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K&L Staff Recommendations
Values like this don't come along very often- even at K&L! The 2008 vintage has been the most anticipated since 1996, and Champagne Louise Brison has delivered a wine that lives up to the hype. This Champagne is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir, exclusively from estate grown, organic vineyards in the Aube department. This wine shows the electric, refreshing character of this great vintage now, and will age for decades if you choose to keep it. Don't miss out on this unbelievable value! -Gary Westby, K&L
From La Maison Antech, located in the Southern France region of the Languedoc, comes this beautiful example of Cremant de Limoux. Named after the grande dame of the estate, Eugenie Limouzy, this Cremant is composed of 50% Chardonnay, 40% Chenin Blanc and 10% Mauzac. It is produced along the lines of methode champenoise and spends 12 months on the lees before being disgorged. This balanced and elegant sparkling wine reveals subtle hints of citrus fruits, toast and honey. At less than half the price of a bottle of Champagne, the Cuvée Eugenie is the perfec... Read More »
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.
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)
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
Mas Codina is a 40 hectare estate in Penedès which dates back to 1681. This Brut Reserva Cava was hand-harvested from 20 to 30-year-old vines and estate bottled. Though it does not say it on the label, the current disgorgement is based entirely on the 2010 harvest. Vines are planted in calcareous and sandy clay soils which keep the wine minerally and lively. The wine undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle, and is aged on its lees for a minimum of two years before disgorgement. Varietals include Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 100% ... Read More »
Antech's Brut Nature is produce with no added dosage, which translates to a super clean and crisp glass of bubbles. It is composed of 90% Mauzac, 5% Chenin Blanc and 5% Chardonnay. All harvesting is done by hand. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel, and the wine undergoes a 12 month elevage on the lees a la methode traditionelle for 12 months before being disgorged. The Brut Nature is the perfect way to start off the evening's festivities. Its fresh and crisp apple-pear flavors will pair beautifully with a wide range of finger foods and pre-dinne... Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "A smoky note of roasted nut is subtly woven with the baked apple, lemon meringue and fennel seed flavors in this vibrant Champagne, with a refined, creamy mousse. Drink now through 2020." (11/2014)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(roughly 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier; Lot 14009913): Light gold. Musky orchard fruits and dried fig on the mineral-accented nose. Fleshy and broad on the palate, offering smoky pear and nectarine flavors and a hint of honey. Finishes on a gently spicy note, with very good cling and a touch of bitter lemon pith. Things have definitel ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Lightly floral and fresh, this offers pretty notes of ripe Gala apple and glazed apricot, layered with subtle hints of almond paste, piecrust, honey and ground spice. Shows fine balance and a lively mousse, leading to a lingering finish. Drink now through 2018. Tasted twice, with consistent notes." (11/2013) Connoisseurs Guide: "If never as far reaching and complex as those bottlings allowed extra time on the years, Feuilllatte's basic Brut is a complete and carefully crafted Champagne of fine balance and brightness. Its lightly yeasty elements are nicely matched by a trim bit ...Read More »
Don't let the low price fool you; this is a great bottle of Champagne. The Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" is made of 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Meunier. A balanced cuvée in every way, this Champagne is clean and powerful at once. It has a natural toasty quality from spending five full years on the lees, and plenty of refreshing zip from the far northern location of the vineyards. No bottle in our inventory transports me to Champagne like this one. It is as true to the terroir and as pure as anything I could wish for! You don't have to settl... Read More »
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(roughly 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier; Lot 14009913): Light gold. Musky orchard fruits and dried fig on the mineral-accented nose. Fleshy and broad on the palate, offering smoky pear and nectarine flavors and a hint of honey. Finishes on a gently spicy note, with very good cling and a touch of bitter lemon pith. Things have definitely begun to turn around for this bottling, which had been lagging behind the winery's vintage offerings for some time." (12/2013)90 points Wine Enthusiast: "One of the most familiar of Champagnes, the Yellow Label is finely ma ...Read More »
Wine & Spirits: "This sparkler's zingy lemon-lime flavors evolve into fuller pineapple and citrus notes, a yeasty character adding breadth and weight. The full flavors and light, cardamom-like spice suit it to the dinner table, with rich fish or roasted chicken." K&L Notes: You should always have a handful of bottles of this sparkler on hand for impromptu parties (because a sudden Tuesday night fete with your pals is, of course, better with bubbly).This wallet-friendly "Blanc de Blancs" drinks like an expensive French Champagne, with a rich yeasty nose and body to match. It's called ... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Mercat Brut is a blend of 40% Macabeu, 40% Xarello and 20% Parellada grown on clay soils with 5grams/l residual sugar. It has an intriguing bouquet that is slightly reduced at first, but left aside for a few moments opens up to reveal touches of white asparagus and dried herbs. The palate is nicely balanced with subtle citrus notes complemented by dried apricot and a touch of quince. It leads to a precise finish that could do with more length, but it is still an interesting Cava, one that is full of personality.* (NM)" (4/2012) K&L Notes: *Please note that i... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "The style of Piper-Heidsieck’s nonvintage Champagne is getting more and more refined. It is drier than in the past while also full of ripe white fruits. There is a tight structure, a hint of toast from bottle age and fresh acidity at the end. Ready to drink." (12/2014)90 points Wine Spectator: "By far the best Piper Brut we’ve tasted in years, this is a full-bodied, oxidative, savory wine that would stand up to red meat. There’s some sulfur when the wine is first poured, but once that dissipates, the richness of the texture takes over with bold, juicy lemon and ginger flavor. ...Read More »
Built on a backbone of 60% Chardonnay, this effervescent white is the product of female hands. Francoise Antech-Gazeau leads this Limoux estate. She has worked with her father and uncle since 1996 to improve their sustainable agricultural practices in the vineyard and their quality in the cellar. This bottling references the family's six generation history of making wine.
91 points Wine Spectator: "Intense golden raisin, tarragon and grapefruit flavors give this white good cut. Very minerally in the mid palate, with a luscious finish that combines candied mint and dried mango flavor. Exotic and richly spiced. Drink now through 2020." (11/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Assyrtiko is rather impressive on opening, tightly wound and showing fine grip and tension on the finish, together with earthy, minerally nuances that I liked. The acidity gives it a bright and sunny feel to it. This is a nice performance here, balanced but persistent, relatively complex yet tasty. It ...Read More »
Impressive for its purity and refreshing mineral qualities, Valle dell'Acate takes the Inzolia varietal to a whole new level of quality. As a second label, the Case Ibidini range (pronounced 'bidini) consists of varietally labeled wines from the estate intended for more casual consumption. The local name of the area where the estate is situated, Bidini, is drawn from the ancient root Bidis. This in turn referred to the name of a group of early Hellenic settlers who populated the area nearly 20 centuries ago. These wines provide a purity and authenticity ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Crisp, tart, melon, tangerine and bubble gum-like aromas jump from the glass of this 2013 Chenin Blanc/Viognier (80% and 20% respectively). Aged totally in stainless steel, it no doubt has much of its malolactic fermentation blocked given its crisp acid profile." (11/2014) K&L Notes: Vintage after vintage, Pine Ridge's Chenin Blanc-Viognier blend has impressed drinkers and critics alike. And now, what started as an experiment in the early-1990s, has become one of the winery's most sought after wines. From the winery: "Brilliant and refreshing, this bottling of our re... Read More »
96 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2004 Dom Pérignon continues to develop beautifully. A vibrant, focused Champagne, the 2004 clearly reflects the personality of the year. Freshly cut flowers, white peaches and pears are woven together in a Champagne that impresses for its focus and energy. Chiseled saline note support the crystalline finish. I imagine the 2004 will always remain relatively bright and linear, but at the same time, each time I have tasted it over the last two years the 2004 seems to have a little more body and broader shoulders. The 2004 will appeal most to readers who ...Read More »
The Antech "Emotion" is a little something different: a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Mauzac and Pinot Noir from AOC Cremant de Limoux in the Languedoc region of the south of France. It was a huge hit with our staff in 2012; now it is back, to make our evenings and dinner parties sparkle just that much more. Pale pink hue, fine bead, delicate hints of cherry and strawberry with white floral notes. A crisp, elegant sparkler made in the traditional method, spending 15 months in the bottle before disgorgement. At about half the price of a bottle of Cha... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Laurent-Perrier’s dry style is reflected in this crisp, elegant and fine Champagne. The character is mineral, taut, with a great burst of citrus and white fruit acidity. The ensemble creates a delicious food-friendly wine." (12/2011)90 points Wine Spectator: "Balanced and fresh, with an airy mousse carrying flavors of crunchy pear, piecrust, apricot and ground ginger, all underscored by a hint of smoky mineral. Drink now through 2017. 20,000 cases imported." (12/2014) Antonio Galloni: "Light gold. Aromas of ripe citrus and orchard fruits, with suggestions of green tea and honey in the background. Supp ...Read More »
From limestone soils of the Languedoc, Picpoul (which translates as "lip-stinger") delivers a reliably invigorating and affordable white. Picpoul de Pinet is the grape's spiritual home and varietally named AOC, where the Mediterranean breezes moderate the daytime temperature and slow the ripening. From the producer: "Crystal clear color with green highlights. A soft, delicate nose, with pleasant hints of acacia and hawthorn blossom. Delicate and fresh in the palate with and excellent acidity and structure balance."
92 points Wine Spectator: "*Top 100 Wines of 2013* Shows lovely balance, with a satiny quality to the refined mousse and mouthwatering acidity meshing with pure notes of poached quince, lemon mousse, white cherry and fresh ginger. Offers a lightly chalky finish. Disgorged January 2012. Drink now through 2020." (6/2013) K&L Notes: I am incredibly excited about the extraordinary quality of this top grower's Champagne. The name might sound familiar, as they are cousins with the negociant Bruno Paillard. But, their production is completely separate, and unlike Bruno, all estate-grown. What an esta... Read More »
Toasted nuts, double cream brie, oysters and roast game bird; these are a few of our favorite things, when we're pairing rich California sparkling wine from Domaine Carneros. The Champagne house Taittinger, which knows terroir when it comes to sparkling wine, established this sparkling wine house in the Carneros appellation in 1987. The winery's notes on this brand-new vintage: "The 2010 harvest was marked by a cool late spring, which delayed bud break. The berry size was unusually small, however, slightly more clusters than typical, produced a near norm... 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 »
The Château de Ripaille is located in the far northeastern part of the Savoie appellation, along Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), just four kilometers from Evian-les-Bains, where the famed bottled water comes from. The Château dates back to the 14th century, and today it is surrounded by 21 hectares of vines. The soils are mostly limestone, sun-baked glacial deposits and the vines are all Chasselas, the oldest known grape variety (its history dates back at least 5,000 years). The resulting wines are creamy, mineral and a touch bitter, in a pleasant way, with hi... Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Such an elegant, ethereal wine, this orange-pink wine is dry and crisp with fruity raspberry flavor at the fore. This particular bottling could improve for a year, but makes a great food Champagne now." (12/2013)92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(roughly 50% chardonnay, 35% pinot noir and 15% pinot meunier; L344234): Light orange. Vibrant strawberry and orange zest aromas are complicated by notes of tea rose, smoky lees and chalky minerals. Bright, incisive red fruit flavors pick up a toasty nuance with air. Fresh, incisive and refreshingly tangy, with impressive finishing clarity and ...Read More »
Amats is both the brand name of the txakoli as well as one of Zudugarai's vineyards. It's a beautiful vineyard, a sandy substrate covered in naturally growing green cover between the rows, with the Cantabrian Sea in full view to the north. Produced from Hondarribi Zuri grapes, this is classic Txakoli: zippy, crisp, tart green apple flavors are enlivened by a lovely sparkle from the CO2 retained in tank during fermentation. Try this refreshing, vibrant, low in alcohol white wine with a wide range of foods, from obvious choices such as seafood (grilled sar... Read More »
94 points James Suckling: "Pale, watery color with a slightly green tinge. Cherry blossom with stony green apple peel on nose. Crisp, dry but elegant tropical-fruit character, saltiness and tannins offer focused structure. Fresh, elegant finish. An amazing Friulano." (9/2014)
A pretty green-gold color, this refreshing white combines crisp acidity with a full, rich floral nose. A lovely Gavi di Gavi perfect for sipping with scallops.
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Krug’s NV Brut Grande Cuvee ID 112001 -- disgorged already over the winter of 2011-2012 but then further aged before release -- reinforces the belief that, thankfully, even wine lovers of modest means who occasionally splurge on Krug Grande Cuvee will be rewarded with a wine that need not fear comparison with this house’s more limited and far more expensive bottlings, nor for that matter with any other wines of Champagne. The harmonious juxtaposition of creaminess and lees enrichment with bright, juicy citricity and of expansive richness with levity is s ...Read More »
Our best deal in pink bubbles! Fans of Billecart-Salmon take note: this is an elegant, dry style that is made entirely from estate grown fruit in Brouillet. This Champagne is a blend of half and half Pinot Noir and Meunier. The color comes from 12% Meunier that is vinified red, from an old-vine plot that gets quite ripe. It is a very pretty tarnished pink color and has a lazy bead from over five years of aging on the lees. It has gorgeous red cherry fruit on the nose and mid palate, but still finishes snappy and dry. The wine also has a nice mineral note... Read More »
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 »
This batch of the Blason Brut sparkling wine is made from 100% Ribolla Gialla grapes and is produced in a "long Charmat" method, meaning that it spend six months in tanks. Blason is from Isonzo in Italy's north easternmost region, called Friuli, which borders Slovenia.
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)
This 100% Falanghina is wonderful, it's fermented in stainless steel, and then kept on its lees for two months before being bottled. The nose is a complex perfume of elderflowers and white peach, with a bit of crushed stone that is couched in a med-full body, and it has a long and decidedly refreshing finish. (Greg St.Clair, K&L's Italian buyer)
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 »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Laurent-Perrier's dry style is reflected in this crisp, elegant and fine Champagne. The character is mineral, taut, with a great burst of citrus and white fruit acidity. The ensemble creates a delicious food-friendly wine." (12/2011)91 points Wine Spectator: "Refined, with a sweet, smoky undercurrent to the flavors of glazed pear, candied lemon zest and golden raisin, with a hint of marzipan. Racy acidity frames—but doesn't dominate—the wine, with a spicy note lingering on the finish. Best from 2012 through 2016." (11/2011) Jancis Robinson: "Very classic. Tight and citrussy, with good length. Crisp an ...Read More »
If you have enjoyed the wines of Lallement, Bollinger and Krug in the past, I think you will very much enjoy Michel Arnould. They are bold, masculine Champagnes with plenty of toasty flavor. This is a blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay, entirely from estate vineyards in the Grand Cru of Verzenay. This is a great party Champagne, since it is full of flavor yet refreshing and moreish. The hazelnut Pinot character so unique to the village of Verzenay is pronounced in this wine, and many good tasters have mistaken it for barrel fermented (it is actua... 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!
Always a bargain 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. Their Friulano is always rich and complex, but balanced, with round frut, minerality and hints of savory herbs.
We started importing the wines of this small family-owned winery in Colli Orientali de Friuli (not far from the Slovenian border) with the 2001 vintage. Back then they were far better known in Italy, where they have continuously garnered accolades from Gambero Rosso, but these days they have quite a following here at K&L, too. Vintage after vintage the wines from the brothers Ermacora (Dario and Luciano) sell out very quickly. And they still adhere to the motto: Do little, in order to do better. Their 2013 Friulano is no exception. The 2012 scored 90 poi... Read More »
97 points James Suckling: "Deep pinot-driven presence is the first and lasting impression. Power with control. Superfine bead, bread and spiced biscuits, candied ripe red fruits and a sense of tight-knit complexity. Some grapefruit, lemon pith & gently flinty notes too - impressive nose. In the mouth it is rich, powerful, mouth-filling and flavoursome with a core of the same biscuity red fruit flavour, savoury nutty notes and a wrap of assertive, persistent acidity that holds rich powerful flavour deep and focused whilst maintaining a polished, gently creamy texture. Long chalky b ...Read More »
From the winery: "This white wine is made in the same spirit as Baron Louis and with a lot of delicacy. All the grapes (Marsanne, Viognier, Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul) are picked by hand in 20 kg cases and pressed directly. I let the juice settle naturally for ten to twenty hours before racking it into oak barrels where the wine ferments naturally without temperature control. The idea is to respect the natural expression of the vineyard with minimum intervention. The wine ages eight months in barrels before bottling."
96 points Connoisseurs Guide: "***Three Stars*** Elegant and fruity at the same time with a quick invitation from bright, pure cherryish notes and then filled out handsomely by whiffs of chalky soils and well-integrated, rich and uplifting yeast-driven scents, this wine manages to be both vigorous and layered at one and the same time. Its bubbles are insistent, finely carved and add to the early sensations of lightness and energy yet also carry the wine long into a balanced, refined finish. And its latter palate grip is exactly what one should expect from the genre. While service with ...Read More »
The Bronca sisters grow their own fruit in steep hillside vineyards, then make base wine and perform the secondary (sparkling) fermentation on non-vintage batches three or four times a year, to ensure freshness. Low yields and hillside-grown fruit ensures that the wine has good concentration and acidity. This one's a clean, crisp and ultimately refreshing sparkler that is one of our favorites.
This is always one of the most popular Italian whites at K&L. Made entirely from Vermentino from the Gallura Highlands on the island of Sardenia. The granitic soils force the vines to struggle to survive, but that struggle (like so many) gives the wine its character. The 2013 is dry and full, with lots of white fruit, a touch of green pepper and a salty minerality that makes this a natural pairing with seafood. Don't miss.
Allura is a peninsula on the northeast corner of the island of Sardinia that specializes in Vermentino (the grape is also grown on the coast of mainland Italy, on Corsica and in the south of France under the name Rolle). Mancini's version of the grape is very fresh and forward, with no oak or malolactic fermentation aromas, just grape juice fermented at low temperature in stainless steel. Enjoy this delicious, lively and aromatic white as an aperitif or with seafood (prawns with pasta?). A hint of citrus peel on the finish adds food-friendly complexity.
The Tralivio is made in a clean crisp style from some of Sartarelli's oldest vines. Antonio Galloni says, "When the mood strikes for Verdicchio, Sartarelli is often one of my go-to houses. The wines are loaded with varietal character, while the different bottlings are usually nicely differentiated and articulated."
Vietti's Roero Arneis is one of the most delicious and consistent versions of this varietal we carry every vintage. The grapes for this wine come from 25-year-old vines in Santo Stefano Roero. Fermented in stainless, they suppress malo to preserve the crisp acidity and freshness. And it is fresh, with mineral accents that complement its floral, citrus and melon aromas and flavors. Delightful with food.