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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "* Best Buy * Named after the grapes in the blend (Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon), this easygoing, savory wine doles out juicy blackberry, black currant, black cherry and a hint of licorice. Soft, round tannins provide the framework." (3/2015)
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Even more remarkable is the 2012 Solanera Vinas Viejas, a blend of 70% Mourvedre, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Grenache aged 10 months in a combination of French and American oak. A custom cuvee that is only available through importer Eric Solomon, this amazing red wine displays notes of lead pencil shavings, acacia flowers, black raspberries, blueberries and black currants. This full-bodied, intense 2012 tastes like it should cost three to five times as much. Full-bodied, stunningly pure and textured, it should last for 4-5 years, possibly longer. T ...Read More »
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Good deep red with ruby highlights. Expressive aromas of raspberry, violet and tea leaf on the perfumed, Sangiovese-dominated nose. Dense and sweet, boasting lovely depth and plenty of framing energy to its blueberry and sour red cherry flavors. Building but polished tannins coat the palate on the long, bright finish. Very impressive Montefalco Rosso." (3/2013)90 points Wine Enthusiast: "The entire line-up from Arnaldo Caprai has been very successful this year. This blend of Sangiovese, Sagrantino and Merlot delivers a smooth mouthfeel and ripe fruit flavors, with background tone ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Penya’s 2013 Côtes Catalanes is a beauty, and the finest vintage of this cuvee I’ve tasted. Giving up lots of sweet black raspberry, spring flowers and spice, this medium to full-bodied effort has sweet fruit, a rounded, supple texture and good acidity. It’s a knockout bottle of wine to buy by the case as a house red for drinking over the coming couple of years. (JD)" (4/2015) K&L Notes: From importer Dan Kravitz, the man behind such great values as Cabirau, Syrousse and Le Cirque. Cases de Pene is a tiny village in the Roussillon region of Southern France, just 30 m... 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.
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(13.9% alcohol; Sangiovese, Viognier, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, to name but a few varieties in this blend): Bright, pale red. Almost Pinot-like perfume to the aromas of red berries, minerals, gingerbread cookie and rose petal. Sweet and round but exhilaratingly tangy too, offering enticing perfume to the flavors of cranberry, raspberry, blood orange and spicecake. Lovely balance and finesse here; complex in a subtle way." (5/2014) K&L Notes: If you try to find the exact cepage on this always-fantastic red blend, you might find yourself gazing up at the heavens fo... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another baby Priorato, the 2012 Mas Donis, a custom cuvee from Eric Solomon, is composed of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah aged nine months in both new and used French and American oak. The Grenache comes from 70-year-old vines, and the Syrah from 30-year-old vines. It is difficult to find a better value than this incredibly rich effort. The bouquet offers up a smorgasbord of aromas, including crushed rocks, spring flowers, kirsch liqueur and blacker fruits. Full-bodied with a velvety, voluptuous texture, and admirable opulence, density, purity and texture.. ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from purchased grapes and vinified in the winery, as opposed to buying bulk wine and blending it, it is indigenous yeast-fermented, and comes across as a high-octane, delicious/yummy, big, full-bodied red with lots of pepper and meaty notes intermixed with red and black fruits, earth, and spice. I believe some of the declassified lots from the Bedrock cuvées also end up in this blend. A terrific bargain, it should drink well for several years. (RP)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: The base for this wine comes from more than 100-year-old vines from the Bedrock vineyard, and... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Bisceglia’s 2008 Aglianico del Vulture Gudarra is one of the very best wines readers will find in this price range. Layers of expressive dark fruit cover every inch of the palate in a vivid, textured Aglianico that impresses from start to finish. Hints of mocha, grilled herbs and rosemary add complexity over time. The dazzling, racy Gudarra is best enjoyed over the next few years. It is another superb value. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2018. (AG)" (2/2013) Wine Enthusiast: "This is a generous and powerful expression of Aglianico, with angular edges, tight tannins and a lasti ...Read More »
91 points James Suckling: "Tangy and fruity with plenty of dark fruits and lemon undertones. Full body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Lovely balance." (8/2013) Wine Spectator: "A firm, fresh and balanced red, with muscular red plum, berry and currant flavors, supported by a sturdy structure. The minerally finish reveals hints of flint. (Web Only-2014)" K&L Notes: Quinta do Vallado's entry-level Douro D.O.C. bottling is sourced primarily from younger vineyards (80%) featuring Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, and Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) plus an inclusion of old vineyards (20%) featuring those and other tradi... 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 »
Alicante, Carignan, Grenache, Merlot and Syrah From the winery: "This area has its roots in the foothills of the Laces of Montmirail. Property of the Vulture family, Domaine Carobelle has produced pure and natural wines for generations. Cultivated with passion and rigor in organic farming, the old vines of Grenache and Syrah are now producing balanced wines, rich and complex with intense flavors of red fruits"
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 Wine & Spirits: "There are very few Carignans like this in Chile. Made from old vines planted in the 1960s, this takes a light, fresh approach, focused on fruit rather than pushing for superconcentration. With its pure, juicy ripe cherry flavor, it could bolster a plate of grilled sausages or develop for a few years in the cellar." (6/2014)90 points James Suckling: "A spicy and balanced red with blueberries, blackberries and hints of slate. Full to medium body, fresh acidity and a clean finish. A stylish red. Drink now." (8/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Dark purple. Ripe plum and blueberry on the deeply scented nose. Plush ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* A blend of 60% Syrah, 27% Merlot and a handful of other varieties added to the mix, this aromatically pops, with complex notes of plum, blueberry, smoke, chocolate and floral accents. It’s silky smooth in feel, with abundant chocolaty flavors that help it go down far too easy." (12/2014)90 points Wine Spectator: "Plush and generous, with blackberry and plum flavors on a velvety texture, deftly balanced with refined acidity and tannins that persist on the finish. Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Viognier and others. Drink now through 2017." (12/2014)
Antonio Galloni: "The NV Troublemaker, a blend of 73% Syrah, 12% Grenache, 8% Petit Sirah and 7% Mourverdre, bursts from the glass with masses of dark, jammy fruit. This joyous, mouthfilling red is best enjoyed in its vinous youth. It is an excellent value. (AG)" (8/2011) James Suckling: "A wine that sneaks up on you. Full bodied, with polished tannins. This is peppery and fun but a little light in the finish. Made from 73% Syrah, 12% Grenache, 8% Petite Sirah and 7% Mourvedre." (11/2011) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A big crowd-pleasing and quaffable effort that’s a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah and ...Read More »
Corsica is one of the great off the radar regions for wine production. The vineyards for Petroni date back to 1885 and are surrounded by the Corsican mountains to the west and the Mediterranean to the east. The winery is now in the hands of brothers Jacques and Francois Ramazotti. Like most classic roses of this region, it is a blend of 50% Niellucciu, 35% Sciaccarellu and 15% Grenache. How to describe Corsican rose? It is one of the finest of its kind with notes of nectarine, peach blossom and white flowers. It is succulent with wonderful acidity ... Read More »
I really love this variety for its scintillating aromatics, Nero di Troia, is an indigenous grape from Puglia, the heel of the Italian peninsula. The Arrocco is special, lilting, inviting, and lingering with a higher tone to it rather than just simple fruit. This wine's perfume is full of delicate veils of wildness, stem, spice and earth subtly layered in behind the smooth palate richness. No wood aging only stainless steel yet on the palate the wine is luxuriant, supple yet portends power, depth and significant weight yet with only 12.5% alcohol leve... Read More »
Maison Angelot is run by the brothers Eric and Philippe Angelot. Their 57 acres of vineyards are divided into about 20 different parcels, some hillside and others along the valley floor. Harvest is both manual and with machine (depending on the parcel), and their modern winery houses temperature-controlled stainless-steel and fiberglass tanks. The mondeuse is 100% destemmed and fermented through carbonic maceration preserving freshness and brightness delivering a wine similar to a Beaujolais with more spice qualities.
This is the second wine of Château Malleret, generally only available in Hong Kong and Europe. A great value from this age-worthy but early drinking vintage. Dominated by Merlot, this comes from the youngest vines on the property, aged for a year. Winemaker notes: "Beneath its purple roble and fruity nose, the Château Barthez 2009 reveals soft, supple tannins which ensure a long finish with subtle wood notes. A real pleasure with a good steak or a roast dinner."
Inventory: Redwood City
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 »
The rule around the Heitz house has long been, the rosé must be ready by Easter! Wine enthusiasts have shared the Heitz Family's affection for this unique wine since 1961. The Grignolino (pronounced green-o-lean-o) Rosé is produced with a northern Italian varietal known in the Piedmont region as the "little strawberry." The original vineyard, since replanted to the Heitz home ranch, was called by its former owner, "The Only One." This rosé is typically fruity and enticing, but very dry on the palate, just the thing for spring salads with goat cheese, or ... Read More »
A second label of Valle dell'Acate, the Case Ibidini range (pronounced ‘bidini) consists of varietally labeled wines from the estate intended for more casual consumption. The local name of the area where the estate is situated, Bidini, is drawn from the ancient root Bidis. This in turn referred to the name of a group of early Hellenic settlers who populated the area nearly 20 centuries ago. These wines provide a purity and authenticity reflective of the philosophy of the estate, all at an affordable price. Made from 100% Nero d'Avola grapes grown in medi... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
The Côtes du Frontonnais winemaking region is located on the left bank of the Tarn River about 20 miles north of Toulouse. The area is generally flat, with occasional hills that create small slopes. The subsoil is composed of ice age deposits, topped by alluvial soil and rouget, a material very rich in iron that evokes parallels to the character of the wines. The typical climate of the region is similar to that of Bordeaux: warm and dry in the summer, and mild and wet in the winter. The grape that sets Fronton apart from other winemaking regions in Franc... Read More »
Made from the same set of recipes since 1821, Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry has long been the benchmark for fine French Vermouth. Botanicals found in the Alpine meadows above Chambéry are added to a base wine made from regional grapes to aromatize it, imparting fresh, herbal qualities to the nose and complex flavors to palate. It is then fortified. The Rouge is ideal as an aperitif or in for a wide range of uses in cocktails. In the late 19th century, Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry won medals in Paris, London, St. Louis and Philadelphia and in 1932 earned Chamb... Read More »
This blend—Pinot Noir, Portuguieser, with a touch of Dornfelder—was made by Frank Heyden, a second-generation winemaker who's shown much promise in crafting excellent wines from his family's highly rated vineyards in Rheinhessen. His classic wines really outperform for their price tag.
This wine is a collaboration between Charles Smith and Charles Bieler, both accomplished vintners who came together in 2008 to make world-class rosé in the Columbia Valley. 2014 was a hot vintage, tempered by a slightly cooler September. To maintian the tautness they were seeking in the wine, they sourced fruit from many cooler vineyard sites. From the winery: "Our 2014 Rosé is quite simply the most awesomely complex and complete Rosé we’ve made to date. The winemaking hasn’t changed a great deal over the years; so we attribute much of this complexity to... Read More »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Dark red. Musky blackberry and cherry pit scents are complicated by notes of licorice, underbrush and mocha. Offers sappy dark berry and bitter cherry flavors that take on a tart edge with air, along with a touch of rhubarb. Finishes with good cut, grip and gentle tannins, leaving a note of orange marmalade behind." (6/2014) Wine Spectator: "Offers a pleasing mix of fresh, snappy wild berry and blueberry, turning simple but holding the flavors longer than most Flowers wines. Pinot Noir, Syrah, Pinot Meunier, Dolcetto and Chardonnay. Drink now. (Web-2013)" K&L Notes: The 2011 Flowers... Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "A lively sparkling rosé, with a bright, citrusy overtone to fruit-forward flavors of strawberry puree and black raspberry, showing accents of biscuit, walnut skin and gumdrop. Drink now through 2016." (11/2013) Connoisseurs Guide: "More overt in its fruit than the typical French bottling and a bit closer to the California model, Feuillatte's Rosé tilts top cherries and plums with a suggestion of juiciness beneath its very proper yeast veneer. It is more crisp than creamy, and it is enlivened by a strong but refined mousse, and, while it is crafted in a more obvious style than ...Read More »
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar for the 2012 vintage: "Pale orange. A wild, intensely perfumed bouquet evokes red berries, potpourri and tarragon, with smoke and mineral overtones. On the palate, sappy redcurrant and blood orange flavors are complemented by a deeper note of licorice that sneaks in on the back half. Finishes tangy and incisive, with the floral element echoing." (07/2013)
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* Ripe dark fruit, nutmeg, clove and tobacco aromas lead the nose on this bold and balanced wine. The rich palate delivers black plum, raisin, cinnamon, black pepper and licorice supported by velvety tannins and fresh acidity. Combining elegance and power, it boasts wonderful depth. Drink 2015-2025." (12/2014)91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A classic interpretation, the 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Costasera offers power and personality. The bouquet shows your standard Amarone aromas of sweet spice and overripe fruit. But Costasera adds class and finesse tha ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2005 Taurasi Pago dei Fusi is a huge, explosive wine. It possesses superb delineation of aromas and flavors to match its dark, brooding personality. Sweet balsamic notes develop in the glass, adding further complexity as the wine gradually builds towards a powerful close. The 2005 doesn't appear to quite have the finesse of the 2004, but it comes very close. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025. (AG)" (6/2011)90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Pago dei Fusi is an extremely mineral-driven wine that oozes with aromas of asphalt, wet river stone and crushed brimstone. There’s are touches of ca ...Read More »
93 points Decanter: "Open, opulent wild mint and berry fruit nose. Rich, succulent summer fruit on the palate: plums and cherries, backed by firm, stony tannins with a touch of black pepper. Bottled with a stopper cork. For drinking now and over the next two years. Drink 2014-2017." (12/2014)93 points Wine Spectator: "Focused and pure-tasting, with concentrated flavors of red plum, crushed raspberry and violet that are broad, rich and plush. Well-sculpted, offering a finish that bursts with dark chocolate and spice notes. Drink now through 2030." (2/2014)92 points Wine & Spirits: "Deep and succulent, this feels modern in its plus ...Read More »
A blend of 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Cabernet Franc, with bright berry flavors balanced by earthy notes, this wine is juicy and delicious. An everyday drinking wine from the famous Bordeaux region of Pomerol at a great value!
If you try to find the exact cepage on this always-fantastic red blend, you might find yourself gazing up at the heavens for an answer, since you won't get one from the winemaker. The Pleiades might be the only super-allocated, cult California wine for under $25, and it's sure to sell out quickly, as previous vintages have. From "One of California's most iconic and mystical winemakers," says Robert Parker: "Sean Thackrey has logged in 20 or more vintages of consistently stunning wines that perhaps say it all with the simple quote on his label: -Sean A. T... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Azienda Agricola Barone Cornacchia was esablished in 1577. Now organically farmed from stony calcareous soils, this 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo displays a deep ruby color with a perfumed and plummy bouquet. The rounded and intense palate shows persistance and fine tannins which pairs well with grilled meats, pasta, and hard cheese.
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One step up in sophistication and pedigree compared to the base Campofiorin is the 2010 Brolo Campofiorin Oro. The base Campofiorin is great for sitting by the fireplace with family and friends, but this is a wine of extra caliber for dinner parties and elegant company. The bouquet is tightly woven with threads of dark fruit, spice, tobacco and cola. The wine shows a thicker, more elaborate level of extraction in the mouth. It tastes more like an Amarone than a Ripasso. (ML)" (12/2014) Wine Spectator: "Though elegant overall, the supple tannins lend weight and structure to ...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 Argiento 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.
The nose is teeming with loads of red fruit up top and a slightly denser core of blue fruits underneath. The chalk of the soil comes through on the mid-palate while the classy fruit texture of the Pinot Noir envelops a silky tannin structure which leads into a tasty finish that lingers on the palate for quite some time. This is definitely a denser and more concentrated version of the regular Cheverny Rouge and would greatly benefit with about three years of bottle aging, or a good hour of decanting.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This winery hit a bull's eye with their 2010 Tinto Ray Giguiore Farm, a proprietary red blend of 49% Tempranillo, 27% Syrah, 15% Graciano, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Tannat. This seriously endowed red spent 26 months in a combination of American, French and Hungarian oak. A beauty, it exhibits notes of new saddle leather, unsmoked cigar tobacco, licorice, black cherries and blackcurrants as well as a medium-bodied, lusciously fruity, sensual, opulent personality. This medium to full-bodied, gorgeous wine should drink well for several years. (RP) ...Read More »
Following in the footsteps of another one of the D.O.'s more successful Txakoli producers, Txomin Etaniz recently began producing this delicious rosé. A little bit of fiz, some crunchy red fruits, and a lot to like in this rosé! Enjoy this with charcuterie, all manner of "conservas" (oil or vinegar cured fish and shellfish), cheeses, or even just on its own as it is one delicious wine for the warmer weather. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish & Portuguese wine buyer)
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "A smooth mouthfeel and fresh, fruity flavors make this appealing and easy to enjoy, while a firm texture brings it into the tradtional dry-wine category. It combines blackberry and black cherry aromas and flavors, with hints of vanilla and nutmeg. It’s full bodied, lush and round in texture." (4/2015) K&L Notes: Among the best of the bold, but easy-drinking "red blends" that swept through the California wine scene in the past decade or so, Bogle's "Phantom" is styled on the old vine Zinfandel-based blends. The 2011, however, has more Petite Sirah than Zin: 46% Petit... Read More »
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.
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid red. Asian spice-accented red berries and white pepper on the nose. Juicy raspberry and bitter cherry flavors are underscored by a zesty mineral quality. Fat-free and focused, with excellent finishing clarity and subtle tannic grip. There's a Pinot-like delicacy and nerviness to this wine that I find really interesting." (9/2013) K&L Notes: Produced from a blend of primarily Listan Negro and a touch of Tintilla, this wine is fermented and aged in the currently very fashionable combo of concrete as well as 500 liter barrels. This Canary island red wine shows del... 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 »