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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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

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 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

2002 Couly-Dutheil "Clos de l'Echo" Chinon   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-26-2015
2002 is still very young for this producer but this bottling is showing great potential! The nose provides notes of tomato leaf, crushed herbs and leather while the palate expresses cherry, cassis, earth, tobacco and raw mushroom. With so much structure, this bottle is sure to age well for another 10-15 years, easily.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1989 Couly-Dutheil "Baronnie Madeleine" Chinon   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-26-2015
An old bottle of Couly Dutheil Chinon always holds up so well, and the price is always such a steal. The 1989 shows pretty notes of crushed flowers, leather, dry earth and meat. The palate brings tertiary flavors of sweet mushrooms, iron and salted meats. There’s still sweet cherry and cranberry notes, and the dusty tannins and acidity are still prevalent, this wine is sure to have another 5 years in it at least, just look at how well the 1976 is doing!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1976 Couly Dutheil "Baronnie Madeleine" Chinon   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-26-2015
Wow!! At 39 years old this Chinon is more beautiful than ever. We had this bottle open for 3 days and it only got better. The wine is all umami while still having a backbone of fruit. On the nose notes of dill, iron and tomato show through while on the palate there’s soy, mushrooms, organic earth, meat, and soft cherry tannins. It’s somehow so elegant while showing so much flavor. Just stunning!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1995 Craigellachie 18 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
This massive cask is definitely one of my favorites from this year. Craigellachie is a wonderful and under-appreciated distillery that's only now getting recognition as a true Scottish Blue Chip. Its OB 17-year offering has recently won Speyside whisky of the year and this 18-year-old first-fill sherry version is another example of why the distillery is so well regarded by those in the know. Here we have some really classic sherry aromas, some fudge, wisps of gun smoke, dark dried plummy fruit. The palate dries up nicely (this is definitely Oloroso, not PX), but still brings out some Christmas cake and other dense fruity/spicy aromas. A real winner and an absolute steal considering where other malts in first-fill sherry are fetching these days.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1995 Miltonduff 19 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
Wildly light in color for the age, but it makes up for it by being so soft and easy. Notes of fondant, vanilla, wild fruit and some pomace fruit continue from the nose to the palate where the malt factor turns up a few notches. Ultra clean, fun and not hard to appreciate. It's nice to have a single barrel cask strength option that you can pour for anyone without worrying that you'll scare them off.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2004 Smoky & Peaty Tobermory (Ledaig) 8 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
This is one of the better Ledaigs we've tasted. Considering this is the same price as the 46% standard bottling I think it's a steal. Last year we destroyed it with a nice 7-year-old "smoky island" whisky from this same distillery. Here we have a whisky that's listed as an 8-year but is actually closer to 10 years (distilled 2004 - bottled 2014). It's a slightly cleaner version of this special malt than last year's offering from Exclusive Malts. It's old, better, and the EXACT same price. NO BRAINER! Stock up before the geeks realize what they're missing and it's gone forever.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 McClean X "Simone" Paso Robles Zinfandel  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
A test... see if you can spot this one on our domestic shelves. I'll give you a few hints: Red vines, classic nail polish, fire extinguishers. Big Juicy Glorious, Five-Alarm Red. OK, try not to be put off by label shock, for this one definitely has the juju within, and whoever the heck this Simone is, she must be quite the ravishing head-turner. A gorgeous blend of opulent, spicy, peppery Zinfandel and dark, fathomless Petite Sirah, this astonishing wine possesses enough weight, mouthfeel and serious Zin flavor to seduce any dish bold enough to flirt with it. Enchiladas dancing in a rich mole sauce maybe?
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart WE 93 BC 0

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