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K&L Staff Recommendations
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.
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.
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 »
"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 »
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.
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)
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.
From the winemakers: "Cane & Fable is a collaboration between winemakers Curt Schalchlin and Andrew Jones. Curt, owner and vintner of the heralded winery, Sans Liege, is known for his critically acclaimed, yet affordable wines. Andrew, winemaker of Field Recordings spends his days planning and planting vineyards and has stood foot in just about every vineyard on the Central Coast. Together, they produce Cane & Fable, a collaboration that gives special attention to the craft and story behind each wine. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 81%, Merlot 7%, Tempran... Read More »
From the Winery; "This is your porch slammer but don't be scared to take it seriously. It's like a strawberry cream soda, kiwi, guava, watermelon and rose petals. Finishes like sour patch kids and bubbly. 70% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 10% Black Muscat
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* This wine is honeyed and mellow, but wonderfully crisp and clean at the same time. Fermented and aged without oak, it stars lemon, lime, apricot, green apple and white pepper flavors. Made from fruit sourced from the Jardine Vineyard." (11/2013) Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* There is plenty to like in the fruity, not-too-complex aromas of this well-ripened wine, and its juicy, melon-like flavors follow suit. It runs more to melons and pears with a subtle suggestion of oaky richness, and it is comfortably balanced with enough acidity to be lively without being unga ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Wine Enthusiast: "Tobacco and boysenberry scents make for a pleasing if not complex nose on this wine from the Santa Margarita Ranch area on the southern part of the appellation. There are a lot of tannins, with expected flavors of blackberry and cedar." (2/2015) K&L Notes: Ancient Peaks is a family-owned estate winery that produces wine from a single site, the Margarita Vineyard, which was first planted to vines by Franciscan missionaries in 1774. Situated in the Santa Lucia Mountain Range, the Margarita Vineyard is the most southerly site within the Paso Robles appellation, where it... Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star & Good Value* Although its somewhat juicy, sweetly oaked aromas of ripe cherries send a signal that this is a wine that could and should be enjoyed soon, it turns out to show a little more structure once past its early plumpness and is one on which it would be wise to wait. It has the right fruity pieces in place to commend four or five years of keeping, and it delivers far more than do most at its price level." (11/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "This vineyard from the Santa Margarita Ranch at the southern end of the appellation produces a wine with blackberry, mint, sla ...Read More »
From the winery: "The fruit for our 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon was selected from three of our estate vineyards in Paso Robles. It was handpicked and sorted in the early morning to ensure quality and uniformity of ripeness. Afterwards, the fruit was destemmed and gently crushed into temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Pump-overs took place regularly to enhance color and help extract tannins from the skin. After pressing, the wine was racked into barrels to complete malolactic fermentation. While the majority of wine was aged in French oak, we also ... Read More »
From the winery's estate Margarita Vineyard, which is situated at the gateway between the cool marine-influenced south and the warm inland area of Paso Robles. Two harvests spaced two weeks apart layered this Sauv Blanc with a foundation of acidity, and riper fruits on the top. The winery's note: "The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc offers refreshing aromas of pear, gooseberry and citrus with a suggestion of jasmine and mineral. A full palate unfolds with rounded flavors of peach, grapefruit and guava. Notes of lime zest add lift to a clean, quenching finish."
The Benito Dusi Ranch in Paso Robles is the only vineyard that Ridge uses south of the San Francisco Bay area. Originally planted by Sylvester and Caterina Dusi in 1923 after emigrating from Italy, these old vines produce phenomenal fruit. With excellent Zinfandel-growing temperatures and rocky toils, the Dusi Vineyard wines are known for their juicy bramble fruit and velvety tannins. According to the winery, these are wines that "consistently show deep, juicy bramble fruit on the palate, along with notes of black cherry, gravelly earth, and rich chocola... Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "Foxglove's 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is without question one of the finest values in California. Dark red cherry, plum, grilled herbs, smoke and tobacco are some of the many notes that inform this vibrant, polished impeccable Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards in Paso Robles. Aging in steel keeps the flavors fresh and vibrant throughout." (7/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I was surprised by the herbacous notes in the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Foxglove, as I loved the 2011, and that’s a much cooler vintage. Nevertheless, this has plenty of earthy dark fruit, green herbs and tobacco leaf ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc that spent 24 months in new French oak, the 2011 Isosceles offers classic lead pencil, cedar, hints of herbs and both cassis and currant-styled fruit in its approachable, full-bodied and elegant profile. It's beautifully made, has no hard edges and can be consumed anytime over the coming decade or more. These first-rate efforts are made by Scott Shirley, who made wine in Napa Valley for 13 years before coming to Paso Robles. The focus here is on the Bordeaux varieties, and they do a fabu ...Read More »
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The brilliant 2012 PharaohMoans is a blend of 98% Syrah and 2% Grenache that was aged in 80% new French oak barrels prior to bottling. A big, rich and fleshy Paso red, it knocks it out of the park with its chocolatey dark fruits, pepper, olive and charred meat-like aromas and flavors. This isn't for those craving delicacy, yet it stays clean and classy, with full-bodied richness, thrilling amounts of texture and a seamless, focused finish. There's not a track record here with regards to aging, yet this should be better in another year and have at least a ...Read More »
92 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Côtes de Tablas is wonderfully lifted and floral in the glass. Sweet red-toned fruit, crushed flowers, mint and anise are some of the notes that inform a weightless, feminine wine built on silkiness. The 2012 is impeccably balanced and classy to the core. The 2012 is quite a bit brighter and more floral than the 2011, partly the result of the higher percentage of Grenache in the blend, but also a reflection of the year. The blend is 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Counoise and 5% Mourvèdre. Once again, Tablas Creek has turned out a mind-bending nu ...Read More »
From the Winery; The Power of 4 – this Paso blend is more delicious than the sum of its parts. It combines grape varieties mainly from our prestigious Huerhuero Vineyard, located in the rolling hills of Paso Robles. Here, warm afternoons and cool evening breezes influence the grapes to perfect ripeness. The grapes were picked at cooler morning temperatures and cold soaked for two days prior to fermentation. Variable pump-over techniques were implemented during progressive stages of fermentation to enhance fruit extraction and balance out the tannin struc... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Complex aromas of stewed cherries, peppercorns and burned toast abound in this wine from the recently named Estrella district. The flavors are well integrated, with mocha, espresso and black cherry most apparent." (2/2015)
92 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Esprit de Tablas Blanc is sublet, floral and lifted. Flowers, mint, lemon and spices meld together in a gracious, impeccably refined Roussanne-based white Rhône loaded with class and style. The 2012 Esprit is 75% Roussanne, 20% Grenache Blanc and 5% Picpoul Blanc." (7/2014)92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Green-hued yellow. High-pitched aromas of tangerine, green apple and white flowers, with a gingery nuance adding complexity. Sappy, spicy and penetrating, offering intense citrus and orchard fruit flavors that put on weight with air. Firm and dry on a finish showing excellen ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "This is a highly aromatic wine, pungent with guava jelly and ripe tropical scents, and not subtle in the least. The blend of 39% Viognier, 29% Grenache Blanc, 20% Marsanne and 12% Roussanne provides a palate dominated by fragrant tuberose flowers, which translate to strong white flower flavors throughout." (2/2015)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Moving to the reds, the 2012 Zinfandel Foxglove comes from Paso Robles and offers plenty of classic Zin bramble, briar and sweet kirsch to go with a medium-bodied, forward and easy-drinking feel. It’s another wine deserving a multiple bottle purchase. This is another solid lineup of superb values by the team at Varner." (8/2014) K&L Notes: Part of the Varner brothers range of wine (which also includes Varner and Neely), Foxglove is their "negociant" label. Their 2012 Zin includes a touch of Peite Sirah for added depth and structure, resulting in yet another wine tha... Read More »
From the winery: "While robustly fruited in its youth, Broadside Cabernet Sauvignon is graced with an underlying framework of subtle tannin and acidity that ensures a bright future in the cellar as well. Black currant and berry compote highlight a brightly wound core of berry fruit and spice. Finishes dry with a sleek vein of minerality."
Jeff Runquist helped to introduce Syrah to the program at J. Lohr Winery when he worked there in the early 1990s. "At the time we were unfamiliar with Syrah, and so we spent quite some time exploring the various styles and flavors this grape produced," according to Runquist. Despite appreciating the "terroir-driven character" of Old World Syrah, with its earthy, flinty, and dusty aromas and flavors, he was smitten with deeply flavored old vine Syrah from McClaren Vale and the Barrosa Valley of South Australia, which he attempts to emulate with his Paso R... Read More »
The Other One is a barrel selection of the most site specific and mineral driven barrels of Glenrose Mourvedre in our cellar. The Mourvedre from the upper and lower terraces was picked within three days of each other during the first week of October. 100% whole cluster and aged in 85% neutral oak and 15% new French oak, The Other One has plenty of black cherry fruit with notes of sagebrush, roasted meats, and mouthwatering minerality.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Charred meat, blood, concrete and elderberry form a deep and complex nose. The fine-grained tannins deliver gamy, blackberry flavors, making for a very solid wine that’s a steal of a deal." (11/2014) K&L Notes: The winery blended in 24% Petit Verdot from their estate Huerhuero Vineyard to enhance the mouthfeel and structure of this Cabernet, which should make a good match with weekday steak or other hearty dinners; their 2010, also from a cool vintage, scored 91 points in Wine Enthusiast.
Aromas of lemon zest, kumquat, lemongrass, and ruby red grapefruit. Although it displays some restraint at first, it soon opens up to notes of honeydew melon, white rose and fresh herbs. The palate is light on its feet, with lean, zippy acid holding together a core of flavors that span honey mandarin, lemon curd, and green apple. The finish stays tight and clean, with a kiss of agave nectar and wet stone. Aiming to preserve the intense fruit and aromatics of these varieties, this blend was fermented and aged in 100% stainless steel. Hand-picked in the ea... Read More »
According to the winery: "The Cabernet Sauvignon is selected from well drained vineyards on cool rolling hills in Paso Robles. The vineyards receive plenty of mid-day heat and cool evening breezes to produce balanced grapes. The California Karma Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich and full wine with youthful, juicy fruit aromas. This wine finishes off balanced with soft tannins and a fleshy mouth feel. Enjoy this Cabernet along with some grilled meat or your favorite pasta dish."
92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Tasted out of barrel, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve shows the vintage’s more forward, supple and textured style. Full-bodied, beautifully concentrated and rich, it offers impressive black and blue fruits, graphite and crushed rock-like minerality in its rounded, decadent personality. It will be ready to go on release and evolve nicely through 2022. Jeb Dunnuck" (8/2014)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
From the winery: "Aromatic with ripe black cherry, blackcurrant and berry fruit with vanilla, cinnamon and subtle dried fall leaf accents. Classic cabernet with moderate plus blackcurrant and cherry fruit and baking spice flavors on the entry. Sweet tobacco and savory herbal notes arrive on the mid palate, along with beautifully balanced tannins that provide a structure that supports the wine through its perfectly balanced, clean finish."
From Justin: "Made using the same method as a traditional Port, Justin Obtuse instead features Cabernet Sauvignon, our hallmark grape variety. A portion of the natural sugar from the grapes is left unfermented for a touch of sweetness that complements the varietal flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon. With only a few months in barrel for some depth, Obtuse has a crisp, clean finish when compared to traditional versions of this type of wine.  Tasting Notes: "Appearance: Deep ruby purple core with violet rim. Aroma: Blackberry and blackcurrant jam, black c... Read More »
From the Winery; The Ranch is an 83-acre farm located in the El Pomar area of Templeton, which is within the Paso Robles American Viticulture Appellation (AVA). Following daily warm temperatures, the Ranch is cooled nightly by Pacific Ocean breezes flowing through the Templeton Gap. The 83 acre ranch was planted to 44.5 acres of wine grapes in 2008, with their first vintage release in 2010. In the Puglia region of Italy, Zinfandel is known as Primitivo, which could translate to original, wild, or even savage. What ever it means, the weather in Paso Roble... Read More »
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Audacious (38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Syrah, 18% Grenache and 8% Petit Sirah) reminds me of a Howell Mountain Cabernet with its creme de cassis and purple fruits, lead pencil shavings, caramelized meats and chalky minerality. As with the other 2011s from this estate, it has full-bodied richness and depth, solid mid-palate concentration and building tannin that comes through on the finish. It's a terrific wine that will have 10-15 years of longevity. Located high up on the west side of Paso Robles, at an elevation of 1,950 feet, Law Estate is ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Connoisseurs Guide: "**Good Value** Chocolate, toasty spice and an interesting suggestion of smoke are backed up by enough black cherry fruit to keep this bottling within fairly broad varietal lines, and its fruit manages to keep pace in the vaguely leathery, slightly astringent flavors that ensue. The wine, while not hugely tannic, does tend to get a bit dry at the finish, yet, in this era of rising Cabernet prices, this one offer a lot to like for the money." (8/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Smoke, plum jelly and a touch of violet form the aromas for this offering. The tannins are nicely thick, wi ...Read More »
Opolo aims for a decadent, spicy, pomegranate, fig and cranberry flavored Zin, with jammy raspberry and savory butterscotch overtones, with plenty of vanilla, pepper, and cinnamon spice in between.
This is an exciting new Project from Steve McClean X Vineyards whose family has been greatly successful with growing and making wine from their estate Norman Vineyards in Paso Robles. Steve is getting most of his fruit from the Norman Vineyard but also sources some other local prestigious Paso Robles Vineyards. This Blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvigno, and 25% Cabernet Franc. The Clemence has jammy red fruits, that contain red current, and ripened cherries all of which flow well across the palate. The balanced acidity, complements the enduring oak finish of t... Read More »
A blend with 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 6% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 2% Syrah, 1% Cabernet Franc and 2% other red. Aged 12 months in Missouri and Minnesota American oak barrels, with toasted heads. Winemaker's notes: "The 2012 J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon is red-purple in color with a bright hue at release. Fruit aromas are black cherry, plum and blueberry accented with a barrel bouquet of toasted pastry, dark caramel and vanilla. Sturdy tannins strike the palate and finish with the high-toned fruit signature typical of the Paso Rob... Read More »
Winery tasting notes: "The dark red color and ruby rim entices the senses with rich blackberry and boysenberry aromas. Seductive dark fruits envelop the nose and palate while black cherry, anise, and vanilla coat the mouth. Firm tannins balance the powerhouse of fruit and lead to a strong, lasting finish of black pepper, pipe tobacco, and spicy oak."
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Looking at the 2011s from bottle, and always a rock-solid bottle of wine and a great entry into the style here, the 2011 Estate Blend offers up plenty of ripe plum, licorice, crushed flowers and violet-like nuances as well as a medium to full-bodied, balanced profile in the mouth. Showing the cooler vintage with its overall freshness and focus, it’s beautifully done and should drink nicely for 3-5 years, Drink now-2018. An estate that continues to go from strength to strength, Epoch is owned by Bill and Liz Armstrong, with the wines made by Jordan Fiore ...Read More »