Staff Favorites - Ryan Woodhouse

Ryan Woodhouse

Reviews

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2019 Walter Scott "Cuvée Anne" Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 01-14-2022
This cuvee offers exceptional value and great insight into the upper tier Walter Scott wines. Sourced from A+ vineyards (Justice, X Novo, Seven Springs,) this bottling shows the very Burgundian style of these wines. Low crop loads in the vineyards mean very concentrated flavors, grapes are picked preserving bright, fresh acidity. Wild yeast fermentation brings out a complex struck-flint, matchstick, reductive edge, with mouth watering citrus fruit, salted lime, grapefruit, tart quince, toasted grains, raw almond and subtle fine grained oak. A vibrant, focused, linear wine early on its ascent, and destined to be great. An Oregon Chardonnay masterclass you don't want to miss.
Top Value!

2015 Clendenen Family Vineyards "Le Bon Climat Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 12-31-2021
I'm thrilled to offer this tiny parcel of 2015 Clendenen Family "Le Bon Climat" Vineyard Chardonnay. We got these cases direct from the winery and the wine is a perfect illustration of the talents and dedication of the late-great, Jim Clendenen. This limited bottling is crafted from the very best clusters of Jim's pride and joy estate vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley. Everything about this bottling shows his astute attention to detail and unflinching pursuit of perfection. Powerfully concentrated golden stone fruits, peach cobbler, almond croissant, smoky oak and struck stone mineral. Subtle hints of jasmine, lemon curd and salted caramel join the fray. Medium to full bodied with rich texture and plenty of weight on the palate. Despite being aged entirely in new oak for almost two years, the integration is wonderful and whilst the oak tones are present, never do they distract from the allure of the wines purity of fruit and sense of place. A rich and decadent Chardonnay that also has plenty of racy acidity and mineral tension. Simply stunning.
Drink from 2021 to 2021

2018 Vinoce St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 12-30-2021
Napa Valley Cab...under $30...from a 100-point WA winemaker?! Yep, this is a true unicorn wine. Vinoce is a small, family run property that produces wines from St. Helena and Mt. Veeder. The wines are impeccably fashioned by celebrated winemaker, Keith Emerson of Vineyard 29 fame! 18 months of tasting room closures and other market factors, meant that we managed to negotiate a screaming winery-direct deal on a parcel of their 2018 St. Helena Cabernet for a flat-out ridiculous price of 50% off SRP. The 2018 Cab is chockful of dark fruits, black cherry, ripe plum, cassis, espresso and mocha tones layer in behind with dark cacao and barrel spice. Full bodied but not sweet or jammy, this wine is beautifully crafted to show the power and concentration this part of the valley can bestow on its wines. Scorched earth and cigar box tones linger into the finish with more exotic French oak charred spice. You just don't often find Napa Cabernet of this quality under $50...and very VERY rarely under $30! Don't be afraid to go deep on this one, it's got a good 10 years of prime drinking window ahead of it.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price

2018 Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 12-30-2021
The 2018 Mt. Brave Veeder Cabernet is a powerhouse of a wine. This is classic mountain grown Cab for the ages. I've long enjoyed the wines from this property, but this seems like a big step up in stature. The 2018 can hang with the very best cult Cabs of the vintage despite it's reasonable price point. One only has to look at the exceptional press this wine has amassed from just about every major publication. Its critical acclaim is simply unparalleled at this price point. It carries more shining praise and higher scores than many iconic wines at two to three times its price point. Having enjoyed a bottle recently I can see why! This wine captures the magic of Napa Cabernet with the unmistakable qualities of Mt Veeder pushed to the forefront. The nose explodes from the glass with lavender, blackcurrant, mulberry, pipe tobacco, cedar, crushed rock, toasted spices and leather. There's plenty of lush, rich fruit, supported by big, muscular tannins and beautiful fine grained oak. The exuberance of the fruit allows this to be approachable even at this young age, but the best of this wine is clearly down the road; I think this has the potential to be a magnificent 20 year wine showcasing the very best of the exceptional 2018 vintage. A definite candidate for top wine of the vintage regardless of price point.
Drink from 2025 to 2025

2019 AXR Napa Valley Proprietary Red Blend
Review Date: 12-23-2021
This is one absolutely seamless and perfectly crafted Napa Cab. I say Cab because despite being labelled a Proprietary Red Blend, the 2019 is 90% prime Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. AXR's winemaker, the iconic Jean Hoefliger, who achieved fame crafting 100-point wines at Alpha Omega, The Debate and several other cult wineries, has really worked magic his here. The nose is packed with crushed blackberries, cassis, espresso crema, wonderful cedary oak tones, dusty - stony mineral accents. Every element is perfectly integrated on the palate, each flavor complements the next, the textures are finely honed, beautiful elegant tannins caress the palate, whilst the whole wine remains so vibrant and fresh. Great concentration and power here, but also tons of vitality and lift. This is Napa Cab I could drink right from release, but I have no doubt it will also age wonderfully in the cellar for at least a decade. For the price point I can't think of any other Napa wines that have this level of sophistication and polish. Need a last minute holiday gift? Look no further, this is instant gratification at a super reasonable price.
Top Value!
Price: $39.95 Add To Cart

2016 Hanzell "Estate" Sonoma Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 12-20-2021
The old adage says lightning doesn't strike twice...well in this instance it certainly did! Once again we've managed to secure a phenomenal price on this iconic, benchmark, California Chardonnay. Hanzell is one of the most historic and celebrated estates in the nation. On the mountain slopes above the town Sonoma you will find some of the oldest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines in the state dating back to 1953! Since 2014, under the guidance of President and Director of Winemaking, Jason Jardine, Hanzell have taken their farming to a whole new level by moving to organic, biodynamic, regenerative farming. The wines, that were already some of the best in the region, have taken on an even keener focus and sense of place. The 2016 shows wonderful floral notes of orchard blossom and summer meadow, baked pear tart with warm pastry notes. The mid-palate is elegant and vibrant with a soft but almost ethereal texture. Lots of savory yeasty notes and stony minerals lead into a wonderfully flavorful and persistent finish with lifted acidity and freshness for days. This wine is drinking beautifully right now, but will age like top white Burgundy for a decade or more without question. This world-class bottle is worth every cent of its typical $65 price...but right now we're offering this at a stunningly low price you have to see to believe! The last vintage was one of the best selling wines of the year, and our staff are all ready filling their own cellars with the 2016...so get it while you can!
Top Value!

2018 Mount Edward Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 12-17-2021
As some of you will know, in a previous life, I was the NZ wine buyer for K&L and I'm very proud of the direct import program we put together. The Mount Edward wines were and continue to be one of the crown jewels of the program and I consider Duncan and Anna's wines as some of the finest in all of Central Otago. I'm delighted that Thomas Smith our current NZ buyer has continued to bring in as much of these wines as we can get our hands on! They represent some of the finest values in Pinot Noir from anywhere on the planet. Tasting the 2018 Mount Edward yesterday I was immediately transported back to standing in the mountainous vineyards of Central Otago. The wild thyme notes that underscore the delicious, ripe berry fruits, Asian spice, rose petal, and new leather. Much of this fruit is grown on schist soils which gives the wine such lift and vibrancy. The tannins are wonderfully fine and silky. The balance is immaculate. All in all this is truly a world-class bottle of Pinot Noir at an absurdly affordable price.
Top Value!

2018 Arterberry Maresh "Old Vine" Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 12-15-2021
Year after year this is consistently one of my favorite bottles of Oregon Pinot Noir at any price. The quality of the fruit and depth of the character from these old vines is just undeniable. Third generation winemaker, Jim Maresh, skillfully guides the wine into bottle without interfering too much with this magical terroir. As usual the 2018 "Old Vine" is a blend of neighboring Maresh and Weber Vineyards. Both contain plantings dating back to the 1970's. Both vineyards are dry farmed and the mature vines roots grow deep down into the regions famed, red, volcanic, Jory soils. It's a wine of both power and elegance. There's plenty of sappy, rich fruit like dark cherry, black raspberry, bramble and pomegranate; but also base tones of damp earth, sandalwood, winter spice, and ferrous mineral tinges. Medium bodied, layered in texture, with supple but supportive tannins, and just a faint whisper of oak. The last glass from the bottle I drank was by far the best, so be sure give this a good decant if drinking in the next couple of years. There's just so much to love about this wine and it's an absolute steal. At this price it's hard to find a more compelling bottle of Pinot Noir from anywhere on the planet.
Top Value!
Price: $39.95 Add To Cart

2018 Spottswoode "Lyndenhurst" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 12-15-2021
Every year we eagerly await the release of the new vintage of Spottswoode's benchmark Family Estate Cabernet. The very limited, highly allocated cases that we get sell out instantly to collectors and buyers who have the means to shell out $250 a bottle and have the patience to wait decades to drink it. This year's 2018 release was awarded not one, but two perfect 100-point scores (WA / JD) plus another 99-point score (VN) to back them. Our allocation evaporated in a mater of hours. However, Spottswoode's second label remains one of the most under the radar, affordably priced Cabs in the valley today. The Lyndenhurst bottling combines Spottswoode's estate grown fruit with supplementary grapes from like-minded neighbors (Young Inglewood and Parry Vineyards) plus fruit from trusted growers on Atlas Peak, and in the Oak Knoll District. The wine is crafted to the same exacting standard of the premier bottling by winemaker, Aron Weinkauf and team. The style is guided by staying true to a more classical, balanced, ageworthy, food friendly style of timeless Napa Cabernet. In 2018 several notable wine critics have awarded big scores and commented on the wines impressive QPR. The Lyndenhurst gives drinkers a chance to checkout Spottswoode's style at a much more accessible price point. The 2018 is a deep and powerful wine; lashings of black and blue fruits; blackcurrant, mulberry, damson, cedar chest, unsmoked cigar, crushed rock and pumice. Med-full bodied with good underlying structure but nothing hard or unyielding about the tannins. This is very serious Cabernet for drinking anytime over the next 20 years. Most producers in Napa can only dream that their flagship wine is this good, let alone their second wine! One of the best values out there for under $100.
Top Value!

2020 Tensley "Colson Canyon Vineyard" Santa Barbara County Syrah
Review Date: 12-13-2021
Joey Tensley's wines are very distinctive. For me they're so compelling because they're always right on the brink of being over the top...and yet never quite fall off. It's like a thrill ride when you're kind of scared and intimidated, but can't stop yourself...and then as soon as you've taken the plunge it's like...WOW! I wanna do that again! The 2020 Colson Canyon is one such wine. It's a monstrous wine, inky black, a hedonistic nose of sweet, dark fruit, charcoal, Crème de Violette, grilled meat, charred spice. Mouth coating, rich, densely fruited with a framework of sturdy, grippy tannins corseting the voluptuous fruit. Tensley know how to get every last ounce of deliciousness out of this site and the wine just keeps getting better and better each and every year. As you can see from the enormous scores, this is quite an impactful wine that is perfectly judged and loaded with character. Given the quality, track record and huge press, the pricing has remained very reasonble...so far!
Top Value!

2020 Diatom Santa Barbara County Chardonnay
Review Date: 12-13-2021
Legendary winemaker Greg Brewer was given a huge blank canvas and a full spectrum of colors to work his magic with in 2020. With pandemic-driven economic uncertainty pre-occupying the bean counters, the decision was made to reduce the number of single vineyard wines under Diatom and Brewer-Clifton in favor of a more broad, Santa Barbara County offering at a superbly affordable price point. Brewer set to work with his pick of the finest raw materials from top vineyard sites and he rendered an absolute master piece. True to his signature style, this powerful Chardonnay captures the wonderful golden, ripe, crystalline fruit grown across these sites as well as the vibrancy and verve of cool climate Chardonnay. The quality and purity of this fruit is then beautifully preserved without use of oak or malo altering the flavor or texture of this pure expression of captured cool sunlight. The wine is flavorful and rich with golden delicious apple, lemon curd, makrut lime, sea spray salinity, and wet stone mineral. Lovely tactile weight and texture on the palate with a precise, slowly tapering finish that is laden with fascinating mineral tones. It's absolutely classic Greg Brewer. But the best thing...the price. I mean this is right up there at the level of some of his best Chardonnays that sell in the $50-60 range and yet you can stock up on this 96 point gem for $24.95! What are you waiting for?!
Top Value!

2018 DeLille "D2" Columbia Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 12-10-2021
Anyone looking for an absolutely ridiculous deal in affordable, classically made, Bordeaux style red...look no further. Delille are one the THE standout producers that have helped put Washington on the map for world-class wines. The D2, aptly named in honor of a road that dissects Bordeaux, this bottle is a perennial favorite of mine even at it's regular $40 price point. And now we did a deal with the winery to get to you for $10 less...it's simply too good to miss. Amazingly this wine comes from some of the very best vineyards in WA: Red Willow, Ciel du Cheval, Klipsun, Boushey, DuBrul, Upchurch and Grand Ciel! These vineyards are typically only found in MUCH more expensive wines. The youthful 2018 bottling is showing beautiful old school notes of cigar box, briary dark red fruits, leather, cedar, turned earth and gravelly mineral. There's a wonderful core of structure under the pliant, juicy fruit. So much wine here for such a reasonable price. A total sleeper for the cellar too! Enjoy!
Top Value!

2016 Saxon Brown "Stonewall Block" Sonoma Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 12-10-2021
Another big, rich, powerful Zin from Jeff Gaffner at Saxon Brown - this time coming from a block of vines planted in extremely rocky soils on the edge of the Sonoma Coast AVA. In fact, back in the mid-1800s, huge boulders from this area were used to make miles of old stone walls that crisscross the landscape. The flavors here are just as explosive and bold as the Fighting Brothers bottling with a little added sweet Christmas spice and strawberry coulis. Saturated, rich and powerful on the palate, with layer upon layer of ripe red and black fruits. The tannins are silky and fine and a nice little juicy acidity from the ocean influenced climate gives a lift and freshness to the finish after the tidal wave of generous fruit. Wow, this is big, mouth filling, impressive old school Zin.
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2018 Recoltant Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 12-06-2021
This stellar bottling from Recoltant combines a few things you just about never see at this price point. First of all it's made by cult winemaker, Julian Fayard. Julien's winemaking career started in his home region of Provence. However he also worked at both Chateau Lafite-Rothschild and Smith-Haut Laffite in Bordeaux before coming to California. His first job in Napa was at Quintessa where he came to meet and befriend the legendary Phillippe Melka. Before not too long, Fayard was heading up winemaking at Atelier Melka for clients such as Lail, Gemstone, and Dalle Valle. He's a bonafide super star in Napa and you don't often, if ever, get his work at this price point. What's more, this wine isn't to be confused with the regular Napa Valley bottling from Recoltant, oh no, this the Coombsville AVA designate where Fayard has his own 12 acre hillside estate, and where some of the most expensive and highly touted Cabs in the valley come from. The wine shows fragrant purple fruit, cassis, ripe plum, crushed rock, hints of spice and pinched herbs. Mid-weight in fruit profile, with some good structure and varietal typicity. Shows more breadth with some air and I can personally attest that it goes great with top sirloin steak frites. It's a classy bottle of Cabernet that won't break the bank.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price

2018 Au Bon Climat "Nuits-Blanches au Bouge" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 12-06-2021
After the tragic passing of winemaker, Jim Clendenen in May of 2021, I've come to view his wines as even more influential and critical to the development of the California wine business than I had realized while he was still with us. Clearly Jim was a once in a generation talent, and a guy revered across the globe for his larger-than-life personality, yet now he's gone the wines left behind seem even more consequential. Thankfully it seems his kids with take up the reigns and Au Bon Climat and Clendenen Family wines will gallop into the future upon the firm ground Jim laid out before his untimely passing. His 2018 "Nuits Blanches Au Bouge" Chardonnay is an absolute master piece of winemaking. Each year this special bottling is selected from some of the very best Bien Nacido "K Block" fruit and blended with a prized parcel from Jim's own estate, Le Bon Climat Vineyard both in Santa Maria Valley. 90% of 2018 bottling is from K Block, widely considered the finest section of Bien Nacido, an original hillside planting from the early 1970's. The fruit from these 45+ year old vines was then fermented and aged for 18 months in all new French oak from François Frères. This is a wine of some grandeur and density, from the golden color in the glass, to the powerful ripe aromas and flavors, and dense phenolic texture on the palate; this is Chardonnay made to have a big impact. White flowers, baked orchard fruit, almond croissant, hazelnut cream, pecan brittle. Lots of rich pastry tones and caramelized fruit. Then comes the cut, just as your palate has been laden down with all this lavish ripeness and richness, the textural, phenolic element of the wine gives wonderful definition and form, before a seemingly impossible, searing acidity and saline minerality draws the wine into a sensationally focused and precise finish. How a wine can be so rich and decadent yet so chiseled and refined is beyond me. I guess the answer is simply - the very best raw materials in the hands of a true master craftsman. Drink this magical bottle of Chardonnay anytime over the next 10 years.

2016 Arrowood "Réserve Spéciale" Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 12-02-2021
Be quick to react here folks, we've managed to recreate the same stellar deal on the 2016 Reserve Speciale that we had on the 2015 that sold out very very fast. The 2016 is also an absolute beauty! Again an immensely powerful wine with considerable cellaring potential. Built on smoldering black and blue fruits, cassis, blackcurrant, mulberry, cigar box tones, graphite, gravelly minerals. Full bodied, less overtly tannic than the 2015, but just as concentrated on the palate with rich fruit underpinned by true mountain-grown power and structure. The wine saw a little more new oak this vintage (62% new for 32 months) which may have helped tame the tannins and gives a beautiful polish to a very potent, immense Cabernet. Once again this Reserve bottling is blended from the best parcels of Cabernet from the very best vineyards in Sonoma including the historic Kellogg Vineyard in Knights Valley, Remick Ridge on Sonoma Mountain and the famed Monte Rosso Vineyard on Moon Mountain. Named for its red, rocky, volcanic soils, Monte Rosso sits at 1,300ft elevation, its old Cabernet vines, planted in the 1940s and 1950s, produce some of the very finest fruit money can buy and form the core of this wine. As I said with the prior vintage, this bottling can hold its own against the very best of Howell Mountain, Pritchard Hill, Mount Veeder etc. If it said Napa Valley on the label it would undoubtedly be 3-4 times the price. Drink it now with a vigorous decant or lay it away for the next 3 to 4 decades. A monumental wine that deserves a spot in any Cabernet lovers cellar.
Drink from 2021 to 2021

2018 Beaulieu Vineyard "Reserve" Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 12-02-2021
To be honest I don't think I can sum up this wine any better than Antonio Galloni of Vinous Media did with his review when he wrote: "Think of the Rutherford Reserve as a baby Georges de Latour that can be enjoyed pretty much on release." I mean this is literally a less structured version of the iconic George de Latour. It comes from the very same vineyards, the historic BV Ranches #1 and #2 on the western Rutherford bench. It's made the same way but the same winemaking team. The only real difference is that it's blended from lots that are less tannic and have more accessible up-front fruit. Tasted side-by-side at the store in Redwood City, several K&L staffers actually preferred how the Rutherford Reserve was drinking over the twice as expensive Georges de Latour! The wine is bold and dense with rich red to black fruit, lots of dusty loamy earth, some juicer notes of cassis and Loganberry emerge with air. Crème de Cacao and espresso notes join the foray with hints of oak spice and pipe tobacco. Full bodied, but not overly so, this shows real class and pedigree well beyond its price tag. A beautiful, heavy, screen printed bottle and some big scores from top critics put this toward the top of my holiday gift giving list, very hard to beat for the money, it's got prestige and genuine quality in the bottle to boot.
Drink from 2021 to 2021

2019 MarBeso "Ascona Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
Review Date: 12-02-2021
This is a beautiful expression of one of the best vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Ascona Vineyard, perched some 2,300ft above the Pacific on Skyline Blvd above Los Gatos has quickly become one of the most sought after fruit sources in the region. This is thanks in large part to the efforts of Ken Swegles who lives on and looks after the vineyard. Ken who founded Rhizos Viticulture is regarded as one of the best growers in business. He looks after dozens of small vineyards in the mountains, but lives literally in the vineyard at Ascona. MarBeso winemaker, Colin McNanny and Ken and longtime friends and each year Colin drives from LA to Santa Cruz to pick and collect his fruit from Ascona and share a few bottles of great wine in the process. The MarBeso Ascona Pinot is impossibly pure and elegant. Super fragrant lifted floral aromas, soft ripe berry fruits, baking spice, pine forest and freshly turned soil. Fresh and silky on palate with fine tannins and wonderful energy. Focused, elegant, subtle power and again, that word, purity. Beautiful Pinot Noir by any measure.
Price: $39.95 Add To Cart

2019 MarBeso "John Sebastiano Vineyard - Alban Clone" Sta. Rita Hills Syrah
Review Date: 12-02-2021
I got to know winemaker Colin McNanny when he worked here in Redwood City and La Honda winery. I was always impressed with how worked with fruit from literally hundreds of small, backyard vineyard blocks up and down the length and breadth of the Santa Cruz Mountains and crafted them into seamless, delicious wines in a modest, urban winery. When Colin left La Honda and moved to LA, I wondered what would the next step for him would look like. A year later I got to taste his first releases from his new personal project, MarBesso. MarBesso, meaning kissed by the sea, combines Colin's passion for surfing, with his love of coastal influenced vineyards. The John Sebastiano Alban Clone Syrah comes from an exposed hillside in the Sta. Rita hills, this highly revered, organically farmed site is the envy of most growers in the region. Colin has fashioned a truly magical, cool-climate Syrah from this block. Smoldering embers, seared meat, dark berry coulis, cracked peppercorn, wild herbs all mingle in the glass. The palate is vibrant and refined, mid-weight, perfectly balanced. Dusty minerals and exotic spices linger on the finish. Already quite expansive with time in the glass, I think this will be a truly special bottle of Syrah in the coming years and will likely drink well for a decade plus. Keep your eye on these wines, they have magic spark in them.
Drink from 2021 to 2021
Price: $39.95 Add To Cart

2016 Beaulieu Vineyard "Tapestry Reserve" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 11-30-2021
BV's Tapestry Reserve is one of the best deals in modern day Napa. Sourced from exceptional vineyards throughout Rutherford and beyond, this wine brings you BV's pedigree and excellence for a super competitive $50 price point...when you take another $10 per bottle off that, with our best-in-market price, this is an absolute steal. A true Bordeaux style blend, driven by Rutherford Bench grown Cabernet Sauvignon, supported by smaller lots of Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot from Stags Leap, Coombsville, Atlas Peak and St. Helena. As the winery writes "The 2016 Tapestry is a powerful expression of the dream vintage." This has a bit of everything; deep dusty red to black fruit, plum, cassis, redcurrant. Brooding loamy earth tones, dry tobacco, cigar box, and leather. Full bodied and richly fruited, but not jammy or confected, very classic in style, paying homage to its Bordeaux roots with the perfect Napa Valley amplification of the fruit profile. This wine really shows the benefits of artfully blending Cabernet Sauvignon with it's traditional companions, the wine is beautifully layered, balanced and complete. Wines like this from the exceptional 2016 vintage are just hitting their stride with 5 years of age already under their belt, and will continue to provide prime drinking for another 10-15 years, likely more. This is a wonderfully crafted Napa Valley Cab blend that beautifully illustrates the quality of the vintage and expertise of the winemaking team for a surprisingly modest price point.
Drink from 2021 to 2021
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2017 Iron Horse "Ocean Reserve" Green Valley of Russian River Valley Blanc de Blancs
Review Date: 11-28-2021
Iron Horse is one of the top producers of domestic sparkling wine in the nation. Their prime estate in the cool Green Valley sub-region of Russian River Valley is perfectly suited for growing pristine Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Their expertise and long traditional bottle fermentation means the wines perfectly capture the purity of fruit and rich, toasty, yeasty notes that make top quality sparkling wines so irresistible. The 2017 Blanc de Blanc is full of white blossom, crunchy Granny Smith apple, citrus peel, freshly baked bread, and sea spray minerals. The bubbles are energetic, fine and persistent. This wine was already a staple for us at K&L but when the huge score dropped on the 2017 we secured as much as we could get our hands on. This is a brilliant bottle of Blanc de Blanc to celebrate the holidays with. It also contributes to the truly worth cause of ocean conservation. In the words of Cousin Eddie - "It's the gift that keeps on giving."
Price: $39.95 Add To Cart

2016 Beringer "Distinction Series" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-17-2021
This is a stunning value in powerful, fruit forward Napa Cabernet. The Distinction Series Cab from Beringer pulls all their winemaking expertise and unrivalled fruit sourcing together and delivers a seriously good, luxurious Napa Cab without costing you a small fortune. After tasting this wine, we took a sizable position on it and managed to further reduce the price, making this one of the sharpest deals of the holiday season. The wine is absolutely jam packed with ripe, lush, dark fruit, blackberry, cassis, mulberry, chocolate ganache, loamy earth and subtle cigar box. Smooth, rounded tannins mean this is good to pop n' pour with or without food. It has all the power and bold flavors that people seek in top cult Cabs but at a seriously affordable price point. This is gonna make a lot of friends as long as it lasts, quantity is limited to this one parcel so don't snooze on this one.
Top Value!

2019 Cambria "Katherine's Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 11-12-2021
It's not everyday you find a wine at this price point with a huge score like this from Vinous (a notoriously tough scoring publication). Then again, it's not every day you find Chardonnay of this caliber in the sub-$20 price range. Katherine's Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley is one of the original plantings in the region with vines dating back to 1971. This region is very cool with lots of ocean influence that gives the wines their brisk acidity. The soils are also derived from the ocean, ancient seafloor and wind blown sand that impart a beautiful saline minerality to the wines. The 2019 Cambria "Katherine's" encapsulates all of this terroir beautifully. The old vines give richness and density to the fruit, the acid line is fresh and mouthwatering, the minerality pronounced and lingering. It's a very well crafted bottle of wine; when you're starting with excellent raw materials and a very well established estate vineyards you don't need to add too extra much in the cellar and thus the costs stay down. A rocking bottle of cool-climate Chard I'd certainly be willing to pay more for...but happy I don't have too! Load up before it's gone.
Top Value!

2016 Lancaster "Winemaker's Cuvée" Alexander Valley Bordeaux Blend (1.5L)
Review Date: 11-11-2021
Looking for an AWESOME, big bottle of Cabernet for the holidays!? Check out this magnum from Lancaster Estate in Alexander Valley. A winemaker's best barrel selection of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Merlot, all from Lancaster's mature, hillside plantings on the boarder of Knights Valley and Chalk Hill. It's just loaded with rich black and blue fruit, ripe plum, blueberry compote, cassis, toasted spices, dusted cocoa powder and hints of cedar. It's got noble tannin structure overlain with ample lush fruit and sweet barrel spice. Full of life and expressive varietal character; a total crowd pleaser for lovers of California Cab and Bordeaux drinkers alike. And the best part? Our price for the 1.5L magnum is half of the original price! You're basically getting double the wine for the same price! If you're planning a dinner or get together anytime this holiday season, or just find that sometimes one bottle just isn't enough...look no further than this epic deal.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price

2019 Amici Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-08-2021
A very fine edition of this long-time stalwart - the 2019 Amici Napa Cab is absolutely beautiful. A pure, polished, modern style of Napa Cab with fantastic has great balance and length. Coming from some of the best vineyards up and down the valley including: Morisoli, Spring Mountain Vineyard, Hyde and Hudson! I mean, that is a serious list of pedigreed vineyard sites for such an modestly priced bottle! I love the style of the 2019 Amici - it highlights the quality of the vintage and wonderfully pure fruit, is beautifully crafted and polished, but at the same time really represents an authentic expression of the varietal. The team at Amici, led by winemaker Tony Biagi, are on top form, and this continues to be one of the best, if not the best value Napa Cab in the market.

2013 Buselli Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-08-2021
How about this sleeper wine from a tiny family owned producer in Oakville. On one side of this property you'll find Dalla Valle...on the other side, Rudd! Just down the street are Tench Vineyard and Screaming Eagle. In fact, Dalla Valle's drive goes through these vines! Talk about a prime location! The Buselli family bought the parcel of land in the 1970's and until recently sold the fruit to some of Napa's most prestigious wineries. In the last few years they enlisted the help of super star winemaker, Tim Milos, to craft very small amounts of their own estate wine. The results are spectacular! Muscular black and blue fruits, cassis, blackberry, damson preserve, dark chocolate, cigar box notes. A nice combination of lush, exotic eastside Oakville fruit combined with great structural power from these hillside blocks. Winery direct pricing makes this even more of a steal!
Drink from 2021 to 2021
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2017 Eyrie "The Eyrie" (Original Vines) Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-02-2021
This is a truly magical bottle of Pinot Noir. Haling from the oldest Pinot vines in the Willamette Valley, planted on their own roots in 1965, this vineyard essentially started the modern era of Oregon winemaking. Thanks to several generations of careful and holistic framing, these vines continue to produce remarkable fruit, though yields get lower with each passing year as phylloxera takes its toll on the vines' deep roots. Aromas of crushed rose petal, soft, lush red fruits, bramble, cherry, and some loamy earth tones. There are also hard ground spices like clove and nutmeg. The wine has an ethereal texture on the palate and wonderful length of flavor. It's remarkably generous and expressive without any hint of over-ripeness or excessive weight. Elegant and restrained, yet open knit and accessible right out of the bottle. I think the depth of flavor these old vines give means that winemaking can be very gentle and delicate without losing any intensity in the finished wine. History in a bottle yes...but Jason Lett isn't resting on his laurels; this wine shows that without doubt, 56 years after his dad put these cuttings in the ground, Eyrie is still at the very pinnacle of Oregon wine.
Drink from 2021 to 2021
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2018 La Jota Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-25-2021
It's a stretch to call any $150 wine a "bargain" but when you consider the pedigree and quality that goes into La Jota, plus the cost of many of its stable mates, this wine really does start to look like a great value. Made by the inimitable Chris Carpenter, arguably the top winemaker of a generation, along side Lokoya ($450) and Cardinale ($325) this price tag is very reasonable especially since I don't think it gives up much, if anything, in quality versus the other two listed here. What I enjoy the most about La Jota's is that year after year, Carpenter seems to perfectly tame the beast that is Howell Mountain Cabernet, without stripping away any of its core attributes. The 2018 is benchmark Howell Cab...and yet you don't have to wait 20 years for it to be drinkable. It's polished and refined, yet still speaks of it's rugged mountain terroir with it's ominously dark fruit, graphite and crushed rock. It feels and tastes like luxurious cult Cabernet, but at the same time it's not over-worked to the point where it loses its sense of place. I have heard Carpenter referred to on numerous occasions as the "Mountain Man" both due to his own physical stature (he's 6'5" and quite imposing) but mostly due to his almost unparalleled skill with mountain grown fruit. The 2018 La Jota Howell Cab is a wine that all serious collectors of Napa Cab are gonna want in their cellar, it's a phenomenal wine by any measure.
Drink from 2021 to 2021

2020 Ridgecrest Vineyards Ribbon Ridge Dry Riesling
Review Date: 10-24-2021
A stunning example of the varietal from this Oregon pioneer. Harry Peterson-Nedry was the first to plant vines in what is know known as the Ribbon Ridge AVA at Ridgecrest. These Riesling vines, now 40 years old, are deeply rooted in marine-sedimentary soils and produce wonderfully mineral driven wines with great intensity and concentration. Brought up entirely in stainless steel, this wine is focused and pure with citrus zest, preserved lemon, white flowers, freshly crushed quince, beeswax, and wet stone. On the palate that old-vine derived weight and power balances nicely with a chalky acidity and just the merest suggestion of sweetness which counterbalances the acidity and adds another facet to this shimming wine. Beautiful Riesling that's a steal at this special price.
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Price: $19.95 Add To Cart

2018 Beaulieu Vineyard "Georges de Latour - Private Reserve" Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-19-2021
It's early going, but the 2018 may well prove to be the finest vintage of this wine in many decades, if not of all time. The perfect growing season in 2018, plus a few subtle tweaks in the cellar, seem to have paid off with this monumental release that is one of the wines of the vintage. With a pedigree dating back to the inaugural 1936 bottling, as BV writes in their notes, the Georges de Latour - Private Reserve was Napa Valley’s first “cult” Cabernet. Fruit for this iconic bottling is meticulously selected from BV's original ranches on Rutherford's western bench. These vineyards, aptly named BV Ranches No. 1 and No. 2, are the same sites originally planted by Georges de Latour in the early 1900s. In an era marked by more and more expensive wines from fledgling producers, this wine is the real deal and has the quality to back up its reputation. In my opinion, Rutherford Cab doesn't get any better.

2018 Keller "El Coro Vineyard" Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-14-2021
Keller Estate is a longtime favorite of mine. When I worked in the cellar at Testarossa we used to get fruit from the Keller's La Cruz Vineyard, and it was always one of my favorite wines we made. As with many of the best Pinots coming from the newly approved Petaluma Gap AVA, Keller's wines always seem to have a nice balance of ripeness and acidity. The plentiful sunshine of their hillside, generally southwest facing aspect promotes rich fruit flavors and plenty of concentration. At the same time, the almost constant cool air flow from the pacific through the gap in the coastal ranges, means that the fruit retains vibrant acidity and freshness giving the wines their telltale brightness and lift. The El Coro Vineyard is more of a block selection. This parcel of vines grows at the top of the slope, on the exposed ridgetop. The fruit here tends to get even more concentrated due to the wind and very thin, eroded soils. El Coro is typically the most powerful and "serious" of Keller's wines. The 2018 is beautiful. The long, moderate growing season was picture perfect for the estate, and the wine is one of varietal purity and poise. Our winery direct pricing makes this one of the best values you'll find, especially from this small and highly regarded growing region.
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2020 Gramercy "Olsen Vineyard" Columbia Valley Rosé
Review Date: 10-14-2021
A new standout this year for me, this mostly Cinsault-based rosé has a wonderful combo of floral notes; ripe, soft, red fruit; and wet stone mineral. Absolutely delicious.
Price: $19.95 Add To Cart

2020 Birichino "Vin Gris" California Rosé
Review Date: 10-14-2021
Few wineries make a rosé as consistently delicious as Birichino. Mostly Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault. Half of the fruit for this wine comes from vines more than 100 years old, including the 135-year-old Bechtold Vineyard. Bright, floral, tart red fruits, stony minerals. Super refreshing and easy to drink.
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Price: $14.95 Add To Cart

2020 Tatomer Edna Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-14-2021
One of my favorite roses this year, packed with pronounced juicy red berry fruit, very flavorful, with a lovely mouthwatering tartness on the finish. Delicious!
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart

2019 Husch Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-14-2021
The late, great Jim Barr may have left us, but his love for Husch winery lives on among our staff at K&L. This longtime stalwart of Anderson Valley continues to produce some of the most impressive and exceptionally well-priced wines in the region. The 2019 Pinot is flat-out delicious. Elegant, silken fruit, lovely earthy spices, and soil tones that add complexity to the pure cherry and brambly fruit. A rocking value at $19.99.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2019 Kerr Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 10-14-2021
Kerr’s rendition of Sauv Blanc, expertly crafted by talented winemaker, Helen Keplinger, includes a good chunk of Sémillon and is barrel ferment to build texture and complexity. Fruit for this delicious bottling comes from none other than Stagecoach and Hyde Vineyards, some of the best sites in Napa. A perfect balance of ripe stone fruit, even slightly tropical passion fruit flavors, combine with mouthwatering acidity for a flavorful but refreshing wine.
Price: $29.95 Add To Cart

2018 Acclivity Vineyards Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-14-2021
Here’s a new label that I just tasted for the first time last month but was instantly impressed! A bold, powerful expression of Alexander Valley Cab, with wonderful varietal typicity and classic structure. Little surprise this wine impresses when you consider that winemaker and proprietor Kyle Kemp works his day job as the cellar master at renowned Staglin Cellars in Napa Valley, crafting $300 bottles of Rutherford Cab! This is very serious Cabernet for the money!
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Price: $39.95 Add To Cart

2018 Eden Rift "Valliant" Central Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-13-2021
A recent tasting confirmed to me that this wine is a leading candidate for best value Pinot Noir in the store. Eden Rift is one of the most exciting new(ish) wineries in the state and the level of wines coming from this team is simply exceptional. A neighbor to the iconic Pinot Noir pioneer, Calera, situated in the remote Cienega Valley, Eden Rift shares the unique terroir of limestone rich soils, interspersed with decomposed granite and clay. Another connection between the two is that Eden Rift's winemaker Cory Waller happens to be the brother of Calera's longtime winemaker Mike Waller. Apparently skills with Pinot Noir runs in the family, because the Eden Rift's "Valliant" is just pure Pinot at it's crystalline best. Immaculate aromas of fresh forest berries, brambles, baking spice, rose petal and woodsy spices. Silky and vibrant on the palate with unbound energy and freshness. The fruit is ripe but the wine remains lifted and elegant, it's a glass of wine you want to go back to time and time again. I don't think this would have any issue passing itself off as a $50 bottle of Pinot Noir...lucky for us, working winery direct we can get it on the shelf for under $20! Exceptional value and a new house wine for me.
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2018 Clos Du Val "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-02-2021
Clos du Val has a long and storied history - as a participant in the original 1976 Judgement of Paris Tasting, this property has been central to the establishment of Napa Valley Cabernet on the world stage. The story of Bernard Portet, the founding winemaker of Clos du Val is a brilliant one. Portet's father was the Technical Director of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. The budding young vigneron, with big shoes to fill, was invited to Napa for two weeks to consult on the establishment of a new winery, Clos du Val. Inspired by the potential of what he saw in Stags' Leap, Portet stayed to oversee the establishment of the estate and ultimately became the winemaker serving until 2010, some 40 years after his initial two week trip! To this day the wines are inspired by Bordeaux. The 2018 has one foot in the old world and one in the new. It explodes from the glass with crème de cassis, blackberry puree, huckleberry, new leather, shaved cedar, cigar box. Totally classic aromas and flavors, quintessential Cabernet. Wonderful, mouth-filling fruit and ultra-fine tannins. Exquisite balance of pure fruit but ample structure and nice savory, varietal characters of tobacco and dried herbs. It's the complete package; the best wine I've seen from Clos du Val in years. I truly believe this can stand toe to toe with MUCH more expensive bottles and not flinch. Clos du Val have perfectly captured the excellence of the 2018 vintage, this is one you want in your cellar for sure.
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Price: $49.95 Add To Cart

2017 Calera "Mills" Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-01-2021
My favorite of the 2017 single vineyard Pinot from Calera. Mills comes from one of the most stressed, low-cropping blocks on the estate. The 37 year old, own-rooted vines sit on a southeast facing limestone escarpment. To me this wine perfectly illustrates why Calera and Mt. Harlan is so special. The wine has such a natural gravitas, an ethereal power and intensity without being heavy, extracted or over-ripe. The structure is so fine and elegant. The balance of fruit purity and earthy, soil driven minerality is exquisite. It’s a Pinot Noir that to my mind can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of the best from anywhere on the planet.
Drink from 2021 to 2021

2018 DuMOL Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-24-2021
A show-stopping rendition of old-school Napa Cab with tons of briary, cedary, tones, crushed blackcurrant and cigar box. Coming from some top vineyards up and down the valley, the primary sources being Oakville and Combsville, this wine oozes varietal typicity, with its lithe, energetic feel that is more 1970s than 2020s! This more reserved style is thanks in part to the excellent and cool 2018 vintage, and part due to Andy Smith's commitment to letting the varietal and sense of place shine through rather than attacking our palate with over-the-top ripeness and weight. This is very classically styled and all the better for it. There's enough flesh and the tannins are refined enough to enjoy this wine young, but my bet is that this will make a fantastic bottle 10 years from now and cruise to 2040.
Drink from 2021 to 2021
Price: $99.95 Add To Cart

2012 Joseph Swan "Great Oak Vineyard" Russian River Valley Syrah
Review Date: 09-23-2021
Syrah aficionados look out—this is a classic! Brooding aromas of smoked meat, black pepper, briary dark fruits, rendered bacon fat, and dried herbs. Medium-bodied but very dark and concentrated in the glass. The tannins have started to mellow out as this wine hits its prime drinking window for the next 5-8 years...maybe more. I love that this wine was raised entirely in neutral oak. It allows the beautiful, pure varietal characters to shine. I'm thrilled once again to offer some winery-direct, library vintages from Joseph Swan, a legendary producer that continues to be a staff and customer favorite here at K&L. A small number of cases are available, so when it's gone it's gone.
Drink from 2021 to 2021
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2018 Larkmead "Firebelle" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 09-21-2021
In years gone by I have often liked Larkmead's Merlot driven, Bordeaux style blend "Firebelle" just as much as their estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Whilst Merlot based wines don't seem to inspire the same fervor in Napa as the Cabernet King, if you let your palate decide, often the wines with a good chunk of Merlot are absolutely delicious and far more expressive to drink, especially when young, than their tighter, more tannic counterparts. In 2018 the Firebelle is stunning. Based on 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine shows just how much power and richness the grape can have when planted on prime soils, grown and vinified with the utmost care and respect. More upfront lushness than the 2018 Cab, but also a mouth-full of fine, palate coating tannins. A more exotic flavor profile too, with blackcurrant, ripe plum and oak spice. So complete and expressive on the palate, loamy earth mingles with the succulent deep fruit. It's a knockout wine that reaffirms the world-class quality of Merlot grown in Napa Valley that is sometimes eclipsed by that other grape!
Price: $99.95 Add To Cart

2018 Larkmead Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-21-2021
Year in, year out Larkmead make some of the finest wines in the valley. This iconic property, founded in 1895, has a pedigreed history of producing long-lasting, benchmark wines that have helped put Napa Valley on the map as one of (if not THE) best place on the planet to grow Cabernet Sauvignon. Larkmead's 110 acre estate has seven distinct soil types making it one of the most intricate and diverse in the region. The confluence of several rivers and creeks, plus alluvial fans off the Vaca mountains, provided the canvas for complex and layered wines many centuries ago. The vines on the estate are carefully planted, farmed and vinified according to their specific underlying soil. Each year the estate Cabernet is an astoundingly complex assemblage of dozens of these individual components. Winemaker, Dan Petroski expertly weaves these elements together to showcase the place, varietal and season. The 2018 is a wonderfully elegant wine with tons of varietal character from the first swirl in the glass - smoky black fruits, cedar, hot stone, briary notes. The palate is medium to full-bodied, refined, quite linear and focused. Lovely freshness and brightness to the fruit. Not a big, sweet wine; this is about focus and poise. Don't get me wrong, there lots of density and power here, but it's tempered by the cool growing season and Larkmead's signature restrained, cellar worthy style. The 2018 Larkmead Cabernet is an instant classic, and one you're going to want in you cellar for many years to come.

2015 Ramey "Annum" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-17-2021
For any of you that have given up on trying to buy high-end Napa Valley Cab because it's gotten way too expensive...take look at this! Absolutely rocking Cabernet, from a top, top producer, with huge (and well deserved) scores, for less than $80! Ramey's "Annum" is a strict selection of prime lots from across the best sub-regions of the valley. 50% of the fruit comes from Oakville (right next to Dalle Valle to be precise); the next largest component is 22% from Mt Veeder, Oak Knoll and St. Helena make up the remainder. The individual lots are then aged in new Taransaud French oak barrels for two years. These are $1500+ per barrel, and typically reserved for the most expensive and revered wines in the region. My point is, this is no expense spared, meticulously crafted wine from one of the most pedigreed winemakers in California and yet it remains somewhat affordable amongst today's stratospheric pricing. And believe me, the proof is in the bottle. Wonderfully rich aromas of blackcurrant cordial, black raspberry, damson preserve, cigar box, leather, chocolate truffle. The classy, exotic, smoky oak, combined with that lush, Oakville mid-palate fruit is just magic! There is big structure here, and it's a mouth-filling wine, but it's polished and pure from start to finish. I expect this to have a broad drinking window anytime from tonight until 2035 at least. Incredible stuff!
Drink from 2021 to 2021

2019 Denman Ranch "Fallenleaf Vineyard" Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 09-16-2021
Fallenleaf Vineyard is a small planting in the hills overlooking the town of Sonoma that has gained a reputation with those in the know as one of the best spots for Chardonnay in the region. With illustrious and historic neighbors such as Hanzell, it's no surprise that this eight-acre parcel of 30-year-old Wente clone vines produces exceptional fruit. Winemaker Colin MacLauchlan ferments the juice with native yeast in French oak (20% new). After 12 months sur lie in barrel, it is given another 6 months ageing on fine lees in stainless tank prior to bottling. A very pure, focused style, with line and length taking precedence over weight and breadth. Spring blossom and subtle honeysuckle aromas lead into golden baked pear and quince, stoneground flower and apple pie spice. Nice texture on the palate tapering into a long, racy, mouthwatering finish. The floral and golden orchard fruit flavors reverberate on the palate harmoniously, and the elegant oak framing gives definition but never overpowers any of its many nuances. Very classy Chardonnay.
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2017 Byron "Rita's Crown Vineyard" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-12-2021
I couldn't believe it when we secured this screaming deal on a Pinot Noir from the legendary Rita's Crown Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills! You almost never see wine from this heralded vineyard at a discount. Rita's Crown is arguably the most sought-after fruit in all of Sta. Rita Hills. The vineyard wraps around a perilously steep, west-facing hillside, and is one of the highest elevation sites in the region. The soils are very lean and heavily calcareous. The vines struggle in these meager soils, constantly buffeted by the cool, onshore winds. The resulting wine has stunning concentration of aromas and flavors from the tiny yields. In the 2017 bottling, I found stunning aromas of warmed spices, dry leaf litter, bright red berries, and rose petal. On the palate, Benton cherry, pomegranate juice, and exotic Asian spices backed by so much energy and vitality in the form of resonating minerality and soil tones. Medium-bodied but quite linear in feel, it's focused, pure, and refined. With time in the glass, the array of floral notes, red berries, and spices grows, and the palate becomes a little broader and more generous as layers unfurl. It's a captivating Pinot Noir that shows exactly why this vineyard is so revered and typically commands top-dollar prices.
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2018 Heir Apparent Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-07-2021
Heir Apparent delivers seriously good, classically styled Rutherford Cabernet for a very affordable price. I was hugely impressed with this wine and thought it more than lived up to Jeb Dunnuck's monster 95-point review. In addition, I thought his comparison of the flavor profile to Paulliac was spot on. I also found several markers in the wine that remind me of the great wines of Paulliac. The 2018 Heir Apparent is ripe and powerful with lashings of blue and purple fruit, crème de cassis, blackberry, and mulberry. Then distinctive pencil shavings, graphite, cigar box, dried herbs, and dusty minerals. Supporting the fruit, are well-refined but substantial structural tannins, giving wonderful length and definition on the palate. Whiffs of exotic French oak spice give another dimension. The finish is pure and fresh with poised acidity and fine tactile tannins. I love the power and opulence, so emblematic of what makes Rutherford such a world-class place to grow Cabernet. At the same time, it is refined and measured in its ripeness, extraction, and oak use, ultimately achieving a more classically styled expression that pays homage to the great wines of Bordeaux. While hard to resist right now with its considerable early appeal and suave fruit, it's also a wine I think will do very well with some time in the cellar. A legit bargain in top-notch Rutherford Cab, and that's not something we get to say often!
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2019 Denman Ranch "Van der Kamp Vineyard" Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-06-2021
This much heralded vineyard on the slopes of Sonoma Mountain is home to some of the oldest Pinot Noir vines in all of California, planted in 1952! This wine combines those 67-year-old plantings with with Dijon clones 828, 777, and a suitcase clone from La Tâche Grand Cru in Vosne-Romanée. The vines grow on a sloping bench at around 1,500 feet on the western side of the mountain. They're rooted in volcanic and clay loam soils. The fruit is handled very gently, a native ferment before draining to French oak (30% new) for a long 18 months ageing on the lees. This wine really combines power and elegance. The overall feel is very much medium-bodied and refined, yet there's a brooding power and structure underpinning it, perhaps from the old vines, perhaps from this rugged mountain terroir. Dusty red berries, black raspberry, crumbly earth, wild thyme, and briar. Crushed rock mineral tinges, more dried herbs, and woodsy spices. Fine but noble tannins give great framework to the mid-palate. I love the slightly wild, gamey notes this wine has along with the floral top notes and spice. Very serious, age-worthy, terroir-driven Pinot Noir that is a beautiful representation of the this unique and sensational vineyard.
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2017 Mayacamas Mount Veeder Chardonnay
Review Date: 08-31-2021
The iconic Mayacamas Estate is known around the world for its world-class, age-worthy, distinctive Cabernet Sauvignons. However, Chardonnay has also played a significant part in this property's storied history. While you might not immediately think of Mt. Veeder as a likely source for profound expressions, Mayacamas' estate Chardonnay quickly dispels any doubt that these wines can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the finest in the world. The 2017 release marks the 50th anniversary Chardonnay bottling from the property. The vines that produce this stunning wine are almost all over 40 years of age and dry-farmed. The methodology of Mayacamas is just about as firmly rooted in bedrock as these mature vines! In the cellar, use of oak is very judicious, with just 5% new, and large format puncheons are favored over small barriques. The wine is then given extra time to settle and integrate in stainless steel before bottling. It's a purposeful wine that takes the natural concentration of flavor these vines give and focuses it into a laser-like beam of intensity and power in the bottle. Several years ago, at a particularly lavish retirement dinner for a beloved K&L colleague, our founder, the inimitable Clyde Beffa, opened a magnum of 1976 Mayacamas Chardonnay, and it wowed everyone at the table. This proved to me that not only were these wines utterly delicious young, but also could age just a well as the fabled Cabs from this mountain terroir. Regardless of price, this is one of California's truly great wines. And now in even better news, we managed to get a parcel of the 95-point, 2017 vintage Chardonnay, direct from the winery at a stunning price. Drink some now and tuck some away in the cellar—you can't go wrong as long as you don't pass up this golden opportunity.
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