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Top Ten Picks - November 2017 - 11/06/2017 - 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

Vintage Item Name Score Retail Link
2015 Domaine Lafage "Bastide Miraflors" Côtes du Roussillon 94 $12.99 View
2014 Tapiz "Alta Collection" Malbec Mendoza 95 $13.99 View
2013 Au Bon Climat "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay 94 $29.99 View
2014 Comartin "R-Bar-R Ranch" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir (Elsewhere $45) 95 $29.99 View
2010 Louise Brison Brut Champagne $29.99 View
2015 Moulin de la Gardette "Cuvée Ventabren" Gigondas 95 $29.99 View
2012 Poggiarellino Brunello di Montalcino 93 $29.99 View
2013 Burgess "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $45) 92 Price: Hidden View
2013 Woodward Canyon "Artist Series #22" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $49) 94 $39.99 View
2000 Clos du Marquis, St-Julien 94 $89.99 View


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2015 Domaine Lafage "Bastide Miraflors" Côtes du Roussillon ($12.99)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This wine is almost too good to be true. A blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache that was brought up in concrete tanks (Grenache) and demi-muids (Syrah), the 2015 Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes reminded me of a mini Syrah from California's Manfred Krankl (yes I just compared a $14 Syrah to Sine Qua Non). It's a ripe, sexy, heady beauty that exhibits a deep, purple color as well as killer notes of smoked meats, chocolate, blackberry and black raspberries. Deep, unctuous, open knit and layered, it continues to change in the glass, has a seamless and silky profile, and not a hard edge to be found. It's a sensational value that needs to be tasted to be believed. Drink it anytime over the coming 2-4 years. (JD)" (04/2017)

Jancis Robinson: "Syrah/Grenache blend. Plum conserve. Rich and ripe. Structure and sweetness, bursting with delicious fruit. A wine of the sun and wind with all the intensity and concentration and balance that youd want from Côtes Catalanes. Big hug of tannins. *Very Good Value* (TC)" (05/2017)

K&L Notes: Jean-Marc Lafage has knocked it out of the park once again with this high-quality, low-cost stunner of a wine. Domaine Lafage is housed in their facility just outside the city of Perpignan. One of the most advanced wineries in the region, Jean-Marc and his wife Elaine are crafting "must buy" wines from the region of Roussillon. The Bastide Miraflors is a blend of Syrah and old-vine Grenache. The vineyards for this wine are practicing organic with an average vine age of 55 years. The last two years, this has been one of our ten best sellers of the year. We expect no less again.

Blake Conklin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 05, 2017

I think I just found my new favorite every day drinking red. Seriously, the Bastide Miraflors is spectacular. The nose is packed with aromas of blueberry, cherries, and dark chocolate. The wine finishes smoothly with a great mouthfeel and well balanced acidity. For the $13 dollar price point we sell it, this blend of old vine Grenache and Syrah is definitely one of the best bangs for your buck that we have to offer. Trust me when I say you don't want to miss out on this one.

Staff ImageGary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 04, 2017

This is on my short list of price-performers in the store right now. Very delicate, dark-fruited and floral on the nose with hints of smoked meats to wrap it up. The palate doubles down on the aforementioned, with the addition of sweet berry fruit and baking spices. Personally, I'll take a shot on any sub-$13 dollar wine that a major critic compares to SQN, but rest assured, this one is worth every cent and then some.

Staff ImageJohn Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 04, 2017

"Astonished, amazed, stunned, overcome, overwhelmed" are all good words to describe something, anything, that makes you put down your smartphone, look-up-stand-up and take notice, but I prefer the more colorful, old word "flabbergasted" to express my complete wonder at this intrinsically indispensable wine. Jean Marc Lafage and his wife Elaine must have a direct line to the wine gods, as the 2015 effortlessly melds ripe, expansive red fruits and floral notes to subtle spice and chocolate elements. Beautiful structure and a persistent finish complete the total experience. A prediction: this excellent wine will soon sell out, and disappear faster than you or I can say "flabbergasted"...

Staff ImageAlex Pross | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 04, 2017

The Lafage Bastide Miraflors is a perennial favorite of mine and the 2015 is easily the best Bastide Miraflors to date! The starts out with a gorgeous nose of fresh-picked red berries and spice notes while the palate is an energetic blend of red berry, sweet herbs, clove and spice notes. Soft tannins and bright acidity give this wine great balance and lift. An ideal every day red that should be purchased by the case!

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2014 Tapiz "Alta Collection" Malbec Mendoza ($13.99)

95 points James Suckling: "A solid wine with blackberry and black pepper character. Full body, chewy tannins and a fresh and cool finish. So polished and beautiful. From grapes grown in Valle de Uco. Pomerol's legend Jean-Claude Berrouet consults here. Better in 2018." (05/2016)

91 points Wine & Spirits: "Sitting at 4,400 feet in altitude, the San Pablo area is now one of the most sought-after spots for grape growing in the Uco Valley. At that altitude, malbec grapes ripen with intense flavors and firm acidity, as in this red from vines planted in 2007. It is rich in notes of tart cherries and violets with a pungent, gripping structure and a lovely floral finish. Ready now for crusted pork tenderloin, it will age with grace." (02/2017)

K&L Notes: Tapiz is one of the most renowned and awarded Argentine wineries, made even more famous by the addition of winemaker Jean Claude Berrouet in 2012, recently-retired from Petrus after 44 vintages at the revered Bordeaux chateau. To celebrate his addition to the team, Tapiz created a new "Alta Collection" line of wines using fruit that comes solely from Tapiz's sustainably-farmed San Pablo vineyard in the Uco Valley. San Pablo is one of the highest altitude vineyards in Mendoza (4,600 feet above sea level). This extreme altitude provides for warm days which impart concentration to the grapes, and cold nights which give natural acidity.

Chantel Carroll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 21, 2017

It's back, with a 95-point rating! A generous and friendly Malbec with great structure and supple fruit. Rich, ripe black plums, mocha and balanced, toasty oak. It has a fair amount of tannin complemented by an equal amount of acid, and juicy red fruit on the finish. An amazing deal!!

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 13, 2017

As it did last vintage, the Tapiz Malbec certainly wears its right bank Bordeaux credentials on its sleeve, while still leaving no doubt that we are drinking a generously fruited, rich and ripe Malbec of sunny, high plateau Uco Valley origins. A balanced, agreeably toasty nose leads to dark plum and fig flavors on the palate, with just a bit of Bordelaise inspired tannin structure and roasted coffee bean nuances coming through as well. The overall impression is that of a fruit forward and nicely structured Malbec to enjoy immensely now and over the next several years. Grab some sooner than later, as this was our most popular Malbec last year, and likely to repeat this year as well.

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2013 Au Bon Climat "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay ($29.99)

94 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard is terrific. Added time in bottle prior to release has helped the wine come together very nicely. Exquisite, layered and super-expressive, the Bien Nacido shows all the pedigree and nuance of this Santa Maria site. A long, understated finish only adds to the wine's personality and character. In a word: superb. (AG)"

93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Jim Clendenen's winery has sat in the middle of Bien Nacido for decades, so it is no wonder he nails the vineyard's expression with this bottling, beginning with flinty and woody aromas that accent an orange custard creaminess on the nose. The palate also shows cedar-like oak, followed by waves of brioche, preserved lemon and orange marmalade flavors. (MK)" (08/2017)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard has gorgeous honeyed apricots, pineapple and buttered popcorn notes with hints of marzipan and ginger. Medium-bodied, elegantly fruited and refreshing in the mouth, the palate is understated and savory with a spicy kick to the finish. (LPB)" (09/2017)

K&L Notes: Jim Clendenen's team has been producing this wine for decades and, according to the winery's notes, "we have our winemaking protocol down to a point where we know exactly what to do to maximize the potential of this grape from Bien Nacido Vineyard. We have identified the best locations where Chardonnay is grown and have locked in our committment. The grapes were hand harvested, whole-cluster pressed (to minimize tannin extraction from the skins), totally barrel fermented in 100% new François Frères barrels, aged for 18 months, then bottled unfiltered. The aroma reveals this is obviously Chardonnay made in an old world style. Sweet barrel spice mixes nicely with a lemon limey note from the fruit. It is rich on the palate, and the classic Chardonnay flavors of apple, citrus and vanilla go on and on. This lively wine will go with wide assortment of foods. Seared scallops in butter with a touch of orange, roast chicken with rosemary are just a couple of favorites with this Chardonnay."

Staff ImageMari Keilman | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 31, 2017

California Chardonnay has gotten a bad rap over the last few years, and while some producers have done a complete 180 and are producing high acid, minerally Chards to rival Chablis, they are some producers that chose to stay true to the Cali Chard style but just make them "right." Au Bon Climat is a producer that has always stayed true to its SoCal style but with a strong French influence. The Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay is exactly what a Cali Chardonnay should taste like; ripe but balanced, toasty but fresh, textured but lifted. This Chardonnay knocks it out of the ballpark and has set the standard for what other producers should be striving to achieve!

Blake Conklin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 26, 2017

Au Bon Climat never ceases to please with their chardonnay, and the 2013 Bien Nacido is no exception. While it possesses many notes of a classic California chardonnay, the acidity on this is also very well balanced and refined, and I can honestly see this Chardonnay only getting better with some age. Worth a peek for those who love Chardonnay.

Staff ImageRyan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 26, 2017

It's a pet peeve of mine when people keep harping on about Burgundy when tasting Pinot and Chardonnay from other parts of the world...but this wine would be pretty much impossible to pick out of a lineup of top notch white burgundy. It's a beautifully refined, elegant, understated expression of the varietal. There is nothing big or brash about it, but the intricate detail of its craftsmanship is paramount. There's a fine balance of crisp fruit, nutty, yeasty tones, saline minerals and crystalline acidity. The line, length and persistence on the palate the key marker of this heralded site. If you are looking for a subtle, nuanced expression of California Chardonnay this is right on the money.

Staff ImageStephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 24, 2017

This is California Chardonnay with an old-world finesse. The energetic aromatics of brioche, vanilla, stone fruit and citrus are perfectly integrated with the minerality and bright acidity that follows on the palate. Oak is apparent as well, adding another complex element of spice and robustness. This wine is absolutely lovely, elegant and spot-on with what I love in Chardonnay.

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 24, 2017

Along California's Central Coast, midway up the Santa Maria Valley, sits one of the state's most historic vineyards: Bien Nacido. Known as a cool climate site due to the fog that rolls in off the coast, cooling down the grapes and helping them to retain their acidity, the vineyard is a natural fit for delicate Burgundian varietals like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. White wines from Bien Nacido have acidity and finesse, unlike those from warmer parts of California that can be ripe and creamy. With a slower ripening time, the grapes have time to develop concentration and complexity rather than simply sweetness from the sugar. It's the perfect habitat for a winemaker looking to replicate the wines of Burgundy, those coveted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir expressions that showcase not only delicacy, but the individual conditions in which the grapes were grown. It's here that winemaker Jim Clendenen, a man who called his first winery Au Bon Climat as an homage to Burgundy, got the fruit to make this incredible Bien Nacido Chardonnay, a decidedly Montrachet-like white wine in both its mild richness and elegance. Barrel fermented and matured in oak, the toastier elements come forward, accenting the fruit and creating lush textures of brioche and toasted almond, but with plenty of classic Chardonnay fruit to bolster it. The result is somewhere in between California and Burgundy, which I think was Jim's intent. It's a damn fine bottle of wine.

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2014 Comartin "R-Bar-R Ranch" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir (Elsewhere $45) ($29.99)

95 points Wine Enthusiast: "Adam Comartin heads 1,100 feet up into the mountains to source fruit for this tremendous wine, which offers wild cherry, sage, and eucalyptus scents on the nose. Ripe black plum and strawberry fruit lead the palate, followed by acid-driven waves of juniper, pine and bay leaf, finishing with a menthol-like sensation. (MK)" (07/2017)

K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "A decadent Pinot Noir with rich aromas and flavors. Strawberry and cherry pie notes with hints of spice and nutmeg. A seamless finish with oak and vanilla tones. Santa Cruz Mountains has a long-standing history for producing world-class Pinot Noir. The steep terrain, high elevation, proximity to the ocean and maritime fog are the perfect combination for developing balanced wines. The R-Bar-R vineyard is perched at 1,100ft at the southern tip of the mountain range near Mt Madonna overlooking the Pacific Ocean (10 miles from ocean). This extreme location and climate produce a vibrant Pinot Noir with beautiful berry and earth flavors. The wine was destemmed only & fermented as whole berries to preserve fruit and not over extract the seed tannin. Fermentation was conducted cold to preserve aromas and malolactic fermentation completed naturally to add roundness to the palate. Lastly, giving the wine extended time in barrel (25% new French oak) allowed the wine to soften and create a beautiful finish."

Staff ImageStefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 30, 2017

While Comartin Cellars may not be a household name yet, it is sure to hit your radar very soon, especially by exhibiting wines like this phenomenal Pinot Noir. Winemakers are scooping up acres of Santa Cruz Mountains vineyards and tasting the wines makes it very clear why this is such a special area gaining fast recognition. Comartin Cellars exhibits the best of what the Santa Cruz AVA has to offer, with incredibly bright, vibrant fruit, subtle earthy undertones and a Burgundian-style leanness and elegance underlying. I'm so excited to see wines like this coming out of the area and know we will be seeing more great things from Adam Comartin very soon.

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 30, 2017

Here's a wine that appeared on our radar solely through a personal connection between our buyer Ryan Woodhouse and winemaker Adam Comartin, and in my experience these are often the most exciting deals we find (although, I won't lie: it helps when there's a 95 point review attached to the wine). True California Pinot Noir lovers will want to take note of what is perhaps the best under-the-radar gem we've uncovered in the state this calendar year. The Comartin is a dark-fruited, juicy, and fleshy wine with loads of Santa Cruz Mountain character, meaning herbs, brush, and hints of savory spice on the finish. Adam did whole-berry fermentation for the R-Bar-R, which added in a bright, lively fruit element that explodes on your tongue with the first sip. I'm glad there's a nice score to grab everyone's attention, but the truth is we would have featured this wine either way. It's a sensational Pinot Noir from a local site that will definitely have customers coming back for seconds!

Staff ImageRyan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 18, 2017

For many years winemaker Adam Comartin was part of the team at Testarossa Winery in Los Gatos that has produced so many fantastic and highly acclaimed wines from some of California's top Pinot Noir vineyard sites. Now Adam and his wife have set out to forge their own path with the namesake label "Comartin Cellars." A Pinot Noir and Grenache enthusiast, Adam seeks out unique vineyard sites and makes tiny batches of wine in a small urban winery in San Carlos, CA. His intricate knowledge of California's Central Coast and wealth of local connections means that he has access to some stunning little vineyard blocks such as this one (R-Bar-R Ranch) in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Whole-berry fermentation keeps the wine bright, aromatic and pure. The palate has abundant silky, ripe fruit but there is also an energetic, vibrant feel about the wine with wild bramble and bay laurel lift. A lick of quality French oak frames the wine with delicate but exotic spice.

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2010 Louise Brison Brut Champagne ($29.99)

Floral, citrus-y, and with a touch of salinity, this Champagne is a blend of 50 % Pinot Noir & 50 % Chardonnay, vinified and aged in oak barrels. Pair this beauty with savory appetizers & seafood.

Staff ImageMorgan Laurie | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 28, 2017

Part of what I love about about working in the wine industry is changing people's preconceived notions about wine; what it should be, what it should taste like, and most importantly, what a good bottle should cost. I can shout it from the rooftops! A good bottle of Champagne does not have to cost over $60! Sure, there are fantastic bottles at that price point (and higher), but if I can find Champagne that I can afford to drink on a regular basis, I'm all about it. This is one such bottle. It's got a rich apple-y nose with a yeasty baguette note and fresh lemon to boot. The palate mirrors the nose and feels vibrant yet rich at the same time with a great balance of texture and acidity. If you love Champagne, this is one to pick up on your next visit.

Staff ImageDiana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 27, 2017

Bright with golden apple and leaner citrus fruit, plus more lift here than the easygoing 2009, 2010 Louise Brison Brut Champagne feels aligned with the crisp 2008, pairing vivid acid with accessibility. This showed beautifully at our Champagne Tent Event, where we were charmed by the story of the familys matriarch and brand namesake, and impressed by the quality of this DI release. This is bargain-priced Champagne, and in stock just in time for a season full of celebrations cheers!

Staff ImageRachel Vogel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 25, 2017

Year to year the Louise Brison vintage Brut is one of the best deals in the store! The family takes no short cuts in production- all estate grapes, barrel fermented and aged, and giving the wine a few months to rest after disgorgement. It is the perfect recipe for a textured, complex champagne filled to the brim with notes of ripe apples, gentle spice and fresh acidity that keeps it long on the finish.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 23, 2017

One of the first grower-producers I ever tasted, Louise Brisons vintage Champagnes hold a special place in my heart. The 2010 continues the legacy of vintage greatness with vibrant pear, lemon and toasted brioche flavors alongside a stellar acidity for length and structure.

Staff ImageGary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 17, 2017

The vintage wines from Louise Brison are an incredible deal in fine wine. Delphine Brulez is one of the few grower-producers that we work with to have a diploma in oenology, and she works her vines in Noe-les-Mallets organically before fermenting her juice entirely in small oak barrels. The results in 2010 are electric and refreshing, but still round enough to have alone as the aperitif. This blend of half each Chardonnay and Pinot Noir will fool even the most discerning connoisseur for Champagne that costs no less than 50% more. We recently had a bottle of the 1992, and I am here to tell you that if you can keep your hands off of it, it will age very well too! If you like your Champagne clean, refreshing, dry and long, this is one to load up on.

Cliff Spinola | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 11, 2017

Right away my curiousity was peeked while sticking my nose into the glass. Distinctive floral and mineral characteristics develop into a long lasting, toasty finish with bright fruit and acidity. A steal of a deal at this price point!

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 10, 2017

Vintage Champagne for under $30 is an anomaly to be sure. Thanks to our DI Champagne program, though, we have a Champagne here that is not only vintage dated and carefully aged (for a good bit longer than the AOC dictated minimums) but also stylish and much more expensive/serious tasting than the price would suggest. There are two very good reasons for this: very expensive Chardonnay from Kimmeridgian soils and barrel ageing. I love Louise Brison's vintage Champagnes not only for their fair pricing, but also the inherent quality, craft and style in each one that I've had. These are always incredibly popular Champagnes here - don't miss out on the 2010!

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 26, 2017

If you liked the 2009 Louise Brison, you'll probably enjoy the 2010 as well, albeit for completely different reasons. 2009 was a ripe vintage for Champagne and that richness of fruit came through immediately in the Brison expression, but 2010 was back to traditional temperature levels so the 2010 has a laser beam of acidity that was definitely not there in the 2009 and for me that was a welcome addition. What is consistent between the wines is the brown apple flavors and the texture from the barrel fermentation that adds weight. However, whereas I would have recommended drinking the 2009's immediately, the 10's can age forever. That note of citrus and minerality is a total palate cleanser if you choose to drink the 2010 as an aperitif wine now, but it's also what will help the wine maintain its composure as it continues to evolve in your cellar. It's a can't lose proposition: you can drink it tomorrow, or twenty years from now! And you get a wine of that quality for just under thirty bucks. Hard to beat, right?

Staff ImageStephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 02, 2017

This is one of our best Champagne deals at K&L! For right under $30, you get all 2010 fruit that was vinified and aged in French oak barrels and has a perfect balance of toast and freshness. On the forefront there are floral, yellow apple and citrus notes followed by bright acidity and minerality. This is a fantastic bottle of bubbly to enjoy before dinner with appetizers!

Staff ImageStefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 02, 2017

All of the elements you would expect in a complex and pricey bottle of Champagne come in this wine at a truly unbelievable price. A vintage Champagne that is fully aged in oak barrels from such a well-respected producer almost always costs twice this much. This vintage of Brison is made by a phenomenal female winemaker, Delphine Brulez, with an extensive background in both the science and art of great Champagne making and it really is a labor of love for her. A wonderful balance of soft fruit and richness without being heavy, this wine is drinking fantastically now. The Pinot Noir adds a great depth and the Chardonnay keeps it bright and energetic. A great choice for the hot days of Summer, but will also lead you right through the Fall.

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2015 Moulin de la Gardette "Cuvée Ventabren" Gigondas ($29.99)

95 points Decanter: "Bold, savoury, menthol nose. Delicious, spiced palate that is fresh and very long. Great value. Drinking Window 2021 - 2041" (04/2017)

94 points Jeb Dunnuck: "Cut from the same mold as the Traditional cuvée, the 2015 Gigondas Ventabren offers more black fruits, olive, underbrush, and pepper, and is medium to full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, pure and even elegant. A blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault brought up all in ancient foudres, it shows the more fresh, elegant style of the vintage, has beautiful purity and should be at its best from 2020-2030 (JebDunnuck.com)" (10/2017)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Gigondas Ventabren, from 80- to 100-year-old vines, is 70% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre and 10% Cinsault, aged in foudres. The ripe Grenache fruit sings of cherries, raspberries and stone fruit, while peppery spice notes linger on the finish. Drink this full-bodied, supple wine over the next 10-15 years. (JC)" (10/2017)

90-92 points Vinous: "Opaque ruby. Highly aromatic cherry and dark berry aromas are complicated by licorice, garrigue and cola flourishes. Concentrated dark fruit and spicecake flavors show surprising energy given their heft, and a mineral nuance adds cut. Shows appealing sweetness on the clinging finish, which features a cherry liqueur quality and fine-grained tannins that sneak in late. (JR)" (09/2017)

Jancis Robinson: "70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Cinsault. Matured in old oak foudres. Cask sample. Tasted blind. Mid garnet. Rather light and tentative on the nose. Juicy and easy. A casual sort of Gigondas? Nothing out of place. 16/20 points" (10/2016)

K&L Notes: The Cuvée Ventabren is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre from the property’s oldest vines - they range from 80 to 100 years of age. All fermentation is done in cement tanks and the wine is aged for 18 months in large oak foudres. The wine is loaded with brambly black fruit, spice notes and that ever-present garrigue. Possessing a beautiful full body texture and an ample finish, this wine resonates beautifully and has all the hallmarks of a great southern Rhône wine. It is approachable now but has plenty of stuffing for short-term or long term cellaring. Serve it with roast meats, braises and stews. You’ll see why we keep coming back for JB’s wines. From DrinkRhone.com: "The nose is bold, sealed with black fruit, some raspberry, is hardly at all on the move as yet. There is a savoury and menthol note attached. The palate bears delicious, spiced black fruit content with real elegance of delivery beyond its dark tannins. This has a proper long life wine structure, and will be great drinking after ten years or more. It has excellent freshness, and runs with real purpose all along the palate, the very long finish delivered on the up. This captures the imagination. It is big VALUE. From 2021-2032" 5 Stars! (John Livingstone-Learmonth)

Staff ImageAndrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 02, 2017

Beautiful color and a stunning nose full of wild cherries, strawberries, and a darker more savory element. I absolutely love the 2015 Tradition from the same producer and this has every special element of that wine and then some. Everything in the Cuvee Ventabren bottling comes from very old vines between 80-100 years old. The intensity and concentration of fruit is immense, the savory garrigue is amped up. Everything is clean, pure, and in balance. The 2015 vintage across France has had heaps and heaps of praise, and I have yet to find a wine that makes me hesitate to add my voice to the chorus. This is a bottle that can be enjoyed young or aged for a long time if you enjoy the tremendous complexity that can come from quiet years in a dark cellar.

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 02, 2017

Weve been working for years now with the Meunier family to bring the Moulin de la Gardette wines from Gigondas directly to K&L and over the last few years theyve become some of the most popular and beloved wines in the store with their plush fruit flavors and spicy complexity. With the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the Southern Rhône gaining traction once again with a growing legion of drinkers who appreciate both the ripeness and the approachability of the cuvées, weve had to increase our orders annually to satisfy customer demand and search out new expressions from one of Frances most historic appellations. With an average age of sixty-five years, the property's vines produce concentrated and focused berries and that richness shows through in just about every bottle of Moulin de la Gardette I've ever tasted. However, it was a recent bottle of the 2015 "Cuvée Ventabren" that really got my attention. Made from the property's oldest vines (between 80-100 years of age), the blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Cinsault is simply stunning in both is pureness of fruit and in its expression of terroir due to the fact that Gardettes vines are planted in dry, high-elevation soils, forcing them to dig deep into the earth in search of water and nutrients. Tasting the Gardette you can clearly make out black cherries and fresh strawberries, but also sage, forest, and brush alongside the peppery accents from the Syrah. Jean-Baptis

Staff ImageSharon Kelly | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 30, 2017

Finally the new vintage has arrived! The 2015 is outstanding, an absolute pleasure to drink. A bounty of dark berries, plum and black pepper aromas leap out of the glass. There is seductive spice on the palate, gentle acidity, well-integrated tannins and a persistent finish. If you liked the 2014, you'll love the 2015. Give it some breathing time to enjoy now, or hold it for a few years.

Blake Conklin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 28, 2017

Can you ever go wrong with a Grenache heavy blend from Rhone? The Cuvee Ventabren from Moulin De La Gardette is beyond exceptional. With notes of plum and baking spices, and a smooth finish, this bottle is an incredible wine to bring to a dinner party. It reminds me just how much I love Rhone wines altogether.

Staff ImageKeith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 27, 2017

Once again, Jean-Baptiste Meunier over-delivers! We have long been champions of his wines and from difficult vintage to great vintage his cuvees are some of our best and brightest from the Rhone category. So of course in a great vintage like 2015 he delivers one of his most serious and expressive wines to date. A full spectrum of aromas erupt from the glass with aromas of dates, blackberries and every bush in the surrounding forest all gather to perfume this exotic and scintillating nose. The texture in the mouth shows a little firmness but a ripe core of fruit extract keeps the tannins in check. Promising in its youth with a little air but will deliver so much more as it unfolds over the years. A truly tremendous wine!

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2012 Poggiarellino Brunello di Montalcino ($29.99)

93 points James Suckling: "Aromas of plums and fresh thyme follow through to a medium to full body, chewy tannins and a lightly austere finish. Needs time to soften. Drink in 2020." (11/2016)

93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Underbrush, leather, sun-baked soil and chopped herb aromas emerge from this structured red. Loaded with personality, the palate delivers juicy layers of ripe Morello cherry, crushed raspberry, baking spice and pipe tobacco flavors, framed by firm, chewy tannins. It's a full-bodied wine that will reward several more years of cellaring. Drink 20192032. *Cellar Selection*" (01/2017)

Staff ImageThomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 14, 2017

There is something charmingly special about Poggiarellino. Ive tasted these wines back to 1997 vintage and Ive always found these wines to be true Brunello, through and through. Theres the beautiful acid line, the cherry liqueur notes, savory undertones, and that deadringer mocha tone that only Poggiarellino has. The 2012 continues to express all these elements, with additional touches of earthiness and rustic tannins. The 2012 is totally approachable in the near term and an exceptional complement to food. Poggiarellino continues to be my favorite Brunello producer and the 2012 has only served to reaffirm the exceptional quality of this traditional producer.

Staff ImageMike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 06, 2017

This user friendly 2012 has big and bright fruit that hit you first, black cherries cassis and ripe strawberries and then the terroir takes on the rest of this wine, giving it a long finish that lingers long on the palate. Drinks very well young and will over the next couple of years.

Staff ImageJohn Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 28, 2017

We've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this wine ever since our memorable visit to the estate in 2016. Although we loved the 2011 for it's ripe fruit and immediacy, the 2012 delivers more on all fronts. The wine's hallmark Sangiovese aromas of earthy red fruits, sandalwood and dried florals burst from the glass while rich extract of red fruit and plum abound on the palate with smooth tannins and fresh acidity that carry it to a long finish. It possesses just the right balance of ripeness and structure that's impossible to resist.

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 23, 2017

Poggiarellino is a tiny estate, this years total wine production is 583 cases, yes thats tiny and it is only by chance and spending a lot of time in Montalcino on the ground that chance meetings can happen. Thats why K&L is so unique we bring tiny gems that would be lost to the market or somewhere else at 50% more expensive. In the 2012 vintage there is a powerful statement of place and for Poggiarellino and that is manifested in the marasca cherry that wild and gamey Italian cherry that sends surreal aromatics, it's haunting, inviting, and seductive, its that incredibly complex aroma that you adore it in your Manhattans. On the palate you sense the ripeness of the vintage, not over-ripe but definitely with a hint of chocolate and plums it is a dense aromatically and like the vintage that richness is balanced by excellent structure underneath, this vintage shows far more complexity, layers of spice, distinct mineral components and a truly dramatic and long-lasting finish where the spice and mineral go on forever than the really drinkable 2011. In the mouth the wine is electric- it has a real, vibrant core that drives the wine the length of your palate with a lush, dense coating yet it never hesitates to be forceful and compelling. This is a wine that is capable of aging 15-20 years easily yet balanced and rich enough to drink now!Drink from 2017 to 2030

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2013 Burgess "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $45) Price: Hidden

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (at a very fair price, by the way) has beautiful blackcurrant fruit, blackberry, underlying earth and spice, medium to full body, a long finish and sweet, moderate tannin. A rather classic example of Napa viticulture and still available at a shockingly realistic price. This beautiful wine is young, but reflects the greatness of 2013, and should promise to improve and evolve for another 15-20 years. (RP)" (12/2015)

92 points Vinous: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Vineyards is a powerful, burly wine. Lavender, menthol, sage, tobacco, earthiness and plum give the 2013 much of its brooding, intense personality. Despite its considerable intensity, the 2013 has relatively soft tannins for the year, so it should drink well with minimal cellaring. The 2013 is only 75% Cabernet Sauvignon. A good dose of Merlot (12%), Petit Verdot (11%) and Malbec (2%) round out the blend. (AG) 92+" (08/2016)

Staff ImageChristina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 08, 2017

The 2013 Burgess "Estate" Cabernet Sauvignon is undoubtedly one of the best values in Napa Cabernet at K&L. Consisting of all-estate fruit from the family-owned Burgess property on the east-facing side of Howell Mountain, this wine shows no lack of depth or power. Brimming with dark fruit and spice, this wine has a great deal of structure and a firm, tannic backbone that make it ideal for aging or drinking with a richer meal. 2013 was considered an early, even and excellent vintage in Napa Valley, and this wine reflects that in its balance and drinkability.

Staff ImageStephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 08, 2017

This is a crazy deal for Napa Cabernet from Howell Mountain. Burgess, established in 1972, was one of only a couple dozen wineries in Napa Valley at the time. This winery has a long history with winemaking and it shows in this bottle of Cabernet. The concentration of dark fruits, rustic notes and herbal characters make this red interesting and approachable. On the mid-palate there is some grip but then finishes with fine tannins. This is delicious now, but certainly can age for a decade!

Staff ImageGary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 06, 2017

This fantastic 2013 from the Burgess estate is a great bottle of full bodied, yet dry Napa Cabernet. If you are looking for a dark fruited, powerful mountain cab to go with some man sized rib eyes off the grill, look no further. While most Napa Cabernet in this price range is made from purchased valley floor fruit, this is entirely from the Burgess estate on Howell Mountain. Enjoy some now, and save some for a few years... I just drank a bottle of the 1993 a few months ago and it was still fresh at 24 years old!

Staff ImageShaun Green | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 05, 2017

I was incredibly impressed by the Burgess Estate 2013 in our tasting today, in fact it was my favorite out of the 25 California wines we tried. A beautiful showing of deep dark and intense fruit and lovely spice with smooth medium tannins and a long concentrated and intense finish. It's a great example of classic high end Napa Cab from a fantastic vintage, and at this price is a true bargain.

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2013 Woodward Canyon "Artist Series #22" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $49) ($39.99)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Artist Series is straight up terrific, with tons of black currants, plums and spice to go with background smoked herbs and toasted bread nuances. Incorporating 11% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, aged 20 months in 50% new French oak, this full-bodied, rich, layered beauty has a great mid-palate, a silky texture and ripe tannin, all suggesting it will have a graceful evolution. Give bottles 2-3 years and enjoy over the following 10-15. (JD)" (06/2016)

92 points Vinous: "(14.4% alcohol; a blend that includes younger plantings from Champoux vineyard, 1972 vines from Sagemoor, a bit of estate fruit and some grapes from Summit vineyard, just above Seven Hills; aged in 55% new oak): Bright ruby. Very ripe, liqueur-like aromas of cassis and blackberry, bitter chocolate and licorice, plus a slightly roasted, tarry nuance, perhaps from the oak--although this wine was vinified in small stainless steel fermenters. Large-scaled, plush and spicy, conveying lovely floral complexity to the flavors of dark berries, bitter chocolate and licorice. Mott likes the extra depth and texture brought by the addition of some Petit Verdot. This very dry, broad wine finishes with a fine dusting of tannins and no greenness. Still a baby but already impressive. (ST)" (06/2016)

92 points Wine Enthusiast: "The variety quickly announces itself with aromas of dark cherry and dried herbs followed by generous barrel accents. The black-fruit flavors are rich but maintain balance, with a persistence that impresses. (SS)" (03/2016)

91 points Wine Spectator: "Firm in texture, with a roasted red pepper edge to the dark berry and herb flavors, coming together on the harmonious finish. Has presence and length. Best from 2018 through 2023. (HS)" (11/2016)

Staff ImageAnthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 17, 2017

Fragrant on the nose, lots going on here including peppered cassis, strawberry chews, and a bit of dark licorice. The palate is soft, chewy, and fruity with just the right amount of acid for support. Along with a great tannic bite, this makes a great option for newer California drinkers looking to step their game up a notch.

Staff ImageMari Keilman | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 17, 2017

This is a wine that you can sink your teeth into! Full bodied and chewy with ample tannins, this is a must have Cab for those who love a wine they can take a bite out of. And while there's a generous amount of body and texture on the palate, the nose is brimming with classic aromatics of black currants, garrigue and dark cacao.

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2000 Clos du Marquis, St-Julien ($89.99)

94 points Wine Spectator: "The nose shows loads of plum, spice and meat aromas, as well as hints of licorice. It's full-bodied, with firm, yet velvety textured tannins. It's big and rounded. If you can't afford Las Cases, try some of this. Some might call this a second wine, but it comes from a plot of vineyards not deemed worthy of Léoville Las Cases. So it's like its own estate. Best after 2009. *Ranked #14, Top 100 Wines of 2003* (JS)" (03/2003)

91 points James Suckling: "This is very open with plum and sweet tobacco notes, and a round and juicy body. Really just starting to open up. (JS)" (05/2012)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of the great sleepers of the vintage and probably the best Clos de Marquis I have ever tasted, this wine could easily compete with many of the vintage's classified growths. (RP)" (04/2003)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Good full medium ruby. Superripe, exotic aromas of roasted currant, smoked meat and cocoa powder. Sweet, lush and silky, with compelling depth of texture and an intriguing gamey note. Very long finish features lush tannins. (ST)" (06/2003)

K&L Notes: 92 points Neal Martin: "Tasted at Robertson’s Las-Cases vertical. The 2000 displays good intensity on the nose: blackcurrant, pomegranate, a touch of raspberry and vanilla. At present, this is more generous than the 2005, although not quite the same definition and breeding. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly grainy tannins on the entry, graphite and a touch of tar interlacing the dark fruits. This is very masculine and punchy at the moment, although doubtless it will mellow with another 3-4 years ageing." (07/2011)

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