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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points James Suckling: "A fresh, clean red with balsamic and chocolate character, plus fresh cherry. Full body, firm tannins and a juicy finish. Ripe, generous fruit. Always outstanding from here. A polished Super Tuscan. Drink or hold." (10/2014) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Giampaolo Motta’s 2012 La Massa wraps clean around the palate, imparting sassy tones of Mexican spice, tobacco and dark berry fruit. The blend is 60% Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Alicante. The wine shows luscious dark concentration with equal billing to both the dark fruity component of the wine and its spicy, oak-driv ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This straightforward, inviting Barolo boasts classic Nebbiolo aromas of rose, leather, berry spice and tilled earth. It’s not loaded with complexity, but the sour cherry, black pepper and clove flavors are delicious. It closes on a note of subtle oak alongside a drying, tannic finish. (KO)" (10/2014)
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This opens with attractive floral aromas of Spanish broom, acacia and chamomile while the bright palate offers white peach, green apple and citrus. Brisk acidity gives it a crisp, clean finish while a note of white almond signals the close. Small persistent bubbles add finesse.-K.O. abv:11.5%" (10/2015) K&L Notes: San Venanzio has won many awards over the years. At K&L they get the coveted "Guido" award two thumbs up and three stars for value. On the nose, there are generous notes of apples, peaches, tropical fruits and pear blossom. It’s wonderfully balanced and ele... Read More »
Rosso di Montalcino too often sits in the shadow of its much bigger brother, Brunello. But some estates put nearly the care and expense into their Rosso as their big guns, and La Fortuna is clearly an example of this sort of winemaking. Intense in terms of fruit, but showing off admirable acidity, this is spicy, full bodied, dry and rich with a softness hiding amid all that tannic structure. A wine to drink while your Brunello ages, yes, but a quality wine nonetheless. From vines 15-25 years of age, aged for one year in barrique, 6 months of this in Fren... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Aromas of pears, green apples and dried mangoes with hints of minerals and stones as well as salty undertones. Full body, plenty of fruit and great acid tension. Long and flavorful. Unique white that has a history for aging well. Drink or hold." (5/2015) 91 points Vinous: "Medium-deep gold-tinged yellow. Enticing aromas of apricot, savory herbs and minerals. Rich, ripe stone fruit and balsamic herb flavors are nicely buoyed by lively acidity. The long finish features resonating mineral lift. This outstanding, archetypal Verdicchio wine speaks clearly of the cooler Matelica t ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Fascinating aromas of dried fruits, orange peel, earth, pomace and meat. Full body with soft and tangy fruit plus a long, flavorful finish. It's decadent and citrusy on the finish besides the opulent and delicious red fruits." (3/2015) Wine Spectator: "Blackberry, loamy earth, spice and tea leaf notes mix in this balanced red, with light tannins on the aromatic finish. Drink now through 2018." (3/2015)
91 points James Suckling: "Bright, dense and intense with chocolate dust, blackberry and fresh mushroom. Full-bodied, round and delicious. Drink now." (10/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This medium-bodied, easygoing red offers aromas of blue flowers, dark berry, underbrush and a whiff of cake spice. The palate delivers blackberry, red currant, ground pepper and a note of star anise alongside firm, refined tannins. An almond note backs up the finish." (11/2015) Wine Spectator: "This has heft for the vintage, with ample muscle and structure providing support for blackberry and blueberry fruit. Still a bit tight on the finish, b ...Read More »
Sella & Mosca is a beautiful and historic winegrowing estate in Sardinia which places great emphasis on their traditional winemaking values enabled by modern cellars. In the most outstanding vintages, Sella & Mosca produces this Cannonau Riserva bottling from grapes picked in select vineyard parcels of this most traditional red Sardinian varietal. Aged for two years in oak casks prior to release, this aristocratic red will sustain a decade or more of aging.
Inventory: San Francisco
93 points James Suckling: "An exotic dry white wine with cherry blossom, olive oil, dried herbs, sea salt, wet stones and dried apricots. Bone-dry with persistent acidity. One of the best Sauvignons in Friuli. Drink now." (9/2014)
93 points Decanter: "Bright ruby and transparent, yet you find yourself searching the glass for a skeleton, skate-wing bones of neatly structured and delicate tannins fanning out through the fruit. Fine, focused and extremely drinkable. Drink 2015-2022" (6/2015) 92 points James Suckling: "A beautiful red with delicate but rich flavors, bright acidity and an orange-peel undertone. Medium body with fine tannins and a fresh, clean, savory, salty finish. Very Burgundian. Pure Sangiovese. Drink now or hold." (10/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Here’s a vibrant wine that opens with pretty aromas of blue flower, rose and berry. The savor ...Read More »
The Bava winery is in the Province of Alba where Barbera is King! So what do you do when you want to make Nebbiolo? Hmmmm, you can't put it on the label…Damn. The Bava Brothers, a creative bunch, decided to go American and name this wine after a real American tradition, Band-Aids, (evidently at a winery you go through a lot of them). So Johnson & Johnson was too long, they switched to Johnson but that's unpronounceable for an Italian so …..Gionson! That's how you say Johnson in Italian! Delicious Nebbiolo, drinkable now, and you're going to love it! 10... Read More »
K&L Italian Wine Buyer Greg St. Clair knew that Albatreti was a real find the moment he put his nose in a glass of the 2010 Brunello: "We’ve been traveling to Montalcino for more than 20 years and have tasted a veritable ocean of Brunello. We’d never even heard of this producer, the first vintage was the 2009, and we hadn’t seen it in the market at all. We re-tasted another bottle just to make sure we didn’t get mispoured, and the second time we had a 'Double Wow'! So we went out to meet the producer, Gaetano Salvioni and found a self proclaimed 'hobbyis... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "A balanced white, with modest poached apple, stone, preserved lemon and graphite notes. Juicy. (Web Only—2015)" K&L Notes: Well almost Umbria, actually in Lazio but you can see Umbria from this vineyard!
A blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, this Valpolicella is ruby-red and super silky in texture, with the quintessential chocolate-covered cherry quality you'd expect from good Valpolicella.
93 points James Suckling: "This is is rich and dense with a fabulous silky tannin mouthfeel. Full body, with loads of fruit and a long, flavorful finish. Lively acidity keeps the wine agile and fresh. Better in 2016 but so delicious now. A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc." (7/2013) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Valdisanti (Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc) is staked tall with bold fruit nuances of dark cherry, blackberry, spice, tobacco and Spanish cedar. Crushed white pepper and grilled herbs also play into the mix. This is a large, extracted wine ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "A refined, complex red with blackberry, blueberry and light chocolate character. Medium body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Lots of black licorice. Delicious now but better in 2015. Excellent value. 50% Sangiovese and the rest Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon." (10/2014) 91 points Vinous: "Sweet tobacco, bright red fruit, underbrush and cedar are some of the many notes that come together in the 2013 Rosso di Notri. Precise, delineated and beautifully layered in the glass, the 2013 is striking in its purity and juiciness. The late harvest produced a gorgeous wine loade ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "#74 Wine Spectator's Top 100 2014: The up-front mulberry and plum fruit is ripe and fleshy in this balanced red, with polished tannins. Notes of licorice string, graphite, tarry smoke and grilled mushroom push through midpalate and on the finish. Drink now through 2021. 8,500 cases made. (AN)" (4/2014)
One of the best deals going in Pinot Grigio, this wine is from the Grave del Friuli DOC, an area perfectly suited to the varietal. The 2013 is crisp, fruity and fresh, exhibiting that classic subtle bitter hint on the palate that makes it such an ideal match with dishes like spaghetti with clams, or sauteed freshwater trout. It also makes a fine pairing with sushi. Enjoy while young and fresh.
93 points James Suckling: "There are mushrooms on the nose of this Chianti Classico, but these soon give way to subtle, deep aromas of blackberry crumble with hints of mint and ivy. It soon fills up the mouth with beautifully dense fruit and fine tannins, nutty, woody undertones and long finish. Gorgeous now, but better in 2016." (10/2014) Vinous: "The 2012 Chianti Classico is a great introduction to the wines of Felsina. Deeply varietal and expressive to the core, the 2012 graces the palate with the essence of Sangiovese from the southern part of the Chianti Classico zone. Sweet tobacco, un ...Read More »
95 points James Suckling: "Lots currants, blueberries, vanilla and floral character on the nose and palate. Full body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Edgy contrast of acidity, ripe fruit and wood. Stylish, savory and delicious. A blend of Sangiovese and Merlot. One of the best values amongst Super Tuscan reds. Drink in 2016." (8/2015) Vinous: "The 2013 Crognolo offers notable intensity, with searing tannins that are a bit overpowering at this stage. Dark red cherry, raspberry and white pepper are some of the signatures. Today, the Crognolo is a bit linear and compact. It will be interestin ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
A pretty green-gold color, this refreshing white combines crisp acidity with a full, rich floral nose. A lovely Gavi di Gavi perfect for sipping with scallops.
The Bronca sisters grow their own fruit in steep hillside vineyards, then make base wine and perform the secondary (sparkling) fermentation on non-vintage batches three or four times a year, to ensure freshness. Low yields and hillside-grown fruit ensures that the wine has good concentration and acidity. This one's a clean, crisp and ultimately refreshing sparkler that is one of our favorites.
From a one-acre plot of vines in Monforte d'Alba, a hand-harvested blend of Arneis, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
93 points James Suckling: "Focused white with pure, clean stone, flint and minerals. Nose of focused green-pear, exotic ripeness and juicy character. Great balance and finesse with an extended finish. One of the best-value in Pinot Grigios." (9/2014) Wine Spectator: "A sleek, zesty white, with lots of ground spice and stony mineral notes underscoring the clean-cut flavors of glazed apricot, kiwifruit, sliced almond and preserved lemon. Subtle finish. Drink now through 2018. (Web-2015)" K&L Notes: From one of Northern Italy's finest producers, the aroma on this Pinot Grigio is typically intense, full and fruity, ... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Lightly spiced and aromatic, with floral and loamy earth notes, this light- to medium-bodied red offers easy-drinking flavors of crushed black cherry, baked plum and cocoa powder. (Web Only—2015)"
92 points Vinous: "The 2014 Frappato Vittoria opens up with an irresistible fresh red fruit cocktail quality on the nose, followed by very spicy and floral notes, with juicy red berry and cherry. Finishes long and clean with a bright floral echo. A stellar Frappato that makes it impossible to put the glass down. (ID)" (11/2015) 91 points James Suckling: "This shows aromas of blueberry, forest fruit and salt. Medium to full body, bright acidity and a mineral finish. Goes on for minutes. Tangy and savory. Drink now." (10/2014) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Fragrant and fresh, this luminous wine opens with aromas of red berry, blueberr ...Read More »
Impressive for its purity and refreshing mineral qualities, Valle dell'Acate takes the Inzolia varietal to a whole new level of quality. As a second label, the Case Ibidini range (pronounced 'bidini) consists of varietally labeled wines from the estate intended for more casual consumption. The local name of the area where the estate is situated, Bidini, is drawn from the ancient root Bidis. This in turn referred to the name of a group of early Hellenic settlers who populated the area nearly 20 centuries ago. These wines provide a purity and authenticity ... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Erik Banti's Morellino di Scansano is primarily Sangiovese with a little Merlot to flesh it out. There's so much to love about this red: its lush and inviting aromas, full and round mouthfeel, and food-friendly structure are just the beginning. Factor in the price and you've got one of the tastiest and versatile red wine values in the store! Ready to drink tonight, this juicy, mouthwatering red is an satisfying on its own, and makes a worthy complement to simple pasta dishes, poultry, and soft cheeses. A must try!
Claudia Ferrero and her husband/winemaker Pablo Härri's estate is called the Podere Pascena and it sits in the southwesterly corner of Montalcino (they are bordered by Argiano and Banfi's Riserva vineyard "Poggio all'Oro"). The wines from this zone are really rich and you can feel the sun shining on these grapes, ripening, and filling them with a dense richness, while their wines show lots of black cherry, plum, chocolate with a satiny texture, round, full and broad on the palate. When we were first introduced to this winery, we thought it was so soft, f... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "There's a purity of fruit here with intense blackberries, blueberries and citrus rind on the nose. Full body, delicate tannins and a long and delicious finish. So savory and beautiful. Made from biodynamically farmed grapes. Drink now." (9/2013) 91 points Vinous: "The 2011 Chianti Classico Querciabella has that extra bit of depth, creaminess and mid-palate pliancy missing in the 2010, all while maintaining plenty of brightness, freshness and Sangiovese character. Freshly cut roses, sweet red berries and a hint of spices are woven into the exceptionally elegant, refined finis ...Read More »
From the producer: "Rosso di Montalcino comes from the same Sangiovese Grosso grapes as the Brunello di Montalcino. This younger wine brings the consumer closer to the taste of Montalcino's wines and accompanies a large range of different foods. Its name is established during harvest and is already perfect after a 12 months maturation period in oak wood barrels."
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of Spanish broom, ripe apricot and yellow peach lead the nose and carry over to the round palate. Fresh acidity accompanies the juicy fruit flavors while an almond note closes the finish." (10/2015) K&L Notes: Gallura is a peninsula on the northeast corner of the island of Sardinia that specializes in Vermentino (the grape is also grown on the coast of mainland Italy, on Corsica and in the south of France under the name Rolle). Mancini's version of the grape is very fresh and forward, with no oak or malolactic fermentation aromas, just grape juice fermented at... Read More »
Ah, Piedmont! Home to Italy's most long-lived reds, Barolo and Barbaresco. Piedmont also lays claim to this frothy number, a semi-sweet sparkling wine that shares as much in common with Barolo as a turnip does with a root beer float. To begin with, there's the preponderance of wild strawberry fruit, and the effervescent goodness that is not totally dissimilar to Moscato, only this one is pink. Deep pink. Gulpable pink. After a certain age it is unseemly to drink cherry soda pop in public--go for Brachetto instead! It's low in alcohol, with a touch of sw... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Fermented in stainless steel and then moved to oak for brief four-month period, the 2013 Rosso di Montalcino shows easy fruit appeal. Aromas include small tones of forest berry and white cherry backed by more evident aromas of balsam herb, cola and licorice. You get the aromas that are characteristic of Brunello, only in a less formal and less nuanced ensemble. Bright berry fruit and tangy acidity appear on the thin close. (ML)" (2/2015) Vinous: "The 2013 Rosso di Montalcino is pleasantly rustic and bold, with plenty of Sangiovese character. Sweet red cherry, tobac ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* Real Lambrusco is a rarity in this country, but here it is, purple hued, with just enough fizz to help cut through the fattiness of fine salume. It’s grapy and dry, with hints of anise and herbs that prevent it from being too simple." (12/2003) K&L Notes: Lambrusco is not part of the upper echelon of Italian wine. To begin with, it is not expensive. Also, it doesn't come from Tuscany or Piedmont or any of the well know wine-producing regions of Italy. It comes from Emilia-Romagna. And then there's the fact that it's red and sparking. Actually, foaming is c... Read More »
Sitting in the northeastern corner of Italy on the border of Slovenia, Collio has an ancient winegrowing history and remains an important DOC zone for quality white wines. Here the Palla family, led by patriarch Giancarlo, produces distinctive wines from these Friulian lands. Densely planted vines produce a terroir-driven Pinot Grigio, which features a flinty profile with notes of pear and fine minerals.
Owner/Winemaker of Cascina La Ghersa, Max Pastura, passionately directs the winery his family has run since 1928. The Piagè, or 'toll' in the Piemontese dialect, represents a killer value in 100 percent Barbera. Fruity, bright, and exuberant on the nose, with aromas of dark red fruits and underbrush, the palate is full of cherries and plums with a persistent and always fresh mouthfeel.
Inventory: San Francisco
Grown on part of the Prevostura hill, from a typical northern Piedmont blend of varieties Nebbiolo (70%), Vespolina (20%) and Croatina (10%). The soils here are 35% old marine sand, 25% clay and 40% silt, and they are acidic; the grapes are picked typically in early October, and the wine is fermented in stainless steel with a fairly long maceration (18 days after the end of fermentation). The wine is aged in small barrels (not new) for 21 months before bottling. In effect this is declassified Lessona with a little Croatina added, so the flavors tend towa... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
91 points Vinous: "The 2013 Rosso di Montalcino captures the essence of this site rich in clay and limestone, where the wines are ample and broad in style. Dark cherry, plum, smoke, lavender and spice notes blossom in a resonant Rosso loaded with personality. This is a fabulous showing from Andrea Cortonesi. (AG)" (2/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Rosso di Montalcino opens to easy fruit intensity and sharp mineral tones of brimstone and pencil shaving that you note immediately. Those dusty tones slowly turn to bright cherry, licorice and cola. Rosso di Montalcino is one of Italy's most food ...Read More »
Terre da Vino's La Lune e I Falò Barbera d'Asti comes from a variety of vineyards with varying soils and microclimates located between the towns of Nizza Monferrato and Agliano Terme. Aged in one-third new oak barrels for a year, this is an intense, purple-fruited Barbera with anise and vanilla spice that carries from the bouquet to the palate. Soft on the palate, with lots of fruit and integrated spice, finishing long.
For four generations, the Gangemi family has been devoting itself to viticulture and to the improvement of autochthonous Sicilian vines from the area surrounding Mt. Etna. The Alke is 100% Nero D'Avola, featuring a soft and balanced elegance with notes of red fruits, spice, and subtle hints of vanilla.
91 points Vinous: "The 2009 Colline Novaresei Agamium is floral, bright and deeply expressive, with plenty of lift and red stone fruit character. Feminine and gracious throughout, the 2009 offers considerable grace and plenty of near to medium-term appeal. A final burst of Chambolle-like fruit rounds out the finish. (AG)" (7/2015) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This polished Nebbiolo opens with aromas of perfumed berry, violet, tilled soil and grilled herb. The bright, elegant palate doles out sour cherry, star anise and cinnamon framed in sleek tannins and bright acidity. A mineral note energizes the fin ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Indicative blend: Falanghina 60% and Biancolella 40%
Vinous: "The 2012 Chianti Classico is superb. Bright red-toned fruit, spices, anise and leather grace the palate in an absolutely exquisite, vibrant wine endowed with superb texture, finesse and personality...It is super-refined and a real standout for the year. Dollops of Canaiolo and Colorino round out the blend." (9/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Made with organic grapes, this fruity blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo/Colorino begins with aromas of ripe red berries, spice and espresso. The dense palate delivers fleshy black cherry, black pepper and balsamic herbs supported by yout ...Read More »