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Staff Favorites - Andrew Whiteley

Andrew Whiteley
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Reviews

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1977 Taylor Vintage Port
Review Date: 12-13-2017
Powerful and elegant. Just like it'd expect it to be. This is drinking supremely well as its 40th comes to a close. The nose has a great cocoa note to complement the fruit which carries all the way through to the finish. It's lively and still very fresh and the brandy is nicely integrated into the wine. It's a classic wine from a legendary house in a perfect vintage. What more could you ask for on top of the outstanding price?

1995 John McCrae 22 Year Old "K&L Exclusive - Sovereign" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-12-2017
This struck me as my favorite of the 3 new Sovereign casks. It's lovely, rich, clean, and bright. There is an easy fruitiness full of apples and stone fruits. The spices lean towards the baking type, not peppery or savory. The palate is creamy and smooth, almost like a caramelized marshmallow. The finish is long and clean. All in all a special cask of whisky.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

1997 Hector Macbeth 20 Year Old "K&L Exclusive - Sovereign" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-12-2017
If you're not excited by the value proposition of a teaspooned cask - read David's explanation and you will be. The Hector Macbeth is a home run. I found it surprisingly salty on the nose with a touch of pretty and fresh herbs. The mouth is rich and velvety, loaded with baked bread, cinnamon, and apples. It's basically an American Apple Pie in a scotch. There is a little sandalwood on the finish which is long and full. This is an absurdly good deal.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2008 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-28-2017
There is a wonderful freshness to the 2008. The nose is full of ripe cherries, pungent herbs, a little tobacco and spice, but most of all, a clean bright fresh scent. It's almost floral, but I can't place what flowers it would be. There is a great balance of acidity on the palate. It meshes perfectly with the toasty American Oak and notes of baker's chocolate. The body is full, but silky smooth. The tannins are very refined. I'm pleased to drink this bottle now and put a few in the cellar for future aging. A splendid way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Vina Ardanza!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
DC 95 RP 93

1974 Garnheath 43 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Grain Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-15-2017
The delights of old grain whisky are numerous. The sweetness, the round profile, the cream and vanilla, and of course, the price! Where do you find 43 year old cask strength whisky at this kind of price!? No where but K&L. The nose is seductive and warm and gives fair warning that whisky in your glass will be creamy and rich. Toasted coconuts, grain tea, sweet oak spices carry the palate through to a long and enjoyable finish. This is the kind of whisky that makes a perfect gift. It has a huge number on the front, tastes delicious and there are few people who, when poured a glass, won't enjoy it.
Price: $249.99 Add To Waiting List

1977 Quarles Harris Vintage Port
Review Date: 11-14-2017
Today was my first time tasting Quarles Harris vintage port and I must say, I am extremely impressed. The 1977 is defined by elegance and grace. The first shock was in the color. It's delicate, a clean and bright garnet. It's almost like a Pinot Noir. The aromatics are equally graceful with bright florals and sweet spices. The brandy is perfectly integrated into the wine lending just enough power to carry through the black berries but never overwhelming the fruit notes. From the all-time great 1977 vintageat 40 years old the Quarles Harris does not disappoint.
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart

Little Book 2017 Release "Batch #1 - The Easy" Blended Straight Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 11-08-2017
I think a reasonable definition of a good blend is something that shows as greater than the sum of its parts. The Little Book is a great blend. You can find the exact specs any number of places (like the top of this page), but the combination of straight corn, rye, malt, and a traditional bourbon mash definitely adds up to outstanding. A truly unique combination on today's whiskey market this is big, rich, intense, and full throttle pleasure.The nose alone screams bourbon. The sweet and supple corn is obvious. But you have to wonder what awaits in the glass because there is something extra. Not just the extra spice of rye, but the delicacy of malt. A bit of creme brulee and fruit shine through with the intense combination of sweet and savory baking and cooking spices. The little book also delivers the heat. Full proof gives you the flexibility to serve it any way you like. If you want to enjoy the full-throated roar of Bookers, no problem. Want to water it back? Enjoy the softer side of life and pick apart the different whiskeys that make up this incredible blend. Surely this first edition will become a collector's item.
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

Maker's Mark 46 "K&L Exclusive - #2" Private Select Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 11-08-2017
The Maker's Mark delivers again. The stunning thing about these casks is that the basic juice is so good, and the extra stave aging adds a different twist every time, that they don't ever seem to lose their appeal. A home run for fans of creamy, sweet wheaters. It's layered with cinnamon, pumpkin spice, vanilla, and a peppery kick that I'm confident comes more from the high proof than the wood, although there is decidedly a presence of oak spice. This is a killer gift in time for the holidays. I'm taking one to Thanksgiving and giving another for Christmas.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

Basil Hayden's 2017 Release "Dark Rye" Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 11-08-2017
I had the unusual experience of tasting this out of 5 different prototype whiskey glasses from Denver and Liely (makers of my favorite whiskey glass). I was flabbergasted by the results. Since this was my first glass trial, I was stunned by how much effect glassware shape has on how you perceive the contents of the glass. The glasses I tried were variations on two themes: smaller and tighter bowls and a more expansive bowl with a narrow, but flared opening. The Basil Hayden Dark Rye showed like two different sides to the same coin. In the tighter glass the spicy nature of rye really dominated. There was a distinctly grainy quality to the nose, and subsequently, the taste. The richness of those spices really made it feel like I was just drinking a high-quality rye. However, in the larger bowl with the narrowed opening to concentrate the aromas, the Dark component of this dram really shines through! The port addition (not port barrel aging, but actual port wine added) lends spectacular dark fruit aromas of cassis and blackberry. The anise of the wine plays perfectly with the peppery notes of the rye. The glass trial really highlighted for me the complexity of this spirit and how much drinking pleasure it will give, whether I want to pick it apart or just slam it back and enjoy.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

1997 Bowmore 20 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-02-2017
Getting single casks from major distilleries like Bowmore just makes me so happy. It's a unique way to look at the components of a particular distillery and dive into what makes them so special. This 20 year old Bowmore is no exception. The nose is exquisite. It's loaded with sea spray, sweet fruits, and extinguished campfire. I feel like I can reach out and touch the wet malt on the floor just as the dry smoky air starts to fill the room. It's clean and pure, powerful whisky. The barley song is loud and clear. All off the pieces are there to be examined, yet harmoniously balanced into a whole single experience. This whisky perfectly shows why single malt are so compelling. They are a fascinating way to watch the whole movie, frame by frame, as they age.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart

2008 Talisker 8 Year Old "Old Particular - K&L Exclusive" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 10-23-2017
It is supposed to rain this week in Northern California. Not only is this great news for firefighters and farmers alike, this is great news for whisky fans. It's time to bring on the cozy confines of a peated glass of Scotch. The Talisker 8 year old has everything you might want to kick off the season. No baby, this dram is booming with power and fresh cut peat. Sea spray and cool moss control the nose but don't diminish the underlying barley. There is a finesse there. Balanced and in control the palate is sweet, the texture rich, and the proof high enough to cut. Almost like bright fresh acid in a bottle of Chablis there is a lift provided by the proof. The finish is long and mouth-coating. After you've swallowed there is a cool interplay between the cereal and ash notes of the peat that persists for a long time. This is the perfect transition from hot weather into cool autumn nights until winter truly sets in.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

High West "American Prairie" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 10-19-2017
I've been recently diving deep into my bourbon collection to see what classics I've lost on the shelf and need to bring back to the fore. Then I tasted this. It will have to sit right in front of everything else. It combines two of my favorite things: Bourbon and Rye. It's no secret that I love high rye recipes of Bourbon for just this reason. But this is something entirely different. It's full bodied, rich and mellow. Brimming with vanilla, citrus zest, and dark caramel. But then, BLAM! Spicy rye: pepper, cinnamon, baked bread, it's all there. Is it the mash bill? Is it a blend? Is it the finishing? It's so well integrated you might think this was Bourbon and Rye blended as white dog and aged together. In fact, it's just the extremely delicious American Prairie Bourbon rested in an old Rendezvous Rye cask for nigh on two years. It comes together seamlessly and offers the best of both worlds. Notch another one in the win column for the single barrel program at K&L.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Maker's Mark 46 "K&L Exclusive - #1" Private Select Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 10-19-2017
Sweet, smooth, rich, and a pop of spice. When I am craving a glass of bourbon, this is what I want. The Maker's Mark 46 barrel program is so cool. It is a remarkable way to get customized casks of the most consistently delicious and available wheated Bourbon out there. The creamy palate screams out wheat and fulfills all of your hedonistic Bourbon desires. The additional American oak staves crank up that traditional vanilla flavors and the French staves combined with the high proof dial up the spicy finish. I loved the first cask we chose earlier this year for pure indulgence, but this bottling has it beat because it tickles that itch while also bringing a previously unknown depth and complexity.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

1977 Graham's Vintage Port
Review Date: 10-10-2017
I've been lucky enough to be around when '77's get opened on several occasions. It really is a stunning vintage. Marked by rain the previous winter, cool and long growing conditions, hotter harvest months with just enough sprinkles to keep things fresh, these wines are beautiful and balanced. The richness of the Graham's is off the charts with tons of sweet red and black fruits, but it's marked by strong savory and herbal undertones. A lively thread of acidity runs through it so that every sip hits all your taste buds. This would be a very special way to celebrate your 40th.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 WS 91

1977 Dow's Vintage Port
Review Date: 10-10-2017
A once in a generation vintage. It's utterly superb across the board. The Dow shows remarkably savory with a wonderfully bright acidity and a core of dark fruits. For someone who doesn't drink an enormous amount of vintage port (not for lack of trying...), I was stunned at just how fresh and youthful this 40 year old wine feels. The perfect way to end a meal, not too sweet, but just sweet enough to scratch your itch for dessert.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 WS 92

1985 Taylor Vintage Port
Review Date: 10-05-2017
I had the lucky fortune to be a part of an incredible port tasting sampling 11 bottles ranging from 1963 to 2011 vintage ports from the major houses. While every wine showed remarkably well, the stand out wine of the night for me was the 1985 Taylor. It stuck me as a picture of elegance. It was concentrated and powerful yet lithe and almost zippy. Loaded with dark fruits, pepper spice, and complex cedar box aromas it was on the one hand hedonistic. On the other hand, the lift and freshness from the acid and the firm backbone of tannin lined everything up in a perfectly orderly fashion. This port shows focus and restraint, yet doesn't lack for the intensity and broad power that you'd expect. It's really a beautiful compilation and it was only heightenedby the perfectly paired and classic Neal's Yard Stilton.
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart
WS 93

2015 Moulin de la Gardette "Cuvée Ventabren" Gigondas
Review Date: 10-02-2017
Beautiful color and a stunning nose full of wild cherries, strawberries, and a darker more savory element. I absolutely love the 2015 Tradition from the same producer and this has every special element of that wine and then some. Everything in the Cuvee Ventabren bottling comes from very old vines between 80-100 years old. The intensity and concentration of fruit is immense, the savory garrigue is amped up. Everything is clean, pure, and in balance. The 2015 vintage across France has had heaps and heaps of praise, and I have yet to find a wine that makes me hesitate to add my voice to the chorus. This is a bottle that can be enjoyed young or aged for a long time if you enjoy the tremendous complexity that can come from quiet years in a dark cellar.

Four Pillars "Faultline" K&L Exclusive Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 10-01-2017
If you've shopped in the Redwood City store for gin in the last year you've definitely talked to me about the Four Pillars gins and heard about this bottling that is FINALLY here. A quick glance at my profile indicates my money is where my mouth is. I've purchased 7 bottles of Four Pillars gin since we started carrying them (among dozen of other gins purchased), all consumed in eager anticipation of our very own blend dropping from Four Pillars under the Faultline label. Now that I have an advance sample of the final product in my glass, I'm even more stoked. Since it's a limited run, I'm purchasing a 6 pack as soon as it lands later this week (I bought 6 of the limited St. George/Faultline #3 we did a few years back and I'm still savoring my last bottle, but never once regretted casing up). It's a spectacular blend of unique Australian botanicals—a real terroir-driven gin. And of course it smacks of the beautiful citrus that is the hallmark of Four Pillars. The most special thing about this gin is the combination of texture and liveliness. It has a sultry mouthfeel, but perks up feeling fresh and zippy at the same time. It's a fascinating combination that lends itself to savoring on its own, or in a martini (but the G&Ts and Negronis will go down real easy). Your wait, and mine, is finally over. Faultline Gin is back in a big way.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Bardstown Bourbon Company "Collabor&tion - Mistelle Barrel Finish" Cask Strength Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 09-29-2017
If you've ever walked into the store and asked the objectively silly question, "What rare bourbons do you have in stock at a good price?" This is your chance! These are extremely limited, ultra rare bourbons that taste absolutely delicious, unique, and are down right affordable when you consider the other criteria. Mistelle, if you're unfamiliar, is just fortified grape juice (and super tasty). Due to the mistelle cask finish, this bourbon screams out with sensational fruit, you can tell there is a sweetness and intensity to it from the nose, much like a PX-aged Scotch, but with more floral and stone fruit tones, less rancio. The texture is powerful, round and unctuous. And the bourbon itself...10 year old+ goodness bottled at 47%. That in itself is worth a fortune these days, add the most interesting and tasty cask finish I've seen this year and you've got a winner for those bold enough to actually ask, "what's rare and in stock?"
Price: $124.99 Add To Cart

Bardstown Bourbon Company "Collabor&tion - Brandy Barrel Finish" Cask Strength Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 09-29-2017
Don't you hate it when you're cruising along and your Sidecar gets stuck in a rut? Break free with this phenomenal collaboration between Kentucky's next big distillery and it's best brandy producer. This 10-year-old bourbon was aged for 18 months in Copper & Kings brandy barrels and then bottled at cask strength. It tastes just like you'd want it to given that pedigree. The high proof ups the intensity of the long brandy finish, the bourbon is sweet and decadent, the flavors complex and well integrated. If you're bold enough to mix your $100 plus hooch (and you should be, but we can get into that another time) this will make the most outstanding twist to your side car or Manhattan that you could hope for. If you want to just sip and savor, I won't judge you, because it is unequivocally delicious and unique on its own.
Price: $124.99 Add To Cart

Foursquare Distillery Real McCoy 12 Year Old Single Blended Barbados Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 09-27-2017
You don't even have to nose the glass to be hit by the wave of intense spice, vanilla, and molasses oozing into the air. This is big and rich rum from Foursquare any way you slice it. Touches of candied orange and almonds round out the bourbon cask profile. This rum is clean, big, and amazingly unadulterated with syrups and sugars. Whether you need something to sip on after dinner to satisfy a sweet tooth but don't want the cloying stickiness of many rums or are looking for your next house rum for tiki drinks, this should be a big hit.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Jefferson's "K&L Exclusive" Reserve Very Old Small Batch Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 09-19-2017
You will need the following: One Highball glass 2 oz Jefferson's K&L Reserve VOSB Bourbon 4-8 mint leaves 1 teaspoon powdered sugar 2 teaspoons water Then in a highball glass gently muddle the mint, sugar and water. Fill the glass with cracked ice, add Jefferson's and stir well until the glass is well frosted. Garnish with a mint sprig. This makes the absolute best Mint Julep. Get em while it's still hot outside, you won't regret it. (Copper Moscow Mule mug makes a great service vessel as well.) Try the regular small batch for a slightly lighter version.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2015 Hentley Farm "Old Legend" Grenache Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 09-11-2017
If you poured this blind the first thing you'd think is that it was a Pinot Noir. The color is astonishing, light and ethereal. The wine is equally beautiful and elegant,but not lacking for powerful structure, this wine feels fresh and very complex . There is spectacular sweet fruit, raspberries in particular and an elegant oak treatment. If you're looking to probe the upper echelon of quality Grenache, this wine must not be missed.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
JH 95 WE 91

2014 Cliff Lede Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-11-2017
"Beautiful, full + elegant. Great oak influence and balance." These were the first thoughts I had and the start of copious notes upon tasting this wine for the first time. This Stags Leap District cab has incredible freshness and vibrancy. Lots of pretty purple flowers and deep dark fruits combined. The oak fits in with the fruit perfectly, never awkward or overpowering, but always contributing in proportion to the intensity of the grapes. The name of the game here is balance. Eminently enjoyable and well suited to food.
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 VN 91

2016 Kalinda Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-11-2017
I'm so excited that we have another vintage of Kalinda Anderson Valley Pinot Noir back in stock! Even better than the last vintage, this wine comes to us from a North Coast legend. Loaded with fruit, the ripe cherries mesh with fresh cranberry and even a darker blackberry note. Cola shines through on the nose and palate. The tannins are very soft and polished and play beautifully with the pop and freshness of the wine. This screams Anderson Valley - the big diurnal shifts in temperature contribute to both ripeness and fresh acidity.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2014 Olivier Riviere "Ganko" Rioja
Review Date: 09-06-2017
Truly a remarkable and unique Rioja that deserves your attention. Especially if you're up for trying something unexpected and wonderful. Ultra bright and fresh, this Rioja is made up of Granacha and Mazuelo, but not a drop of Tempranillo. It has incredible aromatics and a lively floral quality that you are more likely to find in Burgundy or the Willamette Valley. The acid is tremendously refreshing, but balanced perfectly with the ripe red fruits. The tannins are fine and the finish long. This is a special wine that is extremely versatile in food pairings from light fish to hearty chorizo paella and some of your favorite vegetable dishes to boot.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

Highland Park "Magnus" Isle of Orkney Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-05-2017
I have long been recommending the Highland Park 12 year for its incredible quality and supreme value. Coming in at the sub-50 range is hard to do for really great Scotch these days. Well my favorite Orcadian distillery has delivered a new dram for under 30 bucks that will blow you away. It's a bold statement that extraordinary doesn't have to mean extremely expensive. This whisky is peaty and intense with the light and airy demeanor that makes Highland Park so seductive. I don't have enough superlatives to describe how amazing the value is here. If half the $60 whiskys on the shelf tasted half this good, I'd be thrilled.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Richland Single Estate Georgia Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 08-03-2017
This is my first exposure to Richland Rum, although they've been around since 1999. The entire process happens on the estate! Everything from growing the sugar cane, to pressing, to concentrating the juice into syrup, fermenting the syrup, distilling the syrup wine, and aging the rum in virgin oak barrels is accomplished right there. The results are excellent. The nose is a heady mixture of fresh cane juice, vanilla, caramel. The palate is rich and full, but never overwhelming or overpowering. It's a well balanced and honest rum that can easily fit on any bar as your new go to for cocktails or a nice clean and bright after dinner sipper.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

Leopold Bros. "Summer" Limited Edition Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 08-02-2017
This is seasonal drinking at its finest. And what finer season for a G&T or Negroni than Summer! It's a fabulous combination of style. It has rich fruit on the nose: the blood orange really pops and screams of hot summer nights. Floral aromatics accompany the oranges and invite you outside for a stroll through the garden. The savory juniper finish leaves you feeling like you're drinking a classic London Dry. Perfectly refined. I'll be making my first of many G&T's with it tonight!
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

2010 Contino Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-27-2017
A superb example of the 2010 vintage. The cool vintage leaves this wine feeling super bright and fresh. The higher acidity balances out the intense dark cherry and purple fruit profile and highlights the tremendous minerality in the wine. The French and American oak regimen delivers a powder keg of spices, vanilla, cedar box, and refined tannin. It is extremely elegant and graceful, but never shy. I hope to drink this bottling for years to come because it will no doubt be a prized collectors item. Unfortunately for me, that will be a massive challenge since it's hard to not drink all of it now. I must concur with Joe's assessment that at this price, it is one of the best Rioja's I've had all year (and I just got back from a week in Rioja!).
Top Value!

2007 La Rioja Alta "904" Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-20-2017
This wine holds a special place in my heart. I recently returned from a trip to Spain on which my wife and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary with a tremendous meal at Taberna Herrerias in Logrono (at the suggestion of one of our direct import producers, Miguel Merino. Thank you Miguel!). While we typically sought out new wines to try on our trip, this was a special night that called for sure fire wine choices. I was thrilled to see this 2007 vintage on the menu. A stunningly classic wine the 904 Gran Reserva is a perfect example of old school Rioja with a touch of modern sensibilities. The sweet black fruits are pure and bright - full of black cherries and wild plums. But the fruit perfectly complements, never overshadows, the savory bass tones of the wine. There are tons of wet stones and rich healthy compost notes here. The oak integrates perfectly offering vanilla and baking spices. High acidity gives excellent freshness and lift to wine which finishes on long and silky smooth tannins. Everything is in perfect balance now and while there will certainly be lots of development to come, it is likely to remain that way for at least a couple of decades in the cellar. I've added several magnums to my cellar for future celebrations already.

2009 La Rioja Alta "Viña Arana" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-18-2017
Earthier and denser than the Vina Alberdi, the Vina Arana cries out from the forest floor. It has the wet earth tones of healthy soil blended beautifully with boysenberry and olallieberry sweetness. Fresh cut cedar adds a spicy intrigue on the long and vibrant finish. This is a textbook example of Rioja value.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

2010 La Rioja Alta "Viña Alberdi" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-18-2017
I tasted this bottle after it had been opened for our staff for 2 days (the good stuff always seems to get opened on my weekends...). It is still tasting great. The lovely nose is full of cedar box and deep dark blackberries. There is a strong mineral component to the lithe body. Somewhat unusual for being 100% Tempranillo, this is a perfect wine to explore the classic markers of the famous Spanish grape for those who wish to study. At under $20 bucks, its the perfect wine to enjoy any day you need a great bottle of red without fail.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 95 RP 91

2016 Domaine de Rimauresq Côtes de Provence Cru Classé Rosé
Review Date: 06-13-2017
This is one of the most exciting Provence rosés I've tasted this year. The nose is super clean and bright, full of cherry and lemon zest. The palate is refreshing and creamy at the same time. It just begs for food -- perhaps BBQ chicken and grilled veggies. The finish lingers pleasantly and is quite long. Big time win in the Provence category!
Top Value!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
DC 97 VN 90

Highland Park "Valkyrie" Isle of Orkney Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 06-11-2017
The nose is reminiscent of the sea breeze blowing hard across the deck of a ship. A raging fire has burnt out on the distant shore. Tart, like the bite of a crisp apple; fresh, and yet sweetly rounded. Stone fruits and pears also blossom on the palate. It’s beautifully golden in color, mellow, and ever so easy to drink. Vanilla and spice abound and lingers for days stitched together seamlessly with a gentle peat. A remarkable feat in the NAS sub-$100 category. Top marks.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

Rancho Tepua Bacanora (750ml)
Review Date: 05-11-2017
It seems everyday I get more interested in agave spirits. Long gone is my loathing of that terrible tequila experience early in my drinking career that so many of us are familiar with; I've embraced the agave distillates wholeheartedly. Nearly every region of Mexico makes its own agave spirit, with its own classification, character, and protected name. Tequila and mezcal just happen to be the most well known (regionally specific to Jalisco and Oaxaca, respectively). Thanks to David's nuanced selections, I'm finding that there are an extraordinary number of agave spirits that demonstrate a finesse and subtlety entirely lacking in the most well known tequila brands. This bacanora (one of the agave spirits of Sonora, Mexico) has finesse in spades. The nose is an interplay of citrus, earth, yerba buena, and savory woody herbs. The palate is a mix of sweet tea, baking spices, pure agave, lemon peel, and most notably, is ultra-smooth and rich. The finish is equally impressive: it's long, clean, and subtle. Not so much smoky as earthy. Bravo!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2014 Eisele Vineyards "Altagracia" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-10-2017
When "wow" is the first thing you write down upon tasting a wine, that is always a good sign. Deep and concentrated black and blue fruits show both on the nose and palate--plums in particular. Chocolate, mocha, tobacco and cedar offer a splendid combination of sweet and savory. The most notable things to me is the quality of the tannins. They are extremely fine and supple, especially for the vintage. A very impressive wine, and one of my favorite Napa 2014s so far.
Price: $124.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

2014 Argyle "Reserve" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 03-08-2017
I tasted this and didn't know the price until just before writing this. It's definitely WAY cheaper than I thought it would be. I was expecting a $35-$40 price tag for this reserve Pinot. The first thing that strikes you is that it looks like Pinot Noir and not Cabernet like so many Pinot's today. It's a rich ruby red, but still markedly translucent. The aromatics are powerful: loads of cherry and cranberry tangle with the earthier side of the spectrum. Like a forest full of dew, wild herbs, and fresh, savory mushrooms. The palate is friendly and inviting, but with a nice acid cut. The soft fruit is delicious and the velvety texture pleasing. The lengthy finish is clean and bright. All in all an excellent value for high quality Pinot Noir!
Top Value!

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique Assemblage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-23-2017
Another stunner in the Champagne Direct Import quiver here at K&L. This blend of 60% Chardonnay/40% Pinot Noir shows the best of both varietals. The zip and freshness of the Chard shows beautiful crisp apples and some lovely and delicate floral notes while the Pinot Noir adds red fruited notes of cranberry and wild cherries. The really remarkable this about this bottle though is that it has been aged for 5 years on the lees - under a cork. This adds richness, a slightly nutty oxidative note, and typically a substantial amount to the price (compare to the also fabulous cork aged bottle of 2005 Bollinger "Grande Année" Brut Champagne for $100). At way less than half of that price this is a magnificent bottle with a unique story to tell.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 90 WS 90

2014 Domaine Drouhin "Arthur" Dundee Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 01-10-2017
Wonderful Oregon Chardonnay from a classic producer. This bottling is whole cluster pressed Dijon clone Chard with a mix of oak and stainless steel aging. It goes through natural malo giving it a wonderful richness without feeling fat and heavy. It maintains a bright snap and vibrancy to go with the lovely baking spice and apple notes. Great wine, great vintage, great producer, AND a great price -- it is a must try!

2014 Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-16-2016
Holy Smokes! Great Sonoma Cabernet for under 15 bucks that I'm actually excited about putting in the cellar?! This is a triumph for the "high quality yet extremely affordable" category. It's loaded with dark cassis and blackberry fruit and balanced by the more savory and herbal tones of great Cab: tobacco, cedar and mocha. The spicy oak wraps everything together, and poof -- you have the perfect present for your holiday celebrations. Put an extra case in your cellar and you'll have the gift that keeps on giving for years to come.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

Old Potrero Single Malt 18th Century Style Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 11-04-2016
Fantastically smooth, supple, and full of spice. Most notably, cinnamon and nutmeg. It truly smells like Christmas in a glass. Warm and beautiful. The perfect complement to a hearty winter meal.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

1991 Villa Zarri 24 Year Old "K&L Exclusive" Single Barrel Cask Strength Italian Brandy (750ml)
Review Date: 08-04-2016
While I often find "in between" spirits interesting, they don't always excite me. The Villa Zarri 24 yo Brandy from Italy is neither cognac nor scotch, but it is definitely both interesting and exciting! More powerful than cognac (especially at the full proof) it still displays the beautiful smoothness, richness, and fruit forward profile I want from France's fine spirits. Candied fruits and a slight nuttiness are apparent on the nose. Slightly less robust than most of today's scotch bottlings, the Zarri packs a punch and offers the slightly slick glycerol texture of many old and heavily sherried scotches. All this "inbetweenness" makes for the perfect dram if you're looking for a brown-water spirits that has your favorite characteristics both grape and grain. And the value is tremendous. When was the last time you had a 24 year old anything at that price? Especially at cask strength!
Top Value!
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2013 Green & Red "Tip Top Vineyard" Napa Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 07-20-2016
Beautiful, bright, and easy drinking Zinfandel, the Tip Top vineyard is just about always my favorite Zin from Green & Red. It has power and concentration, but without every feeling heavy, sugary, or oaky. It's just made from extraordinary fruit from an amazing vineyard site and treated deftly in the cellar. Bramble fruits, cracked peppercorn, baking spices, and the earthiness of woody herbs all lifted by excellent acidity give this wine beautiful balance and poise. Truly a top value in Zinfandel from anywhere in the world.
Top Value!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
W&S 94

Don Amado Pechuga Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 07-07-2016
The only thing missing from this Pechuga is the meat. And that's not a bad thing. The fruits, nuts, and spices added instead of turkey breast make for one of the best Mezcal's I've ever tasted. The bouquet shows off the fruit, specifically the extra sweet and tender bit right near the pit. The earthiness that is present on the Largo Mezcal is definitely present here too, but with the marked addition of nuttiness and clove. The finish is tantalizingly sweet and clean. Absolutely fabulous!
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart
WE 93

Don Amado Largo Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 07-07-2016
100% Karwinskii (Cuishe) agave and a gentle steaming process load this Mezcal with sweet, wet earth. If you've ever been in the desert right after a much needed hard rain you'll know what I'm talking about. The smokiness so often associated with Mezcal is quietly sitting in the back of the class, if it shows up at all. The palate is creamy and smooth, but doesn't sacrifice the peppery bite I want from great agave spirits. This is a nuanced and thoughtful Mezcal capable of making a great cocktail or being enjoyed neat.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

2012 d'Issan, Margaux
Review Date: 07-05-2016
Routinely one of my favorite Chateau, d'Issan delivers again in 2012. The hallmark of d'Issan for me isn't the beautiful violets, dark plum, and sweet cassis that I find in almost every vintage, but the extreme elegance they have upon release and lasting long into old age. The great pricing, even for older vintages doesn't hurt either. It's part of the reason I love picking up every bottle of d'Issan I can. Enjoy one today!

2012 du Glana, St-Julien
Review Date: 07-05-2016
One of the many things I love about K&L is that I'm constantly being exposed to new-to-me Bordeaux Chateau that are a terrific value. Today's find: Chateau du Glana. The 2012 has a beautiful sweet fruit nose and palate with lots of cassis and raspberry well complimented by notes of cola nuts. The wines structure is defined by acidic lift and a well integrated spicy oak giving it an overall elegance not often found in a bottle of such modestly priced Bordeaux. I'll be adding several bottles of this great value to my cellar.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JS 90 WS 90

Launois "Severine" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 05-22-2016
This is perhaps one of the greatest and most unique examples of terrior in Champagne I've ever personally come across. A careful picking of mid-slope Mesnil Chardonnay is vinified and aged in oak barrels made from 100% Mesnil oak harvested from the forest at the top of the hill. Talk about precision of place. The results are spectacular. The rich and oily texture is the perfect foil to the robust quality of the Grand Cru fruit. It is bursting with green and yellow apple, but also spice, both sweet and savory. There is a thread of nutty sherry like flavors that walks you through the deep complexity of the wine. While the Mesnil Oak is a strong presence, it doesn't overwhelm. Just provides the substance to make this an exceptional wine with heartier food dishes or to be immensely enjoyed as an aperitif.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

2014 Varner "El Camino Vineyard" Santa Barbara County Chardonnay
Review Date: 02-02-2016
Bob and Jim Varner make some of my favorite wines. Not only are they extremely local (just up the road from our Redwood City store) but they make Pinot and Chardonnay to rival the greats. They always manage to strike a balance between rich, textural Chardonnay and bright acid and freshness that keep things interesting. The El Camino Vineyard Chardonnay is no exception. With fruit grown in Santa Barbara County that goes through full malo-lactic fermentation, but no new oak treatment, this wine is bright and clean. It has notes of baked apples and pears and well as a sparkling clean lemon freshness. At a very modest price given it's quality, this is the perfect middle of the road Chardonnay that will surely pleas the crowd at your next party.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
VN 92

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