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K&L Staff Recommendations
From some of the top sites in the Kamptal. Michaela Haas is the fourth generation of this family to run the 23-hectare domaine. Fermented and aged in stainless steel and bottled with a crown cap, this fresh, light, and snappy wine is the kind you want to drink by the liter. This food-friendly thirst quencher will be MVP at your next picnic.
Does Jean-Louis Denois ever fail to impress us? So far, this talented winemaker has an exceptional track record with K&L customers and staff alike. Denois' latest offering is this nifty little red that seriously over-delivers in the price-quality ratio department. The 2013 "Les Garrigues" is composed of Syrah, Grenache, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. It exhibits a gorgeous pomegranate color, with fresh aromas of small red berry fruit and delicate hints of spice box. Subtle notes of tobacco leaf and licorice provide extra dimension that be... Read More »
As of press time, the 2014 has not yet been reviewed, but the 2013 vintage garnered praise from Robert Parker: "Delicate grapefruit, fig, melon and gravelly aromas jump from the glass of the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. Light to medium-bodied and flavorful with zesty acidity, good crispness and focus." (10/2014)
92 points James Suckling: "A rich and earthy red with orange peel and plum character. Full body and tangy with lots of jammy flavors. It becomes bright and fresh with air. Thoroughly delicious. Drink or hold." (1/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Campo di Marzo opens to smoky notes of ash and pencil shaving that segue slowly to dried cherry, savory spice and used leather. Give it a few minutes and the wine opens nicely to show blue flower, pressed violet and dark rose. The complexity on display is a pleasant surprise especially compared to the lackluster 2009 vintage. Il Valenti ...Read More »
The 2014 Blason Pinot Grigio Isonzo has a delicate ripe nose, full of ripe pear aromatics and hints of dried herbs. On the palate you can see the weight of Pinot Grigio. It has a richer texture than a lot of other varieties and here it is expansive. The finish is clean and lasting. This is a wonderful wine to go with grilled fish and it's also an easy summer aperitivo.
Wine Enthusiast: "This is the main non-vintage wine from this southern Champagne Aube-based producer. It’s a cuvée based around the producer’s specialty of Pinot Noir. With fresh acidity over rich white fruits, apples and pears, it is balanced, fragrant and ready to drink." (9/2015) Wine Spectator: "A modest version, with a smoky undertow and a tangy palate of kumquat, melon and lemon curd. Drink now. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 5,980 cases made. (Web Only - 2015)" K&L Notes: This all Pinot Noir Champagne is a blend of many small plots on the Josselin estate in Gye-Sur-Seine. It is aged for thr... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Giving up lots of white cherry, underbrush and spring flower notes, the light pink colored 2015 Cotes de Provence Esprit Gassier Rose is medium-bodied, nicely balanced and has good acidity that comes through on the finish. It's another high quality rose from this estate that's well worth drinking. (JD)" (5/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "Produced in vineyards close to Mont Saint-Victoire in the west of the Provence vineyards, this perfumed, floral wine has crisp acidity along with orange and citrus flavors. The wine is light, very fruity and bright at the end. (RV)" (5/2016) Wine Spectator: "Fresh an ...Read More »
Negly's La Cote is a "CGSM," or 30% Carignane, carbonically macerated, with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Aged in 50% oak and 50% concrete tanks, it promises a toasty, opulent aroma with cassis and licorice, and a palate fit for a T-bone.
Although I’ve always liked Soave, I never really “got” what was going on until I visited for four days in September 2014. I toured the Soave Classico region, which is a different DOC from “regular” Soave, and was just blown away by the stunning vineyards and the incredible soils of the extinct volcano that encompasses it. One of the most unique producers we visited there is Le Battistelle, a very small winery that’s been growing grapes for generations but has only begun to bottle its own wine in the last decade. (Greg St. Clair, K&L Italian wine buyer) V... Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Deep red. Fresh, mineral-tinged red and dark berry scents are given depth by suggestions of licorice and cola. Sappy raspberry and boysenberry flavors show very good depth and pick up a suave lavender pastille nuance on the back half. Concentrated yet lively, delivering strong thrust and smooth, even tannins that build steadily through a long, floral-dominated finish. (JR)" (4/2016) Jancis Robinson: "Bright crimson. Firm and substantial with more obvious tannin than most but sufficient (just) fruit too. Not that sweet. Racy, food wine. Cool overall." (10/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Showing nicely ...Read More »
Made from Sauvignon grapes from both Touraine and Anjou. The wine sees no oak and has a dry, lively nose of white flowers and blackcurrant. The palate is dry, with flavors of passion fruit, lychee and hints of talc along with zippy acidity. Great with fish or cheeses, this lively white wine will perk up any meal.
Wine Enthusiast: "Simple but classy aromas of red currant and raspberries show on the nose of this bottling from an all-star team of the appellation. The palate is light and easy, with tart cranberry and a large boost of tannic grip, a surprise for how light it feels. (MK)" (12/2015)
Praise from the Prince of Pinot for the winemaker: "Gary Farrell is considered by many the father of Russian River Pinot Noir. Since the 1980s, his wines have been among the best from the Russian River Valley." Winemaker's tasting notes: "Many of the vineyard lots used to make this cuvée sat on skins for about a week after fermentation. My intention was to increase the tannin to add more complexity in the mouthfeel after some cellaring. This wine is quite approachable and crowd pleasing and I recommend opening the bottle about 15 minutes before drinking ... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Absolutely amazing wine from vineyards near the Priorat village of Gratallops, which is in the heart of Priorat. This 2011 D'Iatra is made from 44% Carignan, 36% Grenache, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Syrah aged 12 months in French oak. All the vines are farmed biodynamically and range in age from 60 to 80 years. The wine is a beauty, dense ruby/purple color with notes of raspberry jam mixed with notes of kirsch and blacker fruits. It has fresh acids, crushed rock minerality and floral notes make for sensational and complex fragrant introduction. Once ...Read More »
Stephen Vincent Wines is a partnership between Stephen Vincent Situm, (marketing guru behind such brands as Mondavi, J. Lohr, and Louis Roederer) founder of La Crema, Bob Goyette, vineyard manager Hossein Namdar, and sales and marketing master Stephen Vincent Situm III. Together these men have 100 years of experience in different facets of the wine business and they seek to use that experience to create exceptional wines at super-attractive prices.
Wine Enthusiast: "Muted scents of orchard fruit and a touch of almond lead the nose. The vibrant palate offers pear, citrus zest and mineral accompanied by bracing acidity." (4/2016)
Salvatore Emmolo immigrated from Italy to Rutherford in 1923 and planted vines. Emmolo was a leading supplier to Napa vintners until Cheryl, the third generation, launched Emmolo Wines in 1994. Today, it's in the fourth generation's hands, with fruit still grown on their grandparents' property. The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc shows fresh citrus notes and lively minerality, making it infinitely sipple.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Moving to the reds, the 2011 Vin de Pays Terre de Bussiere is a blend of mostly Merlot, with 20% Syrah and a splash of Grenache and Cabernet. Aged all in older barrels, it exhibits meaty notes of green olives, plum and leather to go with a soft, quaffable palate. Enjoy this bistro-styled effort over the coming year or three...Located in the town of Courthezon, and covering 38 acres in Chateauneuf du Pape and 100 acres in Cotes du Rhone, Domaine de la Janasse is run by the brother/sister pair, Christophe and Isabelle Sabon. While 2011 was a difficult vint ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Floral and peach aromas line the ripe strawberry and cherry flavors in this concentrated, harmonious red. Backed by plenty of spice and juicy acidity, this eases into a lingering, spice- and mineral-infused finish. (GS)" (7/2016)
The Mercurey Clos Rond comes from a single vineyard in Mercurey. The name means "the walled vineyard in that brambly area," derived from the local word "Ronde" instead of the more usual French "Ronce," meaning brambles. In a land where ownership is usually splintered, this vineyard is a rare case where the entire vineyard is under one owner, Domaine Faiveley. It lies on a gentle slope, with rich red-brown soil, a fairly high clay content, and buried limestone beneath. The result is a Pinot Noir displaying rich, round fruit, both red and black, and just a... Read More »
Seventh generation winemaker Joan Sangenis has found an incredible niche in the village of Porrera, one of the eleven villages within the Priorat D.O. Making wine here since 1875, the Sangenis are one of the oldest grower families in the region, literally producing wines from vines planted by Joan's great grandfather. Mas d'En Compte is one of the few revered Catalan properties whose wines are actually consumed in other regions of Spain.
91 points James Suckling: "This is very aromatic with dried-berry, mineral and floral character. Full body with firm tannins and a juicy finish. Lots of tannins but polished and chewy." (3/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "Blue flower, ripe black fruit, black pepper and cedar are just some of the aromas offered by this blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Sagrantino. The palate features ripe black cherry, coffee, espresso, vanilla and grilled sage alongside bracing tannins. Drink after 2016." (2/2015) Wine Spectator: "A fresh red, offering fragrant herb and smoke notes, with flavors of tangy raspberry, wild strawberry, salumi and spi ...Read More »
90 points James Suckling: "A balanced, attractive Fiano with sliced limes, minerals and almonds. Full-bodied, fruity and delicious. A new producer for me. Try it. 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 Sarn ...Read More »
94 points Decanter: "This wine could also be in my 12 greatest Riberas. Delicious, complex, finely sewn, open. Top quality, and at a bargain price. (PBT)" (1/2016) 92 points Vinous: "Opaque purple. Exotic aromas of black and blue fruit preserves, cherry-vanilla, licorice and peppery spices. Plush and open-knit, offering deeply concentrated dark fruit flavors and hints of candied flowers and spicecake. Supple tannins build with air and add shape to a very long, supple finish that leaves cassis and mocha notes behind. This suave wine has the depth to age but drinks very easily now; it was aged for ...Read More »
This all-estate Champagne is composed of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, with 8 grams per liter of dosage. It has a very pale color for a wine of this age and an almost minty, white nectarine aroma. While it is very generous and textural on the palate, it is also quite focused on the finish, with a long, dry, chalk-infused finish. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne buyer)
93 points Wine Spectator: "Impeccably focused and distinctive, with floral cherry, mineral and fresh sage aromas and flavors that combine subtle power with lively acidity, offering notes of raspberry and spicy herb. Drink now through 2024." (10/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "As far as the single vineyards go, the 2013 Zinfandel Rockpile has a completely different aromatic profile, with more Mediterranean notes of lavender, Provençal herbs, pepper and spice. It is medium-bodied and doesn’t seem to have the weight of the Old Vine, but it displays plenty of dusty terroir notes. This medium to full-bodied wine ...Read More »
Winner of the Bronze Medal in the 2013 International Wine Challenge. From the winery: "Garnatxa Blanca Old Vines is for those who seek a bit of extra body and richness in white wines. Vineyards located in the Albera Nature Reserve Area. This wine is aromatic, showing notes of apricot, vanilla, aniseed and fennel. The mouthfeel is round, rich and mouth-coating. For those who know that youth isn't everything..."
This is a joint venture by three vinous powerhouses: Rhône négociant Michel Tardieu, his winemaker Philippe Cambie, and importer Eric Solomon. Though the 2013 has yet to be professionally reviewed, the 2012 earned praise from Wine Spectator: "Tar and dried herb flavors mingle with cherry and roasted plum notes in this lean and firm red. Despite grippy tannins, fresh acidity keeps the finish lively." (Web Only—2015)
Second label of Alysian Wines. Led by the Hambrecht family in partnership with esteemed winemaker Gary Farrell, they are committed to sourcing from the best vineyards in the Russian River Valley. From the winery: "In keeping with the tradition of second label wines, which originated in the cellars of 18th century Bordeaux, ours is a collection of barrels that do not quite fit the philosophy of Alysian. This flexibility in the cellar allows us to select and blend barrels of small lot wines from exceptional and off the beaten path vineyards and craft an ap... Read More »
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Beautifully perfumed, the 2012 Rasteau offers a sweet bouquet of red and black fruits, pepper, underbrush, incense and spices to go with a medium to full-bodied, deep and layered profile on the palate. Possessing solid mid-palate depth, fine tannin and rocking length, it should be a no-brainer purchase and drink nicely for 7-8 years. Located in Rasteau, Domaine La Colliere is run by the talented Georges Perrot, with consulting advice from Philippe Cambie. Both of these 2012s are excellent and some of the top wines in the vintage. (JD)" (12/2013)
Wine Enthusiast: "A field blend with defined amounts of Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouschet, this wine is perfumed and light bodied, exhibiting soft, persistent waves of black pepper and crisp red fruit that give it a cool-climate edge of approachability and intrigue. (VB)" (4/2016)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "For the 100% Chardonnay, about one-third of the 2014 Chardonnay Novellum is aged three months in Burgundian barrels and the rest in stainless-steel tanks, but an interesting twist is that the 70% that was aged in tank was aged on Viognier lees–obviously trying to give it more of a floral character. The wine is just lovely, with plenty of tropical fruit, such as peach, honeysuckle, apricot and pineapple that jump from the glass of this wine, which offers clean, fresh acids, a medium-bodied mouthfeel and delicious mineral underpining. This is quite impress ...Read More »
This is the second label of Russian River Valley's beloved DuMOL, made from younger fruit with an eye toward value and food-friendliness. The wine is aged in French oak for ten months before release. Notes of cola, cranberry and cherry harmonize on the rich palate and bright finish.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright red. Tightly wound but not dry or edgy, showing a distinctly medicinal cast to the red cherry and flint aromas and flavors. Showing limited complexity today but has the juicy acidity and spine, along with firm supporting tannins, to gain in nuance with a couple years of cellaring." (12/2014) Vinous: "Generous black stone fruits, smoke, tobacco and menthol are some of the notes that emerge from the estate's 2012 Rosso di Montalcino. The style is rich, ample and intense to the core." (5/2014)
The 2013 Villa Maria "Private Bin - The Red Blend" Hawke’s Bay is a classic Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, it is packed full of deep plum and berry fruits, blackcurrant, leather, graphite and toasted spices. It has a classic Bordeaux profile, combining dark fruit with brooding minerals and savory nuances. The wine is medium-plus bodied with good concentration and broad flavors. The tannins are very refined and supple for a wine of this price point. Subtle French oak tones round out the finish, which is long... Read More »
This classic blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara was vinified according to tradition for the Amarone Riserva style and aged for a minimum of four years in oak casks. It is characteristically bold in flavor, with a rich, silky midpalate and lingering taste of chocolate and dried cherries. A full-bodied wine, this pairs well with rich dishes like red meat, game, and strong cheeses. It is also a nice treat to enjoy after dinner on its own or with cheese or chocolate. Decanting or opening the wine at least a half hour before consuming is recommended i... Read More »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Bold, supple blue fruit gives this cabernet an impression of simple, healthy richness, while that exuberance is held in check by a tannic grip that seems to come from fruit skin as much as oak. It’s already accessible, but may gain additional dimension with a few years in bottle. Well-priced and smartly crafted, it’s a wine for roast beef." (12/2015)
93 points James Suckling: "Aromas of dried tangerines and plums with hints of flowers. Full body with ultra-fine tannins and a delicious balsamic, dark-fruit and plum character. Savory and delicious. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold." (10/2014) 92 points Wine Spectator: "Reinforced by beefy tannins, this black cherry- and plum-filled version offers floral and spice accents. In a modern, fruity style, yet not oaky, this stays lively and persistent through the long aftertaste. Best from 2016 through 2027. 15,000 cases made. (BS)" (10/2014) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I am always impressed by the wines of Fontodi. The 2011 Chiant ...Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "Lots of dried berry, apple and lemon aromas and flavors. Medium to full body, outstanding acid tension and a long and flavorful finish." (10/2015) 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Barbera d'Alba Bricco dei Merli is a dark and generous wine that is loaded tight with bright fruit flavors. The Cogno family describes it as having the exuberance of the 2011 vintage and the elegance of 2012. It's true that 2013 marches to the beat of its own drum with pretty fruit contours surrounded by a fringe of spice and light leather. It ages in large oak casks for 12 months and rests on the lees ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "A succulent white, sporting melon, floral and peach flavors, backed by tangy acidity. Vibrant and long, ideal for a summer quaff. Favorita. (Web Only—2015)"
Wine Enthusiast: "Soft and fruity in black cherry and plum, this wine offers a solid foundation of cinnamon spice atop a mountain of blackberry. The acidity is well measured and the finish medium in length and breadth." (11/2015)
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "...The 2011 Cotes du Ventoux La Terre du Petit Homme offers awesome aromas and flavors of roasted herbs, melted licorice, earth and black cherry-styled fruit in a medium to full-bodied, deep, layered and rich profile. Gorgeous all around, with excellent mid-palate depth and sweet tannin, it’s another smoking value from this producer that readers need to check out. One of the up-and-coming producers in the Cotes du Ventoux appellation, Chateau Juvenal is co-owned by Anne-Marie and Bernard Forestier, and Sebastien Alban. Building a new cellar in 2011, and ...Read More »
We were so happy with the 2013 Kalinda Napa Cabernet that we went back to the same well for the 2014. From another exceptional year for Napa Cabernet, this wine is lush and quite rich with tons of cassis on the nose and palate. Still quite young and showing some rounded tannins, I would cellar this beauty for five years minimum, but if you must drink it, decant one hour at least and serve with a hearty meat course. One hint: the property whence the grapes came is located quite close to a town that really does not have a wine shop in it. - KL Staffer Dri... Read More »
This estate has been in Michel Loriot's family for 12 generations, since 1675. From the winery: "Michel has inherited two passions from his family: music and vines, as well as the family’s pioneering spirit. The music, which is played in the vineyards and the cellars, has a real effect on the vines and on the yeast in the wine. Thanks to this the Champagne is enriched with more complex and more refined aromas. The Apollonis estate covers 7 hectares in Festigny and has been awarded HVE (High Environmental Value) certification in recognition of the care an... Read More »
Barale's 1.2 acre, southwest-facing Preda vineyard is in the commune of Barolo and was planted in 1994. The grapes are harvested in the last half of October giving it a bit more richness but not overripeness. The grapes are destemmed and fermented in 50hl wooden barrels for 8 days and then aged for one year in 500 liter Tonneaux. The wine shows a supple richness on the palate and is best adapted for grilled meats or heavier pasta.
91 points James Suckling: "A red with lots of iodine, stone, currant and spice character. It's full-bodied, chewy and juicy. I like this slightly better than the Estate Bottled in 2010. Needs a least three or four years to soften: better in 2016." (5/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon’s dark ruby/purple color is followed by clean, pure aromas of black currants and underbrush, medium body, excellent purity and an alluring texture. This delicious, accessible Cabernet Sauvignon should also drink well for 7-8 years. Moreover, the pricing is realistic for Napa. (RP)" (10/2013) Wine & Spirits: "This is a new ...Read More »
This Champagne is 1/3 each Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier from 25-30 year old vineyards on the Ariston estate in Brouillet.