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K&L Monthly Newsletter - Featuring Italy - 01/29/2018 - Monthly Newsletter

Few countries, if any, offer such a stunning diversity of wines as Italy. From the crisp and refreshing whites of Alto Adige to the sultry reds produced under the shadow of Mount Etna and everything in between, there’s seemingly a wine for every style and every taste. We’ve made it our goal at K&L to reflect this diversity in our selections, sourcing wines from well-trodden regions like Piedmont and Tuscany to lesser locales in Marche and Umbria. While 2018 is only getting started, it’s already shaping up to be a banner year for the Italian wine lover. The 2013 Barolo are coming on line and it is a more than thrilling vintage to say the least. Antonio Galloni was so impressed with 2013s he noted that the “wines...speak to the pedigree and class that are the signatures of the best Barolo vintages.” Not to be overshadowed, Tuscany also has can’t-miss efforts in the form of the 2012 Brunello. The final releases from this blockbuster vintage are arriving and they are utterly brilliant. If you haven’t already stocked up on your 2012s, now is your last chance. At long last, the wines from Emilia-Romagna are getting some much deserved love from the press, with Ian D’Agata of Vinous noting: “The region boasts an incredible array of grape varieties and wine styles that offers something for everyone.” If you haven’t explored this region as of yet, we strongly urge you to do so. Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Italian wine. Browse through our newsletter and see what other delights we’ve found.

Vintage Item Name Score Retail Link
2014 La Massa "La Massa" Toscana 91 $14.99 View
Sorelle Bronca Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Extra Dry 90 $17.99 View
2016 Kettmeir Pinot Bianco 90 $19.99 View
2014 Foradori Teroldego Vigneti delle Dolomiti 91 $23.99 View
2012 Travaglini Gattinara 92 $27.99 View
2010 Vigneti Massa "Monleale" Barbera $28.99
Wine Club Price: $22.99.
2012 Tenuta di Sesta Brunello di Montalcino 93 $34.99 View
2012 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino (Previously $50) 93 Price: Hidden View
2012 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino 95 $44.99 View
2013 Poderi Colla "Bussia Dardi Le Rose" Barolo (Pre-Arrival) 96 $69.99 View
2014 Ornellaia "Ornellaia" Bolgheri Superiore 95 Price: Hidden View

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2014 La Massa "La Massa" Toscana ($14.99)

91 points James Suckling: "Silky and savory red with light chocolate, cedar and berry character. Medium body, fine tannins and a flavorful finish. Subtle and pretty. Drink now or hold. Delicious." (07/2016)

90 points Wine Spectator: "Warm tones of ripe cherry, loam and sweet spice give way to a dense, muscular structure in this solid red. Succulent and long. Enjoy this while the fruit is still present. Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2020. (BS)" (03/2017)

Staff ImageMike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 09, 2017

Concentrated Sangiovese fruit with layers of subtle earth and mineral scents in a soft and forward body. Wonderful to drink now! Two Thumbs up !

Staff ImageJohn Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 30, 2017

Giampaolo Motta has continued his string of impressive wines with the release of his 2014 La Massa. Although the 2014 is finer in texture and tone than the recent vintages, it offers no shortage of concentration, length and acidity. Excellent to drink now but will hold well for several more years.

Staff ImageRachel Vogel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 25, 2017

Another fireball vintage from La Massa, while the 2013 was deeper and more lush, the 2014 is full bodied with bold acidity rivaling the bold wood structure from time in new french oak. Notes of fresh raspberries and cherry skins are chased by freshly grated baking spice and purple flowers. A great Toscana to try if you love those bold California cabs!

Staff ImageHeather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 16, 2017

La Massa is a K&L "staple". Year after year we've found this wine to be extremely versatile, friendly, and appealing to many palates. With all the earthy/savory elements of Sangiovese and the power and richness of Cabernet and Merlot, this super tuscan has much to offer. The 2014 is no different, and at this price, you really can't go wrong. Although the wine has all the right components now, I would recommend holding onto it for another year or so to reach its peak drinking window.

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 16, 2017

You can really tell the breeding in this wine, the aromatics and flavors are so well defined and focused. The wine is a base of Sangiovese about 60% then Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Alicante make of the rest. The nose says Tuscany, wisps of leather, hints of violet the a bit of wild cherry show off the Sangiovese then the plumy richness of the Cab and Merlot squeeze in. On the palate the wine shows its richly textured body, supple mouth-feel and great drinkability while still showing that central focus one expects in Tuscan wine. On the palate the complex blend of fruit and earth come together with porcini, leather and wild cherry dominating accented with lilac, rosemary and a bit of that Tuscan dust. Agile and focused this wine is ready to drink but will easily age another 5 years, try it with your favorite pasta or like me it will be a Pork Tenderloin and roasted potatoes!

Staff ImageGary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 28, 2017

K&L is crowded with values, but this La Massa stands out. It has the supple texture to drink on its own, but also plenty of acidity for Italian cuisine. I love the mix of dark cherry fruit and authentic galestro earthiness in this modern Tuscan red. Quality like this is rare even in our fantastic Italian section at this price!

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Sorelle Bronca Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Extra Dry ($17.99)

90 points Vinous: "Vivid straw-yellow. Clean and precise aromas and flavors of yellow peach, apricot, orange oil and cinnamon. Layered but refined, with a thick mouth-feel and noteworthy concentration of flavor on the long creamy finish. (ID)" (12/2016)

90 points Wine & Spirits: "There's a hint of complexity in the interplay between this wine's gentle sweetness and crisp acidity, like biting into a freshly picked ripe pear. It's lean and focused, a match for warm goat cheese on crostini." (12/2009)

K&L Notes: The Bronca sisters grow their own fruit on steep hillside vineyards, then make base wine and perform the secondary (sparkling) fermentation on non-vintage batches three or four times a year to ensure freshness. Low yields and hillside-grown fruit ensure that the wine has good concentration and acidity. This one's a clean, crisp and utterly refreshing sparkler that is one of our favorites.

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: May 13, 2015

Valdobbiadene is the heart of Prosecco for me, perhaps not geographically but certainly stylistically. Here the wines have more soul; they vineyards are extraordinary, splattered over a maze of steeply sloping hills, not one big mass but a conglomeration of hundreds of small growers. It is here that the Bronca Sisters (Sorelle Bronca) make their Extra Dry Prosecco DOCG, theirs is an excellent expression of soil, sun and fruit, superb balance and incredibly refreshing, the hallmarks of great Prosecco.

Staff ImageJeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 13, 2011

One of my favorite proseccos.The Sorelle Bronca is bright and juicy,with nice bubbles and enough sweetness for balance and enjoyment. This sparkler is great alone or as a mixer. A great party wine.

Staff ImageDavid Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 09, 2011

A stupendous effort from one of our favorite producers of prosecco. The nose is intense blooming white flower with a touch of citrus peel. The palate brings out tropical fruit, candied citrus, passion fruit. Touch of ripe sweetness balances the raciness perfectly.

Staff ImageMike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 15, 2010

The Prosecco is Straw yellow and has a creamy mousse with a delicate, long-lasting bead on the nose you will find generous fruit, releasing hints of apples, peaches and tropical fruit, plus wisteria blossoms, wonderful balance and elegance complement a pleasurably spiciness. The Palate is crisp, and fruity, admirable fullness and length, closely mirroring the nose.This is a wine of great balance and elegance and an excellent aperitif for all social occasions.

Staff ImageKirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 23, 2010

This is the best off dry Prosecco in the shop, quite possibly the best Prosecco! Clean and pure with just a hint of spice and the right touch of sweetness. This is the perfect wine for almost every occasion!

Staff ImageJason Marwedel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: June 13, 2010

Organically grown and estate bottled, the Sorella Branca prosecco is the perfect start to any meal! This delicate and refreshing bubbly displays notes of fresh bartlett pear and aromatic flowers. Enjoy this classic prosecco all year long!

Staff ImageScott Beckerley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 11, 2009

Normally, I have mixed feelings about Prosecco and have to be in the mood to drink it. Sometimes, it is a little too fruity for me. However, this Sorelle Bronca is nice and dry and tart! A pretty nose of orange blossoms, mandarin oranges and toasted nuts. Crisp acidity with citrus fruits and minerality on the palate. A great way to start a meal and a great alternative to Blanc de blancs Chamapgne.

Staff ImageJohn Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 11, 2009

This delightful Prosecco is a strong contender for best in class among its growing legions of fans, delivering dependably delicious flavors of sliced apples, citrus blossoms and almonds in a pure and sparkling persona. Showcasing both freshness and mineral vibrancy, it should complement most summer fare from salads to appetizers, and would be the perfect match for a basket of lightly-fried calamari.

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2016 Kettmeir Pinot Bianco ($19.99)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Kettmeir has hit the nail on the head with this attractive value buy. The 2016 Alto Adige Pinot Bianco is a fantastic expression with a deep sense of purity and finesse. I suggest you serve the wine ice cold. The bouquet shows a high level of intensity and fragrance, with white peach, citrus and passion fruit that you don't often get with the often neutral-smelling Pinot Bianco grape. (ML)" (07/2017)

Wine Enthusiast: "Enticing Granny Smith apple and fragrant white flower scents take center stage in this delightful white. The apple impressioin carries over to the vibrant palate, along with Bartlett pear notes and bright acidity. It finishes crisp and clean. (KO)" (07/2017)

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2014 Foradori Teroldego Vigneti delle Dolomiti ($23.99)

91 points James Suckling: "Lots of tar, berry and orange-peel character to this. Medium body, chewy tannins and a tangy and rich finish. Drink now." (11/2016)

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2012 Travaglini Gattinara ($27.99)

92 points James Suckling: "This is a fine and polished nebbiolo that shows polish and beauty. Dried strawberry and cherry with hints of cedar. Medium body. Delicious now." (10/2017)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This wine represents Travaglini's existential raison d'être. The 2012 Gattinara is a pure expression of Nebbiolo sourced from the various vineyards across this estate's holdings. The wine sees two and a half years of aging in large oak (with 10% in barrique). The color here is dark garnet, and the bouquet offers good complexity with dried fruit, spice and crushed mineral. The finish is long and silky. Vines range from 12 years to 45 years old in age. (ML)" (08/2017)

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2010 Vigneti Massa "Monleale" Barbera ($28.99) Wine Club Price: $22.99.

From Walter Massa, in the sub region of Piedmont known as Monleale in the Tortonese hills. This is a thick, weighty and rich Barbera with amazing perfume and complexity.

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2012 Tenuta di Sesta Brunello di Montalcino ($34.99)

93 points Decanter: "Pale shade. Autumn leaf and pressed rose petal on the nose. Very dense, soft round palate with chunky tannins. Cherry jam and hints of green walnut. Some grip in the finish." (06/2017)

92 points James Suckling: "A little earth but this show pretty floral and berry character. Hints of walnuts and meat. Full to medium body, a solid depth of fruit and a flavorful finish. Tangy at the end." (11/2016)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Tenuta di Sesta 2012 Brunello di Montalcino presents evolved aromas of dried fruit, leather, spice and pipe tobacco. The wine opens to a dark garnet color with reddish colors that resemble brick or terra-cotta. These characteristics give the wine a savory and rugged quality that will appeal to those who love the tastes and flavors of aged Sangiovese. Despite the wine's untamed personality, it does offer subdued finesse in the mouth. This wine gives you the typicity of Sangiovese as well as the elegance of an aged Italian classic. (ML)" (03/2017)

92 points Vinous: "Good deep red. Captivating, nuanced nose offers red cherry, blood orange, roast coffee, underbrush, and licorice. Sweet and subtle, with wonderful inner-mouth perfume to the slightly balsamic flavors of menthol, dried herbs and spices. Showcases noteworthy lift and length on the refined finish. (ID)" (03/2017)

92 points Wine Spectator: "Offers good grip and intensity, with leather, dusty cherry, tobacco and earth flavors. Balanced and open, with chalky tannins lining the finish. Best from 2020 through 2033. (BS)" (10/2017)

90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This opens with tobacco, dark spice, forest floor and leather aromas. The palate offers dried black cherry, licorice and clove flavors, set against tightly wound, taut tannins. It still needs a few years to come together. (KO)" (04/2017)

Staff ImageSharon Kelly | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 05, 2018

This wine is the reason why I am currently in the midst of an Italian wine phase. When all of the elements of a great wine come together like they do in this bottle, it really is a beautiful thing. This has plenty of finesse and approachability with a dusty red fruit profile bearing characteristics of crushed stone and earth, leather, wild herbs, and well-integrated tannins. It makes me want to cook myself a four-course meal, complete with an elaborate table setting and indulge in its elegance. Outstanding.

Staff ImageDavid Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 07, 2018

Everyone just about flipped out for the 2010 Brunello, but I have to say I'm enjoying the 2012s MUCH more at this stage in their development than I did the 2010s. I love the bold richness of a great Brunello, but the best must always have an Italian elegance that's difficult to accurately describe without experiencing it directly. For me the 2010s lacked some of that quality and replaced it with a striking baked fruit theme that stretched across nearly every producer. The 2012s are a return to a calssic elegance after the ultra hot 2011 vintage. Tenuta Di Sesta has really outdone themselves with this wine. Full and textured. Clearly youthful, but so lifted and open. Dense dark red fruit on the nose. Hints of cranberry, dried hibiscus, fresh unsweetened cherry compote. The palate is mouth filling and unctuous, but not heavy at all. An absolutely diamond smooth tannin and a fabulous base of earthy spice balance out that ultra seamless red fruit. Not even an implication of oak spice or vanillas, just perfectly elegant Montalcino for a ridiculously low price. If you consume this anytime in the next 5 years allow for a minimum 1 hour decanted. This one loves air.

Staff ImageHeather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: February 05, 2018

I love this winery in most vintages, but for me the 2012 vintage is drinking particularly well. There is a great marriage of savory notes, black cherry fruit, and olive in this wine, that is irresistible. I'd highly recommend a good decant (1-2 hours) before enjoying, so that you can access all the layers of flavor present here. Don't think that the goodness ended with the 2010 vintage in Montalcino, this beautiful 2012 is so elegant and well-balanced, that it would be hard to point to a better wine for the price.

Staff ImageAlex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 31, 2018

The Tenuta di Sesta Brunello is one of the best, ready-to-drink values in fine reds right now! Its showing beautiful, concentrated flavors of cranberries, raspberries and plums; orange peel and mint with a smokey savory edge and just a hint of saline. Incredible complexity, depth and balance for what amounts to a bargain price in the world of Brunellos.

Staff ImageMike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 11, 2018

Big wine, little price!!! Do not let the price let you think that this is a lesser wine. This is a Great 2012 Brunelli that will develop over the years. If you open this wine in the next couple of years, give at least four to five hours decanting.

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2012 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino (Previously $50) Price: Hidden

93 points James Suckling: "Aromas of ripe strawberries and spicy tea follow through to a full body, chewy and polished tannins and a succulent finish. Balanced and pretty. Better in 2019." (11/2016)

93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Fresh, alluring aromas of wild berry, pressed violet, dark baking spice and a whiff of new leather all come together in the glass. The firm full-bodied palate offers ripe black cherry, mature plum, cinnamon, licorice and a hint of tobacco. Chewy tannins and bright acidity provide support and balance. (KO)" (05/2017)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Frescobaldi family is becoming an ever more important force in the Montalcino territory thanks to recent land and winery investments. The Castelgiocondo 2012 Brunello di Montalcino is a soft and supple expression of Sangiovese. This oak-driven wine offers a generous bouquet that is based in part on dark cherry and primary fruit, and in part on spicy tones of toast and smoke. That said, this estate has very much redefined its use of oak and the results show much more balance and purity compared to wines made one decade ago. The brightness of the acidity also comes as a surprise given the warm vintage. That freshness is essential to the wine's aging potential. (ML)" (02/2017)

91 points Vinous: "Good full ruby-red. Perfumed red cherry, herbs and sandalwood on the nose. Enters fresh and juicy, then mountingly tannic with the red cherry and herbal flavors kept under wraps by a strong tannic cloak. This brooding, very youthful Brunello finishes long and crisp, but needs plenty of time to soften and come around. (ID)" (03/2017)

Staff ImageJohn Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 11, 2017

This excellent 2012 Brunello from Frescobaldi represents a more modern approach to the category and is one of the best examples of the style. It's bigger shouldered and denser in weight than average, which translates to a concentrated palate that's smooth and polished with loads of delicious black fruit flavors. Aging in newer French oak adds a pleasant touch of well-integrated oak as well.

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 22, 2017

The nose of this wine is plumy, riper, with hints of French oak that give the wine sweetness in the nose followed by an earthy drift that reminds you the wine is from Tuscany. On the palate the wine has a density and richness, full-bodied, shows polished tannins that add to the sleekness of the wine. The flavors are plumy, spicy and show more fruit driven character than earth. The finish is polished, long and has hints of sweet vanillin highlighting the flavors.

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2012 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino ($44.99)

95 points Wine Enthusiast: "Dark spice, ripe berry, forest floor, Mediterranean brush and new leather aromas lead the nose on this powerfully structured wine. On the full-bodied palate, baking spice, licorice and pipe tobacco notes accent a juicy black cherry core while firm, velvety tannins provide the framework. Drink 2020-2030. *Cellar Selection* (KO)" (04/2017)

94 points James Suckling: "Wow. I love the texture and beauty of this young Brunello. Medium to full body with a dense and tightly compacted palate. Dried cherry light cedar and chocolate. It goes on for minutes. Gorgeous now. Excellent acid fruit balance, but will improve with age." (12/2016)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino is a beautifully finessed and elegant wine. It offers a very pleasing sense of balance in which no one characteristic overpowers the next. A dark ruby appearance gives the wine an open and inviting personality. The bouquet produces a subtle medley of wild berry, blueberry, underbrush and toasted almond aromas. The mouthfeel is lean, but it also shows polished and silky persistence. If you don't have the patience to wait, it tastes great even at this early stage. (ML)" (02/2017)

91 points Vinous: "Good full red. Youthful, concentrated aromas of saline red berries and orange blossom. Then sweeter, with densely focused flavours of red cherry, smoky plums and milk chocolate, complicated by a strong mineral nuance. Displays noteworthy savory nuances on the finish and puts on considerable weight in the glass. (ID)" (03/2017)

91 points Wine Spectator: "A tight, leafy, balsamic style, delivering strawberry, cherry, underbrush, wild sage, tobacco and iron flavors. Though tannic, this is more fluid than its peers, with a lingering aftertaste. Best from 2021 through 2033. (BS)"

2013 Poderi Colla "Bussia Dardi Le Rose" Barolo (Pre-Arrival) ($69.99)

96 points Vinous: "Colla's 2013 Barolo Bussia Dardi Le Rose is a knock-out. Intensely sweet and perfumed, the 2013 reminds me of some of the most profound Barolos and Barbarescos I have tasted. Ripe red cherry, pipe tobacco, mint, dried rose petal, orange peel and anise are some of the endless nuances that seem to develop in the glass. The 2013 is a wine of depth, pedigree and class. It should provide thrilling drinking for a number of years. This is a regal wine in every way. Don't miss it. Drink 2023-2043...I was deeply impressed with the three vintages of the flagship Barolo Bussia Dardi Le Rose I tasted. The 2013 leads the pack, but the 2012 and 2011 are also superb, especially within the context of their respective vintages. Readers in search of a top-flight, traditionally-styled Barolo will find much to explore in these very fine, noble wines from the Colla family. (AG)" (10/2017)

95 points James Suckling: "Here is a Barolo with extremely perfumed aromas with spice, leather and dried flowers. Hints of dried fruits such as fig and cherry. Full body yet linear and racy with lots of berry, mushroom and orange peel character. Drink now or hold." (07/2017)

93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Truffle, underbrush, new leather and chopped herb aromas slowly emerge in the glass. The bright, elegantly structured palate delivers tart cherry, licorice and tobacco alongside vibrant acidity and tightly wound noble tannins. It's still youthfully austere so give it time to develop. Drink 20232033. *Cellar Selection* (KO)" (12/2017)

K&L Notes: Remniscent of "2013 reminds me of some of the most profound Barolos and Barbarescos I have tasted" according to Antonio Galloni, Poderi Colla's Le Rose is a reference-point Barolo in this celebrated vintage. A classic rendition of one of Piedmont's finest terroirs (Bussia) it is one of the great sweetspot buys of this Barolo campaign.

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2014 Ornellaia "Ornellaia" Bolgheri Superiore Price: Hidden

95 points James Suckling: "A solid and structured red with tile, dark berry and black tea character and some cloves, too. Full body, tannic and rich. Needs time to soften. Well done for a 2014. Ornellaia shows its pedigree here. Better in 2019." (08/2047)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "To be released in May 2017, the 2014 Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia reverts to a style and personality that we have not seen in a long while. The wine shows a tight, silky and determined approach that reminds us of the Ornellaias made under the estate's previous ownership with the Marchese Lodovico Antinori in the mid-1990s. More than anything else, this has to do with the very unique characteristics of the 2014 growing season. The wine opens to a beautifully saturated and dark appearance. Thanks to the advanced age of the vines and their extensive root systems, fruit quality was well preserved despite the cool summer and late harvest. The wine shows sweet fruit nuances with blackberry and dark currant. Spice, leather and tobacco fill in the rear. The finish reveals just enough of that acidic prickle to assure an easy ten or fifteen year drinking window. (ML)" (04/2017)

90 points Wine Spectator: "Starts out with aromas of black currant and cherry, followed by flavors of herb, tobacco, iron and spice. Turns dense and tannic in the end. Elegant and complex overall, but this needs to resolve the tannins and integrate the oak. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2018 through 2025. (BS)" (06/2017)