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Staff Favorites - Andrew Tobin

Andrew Tobin


2018 Kumeu River "Kumeu Village" Chardonnay Kumeu
Review Date: 07-14-2020
New Zealand has been really showing the world that you can make great Chardonnay at $20 that will still take itself seriously. In a time where prices on California have been soaring Australia has stepped up for the New World. Meyer lemon peel, Asian pear, and a touch of meringue greet you on the nose with a background of popcorn kernel and fresh basil. The minerality on the palate helps keep it nice and even while it rounds out with notes of apple skin, pear, basil, kohlrabi, and cream. If this is what $20 gets you in Australia, California might want to watch out!

2017 Arboleda Chardonnay Aconcagua Costa
Review Date: 06-02-2020
As I write this we are all in a strange and unprecedented time in our lives. Kirk Walker our Spain, Portugal, and South America buyer has been keeping us afloat with wine samples to end the days after we've raced to fill all the orders we've become inundated with. My excitement was peaked today when he opened us a bottle of the new Arboleda Chardonnay as I am a huge fan of cool climate Chard and even more so of Chilean wine. We open the nose with a familiar, almost California-esque oak note which quickly gives way to a more old-world influenced orchard pear, apple, and flint note, almost as though they set out to make Mersault with new world production supplies. The palate leans even further to the old world influence with flint and a hint of smoke surrounded by fresh, ripe pear and apple, Meyer lemon , and a lovely frothed egg white texture. This is a steal of a bottle at $18, we'll all be drinking this for the summer!

2019 Allan Scott Family Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 02-18-2020
This is a checklist of what New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc should smell like. Gooseberry, grass, guava, pineapple and a touch of salt. The palate is bright and full of tropical fruit, a hint of green grass and herbs and a saline bite at the finish. For $14 you would be hard pressed to find a more classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

Bardstown Bourbon Company "Fusion Series #2" Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 02-10-2020
Bardstown's Fusion Series 1 was one of my favorite bottles of bourbon we carried while it lasted. I went through 2 or 3 of them easily and the rest of the staff in SF was equally fond. When the series 2 came in I eagerly bought a bottle as I wanted to see what their evolution as distillers and blenders was going to be like. A little tight when I first opened it. I let the bottle sit for a few day (yes, whiskey too can benefit from being let breathe). Upon second approach the bottle was much more aromatic with notes of baking spice, cherry and apricot, roasted almond and hazelnut. This has to be one of the softest palates of any bourbon at nearly 100 proof. The mouth explodes up front with fruit and spice and sits soft and round on the mid palate with the roasted nut, and toffee. the finish is full of burnt caramel, bakers chocolate, and tons of wood spice. Very different from the original offering you can really see what and extra year of maturation does to their own distillate and makes me excited for what they have to come!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

Wilderness Trail (Yellow Label) Bottled In Bond Sweet Mash Wheated Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 02-09-2020
I've read about Wilderness Trail for a long time now hearing great things from Bourbon insiders and up until recently it was only available in Kentucky so I hadn't been able to get my hands on it. Now that they have officially been incorporated into the Bourbon Trail and expanded to California I of course had to snatch up a bottle and boy was I in for a treat! There aren't terribly many sweet mash producers these days but Wilderness Trails founders specialize in yeast so they cultivate strains that allow for consistent and delicious whiskey. The nose is sweet and full of vanilla, nougat, and caramel. The palate is bold, round and sweet with a nice baking spice note and a bit of a bitterness on the finish that helps cut down on the sweeter wheat notes and balances the drink! Get them while you can, once people discover this one it'll be gone before you know it!
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

Rare Perfection 14 Year Old Canadian Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 01-31-2020
On occasion we get in a whiskey with some interesting backstory and a unique production style that falls a little bit short of the goal line. When the Rare Perfection whiskies came in I was pulled in by the story enough to pick up a bottle of each and excitedly opened the 14 that night. I must admit, whatever I expected from this bottle it completely over delivered! A 100 proof bottle that drinks with the grace of a 45 and the complexity of a 120 it is doused in sweet vanilla, toasted coconut, maple, pecan, and brown sugar. The palate is rich and soft and when I brought it to the staff to taste as part of a line up I put together it was many of theirs top choice! I can't imagine these will last long once word is out so definitely don't hesitate!
Price: $159.99 Add To Cart

1997 Blair Athol 21 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 01-27-2020
This has to be one of my favorite single barrels that we have brought in. I've now revisited it several times and every experience just gets better. The nose is bright and fruity with undertones of dried cut grass, warm spice, and a hint of white tea. A wonderfully complex palate greets you with stone fruit and lemon up front which then softens to fresh grain, cereal, hay, and more savory spices than appeared on the nose with a hint of white pepper. This is a really special whiskey, one that I regularly suggest to customers looking for something that is approachable to about anyone but will still floor our whiskey drinkers. My advice to anyone going shopping for a special bottle, don't overlook this bottle, it punches well above its price range!
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

2017 Artadi Viñas de Gain
Review Date: 01-21-2020
When our buyer Kirk Walker tells you to try something new on the shelf, you should probably just do it. Don't ask the price, just give it a shot, it's always worth your time, and such was the scenario when I approached this Artadi. Rioja without being Rioja the wine has a nice little sweet citrus lift right off the bat that settles towards those classic dusty, fresh leather notes with mulled spiced which reminds me of Christmas markets in France with their large vats of mulled wine to help ward off the cold. The palate is rich and robust with beautifully soft tannin, savory pepper and leather, and a soft elegant finish that is as laden with floral notes as it is with savory spice and sweet fruit. When I found out the price of this sucker I was even more shocked, make sure to add this to your list of Spanish wines to try!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2018 Te Mata "Bullnose" Syrah Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 01-21-2020
We are fortunate in our ability here at K&L to experience great wines on a regular basis, it's both informative and exciting because you get introduced to bottles you wouldn't normally look at on your own. Syrah from regions other than France don't pop up in my life as often as I would like, and there is nothing more exciting than when you get handed a random glass of something and fall in love before knowing anything about it. Bullnose is such a bright and focused bottle of wine, it jumps out of the glass with dark fruit, purple flowers, anise, clove, black pepper with a hint of menthol and praline.The palate is luscious and decadent. The fruit is more pointed than on the nose so the wine doesn't feel overly opulent, rather more balanced and lively. Blackberry, baking spice, pepper, savory soy and violet. Our Syrah fans need to try this bottle, and if you aren't a Syrah drinker, well you're going to want to start!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2016 Pedro Martinez Alesanco Garnacha Rioja
Review Date: 01-07-2020
Deep, dark, brooding, confident, these are all words that come to mind upon first approach to this lovely little number. I adore Grenacha for so many reasons not the least of which is it's unbelievable complexity for the price tags. Upon first whiff the wine is loaded with purple and black fruits, baking spice, sweet tobacco, and new leather. The palate is wonderfully medium bodied with some bright black fruited acid that gives was to black olives, pepper, a dusty overtone, with a bit of mushroom. Rioja is one of the great wine regions of the world for a reason, and here is all the evidence you'll ever need of that!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Knob Creek 12 Year Old Small Batch 100 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 01-06-2020
Knob Creek has always been a great choice if you're at a bar with a moderate whiskey selection, spicy, nutty, easy-going, what's not to love? Never anything to blow you away, but a perfect little sipper...until this powerhouse was released. I picked up a bottle out of pure curiosity as it had a hefty age statement for bourbon at this price point and I think I finally understand Knob Creek. Dripping in rich spice and caramel, the mouth is round and luscious, there is a note of cherry wrapped up in the middle right between the spice and the nutty finish. I'm amazed that more people haven't jumped on this bottle!
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

2017 Clos de Luz "Massal 1945" Malbec Rapel Valley
Review Date: 01-03-2020
Earlier today I was discussing the curious uptake in Malbec's popularity among my peers. Not curious in a displeasing way by any means as I love Malbec, but the fact that it seems to have become a staple above juicier, richer reds. Maybe it's the price, maybe it's that people are becoming more interested in less fruit forward wines, who knows. Either way I was thrilled when our South America buyer Kirk Walker poured me a glass of this and said coyly "what do you think it is?". Intensely forward the nose opens with red fruit that quickly turns dark and dense. Notes of black pepper, decaying violet, and tobacco followed. Equally intense, the palate has a rather salty cured-meat-like center with those lovely violet notes, fading into sweet tobacco with a hint of funky tar. This is why Malbec is becoming a fast favorite!

2017 Clos de Luz "Massal 1945" Carménère Rapel Valley
Review Date: 01-03-2020
If this isn't the perfect storm of underappreciated wine that deserves everyone's attention than I don't know what is. It's a rare day that I don't bring up Carmenere with a customer or two looking for a bottle to try, and South America in general is not given the respect it deserves. Nowhere else int eh world does wine of this caliber come at this price. Opening with black and purple fruit, the nose is rich, full of violet, a slight meatiness of dry-aged steak, and delicate spice. Medium bodied, the palate is dark and concentrate with some salinity, fruit up front that quickly turns towards bitter baker chocolate, char, and elegant spice. This is a wine that should be on your radar!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2009 Hugel "Schoelhammer" Riesling Grand Cru Alsace
Review Date: 12-18-2019
Wines like this really make the job that we're so privileged to do special. I will admit I am a massive fan of Riesling so a bottle like this makes me rubber neck every time I walk by. The nose is subtle but divine with hints of ginger, pear, golden apple and a touch of petroleum. The palate is lean and complex, the flavors start off with bright orchard fruit, quickly moved towards baking spice and ginger, and the the minerality grabs on and takes you for a ride. If ever there was an example of why Alsace is one of the great wine regions of the world this is it. You will savor every sip and find something new hiding behind every drink you take.

2007 Fine Pot Distilled Jamaican (Monymusk) 11 Year Old "Thompson Bros." K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Jamaican Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 12-13-2019
This is one serious bottle of Rum. I can't tell you how long it spent aging in the tropics but I can certainly tell you that it spent some time in Scotland, and it shows! The nose is powerful and full with just a hint of the Jamaican funk we love so much but the palate, the palate really has something to say! Almost more like a single malt, this Rum makes me think less of rum funk and more of the Islay brine. Rum drinkers delight, you have another bottle that is a must for your collection and to all our Scotch drinkers out there, this will be a rum to turn your head!
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

2015 Terroir al Limit "Torroja" Priorat
Review Date: 11-26-2019
For those of you in the know Priorat needs no introduction, but for the uninitiated this is a gem of a region that never seems to get the attention that its cousin to the northwest, Rioja, gets. This blend of Garnacha Tinta, with just a splash of Cinsault, has a nose full of strawberry and licorice candy, cracked black pepper, dust, and a note of redwood bark. Nostalgic, warm, and welcoming, this wine is so inviting! The palate is rustic. A bright hit of red fruit fades quickly into the pepper, and smoked wood notes come through with hints of cured meat. A savory finish. Medium-bodied reds like this are always so much more approachable and equipped for a wide variety of circumstances, it amazes me they aren't the most popular wines in the world!

2015 Galia "Clos Santuy" Tierra de Castilla y León
Review Date: 11-22-2019
Every winemaker has a voice, a little something in all of their wines that, if you pay close attention, is there almost like a signature on a piece of art. Mr. Bougnaud has this in spades with this savory umami, soy quality that is just so enticing. Unmarred by unnecessary oak, the wine is beautifully balanced, bold, and velvety; with rich, dark blackberry, plum skin, and a hint of chocolate. The wine has seemingly no end, evolving to a warm and winter spiced note on the back palate with a touch of leather and tobacco. I have heard Tinto Fino compared to Barolo before and I now understand why. What a bottle!
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Galia "Villages" Tierra de Castilla y León
Review Date: 11-22-2019
Well, I have to admit I'm perplexed, the wine is amazing, but not at all what I was expecting upon first approach. The nose is spiced, beautifully so with rich dark fruit, muddled baking spice, and an enticing hint of an ever-so-savory something. The palate on the other hand is much bolder, live with velvety tannin, dark graphite, a hint of fruit, and a savory soy finish that lingers and softens into a warm inviting back palate, daring you to come back and explore further. Unique, but not unfamiliar, the Galia Villages is a must have for Spanish wine lovers!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Golden Devil "K&L Exclusive" Dark Navy Strength Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 11-18-2019
This will definitely be finding a way into my liquor cabinet at home after tasting it. Exactly what you want from a good high proof dark rum, rich, spiced, ever so slightly tropical with just a hint of funk on the end this is delicious, and for the price needs to be in everyone's holiday selection. Whether for cocktails or for something higher proof to sip on, this bottle punches way above its price range!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

1995 Caperdonich 24 Year Old "Chieftain's" K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Unchillfiltered Speyside Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-15-2019
Ghost distilleries are becoming a bit of a cult fascination in the last few years, so much so that even Johnnie Walker is cashing in on the idea with their Ghost & Rare line. With several famous distilleries being forced to close their doors in the late 70's and early 80's and we are seeing some of the last juice ever produced by these wonderful houses. Now the price is something to balk at until you consider the age and rarity of this whiskey, you won't be able to find it again. the nose is fruity with hints of orange peel, peach, cherries, and hazelnut chocolate. The palate bursts with chocolate, spice, candied orange peel and a int of coffee at the end. For collectors this is priceless, and as we approach the holiday season those looking for a gift that will be unforgettable for the whiskey drinker in your life, this is a sure winner!
Price: $399.99 Add To Cart

2010 La Antigua Clasico Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-08-2019
Built on a base of Grenache (60% Grenache finished out by 30% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano) this Rioja Alta wine stands alone in it's production. Exactly what you would want from a Rioja alta the wine is beautifully dusty and savory with notes of fig, plum, but made entirely unique by the clear orange peel finish that can only be brought by truly great Granache. I am a sucker for Rioja and when something unique like this comes in that checks all my boxes and then keeps adding to it, I can't help but be excited! Whether you are looking for a medium bodied red for dinner or something to have on any old evening (that won't kill you with tannin) this has to be one you grab at!

2017 Napa Bench Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-02-2019
It's not always easy to find good Napa Cab for under $40 these days. What with growing popularity and price hikes everywhere, it sometimes feels like the entry level is getting pushed further and further up every year. When we first opened this we were all thrilled to find a truly delicious Napa Cab with a real personality to it! Rich plum and black currant are surrounded by notes of dark chocolate, fresh earth, and enough acid to balance out the richness perfectly. This is definitely a sleeper that won't last long once people catch on to it!
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Marqués de Murrieta "Finca Ygay" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 09-24-2019
This is tangible proof that you can spend $25 on a bottle of wine and get something of brilliant quality and complexity. This vintage is full of Black pepper, fresh turned earth, mushroom and dark fruit with a hint of black olive and the dusty, oaked finish of great Rioja. Murrieta has always been one of the best producers for the money, and he has come through once again with a heavy hitter. Give this a try and see for yourself!

Foursquare Rum Distillery 14 Year Old "Empery" Exceptional Cask Selection Mark IX Single Blended Barbados Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 09-03-2019
I had the pleasure of opening this beautiful bottle of Foursquare rum and spending some time with it, rather than just tasting, to know what it's about. Foursquare is well known for their high-quality and often unique blends, and this is truly no exception. On the nose, I noticed an interesting gunpowder note floating atop beautiful notes of redwood, stone fruit, and sweet vanilla. The palate is round and robust, with the wood notes really showing through beautifuly. The finish is laced with caramel, stone fruit, and woody tannin. This is truly a rum drinkers rum, which had me sitting back and thinking about it all evening. And I will consider that an evening well spent! Get one while they last because these Foursquare are not to be missed!
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2008 Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-12-2019
As a staff we had a chance to taste with our Laurent-Perrier rep not long ago, but at the time they didn't have an '08 for us to try. Given how spectacular the year was an how the other wines were showing I couldn't wait to get my hands on a sample and was not disappointed! A 50/50 split of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and made of entirely Grand Cru fruit the wine shows beautifully with notes of lemon meringue, grapefruit and vanilla. The palate is just the right balance of acid with hints of graham cracker, bright citrus, and a wonderfully long finish. Wine like this will only get better with age so make sure you get some before it's gone!
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

Laurent-Perrier "Grand Siècle" Iteration #24 Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-06-2019
The first of the new line of numbered Grand Siecle to be introduced by Laurent-Perrier. It's a lovely multi-vintage blend that displays notes of clotted cream, stone fruit, and honeysuckle. Not enough good can be said about the Grand Siecle, and given the wines they are competing with they are truly holding their own!

2007 Thiénot "Black Ball" Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-06-2019
100% Grand Cru Chardonnay This vintage of Black Ball is nice and toasty with notes of buttercream, a hint of popcorn and lovely meringue. With the deal we will be offering on this one I can't see a reason you wouldn't need a bottle or two!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

2008 Lanson "Gold Label" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-06-2019
53% Pinot Noir and 47% Chardonnay this toasty champagne is a real winner! The nose is buttery with hints of butterscotch and lemon zest. The palate is round with enough acid to cut through the richness and balance out the wine. 2008 is written all over this one with that characteristic balance of acid and robust mouth feel!

2007 Foursquare Rum Distillery 12 Year Old "Ex-Bourbon Cask" Exceptional Cask Selection Mark X Single Blended Barbados Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 06-24-2019
Foursquare is one of the legends of the rum world, producing some of the richest and most interesting rums in modern production. The 2007 is absolutely no exception. I picked up a bottle for myself recently and was floored the moment I poured myself a glass. Lovely notes of stone fruit, toffee, anise, and apple jump out. The palate is warm and round, the toffee turns towards a salted caramel hint with notes of guava, cinnamon, treacle and to my palate a rich coffee finish. If you are a whiskey drinker looking to get into rum, this is a no-brainer, and to our rum drinkers out there, this is a must have!
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique Assemblage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-07-2019
Here at K&L we are fortunate to have several direct imports from some really fantastic producers. Le Brun is a rather large co-op that we bring in, and that means we get some amazing wine for unbelievable value! The Authentique is a make up for 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir with a wonderfully nutty round nose, notes of ginger and baking spice that translates beautifully to the palate with a hint of stone fruit.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 05-07-2019
I am a sucker for a good Blanc de Blanc. Something about the rich, round, honeyed quality that chardonnay based champagne can bring always puts a smile on my face. Franck Bonville is an exceptional producer, and when you can get your hands on a bottle of 100% Grand Cru fruit at a price this low, it's a no brainer in my mind. The nose is fot, with notes of cherry, vanilla, and white flowers. The Palate is laden with cashew, marzipan, and a long toasty finish. This is a beautiful wine made from exceptional fruit that for the the price, is going to be hard to beat!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Fallet-Dart "Grande Sélection" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-07-2019
The Faillet family have been known wine growers since the early 17th century, but it wasn't until the marriage of Gaston Faillet and Genevieve Dart in 1970 that the house of Faillet-Dart was formed. the Grande Selection is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir, and the and even split of Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier to round it out. The nose is toasty with notes of white florals, browned butter, and apples. The palate is rich with notes of under ripe stone fruit, apples, and a round marzipan finish.
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-07-2019
The Baron-Fuente family has been working in the vineyards of champagne long before the region started producing sparkling wine. The years of experience have lead to the production of some amazing wine at every price point, and the Grande Reserve is no exception. A blend of 60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, and 10% Pinot Noir, makes for a warm and round nose with notes of honey, sweet dough, and hazelnut. On the palate though it is bright, with a biting acidity, and notes of soft cherry. This is a beautiful bottle for any occasion!