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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points Wine Spectator: "A creamy-textured, charming style that’s easy to drink yet is deceptively complex and layered, with a mix of vanilla-scented oak and vibrant peach, nectarine, honeydew and apricot flavors. Long on the finish. Drink now." (5/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The attractive, sexy 2013 Chardonnay reveals ripe fruit, tangerine oil and citrus blossom notes, medium body, a fresh style, and a delicate hint of wood. Drink it over the next 2-3 years. It is a sleeper selection. (RP)" (10/2014) K&L Notes: It's back! True, Rombauer's Chardonnay needs to take its own sweet time, fattening up for 10 months in ... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "The nose on this wine from nine vineyards ranging from Santa Clara to Santa Barbara reflects much of what the large appellation offers, but in subtle ways: touches of Golden Delicious apples, grilled pineapple, toasted coconut and chalk. The flavors surround a Meyer lemon zest tension, with apple flesh fruits and a zesty acidity that holds throughout without biting." (3/2015)90 points Antonio Galloni: "Calera's 2013 Chardonnay (Central Coast) is absolutely stunning in this vintage. Peach, apricot, wild flowers, honey and spices all meld together in a supple, generous Chardonnay that ...Read More »
This Chardonnay is produced by the three brothers Couillaud at the Château de la Ragotière, a few minutes from the Atlantic near the mouth of the Loire River, where the maritime climate is ideal for producing whites that are refreshing and bright. The Couillauds age most of this wine on its lees until bottling to add weight and texture with around 10% being barrel-fermented in French oak for the faintest touch of toastiness. Saveur magazine wrote about a previous vintage: "This value-priced Chardonnay tastes crisp and bright. It comes from the western Lo... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Bourgogne Blanc is an outstanding value at $23.00 a bottle, and the good news is that there are 500 cases imported into the United States. A completely naked example of Chardonnay, almost all of it from the Cote Chalonnaise and the Maconnais area, this wine is aged totally in tank and goes through malolactic, but displays delicious honeysuckle, apple blossom, delicate pineapple and white peach notes as well as excellent texture, gorgeous purity, and no oak whatsoever. Drink this beauty over the next several years. (RP)" (12/2014)
From winemaker Rob Mondavi, Jr, the 2013 Spellbound Chardonnay displays a lively and lush tropical profile of pineapple, guava, and kiwi fruit. To contribute the rich complexity of vanilla and crème brûlée, 90% of the wine was fermented in oak barrels, with the remaining 10% fermented in stainless steel to maintan a bracing vein of freshness and acid.
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 »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*#31 in the Top 100 Best Buys of 2014* Half barrel-fermented and half done in stainless steel, this classy effort seems to overdeliver. It starts with good fruit, but the feeling is that winemaker Jessica Munnell did everything right, and maxxed out the complexity. It’s a sensuous mix of grape and barrel, steel and butterscotch, with a lively, lingering finish." (11/2014) K&L Notes: A very warm 2013 growing season with dry harvest conditions made for a very successful Chardonnay from Mercer Canyons. Grapes were sourced from Sagemoor Vineyard in the Columbia Valley an... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "A hint of thyme and chive perks up the melon and grapefruit flavors in this crisp white. ending with a mouthwatering finish." (4/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Apricot, yellow stone fruit, slate and savory herbs are laced together in the Chablis Champ Royaux. The combination of soft, radiant fruit and persistent stony, saline notes makes for a highly appealing Chablis to drink now and over the next few years. The Champs Royaux is a blend of equal parts estate and purchased fruit. (AG)" (8/2014) Allen Meadows - Burghound: "A slightly riper nose of both white and yellow fruit displays a top note of citrus. There ...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)
Domaine Begude is a small, family-owned property located high in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the Limoux region of the Languedoc. The long, cool growing season lends itself perfectly to the production of crisp and delicate wines, all organically certified by Ecocert & NOP. This is a zippy and bright Chardonnay, with citrus, apple, and pear notes underlined by a refreshing minerality.
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* From 20-year-old, Dijon clone estate vines, this substantial, tongue-gripping Chardonnay has intense depth of flavor. A luscious mix of grapefruit, apple, melon, spice and mineral elements, it drives down through the palate and never quits." (4/2015)93 points Wine & Spirits: "Another fine study in chardonnay by the esteemed family from Beaune, this wine’s voluptuous ripeness makes it more demonstrative and plump than the Edition Limitée. Its ripe pineapple and pear accents are buoyed by mouthwatering, mouthfilling acidity and a leesy textural grip. Give it some ag ...Read More »
The 2013 Kalinda Napa Valley Chardonnay comes from one of the top domestic Chardonnay producers, but as part of our agreement to acquire the wine, we cannot divulge to you who it is. Suffice it to say, this is always among the best bargains in the store--a luscious Chardonnay that would normally sell at a much higher premium. We're guessing it won't be around for long. This Chardonnay has a slight connection to the famous Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that won the French-American tasting in 1976.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale bright yellow. Lemon, honey and a suggestion of redcurrant on the nose, along with a note of oyster shell. Larger-scaled and broader than the regular village offering, with subtle stone fruit flavors deepened by underlying minerality. This rather round village wine finishes with persistent stone fruit flavors. (ST)" (7/2014)
Aptly named and always a favorite in the rich California style, Butternut is a luxuriously textured Chardonnay. Aromas of baked apple, hazelnut, and creme brulee fill the nose and reverberate on the palate with notes of peach, fig, butterscotch, and toasty oak. Grapes for the 2012 bottling were sourced from important growing regions across California including Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Monterey. The result is a generous and concentrated Chardonnay that creates a statewide snapshot of the bountiful 2012 harvest.
Pierre Meurgey, formerly the Managing Director at Maison Champy, with whom we have been working for 20 years, is now working on his own. His mother's family hails from the Mâcon, so he has particularly good connectoins with some terrific growers in this part of Burgundy. The name comes from his name, and that of his mother's family, in the time-honored Burgundian tradtion. This Chardonnay is fermented and aged only in tank to emphasize the freshness and minerality of this wine, sourced from the village of Uchizy in the northern part of Mâcon. (Keith... Read More »
Formerly run by Rombauer, Napa Cellars has been a Trinchero family property since 2006. Winemaker Joe Shirley introduced French oak to the Chardonnay program there, for a more finessed version of the rich, buttery (and eminently affordable) Napa Valley Chardonnay for which they've become known.
95 points Decanter: "The wine's appeal is heightened by the fact that Beaujolais Blanc is new to many wine lovers. Abundant white flower aromas, hints of melon and minerals; the taut, chalky palate has a taste of the soil. Quite serious, and worthy every penny." (3/2015) Antonio Galloni: "(raised in a combination of stainless steel and concrete tanks): Bright straw. Vibrant citrus fruit and melon aromas are sharpened by a hint of quinine and pick up a smoky nuance with air. Round and seamless on the palate, offering pliant honeydew and nectarine flavors and a refreshingly bitter lemon pith qual ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Polished, creamy and refreshingly balanced, with tobacco-accented pineapple and coconut flavors that come together smoothly and linger well. Drink now through 2016." (12/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* Screwcapped, fresh and racy, this seemingly all-stainless Chardonnay is a total lemon fest. Ripe and flavorful--not sour--it brings scents and tastes of lemon oil, lemon peel and lemon meringue into play. It’s medium-bodied, forward and generous." (12/2014) K&L Notes: Charles & Charles is a collaboration between Charles Smith (of his namesake winery and K Vintners) and Charles Bieler. ... Read More »
Wine & Spirits: "Lively and fresh, this flavorful sparkling wine is packed with ripe lemon and quince fruit. Its mousse is a bit foamy, its aroma a bit grassy. Balanced for the richness of a lobster roll." (10/2011) K&L Notes: From Chardonnay grown in the Maconnais region of southern Burgundy, this lovely sparkling wine is fresh and floral with apple and pear notes, lots of tiny bubbles and a crisp finish. A remarkable value!
From the winery: "Grapes sourced from our preferred clones of Chardonnay provide the tropical notes folks have come to love. A slow cold primary and secondary fermenta:on on our proprietary combinaion of oak create an ethereal creaminess balanced with a vanilla finish. Fruit from our favorite cooler climates in California produce delicate aromas of baked lemons, pear, peach and apple that seamlessly evolve on the palate with a finish that is uniquely Butter!"
A dry vintage and an ocean-influenced, cool climate add up to a great value in 80% barrel-fermented Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay. The winery's tasting note: "A combination of barrel and stainless steel fermentation resulted in bright and floral aromatics, with layers of pear, apple and citrus, highlighted with a hint of vanilla. The intense fruit in this wine is beautifully integrated with refreshing acidity and French oak. Sleepy Hollow's signature mineral character and creamy textures add complexity to a long, explosive finish."
91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills is beautiful. Dried pear, almonds, orange peel and spices meld together in a textured, resonant Chardonnay laced with gorgeous depth and balance. Never content to stay put, Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton continue to push the envelope on quality in the Sta. Rita Hills. Over the years, Brewer and Clifton have had an enormous impact on the region, both directly and indirectly, in giving advice to newly arrived owners and developing a number of vineyards they no longer farm. The most recent development at Brewer-Clifton is ...Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a delightfully floral and lemony-crisp wine, with a touch of creme brulee blanced between layers of citrus. Despite the rich accent, it's light-bodied and easy to like, offering subtle complexity and a sultry, spicy finish." - Advanced Buying Guide" (12/2014) K&L Notes: Au Contraire comes from California’s prestigious Sonoma Coast AVA. With over 2,000 acres of vineyards, this appellation extends from San Pablo Bay in the south to the border with Mendocino County in the north. With most vineyards located above fog line, a cool climate and beneficial rainfall l... Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Firm and intense, well-focused and vibrant, centered on spicy citrus, green apple and pear flavors, with hints of honeysuckle, white peach and flinty stone. Lingers on the finish, showing a pithy edge to the lemon and green stone fruit notes. Drink now through 2019. 38,900 cases made." (3/2015) K&L Notes: In 2013 the winery notes "an early harvest with beautiful, warm weather, that provided long, even ripening for our Chardonnay. The wine offers tropical aromas of citrus and melon layered with honeysuckle, perfume and toasted oak. A juicy entry transitions to a vibra... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Newton’s 2012 Chardonnay Unfiltered exhibits lots of honeysuckle, tropical fruit and marmalade, good minerality and excellent acidity that buttresses and provides uplift to the full-bodied, lavish, extravagant nature of this Chardonnay. As this wine ages, it will undoubtedly take on more Burgundy, Bâtard-Montrachet-like characteristics, but it is hard to resist young (which I know from personal experience). Enjoy it over the next 6-10+ years. This cuvée has been one of California’s great classic Chardonnays for over two decades. It also has remarkable ag ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A percentage of the 2012 Chardonnay Estate comes from the same clone planted on the famous Alexander Mountain estate of Jess Jackson's (the Upper Barn clone of Chardonnay). The wine is aged for eight months, half in oak and half in stainless steel. The impression is one of a full-throttle Maconnais with loads of white peach, apricot, honeysuckle and buttered/caramelized citrus. It is elegant, fresh, seems relatively neutral when it comes to oak seasonings, and has good depth and richness. This is a beauty to drink over the next several years. (RP) ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "An unabashedly rich and luscious wine, this combines ripe and fresh fruit flavors with luxurious spicy, buttery accents and an almost thick texture. With a subtext as savory as Udon broth it’s practically a meal in a bottle. Call it full-bodied, full-flavored, ultrasmooth and impressive." (6/2015)90 points Wine Spectator: "Showcases rich tropical fruit, with dashes of mango, marmalade and honeyed citrus that coat the palate while remaining elegant and delicate. A noteworthy achievement. Drink now through 2017." (4/2015)
From estate vineyards in Chassagne-Montrachet and Santenay, this is rich and charming, with an open and easy elegance about it. (Keith Wollenberg, K&L Burgundy Buyer, 03/2014)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Very pale yellow. Piquant aromas of lemon, pineapple, tarragon and anise. Supple and moderately deep, conveying an impression of moderate ripeness to the flavors of apple, spices, fresh herbs and mustard seed. At once soft and herbal on the back end. (ST)" (7/2014)
93 points Antonio Galloni: "The Chardonnay Cahill Lane is the brightest of the three 2012 Chardonnays I tasted. Lemon oil, white flowers, almonds and mint are all laced together in a finely knit, super-refined Chardonnay long on balance and class. This is a terrific showing. The large crop has resulted in a relatively open, expressive Cahill Lane that can be enjoyed upon release. (AG)" (1/2015)93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "More tropical in character with lots of orange marmalade and peach jam notes is the 2012 Chardonnay Cahill Lane, which comes 100% from Old Wente clones planted in Goldridge soils. Stephen Hans ...Read More »
This is a delicious new Chardonnay made in collaboration with Talley winemaker Eric Johnson. All of the fruit comes from Talley's Oliver's Vineyard. It is a compilation of five different barrels that domestic buyer Bryan Brick chose alongside Johnson down at Talley earlier this year. Here's a breakdown of the components: Barrel #1 is the backbone of the blend; it's earthy and savory, with a wealth of complexity. It's made from the oldest block in the vineyard and the same block that goes into Talley's vineyard designated Chardonnay. Barrel #2 comes from ... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Ripe aromas of passionfruit, kiwi and nectarine rise alongside greener elements of celery stalk, wet thyme and Granny Smith apple on this promising early look at the vintage. The tongue tingles throughout the sip, with flavors of crisp apple, yellow melon and crushed chalk. Buttercream appears on the finish." (2/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Bright yellow. Ripe yellow plum and orange aromas show a touch of heat and pick up a spicy element with aeration. Fleshy and broad in the mouth, offering pliant pit and orchard fruit flavors that could use more structure. Finishes with decent ...Read More »
Rated "Extraordinary" by the Underground Wine Journal, which writes: "This is a great rosé. Light pink in color it has an absolutely gorgeous perfume with raspberry and cherry fruit accented by floral citrus notes and a faint hint of spice. There is a creamy texture with a nice crispness underneath and the fruit is complex with raspberry, cherry, and citrus offset by a kiss of vanilla. Irresistible now this is really terrific." K&L's notes: This is the first time we have had the rosé from Bonville, an estate that grows only Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs. Oli... Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "Richly spiced, with ground anise, clove, ginger and cardamom, this offers a lively bead, fresh acidity and flavors of quince, honey, pastry dough and golden raisin. Offers a soft, creamy finish. Drink now through 2018." (12/2012)90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This has finesse and elegance, with a thin stream of bubbles and crisp, dry apple flavor. It is taut with a cool feel, still young in the bottle and worth aging a year." (12/2012) K&L Notes: This is one of the best Champagnes we carry, regardless of price. Made from the one-and-three-quarters-acre Belles Voyes vineyard in Oger, this is Bonvill... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The impressive 2012 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast displays delicate honey, white peach and floral notes followed by a medium to full-bodied Chardonnay with good freshness, excellent purity and fine texture. This cleanly made, beautifully crafted, well-balanced 2012 should be consumed over the next 5-6 years. (RP)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: A blend fruit from Anaba's estate vineyard (named J McK) in Carneros, Denmark Vineyard in the southern end of the Sonoma Valley and choice vineyards from the acclaimed Dutton Ranch (Mills Station Vineyard and DuttonHouse Block) in the Russian... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch looks like one of their all-time greats, and to date they’ve all been very impressive wines. The crisp tangerine, honeyed citrus, pear and white peach notes are prominent in this beautifully fruited medium to full-bodied Chardonnay that shows additional orange marmalade notes in the mouth. It’s textured, crisp acid, from having not gone though malolactic, gives it focus and zest, and the overall impression is one of brilliant richness subtly touched by smoke, but letting the fruit dominate. Year in year out, this i ...Read More »
93 points Wine Spectator: "Pure and focused, with a vivid core of white peach, nectarine and tangerine flavors. Tangy acidity gives this a chalky, minerally edge and a long, persistent and captivating finish. Drink now through 2022.— J.L." Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: ""If the Kistler Winery could be magically transported to the middle of Burgundy’s Côte d’Or, it would quickly gain a reputation as glorious as any producer of Burgundy grand crus." — Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate" K&L Notes: Raved about by the winery, Kistler's 2013 "Sonoma Mountain" Chardonnay "shows great finess with a bit more... Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay (Sonoma County) is absolutely delicious. Apricot pit, peach, honey, mint and chamomile flesh out in a bold, racy Chardonnay to drink now and over the next few years. Once again, Lioco delivers superb value with the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. Lioco stands out for wines that deliver pure pleasure. Every glass seems to call for another in these superb, impeccable whites and reds. Winemaker John Raytek makes the Lioco wines in a slightly riper style than he favors at Ceritas, which puts Lioco closer to the center. Best of all, pricing rema ...Read More »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "High-pitched aromas of lemon zest, lavender and white pepper. Surprisingly supple on entry, then round and pliant but dry in the middle, showing moderate intensity and depth to its lemony fruit. A tad tart on the back end, but this is ultimately more typical Chablis than the 2012 version. (ST)" (7/2014)
Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) is gorgeous. Apricots, honey, mint, orange blossom and wild flowers are all laced together in the glass in a racy, perfumed Chardonnay to drink over the next handful of years. Simply put, this is a fabulous wine for the money. The 2013 was done 90% in oak and 10% in steel. (AG)" (1/2015)
Please join us in welcoming the return of the Meeker Chardonnay. From 1984 through 1995, this fun, idiosyncratic Sonoma County winery released a Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay, but then it was kicked out of the teepee (Meeker winery's tasting room used to be a teepee on their Dry Creek property), i.e. discontinued in favor of an all "Big Red" wine format. Founders Molly and Charlie, however, report that they missed the "sur lie" style Chardonnay that they formerly produced, and such reminiscences led to the reappearance of the Dry Creek Chardonnay with the ... Read More »
90 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay Pomino Bianco is a gorgeous, bright wine from Frescobaldi's Castello di Pomino. Lemon, jasmine, and sweet white peaches are some of the notes that emerge from an effortless, impeccably balanced wine. A dollop of aromatic varieties adds texture and attractive floral overtones. This is a fabulous value from Frescobaldi. (Antonio Galloni)" (1/2015)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright pale straw. Lemon, white peach and jasmine on the knockout nose, with an enticing spicy nuance emerging at the back. Fresh and pure in the mouth, offering a lovely fruit/acid balance and ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Tilts toward green apple, pear and citrus flavors, making this bright and refreshingly clean and pure. Drink now. 40,000 cases made." (3/2015) K&L Notes: Cakebread's popular Napa Valley Chardonnay blends the best qualities of grapes grown in the Carneros region on San Pablo Bay with those of warmer areas of the Napa Valley. Look for fresh apple, melon and pear, spicy oak, and rich fruit flavors balanced with mineral tones.
Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay is another fabulous wine for the money. This racy, impeccably balanced Chardonnay delivers the goods, and then some. Pear, spice and melon notes flesh out in a delicious, hugely attractive wine to drink now and over the next few years. Brian Talley's Bishop's Peak label is full of affordable, everyday wines that mostly over deliver next to their very reasonable price points. (AG)" (7/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Talley Vineyards’ bargain brand offers light lemon and chalk aromas before delivering a palate where brisk acidity is the primary player. White rock ...Read More »
MacRostie's Sonoma Coast bottling is definitely a top choice for an under-$20 California Chardonnay. Grapes were sourced from several select Sonoma Coast vineyards including the "A-list" Sangiacomo Vineyard, vineyards belonging to the Dutton and Martinelli estates, and MacRostie's own estate properties. The beatifully ripe and pristine fruit was whole-cluster pressed into 20% new French oak for fermentation where it aged for an additional 6 months. A few lots were fermented in stainless steel to retain some special emphasis on aromatic fruit characterist... Read More »
We began importing the Champagnes of Launois more than a decade ago, though we haven't been able to promote them properly because our allocations were very tight. Fortunately for us, Bernard Launois has decided to export more! Champagne Launois' wines are highly sought-after, so much so, in fact, that we've sold their Champagne to Champenois who can't get it at home! Bernard Launois does things differently than the rest of his neighbors, picking a week to 10 days later and using only massal-selected plants rather than the more common clones. All of the C... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Decadent aromas of golden pear and Tahitian vanilla rise to the top of this incredibly well-crafted wine, a blend of multiple vineyard sources, most of them single-vineyard designated in other wines. Steely minerality buoys the overall experience, with a touch of vanilla custard. The wine is rich on the aroma yet balanced in taste, with a finishing accent of orange blossom." (6/2015)91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay Russian River (nearly 14,000 cases produced) reveals leesy notes in addition to wet pebbles, white peach, delicate pineapple and caramelized citrus. Medium ...Read More »