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K&L Staff Recommendations
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "BEST BUY: This elegantly structured wine opens with aromas of black plum, mocha, Mediterranean herbs and a hint of scorched earth. The round, enveloping palate doles out ripe black cherry, blackberry, cinnamon and white pepper, while firm, silky tannins provide the framework. A fantastic wine, it’s already enjoyable and will offer fine drinking over the next few years. — K.O" (10/2015) K&L Notes: From the producer: "Made from bush-trained Carignano grapes grown in the coastal area between Capo Teulada and the Iglesiente mountains. The nose offers residual vinous sen... Read More »
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.
Wine Spectator: "This creamy red takes a modern tack, with mocha and spice accents to the pureed boysenberry fruit. Bright and balanced, with a lightly chewy finish of moderate length. Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2018. 1,400 cases imported." (6/2015)
Amarone at this price? I said the same thing myself, but I was really surprised by the quality of this wine. It has the classic richness one would expect of Amarone, and the fruit quality is superb. I've had other inexpensive Amarone but they always taste slightly bitter and overly raisiny, but this wine is really balanced and has just a terrific finish. How can this happen, you ask? Well, in these times of economic uncertainty, sales of high-priced Amarone have dipped. The folks behind the Montechiara label offer a way for a producer to clear out some i... 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)
On the border of Tuscany, Lazio, and Umbria--the area that also happens to be the birthplace of the ancient Etruscan civilization--Paolo and Noemia d'Amico have built a winery deeply embedded in tradition. The landscape is a result of a long period of volcanic erosion, and is full of deep valleys of cliffs and rock walls. Their cellar is modeled after the Etruscans, and was built underneath the vines, ensuring that temps are always ideal. This Merlot-Sangiovese blend is full-bodied and bright-toned, with notes of violets and fresh cherries.
90 points Wine Spectator: "Plum and blackberry flavors show herb and spice accents in this firmly structured red. The tannins dominate the finish now, yet there's plenty of sweet fruit. Best from 2014 through 2022." (10/2012) K&L Notes: "Dainero" is a Super Tuscan composed primarily of Merlot, with 10% Sangiovese, and spends six months in barrel. Praise for the producer from Wine Advocate: "Massimo Ferragamo's Castiglion del Bosco shows the fruits of hard labor and major winery investments with the 2010 vintage. This stellar vintage shows us what his vineyards are capable of because the qualit... Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "Dark bright red. Amarone-like opulence on the nose and in the mouth, with a raisiny nuance to the ripe, soft red cherry, sweet spice and herb aromas and flavors. So velvety and opulent I would have tasted it in Veneto had I tasted it blind, but it’s so well balanced and smooth that it’s pretty irresistible. Finishes long, with lush, smooth tannins and a hint of residual sweetness. I really like this wine because, for all its showy sweetness and opulence, it manages to retain a graceful quality without going over the top. Amarone lovers will score it even ...Read More »
Tenuta di Aglaea cultivates the indigenous and mysterious Nerello grape on the cool volcanic terraces of Sicily's Mount Etna. Perfumed with minerally aromas, the wine is marked by a firm body and a freshness of fruit tones with gentle tannins. It is a wine of subtlety and will reward several years of cellaring. Try it with antipasti, pasta, vegetable dishes, and lighter meats like pork, veal, and poultry. 100% Nerello Mascalese.
40% Refosco, 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
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! No, it isn't Red Moscato, but I couldn't... Read More »
Marchione represents the efforts of Importer A.I. Selections to create outstanding value-priced wines with regional authenticity. The fruit for this wine is sourced from 15-18 year old Nero d'Avola vines located in the Agrigento Hills of Sicily. The wine sees no oak and offers a fresh and smoothly textured palate of spicy black cherry and plum fruit. This is certainly an ideal daily table red and perfect for outdoor occasions as well.
Inventory: Redwood City
90 points Wine & Spirits: "This aged for 12 months, half in cement and half in tonneaux, sustaining an inky violet hue and dense flavors of black plum and sour cherry. Firm fruit-skin tannins frame the juicy fruit, leaving a fresh impression. A few years in the cellar may unpack more layers." (8/2015)
90 points Antonio Galloni: "Dark ruby-red. Rich red cherry and red berry aromas are complemented by cinnamon and fresh herbs. Suave, dense and juicy, with superripe red cherry and marzipan flavors complicated by hints of vanilla and mocha. Finishes long, with noteworthy peppery bite." (9/2015)
This wine used to be called Testarossa, but though the name on the bottle has changed, the quality of the wine in the bottle has not. It is consistently one of the benchmarks for wine from this mountainous and remote region, smack in the middle of Italy but somehow forgotten by time and tourists.
91 points James Suckling: "Young and wild red fruits with the trademark peppery edge, some brambly blue fruits and an assertive, spicy thread. This has a supple, fleshy and brambly palate with glossy ripe blue fruit flavors, fine-sheeted tannins and a tangy, saffron-tinged finish." (5/2015)
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 James Suckling: "Super-silky and refined red with plum, cocoa, mineral and walnut character. Full body, integrated tannins and a chewy finish. Better in 2016 but beautiful now." (10/2014)91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A pure expression of Nerello Mascalese, the 2012 Etna Rosso shows a gorgeous garnet hue with brilliant ruby highlights. The color is healthy and saturated. Elegant and integrated aromas of dark fruit, ash, tobacco and spice are present in equal measure. Its texture is thickly woven and velvety in feel with firm, but well-managed tannins. A few more years in the bottle will soften up the f ...Read More »
96 points James Suckling: "Lots of blackcurrants and blackberry aromas and flavors with hints of bark and mushrooms. Full-bodied, chewy and rich. A powerful red with plenty of structure and depth. This Bordeaux blend from Bolgheri is a challenger to Sassicaia and Ornellaia. Better in 2018." (8/2015)94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Showing exceptional density and thickness, the 2012 Orma is a monumental red wine from Tuscany. The blend is 50% Merlot with Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc in supporting roles. Compared to the 2011 vintage, this edition of Orma shows tighter tannins and a longer aging potential. In fact, ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Negroamaro is a red wine grape variety native to southern Italy. It is grown almost exclusively in Puglia and particularly in Salento, the peninsula which can be visualised as the “heel” of Italy. Wines made from Negroamaro tend to be very rustic in character, combining perfume with an earthy bitterness. The grape produces some of the best red and rosè wines of Puglia, particularly when blended with the highly scented Malvasia Nera. While most varieties of Malvasia produce white wine, Malvasia nera is a red wine variety that is used primarily as a blendi... Read More »
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright red. Captivating, extremely intense aromas of flinty red cherry and raspberry, lifted by violet and mineral notes. Sappy, floral fruit shows lovely sweetness and energy thanks to well-integrated acidity and spicy mineral lift. Dense, chewy and saline on the brisk finish, featuring youthful, building tannins. Made from vines between 75 and 100 years of age, this is a star in the making--a truly great Passopisciaro and the best wine in this year's releases of Sicilian wines from the talented Andrea Franchetti. 92(+?) points." (3/2014)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Pas ...Read More »
92 points Antonio Galloni: "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) Wine & Spirits: "This looks and tastes like an essence of black raspberries, from the magenta-ed ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Elena Fucci's latest release is the 2012 Aglianico del Vulture Titolo. The wine shines bright with primary aromas of dark fruit, herb, oak spice and dark volcanic tones of crushed granite and smoke. Given the proven track record of this wine, I'd expect this vintage to age for 15 to 20 years without a hitch. The 2012 vintage was only slightly warmer than average and those ripe fruit flavors do a lot to round out and soften the firm tannic backbone of the wine. There's a notable point of acidity that helps the wine to achieve an impressive sense of balanc ...Read More »
A harmonious blend of Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, and Alicante, grown in the terraced vineyards on Mount Etna known for having sandy, volcanic soils rich in minerals. From the producer: "Aetneus is born in monumental vineyards on the Volcano’s north side: a living natural wine, complex and elegant, with great aging potential."
Antonio Galloni: "Crushed flowers, mint, pine, spices and crushed raspberries lift from the glass in the 2013 Anthos, Correggia's still, dry Brachetto. In this vintage, the Anthos is especially light-bodied and ethereal. I would drink it slightly chilled as an aperitif. (AG)" (5/2015)
91 points James Suckling: ""This is a very intense and rich with blackberry, dark chocolate, grilled meat and cherry flavors. Full body with ripe fruit and tannins. Layered and rich. Long finish. Merlot, Sangiovese, syrah and cabernet sauvignon. Drink now."" (10/2014)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico is 70% Covina, 25% Rondinella and 5% Molinara. This classic Amarone blend is carefully studied to bring optimal appassimento results, with bold intensity, good structure and characteristic aromas of dried fruit and spice. Velveteen texture marks the finish. Drink 2014-2020. (ML)" (10/2013) K&L Notes: Massimino Venturini's Valpolicella is a classic of the style. Made from Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella. Dry, aromatic and balanced, with cocoa, cherry and a hint of almond skin.
NEROIBLEO is a warm, solar red, with the striking characteristics of wine produced from the renown Nero'd'Avola, the Sicilian grape variety which has been cultivated for centuries on Mount Iblea in the province of Ragusa.
97 points James Suckling: "A gorgeous, sleek wine with super-polished tannins and fabulous fruit. It's full but so refined and sexy. It goes on for minutes. Really fine. What a wine. This Bordeaux blend from here is the best ever. Better in 2016 but great now." (10/2014)92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This full-bodied blend of 50% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc offers aromas of ripe black-skinned fruit, crushed Mediterranean herbs, scorched earth and tobacco. The dense palate doles out black cherries, red currants, cedar, anise and mocha alongside ample, velvety tannins. Drink 2016–2021. ...Read More »
A unique varietal wine, only in Piedmont. The Castello di Verduno, owned by Gabriella Burlotto and Franco Bianco, is a beautiful old building at the top of the village of Verduno, on the edge of the Barolo zone. The Castello di Verduno wine label unites two cellars, one under the castle in the Barolo zone and the other near the famous 'cru' Rabajà, in the Barbaresco area. Wines are produced in Barbaresco and bottled and stored in Verduno. The vineyards owned by Verduno are the Barbaresco crus, Faset and Rabajà, the last being one of the best vineyards in... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points James Suckling: "Another wonderful red, with ripe, chewy but silky-textured tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Ripe dark fruits, walnuts and flowers. It shows a wonderful balance for the appellation. Drink or hold." (2/2014)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2008 Montefalco Sagrantino is a massive wine with dark spice aromas, ripe fruit, prune, tar leather and tobacco. The aromas transport you somewhere exotic, like a spice marker in the Middle East. Gritty tannins show some coarseness on the close. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2022. 90+ (ML)" (8/2013) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Good deep ruby-red. Subdued nose opens slowly with ...Read More »
93 points James Suckling: "The aromas are enchanting with cardamom, ivy and dark fruits. Subtle and fascinating. Full body, round tannins with a complex aftertaste of ash, smoke, light jam and orange peel. Silky. Intense chalk." (10/2014) Wine Spectator: "Tangy dried cherry and cranberry fruit is layered with aromatic herb and woodsy spice in this well-knit red, with light tannins and a subtle finish of fresh earth and smoke. (Web-2015)"
92 points James Suckling: "Beautiful aromas of dried fruits such as strawberry and cherry. Spices and dried flowers. Full body with firm, silky tannins and a long, flavorful finish. A wonderfully firm, silky red from Etna. A blend of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio. Drink or hold." (10/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Benanti's entry-level 2013 Etna Rosso Rossodiverzella represents a blend of fruit from the estate's various holdings on the north, east and south flanks of the volcano. The blend is a traditional 80-20 mix of Nerellos Mascalese and Cappuccio. The wine sports a light ruby color and straig ...Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "This gorgeous wine opens with fragrances of blue flower, moist earth, leather and ripe berry. The delicious palate delivers succulent black cherry, cinnamon, white pepper and balsamic herbs alongside smooth, silky tannins. It’s already delicious now, but hold for complexity. Drink now–2026." (9/2014)
From the winemaker: "This wine is the product of the fermentation of Valpolicella Classico on the pressed grapes of Recioto and Amarone that are still full of sweet wine. The result is a high quality long lasting wine with strong and decisive characteristics and an intense bouquet of cherries and plums."
Inventory: San Francisco
Wine Enthusiast: "Made with 93% Schiava and 7% Lagrein, this offers aromas of blue flower and red berry. On the bright palate, almond and baking spice accent crunchy red cherry and crushed raspberry. Polished tannins and fresh acidity provide support. Serve chilled for a perfect summer red." (6/2015)
Wine Spectator: "Fresh earth and leather accents are layered with a snappy note of cherry and hints of pekoe tea and dried cranberry in this tangy red. Medium-bodied, with an aromatic, herbal finish. Drink now through 2023. 3,700 cases made. (Web Only - 2015)"
Cantine Marisa Cuomo makes wines that capture the essense of the rugged beauty of the Amalfi Coast. This Rosato is 50% Piedirosso and 50% Aglianico from south-facing terraces set 100-250 meters above the sea on extremely rocky soil of dolomite and limestone.
The finest wine in the stable at Corte Rugolin, the Monte Danieli Amarone is sourced from a 60 year old vineyard with excellent sun exposure. It is made from 55% Corvina, 15% Corvinone, 5% Rondinella, and a balance of the other local varieties Olinara, Dindarellla, Oseleta, and Croatina. Harvest began in September and the grapes were loaded onto special racks where they were allowed to dry at room temperature in a ventilated room for three months. This process reduced the original weight of the grapes by 35-40% via dehydration, and in turn concentrating ... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2007 Montefalco Sagrantino shows off layers of dark fruit, juniper berries and sweet medicinal herbs in a sumptuous expression of Sagrantino. All of the elements come together nicely here, as the hard Sagrantino tannins and some of grape's wildness have been tamed but without the loss of too much varietal character. A lush, refined finish rounds things out nicely. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019." (6/2011) Jancis Robinson: "Dark ruby with bricky rim. Balsamic cherry with real depth and a little earthy. Elegant palate weight and big tannins. Quite pure fruit on the finis ...Read More »
Paolo Calì is a pharmacist who began making wine in 2003. In the hot climate of southerneastern Sicily, Calì's grows Nero D'Avola and Frappato in the island's only DOCG, Cerasuola di Vittoria. His Frappato is fresh and aromatic, with notes of strawberries, lavender, and orange zest. He ferments in stainless steel to preserve the brightness of the grape. This wine is a boon companion to any summer picnic--put a slight chill on it and serve it with prosciutto, fried chicken, or pizza.
92 points Antonio Galloni: "Trabucchi's 2006 Amarone della Valpolicella explodes from the glass. Black cherry, tar, incense, smoke and licorice notes all take shape as this big, broad-shouldered wine shows off its personality. Another year or two in bottle should help the 2006 come together even more fully, but it is likely to remain a fairly powerful, hulking Amarone. Still, there is a lot to look forward to here." (3/2014)91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Dark, thick and syrupy, this savory Amarone delivers notes of Indian spice, Teriyaki, molasses, plum and dark berry fruit. It has a noticeably sweet finish with ...Read More »
Wine & Spirits: "Tarry upfront, with scents of green figs and herbs, this is a savory montepulciano that’s ready to serve with a steak." (6/2015) Wine Spectator: "Balanced and fresh, with light tannins framing the tangy mix of wild berry, damson plum and fresh forest flavors. Drink now. 8,000 cases made. (Web Only - 2015)"
Inventory: San Francisco
Tenuta di Aglaea cultivates the indigenous and mysterious Nerello grape on the cool volcanic terraces of Sicily's Mount Etna. N'Anticchia is the finest selection of grapes from Aglaea's 100-year-old, own-rooted vines which make up the winery's original, half-hectare vineyard parcel. The wine was aged in 50% new French oak barriques for 18 months before bottling. It is firm and mineral-driven, with delicate notes of strawberry and raspberry. Velvety tannins grace the long finish which hints at complexities that will further develop with cellaring. Try wit... Read More »