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Staff Favorites - Ryan Woodhouse

Ryan Woodhouse

Reviews

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2014 Beaulieu Vineyard "Reserve" Carneros Chardonnay
Review Date: 11-20-2017
California Chardonnay sometimes gets a bad rap. And yes there are some pretty appalling examples out there. This wine from BV however takes a classic flavor profile, that has taken the wine world by storm over the last few decades, and delivers a faithful rendition with notable balance and length. It's a rich wine with plenty of tropical fruit, baked apple pie and creamy notes. But there is also a nice saline component, a core of bright acidity, the oak is well judged and not overbearing. This is going to make a lots of classic CA Chardonnay drinkers happy especially at our super sharp pricing.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 93

2014 Mindego Ridge "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-16-2017
I love how both of the 2014 offerings from Mindego Ridge offer up a perfect synthesis of varietal and place. The Pinot Noir immediately communicates is terroir of coastal mountains, coniferous forests and pacific ocean breezes. The wine has such a delicate yet distinctive perfume: crunchy black and red berries, mulling spices, pine needles, fruitcake. One the palate the wine is concentrated but focused, it has feeling of small, tight, clusters of fruit and a perfect balance of ripeness and acidity. Whilst the fruit expression is pure Pinot Noir, I also love that this wine embraces just a dash of the varietals savory side; there's bramble, forest floor and slatey minerals. Such a complete, complex and compelling wine that continues evolving with every sip.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
VN 95 RP 92

2014 Mindego Ridge "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Review Date: 11-16-2017
I love how both of the 2014 offerings from Mindego Ridge offer up a perfect synthesis of varietal and place. This wine is hand-picked from the estate's tiny 1.3 acre planting of Chardonnay. The wine expresses beautiful ripeness with golden orchard and stone fruit charters. A supple, soft texture on the palate, the wine is rich and mouth-filling. Into the finish the wines' cool climate Santa Cruz Mountain aspect shines through with beautiful focus, glistening saline minerality and lovely line and length. The oak handling is very subtle and alcohol perfect balanced at 13.7%. A stunning, pristine wine that perfect illustrates how special the Santa Cruz Mountains are.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
VN 94 RP 93

2013 Kay Brothers "Hillside" Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia
Review Date: 11-13-2017
Kay Brothers continue to deliver the very essence of McLaren Vale. This is absolutely a regional classic that optimizes varietal and place. The perfume sways back and forth from dark fruit, to earth, to floral tones and back to savory smoked meat tones. Deep plummy fruit invades the palate with briary / garrigue notes, toasted spice, cured meat and liquored cherry. The palate is lush and concentrated, with fine, supple tannin and beautifully sustained length thanks to the wines natural acidity. This is an absolute joy to drink now and assured to go another decade in the cellar if you wish.

2016 Stargazer Pinot Noir Coal River Tasmania
Review Date: 11-07-2017
One of the most fascinating Pinot Noirs of the year for me. It took Sam and I several years to finally get these wines here! But it was seriously worth the wait. Stargazer is a tiny passion project of winemaker Samantha Connew. With a storied history of making wine across Australia, Oregon, Italy, Spain - Sam brings a wealth of knowledge to the table and her vinous prowess is known to all that have met her. She is also the Chair of Judges at the Royal Sydney Wine Show...on of the most prestigious wine awards in the country. This minuscule production Pinot Noir of just 240 cases is wonderfully aromatic and pure. It's light, transparent color in the glass belies it's concentration of flavor but hints at the wines ethereal elegance on the palate. The nose is filled with rose petals, crunchy red berries, saffron, dusty, dry spice and singed agar wood. The palate is light, fresh, taught and full of drive and precision...but it's not super lean or tart, the mid-palate has a nice softness but with minimal extraction. On the finish again acidity and cool fruit take precedence over tannin but there is nothing aggressive about the acidity, the wine is so fresh and vibrant but soft and silky at the same time. Beautifully crafted Pinot Noir.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2014 Burn Cottage "Moonlight Race" Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 11-07-2017
Such an impressive wine (especially at our EXTRA special pricing). This is brimming with mulling spices: clove, citrus peel, cinnamon, nutmeg. Lush dark fruits, sandalwood and some raspberry puree join the mix with a swirl or two and carry through on to the palate. In the mouth the wine is generous with ample fruit and texture. Fine tannins give nice shape to the medium plus body. This is a beautiful release from Burn Cottage / Ted Lemon (Littorai). This wine expertly captures the exotic and extrovert expression of Central Otago Pinot Noir but manages to keep it elegantly restrained in a wine with perfect natural balance and a very moderate 13.5% abv.

2015 Malat Pinot Noir Kremstal
Review Date: 11-07-2017
Maybe the Kremstal region of Austria isn't at the front of your mind when shopping for a bottle of Pinot Noir...yet this wine might change that! A beautifully composed wine with a brooding earthy nose, deep dusty berry fruits, cocoa nib, dried herbs. The palate is lush with wild hints of loganberry, dark cherry and spice. The nose keeps evolving showing forest floor, bramble, freshly forage mushrooms. It's like a flavor wheel for Pinot Noir showing of the varieties complexity and savory nuances. The whole this is wrapped up with some nice toasty oak tones to add a little polish to the wine. What a value! What a compelling wine from a producer trying to put Austrian Pinot Noir on the map...and with this wine he very well might succeed.
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 93

2015 Helen's Hill "Ingram Road" Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Victoria
Review Date: 11-07-2017
Back in stock and even more delicious than before! This is a rockin' deal in Yarra Pinot Noir. The second label of our Direct Import partner Helen's Hill - this estate grown wine delivers more at $15 than many Pinots at twice that price. Juicy, dark red fruits, warm earth, truffle, a lick of exotic spice. It has such a silky texture on the palate from the exceptional growing conditions of the 2015 vintage. This wine is super quaffable on its own but also has great natural acidity that makes it very versatile and food friendly. This wine sold out very fast on our previous Helen's Hill offering...luckily the winery held us back some cases so we can now offer it again.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JH 94 BC 90

2016 TWR (Te Whare Ra) SV5182 "Toru" White Blend Marlborough
Review Date: 11-07-2017
A fantastic Thanksgiving wine. This delicious and versatile white field blend combines the wonderful aromatics of Gewurtz, the textural qualities of Pinot Gris and the acidic backbone and minerality of Riesling. All fruit is from the organically farmed home block at Te Whare Ra with the Riesling coming from 38 year old vines. This is super quaffable and refreshing but still has detail and complexity. Another cracker from TWR.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2014 Barde-Haut, St-Emilion
Review Date: 11-01-2017
Dark red fruit mingles with dried mushroom, sage and saddle leather. Quite a brooding wine with a core of sweet fruit but plenty of savory umami qualities to boot. Exotic spicy oak adds another dimension and helps reinforce structure. Beautiful fine, chalky tannin gives length and promise for a long future (if you don't drink it tonight).

Kaiyo Mizunara Oak Japanese Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 10-24-2017
Quite an exotic expression with lots of spice, shaved ginger, clove and sandalwood. Light and delicate in texture on the palate but certainly not lacking in flavor and intrigue. Supple, easy and pure. A Japanese whisky that we actually got more than a few bottles of!!?? Yes! Aged in very expensive Mizunara Oak!!?? Yep! Likely to cause quite a frenzy!!?? Yes!
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2014 Comartin "R-Bar-R Ranch" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-18-2017
For many years winemaker Adam Comartin was part of the team at Testarossa Winery in Los Gatos that has produced so many fantastic and highly acclaimed wines from some of California's top Pinot Noir vineyard sites. Now Adam and his wife have set out to forge their own path with the namesake label "Comartin Cellars." A Pinot Noir and Grenache enthusiast, Adam seeks out unique vineyard sites and makes tiny batches of wine in a small urban winery in San Carlos, CA. His intricate knowledge of California's Central Coast and wealth of local connections means that he has access to some stunning little vineyard blocks such as this one (R-Bar-R Ranch) in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Whole-berry fermentation keeps the wine bright, aromatic and pure. The palate has abundant silky, ripe fruit but there is also an energetic, vibrant feel about the wine with wild bramble and bay laurel lift. A lick of quality French oak frames the wine with delicate but exotic spice.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WE 95

2015 Penley Estate "Phoenix" Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra South Australia
Review Date: 10-18-2017
A stellar bargain in Cabernet. This is has the richness, power and structure that has made this grape King! Packed full with blackcurrant, cassis, plum, sweet oak, a touch of cigar box and fresh picked mint. Mouth-filling and voluptuous but with fine sculpting tannins; beautiful length and freshness on the palate. A super complete wine the like of which normally comes with a $50+ price tag. Try it for yourself...see what we are raving about.
Top Value!

2015 Ridge Vineyards "Lytton Springs" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 10-12-2017
This wine is pure class from the first sniff. The elegance, polish and purity that this wine possesses belies it's rugged old vine source. This wine has so much elegance, refinement and poise. Often when we think about "Old Vine Zin" it conjures up ideas of massive dark fruit, wildness...and sense of untamed raw material. This wine has all the concentration and intensity one might hope for but it presents itself so immaculately. The lifted, brambly fruits delineated from the Asian spice, leather, earth. The underlying tannin structure (from the Petite Sirah) is formidable but fine grained and beautifully wrapped with the wines flowing medium bodied fruit. The mid-palate has a generosity and softness but the wine also has a linear shape on the palate and beautiful length. This is just incredible wine and a serious bargain when you consider its pedigree and proven longevity.

2015 Ridge Vineyards "Pagani Ranch" Sonoma Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 10-12-2017
The 2015 Pagani Zin has an explosive nose of sweet, ripe fruit, macerated liquored cherries, exotic spices and scorched earth. The palate is packed with similar flavors, full-bodied and very fruit forward but with beautifully judged extraction. Sure the flavors are ripe (it's from one of the warmest, earliest harvests in living memory) but there is delicious freshness and vibrancy to the wine. Nothing about it's fruit profile stewed or roasted. People are going to love this wine from the get go...it's the perfect essence of Zinfandel.

2015 Fromm "Quarters Vineyard" Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 10-06-2017
Single Barrel, cask strength Pinot Noir! Not sure if I've ever started a wine review like that before...but yes this is a single barrel wine that we (K&L) bought every available bottle of (234 bottles were left for us after Fromm's own wine making team took some for their own cellars)! Quarters vineyard is an organically farmed block up in the famed Brancott Valley. The soils consist of clay and fine silt giving a softness and generosity to the wines grown here. Bramble fruit, ripe raspberry, sweet wood spice. The palate is medium bodied with beautifully soft silky tannin. The fruit profile is quite exotic, with plenty of energy and flow. Warm earth notes mingle with macerated berries and sandalwood. Eminently drinkable right now with some air but an easy one to lay down for 5-10 should you desire. I'm so happy the folks at Fromm entrusted us with this tiny production, single vineyard wine - Cheers to them!

2015 Fromm "Fromm Vineyard" Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 10-06-2017
As always I think this is Fromm's most thought provoking wine. It's full of complexity and detail; its slowly unfurls in the glass giving off different characters with each swirl. A touch more generous and dark fruited than in prior vintages as the yields were so small in 2015. Personally I think that's a good thing as this wine is traditionally quite structured. This has enough flesh and fruit purity to enjoy now but the tannin structure and natural acidity assure me that this will be a 20 year wine for sure. Briary forest berries, smoked meat, cracked pepper, leather. The savory notes give way to more fruit sweetness with air; loganberry, ripe plum. More stony, mineral notes linger on the finish with fine but notable tannin. Serious Pinot Noir - vigorously decant if drinking prior to 2020.

Four Pillars "Faultline" K&L Exclusive Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 10-03-2017
A pretty awesome collaboration between our very own Spirits Buyer David Driscoll and the folks at Four Pillars in Australia. It seems pretty crazy to travel literally half way around the world to make a single batch of Gin...but if you know how talented the guys at Four Pillars are and how much relentless energy and passion David has for finding / making great booze, then you'll understand how it made perfect sense. The result is pretty epic - exotic botanicals, balanced flavors, a texture more like an aged spirit than a brand new one; this is soft enough to sip straight but potent and unique enough to bring some new flair to your go-to drinks. If any of our previous Faultline Gins are anything to go by this will be a huge hit...and I think this one is the best yet.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2014 Trinity Hill "The Trinity" Red Blend Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 09-25-2017
This wine is simply unbelievable for this price point. 2014 was one of the best (if not the best) vintage in Hawke's Bay for 20 years. Stable Autumn weather and warm vintage conditions gave rise to wines of deep, concentrated fruit, with powerful structure and length. This wine is predominantly a right bank Bordeaux style blend with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon taking the lead with dashes of Tempranillo, Syrah and Malbec adding complexity and character. The fruit was picked from Trinity Hill's incredible estate holdings in Hawke's Bay and showcases the regions stony, gravelly soils that are so perfect for these varieties. Dark plummy fruit, charred spices, coco nib and stony minerals. The wine is medium bodied with a nice tannin structure that drinks far more seriously than the wines modest price point might suggest. This wine can easily stand up to hearty stews and grilled meats or be cellar for 5-8 even 10 years. Quite remarkable for a wine we're offering for under $10!

2015 Von Hovel Riesling Kabinett Mosel (Saar)
Review Date: 09-25-2017
A lovely example of 2015 in the Saar. Bright, crunchy, mineral infused fruit, a zesty tang of acidity and mouth filling texture. The slatey mineral profile shimmering through in the finish. This is classic Von Hovel with a dash more roundness and power from the concentrated 2015 vintage. An exceptional value!
Top Value!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2014 Shaw + Smith Shiraz Adelaide Hills South Australia
Review Date: 09-15-2017
As esteemed Australian wine writer James Halliday notes Shaw + Smith have a strong reputation as one of the best cool climate Shiraz producers in Australia. What I love about this wine is that it's not funky, under-ripe and savory just for the sake of proving a point. It's driven by juicy dark red fruit, lush ripe tannins; it stands with a medium-full bodied physique and is certainly not shy. What you won't find in this wine are big gobs of stewed black fruit, a burning sensation from 16% alcohol or charred new oak leaving slithers in your mouth. It's a sleek, pure, balanced style of Shiraz that gives you up front fruit, exotic spices and hints of gaminess but without any of the pit falls that beset wines on either end of the ripeness spectrum. This will be a big hit for lots of people especially at this price point.

2015 Shaw + Smith Pinot Noir Adelaide Hills
Review Date: 09-15-2017
The aromatics of this Pinot will have you falling in love long before the wine even hits you lips. Such a beautiful perfume of alpine strawberries, rose petals, fresh raspberry, sweet baking spices, bramble leaf, agar wood. The nose is pronounced and fruit focused but there is so much more than just simple fruit. One the palate a similarly complex cacophony of flavors intermingle. The wine is elegant and medium bodied; a cool, crunchiness of fresh berries pervades every corner of the palate. This is a very pure, polished wine with super fine tannins, perfectly integrated acidity, expertly judged ripeness and extraction. It really is a beautiful wine shows the exotic, aromatic side of Pinot Noir but without even a suggestion of over ripeness or heaviness. Stunning value too.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JH 95 JS 95

2015 Shaw + Smith "M3" Chardonnay Adelaide Hills
Review Date: 09-15-2017
A perfectly judged Chardonnay that strikes a precise balance between richness and restraint. This wine has the flinty, mineral, smoky edge that is so intriguing and is so en vogue in Australia right now but at the same time the wine has broad, mouth filling texture, lovely fruit weight and ripeness caressed with refined oak tones, all drawn out on the palate by vibrant (but not austere acidity). It's a very flavorful wine with concentrated white peach, ripe citrus, almond, brioche, some baked pear emerges as it warms in the glass, a saline edge adds whispers of Chablis. Such a great bottle of Chardonnay; I think almost everyone could find something to enjoy here.

2014 Greywacke Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 09-11-2017
Another sure fire winner from the inimitable Kevin Judd. For those of you that haven't come across the Greywacke wines they are the new(ish) passion project from longtime Cloudy Bay winemaker Kevin Judd. Though the man himself is very modest and softly spoken, the wines are some of the most highly regarded in New Zealand and their unwavering quality consistently illustrates the skill and experience Kevin has that few can rival. This 2014 Pinot Noir is simply delicious. It delivers everything I want in Pinot - alluring aromatics, sensuous texture, an ever so slightly untamed wild character and beautiful line and length. We have committed to Kevin's Pinot Noir time and time again and have never been anything short of thrilled when we get them in the glass! Not to mention the sharpest pricing we've ever had on this latest offering.

2014 Woodlands "Margaret Reserve" Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 09-05-2017
One of the most impressive bottles of Cabernet to pass my lips this year! This is one of Woodlands' Reserve bottlings sourced entirely from the original home block vineyard. The wine is very concentrated and structured. Deep black fruits at the core with savory tobacco and charred oak. A full-bodied wine made with longevity in mind. The moderate 13.5% alcohol is representative of the cool end to the 2014 growing season that allowed extra flavor development in the Cabernet fruit without over-ripening. Interwoven with the dark brooding fruit is a distinctive mineral presence from Margaret River’s ancient soils. The wine is powerful but also has lovely freshness and persistence on the palate owing in large part to the vineyard site's exposed location and proximity to the cold, rugged Southern Ocean. All of this is well polished during 18 months in 50% new top-quality French oak.
Drink from 2017 to 2017

2016 Holzapfel Zweigelt Rosé Wachau (Dry)
Review Date: 09-05-2017
Delicious, dry, crunchy rose of Zweigelt. Lots of juicy, tart forest berries, bramble leaf, alpine strawberry and orange peel. So quaffable and refreshing. One of my favorites this summer.
Top Value!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

1991 North British 25 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Grain Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-01-2017
Every time these bottlings come through our inventory I wonder when the main stream masses will catch up to the insane value of single grain whisky...The fact that we can still offer bottles like this in the era of Yamazaki 12 year being all but impossible to get and Macallan 18 year costing $250 is just insane. This is packed full of rich, creamy, golden fruit, toasted grains, butterscotch, sweet spice and burnt brown sugar. Such an unctuous and satisfying drink...and man the price just can't be beat.
Top Value!
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2002 Balvenie 14 Year "Peat Week" Vintage Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-01-2017
Wow this is pretty cool. I figured I knew the Balvenie whiskies inside and out but to be honest this is my first experience of the "Peat Week" bottling. From the wealth of information on the tin this particular batch was distilled the same week I met my (to be) wife...and we're now just about to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary! I love how this bottling combines the soft, round approachability of Balvenie with a beautiful smoky note that is subtle and not overpowering. Maybe the elegant integration of the smoke is due to the different source of peat (Highland vs. Islay) or perhaps it's just the skill and know-how of the folks at Balvenie. Either way this is a crowd pleasing malt that is sure to make lots of people happy...whether you're looking to geek out on the incredible transparency provided by the distillery about these single batches or just looking for something to sip in the evening as summer turns to fall.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

Krug "Grande Cuvée" 164 Ème Édition Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-31-2017
Krug Grand Cuvee has long been a go-to for me when it comes to a luxury Champagne. It has the magic combination of brand recognition (aka "bling factor") but also consistently maintains exceptional quality (something that can't be said for some of it's peers). Krug is the benchmark for richer styles of Champagne. It has a crowd pleasing nutty, toasty character but also a beautiful acid line and lingering minerality. This house is also undoubtedly THE master of blending. They have a staggering amount of reserve wines from different villages, single parcels and past vintages. You might think that the mastery of this blending technique would be kept close to the chest as a proprietary secret...and yet the opposite is true! Krug has embraced full transparency when it comes to what components make up their Grand Cuvee placing an ID number on each and every bottle that details its composition. They have now started noting what "Edition" the wine comes from front and center on the label. My take is that when you do everything with the true diligence and commitment to detail that Krug does then I guess you don't have anything to hide! Finally (talk about burying the lead...) this 164th Edition of the Grand Cuvee is largely based on 2008 with reserve wines back to 1990! The focus, tension and linear nature of the legendary 2008 vintage is clear to see in this bottling. This is a seriously good and very distinctive bottling of Grand Cuvee and I believe one that will continue to improve for years (if not decades) in the cellar.
Price: $159.99 Add To Cart
VN 97 JG 95

2016 Seehof Pinot Noir Rosé Rheinhessen
Review Date: 08-08-2017
A lovely, bright, fresh, mineral driven, dry rose of Pinot Noir from the limestone rich soils of the Rheinhessen. Made in a delicate refreshing style by up-and-coming superstar Florian Seehof. This is one of my favorite roses of the 2017 season, it has just the right amount of fruit, zest, texture and minerality - a super versatile wine and ultimately quaffable.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2015 Fürst "Tradition" Pinot Noir Franken
Review Date: 08-08-2017
If you are even slightly skeptical about the quality of Germany Pinot Noir you should try this wine. It is a stunning example of just how magnificent they can be even at relatively inexpensive price points. This has a beautiful balance of seductive forest fruits, dried herbs, wild mushroom, leaf litter and mineral soil notes. The texture is dreamy with super fine tannins, a silky mid-palate and juicy acidity. Can be enjoyed now in it's youth or cellar for 10 years.
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2016 Tohu Sauvignon Blanc Awatere Valley Marlborough
Review Date: 07-19-2017
Tohu is a beautiful example of Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc. Many people don't realize that Marlborough is actually quite a large area composed of several quite distinct sub-regions. The Awatere Valley sub-region is cooler and more exposed than most parts;combined its deep river gravel soils this makes for highly aromatic wines, with bright acidity, white floral characters and plenty of zesty fruit. At their worst they can be downright vegetal...think canned asparagus...at their best (as in this instance) they represent an fantastically vibrant, dynamic, distinctive expression of Sauvignon Blanc that can be found no where else on earth. This wine has beautiful ripeness of fruit, juicy mouthwatering acidity and a stony mineral persistence that goes on and on. I'm so happy that folks at Decanter weren't scared to reward such an inexpensive wine with such a huge score (often reserved for much more "prestigious" wines) as I think it's a beautifully made wine that is a dazzling reflection of its place. This will be a staple for many, many people this summer and beyond.
Top Value!

2015 Te Mata "Coleraine" Bordeaux Blend Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 07-19-2017
They say things come in threes...well the 2013 and 2014 Coleraine both received perfect 100 point scores. The 2015 release now seeks to complete the trio and is definitely flirting with perfection once again. The wine has only been reviewed by a limited number of critics and has already racked up two 98 point scores and two 96s. Chatting with GM / Owner Nick Buck I couldn't resist asking him what was his preference among this trio of back-to-back-to-back magic vintages...he would only answer that many writers, Somms and wine industry folks had raved about the new 2015 release and commented that it probably has more immediate appeal than the two prior vintages. I thought the wine was a classic Coleraine delivering all of what I have come to expect from this iconic release. But in this vintage it seems to have an intensely inky color and a particularly concentrated mid-palate. There is deep, plummy, blackcurrant fruit here but there is also plenty of fine grained, powdery tannins that will assure a long life. The 2015 Coleraine can undoubtedly stand shoulder to shoulder with the best vintages of this prestigious wine and really only time will tell which vintage comes out on top.
Drink from 2020 to 2020

2015 Rustenberg Chardonnay Stellenbosch South Africa
Review Date: 07-17-2017
*Best Chardonnay under $50 I've tasted all year.* Here at K&L we have always loved the Rustenberg wines but when I saw the 95 point Decanter score drop with comparisons to Corton-Charlemagne I immediately asked our supplier to send us a sample for review. They had the prior vintage in stock so we had to bring this new 2015 release all the way from the importer in Florida and are the first to receive it here in California. But boy was it worth the effort! This wine is simply stunning. It smells, feels and tastes like high-end 1er Cru or Grand Cru Burgundy. What do I mean by that? Well it has that spectacular balance of concentration, power and focus you come to expect from the greatest Chardonnays. The fruit is intricately interwoven with minerals, fine oak and textural lees elements. The ripeness is perfect, the acid line is laser like giving incredible length on the palate. You simply won't believe what a complete wine this is for the money. Hands down one of the best value wines we have in stock.
Top Value!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
DC 95 VN 91

2013 Tahbilk Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Nagambie Lakes Victoria
Review Date: 07-14-2017
What's not to like here!? This is a stunning bottle of Cabernet, ticking all the boxes for the varietal, made by a great producer with a heritage going back centuries and it has a price tag of under $15! Dark blue/black fruit, rich, med-full-bodied texture, refined tannins give the wine great shape and length on the palate. Some leafy tobacco notes add intrigue as does the perfectly judged oak. This is a seriously polished, classy wine for sub-$20...and at our current pricing this is just ridiculous.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JH 94 WS 90

2014 Dog Point Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 07-14-2017
Rather than repeat the superlatives about this wine that the critics have already put in ink I'll simply tell you that I secured every single case of this wine I could put my hands on. I tasted it about 12 months ago and have been tracking its progress from NZ ever since. It's a stunning wine on every level and confirms that: (A) Marlborough can make world-class Pinot Noir. And: (B) Dog Point are one of the benchmark producers in the entire southern hemisphere. This is meticulously crafted Pinot Noir from some of most perfectly situated vineyards in the country, farmed under certified organic methods. It combines the vibrancy and succulence of fruit that is New Zealand's trademark and intertwines it with some of the exotic, alluring, savory, earthy qualities that makes Pinot Noir so evocative and enthralling...guess I couldn't avoid the superlatives entirely!
Top Value!

2015 Te Mata "Estate" Syrah Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 07-11-2017
Building directly on Te Mata's reputation as one of the premier Syrah producers in NZ with the monumental "Bullnose" bottling this Estate Syrah brings much of that class and character to the table for a fraction of the price! A juicy, fruit driven style with ripe red / black fruits, spice and freshly ground pepper, this is the perfect wine for grilling this summer. Easy drinking, mid-weight, tons of depth and character to stand up to hearty foods. Exceptional value - K&L direct import.
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

Baron-Fuenté "Galipettes" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-11-2017
Glass Full image Glass Full image Glass Full image Glass Full image Glass Full image
My personal favorite of the Baron Fuente offerings at a recent Champagne tasting. Sourced from the estates organically farmed vineyards. I found this to be the most mineral intensive of the bottlings. A crisper, more chalky wine almost like it was more Chardonnay dominant (though I believe it is equal parts Chard, Pinot Noir and Meunier). Aromas and flavors of crunchy orchard fruit, dry bread, cracked wheat, chalk and flint. A nice savory, nutty component too. Dry and mouthwatering. Great value for Champagne of this quality.
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

2015 Te Mata Estate Bordeaux Blend Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 07-11-2017
Awesome little Bordeaux blend from Te Mata. This is made from 100% estate fruit. (In fact Te Mata sell a good quantity of their fruit...so this actually comes from some of the best parcels on the estate they keep for themselves.) Despite being the "entry level" tier of wines this really shows it's pedigree. Dark fruit, earth, cigar box, a hint of charred oak; the nice tannin structure and balanced acidity means this will also keep for 5+ years no problem. Such a great value given the quality of the wine and iconic stature of the producer.
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2013 Yalumba "Triangle Block" Shiraz-Viognier Eden Valley South Australia
Review Date: 06-30-2017
For those in the know Eden Valley is a very special place. Sitting adjacent to its more famous neighbor Barossa Valley (though often lumped in together) the higher elevation and cooler climate of Eden produces a very different breed of Aussie Shiraz. The wines from here, as exemplified by this fantastic release from Yalumba, have beautiful balance and finesse to go along with the powerful fruit and richness Aussie Shiraz is known for. The fruit is fragrant, juicy and vibrant (likely elevated by the dash of Viognier in the ferment). The wine has lovely exotic spice, some floral notes and savory elements like peppered bacon and hot stones. This is still a medium to full bodied wine with tons of concentration and power but it has a beautifully judged element of restraint that makes is such a pleasure to drink and very versatile with food. At this ludicrously low price point I'll certainly be breaking this guy out at plenty of BBQs this summer season - simply unbelievable value for money for a wine of this quality.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
W&S 93 VN 90

2015 Birgit Eichinger Hasel Grüner Veltliner Kamptal
Review Date: 06-10-2017
Just a beautiful little wine. Pure, fresh-textured with great drive and presence on the palate. Yellow stone fruit, spice, some green gauge plum, sugar-snap peas and white floral hints. Elegant and mineral infused. The name "Hasel," meaning "Hazel," is to represent the way early vignerons in the region used thickets of native Hazel trees to identify areas with good, deep loess soils that also happened to be perfect for vines! Birgit is one of the THE up-and-coming winemakers in Austria--she is held in the highest regard by her peers.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WE 92 WS 91

2015 Hirsch "Hirschvergnugen" Grüner Veltliner Kamptal (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 06-06-2017
One of my favorite expressions of Gruner from a great producer. This is certainly a more strict, racy, mineral driven style than many of the bigger, weighty versions from the Wachau...I love it's freshness, drive and lingering, mouthwatering finish. So versatile as a summer white. Refreshing, moderate alcohol and a stunning value for money.
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2016 Weingut Fürst Elbling Mosel (1L)
Review Date: 06-06-2017
THE ultimate summer sipper. The Elbling grape was once a staple of the German wine industry. Now the variety only accounts for 0.6% of the nation’s plantings. And yet this bottle is potentially the most crushable wine of 2017—so far. It clocks in at 10.5% alcohol—I mean, that’s practically like drinking a beer. This is just one of the most deliciously refreshing, quaffable white wines in the store, bar none…and luckily it comes in a one-liter bottle!
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 Momo (Seresin) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 06-06-2017
One of the best deals out there in NZ Sauv Blanc. Momo (meaning "offspring") is the 2nd label of Seresin Estate; this is organic and biodynamically certified wine, from one of the top producers in the country at $15.99! The Momo SB has all the classic hallmarks of Marlborough Sauv Blanc but with extra mineral complexity and great textural presence on the palate. Hand-crafted, artisanal wine at a better price than most of the mass-produced generic stuff.
Top Value!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2008 Fallet-Dart Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-08-2017
Just one swirl and sniff of this wine and you realize how serious it is. Beautifully focused aromas of chalk, citrus peel, toasted barley and a hint of baked pear. On the palate this is a very linear, racy wine with mouth-watering acidity and boundless energy and drive. Right now it's a fantastic aperitif wine with its brightness and verve. I suspect it will settle in later life to become richer and broader like great vintage Champagne does. The youthful vivacity and exuberance of now will be replaced by complexity and depth that only time can bring. It's quite staggering to think you can buy age-worthy vintage Champagne of this quality for this price point.
Top Value!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2014 Jim Barry "Cover Drive" Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra South Australia
Review Date: 04-20-2017
Classic Coonawarra Cab for a song. Jim Barry is one of the best known wineries in South Australia's Clare Valley. Founded in the 1950's Jim Barry has produced some of Australia's most heralded wines, namely the "Armagh" with more than ten 95-99+ point Advocate scores in it's history. Whilst being recognized as one of the countries top producers, what I love about Jim Barry is the incredible value they can deliver with wines like Cover Drive! As an Englishman myself the name based around a shot one might use during a game of Cricket always makes me chuckle. The vines are planted where the village Cricket field once stood. Deep in this wine's rich red fruit and and exotic spices I think I can still pick up some leather and willow! Bad jokes aside, this is delicious Cabernet with real varietal character and freshness. A classic Coonawarra profile for probably less than half the price I would expect to pay for a wine of this quality. This is a bargain.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
W&S 91 WE 91

2014 John Duval "Entity" Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 04-19-2017
I'm in danger of repeating myself once again here...but this wine is just a perennial favorite that year in, year out delivers simply phenomenal value for money and fantastic consistency of top-notch quality. For those of you that haven't heard to story before here's a brief outline: John Duval is one of the most heralded winemakers of the modern era. He made one of the world's most awarded and coveted wines (Penfold's Grange) for 15+ years as Head Winemaker at Penfold's. He knows the Barossa like the back of his hand and sources the best fruit the region has to offer from some of its oldest vines. After moving on from Penfold's, John set up his own, eponymous label and continues to produce wines that are nothing short of world-class at prices that continue to amaze me. Our continuing support of these wines year after year means that we can offer the very best pricing on these wines that are already significantly under-priced to begin with, in my opinion...but I'm certainly not complaining!
Top Value!

2014 Elephant Hill Hawke's Bay Syrah
Review Date: 04-14-2017
Back in early 2011 I visited Elephant Hill for the first time and was simply amazed by the quality of the Syrah they produced. The 2009 release I was tasting at the time was a revelation to me and cemented my suspicions that Hawke's Bay could, without exception, produce some of the best Syrah on the planet. 2014 was a warm vintage by New Zealand standards which is good news for varietals like Syrah when they're planted in a traditionally cool climate region. This wine strikes a perfect balance between traditional northern Rhone type characters of violets, spice, smoked meat and earth; combining them with a more modern purity of fruit, polished texture and brightness. Any review of this wine would be remiss without a mention of the wine's deliciously "umami" cracked black peppercorn notes. The consistent presence of this fresh ground pepper character is something that I believe sets Hawke's Bay Syrah apart and makes it truly unique. This is an exceptional wine, from a great vintage, direct from the winery at a ridiculously low price point.
Top Value!

2014 Tapiz "Alta Collection" Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza
Review Date: 04-14-2017
96 points! $14.99...Wow...I was skeptical as you might be...but this bottle actually delivers. It's very pure fruited, has true varietal character and has excellent balance and poise. It's not over-ripe (13.9% Alc), over-extracted or over-oaked. A quaffable Cab that is sure to be a winner with this combination of points, price and quality to boot.
Top Value!

2015 TWR (Te Whare Ra) SV5182 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 04-04-2017
A wine that was many years in the making. Talking with owners / winemakers Jason and Anna Flowerday about this wine was very revealing. For many years they have flirted with the idea of making a single block, barrel influenced Sauv Blanc from their home block of vines. They have repeatedly kept a small parcel separate and fermented it in a large 600L neutral French oak Puncheon barrel...but year after year they ended up blending it into the TWR "regular" Sauvignon Blanc bottling. However - in 2015 the wine quality, their confidence and the fruition of the "SV5182" program (a marker that distinguishes their BioGro organic certified estate wines from a couple wines that included growers fruit) meant that this experimental wine finally made it to bottle as a singular expression...and boy was it worth the wait! This is next level stuff. This wine was ultimately conceived in the vineyard; the rows selected for this endeavor are set up from the very beginning with this expression in mind. Super low yielding, hand tended vines mean concentrated fruit with depth and texture. The influence of the barrel is purely for lees contact and oxygen rather than any noticeable oak flavor. The wine has amazing purity, layers of texture, intense minerality and a persistence of flavor intensity that elevates it above it's multitude of Marlborough counterparts. I suspect it will age beautifully as well...certainly putting a case in my cellar to find out!

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