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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2000 Gruaud Larose, St-Julien  
Review Date: 2-26-2015
This bottle was a generous contribution from Sean Fernandez in our old and rare department at our 2000 Bordeaux wine dinner, and was a contender for wine of the night. It is composed of about 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petite Verdot. The Gruaud was the earthiest, most savory bottle of the whole tasting, and had a little bit of bret that in no way detracted from my appreciation of the wine. It had dark fruit and leather flavors and one of the best supple, medium bodied textures of the whole evening. It was seamless and beautiful wine that drank great now with balance for the ages.
Drink from 2015 to 2050

2000 Malescot-St-Exupéry, Margaux  
Review Date: 2-26-2015
From our great staff 2000 Bordeaux dinner. A very large scale Margaux composed of about 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petite Verdot. This wine had generous aromatics, with everything from dark cassis to green peppers on the nose. In the mouth it was the sweetest of the Medoc wines, and among the sweetest of the whole tasting, with lots of rich fruit, full body and big texture. This also has a big backbone of tannin, and drinks well right now with richer dishes like the short ribs that we had with it.
Drink from 2015 to 2025

2000 La Gaffelière, St-Emilion  
Review Date: 2-26-2015
The Gaffeliere is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. This dark wine had a giant, oaky, vanillan nose, thick texture and strong tannins. It wasn't pruney or hard however, and many at the dinner found it their favorite of the right bank flight. I would call this an extracted style, but it doesn't go so far as to be over extracted. I would love to check in on this a few years from now. We tasted this at our 2000 Bordeaux dinner.
Drink to 2035

2000 Certan de May, Pomerol  
Review Date: 2-26-2015
From our 2000 Bordeaux dinner. This wine is composed of about 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. It was an exotic, spicy wine that had dark fruit and chocolate both on the nose and in the mouth. While it was big, it didn't come across as heavy, which was a surprise to me. The finish was long and detailed. It is great to taste Pomerol that can be a pleasure as well as impressive!
Drink from 2015 to 2035
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart WS 91 BC 0

2000 Laville Haut Brion Blanc, Pessac-Leognan  
Review Date: 2-26-2015
This note is from the K&L 2000 retrospective tasting. This soft, round, honeyed wine seemed kissed with botrytis. It had a dark straw color, a plush texture and plenty of length and detail. The wood was well integrated at this point and it did not seem overly heavy. Strangely enough, the scallop that was paired with it lightened the wine considerably. What a treat!
Drink from 2015 to 2020
Price: $199.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Banshee Sonoma Coast Chardonnay   | Approved
Review Date: 2-26-2015
I am really impressed by this latest 2013 vintage Chardonnay by Banshee. I feel like it's only improved from last year's 2012 vintage. The 2013 vintage has a lot more oak to it, which gives the wine more richness and texture. The fruit still gives off a Granny Smith apple and citrus nose, acidity, and flavor that gives the wine an almost apple pie crust note to it. If you have had the 2012, try this one! If you've never tried Banshee's Chardonnay, then this is a must try... Another great wine from Banshee that will surely please!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Marietta "Old Vine Red-Lot #62" Red Blend  
Review Date: 2-25-2015
For years the Marietta Old Vine Red has been one of the most underappreciated values coming out of California. This non-vintage, multi-varietal and multi-appellation blend has flown under the radar of most affordable minded customers, but in our experience, one try and you’re hooked. We’ve sold it religiously over the last 7-8 years and every year I’m astonished with just how true the flavors are, how fresh the fruit is and how balanced the wine comes off overall. This blend, Lot 62, is every bit as good as any of the other blends, maybe a bit more, as a new estate vineyard has come more on board in this bottling, with pretty graphite, briary berry and a clove/nutmeg spice to the nose. Pulpy and sun-fresh, the ripe, but bone-dry, berry flavors on entry are sure to please with a persistent, bright energy and an underlying pastille spice. Plum and violet combine with a rich, coating nature on the finish to round out this tremendous value for well under $15. Simply put, this is one of the truly best wines in a category with more filler than killer.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Mercedes Eguren Cabernet Sauvignon Vino de la Tierra de Castilla  
Review Date: 2-25-2015
Another truly stunning Cabernet value from Spain. The Mercedes Cab puts many of its California counterparts to shame in the price to quality that it offers for perhaps the world's most famous grape varietal. This wine offers a very balanced view, with very good varietal correctness, notes of blackberry and red fruits, hints of cedar, and fine tannins to round out the structure. Try a Cab from Spain, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Andrew Murray "Tous les Jours" Santa Ynez Valley Syrah  
Review Date: 2-25-2015
Best Domestic Syrah in this price category by a long shot! Rich and supple, but with a touch of smoked meats and pepper that give it that classic Syrah style. Easy enough to drink on its own or pair with some short ribs!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart WE 93 BC 0

2007 Bodegas Puelles Rioja Reserva  
Review Date: 2-25-2015
Drinking beautifully now and is extremely supple with polished tannins and a pure expression of fruit. Lots of violets, purple and blue fruit, with a touch of savory earth and tobacco on the finish. Absolutely perfect with tapas and easy enough to sip on its own. A great Rioja to introduce friends to as well.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Angeline Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 2-25-2015
Best Domestic Pinot Noir around for a ridiculously great price! I even served it at my wedding reception and people absolutely loved it! I didn't have any left, they guzzled it up! Classic Pinot Noir aromas of ripe strawberry and dried cherry lead you to a palate of juicy and bright fruit with quenching acidity, making it the perfect cocktail or food wine! Trust me:)
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Rickshaw California Pinot Noir  
Review Date: 2-25-2015
To be Honest, I like this second label Pinot Noir from Banshee wines more than the first! For almost $10 cheaper, you get brilliant fruit from the same exact source! I love the richness on the palate, it's actually a bigger Pinot than the Banshee label, but still has that great acidity to polish it out. Lots of Black and red cherry, blueberry, and red fruits here. Absolutely delicious!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Mas de Daumas Gassac VDP de l'Herault Blanc  
Review Date: 2-25-2015
One of the most unique and intriguing wines I've tasted lately. A unique blend of white varieties that goes farther than your typical southern French blend. All in perfect harmony, creating a complex, rich, and balanced wine with gorgeous texture and supple yet bright finish. White flowers, lavender, honeycomb, stone fruit, citrus, are just the beginning. You'll have to wait and see for yourself for the rest...
Price: $41.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Mas de Daumas Gassac VDP de l'Herault Rouge  
Review Date: 2-25-2015
I'm in love. This lovely Cabernet-based southern French blend has all the richness and weight of a Bordeaux, but without the harsh tannins! Hallelujah! But it's not just fruit, it has a gorgeous, gravely tobacco rusticness that makes its black and purple fruit marry very well together. I will be drinking a lot of this very soon! Think of Bandol without waiting all the time!
Price: $41.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Château la Caminade "Fut de Chene" Cahors  
Review Date: 2-25-2015
Malbec from Argentina = cocktail wine, Malbec from Cahors France = food wine! All the dark fruit but with so much more structure. Gorgeously rustic with high acid and integrated tannins that will go oh so well with any red meat you can get your hands on! Delicious.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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