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K&L Staff Recommendations
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay Charm Acres is an exuberantly fruity effort displaying hints of tropical fruits, white peaches, no evidence of oak, and crisp, fresh, pure flavors. While not particularly complex, it will provide satisfying drinking over the next several years. It should be immensely popular among consumers." (12/2013)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A few 2012 Pinot Noirs had been bottled and were tasted, including their largest cuvee (15,700 cases), the 2012 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast. This beauty is a real steal in terms of high quality at a reasonable price. Deep ruby, this exuberant, delicious Pinot offers up notes of roasted herbs, forest floor, plum sauce and black cherries followed by a deep, rich, full-bodied, round and luscious wine. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. Patz and Hall has a long and enviable track record, making Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from some of the very finest single vineyar ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Wine Spectator: "Bold, ripe and vibrant, with expressive huckleberry, boysenberry and blueberry, this is as unbridled as you might expect for a 2012, but deliciously complex. Drink now through 2020." (11/2013) K&L Notes: This freshly released, wallet-friendly Pinot has a solid CV: It's a second label of Belle Glos, the Pinot Noir house of Napa's Caymus Vineyards, and a consistent store favorite here at K&L. The 2011 vintage earned 92 points from the Wine Spectator and a "Smart Buy" designation. The 2012 Pinot Noir, which is sourced from coastal Sonoma County, Monterey and Santa Barba... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Flowery and electric in high-toned grapefruit and peach, this is a crisp, clean white from a consistent producer. Medium-bodied, it holds small percentages of Sémillon and Muscat. The finely hewed texture benefits from 10% of the wine having been aged in neutral oak." (9/2014) K&L Notes: Honig sources fruit primarily from their sustainably farmed vineyard in Rutherford along with some other nearby vineyards. From the winery: "A crisp, fresh Sauvignon Blanc created in the classic Honig style. Peach, lemon grass, hints of jasmine and pea shoot are balanced by grapefrui... Read More »
Honig's Cabernet Sauvignon was featured on Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines list for their 2009 and 2010. The difficult 2011 vintage didn't make top honors, but the 2012 is now out, brimming with the usual lush Cab fruit. Perfect picnic-sized bottle here; pack roast beef sandwiches in your hamper, and don't forget the corkscrew! The blend is 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc. Harvest was in October, so this wine had all of 18 months to rest in 35% new oak American oak barrels. 14.5% abv.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This historic producer’s flagship blend of Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul offers scents of wild honey and lemon custard. The flavors walk proudly between those elements and a citrus peel bitterness, woven amidst the freshness of seltzer and morning dew." (2/2015)
Winemaker notes: "This 100% Sauvignon Blanc was made from grapes grown naturally, without artificial pesticides or herbicides, at our cool American Canyon and Carneros vineyards. The cool growing season resulted in refreshing acidity with flavors of fresh herbs, lemon zest and mineral notes that are perfect with a wide range of food, including green salad topped by Chèvre cheese, fresh seafood and spicy Mexican or Asian cuisine."
As Wall Street Journal wine writers Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher advise, "If you ever see Heitz Cellars' Ink Grade Port...grab it!" (from "Give Sweets a Chance," 10/09). It's sound advice, for this rich and intensely satisfying dessert-style wine from Heitz sure does hit the sweet spot for under $20! A blend of eight different Portuguese grape varieties with distinctive character from the Ink Grade Vineyard in Napa Valley, the current blend draws from the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 vintages. From the winery: "The deep hue of our Ink Grade Port sets th... Read More »
It's 84% Sauvignon Blanc with 16% Sémillon, and five percent was barrel-fermented in new French oak and aged five months sur lie. From a vintage that came in early, it's bold and crisp. Look for enticing aromas of grapefruit, summer melon, lemongrass and lime zest with subtle hints of boxwood and Mandarin orange, according to winery release notes.
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
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. Pop this 375ml split and an ice pack in your backpack, with some roast chicken, for a nice picnic.
91 points Wine Spectator: "Bold, ripe and complex, with intense, rich pear, spice, butter, nutmeg and honey flavors that fan out on the palate. Harmonious and elegant, with layers of apricot and butterscotch emerging on the long, lingering finish. First release, from Far Niente Winery. Drink now." (06/92)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Wine Enthusiast: "*Very Good/Recommended* Pale gold hue. Opening aromas merely hint at quinine, herbs and botanicals; later on, with further air contact, the quinine becomes the dominant factor. Palate entry is stone-dry, tart, herbal and winey; at midpalate, the wine quality takes a back seat to the herbs and botanicals. Finishes with a flash of quinine." (12/2009) K&L Notes: Can ship to "NO SPIRIT" states because this is wine-based. This California vermouth has hints of lavender, sage orris, and linden that furnish a note of coolness, while wines made from Colombard and Orange Musc... Read More »
From some of the Central Coast's top vineyards - La Rincondada, Sanford & Benedict, Bien Nacido & El Camino - this wine undergoes complete malolactic fermemntation to gain its rich, lush texture. Tropical in style, with hints of wood spice that carry from the nose to the palate. This is big, full-bodied Chardonnay for fans for everyday drinking.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Light and floral, this subtle dessert wine is made from Scheurebe grapes, more often found in Austria than California. It provides this wine with fresh apricot and honey on the palate, lingering yet low enough in alcohol and power to be enjoyed as either apéritif or digestif, its sweetness greatly restrained." (3/2015) K&L Notes: This is 100% estate-grown Scheurebe from Phelps' Spring Valley Home Ranch Vineyard in St. Helena. From the winery: "The 2013 Eisrébe has aromatic layers of honey, apricot, marmalade and tropical fruits. The texture is viscous with flavors of... Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "The Chardonnays of Grgich Hills are rarely, if ever, wines that trade on high ripeness and richness, but this very lean, nearly wiry young wine flirts with suggestions of greenness and proves to be very tight-fisted at this point. While we like its freshness and its hard-to-miss vibrancy, we would be happier if it were a little more outgoing in fruit, but given the winery's track record for slow-to-unfold, long-aging white wines, we are willing to set this one aside for several years." (5/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright medium yellow. Aromas of mango, stone and soft citrus f ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Zinfandel Late Harvest has 9.5 grams of residual sugar and smells somewhat like an Amarone. Usually I enjoy these Late Harvest Zins after they have some age on them, but this 2012 offers good fresh fruit and purity. Drink it over the next decade. (RP)" (12/2013) K&L Notes: According to Robert Parker: "This boutique producer has one of the more innovative back labels where you can peel off the name and appellation of the wine, much like a postage stamp. I am surprised more wineries haven’t utilized this creative technology. In any event, it’s what’s in the bo... Read More »
From the winery: "Handpicked Zinfandel from low yielding, old-vine blocks is harvested at optimum maturity and rushed to the winery in refrigerated trucks. This 2012 vintage delivers classic Rombauer Zinfandel. The weight and dimension are immediately apparent by the dark purplish-ruby color. Ripe boysenberry, clove, black pepper and hints of raspberry aromas perfume from the glass. Plush and velvety flavors of dark berry fruits and vanilla flood the palate. A lengthy finish lingers for several minutes. Enjoy now through 2018."
93-95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Monte Bello (87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc) emerges from the glass with tobacco, grilled herbs, smoke, incense and plums melding together in this soft, beautifully textured Monte Bello. The 2011 is a wine of exceptional textural finesse. The 100% new oak is totally integrated. In 2011, Ridge used a total of 18 of a possible 24 lots for the final blend. The presence of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon is the highest since the 1980s. I expect the 2011 to be a relatively early drinking Monte Bello, but time will be the judge. Anticipat ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Muscat Alexandria Jackass Hill is a bit of an oddity, as it emerges from Muscat vines that are planted throughout Jackass Hill, suggesting the white grapes might have once been part of a field blend. This exotic, moderately sweet dessert wine offers lovely freshness in its floral and tropical infused flavors." (1/2015) K&L Notes: From the steepest non-terraced vineyard in Sonoma County, the vineyard is named for the kind of person it takes to farm grapes on it. The Muscat of Alexandria vines are over 100 years old and actually interspersed amongst similarly... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "Pretty mahogany color. First nosings pick up exotic herbal aromas that are delicately sweet and botanical; later passes reveal deeper, more complex scents of autumn woods, mulled wine and holiday spices. In the mouth, it’s sweet, sour and spicy at entry; by midpalate the range of flavors runs from nutmeg to quinine to muscat grapes to orange rind. Aftertaste is long. The finest sweet vermouth available." (12/2002) K&L Notes: Wine based, ok to ship to "NO SPIRIT" states. Imagine a warm tingling sensation and a spicy aroma. Cinnamon gives warmth while gentian, galanga... Read More »
91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Merlot jumps from the glass with brilliant red cherries, plums, flowers, spices and mint. With time in the glass the flavors blossom beautifully as the wine gains texture and resonance. Merlot still suffers from a less than stellar reputation in some circles, which is unfortunate. Few do it better than Shafer when it comes to capturing the fruit-driven exuberance of Merlot. Drink this juicy, resonant red over the next few years. Shafer remains a reference-point winery for Napa Valley. In a region where key people come and go every few years, Sh ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Comprised of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon with 11% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot, fruit was sourced from the Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Mount Veeder, St. Helena, Calistoga, Rutherford, and Howell Mountain AVAs. From the winery: "This wine displays a bright crimson hue and enticing aromas of black currant, blueberry and cedar spice. The palate is rich and textured with flavors of sweet cassis, blackberry and black cherry carried by supple tannins through the long finish. Enjoy now through 2018."
MacRostie's Sonoma Coast bottling is definitely a top choice for California Chardonnay at this price level. Grapes were sourced from several select Sonoma Coast vineyards including the "A-list" Sangiacomo Vineyard, vineyards belonging to the Dutton and Martinelli estates, and MacRostie's own estate properties. The beatifully ripe and pristine fruit was whole-cluster pressed into 20% new French oak for fermentation where it aged for an additional 6 months. A few lots were fermented in stainless steel to retain some special emphasis on aromatic fruit chara... Read More »
From the famous 'Bella Vineyard' !
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright, full red. Black raspberry, spices and black pepper are lifted by a floral note on the nose. Nicely delineated flavors of dark berries, pepper and spices display good cut and intensity and a welcome touch of sweetness. A bit unforgiving today, finishing with firm, dusty tannins and good spicy, chocolatey length. I'd give this another year in bottle before pulling the cork." (6/2014) Wine Spectator: "The raspberry and eucalyptus aromas lead to tightly wound cherry, herb and spicy loam flavors. The tannins arrive on the finish. Drink now through 2018." (4/2014)
91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Viognier is pure class. Jasmine, white peaches, mint and light honey are some of the many notes that are woven together. In 2012, the Viognier is a true stand out. The 2012 was aged 60% in neutral oak and 40% in steel, with the oak giving the wine much of its textural depth. This is a fabulous showing from Jaffurs. This is a beautiful set of wines from Craig Jaffurs. This year I found the wines particularly expressive and transparent to site. Most of the wines are made from destemmed fruit, although Jaffurs does use whole clusters occasionally o ...Read More »
From the winery: "Our 2012 Napa Valley Chardonnay offers delightfully fragrant, slightly yeasty aromas of ripe pear, apple and guava fruit complemented by hints of honeysuckle, mineral and toasted oak. It likewise hits the mark on the palate, delivering sensationally concentrated pear, spiced apple and melon flavors that culminate in a long finish lifted by zesty spice and mineral tones. Bold and beautifully balanced, with great depth and breadth of flavor, our 2012 Chardonnay is a delicious expression of a picture-perfect vintage. It will continue to pl... Read More »
This very small production of Pinot Blanc is only bottled in these elegant little half bottles (375 ml) and Magnums (1.5L) because, according to the folks at Robert Sinskey, "you should either start with it, or party with it... there is no in-between!" Might we add, picnic with it? This 100% organic and biodynamic Pinot Blanc was fermented in stainless steel to preserve its natural freshness and pure varietal character. The delicate aromas and flavors and richness on the palate balanced by clean acidity make it the perfect pairing for fried seafood or fi... Read More »
A combination of late harvest Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc from the foggy town of Coombsville, east of Napa, Dolce is Napa's ultimate Sauternes-style dessert wine, with its earthy, botrytis underpinning and joyful acidity. Wonderfully food-friendly, this will pair well with foie gras, poached figs, cheeses, chocolate or creme brulee. Or cellar and watch the wine evolve. Praise from Wine Review Online: "A rare example of a domestically-produced Sauternes style wine. At once delicate and decadent, this beautifully balanced dessert wine will make a great f... Read More »
From Justin: "Made using the same method as a traditional Port, Justin Obtuse instead features Cabernet Sauvignon, our hallmark grape variety. A portion of the natural sugar from the grapes is left unfermented for a touch of sweetness that complements the varietal flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon. With only a few months in barrel for some depth, Obtuse has a crisp, clean finish when compared to traditional versions of this type of wine.  Tasting Notes: "Appearance: Deep ruby purple core with violet rim. Aroma: Blackberry and blackcurrant jam, black c... Read More »
Quinta Cruz is a branch of Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard devoted to elevating the grapes of Spain and Portugal grown in California. The Rabelo comes from Pierce Ranch and is made from 50% Tinta Roriz, 34% Touriga Nacional and 16% Tinto Cão . Fermentation was halted with brandy made from Tinta Roriz. From the winery: "Ports in Portugal aren’t made from over-ripe fruit! Our version of this traditional dessert wine is made with ripe but not over-ripe grapes that retain so much more fresh, bright, fruit character than a base wine made from essentially raisins... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(11.3% alcohol with 14% residual sugar; fermented in all new oak barrels) Aromas of yellow plum, pineapple, lemon peel, game, lichee and rosewater. Wonderfully exotic yet pure fruit enlivened by very strong (12 grams per liter) acidity. An intriguing floral quality adds to the wine's complexity. A wine of compelling fruit." (May/June 02)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
98 points James Suckling: "*Top 100 Wines of 2014* Compelling aromas of black fruits such as brambleberries, plus blueberries and fresh mushrooms. Asphalt, too. Forest fruits. The tannins just melt into the wine as you taste it. Aristocratic and regal in style and length. A powdery, fascinating texture. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink now, but better in 2017." (5/2014)96 points Antonio Galloni: "Araujo has long made some of the more restrained Cabernets in Napa Valley. The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard is one of the more Left Bank inflected wines in the estate's distinguished history. Beauti ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse