, on clay-limestone, located under the castle of Montmelas. We planted Chardonnay, Viognier, and Pinot noir, on the same lands where our maternal grandfather grew vines and made wine. All our young vines are under organic conversion since 2007 and our old vines are... Read More »
93 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Fragrant and ebullient, with caramel and vanilla bean accents to the core of ripe black cherry and plum flavors, balanced by velvety tannins and dark chocolate nuances. Expressive and generous on the long finish. Drink now through 2026. (MW)" (9/2016) 92 points Bob Campbell: "Quite a dense and flavoursome pinot noir with plum, dark cherry, raspberry, liquorice and charry oak flavours. Fruit sweetness is balanced by tangy acidity, which helps drive a lengthy finish and provides energy." (7/2016) K&L Notes: Jules Taylor honed her winemaking skills under the guidance of some of the b... 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)
A good example of what we can do when a producer doesn't mind us using their name under the Kalinda moniker is the 2015 Kalinda Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. On our recent trip to the Willamette Valley, we spread the word that we were looking for a 2015 Pinot Noir to bottle under our private label. We asked numerous wineries that we know and trust, and a lot of them sent us a lot of really great wine. We already knew 2015 was shaping up to be an outstanding vintage, but we felt that that the bottling we tasted from Chehalem was the best on the table. As ... Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*#12 in Wine Enthusiast's The Enthusiast 100 of 2015, Editors' Choice* This might be one of the best values on the market, given the quality. Equal parts pretty and funky, it’s a tightly wound, savory, fruity wine that’s elegant and compelling. The tannins and oak are lightly imprinted around strawberry-rhubarb and fresh-cut rose, and the texture seductively silky. This is a delicious treat of a wine that should also age. (VB)" (12/2015) Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Perhaps, because it is not quite so severe, we like this bottling a tad better than its mate below. It is, of ...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 »
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 »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* 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." (10/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I found the 2014 Pinot Noir Fossil Point to be straightforward and a touch simple, but at 19 bucks, who can argue. Medium-bodied, well made and with pretty notes of sweet cherries, framboise and spice, this value ...Read More »
95 points Bob Campbell: "Dense wine with plum, dark cherry, spice and licorice/anise flavors. Complex and classy Pinot Noir with quite strong, savory tannins giving the wine obvious cellaring potential." (3/2014) 95 points Sam Kim: "The wine shows seductive complexity on the nose displaying dark cherry, floral, game with hints of cedar and spice. It's concentrated and plush on the palate with excellent mid palate weight, beautifully supported by polished tannins. A delectable Pinot showing a symphony of gorgeous flavors. Best now to 2020." 94 points Raymond Chan: "Predominantly clone 5 fruit with significant portions of 777, 6 ...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 »
99 points Bob Campbell: "Dense, complex pinot noir in a typical Ata Rangi style, with a nice mix of fruit and savoury characters. Dark-fleshed plum, black cherry with a suggestion of floral, mixed spice and sweet herbs. Spectacular wine with plenty of power and an incredibly lengthy finish. More accessible than the previous vintage was at this stage but showing great cellaring potential. The best Ata Rangi Pinot Noir I’ve tasted." (6/2016) 97-98 points Raymond Chan: "Full, even, black-hued ruby-red with youthful purple tints. The nose is very full with softly concentrated and layered aromas of rich, ripe, da ...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 »
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." 95 points Bob Campbell: "Impressively complex Pinot Noir with reasonably intense plum, raspb ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Readers looking for a classic, incredibly well made Pinot Noir to buy by the case should look no further than Josh's 2014 Pinot Noir from the Central Coast AVA. Supple, sexy, seamless and elegant, with classic Calera notes of raspberries, mulled cherries, spice and dried soil, it has no hard edges, a core of sweet fruit and a beautiful finish that keeps you coming back to the glass. I'm sure it will keep for 4-5 years (probably longer), but there's no need to delay gratification. Don't miss this fabulous effort and bravo to the Calera team for delivering ...Read More »
92 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Two Stars* More than once we have found a great deal to like in the straight appellation bottlings of top-notch Pinot producers, and here is just such an example that rivals and even surpasses several of its pricier cellarmates with respect to balance, fruity depth and real varietal beauty. It is moderately full, slightly fleshy in feel and very well-balanced, and, while it impresses as a Pinot of many parts, it impresses at least as much for the way in which those parts are seamlessly joined. It is no stretch to see richness and refinement intersecting ...Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Translucent red. High-pitched red berry, cherry and rose pastille scents are lifted by blood orange and mineral nuances. Silky, weightless and focused on the palate, offering juicy raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that become deeper and sweeter with air. Shows impressive depth of flavor but comes off lithe, even delicate. Clings with serious tenacity on the gently tannic finish, which strongly echoes the red fruit and floral notes. Talley's side project, which is not exactly a second label as the wines may include fruit that is sourced from outside Ar ...Read More »
This 100% Pinot Noir rosé comes from limestone-clay soil of their Sancerre vineyards, which are located two hours south of Paris on the fringes of the Loire Valle. This is a wonderfully food-friendly wine that can stand up to Santa Maria-style tri-tip, grilled sausages or spicy Vietnamese banh mi.
Deep, dark ruby in color, this wine offers aromas of ripe fig, pumpkin seed and strawberry coulis. The palate is tightly focused with flavors of bright currant, cola and a hint of pungent, wild mushroom. The mouthfeel is supple yet structured with well integrated tannins that provide the integrity for this charming wine.
This small-batch, hand-crafted Pinot is made with sustainably farmed grapes from small vineyards that surround the Monterey Bay.
Jean-Michel took over the family business in 1982, and his wines are known as great values out of Burgundy's Savigny les Beaune appellation.
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 »
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 »
93 points Sam Kim: "Youthful yet harmonious and engaging; lovely lifted aromas of dark cherry, raspberry, clove and toasted almond lead to a succulent palate that is silky and elegant. The wine shows excellent fruit purity and persistency, and offers layers of fine texture and delightful fruit flavours. At its best: now to 2018." 91-92 points Raymond Chan: "The nose is full and up-front with ripe dark red berry and plum fruit aromas, along with raspberry jam and fruit pastille confectionary lift, indicating whole berry fermentation. The fruit is quite primary and youthful, building in depth with time in ...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.
Field Recordings is a small winery in Paso Robles that was started by Andrew Jones, who began his wine journey as a nursery vine grower and has stepped foot in nearly all the vineyards on the Central Coast of California. All his vineyard expertise is translated into his bottled wine, Field Recordings and Wonderwall (and also wine-in-a-can under the labels Alloy Wine Works and Fiction). Wonderwall focuses on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from extreme Central Coast vineyards.
Kalinda can be a lot of things. It can be really good bulk wine that is available to us. It can be a wine that we help create from scratch from a winery we have a great relationship with and wants to work with us. Or in the case of the NV Kalinda North Coast Pinot Noir it can be from a famous and elusive winery that had some extra bits and pieces that they pieced together not because they didn't work for them but because the recent vintages just didn't produce enough fruit to make to make them financially viable for the "secret" winery. Bottom line is th... Read More »
Averaen Pinot Noir comes from the folks at Banshee, and is made in Oregon by winemaker Adam Smith, who made Banshee's first batch! They always make a spot-on quality-for-price Pinot, and we're excited to see them in action in Oregon. The winery's vintage notes: "A mild winter led to early bud break, and early flowering. Weather was perfect around bloom, giving way to excellent fruit set. The hot, dry summer brought accelerated ripening. Warm/early sites came off the vine first week of September, breaking records for red-wine harvest timing. Warm, windy ... Read More »
We couldn't be more excited to bring you another installment in what hopefully will turn out to be a long, fruitful project with wineries from around the United States, working with us directly to make exclusive bottlings for our customers. The Domestic team here at K&L has spent a great deal of time kicking around the idea of approaching wineries or winemakers we love, and asking them to work with us to create exclusive wines to our specifications. Furthermore we wanted to not only promote these outstanding wines, but the wineries behind them (rather th... Read More »
93-94 points Raymond Chan: "Full, even, dark ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is full, powerful and well-concentrated with aromas of black cherry and berry fruit harmoniously entwined with dark herbs, spices, liquorice and subtle stalk and minerally whole bunch complexities. Medium-full bodied, the palate is elegantly concentrated with flavours of black cherries and dark red berry fruits, along with nuances of thyme herbs, whole bunch stalk elements and black minerals, with hints of reductive complexities. The fruit is underlined by fin ...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.
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A blend of three clones - Dijon clones 114 and 115, as well as Rochioli material - the 2013 Pinot Noir Cahill Lane has a dark ruby color and a fragrant style with floral and earth tones intermixed with strawberries and black cherries. The sweetness of the tannin as well as the heady glycerin and lushness make for a hedonistic and intellectually satisfying Pinot Noir to drink over the next 7-10 years. Some of the best values in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir emerge from Stephen Hansel’s winery in the Russian River Valley. He also has the wonderful Walter Han ...Read More »
91 points Decanter: "Stern cherry nose, underlaid by sweet oak. Rich and fleshy with good concentration and typicity and a lively, spicy finish. Assertive and long but not heavy. (GH)" (8/2015) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Red-cherry and strawberry aromas meld with rich fruit and warm baking-spice flavors to make this full-bodied wine hard to resist. The style is in the ripe, pastry shop mode, and soft tannins and acidity complete the picture." (8/2016)
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 of fruit grown on sandy ridgetops. Its initial dark cherry flavor gains levity in the finish, heading toward spicy suggestions of apple skin and pomegranate, drawing a line of red fruit that’s delicious and immediate, ample but not heavy." (4/2016)
A darling of the critics, Sea Smoke remains of the Central Coast's cult Pinot producers. Southing is sourced entirely from the Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills and saw 16 months in 55% new French oak barrels. Southing consistently earns 90+ point scores from Robert Parker each vintage. Notes from the winery on the 2014 bottling: "Each year, our goal for Southing is to create the ideal marriage of complexity and elegance. The ever-changing nose of the 2014 Southing exhibits Montmorency cherry, baking spice and dried flowers. The fine tanni... Read More »
Maison Jacques Bavard is a tiny negociant producer in Puligny-Montrachet. He comes from a long line of wine-growers, and is dedicated to working with organic and biodynamic growers. We found him a few years ago on a tip, and found the purity of his wines to be most impressive. Thanks to importing his wines directly, we have them available at a very modest price. This exciting Pinot Noir comes from the picturesque village of Monthelie, located next to the more famous village of Volnay.
92 points Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) is a fabulous wine at this level. Sweet spices, rose petal, mint and succulent cherry/plum notes all lift from the glass. Supple and beautifully layered throughout, the Sonoma Coast hits all the right notes. A final burst of fruit rushes across the palate on the refreshing, inviting wine. There is so much to like. (AG)" (2/2016) 91 points Wine & Spirits: "The nine vineyards that go into this wine range from Olivet in the middle of the Russian River Valley to Bohan and Hirsch on the far-coast ridges. It’s inviting, with plump red fruit and tangy aci ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Cuvée Alyce, which is made from a field blend of Dijon clones 115 and 777, is also backward and restrained. I can totally understand Stephen Hansel’s statement that the 2013 Pinots are very European with their reserved character. This is a big wine, dense, ruby in color, with terrific fruit intensity, but the tannins still dominate, and the wine has good acidity and a backward personality. It’s not austere by any means and should blossom fully with another 1-2 years of bottle age. It could turn out to be a low- to mid-90 pointer. It’s ...Read More »
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 »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "**#9 in the Enthusiast 100 of 2016** and an *Editors' Choice* While this wine’s Mount Eden sister bottling may better stand the test of time, the Domaine Eden is what most people will most like to drink right now, and it’s cheaper too. Aromas of dried violets, uncrushed boysenberries and pencil lead make for an ethereal nose that seems to hold secrets one must uncover. Precise tannins on the palate offer floral yet savory flavors of black sesame, nori, violet and mulberry. It’s mellow yet mysterious." (12/2016) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Sporting a deeper ruby color, the 2013 Pinot ...Read More »
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."
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A partial amount of whole clusters were used in the fermentation of the 2014 Terroir Único Pinot Noir. It fermented in cement vats with indigenous yeasts. The aim with the Terroir Único line is to show the expression of the chalky soils of Gualtallary through the naked varietal so the wines never see any oak. The blend comes from three different vineyards with different soils and altitudes (1,00 to 1,450 meters) that each ripen at different times. Light ruby-colored, with aromas of roses and raspberries, this is very pure, perfumed and intoxicating. The ...Read More »
I met Dino and Patrizia Torti, a dynamic father-daughter team who are passionately committed to championing their region Lombardia, at their winery in the hills of Oltrepo Pavese about 45 miles south of Milano. Pinot Noir or Pinot Nero in Italian has been used in Lombardia in the making of methode champenoise sparkling wines since the 19th century, but only recently has there been a movement for the production of red wines. Tasting notes from the winery: "Ruby red with a smooth velvety aroma, ethereal; full distinct taste in the mouth, reminiscent of nob... Read More »
A small Santa Barbara winery specializing in single-vineyard Pinot Noirs. The Scarlett is a silky, balanced wine that shows bright red berry aromas--strawberries, raspberries, and dried cranberries--plus an earthy hint of forest floor.
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 »
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Scheduled to be bottled in August, the 2014 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands bottling comes more from the northern part of the appellation in 2014 (the 2013 was mostly from the southern end). It has lots of sweet cherries, roast, violets and minty characteristics as well as a ripe, voluptuous and still lively feel on the palate. More red-fruit dominated than the 2013, it's similarly styled and should certainly be an outstanding wine... I think Adam is making better wines today than he ever has. (JD)" (8/2015)