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K&L Staff Recommendations
90-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another stunner from the team at Charles Smith, the 2013 Substance is a Cabernet Sauvignon dominated blend that comes from the higher elevation vineyards of Goose Ridge and Frenchman Hills. Harvested in early November and aged in 40-50% new French oak, it sports gorgeous aromas and flavors of cassis, violets, pencil shavings and tobacco/herbs to go with a medium to full-bodied, layered, rich and beautifully balanced profile on the palate. Scheduled to be bottled in December, it tastes like a wine that taste 3-4 times what this is going for. It is a knock ...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: "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 »
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)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "The Cabernet is stiffened up with small amounts of Petit Verdot, Cab Franc and Malbec, resulting in a firm, herbal, but very well-balanced Bordeaux-style blend. There’s compact cassis fruit, streaked with light stem, earth and herb. This is a wine that should improve with bottle age through 2019." (7/2014)90 points Antonio Galloni: "(14.4% alcohol): Bright ruby-red. High-pitched aromas of cassis, black cherry, licorice, menthol and violet. More tightly coiled and backward than the Seven Hills Vineyard Merlot, showing distinctly darker flavors of black cherry, bitter chocolate and li ...Read More »
Charles Smith is a self-taught winemaker who developed a passion for wine while on the road as a manager for The Ravonettes. In 1999 he moved to Walla Walla and began making wine meant to be enjoyed immediately (the way most people drink today), but still true to the varietal and vineyard. Tasting notes on the 2014 Riesling from the winery: "Crushed minerals run through the heart of this pure and satisfying Riesling. The aromas of white peach, lime leaves, Linden tree, and crush stone echo in the palate with a long, fresh finish."
Columbia Crest's H3 Cabernet Sauvignon is a perennial value and very, very tough to beat at this price.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Barbera
Inventory: Redwood City
89-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Coda comes mostly from estate vineyards and is a blend of roughly equal parts Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Medium to full-bodied, rounded, textured and beautifully fruited, it offers loads of spice, graphite, cedar and ample blackberry and currant- styled fruit. A perfect intro into the style of this estate, it will have at least a decade of longevity. Winemaker Ben Smith continues to fashion classic, old school and age-worthy Bordeaux blends from his Seattle based winery... The 2012s are fantastic here and the wines show the ...Read More »
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 »
94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "More concentrated and structured, the 2012 Sestina is notable. Comprised of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc that will see 20 months in 70% new French oak, this knockout barrel-sample exhibits classic blackberry and currant-styled fruit, graphite, crushed rock and smoke to go with a savory, chewy and full-bodied feel on the palate. Staying fresh and lively, with high tannin, it will benefit from short-term cellaring and have upward of two decades of longevity." (6/2014)93 points Antonio Galloni: "(72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "**Cellar Selection** An outstanding Reserve, this opens with potent aromas of spice and cacao, which lead onto a muscular, sleek and stylish palate that shows terrific depth of black fruits. The wine has exceptional structure, and it remains nuanced, with details of earth and stem." (4/2013)91 points Wine Spectator: "Bright and focused, showing a sandy accent to the spicy cassis and thyme flavors, with a polished texture on the harmonious finish. Offers complexity and depth. Best from 2014 through 2019." (11/2012)
Wine Spectator: "Soft and supple, with notes of tea leaf and orange peel adding interest to the cherry and tobacco flavors, which linger gently. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Malbec." (3/2014) K&L Notes: The 2011 Hedges Red Mountain Red Blend, this winery's flagship wine, looks like a Bordeaux style blend on the surface, but another look reveals a small amount of Syrah added to the blend of Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc and Malbec. All of the fruit comes from Washington's Red Mountain AVA, representing all of the vineyards Hedges farms, and is aged for 10 months in a... Read More »
Seattle's single malt sensation Westland Distillery is back with a new expression aged in sherry that mimics some of the finest and most beloved Speyside malts from Scotland's Highland region. In the style of Macallan or Glenfarclas, the supple, soft, fudgy, cocoa flavors are more pronounced from the sherry maturation and the richness of the palate is enhanced beyond what we've seen in the standard Westland expression. It's a more decadent version of what we already love about America's top single malt distillery and an exciting glimpse into what's promi... Read More »
93-95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Moving to the Bordeaux styled releases and a blend of 70% Cabernet and 30% Syrah, the 2012 The Creator offers up a classic bouquet of cassis, lead pencil shavings and hints of herbs to go with a full-bodied, layered and balanced profile on the palate. Possessing fabulous Cabernet character, with rock star texture and building tannin, it will have another 12-15 years of prime drinking. (JD)" (6/2014)
92 points Antonio Galloni: "Saturated red-ruby. Fresh aromas of black raspberry and cocoa powder are complemented by sexy earth tones. Sweet, broad and fine-grained, showing lovely energy and lift to its flavors of dark berries and dark chocolate. Really spreads out to dust the palate with fruit. Finishes classy and very long, with well-integrated ripe tannins. This was bottled a month before I tasted it but showed no sign of shock or fatigue. A steal for the price. (ST)" (12/2014)92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* This blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon comes fr ...Read More »
Winemaker notes: "This medium-bodied Merlot delivers aromas of spice and blackberry, with a perfect balance of earth, cocoa and ripe cherry flavors with a rich, velvety finish."
Charles Smith, he of the "Kung Fu Girl" Riesling, offers a new Columbia Valley classic Cab in the sweet spot: take it seriously, but get change for your twenty. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot, 1% Malbec. Have with roasted leg of lamb with rosemary-mustard sauce.
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This wine is a blend of four distinctive sites-Minick and Olsen in the Yakima Valley, and SJR and Stoney Vine in the Walla Walla Valley. It pulls together the best of all of them, with brooding notes of mineral, wet stone, earthy funk, coffee, smoked meat and black and green olive. The palate steals the show, with hypnotic savory flavors that coalesce around a vibrant, extended finish. It’s a textural marvel that is simply impossible to put down." (7/2015) 91-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Moving to the 2012’s, and the first vintage for the cuvee, the 2012 Syrah Columbia ...Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Dark, concentrated and with a structured, tannic feel, the 2010 Col Solare (90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Malbec) is a longer-term prospect and should be purchased by those with some patience. Smoked black fruits, scorched earth, licorice and graphite give way to a full-bodied, layered, masculine and tannic palate that needs 3-4 years of cellaring. It will have over two decades of ultimate longevity. A partnership with the Antinori family, these efforts are made by Marcus Notaro and focus on their Red Mountain estate vine ...Read More »
94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Tasted out of barrel, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon should be a significant step up over the 2011. Full-bodied, beautifully textured, concentrated and rich, with high, yet sweet tannin, it offers up notions of cassis, cedar, cherry blossom and lead pencil shavings in its pure, sexy personality. Given the texture and concentration, it should drink reasonably well on release, yet evolve for two decades. Chris Figgins and Drew Bledsoe continue to release a blockbuster Cabernet under their Doubleback label. (JD)" (6/2014)93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Cellar Selection* This is a compelling ...Read More »
From the winery: "100% Cabernet Franc from our own Two Blondes Vineyard. This fresh, medium bodied wine with ageing capabilities is extraordinarily good as well as being a very good value. An often overlooked varietal that is used more often for blending, Cabernet Franc is well suited to planting at the relatively cool Two Blondes Vineyard."
92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 CVR Columbia Valley Red Wine is a declassified blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, with splashes of Merlot and Malbec. It offers up plenty of classic Quilceda character with notions of blackberry liqueur, toasted spice, graphite and licorice as well as full-bodied richness and depth on the palate. Already supple and approachable, yet with notable tannin structure, it will deliver the goods on release, and over the following decade or more.(JD)" (6/2014)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
90 points Wine Spectator: "Fresh, lively and sleek, with red berry, raspberry and spice box flavors in a neat package, lingering expressively. Drink now through 2017. 34,740 cases made." (12/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The forward, juicy, quaffable and delicious 2013 Charles Smith Boom Boom Syrah was co-fermented with 3% Viognier, with 100% whole clusters, and aged on lees in tank prior to bottling. Juicy blackberry, pepper, wild herbs and a touch of licorice all show in this nicely balanced, medium-bodied, forward and easygoing effort. There’s not a lot of depth here, but that’s not the point, and this ...Read More »
This reliable Cabernet value is back with a particularly strong 2012 vintage which featured a warm and even growing season. Grapes were sourced from AVAs around the Columbia Valley including the Cold Creek, Canoe Ridge Estate and Indian Wells vineyards. The wine was aged in 1/3 new oak (both French and American) and blended with 10% Merlot, 4% Syrah, and 2% of each Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Mourvedre. This Cabernet is very tough to beat for under $10.
Scrappy's Bitters are inspired by nineteenth century recipes. As featured in Imbibe Magazine: "...bartender Miles Thomas has been making Scrappy's Bitters since 2008. Thomas now sells styles ranging from a classic orange to lavender, chocolate and cardamom. While his emphasis is on bitters that feature a single flavor, each style requires the use of multiple ingredients such as grains of paradise, angelica root, horehound and mace." (Sept/Oct 2010)
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Moving to the barrel samples, all of which were impressive, the 2012 Blackboard Red Wine checks in as a blend of 33% Syrah, 26% Cabernet Franc 18% Merlot and the balance Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Spending 16 months in the 100% once and twice-filled French oak barrels, it gives up solid dark berry fruits, spring flowers, graphite and spice to go with a medium to full-bodied, nicely textured and up-front profile. It should be ready to go on release and evolve gracefully. Going forward, this cuvee will incorporate less Syrah as the estate phases out th ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A fabulous success in the vintage, the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon is an age worthy effort that gives up classic currant and plum styled fruits, licorice, earth and lead pencil shavings to go with a full-bodied, beautifully concentrated and layered profile on the palate. Opening up a time in the glass and showing impressive mid-palate depth and fine tannin on the finish, it can be consumed anytime over the coming 10 to 12 years. This is another solid lineup by the team at Tamarack Cellars. The wines are made by Danny Gordon and show classic, nicely structur ...Read More »
The flagship whiskey for Seattle's Westland Distillery is one of the first American single malts that actually tastes like Scottish single malt. At the core of this whiskey’s flavor profile is a grain bill comprised of five different roasted and kilned barley malts giving the malt a character that's Scotch-like, but still distinctly different. The base is a pale malt, grown in the state of Washington. To that they add specialty malts, a concept inspired by the vibrant craft brewing culture of the Pacific Northwest. Belgian brewer’s yeast further enhances... Read More »
By distilling a highly-peated single malt whisky and marrying that with an entirely unpeated single malt whisky, Seattle's Westland Distillery has created something magically delicious, more akin to Talisker or Springbank, rather than Ardbeg or Lagavulin. The smoke and phenolic elements are definitely present, but never detract from the soft, oily fruit and the inherent creaminess of the spirit, which are definitely the stars of the show. Imagine everything you love about Longrow or Bunnahabhain, but in a different package distilled in the Pacific Northw... Read More »
95-97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Reserve is another gorgeous Bordeaux blend by Chris. Made from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and equal parts Malbec and Petit Verdot, it offers up plenty of cassis, licorice and chocolate in its sexy, seamless and incredibly polished profile. Concentrated, with plenty of tannin, it will round into form with a few years in the cellar and, like the straight Cabernet, have two decades or more of longevity. (JD)" (6/2014)94 points Wine Spectator: "A swarm of fine tannins swirls around a sleek core of peppery black cherry and plum flavors. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "A blend of Zinfandel (41%), Sangiovese (34%), Lemberger (9%), Malbec (11%) and Merlot, this appealing wine suggests plum, currant and red fruit. It’s supple in feel with cranberry and raspberry flavors backed by tart acidity." (5/2015) Wine & Spirits: "In 2013 Abbot’s Table is composed of zinfandel, sangiovese, malbec, blaufränkisch and merlot, and more or less takes on the character of the lead variety, with its broad plummy red fruit and plush texture. For a barbecue party." (4/2015) K&L Notes: From the winery; "Reminiscent of the bold Abbot’s Table blends of past vintages, this 2013... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This standout blend of Sémillon (60%) and Sauvignon Blanc dazzles with notes of fig, pineapple, kiwi and herbs. It's richly flavored, with a creamy texture and a supremely long finish. -S.S." Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(a 60/40 blend of semillon and Sauvignon Blanc) Aromas of orange blossom, pear, white peach, minerals and spices, plus a whiff of vanilla. Juicy, saline and quite dry, offering good intensity to its pear, apple and vanilla flavors. Initially a bit warm, and dominated by the semillon component, but gained in verve with aeration, showing good limey lift on the afterta ...Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "(12% alcohol): Pale bright straw-yellow. Tangy white peach, tangerine, lime blossom and dusty stone on the nose and palate, with a riper pineapple element emerging with aeration. Offers good chewy texture and breadth without any undue weight, conveying an impression of dusty extract and a nice sugar/acid balance. More open-knit and less bracing than the 2010 release but with no shortage of energy. Relatively dry for this bottling--and a satisfying drink already. Finishes with good subtle length. (Stephen Tanzer)" (12/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "This wine shows some pleasing aro ...Read More »
Scrappy's Bitters are inspired by nineteenth century recipes. As featured in Imbibe Magazine: "...bartender Miles Thomas has been making Scrappy's Bitters since 2008. Thomas now sells styles ranging from a classic orange to lavender, chocolate and cardamom. While his emphasis is on bitters that feature a single flavor, each style requires the use of multiple ingredients such as grains of paradise, angelica root, horehound and mace." (Sept/Oct 2010) Try this, courtesy of Scrappy's Bitters: Frog Leg - 2 oz Rye, ½ oz Cynar, ¼ oz Amaro Nonino, ½ oz dry vermo... Read More »
From the winery: "Food friendly syrah from vineyards across the Pacific Northwest, 80 % whole cluster fermentation with aging in older neutral French oak barrels and puncheons for 11 months on the lees. Our garde manger is a blend of each vineyard we source syrah from in each vintage. bottled unfined with minimal so2 addition."
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Saturated bright ruby. Reticent, high-pitched aromas of black raspberry, kirsch, licorice and violet, complemented by some sweet oak. Very ripe, dense and smooth, showing an almost liqueur-like quality to its black cherry and saline flavors. Not at all overly sweet but the tannins are suave and fine-grained. This has enough juicy energy to expand in the bottle. As in most recent vintage, a terrific value in Washington Syrah." (12/2014)91 points Wine Spectator: "Focused, dense and polished, with blackberry, cherry and floral flavors on a glassy, smooth texture, lingering easily and ...Read More »
A must for the superior rum punch or hot toddy, Scrappy's Cardamom Bitters are made the old-fashioned way. Try it with "The Elegant Spice: 1½ oz white rum, ½ oz fresh grapefruit, ½ oz cointreau, ½ oz dry Vermouth, 1 to 2 dashes of Scrappy’s cardamom bitters serve on the rocks." (Recipe from Scrappy's)
Did you know that Blaufrankish was ranked 34th among the world's grapes with the most expanding plantings in the period 2000-2010? Blau what? Blaufrankish is actually what the Austrians, the major growers of this red grape, call Lemberger. Lem what? OK, here's how winemaker Jed Steele (a member of the Kendall-Jackson head winemaker alumni) excuses his rash indulgence in a varietal wine that's not from the mainstream market-approved "top ten" grapes: "This wine is very similar to the wines that I tasted in Austria more than 25 years ago. Unlike other Stee... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
94 points Antonio Galloni: "(a 65/35 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and semillon): Full, bright green-gold color. Noble aromas of citrus oil, apple, brioche and curry powder. Wonderfully sappy and concentrated, with guava, lime and mineral flavors complemented but not overwhelmed by sexy oak. Most impressive today on the extremely long, rising finish. I’d love to pour this incredible Washington State white wine next to a young Domaine de Chevalier blanc. Stunning quality for the price. (Stephen Tanzer)" (12/2014)94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another stunning white from this team is the 2013 Chaleur Estate Blanc. A ble ...Read More »
Inventory: Special Order
94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Made from 100% Syrah and most likely the best vintage of the wine to date, the 2012 Syrah Boushey Vineyard Arnaut is a smoking-barrel sample that’s loaded with potential. Blackberry, pepper, bloody meat, salty minerality and earth are just some of the nuances here. This full-bodied effort has fantastic texture, substantial, yet sweet tannin and a terrific finish. It should evolve nicely for 3-4 years and drink well through 2027." (6/2014)95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice" This wine shines with notes of smoked meat, mineral, dark coffee and earthy funk. The flavors are de ...Read More »
98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "98+ points. Rich, backwards, structured and massively concentrated, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon comes mostly from the Champoux Vineyard (also from Galitzine, Klipsun, Palengat and Tapteil) and is comprised of 99% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Merlot that spent 22 months in all new French oak. Offering up plenty of creme de cassis, coffee bean, toasted spice, pencil shavings and violet-like qualities on the nose, it has palate staining levels of extract and tannin that come through on the mid-palate and finish. Gorgeously full-bodied, layered and textured, wi ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Syrah River Rock Vineyards comes all from The Rocks region of Walla Walla and was fermented with 100% whole clusters. Giving up massive minerality, with ground herbs, gunpowder, smoked earth, olive and assorted dark fruits, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a layered, elegant feel and notable tannin that comes through on the finish. As with the Rock Garden Syrah, it should have 10 to 15 years of prime drinking. One of the highlight (and largest) tastings for this report, the team at K Vintners consists of wild man himself, ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "This blend of 42% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot offers aromas of carob, plum, barrel spices, anise and herbs. It’s light but fleshy in feel with abundant blue fruit flavors." (9/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco