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K&L Staff Recommendations
Wine Enthusiast: "* Best Buy * Named after the grapes in the blend (Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon), this easygoing, savory wine doles out juicy blackberry, black currant, black cherry and a hint of licorice. Soft, round tannins provide the framework." (3/2015)
This Carato is a blend of 75% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and 10% Ciliegiolo and is just delicious; full, fleshy, voluptuous, sumptuous, truly hedonistic. It spends 10 months in Slavonian and American oak barriques, and we think at this price you too will be saying wow!
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Round and smooth, this delivers sensations of strawberry, wild cherry, raspberry, pine forest, menthol and cake spices. The concentrated flavors are balanced by supple tannins and fresh acidity. Enjoy this over the next few years." (10/2014)
93 points Antonio Galloni: "Dark bright red. Amarone-like opulence on the nose and in the mouth, with a raisiny nuance to the ripe, soft red cherry, sweet spice and herb aromas and flavors. So velvety and opulent I would have tasted it in Veneto had I tasted it blind, but it’s so well balanced and smooth that it’s pretty irresistible. Finishes long, with lush, smooth tannins and a hint of residual sweetness. I really like this wine because, for all its showy sweetness and opulence, it manages to retain a graceful quality without going over the top. Amarone lovers will score it even ...Read More »
Claudia Ferrero and her husband/winemaker Pablo Härri's estate is called the Podere Pascena and it sits in the southwesterly corner of Montalcino (they are bordered by Argiano and Banfi's Riserva vineyard "Poggio all'Oro"). The wines from this zone are really rich and you can feel the sun shining on these grapes, ripening, and filling them with a dense richness, while their wines show lots of black cherry, plum, chocolate with a satiny texture, round, full and broad on the palate. When we were first introduced to this winery, we thought it was so soft, f... Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "A very successful 2012 with a beautiful texture of ripe tannins plus cherry, chocolate and berry character. Full body and a silky texture. Outstanding harmony and balance." (10/2014)91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Torrione is seriously beautiful. Dark red cherry, plum, spice and mocha notes flesh out in a supple, radiant wine endowed with gorgeous depth and pure resonance. All the elements meld together in this gracious, juicy Sangiovese-based red from Petrolo. Dollops of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon round out the blend. (AG)" (9/2014)91 points Wine & Spirits: "Pure red Sangiovese flavors predominate in ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "A balanced white, with modest poached apple, stone, preserved lemon and graphite notes. Juicy. (Web Only—2015)" K&L Notes: Well almost Umbria, actually in Lazio but you can see Umbria from this vineyard!
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.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Here’s a structured but elegant wine that opens with aromas of wild berry, mint, clove and a balsamic note. The firm, fresh palate offers dried black cherry, raspberry, menthol, white pepper, grilled herb and a note of well-integrated oak while velvety tannins provide support. It’s great now but it will be even better in a few years. Drink through 2020." (7/2015)90 points Antonio Galloni: "Rich and explosive in the glass, the 2012 Chianti Classico is a beauty. Dark red stone fruits flesh out in a round, sensual wine built on pure texture. This fleshy, supple Chianti Classico offers ...Read More »
93 points Decanter: "Bright ruby and transparent, yet you find yourself searching the glass for a skeleton, skate-wing bones of neatly structured and delicate tannins fanning out through the fruit. Fine, focused and extremely drinkable. Drink 2015-2022" (6/2015)92 points James Suckling: "A beautiful red with delicate but rich flavors, bright acidity and an orange-peel undertone. Medium body with fine tannins and a fresh, clean, savory, salty finish. Very Burgundian. Pure Sangiovese. Drink now or hold." (10/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Here’s a vibrant wine that opens with pretty aromas of blue flower, rose and berry. The savor ...Read More »
The Castelcerino vineyard is planted on predominantly volcanic soil, giving a distinct minerality to the 100% Garganega fruit.
Tenuta di Aglaea cultivates the indigenous and mysterious Nerello grape on the cool volcanic terraces of Sicily's Mount Etna. Perfumed with minerally aromas, the wine is marked by a firm body and a freshness of fruit tones with gentle tannins. It is a wine of subtlety and will reward several years of cellaring. Try it with antipasti, pasta, vegetable dishes, and lighter meats like pork, veal, and poultry. 100% Nerello Mascalese.
Antonio Galloni: "Forward and expressive, the 2012 Barbera d'Alba is loaded with sweet red berries, mint, cloves, lavender and spices. Drink this supple, juicy Barbera over the next year or two, while the fruit remains vibrant." (5/2015) James Suckling: "A red with sliced-lemon and berry character, a medium body and a fresh, clean finish. Very lemony. Drink now." (3/2015)
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 »
K&L Italian Wine Buyer Greg St. Clair knew that Albatreti was a real find the moment he put his nose in a glass of the 2010 Brunello: "We’ve been travelling to Montalcino for more than 20 years and have tasted a veritable ocean of Brunello. We’d never even heard of this producer, the first vintage was the 2009 and we hadn’t seen it in the market at all. We re-tasted another bottle just to make sure we didn’t get mis-poured, and the second time we had a “Double Wow”! So we went out to meet the producer, Gaetano Salvioni and found a self proclaimed “hobbyi... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "Made with organic grapes, this fruity blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo/Colorino begins with aromas of ripe red berries, spice and espresso. The dense palate delivers fleshy black cherry, black pepper and balsamic herbs supported by youthfully aggressive, chewy tannins. Drink 2015-2020." (4/2014)
93 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Rosso di Montalcino is round, supple and beautiful from the outset. The radiance and generosity of the vintage comes through in spades in an open, textured Rosso that shows a little more weight and raciness than is the norm here. At the same time, there is plenty of underlying structure and tannin. This is a great introduction to the vintage. Jan Erbach describes 2012 as a year with dehydration and high skin to juice ratios. Quite simply, this is one of the Rossos of the vintage." (2/2015)
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Elena Fucci's latest release is the 2012 Aglianico del Vulture Titolo. The wine shines bright with primary aromas of dark fruit, herb, oak spice and dark volcanic tones of crushed granite and smoke. Given the proven track record of this wine, I'd expect this vintage to age for 15 to 20 years without a hitch. The 2012 vintage was only slightly warmer than average and those ripe fruit flavors do a lot to round out and soften the firm tannic backbone of the wine. There's a notable point of acidity that helps the wine to achieve an impressive sense of balanc ...Read More »
From the winery: "Ruby red in color with violet reflections, this wine is nicely toned in scent with hints of sour black cherry and cherry on recalls of coffee cream. Rich and tonic in the mouth, almost austere, this unique wine has a balsamic and fruity finish."
Inventory: San Francisco
Organically grown Nero d'Avola that's fresh, fruit-filled and affordable. A touch of bay leaf and mint complements the volcanic soil, sweet red fruit and peppery spice on this wine's nose and palate. Delicious!
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 »
90 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Rosso di Montalcino is beautiful. Rich, deep and pliant, the 2012 flows across the palate with sweet red cherries, plums, smoke and spices, all in a round, succulent style that is ideal for near and medium-term drinking. (AG)" (5/2014)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright red. Perfumed aromas of violet, blueberry, ink and vanillin oak. Then smooth on the palate, with long-lasting plum, dark cherry and oak flavors. This rich, large-scaled Rosso struck me as a Brunello in Rosso’s clothing" (12/2014)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
97 points James Suckling: "Fabulous aromas of blackberries, orange peel, raspberries and citrus. Violets too. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a light, dusty texture. It's so fine and beautiful, racy and refined. Very structured indeed but also soulful and very, very inspiring. There's a new refinement to this wine as the winemakers search for a truly beautiful expression of the terroir. Better in 2017 but a joy to taste now." (10/2014)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Etna Rosso Rossodiverzella is a classic blend of Etna red grapes consisting of 80% Nerello Mascalese and 20% Nerello Cappuccio. Some ten months in medium-toast barrique leave a sure mark, and this expression is rounder and richer than many of its peers. Fruit is sourced from the northern face of the volcano in the Contrada Verzella at 600 to 650 meters above sea level. Ripe cherry and fresh prune segue to light spice and leather. A bright point of freshness keeps it lively and pure. Drink 2014-2020. Benanti has led efforts to raise Etna to the w ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
From the winemaker: "This wine is the product of the fermentation of Valpolicella Classico on the pressed grapes of Recioto and Amarone that are still full of sweet wine. The result is a high quality long lasting wine with strong and decisive characteristics and an intense bouquet of cherries and plums."
90 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Chianti Classico is wonderfully pliant, open and generous. Dark red fruit, smoke, tobacco and wild flowers are all very much alive in this beautifully expressive, vibrant, mid-weight Chianti Classico. The tannins are a bit firm today, but even so, its obvious the 2012 is a first-class effort. The purity of the fruit alone is simply striking. Bright, red and articulate, the 2012 is a real standout in this tricky vintage. Readers who want to go straight to the top in 2012 should start here. This is a drop-dead gorgeous Chianti." (9/2014) Jancis Robinson: "Cask sample ...Read More »
Tasting note: "Made with only Nebbiolo grapes, thanks to its intriguing simplicity and easy drinkability, this is the perfect wine for every day, while standing up to even the most important occasions. Transparent garnet red, it surprises us with its gentle floral notes, which lead to a fresh, fruity and harmonious taste. Delightful and joyous, it's easy to match with food but is perfect with all traditional cuisine from Valtellina. To be served in large glasses at 12-14°C." (the winery)
Inventory: Redwood City
Salento is a stones throw away from the Adriatic Sea. You get a hint of that salinity in this Primitivo and a lot of sunshine. The dark brooding fruit and milk chocolate will lure you in and coat your mouth with brandied cherries, mulberry jam, ginger and tobacco. An intense wine likes intense food. Pasta with wild boar ragu, pork stew, tripe, fire roasted beef, rich tomato sauce. This wine received award at Gambero Rosso, one of the highest regarded Italian wine festivals in the world.
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.
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 »
Luigi Giusti's Visciola is made in a centuries-old Marche tradition of making dessert wine with cherries. The production is actually quite complicated, as two varieties of cherries are processed separately with half of them being dried in the sun for 40 days. Grape wine from the current vintage is used as a base wine, but the fermented cherries are not pressed. Rather, a ripasso process is employed with some wine from the previous vintage. Sour cherries are then also utilized with residual sweetness retained. The resulting dessert wine has a potent sour ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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."
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Collio Friulano Vigna del Rolat is an exceptional expression of Friulano that boasts incredible density and purity of aromas. The wine needs a few moments to open and once it does, it never holds back. The flavor intensity is delivered with bright, forceful pulses of peach, nectarine and pineapple that spread evenly over the palate. In terms of Friulano, this is one of the purest expressions available and it promises to evolve over the next few years. Drink: 2014-2017. Dario Raccaro is a boutique producer with a pure and genuine winemaking appro ...Read More »
A blend of Grechetto and Voignier, this wine ages 'sur lies' in 10-hectoliter oak and chestnut barrels. The color is a clear, golden-yellow, the result of sitting on the lees. The aromas are surprisingly complex, mineral, intense yet elegant, with a pleasing fruit component that is not too ripe. There is white peach, medlar and perhaps some fresh almond, along with flint and gentian flower. The flavor is balanced, soft, piquant and perfectly upheld by a brackish, Mediterranean acidity.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
"I am fascinated by Italian sparkling wines made of indigenous Italian varieties," writes importer Oliver McCrum, "and the Zanussis make a really good one. It's not made by either of the normal methods used to make dry sparkling wine, but rather by the method used to make Moscato d'Asti, which involves putting must into the special fermentation tank, and fermenting all the way from grape-juice to sparkling wine in one step. The wine is then aged in the tank on the lees until judged to be done, then decanted off the lees and bottled. (Some top-end Prosecc... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco