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K&L Staff Recommendations
90 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* A zesty red, with personality to spare, offering notes of licorice, blackberry, smoky pepper and grilled herbs. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah and mixed Italian blacks. Drink now through 2019." (6/2015) 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 i ...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 »
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 »
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.
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 Spectator: "Combines firm, dark fruit and chewy tannins with a measure of finesse and refinement. Ends with gripping, cedary tannins, bolstered by good length and depth. Drink now through 2024." (4/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This chewy, still-tight Cabernet is full-bodied on the palate, revealing savory, herbaceous characteristics. Made in a robust style, it’s approachable and enjoyable now." (4/2015)
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 »
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
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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)
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!
92 points Wine Spectator: "Offers an exciting interplay of berry, oak, earth and spice notes. This is rich yet medium-weight, with subtle edges to the blueberry, raspberry, mocha and fresh-turned earth flavors, ending with a tasty melted black licorice aftertaste. Drink now through 2020. 317,592 cases made." (5/2015) K&L Notes: A great value California Pinot Noir - this is a second label of Belle Glos, the Pinot Noir arm of Napa's Caymus Vineyards. And it's a consistent pick among customers here at K&L. The 2013 Pinot Noir is sourced from coastal Sonoma County, Monterey and Santa Barbara count... Read More »
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)
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 »
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 »
The 2010 Two Angels Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect example of how well a wine can drink with just a few years on it. The years allow the wine to soften, flesh out and display its complexity. And this wine is showing very well. The 2010 Two Angels Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma comes from vineyards at and near the top of the Mayacamas mountain range, which lies half in Sonoma County and half in Napa Valley. A blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Merlot, this wine has a unique flavor profile. The nose reveals notes of chocolate, vanilla, cherry and spice no... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon shows little Cabernet character, yet has good fruit and an up-front, straightforward feel in its red currants, licorice and spice. Medium-bodied and well made, it should be consumed in its first 3-5 years of life. (JD)" (8/2014) K&L Notes: From Niven Family Wine Estates and their SIP (Sustainability in Practice™ certified vineyards, this good value Paso Cab is typically bold and rich, "loaded with blackberry jam, cherry, black currant, exotic spices and cola, with notes of caramelized oak," according the winery's note.
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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
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 »
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 »
Jon and Susan Pey are talented, passionate vignerons with access to some incredible vineyard sources throughout Northern California. They produce a collection of wines that over-deliver in quality for the price under their various boutique labels. The fruit for the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Oak Knoll, Rutherford, and Oakville appellations. From the winery: "Vintage 2013 followed the excellent 2012 and led to debates as to which vintage was 'better.' Our sense is they are both very, very high quality; both had abundant sunshine, cool evenings... Read More »
"With medium-plus intensity, it’s a beautifully classic cabernet sauvignon mix of ripe blackcurrant, black and red cherries with vanilla, cedar, sweet tobacco, and licorice accents. Palate: Medium-plus body with dark fruit of cassis and black cherry on the entry. Barrel notes of vanilla and cedar with savory black tea and herbal notes come through on the mid-palate. The finish is long and clean with lingering bright cherry and spice of sassafras and licorice, surrounded by smooth firm to medium tannins. A traditionally styled cabernet sauvignon in all r... 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 »
$11.99 for California Pinot Noir? Yes, you read correctly. Under the Four Bears label, Sean Minor consistently produces solid, easy-drinking values that are balanced, food-friendly, and generously overdeliver for the price. According to the winery: "Our Central Coast Pinot Noir is a medium bodied wine which displays aromas of floral components, red fruit and dark cherries. On the palate, the Pinot offers luscious flavors of dark cherry, strawberry and violets, combined with subtle layers of spice. The integrated bright acidity and sweet oak nuances provi... 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."
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
93 points Wine & Spirits: "Brian Mahoney drew on four vineyards to make this delicious zin, the oldest, Saitone, planted in the 1890s and the youngest, BCD, planted in the 1990s; he raised the wine almost exclusively in older barrels. It’s cool and fragrant, firm yet silky, the flavors quiet but convincing, suggesting rose, dried strawberry and pink peppercorn. Its slow-building intensity calls for a plate of prosciutto." (12/2014) K&L Notes: From the winery: "The wine opens aromatically with enticing notes full of boysenberry and blackberry accentuated with hints of dust and violet. Dark red,... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Edge (75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% Merlot, and the balance Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec), is composed of grapes from various sources. It exhibits a dense ruby/purple color, lots of fruit, and a round, seductive style with good ripeness and a heady finish. Drink it over the next 6-8 years. (RP)" (10/2014)
Great wines at very good prices. That is what you get from Foxglove. This is a side project from Bob and Jim Varner, who bring us the great wines from the Varner and Neely labels. The Foxglove Cabernet is amazingly well balanced. Beautiful berry and cassis fruits with nicely integrated tannins and just a hint of earthy tannin. Tremendous value.
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 »
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
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."
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 »
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I think the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon will be even better, and it has more depth and texture, with gorgeous blackcurrants, violets, licorice and smoked earth all emerging from the glass. The texture here is really something, and this should be a smoking value. Made from 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and the balance Malbec and Petit Verdot, it will have 10-12 years of longevity. (JD)" (8/2014)
A perennial value-based favorite, Ravenswood's Vintners Blend Shiraz packs big punches full of mulberry, dark chocolate and roasted meats. Made by one of California's iconic producers.
Joel Gott's 815 is a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from some of the most important appellations across California. Napa fruit contributes complexity and depth, Lake County minerality and texture, Sonoma adds some spice, and Paso Robes and Lodi contribute texture, color, and development. The resulting blend captures a statewide snapshot of a fine vintage at an amazing value. From the winery: "The 2012 Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon has aromatics of roasted blue fruit, sweet blackberry and cherry cola with hints of graham cracker and vanilla. The wine ... Read More »