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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.
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "The Syrah Tous les Jours is a quintisential Santa Ynez Valley Syrah. It is simultaneously Bold and Balanced, Rich and Smooth, Fruit Forward and Earthy. It is impossibly dark and full-bodied, without ever going over the top. It is heavily inspired by Northern Rhone Syrah (Hermitage) and Australian Shiraz (Barossa Valley). The aromas and flavors are dominated by black cherry, raspberry, white pepper, forest floor and toasty oak. It is absolutely unique and special expression of Syrah. Moreover, It is a style that one can enjoy every day." (3/2015) K&L Notes: Do you eve... Read More »
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 »
Antonio Galloni: "Marietta's NV Old Vine Red Lot 62 is one of the very best California wines readers will find for the money. Zinfandel plays the leading role in a hearty, racy red bursting at the seams with flavor. Sweet red cherries, flowers, cedar and new leather add the final notes of complexity. Brothers Jake and Scot Bilbro seem to have breathed new life into Marietta, one of Sonoma's historic wineries. (Antonio Galloni)" (1/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of my perennial best buys is Marietta Cellars’ non-vintage blend of Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah, Syrah and a few other varietals ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from purchased grapes and vinified in the winery, as opposed to buying bulk wine and blending it, it is indigenous yeast-fermented, and comes across as a high-octane, delicious/yummy, big, full-bodied red with lots of pepper and meaty notes intermixed with red and black fruits, earth, and spice. I believe some of the declassified lots from the Bedrock cuvées also end up in this blend. A terrific bargain, it should drink well for several years. (RP)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: The base for this wine comes from more than 100-year-old vines from the Bedrock vineyard, and... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "* Cellar Selection * Though already four years old, this blend of 77% Zinfandel and 23% Petite Sirah shows lots of promise for a long-lasting wine. Complicated aromas of tobacco and ripe boysenberries become sagebrush herbs on the palate, bolstered by blueberry and elderberry fruits. The tannic grip is still strong, so drink 2018–2028." (4/2015) K&L Notes: This is an exciting new Project from Steve McClean whose family has been greatly successful with growing and making wine from their estate Norman Vineyards in Paso Robles.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "The first winery to plant Syrah in the county continues to produce powerful but layered expressions. This delivers rich aromas of cherry, stewed plum and blackberry alongside sage and a wisp of vanilla. On the palate, it starts rich, until bright acidity and tannins bring balance amidst mocha and blackberry jam flavors and an oak-powered vanilla finish." (2/2015)
Great Price - Just Reduced! Last year’s Ancient Peaks/K&L Zinfandel bottling was such a hit with our staff and customers that we could have done another vintage of it and we all would have been incredibly happy. However, that would be too easy, and that is simply not the K&L way. I started talking to the folks at AP early this year when we began the discussion about doing another bottling together. We both knew that we wanted to, but I really wanted to show off the winery's incredible Cabernet vines and I didn’t know if they had enough Cab to let us have... 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!
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Red-ruby color. Vibrant aromas of cassis, black cherry, shoe polish and oak spice. Firm, focused dark berry flavors are supported by a solid spine of acids and tannins. Very unevolved but not hard or tart. Should age slowly and well." (6/1999) Wine Spectator: "Tight and firm, with a compact focus on the chunky currant, mineral, plum and blackberry flavors, it slowly unfolds to reveal more nuances. Should reward patience in the cellar. Made by Cathy Corison." (1/2000)
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(13.9% alcohol; Sangiovese, Viognier, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, to name but a few varieties in this blend): Bright, pale red. Almost Pinot-like perfume to the aromas of red berries, minerals, gingerbread cookie and rose petal. Sweet and round but exhilaratingly tangy too, offering enticing perfume to the flavors of cranberry, raspberry, blood orange and spicecake. Lovely balance and finesse here; complex in a subtle way." (5/2014) K&L Notes: If you try to find the exact cepage on this always-fantastic red blend, you might find yourself gazing up at the heavens fo... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This terrific Zin brings classic varietal character to the table, with a full body, robust alcohol, dryness and intensely concentrated flavors of blackberry, black currant, dark chocolate, Chinese plum sauce and black pepper. Showing a mastery of the art of blending, its grapes come from north to south in the valley, Calistoga to Atlas Peak and multiple appellations in between. This is one of the greatest Zinfandel values in recent memory." (5/2014) K&L Notes: Krutz Family Cellars souced their Magnolia Series Zinfandel from across Napa Valley and it... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A mind-boggling value made from Syrah, Petite Sirah and Barbera, the 2012 Rhiannon Proprietary Red is a 19,000-case offering made by the Rutherford Wine Co. Aged in French and American oak, it offers abundant red and blackcurrant fruit, sweet dark cherries, licorice and loamy soil undertones. This loaded, delicious, pure, California fruit-bomb is ideal for drinking over the next year. (RP)" (11/2014) Wine Spectator: "A juicy version, with a vibrant overtone of red licorice and raspberry to the blackberry, blueberry and cranberry flavors. Smooth, with a nice range of clove, ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Rickshaw Wines are made by the three talented young men from Banshee--Noah, Steve and Baron--who share a very clear vision: to make "kick ass wines at easy to swallow prices." Fortunately for everyone involved, these guys know what they're doing. The 2012 vintage in California was phenomenal, and the wine showcases the perfect weather. From the winery" In this rendition of our Rickshaw Cabernet Sauvignon we were able to pull in some stellar pieces from Napa that really provide ballast and class to the wine. Dark currant, espresso, black plum and pencil l... Read More »
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Deep, clean-as-can-be, ripe-berry fruit is teamed with a trim bit of sweet oak in the very well-focused aromas and incisively varietal flavors of this nicely made youngster, and the wine earns higher marks yet for its exemplary structure and balance. It is at once zesty and polished with great fruity precision, and its fine fit and finish ensure that it will grow for many years." (9/2014)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Proprietary Red Three Valleys is composed of 82% Zinfandel, 12% Petite Sirah and the rest Carignan and Alicante Bouchet. This sexy wine (14.2% natural ...Read More »
A fantastic Cabernet value from the great 2013 vintage. This wine was made by Yountville's most famous property. We can say no more. Very elegant for the vintage with layers of ripe red berry fruit. Silky texture with tons of latent tannin. Serve with a rack of lamb after decanting for an hour
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 »
Crafted by Bob Pepi, "Two Angels Cabernet Sauvignon is complex, with cherries and hints of chocolate and vanilla on the nose. It is well-structured with good weight and balance on the palate were the flavors carry through very well to a pleasing finish," notes the winery.
92 points Wine Spectator: "A lively, zesty red that offers bright cherry and tarragon aromas and sleekly layered flavors of briary raspberry, nutmeg and fresh-cracked black pepper. Drink now through 2021." (12/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Sonoma is an exuberant, richly fruity, medium-bodied effort displaying plenty of raspberry, blueberry and cherry fruit, 14.8% natural alcohol, and a lusty personality. It should drink well for several years." (12/2014) K&L Notes: Seghesio blends Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel into the Sonoma County, with loads of dark fruit supported by brambly fla... Read More »
A partnership between three Paso Robles families who jointly own Margarita Vineyard, the southernmost in the region, just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is a deep and generous wine, with black fruits, toasty caramel and cedar notes and a rich, silky palate.
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 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
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The outstanding 2012 Petite Sirah is a 21,500-case cuvée of 100% Petite Sirah that was aged in a combination of 60% French oak and 40% stainless steel. While surprisingly soft and civilized for a Petite Sirah, it does not lack for flavor authority or density. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by notes of blueberries, blackberries, incense and camphor. Meaty, rich and spicy with a hint of road tar, the sweetness of the tannins and the lushness and opulence of the wine are amazing. This tastes like a $30-$40 Petite Sirah, but it's available at less th ...Read More »
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 »
Lyeth's Meritage is a blend of the five red Bordeaux varietals with 58% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. With grapes sourced from select vineyards across Sonoma County, it is the flagship wine of the estate and delivers an excellent value. From the winery: "A brilliant garnet in color, this Meritage is rich with aromas of dark cherry, plum, and boysenberry with subtle notes of mocha and cedar completing the nose. Flavors of blackberry and anise are lush and pronounced on the palate and are followed by hi... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Connoisseurs Guide: "Juicy, young, mildly curranty fruit is played against touches of toasted herbs, vanilla and bit of cranberry pertness first in the nose and again in the flavors of this very steady, slightly frontal, yet consistently focused working, and, while it is never as deep or ambitious as the best of its cousins, it is a tasty, nicely made Cabernet that delivers lots of varietal bang for the buck." (8/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Always one of the best buys in Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petite Sirah, 4% Merlot and 4% Zinfandel) offe ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Richness (of both flavor and texture) marks this deeply colored, full-bodied Syrah. Aromas of ripe blackberry and licorice coupled with flavors of clove and blackberry jam make it luscious yet not overly big. It has the firm tannins and good balance for aging through 2019." (12/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The classic 2012 Syrah 6th Sense does not compete flavor-wise with the two Cabernets or the Petite Petit, but it is an attractive, supple, full-bodied, black-fruited Syrah offering notes of roasted meats, black olive tapenade, and blackberries. Soft, round an ...Read More »
92 points Wine & Spirits: "**Featured in the Year's Best U.S Cabernet and Blends 2014 Issue** From a vineyard planted at 2,600 feet on the volcanic slopes above Clear Lake, this is a sophisticated cabernet, the fruit as deep and dark as blackberry juice, rich yet clean and spicy, laced with mountain aromas of pine straw and dry brush. Firm and almost formidable in structure, it opens into savory layers, lengthened by refreshing acidity." (12/2014)90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Big and rich, this needs time or a great steak to bring out its best. The color is very dark to the rim. Aromas are closed but the flavor ...Read More »
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."
Olema is produced by the folks at Amici Cellars. Fruit was sourced from select vineyards around Sonoma County and blended with a splash of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.The wine was aged for more than a year in 30% new French oak before bottling.
91 points Wine Spectator: "A zesty red, with briary cherry and sage aromas that lead to lively and layered flavors of wild berry, anise and smoky cracked pepper. Drink now through 2021." (1/2015)90 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel is once again fabulous and one of the very best wines readers will find in its price range. Rich, powerful and explosive, the 2013 hits the palate with an array of dark red stone fruits, tobacco, menthol and licorice. The Old Vine Zinfandel comes from a smattering of sites, most of them in Sonoma Valley, Alexander Valley and the Russian River Valley. As always, t ...Read More »
Luis Moya of Vinos Unico makes wines that continue to impress us for their quality and affordability under his Urbanite Cellars label. His objective is simple: to make the kind of wines he likes, for everyday consumption. Fortunately, we share his tastes! In Cabernet, this translates to a medium-bodied, complex and approachable style, with fruit, acidity, and oak in perfect harmony, moderate alcohol and suave tannins. Grapes for 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon were sourced from California coastal AVAs and the Sacramento River Delta region. It's a lush and fruity... 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
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."
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Bacio Divino, a project of Claus Janzen and his son, offered three vintages of their single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons and a couple generic bottlings, plus other assorted bottlings from their terrific value-priced wines, such as Pazzo. There are also a couple of Burgundy-styled wines made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Dutton Ranch, which I decided to include since they’re the only Sonoma County wines from Bacio Divino. Speaking of Janzen’s terrific value, the 2012 Pazzo rocks. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Sangiovese, it’s a very ...Read More »
Arguably the most popular of the co-branded wines with our staff last year was the 2010 version of this wine so it had a lot to live up to this year. The good news is the staff is every bit as excited about it this year and we hope that enthusiasm will rub off on you. Bob Lindquist was more than happy to work with us again this year and put together this 100% Syrah bottling from certified Demeter Bio-Dynamically grown vines in the cool Edna Valley Appellation. Unmistakably Syrah from the first sniff of the nose the bold cracked black pepper, fried bacon,... Read More »
With just over 2500 cases made of this delightful red, the winery notes that this is "a zesty blend from our three mountain vineyards at 1000 to 1700 ft overlooking Chiles Canyon. Dark cherry and raspberry flavors with tinges of bay leaf and clove. Accompanies wood grilled vegetables and marbled meats."
Bench is one of the labels of Brack Mountain Wine Company, a winery devoted to hand-crafted wines at reasonable prices. The 2012 Cab is sourced from rocky, volcanic vineyards along the western side of the Mayacamas Mountains. Fog in the morning and sunshine in the afternoon helped make this a stellar vintage, with exceptional fruit and nuanced, balanced wines. From the winery: "Deep, dark purple in color, this wine offers aromas of violets, huckleberry and a touch of vanilla spice. The palate is elegantly wound with dusty tannins and a supple, velvet tex... Read More »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(...made from a blend of wines from the 2010, 2011 and 2012 vintages, with the emphasis on 2011): Dark purple. Jammy dark fruit aromas are lifted by a subtle peppery note. Fleshy and straightforward, offering plump blueberry and cassis flavors and showing a bit of heat. Finishes with good power and breadth, leaving black pepper and dark berry liqueur notes behind." (11/2013) Wine Spectator: "(Blend 6) A racy Rhône blend, with appealing smoke, leather and blackberry aromas and zesty dried cherry, herbal, licorice and tar flavors that firm up on the tannic finish. Syrah, ...Read More »
Martin Ray specializes in crafting Cabernet Sauvignon from the most esteemed sub-appellations of Napa, Sonoma, and the Santa Cruz Mountains, and offers an amazing value over what you'd usually pay for such wines. 80% of this vintage is from the Stags Leap District, and is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon blended with 6% Malbec and 4% Petite Sirah. The winery's tasting notes: "This complex but sophisticated Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from some of the most sought-after regions in the Napa Valley showcases its roots from many of its mountain sources. Featuring ent... Read More »
Rudy Von Strasser may have got his start in the wine business as an intern at prestigious Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, but he hasn't let his head, or his prices, ascend into the stratosphere. The wine is made up of 100% Diamond Mountain fruit, some of which comes off the Von Strasser Estate. This is a concentrated, elegant, and eminently drinkable Cab delivering more-than-everyday quality for a fantastic price. From the winery: "This bold Cabernet Sauvignon has great perfume of violets. Intertwining aromas of blueberry,cassis and coffee all lead into a ric... Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is a pretty, supple wine with plenty of near-term appeal. Sweet herbs, red berries, flowers and leather meld together nicely in the glass. The 2012 is soft, supple and open. I expect the 2012 will offer its best drinking earlier rather than later. Drink 2014-2019. (Antonio Galloni)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: This classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec. Founded in the 1960s by the legendary "father" of contemporary Napa Valley, Robert Mondavi Winery... 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 »