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K&L Staff Recommendations
Antonio Galloni: "Marietta's NV Old Vine Red Lot 62 is one of the very best California wines readers will find for the money. Zinfandel plays the leading role in a hearty, racy red bursting at the seams with flavor. Sweet red cherries, flowers, cedar and new leather add the final notes of complexity. Brothers Jake and Scot Bilbro seem to have breathed new life into Marietta, one of Sonoma's historic wineries. (Antonio Galloni)" (1/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of my perennial best buys is Marietta Cellars’ non-vintage blend of Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah, Syrah and a few other varietals ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Chardonnay Private Reserve became famous under the helmsmanship of chief winemaker Ed Sbragia, and Laurie Hook has refined it ever so slightly by somewhat backing off the oak, and maintaining the depth and richness, but with more precision and refinement. The full-bodied 2012 Chardonnay Private Reserve exhibits wonderful orange blossom, white peach and pineapple fruit, a subtle touch of vanillin and toast, and a nicely layered, pure style with terrific fruit intensity. It is a great value, especially if you compare its quality to just about any premi ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "The first winery to plant Syrah in the county continues to produce powerful but layered expressions. This delivers rich aromas of cherry, stewed plum and blackberry alongside sage and a wisp of vanilla. On the palate, it starts rich, until bright acidity and tannins bring balance amidst mocha and blackberry jam flavors and an oak-powered vanilla finish." (2/2015)
Just released! This is the "Special Selection" bottling, following on the heels of the regular 2012 Caymus Napa bottling which (while celebrating the winery's 40th anniversary) was the most popular wine we've sold in 2015. We are awaiting reviews and scores on the wine, but given the quality of the 2012 vintage of Napa, and the fact that the regular bottling received 96 points from Robert Parker, it's a safe bet to assume this is going to be incredibly well received by the press.
Inventory: Special Order
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.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from purchased grapes and vinified in the winery, as opposed to buying bulk wine and blending it, it is indigenous yeast-fermented, and comes across as a high-octane, delicious/yummy, big, full-bodied red with lots of pepper and meaty notes intermixed with red and black fruits, earth, and spice. I believe some of the declassified lots from the Bedrock cuvées also end up in this blend. A terrific bargain, it should drink well for several years. (RP)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: The base for this wine comes from more than 100-year-old vines from the Bedrock vineyard, and... Read More »
Rudy Von Strasser may have got his start in the wine business as an intern at prestigious Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, but he hasn't let his head, or his prices, ascend into the stratosphere. The wine is made up of 100% Diamond Mountain fruit, some of which comes off the Von Strasser Estate. This is a concentrated, elegant, and eminently drinkable Cab delivering more-than-everyday quality for a fantastic price. There is great blackberry fruit on the nose, along with dusty dark chocolate. On the palate, it is big, plush, and round. Delicious notes of blackb... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "The Syrah Tous les Jours is a quintisential Santa Ynez Valley Syrah. It is simultaneously Bold and Balanced, Rich and Smooth, Fruit Forward and Earthy. It is impossibly dark and full-bodied, without ever going over the top. It is heavily inspired by Northern Rhone Syrah (Hermitage) and Australian Shiraz (Barossa Valley). The aromas and flavors are dominated by black cherry, raspberry, white pepper, forest floor and toasty oak. It is absolutely unique and special expression of Syrah. Moreover, It is a style that one can enjoy every day." (3/2015) K&L Notes: Do you eve... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley spent 16 months in French oak. It exhibits the vintage’s attractive notes of spice box, generous fruit, outstanding ripeness, and fine purity. This is a delicious "textbook" Cabernet Sauvignon that should well young and age effortlessly for 15 or more years. It reminds me of the great 1974 Souverain Vintage Selection, an early best buy in The Wine Advocate that at forty years of age is still going strong! (RP)" (10/2014) K&L Notes: Jon and Susan Pey are talented, passionate vignerons with access to some incredible vineyard... Read More »
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 »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Richness (of both flavor and texture) marks this deeply colored, full-bodied Syrah. Aromas of ripe blackberry and licorice coupled with flavors of clove and blackberry jam make it luscious yet not overly big. It has the firm tannins and good balance for aging through 2019." (12/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The classic 2012 Syrah 6th Sense does not compete flavor-wise with the two Cabernets or the Petite Petit, but it is an attractive, supple, full-bodied, black-fruited Syrah offering notes of roasted meats, black olive tapenade, and blackberries. Soft, round an ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "**Best Buy** Richness, depth and generosity are good traits of this full-bodied but smooth-textured Cabernet. Light oak accents don't cover up the ripe, juicy, almost jammy blackberry and cherry flavors that fill the mouth and linger on the finish. It's an all-around crowd pleaser that has everything in balance." (1/2015)
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 »
96-100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "An inky/purple color is accompanied by wonderful aromas of smoky black currant and blackberry fruit interwoven with incense, camphor, charcoal and new oak. The wine is deep, multidimensional, full-bodied, rich and opulent with a voluptuous texture. Even as a barrel sample, this stunning effort is irresistible. This deep, prodigious 2012 should be approachable when released and age effortlessly for 25-30 years. The 2012 Insignia (17,500 cases expected to be produced; 14.5% alcohol) is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 10% Merlot and the ...Read More »
Inventory: Special Order
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The attractive, sexy 2013 Chardonnay reveals ripe fruit, tangerine oil and citrus blossom notes, medium body, a fresh style, and a delicate hint of wood. Drink it over the next 2-3 years. It is a sleeper selection. (RP)" (10/2014) K&L Notes: It's back! True, Rombauer's Chardonnay needs to take its own sweet time, fattening up for 10 months in toasty American and French oak barrels, but we could hardly wait since the popular 2012 sold out. Cool climate Carneros fruit and Rombauer's house style of élevage make this Chard a top choice vintage after vintage.
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(13.9% alcohol; Sangiovese, Viognier, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, to name but a few varieties in this blend): Bright, pale red. Almost Pinot-like perfume to the aromas of red berries, minerals, gingerbread cookie and rose petal. Sweet and round but exhilaratingly tangy too, offering enticing perfume to the flavors of cranberry, raspberry, blood orange and spicecake. Lovely balance and finesse here; complex in a subtle way." (5/2014) K&L Notes: If you try to find the exact cepage on this always-fantastic red blend, you might find yourself gazing up at the heavens fo... Read More »
Aptly named and always a favorite in the rich California style, Butternut is a luxuriously textured Chardonnay. Aromas of baked apple, hazelnut, and creme brulee fill the nose and reverberate on the palate with notes of peach, fig, butterscotch, and toasty oak. Grapes for the 2012 bottling were sourced from important growing regions across California including Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Monterey. The result is a generous and concentrated Chardonnay that creates a statewide snapshot of the bountiful 2012 harvest.
From winemaker Rob Mondavi, Jr, the 2013 Spellbound Chardonnay displays a lively and lush tropical profile of pineapple, guava, and kiwi fruit. To contribute the rich complexity of vanilla and crème brûlée, 90% of the wine was fermented in oak barrels, with the remaining 10% fermented in stainless steel to maintan a bracing vein of freshness and acid.
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The impressive 2012 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast displays delicate honey, white peach and floral notes followed by a medium to full-bodied Chardonnay with good freshness, excellent purity and fine texture. This cleanly made, beautifully crafted, well-balanced 2012 should be consumed over the next 5-6 years. (RP)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: A blend fruit from Anaba's estate vineyard (named J McK) in Carneros, Denmark Vineyard in the southern end of the Sonoma Valley and choice vineyards from the acclaimed Dutton Ranch (Mills Station Vineyard and DuttonHouse Block) in the Russian... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: ""If the Kistler Winery could be magically transported to the middle of Burgundy’s Côte d’Or, it would quickly gain a reputation as glorious as any producer of Burgundy grand crus." — Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate" K&L Notes: Raved about by the winery, Kistler's 2013 "Sonoma Mountain" Chardonnay "shows great finess with a bit more depth than the 2011. It is pale yellow gold color with green tints. The wine shows impressive aromas of citrus blossom, almonds and wet stones followed by a chalky mineral overtone. Spicy and sharply focused, ... Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "**Cellar Selection** Made from estate-grown fruit near the chilly Sonoma Coast town of Freestone, this is a fully layered wine, expertly balanced in acidity yet offering plenty of full-figured mouthfeel and viscous pleasure. It delivers an electric mix of Meyer lemon, minerals and brioche, and will please a diverse range of palates." (9/2014)93 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Chardonnay Freestone Vineyard has turned out beautifully. Lemon oil, almonds, dried pears, spices and lightly honeyed notes meld together in an effortless, gracious wine long on personality and class. The o ...Read More »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Red-ruby color. Vibrant aromas of cassis, black cherry, shoe polish and oak spice. Firm, focused dark berry flavors are supported by a solid spine of acids and tannins. Very unevolved but not hard or tart. Should age slowly and well." (6/1999) Wine Spectator: "Tight and firm, with a compact focus on the chunky currant, mineral, plum and blackberry flavors, it slowly unfolds to reveal more nuances. Should reward patience in the cellar. Made by Cathy Corison." (1/2000)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "http://www.yelp.com/biz/mercato-centrale-firenze-firenze-2" (8/2014) K&L Notes: The Varner brothers make some of our favorite value wines in California under their "negociant" label, Foxglove--always fruit-filled, balanced and polished--and this under $15 Chardonnay is a fantastic offering from the perfect and boutiful 2012 vintage. We like it, and so do the critics. The 2012 has not yet been professionally reviewed, but all previous vintages reviewed by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate have scored from 90-91 points (2007-2011 vintages).
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The least expensive Chardonnay (and it’s a heck of a value) is the 2012 Chardonnay The Meadows. Made entirely from the Hanzell clone of Chardonnay planted in sandy Goldridge soils, it sees about 40% new oak, goes through full malolactic, and is stirred on its lees. A Corton-Charlemagne look-alike (at a fraction of the price), it offers copious notes of tangerine oil, caramelized citrus, lemon rind, white peach and a stony character. The oak is kept to a minimum in this medium to full-bodied, delicious, pure Chardonnay. Enjoy it over the next 3-4 years. C ...Read More »
A dry vintage and an ocean-influenced, cool climate add up to a great value in 80% barrel-fermented Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay. The winery's tasting note: "A combination of barrel and stainless steel fermentation resulted in bright and floral aromatics, with layers of pear, apple and citrus, highlighted with a hint of vanilla. The intense fruit in this wine is beautifully integrated with refreshing acidity and French oak. Sleepy Hollow's signature mineral character and creamy textures add complexity to a long, explosive finish."
The 2013 Kalinda Napa Valley Chardonnay comes from one of the top domestic Chardonnay producers, but as part of our agreement to acquire the wine, we cannot divulge to you who it is. Suffice it to say, this is always among the best bargains in the store--a luscious Chardonnay that would normally sell at a much higher premium. We're guessing it won't be around for long. This Chardonnay has a slight connection to the famous Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that won the French-American tasting in 1976.
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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "* Best Buy * A tangy grapefruit flavor and refreshing acidity make this a good before-dinner quaff and an apt pairing with seafood. Herbaceous and citrus aromas carry through to the flavors, medium body and good balance." (11/2014) K&L Notes: Husch was founded in Anderson Valley in 1971, and is now run by some of the original Silicon Valley escapees--the family of Hugo Oswald Jr. had been farming pears in Santa Clara Valley and sold their property during the 1970s tech boom! Their Sauvignon Blanc has been a favorite with Husch fans since 1980. This wine was made from... Read More »
This is a sure-thing for those of you looking for a top 2012 Napa Cabernet. In this highly-regarded California vintage, Randy and Debbie Lewis continue to impress us with their ability to produce intense, powerful wines that seamlessly match decadence with elegance. Expect this to get huge reviews as the press gets a chance to taste and review it. The 2009 and 2010 scored 94 and 96 points, respectively, with Wine Spectator, and even 93 for the slightly less full-throttle 2011. The big wine is back, says Lewis Cellars in their tasting note for this new ... Read More »
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Deep, clean-as-can-be, ripe-berry fruit is teamed with a trim bit of sweet oak in the very well-focused aromas and incisively varietal flavors of this nicely made youngster, and the wine earns higher marks yet for its exemplary structure and balance. It is at once zesty and polished with great fruity precision, and its fine fit and finish ensure that it will grow for many years." (9/2014)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Proprietary Red Three Valleys is composed of 82% Zinfandel, 12% Petite Sirah and the rest Carignan and Alicante Bouchet. This sexy wine (14.2% natural ...Read More »
Formerly run by Rombauer, Napa Cellars has been a Trinchero family property since 2006. Winemaker Joe Shirley introduced French oak to the Chardonnay program there, for a more finessed version of the rich, buttery (and eminently affordable) Napa Valley Chardonnay for which they've become known.
93 points Antonio Galloni: "The Chardonnay Cahill Lane is the brightest of the three 2012 Chardonnays I tasted. Lemon oil, white flowers, almonds and mint are all laced together in a finely knit, super-refined Chardonnay long on balance and class. This is a terrific showing. The large crop has resulted in a relatively open, expressive Cahill Lane that can be enjoyed upon release. (AG)" (1/2015)93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "More tropical in character with lots of orange marmalade and peach jam notes is the 2012 Chardonnay Cahill Lane, which comes 100% from Old Wente clones planted in Goldridge soils. Stephen Hans ...Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon bursts from the glass with tons of depth and overall intensity. Graphite, menthol, new leather, smoke, herbs and black fruit are all laced together nicely. Today the tannins are a bit dusty and rough around the edges, but at the same time, the 2012 is nowhere near ready to drink, so there is plenty of time for those contours to soften a touch. The Cabernet Sauvignon is a pretty tannic wine for the year, so patience is key." (12/2014)93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The soft, delicious, complex 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate offers notes of cedarwood, blackcurr ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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.
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "Once again taking its place as one of our favorite non-vintaged Bruts, Roederer stands out for its refinement and customary vitality. It marries a bit of citrus and green-apple fruit with incisive, not-too-strident yeast and finds subtle complexities in the form of background minerality. It is fairly tight and very much geared to crispness with a lengthy and wonderfully refreshing finish, and its balance suggests that will hold up nicely for years." (11/2013)90 points Wine & Spirits: "**Best Buy** This is both fresh and substantial, striking a delicious balance between apple-skin s ...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!
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Ripe aromas of passionfruit, kiwi and nectarine rise alongside greener elements of celery stalk, wet thyme and Granny Smith apple on this promising early look at the vintage. The tongue tingles throughout the sip, with flavors of crisp apple, yellow melon and crushed chalk. Buttercream appears on the finish." (2/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Bright yellow. Ripe yellow plum and orange aromas show a touch of heat and pick up a spicy element with aeration. Fleshy and broad in the mouth, offering pliant pit and orchard fruit flavors that could use more structure. Finishes with decent ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A mind-boggling value made from Syrah, Petite Sirah and Barbera, the 2012 Rhiannon Proprietary Red is a 19,000-case offering made by the Rutherford Wine Co. Aged in French and American oak, it offers abundant red and blackcurrant fruit, sweet dark cherries, licorice and loamy soil undertones. This loaded, delicious, pure, California fruit-bomb is ideal for drinking over the next year. (RP)" (11/2014) Wine Spectator: "A juicy version, with a vibrant overtone of red licorice and raspberry to the blackberry, blueberry and cranberry flavors. Smooth, with a nice range of clove, ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* A seriously good wine, showing how well this warmish appellation can develop Sauvignon Blanc in a cool vintage. The wine is dry and lively in acidity, with subtle, complex citrus, tobacco and white pepper flavors. Very versatile at the table. Production was just over 1,000 cases, but it’s worth a search." (6/2013) Wine Spectator: "The tangy lemon-lime, melon and green apple flavors are light and refreshing, with a crisp, minerally finish. (Web-2013)" K&L Notes: The cool 2011 vintage produced a Westerly Sauvignon Blanc with crisp acidity and great minerality underlyin... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
92 points Wine Spectator: "A lively, zesty red that offers bright cherry and tarragon aromas and sleekly layered flavors of briary raspberry, nutmeg and fresh-cracked black pepper. Drink now through 2021." (12/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Sonoma is an exuberant, richly fruity, medium-bodied effort displaying plenty of raspberry, blueberry and cherry fruit, 14.8% natural alcohol, and a lusty personality. It should drink well for several years." (12/2014) K&L Notes: Seghesio blends Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel into the Sonoma County, with loads of dark fruit supported by brambly fla... Read More »
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 »
Wine Spectator: "Lip-smacking lemon and lemon zest flavors are bright and refreshing in this crisp, light-bodied wine, showing a hint of lemon thyme on the finish." (10/2014) K&L Notes: Joel Gott's California Sauv Blanc is fresh and fruity, like a tropical breeze with a squeeze of lime. Always a solid value.
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 »
Rickshaw Wines are made by the three talented young men from Banshee--Noah, Steve and Baron--who share a very clear vision: to make "kick ass wines at easy to swallow prices." Fortunately for everyone involved, these guys know what they're doing. The 2012 vintage in California was phenomenal, and the wine showcases the perfect weather. From the winery" In this rendition of our Rickshaw Cabernet Sauvignon we were able to pull in some stellar pieces from Napa that really provide ballast and class to the wine. Dark currant, espresso, black plum and pencil l... 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 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Proprietary Red Blend The Prisoner is a creative blend of 44% Zinfandel, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Petite Sirah, as well as Syrah, Grenache and Chardonnay. This dense, full-bodied, opulent red reveals gutsy, rich, peppery, meaty, blackberry, blackcurrant and licorice notes. A savory, lusty, heady red, it begs for a grilled steak or a big, juicy hamburger. Drink it over the next 4-5 years." (10/2014) K&L Notes: A perennial favorite as a crowd-pleaser and fun Napa red, the 2013 Prisoner is a Zinfandel-based (44%) blend with the balance in Cabernet Sauvignon,... Read More »
Lyeth's Meritage is a blend of the five red Bordeaux varietals with 58% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. With grapes sourced from select vineyards across Sonoma County, it is the flagship wine of the estate and delivers an excellent value. From the winery: "A brilliant garnet in color, this Meritage is rich with aromas of dark cherry, plum, and boysenberry with subtle notes of mocha and cedar completing the nose. Flavors of blackberry and anise are lush and pronounced on the palate and are followed by hi... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco