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K&L Staff Recommendations
Poggiarellino is an evolving star in our Direct Import portfolio. From Montalcino, this tiny winery is making superb wines at stunning prices.
The 2012 Bordeaux vintage produced elegant, soft, early maturing wines-perfect for consuming while you wait for your 2009 and 2010 vintages to soften. Ralph and Alex and I think 2012s, with their relatively low prices, will be a vintage to consider when the wines arrive at our stores. There is a sweetness on the palate that 2011 and 2013 do not have. We fell in love with this wine on our April Bordeaux trip this year. We have carried previous vintages (starting with the 2005 vintage), and this 2012 carries on as a great Bordeaux value. Made from the... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Focused and balanced, it opens with a fragrance recalling ripe berries, wet soil, red rose, blue flower and baking spices. The spicy palate delivers wild cherry, cinnamon-spice, white pepper, hot red pepper and a mineral note alongside brooding tannins and just enough fresh acidity. Drink 2016–2021. — K.O" (5/2014)90 points James Suckling: "Very pretty, savory Brunello with plums, and hints of jam and balsamic character. Full body with a velvety texture and a long finish. Drink or hold." (2/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright, deep red. Enticing aromas of raspberry and fresh flowers are lifted by a steel ...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.
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"
Crafted by Bob Pepi, "Two Angels Cabernet Sauvignon is complex, with cherries and hints of chocolate and vanilla on the nose. It is well-structured with good weight and balance on the palate were the flavors carry through very well to a pleasing finish," notes the winery.
Brothers Yvon and Pascal Tabordet took over the family winery in 1981. Located in Sancerre, they soon branched out across the Loire river to Pouilly Fumé, where they now tend 12 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc vines planted on calcareous clay soils which are intermixed with flint. The wine is slowly fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks with no malolactic fermentation.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Syrah comes from 20 to 40-year-old, hand-harvested vines. It was fermented with indigenous yeast in stainless steel, aged eight months in concrete tanks, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Perhaps that explains its fleshy, chewy mid-core, and attractive blackberry and cassis fruit intermixed with hints of licorice and incense. This fruit-driven, substantial Syrah possesses silky tannins. Enjoy it over the next 2-3 years." (2/2014)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The red 2012 Conca de Barbera is a blend of 42% Grenache, 38% Syrah and 20% Garrut (this may be the first time I have seen that grape varietal). The result is an outstanding red wine displaying a dense ruby/plum/purple color, lots of kirsch liqueur intermixed with a notion of roasted herbs, medium to full body, attractive, savory, fleshy flavors and a long finish. Drink it over the next several years. The Conca de Barbera appellation is northeast of Priorat and Montsant, and west of Penedes. (RP)" (11/2013) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright violet color. Blackcurrant and cherry skin ...Read More »
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 »
This is one of the most exciting small-estate Champagnes that we have found recently. It is composed of 100% Pinot Noir with a 2011 base wine blended with 2009 and 2010 vintage, 50% of which is reserve stocks. This is a clean style of Pinot Noir with fine acidity and a small bead. Frothy and just plain lovely! Watch the bubbles go on and on and on when it is in the glass. Initially, there are baked apple flavors followed a mid-palate of grapefuit and nectarine leading to a creamy finish. A very small 15,000 bottle production. Winemaker Vivien Lamoureux i... 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 »
Alexandre le Brun is a young winemaker in Monthelon in the Ardenne (Marne) region of Champagne. He is a 9th generation winemaker. His family established themselves in Champagne in 1750 and their cellars were built in 1822. We were very pleased to meet him and are very excited to carry his wines. The Tradition is a blend of one third each of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This bottling is based on the 2011 vintage with 20 months on the lees. The wine had an extended fermentation of four to five months on natural yeasts and was finished with a l... Read More »
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 might become in a warming climate." (12/2013)91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a finely balanced non-vintage Brut. It has great swathes of yellow fruit and crisp lime flavor that lend a stylish freshness. Already showing some touches of toast and bottle age, this is a ready-to-drink wine." (12/2013)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(40% pinot meunier, 30% pinot noir and 30% chardonnay; L200352): Light, bright gold. Fresh red berries, ...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 »
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 »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Delicate grapefruit, fig, melon and gravelly aromas jump from the glass of the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. Light to medium-bodied and flavorful with zesty acidity, good crispness and focus, it can be enjoyed over the next 12-16 months." (10/2014) K&L Notes: Cakebread's Sauvignon Blanc is made in a fresh, citrus and gooseberry-driven style, with aromas that burst from the glass and mouthwatering flavors. It's a classic Napa refresher and makes a nice partner to a fresh goat cheese salad. "We source Sauvignon Blanc grapes from throughout Napa Valley, with over a third of th... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Light-bodied, with a zesty base driving modest notes of green melon, salted almond and pink grapefruit. (Web-2014)" K&L Notes: Pure crystaline fruit with a tautness and elegance that reminds me of great Gruner Veltliner from the Wachau, this is a lot of wine for the price tag. If there was every a region to gauge the incredible transformation of Italian wine from plonk to among the world's best, Soave would be right up near the top, and the Soave of Ca Rugate is a stellar example of why.
Wine Enthusiast: "This unoaked Chardonnay is so ripe and rich, you won’t miss the buttered-toast flavor of oak. It’s incredibly potent with limes, mangoes, oranges and pineapples, uplifted with brisk acidity. A weekend brunch of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon will be the perfect occasion." (12/2013) K&L Notes: From fruit sourced from Yountville, the 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay offers great value for the pedigree of the fruit. The winery's tasting notes: "Hoopla 2013 Chardonnay has a beautiful clear bright golden color. From the first pour, it explodes from the glass with tropical f... 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 »
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 »
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!
A perennial value-based favorite, Ravenswood's Vintners Blend Shiraz packs big punches full of mulberry, dark chocolate and roasted meats. Made by one of California's iconic producers.
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 2-3 years. Several 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 Vo... 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 »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Cherry, plum, licorice and spice flavors play off the lush texture in this opulent red. The tannins offer support, but are well-integrated, leading to a long, balanced finish. Best from 2016 through 2026." (11/2014)91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "From Podere Pietranera, the 2009 Brunello di Montalcino is a soft and perfumed expression that excels in consistency as it glides so smoothly over the senses. It shows dried cherry and cassis with good balance, finesse and class. The palate shows more firmness and grit with a pinch of sharp Sangiovese acidity on the close. Drink: 2016-2023. (ML ...Read More »
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)
La Monacesca’s idea for this wine is for a crisp white, fresh and vibrant and the perfect accompaniment to the Marche’s seafood bounty, especially shellfish. The grapes are harvested in the early part of September and then aged for a year in stainless before the wine is bottled. The wine has a super focus, bright and clean with an underlying mineral presence and a long finish. Decant this wine an hour or so, to allow it to open up a bit. Enjoy with your favorite seafood!
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 »
89 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Composed of 80% Grenache Blanc and 20% Marsanne, the 2012 Vieilles Vignes Blanc comes from 50-year-old vines planted in limestone and clay soils. A delightful bouquet of caramelized honeyed grapefruit, white currants and other assorted citrus jumps from the glass of this crisp, dry, medium-bodied white. With surprising length and power, it reminded me of a restrained, more laid-back top white Hermitage at a fraction of the price. Consume it over the next several years. One of the top wine values I have ever tasted is from one of the newest appellation ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Buehler’s 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a juicy, succulent, dark ruby/purple-colored Cabernet with loads of blackcurrant and black cherry fruit offered in an uncomplicated but luscious format. If pleasure is the name of your game, this wine definitely delivers. Pure, savory, round and medium to full-bodied, it is ideal for drinking over the next 7-8 years. It may age even longer. (RP)" (10/2014) K&L Notes: It's not often you can get well made estate-grown Napa Valley Cabernet for 30 dollars these days. Robert Parker says that "Buehler's realistic pricing policy ... Read More »
91 points Antonio Galloni: "Light yellow-gold. Vibrant, mineral-laced lemon and pear scents are complemented by notes of anise, chalky minerals and buttered toast. Juicy citrus and orchard fruit flavors flesh out in the mid-palate, picking up a hint of honeysuckle. Finishes focused, stony and long. This bottling is made from the estate's youngest vines, which are reportedly around 35 years old now. (Josh Raynolds)" (1/2015)91 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "A cool and restrained nose features notes of yeast, various white flowers, citrus peel and green apple. There is good verve and lovely detail to the delicious, in ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Balanced, featuring a core of black cherry, aromatic herb, crème de cassis and wild strawberry fruit, with hints of gumdrop and smoke. Fresh. (Web-2013)" K&L Notes: Verona is a city with history, culture and excitement all wrapped into one. The province of Veneto, in fact, is surrounded by attractions and theme parks, to meet the desires of all, couples, families and groups of friends. We say this because if you like this wine, you can stay at the property. Musella is an historic estate on the northeast outskirts of Verona, just 15 minutes drive from the centre. Hugh... Read More »
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!
Capcanes winery has an interesting story that mirrors those of many European wineries. Cooperatives allowed small family wineries that might otherwise have been driven under by financial obligations, to survive. They pool their resources and use one main facility to process their grapes and make their wines. Thanks to that system, many growers were able to continue to farm through tougher times. Now thanks to fresh investment, many have broken away from the cooperatives to produce very high-quality artisan wines. Capcanes winery produces many wines. The ... Read More »
92 points James Suckling: "This is a wine with dried meats, berries and earth. Full body, velvety tannins and a beautiful fruit intensity. Energetic red. Always an excellent Chianti Classico. Made from organically grown grapes. Drink now." (9/2013) Wine Enthusiast: "This has aromas of ripe berry and toast. The palate isn’t very expressive but reveals new wood, vanilla and chocolate. Give this a few more years to fully develop. Drink 2015–2020." (10/2013) Wine Spectator: "Dense yet medium-weight, with tobacco, briar and leather flavors. More savory than fruity, offering a dry finish. Best from 2015 through 2021. (Web-20 ...Read More »
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 winery notes that its deep, garnet color is followed up with "pretty aromas of bright cherry, blackberry, plum, and cassis. Baking spice, cedar, and chocolate notes round out the aromatic profile. Compelling flavors of cassis, cherry, and plum along with black pepper, cedar, and clove ... Read More »
Consistently noted as one of the top producers in Montecucco, Amantis combines a whimsical label with quality, terroir -driven Sangiovese. Also part of the blend is Canaiolo taken from their Le Birbe vineyard. Look for soft strawberry and enveloping cherry in this quality sip from Tuscany.
This Champagne is made from vineyards 25-30 years old and is a blend of 1/3 each Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier. This wine has a great banana nut bread nose followed by a seamless texture and finished with the spectacular acidity of this near-perfect Champagne harvest. Try this now and then lay some of this down for the future… I still have some 1996 left, and they are showing great, as was the 1983 I had last year with the Aristons! (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne buyer)
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 »
Connoisseurs Guide: "If not a wine for fans of extract and high ripeness, this relatively mild-mannered offering is both balanced and accessible with a good fix on Pinot Noir. It very much follows the Alysian model in that it is lithe and light on its feet, and it tenaciously hangs on to plenty of buoyant, red-cherry fruit even as it takes a turn to last-minute tartness." (10/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright red. Musky red berries, cherry pit and dried flowers on the nose. Taut, sharply focused redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors show modest depth and pick up a peppery quality with air. Close ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Most of the wine produced in this area is fortified sweet wine, and the 2012 Kerbuccio is from the newly created appellation of Maury Sec, which is a classification above Cotes du Roussillon Villages. From pure black schist soils, this blend of 40% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre and 30% Grenache aged in concrete offers wonderful flowery notes (violets) intermixed with melted chocolate, kirsch and a hint of Provencal garrigue. Full-bodied, rich, deep and totally dry, this is a seriously endowed, fleshy, full-throttle red to drink over the next 3-4 years." (11/2013)
Jancis Robinson: "Magliocco. Deep ruby with the beginning of orange on the nose. Pretty nose of oak and leafy fruit and already a little mature. Still a bit closed on the fruit on the palate and the tannins and acidity make it a little austere. Long perfumed finish with hints of oak. (WS)" (10/2013) K&L Notes: The 2011 Cantine Viola Rosso is 100% Magliocco from Calabria, and sees no wood aging at all, just fermentation in stainless steel and then bottle age. The wine’s aromatics are untamed; it smells of wild brush and roasted meats and while those aromatics are profound they seem to ... 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."
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 »
Organically grown Nero d'Avola that's fresh, fruit-filled and affordable. A touch of bay leaf and mint complements the volcanic soil, sweet red fruit and peppery spice on this wine's nose and palate. Delicious!
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Terra Prima Organic Port is just terrific. The nose is so fresh and well defined with blackcurrant fruit infused with faint touches of mandarin, dark cherries, fresh dates and liquorice. The palate is nicely balanced with slightly tarry black fruit. It offers lifted acidity and a spirituous nature without any loss in tension and there is a pleasant kick of volatility towards the refined, harmonious finish. I appreciate the edginess and tension on this wine, a sense of elegance that I usually associate more with Taylors than with a Fonseca. This comes ...Read More »