Staff Favorites - Keith Mabry

Keith Mabry

Reviews

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

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

2015 La Source du Ruault "La Coulee d'Aunis" Saumur Blanc
Review Date: 08-14-2018
I met Jean-Noel Millon at a Biodynamic wine fair in Marseilles in 2017. I was immediately struck by the quality of his Cabernet Franc. Beautiful elegant renditions they most certainly are and show his philosophy of low intervention, traditional winemaking and quality terroir. But the wine that made me say, "Oh my GOD, what have we here?" was this 2015 Saumur Blanc. Composed of 100% Chenin Blanc on pure limestone tuffeaux, this is world class! A friend directed me to his table after he tasted it and said "I have found the Meursault Perrieres of Saumur" (yes, even though its' Chenin). The wine spends time in barrique which helps impart texture and richness to the full concentrated style of Saumur. The Coulee d'Aunis is full of roasted pear and apple notes, mandarin orange peel pithiness and notes of carmelized pineapple. It is richly textured but harmonious with that chalky minerality giving it a thread of tension that lingers on the palate. The wine should have some serious longevity too. I visited Jean-Noel months later at his estate and we tasted through some of his older reds and a couple older whites - SUBLIME!!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
DC 93

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

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

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

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

2016 Altovinum Evodia Garnacha Calatayud
Review Date: 08-08-2018
A new cheap and cheerful Grenache from Spain? Absolutely. Capturing all the juicy red and black fruit from Spanish grenache, it evokes flavors of mixed berry jam, cracked pepper, fresh cut laurel and a touch of graphite. The sweet and supple palate makes this my favorite new Taco Tuesday wine!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
JD 91

2013 Negretti Barolo
Review Date: 08-08-2018
The 2013s are very exciting and at this price point, the Negretti is more than worth a look. Filled with classic red fruit tones, dried flowers and a finish that lingers with a touch of fennel and strawberries, this is deft and almost ready to drink right out of the gate. Why not grab a few to put away though as you will be well-rewarded with a couple years of patience. Or go for it now, I'm having mine with some lamb sugo over creamy polenta.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
JS 94

2016 TED by Mount Edward Central Otago Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-08-2018
The Mount Edward Pinots are some of our best and brightest from New Zealand. The TED is a delightful entry point with its medium bodied weight and fresh fruited tones. Loads of delightful raspberry, rose petals and light spice notes it is a great contrast to many of the world's other pinots. A terrfic value great for daily drinking and that rotisserie chicken you just picked up at the market.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 93 RC 90

2017 Tenuta Roveglia Chiaretto Rosé
Review Date: 08-08-2018
A little story... This past week we had a special visitor from one of our southern French estates and she came to meet the staff and introduce some of her new wines. We had a big party with our LA staff and this little rose was poured as an aperitif. I wouldn't normally write too much about someone else's reaction but Severine (our visiting producer) was enchanted by this wine. Yours truly (me I suppose) was busy manning the grill and as such, everyone would wander by to pour a little something in my glass. Severine poured this for me because it was one of her favorite wines at that party. Now Severine is an accomplished winemaker, also making a top-notch rose in the Roussillon, and we couldn't stop talking about how fun and bright this Chiaretto was. Since I buy 99% of the French rose for K&L, I don't drift to far from my category but this Italian rose is quite the head turner. As an added FYI, we had some spicy lamb sausage, classic Italian sausage and grilled Mexican street corn rolled in creme fraiche and Cotijo cheese with it. On point on every level.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
VN 90

2017 Santo Assyrtiko Santorini Greece
Review Date: 08-08-2018
The island of Santorini has become the focal point for the next generation of wines coming out of Greece and after tasting this gorgeous white its easy to see why. The island of Santorini is covered in volcanic ash and pumice and has some of the lowest rainfall in all of southern Europe. A hostile environment for cultivation is not always the case for wine production. Assyrtiko, the island's most noble white grape variety, is trained into baskets low to the ground where early morning dew forms to act as its own drip irrigation system. The wines produced are magical, much like the island's austere beauty, brimming with viscosity and minerality. The Santo is probably the best I have yet tasted from this small cooperative. It is full bodied, with notes of citron, roasted peaches and crushed stones. It is long and expansive with a mineral oil like texture but an underlying acidity that cuts through on the finish. As one tastes a wine like this, and more like it coming from the island, you see why the wines from this area are growing in popularity. They have that extra something that is drawing people back to Greece as a wine region worthy of consideration when making your nightly selections. The Santo will expand in your glass as it opens, and often offers more on the second day. A perfect compliment to fresh roasted fish over a coal fire, but also great with legume dishes and easily paired with more exotically spiced dishes from places like North Africa or India.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
W&S 93

2015 Mas Karolina Côtes du Roussillon-Villages
Review Date: 08-07-2018
We met winemaker Caroline Bonville through our relationship with her cousin Olivier of Champagne house - Franck Bonville. Based much further south, in the hinterlands of Roussillon - near the Spanish border on the Mediterranean side - Caroline is making superbly rich and fleshy reds. The region is warm and her wines show that lovely ripe polished fruit. Based on a mix of soils ranging from the black and brown schist of Maury to the granite of nearby Lesquerde, she crafts Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre using organic practices and minimal intervention. The 2015 shows the ripeness of the vintage with its lovely layered flavors of berry compote, black licorice and sweet baking spices. It is a sexy and sultry red that is a perfect introduction to her style, the region and makes an ideal outdoorsy red for serving with the grilled meats of her Catalonian region.
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 89 - 91

2015 Domaine du Somail "Vin de Plume" Minervois
Review Date: 08-01-2018
Minervois is about as close to the feel of an old California ghost town as you might see in the south of France. The region is dry, warm and surrounded by scrubby bushes. The rolling hills and mountains in the background give way to fruit that has intensity and power. It almost looks desolate in some places. Syrah and Mourvedre have become some of the most popular grapes in the region as they are well suited to its climate. Domaine du Somail is a relatively new producer that has quickly moved into the spotlight for their non-intervention wine making style creating wines that beautifully reflect the region. Based on Mourvedre, the "Vin de Plume" has a beautiful meatiness that reminds you a bit of a baby Bandol. The Syrah adds depth of fruit and some spiciness making this a terrific food pairing wine. This is great with stewed bean dishes, classic pork pates and smoked duck breast.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2015 Domaine de Bila Haut "Occultum Lapidem" Côtes de Roussillon-Villages Latour de France
Review Date: 07-25-2018
Every visit with any of the Chapoutier properties is a treat. From the Rhone to the Roussillon, the vineyards are always pristine sites that create wines commanding the attention of collectors and critics alike. The quaint village of Latour de France is where the winemaking facility for Chapoutier lies in Roussillon and the vineyards surround the town and the outlying area. Roussillon lies in the shadow of the Pyrenees mountains and the variety of soils plus the sunny climate have an incredible effect on the outcome of the wines. Organic practices are easier in the region due to the cleansing wind and warm days. The mix of gneiss, limestone, granite and schist soils give each grape variety of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan the ability to best express itself. The Tramontane wind that sweeps through the valley cools down the grapes preserving freshness but helping to concentrate their acids and fruit. You can see why Michel Chapoutier was drawn to the region. The potential is abundant. Always a bigger, showier style, the 2015 Occultum Lapidem is one of their best wines to date (that isn't $100+ dollars). It has the deep rich concentration of blackberry coulis and currant jam but that freshness abounds. There are savory spices and mineral tones but the acidity keeps it well balanced. Supple tannins round out the finish saying I'm ready to go but you could drink me a few more years down the road. Anything with Chapoutier is always exquisite, and this in nothing short of that. It is the best Occultum yet. With Chapoutier at the helm and the quality of this region, I can't wait to see what comes next.
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2008 A.D. Coutelas Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-18-2018
I've been a big fan of the Coutelas wines since we started bringing them in several years ago. The Cuvee Victor was always one of my favorite to recommend to enthusiasts who wanted their Champagne with a little more esoteric edge since it undergoes a bit of a solera processing with all the reserve wines married together in perpetuity. The Victor is always a real complex stunner for the money. You'll notice it is also one of the most consistently well reviewed wines by our staff. So what about the 2008 vintage bottling from Coutelas? Superb as well. The tension in the vintage shows through with beautiful apple and pear aromas and hints of ginger on the palate. The weight is there for sure but the structure of acidity is focused and pure. I love the low dosage too as the wine has beautiful body so it doesn't warrant any rounding out. A great Champagne for now but a few years would do no harm here and just add a few new layers of complexity, if your'e into that sort of thing. It just so happens that I am.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2017 Domaine des Côtes Blanches Sancerre
Review Date: 07-18-2018
The Cotes Blanches has come a long way since we started our direct relationship. Each year, under the watchful eye of Nicolas Millet, the wine gains in concentration and intensity. The 2017 vintage was tricky with its frost but that never affected quality, just yields. Full of snappy minerality and salinity, the candied lime peel nose follows with notes of crushed pineapple and green papaya. Full of vibrancy it has all the satisfying markers of delicious Sancerre and because of our relationship, we received a healthy allocation over the next few months. This is the kind of Sancerre you'll drink all summer long and well into the cooler months.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2017 Bodegas Colomé Torrontes Valle Calchaquí Salta
Review Date: 07-18-2018
I'm a sucker for Torrontes. The aromatic lift and intense jasmine and tropical tones sing loud and proud. It is a wine that makes a wonderful aperitif and the region of Salta is the best provider. This high altitude lends better acid tension to help balance the panoply of floral and fruit tones that emerge. Fear not, though, this is a dry expression and wants nothing more than to be paired with some fresh farm cheeses or corn and chicken stuffed empanadas.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
DC 93 JS 91

2015 Domaine de l'Enchantoir "Le Pied à L'Étrier" Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame Rouge
Review Date: 07-18-2018
Saumur-Puy-Notre-Dame is a newer sub-appellation in the broader Saumur region. On the beautiful tuffeaux (limestone) bench with very poor top soil and at just a little higher elevation than the surrounding area, translates to classic cab-francy goodness. The Enchantoir has vibrant red fruit with notes of brushy herbs. There is bright acidity and a tart cherry tone that makes it sing with the pâtés and duck confit of the region. This is a wonderfully classic expression and makes a great daily drinker.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2017 Domaine Louis Moreau Petit Chablis
Review Date: 07-18-2018
I was fortunate enough to visit Moreau last year while passing from the Rhone Valley to the Loire. We made this not to on-the-way detour and I was happy to have done it. The wines from top to bottom are excellent, expressing some of the best values we have in white Burgdundy from Cote Chalonnaise to Chablis. Petit Chablis always seems like an after thought for many producers, but with Moreau, the wine has crackle and a sinewy frame. There is lots of green apple fruit, wet stones and a whisper of fresh thyme on the palate. It is the perfect accompaniment to so many foods but a classic butter basted pan-fried halibut would be my first choice.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

Arawaks Distillery "Clairin Vaval" Single Estate Haitian Sugarcane Juice Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 07-11-2018
This trio of Haitian single-estate rums is downright revelatory. Each fits a particular profile for me in how I would approach consuming them. The Vaval is pure earthy goodness and speaks volumes with a cocktail approach. The aromas of plantain, artichoke and green olives emerge with the potency to stand out and keep their integrity with a little mixology in play. Keep it on the simple side, a daquiri is all you need. Great stuff!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Douglas Casimir Distillery "Clairin Casimir" Single Estate Haitian Sugarcane Juice Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 07-11-2018
My first instinct when I tasted Mezcal was to run away. I loved the much cleaner vegetal and spice tones of Tequila. But my tastes have evolved and I would take a Mezcal over a Tequila almost any day of the week (almost). That first nose on the Casimir sent those same waves down my spine. My mind was discombobulated and the fight or flight instinct arose. I fought and spending even a few more minutes time with it, the savory meaty qualities of this intriguing rum emerged and I was hooked. Aromas of Kalamata olives, cured ham, leeks and ginger engaged my senses and this jumped to the head of the class of one of the coolest and most interesting things I've tasted this year. This is not for the uninitiated but fans of Mezcal and Islay whisky will have an easy time dropping into the Caribbean and feeling right at home.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Chelo Distillery "Clairin Sajous" Single Estate Haitian Sugarcane Juice Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 07-11-2018
Of these single Haitian estate rums, this is my sipper. I find it the most accessible in flavor profiles for pure clean rum flavors. You have the light vegetal tones of the raw sugar cane notes, but also some sweeter fruit tones and spices that make it so engaging. If I were mixing, a caipirinha would be my drink of choice.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2015 Ritual Chardonnay Casablanca Valley
Review Date: 07-03-2018
The fail safe for most Chardonnay drinkers is California. But why not lean a little south to Chile for an equally engaging and characterful style. Creamy ripe apples, toasted vanilla and a lively yet buttery texture give way to a fabulous drinking Chardonnay. What's not to love?! At twice the price, you would be in Santa Barbara but hey, we're in Chile.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 93

Mortlach 25 Year Old Gordon & Macphail Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-03-2018
If you've read this far you probably know that Mortlach is the base component for the Johnnie Walker's but what a shame that it is so rare under its own distillery label. From the beginning the Mortlach brings an assortment of new aromas constantly reshuffling and bringing you back for another sip. It is a beautifully long and complex style with toasted barley, honey and caramelized orange peel flavors that expand on the palate. A non-peated, non-sherry dominant style that shows the beauty of the grain and the character of extended aging. Tremendous!
Price: $199.99 Add To Cart

2012 Louise Brison Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-03-2018
The Louise Brison wines are my favorite in-between style. Not super acidic, laser beams, nor doughy-biscuity brulees. They are the "just right" in the fruit focused category. Notes of cherry, red apples and a bit of grilled toast with a fine bubble make this is a generous and engaging style that screams summer drinking! With its refreshing palate, it is my new house Champagne for these warm weather months.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2015 Feudi di San Gregorio "Rubrato" Aglianico Irpinia
Review Date: 07-03-2018
Aglianico ranks as one of the best regional grapes to emerge from southern Italy in the last few years. Produced primarily in Campania, this grape loves volcanic soils and always picks up subtle smoky mineral nuances when planted on it. Feudi di San Gregorio has brought us some pretty legendary Aglianico wines from their top DOC Taurasi wines but this value oriented one captures the spirit and essence of the grape beautifully. Plush black plum and raspberry fruit, a bit of mineral nuance, suave tannins and white peppery spices emerge on the palate and give you that beautiful sense of place. Extremely versatile the "Rubrato" delivers the goods and makes the perfect foil for some classic pastas like Cacio e Pepe or even some simply grilled meats.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
JS 95 WE 90

George Dickel "K&L Exclusive" 9 Year Old Single Barrel #L8040K1007 Tennessee Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 06-26-2018
I've always been a fan of our single cask American whiskies and the Dickel is no exception. I've amassed quite a few over the years. I tend to just enjoy them so I don't often do a lot of spirits reviews. When I do, it's because something really stood out for me. This cask had such a beautiful nose of toasted spices and vanilla but it was the hint of peach cobbler on the finish that hooked me. Expressive, smooth on the palate (even at cask strength), this is long on finish. Another great K&L cask selection for my own collection.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

2015 Savage "White" Western Cape
Review Date: 06-26-2018
This is a wondrous white wine. Sitting somewhere between a Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc and Vouvray, it has a profile that engages the nose and delights the palate. Since it is made of such disparate grape varieties, like Chenin Blanc and Clairette, a muddled quality can often occur but the Savage is a wine greater than the sum of its parts. Aromas of white peaches, quince and papaya are intermixed with a leesy hazelnut tone. The wine has full-bodied texture and simmering acidity that keep it bright and deft on the palate. The only drag to this wine is that I didn't discover it myself. Kudos to Stefanie Juelsgaard, our new South African wine buyer, for finding this wine. It's now one of my new favorites of the year.

2017 Zudugarai "Amats" Getariako Txakolina
Review Date: 06-26-2018
I remember visiting this property several years ago with Spanish buyer Joe Manekin and was immediately taken with the zesty and vibrant nature of the wine. In the evening, we wandered among the pintxo bars in San Sebastian and tasted many Txakolis and Sidres along the way but the "Amats" always ranked as one of my favorites. I'm always happy when a new vintage arrives and I can pound my glass on the table Baque-style sipping this crunchy wine with a little bacalao omelette, some grilled sardines and sheep's-milk cheeses.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2016 Pence Ranch Estate Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-26-2018
The Pence draws you in with its brambly raspberry fruit and spice undertones and keeps you coming back for more with its silky palate feel. A generous yet balanced style that reminds me of some better know producers like Flowers and Melville but priced smartly and ready to drink. A perfect go-to style for weeknight or weekend drinking, whatever your budget may be.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 WE 92

2015 Martin Ray Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 06-26-2018
Oozing with juicy blackcurrant and blueberry fruit, the Martin Ray is a truly satisfying rendition of a Napa Valley Cabernet. It lands firmly on the side of modern but never quite goes over-the-top and retains its regional character. Fleshy and warm fruit compote on the palate and a sweet lingering finish lead me to one of my favorite drink now styles. It has the advantage of accessibility and drinks like many other Napa Cabs that would be priced twice as much.
Price: $25.99 Add To Cart
JS 91

2011 Foundi "Estate" Xinomavro Naoussa Greece
Review Date: 06-21-2018
Greek wines have really come to the forefront of my radar in the last few years. The whites have been quite magical for some time with the perfumed Moschofileros that sit somewhere between dry Muscat and Viognier on the aromatic scale and the Assyrtikos of Santorini which have been critical darlings for their viscosity and intensity reminiscent of Grand Cru Chablis (but with their own schtick). What about the reds though? Most have been juicy and a touch over-ripe but fun to drink with souvlaki or grilled lamb. But now, I think we have hit the turning point and that comes with the grape called Xinomavro (ksee-NOH-mah-vroh). The grape is often referred to as the Nebbiolo of Greece and it's easy to see why (the grape translates to acid-black) with its bright acidity and leathery tannins and black fruit notes. It has similar smoky gamy qualities too that make it the perfect foil for all the meaty dishes on the Greek (or Mediterranean table). The Foundi estate bottling comes from a single parcel in the hills of Naoussa, one of northern Greece's best regions for Xinomavro production. Other greats from the region have included Karydas (also a single vineyard project) and Kir-Yianni. The Foundi is next level, taking its queue from Barolo and Barbaresco. Mulled cherries, red flowers, savory spices and notes of smoked meats. It is full bodied with fine tannins. As for longevity, sure, you could probably put it away for a few years but it is ultra fun to enjoy now. There is so much potential in these wines, plus its fun to say, "ksee-NOH-mah-vroh."
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 95 DC 91

2012 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 06-20-2018
It's not often that I say this is my favortie "Drink Now Brunello" but the generosity of the Fortuna is such that, it is nigh irresistible. Full of perfumed and sexy red fruit, the openness of the vintage shines through but the acid and structure says, "I will drink great for a decade or more." Perfect pairing for some braised lamb shanks or a porcini risotto.

2016 Kaiken "Ultra" Malbec Mendoza Las Rocas
Review Date: 06-20-2018
"Ultra" is right. This is pure juicy Malbec with gorgeous black currant, plum and raspberry fruit. Almost bordering on hedonistic, the polished sweet tannins frame this wine making accentuating the chocolate-y tones. This is the perfect compliment to any Asado (Argentine BBQ) or just classic American fare. My new go-to steak wine.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 94

2015 Bodegas Abanico Hazaña Viñas Viejas Rioja
Review Date: 06-20-2018
The Abanico fires on all cylinders with its generous red and black fruit flavors. This fleshy and modern styled Rioja, makes the perfect crossover wine for people a little intimidated by the more traditional dustier styles of classic Rioja. Perfect pairing for some cumin spiced lamb chops and a salad of bitter greens and herbs.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart
JD 91

2016 Cantina Valle Isarco "Aristos" Pinot Grigio
Review Date: 06-06-2018
Most of Italy's best whites come from the Alto Adige region. Cantina Valle Isarco is stellar and already makes one of my favorites - their Kerner. It always blows my mind. I have tasted many of their other whites and they too are huge standouts. And that brings me to their Pinot Grigio which I have tried on many an occasion as well and it always stands head and shoulders above others in the category. The 2016 is no exception with its lovely nose of citrus zest, apple and pear tones and subtle white flower notes. It is sexy and silky and crushes the dynamic that Pinot Grigio is a watered down grape variety. This is a pristine and mineral driven wine that rivals the French Pinot Gris' of that other famous PG producing region - Alsace. What lovely company to keep.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart
DC 97

2015 Château Pesquié "Terrasses" Ventoux
Review Date: 06-06-2018
Pesquie is so good at what they do, their wines seem to transcend vintage. The Terrasses in particular always delivers copious fruit with an elegant mouthfeel and supple tannins and continues to be a wine that consistently over-delivers for the money. Pesquie is in the heart of Ventoux at higher elevation protected from the extremes of the Mistral winds so the weather stays consistent. In a great vintage like 2015, all things come together harmoniously to produce one of their best wines in quite some time. (And that is saying something as both the '13 and '14 were pure pleasure in a glass.)
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2015 Guy Farge "Harmonie" Cornas
Review Date: 05-28-2018
What began as an exploratory expedition quickly forged into a new K&L direct relationship. I met Guy Farge through an agent at the ViniSud wine fair back in February. I tasted his line-up and was quickly smitten with the wines. I immediately booked some time to visit him in March when I would visit the Rhone Valley in search of new producers and great wines from the 2015 vintage. Guy makes a range of Northern Rhone wines but he is best known for his two Saint-Joseph cuvees and this knockout Cornas. Farge owns about 2.7 hectares in Cornas with 1.7 of those in the Renard lieu-dit. This crazy sloped parcel sits between two of the most prestigious neighbors you could have in the region - August Clape and Thierry Allemand. We stood at the top of Renarde together and he pointed out his neighbors. Vertigo only begins to describe my reaction. His Cornas vines aren't terraced like the Hermitage or Cote Rotie vineyards (which are still pretty vertigo inducing). I grabbed a handful of granite stones for my collection and slowly climbed my way back to the top of the vineyard. Guy's style of winemaking is pretty traditional, doing stem inclusion during fermentation and barrel aging in barrique with minimal new oak included. This wine is pure Cornas though with its meaty gamy black fruit and leathery tannins. There is a suppleness to the wine and great length. It is an outstanding expression that gives us terrific insight into the ability of this producer and only makes us more excited to see what else is on the horizon.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
JD 94 RP 91

2015 Xavier Vignon Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 05-28-2018
Where the Cuvee Anonyme is pure hedonism, the regular CDP is a touch more traditional. Let's not kid ourselves, Xavier Vignon makes bigger styled wines and we love him for it. This wine though, feels more naturally Chateauneuf. The lovely confiture of cherry and strawberry fruit has a sweet brambly edge that is accented with a nice dose of garrigue and spice. The wine finishes with finesse and length that is part old school but firmly planted in the realm of ripeness. I love the juiciness and want to drink this wine at my next barbecue of garlicky sausages and marinated flank steak. A real treat!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
JD 93 RP 91

2015 Xavier Vignon "Cuvée Anonyme" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 05-28-2018
The 2015 has oodles of fruit. Loaded with liqueur-like concentration, this is one for a little bit of cellaring. If you want to roll with outright hedonism though, go for it. This is like a baby Clos des Papes and at half the price! A must buy for any serious collector or CDP enthusiast!

2015 Xavier Vignon Vacqueyras
Review Date: 05-28-2018
The plateau of Vacqueyras lies just to the south of Gigondas but seems to have more in common with nearby Chateauneuf. The ridge gets the sun exposure and the gravelly soils (smaller than the big pebbles from CDP) provide great drainage driving the roots of the vines down deep into the soil. The wines are downright meaty and Xavier Vignon has captured that quality here. This is bold rich wine that drinks like a top-tier CDP. The roasted fruit explodes from the glass but never comes off as too heavy. Vignon knows how to straddle the fine line between extraction and balance and he does it so well here. Worthy of a decant or a few years down in the cellar, this will not disappoint over the coming years.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 91 - 93

2015 Xavier Vignon Cairanne
Review Date: 05-28-2018
Cairanne is an often overlooked Cru appellation that is finally getting its due. The sloped hillsides provide great sun exposure delivering beautifully fruit forward and concentrated reds. Not quite as heavy as the wines of neighboring Rasteau but still possessing more blue and black fruit notes. Xavier Vignon has made a gorgeous wine here capturing the essence of the region with its lush body and richness. Not quite full throttle but leaning into the wind for sure. Serve this beauty with some pepper and herb crusted lamb chops and you're in for quite the treat.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
RP 91 - 93

Xavier Vignon "SM" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 05-28-2018
This blend of Syrah and Mourvedre has all the sexy notes of roasted fruit, smoky garrigue and gamy notes. It is robust and lush and fills all the savory satisfaction I look for in a Rhone wine. Drink this beauty over the next 5-10 years.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2014 Domaine Vincent Carême "Le Peu Morier" Vouvray Sec
Review Date: 05-22-2018
When you taste a great Vouvray, the purest expression of Chenin Blanc emerges. It is a wine that unfolds with grace and elegance but also underlying power. Dry expressions such as the Careme Le Peu Morier resonate and crackle on the palate with nerve and intensity. The feeling is akin to a Grand Cru Chablis but with more stone fruit notes. The Le Peu Morier even feels like a great Vaudesir from the likes of Dauvissat or Patrick Piuze, with its surge of energy, body and fruit intensity. The profile is still Vouvray, with flavors of grilled nectarine, smoked orange peel, blanched almonds and kumquats. It is harmonious and youthful and is the kind of white you should not fear decanting if you consume it on the young side. Cellaring is definitely not out of order here either. With a few more years, the flavors will enjoy even greater depth. This is a true beauty and a worthy wine for anyone who enjoys stunning whites of all shapes and sizes.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart
W&S 95 WE 92

2015 Château Saint-Roch "Chimères" Côtes du Roussillon-Villages
Review Date: 05-22-2018
There is no shortage of fans of Jean-Marc Lafage's wines here at K&L and I happen to be in that camp. The Chimeres is robust, full bodied and long on the palate with its meaty smoky brambly black fruit and roasted mineral notes. It is classic Roussillon. This wine will deliver for hours in the glass and maybe even a few extra days in the bottle if you don't finish it right away. Never a problem though at my house when Lafage is behind the winemaking.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2016 Baron de Montfaucon Côtes du Rhône Blanc
Review Date: 05-15-2018
Rudi des Pins of Montfaucon is a Clairette guy. Not to be confused with the red wine synonym for Bordeaux, Clairette is a WHITE grape variety that offers distinct mineral notes and crisper acidity for wines made in the south of France. Rudi makes a pure Clairette from his oldest vines but his Cotes du Rhone Blanc is a more fruit forward blend that adds a little Grenache Blanc and Viognier to round out the flavors and provide lovely orchard fruit notes. This white is loaded with white peach, pear and light jasmine tones. It is lightly floral and pure deliciousness. Serve this with a salad of smoked trout over greens or grilled halibut with a seasonal fruit compote slathered over it.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
WS 92

2016 Clos du Gaimont Vouvray Sec
Review Date: 05-14-2018
Delivering all things good in a Vouvray, this 100% Chenin Blanc hits the right notes with beautiful caramelized apple, candied orange peel and the ever present quince paste. Lots of texture, vibrant acidity and a dry finish and you have one of the best values in Vouvray I have tasted in quite some time. I want to drink the heck out of this and if you find a couple bottles in your cellar in a few years, even better.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
W&S 92 WE 91

2016 Clos de la Bonnette Collines Rhodannienes Syrah Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 05-14-2018
This special Syrah comes from an old-vine vineyard parcel just outside the Cote-Rotie appellation. It is loaded with brambly, peppery black fruit flavors and delivers the classic northern Rhone profile with a little more heft and lift. It is a pure expression of the beauty of Syrah and that is what Clos de la Bonnette represents. This is a wine that resonates and drinks like a Cote-Rotie but for half the price. You also don't need to wait long, the 2016 vintage provides lovely fruit generosity and supple tannins. This is a real treat for fans of the Northern Rhone and Syrah in general.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2016 Clos de la Bonnette "Roches d'Arbuel" Condrieu
Review Date: 05-14-2018
I have the softest of spots in my heart for the vineyards and wines of Clos de la Bonnette. What proprietors Isabelle Guiller and Henri Montabonnet have accomplished is nothing short of remarkable. Restoring this ancient vineyard in Condrieu is the biggest labor of love I have seen in my many years in the wine industry. It is a beautiful site and the wines it is producing are exceptional. Isabelle leans towards the more restrained style of aromatics in her Condrieu. The wine shows an Anjou pear nose and lovely finesse with light jasmine notes. It is balanced and harmonious which is not something we always say with Viognier based wines. This is purity defined and so elegant, I can't resist it.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 JD 90

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