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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
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 »
Praise from the Wine Advocate: "Without a doubt, Steve Clifton is producing some of the finest examples of Italian variety wines in California. While I think you get the most bang for the buck from Steve’s more inexpensive whites and reds, his upper-tier Nebbiolos and blends certainly have unique characters and offer high quality." (JD, 08/2013) And from Antonio Galloni's Vinous: "Is there anything Palmina doesn't do well these days? In the past, this lineup of Italian-inspired wines has always had one or two slight underachievers, but not this year. Eve... Read More »
Qupe should be on the radar of any California Chardonnay drinker who is interested in a wine with moderate alcohol and loads of character. Y Block is one of the older Chardonnay blocks at Bien Nacido. It’s located on the gravelly river banks of the Cuyama River, just opposite the winery. Qupé is the only winery that gets these grapes. Lucky for them (and for us), because this fruit-forward, though balanced Chard is wonderfully tasty and a considerable value, too!
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 »
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 »
Another great brew from wine country. Brewery notes: "Hoppy Poppy IPA is a light-bodied, 'WestCoast' India Pale Ale featuring Centennial, Cascade, and Simcoe hops and poppy seeds. Like Figueroa Mountain in May, this brew is bursting with a bouquet of floral, citrusy hop flavors and aromas. Like Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blanc this brew is dry, citrusy and floral. Bright aromas of grapefruit, orange oil, lemon zest and pine needles abound. The flavor is mellow and smooth with a very moderate lingering bitterness."
Inventory: San Francisco
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 several years. Members 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... 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 »
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)
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)"
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.
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 »
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."
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 »
90 points Antonio Galloni: "Inky purple. Highly perfumed aromas of dark fruit liqueur, potpourri and incense, with a peppery spice quality emerging with air. Juicy blackberry and blueberry flavors are complicated by notes of allspice and violet, with a smoky quality sneaking in on the back end. Supple tannins build with air and give shape to the long, spicy, penetrating finish. Very fresh and very syrah, with fruit to burn. While Qupe is now partnered with Charles Banks' Terroir Selections group, Bob Lindquist is still very much present and in charge here. Like his longtime stabl ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Smooth-textured, with zesty wild berry, raspberry and black licorice flavors, showing spicy floral scents and a touch of lavender, gliding through on the finish. Drink now." (8/2015)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-building supple tannins." (12/2014)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "CELLAR SELECTION At first, there’s a slight green herb funkiness of sharp dill on the nose of this single-vineyard offering from the Jackson Family-owned Cambria brand, where Santa Maria native Denise Shurtleff has made the wine since 1999. Once sipped, that evolves into a nice smokiness that sits atop tart green apple and Asian pear." (9/2014)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Leading off the three Chardonnay’s, the 2012 Katherine’s Vineyard offers beautiful flint-like minerality to go with stone fruits, white flowers, vanilla curd and brioche on the nose. Medium-bodied, tight, fresh and ...Read More »
92 points Antonio Galloni: "Vivid ruby-red. Highly perfumed scents of smoky black raspberry, potpourri and candied licorice. Seamless and sweet on the palate, offering energetic red and dark berry compote flavors and an exotic floral pastille quality. Gains richness with air and finishes long and focused, with clinging sweetness, supple tannins and a hint of bitter chocolate. As the trend toward more graceful, low-octane wines moves ahead in Santa Barbara County and elsewhere, Jim Clendenen has emerged as perhaps the eminence grise of the movement. That probably rubs him the wrong ...Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale yellow. Vibrant pear, nectarine and lime aromas are complicated by wet stone and white flowers. Silky and sharply focused, offering energetic citrus and orchard fruit flavors lifted and sharpened by dusty mineral and floral tones. This juicy, exhilarating wine offers a suave blend of depth and vivacity and finishes on a bright note of lime zest." (12/2014)91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Doug Margerum blends fruit from the McGinely, Curtin, Star Lane, Happy Canyon and Grassini vineyards for this ever-popular bottling. Aromas of honeysuckle, green pears and ceanothus blossoms introdu ...Read More »
From the winery: "This vintage is structured to please. The color is a medium bright red. The fruit aroma is of raspberry, the most typical and appreciated of the Pinot aroma signifiers. There are supporting whiffs of earth, spice and candle smoke. What is most appealing about this wine is the flavor. It has soft tannins complemented by a warm ripe fruit and supple oak. Like all classic Pinot Noirs this wine is at its best with food."
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "* Editors’ Choice * This phenomenal bottling from the winemaking team of Mike Sinor and Nathan Carlson hits the nose with a judicious touch of vanilla laced buttercream as well as scorched lemon slices and orange peels. It’s playfully lithe on the palate, with just a touch of oak warmth, racy acidity, chalky grip and a faint hint of dill. It’s great for now, but will age with nutty style thanks to the balancing tensions." (5/2015)91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "In the same ballpark, the 2012 Chardonnay is a rich, soft and textured white that has classic white peach, citrus blossom, brio ...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)
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Chardonnay Estate Sta. Rita Hills is a smoking effort that represent a fabulous value in Chardonnay. Made in a pure, clean style, it was barrel-fermented and aged 8 months in neutral oak. It gives up serious notes of lemon, lime peel, tinges of wild herbs and salty minerality to go with a medium-bodied, balanced and elegant profile on the palate that keeps you coming back to the glass. (JD)" (8/2014)91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright yellow. Very fresh aromas of white peach, tangerine, gingery spices, jasmine and iodine. At once rich and lively, with bright acidity and firm ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Menthol and sweet sage aromas leap off this wine from Steve Clifton. They spice up the black cherry and blackberry juice backbone that comes from this Nipomo vineyard, located seven miles from the Pacific. The palate shows lots of energetic verve, with flavors of dried cranberries, raspberries, licorice and slate, finishing long on a sagebrush-driven sense of chaparral." (8/2015)91 points Antonio Galloni: "Brilliant red. High-pitched raspberry, floral pastille and Asian spice aromas are deepened by notes of cola and licorice. Nervy and precise on the palate, offering sweet cherry an ...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 »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Starting off the Pinot Noirs, the 2013 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills is an outstanding effort that offers juicy black cherries, spice, earth and ground herbs in its sweetly fruited, rounded and supple style. There’s good concentration here, and it opens up nicely in the glass. Already delicious, it will thrill over the coming 5-7 years. Made by Jennifer Lea Tensley, these are first-rate Pinot Noirs (and a Chardonnay) that have singular, individual characters. They don’t skimp on fruit or texture, yet they also have plenty of earthy, savory characteristics ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
While the Central Coast is certainly known for its Pinot Noir, there are plenty of other great wines there as well. Take, for example, the wealth of Rhône-styled wines in the greater area. The 2011 De Su Propia Cosecha “La Cosecha” Central Coast Rhône Blend is one of the new steals we found on our recent Central Coast trip. With pretty tones of violet, rich pork fat, fine spices and a touch of blackberry, this juicy, plump wine was a treat and a shocking value. Cocoa powder, beef au jus and black pepper dovetail seamlessly to create a fun yet serious win... Read More »
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 »
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 »
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale yellow. Fresh lime and pear on the nose, with a suave mineral undertone and vibrant floral qualities. Clean and brisk, with high-pitched citrus flavors that give way to richer orchard fruits and fig with aeration. The impressively persistent finish leaves a bitter lime zest quality on the palate. I like this wine's marriage of depth and tension." (11/2013)91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Sta. Rita Hills stars Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton deliver a golden-hued sparkler with aromas of yellow flowers, fresh picked pears and pressed apples. It explodes on the palate with lemon zest fol ...Read More »
Meeresboden, meaning ocean soil, is a blend of John Sebastiano and Kick-on Ranch vineyards in Santa Barbara County all grown on ancient ocean deposit soils.
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid purple. Intense, spice-accented black and blue fruits on the nose, with a suave floral quality gaining power with air. Juicy, expansive and lovely, offering sweet blueberry and mulberry flavors and a touch of candied licorice. Really aromatic today, and approachable as well. Distinctly extroverted in style, with excellent finishing clarity and tangy persistence. (JR)" (11/2013)
From Rayn Deovlet, a rising star from California's Central Coast who works alongside the owners of the vineyards he sources from, to grow fruit exactly to his specs for incredibly results. This entry level bottling wine from Ryan comes from the Sanford & Benedict and Solomon Hills vineyards--some of the oldest vines in Santa Barbara County-- vinfied in stainless and undergoing partial malolactic fermentation. It spends 19 months in 25% new French oak. Just 119 cases produced. Winemaker notes: "Fresh pineapple, citrus fruit and juicy stone fruit, with a s... Read More »
93-95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Petite Sirah looks to be another killer vintage of this cuvee. First made in 2003, this 2013 offers an inky purple color to go with deep, decadent dark fruits, full-bodied richness and depth, and plenty of fine tannin. It’s a beauty to drink over the coming decade or so. Making their wine in the town of Santa Barbara, Craig Jaffurs and David Yates continue to make a bevy of outstanding wines, all of which remain reasonably priced. Both their 2011s and 2012s are made in a fresher, lighter-weight style that highlights purity and finesse over ric ...Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(43% grenache, 41% syrah, 9% mourvedre, 4% counoise and 3% cinsault): Bright violet color. Fresh blueberry and violet candy on the highly perfumed nose. Fleshy and appealingly sweet, offering intense black and blue fruit flavors that pick up spiciness with air. Emphatically fruity and supple in texture, finishing smooth and long, with just a hint of tannins." (11/2013)90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Coming from 11 different vineyards, Doug Margerum’s blend of 43% Grenache, 41% Syrah, 9% Mourvèdre, 4% Counoise and 3% Cinsault offers squeezed olallieberries and dried oregano on the nose. ...Read More »
From Folkway Wine Co; 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, and 13% Cabernet Franc coming from 68% Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, 27% Bien Nacido Vineyard, and 5% Black Ridge Vineyard. Using a mix of new Heavy and medium toast French oak, new medium toast American oak, and neutral barrels aged for 18 months in Barrel. A deep yet bright sanguine red, the Revelator emits flavors of kirsch, currant pomegranate, leaden pencil shavings, and molten chocolate. With moderate tannins and balanced acidity, the palate is layered with flavors of dripping-ripe bing ... Read More »
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
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.
Inventory: San Francisco