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K&L Staff Recommendations
2013 Tenuta Luisa Friulano $16.99
Wine & Spirits: "Tariquet’s flagship, this is classic Gascogne white, lemony-bright and shot through with crisp acidity. It’s simple and palate whetting, especially with a platter of plump, briny clams." (6/2014) Wine Spectator: "Dried golden raisin and baked apple flavors are accented by sage honey and spice. Hints of dried quince emerge on the finish. Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc and Gros Manseng." (10/2014)
From limestone soils of the Languedoc, Picpoul (which translates as "lip-stinger") delivers a reliably invigorating and affordable white. Picpoul de Pinet is the grape's spiritual home and varietally named AOC, where the Mediterranean breezes moderate the daytime temperature and slow the ripening. From the producer: "Crystal clear color with green highlights. A soft, delicate nose, with pleasant hints of acacia and hawthorn blossom. Delicate and fresh in the palate with and excellent acidity and structure balance."
91 points Wine Spectator: "Intense golden raisin, tarragon and grapefruit flavors give this white good cut. Very minerally in the mid palate, with a luscious finish that combines candied mint and dried mango flavor. Exotic and richly spiced. Drink now through 2020." (11/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Assyrtiko is rather impressive on opening, tightly wound and showing fine grip and tension on the finish, together with earthy, minerally nuances that I liked. The acidity gives it a bright and sunny feel to it. This is a nice performance here, balanced but persistent, relatively complex yet tasty. It ...Read More »
Cotes de Gascogne is primarily known for the production of Armagnac; it wasn’t until the last 20 years or so that producers began to take table wine production seriously. Traditionally, these wines would have been distilled into Armagnac. Producers found that by fermenting at lower temperatures in stainless steel, they could develop and preserve more powerful aromatics. Though yields are high, costs have stayed low and the wines are consequently some of the best bargain whites in France. Domaine de Millet is first and foremost an Armagnac producer. They ... Read More »
Produced from Loureiro and Pederña grapes grown in the granitic soils of the Vinho Verde region, the Santola (or as we here are calling it, "the crab wine") is a delicious, spritely and refreshing white. It doesn't get much more traditional, thirst-quenching or seasonally perfect then this wine. Delicious, low in alcohol, slightly fizzy and way too easy to drink!
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Starting out the whites and a smoking value, the 2012 Cotes du Rhone Blanc is a blend of 65% Viognier, 15% Roussanne, 10% Marsanne, 5% Clairette, 3% Bourboulenc and 2% Grenache Blanc that’s vinified and aged all in stainless steel. It offers beautiful white peach, flowers and hints of citrus in a clean, balanced and juicy style. Medium-bodied and straight up delicious, it sells for a song, and is a great intro into Rhone Valley whites. (JD)" (12/2013) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale yellow. Fresh peach and white flowers on the spice-accented nose; really showing its viognier compone ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Crisp, tart, melon, tangerine and bubble gum-like aromas jump from the glass of this 2013 Chenin Blanc/Viognier (80% and 20% respectively). Aged totally in stainless steel, it no doubt has much of its malolactic fermentation blocked given its crisp acid profile." (11/2014) K&L Notes: Vintage after vintage, Pine Ridge's Chenin Blanc-Viognier blend has impressed drinkers and critics alike. And now, what started as an experiment in the early-1990s, has become one of the winery's most sought after wines. From the winery: "Brilliant and refreshing, this bottling of our re... Read More »
Amats is both the brand name of the txakoli as well as one of Zudugarai's vineyards. It's a beautiful vineyard, a sandy substrate covered in naturally growing green cover between the rows, with the Cantabrian Sea in full view to the north. Produced from Hondarribi Zuri grapes, this is classic Txakoli: zippy, crisp, tart green apple flavors are enlivened by a lovely sparkle from the CO2 retained in tank during fermentation. Try this refreshing, vibrant, low in alcohol white wine with a wide range of foods - from obvious choices such as seafood (grilled sa... Read More »
Domaine de Millet was first an Armagnac producer, now in the winemaking game. They are a fifth generation winemaking and spirit producing family with the reins now in the hands of daughter Laurence. They make incredible values for everyday white wine drinking. The Moelleux is made from 100% Gros Manseng, a variety famous in Jurancon for making richly textured whites and a small component of their dessert wines. On its own here it provides a mellow sweetness similar to a Kabinett level Riesling or demi-sec Vouvray. Exotic fruits on the nose and pala... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc is a fine white that’s made from equal parts Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc and Clairette. Aged 30% in barrel and 70% in tank, it has classic apple, citrus blossom and edgy minerality in its fresh, focused, downright racy style. I love the purity here. It should flesh out well with another year in bottle and drink nicely for 2-3 years. (JD)" (10/2014) Wine Spectator: "This white features a lively edge, with blanched almond and jicama notes framing a core of heather, white peach, yellow apple and melon rind flavors. A quinine hint ...Read More »
Ravello, carved into the hillsides overlooking the Mediterranean on Italy's Amalfi Coast, is one of my favorite places on earth. Maybe it's because it is where my husband and I honeymooned, but honestly I was in love with Ravello before I ever set foot there, and that goes back to this wine. Made from 60% Falanghina and 40% Biancolella grown in the rocky, calcareous soils of both Ravello and Scala, this slightly floral, wonderfully mineral, fresh white wine tastes like the crystalline blue sea and sunshine captured in a bottle. It is particularly delicio... Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "Pale, watery color with a slightly green tinge. Cherry blossom with stony green apple peel on nose. Crisp, dry but elegant tropical-fruit character, saltiness and tannins offer focused structure. Fresh, elegant finish. An amazing Friulano." (9/2014)
Lora is a blend of certified organic Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc grapes from one of the cooler parts of La Mancha (high up on the plateau not too far from the UNESCO heritage city of Cuenca). Bright citrus fruits combine with stone fruits and hints of melon, with crisp mineral tones and loads of personality. The winemaker and person who carefully sources this great organic fruit is none other than our friend Miguel Merino Navajas, son of Miguel Merino of Rioja fame! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)
Say bonjour to your summertime white! Picpoul de Pinet is considered the "Muscadet of the South." Grown just meters from the oyster beds of the Bassin de Thau, the wine marries perfectly with fish and shellfish. Picpoul (also known as Folle Blanche or Gros Plant) means "lip stinger," which refers to the high acidity of its must. Great with oysters, assorted fruit de mer or grilled seafood. This wine is crisp and bright, with subtle floral and mineral notes on the nose. Bracing acidity backs up a wine with surprising breed for this price point. Château F... Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "This is a phenomenal white with sliced pear, apple and cream. Wonderful richness. It's full bodied, very layered and stylish. A petrol, candle-wax and dried-apricot character. Savory finish. Drink now." (12/2014)
Edelzwicker fans will love this wine from Charles Baur (and love the price, too!). Made from 50% Pinot Blanc, 40% Sylvaner and 10% Gewurztraminer, it is pale yellow in color with exotic fruit and white flower on the nose. A superb freshness enhances the complex fruit flavors of this seductive white wine from Alsace.
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Turbine Proprietary White is a Rhône Ranger blend of 27% Grenache Blanc, 27% Viognier, 26% Marsanne and 20% Picpoul Blanc. This may be the first California white I have tasted with Picpoul Blanc in it, so old dogs can learn new tricks. With 13.9% alcohol, it displays lots of quince, white currant and white flower characteristics, gorgeous fruit, medium body, and no evidence of oak. With a luscious texture, as well as terrific purity, this is an example of why California is now the epicenter for great wines. A revelation, it can be consumed over ...Read More »
Impressive for its purity and refreshing mineral qualities, Valle dell'Acate takes the Inzolia varietal to a whole new level of quality. As a second label, the Case Ibidini range (pronounced 'bidini) consists of varietally labeled wines from the estate intended for more casual consumption. The local name of the area where the estate is situated, Bidini, is drawn from the ancient root Bidis. This in turn referred to the name of a group of early Hellenic settlers who populated the area nearly 20 centuries ago. These wines provide a purity and authenticity ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Allura is a peninsula on the northeast corner of the island of Sardinia that specializes in Vermentino (the grape is also grown on the coast of mainland Italy, on Corsica and in the south of France under the name Rolle). Mancini's version of the grape is very fresh and forward, with no oak or malolactic fermentation aromas, just grape juice fermented at low temperature in stainless steel. Enjoy this delicious, lively and aromatic white as an aperitif or with seafood (prawns with pasta?). A hint of citrus peel on the finish adds food-friendly complexity.
Wine Spectator: "Light-bodied, with a zesty base driving modest notes of green melon, salted almond and pink grapefruit. (Web-2014)" K&L Notes: Pure crystaline fruit with a tautness and elegance that reminds me of great Gruner Veltliner from the Wachau, this is a lot of wine for the price tag. If there was every a region to gauge the incredible transformation of Italian wine from plonk to among the world's best, Soave would be right up near the top, and the Soave of Ca Rugate is a stellar example of why.
This 100% Falanghina is wonderful, it's fermented in stainless steel, and then kept on its lees for two months before being bottled. The nose is a complex perfume of elderflowers and white peach, with a bit of crushed stone that is couched in a med-full body, and it has a long and decidedly refreshing finish. (Greg St.Clair, K&L's Italian buyer)
Giovanni Blason and his consulting enologist Andrea Rossi have turned this 37-acre property into a juggernaut of affordable quality wines. Giovanni and his wife Valentina own this winery in Gradisca d’Inzonzo, 3.75 miles from the Slovenian border and about 20 miles north of Trieste. This white offers such intense floral aromatics, with, jasmine, elderflowers, and lime blossoms, you'd guess that there would be some correlating sweetness on the palate, but this one from Blason is absolutely dry. Great with cheese!
Crisp, appley, and very refreshing, Raza Vinho Verde combines Arinto with Azal, Trajadura and Loureiro to create a lightly fizzy, delicious white that is surprisingly persistent and serious for this inexpensive a white. Quinta de Raza is located in the eastern portion of the Vinho Verde D.O., an area that has soils rich in quartz and other minerals that put their imprint on the wine. It's the perfect post work, pre-dinner wine, though it's also great at table, where it should handle grilled vegetables, seafood, and quick stir fries equally well. A refres... Read More »
Based in the Rioja Alta village of Badarán, Martínez Alesanco is a truly original bodega producing tasty, characterful wine for laughably low prices. They are entirely self reliant in grapes, all of which are grown in their home village of Badarán, one of the coldest zones of Rioja Alta. The vineyards are closer to the Sierra de la Demanda mountains, a range whose elevation and visible snow covered peaks are even more dramatic than the Sierra Cantabria range to the north. Martínez Alesanco's Blanco is made entirely from Viura in iron rich clay soils. In ... Read More »
The Tralivio is made in a clean crisp style from some of Sartarelli's oldest vines. Antonio Galloni says, "When the mood strikes for Verdicchio, Sartarelli is often one of my go-to houses. The wines are loaded with varietal character, while the different bottlings are usually nicely differentiated and articulated."
Bricco della Ciliegie is a70-year-old vineyard in Piedmont that used to be dedicated to cherry cultivation. Its sandy soils are dotted with calcareous strips, which combines with the altitude and unceasing wind, makes it the perfect place for growing Arneis. Unsurprisingly, the wine that comes from here is stunning. Floral, with notes of apple and pear and intense minerality.
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Very pale bright yellow. Pure, delicate, high-pitched perfume of rose petal and dusty brown spices. Brisk, tactile and quite dry but with an essentially supple texture--even a slightly glyceral character--to the flavors of grapefruit pith, lemon, flowers, spices and salty minerality. This serious yet seductive example of Torrontes finishes with sneaky dusty persistence." (3/2014) K&L Notes: Produced from biodynamically farmed Torrontes, this wine is produced from some of the highest elevation vines in production anywhere in the world, at more than 7,000 feet above... Read More »
Produced from 15-30 year old, massale selection Godello vines (propagated from some of the finest, oldest Godello vines in the area) grown in black slate, this is seriously delicious white wine from one of the premier D.O.'s for white wine in all of Spain. Given its bright, pure fruit and vivid minerality, this reminds me of very good Muscadet. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)
This is always one of the most popular Italian whites at K&L. Made entirely from Vermentino from the Gallura Highlands on the island of Sardenia. The granitic soils force the vines to struggle to survive, but that struggle (like so many) gives the wine its character. The 2013 is dry and full, with lots of white fruit, a touch of green pepper and a salty minerality that makes this a natural pairing with seafood. Don't miss.
Produced in the slightly warmer Rias Baixas sub-zone of O Rosal, Columna's 2013 is a lovely balance between granite-driven, subtly smoky minerality, salinity and fairly rich yellow stone fruit. This would be wonderful to enjoy before a meal or alongside seafood and shellfish. Once again, as it was last vintage, the Columna shows lots of character and value for the price.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Spicy and super zesty in the mouth, the 2013 Vermentino di Gallura Superiore Sciala is redolent of white flower, peach jasmine and dried ginger. Vermentino sometimes has a sage-like edginess and this wine delivers that quality in spades. If you like crisp whites to pair with fried fish, this is a perfect choice. The wine rests on its lees for five months with battonage and this process helps to add dimension and thickness on the finish. (ML)" (12/2014)
89 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Composed of 80% Grenache Blanc and 20% Marsanne, the 2012 Vieilles Vignes Blanc comes from 50-year-old vines planted in limestone and clay soils. A delightful bouquet of caramelized honeyed grapefruit, white currants and other assorted citrus jumps from the glass of this crisp, dry, medium-bodied white. With surprising length and power, it reminded me of a restrained, more laid-back top white Hermitage at a fraction of the price. Consume it over the next several years. One of the top wine values I have ever tasted is from one of the newest appellation ...Read More »
In the southeast of Spain sandwiched between Jumilla and Alicante, wines from Yecla have most prolifically come from what happens to be the largest co-op in Spain. However the Castaño family stands as the most important and ambitious privately owned winery in the D.O., and they have gone to great lengths to push the quality from the often coarse wines for which this region was previously known. Their four prime estate vineyards now comprise 10% of the vine acreage in Yecla, and their ambition is only matched by their commitment to quality. Their organica... Read More »
Frascati doesn't have the best reputation--it's often the innocuous white wine served as "house wine" across Rome--but this one from Casale Marchese transcends any preconceived notions. Made from Malvasia del Lazio, Trebbiano Toscano, Malvasia di Candia, Bonvino and Bellone grown on family farms in the Tusculo hills and brought to us by one of our favorite Italian importers, Oliver McCrum (it's how you KNOW it's going to be good), this is fresh and delightful. Notes of basil complement peach and nectarine with a slight almond underpinning. It's fresh, ea... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Anthony Hwang was born in the Philippines and made his money as a businessman in New York, but it was his passion for wine that led him to buy the Királyudvar estate, a jewel in the Hungarian crown that used to supply wine to the Hapsburgs during the days of the Hungarian Empire. Under Hwang's supervision, and with the help of his partner Noël Pinguet of Vouvray's Domaine Huët, this estate has been revitalized, and the wines being made there today are worthy of Tokaji's legacy.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A blend of 50% Grenache Blanc (from vines over 100 years of age), 30% Chardonnay and 20% Marsanne (all planted on pure schist soils), the 2012 Cote d’Est VDP Cotes Catalanes was aged in stainless steel and fermented on its lees. The result is a singular, honeyed, big, lush, exotic white wine with a lot of gout de petrol, beeswax and orange marmalade notes. Medium-bodied and dry with undeniable minerality, this fruit cocktail-styled wine should be enjoyed over the next 12-18 months. An excellent joint venture between importer Eric Solomon and Jean-Marc La ...Read More »
100% Cortese, floral and fruity, but crisp on dry on the palate.
Inventory: San Francisco
We started importing the wines of this small family-owned winery in Colli Orientali de Friuli (not far from the Slovenian border) with the 2001 vintage. Back then they were far better known in Italy, where they have continuously garnered accolades from Gambero Rosso, but these days they have quite a following here at K&L, too. Vintage after vintage the wines from the brothers Ermacora (Dario and Luciano) sell out very quickly. And they still adhere to the motto: Do little, in order to do better. Their 2013 Friulano is no exception. The 2012 scored 90 poi... Read More »
Vietti's Roero Arneis is one of the most delicious and consistent versions of this varietal we carry every vintage. The grapes for this wine come from 25-year-old vines in Santo Stefano Roero. Fermented in stainless, they suppress malo to preserve the crisp acidity and freshness. And it is fresh, with mineral accents that complement its floral, citrus and melon aromas and flavors. Delightful with food.
A pretty green-gold color, this refreshing white combines crisp acidity with a full, rich floral nose. A lovely Gavi di Gavi perfect for sipping with scallops.
This is a delicious Albariño, always one of our top two or three for someone looking for a classic expression of this white wine. A wonderfully mineral nose leads to bright, succulent, yellow stone fruit flavors with more than a wisp of salinity adding freshness and making it pretty difficult to not gulp this one down quickly. Palacio de Fefiñanes is the oldest known brand of Albariño and the first to have bottled their wine. Based in the "birthplace of Albariño," the seaside town of Cambados, the winery purchases fruit from 60 growers, many of whom own... Read More »
The Castelcerino vineyard is planted on predominantly volcanic soil, giving a distinct minerality to the 100% Garganega fruit.
92 points Wine & Spirits: "Gerovassiliou’s 2012 is more restrained than the 2011 at the moment, with a satin richness and honeysuckle-scented fruit that runs more green plum than peach. It feels balanced and elegant, ready for a grilled fish." (8/2013) Wine Spectator: "Well-spiced, with gooseberry, peach and wild plum flavors full of ginger and nutmeg hints, supported by crisp acidity. Finishes with notes of pastry. Drink now through 2017." (11/2013) K&L Notes: If it weren't for the conservation efforts of Vangelis Gerovassiliou, along with a handful of concerned Greek vitculturalists, the endangered ancient Gre... Read More »
Based in the village of Albeos, in the Condado do Tea, sub-zone, Morgadío has produced a lovely and very convincing Albariño in 2013. It shows waxy yellow and orange fruit flavors, star fruit and loquat in particular. The wine is fresh, well balanced between ripe fruit and acidity, and oh so drinkable! This is a unique expression of Albariño from the portion of the D.O. that lies a bit further inland from the coast and borders on the Ribeiro D.O. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese wine buyer)
One of our favorite white wines at K&L Hollywood, thanks to the passionate championing of it by Jacques. It comes from a property in Southern France situated beneath a behemoth limestone outcropping called Cap Canaille, and it is just 200 meters from the Mediterranean. The vineyards are cooled by a trio of winds--the Tramontane, Mistral and Gregal--plus sea breezes, and the wines, both a blanc and rosé, are reflective of all of these factors.A blend of Marsanne, Clairette and Ugni Blanc, this dry, juicy wine tastes like white fruit and ocean spray, and i... Read More »
92 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Esprit de Tablas Blanc is sublet, floral and lifted. Flowers, mint, lemon and spices meld together in a gracious, impeccably refined Roussanne-based white Rhône loaded with class and style. The 2012 Esprit is 75% Roussanne, 20% Grenache Blanc and 5% Picpoul Blanc." (7/2014)92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Green-hued yellow. High-pitched aromas of tangerine, green apple and white flowers, with a gingery nuance adding complexity. Sappy, spicy and penetrating, offering intense citrus and orchard fruit flavors that put on weight with air. Firm and dry on a finish showing excellen ...Read More »
A combination of Assyrtiko, with its inherent layers of structure and power, combined with the small addition of the bright lift and aromatics of the Athiri is really a knockout. A very bright aromatic of rich citrus and that one of a kind volcanic minerality, which can only be found on Santorini, gives this wine a refreshing character from start to finish. Plenty of juiciness on the palate with expressive length and a happy finish that has verve and identity. This has a certain restrain that can only come from a true master of their craft. Drink nice an... Read More »
Produced from a blend of Viura, Malvasia and Tempranillo Blanco, this is a wonderfully fresh, minerally white typical of the best unoaked whites of the region. Perhaps there is a bit more flesh and richness due to the presence of Tempranillo Blanco, a naturally occuring mutation of the Tempranillo grape that gives wine of great character, richness and intensity.
Jancis Robinson: "Fresh, riper fruit than the Barbadillo Manzanilla -- such a good, reliable brand! Great concentration and purity. (RH)" (4/2013) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Talking about which, the NV Tio Pepe Fino is an icon of Sherry wine. Produced from Palomino grapes aged in the Tio Pepe solera for an average of four years under flor. It has a light nose of dried flowers, almonds and olives, in a subtle way and a dry palate dominated by the chalky notes. Light and easy to drink, it is a good introduction to Fino Sherry. (LG)" (8/2013) Wine Enthusiast: "Round and nutty, with mild floral and honey hints up front. The ...Read More »