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Staff Favorites - Blake Conklin

Blake Conklin

Reviews

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2016 Domaine des Carlines Chardonnay "En Lyas" Côtes du Jura Blanc
Review Date: 12-06-2018
I may have found my new favorite Jura producer, and the En Lya is definitely one of my favorite chardonnays this year. With fruit produced from grey marl soil (the same soil type in Chateau Chalon) this chard has it's own unique taste, and is a damn fine expression of the terroir. Slightly oxidative and quite mineral driven. This is a great bottle to showcase how versatile chardonnay can be.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2016 Château de L'Ou "Secret de Schistes" Côtes Catalanes
Review Date: 12-06-2018
One of my all time favorite direct imports is back and richer and deeper than ever. Like I've said before, this is my favorite time of year to indulge in syrah, and I'm just glad to have this one back on the shelf to drink whenever suits me. Vibrant and fresh, this vintage has stunning notes plum, mineral driven earthy flavor, and various spices. A perfect bottle for any Syrah lover.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JD 95 RP 91

2015 Wind Gap Sonoma Coast Syrah
Review Date: 12-01-2018
Spending several years in Sonoma County, Wind Gap hold a special place in my heart, as it was a tasting room me and my friends would frequent in the Barlow in Sebastopol. So seeing it at K&L and at such an outstanding value makes me happy. I've always been a firm believer that cooler climate syrahs is the way to go, and the Sonoma Coast from Wind Gap showcases this beautifully. Perfect with steak (of course) yet I really don't mind drinking this sans food. Worth a whirl, for the California wine lover.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
VN 94

2016 Domaine Vico Corse Rouge (Corsica)
Review Date: 12-01-2018
I've been finding myself really enjoying more and more wines from Corsica lately, along with Domain Petroni, Domaine Vico is easily becoming one of my favorite producers to enjoy as my every day red. With subtle earthiness, and a medium to slightly heavier bodied structure, it's an easy food wine to have with pork chops, unfortunately, I drank this sans food and only paired it with a killer selection of vinyl I have at home... Still a treat.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2012 Qupé "Sonnie's - Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard" Edna Valley Syrah
Review Date: 12-01-2018
This time of year is my favorite time of year to indulge on a lot of Syrah, and Qupe's Sonnie S Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard syrah is sure to be a repeat offender on my list... Especially at the 20 dollar price point. You really can't go wrong with this one. Six years of age, rich notes of black currant, white pepper, and brilliant acid. This syrah is asking for more and more each sip and before you know it, it's already gone. I think we found the California Syrah steal of the century.
Price: Hidden View Price
W&S 93 WE 93

2015 Te Mata "Cape Crest" Sauvignon Blanc Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 12-01-2018
Here's a stellar sauvignon blanc hailing from New Zealand that's bone-dry and crisp, and what an outstanding value! In many ways it reminds me of some of the sauvignon blancs I did actually really enjoy in Napa (like Illumination from Quintessa) yet it stands in a league of it's own. The 11 months it spends it French oak gives it many complexities, and so much flavor. This is a well made wine with great weight. Still on a SB kick even when the weather is getting a little chillier? Well this bottle is a perfect fit for you.

2016 Domaine Petroni Corse Rouge (Corsica)
Review Date: 11-15-2018
Here's a fantastic red that has a fuller body, yet it's easily drinkable. There are rumors that Nielluccio is either a descendant or genetic clone of Sangiovese, and seeing that this blend is made up of 50% Niellucio, I can definitely see some similarities... On top of that, this extremely tasty value reminds me of some of the direct import Rosso Di Motalcinos we carry in the store... but only a few. While I could imagine this wine going really well with some steak or even bulgogi, I can also really enjoy this one by itself among friends... Definitely worth a whirl.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
JD 94

2014 Ramey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-14-2018
If I had to choose my favorite steak wine right now, I would have to say it is Ramey's Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Soft, ripe, and packed with silky tannins, the Ramey delivers on so many levels and at a very fair price point, considering all the fruit is Napa fruit. David Ramey is a fantastic winemaker, and this bottle showcases his talents.

2015 Domaine Aubai Mema Grenache "Lunatico" Vin de France Rouge
Review Date: 11-14-2018
I have always been a sucker for Grenache, and the Lunatico may be my new favorite Grenache in the store. All hailing from a half century old single vineyard, Lunatico delivers subtle spice, medium intensity, and very lush notes of various mixed berries. Worth a whirl, perfect with Korean BBQ but also a pleasure to drink by itself.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2014 Meerlust "Red" Stellenbosch South Africa
Review Date: 11-14-2018
As the liaison for the Southern Hemisphere in our Hollywood location, I've always felt like South Africa was my goodest category, and the Meerlust Red is beyond exceptional, at the 15 dollar price point. Right bank style to it's the core, the Red possesses smooth and silky tannins, aromas of blueberries, vanilla, and flavors of plum, spice, and just about everything nice. This bottle was very approachable and a pleasure to drink either with some great BBQ or by itself.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine Jean-Michel Giboulot Savigny-lès-Beaune
Review Date: 11-08-2018
Here is an absolutely fantastic red Burgundy for under $30 (say what?!). The Savigny Les Beaune hits so many right notes. I feel like this bottle is going to be my go to for every upcoming holiday for the end of this year. It's great for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The acidity is really pretty, it's palate earthy, with a nice touch of holiday spirit (cranberries, spices, perhaps a little nutmeg) and the finish is so inviting... I'll take a case please! :-)
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

2014 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-08-2018
It's no secret that most staff members at K&L tend to lean towards Alexander Valley Silver Oak over the infamous Napa Valley Silver Oak, and it's not necessarily because we think one is better than the other, both are fantastic in their own right, but if you want a cab that leans heavily more towards a Left Bank Bordeaux style coming from California, then the Alexander Valley is your go to. The 2014 finishes bold, yet packed with silky tannic structure, which makes this bottle a rather easy drinker. With Cabernet dominating about 97% of the juice in this bottle, I will the 2014 Silver Oak is a fine expression of what Alexander Valley cab is capable of being, and definitely a fantastic wine to either drink or give for this holiday season.
Price: $74.95 Add To Cart

2017 Clos Henri "Petit Clos" Marlborough Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-08-2018
While the pinot is coming from much younger vines than I expected, the wine is very vibrant and filled with spicy herbaceous notes, I suspect there is definitely some whole cluster influence going on in this wine, unfortunately I didn't have any notes on it, but that's what my palate tells me. Being a sucker for that type of pinot specifically makes this wine an honest steal for me right under the 20 dollar price point, and a fantastic wine for Turkey Day. Worth a whirl.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 93

2015 Xanadu Chardonnay Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 11-07-2018
The Aussies keep finding a way into my heart with another wonderful Chardonnay coming from the Margaret River. Stone fruit and pears on the palate, and never a focus on the oak, the Xanadu is crisp, acidic and very delightful. Aussie Chard may have not found it's audience quite yet in Southern California, but it has found a lover in me.

2016 MWC (McPherson Wine Co.) Shiraz/Mourvèdre Victoria
Review Date: 11-07-2018
It's that time of year where I start to drink more and more shiraz/syrah, and the 2016 MWC is the perfect bottle under the $15 dollar price point. Packed with a lot of dark berries, pepper, and leather, I really want to consume this bottle with a really tasty steak from The Hitching Post II. I think I just found my every day Shiraz, and I think you will too when you try this bottle.

2010 Trimbach "Cuvée Frédéric Émile" Riesling Alsace
Review Date: 11-07-2018
Some of the best white wines I've had were some older Rieslings, and this 2010 Trimbach is no exception. The nose reminds me of a Chateau Chalon or even a sherry. The palate is is tangy and slightly nutty on the finish. Based on the nose alone, one could think this wine is going to have a sweeter finish, but it finishes dry and it's fantastic.

2014 Ramey "Platt Vineyard" Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 10-31-2018
I'm a big lover of most Sonoma Coast single vineyards and of all the Domestic chards we carry in this store, the Platt Vineyard from Ramey is easily one of my favorites... And considering what we sell a lot of single vineyard chards for, this is quite a fantastic value. Mellow malo and oaky notes, the platt vineyard is just right.
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 95 WE 93

2016 Truquet, St-Émilion
Review Date: 10-28-2018
I was pleasantly surprised by the 2016 Truquet, while it does seem young, it's drinking super well, and I may have just found a wine to drink on the regular during the holidays. The tannins aren't overwhelming, and overall this Bordeaux drinks like a breeze. Great texture, body, and silky black currant on the palate makes this beast easily the Bordeaux steal of the century.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2016 Cécile Chassagne Gigondas
Review Date: 10-25-2018
One of my favorite direct imports is back with a new vintage and it still never ceases to amaze me. 80% Grenache, 10% syrah, and 10% Mourvedre, as always, and no matter what, the taste of raspberries never seems to leave this wine... Always a crowd pleaser, this wine will always have a special place in my heart for many vintages to come.

2015 Buehler Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 10-25-2018
I have to say, the first time I tried this wine I was truly pleased. If you're a lover of that California style chardonnay, this may be the steal of the century for you. It''s easily one of the best values in the store, and while it does have the butter and the oak, it's never overbearing, which makes this chard an easy drinker. Definitely worth a whirl.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2017 Abbazia di Novacella Schiava Alto Adige
Review Date: 10-19-2018
The Abbazia di Novacella Schiava may easily be the Italian Steal of the Century. Aromatic and complex, this blend reminds of Gamay if gamay wanted to be a little earthier. This is another wine I would love to add to an epic thanksgiving lineup. There's so much going on in this blend, that you're getting way more bang for your buck under 15 dollars.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2017 Torti Pinot Noir Pavia
Review Date: 10-19-2018
As a self proclaimed Pinotphile, I'm always on the hunt for a new pinot that's coming from another region or country that I don't tend to have much pinot from. The Torti from Italy is a fantastic buy, and it's such an easy sipper too. I can easily see this part of my lineup for a big thanksgiving haul. And for being under 15 dollars, you seriously can't go wrong... Worth a whirl in every sense of the word.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2009 Bellevue, St-Emilion
Review Date: 09-23-2018
While I had no reason to doubt this wine, I was pleasantly surprised at just how good it was. 2009 is definitely one of my favorite vintages, and with 9 years of bottle age, the Chateau Bellevue is easily an outstanding wine and a definite crowd pleaser under $100. This is definitely a Bordeaux blend I will be drinking when it gets closer to the holidays.

2017 Domaine la Clef du Récit Sancerre
Review Date: 09-20-2018
2017 for Sancerre is really starting to show nicely, and the new vintage of Domaine La Clef Du Recit is beyond exceptional. With a fine balance of minerality and acidity, it's never overbearingly flinty, or acidic. It hits the right notes sip after sip, and it reminds me of why I fell in love with Sancerre in the first place. Fantastic terroir, limestone soils, that's all I need.
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart

2016 Mas de Sainte Croix "Tendresse d'un Climat" Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Valréas
Review Date: 09-20-2018
Mas De Saint Croix will always have a special place in my heart, as it was one of the first direct imports I tried when I first started working at K&L and fell in love with. I mean high quality Cotes Du Rhone Villages for under 15 bucks, what's not to love? The 2015 vintage of Tendresse was fantastic, and the 2016 vintage is nothing short of fantastic. With savory notes of creamy licorice and strawberries, this bottle is a solid every day winner.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2015 Sesta di Sopra Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 09-20-2018
Now here's a Rosso that stands out and feels like it's in a league of it's own. For real though, I never thought I'd find such a fantastic quality rosso, and it really shows in every sip, with it's chewy tannins, medium body, and various flavor for days. If you're already a fan of Sesta Di Sopra, you already know there is quality in this bottle.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2016 Nicolas Idiart "1911" Vin de France Rouge
Review Date: 09-20-2018
For the price, and what you're getting, this bottle is fantastic! If you're looking for a very approachable easy going every day red for under 20, look no further. The vineyard all 14 varieties are sourced, is over 100 years old, and you could really taste the quality in this wine. Steal of the century, I think so...
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2016 Clos de l'Anhel "Lolo de l'Anhel" Corbieres
Review Date: 09-17-2018
The Lolo is back, bigger, and dare I say better? Clos De L'Anhel has always been one of my favorite producers as far as our French Regional direct imports go, and this bottle is such a fantastic deal, and the perfect gateway wine into getting yourself into what the Languedoc has to offer... Definitely worth every whirl and sip.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine Jean-Michel Giboulot Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-17-2018
When it comes to red burgundy for under $20, I don't think you will find a better bang for your buck. Easily drinkable with a subtle tangy finish, this bottle of pinot is an absolute blast. Treat yourself.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine de l'Amandine Côtes du Rhône-Villages Seguret
Review Date: 08-29-2018
Being an avid buyer of Cotes Du Rhone Village blends for under 15 dollars, I had to get my hands on this particular blend as well. With 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache making up the blend, the Seguret is very approachable with enough structure, body, and fruit that make it an easy dinner wine. Definitely worth a whirl.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2013 Thistledown "The Great Escape" Chardonnay Adelaide Hills
Review Date: 08-23-2018
Now here's an outstanding value for the Chardonnay lover. With only a touch of 20% new French oak, and no secondary malolactic fermentation, the Thistledown prefers to focus on the acidic citrus notes that I tend to love in a Chardonnay. Not quite a Chablis, and definitely not a California chardonnay, the Thistledown is in a league of it's own, and it shows that the winemakers from down under clearly know what they're doing, and at an outstanding value.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2016 Fromm "La Strada" Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 08-22-2018
I never expected to enjoy the La Strada as much as I did. This clearly isn't your typical New Zealand sauvignon blanc... The flavor profile closely resembles a Sancerre, yet it has a personality of it's own... For under 20 dollars, you really can't go wrong with this one.

2017 Domaine des Côtes Blanches Sancerre
Review Date: 07-18-2018
To no surprise, the new vintage of Sancerre from Domaine Des Cotes Blanches is awesome. With what seems to be constant consistency, the 2017 has well balanced acidity, and a fine touch of minerality. While it would be a perfect summer sipper, I'm okay with drinking this year round and probably eating a butt load of oysters on the side. Definitely worth a whirl.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2016 GeorgeTown Pinot Noir Rosé Central Otago
Review Date: 07-12-2018
I poured this at a rose tasting recently, and this bottle was definitely pleaser with the crowd. Not only is the price point fantastic, but this is a great quality pinot noir rose for under 20 bones. It's crisp, the acidity is well balanced, and it's just a great bottle of sipping on a hot summer day.
Price: Hidden View Price

Mumford Brewing / Run the Jewels "Legend Has It" Dry Hopped Pilsner, California (16oz cans)
Review Date: 07-12-2018
As a big fan of RTJ and Pilsner beers in general, this beer was obviously right up my alley. However the flavor profile was more different than I expected, which isn't a bad thing. I'm generally more use to drinking pilsners from Germany, and this Pilsner is definitely a true California style pils, which is fine by me. Fantastic beer for the summer!
Price: $4.99 Add To Cart

2015 Lutum "Gap's Crown" Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 07-12-2018
Being a fan of the Gap's Crown vineyard., I am happy to say I was extremely pleased with this chardonnay. A touch of oak and a touch of mild creaminess, the flavors are never fuller bodied than it needs to be, and to me, this is what California Chardonnay should taste like, not the oaky butter bombs that California tends to be known for. This beast is easily one of my favorite wines all year.
Price: $46.99 Add To Cart
VN 94 WE 93

2017 Palafox Rosé Baja California
Review Date: 07-05-2018
While this weird and unique rose may not be for everyone, I like weird stuff and I particularly really dug this bottle of Palafox from Baja California. The grape variety is 100% Mission varietal, which is the oldest cultivated grape in the Americas, if that alone doesn't peak your interests, I don't know what will. This wine definitely falls on a fuller body flavor profile, and the acidity is more mellow than most, the finish is a lot like a cider, and it definitely makes for a fascinating treat. If you want to try something off the beaten path, you should totally give this bottle a whirl. This is easily one of my favorite roses of 2018.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2017 Stolpman "Para Maria" Santa Barbara County Rosé
Review Date: 07-04-2018
Now here's a rose that really threw me off guard. After reading the blend (50% syrah, 25% cabernet sauvignon, 25% cabernet franc) my expectations for this rose were really low. I was expecting a very bright fruit bomb with little character, but what I got was definitely more complex than my expectations. While there is a touch of fruit on the back of the palate, it's never overbearing, the acidity is well balanced, and overall, the Para Maria Rose is an easy sipper for a nice summer day.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2017 Veronique Anne Perret Vin de Savoie Apremont
Review Date: 06-21-2018
Another stellar vintage from one of my all time favorite white wines that we carry in the store. Floral and very aromatic, not only is this a fantastic wine for the summer, overall, it's a great treat to have all year long. Jacquère is very underrated, and I hope one day, more people will catch on to how delicious it makes a wine.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2017 Chateau Les Valentines "Le Caprice de Clementine" Cotes de Provence Rosé
Review Date: 06-21-2018
When it comes to a fantastic rose for under 20 bucks, the Le Caprice easily takes the cake for me... Crisp, elegant, bright acidity, this is definitely my first choice for a summer rose I should be drinking all day. Preferably in a swimming pool.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2013 Rymill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra South Australia
Review Date: 06-14-2018
There's a reason why Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted varietal in the Coonawarra region of South Australia, and the Coonawarra Cabernet is beyond exceptional for the 20 dollar price point. The flavors of black currant and cherries leave on long lasting impression that keeps you asking for more... Could this cab be the steal of the century? I think so. :-)

2016 Moulin de la Gardette "Cuvée Ventabren" Gigondas
Review Date: 05-14-2018
The 2015 Vintage of the Cuvee Ventabren was one of my favorite blends coming from Gigondas last year,and I'm happy to say that the 2016 vintage has become one of my favorites from Gigondas this year. This Grenache heavy blend just reminds me just how amazing grenache can really be, and it showcases beautifully in the 2016 vintage. Peppery, mineral driven, and deeply complex, this bottle for 30 bucks, is a fantastic choice for dinner or even by itself.

2015 Guy Farge "Harmonie" Cornas
Review Date: 05-14-2018
I love Syrah. Especially Northern Rhone syrah... and the Guy Farge is very exceptional syrah. I've had more than several dozen wines from the 2015 vintage in the Rhone valley, and while I haven't had a bad bottle yet, there are definitely some I know will age beautifully within time. With proper decanting, or proper ageing, the Guy Farge can be an incredible bottle, and for a $40 dollar price point, it really is a steal, when you consider it being Northern Rhone. Here's a bottle for the Syrah lover.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
JD 94 RP 91

2016 Les Terres Blanches "Ancestrale Blanc" Petillant Natural Brut (Natural)
Review Date: 05-14-2018
The Les Terres Blanches is a bottle of pure delicious funk, and I'm saying that in the best way possible. There's so many different flavors going on in this blend, and a beautiful chalky minerality as well. If you're looking for something different and want an awesome natural sparkling, I highly recommend this. This sparkling chenin blanc is definitely a game changer.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine de la Begude Bandol Rouge
Review Date: 04-30-2018
My relationship with Mourvèdre has always been an off again on again love affair. Some bottles I loved, and some bottles I loved more than others... the Domaine De La Begude is one of those bottles I loved more than others. Peppery, complex, and overall a perfect evening bottle among friends, this Bandol Rouge slays!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WE 94

2016 Poggiarellino Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 04-14-2018
When it comes to our Italian direct imports, Poggiarellino tends to be my favorite. Their 2016 Rosso di Montalcino is definitely a solid every dayer and quite possibly my new favorite pizza wine... The fruit is super concentrated and the acidity is vibrant and lovely. Definitely worth a whirl.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2016 Walsh & Sons "Felix" Syrah Margaret River
Review Date: 03-15-2018
While the label may look a little goofy, the Felix from Walsh & Sons is a serious bottle of wine. Peppery, lean, and packaged with a nice touch of old world flavor, the Felix is a great representation of what Maragaret River has to offer in the already rather complex world of Syrah.
Price: Hidden View Price

2013 Fable Mountain "Night Sky" GSM Coastal Region
Review Date: 03-15-2018
As most people know, I definitely have consumed a plethora of Rhone wines from all over the Rhone valley, if I haven't heard of or tried a particular village or appelation, I jump on it as soon as possible. The letters G, S, and M tend to be my favorites these days Wanting to switch things up for a bit, I decided to try Night Sky from Fable Mountain. I don't normally drink South African wine, but I figured, for 20 bucks, hey, why not? Let's do some exploring! If you're a fan of GSM blends coming from Paso Robles or even Santa Barbara County, the Night Sky from Fable Mountain is most likely up your ally. And at the price point we sell it at, it's a steal! This blend is a little more fruit forward than I expected, but it's extremely approachable, and I'm sure it will please the Novice wine drinker. Definitely worth a whirl.
Price: Hidden View Price
JS 90 VN 90

2015 M et S Bouchet Grolleau "Fleur Bleue" VDF Rouge (Natural)
Review Date: 03-08-2018
The moment I found out that M & S Bouchet were one of the pioneers of biodynamic farming practices, I had to buy myself a bottle and check it out. I wasn't very familiar with the grape variety Grolleau, so I wasn't completely sure what I was getting myself into... If you're looking for more approachable lighter bodied reds from France, this bottle is right up your ally. This wine has spice, subtles flavors of cherry and little no influence of oak, thankfully because M & S Bouchet is known for letting their wine age in large neutral oak casks for several years. Definitely worth a whirl!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine de Courcel Pommard "Les Vaumuriens"
Review Date: 03-01-2018
After working in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast for several years, I felt like I knew everything about pinot, but of course, I was wrong. There's very few bottles I can call a game changer and the Pommard Les Vaumuriens from Domaine De Courcel is one of those bottles. Surprisingly more tannic than I would have expected, this is definitely a bottle I want to revisit in a couple more years and see just how much it will change. While it's completely rocking in flavor right now, I do feel like it needs some time. Definitely one worth cellaring.

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