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Staff Favorites - Ryan Woodhouse

Ryan Woodhouse

Reviews

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2015 Wines of Substance "Klein Vineyard - Bx" Walla Walla Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 06-13-2019
Striking a deft balance between exotic, ripe, flamboyant modern Cabernet and gravelly, structured, savory old school Bordeaux. Tasted in a lineup of top notch Cabernet from Napa, this wine stood up very well showing beautiful layers of flavor: cassis, blackcurrant, loganberry, hot stones, pencil shaving, oak spices. Full bodied but not jammy in the least. Well defined, varietal tannins give great structure and length. We took one final parcel of this wine before it's gone for good, and with the huge and well deserved score from Jeb it's gonna move fast. 98 points from under $60!
Price: $59.95 Add To Cart
JD 98

2012 Troll Bridge "Password" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 06-10-2019
Wow - this is gonna be a huge seller here at K&L...at least as long as it stays in stock! Check out the backstory on this wine: Marketing / graphic designer, Allan Ezial, who has spent decades creating labels, brochures, websites, etc for Napa's top producers, decided to team up with winemaking legend Jon Engelskirger (Turnbull) to make some tiny production, high-end Napa Cabs. The fruit was locked down by Jon and is from VERY famous sources (that, unfortunately, must remain nameless) in the sub-regions Coombsville, Oakville, and Rutherford. The craftsmanship in the cellar is flawless and it was aged in the best cooperage money can buy. This is a powerful, rich, full-bodied Cab that is perfectly ready to drink after resting 18 months in barrel and 5 years in bottle. The fruit is still very primary and bold, yet the tannins have resolved to become soft and silky. It's got everything - rich decadent cassis and blackcurrant, bramble, sweet tobacco notes, scorched earth and is framed by very sexy (expensive) French oak that is now perfectly integrated with the other elements. This is absolutely in it's prime and drinking beautifully but has another 3-5 years in the tank no problem. Basically, you're getting a $75, perfectly aged, Napa Cab blend, made by one of the best winemakers in the valley, for less than half of the winery price.
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Casa Castillo "Las Gravas" Jumilla
Review Date: 06-04-2019
Rich and explosive but has the stuffing and structure to go the long haul. This is a wine of two halves. It has big, boisterous, upfront fruit...but also significant underlying structure and acidity. Seriously concentrated and formidable on the palate but not jammy or over-blown. Lovely authentic feel to the palate and beautifully unimpeded by wine making artifact. This just showcases the natural power and richness Monastrell can achieve here.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 94 VN 93

2017 Domaine Lafage "Cuvée Centenaire" Côtes du Roussillon Blanc
Review Date: 06-04-2019
Year after year Domaine Lafage is a top seller for us and it's easy to understand why. The wines deliver real class and quality at super inexpensive price points. The wines are dependably delicious and don't break the bank. In this cuvée the old vine Grenache Blanc / Gris gives wonderfully pure fruit and deep rooted minerality. Some phenolic structure and density from the Roussanne completes the wine. Lovely weight and richness but a fine acid line and brightness to boot. Hard to beat at this price.

2016 Purlieu "Le Pich" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 06-04-2019
The pedigree and wine making prowess behind this wine is very obvious from the first sniff to the last sip. Purlieu winemaker, Julien Fayard was born in Provence but earned his stripes in the hallowed cellars of Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Smith Haut Lafitte. After moving to the USA with his California native wife, Élan, he landed a job at Quintessa and then began working for cult super star winemaker Philippe Melka. Eventually becoming Director of Winemaking for Atelier Melka, Julien got to work with the very best vineyards in the valley and groomed his style to perfection. How crazy is it then that you can enjoy the fruit of his labors in a wine priced under $50? A guy who trained at Château Lafite and Dalle Valle (to name just a few)...getting access to THE best fruit in Napa Valley...with 94+ points from Wine Advocate...for under $50! If you like the idea of drinking cult level Napa Cab on a regular basis (without dissolving the kid's college fund) Purlieu's "Le Pich" Cab should be on your radar. It checks all the boxes and is incredibly delicious and satisfying. Showcasing an amazing purity of fruit, perfectly measured ripeness and polished structure. A very precise and exacting wine making style. It's a real gem.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2016 Liparita Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 06-04-2019
I'm not sure what magic our SoCal Domestic Buyer, Kaj worked to get this Oakville Cab on our shelves for this ridiculously low price...but who cares!? Rich, fruit forward, powerful Oakville Cab for a song. Lush black fruit, ripe tannins, spicy oak and gravel undertones. Finding Oakville designate Cab for under $50 is hard enough...and this one is less than $20! Crazy!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Rodney Strong "Reserve" Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 06-03-2019
This walks a beautiful line between classic and modern. There's an old school feel about the moderate extraction and savory aspects of this delicious Cab. But there's also generous ripe fruit and plenty of flashy, smoky oak. It's perfectly proportioned and refined with resonating flavors of smoked plum, red currant, cocoa nib, scorched cedar, pipe tobacco and new leather. Approachable now but with plenty of power for a long life in the cellar. A great showing from Rodney Strong and a perfect example of how top Sonoma Cabs can hang with the big guns from Napa at a fraction of the price!
Top Value!
Price: $39.95 Add To Cart
DC 97 VN 92

2017 Four Graces Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-31-2019
Willamette Valley is a great place to look for stunning value in Pinot Noir. The grape thrives there and the wines typically have great balance and purity. However to find a wine of this caliber, at this price point is still pretty rare! Wine Spectator recognized that with their glowing 93 point review, and here at K&L we think they're right on the mark with this one. The wine shows a nice combination of dark cherry fruit, bramble, dried leaves, subtle fennel and savory spice. Bright and juicy on the palate with ample acidity to carry the flavors and make this wine very versatile with food. It's the real deal and at this price it's hard to beat.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
WS 93

2016 GRO "Ruhl Vineyard" Mt. Veeder Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-31-2019
We have an astoundingly low price on this single vineyard, Mount Veeder Chardonnay! This is a Chard for you folks out there who love them rich and creamy. It's not overly oaky, but it is packed with rich, ripe flavors of Blenhiem apricot, baked pear, honeycomb and butterscotch. Big, round and textural on the palate, with wave after wave of golden fruit. Some stony minerals and baking spice appear on the finished which is long a lavish. The very low yields of this site have produced a profoundly concentrated, powerful Chardonnay. If you enjoy Lewis, Pahlmeyer, Rochioli, Rombauer etc...check this out.
Price: Hidden View Price

2018 Skyline (Thomas Fogarty) Lodi Carignan Rosé
Review Date: 05-31-2019
A crisp, dry, Provencal style rosé made from 100+ year old Carignane vines in Lodi! Crunchy red berries, dried herbs, cherry blossom. Nice concentration of flavor and a bone dry, lip-smacking on the finish. Yummm...needs nothing more than sunshine. Top Pick from me!
Top Value!
Price: $14.95 Add To Cart

2016 Skyline (Thomas Fogarty) California Red Blend
Review Date: 05-31-2019
A fantastic little "bistro" style, everyday drinker. I have long admired the "Skyline" label they make at Thomas Fogarty and the quality just keeps getting better and better. Winemaker, Nathan Kandler, puts top notch fruit and a lot of care into these wines and it really shows. The blend is centered around Tempranillo and Zinfandel with a dash of Petite Sirah and Carignane. As you might expect its medium to full bodied, dark red fruited, some nice earthy elements. Nicely refined tannins mean its approachable from the get-go but also has enough structure to pair with heartier foods. A great wine for when you're firing up the grill this summer...killer burger wine. Serious value given the quality in the bottle!
Top Value!
Price: $14.95 Add To Cart

2017 Stags' Leap Winery Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-31-2019
95 point Napa Valley Chard for under $20 is pretty much unheard of...yet here we are! A great bottling from longtime Napa stalwart, Stags Leap Winery. What a great example of: if it ain't broken, don't fix it...this label remains almost entirely unchanged since 1893! But this historic property isn't resting on it's laurels, they continue to put out great wines at fantastic values as evidenced here. A well proportioned, balanced style of Chardonnay. Stone fruit charters with some baked orchard fruit too. Subtle oak, mid-weight on the palate with a soft texture but vibrant acidity. Very nicely made wine that isn't trying anything too radical...just executing a classic style and doing it very well. This is the perfect all-rounder, there's enough weight, texture and oak to please those that like a richer style, but it's not at all overdone and has plenty of freshness and drive too. Very well done...this is sure to be a huge seller this summer.
Top Value!
Price: $19.95 Add To Cart
JS 95

2016 The Paring (The Hilt) Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-31-2019
If you're looking for an under the radar label that delivers killer value at a modest price point look no further than The Paring. This label is essentially de-classified wine from Jonata / The Hilt...two brands under the same ownership as Screaming Eagle in Napa! "Jonata" is a stunning single estate in Ballard Canyon with wines achieving 100 point perfection from top critics. Sister label "The Hilt,"is focused on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Sta. Rita Hills. Again the wines have been achieving massive scores with fruit from some of the best vineyards in the region. 2016 The Paring Pinot Noir is entirely fruit from Radian, Bentrock and Sanford & Benedict...all vineyards typically reserved for high-end ($50-$75) single vineyard designate bottlings. However Winemaker, Matt Dees, is such a perfectionist he declassifies fruit that others most certainly would not! Hence why we at K&L think this bottle is one of the best values out there.
Price: $24.95 Add To Cart
WE 93 JD 91

2017 Drew "Mid-Elevation" Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-31-2019
A big-time staff favorite here at K&L. This is very much on the elegant end of California Pinot Noir spectrum. It shows a lovely balance of bright fruit with savory forest nuances and umami character. Gentle extraction in the cellar keeps the wine delicate and vibrant on the palate. Super fine, satiny tannin, slate like minerals and dusty spices linger on the finish with more morel mushroom and leaf litter elements. Very complex and refined for a relatively inexpensive Pinot. Real class here.
Price: $29.95 Add To Cart
VN 94

2015 Matias Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-30-2019
Firstly this is a screaming deal at this one-time, deeply discounted price. But perhaps more importantly - the wine is flat out delicious! I personally don't think California Chardonnay has ever been in a better place than it is right now. By and large the "oaky / buttery" monstrosities of yesteryear are gone. Most producers have realized that richness, ripeness and new oak are not the end game for this varietal. This bottling from Matias is a great example vibrant, fresh, even racy, modern Chardonnay, with lovely cut and verve on the palate. It still has the texture and weight that most Chardonnay drinkers are looking for, but the minimal oak influence and refreshing acid line allows the wine the surge across the palate with sublime flavors and surprising length. Sourced from two of the most highly regarded vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands: Sierra Mar and Soberanes. Both vineyards were planted and are farmed by the Pisoni and Franscioni families, the most highly regarded growers in the region. This is top notch SLH Chardonnay for an absolute steal of a price. Time to stock up!
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
WE 93

2016 Taken Wine Co. "Complicated" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-29-2019
A simply stunning value in Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. Bright, fresh, pure berry fruits, pomegranate, alpine strawberry, baking spice. Very clean and polished on the palate. Nice concentration, silky tannins and a vibrant, resonating finish. Drinks WAY above its price point. Hard to beat under $20...let alone under $15!
Top Value!
Price: $14.95 Add To Cart
DC 92

2016 Dominus "Napanook" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend 6pk in OWC
Review Date: 05-24-2019
I'm at risk of sounding like a broken record...but for several years in a row I've preferred the Napanook bottling over Dominus' premier label on first impressions! Sure Dominus has the edge in sheer power and impressive structure, but the last few releases of Napanook have had supreme drinkability and have been very expressive, open knit wines right out of the gate. The 2016 is vibrant, and full of life. Bright red currants, fresh plum, bay laurel, hints of pipe smoke, red earth. Medium bodied, very supple, soft, satiny mouthfeel, not at all austere. If you're looking for something from Napa, made in a more traditional style but with great accessibility for drinking right now, this is your wine. Also given the wine's quality and pedigree the price point of is still very reasonable compared to modern day costs in Napa!

2016 Dominus "Napanook" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 05-24-2019
I'm at risk of sounding like a broken record...but for several years in a row I've preferred the Napanook bottling over Dominus' premier label on first impressions! Sure Dominus has the edge in sheer power and impressive structure, but the last few releases of Napanook have had supreme drinkability and have been very expressive, open knit wines right out of the gate. The 2016 is vibrant, and full of life. Bright red currants, fresh plum, bay laurel, hints of pipe smoke, red earth. Medium bodied, very supple, soft, satiny mouthfeel, not at all austere. If you're looking for something from Napa, made in a more traditional style but with great accessibility for drinking right now, this is your wine. Also given the wine's quality and pedigree the price point of is still very reasonable compared to modern day costs in Napa!

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique Assemblage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-14-2019
I'm a fan of this cork aged style of Champagne and this is a particularly good example for a particularly good price point! As you can see by the 26 staff reviews that precede my own...this is a big time favorite here at K&L. Consistent from one release to the next, always on point and crowd pleasing. Fresh enough to drink as an aperitif; layered and rich enough to stand up to food. Just a great all-rounder. Cheers.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 92 WS 90

2016 Stolpman "Estate" Ballard Canyon Syrah
Review Date: 05-11-2019
Such a perfumed, expressive, delicious wine. A great example of why this small sub-region of Santa Barbara County is quickly becoming known for some of the most highly regarded Rhone varietal wines in all of California. Stolpman is the founding winery of Ballard Canyon and in my opinion their wines are still absolute benchmarks despite being much more reasonably priced than many of their neighbors (Jonata, Larner). They have the oldest vines in the region and their farming is top notch. This Syrah has lovely high-toned floral notes leading the way, lilacs, violets, ground spices. Then brambly fruit, loganberry, and redcurrants. Powerful but fresh and vibrant. Great structure and acidity give this wine a lovely frame and length on the palate. Drinking well in its youth, but I think the best is still yet to come and have no doubt it will age for 10 years in the cellar without issue. A very serious wine that belies its modest price point.
Top Value!

2016 Grand Napa "Master Red" Napa Valley Red Blend
Review Date: 05-10-2019
The blend is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon with smaller amounts of Merlot and Cab Franc. This is a beautifully polished wine. It's brimming with ripe red fruits, exotic spices, raspberry liquor, summer berry compote. Medium - full bodied but very pure and elegant, long and fresh on the palate rather than thick or jammy. Very well judged with great energy and personality. I like this style very much; it showcases the clarity of fruit one can achieve in Napa without being overly ripe or heavy.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 93

2015 K Vintners "The Deal - Sundance Vineyard" Wahluke Slope Syrah
Review Date: 05-10-2019
Wow, what wine! This is like an amped-up version of something out of the Northern Rhone! It's got all the power and rich fruit you expect from K Vintners but also has some wonderful savory, smokey, meaty things going on too. Dried rose petals, smoked brisket, dried herbs, cracked pepper, sage. Medium plus bodied with ample acidity and structure to carry the weight of the fruit. A very impressive wine striking a lovely balance between old world and new. And what a price we can offer this for! What's not to love!

2015 Substance (K Vintners) "Jack's Vineyard" Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-10-2019
Although they're probably better known for their blockbuster Syrahs, I think the guys at K Vintners are making their best wines under the "Substance" label dedicated to Bordeaux varietals. This benchmark Walla Walla Cab is bursting with ripe blackcurrant, cassis, plum, mocha tinges, cigar box, gravelly minerals and fine mouth coating tannins. It's a rockstar rendition of the varietal hitting all the right notes. Packed with flavor and richness but not overdone on the extraction side of things, and with lovely length and structure. At our super sharp price this is not to be missed!
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
JD 94 RP 94

2016 Bishop's Peak San Luis Obispo Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-10-2019
Compelling Pinot Noir is almost never under $20. Talley's "Bishop's Peak" Pinot is one of those rare wines that delivers an authentic, complex, layered, expression of the variety that barely puts a dent in your pocket book! The Bishop's Peak wines have long been staples for us here at K&L; we've promoted them as "Staff Picks" for many many years, and if you shop in one of our stores I'm sure you've had them recommended to you. We'll for good or bad these wines have recently been attracting the attention of the wine critics...This 2016 release was just given 93 points from James Suckling to go with an existing 91 points from Vinous Media. These types of scores are simply unheard of for a wine of this price point and truly reflect the way this wine over delivers in quality and pedigree. We purchased every case we could of this delicious wine so what we have in stock is the last of this vintage...get it while you can. Cheers!
Top Value!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 93 VN 91

2016 Titus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-08-2019
A big, bold, powerful Napa Cab from legendary, longtime Chappellet winemaker, Phillip Titus. As winemaker at Chappellet since 1990, Philip has crafted some of the most highly touted wines in the region's history including multiple perfect 100 point scores from Wine Advocate! Back in 1968 his family purchased a 50 acre estate in St. Helena and re-planted it to Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals. The same year Philip took over as winemaker at Chappellet (1990) he also assume that role at his family's eponymous winery and he has been making the wines side by side ever since. The 2016 Titus Cab shows the concentration and structure of the blockbuster vintage. The warm climate of St. Helena fleshes out the palate and wraps the tannins in luxurious, ripe, dark fruit and notes of scorched earth and exotic oak. This tastes expensive and could easily blend in with a line up of cult Napa Cabs that cost 3-5 times as much.
Top Value!

2001 York Creek Estate "Meritage" Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-07-2019
I have long loved 2001 as a vintage in Napa Valley. It was a vintage that produced classically styled, long lived wines. Slow and steady ripening throughout the summer and into fall, allowed for great flavor and tannin development without losing that crucial acidity needed for graceful development in bottle. For mountain sites like York Creek this allowed for potential ageing in excess of 20 years. The 2001 Meritage is in a perfect spot for drinking. The fruit is now perfectly interwoven with the more secondary flavors coming to the forefront. Leather, cedar, tobacco and briary notes mingle with dusty red fruit and earth. The tannins are still present but beautifully resolved and elegant nicely elongating the wine on the palate and begging for a lamb chop. More fruit emerges with air before melding back into the tide of savory umami flavors lovers of aged Cabernet and Bordeaux style wines crave. This wine was purchased direct from the property and has been kept in a commercial wine storage its entire life - perfect provenance. And the price - $29.99 - too good...but true!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2016 Ridge Vineyards "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-03-2019
Recently I was lucky enough to taste five decades of Ridge Monte Bello with winemaker, Eric Baugher. We tasted 1975, 1985, 1995 (all from large format), 2005, 2015, 2016 and 2018 from barrel. It was incredible. However, one of my biggest takeaways from the tasting was how much of an absolute steal the "Estate" Cabernet is - a true Baby Monte Bello. It was very interesting to hear Eric speak to how the selection of what makes "Monte Bello" vs "Estate" is done purely on structural characters that start to show during the fermentation stage. It's not older blocks vs younger ones, or better blocks vs under-performing ones, it's a true assessment of age-ability vs accessibility. Everything is farmed the same (organically and largely dry-farmed), cropped the same, made the same. The Estate Cab is simply an expression of that same site that shows its true colors earlier in life than the more tannic, structured, tightly wound Monte Bello bottling. In fact tasting them side-by-side is very fun...the similarities in flavor are striking. Eric believes the 2016 Monte Bello has the potential to be the longest lived release of that wine in history...a "50-100 year wine." So unless you have a deep cellar and incredible patience, the Estate Cab might be a good option! I was so excited about how good the 2016 Estate Cab was we managed to secure a bit more wine than usual this year and I hope many of you will take advantage and snap up some bottles or cases. It won't disappoint.
Price: $59.95 Add To Cart
JD 94

2017 Diatom "Katherine's" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 04-30-2019
An absolutely stunning, pure, refined, Chardonnay. This perfectly illustrates just how compelling California Chardonnay can be with all the wine making artifact peeled away. Greg Brewer's Diatom project aims to reduce any outside factor's impact on the expression of the vineyard site. The wine is fermented entirely in stainless steel, no malo, very minimal intervention. He simply wants to capture the sense of place conveyed by these 48 year old own-rooted vines. And capture it he has! Intense stony minerality, racy acidity, juicy citrus fruits, weight and texture cling to this focused and linear style. It has incredible length and persistence on the palate. Reminds me very much of fine Chablis with it's almost incomprehensible combination of weightlessness and power, intensity and precision. One of the best value white wines in the store.

2014 Mount Eden "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 04-29-2019
If you're into old-school, classically styled, structured California Cab...then look no further. To be honest if wines of that ilk are your thing, then chances are you're already familiar with Mount Eden as they have been putting out benchmark wines in this style for many decades. The 2014 is just starting to warm up its vocal chords and will probably reach a crescendo 10-15 years or so from now and sustain that note for another 5-10 years. Yes they truly age that well. I recently attended a tasting at the request of longtime winemaker and custodian of Mount Eden, Jeffrey Patterson. At the event we tasted 2005 vintage Cabernet-based wines from around the world. Wines included: Heitz Martha's, Ch. Montrose, Ridge Monte Bello, Almaviva and more. Despite being significantly less expensive that all the other wines in the tasting, I thought the Mount Eden Cab was the wine of the lineup. The wines have impeccable pedigree and refinement and deserve a place in everyone's cellar.
Drink from 2019 to 2019

2017 Wines Of Substance Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 04-24-2019
Another year and another rocking wine from Charles Smith and crew. Yet again the Substance Cab delivers unbeatable value in rich, fruit forward, approachable Cabernet. A more "typical" growing season in 2017 after the record breaking heat and drought of 2016 has produced a wine with a little more restraint than previous iterations, but there is certainly no shortage of varietal Cabernet expression - black/red currant, bramble, mocha, shaved cedar and some sweet oak spice to round it out. A lot of wine for the money...sure to be another huge customer favorite again this year.
Top Value!
Price: $14.95 Add To Cart
JD 93 WS 91

2015 Rippon "Mature Vine" Pinot Noir Lake Wanaka Central Otago (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 04-18-2019
Not only is Rippon one of the most visually spectacular vineyards on the planet but the wines are also truly world-class and more than worthy of anyone's full attention. This incredible site is farmed by hand according to organic and biodynamic principles. The wines are subtly yet painstakingly honed to faithfully respect this unique piece of land. The "Mature Vine" bottling is an assemblage of several distinct blocks within the broader property and is crafted to represent the place as a whole; a panoramic expression of 'Rippon - the place' in a given year. These old, own-rooted vines grow into a mixture of soils found on the property ranging from pure schist gravels to glacial moraines and lake bed clay. The wine is layered and complex, it unfurls slowly and gradually with time in the glass and food. It's telling a story and most great stories take time to tell. Brambly, leafy fruit, baking spice, wet clay. The tannins are tactile and malleable but firm enough to give great shape, texture and length to the wine. Lovely purity. A baby but already showing its class and pedigree.

2015 Spring Mountain Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 04-17-2019
The full story of Spring Mountain Vineyard is too long and complex for this staff review but let me condense it as best I can. The estate as it stands today started as three separate properties first established in 1873. It was the first Cabernet Sauvignon to be planted on Spring Mountain. In 1882 the second piece of the estate was planted by the Beringer Brothers. In 1891 the third section was established by a French immigrant named, Fortune Chevalier. The estate today is comprised of 135 individual blocks with over 1000ft in elevation change. The property is very steep with an average slope of 25-30%. The wines of Spring Mountain Vineyard hold a very special place in our hearts at K&L. We have sold these wines for many decades. In fact one of the first wines we ever promoted by email blast in the late 1990's was Spring Mountain Vineyard Cabernet! When aged bottles show up in our Old & Rare department, staff race to buy them! A few years back a bottle of the legendary 1976 vintage showed up in our bin-end close-out section with a fill that was barely up to the low shoulder...even with that low ullage it turned out to be the best wine of the night, still packed with black and blue fruit, tobacco, cedar and leather. The 2015 release is an absolute classic Spring Mountain Vineyard expression. Dark fruits laced with pencil shavings, dried tobacco, crushed rocks. There are big, structural tannins wrapped in the currant and cassis fruit. Facing east, the shaded afternoon aspect of the site has preserved those evermore illusive varietal characters in Cabernet; this wine harks back to a more Bordeaux inspired style, it eschews over ripeness and is all the more compelling for it. A wine of true pedigree and class. A wine that represents one of the finest values in modern day Napa. Drink now or over the next 20+ years.
Drink from 2020 to 2020
Price: $79.95 Add To Cart
WS 95

2016 Hilliard Bruce "Venus" Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 03-11-2019
Perhaps unsurprisingly this bears a lot of resemblance to the Estate Chardonnay, it's a best barrel selection...the wine is essentially an even more powerful, defined expression of place that is hand-selected by the winemaker as the best 50cs worth of Chardonnay grown on the estate in a given year. Again ripe citrus rules the palate with astounding minerality and verve. This gives Grand Cru Chablis and run for it's money.
Price: $24.95 Add To Cart
VN 94

2015 Hilliard Bruce "Estate" Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 03-11-2019
A pure, bright, mineral infused rendition of Chardonnay from this great vineyard site in the Sta. Rita Hills. Grown on sandy soils with diatomaceous earth and fine gravel. Piercing yellow fruits, ripe citrus, oyster shell like salinity. Lovely freshness and drive. This is a one time deal at this price point, don't miss out.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
VN 92 JD 91

2016 Grand Napa "Reserve" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 03-05-2019
A big, luxurious, structured, reserve level Cab that totally over delivers at this heavily discounted price point. Powerful dark fruit, blackcurrant, cassis, bramble, scorched earth, exotic oak spices. Juicy and succulent enough to drink now, but also showing plenty of structure to last 8-10 years in the cellar...maybe more. Made from a top barrel selection of Grand Napa's lots from across the valley with fruit coming from: Rutherford, Diamond Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain, Oakville and Atlas Peak. The fruit is fermented in tiny one ton, open top tanks and punch-downs are done by hand; this is boutique, labor of love wine making as employed by Napa's top cult Cab producers. It then rests for two years in super high-end Seguin Moreau French oak. No expense spared here; this is up there with the crème de la crème of the region and at a fraction of the typical asking price.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 93 JS 92

2016 Grand Napa Rutherford Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 03-05-2019
This is top notch, classic, Rutherford Cabernet for an absolute song! After being offered a parcel of these highly rated, yet under-the-radar, Grand Napa wines for a fraction of their SRP, we tasted very diligently on several occasions and time and time again I was just floored by the quality, power and balance the wines possessed. The Rutherford Cab starts out with an explosive nose of briary, blackcurrant fruit with tobacco leaf, cedar and that celebrated "Rutherford Dust" quality. The palate is luxurious and suave with lush fruit, very fine, polished tannins framed by classy high-end French oak. It's rich and powerful but not high-octane or jammy. Really concentrated and intense but refined at the same time. This combination of quality (first and foremost) plus press (94+WA) and discount (60+% off) doesn't come around very often. We're stocking our cellars with this beauty for the next decade plus. It might be that long before we see this type of deal again!
Drink from 2019 to 2019
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 94 JS 92

2017 Routestock "Route 121" Carneros Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 02-28-2019
Wow! Doesn't this little fire cracker over deliver! So much flavor and energy packed into this bottle. I has the rich, unctuous, textured fruit you expect from Carneros Chardonnay but with tons of verve, zesty acidity and subtle flinty character. Real intensity of flavor and personality. This is a perfect party wine, a crowd pleaser for Summer BBQs. It's increasingly rare to see Carneros AVA Chardonnay under $20 and one of this quality, at this price it just about unheard of. Super impressive.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
WE 92

2015 Varner "El Camino Vineyard" Santa Barbara County Chardonnay
Review Date: 02-28-2019
A delicious and very intriguing wine with a complex interplay of richness and minerality. To use a Burgundian lens, this wine talks to me like Corton-Charlemagne because of it's broader palate presence and density. The wine is quite rich and weighty on the palate with a soft mouthfeel. Flavors are ripe stone fruit, peach pit, brioche, almond paste and some honeycomb nuances. The wine has just started to take on some lovely nutty, bottle age character adding to the complexity. But it's not over yet...the finish of the wine brings saline minerals, flinty elements and fine crystalline acidity to beautifully balance the wines more forward components. There's so much going on here for such an inexpensive wine...especially at this special feature price!
Top Value!
Price: $19.95 Add To Cart
RP 93 VN 92

2016 Aquinas North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 02-25-2019
I was super impressed by this wine as this price point! It really drinks like a much more expensive, luxurious Cab. Bold, dark fruits, lovely ripeness but without being jammy. Blackcurrant, dark chocolate, cedar notes. Lush, rich texture, smoky, vanilla oak framing the fruit but not overwhelming it. Very nicely done and at an every day price point. Great stuff!
Top Value!
Price: $14.95 Add To Cart
WE 91

2017 The Pinot Project California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 02-22-2019
Wow! Just about as delicious a Pinot Noir as you'll ever find at this price point. The wine is purposefully crafted to show the drinkability, bright fruit and silky texture Pinot Noir has to offer but at a stunningly low price! We've been promoting this wine for a couple years now and it's GREAT to see the 90+ scores starting to come in...the wine certainly deserves it. Not much can hold a candle to this in the sub-$15 category.
Top Value!
Price: $11.95 Add To Cart
JS 91 WE 90

2016 Bishop's Peak Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 02-20-2019
Generally speaking Paso Robles is know for bigger, jammier styles of Cabernet but that is not the case with Bishop's Peak. The fruit is sourced from the much cooler sub-AVA of Santa Margarita Ranch in the very south western tip of the region, close to San Luis Obispo. Here the cooling ocean influence is much more pronounced and the wines tend to be a little more elegant and structured. This bottling from Talley / Bishop's Peak is very classically styled with mulberry, cigar box, red currant, crushed rocks, and graphite. Medium plus bodied, with notable but refined varietal tannins. Stony minerals, mingle with cassis and plum with a subtle whiff of oak spice. Classy stuff...top value.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 VN 90

2017 Bishop's Peak San Luis Obispo County Chardonnay
Review Date: 02-20-2019
Talley's wine are among my favorites in all of California and their Bishop's Peak range of wines give people everyday drinkability without having to sacrifice quality. As the label states - hand-picked, hand-crafted and aged in French oak. This is seriously great Chardonnay at bargain basement pricing. Sourcing from their own vineyards and neighbors, these wines are from the same stable as the 96 point Rosemary's Chard, made by the same winemaker Eric Johnson...and the pedigree is clear to see or rather taste! Bright, flinty aromas of orchard fruits, pie crust and white blossom. The palate is focused and mineral intensive with salinity and verve. A juicy, generous texture fills in without masking any of the subtle complexities. Beautifully judged. Crowd pleasing but also refined and detailed. Drinks WAY above it's modest price point.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
VN 91 WE 90

2016 Margerum "M5" Santa Barbara County Rhône Blend
Review Date: 02-20-2019
A simply stunning Rhône inspired red blend…for sure one of the best $20 wines I have ever tasted from anywhere. Period. This wine really illustrates the ability of California's Central Coast...especially Santa Barbara County... to produce knockout Rhône varietal wines at exceptional values. Everything melds together so seamlessly in this wine. It's rich without being heavy, structured without being harsh. It has beautiful length and balance on the palate. A very complete wine that is absolutely singing right now but will continue to do so for 5+ years for sure.
Top Value!

2016 Foxglove Central Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 02-20-2019
The wine has one major flaw...it's just way too good for the price. Seriously...I think this wine would be taken much more seriously if it were twice as expensive and it definitely would hold it's own on the quality front. The Varner brothers have been crushing it with their Foxglove label for years now but this release is a notable step up in quality in my humble opinion. Lovely purity, perfectly ripe fruit, saline / coastal minerality and just the right textural weight without any new oak. This is the definition of a wine punching above its weight and I'm just thrilled to see some of the country's top critics recognizing that and shouting it loud and clear.
Top Value!

2016 Nor'Wester (Omihi) by Greystone Pinot Noir North Canterbury
Review Date: 02-19-2019
The return of a best seller with a new name and package! The Nor'Wester from Greystone / Grey's Peak is basically a declassified bottling from their top notch, organically farmed estate in Waipara Valley. We had this wine omce before under the Thistle Ridge label. Winemaker Dom Maxwell is a highly regarded talent producing some of the countries most highly rated wines. Our long relationship with the team and Grey's Peak allowed us first dibs on this highly scored bottling. The wine delivers authentic Pinot Noir varietal characters of berry fruits, sous bois, smoke, clove, freshly turned earth. Medium bodied with food friendly acidity and fine tannins. Lovely length and balance of fruit vs savory elements. A very complete wines for the money thanks to our direct import program. Don't miss it.

2015 Aaron "Citizen" Paso Robles Red Blend
Review Date: 02-18-2019
Bursting from the glass with blueberry pie, boysenberry and clove. Inky concentration, rich succulent fruit, scorched earth, ripe refined tannins. A powerful wine for sure but one that is beautifully put together and polished. Aaron Jackson is making some phenomenal wines down in Tin City and this is a real highlight of his range. Very reminiscent of some cult producers in the area...but at very reasonable price points...for now. This is one bandwagon you want to be on for sure.
Price: $39.95 Add To Cart
JD 95 VN 95

2017 Tensley "Colson Canyon Vineyard" Santa Barbara County Syrah
Review Date: 02-15-2019
Wow, this is a big, bold wine. A boisterous nose of smokey dark fruit, plum, black cherry, garrigue, sweet baking spice, embers and cracked peppercorn. Voluptuous, mouth-coating texture, big but ripe tannins with plenty of flesh and succulent fruit coating them. Quite a blockbuster style (at least in its youth) but executed perfectly with every element finding its place harmoniously. Powerful stuff from Tensley.

2014 Site Wines "Stolpman Vineyard" Roussanne Santa Barbara County
Review Date: 02-15-2019
Site's Roussanne starts out with a beautiful floral nose of honeysuckle and jasmine. Peach pit, spiced apricot preserve, almond croissant...interesting. Lush, full bodied and rich but with nice freshness and focus on the finish. A really lovely rendition of the varietal.

2016 Foxen "Bien Nacido Vineyard - Block UU" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 02-15-2019
Another stunning bottling of UU Block from Foxen; this is consistently delicious every year. The 2016 is packed full of caramalized baked pears, preserved lemon, subtle oak tones, saline minerals and oyster shell. The wine has real volume and intensity without being heavy or creamy. Stunning length on the palate and the flavors repeat and re-emerge time and time again. I love this vineyard...thanks once again Bien Nacido!

2016 Olema Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 02-15-2019
Crafted by the same winemaker (Anthony Biagi), in the same winery as Amici's $200 Cabernets from Spring Mountain, Beckstoffer To Kalon, Missouri Hopper and Morisoli vineyards. Amici have been racking up huge scores recently (98 points from Jeb Dunnuck for their 2015 Spring Mountain Cab) and to be honest I can't think of any other winery that has the prestige and pedigree they do...where you can still buy some of their offerings for such reasonable price points! Here's a rocking bottle of Cab, from the same stable, that you can afford to drink any night of the week. It's very easy to see why The Wine Advocate pegged them as one of the very best value producers in California...and right now we have an even hotter price than usual!
Top Value!

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