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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 »
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."
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 »
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)
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
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.
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 »
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."
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Penya’s 2013 Côtes Catalanes is a beauty, and the finest vintage of this cuvee I’ve tasted. Giving up lots of sweet black raspberry, spring flowers and spice, this medium to full-bodied effort has sweet fruit, a rounded, supple texture and good acidity. It’s a knockout bottle of wine to buy by the case as a house red for drinking over the coming couple of years. (JD)" (4/2015) K&L Notes: From importer Dan Kravitz, the man behind such great values as Cabirau, Syrousse and Le Cirque. Cases de Pene is a tiny village in the Roussillon region of Southern France, just 30 m... 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"
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 »
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. Bodegas Castaño started small and has nurtured their old vine plantings, which has done much for their Yecla renaissance. Their four prime estate vineyards now co... Read More »
This Carato is a blend of 75% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and 10% Ciliegiolo and is just delicious; full, fleshy, voluptuous, sumptuous, truly hedonistic. It spends 10 months in Slavonian and American oak barriques, and we think at this price you too will be saying wow!
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Vina Zaco changed labels and profile to a more modern style a few years ago and displays a darker shade of cherry color, ripe notes of red and black berries, flowers and a meaty palate where the wood is perfectly integrated with the fruit, which finally feels more classical than what the label makes you think. It is very good value. Drink 2014-2017. (LG)" (12/2013) Wine Enthusiast: "Ripe, welcoming berry, smoke and floral aromas lead the bouquet of this modern Rioja. This is no wallflower; there’s kick to the palate, lots of oak, then robust black cherry and plum f ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
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)
Wine Spectator: "Bright, with cherry and berry fruit in a straightforward style. Balanced and ready to drink. (Web Only—2014)" K&L Notes: Cetamura is Coltibuono's well-made trattoria-style Chianti that's perfect for everyday meals and gatherings. It's produced entirely in steel tanks and offers delicious Sangiovese fruit from start to finish. Winery notes: "Intense bright ruby red, cherry and blackberry nose with cinnamon and clove nuances. Full and well-balanced, soft but tasty, with good structure. Pleasant acidity, clean and persistent aftertaste."
Here is another excellent value from the Egurens. While we have been working consistently with their under $10 Cab, this Tempranillo comes from neighboring vines and it is also similarly delicious, with loads of bright dark cherry and red fruit flavors. Juicy, soft fruit make this a gulpable wine. Given the Eguren family's extensive acreage of mature vineyards and their experience, it is no surprise that their wines consistently over deliver year after year. Awesome bargain red and house wine candidate.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
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 »
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 »
Wine Spectator: "A juicy red, delivering vibrant and concentrated flavors of red raspberry, kirsch and dark plum, showing some peppery notes. Paprika accents appear on the finish. Castelão, Camarate, Tinta Miúda and Touriga Nacional. Drink now." (7/2013) K&L Notes: A blend of Castelao, Camarate, Tinta Miuda (also known as Graciano in Rioja) and Touriga Nacional, this is a lovely wine from vineyards not too far away from Lisbon. The flavors are of dark fruits, with just a hint of a subtly sweet licorice aspect tempered by freshness and some minerality. It is hard to believe that a red... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Crianza displays a bright ruby color and a somehow shy nose of red cherries with a touch of fennel. The palate is soft, with sweet tannins. A nice everyday wine. What is remarkable is that they produce 2.4 million bottles of this wine, so it should be readily available. (LG)" (12/2013) Wine Spectator: "Aromatic, with berry, floral and spice notes, this silky, light-bodied red offers raspberry, candied cherry and vanilla flavors that show a hard-candy character yet remain fresh and appealing." (2/2014) K&L Notes: LAN produces as consistent a value crianza as anyone in Rioja. Th... Read More »
40% Refosco, 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Marchione represents the efforts of Importer A.I. Selections to create outstanding value-priced wines with regional authenticity. The fruit for this wine is sourced from 15-18 year old Nero d'Avola vines located in the Argiento Hills of Sicily. The wine sees no oak and offers a fresh and smoothly textured palate of spicy black cherry and plum fruit. This is certainly an ideal daily table red and perfect for outdoor occasions as well.
Rich, dark berry fruits show both concentration and fresh, slightly raspy acidity. In Argentina, where incredible grass fed steaks are a given and the parillada mixta (mixed grill) is an art form, Bonarda based wines are very popular for their combination of structure and bright acidity, just the ticket to accompany a nicely grilled selection of animal protein! (Joe Manekin, K&L Argentinean & Chilean wine buyer)
Produced from fruit grown in the Las Compuertas section of La Consulta, this is delicious Malbec for a very affordable price. Fresh red plum flavors and a juicy, forward texture suggest balance due to some thoughtful winemaking: fermentation and ageing in concrete tanks. Delicious (and gluggable) Malbec! (Joe Manekin, K&L South American wine buyer)
Willowbrook is a largely under-the-radar label from Joe Otos, winemaker at Owl Ridge Wines in Sebastopol. We've got some great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from choice vineyards from Willowbrook in the past, and now this Syrah. It comes from the Altes Vineyard, located in the Rincon Valley area in the middle of Sonoma County--not far from the hot Kick Ranch vineyard.
A balanced, discreet nose of red plums and cherries leads to a lovely, juicy palate of bright cherries. This is so easy to drink and a wonderful introduction not only to the Douro, but to the inherent value in a well made Portuguese red. Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca. 12.5% ABV. (Joe Manekin, K&L Portuguese & Spanish wine buyer)
This reliable Cabernet value is back with a particularly strong 2012 vintage which featured a warm and even growing season. Grapes were sourced from AVAs around the Columbia Valley including the Cold Creek, Canoe Ridge Estate and Indian Wells vineyards. The wine was aged in 1/3 new oak (both French and American) and blended with 10% Merlot, 4% Syrah, and 2% of each Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Mourvedre. This Cabernet is very tough to beat for under $10.
Always a bargain, the Las Rocas Garnacha comes from an excellent co-op in Spain's Calatayud region. Aged in a combination of French and American oak barrels for 10 months. Hearty, medium-bodied with boisterous dark fruit and an undercurrent of cocoa and vanilla spice.
A blend of Aragones, Trincadeira and Alicante Bouschet, Adega de Borba shows off the richly fruited, structured, satisfying style of the Alentejo. Here we have plump, generous dark fruit flavors, with ripe tannins that provide balance. Incredible value! (Joe Manekin, K&L Portuguese and Spanish wine buyer)
A blend of 60% Garnacha (25 year-old vines on extremely windy, sandy vineyards) and 40% Cariñena (30 year-old vines on a warmer site) that are farmed organically and co-fermented, this is a fun new addition to our Catalan section. Young winemaker Francesc Ferre may only be 26 years old, but the wine he makes in Corbera d'Ebre is delicious and already at a high qualitative level. Medium weight aromas of cherries and red fruits show a slightly earthy character, and lead to a clean palate of equal parts red and dark skinned fruits. There is a lively, juicy ... Read More »
Sure, now everyone's doing it, and it's not such a big deal. But Folie à Deux are really good at it, and that's saying something--given how popular they've got because of it. The "Menage à Trois" Red Blend was one of the early cork-finished, 750ml wines that offered a sexy spin on an old California favorite pastime--a hearty red blend based on Zinfandel (formerly a jug wine standard). "Menage à Trois" also includes Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the smooth, sure-fire casual dinner party blend--while a lot of the newer, popular "red blends" include a hi... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Wine Enthusiast: "Jammy, extracted cherry and raspberry fruit gives an almost sweet edge, augmented by caramelized oak. It’s a simple, hearty wine, meant for simple, hearty food." (7/2014) K&L Notes: XYZ is something of a pet project of Zin-lover Ondine Chattan, winemaker at Geyser Peak Winery. If you got a chance to explore the "vine age" series of Zinfandel wines, which offered a year-by-year horizontal of Zin from 10-year-old, 50-year-old, and 100-year-old vines, you might appreciate Chattan's assiduous efforts to promote education and enjoyment of this great, historically Californ... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Smooth and compact, this red offers cherry, vanilla and light smoky notes, with accents of herb and licorice. A bit candied in character, but has lively acidity." (8/2014) K&L Notes: This delicious, 100% Garnacha from the Aragon "Garnacha Belt" D.O. of Campo de Borja, shows all the bright red cherry fruit you'd expect form this grape variety, with the added richness, texture and length which old vines deliver in this portion of Spain. A whole lot of value for the money.