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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!
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 »
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 »
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
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.
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 »
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."
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 »
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 »
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 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
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)
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: "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."
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 »
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 »
Last of Vintage - Fossil Point is named for the rugged headland in San Luis Obispo County which features sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and Central Coast. The 2012 Pinot Noir is from cool coastal vineyards between San Luis Obispo and the coastal beaches, some of which fall under the Edna Valley AVA. Hand-harvested fruit was fermented in small lots and aged for 14 months in French oak. From the winery: "The 2012 vintage opens with pretty aromas of ripe cherry, strawberry, cedar and rose petal. The palate is round and supple, with fresh, juicy flavors... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
McKinlay is a small, 1,000-case family winery on the slopes of Parrett Mountain in Oregon's Willamette Valley that crafts exquisite Pinots. Made by Matt Kinne, the great-grandson of Oregon orchard farmer George Angus McKinlay, who uses native yeasts, minimal new oak and no additives. The wines are unfined and unfiltered. Don't let this wine's affordable price lead you to believe it's anything but stellar. No matter the vintage, Kinne crafts wines of elegance and delciousness.
Allen Meadows - Burghound: "A fruity but attractively complex and softly spicy nose mixes both red and dark currant aromas with briar and earth hints. There is a sleek and restrained mouth feel to the equally fruity middle weight flavors that that offer reasonably good length though not the depth suggested by the nose. This is attractive in its fashion and could be enjoyed now." (1/2015) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Brilliant red. Red berries and herbs on the spice-inflected nose and palate. Tangy and focused, showing a slightly tart edge to its red fruit and good back-end cut. Serve this one slightly chilled. ...Read More »
From the Winery "This Pinot works hard for the working people. Telling a truly Oregon story, the wine draws from vineyards across the state. Each site adds its unique mark to the final Underwood blend, which highlights the rich juicy flavors of Oregon Pinot at an extraordinary price. The perfect wine to enjoy anywhere, any day of the week. Underwood is fast-becoming one of Oregon’s best values in Pinot Noir. Light and pretty raspberry fruit gains mass and flavor interest with well-integrated veins of stem and earth. It’s nicely balanced and true to varie... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
The bounty of the 2012 vintage is certainly showing its stuff. The Kirkham Peak Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir was made for us by a very notable Central Coast winery (we can't tell you who), and this bottling is the real deal at a fraction of the price. The winery who (for contractual reasons) needs to remain nameless, has a long list of highly-rated wines from various critics. And with the perfect raw materials in 2012, they've fashioned another winner. This has a profile of bright fruit--lovely raspberry and strawberry aromas that reverberate on t... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Bold, ripe and vibrant, with expressive huckleberry, boysenberry and blueberry, this is as unbridled as you might expect for a 2012, but deliciously complex. Drink now through 2020." (11/2013) K&L Notes: This freshly released, wallet-friendly Pinot has a solid CV: It's a second label of Belle Glos, the Pinot Noir house of Napa's Caymus Vineyards, and a consistent store favorite here at K&L. The 2011 vintage earned 92 points from the Wine Spectator and a "Smart Buy" designation. The 2012 Pinot Noir, which is sourced from coastal Sonoma County, Monterey and Santa Barba... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This single-vineyard selection from the Jackson Family’s Santa Maria Valley winery kicks off with scents ranging from red, blistered tomato to pomegranate reduction and mole sauce. On the palate, flavors vary from sweeter berry to tart cherry, with a savory, roasted pork element rounding out the wine." (10/2014)
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "* Editors' Choice * This is made from Pinot Noir grapes grown in two unlikely places in the Napa Valley: the Foss Valley near Atlas Peak and Spring Mountain. There is incredible deliciousness going on in this ever-so-lightly hued wine that is vibrantly crisp in grapefruit rind and earthy cranberry and raspberry. With the slightest salinity on the back palate, it remains thirst-quenching and memorable from start to finish." (6/2015)
Sourced from Mendocino's Yorkville Highlands, the Sonoma Coast, and a hillside vineyard in the Russian River Valley, this cool climate Pinot Noir reflects winemaker Derek Rahliffs' classic approach. The three lots are vinified separately and the approach in the cellar is low-intervention. From the winery: "Aromas of cherry, herbs, and rose petal dominate the nose, while on the palate the wine is medium bodied with a silky smooth texture and a refreshing acid on the finish." They suggest that it would nicely complement pork tenderloin, salmon and poultry ... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Bergsptize Laurel Vineyard has a very restrained but very well-defined bouquet with scents of red cherry, cold granite, flint and a touch of burnt toast. It is very distinctive, but I find this very attractive. The palate is lean and reserved to the point where you would describe it as anaemic compared to some of those ostentatious 2012 Pinot Noirs from Oregon. But it is well balanced, mineral-driven, nicely poised with a lean but focused finish. And at just 10.7% alcohol, you could easily drink this with either fish or meat. Very fin ...Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "(made with fruit grown in seven different vineyards; includes 5% valdiguie): Vivid red. Primary red berry and cherry skin aromas offer straightforward appeal. Tangy cherry and redcurrant flavors show good clarity and lift, with a peppery element adding bite. Finishes clean and slightly tart, with no obvious tannins and an echo of peppery spices." (12/2014)
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Berry fruit leather, raspberry iced tea and dark spices weave together on the intriguing nose of this wine, which is as good if not better than similar wines from the appellation charging twice the price. Roasted figs and black cardamom rise on the palate, yet the wine remains light on it's feet" (12/2014)91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Kicking off the Pinot Noirs and coming all from sandy soils, the 2012 Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley is another rocking value from this estate. Exhibiting classy cassis, toasted bread, creamy licorice and loads of spice, this medium to full-bodied, concen ...Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "Combines delicacy with finesse, featuring a subtle mix of candied apple, strawberry, blueberry and wilted rose notes, with fine-grained, earth-laced tannins that linger. Drink now through 2023. 2,873 cases made. J.L." (10/2014)