Staff Favorites

If you’re going to have Robert Parker or Stephen Tanzer over for dinner, selecting a wine they’ve rated highly will be a nice choice. However, when you’re buying wines for yourself, we’d love to see you find wines that match up your unique palate and pocketbook. We have a large staff of friendly and knowledgeable wine professionals that taste hundreds of wines each week. They can put you in touch with bottles that you are likely to love, often at a much lower cost than the highly-rated gems that often see a run-up in price and frequent availability issues. Like any great group of opinionated professionals, our staff has varied tastes themselves. Often our customers will find a particular staff member with a style that corresponds to their own. That concept works extremely well in our retail stores, and this section is our effort to bring you the same online. Don’t get us wrong, we love the highly rated wines from the press and will continue to offer them, but we think you’re missing out if you’re not augmenting those selections with picks from our excellent staff. Here are their favorites. (Click on a name to see their other selections - or to drop them a line.) Cheers!


Reviews

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2010 Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino Pre-Arrival
 By: Greg St. Clair | Review Date: 3/10/2015 | Send Email
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  The nose of this wine is just super elegant, full of rose petals, wild cherry with hints of middle eastern spices. On the palate the wine is lively, fresh and savory all at the same time, the wild cherry turns deeper into plum, smoked meats and leather but always propped up by high toned cherry and rose notes. The finish is just stupendous, so complex, so full, so long, it is hard to choose between these two wines but I like this one just slightly more than the Altero, but both super.
Drink from 2015 to 2030

2010 Poggio Antico "Altero" Brunello di Montalcino Pre-Arrival
 By: Greg St. Clair | Review Date: 3/10/2015 | Send Email
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  Poggio Antico comes from one of the highest vineyards in Montalcino and the ethereal fragrance in this wine is just amazing. The fruit is a combination of savory wild cherry, hints of leather, spice, smoke and a bit of porcini. On the palate the wine has body, richness but it is the balance and length that stretch out and gives this wine such an elegant mouth feel. The finish just seems to go on and on, so balanced, so flavorful, one of the Best of the vintage.
Drink from 2015 to 2030
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart JS 96 BC 0

2013 Castillo de Monseran Garnacha Cariñena
 By: Mike Parres | Review Date: 3/10/2015 | Send Email
  Medium-bodied, it is characterized by fruity notes (cherry and raspberry) and hints of spices and herbs,sort of like a cross between Beaujolais and Bourgeuil. It is mouthwatering and savory. I like to give this a slight chill and pair it with grilled poultry or just sip it on the porch with some salami and salty cheese.
Price: $7.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Lynch-Bages, Pauillac
 By: Clyde Beffa Jr. | Review Date: 3/10/2015 | Send Email
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  Massive wine that will age gracefully for 30 more years. Packed with cedar oak and pencil shaving aromas. Cabernet at its best, but if you drink it soon, decant for 2 hours.
Drink from 2020 to 2050

1963 Warre's Vintage Port
 By: Clyde Beffa Jr. | Review Date: 3/10/2015 | Send Email
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  1963 is the best vintage for Port in the last 52 years. The Warre is sweet and delicious right now. Make sure to decant before serving.
Drink from 2015 to 2025
Price: $249.99 Add To Cart WS 92 BC 0

2011 Guiraud, Sauternes
 By: Clyde Beffa Jr. | Review Date: 3/10/2015 | Send Email
  Guiraud is our biggest selling Sauternes-by far. The 2011 is as good as the great 2001 and 2005. perfect balance of flavors with some citric notes as well as coconut flavors. Will age well for many years.
Drink from 2016 to 2036

2013 David Givaudan "La Bête" Côtes-du-Rhone
 By: Keith Mabry | Review Date: 3/10/2015 | Send Email
  The wine may be named "la Bete" (the Beast) but it is no over the top style to be certain. Plenty of fresh cherry and strawberry fruit with dried blueberries and thyme. On the palate it begins to unfold with layers of white pepper, tobacco and a touch of sassafras. This is a friendly medium bodied style with old-school restraint. One of my favorite Rhones right now.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2008 Ariston Aspasie Brut Champagne
 By: Kyle Kurani | Review Date: 3/10/2015 | Send Email
  I cannot get enough of the '08 vintage, an exquisite mixture of sun kissed ripeness and shining acidity. The Aspasie is both generous and vibrant, bready notes, baguette,thick crusted sour dough, coupled with a dense, almost glycerol palate presence. Truly a wine ahead of the pack, something that will reward patience, there is already some in my cellar.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

WINE CLUB

Club Price: $34.99
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1999 Billecart-Salmon "Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart" Brut Champagne
 By: Gary Westby | Review Date: 3/9/2015 | Send Email
  This Champagne is composed of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay and is 1/3 barrel fermented. It is aged for three years on the lees and is dosed at a tiny 3g/l of sugar. It has a pretty white gold color and an incredible bouquet of cream, high quality toast and even some Nutella. It is rich Champagne with plenty of texture, but the very low dosage snaps it right into focus. It has all the complexity one could ask for in a Champagne.

2012 Charles Smith "Boom Boom" Washington Syrah
 By: Dave Genevro | Review Date: 3/9/2015 | Send Email
  A knockout Syrah from Charles Smith! This is really drinking well right now. With big, bold juicy fruit and a tiny bit of spice, this is not a Rhone Valley Syrah. Enjoy this wine soon after you purchase it - 2012 was not a bad vintage at all for Washington State Syrah. So next time you are picking up a bottle of Kung Fu Girl, grab a bottle of Boom Boom! and be blown away for less than $20!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Philip Togni "Estate" Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon
 By: Michael Jordan | Review Date: 3/9/2015 | Send Email
  In my top 5 producers of Cabernet Sauvignon in the Napa Valley, the 2012 is a beautiful medium bodied wine with vibrant blue and black fruit, tobacco, cedar with just a touch of red fruit and vanilla. The wine is young and I would suggest 7-13 years of aging.

Talisker Distiller's Edition Isle of Skye Single Malt Whisky 750ml
 By: James Knight | Review Date: 3/7/2015 | Send Email
  Of all the expressions of Talisker I've enjoyed so far, I believe that this may be my favorite. It's got the ashy peat, the caramel and sherry, and the chili pepper heat. My tasting notes don't record a kippers/smoked fish character, however: more like cream soda, cinnamon spice, and peat that smells like a spaded-up dry lawn, not like the iodine or burning leather like some Islay single malts that you may have tried. If you would like to sniff some smoky peat in your whisky, but don't like it too dry, hot, or ashy, I recommended Talisker, by all means: get both the Talisker 10 and the Distillers for comparison; both are immediately enjoyable on the caramel-sherry, subtle smoky peat and salty sense-of-place spectrum. 2002 version, bottled 2013.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino Pre-Arrival
 By: Mike Parres | Review Date: 3/7/2015 | Send Email
  Love the user friendliness of this producer. The wine is highly pleasurable for the integrity of its fruit and its round, enveloping personality. Clean, mineral notes frame the finish, giving the wine a lovely sense of balance and proportion.

2010 Antinori "Pian delle Vigne" Brunello di Montalcino Pre-Arrival
 By: Mike Parres | Review Date: 3/7/2015 | Send Email
  Clean style of Brunello with loads of crushed fruit on the nose and palate. Full-bodied, with well-integrated tannins and a pretty & smooth finish.

2010 Mastrojanni "Vigna Loreto" Brunello di Montalcino Pre-Arrival
 By: Mike Parres | Review Date: 3/7/2015 | Send Email
  A very plummy yet elegant red, with leather and spices on the nose. Medium- to full-bodied, with a sleek and refined tannin structure and a long finish. Yum !
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart JS 97 BC 0

Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 year old Blended Malt Whisky 750ml
 By: David Driscoll | Review Date: 3/7/2015 | Send Email
  Yes, it's Johnnie Walker, but that doesn't mean it's a blended whisky! The Green label is actually a blended MALT, meaning it's comprised only of single malt whiskies from Diageo's prestigious chain of malt distilleries. Rich, creamy, supple malt flavor, brimming with fruit and soft toffee come strong on the entry. The finish shows a trace of smoke from the addition of Caol Ila to the formula, but it's never more than a whisper. Considering the size and scope of the Green's production, the quality is incredible. I'd easily drink this over a number of pure single malts in the same price range. Great stuff.

Faultline Blended Scotch Whisky 750ml
 By: Jeffrey Jones | Review Date: 3/7/2015 | Send Email
  This is a great choice for those that want a blended Scotch with some smoke that is integrated and fun. It is soft and very easy to drink and enjoy. The Faultline Blended Scotch would be great with soda water.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1996 Tobermory 18 Year Old K&L Exclusive Old Particular (Douglas Laing) Single Barrel Single Malt Whisky 750ml
 By: Jeffrey Jones | Review Date: 3/7/2015 | Send Email
  This is one of the best 18 year old single malts in the store right now. It is a pleasure to drink, offering soft malt flavors with a hint of saltiness. A complex and long finish completes the picture.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Renieri Brunello di Montalcino Pre-Arrival
 By: Mike Parres | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  A Brunello that is very terroir-driven, with lots of earth, minerals & soft fruit. A big steak with this bad boy; drink over the next five years.

2013 Fossil Point Edna Valley Pinot Noir
 By: Scott Beckerley | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
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  This great little Pinot Noir was a serious star in our stores for the 2012 vintage. The good news is that the 2013 is even better! It has tart strawberry fruit and ripe cherry fruit with a light dose of wood to make things interesting. Smooth texture, though the 2013 has brighter acidity on the finish than the 2012 did. This is one of those rarities....inexpensive and delicious California Pinot Noir!
Top Value!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Drappier Charles de Gaulle Brut Champagne
 By: Gary Westby | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  The Charles de Gaulle might be the best deal in top notch grand marque Champagne at K&L. It is composed of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay and is one of the most leesy, layered powerhouses in the building. If you like wines like the Bollinger vintage and the Pol Roger Winston Churchill, you should definitely try this Champagne. I found it to be very complex, with hazelnut, fine toast and Kimmeridgian minerality all in great balance. The texture and bead are as good as it gets. This is the first batch of this wine that is non-vintage, the last vintage dated Charles de Gaulle was the 2006. I am guessing that this is based on 2007 with reserves, but I don’t know for sure.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Araujo "Altagracia" Napa Valley Proprietary Red
 By: Christie Brunick | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  Looking for a perfect balance of power and beauty, a little Cali mixed with a little Bordeaux style, this delivers all the goods. Stunning structure, rich, bold, beautiful classic Cabernet fruit with structure and sweet oak that will keep this wine aging for years to come! To me it's just perfect! Drink while your Eisele Vineyard ages!
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart RP 91-  93 BC 0

2010 Talenti Brunello di Montalcino Pre-Arrival
 By: Mike Parres | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  I am giving this two thumbs up ! ROCKIN Brunello, beautifully layered, expressive wine bursting with sweet, ripe strawberries, Vanilla, black cherries intermingled with subtle earth and toasted oak notes, minerals and a hint of bitter chocolate on the finish; round and ripe tannins and a long aftertaste. YUM !!!
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart JS 96 BC 0

2014 Pipeño Pais "Coronel de Maule" Maule Valley (1.0L)
 By: Ryan Woodhouse | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  Super cool wine. Old Mission varietals from farmers in the Maule Valley. This wine is full of brambly fruit, spice, blacker fruit edges and notes of charred meat. Lovely soft, juicy palate and moderate acidity. A great option for drinking something out of the norm (read, interesting for wine geeks) but still very crowd-pleasing for just about any palate. Great value, especially in the liter bottle!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Pre-Arrival
 By: Mike Parres | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  Gioberto Zannoni and his son Angelo have hit another one out of the ballpark with this vintage. Gorgeous core of perfumed ripe fruit, plum, cassis and kirsch, some leather and cola mid-palate and earthiness that melds into bitter cocoa powder, spices and minerals on the finish. Lush, and flows across your palate, long finish--just WOW! This is a classic 2010 Brunello, and needs HOURS to open up or some years of aging.

Maker's Mark Cask Strength Bourbon 375ml
 By: David Othenin-Girard | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  What a shock this was! I've always found the standard makers to be a bit on the sweet side, but this new cask strength version is just perfect. Very close to some of the excellent old wheaters of days passed. No Old Fitz, No Pappy, no Weller, no problem! Grab these while they're here cause we've got no limit and no telling when we'll get more.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Bodegas Chacra Pinot Noir "Cincuenta y Cinco" Rio Negro
 By: Ryan Woodhouse | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
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  I applaud Joe's work (and confidence) to bring this wine in. Sure we don't have a huge market for $50 Chilean Pinot...but this wine is sure worth every penny. Lovely brooding, savory nose with damp earth, dark fruit...I thought quite Chambertin like. The wine has beautiful texture, ultra fine tannins and plenty of well proportioned texture on the palate. On the finish the vine age (planted 1955) really shows through with more savory earth / mineral tones. Very well executed Pinot Noir.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart JS 92 BC 0

2010 Tenuta del Cerro (La Poderina) Brunello di Montalcino Pre-Arrival
 By: Mike Parres | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  This is old world Sangiovese with lots of fruit, ripe blueberries, flowers and red raspberries, earthy with Tuscan dust and minerals, and soft acidity and well balanced tannins and sweet wood and beautiful viscosity. This can keep for several years in the cellar or I would let it open for three to four hours. A must have for 2010 Brunelli,
Price: $38.99 Add To Cart JS 94 BC 0

2011 Clos des Fous "Grillos Cantores" Cabernet Sauvignon Alto Cachapoal
 By: Ryan Woodhouse | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  Serious Cabernet for the money. Packed full of dark fruit, blackcurrant, graphite and hints of new leather. The mid palate is plush and soft, but in the finish there are some nice grippy tannins that elongate the wine. Excellent value for money.
Top Value!

2013 Pedro Martinez Alesanco Blanco Rioja
 By: Dave Genevro | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  A great Rioja Blanco from Pedro Martinez! This is crisp, dry and is showing great fruit with a balanced acidity. If you drink Riojas and want to try something new during this beautiful weather we have been enjoying...get a bottle at $9.99!
Top Value!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Lamoureux Rosé des Riceys
 By: Gary Westby | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  This still, 100% Pinot Noir rose is made in tiny quantities in the town of Riceys in the heart of the Aube department. This manages to have both the bright, tannin free high tones of cool climate rose and the fuller, darker cherry fruit of a near-red Pinot Noir. This is an absolute must try for any complete imbiber of the wines of the Champagne region. To quote a great customer, it is a “Unicorn Wine”.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Drappier Rose Brut Champagne
 By: Gary Westby | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  This all Pinot Noir Champagne is made with a three day long maceration, rather than more common method of adding red wine for color and flavor. It is vinified in only stainless steel vats and moved by gravity to avoid oxygen and preserve freshness, and dosed at a fairly low 7g/l. This Champagne has a wild nose with plenty of black cherry Pinot authority and savor. In the mouth it is spicy, extroverted and fresh.

Drappier Carte d'Or Brut Champagne
 By: Gary Westby | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  This Champagne is composed of 75% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay and 10% Meunier with about 5% barrel aged reserve wines in the blend. The fruit comes almost exclusively from the Aube department. I found the wine to have an explosive nose, with clean aromas of baguette and nectarine. This is an extraordinary negociant bottling, on the level of Louis Roederer or Bollinger in quality, but with a style all its own. In the mouth the Carte d’Or has red maraschino cherry from the generous use of Pinot, and an almost Chablis like minerality on the finish. It balances richness, detail and freshness perfectly. Don’t miss trying this one.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Ferrero Brunello di Montalcino (1.5L) Pre-Arrival
 By: Mike Parres | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  Two BIG STARS for this Brunello, and Bravo to our friends Pablo Harri and his wife Claudia Ferrero, this is the best to date that we have been carrying this producer. This vintage brings in more terroir than previous years very well balanced and a finish that will bring you into next week (long).

Lagavulin Distiller's Edition Single Malt Whisky 750ml
 By: David Driscoll | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  The 2014 is the softest and most restrained version of this whisky I've yet tasted. The initial flavors are rounded sherry notes and toffee, but the finish is all classic Lagavulin filtered through a velvet glove. The peat comes through, the bright phenolic notes are clean and vibrant, but they never explode or overpower the balance of the whisky. It's perfectly graceful from beginning to end, which isn't usually an adjective I use to describe Lagavulin. It's incredibly refined. I'm tired of in-your-face whiskies. I want subtlety. This 2014 DE is exactly what I want.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Tenuta di Sesta Brunello di Montalcino Pre-Arrival
 By: Mike Parres | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  Love this 2010, Tenuta Di Sesta is a wine that I never cry to drink sooner then later ( but if I wait, I am rewarded and a happy camper) Medium to full-bodied, Black cherries, Tuscan dust and soft tannins.

2010 Baricci Brunello di Montalcino Pre-Arrival
 By: Mike Parres | Review Date: 3/6/2015 | Send Email
  Classic “Montosoli” nose with lots of terroir (Montalcino dust and lots of minerals).spice, cinnamon, cardamom and anise with a touch of leather and brings that to the palate as well. This will need at least a half a day of decanting and will drink over the next ten years. YUM !!!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart JS 93 BC 0

Bowmore 12 year old Islay Single Malt Whisky 750ml
 By: James Knight | Review Date: 3/5/2015 | Send Email
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  I'm pretty pleased with the standard Bowmore 12, in fact, just a little beyond expectations, for the price. I have to agree with Enthusiast's mention of the cookie dough in the background, but there's also a bit of wet plaster, rancio and roasted walnut lurking--a hint of some of the older, single barrel expressions. It's drier and less "maritime" than Talisker 10, and the peat is more ashy like an Ardmore Traditional Cask or Lagavulin 16. A nice cabinet standby, or at least a reference point.
Price: $45.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Grand Bateau Rouge, Bordeaux
 By: Steve Bearden | Review Date: 3/5/2015 | Send Email
  Year after year this screaming value from the folks who produce the great Chateau Beychevelle over-performs and over-delivers in every way. This is always round and elegant with a smooth and creamy texture and surprising purity for this price level. The currant version is done in an easy to drink style showcasing blackberry fruit, spice and a touch of earth.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

WINE CLUB

Club Price: $9.99
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2011 Domaine Maestracci "E Prove" Corse Calvi Rouge
 By: Keith Mabry | Review Date: 3/5/2015 | Send Email
  The Maestracci has that quality that you find in a lot of wines from Corsica. Italian flavors with French sensibilities. There are copious amounts of black fruit alongside tobacco and spice box notes. On the palate the wine has sweet fruit with a brightness that keeps it lifted and never heavy. A little grip on the finish leads you towards food but not entirely necessary. If you have never tried a wine from Corsica this is one of the best to get started with.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Mas de Daumas Gassac VDP de l'Herault Rouge
 By: Keith Mabry | Review Date: 3/5/2015 | Send Email
  From one of the great estates of the Languedoc, this is the equivalent of a Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux. It was even acclaimed as such by wine writer Michael Broadbent. Think of a great Bordeaux, polish the tannins, soften the oak influence and here you land. A bold nose of currants, lilacs and sage unfold into a palate of rich blackberry and blueberry. The tannins are supple and the wine is accessible right now but worthy of the cellar for many years.
Price: $41.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 La Cabotte "Colline" Côtes du Rhône
 By: Keith Mabry | Review Date: 3/5/2015 | Send Email
  Loaded with red fruits like cherry and pomegranate, there is also a hint of crushed herbs like thyme and bay leaf. Polished tannins lead to a zesty well priced wine that suits any budget.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Ariston Aspasie Brut Rosé Champagne
 By: Kyle Kurani | Review Date: 3/5/2015 | Send Email
  There is not another bottle of pink Champagne that offers this value in the store, end of story. This perfectly crafted bottle of bubbles is sensational wine, and at a price that I can afford to drink more than just on special occasions. A pretty coral pink greets you in the glass, alongside a nose of vibrant cherry, sweetened dried cranberry, and anise spice. Elegant red fruits burst on the scene out of the glass, kissing your palate with lifted notes of rose petal and wild cherry. So good!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Araujo "Altagracia" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
 By: Ivan Diaz | Review Date: 3/5/2015 | Send Email
  Velvety and rich, the 2011 Altagracia is surprisingly approachable. Though it packs plenty of muscle, the edges are refined and the texture is creamy with sweet tannins, for an extremely satisfying drink. Loads of red and dark berries greet the nose up front, wrapped in vanilla and mocha, finishing with some baking spice and comfortable acidity. While it's expressing itself very nicely right now, this is also a great candidate for your cellar, 10-15 years.

2013 Mas de Daumas Gassac VDP de l'Herault Blanc
 By: Keith Mabry | Review Date: 3/5/2015 | Send Email
  This is one of the most intriguing whites I have tasted in a year. The wild varietal blend leads to a wine greater than the sum of its parts. Viognier and Chardonnay provide body and aromatics, the Petit Manseng adds texture and acidity, the Chenin adds volume and depth. Aromas of bruised apple, lime skin, white flowers and crushed rocks permeate the nose. The palate is full with layers of flavors and an exceptionally long finish. This is awesome stuff!
Price: $41.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône
 By: Keith Mabry | Review Date: 3/5/2015 | Send Email
  Guigal once again delivers a lovely old school, friendly rendition of Cotes du Rhone. Notes of raspberry, potpourri, Asian spices and dried herbs. It is medium bodied with well delineated flavors on the palate. Definitely over delivers for the price.

2013 Akitu "A2" Pinot Noir Central Otago (White Label)
 By: Ryan Woodhouse | Review Date: 3/5/2015 | Send Email
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  The Akitu "A2" Pinot Noir offers exception value and quality for money. It is very difficult for produce great Pinot Noir for close to $20...it is almost unheard of to produce noteworthy Central Otago Pinot Noir for this price. Thankfully our direct relationship with Hawkesbury Estate / Atiku has allowed K&L to bring you this wine for a very economical price point. This wine is bursting with ripe berry fruits, hard ground spices like nutmeg and clove from the whole bunch inclusion, crushed rocks and wild Thyme. The palate has plenty of soft accessible fruit up front, but it is also very long and drawn out on the palate by the wines lovely fresh acidity and fine powdery tannins. A delicate kiss of oak helps polish this gem but does not detract from its purity. Whilst this wine does not provide me the lucid insight into this terroir that is afforded by Akitu's remarkable "A1" Pinot Noir...it does provide the imbiber instant gratification and a fantastically expressive bottle of classy, slick Pinot Noir at a very reasonable price. From a small estate close to Lake Wanaka dedicated 100% to Pinot Noir. Winemaker PJ Charteris (Adelsheim, Flowers, Penfolds, Brokenwood).
Top Value! Drink from 2015 to 2020
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Akitu "A1" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Black Label)
 By: Ryan Woodhouse | Review Date: 3/5/2015 | Send Email
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  The Akitu “A1” Pinot is one of the most profound bottles I have tasted in quite some time. It is a wine that is defined by tension, precision, coiled power and speaks very strongly of its schist soil origins. The wine is incredibly pure and dynamic on the palate. Not fleshy or extracted but perfectly linear and poised. You can feel the terroir as much as taste it. This wine is about energy and vibrancy. Sure it delivers fantastic Pinot Noir varietal fruit flavors, spice, earth…but this wine is so much more than that, hard to describe, it is something that needs to be experienced. I also believe we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg with this wine and the best is yet to come as the tight, compact layers of flavor and texture unfold. I read about this vineyard “Hawkesbury Estate” and the brand new label “Akitu” (meaning “summit” or "apex" in Maori) in the UK press. I immediately reached out to owner Andrew Donaldson to explore working with his wines. What struck me the most was the uniqueness of the site. The vines are planted on a perfect north facing slope on the side of Mt. Barker just south of Lake Wanaka in Central Otago. In a place like Central Otago that is already quite remote…these vines are again defined by their loneliness, this is not an area bustling with vineyards like the hillsides of Bannockburn or along the shores of Lake Dunstan…this is just a few acres of vines perched on lone hill in a cool windswept valley close to the snowcapped mountains of the “central divide”. When I see someone toiling over a site like this, a tricky, labor intensive, on the edge of grape grape growing site...I have to try the wines, because there must be some reason why that person is persisting, they must truly believe they have something special. Andrew only started labeling his own wine in 2012 after selling off fruit for 10 years while he waited for his vines to mature and truly speak of their terroir (something we rarely see in this day and age). Another factor in my excitement was the winemaker brought in to help shape this expression of place, PJ Charteris (PJ's previous positions include: Aldelsheim, Flowers, Penfolds and a 12 year stint at Brokenwood in Hunter Valley where he was awarded Winemaker of the Year!) I am very excited to start working with these wines and I hope you will find them as compelling as I do.
Drink from 2015 to 2025
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Shafer "Red Shoulder Ranch" Carneros Chardonnay
 By: Michael Jordan | Review Date: 3/4/2015 | Send Email
  A California legend, the Red Shoulder Ranch has been wowing Chardonnay fans since 1994. No malolactic fermentation but the lees help add depth and creaminess. Stone fruit, citrus and a cornucopia of other flavors nicely integrated together with a touch of acid and cedar.

Faultline Blended Scotch Whisky 750ml
 By: David Othenin-Girard | Review Date: 3/4/2015 | Send Email
  Perhaps our greatest triumph to date because making good whisky cheap (or should that read “cheap whisky good”) is DANG hard work. I don't know if there is a product that we sell that I've spent more time or energy on getting right. We literally went through hundreds of samples of blended whisky from multiple suppliers. I worked meticulously with the artist to create the perfect label to exemplify this special blend. Ultimately, what we chose to blend wasn't necessarily the most powerful or intense option, but instead the goddamned most drinkable thing we could find at any price. We insisted it not be colored and bottled at 100 proof because while it was tasty at 80 proof, a whole lot of this stuff was going to go into long drinks and over rocks. Nothing else on the market stands up so well in a drink -long, short, classic whatever! The added proof does wonders to improve the flavor not to mention add texture. The inclusion of the beautiful bevy of Islay, Island, and Highland single malt give it depth, but the lack of caramel coloring might be the real reason this worked so well. The color will undoubtedly scare some old school whisky drinkers–it’s really really light in color. We’ve been conditioned by the industry to think, darker is better. Producers believe (and not without reason) that consumers will taste with their eyes first and therefore the negative flavor effects of the chemical coloring are vastly outweighed by the psychological effects of the dark color – it should be noted that some believe the addition of caramel color might enhance flavor of blended whisky, I am not one of those people. It is indeed true that consumers prefer darker colored whisky even if it’s the exact same stuff. Conditioning is a powerful thing. If the light color is a problem for you, please close your eyes (figuratively) because we are indeed incredibly influenced by our visual perceptions and this whisky deserves a fair shake. Needless to say, I was personally very happy with the final product before it shipped, but we knew the true test would always be when the real whisky geeks got hold of it. You know the guys who NEVER hold their tongue, no matter how obviously important or irritating something might be to you. Love those guys. While some diehards thought it was "pretty darn good for the price,” as expected, other whisky heads just about fell out of their chairs when they tasted it. "How much of this stuff do you have? I'm gonna bunker at least 2 cases…no 3 cases. Do you have enough?" Music to my ears. For now, yes we have enough, for now…
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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