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K&L Staff Recommendations
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.
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.
The appellation of Picpoul de Pinet covers about 3000 acres just off the coast of the Mediterranean. It is famous for two things, oysters and this wine of origin Picpoul. Picpoul itself is the grape and means "lip stinger" and it has been a running joke in our Hollywood store. Whenever we taste a new Picpoul we ask each other if it "pics your poul?" We want to know if it has the vibrancy and minerality that are the hallmarks of the region. That brings us to the Montmassot which is produced at the local cooperative in the village of Florensac. It i... Read More »
Wine & Spirits: "In 2012 the dry-farmed vines at Hallberg gave a simple, welcoming pinot noir with dark fruit that suggests black plum and blueberry. The plump texture finds its balance against juicy acidity, ready for a pork chop roasted with a sprig of rosemary." (4/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "This is a high-toned, structured wine with vibrant acidity that is layered in earth, spice, raspberry and black tea. After a medium-sized weight to the midpalate, it finishes soft and round." (2/2015)
Poggiarellino is an evolving star in our Direct Import portfolio. From Montalcino, this tiny winery is making superb wines at stunning prices.
93 points James Suckling: "I drink this regularly and always enjoy it. Wonderful aromas of light dough, fresh flowers, and sliced pears and peaches. Full-bodied yet agile and fresh, it shows layers of marvelous light tropical fruit and cream with hints of dough on the finish. Mostly 2011 with some reserve wines. From 47% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay and the rest Pinot Noir. Bottled April 2012." (9/2014)91 points Wine & Spirits: "This is a graceful, vinous Champagne with dramatic high notes of roses and red fruit, finishing clean with a grounding of pale earthiness. It’s a lovely prediction of what Champagne ...Read More »
This comes from the producer of one of our favorite summer rosés. It's a fresh and easy-drinking blend of Syrah and Grenache. Perfect for a week night BBQ!
Wine Spectator: "Ripe and fleshy in feel, this offers good weight to the plum and blackberry fruit, with a fruitcake-accented finish. Lacks range, but remains tasty enough." (11/2014)
Wine Spectator: "Redolent of ripe peaches and cream, this features lightly spiced notes of dried apricot and pear. Pastry accents grace the soft finish. (Web Only—2013)" K&L Notes: Max von Kunow officially took over the von Hövel estate from his father in 2010, and now stands as the 7th generation proprietor. Weingut von Hövel is a founding member of the VDP, and the estate is now undergoing conversion to organic viticulture under Max. With the quality of their vineyard holdings never in doubt, the von Kunows have spent many seasons putting forth a strong effort to push the quality o... Read More »
A collaboration with famed sportscaster Jim Nantz. The winery describes this white as a "classic Chardonnay was blended from select Dutton Ranch vineyards in the prestigious Russian River Valley appellation. Barrel fermentation and sur lie aging have created a rich and creamy wine with notes of stone fruit, citrus, melon, toasted nuts, and vanilla bean. Bright acidity and a long finish make this wine an excellent dinner companion."
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 »
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 »
The Mercurey Clos Rond comes from a single vineyard in Mercurey. The name means "the walled vineyard in that brambly area," derived from the local word "Ronde" instead of the more usual French "Ronce," meaning brambles. In a land where ownership is usually splintered, this vineyard is a rare case where the entire vineyard is under one owner, Domaine Faiveley. It lies on a gentle slope, with rich red-brown soil, a fairly high clay content and buried limestone beneath. The result is a Pinot Noir displaying rich, round fruit, both red and black, and just a ... Read More »
The wine is made up of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. It drinks well right now but should hold for several years. Members of the K&L staff had a chance to go down and spend a couple hours with Doug and his crew at the winery. The thought was to make a red blend from Happy Canyon, which K&L had never done before. Happy Canyon is the smallest AVA in Santa Barbara County. It lies north and west of Lake Cachuma and is home to six major vineyards: Cimarone, Grassini, Happy Canyon Vineyard, McGinley, Star Lane, and... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Edge (75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% Merlot, and the balance Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec), is composed of grapes from various sources. It exhibits a dense ruby/purple color, lots of fruit, and a round, seductive style with good ripeness and a heady finish. Drink it over the next 6-8 years. (RP)" (10/2014)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Revealing abundant minerality as well as a leaner, tighter style than the 2010's with less mass, extraction and power, this elegant, medium-bodied 2008 exhibits raspberry and black currant fruit, cedar, loamy soil and a hint of spice box. It should be consumed over the next 3-4 years. (RP)" (5/2011) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright, dark red. Redcurrant, tobacco and menthol on the nose. Broad, sweet and fairly full in the mouth, with a fine grain to the flavors of currant, tobacco, herbs and earth. Not especially complex or structured but nicely made. The finish features broad, ri ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Grenache Blanc, Muscat and Viognier. Fragrant and aromatic – shows the Muscat influence strongly. Broad texture and dry, light finish. (RH)" (2/2014) K&L Notes: The "Champ du Roy," or field of the kin, takes its name from Coupe Rose's 3.7 acre parcel of Viognier. This wine is a blend of Grenache Blanc and Marsanne for body and richness; Viognier for acid and perfume; and a touch of Muscat for exotic aromatics. These grapes were harvested by hand from very low-yielding mountain vineyards, making for a deliciously full yet fresh wine. Cotes du Brian is a zone named aft... Read More »
With growing elevations ranging between 1000-1600 feet above sea level, Mount Veeder Winery enjoys its distinctive location and microclimates. From the winery: "Rugged mountain conditions produce grapes with intensely concentrated fruit and big, rich tannins. Taming these tannins and preserving flavor are the high-altitude winemaker's biggest challenge. Because Mount Veeder's growing season starts late and often stretches well into November, harvest is a waiting game. But patience is rewarded with fully-developed flavors and ripe, rich tannins in the ski... Read More »
I met winemaker Sophie Guiraudon this past winter at the organic wine fair Millesime Bio. It's an annual event where organic winemakers from all over the world gather to show their wines. I tasted with her and was immediately smitten with the quality of the wines. I made an appointment to visit her winery right after the fair ended. Sophie is a one woman show farming 25 acres of vines while running her humble facility in Corbieres. The region is kind of a hodge podge of soil types but Sophie's vines are planted on silty clay-limestone. Her "Les ... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A blend of 100% Viognier that spent 5 months in tank, the value-priced 2012 Cotes du Ventoux Le Paradou Blanc comes from the hills just north of the town of Montpellier. Beautifully fresh and classic Viognier, it offers notions of lychee nut, white peach, flowers and big minerality (especially for a wine at this price point) to go with a rich, pure, supple palate. Decidedly gulpable and easy drinking, it’s a superb white for mid-week drinking. Enjoy it over the coming 1-2 years. Easily one of my favorite estates from the up-and-coming Ventoux region, C ...Read More »
90 points Antonio Galloni: "Ruby-red. Deeply pitched black and blue fruit aromas are accented by a peppery nuance and a hint of smoky minerals. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry and boysenberry flavors that smooth out and fatten up on the back half. Gentle tannins give shape to the finish, with the boysenberry and smoke notes echoing. (JR)" (5/2015)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of my favorite estates in Gigondas, Moulin de la Gardette fashions two superb Gigondas. Starting out, the 2012 Gigondas Tradition is a blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Syrah and 5% Cinsault that comes fro ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "At first the nose is a bit closed, but the wine then opens to reveal lovely, subdued floral notes of blue flower along with red fruit and spice. The juicy palate delivers ripe red and black berries accented with clove, white pepper and sage supported by solid tannins. Still tightly tannic so give this time to unwind. Drink 2016-2021." (3/2014)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Enrica Bandirola’s 2009 Brunello di Montalcino is an interesting and intriguing expression that boasts a very exotic, almost Byzantine (architecturally speaking) personality. Dark in color, the wine is loaded with br ...Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "A lovely Cabernet, ripe and delicious, yet complex enough to hold your interest. It’s just beginning its journey in the bottle. Very dark in color, with hard tannins, it has an immense core of blackberries and cherries. Give it at least 6–8 years, but it could still be rocking in 2022." (8/2013) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Monument is gorgeous and totally juicy. Blackberry jam, blueberries, savory herbs, tar, pencil shavings and sweet spices all burst from the glass in this deeply resonant, expressive Cabernet Sauvignon. Hints of mocha, espresso and vanill ...Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "Granny Smith apple, toasted almond, currant and whole-grain toast flavors are fresh and well-meshed, structured by bright acidity and a lively bead. Offers a creamy finish, with hints of smoke and honeycomb. Drink now through 2018." (11/2013) Antonio Galloni: "Light yellow-gold. Pungent aromas of orange pith, dried apple and toasty lees, with a hint of chamomile in the background. Fleshy and broad on entry, then tighter in the middle, offering bitter pear skin and quinine flavors and a touch of blood orange. Finishes with good grip and cut, leaving a subtle smoky note behin ...Read More »
This Champagne comes from one plot of 70 year old Chardonnay vines in the Montagne of Reims village of Trepail. It is aged for three years on the lees and composed of half 2011 and half 2010. The Champagne has a chalky, creamy, bready nose and a concentrated impression on the palate. As one would expect from such ancient vines, it delivers the goods on the finish with plenty of chalk as well as a bit of honey and white fruit. This makes a perfect aperitif, but will also pair well with seafood such as seared scallops ore even raw oysters. -Gary Westby
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 »
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.
Made entirely from estate-grown fruit, the Symbiose is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir from Gye-Sur-Seine in the southernmost part of Champagne. This wine is so clean, subtle and balanced that it will be finished before you know it. I think that is embodies all the best traits of this very good vintage; it is vibrant, pure and best of all, classically styled Champagne. I plan on putting a case in the cellar for myself! (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne Buyer)
Margerum Wine Company has long been a favorite of K&L. Doug Margerum, owner and director of winemaking, started out on the retail side of things. He and his family opened Wine Cask in Santa Barbara in 1981 and spent more than a decade building a fantastic wine shop and bistro. During much of that time, Doug was also building an amazing wine company. Margerum Wines are fantastically balanced and go beautifully with food. They are pure and clean, showing off the beautiful fruit from around Santa Barbara County. We were lucky enough to get the opportunity t... Read More »
90 points James Halliday: "Pepper-laden shiraz. Meaty, mid-weight style. Cherry-flavoured fruit. Has enough interest, flavour and form to satisfy. Chewy finish. Toasty/spicy oak tops it off nicely." (2/2014)
Giovanni Blason and his consulting enologist Andrea Rossi have turned this 37-acre property into a juggernaut of affordable quality wines. Giovanni and his wife Valentina own this winery in Gradisca d’Inzonzo, 3.75 miles from the Slovenian border and about 20 miles north of Trieste. This white offers such intense floral aromatics, with, jasmine, elderflowers, and lime blossoms, you'd guess that there would be some correlating sweetness on the palate, but this one from Blason is absolutely dry. Great with cheese!
91 points James Suckling: ""This is a very intense and rich with blackberry, dark chocolate, grilled meat and cherry flavors. Full body with ripe fruit and tannins. Layered and rich. Long finish. Merlot, Sangiovese, syrah and cabernet sauvignon. Drink now."" (10/2014)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Spicy and super zesty in the mouth, the 2013 Vermentino di Gallura Superiore Sciala is redolent of white flower, peach jasmine and dried ginger. Vermentino sometimes has a sage-like edginess and this wine delivers that quality in spades. If you like crisp whites to pair with fried fish, this is a perfect choice. The wine rests on its lees for five months with battonage and this process helps to add dimension and thickness on the finish. (ML)" (12/2014)
Exclusively from the 2009 harvest, although not labeled as such, this Champagne is composed of two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay. The Champagne has a graceful, delicate balance that Verzenay wines sometimes lack but with the signature hazelnut Pinot core. I found it to have creaminess to complement its racy cherry fruit on the palate, and an extraordinarily long, dry finish. It is dosed at 9 grams per liter: very dry! It will age very well. The Arnoulds own 27 acres in the village of Verzenay, a quite sizable holding in this high rent area. ... Read More »
The 2010 Two Angels Cabernet Sauvignon is a perfect example of how well a wine can drink with just a few years on it. The years allow the wine to soften, flesh out and display its complexity. And this wine is showing very well. The 2010 Two Angels Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma comes from vineyards at and near the top of the Mayacamas mountain range, which lies half in Sonoma County and half in Napa Valley. A blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Merlot, this wine has a unique flavor profile. The nose reveals notes of chocolate, vanilla, cherry and spice no... 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 »
From the winery: "Rich and dense, the 2013 Brunswick Petite Sirah is a beautiful expression of a world class vineyard. Aromatics of fresh black cherries, blueberry cobbler, and dark chocolate, the wine hits the palate with a rush of accompanying flavors. The wine crosses the mid palate and fills the mouth with balanced acid and tannins to match the wines' density. Enjoy with grilled anything, or on a cool autumn evening on the patio. Pack a toothbrush!"
Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* It may not come with a sense of high pedigree, and it is admittedly a bit light on stuffing, but this well- scrubbed, moderately fruity wine hits the varietal marks that very few Cabernets of its price do. It is medium-full-bodied, slightly rounded in feel and consistently keeps defined fruit in its sights, and its gentle, nicely integrated tannins makes it one that can be comfortably enjoyed in the near- to mid-term." (12/2014)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "An absolutely mind-blowing value, this blend of 85% Tempranillo and 15% Graciano comes from 20-40-year-old head-pruned vines and was aged in a combination of American and French oak. A selection made by proprietor Rafael De Haan and Eric Solomon, the outstanding 2011 Rioja Tradicion exhibits classic Rioja characteristics of black cherry jam, lead pencil shavings, licorice and tobacco leaf. Medium-bodied and elegant with sweet tannin, this wine dramatically over-delivers. (RP)" (12/2012)
Wine Spectator: "The core of juicy raspberry and blackberry fruit has melded with briary tannins and a backdrop of pepper, tobacco and anise in this late-release. Solid. (Web Only—2015)"
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright purple. Youthfully wound-up aromas of blackberry, mulberry and violet, plus a strong note of licorice. Deeply pitched dark fruit flavors are given an exotic character by notes of violet pastille and star anise. Supple and expansive on the firm, gripping, intensely spicy finish. This textbook syrah should age well. (ST)" (5/2011) Antonio Galloni: "The 2009 Syrah Estate Vineyard shows the wilder side of the grape in its red cherries, black pepper, spices and herbs. Medium in body, it possesses good balance and energy through to the finish. (AG)" (8/2011) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Syrah E ...Read More »
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale yellow. Lemon curd, quince, white flowers, honey and vanilla on the fragrant nose. Taut, refreshingly bitter citrus pith and toasty lees flavors give way to richer melon and peach with air, with honeysuckle and ginger notes adding complexity. A pungent, waxy note carries through the smoky expansive finish." (12/2012) Wine & Spirits: "There’s precision to the minerality of this wine, a serious streak of limestone under bright, candied fruit. It’s a full, generous style, ready for poached prawns." (12/2012) Wine Enthusiast: "Alain Thiénot’s non vintage is ripe, rich and full-bodied—a de ...Read More »
Although not labeled as vintage, this Champagne is entirely 2008, and made from the oldest plots on the estate. Curiously, Paul-Vincent thinks that old vines should never be used to make vintage dated wine, because they tell more of the story of the land than of year, with deep roots protecting the plant from the vagaries of the weather. It is composed of 50% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir and 25% Meunier and has a powerful, concentrated character that goes very well with charcuterie and other rich appetizers. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne Buyer)
The 2012 vintage in Sonoma County was a productive one, and this mostly Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, with a few lots from Sonoma Valley and Dry Creek Valley, didn't need more than 7% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec to help flesh it out. The grapes are sourced 90% from Alexander Valley, 6% Sonoma Valley and 4% Dry Creek Valley. The wine is aged for 16 months in 100% small oak barrels of which 24% are new French oak and 10% new American oak. A beautiful wine on the nose, the 2012 Simi Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is ... Read More »
Excited by the quality of their 2012 vintage, the winery notes that, "Our 2012 Merlot is deep garnet in color, with aromatic notes of wet stone, sun-warmed raspberries, and a slightly cooling fresh fennel. The soft, supple tannins and medium body are distinctive and prized features of our Merlots. The finish offers notes of baking spices. Drink now and over the next five years. 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot. Aged 20 months in 45% new French oak."
Characterized by its bright pink color, this charming rosé from the Empordá region of Spain is made from 100% Black Grenache. With aromas of bright red fruits, a smooth, silky mouthfeel, and a long, fresh finish, it is the perfect match for appetizers, seafood, or better yet, an assortment of Spanish tapas!