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Staff Favorites - David Driscoll

David Driscoll
David Driscoll  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
David Driscoll likes to drink alcohol when he is not working at K&L. His main interests include wine, beer, and distilled spirits. Before he worked here he went to college at a decent school, got a masters degree from an OK school, worked as a waiter and taught elementary school in Chinatown. He decided to get into the wine business after reading a few books about wine and realizing that one cannot seriously learn about wine solely through reading. His career goals include: trying to convince K&L customers that he does know something despite his youthful appearance, and learning everything about everything about every single wine ever made.


Reviews

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Kaiyo Mizunara Oak Japanese Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 10-25-2017
Those looking to get a taste of real Japanese Mizunara oak-aged whisky will finally get a somewhat affordable option here with the new Kaiyo expressions. Made with whisky from an unnamed distiller (although there aren't many major players in Japan so you can begin to whittle down the options when you taste it) the Mizunara is the real star here. You get exotic spices and a sweetly-scented nose that leads into incense and toasted oak flavors on the palate. Kaiyo isn't some new microdistiller or craft project. It's taking malt whiskies from some of Japan's established players and using Japan's most treasured barrels to make something dynamic and new for the market. Get it while the gettin's good because this could be the next Yamazaki.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2014 Star Lane Santa Ynez Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-17-2017
I don't think I could have named you one producer in the Santa Barbara region making Cabernet until I tasted the Star Lane this past week, but I was surprised by much more than the anomaly of such a thing. This is real deal Cabernet with structure and secondary flavors of earth and tobacco, not just some fruit-forward or simple bottle of California red. Star Lane vineyard, as I would later learn, is planted to 200 acres of Bordeaux varieties and the vineyard differentiates itself from other parts of Santa Barbara County by sustaining warmth. In a region dedicated to cooler climate varieties like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, that's important. The vineyard also has elevations ranging from 750 to 1550 feet above sea level throughout Happy Canyon, meaning that different grapes grow in different microclimates, creating a diverse crop of fruit. You can taste that character in the wine as the flavors range from dark fruited and powerful, to herbaceous and savory. It's a California wine with the heart and soul of a Bordeaux. Give it time in a decanter and cook up a nice meal. You won't be sorry.
Price: Hidden View Price
VN 95

2015 Ridge Vineyards "Lytton Springs" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 10-12-2017
The Ridge "Lytton Springs" has always been the Zinfandel to give to people who say they don't like Zinfandel. It's one of the most elegant, poised, and serious red blends made in the entire state and the 2015 takes that complex and layered formula to an entirely new level. More like a Bordeaux blend than a classic Zin, the addition of 16% Petite Syrah adds serious grit and structure, but it's brilliantly done and bolsters the richness of the fruit beautifully. When you start to think about what goes into crafting a great wine, not just the quality of the fruit or the location of the vineyard, but also the blending of different varietals to make something greater than the sum of its parts, the Lytton Springs is high on my list of iconic blends. As you decant the 2015 vintage, you'll notice more and more complexity as the air unlocks all that intrigue: berries, spice, brush, earth, excitement!

2015 Ridge Vineyards "Pagani Ranch" Sonoma Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 10-12-2017
While the 2015 Lytton Springs is more a more structured and nuanced wine, the Pagani Ranch is the real crowd pleaser. It's so soft and loaded with sweet cassis fruit right off the bat with hints of violet on the finish and a texture that's like velvet on the tongue. I'm far from what you'd consider a big, rich California wine lover, but as a professional I like anything that's well made. I really enjoyed this wine, from its immediate charm and juicy character to its plush mouthfeel and seductive sweetness. There's a reason Ridge is one of the most iconic California winemakers in the business and it's wines like this that help to cement that reputation.

2015 Fromm "Fromm Vineyard" Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 10-06-2017
Another concentrated and spicy 2015 Pinot Noir from Fromm that has a bit more finesse and nuance than the equally rich La Strada. The fruit is prettier and more feminine in the Fromm Vineyard expression, but the character of the 2015 fruit really comes through with dark bramble fruit and lots of peppery spice. I think these are the flavors that Burgundy fans secretly want, but are afraid to seek out from Down Under! Don't be afraid to admit that New Zealand Pinot can be every bit as good as Gevrey-Chambertin! I got over that fear long ago and I've been drinking happily ever since.

2009 Malartic-Lagravière Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 10-04-2017
MAN....is this wine in a great place right now!! Everything is congealed, moving in and out of focus, as the symphony of fruit, forest, spice and earth sings across the palate; each element getting a brief solo, but ultimately contributing to the immense texture and harmony. This is a great bottle of wine, period, but it's more than that for those who are looking to understand the merit of aging your claret. Five years ago this wine didn't have anywhere near this level of complexity, but today its showing like you wouldn't believe. I'm glad I waited to pop my bottles, but luckily for those of you who didn't buy on pre-order back in the day, we've got another shipment of perfectly aged 2009 Malartic-Lagraviere for you to buy and open today.

2009 d'Issan, Margaux
Review Date: 10-04-2017
Whereas in vintages like 2012 and 2015 I've recommended Chateau d'Issan because of its finesse and its elegance, the 2009 about blew me away recently with its subtle power and surprising muscle for what is normally one of the more feminine Margaux wines. There's still plenty of life left in this wine and it has the stuffing for another ten years in the cellar, but when opened today the lushness of the 2009 fruit is almost too tempting to pass up. Those who like their Bordeaux textured and with a little chewiness on the finish will go crazy for this. It has all the aromatics of what you expect from Margaux with ample fruit and structure, to boot.

2009 Latour-Martillac, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 10-04-2017
I love how the 2009 Malartic-Lagraviere is beginning to show some of that textbook Gravesian minerality now that it's had some time to shed the baby fat of that ripe 2009 fruit. When we tasted this wine recently you could finally get deep into the iron, graphite and flinty notes that make the wine one of the best expressions of true terroir in all of Bordeaux. The fruit is still there to round out the edges, but the evolution on display here is what makes this wine worth buying. No need to wait; all the aging has been done for you!

Four Pillars "Faultline" K&L Exclusive Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 10-03-2017
I've been obsessed with Four Pillars gin since the very first moment I tasted it in January of 2015 when the distillery gang flew out from Melbourne for the Superbowl that year in SF. They dropped by the store unannounced, put a bottle of the Rare Dry in my hand, and the rest is history. I'd never had a gin that good before and I've still yet to have one since—and I drink a LOT of gin. But beyond the flavor, what I respected most about Four Pillars was that they were ONLY making gin; not single malt, or vodka, or whiskey, or some other spirit to help pay the bills, but just gin. They're like gin specialists, concocting incredible flavors on their copper stills in the Yarra Valley. After two years of huge customer support, monstrous sales, and positive feedback like you wouldn't believe, I decided to head Down Under and create a special gin with distiller Cameron MacKenzie for K&L using our Faultline label. My goal was simple: make something distinct, exciting, new, but also characteristic of everything I already love about Four Pillars. I won't rehash the specs as they're all listed above, but Cam knocked this baby out of the park. Listing me on the label as the "co-distiller" is a bit misleading because I didn't do anything but taste and edit, however, I appreciate the acknowledgement. In the end, this gin is all about Four Pillars and their incredible talent. Our job is simply to put fantastic new spirits in your hands and I think we're living up to our end of the bargain there.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Ardbeg "An Oa" Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-30-2017
The An Oa is the best new Ardbeg I’ve tasted in more than five years and it’s the roundest and easiest to drink of the regularly available editions. While it doesn’t pack the power that both the Uigeadail and Corryvreckan offer with their bold proofs, it makes up for it with richness and a rounded sweetness on the finish. You get all the peat, brine, smoke, and salt that you could ever want, but with more texture and perhaps finesse—not something we normally associate with the beastly Islay profile. In any case, this is the first bottle of Ardbeg in some time that I’ve been adamant about buying for my own personal daily enjoyment, not just my collection.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
WA 93

2014 Hyot, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 09-30-2017
When we're out visiting Bordeaux to taste the most recent vintage (like 2016), we're usually taking notes for the eventual pre-order campaign that follows. But sometimes we head out to visit producers and negociants and taste older vintages that are usually in bottle and ready to go. One such example is the recently arrived 2014 Château Hyot, a property located in Saint-Magne-de-Castillon that provided us with one helluva sub-$15 option. With its forty year old vines, the concentration of the Merlot (which makes of 70% of the blend) is stunning, adding a plummy lushness to the coffee notes imparted by the oak, and bolstered by the structure from the remaining 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is made by the Aubert family, one that has been living in the region for almost three hundred years. Amélie Aubert, who took over from her parents, is a seventh-generation winemaker with a special sense of how to tend the vines planted in both clay and gravel soils; she's made her mark with the 2014 expression, for sure. I've not made any secret of my affinity for 2014 with its classic, yet approachable flavors and even more attractive price points (especially when compared to the higher costs of '15/'16), and personally I'm always on the hunt for the next great Tuesday night Bordeaux—for those nights when I just want to pop something delicious, warm up my leftovers, and put my feet up in front of the TV. I love how the wine evolved over time, showing more than just oak and fruit with nuances of minerality like graphite and iron once it got some air into it. We kept going back to the wine later in the day to see how it evolved and we all agreed it tasted better after it had been open a few hours, so if you can decant it you'll be doing yourself a favor.

Bardstown Bourbon Company "Collabor&tion - Brandy Barrel Finish" Cask Strength Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 09-29-2017
Who ISN'T in the market for an 11+ year old 57% ABV bottle of bourbon today? Especially when it's been finished in American brandy barrels for extra richness, sweetness, and viscosity! This little project between Kentucky's newest whiskey distillery and Kentucky's best brandy producer gives fans of both rare and unique bourbon a new bottle to obsess over and it's only available at K&L in the state of California. The nose blurs the line between brandy and bourbon as heavy fruit comes through right off the bat, but the palate is dominated by big oak, heavy spice, and soft, sweet fruit, accenting the best parts of the whiskey and intensifying the very aspects that most Stagg and Weller fans go crazy for. We've only got 200 bottles, so when they're gone, that's it!
Price: $124.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$99.99

Bardstown Bourbon Company "Collabor&tion - Mistelle Barrel Finish" Cask Strength Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 09-29-2017
I LOVE the Mistelle finish on this and it's funny because I thought my co-workers and customers would prefer the classic profile of the American brandy expression, but I was wrong. The sweetness and the texture provided by the liqueur finish is simply sensational here and the orange peel notes from the Mistelle really blend well into the baking spices of the bourbon. It's done with a balanced hand all the way through and the flavor of the whiskey never gets lost in the mix. Don't miss out on this one.
Price: $124.99 Add To Cart

2016 Dunham Cellars/MacLachlan "Pursued by Bear" Blushing Bear Columbia Valley Rosé
Review Date: 09-29-2017
This is far and away the best domestic rosé I've tasted this year, and the most nuanced domestic rosé I may have tasted--ever. I'm a Provence fan when it comes to pink wine because I like crisp, clean acidity and just the slightest touch of red fruit. If I'm going to spend more than 20 bucks on something I'll likely drink within 20 minutes, then it had better "wow" me, and that's exactly what the Blushing Bear did when I first tasted it. Kyle meant for it to be a Domaine Tempier substitute and that's exactly what he created, albeit by way of Washington's Columbia Valley. Gentle accents of red berries and notes of brush lightly dance across the palate here with an enticing balanced of weight and acidity. Have this with a piece of grilled salmon and treat it like a main course wine rather than a refreshing aperitif. It's worthy of the spotlight.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

2014 Neyers "Neyers Ranch - Conn Valley" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-27-2017
I was really taken aback by both how approachable the 2014 Neyers was right out of the bottle and how it seemed to embody everything today's modern wine drinker is looking for with their California Cabernet: typicity, complexity, terroir, and deliciousness. The Neyers Conn Valley Ranch has Cabernet growing at elevations from as low as 400 feet up to 1200 feet, mostly south-facing so the grapes get a nice dose of consistent, but manageable sun. They've cut out a lot of their pesticide and fertilizers over the last decade and instead now use cover crops and a ring of pest-attracting plants outside the vineyard instead. The effect these changes have had on the quality of the wine is tremendous and you can taste all that fruit because there's a very judicious use of oak with the 2014. It's there in spirit, but the fruit still takes center stage. However, there's more than just fruit here. You get hints of earth, licorice, a bit of a dusty note from the tannins, and a nice variety of textures from front to back. At fifty bucks, the price is right and the wine tastes more expensive than some of the $100 options I've run across recently. In summary, it's a wine I'd be happy to give to just about anyone interested in a serious bottle of Napa Cabernet. It's all estate fruit and it speaks to a well-maintained vineyard site by Neyers.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
WE 94 WS 90

2010 Louise Brison Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-26-2017
If you liked the 2009 Louise Brison, you'll probably enjoy the 2010 as well, albeit for completely different reasons. 2009 was a ripe vintage for Champagne and that richness of fruit came through immediately in the Brison expression, but 2010 was back to traditional temperature levels so the 2010 has a laser beam of acidity that was definitely not there in the 2009 and for me that was a welcome addition. What is consistent between the wines is the brown apple flavors and the texture from the barrel fermentation that adds weight. However, whereas I would have recommended drinking the 2009's immediately, the 10's can age forever. That note of citrus and minerality is a total palate cleanser if you choose to drink the 2010 as an aperitif wine now, but it's also what will help the wine maintain its composure as it continues to evolve in your cellar. It's a can't lose proposition: you can drink it tomorrow, or twenty years from now! And you get a wine of that quality for just under thirty bucks. Hard to beat, right?
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2015 Domaine Parent Pommard 1er Cru "Argillieres"
Review Date: 09-08-2017
This was one of the best wines I tasted on our trip to Burgundy this past Spring and it was my first foray into the Parent sisters' portfolio, one that I've come to swear by since. Anne and Catherine have pooled their inheritance together and forged ahead under the family's domaine name, making wines with real character and grace. The 2015 "Les Argillieres" showcases the dark and fleshy fruit of Pommard, but with restraint and balance. It's never too tannic, earthy, or intense, peaking in the just the right places and exhilarating the taste buds with fresh acidity in addition to all that ripe 2015 fruit. This is a wine built for the distance, however, so no matter how good it tastes now, just know that it's going to taste even better down the line.

2013 Inglenook Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-08-2017
Previously known as Cask Cabernet and made from the same estate fruit as the Rubicon, the big difference between the Rubcon and what is now known as simply the Inglenook Rutherford Cabernet is the barrel selection and the use of both American and French oak. While it doesn't have the sweet spices or the exotic scents from that heavier French oak influence, what you get from the standard Inglenook is a wine that has every bit the quality of the Rubicon in terms of fruit, structure, and concentration, but for a price that's about 70% less. The Rubicon typically sells for $170 - $200, but in no way are you settling here taking the Inglenook at $59.99. This wine has an incredible bouquet of dark, juicy Cabernet fruit as well as ripe tannins that reflect the impeccable quality of the 2013 growing season in Napa. However, whereas many of the $50 -$75 wines I taste from Napa today are meant to drink now, the Inglenook is a wine with loads of potential beyond 2017. It has the guts for a serious ten to twenty year run in your cellar, but with some decanting and a nice rib eye you can definitely coax all that gorgeous fruit out of the bottle and into your glass tonight. While my professional opinion would be to wait as long as you possibly can, I'm fully aware that wines this tasty tend to get opened in the short term. Either way, you're going to be very, very happy with the Inglenook.

2015 Kalinda Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-07-2017
In an age where customers want to know every detail about what they're drinking, it's our job with the Kalinda label to find wines so delicious and well-priced that customers forget all about the specs and dive right into the bottle based on flavor alone. This 2015 Sonoma Coast pinot noir offers the essence of a true California expression with black cherry, spice, and balanced acidity thanks to the coastal breeze. We can't reveal our sources, but I can reveal to you that this wine is utterly delicious.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2016 Kalinda Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-07-2017
I can't tell you how nice it is every once and a while to taste a classic cool climate California pinot noir with a nice little zip of acidity. With bramble fruit rather than soft cherry. With savory herbs rather than sweet baking spices. The latest installment in the Kalinda series is a quintessential Anderson Valley pinot noir that should serve as a reminder to domestic drinkers than California pinot extends far beyond Sonoma, Santa Cruz, and the Central Coast. Those who want something in between Oregon and Burgundy need not look outside the state. We've got it all here in the Golden republic and this wine has it all going on as well. Black fruits with real tartness, earth and subtle forest floor. This is a terroir-driven cuvee for a great price thanks to our Kalinda label.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$24.99

1996 Tamdhu 20 Year Old K&L Exclusive Old Particular Single Barrel Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-01-2017
This is one of the chunkier single malts I've had in some time in terms of sheer barley and grain flavor with potent oak maturation. It's so concentrated and rich that the profile comes across as almost herbaceous, but after about five seconds that sensation fades the whisky gives way to total decadence with huge toffee and vanilla flavors, baking spices, and more sweet stone fruit on the finish. The cask strength proof is really an asset in this case, adding potency and power to what is a massively expressive malt.
Price: $79.99 Add To Waiting List

2015 Jax Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-01-2017
I've been drinking the Jax wines for years now and I think I can safely say that the 2015 Napa Cabernet is the best wine I've ever tasted from the local producer. Their winemaker Kirk Venge continues to fine-tune this expression with every vintage and each time he seems to get better at doing it. The 2015 is his masterwork thus far. I've tasted it on five separate occasions now and the wine is simply perfect from front to back. It's also the perfect mid-range bottle for those of you who enjoy your Napa Cab on the younger and richer side, but I can foresee plenty of cellar life on the horizon. The dark red fruits pop with juiciness, but are buoyed by velvet tannins and plenty of acidity. It's never cloying or bloated with sweetness, but rather expansive and mouthcoating with just a bit of chewiness on the finish. The Jax Cabernet has always been my go-to fifty dollar Napa red. We've been tremendously successful with the brand for some time. But the 2015 goes beyond simple dependability. This is a masterpiece of modern Napa winemaking. Bravo.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 - 94

2014 Malartic-Lagravière, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 09-01-2017
Every Bordeaux producer I've spoken with thinks 2014 will be looked back upon as one of the best value vintages of the last two decades. Currently sitting in the shadow of 2015/16, two harvests with HUGE scores, it's a vintage that's getting lost in the crowd, which is a good thing for those of you who hunt for value. 2014 is classic Bordeaux through and through, and it was an especially good year in Pessac-Leognan, a region from which I've tasted dozens of incredible cuvees for less than $50. The 2014 Malartic Lagraviere was right there with the Domaine de Chevalier in my book for value of the vintage. This wine has equal amounts of dark cassis, herbaceous character, and fine tannic structure, but it still needs time to congeal. Buy six of these, throw them in your cellar, and forget about them for a decade. Then call us back in 2027 and tell us how happy you are.

2014 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 09-01-2017
Domaine de Chevalier is one of my all-time favorite properties in Bordeaux, and that sentiment only intensified after visiting the property this past Spring. Not only were Olivier and his wife humble and charming hosts, their wines were just as enchanting. I like buying wine from people who I respect and admire. It always tastes better that way. To say that the 2014 Chevalier Rouge is subsequently better than any of the other vintages I've tasted would be difficult. I've never had a bad vintage from the property and it's one of the few wines from Bordeaux that I'd say I actually "collect." What is abundantly obvious is that the 2014 is significantly cheaper than its 2015 counterpart (at $65) and the 2012 we have in stock now ($55). The wine is easily as good as both those vintages and if you're looking for one of the last real values in Bordeaux, this is it (another reason why I grab bottles when I can afford to). With delicate aromas of red berries along with fine tannins and the classic acidity of Pessac-Leognan, this is a wine that should develop beautifully for decades. It's a wine that allows everyday guys like me to drink the good stuff every now and again; and, believe me, this is the good stuff. If you only buy one Bordeaux from 2014, I would say it's this.

2012 Spring Mountain Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 08-29-2017
On the outskirts of St. Helena, rising behind the town on the west side of the Napa Valley, is Spring Mountain — one of the most coveted sources of Cabernet fruit in the state and a site that has produced a number of my favorite California wines over the years. Upon that hillside sits the Spring Mountain Vineyard Winery with a 226 acre vineyard on the eastern slopes that's broken up into 135 blocks, each with its own unique terroir. As you can imagine, this gives the winery a vast set of tools with which to construct their annual Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon release. I'm always preaching the gospel of "mountain fruit" to our customers, whether it's Spring, Howell, or Diamond, because of its concentration and complexity compared to what's grown on the valley floor. Mountain wines also tend to have more power and drive with the potential to age decades in the cellar. When fruit is grown on a hillside, it tends to ripen more slowly due to less direct sunlight (think of simmering your stew versus boiling it), plus the drainage is better during rainy months as the water will flow downhill rather than bog down the vineyard soils. The best Cabernet wines from California come from the mountains, no matter which mountains you're referring to. Spring Mountain, however, happens to be one of the best locales and the appellation has become world-renowned for wines with pureness of fruit and elegant, balanced tannins. What's fascinating about the 2012 release from Spring Mountain, however, is how soft and silky it is on the palate and how precocious the flavors are at such a young age. Its rich and plush at first sip, but it unwinds slowly into classic Cabernet flavors of earth and spice with hints of brush on the finish. All around this is a grade A Napa mountain fruit specimen, but the value really comes with the new discounted price. You could grab a case of this and drink well on birthdays and anniversaries for the next decade.
Price: Hidden View Price
JS 95

Louis Brochet 1er Cru Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-27-2017
This is an absolutely outstanding new addition to our direct import portfolio, one that practically leaps out of the glass and excites just about every part of the palate. It's brimming with citrus, but it's also slightly nutty and creamy, just enough to balance out the acidity of all lemony goodness. It's like a perfectly balanced Sidecar or Bees Knees cocktail, just in Champagne form. My new favorite Champagne in the store and a bottle I'll definitely be putting in many, many hands.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2014 Taken Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 08-25-2017
It's the ever-present question at K&L: what's a $20-ish California Cabernet (or Cab blend) that our customers can drink right now? As in tonight for dinner! Those who like their red juicy, full-bodied, with light oak influence, and plenty of soft fruit will definitely be "taken" by this wine. It has a particular set of skills...to quote Liam Neeson. If you're looking for a dependable CA table red that's a step up from the $10-$15 crowd, the Taken is a crowd pleasing choice. Meant for modern drinking in the modern age!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JS 93

2014 Gainey Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-25-2017
The Gainey pinot noir is immaculately soft on the palate even though it's a wine with enough acidity and tannic structure to age for a few years in the cellar. It's lush and dark fruited up front, but soon that gives way into a earthier note that finishes with a bit of violet and dried herbs. The estate at Gainey has been in the family since 1962 when current winemaker Dan Gainey's grandfather first purchased 1800 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley for farming. They've been making wine on the property since 1984, but expanded their reach into new parcels under Dan's stewardship, all while continuing the family tradition of serious Central Coast pinot noir. The 2014 Santa Rita Hills is just another great example of that heritage of quality winemaking.
Price: $28.99 Add To Cart
VN 93 WE 91

2014 Mount Peak "Sentinel" Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 08-18-2017
The fine and rather dusty tannins of the Mount Peak Cabernet should soften up rather quickly, giving short-term cellar fans something they can pop and pour before the end of the decade. Made primarily with fruit sourced from the Sentinel block of Monte Rosso vineyard, a shield-shaped section that marks the entrance to the property, the wine is dark and decadent, but never overtly oak or extracted. I think the big surprise of all three Mount Peak wines is how balanced they taste in the face of their huge alcohol levels. While I know most drinkers will gravitate to the highly-pointed red blend, the Cab is definitely the sleeper here. This could really open up down the line into something quite generous.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2014 Mount Peak "Gravity" Sonoma County Red Blend
Review Date: 08-18-2017
When a wine gets 95 points and a massive applause from Mr. Robert Parker himself, there's generally not much need to say anything more, but for the sake of context I'll add in a few more notes here. I was shocked by the restraint of this wine, which sounds ridiculous when talking about a massive 15+% CA red wine. The palate was fleshy, textural, brimming with black fruit, and full of concentration, but it was never too sweet, too oaky, or too much for me to handle. The blend was aged for 14 months in both French and American oak barrels, but only 30% of them were new and that's important because the fruit is what's on full display here, not the wood. For those who like big California flavor without sickeningly saturated or extracted profiles, this is great find. It's a more serious wine than something like Orin Swift's Prisoner and it's definitely going to make quite a few friends with its huge press and reasonable mid-range price.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart
RP 95

2014 Mount Peak "Rattlesnake" Sonoma County Zinfandel
Review Date: 08-18-2017
Having been the spirits buyer at K&L for almost a decade, I'm quite familiar with the idea of reopening "lost" distilleries, as well as the return of old brands that has been quite the fad over the last few years. However, I had yet to hear about an ancient California wine producer coming back to life until tasting the new releases from Mount Peak, a "ghost" winery that has been resurrected by Gallo (who have been busy in the boutique world, nabbing historic brandy CA producer Germain-Robin as well). While I was surprised by the history behind Mount Peak, I have to admit I was more surprised by the combination of power, potency, and finesse in all of the wines. Normally 15+% ABV wines are not my cup of tea, but these babies had gusto. The Rattlesnake zinfandel is bursting with berries, vibrant spice, and a silky, softly-textured body that coats the palate with massive concentration.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2009 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 08-18-2017
It's great to see how this wine has come around over the years. We've been getting shipments of the 2009 Coufran since the vintage was released in 2012 and I've been slowly tasting bottles throughout the years, watching what was once a merlot-driven and supple wine from a ripe vintage mature into a savory, complex, and serious bottle of mature Bordeaux. Tasting it today, it's at its most profound position yet. The wine is much leaner than it was a few years back and has shed some of that baby fat, now resembling something with age from St. Emilion or Pomerol. For the price its tough to beat, especially when stacked up against some of the other $20 bargains we have in the store. Few, however, show as much evolution as the Coufran. This is a Wednesday night steak frites wine at its finest.

1990 Poujeaux, Moulis-en-Medoc
Review Date: 08-17-2017
This is one of the more mineral, earthy, and powerful Poujeaux expressions I've ever tasted with balanced fruit that really provides the foundation for some of the wines terroir driven flavors. The finish is leaner with more gravel and earth. Good stuff for those looking for Bordeaux beyond simple fruit.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

1989 l'Arrosée, St-Emilion
Review Date: 08-17-2017
I really enjoyed getting the chance to taste older vintages from the Right Bank, especially from properties that no longer exist! L'Arrosee was purchased in 2013 by Haut Brion who merged the vineyards with Tetre-Daugay and called the new estate Quintus. Those who like their old school Bordeaux, both in historical and flavorful sense of the word, will really dig this. The flavors are savory with plenty of secondary development and soft tannins that flesh out on the finish.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
WS 93

1989 Lacoste-Borie, Pauillac
Review Date: 08-17-2017
The 1989 Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste has a reputation for superb quality, so in typical K&L fashion we went right after the property's second wine: the Lacoste Borie. Named for the Borie family, of Ducru Beaucaillou fame as well, the second wine lives up to the hype of the vintage. Still showing fruit after almost three decades, the tannins are soft, integrated, and the palate is like pure silk. Those looking for underrated value from Bordeaux should take note.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2014 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 08-14-2017
If a bottle of Léoville Las Cases represents first growth quality at half the price, I’d like to add that Château Léoville-Barton offers a chance to taste the Léoville estate quality for half the price of Las Cases. Let’s look at the 2014 vintage offerings as an example. A first growth bottle of 2014 Margaux will run you about $450, and a bottle of the 2014 Las Case originally sold for $150; however, the outstanding 2014 Léoville-Barton will only cost you $70 in comparison and if you look at the reviews from the industry’s most renowned critics, I think you’ll see raves across the board. It's because of this understanding of the Léoville property's history that insiders gravitate to the Barton expression. To use a whiskey comparison, the so-called “first growth” of Bourbon at the moment is Pappy Van Winkle, but since it’s either prohibitively expensive or hard to find, customers have gravitated over to the Weller 12 year—a whiskey made from the same stocks, but at a much lower price. In my opinion, a bottle of Léoville-Barton represents the same sort of secret value for true Bordeaux lovers who can’t afford Latour, appreciate Las Cases, but want to stretch their money as far as it can go. When putting together my shortlist for 2014 cellar contenders, the Léoville-Barton was right at the top of the list with Haut-Bailly and Domaine de Chevalier. The other endearing fact about Léoville-Barton is that it still remains in the Barton family’s hands, run today by Anthony Barton while his sister Lilian handles the Langoa estate. According to Peppercorn, both properties have been in the ownership of a single family for longer than any classified growth in the Médoc. In an age where a number of prestigious properties are being snapped up by foreign investment groups and corporate luxury conglomerates, it’s nice to know that some producers are continuing a family tradition put into place hundreds of years ago. I was thinking about this legacy when tasting the 2014 Léoville-Barton again earlier this week, the dark color brooding in the glass, representing the lifeblood of one of Bordeaux’s most historic dynasties. The wine is absolutely brilliant on the palate with dusty tannins, understated minerality, and a lush layer of hoisin, dark cherry, and grippy graphite. There’s a lot to wrap your head around in every bottle of Léoville-Barton, from the history of the terroir to the heritage of the Barton family's stewardship. For those looking to expand their understanding of Bordeaux, you get a lot of wine and wisdom for your hard-earned money.

2007 Clos du Marquis, St-Julien
Review Date: 08-09-2017
This wine seems to contradict everything I've experienced thus far from the 2007 Bordeaux vintage. It's expansive, palate coating, and supple with dark fruit and extreme elegance. It has all the textbook Clos du Marquis qualities, namely grace and subtlety. It's an overachieving wine from an underrated vintage that absolutely delivers for the price. Drink it now while you wait for the also underrated 2014 to age.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

1986 Chateau de Pellehaut 31 Year Old K&L Exclusive Vintage Tenareze Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 08-05-2017
ow at 31 years of age and at 48%, the 1986 is the big winner of the Pellehaut portfolio. It's better integrated, sexier, more seductive, and all around better than it was years ago when we last had it in stock. Simply put, this is the perfect expression of Armagnac. It has loads of richness, oak spice, and sweetness, but it also has traditional brandy character. It's raisined and round with gobs of fruit on the finish that start quite creamy, but then flutter out into more spiciness. This is the whole package. Distilled from Ugni Blanc.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

2001 Chateau de Pellehaut 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Tenareze Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 08-05-2017
Now 16 years of age and at 49.8%, this little number is just as I remember it: full of sweet oak spices, but now with more fruit and even a floral element that comes through from the Folle Blanche. Those looking for Armagnac that tastes like brandy will love this. It has the richness of a great whiskey, but it's totally vinous on the finish with raisins and grapey elements that linger long. Fantastic.
Price: $62.99 Add To Cart

2009 Branas Grand Poujeaux, Moulis
Review Date: 08-04-2017
I've come to expect nothing but bang for my buck when I drink Poujeaux, whether it's Chateau Poujeaux proper, or Gressier Grand Poujeaux, or Haut de Poujeaux, or in this case Chateau Branas Grand Poujeaux. There are six chateaux in Moulis that use the name Poujeaux and I've found that just about all of them over-deliver for my Bordeaux dollar. Branas is planted to 50% Merlot and you can taste that plumpness in the wine immediately, especially given the ripeness of the 2009 vintage. What the bottle age has done, however, is dial back the sweetness of the fruit, allowing some of the more complex secondary flavors come to the forefront. There's a bit of herbaceousness, but it's integrated beautifully into the supple tannins and lush blackberry flavors. The oak is still there on the nose, but now it's become intertwined with aromas of roasted earth. The wine is like silk on the palate throughout all that complexity, which makes this an easy pick for newcomers to aged Bordeaux. Yet, as someone who has consumed quite a bit of old claret over the years, I'm wowed by the value proposition here. This is a lot of Bordeaux for thirty bucks. A big wine with gusto!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 WS 90

2014 Haut de Poujeaux, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 08-04-2017
If I were to summarize my tastes as a booze professional, I'd say I like "classic" flavors. I like Bourbon that tastes like Bourbon, Scotch that tastes like Scotch, Chablis that tastes like Chablis, and most importantly Bordeaux that tastes like Bordeaux. While 2009, 10, 15, and 16 get all the hype due to their fleshy fruit flavors and supple mouthfeels, 2014 is a "classic" Bordeaux vintage and what's great for people who like "classic" flavor is that "classic" is considered less exciting these days. Everything has to be the "vintage of a lifetime" or no one cares. Fine by me!!!!! I'll gladly take 2014 Haut de Poujeaux for sub-$20 pricing if "classic" claret is no longer desirable. This is an absolutely delicious Bordeaux (that tastes like Bordeaux!) with a complex and aromatic nose of oak, earth, and spice. After ten minutes in the glass there's a hint of red currant, but it's modest. The wine's strength is in its simple typicity - it's a Wednesday night claret that I would be happy to bring to dinner on Saturday evening. There's an old story about how Baron Rothschild mistook the 1953 Poujeaux for Lafite. If I would have tasted this blind, I would have easily mistaken the 2014 Haut de Poujeaux for a much more serious Bordeaux. For fans of classic, true-to-form Bordeaux with texture and nuance, this is a fantastic deal.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

1973 Chateau Pellehaut 44 Year Old K&L Exclusive Tenareze Vintage Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 08-04-2017
Now at 44 years of age and at 43.8%, the 1973 is just as soft and enticing as it's always been. If you're someone who likes your aged booze smooth, silky, supple, and effortless, this is the brandy for you. Creamy and round with plenty of wood, the spice has become almost herbaceous at this point and it plays nicely of the vanilla. This tastes much more expensive than it is.
Price: $159.99 Add To Cart

2009 La Rioja Alta "Viña Arana" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-18-2017
The Vina Arana is the type of wine that launches a lifetime of interest in Spanish wine, mainly because it's so damn good and so splendidly affordable at the same time. I fell into Rioja in my mid-twenties because it was the only category it seemed where the top wines were in reach of my elementary school teacher salary. The 2009 Vina Arana from La Rioja Alta is like a flashback to that time in my life: you get the benefit of some bottle age that has softened the wine over the last eight years, creating a silky and soft fruited palate that glides over the tongue. There is fruit, but there is also just a bit of sandlewood and savory notes--enough to entice you even further. In short, it's a wine of simple deliciousness and yet utter complexity. Best of all, you get both of those qualities for less than thirty bucks. You can feel like you're splurging here for a very modest price.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

Paranubes Oaxacan Agricole Rum (1L)
Review Date: 07-14-2017
The Paranubes Oaxacan aguardiente de caña is one of, if not the, best agricole rhums I've ever tasted and it beautifully balances a smooth and fruity character with the grassiness and the intense cane flavor of something like Neisson. What it removes is the funk, the earth, and the sometimes bitter notes that send some people running for the hills. The aromatics are absolutely stunning—there is a pure and unflinching note of raw cane that absolutely explodes from the bottle. At 54%, the rum is no slouch. But it's clearly distilled with a master hand because it's incredibly polished despite all that intensity. I could drink this straight out of the bottle, neat in a glass, on the rocks, in a cocktail, or simply with soda. I can't get enough of it—it's that good.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2008 Le Brun de Neuville "Grand Vintage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-30-2017
This is absolutely DELICIOUS Champagne, a stunning specimen of the 2008 vintage. It's the total package. A vibrant nose of honeyed fruit and rich brioche, backed up by more richness on the palate, with a firm mineral note ballasted by a backbone of zippy acidity all the way through. The bubbles are fine and graceful across the palate with oxidized nuttiness on the finish. This is one helluva deal. Buy it for a special occasion and wow your friends. It tastes much more expensive than it is.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2014 La Chablisienne Chablis 1er Cru "Vaillons"
Review Date: 06-30-2017
The 1er cru offerings from La Chablisienne is where we begin to move from simple purity and deliciousness into the realms of serious complexity. The 2014 Vaillons offers the full gambit of textbook Chablis flavor from front to back: flint, lemon, oyster shell, crushed rocks, salt, and a bit of flowers on the finish. Buckle up because it's quite the ride!

2013 Yalumba "Triangle Block" Shiraz-Viognier Eden Valley South Australia
Review Date: 06-26-2017
Yum! All the juicy flavor of real syrah/shiraz with none of the cloying, overly-sweet, ridiculous ripeness that made most of the genre impossible for me to drink for nearly a decade. This is balanced, savory, perfectly-finessed Northern Rhone style wine with smoked meat aromas and a peppery finish, all for a price that allows daily drinking. I'd recommend anyone with a bias against Aussie shiraz to try a bottle and free their mind. The secret is Eden Valley's higher elevation and cooler climate versus the hotbox that is Barossa. Go deep on this one if you like value and true Rhone style syrah.
Price: Hidden View Price
W&S 93 VN 90

2015 Domaine Pernot-Belicard Meursault Ier Cru "Perrieres"
Review Date: 06-17-2017
While the standard Belicard Meursault is fantastic, the premier cru Perrieres expression dials it up a notch. This has all the richness and balance of the standard village release, but with more fruit, more nuance, more delicacy of acidity and fineness of flavor. It's a more polished version of an already great wine. This is for special occasions because man does it taste fancy.
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Pernot-Belicard Bourgogne Blanc
Review Date: 06-17-2017
The freshness of the 15 Burgundy whites is the most surprising part of the ripe vintage. Exhibit A is this lovely Bourgogne blanc from Pernot Belicard, brimming with fresh stonefruits on the nose, and a soft acidity that accents the medium bodied weight and fleshiness. Give this to someone who loves central coast wines from California and watch their eyes light up!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Jean-Michel Giboulot Pommard "En Brescul"
Review Date: 06-17-2017
This is the darkest and the most brooding of the 2015 red Giboulot portfolio. Blackberries galore on the palate with subtle spice and a rather full body for what I typically expect from Burgundy. You could pour this at a California pinot tasting and fool everyone into thinking it was from Sonoma. This is a richer and fatter Pommard that drinks beautifully already in its youth.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

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