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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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 »
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 »
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)
91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills is beautiful. Dried pear, almonds, orange peel and spices meld together in a textured, resonant Chardonnay laced with gorgeous depth and balance. Never content to stay put, Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton continue to push the envelope on quality in the Sta. Rita Hills. Over the years, Brewer and Clifton have had an enormous impact on the region, both directly and indirectly, in giving advice to newly arrived owners and developing a number of vineyards they no longer farm. The most recent development at Brewer-Clifton is ...Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Delicious aromas of ripe cherry pie and black cardamom are quite sexy. The palate is far more complicated and layered, with the tartness of plum skins, richness of strawberry, balsamic reduction and spiciness of black sage." (7/2015)90 points Antonio Galloni: "(made from fruit grown in the Bien Nacido, Riverbench and Solomon Hills vineyards; no new oak): Bright red. Highly perfumed scents of spicy redcurrant, raspberry, fresh flowers and smoky minerals. Juicy red berry flavors pack a solid punch but come off as lithe. Brisk red berry skin and white pepper qualities dominate a long, ...Read More »
Killer New Price! -Produced and bottled by Brewer-Clifton, the "B-C" Kessler Haak Pinot Noir is a single vineyard wine that comes from the organically farmed Kessler-Haak Vineyard. It is located off Highway 246, about 7 miles west of the town of Buellton, in the heart of the Santa Rita Hills appellation. The blend is made up of 25% Clone 667, 25% Clone 113 and 50% of Clone 115. Only 161 cases were bottled of this unique wine.
94 points Antonio Galloni: "Crushed red berries, mint, flowers and cinnamon lift from the glass in the 2012 Pinot Noir Estate Sta. Rita Hills. This is one of the most polished, refined and aromatically expressive wines I have tasted from Melville. What a gorgeous, radian and totally sexy wine this is." (7/2014)92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Deep, vivid red. Sexy raspberry preserve and blood orange aromas are complemented by white flowers and Asian spices. Silky and round on the palate, with tangy minerality lifting pliant red fruit preserve flavors. Balances opulence and vivacity and finishes sappy, focused an ...Read More »
This is a delicious new Chardonnay made in collaboration with Talley winemaker Eric Johnson. All of the fruit comes from Talley's Oliver's Vineyard. It is a compilation of five different barrels that domestic buyer Bryan Brick chose alongside Johnson down at Talley earlier this year. Here's a breakdown of the components: Barrel #1 is the backbone of the blend; it's earthy and savory, with a wealth of complexity. It's made from the oldest block in the vineyard and the same block that goes into Talley's vineyard designated Chardonnay. Barrel #2 comes from ... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Ripe aromas of passionfruit, kiwi and nectarine rise alongside greener elements of celery stalk, wet thyme and Granny Smith apple on this promising early look at the vintage. The tongue tingles throughout the sip, with flavors of crisp apple, yellow melon and crushed chalk. Buttercream appears on the finish." (2/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Bright yellow. Ripe yellow plum and orange aromas show a touch of heat and pick up a spicy element with aeration. Fleshy and broad in the mouth, offering pliant pit and orchard fruit flavors that could use more structure. Finishes with decent ...Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Berry fruit leather, raspberry iced tea and dark spices weave together on the intriguing nose of this wine, which is as good if not better than similar wines from the appellation charging twice the price. Roasted figs and black cardamom rise on the palate, yet the wine remains light on its feet." (12/2014)91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Kicking off the Pinot Noirs and coming all from sandy soils, the 2012 Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley is another rocking value from this estate. Exhibiting classy cassis, toasted bread, creamy licorice and loads of spice, this medium to f ...Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "Dierberg's 2012 Chardonnay is gorgeous. Lemon oil, tropical fruit and butter are all tempered by the cool microclimate here. The flavors remain bright, focused and nuanced in a crystalline Chardonnay that stands out for its precision. A hint of sweetness from the oak adds complexity, but overall, the 2012 is a wine built on energy. Dierberg, and its sister property, Star Lane, is in a bit of a transition at the moment. New winemaker Tyler Thomas took over with the 2013 vintage, while the 2012s were finished by assistant winemaker Jeff Connick. Thomas ma ...Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby-red. Red fruit preserves on the nose, with complicating notes of licorice and allspice. Lively raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show very good precision, complemented by a bright mineral quality that gains strength with air. This silky, energetic pinot finishes with strong cut, persistent sweetness and sneaky, interwoven tannins. (JR)" (12/2014)
A joint project from your K&L domestic buying team and a high-profile winery in the Santa Barbara area. The fruit for this wine comes from a cooler vineyard site with a north-facing slope. Clone 828 is a Dijon clone that matures early and often shows lots of structure, color and complexity. In general, the clone shows great acidity, red and blue fruits and palate presence. Because of its roundness and completeness, clone 828 makes an excellent individual bottling.
Arguably the most popular of the co-branded wines with our staff last year was the 2010 version of this wine so it had a lot to live up to this year. The good news is the staff is every bit as excited about it this year and we hope that enthusiasm will rub off on you. Bob Lindquist was more than happy to work with us again this year and put together this 100% Syrah bottling from certified Demeter Bio-Dynamically grown vines in the cool Edna Valley Appellation. Unmistakably Syrah from the first sniff of the nose the bold cracked black pepper, fried bacon,... Read More »
According to the winery: "Our Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blanc, a perennial favorite, is sourced from our own estate vineyard in Los Olivos, as well as a number of other carefully farmed vineyards within the Santa Ynez Valley AVA. 2014 marks the 38th consecutive vintage for this remarkable value, and this bottle is the result of Fred Brander’s extensive experience and winemaking prowess. Rich, plush, and brimming with an almost tropical exuberance, this wine leads with a nose of lychee nut, honeydew melon, hibiscus blossom and wet stone, while flavors o... Read More »
The wine is made up of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. It drinks well right now but should hold for 2-3 years. Several of the K&L staff had a chance to go down and spend a couple hours with Doug and his crew at the winery. The thought was to make a red blend from Happy Canyon, which K&L had never done before. Happy Canyon is the smallest AVA in Santa Barbara County. It lies north and west of Lake Cachuma and is home to six major vineyards: Cimarone, Grassini, Happy Canyon Vineyard, McGinley, Star Lane, and Vo... Read More »
93-95 points Wine Spectator: "Missed the 2012? This is a worthy successor and should rank among Brewer-Clifton's best, both rich and graceful, with vivid berry, high-toned plum, black cherry, anise and black licorice, finishing long and full." (2/2015)91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright ruby-red. High-pitched red berry and floral scents are sharpened by suggestions of white pepper and allspice. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering intense raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that become fleshier and sweeter with air. Fruit-driven and accessible, finishing with strong punch, repeating florality and slow-buildi ...Read More »
90 points Antonio Galloni: "Yellow stone fruits, flowers and mint are some of the notes that meld together in the glass. There is a wonderful sense of stoniness and energy that makes the 2013 incredibly appealing. The long textured finish is impossible to resist." (7/2014)
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "* Editors’ Choice * It’s hard to find a tastier Pinot Noir for this price. Aromas of rose petals, pungent violets and raspberry juice show just a touch of chai tea, and the palate proves juicy and fun, with cranberry, pomegranate and raspberry elements. Black tea and mocha flavors add just enough seriousness." (5/2015)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Wine Enthusiast: "Coffee, cinnamon apples and a hefty swirl of smoke arise on the nose from the winery’s entry-level bottling. The palate shows caramelized pears, nicely bitter lemon rinds and warm, buttered nut toffee note that carries from first sip to the finish." (5/2015) K&L Notes: Byron's estate vineyard is the site of Santa Barbara County's first commercial vineyard, which was first planted in 1964. From the winery: "The 2013 vintage was an overall dry year with a moderate winter and spring. These conditions led to an abundance of extremely high quality fruit with flavors of s... Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Cuvee Le Bec is laced with attractive dark red fruit, smoke, tobacco, wild flowers and spices. Grenache adds the bright-toned fruit and silkiness while the other grapes in the blend, the Syrah in particular, is felt mostly in the wine's mid-palate. The 2012 is 43% Grenache, 34% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 8% Counoise. (AG)" (7/2014) Wine Spectator: "Black raspberry and peppery caramel aromas lead to zesty but straightforward flavors of cherry and herb. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Counoise. (Web-2015)"
91 points Antonio Galloni: "Bright yellow. High-pitched aromas of tangerine, peach and white flowers, with a stony accent gaining strength with air. Bright and racy on the palate, with juicy acidity lifting and intensifying the flavors of white peach and fresh citrus fruits. Finishes with an appealingly light touch, lingering minerality and strong persistence. Quiet elegant for the variety, especially for a New World rendition. According to Chad Melville, his family recently sold their Verna's vineyard, north of Los Alamos and in the Santa Barbara County appellation, because they ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Buttered sourdough toast and a slight nuttiness kick off another excellent Chardonnay from the ever-reliable Talley. The palate is greeted with minerality that fades into an apple butter flavor alongside a pinch of cinnamon, culminating in a graceful vanilla finish." (12/2014)90 points Antonio Galloni: "Butter, pastry, honey and yellow stone fruits meld together in the 2012 Chardonnay Estate. The 2012 is generous, soft and accessible, with pretty smoke, spice and honey overtones that add complexity. The 2012 is a great choice for drinking now and over the next few years. Rincon and ...Read More »
91 points Antonio Galloni: "Opaque ruby. Aromas of cassis, cherry compote, cured tobacco and pungent flowers, with a note of black olive emerging with air. Fleshy, sweet and seamless in texture, offering round dark fruit preserve and bitter chocolate flavors plus a hint of spicecake. Fine-grained tannins give shape to the finish, which features a sexy floral nuance and a touch of candied violet. In a fairly savory style, which will make it very flexible at the table. (JR)" (12/2014)
Margerum Wine Company has long been a favorite of K&L. Doug Margerum, owner and director of winemaking, started out on the retail side of things. He and his family opened Wine Cask in Santa Barbara in 1981 and spent more than a decade building a fantastic wine shop and bistro. During much of that time, Doug was also building an amazing wine company. Margerum Wines are fantastically balanced and go beautifully with food. They are pure and clean, showing off the beautiful fruit from around Santa Barbara County. We were lucky enough to get the opportunity t... Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "Combines delicacy with finesse, featuring a subtle mix of candied apple, strawberry, blueberry and wilted rose notes, with fine-grained, earth-laced tannins that linger. Drink now through 2023. 2,873 cases made. J.L." (10/2014) Wine & Spirits: "You can feel this wine’s ripeness in the dimpled fruit-skin texture of its tannins, but it’s surprisingly brisk, the acidity taking the fruit toward a red apple–skin spice that’s bold and direct. Try it with braised pork belly. (2,873 cases)" (2/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "Fresh and clean aromas of raspberry and a wild array of red fruit flavors characteri ...Read More »
92 points Antonio Galloni: "Light yellow-gold. Tangerine, pear skin and a hint of honey on the perfumed nose. Broad and silky on entry, offering pliant orchard and citrus fruit flavors that tighten up on the back half while picking up a touch of bitter quince. Nicely taut for the vintage, finishing with strong thrust and persistent mineral and floral flourishes. Nikki and Jeff Nelson have fully settled into their own facility just north of metropolitan Buellton. They recently took on a full-time winemaker, James Sparks, whose brother-in-law Brandon Sparks-Gillis is part of the Drag ...Read More »
True Myth is part of the Niven Family Wine Estates, which includes Baileyana, Tangent and Cadre, among others. This is a full-bodied, oaky and tropical style Chardonnay from the Paragon Vineyard in the Edna Valley. It is fermented in 65% French oak and 35% stainless and aged in 2=38% new French oak.
With California facing the second year of its drought, the Central Coast experienced a hot, dry vintage in 2013, which translated into concentrated wines. From the winery: "Translucent ruby in color, the 2013 vintage expresses classic characteristics of the Arroyo Grande Valley. The nose offers bright notes of red fruits like strawberry and raspberry, as well as hints of smoke and herbs. On the palate this medium-bodied wine yields notes of cranberry, Rainier cherry and damp soil with distinct mineral notes. With a soft, plush texture, the 2013 Estate Pi... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This single-vineyard selection from the Jackson Family’s Santa Maria Valley winery kicks off with scents ranging from red, blistered tomato to pomegranate reduction and mole sauce. On the palate, flavors vary from sweeter berry to tart cherry, with a savory, roasted pork element rounding out the wine." (10/2014)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A rich, meaty and slightly gamey effort that oozes Syrah character, the 2011 Syrah Holus Bolus delivers beautiful blackberry, raspberry, smoked bacon, saddle leather and hints of pepper that flow to a medium to full-bodied, balanced and beautifully constructed palate. Juicy and rich, yet with bright acidity, it has an upfront, delicious feel and should be consumed over the coming 3-4 years. It’s very well done and well worth seeking out! Drink now-2018. (JD)" (8/2013)
From the winery: "2012 was an abundant and ideal growing season in the Sta. Rita Hills. The grapes ripened evenly producing both high quality and quantity due to a mild spring and summer with little rain, and no frost. The moderate weather provided for low disease pressure during the growing season. Sta. Rita Hills is one of the premier AVAs for Chardonnay in California. The wines have that rare combination of power and structure that can only come from low yielding, cool-climate, coastal vineyards. This 2012 offers a bouquet of crème brulee and lemon me... Read More »
From the winery: "In the pages of the book your father read to you there were paintings of jungles. Strange boughs laden with deep flowers, blueberries filled with cream guarded by amber jewelled jaguars. As you drifted to sleep the summer air was swollen with storms, you could smell the wet earth, the hyacinth, your mother’s rare perfumes. Swaddled in your clean bed, you never heard the car pull out, crushing the violets in the yard."
Antonio Galloni: "(made with 15% whole clusters and aged in 15% new oak): Ruby-red. Raspberry and cherry aromas are complemented by suggestions of white pepper and flowers. Round and juicy in the mouth, offering gently sweet red fruit flavors and hints of licorice and peppery bitterness. Finishes on a warm note, with good cling and gentle tannins." (12/2014)
The "M" stands for--you guessed it--Margerum, but the "5"? That's the number of grape cultivars traditional to the southern Rhône that they use to create this Chateauneuf-du-Pape style blend: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Counoise, and Cinsault. "M5 is always all about Grenache and," Margerum tells us, "as it is every year, the trick is to balance the crimson, aromatic, lean, bright, tight Grenache, Counoise, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault based components with the bombastic, dark, black, plum, tannic, bold, intense ripe, full-bodied Syrah we make. M5 is a wine t... Read More »
Excited by the quality of their 2013 Pinot Noirs, the winery describes this multi-vineyard blend. "Strawberries and raspberries aromas slowly climb out of the glass. Overtime more of the anise and clove will mix with these other aromas. Currently the wine is young with mouth filling intensity. Complexity will increase as the wine ages, but this wine should stay youthful for 6 or 7 years. Like all Au Bon Climat wines, this is a food wine."
90 points Antonio Galloni: "Pale orange. Fresh pit fruits and red berries on the perfumed nose and in the mouth. Shows very good clarity and lift, with a spicy nuance emerging on the back half. Finishes silky and long, with resonating spiciness and an echo of juicy pit fruits." (3/2015) K&L Notes: A blend of Sangiovese, Barbera and Dolcetto, this blend was created by Chyrstal Clifton (wife of winemaker Steve Clifton of Palmina and Brewer Clifton) to raise awareness of breast cancer. As she says "Think Pink. Drink Pink". From the winery, "If a wine could embody structure, energy and passion it w... Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Coming from one of Ballard Canyon’s premiere vineyards, this offers aromas of black cherry, wet black loam and morning dew on sage. The mouthfeel is all silk, and flavors are savory, with elderberries, crushed sage and wild mint." (2/2015)92 points Antonio Galloni: "(made with 50% whole clusters and raised in concrete tanks): Opaque ruby. Deeply pitched black and blue fruit aromas are lifted and sharpened by cracked pepper and fresh flowers. Spicy and penetrating on the palate, with juicy blackcurrant and boysenberry flavors framed and lifted by tangy acidity. This suave, powerful, ...Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "Quite dark in color and suggesting a fair sense of extract with a tilt to ripe cherries and plenty of size on the palate, this somewhat uneven youngster turns out to be a bit stiff in feel with obvious acidity providing a tart counterpoint to its short-lived sensations of suppleness. The richness first promised is hard to find at the finish, and, while it may find better integration with time, it is a wine that needs a few years of age and bit of good luck if it is to grow into real beauty." (2/2015) Wine & Spirits: "Ripe and grapey, this lasts on simple, sun-warmed blue f ...Read More »
90-92 points Antonio Galloni: "The first thing that comes to mind when I taste the 2011 Barbera is Giacomo Conterno's Barbera d'Alba Cascina Francia. I am not kidding, either. There is a soulfulness and depth here that is striking. Rich, powerful and intense, today the 2011 is not fully expressive (especially in the bouquet), but its beauty is hard to miss. The 2011 was aged in a large 70HL cask. I can't wait to taste it from bottle." (7/2013)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby. Expressive dark berry aromas are complemented by notes of peppery spices and candied flowers. Sweet boysenberry and cherry compote ...Read More »
70% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Syrah.
Inventory: Redwood City
Wine Enthusiast: "There’s some age showing on the nose of this wine, with cherry liqueur aromas most prevalent. It’s very tasty once sipped, and still strongly tannic, with dark cherry and black clove." (12/2014) K&L Notes: From Central Coast winery owner Nebil "Bilo" Zarif, who also founded Barnwood Vineyards, Summerland is a small (3,000 cases in the single vineyard collection) Pinot Noir specialist. The famed Bien Nacido Vineyard was planted in 1973, before the modern era of the Dijon clones, to Pommard and Martini.
Katherine's Vineyard is named after owner Barbara Banke's oldest daughter, Katherine. It is a blend from 15 different blocks of both classic and contemporary Chardonnay clones, in sand and granite soils. Aged in barrel for five months in mostly French oak and a little stainless steel. Winemaker Denise Shurtleff says: "The 2012 Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay has subtle tropical and citrus aromas with pineapple, stone fruit and apple flavors. Oak and vanilla balance out the flavors on the palate. Nicely balanced with weight on the mid-palate leading into ... Read More »