Staff Favorites - Ryan Woodhouse

Ryan Woodhouse
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Reviews

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2013 Akitu "A2" Pinot Noir Central Otago (White Label)
Review Date: 3-5-2015
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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)
Review Date: 3-5-2015
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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

2011 Fromm "La Strada" Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 3-3-2015
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This is a Pinot lovers Pinot...That might sound strange...but in this world of big, black, 15.5% ALC Pinot Noir...this Fromm bottling is a breath of fresh dirt! Much more concerned with dusty red fruits, forest floor, earth and savory tones than high octane, heavily extracted fruit and new oak. The nose sets the scene for the wines precision and focus. Tightly packed red berries, dry leaves and Chanterelles. The wine gains weight with some time in the glass taking time to unfold like all great Pinot should. Dusty dark red berries emerge, leaf litter, bark and river stone. A very Burgundian profile with some tell tale spiced orange peel and clove notes that give away it's Marlborough origins to the experienced observer. I truly believe this wine still has more to give and think it will flesh out further with a few more months / years in the cellar. However even now this wine is bright, fresh, pure Pinot Noir that is a really pleasing style for those looking for a more traditional, elegant expression of this fickle grape. Absolutely exceptional value thanks to our direct import.
Top Value! Drink from 2013 to 2020
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart JS 93 BC 0

2012 Woodstock Estate "Octogenarian" Old Vine Grenache McLaren Vale South Australia
Review Date: 3-3-2015
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Explosive nose of red florals, ripe berry fruits and sweet spices. On the palate the wine is packed full of briary, bramble fruits, exotic spice and macerated cherry. This wine has beautiful palate weight, purity of fruit and concentration of flavor. Underpinning all this exotic ripe fruit and spice is a deep and complex savory minerality from these 80+ yr old vines. I can't believe what a steal this wine is thanks to our importer direct pricing. Think really good vieilles vignes Châteauneuf-du-Pape...for a quarter of the price you would normally pay...and you arrive at Woodstock's Octogenarian.
Top Value! Drink from 2015 to 2025
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart JH 96 BC 0

2014 Lake Chalice "The Nest" Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand
Review Date: 3-3-2015
One of the best value whites in the store. We have sold literally thousands of bottles of this wine each vintage for the last few years. It has proven itself as one of the most loved and frequently re-purchased wines we stock at K&L. The Nest displays classic snappy, zesty fresh aromas to Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. The palate is juicy and easy drinking with lots of citrus, gooseberry some stony mineral qualities. Super refreshing and mouthwateringly moreish!
Top Value!
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Faust Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 2-28-2015
As you would expect from the people that brought us the Prisoner...this wine is full throttle, full bodied, big bold Cabernet. But...it also has class. Sourced from some of the same sites as it's big brother Quintessa and with good chunk of fruit from Coombesville (cooler climate), this wine also has nice acidity and brightness to balance all that raw Napa Valley power. Faust seriously gives some of the big prestigious names in the valley something to think about especially given it's sub-$50 price point!
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart RP 90 BC 0

2014 Valentin Bianchi "Elsa Bianchi" Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 2-28-2015
A perennial value at K&L. Juicy, ripe, black and blue fruit, some chocolate notes. Fresh, soft and easy to enjoy. A classic party wine.
Top Value!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Tassi Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 2-28-2015
Sure there are cheaper Rossos to be found...but this is much more like a Brunello in disguise! The depth and power here is amazing. Lovely fruit weight, super fine but mouth coating tannins. The wine strikes a nice balance between a little more generosity of modern Brunello but retains the purity and elegance of more traditional techniques. Great wine.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart ST 90 BC 0

2012 Elephant Hill Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 2-28-2015
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Bright nose of crushed berries and dusty spices. The palate is perfectly weighted without to much extraction but ample concentration at the same time. Silky mouth-feel, great length on the palate. It finishes with just a hint of wild thyme and warm earth that takes me back to the hillsides of Central Otago. There is a lot of wine here for a very modest price point.
Top Value!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Rickshaw Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 2-28-2015
One the the best value CA cabs in the store. This wine shows the skill of Banshee to deliver serious wines at value price points. Dark and rich but with good Cabernet varietal characters, fine tannins and a juicy hit of Malbec in the blend that just makes this so drinkable.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Ermacora Pinot Grigio Colli Orientali del Friuli
Review Date: 2-28-2015
This is how Pinot Grigio should taste! Not the watered down, lifeless, commercial version...this wine is rich in flavor, texture and complexity. It restored my faith in the varietal...check it out, it's a game changer.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Felton Road Chardonnay Bannockburn
Review Date: 2-24-2015
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One of NZ's best Chardonnay producers. Felton's "Bannockburn" Chardonnay is from their vineyards dotted around the small village of Bannockburn at the southern end of the Cromwell Basin in Central Otago. The village has a perfect north facing aspect and a mixture of schist and heavier clay and silt soils. Much of this wine comes from the Elms Vineyard...home to the famous "Block 2" Chardonnay and in many ways this wine shares a lot of the same characteristics. Crunchy orchard fruit, spiced pear, mineral, a touch of flint or struck match...and just a lick of citrus acidity to make the mouth water. This bottling is not as keenly focused at the Block 2, but that actually makes it more expressive in its youth and perhaps even more enjoyable upon release than its prestigious stablemate. If you haven't explored NZ Chardonnay...this would be a very good place to start!
Top Value!

2013 A.A. Badenhorst "Secateurs" Chenin Blanc Swartland
Review Date: 2-24-2015
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A perennial favorite of mine. Classic Swartland Chenin Blanc. Pure, unadulterated, amazingly drinkable white wine. There is so much easy soft fruit here with Chenin's slightly honeyed stone fruit characters and toasted grain notes. The wine is dry, but has a round, juicy character that makes it just so quaffable. Underneath this primary ripe fruit is a lovely underpinning of minerality from the old vines digging deep into those decomposed granite soils for which this region is becoming known. A fantastic value and a wine that I would recommend to just about any white wine drinker.
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2008 Meerlust "Rubicon" Bordeaux Blend Stellenbosch
Review Date: 2-24-2015
Classic Stellenbosch Bordeaux blend. Smokey dark fruit, graphite, stony minerals and a touch of cedary oak. Medium bodied with good tannin structure and considerable cellaring potential. This is showing great now but has another decade ahead of it I am sure.
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $28.99 Add To Cart RP 92 BC 0

2012 Bodegas Castaño "Hécula" Monastrell Yecla
Review Date: 2-23-2015
Big, powerful, inky black / blue wine overflowing with juicy dark fruit, chocolate coated blueberries and sweet spice. Saturated and full-bodied but with a nice fresh lift and brightness thanks mostly to the region's limestone rich soil. A solid value for fans of these old vine Monastrell bottlings that often deliver a whole lot of wine for the money.
Top Value!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

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