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K&L Staff Recommendations
Montechiara Prosecco DOC $9.99
Wine Enthusiast: "Here’s a Prosecco Brut with a fuller, more generous personality that comes across in the form of peach, nectarine and grapefruit aromas. The wine has a light, golden color and offers frothy cream backed by a tight citrus finish." (7/2009) K&L Notes: San Venanzio has won many awards over the years. At K&L they get the coveted "Guido" award two thumbs up and three stars for value. On the nose, there are generous notes of apples, peaches, tropical fruits and pear blossom. It’s wonderfully balanced and elegant, with a pleasurable spiciness. The palate is rich and creamy,... Read More »
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)
This 2014 release is too new to have already been professionally reviewed, but the 2013 bottling garnered 90 points from Antonio Galloni. In the context of another previous vintage, Galloni writes: ""Paolo Saracco remains the reference point producer for Moscato d’Asti, with perhaps one or two close peers, and that is it. I have seen Saracco’s vineyards, and they are great sites, but they aren’t the only top Moscato vineyards, so I am perplexed why no one else can make wines at this level. But the truth remains that very few can, or are willing to make t... Read More »
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.
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 »
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)
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.
The Castelcerino vineyard is planted on predominantly volcanic soil, giving a distinct minerality to the 100% Garganega fruit.
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!
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Moscato 100% Intense grape, floral and honey aromas. Spicy. Sweet with crisp acid to balance. Moderately fine bubbles. Light body and alcohol (7%). Long finish, straightforward, some minerality." (3/2010) K&L Notes: Muscat grapes, being particularly aromatic, require a special winemaking technique in order to preserve the fruit's potent fragrance and to create a wine that is light on its feet and a fine accompaniment to fruit and nut-based desserts. The gently pressed grape juice is kept in refrigerated tanks until it is processed into the autoclave to obtain a spark... Read More »
This batch of the Blason Brut sparkling wine is made from 100% Ribolla Gialla grapes and is produced in a "long Charmat" method, meaning that it spend six months in tanks. Blason is from Isonzo in Italy's north easternmost region, called Friuli, which borders Slovenia.
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
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.
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)
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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "Talc powder and white pepper appear at first and the bouquet opens to include additional layers of citrus and stone fruit. The perlage is sharp and toned." (8/2013) K&L Notes: A direct buy makes this Brut level Prosecco a no-brainer, and quality conscious winemaking (several secondary fermentations take place per year to ensure freshness) makes it a pretty delicious choice as well. Stock up for parties! Four bottles per case.
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 »
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."
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 »
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
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.
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
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 »
The Bronca sisters grow their own fruit in steep hillside vineyards, then make base wine and perform the secondary (sparkling) fermentation on non-vintage batches three or four times a year, to ensure freshness. Low yields and hillside-grown fruit ensures that the wine has good concentration and acidity. This one's a clean, crisp and ultimately refreshing sparkler that is one of our favorites.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The non-vintage Prosecco del Valdobiaddene Particella 68 comes from a hillside vineyard planted with 40-60-year-old Glera vines in rocky soils. It reveals more minerality along with honeyed grapefruit and apple-like fruit. Crisp and light-bodied with more intensity and flavor than its sibling, it is a dry sparkler to enjoy over the next 1-2 years." (6/2014)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright straw-green. Sexy, clean aromas of floral white peach, apricot and tangerine. On the palate, soft citrus and pineapple flavors are enlivened by vibrant acidity and nicely extended on the creamy, ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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!
From the importer: "Fabio [Marchioni] makes less than four thousand cases of Verdicchio, which he used to bottle, cork and label by hand in his tiny cantina (now he's sprung for a bottling machine). The romance isn't the point, though; the point is that this wine is racy, vivid, and excellent with all kinds of seafood dishes. It is fermented and matured entirely in stainless steel (no oak) and does not undergo malolactic fermentation. Use it like you might use a Sauvignon Blanc, because Verdicchio has some of the same herbal aroma and flavor as Sauvignon... 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
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 »
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 »
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
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 »
From the winery: "ASKOS is the name of our project of rediscovery and selection of ancient Apulian grape varieties that are almost disappearing. Wines are produced by using exclusively these indigenous varietals, cultivated in their most suitable terroirs according to the traditional method. We have chosen a Greek 'Askos' (=wine jar) as a symbol of the wine making, a practice that in Puglia was started by the ancient Greeks. Bright yellow color with green shades. Intense fruity on the nose, with scent of tropical fruit, citrus, pear and fresh spices. On ... Read More »
From an "agriculturally self-sufficient" wine farm that include orchards and pasture, just a few miles outside of Roma along the Appian Way. The winery's note: "This has a straw-yellow color with golden reflections. The aromas are intense and elegant and range from floral scents to those of tropical fruit, together with notes of golden delicious apple and banana. The flavor is balanced, piquant and very elegant."
On the border of Tuscany, Lazio, and Umbria--the area that also happens to be the birthplace of the ancient Etruscan civilization--Paolo and Noemia d'Amico have built a winery deeply embedded in tradition. The landscape is a result of a long period of volcanic erosion, and is full of deep valleys of cliffs and rock walls. Their cellar is modeled after the Etruscans, and was built underneath the vines, ensuring that temps are always ideal. This Grechetto-Sauvignon Blanc blend is, according to the winery, "well-balanced, fresh, with a good persistence. Sce... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* The sweet interpretation of Marsala offers a more dynamic and intense bouquet with aromas of marron glacé, honey-covered almonds, candied fruit and dried prune. Drink it alone after dinner or pair it with a very aged Pecorino cheese." K&L Notes: Utterly integral to the sumptuously simple dessert Zabaglione, Florio's sweet Marsala is too tasty to be relegated to the back of the pantry. Macerate oranges or really any old fruit in a mixture of this with some added sugar and you'll have an authentic sweet sauce for any kind of cake or pudding. It is also delic... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Known for small berries and "spontaneous abortion" of the flower, Picolit fashions one of the rarest Italian passito wines. Golden hued with sumptuous honey, tropical and citrus notes, this complex white successsfully rivals Vin Santo for its ability to stand up to hearty cheeses or in a glass all by itself.
Arneis is the historical grape from the Roero district. It is typically pleasing on the palate with slightly lower acidity than typical Italian whites. This wine from the Luèt ("small wolf" in the Piedmontese dialect) vineyard is fermented 40% in French oak and 60% in stainless steel. It spends 4 months in stainless steel tanks. Straw yellow color with greenish hues introduce a floral nose with tropical fruit. A long and soft finish characterize the wine. A rare breed of Arneis, this complex and extremely rich white has enough acidity to keep everything ... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City