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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Chardonnay Private Reserve became famous under the helmsmanship of chief winemaker Ed Sbragia, and Laurie Hook has refined it ever so slightly by somewhat backing off the oak, and maintaining the depth and richness, but with more precision and refinement. The full-bodied 2012 Chardonnay Private Reserve exhibits wonderful orange blossom, white peach and pineapple fruit, a subtle touch of vanillin and toast, and a nicely layered, pure style with terrific fruit intensity. It is a great value, especially if you compare its quality to just about any premi ...Read More »
New Price - A Steal! A rich, but not over-the-top Chardonnay from a prominent Napa Valley winery who has also made wine under our Kalinda label. Creamy and toasty with a fine core of acidity makes for easy drinking. For those who like a full but not too full-bodied Chardonnay. (Clyde Beffa Jr., K&L Wine Merchants Co-Owner)
Inventory: Redwood City
Great Price - Just Reduced! Last year’s Ancient Peaks/K&L Zinfandel bottling was such a hit with our staff and customers that we could have done another vintage of it and we all would have been incredibly happy. However, that would be too easy, and that is simply not the K&L way. I started talking to the folks at AP early this year when we began the discussion about doing another bottling together. We both knew that we wanted to, but I really wanted to show off the winery's incredible Cabernet vines and I didn’t know if they had enough Cab to let us have... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "The winery is making new strides by finding the best sites for its wines rather than trying to grow everything on its estate. This Chardonnay is a case in point. High in acidity and low in oak influence, it offers restrained layers of tropical mango, lemon and ginger snap." (3/2015) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light yellow-gold. Lively citrus and orchard fruits on the spicy nose. Shows hints of sweet butter and ginger on the palate, complementing Meyer lemon and apple flavors that tighten up with air. Closes tangy and dry, with an echo of ginger and good, nervy persistence. (ST) ...Read More »
The bounty of the 2012 vintage is certainly showing its stuff. The Kirkham Peak Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir was made for us by a very notable Central Coast winery (we can't tell you who), and this bottling is the real deal at a fraction of the price. The winery who (for contractual reasons) needs to remain nameless, has a long list of highly-rated wines from various critics. And with the perfect raw materials in 2012, they've fashioned another winner. This has a profile of bright fruit--lovely raspberry and strawberry aromas that reverberate on t... Read More »
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 Santa 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.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "A minty aroma wafts from this wine, fresh and herbal, intermingled with the smell of sun-warmed tomato leaves. In taste, cranberry and savory black tea surround soft layers of well-built acidity and subtle red cherry fruitiness. It’s an intriguing wine that gets better in the glass." (10/2014)90 points Wine Spectator: "The plum, black cherry and raspberry flavors are pure and intense, showing some finesse, with star anise, clove and black pepper details that crescendo on the finish. Drink now through 2018." (9/2013)
Wine Spectator: "Features juicy sour pineapple and tropical fruit notes that are pure and direct. More simple than complex. No oak." K&L Notes: From the winery: "A pale yellow hue, the wine is well balanced with great structure. Bright minerality, pink grapefruit and key lime characters shine through on the nose, followed by lemon zest and stone fruit. The mid-palate displays intriguing notes of lemon meringue, quince and citrus, complemented by a crisp acidity that carries through from start to finish. The higher acidity in this wine makes it a perfect accompaniment to a wide array ... Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "The Chardonnays of Grgich Hills are rarely, if ever, wines that trade on high ripeness and richness, but this very lean, nearly wiry young wine flirts with suggestions of greenness and proves to be very tight-fisted at this point. While we like its freshness and its hard-to-miss vibrancy, we would be happier if it were a little more outgoing in fruit, but given the winery's track record for slow-to-unfold, long-aging white wines, we are willing to set this one aside for several years." (5/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright medium yellow. Aromas of mango, stone and soft citrus f ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "There’s some age showing on the nose of this wine, with cherry liqueur aromas most prevalent. It’s very tasty once sipped, and still strongly tannic, with dark cherry and black clove." (12/2014) K&L Notes: From Central Coast winery owner Nebil "Bilo" Zarif, who also founded Barnwood Vineyards, Summerland is a small (3,000 cases in the single vineyard collection) Pinot Noir specialist. The famed Bien Nacido Vineyard was planted in 1973, before the modern era of the Dijon clones, to Pommard and Martini.
Wine Enthusiast: "A powerful spice rack of mace, allspice and cinnamon stick coat aromas of roasted tomatoes on this wine from the longtime Alsatian-focused producer. The flavors come and go quickly, but feature orange peel-driven acidity, squeezed plum fruit and cranberry juice." (2/2015)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Enkidu is a small, nearly under-the-radar outfit based in a warehouse south of the town of Sonoma, co-founded by career winemaker Phillip Staehle, that turns out big wines with concentration and individuality. The Old Vine field blend includes grapes from the 125-year-old Bedrock vineyard in the Sonoma Valley.
90 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Syrah Estate is gorgeous. Dark, red and plummy, the 2012 impresses for the purity of its fruit and radiance. Peay does not have a mid-tier Sonoma Coast bottling, so all the fruit that does not go into the two single-vineyard Syrahs goes into this tasty, entry-level bottling. Sweet floral notes grace the silky finish. Peay does an excellent job with Cep, their sister label of budget-friendly wines. All of these current releases are tasty. The Syrah is the standout, as it is made up of declassified barrels of the two Peay vineyard designate, Syra ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Concentrated and bright, this blend of 63% Grenache and 37% Syrah has deep flavors of strawberry and licorice. Ready to age for several years, it has a mountain’s worth of tannins, and yet it is incredibly light on its feet." (4/2013)91 points Wine Spectator: "Pleasing for its mix of rustic, gravel-laced dark berry, black cherry and blackberry flavors, gaining depth and firmness on the finish. Grenache and Syrah. Drink now through 2022. (Web-2013)" K&L Notes: We called this wine “The Brat” because it is based in Grenache and Grenache is a temperamental grape that basically is difficult to culti... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Daryl Groom is making these wines from Livermore Valley vineyards mostly and the wine is no doubt big in every way-15.6% alcohol with big tannins and big black, spicy fruit flavors hiding in there at first. It definitely needs time to open. And a giant, slathered-in-sauce kind of steak or other red meat." (11/2011)
Willowbrook is a largely under-the-radar label from Joe Otos, winemaker at Owl Ridge Wines in Sebastopol. We've got some great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from choice vineyards from Willowbrook in the past, and now this Syrah. It comes from the Altes Vineyard, located in the Rincon Valley area in the middle of Sonoma County--not far from the hot Kick Ranch vineyard.
94 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Bondi Home Ranch is all about texture. Seamless and expressive in the glass, the 2013 impresses for its balance and overall sense of harmony. The 80% new oak barrels are totally integrated in this impeccable and highly expressive Pinot. Sweet floral and spice notes add the final layers of complexity. Bondi Home Ranch is the coolest Pinot site Martinelli works with and is distinguished by its very long vegetative cycle. I wish every Vinous reader could sit down for a tasting with the Martinelli family as I have had the privilege of doi ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon possesses a deep ruby/purple color in addition to classic notes of crème de cassis, blueberries and a hint of that mountain wildflower character that is a part of the Spring Mountain District appellation. Sweet tannins, beautiful ripeness, and a long, textured mouthfeel are found in this beauty. It is one of the finest wines the Barnetts have made since this winery was founded in 1983." (10/2014)91 points Wine Spectator: "Well-proportioned, with a complex mix of red berry, cherry and wild berry, turning supple and subtle midpalate and ending with a tasty ...Read More »
From the winery: "A compilation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, and Merlot; this red blend entices the palate with flavors of ripe black cherry, mission figs and anise. Subtle notes of spice and tobacco finish on soft tannins."
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Zinfandel Alegria Vineyard Heritage Vines is a field blend of 78% Zinfandel, 12% Alicante Bouchet, 8% Petite Sirah and 2% Carignan, Trousseau, Sangiovese, Petit Bouchet, Syrah Negret, Black Muscat, Cinsault and Grenache -- talk about an assortment of grapes! However, this wine certainly works, and it is a tribute to the Italian immigrants that first planted these vines in 1890. Lots of black cherry, blackcurrant, licorice, earth, pepper and spice aromas jump from the glass of this complex, well-made, full-throttle Zinfandel (14.5% alcohol). This ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Wine Enthusiast: "A solid deal for the price, this blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc presents aromas of pine forest, damp caves and black cherry. The blueberry juice flavors fade fast, leaving black sage on the finish. The tannins are ready to drink now." (4/2015) K&L Notes: This is an exciting new Project from Steve McClean, whose family has been greatly successful with growing and making wine from their estate Norman Vineyards in Paso Robles. Steve is getting most of his fruit from the Norman Vineyard but also sources some other local prestigious Paso Robles Vin... Read More »
95 points Antonio Galloni: "Darker tonalities of fruit emerge from the 2012 Syrah Eddie's Patch Hoppe-Kelly Vineyard. Deep and powerful, the 2012 presents a brooding, intense expression of Syrah, with plenty of dark red and blue fruit overtones. I imagine the 2012 will provide readers with a long, broad drinking window of pure pleasure. I was deeply impressed with the wines I tasted at DuMol this year. Winemaker Andy Smith is no longer at Larkmead and is now solely focused on DuMol, which can only be a good thing for these wines. Many of the 2012s, the Pinots in particular, were e ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From the Rockpile AVA, the 2012 Zinfandel Botticelli Vineyard reveals slightly more acids as well as more briary, mountain berry-styled fruit, a tangy, spicy headiness, a full-bodied mouthfeel, and impressive purity, texture and length. It, too, should be consumed over the next 7-8 years. Jeff Cohn makes a dizzying array of wines, all of which have enormous appeal and character. (RP)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: From the winery: "The Botticelli fruit comes from one of the highest elevation vineyards at 1,800 feet. Dark like wearing sunglasses at midnight and loaded with ras... Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "Brothers Jake and Scot Bilbro seem to have breathed new life into Marietta, one of Sonoma's historic wineries. This year, the Bilbros have two new wines; the NV Christo, a Syrah-based red, and the NV Armé, which features Bordeaux varieties. All four wines in this range deliver outstanding quality and value. I wish every Vinous reader could sit down for a tasting with the Martinelli family as I have had the privilege of doing for the last handful of years. Of all the estates I visit in California, Martinelli is the one of the very few properties where vir ...Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Rich and well-ripened but not going too far and no more than hinting at a bit of chocolate here and there, this generous wine keys in on ample, berry-like fruit and shows a quiet hand with regard to varietal spice. It is fleshy, full and firm, and its fruit stays the course despite toughening tannins at the end. Refinement and beauty likely lie out of its reach regardless of how long it is held, but four or five years of patience should bring it at least a little of each." (11/2014) Wine Spectator: "Racy, if rather dry and tannic, with accents of dried cherry, c ...Read More »
From the winery: "Unlike 2011 (and 2010, and even 2009 for that matter), 2012 was darn-near perfect. Jerre Sears’ and Joyce Black’s lovely vineyard is situated a mere 150 yards from our front gate, and the vines from our block, now in their sixties, are producing zinfandel like no other in the world. 2012 was marked by slow, steady development, with a heat spike in August followed by the return of moderate temperatures. Fruit lingered on the vine until mid-October, developing juicy, brambly, dusty, spicy, fabulous character. Without doubt, 2012 was a hal... Read More »
New to K&L from Topanga Vineyards, the Chroma Cab is sourced from Paso Robles' Bootjack Vineyard and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is varietally correct with fine, supple integrated tannins and great texture on the palate. Its juicy rich fruit is well-balanced by its suprising Paso acidity and the wine is superbly food friendly. If you're looking for your next weeknight red for under $20, then look no further. This will deliver the goods! (Christie Cartwright, Hollywood Buyer)
96 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is fabulous. Gorgeous, expressive aromatics meld into dark red stone fruits in a Cabernet of pure breed and class. These cool sites in Coombsville yield a Cabernet built on savory aromatics, perfume and depth. There is so much going on in the glass that words prove superficial in trying to describe just how beautiful the 2012 is. Majestic. That might do it. This is the finest and most complete set of wines I can remember tasting from Arietta. Proprietor Fritz Hatton and winemaker Andy Erickson seem to have reached a new level ...Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* Bold but sophisticated, this has classic, concentrated Napa aromas and flavors. A luscious, velvety mouthfeel through to a lingering finish. The aroma combines cedar and spice-rack notes with fresh berries and black currants. Flavors are influenced by suave, spicy oak accents that weave in and out of the compelling ripe fruit. It’s beautiful to drink now, but will improve through at least 2022" (8/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate shows similar suppleness to the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon label, sweet tannin, copious quantities of b ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Inky purple. Pungent, smoke- and spice-accented aromas of black and blue fruits, licorice, vanilla and violet. Fleshy and broad on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering sappy blueberry and black raspberry flavors and a zesty touch of cracked pepper. Closes on a sweet note, with impressive energy and slow-building tannins. I'd give this one at least another five years of bottle age." (5/2013) K&L Notes: Ravenswood's Icon, once a Syrah-based Rhone blend, has been reinvented as a distinctly California-style, premium Zinfandel-based blend balanced with Peti... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "From the esteemed grower behind many a famous Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, this estate wine is golden colored and intoxicatingly inviting in layers of baked apple, lemon verbena and orange blossom. A toasty subnote gives the impression of voluptuousness in this otherwise lean and lovely wine." (10/2014)90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Skirting the margins of ripeness on the one hand and restrained ripeness on the other and turning out both appley and green in the process, this wine is nicely round and slightly oily in palatefeel and has firmed up varietal character from middle to ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Wine Enthusiast: "Woodenhead does Pinot Noir well, too, but here it shows its skill with Zinfandel, producing a structured, peppery and leathery version bright in briary blackberry and plum. With fierce minerality at its core, this is a distinctive Zin for those who prefer their wines savory and earthy." (8/2013) K&L Notes: Mendocino County is possibly the most overlooked source for Zinfandel in California, with long-established vineyards which deliver substantial and structured expressions. The Venturi family has owned this vineyard site since 1924 which sits just west of the Redwood... Read More »
Heidrun is a meadery in Point Reyes Station who specializes in dry and crisp sparkling meads produced from single-varietal flower honeys. All of their meads are produced in a Champagne method--complete with riddling, disgorgement, and secondary fermentation--and are serious, Champagne-inspired sparklers with delicious honey flavors. Their orange blossom mead is one of their biggest in style, full of a rich orange flavors. Like most of their meads, however, this sparkler is still elegant with delicate citrus aromas and a slight mineral finish. Springtime... Read More »
From the winery: "Sonoma-Cutrer’s best kept secret may be that we also make award-winning Pinot Noir wines. We have a separate winery specifically dedicated to crafting the best Pinot Noir. Pinot Noirs, more than other varietals, reflect the way in which they are handled. Sonoma-Cutrer’s Pinot facility was designed to utilize handcrafted winemaking methods to ensure this delicate varietal is blended using the most-gentle of techniques. Our artisan process allows us to create Pinot Noirs that are elegantly structured with a rich texture and juicy, red-ber... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Slacker, a second label from Linne Calodo, produced this unique red blend that expresses the pioneering spirit of the Paso region. Sourced from their Slacker and Oakdale Ranches, both located on the westside of Paso Robles, it consists of 47% Syrah, 38% Grenache, and 15% Mourvèdre. From the producer: "Delicate notes of cinnamon, allspice, and West Paso sage lead to a flavor explosion of bright plum encased in slightly toasted pie crust. The subtle acidity of this wine makes it refreshing and enjoyable in a variety of situations."
Inventory: Redwood City
This is a new release for the winery - they were inspired to create a Chardonnay to pair with the local oysters harvested in Tomales Bay. According to the winery: "Like the Durell Vineyard, where we made lovely Chardonnay in a similar style in past vintages, Gap’s Crown Vineyard is owned by wine mogul (and all around good guy) Bill Price. We simply traded our contract for Durell fruit to one for Gap’s Crown fruit in the same quantity. The 138-acre Gap’s Crown Vineyard is situated on the Southern end of Sonoma Mountain on the west side. It is a hillside v... Read More »
Napa Carneros Chardonnay with fine, cool-climate sourcing: the Chardonnay is grown in Merryvale Stanly Ranch Estate and Hyde Vineyard. Winemaker notes: "Vibrant gold in color, with aromas of mandarin and ripe tropical fruits interwoven with barrel notes, sweet oak, toast, and spice. On the palate, the wine has bright, lively acidity, with sweet fruit flavors, good depth and complexity. The finish is clean and elegant, with a hint of minerality."
Inventory: Main Warehouse
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay Russian River (4,360 cases) was aged on its lees in one-third new French oak for 11 months and underwent full malolactic fermentation. A six-vineyard blend, it is composed primarily of the Old Wente clone as well as Mt. Eden and a handful of others. Nearly 50% comes from the Dutton Vineyard and the rest from the Heintz, DuMOL Estate, Lorenzo, Ritchie and a few others. Like most of the DuMOL Chardonnays, it reveals a greenish hue to its color as well as attractive aromas of orange blossom, delicate pineapple, wet pebbles and fresh acid ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Hudson's 2010 Pick Up Sticks is an unusual blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 15% Barbera. Sweet red cherries, flowers, herbs and licorice, all come to life beautifully on a mid-weight frame. The higher percentage of Grenache in the 2010 vis-a-vis the 2009 gives the wine much of its ethereal, delicate perfume and sensual personality. This is a hugely delicious wine from Hudson Vineyards. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024. These three new releases from Hudson Vineyards are more than worthy follow-ups to the 2009s. Christopher Vandendriessche is the winema ...Read More »
94 points Antonio Galloni: "Mocha, red plums, spices and new leather meld together in the 2012 H Block, Arietta's Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend. Soft, textured and silky on the palate, the 2012 impresses for its depth and creamy, resonant personality. This is another winner from Arietta. Texturally, the H Block is a bit softer in its contours than the Merlot. This is the finest and most complete set of wines I can remember tasting from Arietta. Proprietor Fritz Hatton and winemaker Andy Erickson seem to have reached a new level of quality with the 2012s and 2013s, both of which are b ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Syrah So Serine smells as if it were co-fermented with Viognier given its uplifted nose of apricot marmalade, crème de cassis, blackberry and spring flowers. A gorgeous, sexy, full-bodied, voluptuously-textured wine with 15.2% alcohol, in many ways it is a lighter cuvée for Jeff Cohn. While it is hard to resist at present, this delicious Syrah should last for 8-10 years. Jeff Cohn makes a dizzying array of wines, all of which have enormous appeal and character. (RP)" (12/2014) Wine Spectator: "A ripe, generous style, with up-front flavors of fleshy plum and black ...Read More »
94 points Antonio Galloni: "Lail’s flagship wine, the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon J. Daniel Cuvee, is another rich, extroverted offering. Mocha, plums, chocolate, cloves, licorice and spices all emerge from a surprisingly big, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2011 is explosive, rich and intense, with equally imposing tannins that are going to need at least a few years to settle down. This is an impressive showing from Lail. The J. Daniel Cuvee is built on a core of fruit from Heimark, plus Mole Hill and Vine Hill Ranch. 94+" (7/2014)91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright ruby. Blackberry, cassis, leather and a hin ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Favia's 2009 Cerro Sur shows gorgeous energy and finesse. Dark red berries, flowers, mint and mocha are some of the many nuances that are layered through the mid-palate and into the finish. The 2009 stands out for its vibrancy and lively underlying minerality. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019. (AG)" (12/2011)92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Good red-ruby. Very sexy but youthfully reticent aromas of licorice, cocoa powder, red leaf tobacco, lavender and spicy oak. Aromatic in the mouth but a bit musclebound today, conveying a cooler aspect to its cherry, spice and cedar flavors. Finishe ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Vivid, bright red cherry and cranberry notes create the main aroma and flavor impressions, while crisp acidity and lip-smacking tannins make a firm texture. On subsequent sips, more complexity and depth come out as the crisp, austere structure holds its ground. This is tantalizing, and should improve through 2019." (8/2015)
Zinke Wine Co. specializes in hand crafted, single vineyard Rhone varietal wines sourced from the Grand Crus of the central coast. Winemakers Notes: "The 2012 Gypsy is composed of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Viognier. Each lot was fermented and aged separately, and blended together before bottling. Fermented in 1.5 ton lots with twice daily punchdowns and daily pumpovers." Tasting Notes: "The 2012 Gypsy is the red headed step sister of the Grenache. She's edgy yet sexy, and un-apologetic for her wild ways. The nose has ethereal notes of raw red ... Read More »