Staff Favorites - Keith Mabry

Keith Mabry

Reviews

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Domaine du Petit Coteau Vouvray Brut
Review Date: 09-20-2017
This is a straight-up delicious sparkling wine with notes of pear cider and toasted apples. Take note of this engaging bubbly to enjoy as we begin to enter the fall season.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2004 Domaine Les Pins "Le Clos les Pins" Bourgueil
Review Date: 09-20-2017
The 2004 “Le Clos les Pins” was brimming with notes of tobacco, leather and spices. The fruit has mellowed but is ever-present, showing the classic style of the sandy and gravelly soils. This still has a long way to go.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine Begude "Terroir 11300" Chardonnay Haute Vallée de l'Aude
Review Date: 09-20-2017
The wonderful Kinglake family always over delivers on value when it comes to varietal wines from the south of France. Located in the hills near the village of Limoux, they produce Pinot Noir, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and often their most compelling wine - Chardonnay. The Terroir 11300 (the number refers to the zipcode of Limoux) is an all organically farmed, tank fermented Chardonnay that captures the essence of the grape without the suffusion of oak. About 15% of the wine does go through large used barrel adding some dimension and palate weight but minimal woodsy tones. Pure and clean, there is classic apple fruit with a slightly tropical finish. It is a pristine example that has a lovely nose and refreshing acidity. This wine is an absolute delight and is perfect for those wanting to depart from more oak laden styles without sacrificing fruit quality.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

2004 Domaine Les Pins "Vieilles Vignes" Bourgueil
Review Date: 09-19-2017
We’ve been working with Domaine les Pins in Bourgueil for several years now and the wines continually over-deliver for the money. On our recent visit, vignerons Philippe and Christophe Pitault-Landry were kind enough to dig some older bottles out of the cellar to show us how the wines evolve. I immediately homed in on their two 2004s—the Les Clos des Pins and Vieilles Vignes. After a little negotiating we were able to convince them to sell us a small parcel of each. The 2004 “Vieilles Vignes” Bourgueil was remarkably persistent on the palate, showing flavors of strawberries, clove and truffle nuances. It is still quite powerful in the mouth and loaded with body and texture. This could easily withstand another decade of evolution. Both are tremendous successes and demonstrate the ageability of Cabernet Franc, even from a modestly priced producer such as this.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2016 Franck Millet Sancerre Blanc (375ml)
Review Date: 09-19-2017
Our visit to the Loire Valley would not have been complete if we hadn't visited our dear friends Franck and Betty Millet. Clyde, myself and a friend were traveling through the region and arrived a day early to have a relaxing meal in the village of Sancerre. We actually surprised the Millets by popping in to see their new house which sits on the hill of the village overlooking the valley of Sancerre and its vineyards. We had an appointment to visit them the next morning but they were so gracious even with our surprise visit, they began pulling out bottles of wine for us to try, offering us food and a tour of their recently finished house. I often point to these kinds of occasions when trying to illustrate why we try to develop strong relationships with our Direct Import producers. Even though we were just stopping by to say "hello" they went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and a part of their family. And that's why the Millets are part of our K&L family. When we finally did arrive at the winery for our scheduled appointment we retasted all the wines as well as some of the new tank samples for the 2016 Insolite. They had fresh cheeses and bread all laid out for us because they knew we were going to be traveling a couple of hours to our next destination. We discussed the difficulty of the 2016 vintage due to the early frost but thankfully they were not largely affected by the staggering crop losses that others felt. The quality of the 2016 was outstanding as usual, classic grapefruit and lemongrass tones, chalky minerality and a long citrusy finish with a whisper of wild thyme at the end. Clyde's specific comments were "better than the 2015" and "more my style, racy and classic." When Clyde saw some magnums, we immediately explored the notion (Clyde's a sucker for large formats) of adding that to our inventory set. I of course love the little half bottles which are new as well. So, in whatever format you choose, halves, mags or standard bottles, you'll hopefully share in the sense of gazing out over the vineyards of Sancerre and sipping wine with our dear friends Franck and Betty Millet.
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart

2016 Franck Millet Sancerre Blanc (1.5L)
Review Date: 09-19-2017
Our visit to the Loire Valley would not have been complete if we hadn't visited our dear friends Franck and Betty Millet. Clyde, myself and a friend were traveling through the region and arrived a day early to have a relaxing meal in the village of Sancerre. We actually surprised the Millets by popping in to see their new house which sits on the hill of the village overlooking the valley of Sancerre and its vineyards. We had an appointment to visit them the next morning but they were so gracious even with our surprise visit, they began pulling out bottles of wine for us to try, offering us food and a tour of their recently finished house. I often point to these kinds of occasions when trying to illustrate why we try to develop strong relationships with our Direct Import producers. Even though we were just stopping by to say "hello" they went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and a part of their family. And that's why the Millets are part of our K&L family. When we finally did arrive at the winery for our scheduled appointment we retasted all the wines as well as some of the new tank samples for the 2016 Insolite. They had fresh cheeses and bread all laid out for us because they knew we were going to be traveling a couple of hours to our next destination. We discussed the difficulty of the 2016 vintage due to the early frost but thankfully they were not largely affected by the staggering crop losses that others felt. The quality of the 2016 was outstanding as usual, classic grapefruit and lemongrass tones, chalky minerality and a long citrusy finish with a whisper of wild thyme at the end. Clyde's specific comments were "better than the 2015" and "more my style, racy and classic." When Clyde saw some magnums, we immediately explored the notion (Clyde's a sucker for large formats) of adding that to our inventory set. I of course love the little half bottles which are new as well. So, in whatever format you choose, halves, mags or standard bottles, you'll hopefully share in the sense of gazing out over the vineyards of Sancerre and sipping wine with our dear friends Franck and Betty Millet.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2015 Chateau de L'Ou "Infiniment" Côtes Catalanes Rouge
Review Date: 09-19-2017
Some of our best new relationships often come through referrals from other producers with whom we have already long established relationships. Our sparkling wine producer from Limoux, Françoise Antech, has made many great recommendations over the last few years through her association with the Vinifilles, a group of women wine growers that work together to share information, work events together and co-market their wines. Some of these referrals have included Domaine de la Reserve d’O and Clos de l’Anhel, both of which have been great successes with our staff and customers. When Francoise said, “you must try my friend Séverine Bourrier’s wines from Château de L’Ou,” we listened. I first tasted the wines at a Vinifilles event in Montpellier (the same event at which I met Marie Chauffray of Reserve d'O). There was a food and wine pairing of 2011 Secret des Schistes and a partridge galantine wrapped in cabbage. The cabbage made for a tricky pairing but in my notes, I declared it one of the two best pairing of the night. (The other was the Reserve d'O with a boudin noir (blood pudding)). Each element from the wine to the food ingredients elevated the combination to something quite remarkable. Though this event was a couple of years ago, the wines were always in the back of my mind. When you're establishing a new program in a category like our French Regional, you sometimes need to crawl before you run. Tasting the wines a few more times over the years and knowing we needed to establish a place for them, it wasn't until earlier this year when Jeb Dunnuck's insightful reviews of this estate compelled us to take the plunge. And plunge we did, picking up almost every wine they make. When you start tasting through all the different wines like we did you see such a distinct thread of quality and specificity. The basic wines are compelling but of course, it is the single-terroir Syrahs that will capture everyone's fancy. If you love wines from Hermitage or Cote-Rotie, adore the Shiraz of Barrossa or Syrahs of California, we have a new benchmark for you. These are truly wines of place (that place being Roussillon) and the Infiniment is just as good a place to start as it comes from the alluvial marl soils surrounding the estate. Full of lush boisterous fruit, it holds overtness at bay and its rich palate lays a foundation with layer upon layer of black fruit and spice. Severine's style of winemaking susses out the extraction but keeps the balance in check. There will be more to say when we look at the other two sites - the Velour Noir and Secret de Schistes - but right now, picking up some bottles of the Infiniment will give you the best access to this extraordinary and compelling property.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 94 RR 94

2016 Domaine de Rimauresq Côtes de Provence Cru Classé Blanc
Review Date: 09-19-2017
We don't often get to talk too much about the white wines of Provence since rose has become such a dominant force, but this Rimauresq is something quite special to introduce you to the region's whites. Rimauresq is one of the original Cru Classe producers, meaning they were around with the original association of estate growers that pre-date the appellation system. This tiny group of producers are the only ones allowed to use Cru Classe on their label. This very special white is made from 100% Rolle (the French version of Vermentino) and is a great expression of the grape variety. It is a crisp and refreshing white that has a honeyed almost waxy texture but still has wonderful acidity. Semillon would be the closest comparison. The nose is primarily mineral driven but there are nuanced aromas of Meyer lemon and Anjou pear. The finish falls on the tropical side with light flavors of pineapple and plantain. I can think of little this wine would match up nicely with but Mediterranean styled fish seems like the most appropriate choice. It is a perfect foil for oilier meatier fish like mackerel or flakier fish with a nice drizzle of great olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Add some roasted vegetables and a little aioli and a perfect al fresco meal is in your future.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2015 Domaine de la Janasse "Vieilles Vignes" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-19-2017
The VV is never a shy wine and in 2015 it has the liqueur-like consistency. A bit more oak shows through with sweet baking spices layered over the wild berry compote. This will sit in the hall of fame along with other greats like Clos des Papes, Caillou Reserve and Marcoux's Vieilles Vignes. Just give it a little time.

2015 Domaine de la Janasse "Chaupin" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-19-2017
Admittedly, my notes from barrel tasting were a tad ridiculous but still appropriate - "let's talk about fresh baby, let's talk about CDP." From 100% Grenache, this is where the rubber meets the road when we say fresh fruited styles. Such vibrant quality, it is loaded with so much flavor and could be one of the great sleepers of the vintage.

2015 Domaine de la Janasse "Tradition" Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-19-2017
Never shy on the fruit side, the 2015 shows remarkable restraint, pushing more towards a beautifully balanced style. Fruit is still quite present but it is of the freshest variety, the ripest you find at your local farmer's market but not pushing sur-maturity. Harmonious tannins on the finish make this appealing now but great for short term cellaring.

2015 Domaine de la Ganse Vacqueyras
Review Date: 09-19-2017
Winemaker Coralie Onde over-delivers with this sexy but supple Vacqueyras. Loads of juicy berry flavors of cherry, roasted plum and dried blueberry are layered on the palate followed by garrigue-y spice that leads to a palate that is full yet deftly balanced. This wine is as charming and exciting as its producer and we can't get enough of it.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
VN 89 - 91

2015 Chateau de Vaudieu Chateauneuf-du-Pape "Amiral G"
Review Date: 09-19-2017
Very rich and concentrated nose. The palate affirms. This is deep and luscious with flavors of kirsch and strawberry compote. Some oak aging adds dimension. A few years down should deliver a pretty outstanding wine.

2015 Château de Vaudieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-19-2017
Generous and ripe fruit but maintains balance. This is not too showy and has great structure. Should age gracefully into something even more special.

2015 Domaine Giraud "Tradition" Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-08-2017
Giraud shows the riper side of Chateauneuf du Pape. Plush polished fruit with notes of Chambord and cherry compote. Rounded out with light herbal/garrigue tones. This is a lot of wine for those seeking the richer side of CDP. Decadent yet satisfying.

2015 Roger Sabon "Secret de Sabon" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-08-2017
The tête de cuvée is no “secret.” Made from 100% Grenache, it was a little tight on the nose but delivered copious, fleshy fruits. Layers of kirsch, Chambord and spices abound. The finish was long, almost endless.

2015 Roger Sabon "Prestige" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-08-2017
The “Prestige” is actually a single plot co-planted with their oldest Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre vines plus a handful of the old heirloom grapes from the region. The smallest production cuvée, it rapidly approaches “next level” with its incense, brambly fruit and dynamic palate. This represents high-order, terroir-driven CdP and at a comparatively reasonable price.

2015 Roger Sabon "Réserve" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-08-2017
The Réserve shows much more of the mineral qualities of Châteauneuf, with savory black fruit and graphite. Aged primarily in foudre and larger oak tanks, this should evolve gracefully to unleash more of the exotic floral and dusty spice notes. From the La Crau and La Grenade lieux-dits.

2015 Roger Sabon "Les Olivets" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-08-2017
A more classically rustic yet charming style. Notes of red and black fruit macerated together with a beautiful sandalwood edge. One of the great values of the vintage.

2015 Domaine de Marcoux "Vieilles Vignes" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-08-2017
One of, if not my wine of the vintage. When I tasted this in 2016 from the oak tank, it was one of the most exotic and perfumed young CdPs I had ever tasted. When tasted earlier this year, it was again revelatory. Concentrated yet refreshing, with so much gorgeous fruit and spice, the wine is beginning to firm up around the edges. I would not say the wine will shut down, but there are signs that 5–10 years in bottle will reward those who cellar it with a truly exceptional wine.
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart
VN 96 - 98 RP 94 - 96 DC 94
Limit of 12 per customer

2015 Domaine de Marcoux Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 09-08-2017
Marcoux ranks as one of my top Chateauneuf producers. The sisters, Armenier have been great stewards of the land being one of the first biodynamically certified estates in the appellation. Under the watchful eye of winemaker Sophie Armenier, comes one of the great appellation wines of this vintage to my mind. I first tasted this wine, with Sophie in 2016, when it was still in its component parts. It was a scribble of notes describing a range of strawberries, spices, minerals, lavender and swirling dust. Now fully assembled, the wine is redolent of strawberry preserves, potpourri and minerals. It is long and full of finesse, and a couple of years in the cellar will be well rewarded.

2014 Valderiz Ribera del Duero
Review Date: 08-22-2017
I briefly visited Ribera del Duero a few years ago and along with the remarkable wines of the region the food really stood out as well. There was one dish in particular that brings me back and that is Morcilla. Probably the best I have ever had, with its savory blood sausage notes, cumin spices and rich texture. And that brings me to the Valderiz. Sun parched Ribera produces bold and intense Tempranillo but the foods are perfectly fashioned to cope with these textured wines. The Valderiz has beautiful roasted plum and currant flavors accented by chocolatey tones and dusty spices. It is long and deeply intense and makes me really crave that unforgettable meal.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
WS 94

2014 Domaine L'Ostal Cazes "Grand Vin" Minervois La Livinière
Review Date: 08-11-2017
My first trip to Minervois included a visit to the L'Ostal Cazes property. Situated in the Cru appellation of Minervois La Liviniere, the property sits below the foothills of the Montagne Noire in a region surrounded by the classic garrigue forests of the south of France. Old classical buildings make up the exterior of the estate but since this is a Jean-Michel Cazes property, the interiors are beautifully redesigned with the idea of delivering the purest and most expressive version of the fruit the vines yield. After a brief tour of the winery, my group was treated to a little ride through the property. We did some serious off-roading driving over hills and through creek beds (some full of water from the spring rains) more than once nearly driving off a cliff into one of the surrounding gullies. When we reached a plateau that overlooked the greater part of Minervois, what makes La Liviniere special was revealed. This plateau is made up of deep limestone and marl soils that lift it above the rest of the region. This translates beautifully into the wines. These calcareous soils help preserve the acidity in the grapes for a region that gets a lot of sun intensity and very little rainfall during the growing season. Deliciously ripe but not overwhelmingly so, the "Grand Vin" also picks up the classic garrigue notes of lavendar, thyme and chaparral. Supple black fruit, wild fennel and Mexican chocolate permeate the palate and sweet tannins lead to a long finish. All throughout, acidity provides a spine to the wine keeping it on the fresher side. JM Cazes has given us one of our most pristine examples of a Languedoc red but I expect no less since he is responsible for making Lynch Bages one of the most successful and iconic wines of Pauillac. Expect to hear more great things about his property in the south.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2016 Domaine de Verquière Côtes-du-Rhône
Review Date: 08-10-2017
Each year this organically farmed property continues to over-deliver on the QPR ratio. The 2016 much like the 2015 has vibrant fresh fruit flavors of red cherry, spicebox and fennel seeds. The '16 is a touch more charming than the 2015 having more lift and fresh acidity. Based on the quality of even this basic Cotes du Rhone, you can expect even more deliciousness from their Villages level releases.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2015 Le Clos du Caillou "La Réserve" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 08-08-2017
Also on sandy soils. Shows the most garrigue and of course great concentration. Impeccable balance, never heavy or overwhelming. Tasted next to the 2012 which is just beginning to evolve. A great comparable thread running through the wine that speaks to the terroir. A wine that will grow and evolve for years to come.

2015 Le Clos du Caillou "Les Quartz" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 08-08-2017
Gorgeous nose of potpourri. Wild flowers mixed with fresh fruit. Grenache and Syrah are co-fermented together making a sum greater than the parts. The most engaging well rounded for my taste. Pretty Awesome!

2016 Les Vignerons de Fontès "Prieuré Saint-Hippolyte" Languedoc Rosé
Review Date: 08-03-2017
One of our longest standing and most successful relationships from the Languedoc is with Corinne Pastourel, the oenologist and director of the Les Vignerons de Fontès cooperative in the mountaine town of Fontès near Pezenas. Corinne's vibrant personality is immediately intoxicating much like the wines she oversees. Making a variety of wines, we have always been drawn to the "Prieure Saint Hippolyte" bottlings as they represent the freshness and vibrancy of the fruit from the local growers. The rose is charming on first glance with its nose of strawberry, white flowers and red plums. The palate is mouthfilling and not too delicate. There is an almost serious weight to it but it finishes dry and refreshing, getting you ready for another sip. The Hippolyte is still our best selling rose and still under $10 making this your year round pink drink!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "La Réserve d'O" Terrasses du Larzac
Review Date: 08-02-2017
I still rank my meeting with Marie and Fred Chauffray as one of the great "gets" in my career as a wine buyer for K&L. We were introduced to each other through our mutual friend Francoise Antech-Gazeau of Maison Antech, one of our sparkling wine producers from the south of France. The Chauffray's and Francoise are a part of an association of growers known as the Vinifilles, or wine women. When I first tasted their wine at a Vinifilles event, I had to meet them. So a couple of years later and a few hundred cases now sold, we have just landed the 2015 vintage, one of the most eagerly anticipated yet. The wine begins as its normal charming self filled with a savory nose of roasted plum, black cherries, allspice and clove. It has an almost Cote Rotie expressiveness. On the palate, the wine carries tremendous weight but no heaviness. Like most of the 2015s of the south, it is a little riper and a little more polished than previous vintages. Even though its more concentrated, the wine holds it balance beautifully and I would begin drinking with aplomb, but that concentration will yield some longevity and I only see years of development and complexity to come. So, adding to my collection of Reserve d'O wines, I will happily drink half my case now and watch the rest evolve gracefully for many more years to come. Bravo Marie and Fred! I am still so grateful our paths crossed.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine de la Réserve d'O "Bilbo" Languedoc
Review Date: 08-02-2017
The Bilbo is another huge success from Marie and Fred Chauffrey of Reserve d'O. It is a big beautifully aromatic red filled with ripe plum, candied raspberries, violets and earthy minerality. Long on fruit, gorgeous acid and tannic structure and a sultry finish make this my favorite go to red for warm evenings. Never heavy but fully fleshed out, it will balance with so many foods. Staying in theme with the wine's namesake region of Bilbao though, I could devour some yummy Basque pintxos (tapas) with this yummy yummy wine.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2015 Clos de l'Anhel "Lolo de l'Anhel" Corbieres
Review Date: 08-02-2017
The 2015 vintage is so generous, this is one of Sophie's best out of the gate drinking reds. Loaded with raspberry fruit, light brush garrigue and vibrant floral tones that are the hallmark of her Carignan based wines, with WAY overdelivers for the price. A serious wine but seriously fun as well!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2015 Achával Ferrer Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 08-02-2017
Achaval Ferrer still remains my benchmark Malbec producer. This wine is pure Argentina with its luscious black raspberry fruit, chocolatey palate, savory spices and supple mouthfeel. There is nothing that screams eat me with some slow roasted short ribs, flank steak or ribeye like this wine here. Pure pleasure in a glass.

2010 Aleph Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 08-02-2017
Aleph is one of the producers you may pass over because their label is pretty nondescript. You would be making a terrible mistake. Holding back their wines a little longer before release, the wine reaches the pinnacle of old world styling with new world intensity. Reaching the flavor profile of some Napa level greats - aromas of blackcurrant and melted licorice abound - this has style and structure that speak closer to Bordeaux or Cahors. You would pay twice as much for not nearly as interesting a wine from California, but you don't need to, the Aleph is hiding in plain site. Just ask for a bottle, we'll track it down for you.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2013 Carmelo Patti Malbec Lujan de Cuyo
Review Date: 08-02-2017
An old school styled producer making old school styled wines in Argentina is nothing new. Patti captures the Italian heritage of the region by making a restrained Malbec that is heavier on the layered complexity than over fruit. This is a terrific wine to crossover for lovers of Tuscan Sangioveses and Cabernet purists. I can easily see myself drinking this with some grilled flank steak or a hearty Bolognese styled pasta dish.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2016 Gen del Alma "Ji Ji Ji" Malbec/Pinot Noir Gualtallary
Review Date: 08-02-2017
Malbec and Pinot blended together may sound like a pretty crazy proposition but in the Loire Valley, it is not entirely uncommon. And being the Loire buyer, this wine speaks loudly to me. This is a tremendous lighter-bodied red with savory spices, strawberry fruit and pretty potpourri notes. Coming in at a mere 12% alcohol runs this to the top of my "I can drink a bottle and not hurt" list. Capturing the inspirational flavors of France yet maintaining its new world profile is a triumph for Gen del Alma. Serve this juicy delicious red with oilier fish dishes, rotisserie chicken or some herb spiced pork chops. So much fun and really delicious.
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 92

2016 Dos Minas Torrontes Cafayate
Review Date: 08-02-2017
Just because my friend Heather Willen's is one of the two "Minas" behind this project doesn't mean I'm going to go easy on the wine. But in this case, it is perfectly justifiable. The "Dos Minas" represents one of the best most correct versions of Torrontes I have tasted in some time. Capturing the essence of the grape and it aromas of jasmine, ginger and apples while maintaining crispness is no mean feat. This is terrific for lovers of aromatic whites, especially if you get a little tired by softer versions. Great with things like cured salmon, salads of mixed greens and stone fruit or with some salty or creamy cheeses. Now my aperitif white for warm weathered days.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine de Viranel Alicante Bouschet "Arome Sauvage" Cessenon Rouge
Review Date: 08-02-2017
Viranel has become one of our favorite producers from Saint-Chinian. This wine falls just outside of the appellation's rules because it is 100% Alicante Bouschet. For those not familiar, this is grape that was often used to bump up the density and color of many Rhone styled blends, much like Petit Verdot does for Bordeaux blends. This Alicante is old vine fruit though and stands well on its own. It is dark and dense but shows rich black fruit tones and white peppery spice. Full-bodied, packed with "Sauvage" aromas and layered with garrigue tones, this is ideal for a big plate of charcuterie or a well-marbled steak.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2016 Franck Millet Sancerre Blanc
Review Date: 08-01-2017
Our visit to the Loire Valley would not have been complete if we hadn't visited our dear friends Franck and Betty Millet. Clyde, myself and a friend were traveling through the region and arrived a day early to have a relaxing meal in the village of Sancerre. We actually surprised the Millets by popping in to see their new house which sits on the hill of the village overlooking the valley of Sancerre and its vineyards. We had an appointment to visit them the next morning but they were so gracious even with our surprise visit, they began pulling out bottles of wine for us to try, offering us food and a tour of their recently finished house. I often point to these kinds of occasions when trying to illustrate why we try to develop strong relationships with our Direct Import producers. Even though we were just stopping by to say "hello" they went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and a part of their family. And that's why the Millets are part of our K&L family. When we finally did arrive at the winery for our scheduled appointment we retasted all the wines as well as some of the new tank samples for the 2016 Insolite. They had fresh cheeses and bread all laid out for us because they knew we were going to be traveling a couple of hours to our next destination. We discussed the difficulty of the 2016 vintage due to the early frost but thankfully they were not largely affected by the staggering crop losses that others felt. The quality of the 2016 was outstanding as usual, classic grapefruit and lemongrass tones, chalky minerality and a long citrusy finish with a whisper of wild thyme at the end. Clyde's specific comments were "better than the 2015" and "more my style, racy and classic." When Clyde saw some magnums, we immediately explored the notion (Clyde's a sucker for large formats) of adding that to our inventory set. I of course love the little half bottles which are new as well. So, in whatever format you choose, halves, mags or standard bottles, you'll hopefully share in the sense of gazing out over the vineyards of Sancerre and sipping wine with our dear friends Franck and Betty Millet.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Cabirau "Serge & Nicolas" Maury Sec
Review Date: 08-01-2017
A visit to this winery a few years ago led to a trek through one of the most distinct vineyard sites I have visited in southern France. The famous "Brown Schist" of Maury is so distinct it looks like the ethereal moonscape of some otherworldly planet. Climbing up to the top of a hill in the center of the vineyard, I was surrounded by all this fragmented rock as though a quarry had dumped all of its contents into one giant pile. It's obvious to see why importer/vigneron Dan Kravitz was drawn to it and why he had to purchase the land. Each year, Dan and his team have fashioned some of the Roussillon's most distinct and enjoyable reds from the region. And each year, the Serge & Nicolas has over-delivered for its price. A gorgeous nose of blueberries, violets, garrigue and spices erupt from the glass. It is bold and genuine with its overt profile. This Maury makes no secret that it is from a distinctly warm climate but the acidity and tannins keep it all focused and balanced. It also doesn't hurt that the tremendous 2015 vintage graced the landscape of Roussillon like so many other of France's appellations. Irregardless of vintage, the Cabirau is always sensational and continues to provide its consumers with a wine of twice the quality for half the price.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2015 Mas de Sainte Croix "Passion d'Une Terre" Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Valreas
Review Date: 08-01-2017
Our newest arrival from the Rhone Valley is from father and son team, Jacques and Julien Coipel. Our initial contact came through email when Julien reached out through our website and thought K&L might make a good partner in the US. He sent along samples and we were immediately pleased with the quality. Everything showed vibrant purity of fruit and great Rhone expression. When selecting new producers to work with though, just making a delicious wine is not the only thing we're focused on; we have plenty of delicious wine. At the time, we were planning our spring buying trip in a couple of months, so we asked Julien to be patient and we would come see the vineyards and meet with him while visiting the the area. Very accommodating, he held back from presenting the wine elsewhere and when the time came, welcomed us to the winery and gave us a brief tour of his surrounding vineyards. We got the details of farming practices, terroir, vinification, et al, out of the way and all were more than satisfactory. We tasted the wines again and of course they showed even better (home field advantage of course). A lot of our relationships are based on personality. For me, when I make a choice the wine needs to meet these criteria: the wine has to be good, it has be correct, it has be distinct and it has to reflect the personality of the person or persons making it. Julien is serious minded. He is focused on making the wines at Mas de Sainte Croix serious wines. And there the deal was struck. We took a whole range of wines from the Cotes du Rhone (featured in our CLUB), the beautifully distinct white (which drinks more like a Crozes Hermitage Blanc), the Quintessence (the top cuvee) and of course the "Passion." The Passion capture the essence of this producer. It reflects the northern placement of these vineyards in the Cotes du Rhone with the purity and expression of the fruit. It also reflects the beauty of the 2015 vintage in spades lining up with some of our greatest hits so far like St. Cosme and Verquiere. Rich but not heavy, it is as distinct and serious as Julien himself. This particular wine is probably my favorite in his entire line-up because it is ultimately one of the most satisfying and serious reds I have had from the Rhone in quite some time.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 - 92

2014 Domaine Baud Chardonnay l'Etoile Blanc
Review Date: 07-31-2017
For those hesitant to explore the wines of Jura, this is the perfect crossover. The Chardonnay is all from Baud's vineyards in l'Etoile. One of the signature points of this region are its tiny fossilized stars found scattered throughout the vineyards. This little stars or "etoile" are fossils from ancient sea urchin or anemone that roamed this prehistoric seabed. The soils are primarily limestone which are perfect for Chardonnay. This is a non-oxidative style, a now very common departure from the traditional oxidative wines of the region. The wine has gorgeous aromas of butter poached pears spiced with nutmeg, clove and cardamom. It is supple on the palate and beautifully balanced in the mouth. It is also an exceptional wine to pair with food. I personally love it with smoked salmon, creamier or medium cheeses and with steamed shellfish. For fans of White Burgundy and California Chardonnay, you will be amazed how close to home this brings you but with its own special Jurassic character.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2014 Château Saint Jacques d'Albas "Le Chateau d'Albas" Minervois
Review Date: 07-26-2017
The d'Albas team led by Graham Nutter has been doing some terrific things with this beautiful estate in Minervois. Nutter retired from the finance grind in London and fled to the small hamlet of Laure-Minervois. Of course he is a dedicated worker and upon finding this estate began his second career restoring the property and renovating the winery and castle. Some replanting took place, organic farming became the mainstay and Syrah (one of Graham's favorite grapes) took the lead position. The "Chateau" bottling is the winery's namesake wine representing the quality of the Minervois appellation. The wine has a gorgeous nose of potpourri, dried tobacco and black cherries. It is saturated and mouthfilling but never heavy or clumsy. Great acid structure and balance, it finishes long giving you the sense that you are drinking a wine valued at twice the price. The "Chateau" wine is one of my favorite Rhone-styled values at the moment representing the synergy that Grenache and Syrah can have when handled with a deft and dedicated hand.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

2015 Mas Karolina Côtes Catalanes
Review Date: 07-26-2017
The 2015 vintage is pure and deep, landing some of the highest critical praise to date. Caroline’s wine is a blend of Grenache and Carignan and shows the vintage’s hallmark qualities by delivering a deep, satisfying richness with flavors of raspberry coulis, dark chocolate and exotic spices. The wine is saturated and long on the palate.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2015 Moulin de la Gardette "Tradition" Gigondas
Review Date: 07-26-2017
I've had the chance to taste and/or drink this wine several times over the last few months and each time it has never failed to please and excite. First, during our Rhone trip, Alex Pross and I visited Gardette’s proprietor, Jean-Baptiste Meunier and in eager anticipation, tasted the wine both knowing afterwards this was going to be a huge success. Second, JB came to visit our LA store where we did an in-store tasting and consumer dinner afterwards. Consistently throughout the evening, every patron asked two questions - can I have some more wine to drink, please and when does the shipment get here? Finally, I tasted it this week with the LA staff, who flipped over it, and I finally have an answer for the previous questions. It's here and you can have as much as you want! At least for now... The 2015 Rhone vintage continues to excite and delight. The wines have a beautiful purity of fruit and concentration but lack the heaviness and headiness of the 2007 vintage. There is just so much fresh brambly fruit that I personally can't get enough. The Gardette is a benchmark producer for me and its appellation of Gigondas. It has the ripe fleshy black fruit, the savory white pepper and Asian spiced palate plus it finishes with the toasty garrigue notes so classic to the region. On every level, this wine is a success. It's one of the reasons Jean-Baptiste has become such a good friend to our stores and a great partner to work with. The wines always hits home runs regardless of vintage but in a vintage like 2015, it's a Grand Slam!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 - 92

Domaine Baud "Cuvée Sauvage" Brut Cremant du Jura
Review Date: 07-20-2017
I have poured this wine for several dinner parties now and it is always a hit! The soils of the Jura are mostly marl and limestone sharing a lot in common with Champagne. This cuvee of Chardonnay and Pinot really explodes on the nose with the essence of spiced pear fruit, candied ginger and biscuity dough. Tight mousse and crisp acidity keep this lively and refreshing on the palate. The "Sauvage" makes an exquisite aperitif but I find it just as enjoyable with food. One of my favorite cocktail party starters is a spiced miso dip with crudites. This goes perfectly!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Clos de l'Anhel "Les Terrassettes" Corbières
Review Date: 07-20-2017
At my visit to the Millesime Bio Organic Wine Fair this past February, I had a chance to catch up with Sophie and her remarkable wines. Sophie excels with her non-intervention style producing wines reflective of her beautiful terroir in Corbieres all while farming organically. Oh yeah, and she does it all by herself! The 2014 was a rousing success with its polished tannins and lithe structure. The 2015 sits more generously in bottle than the 2014 though. Deeper purple fruit and a more intense perfume on the nose still finds a wine with beautiful polish but more heft and generosity. I expect the 2015 to have a long life ahead of it but it is such a pleasure to drink now.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2010 Poggio dell'Otto Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Review Date: 07-16-2017
During one of our staff tastings, Greg (our Italian Buyer, or Maestro as we call him in LA because he puts together awesome Italian deals) brought out this little gem and put it up against some pretty serious competition. The likes of Talenti, Barbi and Castelgiocondo were represented and those were seriously brooding wines. The Otto was an incredible stand-out for me though. The nose is immediately intriguing with notes of Maraska cherries, burnished leather and Asian spices. I love Brunello, when it begins to mature and this has easily entered its prime drinking window. Of course the biggest standout is the price. For well shy of $30, Brunello doesn't have to be a special occasion wine. The Otto will make you friends at barbecues during the summer and dinner parties in the cooler seasons. I can think of nothing better to pair with a beautiful porchetta, stuffed with garlic and rosemary and slow roasted. Or keep it simple and get a plate of salumi together with a little cheese. This is an all around winner and why we call Greg - Maestro!
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Les Pins "Les Rochettes" Bourgueil
Review Date: 07-06-2017
My visit to Bourgueil earlier this year was a revelation. And for those not in the know (because I really didn't know that much myself), Bourgueil is one of the lesser known Cabernet Franc appellations sitting on the north side of the Loire River just across from Chinon. About 30 minutes west of Tours gets you to the village of Bourgeuil. Farms traverse the landscape with a mixture of agriculture but grapes dominate the view. I have long been a fan of Cabernet Franc. I find it to be one of the more versatile reds for pairing with food and I love lower alcohol and medium-bodied textured wines which make Cab Franc a must mid-week drink for me. Upon arriving at Domaine les Pins we met with vigneron Philippe Pitault-Landry. A father-son venture now, these detail oriented farmers are making reds that smell like classic Cabernet but with Pinot-like texture. We tasted the new releases and the 2015 "Les Rochettes" was out of the gate charming. Full of brushy herbal notes of sage and wild thyme, ripe black cherries and flavors of olive tapenade, this is a sumptuous red that is weighty and yet light on its feet. The vintage of 2015 is a huge success for them and for the region, offering a generosity of fruit that make the wines more inviting and immediately accessible. We drifted through the single plot, Les Clos and the Vieilles Vignes as well and they were most impressive. Alas, those wines are due a little later in the year along with some older wines from their cellar. The Les Rochettes though is truly the red of the summer for me. It's versatility will make it an easy foil for things like roast chicken, grilled pork chops and leg of lamb. Lots of herbs and lots of veggies to go with those and you will become as enamored with Bourgueil as I am now. This is a lot of wine from people who really believe in what they are doing and would easily be twice the price from a more famous region.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2009 Château de Chambert Cahors
Review Date: 06-14-2017
The region of Cahors has flown under the radar for many years but is slowly emerging from the shadows with the rise of consumer interest in Argentine Malbec. Make no mistake though, Cahors is in France and it is where Malbec originated. In it's heyday, Cahors was as famous if not more famous than Bordeaux. The inky Malbec from the region was often sent north to Bordeaux to add body, structure and color to those old Bordeaux. When the phylloxera (a root louse that kills vines) epidemic struck the region over a century ago, Cahors fell into decline and almost disappeared from the map. It's actually Argentina that has renewed interest in the grape's birthplace and now a renaissance is taking place. The Chateau de Chambert is one of those historic properties that suffered greatly during that decline. In the early 70s though, the winery was reestablished and their commitment to organic and biodynamic farming quickly followed suit. This 2009 is a true classic and an exceptional find. Often Cahors needs a little bottle age to show its best. Much like a Bordeaux, the tannins can be a little firm and wood tones may be a little too obvious in its youth. Fortunately, the 2009 has shed all that baby fat as it were and the wine is superb drinking now. The tannins are polished and the flavors are beautifully integrated. I opened a bottle with the staff recently and their comments were all consistent. "This is what a great Cahors should taste like!" Black currants, roasted black plums, smoky spice, grilled herbs on the nose and pallet, this is hearty wine in search of hearty fare. The classic pairing is still cassoulet - what's not to love about a stew of beans, sausage and duck confit? Not everything has to have a French edge to it. This would be equally amazing with grilled steaks, pork chops or leg of lamb. Anything you would do with a Bordeaux, Argentine Malbec of even California Cab, this would play well with. All that flavor, polish and vibrant fruit leads to a versatile wine that will find fans of most styles and at a price that is tough to beat for this level of quality.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 WS 90

2016 Domaine de Rimauresq Côtes de Provence Cru Classé Rosé
Review Date: 06-14-2017
Rimauresq is an historic property that sits at the foot of the Massif des Maures mountain range. Their microclimate is influenced by the surrounding hills creating a unique terroir that is cooler than many of the other neighboring properties. That and the varied soils of sand and gravel create wines with great tension and nuance. With all of these things, one can see what makes this property so special. When I first tasted this wine early in the season (beginning of March), I was taken with the layered structure. It showed more like a Bandol rose with light color and superb balance. It was still a little tight though but the potential was amazing. Now it's June and I revisited the wine and after a little relaxing in bottle this rose has achieved everything I could have hoped for. There is a firm raspberry backbone with the texture of white cherry and a hint of fresh bay leaf on the palate. The wine has real depth and structure with mouth watering acidity and nerve. This is no soft and fruity rose, this is serious stuff... but not to be taken too seriously. It is rose after all and enjoyment is its primary function. This is a case buy for sure with bottles to be enjoyed for this year and well into the next.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
DC 97 VN 90

2010 Famille Perrin "Domaine du Clos des Tourelles" Gigondas
Review Date: 05-30-2017
Alex Pross and I were in the Rhone Valley back in March doing some procuring for K&L and one of our best visits was with the Perrin Family's various properties. It was both our first visit to Chateau de Beaucastel, the flagship property, and it did not disappoint. The winery is both historically interesting and as far as production goes, immaculate. It's no surprise that they consistently make one of the best wines in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. We followed that visit with a drop in to the Perrin's other wine production facility just outside of Chateauneuf for a broad tasting of all their other wines. We finished our tour by heading to one of two Perrin restaurants in the middle of the village of Gigondas. On our way into town we had a quick look at the Clos des Tourelles vineyard as you cannot miss it when entering the village. I bring this up because, the Perrin family does not do anything by half measures. Their commitment in the south of France on Miraval is excelling. Beaucastel continues to be the benchmark property in Chateauneuf du Pape. Their appellation wines under the Famille Perrin label are each top renditions of their respective terroirs, Both restaurants in Gigondas are exceptional from their basic wine bar "Nez!" to the finer dining "l'Oustalet." So, when Perrin decides to procure one of the top vineyards in Gigondas, you have to know that the end result will be something truly special. The first commercial vintage of this wine produced is the 2010. Not a bad vintage to start with (it's actually a pretty terrific vintage). We found a stash in the importer's warehouse and made them what seemed to be an insane offer on a take all deal. Wanting to move forward to subsequent vintages, they said "yes." Aside from an exciting price, the key component on our side was to see where the wine stood in its evolution. A quick pull of the cork and the wine was on fire. With a few years of bottle age, the wine has developed great complexity, showing layers of sweet black fruit, exotic spices and burnished leather. Structurally, this wine still has at least another decade plus of evolution ahead of it, but now is a great time to check-in for you earlier drinkers. Much like their Beaucastel property, Domaine du Clos des Tourelles will represent what is sure to be a new benchmark wine for Gigondas. And like all the other Perrin projects, there are no half-measures, only great wines.

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