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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 »
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 »
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 »
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)
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)
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)
From the brewery: "Bell's Two Hearted Ale is defined by its intense hop aroma and malt balance. Hopped exclusively with the Centennial hop varietal from the Pacific Northwest, massive additions in the kettle and again in the fermenter lend their characteristic grapefruit and pine resin aromas. A significant malt body balances this hop presence; together with the signature fruity aromas of Bell's house yeast, this leads to a remarkably drinkable American-style India Pale Ale."
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)
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 »
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 »
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: "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 »
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)
Anchor Steam? The perenially popular beer brewed in San Francisco since 1896 derives its name from 19th century slang. 'Steam' was a widely used nickname for beer brewed on the west coast, and this Bay Area brew epitomizes NorCal charm. Made with an all-malt mash in a copper brewhouse, the beer has a malty nose with a hint of red fruit and caramel. Smooth and enjoyable.
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 »
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.
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 »
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."
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.
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.
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 »
In the region of Cariñena, the Garnacha grape variety seems to find a lovely expression, one which is less high octane and lighter on its feet than in some of the neighboring regions. And, as ever, this is a terrific red wine bargain for anyone looking for an inexpensive house red or wine for any party, wedding, or other event.
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 »
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"
From the brewery: "Bell's Oberon is a wheat ale fermented with Bell's signature house ale yeast, mixing a spicy hop character with mildly fruity aromas. The addition of wheat malt lends a smooth mouthfeel, making it a classic summer beer."
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 »
A Gold medal winner at the 2013 L.A. International Commercial Beer Competition. Brewer's notes: "Brewed in the centuries-old Belgian tradition, our White Ale features the complex flavors of the classic witbier, including orange peel and coriander--all brewed with pure Icelandic water that delivers a cool smoothness that is flavorful and refreshingly drinkable."
From the brewer: "Probably our single most requested beer in the tasting room. The chocolate & coffee of Black House makes an awesome base for intemperate quantities of coconut & cocoa nibs, which make the whole thing taste like a ridiculously decadent chocolate bar, but drier and more like beer."
Proprietor Jean-Marc Autran is the fourth generation in his family to grow grapes in the Rhone village of Sablet. He produced his first wine in 1985. With his family, he cultivates 30 hectares of vines with 3.5 in Gigondas, 12.5 in Sablet and 14 in Côtes du Rhône. The domaine has a variety of soil types for the vineyards including: sandy decalcified red clay, flint, clay, silt, chalk and gravel. The vine age ranges between 20 and 45 years old and everything is hand harvested. All the reds, with the exception of the Cotes du Rhone, are bottled unfined and... Read More »
The product that put Fever Tree on the map. Their tonic water is crystal clear with a citrus perfume that carries over to the palate to balance the natural bitterness of quinine. It's also got lots of bubbles, making it a refreshing complement to brighten the taste of your favorite cocktail. About Fever Tree: "Following a 'tonic tasting' in 2000 to find the best on the U.S. market, Charles Rolls--who had built his reputation running Plymouth Gin--joined forces with Tim Warrillow, who had a background in luxury food marketing, to analyze the composition o... Read More »
"In 1994 we brewed our first batch of Shoals Pale Ale, our American interpretation of the traditional British ESB (Extra Special Bitter) style. At the time, it was widely considered to be darned hoppy. However, a funny thing happened over the last decade – our Shoals Pale Ale didn’t change; beer lovers did, and we started to hear more and more: “Why don’t you guys make a really hoppy beer?” That’s exactly why we brewed and released in 2003. You could say, then, that Smuttynose IPA is a physical salute to the glory of the American hop grower. The citrusy ... Read More »
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." (12/2014)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 ...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)
In the great beer producing country of Belgium, some brewers have made it a tradition to give their beers an unusual name. Sometimes the name is curious, now and then it is diabolical and other times it is just plain silly. Damnation is an interpretation of a Belgian style Strong Golden Ale. It has extraordinary aromas of banana and pear with mouth-filling flavors of sweet malt and earthy hops. The lingering finish is dry and slightly bitter but very, very smooth. 7.0%ABV / 1.068 O.G / 25 BUs
From the brewery: "Revel in the best U.S. varieties of hops, in their natural, whole flower form, as they bring a vital, pungent reality to the soul of a wild element in our dangerously satisfying DirtWolf Double IPA. This dangerously delicious recipe features often subtle, but sometimes assertive signatures of American hop varieties. Look for: Citra: heavy citrus aroma, fruity flavor; Chinook: grapefruit, resinous pine; Simcoe: dry, piney; and Mosaic: earthy and mildly floral, with notes of sweet citrus and spice. Food Pairings: Burgers, BBQ and hard ch... Read More »
These glasses ship in cases of six only; price is per stem. For generations, traditional crystal glasses were made with lead to fortify them. Schott Zweisel replaces the lead with titanium and zirconium, creating a crystal glass that is incredibly durable and brilliant. The glasses are then reinforced at the rim and at both ends of the stem, where breakage most frequently occurs. Scratch resistant, even in the dishwasher. The Forte series Bordeaux glasses are 8 3/4" tall and hold 21.1 ounces.
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "One of America’s most cherished and sought-after pilsners, this is a terrific example of an American pils that’s sure to please any lover of the style. The hops are big and floral on the nose, with more biscuity malt in the mouth playing alongside the notes of fresh citrus. Full and creamy with moderate carbonation and low alcohol, a soft bitterness follows through the long finish and closes on a sweet hop oil note. An excellent companion to food, though certainly enjoyable all on its own as well." (8/2010) K&L Notes: From Pennsylvania's Victory Brewing Company, the ... 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 »
In the southeast of Spain sandwiched between Jumilla and Alicante, wines from Yecla have most prolifically come from what happens to be the largest co-op in Spain. However the Castaño family stands as the most important and ambitious privately owned winery in the D.O., and they have gone to great lengths to push the quality from the often coarse wines for which this region was previously known. Their four prime estate vineyards now comprise 10% of the vine acreage in Yecla, and their ambition is only matched by their commitment to quality. Their organica... Read More »
Produced from Loureiro and Pederña grapes grown in the granitic soils of the Vinho Verde region, the Santola (or as we here are calling it, "the crab wine") is a delicious, spritely and refreshing white. It doesn't get much more traditional, thirst-quenching or seasonally perfect then this wine. Delicious, low in alcohol, slightly fizzy and way too easy to drink!
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.
From the folks at Achor Bewing: "Anchor Steam's roots go back to the Gold Rush, long before icehouses and modern refrigeration made traditional lagers a viable California option. In 1876, thanks to an ice pond in the mountains and a belief that anything is possible in the Golden State, a little brewery named Boca created California's first genuine lager. Anchor California Lager is our re-creation of this historic beer. Made in San Francisco with two-row California barley, Cluster hops (the premier hop in 19th-century California), and our own lager yeast,... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
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)
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)