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K&L Staff Recommendations
95 points Sam Kim: "A hugely promising pinot, it's finely scented and impressively complex showing notes of dark cherry and game, with a touch of dried herb, elegantly dressed by spicy oak. The palate is concentrated and refined with poise and harmony, leading to an extremely long, delicately dry finish. The wine is multi-dimensional and complex but hasn't lost the varietal purity, indicating the wine will evolve gracefully to show even greater depth and breath. Grapes were grown on Te Whare Ra vineyard in Renwick and Rawiri in Omaka. At its best: 2016 to 2023."94 points James Suckling: "This is a sup ...Read More »
The 2013 Rickshaw Pinot Noir is the fifth vintage from the team at Banshee Wines. As difficult as it is to produce excellent Pinot Noir, it is even more difficult to do so at a fine value. In their development of the Banshee label, the winemakers gained a stable of quality sources for Pinot fruit from the finest AVAs in California, and Rickshaw was born out of this bounty. The largest share of fruit is sourced from the Sonoma Coast, followed by Anderson Valley and the Central Coast. The appeal of the wine is driven by its balance of fruit and earth tones... Read More »
Wine & Spirits: "Gentle strawberry fruit fills this soft rosé, its zesty finish keeping it clean. A fine aperitif." (4/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Full, ripe wine, layered with fruits and a dry, more mineral core. The wine has good depth of flavor, strawberries, red currants and a citrus cut that keeps the wine fresh at the end." (11/2013) K&L Notes: This delightful sparkling rosé wine comes from Burgundy. It is made of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Gamay Noir. The charming eye of the swan color comes from the addition of Pinot Noir to the wine when the lees are disgorged, following the traditional fermentation in... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
93 points James Suckling: "Crushed ripe strawberries with blackberries. Some mineral undertones too. Full body, firm tannins, and a fresh and racy finish. Shows some granite and slate as well. Balanced, fruity style." (7/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This fruity, friendly Pinot opens with ripe berry aromas mixed with touches of minerality and latex. It feels fresh and sturdy, with black cherry and raspberry flavors. A pure, sweet, lightly chocolaty finish wraps things up." (8/2015) Wine Spectator: "A juicy and savory red, with touches of richness to the cherry and crushed red plum flavors. Notes of bergamot linger on the le ...Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "Banshee's 2013 Pinot Noir (Sonoma County) is supple, racy and flat-out delicious, especially for the money. Raspberries, crushed flowers and soft spices linger on the effortless, gracious finish. Drink this soft Pinot over the next few years. This is one of the best values readers will find in Sonoma Pinot Noir. (Antonio Galloni)" (1/2015) K&L Notes: As difficult as it is to produce excellent Pinot Noir, it is even more difficult to do so at a fine value. In their development of the Banshee label, the winemakers gained a stable of quality sources for Pinot fruit fro... Read More »
From the winery website, "When we say Fossil Point rocks - we mean it! Calcareous shale and coarse sand were uplifted from the floor of an ancient ocean and then weathered into place over millennia. It became a place of deep beauty and vast potential. Fossil Point is a rugged headland with sweeping views of the coastline stretching from Port San Luis to the Guadalupe Dunes. The Point is just five miles due west of the vineyards that are its namesake. Sunny afternoons are cooled by marine breezes sweeping off the Pacific Ocean, along Fossil Point to the v... Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Lightly papery tannins underline the loamy earth-inflected cherry and spice flavors on a lovely, sleek and open-textured frame. Shows complexity and deftness, finishing long. Drink now through 2022." (2/2015) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light, bright red. Lively spice-tinged red berry scents show good focus but a touch of heat. Tangy and sharply focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry and redcurrant flavors and a hint of bitter orange pith that gains strength with air. The redcurrant note repeats on the rather rigid finish. (JR)" (8/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "A penetrating whiff of wintergreen is ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Black cherry, floral and earth flavors are married to a rich texture, underlined by vibrant acidity and light tannins. Fine length. Drink now through 2018. (Web Only—2015)" K&L Notes: Located in Marsannay at the northern end of the Côte de Nuits, Domaine Bart is a small property that owns 19 hectares of vineyards in both Marsannay and Fixin. The wines have a reputations as being classically-flavored and dependable in just about any vintage, year after year. A screaming value! I am always on the lookout for everyday drinking red burgundy for under $20 and the 2013 Dom... Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "This red offers a lively, refreshing and complex mix of snappy wild berry and raspberry flavors that are firm and vibrant, ending long, clean and complex. Drink now through 2020. Tasted twice, with consistent notes." (9/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "The price-quality ratio is inviting for this wine, a light, lifted expression of cranberry and herb. The grapes were sourced from both the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations, about half of each, before aging less than a year in managed oak, 30% of it new. The wine finishes in swirls of vanilla-cola." (6/2015) K&L Notes: From our fr... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Terroir Unico Pinot Noir follows the idea of the Terroir Unico range, to show the pure expression of the grape and the place in a line of unoaked wines. This was 20-30% whole-cluster fermented and is very pale colored, almost a rose, very perfumed, with aromas of red fruit and flowers opening to a light to medium-bodied palate, high acidity (blood orange), and a pure, fresh finish. Highly drinkable. Can the price be real? (LG)" (4/2014) K&L Notes: Based in the Gualtallary district of the Uco Valley, an area prized for its complex soils containing calcareous,... Read More »
95 points Bob Campbell: "Reasonably dense Pinot Noir with attractive sweet fruit including plum, dark cherry and violet plus a seasoning of spicy oak. Very accessible and appealing but with he potential to develop well." (4/2015)95 points Sam Kim: "This is wonderfully pure; lifted notes of dark cherry, raspberry, plum and floral, together with spice and dried herb nuances. The palate is succulent, rounded and silky, and offers excellent weight and intensity, beautifully supported by plenty of polished tannins. The wine flows seamlessly to an impressively long finish. At its best: now to 2023. ...Read More »
Bench is one of the labels of Brack Mountain Wine Company, which sources this Pinot Noir mostly from the renowned Sangiacomo vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA. From the winery: "Deep ruby purple in color, this wine offers intense, dark forest fruit and notes of plum on the nose. The palate is tightly focused with bright currant, cola and cedar. The mouthful is supple with well integrated tannins that provide the integrity for this noteworthy wine."
From the winery: "2013 was a year of big clusters with big, intense flavors. The 2013 Layer Cake Pinot Noir has layers of dark berries, ripe plums and big juicy black cherries wrapped in a glycerol creamy mouthfeel. This is a big Pinot Noir and calls for smoky meats and rich fish...enjoy!" Best Pinot for the price I've tasted all year! And the name says it all -- juicy, supple, rich, ripe, soft yet sultry intensity, and just plain delicious! I can't think of a better party Pinot than this! Or just a great Tuesday night wine...or any night of the week fo... Read More »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "Fragrant with scents of rose petal and pinecone, this is clean and brisk. Lifted rather than layered or complex, it’s ready to decant for herb-stuffed trout baked in parchment." (4/2015)90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Shy and reserved, this cool-climate wine opens coyly with a burst of spearmint on the nose, evolving into layers of flavor steeped in rhubarb, black cherry and tea. Soft and lilting, the wine’s finish conjures thoughts of strawberry cream." (7/2015) Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) is an excellent choice for drinking now and over the next few years. The flavors are floral ...Read More »
Outstanding sparkling wine from the Languedoc? Absolutely and resoundingly, YES! There will be those of you who will scoff at the price of this wine, and claim that a sparkling wine set so low will never be worth any serious consideration. Well, those of you would be WRONG. One of the rising stars of the Languedoc, Jean Louis Denois makes exciting, world class wines that nonetheless remain amazingly inexpensive, owing to his location more than anything else. His vineyards sit in the very southwestern corner of France, at the foot of the Pyrenees, and he ... Read More »
Third-generation family domaine owned by Franck and Betty Millet in the village of Bué. This rosé of 100-percent Pinot Noir is a blend of pressed juice and saignee juice, and matches beautifully with Asian food. From the winery: "Nice light rosé, salmon-coloured with a pleasant fruity aroma. Sancerre Rosé is a well-constituted wine due to its semi-tannic structure."
96 points Sam Kim: "This engaging Pinot comes from the dark side of the most seductive places. Gorgeous aromas of dark fruit, game, spice and truffle fill the nose with subtle background notes of bouquet garni. It is concentrated and expansive with velvety texture and layers of delicious flavours. Tannins are fine, chalky and in abundance, providing classic structure to this compelling wine. At its best: now to 2025." (4/2015)95 points Bob Campbell: "Dense and moderately concentrated Pinot Noir from a renowned Marlborough hillside vineyard. Classy wine with mineral, cherry, violet and subtle spicy f ...Read More »
16 points Jancis Robinson: "Pale cherry red. Pale rim. Obviously a delicate touch in the winemaking. Light vegy spectrum of Pinot scents and very refreshing too. There's a good core of just-ripe fruit underneath. This is already a good drink and has no surplus fat nor sweetness. Appetising dry finish. Very fine tannins. Good stuff! And, even if not a long-term bet, likely to be VGV. (JR)" (8/2015)
"Year in and year out one of our best values is Pinot Noir. If you don't believe me, just ask any K&L customer." (Illya Haase, K&L Staff Member) This wine comes to us from Sonoma County's Martin Ray Winery, owned by Courtney Benham (creator of the Blackstone brand). This multi-county blend of Pinot Noir has been well-received in recent years, maybe not tipping the point-scales over 90, but earning consistent praise for the solid, varietal character it delivers for only a modest fee.
95 points Bob Campbell: "Delicately scented Pinot Noir with red cherry, violet and a hint of raspberry plus a seasoning of spicy oak. Bone dry with charm and character. Medium-bodied wine with subtle underlying sweetness balanced by savoury, drying tannins that offer a spice, herbal complexity. Appealing wine with obvious potential." 94-95 points James Suckling: "A very complete wine with a complex and rich nose of red berries along with some distinct herbs, chocolate, flowers and deeply earthy notes. The palate has composure, structure and density, is silky at the edges and carries plenty of cherry and plum f ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Savory, earthy aromas of mushrooms, black pepper, iron and cranberry arise from this blend of nine vineyards, many of which are usually featured in single-vineyard selections. Umami rules the palate, and it’s quite full for a lighter-colored wine, with brown spice, light red fruit flavors and expertly balanced acidity." (3/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Calera's 2013 Pinot Noir is quite pretty, lifted and expressive. In this vintage, savory and floral overtones dominate over some of the more overt, fruit-driven notes that are often found in this bottling. The 2013 is made from a n ...Read More »
Light in color, as is typical for Sancerre Rosé, this has lively aromas of small red fruits with soft underlying minerals and just a hint of rich citrus. Light and playful on the palate with some Mirabelle, cherry and watermelon. Although a light and fresh style of rosé, this has nice weight and texture to it on the finish and it's very easy and fun to drink while grilling and chilling with friends. 100% Pinot Noir. (Eric Story, K&L Loire Valley Wine Buyer)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Mt Jefferson Cuvée Pinot Noir comes from vines located above the winery augmented by purchased fruit from notable vineyards. It contains around 40% whole-cluster fruit (one of the central tenets at Cristom), and only undergoes one racking during its 12 months in barrel: one just before filtration and then just before bottling. It has an attractive tertiary/woodland-scented bouquet with dried rose petal notes coming through, much less fruit driven than many other 2012 Pinot Noirs. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip on the entry. It is ...Read More »
A brand new Kalinda Pinot! This great Pinot is hand-picked from a beautiful, steep, hillside vineyard in Marlborough's Omaka Valley. The vineyard owner / winemaker Dave Eatwell hand-crafts this wine at Te Whare Ra winery just down the road from the hillside site. Only 100cs were made of this Kalinda bottling. It has a nice mixture of rich dark fruit, toasted spice, some savory, forest floor and earthy qualities with a subtle flinty, dried herb note to balance the dark berry fruits. Great palate weight and juicy fruit from the top notch 2013 vintage in Ne... Read More »
From the winery: "Red fruit aromas (blackcurrant, raspberry, cherry) with spicy scents of underbrush. Its long finish and round tannins will continue to amplify with age."
Killer new price! Produced and bottled by Brewer-Clifton, the "B-C" Kessler Haak Pinot Noir is a single vineyard wine that comes from the organically farmed Kessler-Haak Vineyard. It is located off Highway 246, about 7 miles west of the town of Buellton, in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. The blend is made up of 25% Clone 667, 25% Clone 113 and 50% of Clone 115. Only 161 cases were bottled of this unique wine.
A darling of the critics, Sea Smoke remains of the Central Coast's cult Pinot producers. Southing is sourced entirely from the Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills and saw 16 months in 55% new French oak barrels. From the winery: "Each year, our goal for Southing is to create the ideal marriage of complexity and elegance. The ever-changing nose of the 2013 Southing exhibits dusty red fruit, savory spices and rose petals. The fine tannins and minerality are enhanced by our estate vineyard's characteristic cool climate acidity."
Founded in 1983 by Claiborne (Clay) Thompson and Fredericka Churchill, former teachers at the University of Michigan (Clay specialized in Old Norse Languages and Literatures and Fredericka taught German), the winery focuses on Alsatian varietals in the first straw bale winery in California. Grapes are purchased from premium growers around the cool Edna Valley, with 2/3 of the production being Dry Riesling and Dry Gewürztraminer. At Claiborne & Churchill, traditional European winemaking techniques prevail, including extensive use of barrel-fermentation an... Read More »
Elegant and Burgundian in style, organically and dry-farmed, Evesham Wood's wines are simply gorgeous examples of Oregon Pinot. From the winery: "Very forward with plum, dark cherry, red cherry with a slightly sweet smokiness reminiscent of a toasted marshmallow. It will be fun to watch this wine evolve over the next five years."
90 points Antonio Galloni: "Brilliant ruby-red. Strawberry and raspberry on the perfumed nose, along with suggestions of allspice and smoky minerals. Deeper and darker in character on the palate, offering sappy red and dark berry flavors, with a hint of white pepper adding vivacity. This lithe, nicely focused Pinot finishes with appealing sweetness, easygoing tannins and very good persistence. (JR)" (6/2015) K&L Notes: Look for bright red fruits and spice in this wine: Pomegranate, Bing cherry, and raspberry with Earl Grey tea highlights, according to the winemaker's notes: "The vintage deliver... Read More »
Coming from a single, small tank of press wine from their Casablanca Valley vineyards, located close to the coolin influence of the Pacific, this is delicious Pinot Noir! Brightly fruited, and bolstered by firm tannins that provide structure without distraction, I would be hard pressed to think of a tastier, more honest expression of Pinot, especially if what you are after is a highly drinkable wine that does not aim to be the biggest, the most fruity or the most highly awarded. This is a great deal in everyday Pinot! (Joe Manekin, K&L Chilean wine buyer... Read More »
92 points Bob Campbell: "Ripe, fleshy, flavoursome and high energy Pinot Noir with dark cherry, berry flavours plus a subtle influence of smoky oak. Attractive wine showing good purity and with a lengthy finish." (10/2015)90 points Wine Spectator: "Ample spice and sarsaparilla flavors give the core of ripe, fleshy cherry and wild berry flavors plenty of complexity. Black tea, walnut and pine needle details crescendo on the finish. Ripe, plush and fleshy on the finish." (9/2015) K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "This is a stunning example of Marlborough Pinot Noir; it's dark cherry red in colour and incredibly generous on ... Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid ruby-red. Red fruit preserves on the nose, with complicating notes of licorice and allspice. Lively raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show very good precision, complemented by a bright mineral quality that gains strength with air. This silky, energetic pinot finishes with strong cut, persistent sweetness and sneaky, interwoven tannins. (JR)" (12/2014)90 points Antonio Galloni: "Crushed flowers, rose petals, sweet red cherries and mint lift from the glass in the 2013 Pinot Noir Estate Verna's. This is the most ethereal and delicate of the 2013 Melville Pinots. Following the h ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Impressive, showing density, concentration, depth and persistence, with layers of blackberry, mocha, cedar, spice and berry pie. Finishes with a strong presence." (10/2015)90 points Antonio Galloni: "Brilliant ruby-red. Perfumed scents of raspberry, cherry, candied rose and peppery spices, with a smoky mineral undertone. Offers a gently sweet red fruit character on the palate, picking up a floral element with air. This pure, open-knit Pinot finishes with good sweetness and focus and gentle tannic grip. (JR)" (6/2015) Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Solidity and fruity muscle take precedence over anything ...Read More »
A joint project from your K&L domestic buying team and a high-profile winery in the Santa Barbara area. The fruit for this wine comes from a cooler vineyard site with a north-facing slope. Clone 828 is a Dijon clone that matures early and often shows lots of structure, color and complexity. In general, the clone shows great acidity, red and blue fruits and palate presence. Because of its roundness and completeness, clone 828 makes an excellent individual bottling.
92 points Wine Spectator: "The subtle intensity builds and gains depth, holding focus and delivering a mix of dusty wild berry, plum, black licorice and cassis notes. Impressive on the finish. Drink now through 2021. (Insider)" (6/2015) K&L Notes: If it looks like a duck, that's because Goldeneye is indeed part of the Duckhorn Vineyards family of wineries, including Migration and Decoy. Goldeneye is the Napa Valley winery's far-north outpost, in Anderson Valley.
From the producer: "Our 2014 Tous Ensemble Pinot Noir’s aroma is layered with fresh red fruits, rose petal, and vanilla. The body is redolent of damson plums, red apple skin and bing cherries, with a silky texture and smooth tannins."
92 points Antonio Galloni: "Light orange. Sharply focused red berry and tangerine scents are complicated by suggestions of allspice and cinnamon, with a hint of smokiness in the background. Sappy and minerally on the palate, offering fresh strawberry and blood orange flavors lifted by juicy acidity. Packs a serious punch but carries no excess weight and finishes stony and very long, with echoing red berry character. (JR)" (1/2015)92 points Wine Spectator: "A pretty rosé, harmonious and lithe, with flavors of dried strawberry and smoke carrying on a fine bead and intermingling with the accents of toasted almon ...Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "Vivid red. High-pitched red berry and floral pastille scents show a spicy overtone. On the palate, peppery redcurrant and strawberry flavors deepen and stretch out with air while retaining an urgent character. Closes clean and lively, leaving a subtly sweet red berry note behind. This label, which owner Brian Talley is quick to say is not a second label for Talley, has steadily improved in recent years and the wines, without exception, deliver big bang for the buck. While it might not be exactly correct to call them mini-Talleys, the comparison is apt as ...Read More »
87-90 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "A fresh and cool yet ripe nose offers up aromas of both red and dark pinot fruit that display whiffs of lavender and violet. There is good punch and a plenty of minerality to the middle weight flavors that possess a mildly rustic but unusually spicy backend. In sum this is pretty if not deep." (1/2014) K&L Notes: Located in Marsannay at the northern end of the Côte de Nuits, Domaine Bart is a small property that owns 19 hectares of vineyards in both Marsannay and Fixin. The wines have a reputations as being classically-flavored and dependable in just about any vintag... Read More »
Grapes from sites throughout Central Coast were harvested at optimal maturity, then de-stemmed and gently placed into open-top stainless steel fermenters and cold soaked for 3 days prior to initiating fermentation. During fermentation, each tank is punched down two to three times per day. The fermented wine then was racked to oak for aging. During the aging process the wine lots were tasted throughout and blended back together.
This is the same delicious Underwood Pinot Noir as the bottle, but in an easy-to-transport pop top can! No, it doesn't affect the taste--it's still packed with strawberry and pomegranate fruit, with the same supple texture, acidity and peppery spice and minerally finish. Perfect for summer sipping, for camping, boating, picnicking, beaching or rocking out at the Hollywood Bowl!
According to the winery: "Great value! A particularly wonderful vintage of this wine. Aromas and flavors of strawberries and raspberries are joined by anise and clove notes with mouth filling intensity."
Wine & Spirits: "In 2012 the dry-farmed vines at Hallberg gave a simple, welcoming pinot noir with dark fruit that suggests black plum and blueberry. The plump texture finds its balance against juicy acidity, ready for a pork chop roasted with a sprig of rosemary." (4/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This is a high-toned, structured wine with vibrant acidity that is layered in earth, spice, raspberry and black tea. After a medium-sized weight to the midpalate, it finishes soft and round." (2/2015)
92 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Estate Sta. Rita Hills is gorgeous. Bright red berries, red currants, rose petals and mint all lift from the glass in a beautifully delineated Pinot endowed with striking beauty. This is a great introduction to the Melville wines and house style. The 2013 is a blend of 16 clones across the property, done with 35% whole clusters. Winemaker Greg Brewer turned out a gorgeous set of 2013 Pinots at Melville. The wines are consistently of very high quality, something that was not easy to achieve in a year with huge yields. As always, Brewer ...Read More »