Staff Favorites - Melissa Smith

Melissa Smith
Growing from a Redwood City sales position in 2009, to the company sake buyer in 2011, and then to the Head Sommelier in 2013 my love of wine spreads the gamut from mineral laden Sancerres to California Zinfandels aged over 20 years, Urban wines to classic Bordeaux, and 99% of the spirits that we carry. As a CIA trained chef I spent 15 years in some of the top kitchens in the country until my love of wine won out and I transitioned to the wine industry in 2004 where I began utilizing my skills as an instructor, a writer, and a restaurant consultant after passing the introductory level exam of The Court of Master Sommeliers. In 2010, I developed the first iPhone app for wine pronunciation, the Enotria Guide. In 2011, I became one of the few certified Sake Sommeliers in the country through the Sake Education Council. Outside of K&L I run private and corporate wine and spirits events around the Bay Area, consult on private cellars, and attempt to write professionally.

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2013 Clos Henri "Petit Clos" Pinot Noir Marlborough New Zealand   | Approved
Review Date: 3-27-2015
This is probably one of my favorite value wines. As New Zealand pinots gain the recognition they deserve, the prices have begun to reflect the wines, but Henri Bourgeois's Petit Clos pinot from Marlborough is an exception. Here we have a lovely wine with characteristic bright cherry and strawberry notes, a generous, soft body, and great balance. Yet somehow it's still only 15.99!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart JS 92 BC 0

2014 Valentin Bianchi "Elsa Bianchi" Malbec Mendoza  
Review Date: 3-27-2015
Yet another tasty, crisply red fruited Malbec from Elsa Bianchi. One of our most popular Malbecs, year in, year out.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2006 Launois "Spécial Club" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (ships as 1.5L)   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-27-2015
Pour me a glass of Launois Champagne any day, and I'll be happy. The 2006 Special Club is a richer, fuller style with plenty for all to enjoy. Save this one for a special occasion.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Castillo de Monseran Garnacha Cariñena  
Review Date: 3-27-2015
This is a very quaffable red, as usual per this cooperative in the Cariñena D.O., locate in Aragon, the heart and Spain's extensive plantings of Garnacha. Red fruit flavors abound, and at 12.5% ABV this is fresh and easy to drink.
Price: $7.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Del Professore Vermouth 750ml  
Review Date: 3-27-2015
Looking for a great Spring Time Apertif? This is semi off-dry Italian White Vermouth is soo delicous and refreshing! Its a great option for someone who wants something a little different than there typical Litllet Blanc or similar. I love it over the rocks with a twist of lemon or other citrus! I will be enjoying this all summer!
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2014 Château les Valentines "Le Caprice de Clémentine" Côtes de Provence Rosé  
Review Date: 3-27-2015
One of my favorite Rosé, year in and year out! When people ask me for Provence Rosé it does not get much better than this. All organic methods of farming in this beautiful little part of Cotes de Provence. When people ask for that light salmon color this wine has that. Delicate with a fresh acidity for a truly magically experience. Got that too. As we used to say back home. This is a true porch sipper!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Casanova di Neri "Tenuta Nuova" Brunello di Montalcino  
Review Date: 3-27-2015
There is something to be said about less thinking more drinking. Opinions and scores be damned! This my friends is just a fantastic glass of wine! Aromatics on this wine are stunning. Picking up just a hint of vanilla. Then comes the dark cherry and violets. Luscious fruit and a rich refined spice pop in your mouth. What a treat to drink. Food or not this wine does not disappoint. This is one wine that is not easy to share. So choice your friends wisely.

2011 Ornellaia "Le Serre Nuove"  
Review Date: 3-27-2015
This is the second label for Ornellaia. Younger vines go into the wine. Pour it in the glass and you can see you are in for a wonderful experience. Deep, dark ruby red greets the eyes. Burst of berry fruits and crushed floral on the nose. This is a full body wine. Great weight on the mid palate. The tannins and acidity are all there for a seamless finish. Great with grilled meat or a heavier cheese. Elegance and power have never paired so well!

Venus "El Ladron" Blue Agave Spirit 750ml   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-27-2015
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Pure Agave encapsulated in a spirit. Fresh, spicy, peppery, Aloe juice, yellow florals. Incredible soft, viscous texture, supple and pure. I get salinity again here...I have found this a few Venus Distilling products...perhaps it relates to the address just a few hundred years from Santa Cruz's rugged coast? Great stuff!
Top Value!
Price: $42.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Venus Spirits Batch #1 Gin 750ml   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-27-2015
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Best Gin I have tasted in a long while. Incredible floral nose, white blossom, freshly grated ginger, cardamon, hard spice, clove, meadow flowers and salty air. There is also subtle, savory, grassy, even earthy note that distiller Sean Venus attributed to the Angelica root. I found it very fresh, balanced and complex. Every sniff / sip found another botanical singing its own tune in perfect harmony with the rest.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1996 Tobermory 18 Year Old K&L Exclusive Old Particular (Douglas Laing) Single Barrel Single Malt Whisky 750ml   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-27-2015
This K&L exclusive bottling comes from Tobermory’s unpeated stocks but still shows earthy and savory characteristics. A nose of toffee, salt and nuts combine with a palate of malt, sea salt and herbs makes for one of my favorite whiskies of the year!
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Kalex Pinot Noir Central Otago   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-27-2015
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Really interesting wine. This is carefully and very deliberately made to be a true "Central Otago" Pinot. By this is mean winemaker Theo Coles selects fruit from top vineyard sites in various sub-regions of Central Otago (combining warm areas / cool areas, schist soil, clay soil, glacial deposits and different aspects). Therefore what you get here is not a snapshot of one site or a particular sites specific terroir, but rather a broader more inclusive flavor composition of the region as a whole. The hope is that the whole expression will be greater than the sum of it's parts, and I think Theo has done a great job synthesizing these elements together. The wine is very powerful and masculine in structure (60% whole cluster) with dark spicy berry fruits, plum, briary notes, clove and struck stone. The wine has considerable extract but is not sweet or too viscous, just powerful and brooding. With air the wine gains some nice floral high notes which help give lift and hint at the wines potential a few years along. This is very serious, ambitious and dense Cental Otago Pinot that is worth checking out.
Drink from 2016 to 2025
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Clos Henri "Petit Clos" Pinot Noir Marlborough New Zealand   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-27-2015
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I'll keep this very simple. This is one of the (if not THE) best value Pinot in the store. Pinot Noir is notoriously hard to grow and make, thus many inexpensive / mass produced versions are very lacking in depth, complexity and balance. This wine is not. It smells and tastes like classic Pinot of a much higher price point. It grown on a small, organic, family owned estate. Hand-crafted in small open fermenters and matured in quality French oak. In addition, 2013 was an exceptional vintage in New Zealand elevating the quality even further than in previous renditions. If you are a Pinot fanatic searching for a great everyday bottle that delivers without breaking the bank you can't miss this!
Top Value! Drink from 2015 to 2018
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart JS 92 BC 0

2013 Domaine du Tariquet "Classic" Cotes de Gascogne Blanc  
Review Date: 3-27-2015
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Distinctive aromas of lime-zest and dandelion greens, which carry over in the mouth to a really crisp, clean, mouthwatering set of flavors. From Southwestern French regional, this Gem is comprised of Ugni Blanc [hey, Wente Brothers use to call this varietal Grey Riesling back when I first started in this business many, many, many years ago and they even allocated it], Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cros Manseng [native grape to that area] and provides a wonderful bright, flashy finish with a slate-like mineral note. This Gem is a go-to wine when you want to serve shellfish or lighter seafood dishes. The Bean has informed me that I need to bring home this delicious wine in case lots. Don’t miss it! ....... 10.5% ABV
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 La Cabotte "Colline" Côtes du Rhône   | Approved
Review Date: 3-26-2015
The 2013 "Colline" Cotes Du Rhone is a great effort to produce great quality table wine while offering it at a more than fair price. This biodynamic wine has a dark crimson/purple hue with dark cherries and spice on the nose following through with great length and grip on the palate. With rich, ripe fruit and smooth medium tannins, pick up a few of these gems for everyday enjoyment with friends and family. 14% ABV.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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