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K&L Staff Recommendations
2004 Dom Pérignon Brut Champagne $149.99
This Prosecco offers delicate flavors of pear and hints of nutmeg, all in a well balanced sparkling wine. Montechiara is an Extra Dry bubbly, like most Prosecco, which gives it a more determined palate presence, good acidity and a bright freshness that make it seem more like a Brut while lengthening the finish. Try it for your holiday parties or just knocking the dust off a long day at work! (Greg St. Clair, K&L Italian wine buyer)
From La Maison Antech, located in the Southern France region of the Languedoc, comes this beautiful example of Cremant de Limoux. Named after the grande dame of the estate, Eugenie Limouzy, this Cremant is composed of 50% Chardonnay, 40% Chenin Blanc and 10% Mauzac. It is produced along the lines of methode champenoise and spends 12 months on the lees before being disgorged. This balanced and elegant sparkling wine reveals subtle hints of citrus fruits, toast and honey. At less than half the price of a bottle of Champagne, the Cuvée Eugenie is the perfec... Read More »
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."
The Antech "Emotion" is a little something different: a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Mauzac and Pinot Noir from AOC Cremant de Limoux in the Languedoc region of the south of France. It was a huge hit with our staff in 2012; now it is back, to make our evenings and dinner parties sparkle just that much more. Pale pink hue, fine bead, delicate hints of cherry and strawberry with white floral notes. A crisp, elegant sparkler made in the traditional method, spending 15 months in the bottle before disgorgement. At about half the price of a bottle of Cha... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Half-each Chardonnay and Pinot, Marguet’s NV Brut Reserve Disg. 10/2012 is utterly fascinating in its pungent and savory evocations of bruised apple skin and lemon rind; oyster liquor and kelp, toasted nuts and blond tobacco; sourdough yeasts and singed buckwheat batter. There are white peach and apple to lend a juicy, fruity matrix to the mix on a palate at once creamy and vivacious. This finishes with subtle tartness, persistent pungency, pleasantly sour invigoration, and mouthwatering salinity. It will no doubt be too outrageously out of the mainstrea ...Read More »
Don't let the low price fool you; this is a great bottle of Champagne. The Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" is made of 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Meunier. A balanced cuvée in every way, this Champagne is clean and powerful at once. It has a natural toasty quality from spending five full years on the lees, and plenty of refreshing zip from the far northern location of the vineyards. No bottle in our inventory transports me to Champagne like this one. It is as true to the terroir and as pure as anything I could wish for! You don't have to settl... Read More »
Wine & Spirits: "This sparkler's zingy lemon-lime flavors evolve into fuller pineapple and citrus notes, a yeasty character adding breadth and weight. The full flavors and light, cardamom-like spice suit it to the dinner table, with rich fish or roasted chicken." K&L Notes: You should always have a handful of bottles of this sparkler on hand for impromptu parties (because a sudden Tuesday night fete with your pals is, of course, better with bubbly).This wallet-friendly "Blanc de Blancs" drinks like an expensive French Champagne, with a rich yeasty nose and body to match. It's called ... Read More »
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 »
91 points Wine Spectator: "A smoky note of roasted nut is subtly woven with the baked apple, lemon meringue and fennel seed flavors in this vibrant Champagne, with a refined, creamy mousse. Drink now through 2020." (11/2014)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(roughly 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier; Lot 14009913): Light gold. Musky orchard fruits and dried fig on the mineral-accented nose. Fleshy and broad on the palate, offering smoky pear and nectarine flavors and a hint of honey. Finishes on a gently spicy note, with very good cling and a touch of bitter lemon pith. Things have definitel ...Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Such an elegant, ethereal wine, this orange-pink wine is dry and crisp with fruity raspberry flavor at the fore. This particular bottling could improve for a year, but makes a great food Champagne now." (12/2013)92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(roughly 50% chardonnay, 35% pinot noir and 15% pinot meunier; L344234): Light orange. Vibrant strawberry and orange zest aromas are complicated by notes of tea rose, smoky lees and chalky minerals. Bright, incisive red fruit flavors pick up a toasty nuance with air. Fresh, incisive and refreshingly tangy, with impressive finishing clarity and ...Read More »
Our best deal in pink bubbles! Fans of Billecart-Salmon take note: this is an elegant, dry style that is made entirely from estate grown fruit in Brouillet. This Champagne is a blend of half and half Pinot Noir and Meunier. The color comes from 12% Meunier that is vinified red, from an old-vine plot that gets quite ripe. It is a very pretty tarnished pink color and has a lazy bead from over five years of aging on the lees. It has gorgeous red cherry fruit on the nose and mid palate, but still finishes snappy and dry. The wine also has a nice mineral note... 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: "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 »
Mas Codina is a 40 hectare estate in Penedès which dates back to 1681. This Brut Reserva Cava was hand-harvested from 20 to 30-year-old vines and estate bottled. Though it does not say it on the label, the current disgorgement is based entirely on the 2010 harvest. Vines are planted in calcareous and sandy clay soils which keep the wine minerally and lively. The wine undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle, and is aged on its lees for a minimum of two years before disgorgement. Varietals include Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 100% ... Read More »
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 »
Built on a backbone of 60% Chardonnay, this effervescent white is the product of female hands. Francoise Antech-Gazeau leads this Limoux estate. She has worked with her father and uncle since 1996 to improve their sustainable agricultural practices in the vineyard and their quality in the cellar. This bottling references the family's six generation history of making wine.
Antech's Brut Nature is produce with no added dosage, which translates to a super clean and crisp glass of bubbles. It is composed of 90% Mauzac, 5% Chenin Blanc and 5% Chardonnay. All harvesting is done by hand. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel, and the wine undergoes a 12 month elevage on the lees a la methode traditionelle for 12 months before being disgorged. The Brut Nature is the perfect way to start off the evening's festivities. Its fresh and crisp apple-pear flavors will pair beautifully with a wide range of finger foods and pre-dinne... Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "*Top 100 Wines of 2013* Shows lovely balance, with a satiny quality to the refined mousse and mouthwatering acidity meshing with pure notes of poached quince, lemon mousse, white cherry and fresh ginger. Offers a lightly chalky finish. Disgorged January 2012. Drink now through 2020." (6/2013) K&L Notes: I am incredibly excited about the extraordinary quality of this top grower's Champagne. The name might sound familiar, as they are cousins with the negociant Bruno Paillard. But, their production is completely separate, and unlike Bruno, all estate-grown. What an esta... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Lightly floral and fresh, this offers pretty notes of ripe Gala apple and glazed apricot, layered with subtle hints of almond paste, piecrust, honey and ground spice. Shows fine balance and a lively mousse, leading to a lingering finish. Drink now through 2018. Tasted twice, with consistent notes." (11/2013) Connoisseurs Guide: "If never as far reaching and complex as those bottlings allowed extra time on the years, Feuilllatte's basic Brut is a complete and carefully crafted Champagne of fine balance and brightness. Its lightly yeasty elements are nicely matched by a trim bit ...Read More »
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(roughly 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier; Lot 14009913): Light gold. Musky orchard fruits and dried fig on the mineral-accented nose. Fleshy and broad on the palate, offering smoky pear and nectarine flavors and a hint of honey. Finishes on a gently spicy note, with very good cling and a touch of bitter lemon pith. Things have definitely begun to turn around for this bottling, which had been lagging behind the winery's vintage offerings for some time." (12/2013)90 points Wine Enthusiast: "One of the most familiar of Champagnes, the Yellow Label is finely ma ...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 »
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 »
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 »
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)
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)
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)
96 points Connoisseurs Guide: "***Three Stars*** Elegant and fruity at the same time with a quick invitation from bright, pure cherryish notes and then filled out handsomely by whiffs of chalky soils and well-integrated, rich and uplifting yeast-driven scents, this wine manages to be both vigorous and layered at one and the same time. Its bubbles are insistent, finely carved and add to the early sensations of lightness and energy yet also carry the wine long into a balanced, refined finish. And its latter palate grip is exactly what one should expect from the genre. While service with ...Read More »
90 points Decanter: "Choose wisely and you could be happier--and better off--with sparkling wines than Champagnes on offer in the run-up to Christmas.Graham Beck Brut NV. This is classic stuff with bready, autolytic aromas, a fine mousse and distinctly savoury flavour...if you are looking for an inexpensive alternative to big-name Champagne, this is it."90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Non-Vintage Brut has pretty apricot and mango scents that are lively and vivacious. The palate is lively on the entry with crisp acidity, citrus peel on the entry with a terse but very focused finish. This is one of the be ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
The Bronca sisters grow their own fruit in steep hillside vineyards, then make base wine and perform the secondary (sparkling) fermentation on non-vintage batches three or four times a year, to ensure freshness. Low yields and hillside-grown fruit ensures that the wine has good concentration and acidity. This one's a clean, crisp and ultimately refreshing sparkler that is one of our favorites.
91 points Wine Spectator: "Smoke and toasted brioche notes ride a lively bead in this well-cut Champagne, layered with pastry cream, poached apple, fresh ginger, honey and yellow plum flavors. Lightly creamy throughout, with a hint of fleur de sel on the finish. Drink now through 2020." (11/2013) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light yellow. Aromas of white peach and melon, with subtle floral and ginger qualities in the background. Fruity and round, offering citrus-accented pit and tropical fruit flavors and a warm quality on the back half. Finishes smooth, with a lingering suggestion of ginger and good cling. ...Read More »
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.
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.
96 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2004 Dom Pérignon continues to develop beautifully. A vibrant, focused Champagne, the 2004 clearly reflects the personality of the year. Freshly cut flowers, white peaches and pears are woven together in a Champagne that impresses for its focus and energy. Chiseled saline note support the crystalline finish. I imagine the 2004 will always remain relatively bright and linear, but at the same time, each time I have tasted it over the last two years the 2004 seems to have a little more body and broader shoulders. The 2004 will appeal most to readers who ...Read More »
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.
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
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!
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)
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 »
93 points Wine Spectator: "This deftly woven Champagne is all about finesse, offering a rich vein of smoky minerality and vivid acidity. The power is cloaked in a silky texture and notes of creamed pear, lemon confit, almond biscotti and fresh ginger. Drink now through 2021." (12/2014)92 points Antonio Galloni: "Light yellow-gold. Smoky citrus and orchard fruits on the deeply perfumed, mineral-tinged nose. Offers broad, toasty orange and pear skin flavors with an undercurrent of dusty minerals. Picks up floral and ginger nuances with air, along with hints of iodine and tarragon. Rich yet lively blanc de blanc ...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."
This lightly sparkling wine is meant to be the German answer to Prosecco. From the winery: "Light straw yellow with lovely green highlights. Fresh-fruity aromas of pear, apple and grapefruit. Mild and well balanced on the palate with exotic aromas and a delicate nutmeg tone. Sparklingly refreshing."
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Laurent-Perrier’s dry style is reflected in this crisp, elegant and fine Champagne. The character is mineral, taut, with a great burst of citrus and white fruit acidity. The ensemble creates a delicious food-friendly wine." (12/2011)90 points Wine Spectator: "Balanced and fresh, with an airy mousse carrying flavors of crunchy pear, piecrust, apricot and ground ginger, all underscored by a hint of smoky mineral. Drink now through 2017. 20,000 cases imported." (12/2014) Antonio Galloni: "Light gold. Aromas of ripe citrus and orchard fruits, with suggestions of green tea and honey in the background. Supp ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The deliciously delicate Taittinger NV Brut La Francaise L2383PK01300 is strikingly buoyant and dominated by subtle scents of yeast-tinged flowers and foliage – honeysuckle and mint immediately come to mind – that allude to its roughly one-quarter Meunier component, with a luscious matrix of lime-drenched honeydew melon and apple well-supported by discreet residual sugar leading to a sustained and refreshing finish. Hints of toasted almond and vanilla-tinged cookie dough lend a faintly confectionary cast that manages to harmonize with the dominant fruiti ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The non-vintage Prosecco del Valdobiaddene Particella 68 comes from a hillside vineyard planted with 40-60-year-old Glera vines in rocky soils. It reveals more minerality along with honeyed grapefruit and apple-like fruit. Crisp and light-bodied with more intensity and flavor than its sibling, it is a dry sparkler to enjoy over the next 1-2 years." (6/2014)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright straw-green. Sexy, clean aromas of floral white peach, apricot and tangerine. On the palate, soft citrus and pineapple flavors are enlivened by vibrant acidity and nicely extended on the creamy, ...Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top 100 Wines of 2012* It’s rare to find a nonvintage blend with such attractive bottle age; in most the fruitiness dominates. This has a toasty character, with an almond note and a ripe mouthfeel that balances its warm pear and yellow-fruit flavors. This demonstrates a full, rich style." (12/2012)93 points Wine Spectator: "Firm and toasty, with hints of vanilla and shredded coconut accenting flavors of creamed apple, toasted hazelnut, lemon meringue pie and black cherry puree. Refined in texture and mouthwatering through to the smoky, mineral-tinged finish. Disgorged 2012. Drink ...Read More »