Staff Favorites - Keith Mabry

Keith Mabry

Reviews

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2016 Fèlsina Chianti Classico
Review Date: 10-17-2018
I have a soft spot in my heart for Felsina. This was one of the first wines I collected when I first began my career in the wine business some twenty years ago. I still find myself drawn to it every time a new vintage arrives. Always balanced, the regular 2016 Classico shows the nice levity of the vintage with a pretty perfume of cherry, lavender and red currants. It is elegant, classic and the perfect foil for some pappardelle al ragu di cinghiale [pappardelle with wild boar (or pork shoulder if you can't find wild boar!)].
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 93

2015 Querciabella Chianti Classico
Review Date: 10-17-2018
Querciabella has always been one of my favorite Tuscan reds and it continues to deliver what I love in Sangiovese - warm red fruit flavors of raspberry ganache, chocolate covered cherries and baking spices that build to a silky finish. The warmth of the vintage shines through in this sexy and sultry Chianti. I can think of nothing better to go with my Bistecca alla Fiorentina!

2014 Tenuta Roveglia "Vigne di Catullo" Lugana Riserva
Review Date: 10-17-2018
One of my big standouts at our latest Italian seminar was this little Lugana white. Generously fruited with flavors of peaches and candied Meyer lemon peel, it finishes with a silky luscious palate of fresh ginger and pear. This encapsulates everything I'm looking for in a dry white going into the holiday season. What a pleasure!

2014 d'Arenberg "The Dead Arm" Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia
Review Date: 10-17-2018
I had almost forgotten what a pleasure the Dead Arm from d'Arenberg is. Years ago, this was my go to wine from Australia with its generous fruit and savory spices. I remember buying a six pack of the 2002 and drinking it over the subsequent years and loving it every time. This new vintage reminds me of that past one with its deep flavors of blueberry and Maraska cherries with a touch of minty goodness. This ripeness persists but good focus and balance keep it on point. I'm equally glad to see the price has not reached the stratosphere either but given the pedigree and consistent quality, this wine from another region could've fetched twice the price. Wonderful!

2014 Ramey "Platt Vineyard" Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 10-17-2018
Wow! It's no surprise to me that I had this reaction from one of David Ramey's California Chardonnays. He always manages to get the right balance of fleshy fruit to creamy oak just right. This reaches another level for me though. The note of Key lime on the palate gives a lift to this that provides lively acidity and backbone to a pretty full-bodied white. A note of graham cracker crust takes me the rest of the way for this utterly engaging white. A touch reminiscent of Meursault but firmly California, there is a LOT to like here.
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 95 WE 93

2013 Conn Creek "Anthology" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-17-2018
I love old school Napa Cabernets and this hits all the right notes for me. Generous cassis and blackcurrant fruit that has a lively freshness behind it. This is full but not heavy and is the perfect under-priced buy from California right now.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2015 Black Slate "Porrera" Priorat
Review Date: 10-17-2018
The color and density of this wine are as "black" as the slate that this comes from. A generous and Priorato with flavors of candied fig, roasted plum and savory spices that delivers layer upon layer of flavor. Plenty of juicy acidity keeps the wine from being heavy on the palate and should give the wine lots of cellaring potential. But why wait, if you don't have to. This is dynamite right now!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
JD 93 RP 91

2017 Bedouet "Clos des Grands Primos" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie
Review Date: 10-17-2018
The Bedouet wines are one of our great new "gets" from the Loire Valley. The wines are farmed organically and are great expressions of terroir. The Clos des Grands Primos is all from a single-parcel planted over a mix of gneiss and mica-schist soils. The minerality crackles through, but 2017 is a generous vintage and there are beautiful fruit notes of peach and nectarine rounding out the yellow apple and citrus flavors. For those looking for clean dry whites, this should be your first stop. Great with all kinds of foods, especially shellfish, so I think a lovely crab salad with arugula and fresh grapefruit and orange sounds about right.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2012 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Review Date: 10-15-2018
The La Fortuna just hums in the glass. It is full of incense and potpourri with beautiful red fruit and a panoply of baking spices. It is full bodied, still a bit youthful but given some hearty fare this will really come to life. A wonderful rendition of Brunello Riserva that will elevate any meal!
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart
WS 97

2016 Casa Castillo Monastrell Jumilla
Review Date: 10-15-2018
I'm a big fan of all forms Mourvedre/Monastrell. From the burly outsized wines of France's Bandol region to the generous more supple versions from Spain's Jumilla. Roasted black plums with savory notes of crushed herbs and a lilt of lavender on the finish, this is pure and expressive. Sweet tannins and a lingering finish, this is a bold and expressive rendition that will enjoy near term consumption. I'm having it with some marinated and grilled skirt steak!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2016 Jeff Carrel "Les Darons" Languedoc Rouge
Review Date: 10-10-2018
So much fruit and so easy to like, I can't get enough of this perennial winner. From a little vineyard sourced outside of Minervois and Carcassonne, this captures the essence of Languedoc with it raspberry coulis fleshiness and its supple sweet structure. Not just all fruit all the time, there is some nice underlying mineral notes that keep you in the south of France lending a more complex edge to an everyday drinker. Always a pleasure!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
JD 91

2016 La Ferme du Mont "Côtes Capelan" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 10-10-2018
My initial wine note when I tasted this at Prowein was Whoa! Some six months later, and having recently retasted, I have to affirm my initial notes. Stephane Vedeau's wines are exquisitely balanced, full of terroir and overall fun to drink, even on the youthful side, because they show a range beyond full fruited hedonism. The Cotes Capelan may have a little of that lurking beneath though. It is fleshy, wild and perfumed. The glass erupts with incense, baking spices and gorgeous layers of black cherry fruit and savory herbs. This is a wine that develops and engulfs you. Whoa indeed!

2017 Gaia Estate "Thalassitis" Assyrtiko Santorini Greece
Review Date: 10-10-2018
The wines of Santorini have exploded in quality over the last few years and one of the standouts is definitely the Thalassitis from Gai’a Estate. The aromas of fresh cut melon, sea salt air and charred lemon peel make for some of the most engaging and inviting wines for food pairing. This is classic with some grilled meaty fish over coals with a shot of lemon and some fresh olive oil. But the grape Assyrtiko is kind of a red wine drinker’s white. It works equally well with stewed pork and lamb dishes. Can you ask for much more?
Price: $31.99 Add To Cart
RP 95 WE 90

2016 La Ferme du Mont "Vendange" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 10-09-2018
Stephane's style of winemaking shows best in the Vendange. Working with minimal intervention, he is expressing the purity of the fruit in his wines. The warm gravelly soils give richer and riper profiles the Chateauneuf wines and they are evident here but it's the underlying acidity that give the wine lift and freshness that is sometimes at odds with more opulently extracted styles. This is just right though, showing gorgeous cherry compote and violet tones. Imminently appealing but worthy of a short stay in the cellar.

2016 La Ferme du Mont "Jugunda" Gigondas
Review Date: 10-09-2018
We've reached critical mass here. Of all the wines in Stephane Vedeau's portfolio, this may be my biggest standout. Everything in the glass screams Gigondas, from the panoply of garrigue and black pepper notes to the brambly blackberry and red cherry fruits. The palate is fleshy, the tannins are sweet, this is a real humdinger of a wine.

2016 La Ferme du Mont "Le Rif" Vacqueyras
Review Date: 10-09-2018
The Vacqueyras delivers that next level that a Cru should deliver. From sandy and gravelly soils surrounded by forests, this has the hallmarks of Vacqueyras, from aromas of garrigue and potpourri to the pointed raspberry coulis fleshiness on the palate. This is sumptuous and quite accessible now. A year or two in the cellar will yield even more.

2016 La Ferme du Mont "Le Ponnant" Côtes du Rhône-Villages
Review Date: 10-09-2018
Capturing the essence of a Cotes du Rhone is no easy task but this Villages level wine from winemaker Stephane Vedeau delivers everything you could hope to find... and more. From the older vine parcels in this plot, the nose on Le Ponnant summons aromas of potpourri, garrigue and Moroccan spices. The palate exudes flavors of red currants, Rainier cherries, and cardamon. This is pure, classic and unadulterated Rhone. Another star value from this vintage!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
DC 92 RP 92

2016 La Ferme du Mont "Première Côte" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 10-09-2018
Where to begin with Stephane Vedeau's wines? From top to bottom, they offer great character and quality that is each indicative of their terroir. The basic Premier Cote is a great place to start. Coming from the younger vines on this site, the wine is loaded with so much fresh red berry fruit. Opening with raspberries and strawberries the wine moves into bright floral tones on the palate. This is a wildly fruited and engaging style. You'll taste it and be back for more in no time.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2017 Sigalas Assyrtiko Santorini Greece
Review Date: 10-09-2018
Sigalas is Santorini's benchmark producer. Paras Sigalas has created one of the island's most frequented wineries and its most sought after wine. The oily texture of Assyrtiko is striking when you first try it. Surrounded by notes of white flowers, roasted pears and dried lemon peel it is a long and inviting wine. There is no surprise that this has the structure to age. I visited Sigalas a few years ago where our group experienced a mini-vertical. Paras kept pulling out older bottles until we went back almost ten years. The sweet spot for me was about the three to five year range. The wines opened with creamier but very integrated palates and more pronounced fruit and smoky mineral notes. It was if the wines picked up more fruit along the way. Not saying that you should, but if you did age a few bottles, you would be in for a real treat. The Sigalas is one of the Mediterranean's most elite and interesting whites that needs to be experienced.
Price: $31.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2013 Bagueri Ribolla Gialla Slovenia
Review Date: 10-09-2018
My initial experience with the grape Ribolla Gialla came from my tastings with our Italian buyer Greg St. Clair. Early in my K&L career, he introduced me to the grape through our relationships with producers Blason and Ermacora, both great Friulian wineries. Greg was also buying a lot of the Slovenian wines at the time because in this particular part of the country, the border between Italy and Slovenia is quite porous and many producers actually own vineyards on both sides of the border. In some cases they even straddle the demarcation line. I was smitten with the grape seeking out as many examples as I could find from both Italy and Slovenia (and even Croatia). When I tasted the Bagueri, I knew I needed to bring this wine in and find what I think will be a very engaged and excited audience. The flavor profile of the grape itself is akin to Pinot Gris (the more phenolic rich kinds found in Alsace) or a full bodied Gruner Veltliner. The Bagueri is all of that and more... Densely packed with a mineral driven and lush texture, the fruit in the mouth has a wonderful roasted nectarine and grilled Meyer lemon quality. The finish is long and superbly unctuous. This is a perfect cool winter white as it would pair beautifully with heavier dishes and fall spices. Roasted squash soup or a bean stew with braised pork and a side of roasted apples sounds about right or go simple and serve it with some softer creamier aged cheeses. This is wonderfully versatile and engaging and I think you'll be as equally smitten as I was when I tasted this grape so many years ago.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
DC 97

2017 Abbazia di Novacella Schiava Alto Adige
Review Date: 10-03-2018
Schiava is one of those grapes that often gets overlooked but it represents everything I look for in a regional Italian (or really any European) wine. It is medium weight, full of pretty and engaging flavors and has real character. Flavors of Bing cherries, rose petals and spices perfume the glass. This is the kind of wine you want to plop down and drink in a cafe while the world wanders by.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 La Massa "La Massa" Toscana
Review Date: 10-03-2018
Want to drink Super Tuscan style for Chianti-like prices? Look no further than the 2015 La Massa. Brimming with beautiful red cherry and blackberry fruit, the wine is fleshy and forward but feels imminently Italian. If I said it drinks like Tignanello for 1/5th the price that might be a slight overstatement but it does drink exceptionally well and puts you in the ballpark for sure. What a gorgeous value!

2016 Cécile Chassagne Gigondas
Review Date: 10-03-2018
One of my favorite K&L stories begins on an airplane with our Main Wine Buyer Emeritus and K&L co-founder Clyde Beffa. While traveling from a wine fair in Bordeaux back to the states, he was seated next to Cecile Chassagne, herself a winemaker and exporter. The two chatted and became fast friends and soon we were importing Cecile's wines. The origin of Cecile's property begins with her father, a man instrumental in carving out vineyards in the hills surrounding Gigondas in the 1960s and 1970s. Constructing terraces on the slopes, he sussed out incredible sites from the rocky hillsides in the middle of all the forests for many top producers but kept a little land set aside for himself and his family. He began planting those sites in 1970 and when he retired in 1998, Cecile took over the farming and wine making. When I started with the company over a decade ago, I remember trying her wines and always loving the purity of fruit and classic rusticity. Each year, though, as the vines grow older and Cecile becomes more accomplished, the wines express more of the terroir. For the uninitiated, the 2016 is a perfect place to jump in and try her stuff. It is an incredible vintage no less, but her wine has a purity of fruit, loaded with concentrated raspberry and lush strawberry flavors and a nose stuffed with the crushed herbs and flowers of the surrounding garrigue (that's the local forest around the vineyards). Those flavors always transcend vintage but 2016 just adds more. Appealing and supple the wine has an immediacy that is instantly engaging that continues to evolve with air. It wants food right now and would take on a little cellar time but what a treat. Once you taste the wines, you'll be happy that Clyde struck up that conversation so many years ago and why we continue to be fans of her wines.

2017 Orin Swift "Eight Years in the Desert" California Red Blend
Review Date: 10-02-2018
The first time I tasted Dave Phinney's Prisoner was almost 20 years ago. I can still the remember the density and richness in the mouth and the mind blowing length. My friends and colleagues often referenced Campbell's Chunky Beef Stew - "Wine so thick you could eat it with a fork." It was all the elements of hedonism and the rich brambly fruit that was so appealing to my young self. Many years later and having long since sold off the brand, Dave was forced (by contractual obligation) to withhold making a wine in that Prisoner blended style with those types of grapes for eight years. During that time Phinney worked on other wine projects near and dear to his heart, from other California blends to his D66 project in the south of France. Recently, Dave came by the LA store to unveil a new wine, making reference to his non-compete, I was eager to revisit my youthful days and see how a Prisoner-styled wine from a much more mature winemaker would fare. Far more adept and artful in his style, Dave has sussed out a wine that transcends those early days of hammering out powerful reds and appeals to my more restrained sensibilities. Certainly there is no lack of fruit and flavor, but 8 years may have been the right amount of time to come back and revisit his original project through a set of new lenses. What's in the bottle has that same force that I remember from nigh-20 years ago but the finesse of a more artful hand shows through.
Price: $44.95 Add To Cart

2016 Château de Saint Cosme "Le Claux" Gigondas
Review Date: 10-02-2018
Of the three single vineyards tasted, this moved into the lead by a small but distinctive margin. Original planting in 1870, these were the first grafted vines in the area. Wildly intense black fruit and a finish that seemingly lasts for days. A true stunner of a wine!

2016 Château de Saint Cosme Gigondas
Review Date: 10-02-2018
What a rare privilege it was to meet and taste with master winemaker Louis Barruol at his iconic property Chateau de Saint Cosme earlier this year. The Chateau itself stands out in the hills of Gigondas just outside the village in the shadow of the Dentelles de Montmirail. The gorgeous jagged rocks of the nearby mountain loom in the background and forests reach up to the vineyards. The soils are primarily limestone and clay with lots of fractured rocks littering the vineyards. It is a striking property at the least and when you taste the wines, you know the terroir and the history of the winery are fully expressed in a cosmic way. Louis took me through the original cellars which are carved out of the surrounding limestone just under the Chateau. The old steps are rounded with centuries of use, the original vats are still there but with oak casks and large tanks stacked or resting in them. A modern facility where most of the initial winemaking is done abuts the chateau in the shape of an ancient barn. It is a mix of modern and ancient in the most special way. We tasted through all the 2016 single vineyards and each was a striking example of place. A tremendous standout though was the appellation Gigondas. The vintage is special, as many have probably already read about or discovered in their own tastings. The wine was full, rich and powerful. Recently arrived, it has had some time to gets its sea legs though. Now in bottle and rested, it is showing even more. The purity of the cherry and strawberry fruit is fully expressed and the smell of the surrounding forest still lingers in the wine. Aromas of violets, sandalwood and licorice root are abundant and the fruit finishes long on the palate. This may be one of the best Gigondas that Louis has yet produced and that is saying something as Barruol's wines always impress.

2015 Antech "Cuvée Héritage 1860" Cremant de Limoux
Review Date: 09-25-2018
One of our oldest relationships in the Languedoc is with producer Francoise Antech-Gazeau. Based in the village of Limoux, Francoise took the helm of the estate from her father and uncle and now fashions some of our most popular and delightful sparkling French wines. Limoux offers terrific value, located in the cooler hills outside the village with more clay and limestone in the soils. Historically, Limoux even predates Champagne as a sparkling wine producing region. A visit a few years ago to the property, Francoise introduced me to the Heritage 1860, a new tete de cuvee that is fashioned with more Chardonnay in the blend and sees a touch longer aging on the lees to develop more autolytic (doughy, yeasty) qualities. Now the third vintage we have carried, the 2015 is the best to date! It offers up a creamy palate of golden delicious apples, Anjou pear notes and a touch of white flowers. A light biscuity tones rounds out the flavor profile. If you're looking for a great sparkling wine that delivers above and beyond its price, look no further than our queen of bubbles from Limoux, Francoise!.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

2016 Domaine Giraud "Tradition" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-25-2018
During my last visit to Chateauneuf-du-Pape earlier this year, my last stop in the area was with Domaine Giraud and it is always a treat. Their humble facility is just on the edge of the village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Last year I met with winemaker Marie Giraud who delighted our team with the 2015s freshly bottled and some advance tasting of the 2016s. This year I met her brother Francois for the first time who handles the viticultural work. We ran through the just bottled 2016s and did a little tank tasting of the 2017s. Giraud’s wines are full rich and extracted styles but they come with a finesse and balance that keeps them from reaching over-the-top. The 2016s are some of the most impressive wines I have tasted from this estate but at its core the wine to get is the “Tradition.” The wine is loaded with a panoply of red ripe fruit followed by violet and lavender aromas. The blend is primarily Grenache about 70% with about 20% Syrah and the rest Mourvedre. It comes from the galets portions of the vineyards with deep limestone clay underneath. Delivering on all cylinders, this is impressive juice for an impressive price.

2016 Emmanuel Darnaud "Les Trois Chenes" Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 09-12-2018
The wines of Emmanuel Darnaud are classic expressions of northern Rhone terroir. The perfume of black plum, chocolate, lavender and anise permeate the wine. The 2016 vintage provides a more elegant structure and backbone that makes this that much more pleasing now. So pleasing and open, I'm hard pressed to keep my hands off it right now.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
VN 92

2015 Domaine Belle "Cuvée Louis Belle" Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 09-12-2018
I've tasted quite a few Crozes-Hermitage this vintage and this the mic drop. Deeply saturated with fleshy black fruit, peppery spice and zesty garrigue aromas, the flavors are expansive. Usually you might need to go to one of the top named producers like Jaboulet, Delas or Chapoutier to get this much punch but Domaine Belle brings it and for a much sweeter price. This is long and deep and with sweet tannins. It feels a little modern now because of its youth and some time in barrel but give it some time in a decanter or a few years in bottle and this will compete with the best of them.

2014 John Duval "Plexus" GSM Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 09-12-2018
John Duval continues to "bring the pain" as it were with this bold, spicy Aussie gem. Duval still reigns as one of Australia's top winemakers and you don't have to spend up to get the quality. Full of brambly blackcurrant, dried blueberry, smoky tar and savory spices, this is fleshy and bold but still retains a finesse that leaves many other big reds scrambling to keep up. Always a favorite!

2015 Domaine de l'Amandine Côtes du Rhône-Villages Seguret
Review Date: 09-12-2018
I met vigneron Alex Suter three times over the course of two months when traveling through France earlier this year. We first met at an exposition in Paris where he was showing the wines of Domaine de l'Amandine and his Seguret was one of the big standouts at the event for me. Alex himself is an engaging and thoughtful person and we quickly struck up a kinship and had lunch and dinner a couple of times over the length of the exposition. We met shortly thereafter at the big southern French wine event, Vinisud. I tasted his wines again and was struck by the clarity and focus of this terrific little red. I was prepared to begin working with the wines but since I would be returning in a few weeks to the Rhone, I thought a vineyard and winery visit should be undertaken. At the winery I was greeted by Alex's father-in-law, Jean-Pierre Verdeau, the founder of the estate. Jean-Pierre speaks almost no English (and my French is actually quite poor) so he wanted to wait for his granddaughter Mathilde to return to the property to help translate. While we waited, he offered me some coffee and apparently he had never made drip coffee before (no joke). It was quite intense to say the least, but a perfect way to wake myself up on a cold and cloud-covered March morning. Mathilde arrived and we jumped in the car to tour the vineyards. Some of the vines are 50+ years old but almost everything on the property was either planted, built or restored by Jean-Pierre, which included the original family house. The vines were planted in deep clay and sandy soils and the ground was covered in chunks of fractured limestone (called scree). Almond (amandine) trees were planted all around the vineyards. Most of the vines sat at 450 meters which is quite high for a village Rhone this far south. The mistral wind blows fiercely through the vineyards on many days helping keep the vines free of too much moisture during the growing season, but easily cut through my jacket that day. We tasted from tank and barrel and the range of wines was terrific, but I still kept coming back to this little red. I knew we were going to move forward with our relationship but I had one more visit with Alex a little later that trip at the German wine fair, Prowein. Once again we talked almost as if old friends now and that's when it really struck me. This wines are as familiar and friendly as the family making them. They are pure, unadorned and thoughtful. They are from the soil and they express the hard work and history of the estate. This is one of those "ah-ha" moments when you realize that the concept of terroir goes beyond the soil and the weather and is as much about the people and their history in the cultivation process. So, I'm thrilled to introduce you to the Verdeau-Suter family through their wine, this delightful and engaging red that is so much a reflection of the wonderful people making it.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

Michel Couvreur 16 Year Old "Mrs Couvreur" Single PX Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-05-2018
It's not often that we get to try something this extraordinary and for those who even deign to read this far down the page have probably already made their commitment to this whisky. Let me be the first to tell you, you are right! The Couvreur whiskies are a reflection of a time long gone when whiskies were aged in pure unadulterated sherry cask and that may be hard to wrap our modern heads around these days. You already know that so much sherry cask is rushed to market with inferior Sherry aging in it and though it imparts some character it is seldom that we see something like this. An authentic Pedro Ximenez barrel that had been part of a long aging solera intensifying and sweetening its charge. Again, you already know the story about this crazy French guy, Mr. Couvreur, driving to Jerez to buy his casks, settling for nothing less than the real thing and loading them on his little truck and driving them back to his cellar. So much detail in the procurement alone was enough to peak your interest. The added fact that it is aged in a cave in the middle of France instead of the salt caked island of Islay makes the malt even more transparent and adds to its mystique. The whisky itself was expressive barley first on the nose but as you dive further in, the smoke builds in a subtle way As a first fill PX Sherry cask, it rounds out the flavors allowing the malt to shine through with a nose of toasted spelt, candied dates and sweet tea. The cask frames the smoke, not the other way around. It is complex and detailed on the palate and has a long savory finish. The Couvreur is top tier and worthy of any collector's shelf. One of the best peated styles I've tasted this year. Thanks for reading, now enjoy that bottle.
Price: $299.99 Add To Cart

2016 Felton Road "Calvert" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 09-05-2018
Full of a savory nose of cherry, mint and violet tones, the Calvert is on point with its purity and suave structure. Drinking like a Pommard with a full palate and lusty earthy tones this has great structure and has immediate appeal. An even better wine with just a few years down awaits you.

2016 Felton Road "Bannockburn" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 09-05-2018
Beautiful high tone red fruit nose with an almost Marsannay-like feel. Loads of bing cherry and cranberry intertwine with crushed thyme and red flowers. The finish has lovely spice that lingers on the palate with plenty of acidity. This has the stuffing for aging but paired with a rack of lamb would be quite the pairing right now.

2017 Château de la Negly "La Côte" Languedoc
Review Date: 08-29-2018
Chateau de la Negly is now established as one of Languedoc's most prestigious and noteworthy producers. From the top down, each cuvee is artfully made and ranks as some of the best, if not THE BEST, in class for the appellation and their various price categories. There are few that can achieve the cost to quality ratio so firmly established by this estate. The La Cote represents the value wine from the winery's portfolio and is a blend of Carignan, Syrah, Grenache and a little bit of Mourvedre. The palate is deep with boysenberry and raspberry notes. Baking spices and a saturated mouthfilling texture round out the wine. Sweet and supple tannins deliver a long lingering finish. This is simply a sumptuous red that delivers so well beyond its price point. Don't miss out!

2010 Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-22-2018
There's a reason why Roederer sits at the top of the heap. They're always pushing towards organic farming even with their contract growers, strict fruit selection and purity in the expression of all wines at each level. The 2010 Blanc de Blancs epitomizes all those things. It is pure, precise and complex. Sultry pear, subtle white flower notes and brown butter emerge from the glass. The palate is sleek and defined with a tight mousse and a long mineral driven finish. This is a serious wine that may strangely go overlooked because it doesn't have the cache of the higher-end Cristal or the nerd factor of a grower-producer Champagne. That would be a terrible mistake. Worthwhile for collectors to put a few bottles down but appealing for anyone wanting that next level Champagne experience.

2015 Josmeyer "Le Dragon" Riesling Alsace (Organic; Biodynamic)
Review Date: 08-22-2018
I had the privilege of meeting Cecile Meyer this year at Prowein and tasting through her Josmeyer wines. A stunning line-up indeed! Working with her sister Isabelle, they farm biodynamically and are making some of the most exciting wines in all of Alsace. Le Dragon was a particular standout with its searing minerality, apple and stone fruit notes and lengthy finish. I just had a chance to revisit the Dragon now that it has arrived and it was equally engaging. This has everything I look for when I want gorgeous dry Riesling. Precise minerality, expressive fruit and a persistent finish. I'm so glad we have these wines on our shelves now as this is just the beginning.

2015 Roserock (Drouhin Oregon) Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-22-2018
This is as inviting a Pinot as I have tasted recently. Holding perfumed raspberry fruit intermixed with pretty baking spices, the profile is more cool climate. The palate is round and supple though. No harshness of any kind, this is absolutely lovely making a great sipper or food pairing. I love it with some grilled salmon and roasted root vegetables.

Franck Bonville "Belles Voyes" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 08-22-2018
One of the most memorable wines I tasted when I began my tenure at K&L over a decade ago was the "Belles Voyes" based primarily on the 2002 vintage. Each time I taste a new release, I am transported back to that original bottling. It has never disappointed. The newest iteration is as equally spectacular as that original taste showing roasted apple, toasted bread and dried ginger notes. It is expansive on the palate and finishes long. I expect this to hold as much sway over me as the other wine did 10 years ago. This is a keeper for sure.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
WS 91 WE 90

2013 Sesta di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 08-21-2018
Consistently one of my favorite Brunellos year-in-year-out, the Sesta always translates into one of the more classically rendered yet clearly accessibly-styled wines from the region. I have a little mini-vertical going and every time a vintage hits the 10 year mark, I start popping them open. The 2013 joins the canon of greats with its abundant notes of Maraska cherry, violets, tobacco and burnished leather. It is a sultry profiled wine that begs for just a few more years in bottle to unwind and gain steam. I can hardly wait. Luckily, I have a few of the 2010s in reserve, almost ready to go.

2016 Liquid Farm "White Hill" Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 08-21-2018
The name "White Hill" connotes ideas of Chablis in both the brightness of the soil and the way it translates to the wine. It's no surprise that the Premier Crus of that region are the inspiration here. Full of fleshy stone fruit aromas of white peach and nectarine plus succulent wet stone notes, this is a harmonious and balanced Chardonnay. There is serious palate weight and feel here but is not wanting in any way for brightness and acidity. The only thing missing really is some beautiful shellfish with which to pair it.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
JD 93 RP 91

2015 Liquid Farm "Golden Slope" Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 08-21-2018
The wine that built the farm as it were. The Golden Slope is an homage to the great whites of the Cote d'Or and it does not disappoint. There is so much lovely fruit here including grilled pineapple, marzipan and shortbread. This is sexy and fun-loving with so much to enjoy now. It is Puligny-esque and has the stuffing for a long life but it is imminently pleasurable now.
Price: $49.95 Add To Cart
VN 93 RP 90

2016 Liquid Farm "La Hermana" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 08-21-2018
Drifting into the full-bodied style, La Hermana evokes a more rich and bold profile with deep apple fruit, white flowers and hazelnuts. The fruit is intense but there is so much backbone that this wine has great potential for a little short term cellaring. One of my favorite wines from Liquid Farm, this is a bottle that will cut through rich dishes if I drink it now, but I would not be disappointed to find one in my wine locker in a couple of years.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
JD 95

2016 Carlisle "Palisades Vineyard" Napa Valley Petite Sirah
Review Date: 08-15-2018
It's been awhile since I've had a Petite Sirah this engaging. Often the wines have skull crushing tannins and a density that says, come back in a few years and maybe I'll be ready. The beauty of this Petite Sirah though is it has the density but those tannins are beautifully managed. All that deep dark purple fruit blasts forward with notes of boysenberry, lavendar and a touch of incense. This is gorgeous Petite and worthy of a bottle or two from this special producer for drinking or short term cellaring.

2011 Roda I Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 08-15-2018
Roda is one of Spain's more recent icon producers but we don't hear as much about them as others like Muga or Lopez de Heredia. But they keep good company as their facility is just a few hundred feet away. The wines tend towards a mix of modern polished fruit with one eye looking towards the past. My first nose on this said Ribera del Duero in Rioja clothing. The more opulent confiture of fig jam, blackberry and a touch of bittersweet chocolate emerged. The tannins were sweet and supple. After an hour though, I came back to the wine and that classic Rioja nose had come forward. Still dark fruited and rich, the panoply of spices and potpourri were present. This is detailed and expressive and with just a few more years under its belt will offer an incredible drinking experience. But it's pretty damn good now. Think leg of lamb, slow cooked over wood or just some Manchego cheese and plum jam to round off a meal. This will not disappoint.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart
JS 98 DC 95

2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 08-14-2018
Even with the size and scale of a producer like Chateau Ste. Michelle, they continue to produce outstanding wines that dazzle and delight the palate. The "Cold Creek" is one of the their prestige sites that produces that rich warm currant and blackberry fruit that are the hallmarks of Washington State Cabernet. A nice touch of vanilla and spices from a little barrel aging rounds out the profile and the wine finishes with a sweet and supple tone that has an immediate appeal. The quality is amazing really, and at this price, cases really are a must!

2016 Domaine de Verquière Vacqueyras
Review Date: 08-08-2018
Vacqueyras is one of those appellations that people see on the shelves periodically but maybe don't recognize the same way for its overall quality as more famous regions like Gigondas and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The primary area in the appellation is a plateau called "Les Garrigues" just below the base of the famed nearby limestone mountains known as the Dentelles de Montmirail. The soils are made up of the alluvium from the last glacial era and it is chock full of limestone-clay and mounds of decidedly much smaller pebbles than the ones you would see in nearby Chateauneuf. The vineyards are all surrounded by the dense forest also known as garrigue, which imparts so much of its aromas to the nearby grapes. Verquiere is best known in our store for one of our most rocking Cotes du Rhones and their homes estate Rhone-Villages level Sablet. The Vacqueyras may be where it's at though, as this is an exceptional site imparting great fruit intensity, weight and floral and herb accents. If you're not familiar with the wines of Vacqueyras, this is a great place to start as Verquiere consistently delivers some of our staff favorites and this is no exception.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JD 89 - 92

2014 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Lirac
Review Date: 08-08-2018
Tasting at Montfaucon is always like going home. I've been drinking these wines for over 10 years, since I started my tenure at K&L. When I took over the Rhone buying duties, Montfaucon was one of the first properties I visited. Winemaker Rudi des Pins and his wife Mari, are two of the most welcoming producers you could ever hope to meet. And their wines taste that way as well. Open a bottle of 2014 Baron Louis and you are immediately invited in with its intoxicating nose of potpourri, currants and spices. Those familiar notes of Rhone flavors erupt from the glass and saturate the palate but with purity and elegance. Each vintage offers clarity and introspection, a lot like a trip down memory lane. One thing though, they are definitely a lot cleaner than my old bedroom at my parent's home. Always a treat and quite ageable as well, drink this hearty beauty now or over the next few years and each time you open it, I hope you're reminded of special people and a special place like I am.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WS 91 RP 90

2016 Fromm "Cuvée H" Marlborough Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-08-2018
The Fromm Pinots have become benchmarks in our stores for quality Pinot Noir from New Zealand. Drinking more like a polished Volnay, Fromm's Cuvee H, has beautiful aromas of roasted plum, red flowers and minerals. The palate is extremely supple though, filling the mouth with black cherry, violets and a long evocative finish. This is world class Pinot coming from a region best known for Sauvignon Blanc. Maybe we should rethink what makes Marlborough more famous? Worthy of any great Pinot drinkers cellar.

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