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K&L Staff Recommendations
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(raised entirely in concrete): Brilliant ruby. Pure, high-pitched aromas of redcurrant, strawberry, blood orange and fresh rose, plus a bright mineral overtone. Vibrant and precise on the palate, offering sappy red fruit and floral pastille flavors lifted by spice and mineral nuances. Closes spicy, nervy and long, with silky tannins making a late appearance. Finding a wine with this much clarity and precision is a tough job at double and even triple the price of this one." (9/2014)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from vines planted in 1915, the 2013 Garnacha Negra comes from the vil ...Read More »
Sancerre at half the price! The Fournier family, with roots as deep as their vines in this region, seem to be related to just about everyone in some way. They've been farming and producing wines in Sancerre for generations. We are pleased to have been offered this wine, yet again, at such a great price. Soft, subtle mineral notes are wrapped up in aromatics of melon and citrus. Clean, bright and refreshing, this is a perfect little Sauvignon Blanc. Tropical fruit, citrus and spice aromas and flavors, with vibrant acidity and minerality. Perfect for goat ... Read More »
This Chardonnay is produced by the three brothers Couillaud at the Château de la Ragotière, a few minutes from the Atlantic near the mouth of the Loire River, where the maritime climate is ideal for producing whites that are refreshing and bright. The Couillauds age most of this wine on its lees until bottling to add weight and texture with around 10% being barrel-fermented in French oak for the faintest touch of toastiness. Saveur magazine wrote about a previous vintage: "This value-priced Chardonnay tastes crisp and bright. It comes from the western Lo... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is on the full-bodied side, quite ripe and tropical in style compared to its Marlborough siblings. Mango, pineapple and stone-fruit notes are all present, balanced on the finish by citrus and ginger." (7/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale, bright yellow. Stone fruits, anise and a spicy touch of oak on the nose. The palate offers decent intensity to the soft citrus and spicy oak flavors, with a suggestion of tropical fruits emerging with air. On the lean side but has cut and freshness." (9/2013) K&L Notes: An exceptional deal in New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Lagoon Hill is sourced from a s... Read More »
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)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Syrousse is composed of 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre. Revealing lots of blackberry, cassis, camphor and licorice characteristics as well as a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel and a long finish, it should drink well for another 2-3 years. These wines stood out as impressive examples from a cooperative in the Cotes du Roussillon, Les Vignerons de Tautavel Vingrau. (RP)" (8/2012) K&L Notes: The "Syrousse" is produced by Dan Kravitz (importer and creator of Cabirau on of our favorite Roussillon wines) and Les Vignerons de Tautavel Vingrau (VTV) the ... Read More »
The Elsa Malbec comes from Valentin Bianchi's Doña Elsa estate in the cool reaches of San Rafael, Mendoza. With just a kiss of French oak, the rich fruit dominates this easy-drinking red, which has barely-there tannins. Invoke your inner-Argentine and drink this alongside grilled flank steak with a garlicky chimichurri. Many previous vintages recommended by Wine Enthusiast as a "Best Buy."
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)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Wolftrap Red is a blend of 66% Syrah, 32% Mourvedre and 2% Viognier that is fermented in stainless steel with natural malolactic in French barrique where the wine ages for nine months. It has a pleasant blackberry and cassis-scented bouquet with light wet rock scents from the Mourvedre. The palate is medium-bodied with finer tannins that I have noticed on previous vintages. This is well balanced with good acidity, plenty of blackberry and blueberry fruit with a pleasing texture toward the finish. (NM)" (10/2014) Wine Spectator: "A soft, friendly style, with a ligh ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Always one of the better values and ageworthy wines from the Haut-Medoc, Lanessan’s 2003 possesses lots of cedarwood, creme de cassis and forest floor notes, outstanding ripeness, low acidity, and a round, generous mouthfeel with no desiccation or flaws. (RP)" (8/2014) Spirit Journal: "Dense crimson. Delicate scent. Complete if not exactly subtle. A bit brutal with lots of acidity. And those dry tannins, and some rasping greenness on the end. (15/20 points)" (10/2010) Wine Spectator: "Aromas of plum, spices and cherry follow through to a medium-bodied palate, with stewed fruit and a light fi ...Read More »
New Price - A Steal! A rich, but not over-the-top Chardonnay from a prominent Napa Valley winery who has also made wine under our Kalinda label. Creamy and toasty with a fine core of acidity makes for easy drinking. For those who like a full but not too full-bodied Chardonnay. (Clyde Beffa Jr., K&L Wine Merchants Co-Owner)
Giovanni Blason and his wife Valentina are young producers who continuously surprise us with the price-to-quality ratio of their wines, earning them tons of kudos in Gambero Rosso and beyond. They come from the Isonzo region of Northern Italy, right up against the Slovenian border. Their Pinot Grigio is really sensational, full in the mouth, rich on the palate and extraordinarily drinkable at this price! Very aromatic, with good complexity, length and that subtle elegance that shows muscle and a long and flowing finish.
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The basic offering from proprietor Ramon Castano Santa, who owns a whopping 1,000 acres in Yecla, is the 2012 Hecula, which is sourced from a non-irrigated, single vineyard planted with 100% Monastrell. Aged in both tank and French oak, it comes from 60-80-year-old vines planted in limestone soils at a relatively high elevation of over 1,600 feet. Its opaque purple color is followed by copious aromas of blueberries, black raspberries, camphor, licorice, white flowers and a chalky limestone/dusty character. Full-bodied, rich and well-balanced, it is an in ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "* Best Buy * Named after the grapes in the blend (Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon), this easygoing, savory wine doles out juicy blackberry, black currant, black cherry and a hint of licorice. Soft, round tannins provide the framework." (3/2015)
Wine Spectator: "A gentle, perfumy style, with black tea and sandalwood notes leading the way, followed by black cherry and plum fruit. (Web-2014)" K&L Notes: Wine Advaocate reviewer Jeb Dunnuck commented in 2013 that Delas " is producing no nonsense, extremely high quality efforts that are near the top of each of their respective appellations."
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Inky purple. Spicy cherry and dark berry aromas are deepened by notes of bitter chocolate, vanilla and espresso. Peppery, sharply focused cherry and blackberry flavors show a slight bitterness but possess good energy. Finishes with a strong cherry skin quality and good length." (9/2012) K&L Notes: The Eguren family is a well-known name in Spain, having made successful reds at everything from the $5 level on up to collectible Riojas. Produced from a 25-year-old Cabernet vineyard in the Vino de la Tierra de Castilla appellation (a large swath of land in the autonom... 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 Rosado is made from Garnacha and white Viura grapes in a typic... 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 »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Yields for the 2013 Monastrell (100% Monastrell aged six months in neutral French oak barrels, concrete and foudres) were 16 to 25 hectoliters per hectare, which is about half of that permitted in Burgundy. An amazing value, this wine boasts a dense blue/purple color as well as a sumptuous nose of blueberries, blackberries, scorched earth, licorice and forest floor. Stunningly pure and medium to full-bodied with oodles of fruit, this is a remarkable value to drink until the cows come home. Consume it over the next 2-3 years. Considered by many observers ...Read More »
This has been the #1 selling Italian wine for more than a decade at K&L! You can't get that kind of continued success without a supremely fantastic quality to price ratio. The south Tuscan coast is a breadbasket of wine making, stable temperatures, solid history of quality yet no fame and fortune. Incredible price bargains that come out of the region, and the proof is in the bottle. This wine is wonderful, soft, forward and easy to drink Sangiovese with an enticing mixture of cherry, plum and earth. Imminently drinakable.
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "**Best Buy** Richness, depth and generosity are good traits of this full-bodied but smooth-textured Cabernet. Light oak accents don't cover up the ripe, juicy, almost jammy blackberry and cherry flavors that fill the mouth and linger on the finish. It's an all-around crowd pleaser that has everything in balance." (1/2015)
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. This is made from Tempranillo grown in iron rich clay soils. In fact, this red tin... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "A soft and charming style, with a perfumy edge around the lightly steeped plum and cherry fruit. Lingering sandalwood and tea notes line the finish, which shows good persistence. Drink now through 2015. (Web-2014)"
From Josh Raynolds on the 2013 vintage: "Bright orange-pink. Lively red berry and tangerine aromas show good clarity and a hint of white pepper. Tangy and light on its feet, offering bitter cherry and rhubarb flavors and a touch of succulent herbs. Finishes slightly tart, with an echo of peppery spices." (07/2014)
90 points Wine Spectator: "Polished, creamy and refreshingly balanced, with tobacco-accented pineapple and coconut flavors that come together smoothly and linger well. Drink now through 2016." (12/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* Screwcapped, fresh and racy, this seemingly all-stainless Chardonnay is a total lemon fest. Ripe and flavorful--not sour--it brings scents and tastes of lemon oil, lemon peel and lemon meringue into play. It’s medium-bodied, forward and generous." (12/2014) K&L Notes: Charles & Charles is a collaboration between Charles Smith (of his namesake winery and K Vintners) and Charles Bieler. ... Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "Nicely balanced with refined tannins. Full-bodied but stylish. One of Tuscany's great-value wines. Drink now." (10/2014) Wine & Spirits: "Juicy, light, airy and clean, this wine’s extract takes it toward dark tannins with Sangiovese’s dry austerity. It’s simple and balanced, for any roast meats." (4/2014) Wine Spectator: "A fruity style, offering bright cherry, tobacco and black pepper flavors, backed by moderate grip. Firms up on the finish. Sangiovese. Drink now through 2015." (4/2014)
Inventory: Redwood City
Alicante, Carignan, Grenache, Merlot and Syrah From the winery: "This area has its roots in the foothills of the Laces of Montmirail. Property of the Vulture family, Domaine Carobelle has produced pure and natural wines for generations. Cultivated with passion and rigor in organic farming, the old vines of Grenache and Syrah are now producing balanced wines, rich and complex with intense flavors of red fruits"
94 points James Halliday: "*Special Value Selection*...this is a seriously attractive medium-bodied, cool-grown wine with cedary tannins woven through the cassis and plum of the long palate. Outstanding value. Larry Cherubino has had a particularly distinguished winemaking career...the range and quality of his wine is extraordinary, the prices irresistible." (7/2014) K&L Notes: Larry Cherubino is one of the most highly regarded winemakers in Australia in fact he was recently voted (by his peers, the other top flight winemakers) into the current Top Ten Most Talented winemakers in the nation. H... Read More »
Fifty-year-old, low-yielding vines planted in limestone soils are sourced for this 100% Chenin Blanc. Aromas of pear and apricot with honeyed nuance reverberate on the palate with a rounded and rich profile. Mineral notes drive the finish of this harmonious and aromatically expressive Loire blanc. (Eric Story, Loire Buyer)
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!
A perennial staff and customer favorite, this Vinho Verde continues to deliver the goods, the fizzy, citrus-drenched, delicious goods. If you're looking for a poolside, picnic or patio sipper, this wine never disappoints. Grapes in this wine typically include Trajadura, Alvarinho, and Arinto.
Lora is a blend of certified organic Tempranillo and Syrah from one of the cooler parts of La Mancha (high up on the plateau not too far from the UNESCO heritage city of Cuenca). This is a delicious red - full of fresh fruited drinkability, but surprising structure from the minerality and balanced acidity. 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)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Côtes du Ventoux Le Paradou is an awesome value! Made from 100% Grenache (75-year-old vines) and aged 7 months in concrete tank, it offers up a naked expression of Grenache with meaty black cherry, pepper, dried Provencal herbs and earth all soaring from the glass. Medium to full-bodied, brilliantly pure and fresh, it has enough tannin to allow it to evolve gracefully for 3-4 years. It’s a knockout value and this crowd-pleaser should not be missed! Easily one of my favorite estates from the up-and-coming Ventoux region, Chateau Pesquie is run ...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 »
Surprisingly serious for a twelve dollar bottle of Cabernet Franc. Concentrated aromas of black and red fruits with dried herbs and hints of tobacco spice. Good earthiness but on the more on the subdued side and nice tannin on the finish. An overachieving entry level wine. (Eric Story, Loire Buyer)
Wine Spectator: "Offers lime and lemon zest notes, with a hint of sel gris. Presents a fresh, bright finish. Drink now." (9/2014) K&L Notes: This Muscadet is very pure and bright, with an intense floral bouquet with overtones of spice and fruit. The richness, balance and freshness of this wine make it an excellent example of its appellation. It is enjoyable young, but will age well for several years. It is, however, unlikely you'll be able to save some--it's that good. Perfect accompaniment to fish and seafood dishes.
Inventory: Redwood City
92 points James Halliday: "*Special Value Selection* Simple stainless steel fermentation at a relatively low temperature has thrown all the emphasis on the very attractive array of fruit aromas and flavours spanning snow pea, citrus and passionfruit, and doing so without assaulting the senses." (12/2013) K&L Notes: Mount Trio was named one of James Halliday's Top 10 "Dark Horses" of up-and-coming wineries for 2014. This small family estate owned and managed by veteran winemaker Gavin Berry and his wife. Together they make wines from their own lovingly hand-tended 20 acres in the Porongurup su... Read More »
Always a bargain red from one of K&L's favorite direct imports. The 37-acre Blason property in Gradisca d'Inzonzo, owned by Giovanni and Valentina Blason, is just a few miles from the Slovenian border. Spicy pepper, juicy red fruit and a whole lot of deliciousness.
Remo Farina's Bianco di Custoza is a blend of aromatic white grapes from the Moreniche hills, southeast of Lake Garda in Veneto. The blend of 40% Garganega, 25% Trebbiano, 15% Fernanda, 20% Malvasia are grown in calcareous clay soils. The wine is vinified entirely in stainless steel to maintain its fresh, bright, and aromatic profile. Notes of peach and white flowers reverberate on an easy-going palate that is perfect as an aperitif or with light dishes and fish.
91 points Wine Spectator: "*Best Values* Crisp and sleek, with juicy, expansive nectarine and peach flavors that play against citrusy acidity, finishing with zing and a sense of softness that lets the finish keep singing. Drink now through 2020."90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Clean, fresh and incredibly pure, the 2013 Charles Smith Riesling Kung Fu Girl is shockingly good given the price (and the volume, as they produce a massive amount of this cuvee). Lychee, citrus, mint and classic minerality all show here, and it’s medium-bodied, beautifully balanced and finishes cleanly, with perfectly integrated acidity an ...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)
Wine Spectator: "Lip-smacking lemon and lemon zest flavors are bright and refreshing in this crisp, light-bodied wine, showing a hint of lemon thyme on the finish." (10/2014) K&L Notes: Joel Gott's California Sauv Blanc is fresh and fruity, like a tropical breeze with a squeeze of lime. Always a solid value.
This is the second label for Amador County's Sobon Estate, and always a K&L fave for affordable, fruit-filled and balanced Zin. Their 2012 "Special Reserve" release adds a small amount of Syrah and Grenache, and the whole lot is aged in small barrels for nine months. Winemaker notes: "The wine is full bodied and only moderately tannic with beautiful structure and strong fruit. The flavors are complex, and the finish is long and satisfying. This wine is extremely versatile, light enough to accompany any lunch fare, yet a perfect companion to pastas, roast... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of blackberry, balsam wood, lemony oak and forest floor lead into a fully stocked, hefty palate. Flavors of black fruits, licorice, herbs and oak finish bright but level. What this lacks in complexity is made up for in ripe berry flavors and overall balance." (7/2014) K&L Notes: This is a beautiful Malbec from a very strong vintage in 2012. Fruit is sourced from vineyards located in the villages of Agrelo and Las Compuertas, in the Lujan de Cuyo district, the classic zone for high quality, older vine fruit, as well as from the Uco Valley.
This blend—Pinot Noir, Portuguieser, with a touch of Dornfelder—was made by Frank Heyden, a second-generation winemaker who's shown much promise in crafting excellent wines from his family's highly rated vineyards in Rheinhessen. His classic wines really outperform for their price tag.
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 »
89 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This is a beautiful Zinfandel and the good news is there are over 30,000 cases of it. Coming from three of Gallo’s top Zinfandel vineyards, Stephani, Frei Ranch and Chiotti, most of them in Dry Creek, this blend of 98% Zinfandel and 2% Petite Sirah tips the scales at a lofty 14.8% natural alcohol. The wine has a deep ruby color, and a seductive, peppery, meaty, Côte du Rhône-type nose revealing lavender and roasted herb characteristics. No hard edges are found in this medium to full-bodied, fleshy, nicely concentrated Zinfandel. Drink over the next 2-3 y ...Read More »
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc selected from multiple terroirs in the region of Saumur, in the Loire Valley. This wine has an earthy, dense nose with hints of black fruits and iron. A clean and refreshing style of Cabernet Franc, there are no weird or overwhelming notes of green pepper here! This would be fantastic with grilled and/or braised meats. It could use a little bottle age or a good 45 minutes of decanting to really show its stuff. (Eric Story, Loire Buyer)