K&L Wine Merchants - Header

Wines for the Thankful Table - K&L Monthly Newsletter - 11/13/2017 - Monthly Newsletter

While any mention of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner of roast turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing summons the ubiquitous Pinot Noir and Chardonnay recommendations (because—let’s face it—both of those wines taste pretty darn good with turkey), we hate pigeonholing ourselves here at K&L into any rules when it comes to drinking. In the modern American age, you can eat whatever you want on any given holiday and find a great wine to pair with it from just about anywhere. The world of great regional wines has never been more accessible than it is today, and consumers have never been more adventurous. Yet Pinot Noir’s delicate berry flavors, subtle accents of baking spice, and elegant texture make it such a dynamic option. It goes with turkey, chicken, pork, seafood, lighter cuts of beef, Asian stir fry, tofu, vegetable dishes and pretty much anything else you can throw at it. An example of that supreme flexibility is our fabulously priced Pinot Noir from California’s historic Bien Nacido vineyard, made exclusively for K&L by acclaimed winemaker Jim Clendenen, the 2016 Au Bon Climat/K&L Pinot Noir ($19.99). I’ll definitely have a bottle on hand for my family get-together. But I know a number of my Francophile colleagues will be opening Burgundy instead, perhaps the 2015 Domaine Pierre Gelin Bourgogne Rouge ($17.99), a wine from a glorious vintage that adds textbook holiday cranberry flavor into the mix. And we won’t forget Australia or New Zealand—our Direct Import program brings tiny allocations, like the 2016 Payten & Jones “Valley Vignerons” Pinot Noir Yarra Valley ($19.99), from small farmers thousands of miles away to your dinner table. We have staff selections in Pinot Noir and more to fit every style of Thanksgiving festivity in this November newsletter.

Vintage Item Name Score Qty Retail Link
2015 Domaine Lafage "Bastide Miraflors" Côtes du Roussillon 94 >60 $12.99 View
2015 Antech "Cuvée Eugenie" Cremant de Limoux >60 $13.99 View
2014 La Massa "La Massa" Toscana 91 >60 $14.99 View
2010 Andron, Haut-Médoc 91 >48 $19.99 View
2005 Bodegas Puelles Gran Reserva Rioja 90 >60 $19.99 View
2015 Kalinda Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon >48 $27.99 View
2008 Fallet-Dart Vintage Brut Champagne >48 $39.99 View
2014 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars "Artemis" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 92 >48 $44.99 View
2014 Antinori "Tignanello" Toscana 94 >36 $84.99 View
1977 Graham's Vintage Port 93 >36 $149.99 View


Staff Image

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!

Staff Image

2015 Antech "Cuvée Eugenie" Cremant de Limoux ($13.99)

From La Maison Antech, located in the Southern France region of the Languedoc, comes this beautiful example of Cremant de Limoux. Named after the grande dame of the estate, Eugenie Limouzy, this Cremant is composed of 50% Chardonnay, 40% Chenin Blanc and 10% Mauzac. It is produced along the lines of methode champenoise and spends 12 months on the lees before being disgorged. This balanced and elegant sparkling wine reveals subtle hints of citrus fruits, toast and honey. At less than half the price of a bottle of Champagne, the Cuvée Eugenie is a smart choice for your house sparkling wine or to feature at parties where quality and good taste matter.

Staff Image

2014 La Massa "La Massa" Toscana ($14.99)

91 points James Suckling: "Silky and savory red with light chocolate, cedar and berry character. Medium body, fine tannins and a flavorful finish. Subtle and pretty. Drink now or hold. Delicious." (07/2016)

90 points Wine Spectator: "Warm tones of ripe cherry, loam and sweet spice give way to a dense, muscular structure in this solid red. Succulent and long. Enjoy this while the fruit is still present. Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2020. (BS)" (03/2017)

Staff ImageMike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 09, 2017

Concentrated Sangiovese fruit with layers of subtle earth and mineral scents in a soft and forward body. Wonderful to drink now! Two Thumbs up !

Staff ImageJohn Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 30, 2017

Giampaolo Motta has continued his string of impressive wines with the release of his 2014 La Massa. Although the 2014 is finer in texture and tone than the recent vintages, it offers no shortage of concentration, length and acidity. Excellent to drink now but will hold well for several more years.

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

Another fireball vintage from La Massa, while the 2013 was deeper and more lush, the 2014 is full bodied with bold acidity rivaling the bold wood structure from time in new french oak. Notes of fresh raspberries and cherry skins are chased by freshly grated baking spice and purple flowers. A great Toscana to try if you love those bold California cabs!

Staff ImageThomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 16, 2017

This wine is an absolute bullseye, every single time. The level of concentration, richness and power is totally unheard of at this price range. It makes a perfect bottle to bring over to a friends for dinner, or as an everyday house red--either way its going to impress. I found it to be beautifully aromatic, with flavors of black pepper, cherries, dark fruits and dry herbs. Totally polished, sleek and effortlessly smooth, there is plenty of acidity, making it an exceptional pairing wine, and it is also jam-packed with fruit flavors, resulting in a wine that is undeniably delicious.

Staff ImageHeather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 16, 2017

La Massa is a K&L "staple". Year after year we've found this wine to be extremely versatile, friendly, and appealing to many palates. With all the earthy/savory elements of Sangiovese and the power and richness of Cabernet and Merlot, this super tuscan has much to offer. The 2014 is no different, and at this price, you really can't go wrong. Although the wine has all the right components now, I would recommend holding onto it for another year or so to reach its peak drinking window.

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 16, 2017

You can really tell the breeding in this wine, the aromatics and flavors are so well defined and focused. The wine is a base of Sangiovese about 60% then Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Alicante make of the rest. The nose says Tuscany, wisps of leather, hints of violet the a bit of wild cherry show off the Sangiovese then the plumy richness of the Cab and Merlot squeeze in. On the palate the wine shows its richly textured body, supple mouth-feel and great drinkability while still showing that central focus one expects in Tuscan wine. On the palate the complex blend of fruit and earth come together with porcini, leather and wild cherry dominating accented with lilac, rosemary and a bit of that Tuscan dust. Agile and focused this wine is ready to drink but will easily age another 5 years, try it with your favorite pasta or like me it will be a Pork Tenderloin and roasted potatoes!

Staff ImageGary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 28, 2017

K&L is crowded with values, but this La Massa stands out. It has the supple texture to drink on its own, but also plenty of acidity for Italian cuisine. I love the mix of dark cherry fruit and authentic galestro earthiness in this modern Tuscan red. Quality like this is rare even in our fantastic Italian section at this price!

Staff Image

2010 Andron, Haut-Médoc ($19.99)

91 points Wine Spectator: "This has a large core of dark currant, plum and fig fruit rolled together and inlaid with baker's chocolate, dark tobacco and loam notes. The long, solid, muscular finish lets the fruit and loam play out nicely. Best from 2014 through 2020. (JM)" (03/2013)

Wine Enthusiast: "This stalky, firmly tannic wine is still developing. Dominated by Merlot, it has black currant fruits in the background with acidity and crispness. Give this structured wine another few years and drink from 2016. (RV)" (09/2015)

Staff ImageJacques Moreira | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 06, 2017

Hard to believe it's been almost 8 years since the outstanding 2010 vintage, but it is, this wine is aging beautifully. The cocoa and sweet plums are joined by the gentle and round tannins. The woodsy notes are not quite yet forest floor, but it is there, and make this wine irresistible for me.

Staff ImageClyde Beffa Jr. | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 23, 2017

A fabulous value from the great 2010 vintage. It is showing beautiful right now. Lots of cinnamon and clove on the nose that follows to the palate. First time we had ever tasted this property and we said 100 cases for sure. As good as $40 wines out there and it has structure to age for several years. One of the great value 2010s that shows more fruit than tannin.

Staff Image

2005 Bodegas Puelles Gran Reserva Rioja ($19.99)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2005 Gran Reserva can also do with some decanting in advance as it has some reductive aromas when first poured after opening. After that it has some notes of hung game, spices, beef blood, iron, tea leaves and peat showing mostly as tertiary aromas. The palate is medium-bodied, with a fine thread of acidity going through its spine that is laced with fine tannins. It is quite easy to drink and quite a good price for a Gran Reserva." (04/2015)

K&L Notes: A K&L Direct Import! Jesús Puelles is one of the most talented vignerons in Rioja. Hailing from a long line of vineyard worker/owners, Puelles knows the terruño in his little slice of land in the Rioja Alta town of Abalos. All of the grapes for his red wines come from his own 26 hectares, on chalky clay soil, all within the Rioja Alta village of Abalos. Felix, Jesús' older brother, handles the winemaking (as well as packing all our orders - gracias, Felix!) Utlizing a blend of roughly 50-50 French and American oak barrels, generally of 1-4 years of age for the Gran Reserva, this is a juicy, brightly fruited Gran Reserva, even at 12 years of age, though it shows the hints of spice and leathery savor we love in classic, well made Rioja. Fresh, focused, and generously fruited, yet ultimately textbook Rioja, this is what we have come to expect casa Puelles and why I believe these continue to be amongst our most popular Spanish wines.

Staff ImageJoe Bruno | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 09, 2017

Hailing from a great vintage in Rioja, this delivers a whole lot of wine for under $20. Prunes, tomato jam, blackberry, and cherry intermingle with hints of vanilla, leather and red licorice. Dried red fruit and lengthy, plush savory notes are accompanied by a long finish. Texturally, this wine is rich but possesses a lively acidity that dances on the palate. Complex as it is crowd pleasing, this wine is perfect for your next dinner party with friends and family.

Staff ImageDiana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 06, 2017

Puelles is a classic Spanish producer that in previous releases has straddled the line between modern, fruit-forward drinkability and more traditional dusky Rioja. The 2005 a killer vintage feels like a throwback to the older style, more restrained than the powerful 2004 but just as enjoyable. There is balance here, with a distinct savory quality, but Tempranillos bright cherry fruit still shines through, with hints of tobacco and leather on the finish and noticeable (though well-integrated) oak. Puelles is a Direct Import that truly is a crowd pleaser: a rich but easy going Gran Reserva that sings with quality, unbelievably only $20.

Staff ImageIvan Diaz | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 01, 2017

Puelles continues to release traditionally aged, beautifully crafted and developed wine with their Gran Reserva 2005, a classic Rioja with simultaneous depth and lift. Classic, if slightly darker, almost Bordeaux-like flavors abound: cherries, plums, crushed flowers, anise, olive tapenade, tea leaves, woodsy spice, tree bark, and graphite all kept afloat by the weightless acidity and wrapped in soft, dusty tannins. I'm hard-pressed to think of another $20 wine in the shop that comes close.

Staff ImageSteve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 01, 2017

Here is an amazing deal on ready to drink wine from a very good vintage. In Rioja Gran Reserva indicates the best of the best and here is one boasting 10 plus years since the vintage and still selling for less than $20. This old vines bottling shows wonderfully mature flavors and aromas of dried cherries, cedar, a dusting of old leather and even a slight hint of maple. Despite the complexity and maturity of the flavors the structure is fresh, lifted and fine.

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 31, 2017

I must have sold over 300 bottles of the 1999 Puelles Gran Reserva Rioja myself, back in the day. At twenty bucks, that was one of the best crossover "mature" red wines we've ever carried as a company. The flavors had evolved into a rich and earthy character I usually associate with the finest Bordeaux wines, so I made sure to send all of my best Bordeaux drinkers in that direction. Enter the 2005 Puelles: the same wine from a more recent vintage, at the same price, that I think might even be BETTER than that legendary 1999. Tasting this with Joe Manekin, our Spanish buyer, I was practically jumping up and down. The wine pours over the palate with a soft and silky core of fruit, but not the ripe and juicy red berry fruit you see in a young Rioja. After 12 years in the bottle, there's a rancio character and a fineness to the tannins that one can only experience with older wine. The problem with recommending old wine to the general populace is that it's usually expensive! Not in this case, however. Here with this 2005 Puelles you're getting serious, serious quality and a fine look at how great red wine matures for a price that's almost too good to be true. Load up. Load up big.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 31, 2017

Quite a simple breakdown for this wine: Great vintage (check); fantastic producer (also check), carefully bottle aged for you by our DI partners and 8th generation vineyard owners in the Puelles clan (yes!) The result is a wonderfully savory, sumptuous, beautifully balanced traditional Rioja that is delicious now and will continue to drink well for years ahead. At under $20, this might just be our best value in aged red wine in the store.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 31, 2017

I know calling this wine the best value in our store would be a bold statement, but its one Im prepared to stand behind. It spent two years in barrel, another decade in bottle and it is showing its age beautifully. From a particularly warm vintage in Europe, the fruit is rich and layered but still retains its freshness and vibrancy with a bright acidity and smooth, integrated tannin. It has savory notes of mushroom, forest floor and crushed gravel and that wonderful perfectly integrated Puelles oak profile. Nothing compares at this price point.

Staff Image

2015 Kalinda Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon ($27.99)

We'd love to tell you all about the storied estate from which we sourced this superb, classic example of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, but we can't. For decades now, our Kalinda private label has been providing K&L customers with awesome wines at a fraction of what they'd normally pay under the producers' mainstay labels. That being said, no producer wants their wines on the market for less than what they'd usually sell for, so the trade-off is anonymity. While we have to remain quiet about the source of this beauty, we can tell you that wine from this prestigious producer sells elsewhere under the winery label at a much higher premium.

Staff ImageChristina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 21, 2017

The newest Kalinda Rutherford Cabernet is reflective of the 2015 vintage in Napa, which was defined by a warmer growing season and an early harvest. This led to low yields of very high quality fruit with great power and concentration. This elegant Cabernet is rich and condensed, with silky, dusty tannins and classic Rutherford aromas and flavors of bright Bing and black cherry, tobacco leaf and allspice. The quality and drinkability of this wine is undeniable, and finding a Rutherford Cabernet at this price point is next to impossible.

Staff ImageAnthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 20, 2017

The value here is ridiculous; I will be getting a case for myself to enjoy and see how it comes of age. This is the most fulfilling cab in this price point I have ever encountered. Absolutely delicious to the very last drop. Big, full, and structured. The only downfall being that the bottle is only 750 ml.

Staff ImageMuriel Sarik | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 19, 2017

This is an elegant Cabernet from the Napa Valley. It is smooth, balanced and just the right amount of fruit. I love those dusty tannins. This is the true mark of a Rutherford red wine.All this for $27.99!

Staff ImageSharon Kelly | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 19, 2017

Here is a Cabernet Sauvignon to keep handy this summer and through the rest of the year, frankly. There is plenty of juicy red fruits but the kicker for me is the freshness, the energetic acidity, sweet spices, supple tannins and overall structure that keep me reaching for the bottle. I usually lean in the opposite direction for my wines at this time of the year but it seems I've been swayed to the other side. And I love it.

Staff ImageAdam Winkel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 19, 2017

Deep color and cassis tones introduce what is an unmistakable profile in Napa terroir. Cocoa powder and soil tones fill in as the wine airs, but the virtue is that the savor is from that terroir; not the stilting of heavy new wood which can be difficult to differentiate in this day and age. But perhaps my favorite characteristic here is the focused juiciness driving into the finish that really makes you want to take another sip. As much as a wine like this could age, in its fresh voluptuousness I actually think there is plenty of virtue to drinking it young. There's an uncommon combination of concentration and drinkability to this wine that really floats my boat.

Staff ImageTrey Beffa | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 19, 2017

This is my new go-to summer red! The aromas of black cherry and cassis jump from the glass and are followed by hints of cassis, plums, mocha and blueberries. The wine is fresh and does not come across as heavy. This will pair perfect with your summertime grilling and comes across as a $50+ bottle!

Staff ImageAlex Pross | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 19, 2017

This is an outstanding rendition of Kalinda Cabernet Sauvignon! I am really glad Clyde & I waited and tasted and waited and tasted because our patience has truly been rewarded upon tasting this wine once again from bottle. Beautiful aromas of spice, baker's chocolate and crème de cassis spring from the glass while on the palate the wine feels electric with intense red and black cherry flavors as well as milk chocolate and mocha notes. Velvety tannins and a long, supple finish only add to the enjoyment this plush Cabernet Sauvignon provides. If there's a better Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for under $30 I haven't tasted it yet.

Staff ImageJim Barr | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 18, 2017

Produced by one of the oldest established Cabernet estates {and we cannot tell you who it is} in Napa Valley, which had its first crush in 1882, this absolutely astounding wine is deeply colored and offers opulent, powerful aromas of cassis, currants, blackberries, and violets, all of which is underscored by cedary, creamy, and dusty (Rutherford dust, of course!} qualities. This carries over fabulously to a broad, viscous, concentrated, yet integrated palate impression that offers excellent complexity, depth, balance, and richness. The finish is long, warm, and elegant. Although you can drink this Gem, with decanting and an hour or so of airing, currently, it will age easily another ten-plus years, which Rusty and I plan to do. Rusty wants me to bring home several cases of this amazing Gem and thinks that you need to give some serious consideration in doing the same. A GREAT VALUE! .....A K&L WINE MERCHANTS' EXCLUSIVE..... ***** 14.5% ABV *****

Staff ImageClyde Beffa Jr. | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 14, 2017

What a delicious Cabernet we have for all Cabernet and Bordeaux lovers. Coming from the very warm 2015 Napa harvest, this wine is quite elegant and refined already. Just the right amount of oak here and plenty of red currant aromas and flavors. Rutherford is home to some of the most famous Napa Valley producers--a few who have been around for many years (way before Prohibition). We can't tell you who made this wine, but I think if you really think about it, you may pick the right property. The old and famous Pot Luck Restaurant in the East Bay featured many of their wines on its extensive wine list. Wines back to 1893! Please decant this wine as it is a baby and enjoy it with a rack of lamb. Very similar to the fine 2003 Bordeaux wines in structure and richness.

Staff Image

2008 Fallet-Dart Vintage Brut Champagne ($39.99)

The blend for the vintage 2008 is 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir with aging of 72 months, minimum. It was disgorged in July, 2016. Fruit for the Chardonnay is from the "Les Maliva" vineyard. Winery is based in Charly-sur-Marne. (Scott Beckerley, SF Champagne liaison)

Staff ImageGary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 07, 2017

I consider the 2008 Fallet Dart to be the most exciting vintage Champagne that we have in stock. It comes from estate vineyards in the far west of Champagne, in the tiny hamlet of Drachy, from a family that has been growing grapes for an astounding 17 generations. This bottling is composed of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, and most of the Chardonnay comes from one of the few "clos" sites in Champagne, the Clos du Mont. This vineyard was the first monastic site in the region and perhaps the oldest of the "clos" in Champagne, first planted around the same time as the l'eglise Drachy was built: 741! The wine has the electricity, length and mineral drive that one would expect from the great 2008 vintage. The surprise is how much body and structure comes along with the minerality, and the complex, seemingly every changing flavors of the wine. I found it to have everything from sourdough to truffles to nectarines from one sip to the next. We tasted this next to the 1999, a much softer vintage that is still going strong... This is a bottle for the ages- if you can keep your hands off of it!

Staff ImageChristina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 09, 2017

The 2008 Fallet Dart Brut Champagne is a fine example of a vintage Champagne from an incredible year. Chardonnay driven and with a fine mousse, this wine has a slightly higher acidity than some, which gives it great aging potential, and offers a refreshing note of bright green apple. There are creamy undertones as well, offered by the Chardonnay and extended lees contact, with aromas and flavors of almond meringue. The wine is very clean and offers an intense chalky minerality. This is truly a beauty.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 07, 2017

Is there such a thing as too much great 2008 vintage Champagne? Of course not! We have sold some great value bottles from this legend in the making vintage: Franck Bonville Millesime, Louise Brisson, Launois, Louis Brochet, amongst others. Delicious as those are, for fans of subtlety and balanced lees driven complexity, the 2008 Fallet Dart is your wines. Biscuity and yellow fruited aromas (70% Chard in this cuvee) lead to a palate that balances rich yet balanced autolytic qualities with loads of acid driven intensity. It's very fine now, and will only get better with age. This is a top value in the store right now, and needless to say for a wine of this quality, that will age with grace for years, from a top quality vintage...it's a steal. My highest possible recommendation for this beautiful wine.

Staff ImageScott Beckerley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 06, 2017

This probably my favorite of all of the Fallet-Dart Champagnes that we have been stocking. A more Chardonnay-driven release, this formidable 2008 is dry but, retains the houses' overall rich style. Minerals, green apple and a hint of anise on the nose. On the palate, hints of golden apple, cream and caramel with lively acidity and elegant balance. A 2008 vintage at this price and quality is like seeing a winged unicorn!

Staff ImageShaun Green | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 06, 2017

Of course the 2008 vintage has given us great Champagnes, and it's no exception with Fallet-Dart. Their '08 vintage has a fantastic deep brioche like character with zesty citrus and white grape fruits sparkling over rich baked apple. The 70% Chardonnay really shines through and the long persistent finish shows a wonderful mineral component. All you would expect from this great vintage at a price that is amazingly affordable

Staff ImageAndrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 06, 2017

Spectacular champagne from a spectacular vintage, always a good combination. The fact that the Fallet Dart House has been around since the 17th century means that they have learned a few things about making champagne, fortunately for us we can directly import them and offer just a little ridiculous pricing. A creamier nose with the toasty character of Fallet Dart leads to a body showcasing both the ripeness and acid of this vintage. Hints of vanilla from the barrel aging add layers of complexity and the finish is truly magnificent.

Staff ImageAnthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 15, 2017

Beautifully unique flavor profile sure to put a smile on everyone's face. The nose boasts age with a brooding, yet not overwhelming toast and marmalade complexion that instantly pulls you in. The palate is similar in that the nuances seem unending, but in a lean and structured order. Love this.

Staff ImageDiana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 13, 2017

Vivid and enticing immediately upon opening, this is a connoisseurs Champagne that is still super accessible. Gorgeously floral on the nose, hits of honeysuckle and white flowers give way to tart green apple and lusher pear fruit and a subtly creamy mouthfeel. The acid is apparent but not overpowering: just enough to showcase the colder 2008 vintages more bracing minerality. Fallet-Dart is always a budget-friendly option, but this vintage Direct Import is an especially complex, sophisticated offering at an astounding price... I can already tell I'll be turning to this powerhouse all summer.

Staff ImageSarah Covey | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 13, 2017

Such an intriguing Champagne! Spiced pear, lemon zest, flaky pie crust, mineral, dried apple, saline...and while not exactly the same, it reminds me a lot of the Krug Grand Cuvee. As it warmed in my glass, it became more weighty and lingered on the palate. I enjoyed this with my favorite shrimp tempura rolls from my local sushi spot. The toastiness of the tempura complemented the wine perfectly! The fabulous 2008 vintage is just beginning to shine here- I can't wait to see how this develops. A true worthy addition to my regular weekly Champagne ration (because yes, I have one), and most definitely worthy of my cellar!

Staff ImageStephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 12, 2017

We've got another awesome Champagne deal from one of our favorite direct import producers - Fallet Dart. From the 2008 vintage, this Champagne is not only bright and lively, but also rich with baked apple and leesy character. I would bet this bubbly will only get better in the next couple years.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 09, 2017

This latest champagne drop has our staff and customers loudly buzzing. From one of our top grower imports and from easily the best vintage of the last couple decades, the 08 Millesime from Fallet Dart is 70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir from the estates best parcels, aged 8 years on the lees! Lemon meringue, nectarine, and pear fruit flavors are intense and amplified by the vintages hallmark acidity, while beautiful and fully integrated toasty lees add depth and complexity. At sub-$40, it seems too good to be true, which means it will probably disappear pretty fast.. Grab yours!

Staff ImageCindy Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 08, 2017

While I wasn't blessed with "legs for days" - I CAN have "length for days" in this delicious champagne. The 2008 vintage has not let me down yet and this wine is no exception. Lush and complex -- the finish goes on for a mile...At sub-$40, it's a must-try!

Staff ImageRyan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 08, 2017

Just one swirl and sniff of this wine and you realize how serious it is. Beautifully focused aromas of chalk, citrus peel, toasted barley and a hint of baked pear. On the palate this is a very linear, racy wine with mouth-watering acidity and boundless energy and drive. Right now it's a fantastic aperitif wine with its brightness and verve. I suspect it will settle in later life to become richer and broader like great vintage Champagne does. The youthful vivacity and exuberance of now will be replaced by complexity and depth that only time can bring. It's quite staggering to think you can buy age-worthy vintage Champagne of this quality for this price point.

Staff ImageRachel Vogel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 08, 2017

Fresh, zippy, bright--these are some of the terms you will hear us use to describe this enchanting vintage champagne from Fallet Dart, but we wouldn't be doing it justice if we didn't also describe it as complex, with spice and earth, while having depth of fruit from the 30% of Pinot Noir, and its amazing ability age. While this would be a fantastic, refreshing champagne to enjoy during these next few warm summer months, it also is filled to the brim with potential aging characteristics. The acidity will mellow, the spice and fruit will be brought forward and it will continue to be lush and complex. I say get two bottles--one to enjoy soon and one reward yourself with later! At under $40 you won't regret it!

Staff ImageStefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 06, 2017

This is an incredible value for a vintage Champagne that comes with so much complexity and aging potential. Right now this wine is zippy, mineral driven, and bright, with rich undertones and steely drive. In a few years I image the vivid acidity will mellow and the wine will become softer and even more complex while still exhibiting freshness. 2008 is proving itself to be one of the most interesting Champagne vintages in a while and at this price, I will be picking up a few bottles, both to drink now and to hold onto. Can't wait to see what this wine will exhibit in a few years!

Staff ImageSal Rodriguez | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 05, 2017

Wow! Bright, crisp, and juicy. This can mean that the wine is not complex, but not here - there is enough going on to add wonderful mouthfeel, and a long creamy finish. We have a great part of the market cornered with so many great Champagnes between 30 and 40 dollars and this is right up there as one of my top 5 favorites!

Staff ImageRalph Sands | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 05, 2017

This vintage 2008 Champagne is an absolute steal! The wine is so bright and tightly focused. To me it has the intensity of fruit found in the finest 2014 white burgundies and a lovely chalky finish. I could certainly love it right now with a slice of country pate but this wine will really reward time in the cellar and at this price that is where I'm putting it.

Staff Image

2014 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars "Artemis" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($44.99)

92 points Vinous: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Artemis is a tasty entry-level offering from Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. Deep, rich and resonant, but very much medium in body, the 2014 offers lovely resonance throughout. Sweet red cherry, plum, spice and mocha give the 2014 its plump, juicy personality. (AG)" (12/2016)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Artemis is a blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot and Malbec. Among the top wines, its the least expensive red in the Stags Leap portfolio. An elegant style of wine, with notes of cedar wood, black and red currants and spice box, this medium-bodied, delicious, complex and elegant wine could easily pass for a second- or third-growth Bordeaux in a blind tasting. It should drink nicely for another 10-15 years. (RP)" (12/2016)

Staff ImageMari Keilman | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 19, 2017

Having taken the title at the Judgment of Paris, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars has created a legacy that is synonymous with prestige and prominence, but on a personal level, their Artemis is at the top of my list for Napa Valley Cabs. It is my absolute number one go-to Cab for customers who are looking for balance, quality and the biggest bang for your buck under $50 from Napa Valley (even though it's well below that price). The aromatics on the 2015 are classic to the varietal: black currants, black cherry and savory herbs scream Cabernet. But the Artemis takes a surprising turn on the palate with a lifted backbone and lively red fruit brightness that ensure this Cab will pair with anything you through at it now or will cellar beautifully for years to come should you exercise some restraint and put this lil' baby away for a rainy day.

Staff ImageTrey Beffa | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 17, 2017

The Artemis is a blend of Estate fruit and purchased fruit from throughout the valley. The 2014 is loaded with cedar, black currants, red cherries and shows hints of menthol, savory herbs and spice, which linger on the finish. Excellent BBQ steak wine! For those with a cellar and a little bit of patience, the Artemis is a great pick to hold for 3-5 years after release. The extra time in bottle really allow this wine to flesh out and open up!

Staff ImageStephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 10, 2017

This is one of my favorite wines in the store to hand to customers who are looking for a Napa Valley Cabernet that is consistently well made and simply delicious. The Artemis is a great gift idea and can be drunk young as well as cellared for many years. The nose is full of dark berries, cherry cola and rustic wood spice with a palate that has some structure and a smooth finish. Well worth the price!

Staff ImageJoe Bruno | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 06, 2017

A Napa Valley classic. Made famous by its first place finish in the 1976 Judgment of Paris, the wines from Stag's Leap Wine Cellars continue to carry that legacy of exceptional quality through today. The 2014 Artemis is made with 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% each of Merlot and Malbec. Aromas of black cherry, cigar, black fruit, and dried herbs. On the palate, and expression initially of blackberry and black currant, with notes later of milk chocolate and sweet tobacco. For me, this wine is surprisingly rich and round; however, the quality of fruit and tannins are both well-integrated and balanced. Can easily pair with steak; other food options include barbecue or Portobello mushrooms

Staff ImageChristina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 05, 2017

This is a wonderful value in a Napa Valley Cabernet, blended with estate fruit from the volcanic soils of the Stags Leap AVA. Named for the Greek Goddess of the hunt and wilderness, the Artemis Cabernet evokes the brambly Chapparal of the Vaca mountain range, with flavors of anise seed, cinnamon and high-toned red fruits, and aromas of underbrush, tobacco leaf and cocoa. There is a bright acidity in this wine, and a beautiful structure held together by a finely knit tannin, ensuring great aging potential.

Staff Image

2014 Antinori "Tignanello" Toscana ($84.99)

94 points James Suckling: "Really pretty aromas of currants and roses follow through to a medium body, firm and silky tannins and a fresh finish. Very well done for 2014 and a wonderful Tignanello to drink now or later. Better in 2019." (08/2017)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Tignanello has this amazing ability of always being, well, Tignanello. Its very DNA makes it among the most distinctive and recognizable wines in the world. I'm happy to report that this is also the case for the 2014 Tignanello that faced very different growing conditions compared to most. The wine is beautiful and balanced with sweet tannins and a supporting oak texture that is neatly folded at the back. The wine is all about measure and proportion, and it aspires to these goals with an impressive sense of natural harmony. This is not an overtly powerful or muscular expression. Instead, it shows a tasty, almost savory form of elegance. This vintage was made with 75% Sangiovese, which means that the Cabernet presence is a tad bigger than normal. Ultimately, this wine is more finessed and delicate, and I appreciate the careful tannic management on display here. (ML)" (04/2017)

93 points Wine Spectator: "A black currant thread winds through this dense red, with cherry, leather, earth, iron and mineral flavors. Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2020 through 2033. (BS)" (08/2017)

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

The tough, rainy vintage of 2014 kept vineyard caretakers busy and all their hard work paid off with this aromatic Super Tuscan. The nose lifts with fresh red fruit and wild flowers. While I can't compare to previous vintages, the 2014 is full bodied with amiable tannin structure and a bold finish. The mouthwatering acidity wasn't washed away by the rain and keeps the wine fresh on the palate. I could definitely see putting this wine down for a few years or enjoying it tonight with a flavorful dinner!

Staff ImageMike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 11, 2017

Made of mostly Sangiovese with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, the nose is classic ripe cherries and strawberries and a hint of coco powder. On the palate of this full-bodied wine, you will find the fruit describe above with a touch of minerals and soft tannins, which gives this wine a very lush feel to the palate and has an incredible long finish. This wine was a HUGE hit at my last consumer tasting in S/F .

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 09, 2017

The nose is full of a dense, savory cassis like blend of fruit and earth, coupled with hints of leather, earth and a bit of baking spice. On the palate the wine has a long, linear feel to it, it still shows good weight on the mid-palate but its linear axis is dominant. The flavors show persistence and are a complex blend of savory fruit, earth that are aligned with the super fine grain tannic structure. This wine is truly elegant but not in a flimsy, simple, light way it has depth but it shows more restraint than overt boldness. An excellent choice of Filet Mignon.

Staff ImageChristina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 24, 2017

Behold the mighty Super Tuscan! With all the earthiness of a traditional Chianti and the rich, smoky profile and dense fruit of a Cabernet, comes the Tignanello from Antinori. This wine seems to bloom on the palate, with lush tarry flavors and aromas of tobacco, black cherry and tamarind. Aged in barriques and the first of its kind, this spectacular wine is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

Staff Image

1977 Graham's Vintage Port ($149.99)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Graham is another great port house, producing one of the deepest-colored and sweetest styles of vintage port. Along with Taylor and Fonseca, Graham has probably been the most consistent producer of great port in the post- World War II era. Their tawnys are quite good rather than exceptional, but their vintage ports are truly sublime and sumptuous. (RP)" (01/1989)

91 points Wine Spectator: "Medium ruby-red. Aromas of milk chocolate, plum, mint and violet. Full-bodied, with medium sweetness and lots of berry and cherry fruit. Very fruity and fresh. Long and lively. Delicious now, but will improve. (JS, Web-2008)"

Jancis Robinson: "Really perfumed - cedarwood and cigar box. Cedarwood and sandalwood and cinnamon - incense-like. Rich and generous on the palate. Drink 2005-2030. 18/20 Points (JH)" (10/2010)

K&L Notes: Graham's is one of the historic houses that is capable of producing wine of the vintage type wines in certain years. While the competition is stiff in a once in a generation vintage such as 1977, Graham's did in fact produce an incredible wine that continues to stand the test of time. While it should continue to hold up nicely for another 5+ years, it's drinking terrifically now.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 06, 2017

Graham's Vintage Port from a vintage as strong as 1977 is truly one of the greatest and most long lived wines around. This '77 shows all the trademark richness and generosity on the palate, with a lovely herbal and almost amaro-like complexity which certain fine vintage Ports begin to acquire after 40 years of bottle age. A great bottle of wine and ideal gift for 40th birthdays or anniversaries.

Cliff Spinola | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 06, 2017

A shining star in a stellar vintage from the Duoro. The nose seemed soft and delicate to me for a 40 year old port. The first taste was packed with dark red berries and plum of medium sweetness. The long, lasting finish was earthy and divine. A classic celebratory bottle for any special occasion or just because!

Staff ImageAndrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 10, 2017

I've been lucky enough to be around when '77's get opened on several occasions. It really is a stunning vintage. Marked by rain the previous winter, cool and long growing conditions, hotter harvest months with just enough sprinkles to keep things fresh, these wines are beautiful and balanced. The richness of the Graham's is off the charts with tons of sweet red and black fruits, but it's marked by strong savory and herbal undertones. A lively thread of acidity runs through it so that every sip hits all your taste buds. This would be a very special way to celebrate your 40th.

Staff ImageClyde Beffa Jr. | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 15, 2017

Perfect gift for that fortieth birthday or anniversary. There are not any real good 1977 California or Bordeaux wines.