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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!
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Wolftrap Red is a blend of 66% Syrah, 32% Mourvedre and 2% Viognier that is fermented in stainless steel with natural malolactic in French barrique where the wine ages for nine months. It has a pleasant blackberry and cassis-scented bouquet with light wet rock scents from the Mourvedre. The palate is medium-bodied with finer tannins that I have noticed on previous vintages. This is well balanced with good acidity, plenty of blackberry and blueberry fruit with a pleasing texture toward the finish. (NM)" (10/2014) Wine Spectator: "A soft, friendly style, with a ligh ...Read More »
The Elsa Malbec comes from Valentin Bianchi's Doña Elsa estate in the cool reaches of San Rafael, Mendoza. With just a kiss of French oak, the rich fruit dominates this easy-drinking red, which has barely-there tannins. Invoke your inner-Argentine and drink this alongside grilled flank steak with a garlicky chimichurri. Many previous vintages recommended by Wine Enthusiast as a "Best Buy."
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "**Best Buy** Richness, depth and generosity are good traits of this full-bodied but smooth-textured Cabernet. Light oak accents don't cover up the ripe, juicy, almost jammy blackberry and cherry flavors that fill the mouth and linger on the finish. It's an all-around crowd pleaser that has everything in balance." (1/2015)
In the region of Cariñena, the Garnacha grape variety seems to find a lovely expression, one which is less high octane and lighter on its feet than in some of the neighboring regions. And, as ever, this is a terrific red wine bargain for anyone looking for an inexpensive house red or wine for any party, wedding, or other event.
This is the same delicious Underwood Pinot Noir as the bottle, but in an easy-to-transport pop top can! No, it doesn't affect the taste--it's still packed with strawberry and pomegranate fruit, with the same supple texture, acidity and peppery spice and minerally finish. Perfect for summer sipping, for camping, boating, picnicking, beaching or rocking out at the Hollywood Bowl!
Costieres de Nimes is at the southernmost part of the Rhone Valley sitting on the opposite bank of Chateauneuf du Pape. One of our best new finds is Chateau de l'Ermitage which produces three terrific values with imminent drinkability. The estate's history traces back to the 12th century when the winery produced wine for the pilgirms of Saint Jacques de Compostelle who were traveling the Santiago de Compostela. The property is now owned by the Castillon family and today Michel and his son Jerome manage the vineyards and winemaking. The "Victor" is na... Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(raised entirely in concrete): Brilliant ruby. Pure, high-pitched aromas of redcurrant, strawberry, blood orange and fresh rose, plus a bright mineral overtone. Vibrant and precise on the palate, offering sappy red fruit and floral pastille flavors lifted by spice and mineral nuances. Closes spicy, nervy and long, with silky tannins making a late appearance. Finding a wine with this much clarity and precision is a tough job at double and even triple the price of this one." (9/2014)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from vines planted in 1915, the 2013 Garnacha Negra comes from the vil ...Read More »
Based in the Rioja Alta village of Badarán, Martínez Alesanco is a truly original bodega producing tasty, characterful wine for laughably low prices. They are entirely self reliant in grapes, all of which are grown in their home village of Badarán, one of the coldest zones of Rioja Alta. The vineyards are closer to the Sierra de la Demanda mountains, a range whose elevation and visible snow covered peaks are even more dramatic than the Sierra Cantabria range to the north. This is made from Tempranillo grown in iron rich clay soils. In fact, this red tin... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Always one of the better values and ageworthy wines from the Haut-Medoc, Lanessan’s 2003 possesses lots of cedarwood, creme de cassis and forest floor notes, outstanding ripeness, low acidity, and a round, generous mouthfeel with no desiccation or flaws. (RP)" (8/2014) Spirit Journal: "Dense crimson. Delicate scent. Complete if not exactly subtle. A bit brutal with lots of acidity. And those dry tannins, and some rasping greenness on the end. (15/20 points)" (10/2010) Wine Spectator: "Aromas of plum, spices and cherry follow through to a medium-bodied palate, with stewed fruit and a light fi ...Read More »
This has been the #1 selling Italian wine for more than a decade at K&L! You can't get that kind of continued success without a supremely fantastic quality to price ratio. The south Tuscan coast is a breadbasket of wine making, stable temperatures, solid history of quality yet no fame and fortune. Incredible price bargains that come out of the region, and the proof is in the bottle. This wine is wonderful, soft, forward and easy to drink Sangiovese with an enticing mixture of cherry, plum and earth. Imminently drinakable.
Always a favorite value-priced Chinon, perfect for everyday drinking. The color of polished garnets, it has bright red and black fruit aromas and flavors, a hint of a violet and pepper, and a vein of spice threaded carefully through from start to finish. Perfect with charcuterie, cool weather braises or grilled lamb chops with gremolata.
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Yields for the 2013 Monastrell (100% Monastrell aged six months in neutral French oak barrels, concrete and foudres) were 16 to 25 hectoliters per hectare, which is about half of that permitted in Burgundy. An amazing value, this wine boasts a dense blue/purple color as well as a sumptuous nose of blueberries, blackberries, scorched earth, licorice and forest floor. Stunningly pure and medium to full-bodied with oodles of fruit, this is a remarkable value to drink until the cows come home. Consume it over the next 2-3 years. Considered by many observers ...Read More »
Lora is a blend of certified organic Tempranillo and Syrah from one of the cooler parts of La Mancha (high up on the plateau not too far from the UNESCO heritage city of Cuenca). This is a delicious red - full of fresh fruited drinkability, but surprising structure from the minerality and balanced acidity. The winemaker and person who carefully sources this great organic fruit is none other than our friend Miguel Merino Navajas, son of Miguel Merino of Rioja fame! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Inky purple. Spicy cherry and dark berry aromas are deepened by notes of bitter chocolate, vanilla and espresso. Peppery, sharply focused cherry and blackberry flavors show a slight bitterness but possess good energy. Finishes with a strong cherry skin quality and good length." (9/2012) K&L Notes: The Eguren family is a well-known name in Spain, having made successful reds at everything from the $5 level on up to collectible Riojas. Produced from a 25-year-old Cabernet vineyard in the Vino de la Tierra de Castilla appellation (a large swath of land in the autonom... Read More »
This is the second label for Amador County's Sobon Estate, and always a K&L fave for affordable, fruit-filled and balanced Zin. Their 2012 "Special Reserve" release adds a small amount of Syrah and Grenache, and the whole lot is aged in small barrels for nine months. Winemaker notes: "The wine is full bodied and only moderately tannic with beautiful structure and strong fruit. The flavors are complex, and the finish is long and satisfying. This wine is extremely versatile, light enough to accompany any lunch fare, yet a perfect companion to pastas, roast... Read More »
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 »
89 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This is a beautiful Zinfandel and the good news is there are over 30,000 cases of it. Coming from three of Gallo’s top Zinfandel vineyards, Stephani, Frei Ranch and Chiotti, most of them in Dry Creek, this blend of 98% Zinfandel and 2% Petite Sirah tips the scales at a lofty 14.8% natural alcohol. The wine has a deep ruby color, and a seductive, peppery, meaty, Côte du Rhône-type nose revealing lavender and roasted herb characteristics. No hard edges are found in this medium to full-bodied, fleshy, nicely concentrated Zinfandel. Drink over the next 2-3 y ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Even more so is the 2011 Zerran, which ratchets up the level of concentration and ripe fruit. It reveals abundant kirsch, lavender, black raspberry and dusty, loamy, earthy scents intermixed with notions of spring flowers and blackberries. There is not any oak evident in this dense effort. Its completeness and overall equilibrium are impressive, and this great value should drink well for 5-6 years, possibly longer. (RP)" (10/2012)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid purple. Aromas of black raspberry, spicecake and musky herbs, with a smoky topnote. Densely packed and youthful, with spi ...Read More »
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 Merlot-Sangiovese blend is full-bodied and bright-toned, with notes of violets and fresh cherries.
90 points Wine Spectator: "This dense red shows a savory character, with tar, ink and licorice notes framing the core of plum and meat flavors. Features firm, well-integrated tannins and fresh acidity. Distinctive. Drink now through 2018." (10/2014) K&L Notes: The Calatayud D.O. sits in the arid Aragon region of Northeast Spain. Here Garnacha reigns supreme, producing wines that are richly fruited, but with pH's that are relatively low, which highlights the wines' bright fruit and freshness. Bodegas Breca has produced very highly rated wines in the past, though it is this vintage that truly st... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The basic offering from proprietor Ramon Castano Santa, who owns a whopping 1,000 acres in Yecla, is the 2012 Hecula, which is sourced from a non-irrigated, single vineyard planted with 100% Monastrell. Aged in both tank and French oak, it comes from 60-80-year-old vines planted in limestone soils at a relatively high elevation of over 1,600 feet. Its opaque purple color is followed by copious aromas of blueberries, black raspberries, camphor, licorice, white flowers and a chalky limestone/dusty character. Full-bodied, rich and well-balanced, it is an in ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Bright, with cherry and berry fruit in a straightforward style. Balanced and ready to drink. (Web Only—2014)" K&L Notes: Cetamura is Coltibuono's well-made trattoria-style Chianti that's perfect for everyday meals and gatherings. It's produced entirely in steel tanks and offers delicious Sangiovese fruit from start to finish. Winery notes: "Intense bright ruby red, cherry and blackberry nose with cinnamon and clove nuances. Full and well-balanced, soft but tasty, with good structure. Pleasant acidity, clean and persistent aftertaste."
Wine Spectator: "A juicy red, delivering vibrant and concentrated flavors of red raspberry, kirsch and dark plum, showing some peppery notes. Paprika accents appear on the finish. Castelão, Camarate, Tinta Miúda and Touriga Nacional. Drink now." (7/2013) K&L Notes: A blend of Castelao, Camarate, Tinta Miuda (also known as Graciano in Rioja) and Touriga Nacional, this is a lovely wine from vineyards not too far away from Lisbon. The flavors are of dark fruits, with just a hint of a subtly sweet licorice aspect tempered by freshness and some minerality. It is hard to believe that a red... Read More »
In the southeast of Spain sandwiched between Jumilla and Alicante, wines from Yecla have most prolifically come from what happens to be the largest co-op in Spain. However the Castaño family stands as the most important and ambitious privately owned winery in the D.O., and they have gone to great lengths to push the quality from the often coarse wines for which this region was previously known. Bodegas Castaño started small and has nurtured their old vine plantings, which has done much for their Yecla renaissance. Their four prime estate vineyards now co... Read More »
A blend of Aragones, Trincadeira and Alicante Bouschet, Adega de Borba shows off the richly fruited, structured, satisfying style of the Alentejo. Here we have plump, generous dark fruit flavors, with ripe tannins that provide balance. Incredible value! (Joe Manekin, K&L Portuguese and Spanish wine buyer)
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"
Inventory: San Francisco
There is a wonderful element of whimsy and joy at this tiny, family bodega located in Laguardia. The elephant logo, the onsite African art museum, as well as the name (there is no Señor de Lesmos, as it turns out) all speak to the family's joie de vivre and sense of humor. There is nothing funny about the quality of these wines, though. All estate fruit, hand harvested and carefully vinified with native yeasts, this is a hand-sewn wine with the purity, texture and elegance to prove it. Cuarteto is a classic, Alavesa style "maceración carbonica" wine whe... Read More »
Willowbrook is a largely under-the-radar label from Joe Otos, winemaker at Owl Ridge Wines in Sebastopol. We've got some great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from choice vineyards from Willowbrook in the past, and now this Syrah. It comes from the Altes Vineyard, located in the Rincon Valley area in the middle of Sonoma County--not far from the hot Kick Ranch vineyard.
A certified organic blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo and Syrah, this wine undergoes carbonic maceration to highlight the fresh, high toned qualities of this delicious fruit. Think Beaujolais Village, with a bit more heft. Having planted vines in the national park lands of the Sierra Norte outside of Sevilla, at 700 meters altitude in heavily slate soils, where there is a surprisingly generous amount of rainfall, the results are both delicious and impressive: crisp, bright, varietally true blended wines with great personality that are truly wines ... Read More »
Marchione represents the efforts of Importer A.I. Selections to create outstanding value-priced wines with regional authenticity. The fruit for this wine is sourced from 15-18 year old Nero d'Avola vines located in the Argiento Hills of Sicily. The wine sees no oak and offers a fresh and smoothly textured palate of spicy black cherry and plum fruit. This is certainly an ideal daily table red and perfect for outdoor occasions as well.
Wine Spectator: "A zesty little Zin, with just enough dried cherry, plum, toasty herb and spice flavors to keep this fun and interesting. Drink now through 2018." (6/2014)
From the winery: "Dark purple in color, this 2012 Mambo Red Blend showcases some earthy mushroom and sweet leather aromatics that take a turn to sweet plum and dark blackberry fruit with hints of Herbs De Provence and toasted cedar. In the mouth, the wine has a rich and wonderful depth showcasing flavors of black currants, molasses, tart black cherry, plum sauce, and hints of preserved orange rind, toasted dill, and blackened marshmallow. Our 2012 Hey Mambo red blend brings wonderful rich color and a layered decadent wine to your table. You can see eleme... Read More »
Rich, dark berry fruits show both concentration and fresh, slightly raspy acidity. In Argentina, where incredible grass fed steaks are a given and the parillada mixta (mixed grill) is an art form, Bonarda based wines are very popular for their combination of structure and bright acidity, just the ticket to accompany a nicely grilled selection of animal protein! (Joe Manekin, K&L Argentinean & Chilean wine buyer)
Winemaker's notes: "An aromatic bouquet of ripe fruits, cherries and blackcurrants, with notes of freshly ground coffee, dark chocolate, peppermint, liquorice and subtle pepper. Thick and smooth with good balanced fruit weight." Vineyard Sources: The Langhorne Creek fruit was harvested from two vineyards located on the Bremer River planted in rich very deep fertile river loam / silt and gravel. The Barossa grapes were harvested from two vineyards located near Nuriootpain the Light Pass and Ebenezer areas in the Barossa Valley floor.
Wine Spectator: "Smooth and compact, this red offers cherry, vanilla and light smoky notes, with accents of herb and licorice. A bit candied in character, but has lively acidity." (8/2014) K&L Notes: This delicious, 100% Garnacha from the Aragon "Garnacha Belt" D.O. of Campo de Borja, shows all the bright red cherry fruit you'd expect form this grape variety, with the added richness, texture and length which old vines deliver in this portion of Spain. A whole lot of value for the money.
This reliable Cabernet value is back with a particularly strong 2012 vintage which featured a warm and even growing season. Grapes were sourced from AVAs around the Columbia Valley including the Cold Creek, Canoe Ridge Estate and Indian Wells vineyards. The wine was aged in 1/3 new oak (both French and American) and blended with 10% Merlot, 4% Syrah, and 2% of each Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Mourvedre. This Cabernet is very tough to beat for under $10.
A very drinkable wine with hints of cassis, chocolate and vanilla spice on the nose. This wine has a lovely length and elegance without harsh tannins, ending with richness on the palate.The grapes for Peacock Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon are sourced from the Paarl region, as well as the cooler "Golden Triangle" of Helderberg on the coastal outreaches of Stellenbosch. Deep red soils provide moisture and nutrients, which gives the Cabernet Sauvignon its supple, dark berry characters. It seems that the remark "the best soils are the worst soils" holds true, as ... Read More »
Produced from fruit grown in the Las Compuertas section of La Consulta, this is delicious Malbec for a very affordable price. Fresh red plum flavors and a juicy, forward texture suggest balance due to some thoughtful winemaking: fermentation and ageing in concrete tanks. Delicious (and gluggable) Malbec! (Joe Manekin, K&L South American wine buyer)
40% Refosco, 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Always a bargain, the Las Rocas Garnacha comes from an excellent co-op in Spain's Calatayud region. Aged in a combination of French and American oak barrels for 10 months. Hearty, medium-bodied with boisterous dark fruit and an undercurrent of cocoa and vanilla spice.