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The Last Barrels from our (mind blowing) visit to Wild Turkey - 03/02/2015 - Other Distilled Spirits

We're finally to the end of our incredible Wild Turkey run. After selecting nine specific casks with Eddie and Jimmy Russell back in 2013, the final barrels have come home to roost. While we met with a bunch of our favorite sources (large and small) on that trip, the very best stuff we tasted were these barrels from Wild Turkey. Sadly it's coming to an end here...

Russell's Reserve K&L Exclusive Single Barrel #2087 Kentucky Bourbon 750ml

Russell's Reserve K&L Exclusive Single Barrel #2087 Kentucky Bourbon 750ml ($59.99)

We're back with more hand-picked K&L barrels, directly from Wild Turkey's Lawrenceburg warehouse where our spirits team visited and tasted with legendary distiller Jimmy Russell. Those looking for the bright spice and youthful vigor of the Russell's Reserve will want to go with barrel #2087. A veritable explosion of pepper, baking spices, dried herbs, and savory goodness takes off right from the first sip. While not exhibiting the power of something like Four Roses cask strength or George Stagg, the higher than normal alcohol level definitely helps bring the spices to the forefront and accent them on the palate. Bright cinnamon and clove carry through for at least five minutes on the finish. A lovely whiskey.

Russell's Reserve K&L Exclusive Single Barrel #2043 Kentucky Bourbon 750ml

Russell's Reserve K&L Exclusive Single Barrel #2043 Kentucky Bourbon 750ml ($59.99)

We're back with more hand-picked K&L barrels, directly from Wild Turkey's Lawrenceburg warehouse where our spirits team visited and tasted with legendary distiller Jimmy Russell. Barrel 2403 is a gentle whisper of a whiskey compared to many of the monsters we've secured over the years. One would never think 55% upon tasting this delicate Bourbon. The aromas are classic burnt sugar and toasted wood and those notes translate into a creamy and supple mouthfeel on the initial entry. The palate then turns into herbaceous notes of pepper and dried underbrush before finishing with leaner flavors of pencil lead and savory spices. Those who just want a bottle they can pour and enjoy without the addition of water or ice will love this whiskey. It's lovely sipper that drinks beautifully right from the get go.

Chapoutier - Reds - 03/02/2015 - Rhone Valley

2012 M. Chapoutier "Les Varonniers" Crozes-Hermitage (Pre-Arrival) ($39.99)

91-93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Opaque ruby. Intense cherry and dark berry scents are enlivened by bright mineral and spice nuances. Deeply pitched blackberry and bitter cherry flavors show power as well as finesse, with a sexy floral pastille note adding complexity. The minerality adds bite to the finish, which lingers with impressive energy and persistence. " (03/2014)

92 points Wine Spectator: "This has ample toast, but the core of raspberry, plum and blackberry fruit is wonderfully melded with savory, iron and anise notes. A graphite edge lends racy feel through the finish, with a tarry backdrop. Rock-solid. Drink now through 2020." (02/2014)

92 points Antonio Galloni: "Vivid ruby. Highly aromatic cherry and red berry scents are complicated by licorice, Indian spices and cola. Deeply concentrated dark fruit flavors show a suave blend of sweet and tangy, with a mineral nuance adding lift. Gains weight and sweetness on the clinging finish, which features a cherry-cola quality and fine-grained tannins that come on late" (02/2015)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A smoking Crozes Hermitage, the 2012 Crozes Hermitage les Varonniers sports a vibrant purple color to go with notes of black cherries, bouquet garni and ground pepper. Medium to full-bodied, soft, fleshy and beautifully textured, is has enough underlying tannin to keep it drinking nicely through 2022 or so. It's worth noting that at a recent 2003 retrospective, this was firing on all cylinders and bested more than a few more expensive Hermitage. (JD) " (12/2014)

Jancis Robinson: "West facing but very similar granite soils to Hermitage. Mid crimson. Tight and dense and chewy. Like bone-dry cocoa powder. Grainy. Drink 2016-2021." (06/2013)

K&L Notes: "Les Varonniers" is a selection of Chapoutier's oldest Syrah vines, more than 60 years old on average.

2012 M. Chapoutier "Croix de Bois" Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival) ($69.99)

95 points Wine Spectator: "This is dreamy, with stunning raspberry pâte de fruit and boysenberry confiture notes that glide effortlessly, while very silky tannins ride underneath. Shiso leaf, pastis, lavender and warm stone accents fill in on the finish, with a deeply buried graphite hint. This should really stretch out with time, as the acidity is racy and mouthwatering. Best from 2018 through 2030." (01/2015)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Almost as good as the Barbe Rac, the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois (100% Grenache from 100-year-old vines and clay soils) is a stunner that offers loads of upfront dark fruits, spiced cherries, chocolate, garrigue and a slight saline-like minerality on both the nose and palate. Full-bodied and impressively concentrated, with rock-star texture, notable purity and good underlying structure, it’s a serious, fruit-loaded Chateauneuf that will have 10-15 years of longevity. While the tasting with Michel Chapoutier for his northern Rhônes is a mammoth one, the southern Rhone lineup is a more manageable size. These wine are certainly high quality across the board, and while the Barbe Rac is one of the top wines in 2012, don’t miss the value priced wines from this estate; they sell for a song and always deliver value. His northern Rhônes will be covered in Issue 216 and I’ll also have his Languedoc and Roussillon releases out early next year. " (10/2014)

92-94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Saturated ruby. Aromas of red berry preserves, smoky minerals and potpourri are lifted by a suave spicy quality that carries through to the finish. Lush and sweet in the mouth, offering spicy raspberry and floral pastille flavors along with a touch of spicecake. Closes silky and long, with lingering mineral and floral notes. " (01/2014)

2012 M. Chapoutier "Les Greffieux" Ermitage Vieilles Vignes (Pre-Arrival) ($99.99)

97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A wine I've been lucky enough to have multiple times recently, the 2012 Ermitage les Greffieux is a full-bodied, deeply fruited, concentrated and blockbuster effort that's stays elegant, polished and balanced. Exhibiting incredible amounts of bloody meat, olive tapenade, campfire and sweet, expansive fruit, it needs 4-5 years in the cellar, and will drink nicely through 2034. (JD) " (12/2014)

93-95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Dark purple. Smoky blackberry and blueberry on the highly perfumed nose, with sexy oak spice and floral notes adding complexity. Densely packed dark berry preserve flavors pick up a candied licorice quality with air, along with hints of smoky bacon and black tea. Coats the palate without coming off as heavy, finishing with firm mineral cut and slow-building tannins. " (03/2014)

95 points Wine Spectator: "A zesty version, with lots of enticing pomegranate, loganberry and blackberry fruit, liberally laced with brambly tannins and backed by mouthwatering anise, bergamot and blood orange notes. The minerality on the long finish more than offsets the almost rambunctious fruit. Just needs a little time. Best from 2018 through 2030." (02/2015)

94 points Antonio Galloni: "Inky purple. Intense smoke- and mineral-accented aromas of dark berries, cherry liqueur and fresh flowers. Spicy and taut on entry, then fleshier and sweeter in the mid-palate, offering spicy black raspberry and violet pastille flavors and a jolt of tangy acidity on the back half. Puts on weight with air while maintaining striking energy and sharp focus. Finishes bright, silky and extremely long, with excellent clarity, harmonious tannins and lingering spiciness. " (02/2015)

2012 M. Chapoutier "La Mordorée" Côte-Rôtie (Pre-Arrival) ($99.99)

97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "While I loved Michel's 2012 Cote Rotie la Mordoree from barrel, it blew me away from bottle, and I think bares more than a passing resemblance to his 1991. About as elegant and seamless as they come, it exhibits incredible notes of violets, peppery spice, spring flowers, rose petal and darker berry fruit. This is followed by a full-bodied, sweetly fruited, expansive Cote Rotie that's perfectly balanced, has beautiful mid-palate density, and ultra-fine tannin that emerge on the finish. It's a blockbuster effort to drink over the coming two decades. (JD)" (12/2014)

96 points Wine Spectator: "Nicely saturated from core to edge, with bramble, singed bay and espresso notes weaving around blackberry, black currant and fig paste flavors. The finish is tarry in feel, but dark olive, warm stone and smoldering tobacco accents add extra range and texture, too. A rock-solid offering. Best from 2018 through 2030. " (02/2015)

92-94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Inky ruby. Sexy, intensely perfumed aromas of blackberry, cherry-cola and violet, with allspice, cola and olive nuances building with air. Sweet and penetrating in the mouth, showing a seamless texture and vibrant dark berry compote and violet pastille flavors. Finishes with excellent energy and focus, leaving cola and smoky mineral notes behind." (03/2014)

94 points Antonio Galloni: "(all old Serine vines): Bright purple. Potent mineral- and spice-accented cherry and blackberry scents are complicated by notes of mocha, pipe tobacco and fresh flowers. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering deeply concentrated dark fruit flavors that gain energy and spiciness with aeration. Powerful yet lithe and sharply focused, finishing very long, with strong cut and dusty tannins that sneak in late." (02/2015)

Jancis Robinson: "Syrah, 14-18 months in 225-litre barrique with a small proportion new. Mica, schist and loess. This parcel of vines is situated on the borders of the Côte Blonde. Very dark and intense, almost stewed! Lots of sweet fruit but also some recognisable northern Rhône Syrah leather character. Good energy. A bit sweeter than usual. 17/20 points. Drink 2017-2027." (11/2013)

2012 M. Chapoutier "L'Ermite" Ermitage Rouge (Pre-Arrival) ($249.99)

100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another wine that topped out on my scale, the 523-case 2012 Ermitage l'Ermite is as profound an Hermitage as you can find. Coming from the granite soils located around the Chapel on the top of Hermitage hill, it's always the most tight, backward and structured of the releases, even more so than the Pavillon, which always seems to have another layer of sweet fruit to me. The 2012 is deeper and richer than the 2011, yet as with most 2012s, it more approachable and forward than the 2010 (and 2009 in this case). Exhibiting awesome notes of powdered rock, creme de cassis, liquid violets and lite gunpowder, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, awesome mid-palate depth and building, ultra-fine tannin that frame the finish. It's an incredible wine that will won't start to become approachable until a decade after the vintage, and then will keep for three decades. (JD) " (12/2014)

97 points Wine Spectator: "This blazes along, with a riveting iron note running from start to finish, keeping the red currant, damson plum, blackberry and boysenberry fruit racy and defined. Shows terrific cut through the finish, revealing extra tar and ganache hints for textural nuance. Very long. Best from 2018 through 2030." (02/2015)

94-96 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Inky purple. An explosively perfumed bouquet evokes dark berry compote, cherry-cola, candied licorice and potpourri. Lush, expansive blackberry and blueberry flavors show serious vivacity, with lively Asian spice and violet qualities emerging with air. Closes smoky and extremely long, with velvety tannins and lingering vanilla and floral nuances." (03/2014)

94 points Antonio Galloni: "Opaque purple. Powerful, deeply pitched aromas of cassis, candied plum, licorice and violet oil, with suggestions of olive and smoky minerals adding complexity. Weighty and broad in the mouth, offering bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors and a strong note of dark chocolate. Becomes spicier and livelier with air and finishes very long and broad, with chewy tannins adding grip. This is a real baby. The vines at this site are reportedly over 100 years old now." (02/2015)

Jancis Robinson: "Racy, sinewy, polished with refined ripe fruit underneath but very skilfully hidden. Long and juicy and so very different from Le Méal, for instance. Much less burly. Splits the difference between Méal and Greffieux. Wonderfully lifted nose. Savoury. 18.5/20 points." (06/2013)

2012 M. Chapoutier "Le Pavillon" Ermitage Rouge (Pre-Arrival) ($249.99)

100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Sharing some similarities to the le Meal (yet its from a very different terroir), with its full-bodied, decadent, heavenly profile that somehow stays pure, poised and elegant, the 2012 Ermitage le Pavillon (767 cases) offers an extraordinary perfume of cassis, raspberries, crushed flowers, powdered rock and smoked earth. Coming all from the granite soils of the les Bessards lieu-dit, which produces some of the most muscular, concentrated wines on the planet, this serious 2012 is more approachable than either the 2009 or 2010, yet certainly is at the same level of quality. Give it 6-7 years in the cellar and enjoy it through 2042. (JD) " (12/2014)

94-96 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Inky purple. Lively, incisive aromas of blackberry, cassis, smoky minerals, licorice and pungent flowers. Juicy and penetrating on the palate, with bright acidity adding lift to the intense black and blue fruit flavors. Becomes spicier and more floral with air, finishing with outstanding energy and thrust and youthful firming tannins. " (03/2014)

96 points Wine Spectator: "This has terrific energy, with zesty loganberry, blackberry and boysenberry coulis flavors, pushed by a grippy dark ganache note. Bramble and anise accents fill the background, with a long, racy, acidity-driven finish that lets the fruit play out wonderfully. Should cruise in the cellar. Best from 2018 through 2030." (02/2015)

94 points Antonio Galloni: "(made entirely from fruit grown in Bessards, from vines that range from 40 to 60 years in age; 25% new oak): Saturated purple. Pungent smoke- and mineral-accented aromas of dark berry preserves, dried cherry, pipe tobacco, licorice and incense. Stains the palate with intense blackcurrant and bitter cherry flavors, becoming deeper, sweeter and spicier with air. Packs a very serious punch but comes off as lithe and precise, finishing with excellent length and silky, slowly emerging tannins. " (02/2015)

Jancis Robinson: "Dark crimson. Pavillon is stronger than L'Ermite but there is more minerality on L'Ermite. A bit richer and less precise than L'Ermite. Big and rich. Then grainy tannins. Sweet finish. 18.5/20 points." (06/2013)

Chapoutier - Whites - 03/02/2015 - Rhone Valley

2012 M. Chapoutier "Les Granits" Saint-Joseph Blanc (Pre-Arrival) ($49.99)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another blockbuster that savvy readers need to buy up, the 2012 Saint Joseph "Les Granits" Blanc is a drop-dead gorgeous wine that offers up tons of crushed rock-like minerality, stone fruits, white peach and buttered citrus to go with a full-bodied, decadent, yet also elegant and focused style on the palate. Count me a fan, and while it's a great drink now, it will have an easy 15+ years of evolution. (JD) " (12/2014)

91-93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light gold. Pear, lemon pith and white flowers on the intensely fragrant nose. Fleshy and expansive on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering vibrant, mineral-laced orchard and citrus fruit flavors and a suave floral nuance. Finishes spicy and very long, with lingering floral and mineral qualities. I'll bet that this tightly coiled wine will be a slow ager. " (03/2014)

93 points Wine Spectator: "Intense, with salted butter, quinine and chamomile notes lending this a racy edge, while creamed melon, pear and Jonagold apple flavors form the core. The long finish features a buried mineral element, while a singed hazelnut aroma emerges in the end. Drink now through 2019. " (02/2015)

92 points Antonio Galloni: "Bright gold. White peach, poached pear, honey and smoky minerals on the deeply perfumed nose. Round and supple on the palate, with very good depth and clarity to the flavors of peach nectar, Meyer lemon, flowers and sweet butter. A leesy nuance builds with air and carries through a long, broad finish that repeats the floral and mineral notes. The blend of power and vivacity here is quite suave. " (02/2015)

Jancis Robinson: "100% Marsanne on granite. Low level of sulphur and as late as possible. They keep as much carbon dioxide as possible to protect whites. Lightly honeyed nose. Very broad almost fat palate with considerable gas dissolved in the wine. Even a slightly bitter note of coffee grounds. Not quite as luscious as some other vintages. (16/20, 05/2013)"

2012 M. Chapoutier "Le Méal" Ermitage Blanc (Pre-Arrival) ($139.99)

99 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A wine that seems to pack more and more quality with each vintage, the 2012 Ermitage le Meal Blanc is borderline perfection, and didn't lose a beat being served beside the de l’Orée and l'Ermite. Flamboyant, ripe, honeyed and decadent, with thrilling white currants, buttered citrus, orange blossom and licorice, it too is a massive wine that will have decades of life. Make no mistake though, it's gorgeous even today. (JD)" (12/2014)

96 points Wine Spectator: "This rolls along, featuring a honeyed edge and straw, heather and creamed apple notes, all gilded with pineapple, papaya and Cavaillon melon accents. Long and luxurious, with an echo of dried chamomile lending just the right amount of spine for balance. Drink now through 2020." (02/2015)

93-95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid gold. Powerful mineral-laced peach nectar and pear aromas, with complicating notes of vanilla, honey and musky flowers. Round, fleshy and expansive, offering potent pit fruit and anise flavors and a bracing lick of lemon zest. Nicely blends richness and vivacity and finishes with impressive clarity and outstanding spicy persistence." (03/2014)

94 points Antonio Galloni: "Light gold. Poached pear, peach pit, honey and blond tobacco on the intensely perfumed, mineral-driven nose. Pliant, deeply concentrated pit fruit and melon flavors are complemented by succulent herbs and orange pith, with a stony element adding back-end cut. The mineral note reminds me a lot of Chablis, as strange as that may sound for an all-Marsanne wine. Suavely melds weight and vivacity, finishing with excellent clarity and length and a clinging note of candied orange." (02/2015)

2012 M. Chapoutier "de l'Orée" Ermitage Blanc (Pre-Arrival) ($139.99)

99 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Ermitage Cuvee de l'Oree is still firing on all cylinders, sporting heavenly notes of powdered rock, white flowers, honeyed orange blossom, white currants and a saltiness that keeps you coming back to the glass. Full-bodied, voluptuous and decadent, drink it anytime over the coming 2-3 decades. (JD) " (12/2014)

97 points Wine Spectator: "Densely layered, with ginger geleé, creamed pineapple, heather honey and lemon shortbread notes, all offset by a racy salted butter spine. Bright honeysuckle and chamomile accents dapple the finish, which shows terrific length and definition. Drink now through 2022." (02/2015)

94 points Antonio Galloni: "Limpid gold. A bright, intensely perfumed bouquet displays fresh pit fruits, tangerine, pungent flowers and Thai basil, with a zesty mineral nuance building quickly. Rich yet energetic, showing excellent focus and depth to its juicy peach and orange flavors. Becomes spicier on the finish, which features chalky tannins and a touch of floral honey. Manages to be both rich and lithe, and has the capacity to reward extended cellaring." (02/2015)

92-94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright yellow. Pure and expressive on the nose, displaying scents of orange zest, poached pear, honeysuckle and chalky minerals. Intense, finely etched orchard fruit and floral flavors are strikingly concentrated, focused and refreshing. Impeccably balanced, precise and mineral-driven white Hermitage with superb finishing bite." (03/2014)

2012 M. Chapoutier "L'Ermite" Ermitage Blanc (Pre-Arrival) - 6 available ($369.99)

100 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "White wine simply doesn't get any better than the 2012 Ermitage l'Ermite Blanc. A massive, concentrated, yet insanely pure and focused effort, it has an incredible bouquet (almond paste, orange rind, caramelized peach), full-bodied richness, no hard edges and finish that just won't quit. Of all the 2012 whites, this has the most minerality, purity and precision. I'd happily drink it anytime over the coming 3-4 decades. (JD) " (12/2014)

98 points Wine Spectator: "Features a weighty core of honey-edged melon, yellow apple, jasmine and white peach flavors, but this is racy and vibrant overall, with dried chamomile, quinine and fleur de sel notes running from start to finish. The finish ripples with energy and minerality, while the fruit courses on. Drink now through 2025. " (02/2015)

95 points Antonio Galloni: "Vivid yellow-gold. Explosive, exotically perfumed orchard fruit, honey, iodine and mineral aromas pick up hints of quinine and jasmine with air. Bitter pear skin and Meyer lemon flavors gain weight as the wine opens up, with juicy acidity adding lift and focus. Closes on a ripe tangerine note, with serious mineral-driven persistence and lingering floral character. The combination of power and finesse here is striking." (02/2015)

93-95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light yellow-gold. High-pitched aromas of fresh citrus fruits, smoky minerals, white flowers and sweet butter. Concentrated but lithe and sharply focused, with impressive floral lift to its orange, pear skin and mineral flavors. The mineral element carries through the finish, which clings with superb energy and spicy persistence. " (03/2014)

Top 10 Selections - March 2015 - 03/02/2015 - Monthly Newsletter

Each month we dig through our inventory of several thousand hand-picked wines and spirits, and come up with a list of our Top 10 selections on KLWines.com

2012 Michael & David

2012 Michael & David "6th Sense" Lodi Syrah ($12.99)

91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Richness (of both flavor and texture) marks this deeply colored, full-bodied Syrah. Aromas of ripe blackberry and licorice coupled with flavors of clove and blackberry jam make it luscious yet not overly big. It has the firm tannins and good balance for aging through 2019." (12/2014)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The classic 2012 Syrah 6th Sense does not compete flavor-wise with the two Cabernets or the Petite Petit, but it is an attractive, supple, full-bodied, black-fruited Syrah offering notes of roasted meats, black olive tapenade, and blackberries. Soft, round and juicy, it is best drunk over the next several years. A candidate for the best value winery in the United States, the Michael & David Winery is incredibly proficient at turning out full-flavored wines at bargain basement prices. Shrewd consumers take note. (RP)" (11/2014)

Dave Genevro | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 12, 2015

A great deal on an even greater wine! If you love Syrah as much as I do, give this one a try. Amazing depth and juicy fruit. The bottle looks and drinks like a thirty dollar bottle easily, yet it is under fifteen dollars. Get 'em while they're here!

Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 09, 2014

Incredibly surprising or surprisingly incredible, either way I think those two statements describe the new releases from the Michael & David winery. Always known for their amusing labels and marketing I think the most recent batch of wines will make people take notice for just how much quality is in the bottle for such little cash. The style of wine is still full throttle, fruit driven and bold, as the wines always have been but there is much better balance in the wines overall and most importantly I found there to be no discernible residual sugar in the wines. These are a must try for fans of exuberant Domestic Wines for reasonable prices. The 2012 6th Sense Syrah was really eye opening for me. I’ve tried this wine for years and it’s always been a bit clumsy in regards to its ripeness levels, not so much this year! Now don’t get me wrong this is not Northern Rhone Syrah but it is a wildly pleasurable fruit driven Syrah for a measly $12.99 and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Aromas of chocolate ganache, wet black top and white pepper are very alluring leading to a exuberant palate of raspberry coulis, sweet licorice, pipe tobacco and wild berry cobbler with fine tannins and a stealthy long finish of toasted coconut and black pepper. A complete steal for fans of “big” wines.

2009 de Chantegrive Rouge, Graves

2009 de Chantegrive Rouge, Graves ($19.99)

92 points James Suckling: "A solid red with ripe plum, cherry and vanilla character. Full and savory with round and ripe tannins and a long, intense finish. Approachable, but better in 2015." (07/2012)

89-91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Barrel sample. Solidly packed tannins, very firm and structured, a feeling of considerable extract as well as a high toast content." (08/2010)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A major sleeper of the vintage, this blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is another 'best ever' performance. Notes of tobacco leaf, hot rocks, sweet kirsch and black currants are impressively displayed in this medium to full-bodied, velvety textured, very seductive style of wine. Drink it over the next decade. (RP)" (02/2012)

K&L Notes: We have sold over 150 cases of this beauty. Why? Because it tastes great-smooth as glass and it has a lingering finish with some mineral notes. Goes well with fish or meat, but it is perfect with roasted chicken.-Clyde beffa

2012 Anaba Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

2012 Anaba Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($24.99)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The impressive 2012 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast displays delicate honey, white peach and floral notes followed by a medium to full-bodied Chardonnay with good freshness, excellent purity and fine texture. This cleanly made, beautifully crafted, well-balanced 2012 should be consumed over the next 5-6 years. (RP)" (12/2014)

K&L Notes: A blend fruit from Anaba's estate vineyard (named J McK) in Carneros, Denmark Vineyard in the southern end of the Sonoma Valley and choice vineyards from the acclaimed Dutton Ranch (Mills Station Vineyard and DuttonHouse Block) in the Russian River Valley. These three distinct vineyard locations each contribute something unique to the wine, which is hand-sorted and whole cluster pressed. The wine is 60% barrel fermented, and 40% stainless fermented. Aging takes place over 11 months sur lees in French oak barrels, 45% of which were new. Total production is only 790 cases.

Christie Brunick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 06, 2015

If you're looking for a Chardonnay that includes the Big 4--Flavor, Fruit, Food Friendliness, and Full-bodied--look no further! I'm loving this boutique production Chardonnay from some of the most well regarded vineyards in the region! The main reason I love it is because it's not your typical super oaky-buttery fat-flabby Cali Chard, not to say that it doesn't have the lusciousness of a Cali Chard we all love, but it has gorgeous texture, acidity, and balance like Burgundy, without the harsh edges. It dances on the palate with its citrus and tropical fruit notes and has a wonderful weight from the lees and integrated French oak. Wow, this is delicious!

Trey Beffa | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 04, 2015

A terrifically fresh, well balanced Chardonnay that shows layers of lemon, pineapple and other tropical fruit flavors. The wine is 60% barrel fermented and 40% stainless fermented, which adds the perfect balanced between the acidity and vanilla bean flavors, which linger on the palate. Nor heavy or fat in the mouth, this wine is an excellent pick to pair with food.

Faultline Blended Scotch Whisky 750ml

Faultline Blended Scotch Whisky 750ml ($24.99)

For three long years, David Othenin-Girard and I have been trying to create an inexpensive, delicious, value-driven, yet simultaneously interesting expression of blended Scotch whisky that we could feature under our Faultline label. There were many times when we thought we were close, but either the quality of the whisky or the cost of the barrels proved prohibitive. We didn't want to make a $25 bottle of whisky just for the sake of it. If we were going to do it, then we were going to it right. Finally, after working on and off with the Laings for a year-long blending process, we hammered out a profile we were happy with. Big smoke, Ardbeg-like peat flavors, and a kiss of sweet grain was our goal and we definitely achieved it in this bottle. Unlike most big brand blends, there are no coloring agents or sweeteners in the Faultline Scotch, just a pale straw colored liquid that bursts with character and, due to the heavy malt content, finishes with richness and weight. We wanted to make sure that, upon launch, there would be absolutely nothing on the market that could match the quality of flavor, price, beauty of design, and bang for the buck. After three long years, we think we've done it. For $25 you get one helluva bottle of Scotch. Smokier than Johnnie Black, more complex than Chivas, and less expensive than both of them. Plus, it's an assertive 100 proof. Try it in a cocktail, pour it over ice, add in soda water. It's the real deal. (David Driscoll, K&L Spirits Buyer)

Patrick Cu | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 28, 2015

If someone is looking for our best value in Scotch whisky, there'll be no hesitation on my part in recommending this. There are flavors of vanilla, malty grains, and a gentle touch of peat in the background. This is easy drinking, versatile whisky. How the hell is it $25 while being so good and 50% ABV? I have no idea, but enjoy it while it lasts.

Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 20, 2015

I usually only like blended Scotch that costs more than the single malts I drink, so this was a revelation. I don't know if it is the hint of high quality peat, the extra concentration and kick from the higher proof, or the lovely sweet malty character of this blend that make it so satisfying. My father has often said that he "likes to drink expensive booze like it was cheap"- if you do too, this is a great scotch for you. It is not expensive- it just tastes like it is! For me it is the best value in Scotch in the store.

2013 Franck Millet

2013 Franck Millet "Insolite" Sancerre ($24.99)

One of K&L's very finest buys from France. This is a reserve cuvée, made from Millet's chalkiest limestone soils. There is a long maceration at very low temperatures to extract as much flavor and character as possible. The resulting wine is intensely charged with stone fruit and minerality, with bright citrus notes. However, due to the amazingly warm vintage, it's quite soft, with layers of rich fruit.

Eric Story | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 11, 2015

I've been here at K&L long enough to try each and every vintage of this wine. And, I can honestly say that each and every vintage has gotten better and better. Not only is this Sancerre one of my favorites but, the entire staff loves it as well. It’s been a love affair that started off fast and hot and then happily progressed into something meaningful and long term.

Steve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 10, 2015

Sancerre fans take note, if you lean to the crisp and clean school of wine you are going to want to taste this. Insolite is the quintessential Sancerre offering a fragrant lemon peel nose, bright acidity and all the stoney mineral characteristics one craves from the Loire. The ripe fruit mixed with chalky undertones gives this a strong citrus finish you won't soon forget. Grab a fresh baguette and some fresh chevre or a dozen oysters for a match made in heaven!

Mahon McGrath | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 06, 2015

The 2013 Insolite boasts a veritable rainbow of citrus scents: lemon, lime, and orange mingle with a pungent quality reminiscent of the first bite of a kumquat, along with pea shoot and lemon grass. The palate is clean, streamlined, sleek, and cool, with the cuvee’s characteristic richness all but enveloping the bristling acidity until the very end, and a smidgen of talc dusting the robust fruit.

Olivia Ragni | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 06, 2015

Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a bottle of Insolite and a dozen oysters. This wine is made for fresh seafood, especially oysters. This Sancerre is truly special with tons of chalky minerality, crushed limestone, lemon zest and refreshing salinity. The Insolite has more mid-palate weight than his basic Sancerre Blanc coupled with crisp acidity, which makes it perfect for shellfish but easy enough to drink on its own.

Christie Brunick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 04, 2015

My Favorite Sancerre is back! Slightly updated label, same Amazing Sauvignon Blanc. I always love the Insolite Sancerre because it has a touch more palate weight and texture than your typical Sancerre. Bursting with minerality, juicy acid, and even a touch of salinity, this is the perfect shellfish wine and I can vouch for that! I had a bottle at a raw bar with oysters and scallops and it was absolutely divine! Easy enough to drink on its own as well, this also goes great with salty hard cheeses.

Daniel Maas | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 04, 2015

Picture this: It's February in Los Angeles, and so, of course, IT'S HOT OUTSIDE! You're sitting in the middle Griffith Park, perhaps on a blanket with a loved one or a good book. What else could you possibly need other than a delicious Sancerre. And that, my friends, is exactly what you'll find in this bottle of 2013 Franck Millet Insolite, a charming balance of chalky minerality, round apple and citrus fruit, and moderate acidity. With wine this good, you might just have to put down that book and have another glass! Enjoy!

2012 Luca Malbec Uco Valley

2012 Luca Malbec Uco Valley ($29.99)

93 points Wine Spectator: "#19 Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2014!! Very suave and polished, with ripe, pure flavors of blackberry, hoisin sauce and black pepper. Finely textured, this is packed with tar and roasted plum notes, showing plenty of licorice snap and dark chocolate accents on the powerful finish. Best after 2020." (02/2014)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: " The 2012 Malbec comes from old vineyards in La Consulta and a dash from Gualtallary in the Uco Valley. It has a mineral-like, austere feeling, with notes of peach, sour cherries, and sweet spices, a medium-bodied palate with gripping tannins, and is refined and fresh, with some creamy and smoky notes from the barrel, which should disappear with a little time in bottle. This is great Malbec. Drink 2013-2020. (LG)" (04/2014)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright ruby-red. Aromas of black cherry and bitter chocolate accented by an herbal note. Concentrated and deeply fruity, with an intense blackberry flavor complicated by a saline quality. Showing no overt sweetness but quite suave and fine-grained, finishing with firm tannins and lingering dark fruits. " (03/2014)

K&L Notes: Laura Catena, proprietor of Luca Winery, is a fourth generation vintner, who also happens to be a Harvard and Stanford educated emergency medicine physician. Following the birth of her first child, Luca, she felt compelled to create a legacy of small production Argentine wines. This Malbec is from fruit grown in the Uco Valley, and is, in typical Luca style, a big, broad shouldered, structured powerhouse of a wine.

2012 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir Marlborough (Elsewhere $50)

2012 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir Marlborough (Elsewhere $50) ($38.99)

96 points Bob Campbell: "2012 was a fairly cool vintage in Marlborough but there is certainly no lack of ripeness in this fine, elegant pinot noir. The wine has appealing density, and a sinewy texture with red cherry, spice, mineral and a hint of dried herbs and licorice. (Bob Campbell MW - Gourmet Traveler Magazine)" (06/2014)

96 points Decanter: "Intense, sumptuous and wonderfully perfumed with dark plum, black cherry, a hint of violets and an appealing gamey, savoury palate. Long and complex, hinting at it’s potential. The texture is seductively silky, blanketing a spine of fine tannins. (BC)" (08/2014)

93 points James Suckling: "A pinot noir that is subtle and complex with dried strawberry, cedar, nut and light meat character. Full to medium body with hints of chocolate, wet earth and mushroom. Such balance and finesse here." (10/2014)

90 points Wine Spectator: "Elegant, with pure, plush raspberry coulis and cherry flavors at the core, gaining momentum as the layers of clove, pine, lavender and red licorice come in. Exhibits power on the finish." (06/2014)

K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "Appealing at once, the nose of our Pinot Noir 2012 is ripe with plum, aromatic spice and red florals. The palate is focused with a savoury architecture; bittersweet chocolate, dark fruit and spice play with leather and hints of earthiness. Chalky tannins linger on a persistent finish. We particularly enjoy our 2012 pinot noir with soy glazed bbq pork ribs and confit of duck leg. Grapes for this wine were sourced from carefully selected sites located within the southern Wairau Valley including our Mustang and Barracks vineyards. The soils have a clay base with aged alluvial gravels that provide good drainage. This soil structure allows a relatively consistent availability of water to the vines through the summer months, minimising water stress to the pinot noir vines. Our vines are all pruned and trained to a two-cane, vertically shoot positioned canopy with an average yield of 5 tonnes/hectare."

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 20, 2015

It can sometimes be easy to overlook the most obvious brands when looking for new wines. Sure Cloudy Bay is a far larger producer than decades ago when they rose to fame...but one must consider the pedigree and vineyard holdings that an established producer like Cloudy Bay has. These guys were in the game before most people even thought you could grow grapes in Marlborough! They have some of the most revered parcels of land in the region and a 30 year track record as one of the most influential producers that helped put New Zealand on the world wine map. This Pinot Noir is a minuscule production compared with their world famous Sauvignon Blanc. The fruit was carefully selected from particular vineyard holdings in the Southern Valleys (an area quickly becoming recognized as the best sub-region for Pinot Noir in Marlborough). The vines are cropped to just two tons per acre. The wine has plenty of rich, dark fruit, leafy notes, toasted spices and a lick of French oak. The palate is mid weight with good concentration and ripe soft tannins. This is sure to please a lot of people just as it pleased the worlds top wine critics with multiple 96 point scores!

2010 Anakota

2010 Anakota "Helena Montana" Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($79.99)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Montana Vineyard is cut from the same cloth. Its opaque purple color and sweet creme de cassis fruit intermixed with crushed rock and forest floor notes lead to a broad, rich, full-bodied mouthfeel with excruciatingly high tannins and intense power and richness. It should be forgotten for at least a decade. (RP)" (10/2013)

92-94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(From pale volcanic ash soil; the Helena Dakota is from reddish-brown silty loam and rocks): Bright medium ruby. Lovely lift to the aromas of black fruits and leather. Juicy and intense but not yet as expressive as the Helena Dakota (the Montana has a slightly lower pH). The black fruit flavors offers excellent definition though, and are joined by dark chocolate on the powerful, broad, very long finish, which features big, ripe, horizontal tannins and excellent lift. Both of these 2010s are powerful and dense without being excessively high in alcohol." (05/2012)

92-94 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Montana Vineyard stands out for its delineation and nuance. A vibrant, powerful wine, the 2010 faithfully expresses the signatures of this site. Violets, cloves, blackberry jam and white pepper all make an appearance in this luscious full-bodied wine. The 2010 is both a large-scaled and opulent, yet it also has great underlying intensity and tannin. Mocha, sweet spices and a hint of French oak inform the serious, intense finish. As always, the Helena Montana is sleek and polished. In 2010, it is particularly compelling. (AG)" (07/2013)

K&L Notes: Praise from Robert Parker: "Made by Kendall-Jackson’s Bordelais winemaker Pierre Seillan, these wines represent the pinnacle of what they hope to achieve in high elevation sites in Knights Valley, an area increasingly being utilized by Napa producers given the great success Peter Michael and Kendall-Jackson have had in this region. These limited production 2009s and 2010s made at high elevation vineyards (Helena Dakota is at 750 feet, and the Helena Montana is at 950 feet) have not yet been released. These highly extracted, rich, full-bodied wines may have limited appeal given their aging potential and broodingly backward characters. All of these offerings are 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that were aged in 100% French oak for 15 months prior to bottling. The alcohols came in between 14.2% and 14.8%. I gave slightly higher scores to the Helena Dakota cuvees, perhaps because they were showing more accessibility." (Wine Advocate #209, 10/2013)

2011 La Massa

2011 La Massa "Giorgio Primo" Toscana ($79.99)

95 points James Suckling: "Captivating aromas of blueberries, raspberries, violets and orange peel. Full body with crazy tannins." (09/2013)

94 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2011 Giorgio Primo is just as beautiful today as it was last year, even if it has barely budged since then. Blackberry jam, spices, licorice, smoke and new leather meld together in a seamless voluptuous wine endowed with superb depth and pure textural richness. The oak still needs time to integrate, but there is a lot to look forward to here." (09/2014)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Giorgio Primo is the latest edition of one of my favorite Tuscan blends. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot are the three pillars of this broadly textured red. Soaring aromas include dark cherry, marzipan and even a touch of chocolate cookie dough. Its texture is chewy, rich and syrupy and you definitely feel that 15% alcohol on the close. (ML) " (10/2014)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Saturated ruby. Jammy, deeply pitched black and superripe red fruit aromas and flavors, along with a chocolatey quality that's obvious from the start and picks up steam with aeration. Plush and resoundingly fruity, bordering on jammy and over the top, with a broad, sweet, seamless finish redolent of blueberry liqueur and allspice. Those who are enthralled by flamboyant, opulent wines will find my score too low. " (09/2014)

91 points Wine Spectator: "A rich, luscious red, whose fleshy texture envelops black cherry, plum and spice flavors, matched to well-integrated oak. This is approachable now, but will be better in a year or so. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Best from 2016 through 2024. " (10/2014)

Olivia Ragni | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 01, 2014

Wow, what a rich, decadent wine. The nose provides some herbaceous, mineral-driven notes with plenty of black cherry, blackberry and violet to balance. The body is plush and juicy with fine, well-integrated tannins and notes of chocolate, fresh ground coffee, cherry, blueberry and cassis. A glass, maybe a bottle, of this as dessert sounds about right.

Illya Haase | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 01, 2014

What a wonderful find in some of the best vineyard sites of the Chianti Classico region (Conca D’Oro). On the hillsides of the town of Panzano this IGT first pops with vibrant color in the glass and lovely shades of violet and plum. On the nose it burst with floral, spice and seamlessly layered oak! Deep, rich and alluring mouthfeel. It keeps you reaching for the glass. Espresso roast, cassis, blueberries, blackberries and a hint of smoky tar rounds out the finish. This is one full-bodied wine! But, with that great Italian acidity. A fantastic gift for the holidays or any day for that matter! Enjoy--I know I am.

Angie An | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 25, 2014

Toasty warm aromas, full of vanilla, sweet tobacco and hints of dark chocolate. Definitely not shy, this bottle is full-bodied, with a strong tannin backbone, could age for a few more years and will pair amazingly with a grilled tomahawk chop!

Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 25, 2014

After an initial bit of bottle shock upon release this wine has finally come into balance! If you are a fan of Bordeaux or California Cabernet this wine is more similar to them than other Italian Bordeaux blends. The nose if full of blackberry, currant with hints of vanilla and on the palate the 70% Cabernet Sauvignon 25% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot blend gives a powerful impression. Layers of fruit, spice, and earth with a smooth and supple texture give this wine a balanced, long but luscious finish. Aged for 18 months in 80% new French oak barriques this wine can surely age for another decade plus but is still very drinkable now.

Mike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 25, 2014

Full-bodied, with well-integrated tannins and a long, balanced, dark chocolate-tinged finish. Lots of toasted oak and ripe fruit and loads of black fruit, gamy with some hints of vanilla, Giorgio Primo comes from winemaker Giampaolo Motta.

2012 Lewis Cellars

2012 Lewis Cellars "Reserve" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($129.99)

This is a sure-thing for those of you looking for a top 2012 Napa Cabernet. In this highly-regarded California vintage, Randy and Debbie Lewis continue to impress us with their ability to produce intense, powerful wines that seamlessly match decadence with elegance. Expect this to get huge reviews as the press gets a chance to taste and review it. The 2009 and 2010 scored 94 and 96 points, respectively, with Wine Spectator, and even 93 for the slightly less full-throttle 2011. The big wine is back, says Lewis Cellars in their tasting note for this new release: "Running on high octane aromas and built on an iron block with deep reserves of black fruit this 100% Cabernet blend delivers 700 horsepower at the wheels. Coming off idle the nose slowly explodes with sappy dark and rustic berries, clove, cedar and sweet oak spices. Forged, ripe fruit pistons pump out the power for miles until finally finishing with an impressive band of ported and polished tannins. Motor must be warmed-up before driving!"

Trey Beffa | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 25, 2015

Nearly black in color, this concentrated Cabernet is loaded with dark black cherry fruit, licorice, and graphite, with hints of smoke and mocha flavors that linger on the finish. Despite this wine’s size and depth; it is remarkably round, supple and fresh. Tannins are big but ripe and integrated. Patience will be rewarded for those who can put this bottle away for 5-10 years but I doubt many bottles will make it that long, as this wine shows so well even at this young age. One of the best 2012 Cabernets we have had in the store so far!

We offer five excellent wine clubs and an exclusive Personal Sommelier Service, that allow you to sample outstanding wines from all over the world. Due to our bulk purchase power and longstanding relationships, the quality and value offered by these clubs are tremendous. Unlike winery clubs where you typically taste the same wines year after year, our clubs offer phenomenal variety that is strictly selected by our panel of buyers. See for yourself.


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