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K&L Staff Recommendations
91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Cuvée Le Bec, Beckmen's entry-level Rhône blend, is absolutely gorgeous. Dark, sensual and inviting, the 2013 hits all the right notes. Black cherry, plum, spice, menthol and licorice blossom into the supple, deeply expressive finish. The 2013 is a bit more Syrah-heavy than in some previous years, which contributes to its personality. Best of all, the 2013 is an absolute steal. The blend is 45% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 8% Counoise and 7% Mourvèdre. (AG)" (8/2015)
The 2013 vintage has yet to be reviewed, but the 2012 garnered 96 points from Robert Parker: "They appear to be immune to some of winedom’s less than intelligent trends and fads that we see from time to time." That bottling from the '12 vintage (which celebrated their 40th anniversary) was the single largest selling wine for us over the past year. Given that '13 is also an excellent vintage (a twin to '12), we expect lots of interest for this Napa benchmark.
93 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay Estate is gorgeous. Rich and oily on the palate, with considerable texture, the 2013 boasts tons of texture and breadth. Candied lemon, white flowers, almonds and chamomile add shades of nuance as the 2013 opens up in the glass. The 2013 boasts tons of oiliness and viscosity for a Chardonnay with no malolactic fermentation. Best of all, the 2013 is a great value. 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 ...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 »
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 »
We can tell you this much: our Kalinda private label hooks you up with awesome wine at a fraction of what you'd otherwise pay for this exact same wine under its normal label. While we have to remain quiet about the source of this beauty, we can tell you that it sells elsewhere under the winery label at a much higher premium. Get it while it lasts.
Cool climate Carneros fruit and Rombauer's house style of élevage make this Chard a top choice vintage after vintage.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Coming from a vineyard first planted by Mondavi in the late 1990s, this well-priced and widely available wine shows blackberry, violets, black pepper and just snapped dark chocolate on the nose. Fresh, lively black cherries and blueberries meld with fennel, tarragon and lots of herbal spice, all held together by smooth tannins." (11/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Bright ruby. Lively aromas of redcurrant, cherry and peppery spices, with a subtle tobacco nuance emerging slowly. Tangy and focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry and spicecake flavors and a sugg ...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 »
90 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* A zesty red, with personality to spare, offering notes of licorice, blackberry, smoky pepper and grilled herbs. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah and mixed Italian blacks. Drink now through 2019." (6/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Marietta's NV Old Vine Red Lot 62 is one of the very best California wines readers will find for the money. Zinfandel plays the leading role in a hearty, racy red bursting at the seams with flavor. Sweet red cherries, flowers, cedar and new leather add the final notes of complexity. Brothers Jake and Scot Bilbro seem to have breathed new life i ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The impressive 2012 Reserve Tapestry, a blend of Bordeaux varietals, is more elegant and slightly less intense than the Private Reserve. It offers up sweet black cherry fruit notes intermixed with licorice, spice box and dusty, loamy soil undertones. Medium to full-bodied and deep with loads of ripe fruit, low acidity and sweet, velvety tannins, it can be enjoyed over the next decade." (10/2014)
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 »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This crisp and balanced wine offers lemon, guava and papaya, tropical without being cloying. With enough viscous creaminess to keep it medium in weight, it’s soft and herbal, with measured acidity and a golden color. It finishes lean and savory." (8/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "There are an astonishing 14,000 cases of the 2013 Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast. It reveals good minerality along with crisp, honeysuckle, orange zest, white peach and tropical fruit notes. At $15 a bottle, this medium-bodied, fresh, lively Chardonnay is a sensational value. Drink it ...Read More »
Bench is one of the labels of Brack Mountain Wine Company, which sources this Pinot Noir mostly from the Sangiacomo vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA. Great aromatics of red fruit and orange peel and a smooth finish.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Menthol and sweet sage aromas leap off this wine from Steve Clifton. They spice up the black cherry and blackberry juice backbone that comes from this Nipomo vineyard, located seven miles from the Pacific. The palate shows lots of energetic verve, with flavors of dried cranberries, raspberries, licorice and slate, finishing long on a sagebrush-driven sense of chaparral." (8/2015)91 points Antonio Galloni: "Brilliant red. High-pitched raspberry, floral pastille and Asian spice aromas are deepened by notes of cola and licorice. Nervy and precise on the palate, offering sweet cherry an ...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 »
For the last two years we've had the distinct pleasure, and honor, of being able to blend our own Chardonnay with the team at Talley Vineyards. Last year this bottling was a huge success with our customers and we think it is every bit as good this year. Just like last vintage the 2014 comes from Talley's non-contiguous Oliver's Vineyard located in the Edna Valley. This year we had many more barrels to blend with which made our jobs tougher but the final wine that much better. The final blend this year came from five barrels all French oak, one of which w... Read More »
93 points Wine & Spirits: "A captivating balancing act, this blend of fruit from the Camp Meeting Ridge estate and other coastal sites feels at once concentrated and weightless. The first impression is one of healthy, plump fruit-ripe apricot, perhaps a hint of caramelized sugar-but it hews to a clean line, the flavors growing more earthy as taut acidity pulls toward crisp, green-tinged suggestions of seashells and borage flowers. More than the flavors themselves, it’s the overall impression of satiny grace that gives this coastal white its beauty." (4/2015)92 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay (Son ...Read More »
94 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Zinfandel Geyserville is every bit as fabulous from bottle as it was from barrel last year. Ripe and voluptuous on the palate - yet with a super-classic conception of structure, the 2013 offers superb depth and impeccable overall balance. Waves of dark red cherry, pomegranate, spice, tobacco lead to more savory/ferrous notes that develop in the glass. Saline notes give the 2013 much of its energy and vivacity. This is a tremendous effort from Ridge. As is my custom, I have included Ridge's Sonoma wines here for ease of reference. Readers should ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another blockbuster is the 2013 Syrah Verna's, which comes from a vineyard located north of the Sta. Rita Hills, near Los Alamos. It was 70% destemmed and aged 10 months in neutral oak. It reveals terrific notes of cassis, peppered meats, blackberries, licorice and wood smoke to go with a full-bodied, ripe, yet beautifully balanced and layered feel on the palate. Given all the Syrahs and Pinot Noirs from Santa Barbara going for three times the price, the quality here is remarkable. In short, it's a no-brainer that will drink nicely for at least another 4 ...Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Reserve Block Eleven is rich and voluptuous in the glass, with copious apricot pit, honey, chamomile, butter, spice and orange blossom. This is a decidedly flashy, buttery Chardonnay, but all the elements are in the right place, even if this style can't exactly be called subtle. If these new releases are any indication, Qupé is going through a transition following the sale of a majority interest to Charles Banks' Terroir Selections. It will be interesting to see how the infusion of capital manifests itself here. As for the ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Combines firm, dark fruit and chewy tannins with a measure of finesse and refinement. Ends with gripping, cedary tannins, bolstered by good length and depth. Drink now through 2024." (4/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This chewy, still-tight Cabernet is full-bodied on the palate, revealing savory, herbaceous characteristics. Made in a robust style, it’s approachable and enjoyable now." (4/2015)
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I think the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon will be even better, and it has more depth and texture, with gorgeous blackcurrants, violets, licorice and smoked earth all emerging from the glass. The texture here is really something, and this should be a smoking value. Made from 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and the balance Malbec and Petit Verdot, it will have 10-12 years of longevity. (JD)" (8/2014)
91 points James Suckling: "A red with lots of iodine, stone, currant and spice character. It's full-bodied, chewy and juicy. I like this slightly better than the Estate Bottled in 2010. Needs a least three or four years to soften: better in 2016." (5/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon’s dark ruby/purple color is followed by clean, pure aromas of black currants and underbrush, medium body, excellent purity and an alluring texture. This delicious, accessible Cabernet Sauvignon should also drink well for 7-8 years. Moreover, the pricing is realistic for Napa. (RP)" (10/2013) Wine & Spirits: "This is a new ...Read More »
From the winery: "Medium-garnet color. Briar, cherry/plum nose, with clay mineral, dried herbs, oak spice. Elegant fresh-raspberry entry; soft, textured tannins; sweet oak. Good finish."
93 points James Suckling: "A wine with currant and blackberry aromas and flavors. Full body, fine tannins and a long and beautiful finish. Lovely tension and finesse. Drink now." (7/2015)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Faust is designed as a second wine so that only the top lots end up in the Quintessa. It exhibits a dense ruby/purple color, sweet crème de cassis fruit, chocolate, licorice and underbrush characteristics in a delicious, fruit-forward, open-knit style. Enjoy it over the next decade or more." (10/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright, full medium ruby. Brooding aromas of cassis and black cherry sh ...Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Signature is fabulous. Dark red cherries, plums, smoke, savory herbs and wild flowers race across the palate in a bright, aromatically lifted Cabernet Sauvignon endowed with gorgeous precision and nuance. Distinctly ferrous and savory notes add nuance to the radiant, generous 2012 fruit. Dollops of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec round out the blend. The Cabernet Sauvignon is partly made from purchased fruit. It is also one of the very best wines readers will find in its price range. (Antonio Galloni)" (12/2014)93 points James Suckling: "Aromas of dark f ...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 »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Shows a good touch of bottle age and a notably oaky presence, marked by dill, vanilla bean and coconut notes wrapped around a rich, authoritative, full-bodied core of loamy earth, dark berry, licorice and espresso. Drink now through 2028." (4/2015) K&L Notes: The 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. As always the wine goes to 100% new American oak barrels for aging. From the winery: "Our 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a seamless wine that expresses bright, fresh fruit char... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Richly carmelized on the nose, the seductive quality of this wine continues on the palate, pushing the boundaries of baked apple and voluptuous body without pushing it over the edge. A classic California chardonnay from a structured, balanced vintage. It finishes with intriguing acidity." (5/2015)93 points Wine Spectator: "A rich, full-bodied style, with smoky notes wrapped around a core of vibrant green apple, pear, honeydew and subtle citrus. Ends with an accent of toasty oak."92 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay Estate is gorgeous, as well as a fabulous introduction to Tom Rochi ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "There have been a number of changes of late at Inglenook, so I was anxious to taste the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask. This wine was first created in 1949 and during that era, through the 50s and early 60s, was considered one of the finest wines of California. This is the best, young Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon I have tasted during my professional career of 35 years. Dense ruby/purple with classic crème de cassis, but underlying minerality and spice box. The wine is full-bodied, but not over-the-top, yet nevertheless authoritative, rich and quite long. T ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Proprietary Red Blend The Prisoner is a creative blend of 44% Zinfandel, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Petite Sirah, as well as Syrah, Grenache and Chardonnay. This dense, full-bodied, opulent red reveals gutsy, rich, peppery, meaty, blackberry, blackcurrant and licorice notes. A savory, lusty, heady red, it begs for a grilled steak or a big, juicy hamburger. Drink it over the next 4-5 years." (10/2014) K&L Notes: A perennial favorite as a crowd-pleaser and fun Napa red, the 2013 Prisoner is a Zinfandel-based (44%) blend with the balance in Cabernet Sauvignon,... Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "A lively, zesty red that offers bright cherry and tarragon aromas and sleekly layered flavors of briary raspberry, nutmeg and fresh-cracked black pepper. Drink now through 2021." (12/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Zinfandel Sonoma is an exuberant, richly fruity, medium-bodied effort displaying plenty of raspberry, blueberry and cherry fruit, 14.8% natural alcohol, and a lusty personality. It should drink well for several years." (12/2014) K&L Notes: Seghesio blends Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel into the Sonoma County, with loads of dark fruit supported by brambly fla... Read More »
94 points Wine & Spirits: "*Best Buy* Beringer has made wine from Knights Valley, northwest of Napa, since the late 1970s, and now farms 500 acres of grapes on the cobbly soils that have sloughed off of the volcanic hillsides above. This 2012 is a bundle of energy, the structure tight and stony, the fruit pure, its bold and refreshing black raspberry tone interlaced with aromas that suggest resinous pine needles and a hint of smoked tea. It’s bright and accessible enough to decant now, but in ten years, it will be a rich, savory pleasure to open for prime rib." (10/2015)90 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Ca ...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.
The brand-new release of this cult California Cab comes from a cooler, late-ripening vintage, the conditions of which have endowed the wine with the structure to age for the long haul. A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. From the winery: "Our 2011 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a harmonious and vibrant wine. This full-bodied, classic expression of Alexander Valley Cabernet in a cool vintage has a bright ruby-red color with purple undertones. The nose exudes aromas of black cherry, cedar and black ... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a hearty Meritage employing all five red Bordeaux varieties. The color is black and the fruit equally dark and rich, offering muscular tannins around rich notes of blackberry, cedar and herb." (3/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Proprietary Red Meritage, a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 4% Malbec, reveals surprisingly soft, round, easygoing flavors of black cherries, black currants, spice and earth. Medium-bodied, charming and more sensual and seductive than the more expensive 2010 Signature, the Meritage can be ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The deep ruby/purple-colored 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Georges de Latour is BV’s flagship wine. It boasts sweet notes of charcoal, burning embers, vanillin, tar and copious quantities of blackcurrant fruit. In keeping with this generously endowed vintage, the wine is supple, full-bodied, multidimensional and opulent. It will drink beautifully young and last for 20-25 years. There is no question that Beaulieu Vineyards, an iconic estate in Rutherford that made so many great Cabernet Sauvignons in the fifties, sixties and early seventies, is ...Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "Mineral and floral character with dark berry and dark chocolate. Full and firm. Shows an intensity and depth. Drink or hold." (7/2012) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is ruby/purple with notes of plum and blackcurrant with the attractive aromatics followed by a medium-bodied wine. It starts off well and shortens ever so slightly in the finish. This is certainly good, stylish Cabernet Sauvignon, but this is the high end in terms of quality. (RP)" (10/2014) Wine Spectator: "On solid footing, with sassy tannins, this offers a core of mocha, blackberry and dark berry flavors that ar ...Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Delicious aromas of ripe cherry pie and black cardamom are quite sexy. The palate is far more complicated and layered, with the tartness of plum skins, richness of strawberry, balsamic reduction and spiciness of black sage." (7/2015)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(made from fruit grown in the Bien Nacido, Riverbench and Solomon Hills vineyards; no new oak): Bright red. Highly perfumed scents of spicy redcurrant, raspberry, fresh flowers and smoky minerals. Juicy red berry flavors pack a solid punch but come off as lithe. Brisk red berry skin and white pepper qualities dominate a long, ...Read More »
96 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay Bee Block is the creamiest and most expansive of the three Varner Chardonnays. Pastry, lemon oil, honey, wild flowers and mint are some of the many aromas and flavors that develop in the glass. While the Amphitheater Block and Home Block could use another year or two in bottle, the Bee Block is already quite open and expressive. There is so much to like here. Bob and Jim Varner have turned out another magnificent set of wines at Varner and Neely. Vintage 2013 appears to have favored the Chardonnays - which are truly superb - over the ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Shows off ripe plum and wild berry flavors, with firm, grippy tannins. Gains depth and richness, adding a touch of dried herb. Needs time. Drink now through 2022." (4/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Burgundian in its earthy, feral aromas, yet simultaneously jammy in flavor, this boasts gamy undertones and a soft texture. The producer recommends decanting an hour minimum before serving, and this will most likely help to blow off the wine’s rustically wild side." (8/2014) K&L Notes: The 2012 Carpe Diem Anderson Valley Pinot Noir displays admirable power, depth and density with deep aromas of blac... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Already bottled, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Artemis is similar to its siblings. It offers delicious blackcurrant fruit, not as much complexity as the Fay or S.L.V., but an attractive meaty, rich blackcurrant fruitiness, well-integrated wood, and hints of spice and oak. Fleshy and medium-bodied but also made in the elegant style sought by this winery, it should drink well for 10-15 years. (RP)" (10/2014) Antonio Galloni: "Crushed flowers, sweet red berries, mint and spices are all laced together in the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Artemis. Soft and silky throughout, the Artemis ...Read More »
As of press time, the 2014 has not yet been reviewed, but the 2013 vintage garnered praise from Robert Parker: "Delicate grapefruit, fig, melon and gravelly aromas jump from the glass of the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. Light to medium-bodied and flavorful with zesty acidity, good crispness and focus." (10/2014)
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.
95 points James Suckling: "This is shows wonderful aromas of tar, asphalt, wet earth and pure cherries. Full-bodied, yet soft and velvety with a fine dusty texture to the finish. Fresh and austere. Dignified. This has no Cabernet Franc in it this year. Normally there is 3% to 5%." (4/2015)92 points Antonio Galloni: "In addition to being flat-out delicious, the 2012 Napanook is also one of the very best values in top Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Dark, sumptuous and exceptionally polished, the 2012 captures all of the best qualities of the year. Raspberry jam, spices, wild flowers and cinnamon wrap around th ...Read More »
95 points Wine Spectator: "An iron fist in a velvet glove, this wine begins with a supple, rich core of currant, black cherry, anise and sage, firming up with tannins from oak and grape. Glides along gracefully, never losing the core fruitiness, while the tannins and gravelly earth accents lend the flavors tension and traction. Drink now through 2029." (8/2015)94 points Antonio Galloni: "A dark, sumptuous beauty, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve To Kalon Vineyard boasts marvelous depth and pure texture. Hints of mocha, espresso, cloves, new leather and menthol wrap around a core of dark, pliant fruit. The ...Read More »