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K&L Staff Recommendations
Lovely Angeline, always a value, but never cheap... This wine comes to us via Sonoma County's Martin Ray Winery, owned by Courtney Benham (creator of the Blackstone brand). This multi-county blend of Pinot Noir has been well-received in recent years, maybe not tipping the point-scales over 90, but earning consistent praise for its solid, varietal character and good value.
The 2013 Rickshaw Pinot Noir is the fifth vintage from the team at Banshee Wines. As difficult as it is to produce excellent Pinot Noir, it is even more difficult to do so at a fine value. In their development of the Banshee label, the winemakers gained a stable of quality sources for Pinot fruit from the finest AVAs in California, and Rickshaw was born out of this bounty. The largest share of fruit is sourced from the Sonoma Coast, followed by Anderson Valley and the Central Coast. The appeal of the wine is driven by its balance of fruit and earth tones... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* This is an impressive effort, especially considering it is the winery’s mass-production cuvée. All in proportion, it’s built upon an acid/mineral base, with tangy, just-ripe berry fruit. It feels quite delicate, yet has the persistence and structure of a more substantial wine. Aged for 10 months in one-quarter new French oak, it’s worth tucking a few bottles away for a long-term look." (12/2014)92 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Taut, tart and surprisingly generous, blooming with juicy, cranberry-accented blackberry, cherry and spice flavors that linger easi ...Read More »
Bench is one of the labels of Brack Mountain Wine Company, which sources this Pinot Noir mostly from the Sangiacomo vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA. Great aromatics of red fruit and orange peel and a smooth finish.
From the winery website, "When we say Fossil Point rocks - we mean it! Calcareous shale and coarse sand were uplifted from the floor of an ancient ocean and then weathered into place over millennia. It became a place of deep beauty and vast potential. Fossil Point is a rugged headland with sweeping views of the coastline stretching from Port San Luis to the Guadalupe Dunes. The Point is just five miles due west of the vineyards that are its namesake. Sunny afternoons are cooled by marine breezes sweeping off the Pacific Ocean, along Fossil Point to the v... Read More »
From our friends at Amici in Napa Valley, this great value Pinot Noir is sourced mainly from the Russian River Valley. Last year's lovely little 2012 (we've still got some as of this release) was scored 90 points by Wine Enthusiast: "It’s rare to get a twenty buck Pinot Noir this good." And Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar agreed, scoring the 2012 90 points and calling it, "A terrific value in California Pinot." Here's the 2013, same great price, from the same great folks--and a similarly great vintage!
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 »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This beautiful Pinot Noir is a blend of various vineyards throughout the appellation. It shows classic coastal acidity, dryness and silkiness, with appealing raspberry, red licorice, cola and pomegranate flavors, wrapped into finely ground tannins. Decant and drink now." (6/2014) Antonio Galloni: "Sweet red berries, mint, flowers, hard candy and spices all inform the 2012 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast), the only 2012 Pinot that was in bottle at the time of this tasting. The 2012 is quite a bit racier and silkier than the 2011, a wine I have enjoyed on multiple occasions. There i ...Read More »
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 »
90 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Rich and approachable, driven by layers of blackberry, wild berry, cherry and plum flavors. This is well-proportioned and maintains a fruity profile amid firm tannins. Drink now through 2022. 14,000 cases made." (8/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(from Sonoma County, Monterey County and Santa Barbara fruit): Moderately saturated medium red. Aromas of raspberry, smoke and earth. Soft and easygoing, with red fruit and woodsmoke flavors offering immediate appeal. Finishes with supple tannins and a slight tartness. (ST)" (6/2014) K&L Notes: 49% Sonoma Coast, 43% Monterey County and 8... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
From Robert Sinskey's certified organic vineyards in Carneros, this Vin Gris of Pinot Noir is a rosé made the right way. Grapes were hand-harvested at night before being whole cluster pressed and vinified as rosé from start-to-finish rather than being bled off of a vat of crushed grapes destined to be a red. Fine Pinot Noir fruit from an excellent estate vineyard is dedicated to this limited bottling, and the results are never disappointing. From the winery: "This Vin Gris of Pinot Noir has a luminosity that cannot be pinned down with one or two descript... Read More »
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.
From fruit grown on several sites in Anderson Valley, Tous Ensemble is an immediately appealing Pinot Noir with a crunchy and vigorous red-fruited profile. It is great introduction to the style of winemaker Wells Guthrie, who delivers cool climate terroir which isn't sullied by high alcohol or too much wood. A perfect and long growing season in 2012 saw a two week harvest extending well into October but at only a 13.6% finished alcohol level in the finished wine, which was aged for nine months in neutral French oak. From the winery: "The delicately perfu... Read More »
A great value California Pinot Noir with a solid CV: It's a second label of Belle Glos, the Pinot Noir arm of Napa's Caymus Vineyards. And it's a consistent favorite here at K&L. The 2013 Pinot Noir is sourced from coastal Sonoma County, Monterey and Santa Barbara counties--thus the California appellation.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Savory, earthy aromas of mushrooms, black pepper, iron and cranberry arise from this blend of nine vineyards, many of which are usually featured in single-vineyard selections. Umami rules the palate, and it’s quite full for a lighter-colored wine, with brown spice, light red fruit flavors and expertly balanced acidity." (3/2015)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
We couldn't be more excited to bring you another installment in what hopefully will turn out to be a long, fruitful project with wineries from around the United States, working with us directly to make exclusive bottlings for our customers. The Domestic team here at K&L has spent a great deal of time kicking around the idea of approaching wineries or winemakers we love, and asking them to work with us to create exclusive wines to our specifications. Furthermore we wanted to not only promote these outstanding wines, but the wineries behind them (rather th... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Savory, earthy aromas of mushrooms, black pepper, iron and cranberry arise from this blend of nine vineyards, many of which are usually featured in single-vineyard selections. Umami rules the palate, and it’s quite full for a lighter-colored wine, with brown spice, light red fruit flavors and expertly balanced acidity." (3/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Calera's 2013 Pinot Noir is quite pretty, lifted and expressive. In this vintage, savory and floral overtones dominate over some of the more overt, fruit-driven notes that are often found in this bottling. The 2013 is made from a n ...Read More »
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Pinot Noir Russian River possesses pretty strawberry and cherry notes along with crisp acidity and an exuberant, fresh, medium-bodied personality with excellent concentration and ripeness. It should drink nicely for 5-6 years. Combining quality with reasonable prices and estate-grown grapes, you can’t do much better than Stephen Hansel’s Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. (RP)" (12/2013)90 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Pinot Noir Estate is racy, perfumed and accessible. Sweet spices, cranberries and red cherries inform a juicy, mid-weight Pinot long on class and balance. Swee ...Read More »
Killer New Price! -Produced and bottled by Brewer-Clifton, the "B-C" Kessler Haak Pinot Noir is a single vineyard wine that comes from the organically farmed Kessler-Haak Vineyard. It is located off Highway 246, about 7 miles west of the town of Buellton, in the heart of the Santa Rita Hills appellation. The blend is made up of 25% Clone 667, 25% Clone 113 and 50% of Clone 115. Only 161 cases were bottled of this unique wine.
Look for bright red fruits and spice in this wine: Pomegranate, Bing cherry and raspberry with Earl Grey tea highlights, according to the winemaker's notes: "The vintage delivered both a richly textured and vibrant wine--a character one obtains from such cool climate regions as the Santa Lucia Highlands."
93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby. Sexy red berry and rose pastille aromas show very good clarity and a good dose of Asian spices. Silky, sweet and expansive on the palate, offering energetic raspberry and cherry flavors and an exotic touch of blood orange that adds a bitter edge. Pure and precise, with excellent finishing lift, cut and gentle tannins that fold into the lively red fruit. The most elegant of this set of Pinots today, and one that should age well on its balance." (5/2014)91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Pinot Noir South Slope is likely to be the last of the 2012s to be released, and wit ...Read More »
A pioneer in the production of California Pinot Noir folllowing traditional Burgundian methods, David Bruce continues to excel at crafting distinctive wines that show a sense of place. Their Russian River Pinot is a textbook expression, made in a style that is food-friendly and highly appealing. Look for red berry fruit aromas and pretty floral highlights in the nose, darker notes on the palate, a nice supple mouthfeel, and spice acccents the finish. According to the Pinot Report, "this Santa Cruz Mountains winery continues to craft very attractive Pinot... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
93 points Wine Spectator: "Spares no expense, with lavish smoke and black licorice-scented oak framing a rich core of dark berry, anise, boysenberry and savory herb notes. Full-blown and expressive through a persistent, mouthcoating finish. Drink now through 2024." (10/2014) K&L Notes: Winery notes: "Located in one of the highest-plantable sites in the southern portion of the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County known as the "Mission District." This pristine bench offers the vineyard cool, coastal days but it enjoys warmer afternoon temperatures and tamer winds than the northern portion of... Read More »
From the winery: "The wine is bone dry at 12.7% alcohol, in a dashingly light shade of pale melon-pink and with an aromatic pro le of tangerine oil, pink grapefruit, and bing cherries. Cool-climate West Sonoma Coast vineyards give the wine its hallmark style, with the biodynamically farmed Bybee Vineyard in Sebastopol Hills making up the backbone for this wine." From Stephen Tanzer for the 2013 vintage: "Extremely pale pink. High-pitched strawberry and citrus zest scents show good clarity and a spicy note of white pepper. Light-bodied, emphatically dry c... 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 »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "The savory side of Pinot Noir shines in this bottling from a vineyard south of the Arroyo Seco appellation. Aromas include stewed tomato and green olives with pimento. Falling in line are the Middle Eastern spices and olive tapenade on the palate, with tight pomegranate fruit. Serve with lamb gyros." (10/2014)
Inventory: San Francisco
Great Buy - Just Reduced! On our recent trip to Oregon this summer we certainly found plenty of great wines and met with a multitude of amazingly talented people. Many of the wines we found on that trip have already come in and sold out mostly due to our sheer excitement about the quality of wines we found. One of the most exciting opportunities from that trip was to work closely with our friends at Bethel Heights to put together a Pinot Noir exclusive to K&L as part of our burgeoning Co-Branded project. This 2013 Bethel Heights/K&L Wine Merchants Eola-A... Read More »
Excited by the quality of their 2013 Pinot Noirs, the winery describes this multi-vineyard blend. "Strawberries and raspberries aromas slowly climb out of the glass. Overtime more of the anise and clove will mix with these other aromas. Currently the wine is young with mouth filling intensity. Complexity will increase as the wine ages, but this wine should stay youthful for 6 or 7 years. Like all Au Bon Climat wines, this is a food wine."
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice" Fine-tuning a legacy, second-generation winemaker Jason Lett’s wines are clean, elegant, poised and balanced. This is textbook Pinot Noir, with just-ripe raspberry and cherry fruit, vivid acidity, savory herb, and a foundation of clay and clean earth. Drink now-2024." (10/2014)92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is now supplemented by purchased fruit from outside the estate, fermented mostly in small 4- and 8-hectoliter vats to enable a cool ferment as the heat escapes from the top before it has time to build. It has plenty of earthy ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Shows off ripe plum and wild berry flavors, with firm, grippy tannins. Gains depth and richness, adding a touch of dried herb. Needs time. Drink now through 2022." (4/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Burgundian in its earthy, feral aromas, yet simultaneously jammy in flavor, this boasts gamy undertones and a soft texture. The producer recommends decanting an hour minimum before serving, and this will most likely help to blow off the wine’s rustically wild side." (8/2014) K&L Notes: The 2012 Carpe Diem Anderson Valley Pinot Noir displays admirable power, depth and density with deep aromas of blac... Read More »
90 points Antonio Galloni: "Light peach skin color. Fresh tangerine and peach aromas show a hint of white pepper. Juicy and seamless on the palate, offering zesty citrus and pit fruit flavors that put on weight with air. Lingers with very good spicy intensity on the finish, which leaves a refreshingly bitter peach pit note behind." (3/2015) K&L Notes: From a relatively young project that just keeps impressing us, for flavor and quality, year on year. The nose on this fresh, pink wine is full of fresh fruit and lively berry aromas. Not too sweet, it has a great lifted floral character on the pal... Read More »
Bishop's Peak is a second label of Talley Vineyards representing the greater Central Coast region. The fruit is sourced from the McCullough, Stone Corral, C-Bar, Las Ventanas, East Rincon, and Marcam Vineyards. From the winery: "Brilliant garnet in color, the 2013 vintage of Bishop’s Peak Pinot Noir bursts with aromas of strawberry and raspberry complimented with subtle notes of earth and soil. This medium bodied wine has elegant flavors consistent with its aromas, soft tannins and refreshing acidity. Enjoy a glass with a wedge of Fontina cheese or garl... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Presents a tight beam of cherry-laced gravel, dried herb and cedar notes, ending clean and vibrant. Drink now through 2020." (9/2014) K&L Notes: Once upon a time, when La Crema "Vinera" was founded in the late 1970s, the quality of wine produced by the young, ambitious winemakers varied from sublime to...variable. Today, of course, La Crema is a veritable "old faithful" of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. The 2012 vintage fit right into the La Crema program, according to winemaker Elizabeth Grant Douglas' notes: "This exceptional release offers up vibrant red cherry aromas t... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby-red. Wilder and deeper in pitch than the 2011 version, displaying powerful black raspberry and boysenberry scents and smoky floral and herbal nuances. Juicy acidity adds lift and structure to the ripe, subtly spicy dark berry flavors. The finish features chewy tannins, an echo of candied flowers and very good persistence." (6/2014) K&L Notes: An entry level Pinot Noir from one of K&L's longtime favorite producers.
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby-red. Red fruit preserves on the nose, with complicating notes of licorice and allspice. Lively raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show very good precision, complemented by a bright mineral quality that gains strength with air. This silky, energetic pinot finishes with strong cut, persistent sweetness and sneaky, interwoven tannins. (JR)" (12/2014)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The least expensive red is the 2012 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, which offers soft, round berry fruit, pomegranate, plum and spice notes, a seductive, medium-bodied mouthfeel and decent acidity. Made from younger vines from numerous sources, it is a pretty Pinot to drink over the next 3-4 years. This is the personal project of Ehren Jordan, who was the long-time apprentice at Turley Cellars. These are all elegant, cool climate, finesse-styled wines that were obviously influenced by European rather than New World models. Jordan owns estate vineyards in the Fo ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Evesham Wood harvests their entry-level 2013 from several vineyards in Northern Willamette Valley. With a focus on quality viticulture, these vineyards are all dry-farmed and cultivated sustainably. Grapes are harvested and sorted by hand, fermented in small lots, and aged in French oak (10% new) for 10 months before bottling. This adds up to an excellent value for deftly handmade and terroir-driven Pinot Noir. The winery describes the profile as "Bright and crunchy with cranberry, red cherry and cinnamon with a bit of firmness on finish."
From the winery: "Combining aspects of all of our vineyards, our 2013 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir opens with spicy clove and cinnamon, herbed tobacco, and minerality with a dense perfume of sweet cream, bright fruit, and succulent tea rose. Fruit on the palate ranges from bright red through dark cherry, eventually opening to include blackberry and sweet fruit candy. Aromatics expand to include chocolate shavings and leather, drawing out along the balanced, textured finish." This new 2013 release has not yet been professionally reviewed, but the 2012... Read More »
95 points Wine & Spirits: "**Top 100 Wines of 2014 (publishing in October)** Young winemakers Micah Joseph Wirth and Adrian Jewell Manspeaker started out in a garage in 2006 and have slowly expanded, making Russian River wines that tend to emphasize discretion rather than bombast. Their even-handed approach clearly paid off in the moderate 2012 growing season, resulting in this sleek, vivid apotheosis of Russian River pinot noir. The fruit comes from two vineyards on the cooler western side of the Russian River Valley--Appian Way and the dry-farmed Hallberg Vineyard--along with Fl ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "The nose is reserved at first, but then offers a mushroomy earthiness alongside fresh raspberry, chopped black sage and olive tapenade. There is a solid blend of tannins, fruit and acid on the palate, like black tea and espresso with berry syrup." (10/2014) Allen Meadows - Burghound: "A pretty, spicy and attractively complex nose features notes of plum, dark cherry and soft floral nuances. There is good volume and reasonably good verve to the delicious and velvety middle weight flavor that possess a seductive mouth feel before terminating in a supple, round and generously proportione ...Read More »
From the winery: "The Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is a blend from highly regarded vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Black raspberry, anise, and spicy notes of nutmeg,cinnamon. Mid-palate burst of balanced acid and tannin with flavors of black cherry, cranberry and spice with a crisp full mouth finish. A successful blend from the best of the Willamette Valley 2013 vintage."
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 »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "he 2012 Pinot Noir Russian River, which comes from 7 different vineyards and multiple clones, is the largest cuvée, 4,775 cases. Notes of forest floor, wild strawberries, sweet raspberries and cherries notes in addition to roasted meats and herbs are all present in this gorgeous, perfumed, medium to full-bodied, silky textured, pure Pinot Noir. This big-time winner stands up to the single-vineyard bottlings. Drink it over the next decade or more." (12/2014)91 points Antonio Galloni: "A gorgeous entry-level wine, DuMOL's 2012 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) is laced with sweet red ...Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid red. High-pitched red berry and cherry aromas are complemented by white pepper and allspice. Silky and seamless in texture, offering energetic redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors that slowly gain sweetness as the wine opens with air. Closes on a subtly smoky note, with very good clarity and fine-grained tannins." (7/2014)91 points Wine & Spirits: "The Eola-Amity Hills excels in this sort of smoky, mineral-driven red, a Pinot with brooding density. While marked by lavish oak, that doesn’t take away from the vibrancy of its fruit. For the moment it’s exhibiting mostly structur ...Read More »