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K&L Staff Recommendations
The winegrowing estate of Chateau les Valentines is more than a century old. The estate originally brought their grapes to the local cooperative, but when Gilles and Pascale Pons took over in 1997, they decided to make their own wine. They built a modern winery and called the domaine "Les Valentines" after their children, Valentin and Clémentine. Château les Valentines now covers approximately 100 acres. The "Le Caprice de Clémentine" is part of the second range of wines coming from the estate. Moderately priced, it is a high quality Côtes de Provence m... Read More »
Sustainably grown, certified Qualisud. Bargemone is among the foremost estates of the Coteaux d’Aix, a small fine-wine district in the larger appellation of Provence. A benchmark producer of the delicious, dry rosé for which Provence is famous, the Commanderie was founded by the Knights Templar in the 13th century, and is home to a proud viticultural tradition with more than 160 acres of sustainably grown vineyards. Offering classic aromas of wild strawberries and red currants, with a light, floral character and a crisp, bone-dry palate, this is a rosé o... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A collaboration between Napa's Joel Gott and Dave Phinney, the semi-opaque 2012 Cotes Catalanes Grenache is a smoking blend of 100% Grenache that comes from the singular, black schist soils located around the village of Maury, in the Agly Valley in the Roussillon. Aged in French oak (a small part being new) and hitting 15.6% natural alcohol, this sexy, full-bodied, pedal-to-the-metal effort bears plenty of resemblance to the old-vine, 100% Grenache efforts coming from Chateauneuf du Pape. Kirsch liqueur, blackberry, toasted spice, garrigue and hints of v ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "In bottle, the 2013 Vignes de Bila Haut checks in as a blend of 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 20% Carignan, from a combination of schist and limestone soils, that spent 12 months in a combination of concrete and stainless-steel tanks. It has great aromatics of dark berry fruits, bouquet garni, pepper and lots of minerality, medium+-bodied richness and depth, and a soft, seamless and even elegant fell on the palate. It’s ready to go now, and will drink nicely for 4-5 years. (JD)" (5/2015) K&L Notes: Domaine Bila Haut is the passion project of famous Rhone/Hermitage prod... Read More »
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 »
Domaine Begude is a small, family-owned property located high in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the Limoux region of the Languedoc. The long, cool growing season lends itself perfectly to the production of crisp and delicate wines, and this Sauvignon Blanc is no exception. More in the style of a Loire Valley Sancerre, with its fine, mineral-laden nose and fresh citrus fruits on the palate, this is the perfect accompaniment to grilled fish, oysters, or just by itself. Make this one your house white! Organically certified by Ecocert & NOP.
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 »
Catherine and James Kinglake bought the domaine in 2003 and have since organically harvested their 29 hectares, creating excellent natural wines that truly express the terroir of Limoux. From the website, the 2014 rosé of Pinot Noir is "delicate and refined with wild strawberry and cranberry."
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 »
Domaine Begude is a small, family-owned property located high in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the Limoux region of the Languedoc. The long, cool growing season lends itself perfectly to the production of crisp and delicate wines, all organically certified by Ecocert & NOP. This is a zippy and bright Chardonnay, with citrus, apple, and pear notes underlined by a refreshing minerality.
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Penya’s 2013 Côtes Catalanes is a beauty, and the finest vintage of this cuvee I’ve tasted. Giving up lots of sweet black raspberry, spring flowers and spice, this medium to full-bodied effort has sweet fruit, a rounded, supple texture and good acidity. It’s a knockout bottle of wine to buy by the case as a house red for drinking over the coming couple of years. (JD)" (4/2015) K&L Notes: From importer Dan Kravitz, the man behind such great values as Cabirau, Syrousse and Le Cirque. Cases de Pene is a tiny village in the Roussillon region of Southern France, just 30 m... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Moving to the classic cuvee and even more impressive (it was one of the top wines I was able to taste for this report), the 2010 Bandol, which is over 90% Mourvedre, sees partial destemming and aging in oak casks, offers both gorgeous aromatic complexity and superb richness and depth on the palate. Giving up notions of pepper, Provencal herbs, underbrush and leather, with a solid core of dark fruit, this medium to full-bodied, pure, layered and beautifully balanced effort needs another 2-3 years of bottle age, and will easily keep for a decade or more pa ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
One of our most popular rosés, this fresh and balanced wine comes from one of our favorite co-ops in the south of France. It's a blend of Syrah and Grenache growing in volcanic soils in the heart of the Languedoc. With aromas and flavors of ripe strawberries and raspberries, this crisp, medium-bodied rose is an ideal complement to spring green salads, light cheeses, mac and cheeses, mozzarella cheese salads, goat cheeses, cheese and crackers and olives and salumi...or enjoy as an evening aperitif, cheese optional.
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A blend of Grenache with around 20% Syrah and 10% Carignan, the Cabirau 2012 Cotes du Roussillon Malgre les Functionnaires delivers lusciously ripe black raspberry laced with sage, horehound and smoky black tea, and garlanded with heliotrope. As usual with this cuvee, there is a brightness and seed-crunching 'ping' that convey energy and invigoration to an infectiously juicy finish. Here is a stupendous value that projects distinctive Roussillon virtues including downright dynamic interactivity. I suspect that it will show well for the better part of the ...Read More »
In the picturesque wooded ridges of the Massif de Maures in the village of Les Mayons in Provence, 3rd generation wine growers Isabelle and Jean-Pierre Daziano farm their small family domaine naturally (without the use of pesticides or chemicals) in order to produce fresh, terroir-driven wines that capture the essence of Provence. This crisp, dry rosé is the quintessential Provencal style, made from a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and Rolle. It offers lovely citrus and strawberry aromas and flavors, with punchy watermelon notes on the palate accent... 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 »
A pleasant little Côtes de Provence Rosé from a property that's played host to St. Thomas Aquinas in 1252, was the residence of the Prince of Naples in the 1400s, appeared in the Register of Noble Houses. Rock fans may like to know that the recording studio "Studio Miraval" created on the site has reverberated with the music of Sting, Sade and the Cranberries, and that Pink Floyd recorded "The Wall" there in 1979. Miravals' current residents Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt partnered with Château de Beaucastel's Perrin family to produce the 2012 wines. Hey, ... Read More »
This wine is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache and Tibouren and is sourced from vineyards surrounding Clos Cibonne's property. All grapes are grown on clay and schist soils providing expressive floral and mineral notes. Cibonne has been around since 1797, and since a renovation in the 1990s, has been producing wines of unique character and complexity. 12.5% abv.
The name of the estate is the first indication of its long, illustrious past. Located in the heart of Provence, near routes traveled by Crusaders in the early Middle Ages, the Commanderie de Peyrassol was founded by the Knights of Templar who were dedicated to protecting the Crusaders en route to, and in, the Holy Land. The first recorded harvest took place in 1256 and winemaking has continued uninterrupted throughout the centuries. When the Templars were brought down in 1311 by the King of France, who was nervous of their power and jealous of their weal... 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.
Domaine Begude is a small, family-owned property located high in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the Limoux region of the Languedoc. The long, cool growing season lends itself perfectly to the production of crisp and delicate wines, all organically certified by Ecocert & NOP. The "Exotique" is 100% Gruner Veltliner, a grape not authorized for cultivation in France. James Kinglake, owner of Begude, wanted to experiment so he sought out cuttings from his friend Markus Huber of Huber winery located in the Traisental region of Austria. The experiment suc... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Slightly more ripe, voluptuous and textured than the more Syrah-dominated l’Esquerda, the translucent purple-colored 2013 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Latour de France Occultum Lapidem comes from the schist soils around the village of Latour de France. A blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 10% Carignan that was harvest on September 15 and aged all in concrete tanks, it’s a fabulous wine that offers elegant notes of red and black raspberries, roasted herbs, pepper, melted licorice and asphalt. These flow to a medium to full-bodied 2013 that has a full, l ...Read More »
Alicante, Carignan, Grenache, Merlot and Syrah From the winery: "This area has its roots in the foothills of the Laces of Montmirail. Property of the Vulture family, Domaine Carobelle has produced pure and natural wines for generations. Cultivated with passion and rigor in organic farming, the old vines of Grenache and Syrah are now producing balanced wines, rich and complex with intense flavors of red fruits"
This rosé comes from a handful of parcels that total seven hectares of vineyards planted in clay and limestone soils, on a gentle north-northwest-facing slope. Grenache-dominated, with smaller percentages of Mourvedre and Cinsault. Like the Cassis Blanc, the wine is taut, fresh and slightly saline. The winery makes only a small quantity of this, making this extremely hard to find, but its deliciousness makes it highly sought after. Get yours before it's gone.
From a cooperative winery in the ancient Provençal village of Cuers, the Saint Roch les Vignes Côtes de Provence Rosé is a blend of 50% Grenache with 50% Cinsault, in the traditional Provençal bottle.
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."
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 »
Château Trillol sits high in the hills of southwestern France.The vineyard is located in between two of the Corbières terroirs: Termenès and Quéribus. The local grape varieties, Grenache, Syrah and Carignan, are harvested by hand and blended to produce authentic wines that are packed with character and a strong sense of place. From the winery: "The intense colour with deep purple highlights heralds in a wine with depth and complexity. Expressive, frank nose exuding aromas of red fruit, redcurrant, blackcurrant and a hint of oak. The front-of-palate is si... Read More »
Corsica is one of the great off the radar regions for wine production. The vineyards for Petroni date back to 1885 and are surrounded by the Corsican mountains to the west and the Mediterranean to the east. The winery is now in the hands of brothers Jacques and Francois Ramazotti. Like most classic roses of this region, it is a blend of 50% Niellucciu, 35% Sciaccarellu and 15% Grenache. How to describe Corsican rose? It is one of the finest of its kind with notes of nectarine, peach blossom and white flowers. It is succulent with wonderful acidity ... Read More »
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 »
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 »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Starting off the rosés, the 2014 Côtes du Roussillon Miraflors Rose is a direct press of 50% Mourvèdre, 30% Grenache and 20% Grenache Gris that was brought up all in stainless steel. Medium-bodied, fresh and racy, yet with solid depth of flavor, it gives up pretty strawberry, white peach and rose petal-like aromas and flavors. Drink it over the coming year. When it comes to quality-to-price ratios, no one does it better than proprietor Jean Marc Lafage. Located just outside of Perpignan, this estate has a wealth of old vines and vineyards to pull from, ...Read More »
Maison Angelot is run by the brothers Eric and Philippe Angelot. Their 57 acres of vineyards are divided into about 20 different parcels, some hillside and others along the valley floor. Harvest is both manual and with machine (depending on the parcel), and their modern winery houses temperature-controlled stainless-steel and fiberglass tanks. The mondeuse is 100% destemmed and fermented through carbonic maceration preserving freshness and brightness delivering a wine similar to a Beaujolais with more spice qualities.
There is the appellation of Bandol with its plethora of producers, some good, some mediocre; and then there is Château Pradeaux, the unique, inimitable, standard bearer for this ancient wine-growing district. Pradeaux is situated on the outskirts of the town of St. Cyr Sur Mer, which lies directly on the Mediterranean between Toulon and Marseilles. The estate is owned by the Portalis family who owned this property since before the French Revolution. The domaine is currently under the direction of Cyrille Portalis, who continues to maintain the great trad... Read More »
Spontaneous fermentation. An altogether preferable scenario to spontaneous combustion, and A LOT more fun to drink. This pink, semi-dry bubbly was made by spontaneous fermentation, otherwise known as methode ancestrale. Grapes are picked by hand (not just any grapes, these are the local Poulsard and Gamay grown on mountainous slopes in the shadow of the Alps), and fermented in chilled vats just reaching 5 or 6 degrees alcohol. The young and light wine is then bottled, along with its active yeast and considerable unfermented sugars. Under pressure of the ... Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Grenache Blanc, Muscat and Viognier. Fragrant and aromatic – shows the Muscat influence strongly. Broad texture and dry, light finish. (RH)" (2/2014) K&L Notes: The "Champ du Roy," or field of the kin, takes its name from Coupe Rose's 3.7 acre parcel of Viognier. This wine is a blend of Grenache Blanc and Marsanne for body and richness; Viognier for acid and perfume; and a touch of Muscat for exotic aromatics. These grapes were harvested by hand from very low-yielding mountain vineyards, making for a deliciously full yet fresh wine. Cotes du Brian is a zone named aft... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
The Côtes du Frontonnais winemaking region is located on the left bank of the Tarn River about 20 miles north of Toulouse. The area is generally flat, with occasional hills that create small slopes. The subsoil is composed of ice age deposits, topped by alluvial soil and rouget, a material very rich in iron that evokes parallels to the character of the wines. The typical climate of the region is similar to that of Bordeaux: warm and dry in the summer, and mild and wet in the winter. The grape that sets Fronton apart from other winemaking regions in Franc... Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "Bright orange-pink. Dried red berries and orange pith on the incisive nose and in the mouth. Dry and racy, with a slightly hard edge and a hint of lavender emerging slowly. Finishes firm and dry, with subtle warmth and good cling." (4/2015) K&L Notes: The name of the estate is the first indication of its long, illustrious past. Located in the heart of Provence, near routes traveled by Crusaders in the early Middle Ages, the Commanderie de Peyrassol was founded by the Knights of Templar who were dedicated to protecting the Crusaders en route to, and in, the Holy Land.... Read More »
This light-bodied, crisp rosé is made from the Cinsault grape by winemaker Jeff Carrel, at the Espitalet des Anges domaine in Capestang, which is situated on the ruins of an ancient Roman villa. Enjoy it as an aperitif or with salads, seafood, and poultry.
An elegant salmon pink, this rosé exudes aromas of summer cherries and raspberries, with a zippy, refreshing finish.
One of our favorite white wines at K&L Hollywood, thanks to the passionate championing of it by Jacques. It comes from a property in Southern France situated beneath a behemoth limestone outcropping called Cap Canaille, and it is just 200 meters from the Mediterranean. The vineyards are cooled by a trio of winds--the Tramontane, Mistral and Gregal--plus sea breezes, and the wines, both a blanc and rosé, are reflective of all of these factors.A blend of Marsanne, Clairette and Ugni Blanc, this dry, juicy wine tastes like white fruit and ocean spray, and i... Read More »
Roussette de Savoie can be made in many of the villages but the most special comes from the hill of Marestel. The hill has a 45-degree slope that provides a little bit of vertigo when standing at the top. The soil is scree (that fractured limestone). The grape is Altesse and it has a honeyed texture with vibrant acidity that often reminds one of Chenin Blanc. The hill of Marestel is regarded as one of the best (grand cru) sites for growing this grape. The Jacquin is classic Roussette, with vibrant acidity and a weighty texture that Jacquere and Chasselas... Read More »
The property that comprises Le Cellier du Palais has been in the Bernard family since 1700. The domaine is run by Béatrice Bernard, who recently took over from her father René, who took over from his father (who established the domaine) in 1974. The family grows three grapes on seven hectares in Apremont--Chardonnay, Jacquère and Altesse. This is an incredibly affordable wine from this region from one of the best known crus in the Vin de Savoie appellation made entirely from Jacquère. It's clean and citrusy, with soft minerality and plenty of acidity. A ... Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "Light orange. Intense red berry liqueur, blood orange and garrigue aromas are lifted and sharpened by suggestions of dusty minerals and gingery spices. Silky and concentrated, offering incisive redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors that expand on the back half. Shows a distinctly mineral, oily, almost saline quality that's reminiscent of big-time Chablis (yes, really!) and finishes with superb energy, thrust and length. Imagine what would happen if red grapes were planted in Montée de Tonnerre and then made into pink wine: that's pretty much what I did. D ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
89 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Composed of 80% Grenache Blanc and 20% Marsanne, the 2012 Vieilles Vignes Blanc comes from 50-year-old vines planted in limestone and clay soils. A delightful bouquet of caramelized honeyed grapefruit, white currants and other assorted citrus jumps from the glass of this crisp, dry, medium-bodied white. With surprising length and power, it reminded me of a restrained, more laid-back top white Hermitage at a fraction of the price. Consume it over the next several years. One of the top wine values I have ever tasted is from one of the newest appellation ...Read More »
Vigneron Marc Barriot has been producing wines in Roussillon since 2004. He sought out ancient vines and uses traditional practices to deliver some truly distinctive wines. Marc uses biodynamic methods, even plowing by horse, and uses minimal sulfur in his winemaking.
Say bonjour to your summertime white! Picpoul de Pinet is considered the "Muscadet of the South." Grown just meters from the oyster beds of the Bassin de Thau, the wine marries perfectly with fish and shellfish. Picpoul (also known as Folle Blanche or Gros Plant) means "lip stinger," which refers to the high acidity of its must. Great with oysters, assorted fruit de mer or grilled seafood. This wine is crisp and bright, with subtle floral and mineral notes on the nose. Bracing acidity backs up a wine with surprising breed for this price point. Château F... Read More »
This Picpoul is made by a collaboration of growers from the village of Florensac, with fruit from the best terroirs in the appellation. Bright and citrusy, with a hint of briny fresh-from-the-sea succulence, this refreshing white is a summertime VIP.