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Top Ten - December - 12/04/2017 - 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
2016 Domaine Lafage "Novellum" Chardonnay Pays d'Oc 92 $10.99 View
2016 Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc Wairau Valley Marlborough 96 Price: Hidden View
2015 Chateau de L'Ou "Velours Noir" Côtes Catalanes Rouge (Elsewhere $35) 94 $24.99 View
2015 Gary Farrell "Russian River Selection" Russian River Valley Chardonnay 95 $29.99 View
2008 Fallet-Dart Vintage Brut Champagne $39.99 View
2012 Sesta di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino 95 $44.99 View
2009 Lagrange, St-Julien 94 $59.99 View
2015 Lewis Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 93 $89.99 View
1996 Caol Ila 20 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml) $129.99 View
2014 Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend 97 $159.99 View


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2016 Domaine Lafage "Novellum" Chardonnay Pays d'Oc ($10.99)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A sensational wine that will compete with wines five times the price, the 2016 Novellum Chardonnay is the real deal and actually reminded me of a Chardonnay from Mark Aubert in California's Sonoma County. White peach, crushed rocks, spice and brioche notes all emerge from this medium to full-bodied Chardonnay that has depth, layered texture and length. Buy it. (JD)" (04/2017)

Staff ImageGary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 20, 2017

Hands down, this is one of the best pound-for-pound Chardonnays in the store right now. Boasting notes of grapefruit, white nectarine, chamomile and a touch of oily richness - there is no reason that this value white should not be featured on your Thanksgiving dinner table. It's the perfect dinner companion for any occasion really, but especially those coming up in the next few months!

Staff ImageAlex Pross | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 17, 2017

Easily one of the best white wine values I have tasted this year, the 2016 Domaine Lafage Novellum is the epitome of what the Languedoc/Roussillon is capable of producing. This rich, textured and complex white is layered in tropical fruit notes and baked apple flavors. The wine unfolds with a seamless feel as fruit note after fruit note blends with soft oak nuances. This is an outstanding value that pretty much blows away anything from California that is even remotely close to its price.

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2016 Grove Mill Sauvignon Blanc Wairau Valley Marlborough Price: Hidden

96 points Bob Campbell: "Flavoursome and very appealing Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry, lime and citrus flavours together with a seasoning of nutty lees characters. Concentrated wine with great purity that's emphasised by a backbone of bright, fresh acidity. A high energy Sauvignon that gives a nod in the direction of Sancerre."

96 points Decanter: "This is an intense, pure and appealing Sauvignon with lime, citrus, gooseberry and a subtle, nutty lees character supported by lovely acidity. Reminiscent of a very good Sancerre in style and elegance...This wine has everything; wild ferment characters, lees, mineral...and lovely pristine fruit flavours. It's layered and wild, lengthy and lively...pulled together effortlessly creating a wonderful wine. (Decanter Panel - MB/BC/CD)"

K&L Notes: Winemaker's Noyes: "Aromas of fresh grapefruit and passion fruit follow through on the palate. There is a typical zesty Marlborough acidity combined with pronounced fruit characters and a long, mouth-watering finish. The Wairau Valley, in the heart of the Marlborough winegrowing region, is our home. Shallow, stony and fast-draining soils perfectly suit Sauvignon Blanc and other varietals, providing distinctive, flavourful fruit characters."

Staff ImageSteve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 05, 2017

Rich and focused with an array of yellow fruit flavors and citrus blossom and verbena aromas. As this warms up tropical notes emerge leaning toward mango, lychee, guava with a pronounced note of earthy musk melon. This is very complex and compelling for the price.

Staff ImageStefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 01, 2017

One of the few Wairau Valley specific bottlings we have for Sauvignon Blanc, this is a great example of regionality. Wairau is considered warmer than the Awatere Valley just to the south, but the bright juicy acid in this wine will bring to light what a cool climate site NZ really is. This wine is a great alternative for lovers of Greywacke ad Cloudy Bay, as it exhibits those notes that thrust NZ into the Savvy spotlight, including tropical fruit, slight herbaceousness, and stunning minerality.

Brian Fogarty | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 30, 2017

A sunny disposition without being too tropical and over the top, the 2016 Grove Mill SB is pleasant and a good quaffer by itself or with apps, salads, seafood or white meats. Ripe gooseberries and grassy tones on the nose lead to a pleasing follow through on the palate and you find a little lime and dill in the finish.

Staff ImageKirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 30, 2017

Soft and pretty nose, not your typical aggressive New Zealand Sauvy. Soft tropical notes, sweet citrus fruit tones, a delicate vanilla note and a mild herbaceousness. The palate is crisp but not tart, with soft tropical and a mild lemon curd notes.

Staff ImageGary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 29, 2017

This is a lovely little NZ Sauv Blanc that is just brimming with freshness and vibrancy. Imparting aromas of white peach, lychee, grapefruit, lime peel and minerals - this is one to purchase by the case. You don't often find this much concentration and character from a wine at this price point - quite the opposite in fact.

Staff ImageRyan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 29, 2017

A classic take on Marlborough Sauv Blanc. Snappy, fresh, citrus fruit, gooseberry, nettle. Super refreshing and palate cleansing. River stone minerals and flinty elements add complexity that exceeds this wine very modest price point. A punchy, zesty style. Easy to see how this stood out from the crowd in Decanter's Panel Tasting of premium NZ Sauv Blanc earning itself 96 points. Thanks to our special pricing this is a serious value and is sure to move quickly.

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2015 Chateau de L'Ou "Velours Noir" Côtes Catalanes Rouge (Elsewhere $35) ($24.99)

94 points Jeb Dunnuck: "In the same qualitative ballpark, the 2015 Igp Côtes Catalanes Velours Noir (100% Syrah aged 15 months in new barrels) is another full-bodied, sexy wine that shows terrific purity of fruit, as well as classic Syrah notes of pepper, violets and dark fruits. It has a touch more freshness than the Infiniment de lOu cuvee, but both are terrific wines. Its certainly far from unapproachable today, but will keep for a decade or more. (JebDunnuck.com)" (08/2017)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Also inky purple colored, the 2015 IGP Côtes Catalanes Velours Noir is a blend of 100% Syrah that possesses more than a passing resemblance to a top Hermitage. It offers a cooler climate vibe in its fresh blackberry, violets, cracked pepper and crushed rock aromas and flavors. Fresh, full-bodied, concentrated and impeccably balanced, it too will keep for a decade or more. (JD)" (04/2017)

K&L Notes: Séverine Bourrier came to winemaking through her own passion for the subject, not having the family history associated with so many winemakers. She studied oenology in school and worked in Bordeaux for a decade. After meeting her husband, they relocated to a property an hour outside of Perpignan in the Roussillon. They began restoring an old château and did some replanting, rechristening the estate L’Ou, which is Catalan for "egg." The property is in an oval-shaped valley that was used as a rest area by herd animals and likely the Knights Templar on their way to various crusades. The estate consists of three primary terroirs: the alluvial marl soils that make up the valley, and two higher-elevation sites, one made up of black schist and the other brown. Their key grape variety is Syrah but Séverine also grows the classic regional varieties like Grenache and Carignan. For white grapes, they grow Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc, Muscat and of all things, Chardonnay, which is renowned for being one of the best in the region. The "Velours Noir" comes from the black schist high above the valley.

Staff ImageJeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 29, 2017

This wine is big and lusty with mouth-filling deep dark fruit flavors. But it is more than that. The Velours Noir offers layers of flavors with the fruit balanced out with nice mineral notes and a sense of place. It will go well with hearty foods.

Staff ImageKeith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 25, 2017

Derived from 100% Syrah, this wine is aged in barrel and has a beautiful, dense texture. This is reminiscent of the great wines of the Northern Rhône, and you would be hard-pressed not to think of producers like Chapoutier or Guigal while drinking it.

Staff ImageJohn Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 20, 2017

Looking out over the well-cultivated vineyards to the not too distant snow-capped Pyrenees, one can wonder that the Roussillon is regarded one of the warmest and sunniest regions in France. The efforts of Severine Bourrier and her husband Philippe are a consummation of terroir, tenacity and talent, as they bring everything to the table in the creation of their remarkable wines. The Velours Noir gathers its fruit from black schist soils higher up in the estate, and possesses arresting aromas of blackberries, blackcurrants and dark cherries, with a rich,structured palate caressed by new oak, peppery spice and hints of wild mint. Sumptuous, ageworthy Syrah that could rival many from the Northern Rhone!

Staff ImageStephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 19, 2017

Look no further for you next grilled meat pairing! This 100% Languedoc Syrah shows beautiful dark fruits, mineral, black pepper and some subtle menthol character that is balanced with mid-palate tannic structure. Although this wine is aromatic and expressive now, don't hesitate to lay it down in the cellar.

Staff ImageAnthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 19, 2017

I love Syrah when it is neither too gamey nor too thin. This one falls in the middle. The "Velours Noire" comes entirely from vines planted on the hillside on top of a black schist soil, which results in an incredibly velvety wine. The tannic profile is present, but not overwhelming, making this gorgeous bottle something to enjoy either now or a few years down the road. As for pairing, think roasted pork, duck, turkey, or BBQ lamb.

Staff ImageAndrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 14, 2017

It is never to early to start thinking of cool wines to drink as nights get longer and more and more dinners get planned. This 100% Syrah on Black Schist soil should definitely be one to keep in your back pocket. Blackberry and spice on the nose give way to a rather rich and bold wine. Dark berry and jam notes are intertwined with spice and minerality while classic syrah tannin coats the mouth and leads to a long finish. This is not a shy wine in all the best ways.

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2015 Gary Farrell "Russian River Selection" Russian River Valley Chardonnay - -10 available ($29.99)

95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*#1 in WE Top 100 Wines of 2017* A scent of French butter offers an immediate invitation to this excellent wine. Austerity on the palate gives way to a juicy core of invigorating tangerine and white peach flavors. The gravelly minerality on the midpalate finishes softly and with ease." (11/2017)

K&L Notes: ***Wine Enthusiast #1 Wine for 2017*** Over the years, Gary Farrell Russian River Chardonnays have been anchored by three iconic Russian River Valley vineyards: Rochioli, Allen and Westside Farms. More recently, vineyards like Olivet Lane, Bacigalupi and Durell have also been a part of the mix. The 2015 marries several outstanding vineyards from around the Russian River Valley, taking advantage of varied climates, with each vineyard contributing its unique site characteristics to the extended layers of richness and complexity.

Staff ImageIllya Haase | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 30, 2017

Gary Farrell was my entry and love into California wine - really propelled me into the wine industry. I guess you can blame Gary Farrell for that. Tasting the 2015 Gary Farrell "Russian River Selection" Chardonnay really brought all those wonderful memories back! What finesse!! This is an amazing glass of wine. Please don't try to pigeon hole it into a new world-old world thing. Captivating nose that dances back and forth with toasted notes and bake apple, then crisp apple and grapefruit notes. Great lift and acidity on the palate. Cinnamon and clove lead to this great mineral, saline-like character seamlessly intertwining together. This is one heck of a wine no matter what the price.

Staff ImageStephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 30, 2017

No wonder Wine Enthusiast named this wine #1 for 2017... It's beautifully balanced with bold fruit flavors, bright acidity and a supple mouthfeel that is sure to please a crowd. Honey, citrus and butter aromas are paired with a touch of oak spice and nuttiness that linger in the finish. Overall, a satisfying wine, especially for the price!

Staff ImageDiana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 30, 2017

Vivid citrus fruit and great texture make the 2015 Gary Farrell "Russian River Selection" reminiscent of an orange creamsicle. Theres a silky mouthfeel but the bright acid clearly reflects the cooler climate, plus just enough toastiness to the finish to remind you that this is California Chardonnay. Just in time for the holidays, here is a balanced, enjoyable option from a classic producer at an astounding price.

Staff ImageMari Keilman | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 30, 2017

It's only natural when you taste a California Chardonnay this good that you instinctively begin to compare it to its Burgundian counterparts, but this Chardonnay is in a class of its own! This Chardonnay is everything I love about a well made California wine. California has the ability to produce wines that possess intense fruit matched with vibrant acidity, rich texture paired with focused flavors, and power and depth balanced with elegance and precision - and the Gary Farrell is all that! There's a reason why this wine is #1!

Staff ImageAnthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 29, 2017

Bruised apple, pineapple, orange peel, and a touch of vanilla grace the nose. Great supple texture that seems to melt on the palate. Balanced oak that adds to the nuances without covering anything up. Number one on Wine Enthusiast's Top 100? At this price? Nothing more I can say.

Staff ImageKeith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 29, 2017

I mean, "WOW!" I haven't had a chardonnay from California this engaging and expressive in a long time. Especially without paying $75. Beautiful layers of pineapple, lemon rind, Granny Smith apples and cardamom erupt from the glass. The oak is beautifully integrated offering just a light dusting of spice, adding yet another layer. Not a big and buttery bomb, this wine has acidity and probably offers its greatest appeal for fans of a more French style. Not to say it won't bring pleasure to people who love a classic Cali Chard. This is reminiscent of some of the greats from Montelena, Talley, Talbott and Stony Hill. And let's not forget Gary Farrell, they were making great Chardonnay for a long, long time. It's a pleasure to see this winery making wines in this style again.

Staff ImageRyan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 29, 2017

For many years this wine has been a staple for us at K&L...in fact upon checking I noticed that we have carried this wine each and every vintage since the 1999 release. The list of vineyards that go into this regional bottling reads like a who's who of Russian River vineyards - Olivet Lane, Rochioli, Martinelli...to name but a few. The 2015 bottling is a beautiful marriage of richness and restraint. The nose is full of ripe orchard fruit, Bosc pear, baked pie crust and fresh squeezed citrus. On the palate the wine has weight, mouth filing texture and power but then draws into a beautiful linear, focused finish with more juicy citric nuances, toasted grains and minerals. Winemaker Theresa Heredia's time at Domaine de Montille in Burgundy is on full display here focusing the regions bountiful fruit and power into a focused laser beam of flavor and intensity. Impressive wine that will give many MUCH more expensive wines a serious run for their money.

Staff ImageTrey Beffa | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 29, 2017

There are very few California Chardonnays that I can drink more than 1 glass of. Even with oaky Chardonnays slowly coming out of fashion, I still find many of them a bit too heavy for my tastes. The Gary Farrell Russian River Chardonnay remains as one of the wines I can enjoy multiple glasses of. Its cool climate roots are able to maintain plenty of acidity and freshness for my tastes, along with the use of only around 35% new oak. This is a delicious mouthwatering wine that is sure to please people with different tastes.

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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.

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2012 Sesta di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino ($44.99)

95 points James Suckling: "Beautiful aromas of raspberries, strawberries and flowers. Very intense and focused. Full-bodied, silky and flashy with lots of fruit and firm and tight tannins. Needs time to open but already fantastic. Drink in 2020." (02/2017)

94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Mature black-skinned fruit, menthol and dark spice aromas carry over to the savory, full-bodied palate, joining juicy black cherry, raspberry compote and dried herb flavors. Firm, fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity offer support and a seamless feel. Drink 2019-2027. (KO)" (04/2017)

93 points Vinous: "Bright dark red. The terroir-driven nose offers raspberry, cherry, and iron aromas, complicated by oak-derived coffee and sweet spice tones. Utterly seamless in texture, featuring very precise and highly energetic smoky red cherry and raspberry jelly flavors. The slowly mounting, suave finish shows outstanding length and a refined touch to the tannins. (ID)" (03/2017)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Sesta di Sopra 2012 Brunello di Montalcino is a rich and savory wine. It opens to a beautifully saturated ruby color and a dark appearance. The bouquet is redolent of cherry, wild raspberry, spice, toasted almond and spicy tobacco or cured leather. The quality and the intensity of the bouquet is excellent. But like many of the best Brunellos of the vintage, the mouthfeel is not as long or deep as you might expect, given the generous abundance of the aromas released. (ML)" (02/2017)

K&L Notes: Sesta di Sopra is a tiny estate on the southern slope of Montalcino, its one hectare Brunello vineyard sits above the road from Sant'Angelo in Colle to Castelnuovo dell'Abate in a galestro rich soil. They produce just over 4,000 bottles of Brunello every year, made in one 31hl Slavonian oak barrel.

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 18, 2017

The nose of this wine is perfect, the classic blend of red fruits, savory bouillon and porcini like components accented with bits of Tuscan dust. On the palate the wine is serious its big and powerful yet more agile and elegant than pondering, while the tannins are super fine giving it a fine, web-like structure. The wine has just enough plumpness to give you that sensual pleasure, the richness without being heavy and the wine all comes together in a long and lifted finish. Excellent quality with a long life ahead.

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 18, 2017

I have to give our Brunello customers credit: this is always amongst our most popular Brunelli, and as consistently tasty as it is, I can see why. While Sesta tends to show rich, succulent red fruits, they are even more delectable in a forward, juicy vintage such as 2012. While there is fruit here, and lots of it, there is also sufficient acid balance and structure to see it through some mid-term cellaring. Greg (St Clair, our Italian buyer if you don't know him by now) refers to 2012 as something of a goldilocks vintage, and this wine does indeed taste just right.

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

I love these user friendly Brunelli's in 2012. Impressive nose, with loads of ripe fruit, this is full-bodied with soft tannin structure, that wont hurt your teeth. Love the fruit that is an impressive, rich and concentrated. The wine boasts excellent length, with black cherry, leather and a spicy nose with a little Tuscan dust and minerals on the finish. It is drinkable now, with a couple of hours in a decanter, or give this wine time to improve and continues to evolve for another five to ten years. I am thinking a pork roast loin.

Staff ImageJohn Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 02, 2017

Sesta di Sopra is one of the jewels of our Italian department and we're ever grateful that they are part of our direct import family. This tiny estate continues their unbroken string of exceptional Brunellos with the release of their 2012. It's a substantial wine that not only expresses its calcerous soils with pleasant earthy nuances but also exudes rich, deep Sangiovese fruit with fine grained tannins and a perfect dose of acidity. It's a full-bodied red with savory dark and red fruit flavors that coat the palate and continue to a long finish. It ranks among the truly great values of the vintage and it's a Sangiovese we think you'll appreciate as much as we do.

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2009 Lagrange, St-Julien ($59.99)

94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Ripe wine, with soft tannins allied to great density. Weight and lovely, juicy, final fruit flavors meld together easily. This is solid, dense, impressive and for long-term aging. (RV)" (02/2012)

93 points James Suckling: "I drank this sexy Pomerol a couple of nights ago in Seoul at the wine bar/restaurant Casa del Vino, which is one of the best in the city, with some friends following a few days in the capital at a cultural exchange conference called Cultural Communication Forum. It was a wonderful wine to celebrate the end of the event with my fiancée and friends and it showed how extraordinary the 2009 vintage is. The wine was so balanced and refined. The Lagrange is an elegant yet firm Pomerol with subtle aromas of blackberries, currents, and black olives. It's full body but very compacted and tight. It shows tannins that are tucked into the fruit. I loved drinking the young Bordeaux to drink now, but it was obvious that it would be an even more splendid bottle in five or six years. But why wait? Bordeaux lovers often overlook this château, which is owned by the Moueix family of Trotanoy and La Fleur-Petrus fame. Yet it offers excellent Pomerol character and quality for the money in most vintages." (06/2016)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Saturated medium ruby. Sexy aromas of cassis, licorice, menthol and cedar. Tightly wound, classic and intense, with sharply delineated flavors of dark berries, violet and minerals complemented by well-integrated oak. Dense, suave Saint-Julien wine with a very fresh, slightly austere finish. With its solid structure and excellent length, this will require at least five or six years of cellaring. A superb vintage for this property. (ST)" (07/2012)

91 points Wine & Spirits: "Saturated with the warm ripeness of the 2009 vintage, this is well upholstered rather than hyperripe. Its plump blueberry and currant flavors feel concentrated, completely integrating the oak so that the tannins are cushioned rather than extracted. Its vintage character shows in caramelized notes at the end of the wine, in spice that builds out of the warmth. Enjoyable now with roast duck, this will gain complexity as it ages." (10/2015)

91 points Wine Spectator: "This has a solid core of juicy plum, red currant and blackberry fruit that sits in reserve, while mouthwatering briar and toasty spice notes move along the edges. Grippy and focused through the finish, with well-embedded acidity. Best from 2013 through 2024. (JM)" (03/2012)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Tightly knit, oaky and rich, with formidable concentration, but broodingly backward and not showing the charm and concentration of the top wines of St.-Julien, this 2009 from Lagrange is still an outstanding effort that has length, richness and character. It should be cellared for a good 5-6 years and then consumed over the following 25 years. (RP) 90+" (02/2012)

K&L Notes: *½V Super sweet and lush. Lots of well-integrated oak. At UGC: Great oaky aromas and flavors. Sweet, sexy, spicy. From Alex Pross: "Pretty nose, with tons of fruit. This wine smells wonderful and the fruit is omnipresent." From Ralph Sands: "Very pure. High tone raspberry fruit. This is gentle, sweet and elegant." From Jeff Garneau: "Superb presence and mouthfeel. Full-bodied and ripe. Fine tannins." 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot. 93 points Neal Martin's Wine Journal: "Served blind at the Southwold 2009 tasting. The Lagrange ‘09 has a more rounded, fruit-driven bouquet with macerated dark cherries, blackberry and boysenberry. It coalesces nicely in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with a sweet core of saline black fruit. Expressive Merlot here, smooth in the mouth with a pleasing, caressing finish. This is a Lagrange that is biding its time. Tasted January 2013." (07/2013)

Staff ImageSteve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 07, 2017

Do not attempt to drink this wine without first decanting for an hour! But if you do decant you will get soaring aromas of raspberries, blackberries and earthy potting soil in a muscular but caressing mid-palate with a huge mineral core. There is a deep and enveloping warmth to the ripe fruit and a full-bodied but gentle mouth feel to the substantial middle. Decant a bottle tonight and lay another away for 10 or more years.

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

I love, love love (did I mention that I love) St. Julien, and Lagrange is one of those properties that consistently flies under the radar. It is therefore priced accordingly, and a relative bargain for the excellent 2009 vintage. My first experience with a bottle of Lagrange was at a French bistro in SF, enjoying a bottle of the 1999 alongside steak frites, maybe sometime in 2008 or 2009. It was sumptuous, elegant, the perfect combination of restrained Bordeaux fruit, acidity, and delicate savor. While I love my 1999s, you can rest assured that the 2009s are much better! This is tasty now after an hour decant (which is incidentally when I ran into my colleague and noticed he was tasting it), though it is undoubtedly a 20+ year wine if you prefer to wait patiently as this fine St. Julien matures.

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2015 Lewis Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($89.99)

93 points Wine Spectator: "Matches intensity with refinement, with subdued oak shading rich dark berry, espresso, graphite and cedar notes, ending with a long, full finish that echoes the core flavors. (JL)" (12/2017)

K&L Notes: This is one of K&L's favorite Napa producers, and these folks know their Cabernet. Lewis says that their 2015 is "like an Aston Martin V-12" and that it is "a silky powerhouse of fruit at wide-open-throttle. Black currant, plum and juicy ripe berries rev freely on the palate with seductive oak spice, candle wax and semi-sweet chocolate aromas. Fine-tuned and polished, the wine is deceptively powerful with supple, sweeping tannins."

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1996 Caol Ila 20 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml) ($129.99)

Caol Ila's whisky can be as transitive and unpredictable as the Islay weather itself; sometimes it's light and breezy, while other times powerful and thunderous in its character. At cask strength, the salt, smoke, and peat aromas often leap out of the glass, but when tempered the creaminess and fruitiness of the spirit itself is allowed to shine, fat and unctuous in its texture. With this cask of 20 year old Caol Ila, we have the best of both worlds: a full proof, no-water-added single barrel whisky that has naturally proofed itself down to 46% after two decades in wood. The nose is an absolute dream: sweetly-tinged smoke, burning embers, with faint aromas of peach and apricot in the background. The palate is simply perfect: sweet vanilla intermixed with peat, salt, and ash, but always with a roundness of texture that's a product of the distillery's wide-necked pot stills. It's a perfect Caol Ila specimen, highlighting the strengths of the Islay distillery's personality, each with equal concentration and intensity, all in harmony and balance.

Staff ImageAndrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 22, 2017

If you are a fan of Islay whisky just buy this, seriously this is just absolutely beautiful Islay at a wonderful age. I have said on more than one occasion that Caol Ila may be my favorite Scotch once it has had a chance to age because it just always seems that somewhere right around the 20 year mark this whisky just all comes together and sings. This bottling is no exception and the price is fantastic for what you are getting. Light fruit, honey, ash and smoke on the nose lead to an incredibly balanced palate. Here an immediate strong core of just doused campfire smoke carried the young sweet fruit, honey, and seaside notes effortlessly. The balance is amazing and the finish is surprisingly soft and mild. Just delightful!

Staff ImageJeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 22, 2017

This cask of Caol Ila was a lucky find because it has so much to offer. There are pleasant smoke aromas that should please any fan of single malts from Islay. My first though when I tasted it was that this cask is really something special. There is such a nice mixture of smoke, sea like flavors and malt , and it is concentrated and intense. I tasted this with no additional water because it was 46% alc/vol. when bottled which probably helps explain the lovely concentrated flavor.

Staff ImageAndrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 22, 2017

It's my favorite time of year here at K&L. Not only are we hitting our stride in the busy season for wine, but it's finally whisky season. I wait all year to see what David has hidden up his sleeve. As the market for fine malts gets tighter and tighter we still manage to procure things like this. 20 glorious years in barrel has brought the full proof down, integrated the smoky and salt, and let the barley shine through. The end result is one of the most approachable and lovely Islay whisky's I've tasted this year. The big brash smoke of Caol Ila's youth has been tempered with age into an assertive and confident dram, the salt air of Islay permeates the glass. Fresh fruits of a distant land waft in and out. The palate is smooth and lingering. There is a touch of sweetness on the back end and a little piquant spice. This is a no brainer for the whisky lover in your life during the holidays...even if that whisky lover happens to be yourself.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 16, 2017

This might be the deal of the holiday season in Scotch whiskeys. After tasting it, Im almost tempted to use the word perfect to describe it. It showcases the beautiful Islay brininess and smoke as a subtle undertone to the rich, sweet malt profile. The flavor punch from the full strength, single cask is incredible but balanced and fully integrated. Definitely my top pick for holiday Scotch.

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 15, 2017

One of my all time favorite whiskies was the old distillery edition of the Caol Ila 18 - a beautiful rendition of the Islay single malt that packed equal weight and richness of texture with all that peaty goodness. It wasn't a cask strength edition, which is what really made the difference for me. If a distillery can manage to find the sweet spot with water, I'm all for reduced spirits in bottle. The beauty of this 20 year old Caol Ila is that it's at cask strength, but has naturally reduced itself to the perfect 46% ABV (exactly where many distilleries will reduce to). The result is the closest thing I've ever tasted to that legendary 18 year bottle that is now just a memory. The nose is simply haunting; an enticing combination of vanilla, creme brulee, and campfire embers. The whisky rolls over your tongue with creaminess and texture, but it leaves a trail of peat smoke in its wake. If you want the perfect Islay whisky, this is it. It doesn't get much better than this. Buy three if you can afford it.

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2014 Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend ($159.99)

97 points James Suckling: "Fantastic aromatics with blackberries, blackcurrants and iodine. Licorice, too. Medium to fulll body, fine and velvety tannins and a very polished and gorgeous finish. Caressing and dialed in. Why wait? An intellectual wine here. Lovely now." (01/2017)

95 points Wine Spectator: "A remarkable effort, engagingly rich and concentrated, with a deep, firm mix of licorice-shaded blackberry, currant, graphite, dried herb and cedary oak notes. The flavors hold and gain, leading to a persistent finish that keeps echoing the core elements. (JL)" (06/2017)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Proprietary Red Wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec, again, showing slightly less depth than its two surrounding siblings, but beautiful pure fruit, silky, velvety tannins, a layered mouthfeel and deep blackcurrant and black cherry fruit intermixed with cedar wood, fruitcake and smoky oak. This is a terrific wine as well and it will be the fastest out of the gate in terms of evolution - drinking beautifully for the next 15+ years. Pahlmeyer certainly has one of the most consistently superb resumés for the last 30 years that any winery could desire. (RP)" (12/2016)

Staff ImageStefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 11, 2017

This is what a perfect Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend is supposed to taste like and Pahlmeyer has become my benchmark against which I measure all others. There is incredible depth and complexity in this wine, while being simultaneously velvety and soft. Most importantly, this wine is just incredibly delicious, balancing strength and elegance and present, but not jammy fruit. A phenomenal wine that I would feel privileged to drink again and I think people will find this vintage turned out much better than some expected.

Staff ImageSal Rodriguez | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 11, 2017

Effortless beauty and finesse. If you're looking for an aromatically expressive Bordeaux blend that doesn't quit, that has a lovely, spicy, brightly acidic, velvety mouth-feel on the palate, then this should be at the top of your list. Loads of dry flowers, bright fruit, and graphite on the nose. Delicious fruit, light minerals, lifted acidity, and fresh herbs play well together on the palate. This is one of my favorite players in the short list of wines that have achieved cult-like status. While many others in this category are much less approachable, the Pahlmeyer Bordeaux Blend offers up lots more freshness and appeal a lot sooner. An iconic wine indeed!

Staff ImageStephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 11, 2017

The 2014 Pahlmeyer Bordeaux blend really hits the mark when it comes to luxury, elegance and balance, just what we'd expect from a high-end Napa producer. Fabulous aromatics fill the glass of black cherries, cocoa powder, licorice and cedar box. On the palate this wine is super silky and concentrated with bold flavors and balanced out with tannin and mid-palate acidity. This wine is sure to age well, but could be enjoyed young as well.

Staff ImageJoe Bruno | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 07, 2017

Rich and luscious are the first words that come to mind when trying this 2014 Pahlmeyer Bordeaux Blend. Consisting of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot in decreasing percentages, each harvested and vinified separately in more than 50 individual lots. This wine also sees 85% new French oak; a selection of Seguin Moreau Icone and Taransaud barrels. Initial aromas of ripe blackberry and dark cherry are followed by a bouquet of cigar, clove, and graphite. On the palate, intense black currant, dried dark fruit, and dark chocolate permeate through the finish along with silky tannins. This wine possesses both power and elegance

Staff ImageChristina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 04, 2017

The 2014 Pahlmeyer Bordeaux is a beautifully balanced and elegant blend of all five varieties, with delicious aromas of candied raspberry and strawberry, balanced by a waft of dense spice, with anise taking the forefront. One of the wonderful characteristics of the 2014 vintage in Napa is the dark, herbaceous quality that seems to be ever-present, and it shines through in the Pahlmeyer, tempering the fruit and creating a fascinating counterpoint. With well-integrated, supple tannin and a thread of bright acid, this wine will definitely age well, but can be easily enjoyed today.

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