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K&L Staff Recommendations
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Scents of black currant have a pleasing accent of sassafras and unsweetened chocolate. The flavors are fully in the red cherry spectrum; it’s a high-toned red for pork loin." (10/2014)90 points Wine Spectator: "Sleek and inviting, with delicacy to the cherry and floral flavors as they dance deftly into the finish. Drink now through 2019. 5,226 cases made." (2/2015) Allen Meadows - Burghound: "A fresh and cool nose features notes of mostly deeply pitched plum and dark raspberry along with pronounced briar and earth nuances. There is good volume to the round and relatively suave medium-bodied flavors that possess ...Read More »
Lovely Angeline, always a value, but never cheap... This wine comes to us via 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 its solid, varietal character and good value.
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 »
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." (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 fermentation in... 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 »
94 points James Suckling: "A dense and wonderfully long and silky Pinot with strawberry, light hazelnut and hints of lemon peel. Full body, yet lively and wired. This gives competition to Sea Smoke Pinot but at half to one-third the price" (6/2014) K&L Notes: Ritual is Veramonte's top label, a collaborative effort of the Huneeus family with Paul Hobbs to produce a premium, yet affordable, Pinot Noir from the Casablanca Valley.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* This is an impressive effort, especially considering it is the winery’s mass-production cuvée. All in proportion, it’s built upon an acid/mineral base, with tangy, just-ripe berry fruit. It feels quite delicate, yet has the persistence and structure of a more substantial wine. Aged for 10 months in one-quarter new French oak, it’s worth tucking a few bottles away for a long-term look." (12/2014)92 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Taut, tart and surprisingly generous, blooming with juicy, cranberry-accented blackberry, cherry and spice flavors that linger easi ...Read More »
Allen Meadows - Burghound: "An expressive and cool nose features notes of ripe red and dark berries that display plenty of earth character. There is a nicely rich and round mouth feel to the middle weight flavors that possess a seductive texture on the delicious if mildly austere finish. This should drink well almost immediately." (4/2014) K&L Notes: This shows extremely lovely fruit on the entry, followed by substantial structure and fine tannins behind it. Normally this is vinified half in barrel and half in tank, but the small crop and lovely ripeness in 2012 meant that they could age it al... Read More »
From estate vineyards just south of Chielly-lès-Maranges. The 2012 Bourgogne has a very pretty nose with notes of red cherries and raspberries. On the palate it shows quite a bit more weight and structure. This is, despite its modest price, concentrated serious wine that still manages to remain charming and most attractive in character. (Keith Wollenberg, K&L Burgundy Buyer, 03/2014)
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 »
From our friends at Amici in Napa Valley, this great value Pinot Noir is sourced mainly from the Russian River Valley. Last year's lovely little 2012 (we've still got some as of this release) was scored 90 points by Wine Enthusiast: "It’s rare to get a twenty buck Pinot Noir this good." And Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar agreed, scoring the 2012 90 points and calling it, "A terrific value in California Pinot." Here's the 2013, same great price, from the same great folks--and a similarly great vintage!
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.
From the winery: "With a gorgeous hue of pale pink, our 2014 Rosé jumps out of the glass with crisp red fruit flavors. The supple texture is backed by a vibrant freshness and appealing acidity, making this a wonderfully versatile food wine. The 2014 vintage started dry but abundant February rain came just in time to break the winter draught. Warm spring temperatures encouraged an early budbreak that kept vineyard development ahead of schedule through the entire season. Our harvest was condensed beginning September 3rd and concluding on September 24th. Fo... Read More »
One of our favorite values in Burgundy is back. This release, is aged in tank to preserve freshness, This is the epitome of a bright, charming Pinot from this northerly region adjacent to Chablis (one of the northern most sites for still red wine in the world). And only K&L's Direct Import program makes this fabulous price possible! (Keith Wollenberg, K&L Burgundy buyer)
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.
94 points Antonio Galloni: "Crushed red berries, mint, flowers and cinnamon lift from the glass in the 2012 Pinot Noir Estate Sta. Rita Hills. This is one of the most polished, refined and aromatically expressive wines I have tasted from Melville. What a gorgeous, radian and totally sexy wine this is." (7/2014)92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Deep, vivid red. Sexy raspberry preserve and blood orange aromas are complemented by white flowers and Asian spices. Silky and round on the palate, with tangy minerality lifting pliant red fruit preserve flavors. Balances opulence and vivacity and finishes sappy, focused an ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This beautiful Pinot Noir is a blend of various vineyards throughout the appellation. It shows classic coastal acidity, dryness and silkiness, with appealing raspberry, red licorice, cola and pomegranate flavors, wrapped into finely ground tannins. Decant and drink now." (6/2014) Antonio Galloni: "Sweet red berries, mint, flowers, hard candy and spices all inform the 2012 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast), the only 2012 Pinot that was in bottle at the time of this tasting. The 2012 is quite a bit racier and silkier than the 2011, a wine I have enjoyed on multiple occasions. There i ...Read More »
Belle Glos is the project of Joseph Wagner, son of Caymus winemaker Chuck Wagner of "Special Selection" Cabernet fame. But this winery is devoted entirely to distinctive, single-vineyard Pinot Noir. The Clark & Telephone vineyard may be prosaically named--it's at the corner of Clark Avenue and Telephone Road--but it is unusual in that it was planted on its own roots, in the early 1970s, to the old "Martini" clone, and was one of the first Pinot vineyards in this cool, windy coastal valley. But the flavor profile is pure, fruity pleasure--why else would t... Read More »
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 »
96 points Bob Campbell: "2012 was a fairly cool vintage in Marlborough but there is certainly no lack of ripeness in this fine, elegant pinot noir. The wine has appealing density, and a sinewy texture with red cherry, spice, mineral and a hint of dried herbs and licorice. (Bob Campbell MW - Gourmet Traveler Magazine)" (6/2014)96 points Decanter: "Intense, sumptuous and wonderfully perfumed with dark plum, black cherry, a hint of violets and an appealing gamey, savoury palate. Long and complex, hinting at it’s potential. The texture is seductively silky, blanketing a spine of fine tannins. (BC) ...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 »
Look for bright red fruits and spice in this wine: Pomegranate, Bing cherry and raspberry with Earl Grey tea highlights, according to the winemaker's notes: "The vintage delivered both a richly textured and vibrant wine--a character one obtains from such cool climate regions as the Santa Lucia Highlands."
Winemaker's Notes: "A beautiful deep purple colour with a vibrant purple hue. An intense nose of complex spice with subtle, stemmy, dark plum fruit. Tremendous depth and concentration to the fruit aromatics with background liquorice from the stem inclusion. Layers of complex fruit characters - immense but vibrant and contained. The spicy plum fruit carries straight to the entry onto the palate where the wine's soft and generous texture gives way to fine-grained structural tannins. Softness and elegance with juicy acidity balancing the core of plush fruit... Read More »
A great value California Pinot Noir with a solid CV: It's a second label of Belle Glos, the Pinot Noir arm of Napa's Caymus Vineyards. And it's a consistent favorite here at K&L. The 2013 Pinot Noir is sourced from coastal Sonoma County, Monterey and Santa Barbara counties--thus the California appellation.
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "The savory side of Pinot Noir shines in this bottling from a vineyard south of the Arroyo Seco appellation. Aromas include stewed tomato and green olives with pimento. Falling in line are the Middle Eastern spices and olive tapenade on the palate, with tight pomegranate fruit. Serve with lamb gyros." (10/2014)
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Rich and approachable, driven by layers of blackberry, wild berry, cherry and plum flavors. This is well-proportioned and maintains a fruity profile amid firm tannins. Drink now through 2022. 14,000 cases made." (8/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(from Sonoma County, Monterey County and Santa Barbara fruit): Moderately saturated medium red. Aromas of raspberry, smoke and earth. Soft and easygoing, with red fruit and woodsmoke flavors offering immediate appeal. Finishes with supple tannins and a slight tartness. (ST)" (6/2014) K&L Notes: 49% Sonoma Coast, 43% Monterey County and 8... Read More »
From fruit grown on several sites in Anderson Valley, Tous Ensemble is an immediately appealing Pinot Noir with a crunchy and vigorous red-fruited profile. It is great introduction to the style of winemaker Wells Guthrie, who delivers cool climate terroir which isn't sullied by high alcohol or too much wood. A perfect and long growing season in 2012 saw a two week harvest extending well into October but at only a 13.6% finished alcohol level in the finished wine, which was aged for nine months in neutral French oak. From the winery: "The delicately perfu... 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 »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The least expensive red is the 2012 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, which offers soft, round berry fruit, pomegranate, plum and spice notes, a seductive, medium-bodied mouthfeel and decent acidity. Made from younger vines from numerous sources, it is a pretty Pinot to drink over the next 3-4 years. This is the personal project of Ehren Jordan, who was the long-time apprentice at Turley Cellars. These are all elegant, cool climate, finesse-styled wines that were obviously influenced by European rather than New World models. Jordan owns estate vineyards in the Fo ...Read More »
From Robert Sinskey's certified organic vineyards in Carneros, this Vin Gris of Pinot Noir is a rosé made the right way. Grapes were hand-harvested at night before being whole cluster pressed and vinified as rosé from start-to-finish rather than being bled off of a vat of crushed grapes destined to be a red. Fine Pinot Noir fruit from an excellent estate vineyard is dedicated to this limited bottling, and the results are never disappointing. From the winery: "This Vin Gris of Pinot Noir has a luminosity that cannot be pinned down with one or two descript... Read More »
93 points Wine Spectator: "Spares no expense, with lavish smoke and black licorice-scented oak framing a rich core of dark berry, anise, boysenberry and savory herb notes. Full-blown and expressive through a persistent, mouthcoating finish. Drink now through 2024." (10/2014) K&L Notes: Winery notes: "Located in one of the highest-plantable sites in the southern portion of the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County known as the "Mission District." This pristine bench offers the vineyard cool, coastal days but it enjoys warmer afternoon temperatures and tamer winds than the northern portion of... Read More »
93-95 points Wine Spectator: "Missed the 2012? This is a worthy successor and should rank among Brewer-Clifton's best, both rich and graceful, with vivid berry, high-toned plum, black cherry, anise and black licorice, finishing long and full." (2/2015)91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright ruby-red. High-pitched red berry and floral scents are sharpened by suggestions of white pepper and allspice. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering intense raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that become fleshier and sweeter with air. Fruit-driven and accessible, finishing with strong punch, repeating florality and slow-buildi ...Read More »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale-medium red. High-toned aromas of strawberry, red cherry and redcurrant. Pliant and nicely concentrated, with red fruit flavors lifted by spicy and floral high notes. A wine of moderate depth and nuance but very nicely done, finishing with firm but essentially supple tannins and little sign of greenness." (10/2014) K&L Notes: 93 points Wine Orbit, Sam Kim: "It's sweetly aromatic on the nose displaying dark cherry, plum, truffle and cedar characters. The palate is ripe and concentrated with excellent mid palate weight and rich texture, and finishes beautifully ... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice" Fine-tuning a legacy, second-generation winemaker Jason Lett’s wines are clean, elegant, poised and balanced. This is textbook Pinot Noir, with just-ripe raspberry and cherry fruit, vivid acidity, savory herb, and a foundation of clay and clean earth. Drink now-2024." (10/2014)92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is now supplemented by purchased fruit from outside the estate, fermented mostly in small 4- and 8-hectoliter vats to enable a cool ferment as the heat escapes from the top before it has time to build. It has plenty of earthy ...Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "If not a wine for fans of extract and high ripeness, this relatively mild-mannered offering is both balanced and accessible with a good fix on Pinot Noir. It very much follows the Alysian model in that it is lithe and light on its feet, and it tenaciously hangs on to plenty of buoyant, red-cherry fruit even as it takes a turn to last-minute tartness." (10/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright red. Musky red berries, cherry pit and dried flowers on the nose. Taut, sharply focused redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors show modest depth and pick up a peppery quality with air. Close ...Read More »
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Pinot Noir Russian River possesses pretty strawberry and cherry notes along with crisp acidity and an exuberant, fresh, medium-bodied personality with excellent concentration and ripeness. It should drink nicely for 5-6 years. Combining quality with reasonable prices and estate-grown grapes, you can’t do much better than Stephen Hansel’s Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. (RP)" (12/2013)90 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Pinot Noir Estate is racy, perfumed and accessible. Sweet spices, cranberries and red cherries inform a juicy, mid-weight Pinot long on class and balance. Swee ...Read More »
96 points Bob Campbell: "Dense and quite structured Pinot Noir with black and red cherry, plum, spice and a hint of dark chocolate. A firm backbone of soft, rich tannins suggest considerable cellaring potential. Richly textured wine with an almost chewy mouth feel and very lengthy finish. 25% whole bunch.""96 points James Suckling: "Winemaker Lynette Hudson has identified pedigree in Marlborough with the sourcing of pinot from this hallowed terroir and made a sensational wine as a result. The refined power is really gripping with such beautifully ripe dark cherry and plum fruits. Swirling spices have been ...Read More »
This can legally come from many of the villages in the Cote de Beaune. In this case, it comes from some vineyards quite near each other. One is in Chorey-les-Beaune, just below Aloxe-Corton, in a lovely organically and biodynamically farmed vineyard called "Les Champs Long." Other fruit comes from Savigny-les-Beaune and Pernand-Vergelesses. The result is a lovely wine, with bright and charming fruit, a lovely mid-palate and a soft and pretty finish. This is what the British would call more-ish, as in I'll have some more, please! (Keith Wollenberg, K... Read More »
The bounty of the 2012 vintage is certainly showing its stuff. The Kirkham Peak Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir was made for us by a very notable Central Coast winery (we can't tell you who), and this bottling is the real deal at a fraction of the price. The winery who (for contractual reasons) needs to remain nameless, has a long list of highly-rated wines from various critics. And with the perfect raw materials in 2012, they've fashioned another winner. This has a profile of bright fruit--lovely raspberry and strawberry aromas that reverberate on t... Read More »
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) Bob Campbell: "Elegant Pinot Noir with bright red fruits and a hint of floral plus some spicy oak character. Firmly structured with fine, drying tannins that assure the wine’s ability ...Read More »
95 points James Halliday: "The grapes come from the Charleston and Gumeracha districts of the Adelaide Hills, the clones being MV6 and 777; deliberately made as an early drinking style. Excellent crimson colour; the fragrant, floral bouquet floats on bright red cherry and spice aromas, the beautifully framed and balanced palate simply reinforcing the red berry fruits of the bouquet courtesy of persistent, but supple, tannins oak a bystander watching the sword play. Top class Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir, outrageous value." (5/2014) K&L Notes: A pure, aromatic, rich, juicy, fruit-driven Pinot from... Read More »
Here at K&L we love dry rosé. We especially love rosé from France, and we really love French sparkling rosé. But we really, REALLY love French sparkling rosé that sells for less than $20! This is quality, too. Made in the traditional methode (Champenoise) from 100% Pinot Noir. Wonderful strawberry fruit and a crisp, flowery tang. Just the thing on a romantic evening that just happens to fall on a regular old Tuesday.
A long and ideal growing season in 2012 produced intense Pinot Noir fruit, and Hahn Estates has delivered an amazing value in this Santa Lucia Highlands bottling. Hand-harvested fruit was carefully selected and given a cold soak for gentle extraction before vinification. The wine was aged in 35% new French oak for 11 months before winemaker Paul Clifton selected the barrels that best represtented the Santa Lucia Highlands terroir. From the winery: "This Pinot Noir offers soft tannins, delicious plum and cherry aromas and flavors, a hint of allspice and a... Read More »
On the border between Rully and Mercurey in the Cote Chalonnaise, Domaine Faiveley sources their "Les Villeranges" from an east-facing vineyard planted in clay-limestone soils. The vines were planted between 1965 and 1982 and Faiveley only produces 200 cases of this cuvee annually. This has darker and denser fruit than the 2011, but retains the supple entry and lovely red and black fruit notes on the palate. (Keith Wollenberg, K&L Burgundy Buyer, 02/2015)
Bishop's Peak is a second label of Talley Vineyards representing the greater Central Coast region. The fruit is sourced from the McCullough, Stone Corral, C-Bar, Las Ventanas, East Rincon, and Marcam Vineyards. From the winery: "Brilliant garnet in color, the 2013 vintage of Bishop’s Peak Pinot Noir bursts with aromas of strawberry and raspberry complimented with subtle notes of earth and soil. This medium bodied wine has elegant flavors consistent with its aromas, soft tannins and refreshing acidity. Enjoy a glass with a wedge of Fontina cheese or garl... Read More »
95 points Wine & Spirits: "**Top 100 Wines of 2014 (publishing in October)** Young winemakers Micah Joseph Wirth and Adrian Jewell Manspeaker started out in a garage in 2006 and have slowly expanded, making Russian River wines that tend to emphasize discretion rather than bombast. Their even-handed approach clearly paid off in the moderate 2012 growing season, resulting in this sleek, vivid apotheosis of Russian River pinot noir. The fruit comes from two vineyards on the cooler western side of the Russian River Valley--Appian Way and the dry-farmed Hallberg Vineyard--along with Fl ...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.