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K&L Staff Recommendations
2013 Tenuta Luisa Friulano $16.99
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.
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)
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.
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.
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 »
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.
Wine Enthusiast: "This is a creamy and very well-executed blend of Chardonnay and Ribolla Gialla that opens with exciting aromas of stone fruit, citrus and honey, plus tiny touches of candy and butterscotch (a common aromatic characteristic of Ribolla Gialla)." (12/2012) Wine Spectator: "A crisp white, with a smoky base and hints of yellow apple, star fruit and almond. Tangy finish. Chardonnay and Ribolla Gialla. (Web-2013)" K&L Notes: This blend of 65% Chardonnay and 35% Ribolla Gialla is light, crisp, and citrusy with great minerality. An outstanding value!
91 points James Suckling: "A rich and fruit Chardonnay with apple pie and milk aromas and flavors. Full and fruity, with lots going on. Always excellent." (12/2011)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Good, medium yellow color with gold highlights. Bright, pure aromas of tropical fruit, lime and white pepper. Dense, supple and fresh, offering bright orchard fruit, butter and pineapple flavors that gain depth and spiciness with air. In an exuberant, in-your-face, fruit-filled New World style, but avoids coming across as an over-the-top caricature. Serious unoaked chardonnay with impressive purity." (10/2011) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Cha ...Read More »
The wines of Ermacora are absolute steals for their price to quality ratios, which is why we continue to bring them in direct, vintage after vintage. Ribolla Gialla is a local selection of the ancient white grape variety Ribola that dates back at least as far as the 11th century, and the variety also has Slavic roots. This straw-yellow white wine is recommended as an aperitif or with delicate, fresh water fish. It also pairs well with hors d'oeuvres and vegetable-based appetizers--but caution on the cheese, advises our Italian wine buyer, Greg St. Clair.
40% Refosco, 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Giovanni Blason and his consulting enologist Andrea Rossi have turned this 37-acre property into a juggernaut of affordable quality wines. Giovanni and his wife Valentina own this winery in Gradisca d’Inzonzo, 3.75 miles from the Slovenian border and about 20 miles north of Trieste. This white offers such intense floral aromatics, with, jasmine, elderflowers, and lime blossoms, you'd guess that there would be some correlating sweetness on the palate, but this one from Blason is absolutely dry. Great with cheese!
Edi Keber, viticulturalist of Zegla in the area of Collio, a few meters from Brda, Slovenia, is one of the mavericks of this territory. The excellent quality of his wines runs parallel with the volcanic character of this farmer. The year 2008 marked a momentous milestone for Keber as the azienda decided to commit to the production of a single white grape wine, the Collio, a blend of three varieties: Friulano for structure, Malvasia Istriana for its aromatic qualities, and Ribolla Gialla for acidity, lending to the production of a wine with remarkable wei... Read More »
From the Collio DOC on Italy's border with Slovenia, Venica is one of the region's most well-known and respected estates. Jesera actually means "little lake" in Slovenian, named for where the vineyard sits at the bottom of a cool valley. From the winey: "The natural copper color extracted with maceration is the signature of this wine and its richness reminiscent of williams pear, banana, and acacia flowers wrapped in a slight scent of fresh apricot. Intriguing taste with pleasant flavors of pear syrup and quince peels. Good acid/alcohol balance with a lo... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "The nose on this is phenomenal, with intense sliced peaches. Full body and loads of fruit with a long flavorful finish. Drink now." (12/2011)91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Piere Sauvignon literally explodes with tons of energy and focus. Pears, green apples, white peaches, mint and sage are some of the notes that flow from this mid-weight, nicely delineated Sauvignon. Smoke, ash and slate develop later, adding further complexity to the generous, inviting finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019." (2/2012)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Good, medium-dark straw-yellow. Pungent aromas of gooseberr ...Read More »
Pignolo is rare grape, native to Friuli and known for being "grumpy" and difficult to grow. Until a few decades ago, it was all but obsolete. The Ermacora family is among the few brave winemakers to replant this grape, and its patience has been rewarded. This is a powerful wine, with tannic heft and great complexity. According to the winemaker: "The aromas are full and fruity, with notes of cherry and ripe plum. The dry taste emphasizes hints of wild berry jam, aromatic spices, and stewed fruits. It is an ideal match for red meat dishes and game."
"I am fascinated by Italian sparkling wines made of indigenous Italian varieties," writes importer Oliver McCrum, "and the Zanussis make a really good one. It's not made by either of the normal methods used to make dry sparkling wine, but rather by the method used to make Moscato d'Asti, which involves putting must into the special fermentation tank, and fermenting all the way from grape-juice to sparkling wine in one step. The wine is then aged in the tank on the lees until judged to be done, then decanted off the lees and bottled. (Some top-end Prosecc... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Collio Friulano Vigna del Rolat is an exceptional expression of Friulano that boasts incredible density and purity of aromas. The wine needs a few moments to open and once it does, it never holds back. The flavor intensity is delivered with bright, forceful pulses of peach, nectarine and pineapple that spread evenly over the palate. In terms of Friulano, this is one of the purest expressions available and it promises to evolve over the next few years. Drink: 2014-2017. Dario Raccaro is a boutique producer with a pure and genuine winemaking appro ...Read More »
Known for small berries and "spontaneous abortion" of the flower, Picolit fashions one of the rarest Italian passito wines. Golden hued with sumptuous honey, tropical and citrus notes, this complex white successsfully rivals Vin Santo for its ability to stand up to hearty cheeses or in a glass all by itself.
Raccaro was founded in 1928 when the current proprietor's grandfather originally set it up as their family farm. Wine slowly became the sole focus of their family endeavor as winemaking knowlege was accrued and their terroir asserted itself and demanded attention. Vigna del Rolàt is their flagship bottling, which is grown on a low-yielding cru first established in the 10th Century. The resulting wine is simultaneously elegant and robust... a testament to the distinction of this top white wine region. Made from 100% Tocai Friulano, the wine is fermented i... Read More »