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K&L Staff Recommendations
Poggiarellino is an evolving star in our Direct Import portfolio. From Montalcino, this tiny winery is making superb wines at stunning prices.
Built on a backbone of 60% Chardonnay, this effervescent white is the product of female hands. Francoise Antech-Gazeau leads this Limoux estate. She has worked with her father and uncle since 1996 to improve their sustainable agricultural practices in the vineyard and their quality in the cellar. This bottling references the family's six generation history of making wine.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "An absolutely mind-blowing value, this blend of 85% Tempranillo and 15% Graciano comes from 20-40-year-old head-pruned vines and was aged in a combination of American and French oak. A selection made by proprietor Rafael De Haan and Eric Solomon, the outstanding 2011 Rioja Tradicion exhibits classic Rioja characteristics of black cherry jam, lead pencil shavings, licorice and tobacco leaf. Medium-bodied and elegant with sweet tannin, this wine dramatically over-delivers. (RP)" (12/2012)
The 2010 Two Angels Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect example of how well a wine can drink with just a few years on it. The years allow the wine to soften, flesh out and display its complexity. And this wine is showing very well. The 2010 Two Angels Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma comes from vineyards at and near the top of the Mayacamas mountain range, which lies half in Sonoma County and half in Napa Valley. A blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Merlot, this wine has a unique flavor profile. The nose reveals notes of chocolate, vanilla, cherry and spice no... Read More »
With growing elevations ranging between 1000-1600 feet above sea level, Mount Veeder Winery enjoys its distinctive location and microclimates. From the winery: "Rugged mountain conditions produce grapes with intensely concentrated fruit and big, rich tannins. Taming these tannins and preserving flavor are the high-altitude winemaker's biggest challenge. Because Mount Veeder's growing season starts late and often stretches well into November, harvest is a waiting game. But patience is rewarded with fully-developed flavors and ripe, rich tannins in the ski... Read More »
From the winery: "Rich and dense, the 2013 Brunswick Petite Sirah is a beautiful expression of a world class vineyard. Aromatics of fresh black cherries, blueberry cobbler, and dark chocolate, the wine hits the palate with a rush of accompanying flavors. The wine crosses the mid palate and fills the mouth with balanced acid and tannins to match the wines' density. Enjoy with grilled anything, or on a cool autumn evening on the patio. Pack a toothbrush!"
91 points James Suckling: "Tangy and fruity with plenty of dark fruits and lemon undertones. Full body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Lovely balance." (8/2013) Wine Spectator: "A firm, fresh and balanced red, with muscular red plum, berry and currant flavors, supported by a sturdy structure. The minerally finish reveals hints of flint. (Web Only-2014)" K&L Notes: Quinta do Vallado's entry-level Douro D.O.C. bottling is sourced primarily from younger vineyards (80%) featuring Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, and Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) plus an inclusion of old vineyards (20%) featuring those and other tradi... Read More »
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"
Brothers Yvon and Pascal Tabordet took over the family winery in 1981. Located in Sancerre, they soon branched out across the Loire river to Pouilly Fumé, where they now tend 12 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc vines planted on calcareous clay soils which are intermixed with flint. The wine is slowly fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks with no malolactic fermentation.
Alexandre le Brun is a young winemaker in Monthelon in the Ardenne (Marne) region of Champagne. He is a 9th generation winemaker. His family established themselves in Champagne in 1750 and their cellars were built in 1822. We were very pleased to meet him and are very excited to carry his wines. The Tradition is a blend of one third each of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This bottling is based on the 2011 vintage with 20 months on the lees. The wine had an extended fermentation of four to five months on natural yeasts and was finished with a l... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Edge (75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% Merlot, and the balance Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec), is composed of grapes from various sources. It exhibits a dense ruby/purple color, lots of fruit, and a round, seductive style with good ripeness and a heady finish. Drink it over the next 6-8 years. (RP)" (10/2014)
93 points James Suckling: "I drink this regularly and always enjoy it. Wonderful aromas of light dough, fresh flowers, and sliced pears and peaches. Full-bodied yet agile and fresh, it shows layers of marvelous light tropical fruit and cream with hints of dough on the finish. Mostly 2011 with some reserve wines. From 47% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay and the rest Pinot Noir. Bottled April 2012." (9/2014)91 points Wine & Spirits: "This is a graceful, vinous Champagne with dramatic high notes of roses and red fruit, finishing clean with a grounding of pale earthiness. It’s a lovely prediction of what Champagne ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a hearty Meritage employing all five red Bordeaux varieties. The color is black and the fruit equally dark and rich, offering muscular tannins around rich notes of blackberry, cedar and herb." (3/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Proprietary Red Meritage, a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 4% Malbec, reveals surprisingly soft, round, easygoing flavors of black cherries, black currants, spice and earth. Medium-bodied, charming and more sensual and seductive than the more expensive 2010 Signature, the Meritage can be ...Read More »
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 »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Revealing abundant minerality as well as a leaner, tighter style than the 2010's with less mass, extraction and power, this elegant, medium-bodied 2008 exhibits raspberry and black currant fruit, cedar, loamy soil and a hint of spice box. It should be consumed over the next 3-4 years. (RP)" (5/2011) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright, dark red. Redcurrant, tobacco and menthol on the nose. Broad, sweet and fairly full in the mouth, with a fine grain to the flavors of currant, tobacco, herbs and earth. Not especially complex or structured but nicely made. The finish features broad, ri ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Focused and balanced, it opens with a fragrance recalling ripe berries, wet soil, red rose, blue flower and baking spices. The spicy palate delivers wild cherry, cinnamon-spice, white pepper, hot red pepper and a mineral note alongside brooding tannins and just enough fresh acidity. Drink 2016–2021. — K.O" (5/2014)90 points James Suckling: "Very pretty, savory Brunello with plums, and hints of jam and balsamic character. Full body with a velvety texture and a long finish. Drink or hold." (2/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright, deep red. Enticing aromas of raspberry and fresh flowers are lifted by a steel ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Redolent of ripe peaches and cream, this features lightly spiced notes of dried apricot and pear. Pastry accents grace the soft finish. (Web Only—2013)" K&L Notes: Max von Kunow officially took over the von Hövel estate from his father in 2010, and now stands as the 7th generation proprietor. Weingut von Hövel is a founding member of the VDP, and the estate is now undergoing conversion to organic viticulture under Max. With the quality of their vineyard holdings never in doubt, the von Kunows have spent many seasons putting forth a strong effort to push the quality o... Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Cherry, plum, licorice and spice flavors play off the lush texture in this opulent red. The tannins offer support, but are well-integrated, leading to a long, balanced finish. Best from 2016 through 2026." (11/2014)91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From Podere Pietranera, the 2009 Brunello di Montalcino is a soft and perfumed expression that excels in consistency as it glides so smoothly over the senses. It shows dried cherry and cassis with good balance, finesse and class. The palate shows more firmness and grit with a pinch of sharp Sangiovese acidity on the close. Drink: 2016-2023. (ML ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Grenache Blanc, Muscat and Viognier. Fragrant and aromatic – shows the Muscat influence strongly. Broad texture and dry, light finish. (RH)" (2/2014) K&L Notes: The "Champ du Roy," or field of the kin, takes its name from Coupe Rose's 3.7 acre parcel of Viognier. This wine is a blend of Grenache Blanc and Marsanne for body and richness; Viognier for acid and perfume; and a touch of Muscat for exotic aromatics. These grapes were harvested by hand from very low-yielding mountain vineyards, making for a deliciously full yet fresh wine. Cotes du Brian is a zone named aft... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
A perennial value-based favorite, Ravenswood's Vintners Blend Shiraz packs big punches full of mulberry, dark chocolate and roasted meats. Made by one of California's iconic producers.
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 »
Wine Spectator: "Light-bodied, with a zesty base driving modest notes of green melon, salted almond and pink grapefruit. (Web-2014)" K&L Notes: Pure crystaline fruit with a tautness and elegance that reminds me of great Gruner Veltliner from the Wachau, this is a lot of wine for the price tag. If there was every a region to gauge the incredible transformation of Italian wine from plonk to among the world's best, Soave would be right up near the top, and the Soave of Ca Rugate is a stellar example of why.
Inventory: Redwood City
The wine is made up of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. It drinks well right now but should hold for several years. Members of the K&L staff had a chance to go down and spend a couple hours with Doug and his crew at the winery. The thought was to make a red blend from Happy Canyon, which K&L had never done before. Happy Canyon is the smallest AVA in Santa Barbara County. It lies north and west of Lake Cachuma and is home to six major vineyards: Cimarone, Grassini, Happy Canyon Vineyard, McGinley, Star Lane, and... Read More »
The 2012 vintage in Sonoma County was a productive one, and this mostly Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, with a few lots from Sonoma Valley and Dry Creek Valley, didn't need more than 7% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec to help flesh it out. The grapes are sourced 90% from Alexander Valley, 6% Sonoma Valley and 4% Dry Creek Valley. The wine is aged for 16 months in 100% small oak barrels of which 24% are new French oak and 10% new American oak. A beautiful wine on the nose, the 2012 Simi Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is ... Read More »
This Champagne is made from vineyards 25-30 years old and is a blend of 1/3 each Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier. This wine has a great banana nut bread nose followed by a seamless texture and finished with the spectacular acidity of this near-perfect Champagne harvest. Try this now and then lay some of this down for the future… I still have some 1996 left, and they are showing great, as was the 1983 I had last year with the Aristons! (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne buyer)
92 points Wine Spectator: "Densely structured and full of character, offering bold cherry and licorice aromas that lead to layered flavors of savory plum, grilled herb and Asian spice. The finish is framed by ripe but big tannins. Best from 2016 through 2022." (6/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Zinfandel Old Vine, made from a collection of their numerous resources for old vine Zinfandel, reveals an evolved dark ruby color along with an attractive bouquet of plum sauce, raspberry jam and a hint of strawberry. Its front end-loaded style turns slightly compact and abrupt, but it is an attractive, easy- ...Read More »
A collaboration with famed sportscaster Jim Nantz. The winery describes this white as a "classic Chardonnay was blended from select Dutton Ranch vineyards in the prestigious Russian River Valley appellation. Barrel fermentation and sur lie aging have created a rich and creamy wine with notes of stone fruit, citrus, melon, toasted nuts, and vanilla bean. Bright acidity and a long finish make this wine an excellent dinner companion."
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Dark red. Musky blackberry and cherry pit scents are complicated by notes of licorice, underbrush and mocha. Offers sappy dark berry and bitter cherry flavors that take on a tart edge with air, along with a touch of rhubarb. Finishes with good cut, grip and gentle tannins, leaving a note of orange marmalade behind." (6/2014) Wine Spectator: "Offers a pleasing mix of fresh, snappy wild berry and blueberry, turning simple but holding the flavors longer than most Flowers wines. Pinot Noir, Syrah, Pinot Meunier, Dolcetto and Chardonnay. Drink now. (Web-2013)" K&L Notes: The 2011 Flowers... Read More »
Characterized by its bright pink color, this charming rosé from the Empordá region of Spain is made from 100% Black Grenache. With aromas of bright red fruits, a smooth, silky mouthfeel, and a long, fresh finish, it is the perfect match for appetizers, seafood, or better yet, an assortment of Spanish tapas!
A joint project from your K&L domestic buying team and a high-profile winery in the Santa Barbara area. The fruit for this wine comes from a cooler vineyard site with a north-facing slope. Clone 828 is a Dijon clone that matures early and often shows lots of structure, color and complexity. In general, the clone shows great acidity, red and blue fruits and palate presence. Because of its roundness and completeness, clone 828 makes an excellent individual bottling.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "A minty aroma wafts from this wine, fresh and herbal, intermingled with the smell of sun-warmed tomato leaves. In taste, cranberry and savory black tea surround soft layers of well-built acidity and subtle red cherry fruitiness. It’s an intriguing wine that gets better in the glass." (10/2014)90 points Wine Spectator: "The plum, black cherry and raspberry flavors are pure and intense, showing some finesse, with star anise, clove and black pepper details that crescendo on the finish. Drink now through 2018." (9/2013)
89 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Composed of 80% Grenache Blanc and 20% Marsanne, the 2012 Vieilles Vignes Blanc comes from 50-year-old vines planted in limestone and clay soils. A delightful bouquet of caramelized honeyed grapefruit, white currants and other assorted citrus jumps from the glass of this crisp, dry, medium-bodied white. With surprising length and power, it reminded me of a restrained, more laid-back top white Hermitage at a fraction of the price. Consume it over the next several years. One of the top wine values I have ever tasted is from one of the newest appellation ...Read More »
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)
Excited by the quality of their 2012 vintage, the winery notes that, "Our 2012 Merlot is deep garnet in color, with aromatic notes of wet stone, sun-warmed raspberries, and a slightly cooling fresh fennel. The soft, supple tannins and medium body are distinctive and prized features of our Merlots. The finish offers notes of baking spices. Drink now and over the next five years. 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot. Aged 20 months in 45% new French oak."
90 points Wine Spectator: "Shows off ripe plum and wild berry flavors, with firm, grippy tannins. Gains depth and richness, adding a touch of dried herb. Needs time. Drink now through 2022." (4/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Burgundian in its earthy, feral aromas, yet simultaneously jammy in flavor, this boasts gamy undertones and a soft texture. The producer recommends decanting an hour minimum before serving, and this will most likely help to blow off the wine’s rustically wild side." (8/2014) K&L Notes: The 2012 Carpe Diem Anderson Valley Pinot Noir displays admirable power, depth and density with deep aromas of blac... Read More »
This Champagne comes from one plot of 70 year old Chardonnay vines in the Montagne of Reims village of Trepail. It is aged for three years on the lees and composed of half 2011 and half 2010. The Champagne has a chalky, creamy, bready nose and a concentrated impression on the palate. As one would expect from such ancient vines, it delivers the goods on the finish with plenty of chalk as well as a bit of honey and white fruit. This makes a perfect aperitif, but will also pair well with seafood such as seared scallops ore even raw oysters. -Gary Westby
Wine Enthusiast: "This unoaked Chardonnay is so ripe and rich, you won’t miss the buttered-toast flavor of oak. It’s incredibly potent with limes, mangoes, oranges and pineapples, uplifted with brisk acidity. A weekend brunch of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon will be the perfect occasion." (12/2013) K&L Notes: From fruit sourced from Yountville, the 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay offers great value for the pedigree of the fruit. The winery's tasting notes: "Hoopla 2013 Chardonnay has a beautiful clear bright golden color. From the first pour, it explodes from the glass with tropical f... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A blend of 100% Viognier that spent 5 months in tank, the value-priced 2012 Cotes du Ventoux Le Paradou Blanc comes from the hills just north of the town of Montpellier. Beautifully fresh and classic Viognier, it offers notions of lychee nut, white peach, flowers and big minerality (especially for a wine at this price point) to go with a rich, pure, supple palate. Decidedly gulpable and easy drinking, it’s a superb white for mid-week drinking. Enjoy it over the coming 1-2 years. Easily one of my favorite estates from the up-and-coming Ventoux region, C ...Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "A lovely Cabernet, ripe and delicious, yet complex enough to hold your interest. It’s just beginning its journey in the bottle. Very dark in color, with hard tannins, it has an immense core of blackberries and cherries. Give it at least 6–8 years, but it could still be rocking in 2022." (8/2013) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Monument is gorgeous and totally juicy. Blackberry jam, blueberries, savory herbs, tar, pencil shavings and sweet spices all burst from the glass in this deeply resonant, expressive Cabernet Sauvignon. Hints of mocha, espresso and vanill ...Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "If not a wine for fans of extract and high ripeness, this relatively mild-mannered offering is both balanced and accessible with a good fix on Pinot Noir. It very much follows the Alysian model in that it is lithe and light on its feet, and it tenaciously hangs on to plenty of buoyant, red-cherry fruit even as it takes a turn to last-minute tartness." (10/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright red. Musky red berries, cherry pit and dried flowers on the nose. Taut, sharply focused redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors show modest depth and pick up a peppery quality with air. Close ...Read More »
This Champagne is made by the same team as Phillipe Gonet, only this time with purchased fruit as well as estate. It is a blend of one third each Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier which is aged for two years on the lees before release. The grapes come from friends of the Gonet's in Loudes, Chigny-les-Roses and Rilly-la-Montagne, all very good premier crus.The wine has a an attractive straw/ gold color and an expressive nose of ripe braeburn apple. The flavors are easy and fun, with excellent balance and freshness. This is perfect for the aperitif! -Gary... Read More »
91 points Antonio Galloni: "Light yellow-gold. Vibrant, mineral-laced lemon and pear scents are complemented by notes of anise, chalky minerals and buttered toast. Juicy citrus and orchard fruit flavors flesh out in the mid-palate, picking up a hint of honeysuckle. Finishes focused, stony and long. This bottling is made from the estate's youngest vines, which are reportedly around 35 years old now. (Josh Raynolds)" (1/2015)91 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "A cool and restrained nose features notes of yeast, various white flowers, citrus peel and green apple. There is good verve and lovely detail to the delicious, in ...Read More »
Margerum Wine Company has long been a favorite of K&L. Doug Margerum, owner and director of winemaking, started out on the retail side of things. He and his family opened Wine Cask in Santa Barbara in 1981 and spent more than a decade building a fantastic wine shop and bistro. During much of that time, Doug was also building an amazing wine company. Margerum Wines are fantastically balanced and go beautifully with food. They are pure and clean, showing off the beautiful fruit from around Santa Barbara County. We were lucky enough to get the opportunity t... 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!
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 »
Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* It may not come with a sense of high pedigree, and it is admittedly a bit light on stuffing, but this well- scrubbed, moderately fruity wine hits the varietal marks that very few Cabernets of its price do. It is medium-full-bodied, slightly rounded in feel and consistently keeps defined fruit in its sights, and its gentle, nicely integrated tannins makes it one that can be comfortably enjoyed in the near- to mid-term." (12/2014)
Decanter World Wine Awards 2014 Commended this red, describing it as having "fleshy jammy red fruit on the nose. The palate of red fruit is rich supple and prolonged."