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K&L Staff Recommendations
A pretty green-gold color, this refreshing white combines crisp acidity with a full, rich floral nose. A lovely Gavi di Gavi perfect for sipping with scallops.
94 points James Suckling: "Pale, watery color with a slightly green tinge. Cherry blossom with stony green apple peel on nose. Crisp, dry but elegant tropical-fruit character, saltiness and tannins offer focused structure. Fresh, elegant finish. An amazing Friulano." (9/2014)
Remo Farina's Bianco di Custoza is a blend of aromatic white grapes from the Moreniche hills, southeast of Lake Garda in Veneto. The blend of 40% Garganega, 25% Trebbiano, 15% Fernanda, 20% Malvasia are grown in calcareous clay soils. The wine is vinified entirely in stainless steel to maintain its fresh, bright, and aromatic profile. Notes of peach and white flowers reverberate on an easy-going palate that is perfect as an aperitif or with light dishes and fish.
Always a bargain from one of K&L's favorite direct imports. The 37-acre Blason property in Gradisca d'Inzonzo, owned by Giovanni and Valentina Blason, is just a few miles from the Slovenian border. Their Friulano is always rich and complex, but balanced, with round frut, minerality and hints of savory herbs.
This 100% Falanghina is wonderful, it's fermented in stainless steel, and then kept on its lees for two months before being bottled. The nose is a complex perfume of elderflowers and white peach, with a bit of crushed stone that is couched in a med-full body, and it has a long and decidedly refreshing finish. (Greg St.Clair, K&L's Italian buyer)
We started importing the wines of this small family-owned winery in Colli Orientali de Friuli (not far from the Slovenian border) with the 2001 vintage. Back then they were far better known in Italy, where they have continuously garnered accolades from Gambero Rosso, but these days they have quite a following here at K&L, too. Vintage after vintage the wines from the brothers Ermacora (Dario and Luciano) sell out very quickly. And they still adhere to the motto: Do little, in order to do better.
From the Collio DOC on Italy's border with Slovenia, Venica is one of the region's most well-known and respected estates. Jesera actually means "little lake" in Slovenian, named for where the vineyard sits at the bottom of a cool valley. From the winey: "The natural copper color extracted with maceration is the signature of this wine and its richness reminiscent of williams pear, banana, and acacia flowers wrapped in a slight scent of fresh apricot. Intriguing taste with pleasant flavors of pear syrup and quince peels. Good acid/alcohol balance with a lo... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "Fabulously dense and flavorful. Aromas of sliced green pears and lemons follow through to a full body with a rich and tangy aftertaste. I like the lemon grass and herb undertones. Flinty too. A blend of pinot blanc, chardonnay and sauvignon banc. Drink now." (7/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "A blend of 60% Pinot Bianco, 30% Chardonnay and 10% Sauvignon, this reveals a fragrance of white flowers and tree fruit. The juicy palate delivers white peach, yellow apple and a mineral note alongside fresh acidity." (6/2014)
The Castelcerino vineyard is planted on predominantly volcanic soil, giving a distinct minerality to the 100% Garganega fruit.
This is always one of the most popular Italian whites at K&L. Made entirely from Vermentino from the Gallura Highlands on the island of Sardenia. The granitic soils force the vines to struggle to survive, but that struggle (like so many) gives the wine its character. The 2013 is dry and full, with lots of white fruit, a touch of green pepper and a salty minerality that makes this a natural pairing with seafood. Don't miss.
We started importing the wines of this small family-owned winery in Colli Orientali de Friuli (not far from the Slovenian border) with the 2001 vintage. Back then they were far better known in Italy, where they have continuously garnered accolades from Gambero Rosso, but these days they have quite a following here at K&L, too. Vintage after vintage the wines from the brothers Ermacora (Dario and Luciano) sell out very quickly. And they still adhere to the motto: Do little, in order to do better. Their 2013 Friulano is no exception. The 2012 scored 90 poi... Read More »
Giovanni Blason and his consulting enologist Andrea Rossi have turned this 37-acre property into a juggernaut of affordable quality wines. Giovanni and his wife Valentina own this winery in Gradisca d’Inzonzo, 3.75 miles from the Slovenian border and about 20 miles north of Trieste. This white offers such intense floral aromatics, with, jasmine, elderflowers, and lime blossoms, you'd guess that there would be some correlating sweetness on the palate, but this one from Blason is absolutely dry. Great with cheese!
Vietti's Roero Arneis is one of the most delicious and consistent versions of this varietal we carry every vintage. The grapes for this wine come from 25-year-old vines in Santo Stefano Roero. Fermented in stainless, they suppress malo to preserve the crisp acidity and freshness. And it is fresh, with mineral accents that complement its floral, citrus and melon aromas and flavors. Delightful with food.
Edi Keber, viticulturalist of Zegla in the area of Collio, a few meters from Brda, Slovenia, is one of the mavericks of this territory. The excellent quality of his wines runs parallel with the volcanic character of this farmer. The year 2008 marked a momentous milestone for Keber as the azienda decided to commit to the production of a single white grape wine, the Collio, a blend of three varieties: Friulano for structure, Malvasia Istriana for its aromatic qualities, and Ribolla Gialla for acidity, lending to the production of a wine with remarkable wei... Read More »
Frascati doesn't have the best reputation--it's often the innocuous white wine served as "house wine" across Rome--but this one from Casale Marchese transcends any preconceived notions. Made from Malvasia del Lazio, Trebbiano Toscano, Malvasia di Candia, Bonvino and Bellone grown on family farms in the Tusculo hills and brought to us by one of our favorite Italian importers, Oliver McCrum (it's how you KNOW it's going to be good), this is fresh and delightful. Notes of basil complement peach and nectarine with a slight almond underpinning. It's fresh, ea... Read More »
Impressive for its purity and refreshing mineral qualities, Valle dell'Acate takes the Inzolia varietal to a whole new level of quality. As a second label, the Case Ibidini range (pronounced 'bidini) consists of varietally labeled wines from the estate intended for more casual consumption. The local name of the area where the estate is situated, Bidini, is drawn from the ancient root Bidis. This in turn referred to the name of a group of early Hellenic settlers who populated the area nearly 20 centuries ago. These wines provide a purity and authenticity ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
94 points James Suckling: "A gorgeous and flavorful white with sliced mangoes, apples and lemons. Full and fresh with a long, long finish. Full of character. Always one of the best wines of Italy. A blend of sauvignon, chardonnay, ribolla gialla, malvasia Iastriana, and picolit. Screw cap." (12/2013)91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Vintage Tunina is a blend of Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana and Picolit that shows impressive density and integrity. The wine feels silky smooth and pleasurable on the palate, imparting stone fruit, preserved lemon and sun-ripened Golden Delicious appl ...Read More »
Italy known for good large, co-operative wineries. (A few good co-ops exist in other regions, but not lots of them in one region.) This top-notch wine comes from the co-op Erste + Neue, which is right in the center of Caldaro, one of the small towns on the "Wine Road" south of Bolzano. They make the range of white wines that you would expect, Sauvignon, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris (and an excellent Müller Thurgau). Gerhard Sanin, the enologist for E+N, favors a bright, restrained winemaking style that really allows this place and these varieties to shine.
90 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay Pomino Bianco is a gorgeous, bright wine from Frescobaldi's Castello di Pomino. Lemon, jasmine, and sweet white peaches are some of the notes that emerge from an effortless, impeccably balanced wine. A dollop of aromatic varieties adds texture and attractive floral overtones. This is a fabulous value from Frescobaldi. (Antonio Galloni)" (1/2015)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright pale straw. Lemon, white peach and jasmine on the knockout nose, with an enticing spicy nuance emerging at the back. Fresh and pure in the mouth, offering a lovely fruit/acid balance and ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The pretty 2012 Fiano di Avellino represents the single wine made by Tenuta Sarno 1860. This is a fresh and clean expression of the grape with bright notes of citrus, peach, pear, white flower and honey. Sur lie aging gives the wine good tension and density in the mouth. It wraps smoothly over the palate with layers of yellow fruit and crushed mineral. Mauro and Adele Sarno run the boutique Tenuta Sarno 1860 estate in Avellino. They make a single wine, a Fiano di Avellino, that sees fruit harvested from a high density vineyard planted 630 meters above se ...Read More »
95 points James Suckling: "Incredible richness of dried papaya and mango with lemon undertones. Peach stone too. Fabulous character of dried fruits and citrus as well as sea salt and oyster shell. Amazing finish. Drink now." (11/2014)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Green-tinged gold. Musky, lees-accented aromas of yellow apple, melon and cinnamon, with a suggestion of buttered toast. Supple and expansive, offering fresh lime and richer baked apple and guava flavors. Finishes with very good energy and focus, along with a note of vanillin oak. This is an impressively rich white wine, but terroir lovers may find ...Read More »
From Robert Parker: "The Fiorduva is a rare coastal white that has tropical fruit inflections, but at the same time, there is more than enough acidity to balance things out...The Fiorduva is 40% Ripoli, 30% Fenile and 30% Ginestra. If you haven’t heard about these indigenous white varieties before, don’t worry about it, neither have most people!...Marisa Cuomo is another Campanian producer making drop-dead gorgeous wines. This small estate is located on the Amalfi Coast, which lends its inimitable ocean influence to the wines."
94 points James Suckling: "This is a phenomenal white with sliced pear, apple and cream. Wonderful richness. It's full bodied, very layered and stylish. A petrol, candle-wax and dried-apricot character. Savory finish. Drink now." (12/2014)
Inventory: Redwood City
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Spicy and super zesty in the mouth, the 2013 Vermentino di Gallura Superiore Sciala is redolent of white flower, peach jasmine and dried ginger. Vermentino sometimes has a sage-like edginess and this wine delivers that quality in spades. If you like crisp whites to pair with fried fish, this is a perfect choice. The wine rests on its lees for five months with battonage and this process helps to add dimension and thickness on the finish. (ML)" (12/2014)
One of the best deals going in Pinot Grigio, this wine is from the Grave del Friuli DOC, an area perfectly suited to the varietal. The 2013 is crisp, fruity and fresh, exhibiting that classic subtle bitter hint on the palate that makes it such an ideal match with dishes like spaghetti with clams, or sauteed freshwater trout. It also makes a fine pairing with sushi. Enjoy while young and fresh.
93 points James Suckling: "The nose on this is phenomenal, with intense sliced peaches. Full body and loads of fruit with a long flavorful finish. Drink now." (12/2011)93 points Wine & Spirits: "This grows on a terrace above the north bank of the Isonzo river, where the soils are well-drained gravel and clay. The temperate 2009 vintage created a robust young sauvignon, structured as a grand and age-worthy wine. The texture is supple, carrying pungent fruit scents of pear and nectarine; the finish meshes that fruit with an earthier note. Delicious with veal schnitzel now or after several years in the cellar. ...Read More »
The 2012 Abtei Muri Sudtirol "Weiss" is a blend of 70% Pinot Bianco and 30% Pinot Grigio grown in the village of Appiano/Eppan in a southeast facing vineyard with predominantly gravelly limestone soils at elevations from 1500 to over 2000 feet, with vines aged 20-30 years. The wines from this area exhibit a persistent saltiness to go along with the excellent acidic balance. Winemaker Christian Werth ferments in stainless steel and then ages it for 15 months in large wooden casks with a weekly lees stirring. This wine can age easily for another 5-8 year... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Delicious and linear, this full-bodied, elegant wine has a subtle nose of white flower, grapefruit and flint. The fresh palate delivers nectarine, lemon zest, rosemary, sage and mineral. This will develop more complexity; drink through 2017." (7/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from a white grape indigenous to southern Italy, this 2012 Fiano di Avellino was aged on its lees for 12 months prior to being bottled without fining or filtration – a rarity. Coming from high elevation vineyards (between 1,600 and 2,100 feet), the wine shows crisp, honeyed currant notes intermixed with ...Read More »
This comes from a small growing area on the coast of Campania, just north of Naples, called Campi Flegrei. According to importer Oliver McCrum, the soils are so sandy in Campi Fegrei that the vines can be planted directly in it, without being grafted to rootstock. Being planted on their own rootstock allows for an incredibly long hang time that lets the flavors develop fully at low alcohol. Owner Luigi di Meo and his family grow a unique variety of Falanghina not found elsewhere in Campania. The wine it produces is incredibly minerally, with notes of cit... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
The wines of Ermacora are absolute steals for their price to quality ratios, which is why we continue to bring them in direct, vintage after vintage. Ribolla Gialla is a local selection of the ancient white grape variety Ribola that dates back at least as far as the 11th century, and the variety also has Slavic roots. This straw-yellow white wine is recommended as an aperitif or with delicate, fresh water fish. It also pairs well with hors d'oeuvres and vegetable-based appetizers--but caution on the cheese, advises our Italian wine buyer, Greg St. Clair.
Gallura is a peninsula on the northeast corner of the island of Sardinia that specializes in Vermentino (the grape is also grown on the coast of mainland Italy, on Corsica and in the south of France under the name Rolle). Mancini's version of the grape is very fresh and forward, with no oak or malolactic fermentation aromas, just grape juice fermented at low temperature in stainless steel. Enjoy this delicious, lively and aromatic white as an aperitif or with seafood (prawns with pasta?). A hint of citrus peel on the finish adds food-friendly complexity.
92 points James Suckling: "A crystal-clear chardonnay with chalk, lavender and floral character plus sliced apples and pears. Full to medium body, bright acidity and a clean and exciting finish. A stylish wine from the Marche. Drink now." (5/2015) K&L Notes: La Monacesca’s idea for this wine is for a crisp white, fresh and vibrant and the perfect accompaniment to the Marche’s seafood bounty, especially shellfish. The grapes are harvested in the early part of September and then aged for a year in stainless before the wine is bottled. The wine has a super focus, bright and clean with an underlyi... Read More »
Allura is a peninsula on the northeast corner of the island of Sardinia that specializes in Vermentino (the grape is also grown on the coast of mainland Italy, on Corsica and in the south of France under the name Rolle). Mancini's version of the grape is very fresh and forward, with no oak or malolactic fermentation aromas, just grape juice fermented at low temperature in stainless steel. Enjoy this delicious, lively and aromatic white as an aperitif or with seafood (prawns with pasta?). A hint of citrus peel on the finish adds food-friendly complexity.
Inventory: Redwood City
91 points James Suckling: "A rich and fruit Chardonnay with apple pie and milk aromas and flavors. Full and fruity, with lots going on. Always excellent." (12/2011)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Good, medium yellow color with gold highlights. Bright, pure aromas of tropical fruit, lime and white pepper. Dense, supple and fresh, offering bright orchard fruit, butter and pineapple flavors that gain depth and spiciness with air. In an exuberant, in-your-face, fruit-filled New World style, but avoids coming across as an over-the-top caricature. Serious unoaked chardonnay with impressive purity." (10/2011) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Cha ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Costa d'Amalfi Tramonti is a blend of Falanghina, Biancolella and Pepella–three white wine grapes found primarily in Campania. In this case, they make up the vinous patrimony of the beautiful Amalfi Coast that is known for its hairpin road curves and panoramic fishing villages, but not for its wine. There is a small and vibrant wine community here that few know about. This is a very crisp and zesty wine that adds sharp acidic accents to the palate. Its texture is lean and compact, but what the wine lacks in richness it makes up with lemon, peach ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Ischia Tenuta Frassitelli is an absolutely exceptional expression of Biancolella. Fruit is sourced from a four-hectare vineyard on a steep cliff overlooking the Mediterranean at 600 meters above sea level. This is an example of so-called "extreme viticulture" given the hardships of harvesting in these difficult conditions. We are lucky Casa d'Ambra pursues these radical efforts. The bouquet shows honey, yellow fruit, rose and saline notes of sea salt and marine breeze. The wine is as unique as it is beautiful. Casa d'Ambra is one of the great e ...Read More »
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright, light yellow-green. Deep aromas of tangerine, lime peel, quinine and white pepper. A densely packed, mineral-driven Vernaccia with spicy, floral, citrus flavors enlivened by harmonious acidity. Supple in the middle but distinctly firm-edged and tannic on the long back end, which is absolutely typical of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a rare tannic white grape variety." (9/2014)
Inventory: Redwood City
Wine Enthusiast: "This is a creamy and very well-executed blend of Chardonnay and Ribolla Gialla that opens with exciting aromas of stone fruit, citrus and honey, plus tiny touches of candy and butterscotch (a common aromatic characteristic of Ribolla Gialla)." (12/2012) Wine Spectator: "A crisp white, with a smoky base and hints of yellow apple, star fruit and almond. Tangy finish. Chardonnay and Ribolla Gialla. (Web-2013)" K&L Notes: This blend of 65% Chardonnay and 35% Ribolla Gialla is light, crisp, and citrusy with great minerality. An outstanding value!
93 points James Suckling: "Beautiful aromas of peaches and apples that follow through to a full body with layers of dried pineapple and peaches. A velvety texture from the phenolics in this. Long and flavorful. Layered, rich white that shows wonderful fruit." (12/2014) K&L Notes: Truly one of Italy's best white wines, Verdicchio is one of Italy's great white grapes and in this isolated Apennine Valley at 1200 feet magic happens. Not harvested until the first week of October this wine achieves complete physiological ripeness, that allows the flavors to deepen, allows the wine to show this uniqu... Read More »