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K&L Staff Recommendations
91 points Vinous: "Lurid red. Vibrant, sharply focused scents of ripe red berries and candied flowers are complicated by suggestions of cinnamon and allspice. Lithe and appealingly sweet on the palate, offering intense raspberry, cherry and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out with air. The floral note comes back strong on the clinging, spice-laced finish, which is given shape by harmonious, slow-building tannins. This wine delivers outstanding value and is an auspicious inaugural offering for this project, which is owned by the proprietors of California Pinot Noir ...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)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "A generously fruity, just-ripe and refined wine, this offers classic notions of the appellation in a warm, welcoming vintage, from rhubarb, cranberry and cherry to cola spice and clove. Still young, it shows an intensity that should meld and mellow in the bottle in short order. (VB)" (5/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Pinot Noir from Russian River has a similar medium to deep ruby color and notes of sassafras, cola, red cherries and strawberries. It is a little more primary and fruit-driven, but remains medium-bodied and, in this case, very Côtes de Beaune-like. Drink it o ...Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This amazing wine can match up against wines double the price. Brawny red berries and wild cherries mix with cut sagebrush, eucalyptus and crushed graphite on the nose. The palate combines bright red, acid-driven raspberry fruit with the darker structure of elderberry. Throw in thyme and bay leaf for the complete package. (MK)" (12/2016) Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* Very proper, nicely ripened, red cherry fruit is joined by subtle notes of tobacco and sweet oak in both the mid-density aromas and flavors of this measured middleweight, and, while never an ...Read More »
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 »
Wine & Spirits: "Made by Banshee, one of W&S’s 2015 Wineries of the Year, this contains declassified barrels of their Sonoma Coast wines as well as fruit from Anderson Valley, Monterey and Santa Barbara. It’s aged almost exclusively in used wood, resulting in a balanced Pinot Noir with clean, bold dark-cherry flavors and tangy acidity that drinks far above its humble price." (4/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "A smooth texture and ripe, inviting black cherry flavors make this medium-bodied wine easy to drink and enjoy. Light spicy accents give it extra interest and moderate tannins help build the su ...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)
Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir (Sonoma County) is a pretty, attractive wine to drink now and over the next few years. Sweet red cherry and floral notes grace the mid-weight, feminine finish. This is a very pretty, understated appellation Pinot that delivers a compelling combination of quality, value and production. The Sonoma County is a blend of declassified barrels and some purchased fruit. (AG)" (2/2016) K&L Notes: As difficult as it is to produce excellent Pinot Noir, it is even more difficult to do so at a fine value. In their development of the Banshee label, the winemake... Read More »
91 points 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 »
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.
Outlier is a fitting name for this outfit run by winemaker/owner Derek Rohlffs, who orchestrates his unique efforts from his home base in the middle of the San Francisco Bay on Treasure Island.
Grapes from sites throughout Central Coast were harvested at optimal maturity, then de-stemmed and gently placed into open-top stainless steel fermenters and cold soaked for 3 days prior to initiating fermentation. During fermentation, each tank is punched down two to three times per day. The fermented wine then was racked to oak for aging. During the aging process the wine lots were tasted throughout and blended back together.
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) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another undeniable value is the 2014 Pinot Noir Olema, a Sonoma cuvée that would qualify as a sleeper as well. Pomegranate, allspice and clove intermix with sassafras in this medium-bodied, deliciously fruity, round seductive Pinot Noir to drink over the next several years. Even the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Olema offers plenty of value in an elegant, tasty, cedary, blackcurrant-scented ...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.
91 points Vinous: "Brilliant ruby. Vibrant, highly perfumed red and dark berry and floral scents show very good clarity and suave spicecake and cola nuances. Sweet, seamless and energetic on the palate, offering intense black raspberry and rose pastille flavors supported by a spine of juicy acidity. Finishes sappy and quite long; smooth tannins provide frame for the lush berry fruit. (JR)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: 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 strawberr... Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "It’s hard not to jump up and down about the outstanding value represented here, a wine made from Dutton Ranch fruit that’s juicy and generous in baked strawberry, earth and rose petals. A grippy structure provides weight around nuanced, spicy cherry-pie flavor and plenty of body to satisfy." (12/2016)
90 points James Suckling: "A firm and chewy red with plum and berry character. Medium to full body and plenty of juicy fruit. Shows the structure of the vintage. Muscular and lively." (11/2016)
Entirely sourced from Edna Valley in San Luis Obispo County, Fossil Point is named for the headland area along the rugged coastline. The marine breezes have a distinct influence on the Edna Valley terroir that is itself uplifted, ancient sea floor. Pinot Noir grapes grow in small clusters and Fossil Point vinifies traditionally in small lots before the wine is aged in neutral and once-used French oak barrels. The wine displays floral aromas with bright and vibrant cherry and berry fruit, leather, and vanilla.
It's a rare treat to find a solid, everyday Pinot Noir that over-delivers for under $30, let alone under $15—and from Oregon, at that. This wine is sourced from vineyards across Oregon, and is made to highlight the rich, juicy flavors of the state. Recent vintages have been reviewed favorably, if not in the 90+ point realm (you want the world for $11.99?), by Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, and even Burghound. Fun fact: If you didn't see it here first, you might have seen Underwood at UK retailer Marks & Spencer, who feature it as their only U.S. Pinot No... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Bright ruby-red. Blackberry, cherry pit and a hint of licorice on the fragrant, spice-accented nose. Juicy and seamless on the palate, offering bitter cherry and dark berry flavors that tighten up and become sweeter with air. A smoky nuance arrives on the gently tannic finish, which hangs on with strong, spice-driven persistence. One of the pioneering wineries in the region, Talbott’s first vines were planted in 1982 at the Diamond T Vineyard. By the end of the ‘80s the Talbott wines were already on most wine lovers’ short lists of top California Chardon ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "This is the brand’s first bottling under new ownership, and the result of this blend of Monterey, Sonoma and Santa Barbara county fruit is familiarly ripe— due in part to the inclusion of 10% Merlot, 6% Chardonnay and 2% Syrah. Pomegranate, clove, vanilla and rum aromas lead into a juicy palate of candied red fruit, slate, anise and Earl Grey tea. It’s slightly sweet but easily enjoyable. (MK)" (4/2017) Wine Spectator: "An enticing if weighty mouthful, rich and deeply flavored, anchored by tiers of blackberry, blueberry, wild berry, cherry and raspberry flavors. Round and ...Read More »
Elegant and Burgundian in style, organically and dry-farmed, Evesham Wood's wines are simply gorgeous examples of Oregon Pinot.
92 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Lithe, supple, lively and expressive, layering boysenberry, pomegranate, floral and coffee notes on a sleek frame, with powdery tannins. Finishes with presence and persistence. (HS)" (8/2016) 91 points Vinous: "Brilliant red. A heady, seductively perfumed bouquet evokes raspberry liqueur, floral pastilles and Asian spices. Sweet and energetic on the palate, offering juicy red berry and cherry flavors that deepen and spread out slowly as the wine opens up. Silky and seamless in texture, delivering strong closing thrust, rounded tannins and an emphatic echo of sap ...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 »
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. (JG)" (12/2015) 92 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* While many sparkling Rosés emphasize vinosity and substance, Roederer versions have always aimed in a brighter, more buoyant direction, and this latest is no exception. It marries plenty of vigorous young, lightly cherry-like fruit with well-delineated yea ...Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Brilliant red. High-pitched raspberry and rose scents are complemented by hints of anise and allspice. Shows very good energy and depth to the red berry and floral pastille flavors, which are given lift by a spine of juicy acidity. Closes smooth, spicy and very long; fine-grained tannins frame the juicy, appealingly sweet red fruit. This wine delivers outstanding value and shows impressive nerve for a warm vintage. (JR)" (8/2016) K&L Notes: If you're looking for a Pinot Noir that expresses the "Red Hills of Dundee" or know nothing about Dundee, but want a fresh, fowa... 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 Wine Enthusiast: "Husch is one of the original Anderson Valley wineries and has not been a particular Pinot Noir star, but this fantastic 2014 may start a trend. Fresh and alive, the wine is medium bodied but packs lots of tangy cherry and almost jammy plum flavors into a smooth but lightly tannic texture that provides great structure. Simply delicious, it’s balanced well enough to enjoy time after time. Editors’ Choice. —J.G." (3/2017) K&L Notes: Robert Parker writes: "This fine winery continues to turn out well-made, fruity, mid-weight wines that are elegant, vibrant, and immensely ... Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buy* Fresh and inviting, open-textured and refined, with plum, currant and floral flavors that dance through the supple finish. Shows generosity and finesse, finishing on a roasted note. (Web-2016) (HS)" Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Nicely ripened and yet balanced to firmness with a solid streak of youthful, cherry-like fruit running its length, this well-made, mid-sized Pinot wine goes right to the varietal point. It is slightly juicy and comes with a careful trim of sweet oak, and, if not an especially potent wine, it has the fruity confidence and balance to hold u ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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. From a stellar vintage, the 2014 Pinot is the whole package: superb balance, texture and flavor. Notes from the winery: "Nestled amongst the coastal redwoods of the majestic Anderson Valley, Goldeneye’s estate vineyards yield wines that exude the characteristics of their surroundings. Charming, but with a hint of wildness, plush yet rustic... Read More »
For everyday drinking, JackHammer is your go-to Pinot Noir. Founded by California wine industry veterans Stephen Dooley and Sandy Garber with the express purpose of making delicious wine that won't break the bank. Juicy, fruity, and not to be missed!
The fruit is all Pinot Noir from Laurel Vineyard. One of the highest elevation vineyards in Oregon (1250 feet in elevation), the grapes are all Alsatian Coury clones (brought back to Oregon from Alsace in 1965 by Charles Coury). The soil type at Laurel Vineyard is wind-blown loam and the vines were planted in the 1980s. The fruit came in rather late (good physiological ripeness) but they decided to make Rosé instead of Pinot Noir with it. They only kept this fruit on their skins for 2 hours and then sent it off to the press (more vin gris in style). All ... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Brilliant red. Primary dark berry aromas complicated by floral and mineral nuances. Seamless, weighty and gently sweet, offering juicy black raspberry and cherry flavors sharpened and given spicy bite by a suggestion of cracked pepper. The floral note comes back on the long, gently tannic finish, which leaves a hint of candied dark berries behind. Very much in the style of the vintage, but this wine isn't lacking at all for energy. (JR)" (8/2016) Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Reasonably ripe and yet a bit muted in its expression of fruit and following the comparatively const ...Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Deep red. Expansive red berry and floral pastille scents and flavors show impressive energy and pick up a hint of smokiness as the wine opens up. Smooth and fleshy but lively as well; a late jolt of white pepper adds spicy bite. Generous but vibrant in character, finishing very long and sweet, with gentle tannins lending shape and subtle grip. This wine delivers exceptional bang for the buck. (JR)" (12/2016)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Editors’ Choice 0 Another stunning deal on this annual bottling, this wine is jammy and fruity on the nose with buttered cherries and berry jam, yet layered with baking spice and wet clay minerality. Dried strawberries, black cherries and plums show on the palate, enhanced by a toasted clove, graphite, juniper and forest floor mintiness. (MK)" (8/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Moving to the reds, the 2014 Pinot Noir Huntington comes from various vineyards in Santa Barbara County and saw ten months in 30% new French oak. It’s a rock solid value that offers lots of spice box, cherry ...Read More »
Poppy hails from Monterey County, one of the coolest climates in California, where the long, slow growing season results in fragrant and supple Pinot that really stands out from the competition in the under $15 category. A long-standing staff and customer favorite, Poppy Pinot is typically fruity and easy to drink, perfect for entertaining or for Tuesday night takeout.
90 points Vinous: "Dark red. Ripe red fruits, pungent flowers and a hint of cola on the perfumed nose. Juicy and seamless in the mouth, offering pliant black raspberry and cherry flavors and a refreshing jolt of spicy white pepper. Finishes sweet and long, displaying smooth tannins and lingering floral and dark berry notes. (JR)" (11/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Pinot Noir is a blend of six vineyard sites that goes through a barrel selection, matured in wood for ten months. It offers brambly red fruit on the nose, a little darker than some others, but nicely defined and full of charm. The ...Read More »
Poppy Reserve hails from the Santa Lucia Highlands, one of the coolest climates in California and in close proximity to the Pacific Ocean. The long, slow growing season results in a fragrant and complex Pinot that really stands out from the competition in the under $20 category. Fruity and spicy, with a hint of earth, this is a versatile and food-friendly wine.
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.
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star, Good Value* This engaging, nicely crafted Blanc de Noirs does an exceptionally nice job at being fruity and fresh and moderately yeasty all at the same time. It smacks mildly of juicy cherries while showing plenty of creamy autolysis and is enlivened by perky acidity and a full, frothy mousse. It stands out from its similarly priced, large-production cousins and is an out-and-out steal when found at a discount as it routinely is." (11/2016) 90 points Wine & Spirits: "This isn’t complex, but something about its sweet, sunny fruit and gentle precision feels properly Califor ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Winemaker Matt Kinne describes his winemaking methods: "What separates Pinot noir from other red varietals is its ability to express itself in such a confident and understated form. Pinot noir at its finest is red, not black; freshly fragrant; richly and brightly flavored with complexity and length. The winemaker's hand is light to balance, not mute these attributes and promote the purest possible expression a vineyard has to offer. Appropriately, McKinlay Pinot noir ferments with native yeasts, without enzyme additions; ages in modest percentages (25% o... Read More »
Vinous: "Vivid red. Musky cherry pit and underbrush aromas are complemented by hints of white pepper and licorice. Taut and sharply focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry and berry skin flavors that open up slowly on the back half. Displays good energy and a faintly tart edge on the finish, which is firmed by dusty, slow-building tannins. (JR)" (10/2015)
The Cherry Tart bottling pulls fruit from three distinctive vineyards in different parts of California: Sonoma Coast, Santa Lucia, and Santa Barbara. From the winery: "The 2014 Cherry Tart Pinot Noir jumps from the glass with aromas of raspberry, nutmeg, sandalwood and light smokiness, lifted by a floral note. Silky and delicate up front, with ripe acidity framing the rich, sweet flavors of red berries, red cherry and earth. Offers good fat without excess weight, finishing with a fine dusting of tannins and very good length."
As the name indicates, this Pinot Noir is vinified entirely in stainless steel. After hand sorting and destemming, the berries are fermented a style similar to carbonic maceration, resulting in a very aromatic, bright wine.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Peppery spice and a nose of violets and roses mark the entry and midpalate of this wine, priced moderately for the appellation. Layered, with a twinge of yeasty baked bread, it has a strong personality, stemmy and feral, with a lasting linger of grenadine. (VB)" (7/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir displays straightforward pomegranate, red currant, and sweet and sour cherries in a medium-bodied, pleasant style. (RP)" (3/2016)
Vinous: "Vivid red. Ripe cherry, blackberry and a hint of cola on the nose and in the mouth. Plush and gently sweet on entry and then tighter in the middle; a smoky quality builds slowly on the back half. Accessible and gently tannic, offering good finishing focus and cling. This is almost ready to drink. (JR)" (8/2016) K&L Notes: The 2014 vintage is being called "the vintage of a lifetime" and Oregon's best harvest to date. From the winemaker: "Deep, bright red in color with a vibrant and fruity nose. Cheery aromas of black cherry, plum, and blackberry compote entice the nos... Read More »
The "Overlook" Pinot Noir is meant to capture the essence of that year's vintage by sourcing and blending the grapes from the finest cool climate vineyards in California. The 2013 is rich with cherry, spearmint, black tea, baking spice, raspberry and forest floor.
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)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Argyle Brut is a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir from high elevation sites, partly from the Spirit Hill Vineyard. It has a lifted lime flower and white peach-scented bouquet, floral in style and very well defined. The palate is fresh and vibrant on the entry with squeezed lime and green apple notes, well-judged acidity and a zesty finish that is just the ticket on a warm summer's day. Recommended. I am often impressed how New World sparkling wine stacks up against much of Champagne, and Argyle is no exception. Nate Klosterman makes s ...Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Brilliant ruby-red. Ripe red berry and rose oil scents pick up notes of cola and allspice as the wine opens up. Fleshy and seamless on the palate, offering bitter cherry and black raspberry flavors enlivened by a spicy element that builds with air. The floral note comes back steadily on the gently tannic finish, which lingers with very good tenacity. Here's another entry-level 2014 that performs well above its station. (JR)" (8/2016) K&L Notes: According to the winery: "True to its growing season, our 2014 Dundee Hills is a medium-deep garnet color, with a dark core.... Read More »