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Staff Favorites - Chris DePaoli

Chris DePaoli

Reviews

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2019 Bodega Chacra "Cincuenta y Cinco" Pinot Noir Rio Negro Patagonia
Review Date: 08-08-2020
Elite. I've claimed more than once this is my favorite producer in South America, and I see absolutely nothing to change that opinion based off this stellar edition of their "Cincuenta Y Cinco." This bottle has become a benchmark for Pinots anywhere near this price point in my book and this vintage is a showstopper, with the classic, dark, desiccated cherry notes bundled up with ceder and sweet twig tones that are embellished by a touch of oak. The firm tannic profile rounds the palate, pairing with obvious, high-elevation induced acidity to provide framing. Marrying Old World finesse with New World power, this is the crème de la crème.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2019 Laberinto "Cenizas de Laberinto" Sauvignon Blanc Maule Valley
Review Date: 08-07-2020
I've seen this movie before, but rarely done as well. Wines with round rich noses and this much focus and precision on the palette are usually disjointed at best, but this bottles takes that asymmetry and rides it to a complexity that distances it from lesser productions. Not so much challenging the Loire at it's own game as riffing off the catalog of the great Sancerres and Touraines with a new tune, this has a long, mineral, incredibly dry finish that lingers with stony, briny notes pushing around the classic grassy tones this grape always brings. The nose brings the New World credentials, with a warmer lemon and lychee melange that serves almost as an Apéritif to itself. Incredibly interesting wine that's also really, really good.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2018 Fromm Pinot Noir Marlborough New Zealand
Review Date: 08-04-2020
We've been bringing in Fromm directly now for a number of years and there's the obvious reason why: they make really good juice. Big dried cherry notes mix it up with a oak spice that pumps the herbal tones overlapping the whole thing into overdrive, trailing off the fruity open into a softer, savory finish that is carried leagues by the solid tannic structure. Solid as always.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2017 Catena Zapata "Catena DV - Tinto Histórico" Red Blend Mendoza
Review Date: 07-18-2020
Meat is to Argentinan cuisine what the guitar is to rock'n'roll and this Argentinian bottle was made for Argentina. Taste exactly how it should. Huge and happy, this has got black fruit and spice notes, and lilacs all dancing around the friendly glass. Begs for BBQ.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2012 El Coto "Coto de Imaz" Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-18-2020
Dry blackberry and old leather and sage all climb out of the glass, hinting towards the stately palete that finds fennel and red fruit notes and dusty mocha notes near the mid and finishes with a long, plummy flourish. A bottle that's been allowed to grow up in the eight years between vinting and release, this is sophisticated juice that can complement a nice steak, but is enjoyable enough to disappear from the glass before anything is done cooking

2006 Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-18-2020
This is a wonderful, drink now and often Gran Reserva with a verve that belays its age, but a developed finish that pays credit to it. Red fruit and cola notes all over the nose are continued on the palate and followed by the sweet wood notes of classic Rioja. Defined tannins and a rounded acid profile make this a perfect pairing for peppery pork.

2018 First Drop "Mother's Milk" Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 07-16-2020
I tasted at First Drop Wines in the Barossa Valley in one of my first weeks in the industry. They've got a fun, exciting cellar door and staff, and that happy ethos is baked into every one of their wines. A wine that disappears as soon as you open it. Fruity and light, with a smoky frame, and great for barbecue or burgers.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2018 Adegas Valtea Albariño Rias Baixas
Review Date: 07-14-2020
This is a delightful albarino that is so fit for summer. With a green, floral tinged palete that finishes and the classic salty finish you expect from this grape, this is a great offering. Classic, and good for it, this wants fried food, fish, shellfish or grilled veggies. Easy.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2018 Kumeu River "Kumeu Village" Chardonnay Kumeu
Review Date: 07-14-2020
Kumeu makes some of the most serious, focused white wine in New Zealand, and maybe the entire Southern Hemisphere, making this fun, lifted glass of wine all the more enjoyable for it's distinctiveness. Medium bodied - with citrus, cantaloupe and honey tones, the warmth is balanced by a saline acidity at the finish.

2016 Família Nin-Ortiz Nit "Planetes de Nin" Priorat
Review Date: 07-11-2020
At its best, new wave Priorat is as good as the old guard, but with a renewed focus on vibrancy and freshness that counter balances the natural richness in the area. This is one of the most exciting bottles I've had in a long time, with an obvious balance that is only matched by the youthful grip that promises a long, fine ageing period. Drinking it now though - with a lot of air - the rocky, savory tones relax, and allow the cherry fruit notes to rise up and out of the glass, along with the fresher herbal tones that come out from under the more dried tones that show earlier. Serious Spain.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

2016 Errazuriz "Max - Reserva" Chardonnay Aconcagua Costa
Review Date: 07-03-2020
A do-a-little-of-everything chardonnay that does the right things well. Crisp and clean, but with a nice hit of round fruit on the nose that comes from the warm apple notes on the palate. There's a zippy salinity through the whole thing that ends in a zesty lemon curd. Stoney towards the back and weighty body. This bottling has a strong coastal vibe befitting its pacific origin. Great Value.

2016 Vinos del Viento "Montaña La Ermita de Santa Bárbara" Garnacha Campo de Borja
Review Date: 06-30-2020
Sleek and supple, Montaña La Ermita de Santa Bárbara has a complexity fitting the old mountain vines that produced it's fruit. The umami edges complement the dark, high-tone fruit notes perfectly, giving it an exotic lifted mid-palate that climbs out towards the finish. The palate is played in the middle, long into the finish where it spreads out pleasurably. With a nice weight and ceder-chocolate undercoat, this classic Spaniard has just a touch of California in it. A case of this stuff is going to transition pretty spectacular from Summer BBQ to Fall roast and stews.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2017 Calera Central Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-08-2020
Just the fainest hint of spice edges the ripe fruit and dark green botanical undertones of this killer bottle of wine. Rich in a more sophisticated way than I maybe expected from their declassified offerings, this is clearly still Calera, but has a good bit of universality to it. The meaty, saline finish has a nice length and is just incredible pleasant. Pairs wonderfully with an afternoon in Golden Gate Park and soft goat cheese
Price: Hidden View Price

2017 Arboleda Chardonnay Aconcagua Costa
Review Date: 06-02-2020
An easy, made-for-summer chardonnay that's light enough to sip on by itself but with a nice little backbone to front up against grilled chicken, roast veggies, or good cheese. All lemon, limestone and pom fruit upfront fading into a nice stone finish, this is just really drinkable (technical wine term). If it seems we all get nerdy excited about anything that slaps the words "Cool Climate" on itself in the wine world, this is a great example of why.

2015 Marqués de Murrieta "Capellanía" Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 05-16-2020
White Rioja is unbelievable when done well, and arguably nobody does it better than Marques de Murrieta. They are staunch defenders of historic white production techniques for the region, and Murrieta's "Capellania" continues that tradition. Rich, powerful and incredibly aromatic, the juice is still focused with intense precision throughout the palette. Aggressively crushable, but also deserving of some careful aging, this is rare stuff. Lemon Meringue and custard on the front, fading into a slight white stone and saline mid, and ending with a bone dry, herbal finish. Absolute Fire.

2015 Bodegas Muga "Selección Especial" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 05-11-2020
A lot has changed since I last wrote a wine review, but thankfully upon coming back it seem Muga is still fire and The "Especial" bottling is still delicious enough to earn that designation. With about an hour of air this wine, while young, was fresh and flavorful and powerful, with the classic dusty garrigue and blackberry/blueberry crushed notes that often mark great Rioja. Open now or age, just make sure to drink.

2016 Adega de Penalva "Indigena" Tinto Dao
Review Date: 03-10-2020
This juice is so easy and uncomplicated. Anise, leather and blue berry are all over the nose, then the fruit moves towards red on the palate, with bright, high tone cherry notes over the recurring fresh leather. Exceptional value, and can go with a wide variety of food. This is the Portuguese answer to Cotes-du-Rhone and can slot into your weekly rotation wonderfully.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2016 Bodegas Muga Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 03-10-2020
Tasted before I ever saw anything in our system on this, and I actually had to go check we had the right price listed when I finally saw it. One of the best values in the store for hearty, high-quality reds that can upscale most dinners or meet serious fare at its level. Gorgeous fruit notes on the nose mix with a earthy, mineral combination on the palate that finishes long and strong. More friendly than any Muga I've tasted, but still deep and complex.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2018 Dom Diogo (Quinta da Raza) Azal Vinho Verde
Review Date: 03-09-2020
Incredibly hard to stop drinking. The lychee and mango nose is fantastic, but it's really the crunchy and tropical flavors on the finish that demand the next sip. BBQ's and pool parties could all use this juice. Soft and easy yet still mouthwatering, this is hedonism at its finest - Which is basically why we're all here, right?
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2012 Valenciso Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 03-09-2020
Balanced and poised, this is the Rioja lovers type of wine, the 100% Tempranillo obvious in the umami, dusty flavors that hedge into cocoa and espresso on the palate after showcasing the fine oak profile on the nose. A bit lighter than some Rioja's, time in the glass definitely lets the juice fill out and brings some of the easy, raspberry tones out from the back. Drink with savory food. Finishes for Days.
Price: $35.99 Add To Cart

2015 Baigorri Tempranillo Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 03-09-2020
A fresh, modern Rioja that's all sorts of fun, the juice is friendly and open even with some definite terra cotta notes backing the raspberry and rosemary on the nose that pushes to a deeper strawberry red tone in the palate and wraps up with a citron zest that would be perfect for Mexican food. A grippy bottle of wine, this needs some fat to go with it but has the acid to hang.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2014 Señorío de P. Peciña Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 03-09-2020
Big and Rich. Buttered toast, praline and strawberry compote all over the nose and palate, with soft, well-integrated tannins and a smooth, inviting finish. This wine wants to go with a big meal or a cool evening. Take it up to the snow for some spring skiing and grab some chicken or lamb to go with it
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2017 Cesar Marqués "Pico Ferreira" Bierzo
Review Date: 03-06-2020
This is Beirzo, so it definitely has a fun side, but also is definitely Serious Wine by any indicator. Poised and elegant, with plum, licorice and jasmine all popping out on on the wonderful nose, this wine really shows itself on the palate, with all those flavors joined by a cool umami and peppercorn that gives it pleasant kick near the end. Deserves a warm day and a nice salty, meaty meal.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2017 Veronica Ortega "Quite" Bierzo
Review Date: 03-06-2020
Bierzo is the wine you've been telling your friends you want to drink - even if you don't know it yet. Different little parts of your favorite wines all thrown in a glass and making a killer bottle of juice that checks all sorts of boxes. Dark black fruit, smoked meat, floral and herb flavors? Got'em. Medium light body that transitions from apps to entree seamlessly? Oh yea. Crunchy, mouth watering acid that makes you want the next sip right now? Duh. This could be the it-wine of 2020, get some.
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart

2015 Raventós i Blanc "de la Finca - Vinya dels Fòssils" Gran Reserva Conca del Riu Anoia
Review Date: 03-06-2020
A bottle of bubbles for the nerd or the neophyte, this is incredibly cool juice that's got all sorts of fun smoky herbs, almost a mesquite quality, over tropical fruit and fresher greener notes. Chalky mouthfeel and great acid all make me think of top quality champagne, but with a briny minerality that establishes itself well into the finish. High Level QPR

2015 Jaume Giró i Giró Brut Nature Elaboraciá Artesana Reserva
Review Date: 03-06-2020
A wonderfully round wine that is exactly what people are looking for when they search for the next great party wine in their lives. Rich enough to go with food, light enough to be enjoyed on it's own and noncommittal enough stylistically to please most palates, this should be your spring sparkler in any sane world. Light brioche notes with apple core and pleasant minerality, all played out a soft, long finish.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2016 Lafont-Fourcat, Bordeaux Rouge
Review Date: 02-25-2020
Solid Bordeaux at a laughably low price, this has all the things more serious Bordeaux drinkers want along with the accessibility you'd expect from this producer. With a noticeable sweet fruit note but also a savory backing, this can run the gamut of food pairings. Floral notes mix with black tea on the nose, while the sweet cedar flavors rise out of the palate along with cherry and smoke. With tame tannins for its youth, you don't have to wait to drink this at all.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2016 Casino di Sala "Rosso dei Tatanni" Toscano
Review Date: 02-24-2020
This savory, full Toscano is textbook Italian. The firm herbal notes opening up and pushing over to the darker, dusty minerality that keeps evolving in the glass toward the spiced plum skin finish. The red fruit beam that just flits through the entirety adds an unexpected complexity at this price point, while the tannin and acid structure is all ready for you to enjoy right now. A boar ragu would be ideal, but in the event you are not in the heart of Tuscany, Pork Roast, Brisket, or Tri-tip wouldn't be out of place.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2016 Tenuta Roveglia "Vigne di Catullo" Lugana Riserva
Review Date: 02-24-2020
Like almost every other staff member at K&L, I love Lugana, and live for the good ones. This "Riserva," bottling by Tenuta Roveglia is their dressed-up option - giving you all the crunchy Asian pear notes you should expect from any good Lugana, but also a weight and creaminess that pushes it into the serious wine category. The background on the palate of white stone and pleasant but present acid add to the experience immensely. A little bit of everything in the glass for the group of friends that all have different palates.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2017 Susana Balbo "Crios" Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 02-18-2020
Dark plum skin, white plum flesh, and pink pepper all over over vanilla, cloves, and lasting cream and coffee. Susan Balbo is an elite winemaker and these wines showcase that pedigree despite their entry-level price points. An excellent match for BBQ, Lamb or mushroom heavy dishes.

2016 Calera Central Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 02-18-2020
Incredible for the dollar, this is a round but not too rich chardonnay that just gets a hint of that classic California weight. Golden apple and crisp white minerality is wrapped up nicely by the touch of new oak that is keyed into on the finish. Again, an incredible value that is ridiculously good for the price.
Price: Hidden View Price

2016 Larkmead Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 02-18-2020
A Napa Valley icon that qualifies itself for that designation year after year, Larkmead's Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is delicious: full stop. Incredibly pretty, with dark black and purple fruit bridging the lavender nose and black pepper finish. A soft herbal note runs parallel to the main palette but in the background, only really asserting itself right before the end. With a grace that belies its power and weight, this bottle wants you to love it, and makes it easy to do so.

2019 Allan Scott Family Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 02-18-2020
Bottled summertime - Pear, peach, guava, kiwi and and honeydew all pop out of the glass on the nose, with clean, pure notes that transition happily to the palate, where they're joined by rounder cream, basil and juniper notes that frame out the entire experience wonderfully
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

Krug "Grande Cuvée" 168ème Édition Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-14-2020
Absolutely fire. One of the most immediately gratifying bottles of wine we've had the pleasure of tasting here recently, the 168 takes richness to its logical end, with vanilla, toasted almond and toffee meeting the peach and cherry fruit notes perfectly in the middle of the cream dominated palate. The depth of the reserve wine shows itself in the finish that never quite ends and the quality of the base 2012 vintage is as clear as ever in the rounded, perfectly integrated lines. Iconic in any edition, perfect in this one.

Krug "Grande Cuvée" 167 Ème Édition Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-14-2020
Krug's elite status is owed to many things, but none more so than the ridiculous amount of reserve wine the production team can use to amend any base vintage into an incredible cuvée. The 167 is not the broad, powerful wine the label is known for, but is more interesting for it, with light peach and cream notes over delicious butttered toast in the front of the palate fading out towards pretty floral and mineral tones on the finish. Will age for the longest time. This is a wine that deserves cellering and will pay off the effort with interest.

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 02-11-2020
One of the K&L staff's all-time favorite producers earned its place for a reason, and the non-vintage Franck Bonville Grand Cru is another phenomenal example of classic blanc de blanc champagne. Floral, and bright, this wine fills the glass with Asian pear notes and subtle cream and chalk that, when matched with bracing acid, make for an awesome drink by itself or with many foods....Fried Chicken anyone?
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Ariston Aspasie "Réserve" (formerly Carte Blanche) Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-11-2020
Warm candied oranges and fresh herbal notes make this an incredibly delicious wine that keeps you coming back for another taste. I've always loved how the greatest champagnes are process driven, and in the Aspasie Reserve you can taste the level of effort five years on the lees gets you. This is another overachieving bottle of champagne we carry, and while I love the high end bubbles of the world as much as the next person, it's so easy to forget how good this bottle can be when you look at its crazy low price.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-11-2020
This stuff is bomb. I like to tell people I'm drinking more champagne recently, but I'm really just drinking more Baron-Fuente, and this offering, aged seven full years on the lees, is my favorite of the bunch. A rich and incredibly creamy texture that carries almond cherry danish notes over lemon meringue and dusty minerality that begs you to keep drinking it. Valentine's Day is almost here, and if you already splurged on the other trappings here's a relatively affordable option that can hang with the best of them. Absolutely Fire.

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Nature Champagne
Review Date: 02-11-2020
The no-dosage version of a K&L benchmark, the brut nature is certainly a little racier than its full dosage partner, but has a great weight and zest to it that is perfect for shellfish or most other seafood. The Lemon meringue notes with a touch of brine and a killer mouthwatering finish also match the classic fried food pairing wonderfully as well
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-11-2020
Putting the grand in "Grande Reserve," this is dollar for dollar one of the best value bottles we carry, not just within champagne, but K&L as a whole. The low price doesn't do justice to how good this stuff is, with broadening orchard fruit and limestone backed with Scarborough fair notes and a touch of Sandalwood. As appealing a party bubble as it is at the cost, don't avoid sitting with it for a while, as it opens up more and more as you look for more complexity.

2015 John Duval "Plexus" GSM Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 01-28-2020
It's well established here at K&L that I love anything John Duval has touched and his Plexus GSM is just another example of his exceptional winemaking. Elegant and complex, but still wildly accessible, this is a wine that will keep you warm til spring. Sweet, floral, African coffee notes on the nose mix on the palate with dark red and black fruits that all give way to a dusty, spiced finish. Unmistakable pedigree and a world-class bottle.

2017 Artadi Viñas de Gain
Review Date: 01-21-2020
I thought this wine cost a lot more when I first tasted it. Round and red with lush floral notes that drape over soft sweet red earth and matorral. This is Serious Wine, that scales up wonderfully to most levels of food pairings, but possibly works best with board of good cheese and fine meats
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2018 Te Mata "Bullnose" Syrah Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 01-21-2020
New Zealand's Hawke's Bay produces a handful of world class wines, but none so thoroughly prove the worth of place as the Bullnose. Complex, rich, opulent, and elegant, the nose is unreal, with flavors layered on top of each other to incredible depth. Ripe strawberry, rose petals, iron, and almond cake all come crashing out of the glass in a glorious melange that serves perfect introduction to the cheerful palate; which frames the continuation of flavors with strong acidity and polished, satin tannins. Just fire.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2007 Lopez de Heredia "Viña Tondonia" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 01-21-2020
An icon wine in any vintage, the 2007 Tondonia has style to burn, with a dusty, cracked pepper spice and exotic earth notes woven into the sweet red fruit underbelly, integrated over the long thirteen years it has waited to be released. The finish is wild, with the spice noted pushing forward emphatically but gently fading away as the round tannins and pretty red fruit notes take the closing sequence. Another example of the elite winemaking at Lopez de Heredia.

2016 Pedro Martinez Alesanco Garnacha Rioja
Review Date: 01-07-2020
I love serious Garnacha, and this bottle is doing nothing to dissuade me from that notion. Campfire smoke and blackberry compote and tropical flower and exotic spice and a touch of meaty pepper all explode across the palette with focused concentration. Decanting is optional, but highly recommended. The fully braced structure is softened by subtle acidity but this still would be unreal with a piece of game or board of smoked cheese.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2017 Clos de Luz "Azuda" Syrah Rapel Valley
Review Date: 01-03-2020
Wow, this is good. This is solidly one of the best under-20 Syrah’s in the store but it’s hard to find a good parallel for how this wine shows. Dark fruit, gobs of it, but cut across and balanced by dark earth and mocha. New world but nuanced and restrained. The Nose is class with dark floral notes, just a hint of pepper and fleshy black cherry. This is such a complete bottle of wine you could pair it with any number of dishes, but this would be a fire burger pairing.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2017 Clos de Luz "Massal 1945" Cabernet Sauvignon Rapel Valley
Review Date: 01-03-2020
South American Cab doing it's thing here, with ripe black fruit and a fine oak note that pops out near the finish. Soft nosed, with a pretty white floral edge. This is a really solid Cabernet for more hedonistic dishes. There is a classic defined peppercorn note that in a perfect world will bring the best out of a steak
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2017 Clos de Luz "Massal 1945" Malbec Rapel Valley
Review Date: 01-03-2020
This is one of the most interesting wines I’ve tasted recently, and I’m still wrapping my head around the distinct nose and complex flavors. As classic as it comes on the nose, with plums all the way down and soft herb notes running alongside. The palette is clean, with both light red fruit and dark black fruit fighting to push to the front. It all ends with a black stone and mint leaf finish that’s fairly unique, and the difference between this and most of the Argentinean Malbecs. Drinking these Clos de Luz wines has me incredibly excited about this new Direct Import of ours.

2017 Clos de Luz "Massal 1945" Carménère Rapel Valley
Review Date: 01-03-2020
South American wine fans have a hit here, with a classic example of varietal and region all wrapped up in one bottle. The bold capsicum is balanced by dried red fruit notes with the offshooting flavors of mint and peppercorn and game meats providing a great background. The palette is gentle, far more delicate than the powerful nose, with medium tannic intensity. Pair with Lamb and mint sauce if you can, this bottles is begging for it.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2017 Clos de Luz "Arao" Red Blend Rapel Valley
Review Date: 01-03-2020
Carmenere! The grape you're not drinking enough of if you like soft, rich, balanced reds with ample fruit and baker’s chocolate finish (Think Right Bank Bordeaux). This is a classic example, with an elegant weight and texture, soft, integrated lines and an incredibly pleasant finish. Ceder wood, soft fresh Bay leaf, mocha and the afore mentioned Bakers chocolate all touch on the blackberry compote core. You should drink this.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

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