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Staff Favorites - Kaj Stromer

Kaj Stromer

Reviews

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Inverroche Classic Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 06-12-2019
This dead ringer for a dry London gin is actually from South Africa. The particular blend of local botanicals creates a near-perfect gin that leaves the drinker with the envious challenge of deciding whether to make a refreshing G&T or a classic martini. While the olive will work fine, I would recommend you go with the cocktail onion. Ultimately, either choice will serve you well. This bottle will be featured in my liquor cabinet for the summer. Gin & Tonics or martinis anyone?
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Brockman's Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 06-12-2019
This particular gin really caught me off guard. It’s not your typical juniper-driven martini gin. There’s a entire panoply of tropical fruits and red berries in the glass. This would be a workhorse for countless cocktails, though I imagine some might just like it on ice, or with a splash of soda and a twist. This is fun in a glass.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

Siembra Valles Blanco Tequila (750ml)
Review Date: 06-12-2019
This glorious tequila smells like a vacation in a glass. As soon as I put it to my nose, the aromatics just swept me away. This super-premium tequila was the recent best-in-class finisher at our weekly staff tasting. The freshness, the fruitiness, the complexity, all make this a standout amongst peers. This is arguably one of the best all-arounders at the price point.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2018 Ojai Vineyard California Rosé
Review Date: 06-12-2019
Few winemakers in California have more experience making wine than the legendary Adam Tolmach. With 30+ years under his belt he’s got a pretty good idea of how things get done. As one of the founders of the Rhone Rangers movement, Adam is a pioneer of working with Rhone varietals. This stunningly glorious rosé is one of the finest from California. This is equal parts Syrah and Carignan with a touch of dry Riesling. This is thirst quenching, food friendly, with an essence of cherries, raspberries, and a faint hint of minerality. Easily a candidate for rosé of the vintage.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2018 Trians Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé
Review Date: 06-05-2019
Summer is firmly taking its grip on southern California and the clients are clamoring for chilled rosé. The Trians has become my Provencal rosé of the moment as it embodies most of what I seek in these wines. First and foremost, the wine is refreshing with a touch of tart cranberry, a dusting of strawberry essence, and aromatics of roasted herbs. While being Grenache dominant, I love the generous dollop of Cinsault, rounded out with Syrah. Secondly, the terroir here looks like it was destined for great rosé. 50 year old vines are situated on hillsides comprised of clay and limestone overlooking the Rhone Valley. It’s perfect as an aperitif or accompanying light summer fare such as fresh olives or an herb roasted chicken.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2016 Château de Montfaucon Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 06-05-2019
My love for the wines of the Cotes-du-Rhone began in earnest with the release of the 1998 vintage. I socked several cases away assuming I’d be rewarded in years to come. And as my stocks dwindle I can attest that I was greatly rewarded and that many of them are still going strong. While this may not be a 20 year wine, I am positive that it will provide glorious drinking over the next decade. I’m a fan of the stylish elegance Montafaucon summons forth. The combination of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Counois yields a wine of amazing complexity that keeps you coming back for the next sip as each one reveals an additional nuance or layer within the wine. Our esteemed Rhone buyer, Keith Mabry, has a nose for ferreting out the best of the vintage and he really nailed this one. I strongly urge you to put a case in your pantry for near and long term drinking.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2017 Raul Perez "Ultreia St-Jacques" Mencía Bierzo
Review Date: 06-05-2019
Raul Perez is a rock star in Bierzo and this wine is a testament to his fame. A bold, new-wave of Spanish winemakers has lifted Bierzo out of the back woods obscurity to international prominence on the success of the Mencia grape. It does not surprise me at all to see consumer demand growing all the time. The Mencia grape offers all the charm of Pinot Noir meets Syrah…sort of. It has that silky polish of Pinot Noir but with the bold fruit of Syrah. I’m a big fan of this wine and it looks like the critics are as well. Another tremendous value from Spain.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
DC 93 RP 93

2017 The Pinot Project California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-05-2019
This is the best Pinot Noir produced in California for less than $15. But you could easily put it up against a field of wines for under $20 and still come up a winner. The hallmark to this wine is the structure it possesses, something you rarely see in California Pinot Noir at this price point. It has all the telltale character you crave for with quality Pinot Noir. It’s silky smooth, with lots of red cherry, some spice and just enough structure to make it interesting and properly food friendly. Drink this for your mid-week wine. So good!
Price: $11.95 Add To Cart
JS 91 WE 90

2015 Maison les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 06-04-2019
Few wines pair better with grilled slabs of beef than northern Rhone Syrah. There’s a natural harmony when you match rare-to-medium-rare beef with a wine filled with black cherries, blueberries, a touch of olive tapenade and white pepper. This project from three Rhone heavyweights has yielded a textbook perfect Crozes-Hermitage. On top of that, it hails from the already legendary 2015 vintage whose signature comes screaming out of the glass. There’s a lot to love here as the wine over-delivers for the price point. You can drink this friendly bottling this summer but it won’t mind if you save a few bottles for next years barbeque.

2016 Liparita Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 06-04-2019
Following on the heels of one of our biggest Cabernet Sauvignon offers ever comes a potentially even bigger one. While the 2014 Liparita Yountville exploded with consumer demand, the 2016 Oakville stands to be an ever bigger deal. First of all, the 2016 vintage is considered one of the best in years. Napa Valley Cabernet producers and critics alike are all in agreement about the amazing quality of the vintage. Secondly, few AVA’s can hold a candle to the roster of wines that hail from the Oakville subappellation. From pioneers like Mondavi and Heitz to powerhouse brands like Groth, Far Niente, and Opus One, through “cult Cabernet” producers Dalla Valle, Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle, tells the condensed story of Oakville. This is 100% pure Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is gorgeous displaying all the tell-tale Cabernet characteristics of black currants (cassis), blackberry, black cherry, dried herbs and a touch of cedar. This is a premium, top-tier Cab that delivers on every level. Production is limited so supplies will not last long. This gets a strong “buy” recommendation.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Casa Castillo "Las Gravas" Jumilla
Review Date: 05-15-2019
I’ve twice visited this property located deep in the countryside of Jumilla. The area is remote and wild and seems to be one of the best places on earth to grown Monastrell (aka Mourvedré). Often considered one of the “cult” wines of Spain, the single vineyard “Las Gravas” bottling remains somewhat off the collectors radar in the US. But having tasted this wine on many occasions I can attest to its quality and ageability. The Monastrell dominant wine reminds me somewhat of a poor mans Beaucastel; which is only intended as a compliment. Once while touring the vineyards, we heard gun shots in the distance. When we inquired about the shooting, our guide informed us they were hunting rabbits for the evenings paella.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 94 VN 93

2017 Domaine des Bernardins Beaumes de Venise Rouge
Review Date: 05-15-2019
This is the must try wine of the month. I simply love the red wines from Beaumes des Venise. Though more commonly associated with the famous muscat based desert wines, the reds here offer a very distinctive and unique style that I'm partial to. There’s great terroir here and the situation of the vineyards makes for idyllic Grenache production. There’s a bevy of lightly roasted herbs with red cherry scented fruit on the nose. The aromatics preview just how pretty and bright this wine is. While I often consider Southern Rhone wines as fall and winter drinking, this is decidedly a spring sipper. There is tremendous lift and freshness on the palate giving it a refreshing finish that begs for another sip. For $20 you’re getting an amazing amount of wine. Load up.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
DC 94

2017 TED by Mount Edward Central Otago Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-01-2019
The wines of Mount Edwards comes from a band of individuals who label themselves as insubordinate, revolutionist, mischievious, jocular and witty. They’re also really talented wine makers. This group is fully committed to organic agriculture, they employ traditional wine making techniques using natural yeasts with minimal intervention. The resulting wines display elegance, precision, clarity and more importantly, they taste really good. This is a fine little Pinot Noir from the ever on-the-rise Central Otago. There’s no question that New Zealand is carving out its own identity as a Pinot Noir producer. This is an awesome value and well worth a look.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 93

2017 Domaine de Fondrèche Ventoux Rouge
Review Date: 05-01-2019
If you’ve ever watched the annual Tour de France you’re familiar with the legendary climb up the fabled Mount Ventoux. As the cyclists wind their way up the mount, vignerons tend to their vines. This is the second wine I’ve tasted from Fondreche this month (the first being their excellent 2018 rosé) and I am very taken by both. This is textbook southern Rhone wine in the style of Gigondas or Cairanne but at a ridiculously low price. You get all of the telltale fruit of strawberries and raspberries with just the right amount of roasted herbs and just a touch of the southern France funk. How do they pack so much flavor and character into a wine at this price? This is arguably one of the best of its kind I’ve tasted this year.

2017 Cantina Andrian Pinot Grigio
Review Date: 05-01-2019
Summer time just landed in your glass. The entire staff paused while tasting this amazing little wine. This is the kind of Pinot Grigio that gives the grape a good name. The wine is flavorful, interesting, refreshing, and makes you want to come back for more after each sip. There’s plenty of pretty white flowers on the nose from jasmine to gardenia. It smells like a spring garden with just a hint of verbena and citrus. You better have a case of this in your pantry for your upcoming summer parties.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
JS 93

2016 Titus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-01-2019
You may not be familiar with the Titus name, but you may very well have had one of Phillip Titus’s wines, since he’s been the winemaker at Chappellet since 1990. Over the course of time, he’s crafted some legendary (and 100 point!) wines. Brothers Phillip and Eric run the Titus family estate nestled in the heart of the St. Helena appellation at the foot of Howell Mountain and have been doing so for 30+ years. I’ve been a major fan and supporter of these wines for years. Not only are the wines flat out delicious, but they’re a relative steal compared to wines of the area. I love the high-toned juicy style of these wines. Bright cherry, pomegranate, and black berry notes are enhanced by crushed flowers, herbs, and a dusting of mocha. Ripe tannins give the wine the proper amount of structure while retaining a silky smoothness. Big fan!

2017 Domaine Lafage "Novellum" Chardonnay
Review Date: 04-29-2019
As an unrepentant Chardonnay enthusiast, I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed this wine. For a mere $10 you get a wine that truly captures the charm of Chardonnay. It has plenty of bright apple and pear on the nose. The palate is greeted by more fresh fruit but eventually, the creamy nature of the wine takes over. There’s enough acidity to keep it bright and fresh. This is a perfect mid-week wine that can be enjoyed on its own or with well-prepared simple dishes.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart
JD 92

2012 Albatreti Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 04-24-2019
The bass notes keep pounding! This is a dark beast of a Brunello. I love its weight, power, and assertiveness. It’s kind of a “take no prisoners” style. Dark plums, black berries, and a dose of heartiness inform this earthy, savory wine. It was a great surprise to come up with this 2012 hold over. Such an amazing find. I dare you to find the hearty dish that it can’t stand up to. Drink it now or age it for 100 years! I think it might go the distance, even if I may not.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
JS 93

2015 Tenuta Roveglia "Vigne di Catullo" Lugana Riserva
Review Date: 04-24-2019
Tasting through the Roveglia line up I considered the charms of both the “Limne” and “Vigne di Catullo” bottlings. It’s remarkable to see two such different expressions of Verdicchio. While the Limne hits you with its firm minerality, it’s the sensual lushness of the Catullo bottling that wins you over. The wine is simply fruity, fresh, and lively with soft fruit notes of melon, peach, and apples. This would be a perfect choice to start a summer evening and transition into a finely selected plate of salumi and cheese.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

2016 Emerson Brown Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 04-24-2019
This wine captures a style of Cabernet Sauvignon I’m particularly partial to. There’s an elegance and freshness here not typically found in big reds from Napa Valley. The upfront aromatics allude to a bowl full of fresh red, blue, and black berries. There’s a cool element to the nose that hints at sage, spice, and a touch of mint. It’s not common to refer to Cabernet as refreshing but this wine has it. The wine soft and accessible with just enough tannin to give the wine some palate pleasing grip resulting in a long creamy finish. This is 100% pure Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 40% new French Oak. It’s classically styled and currently available only at K&L at a very customer friendly price.
Price: Hidden View Price
JD 93 VN 91

2015 Giuseppe Cortese "Rabaja" Barbaresco
Review Date: 04-17-2019
Stylistically, this is my dream Barbaresco. That should come as no surprise given the pedigree of the wine. This small, family-owned winery is renowned for their pure expression of Nebbiolo. The fruit comes the Rabaja vineyard, one of the most successful sites in all of Barbaresco, aged 20+ months in 5-20 year-old Slavonian oak barrels. The resulting wine has the most charming bouquet of wild berries, raspberries, flowers, a touch of leather and a hint of spice. A similar flavor profile continues on the palate finishing with firm but ripe tannins. This is serious Barbaresco made the right way. I’m putting a few of these away for myself.

2014 Château Haute-Serre Cahors
Review Date: 04-16-2019
It’s been a while since I drank a Cahors so I was very interested in trying this highly recommended bottling. While Malbec made its name in Argentina as a smooth-as-silk variant of Cabernet Sauvignon, this Malbec is an altogether different kind of charmer. The wine is classically French and old school in style. Wild berries and a touch of earth on the nose. On the palate, it is firm and somewhat assertive. I’d recommend a decant to soften the edges as well as a slab of rare beef. This makes for a wonderful alternative to Bordeaux if you’re in the mood for something familiar but just a touch different.

2016 Domaine de l'Amandine Côtes du Rhône-Villages Seguret
Review Date: 04-16-2019
I was surprised to learn that this wine is 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache. With Syrah as the dominant grape, the result is a deeper, darker, wine that reveals blueberry and a touch of pepper. The Grenache is the secondary act adding more high-toned strawberry fruit with a touch of roasted herbs. It’s hard to fathom how you can get so much wine for less than $15. It drinks well now but you’ll be shocked at how delicious this will be with 5-7 years in the cellar. It’s such a treat opening up these “best buys” after they have some age. You’ll be able to fool your Chateauneuf-du-Pape loving friends.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
WE 92 DC 91

2017 La Posta del Viñatero "Pizzella Vineyard" Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 04-03-2019
This is an excellent example of why Malbec became so popular. All of the better attributes are on display here including the lovely price tag! The wine packs plenty of soft juicy fruit, but there’s also plenty of structure with just a touch of tannins that dust and coat the palate. Relatively new to the to the winemaking scene, the Pizzella family farm a 10-hectare plot in the Uco Valley. This is cool-climate Malbec grown at 3,600 feet elevation. I like that they use primarily neutral French oak barrels of which only 10% are new. This allows the fruit shine. This is an excellent value.

2017 Clos du Gaimont Vouvray Sec
Review Date: 03-27-2019
The Clos du Gaimont Vouvray strikes me as the perfect seasonal transition wine as we move from winter to spring. There’s enough stuffing here to stand up to more cold weather fare but it has enough zip and weight to pair with spring cuisine. This is 100% pure Chenin Blanc harvested from 35 year-old vines planted in a hallowed piece of land. The pedigree of the wine comes through in spades. Fresh green apple, citrus, and spice are all nicely packed into one mid-weight streamlined package. This is a very delicious and versatile wine. I highly recommend it.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
W&S 93

1987 Fitte et Laterrade 31 Year Old "Domaine Le Chaou" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-26-2019
What can I possible say about this Armagnac that the bottle doesn’t already say for itself. Though a beast of a beverage, it’s amazingly light and ethereal on the palate. It defies gravity with its first impression. Based on the aromatics you expect this mighty brooding cocktail, instead you get a fine-tuned high-performance racing vehicle dashing across your tongue. If ever you’re requiring a world class drink to celebrate another successful day on earth, this is it. This is a fine as they come.
Price: $139.99 Add To Cart
Limit of 12 per customer

1988 Fitte et Laterrade 30 Year Old "Domaine Le Chaou" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-26-2019
This eau-de-vie re-defines the Armagnac category. It’s impossibly dark in color, firm on the palate, each glass filled with an entire forest floor lightly dusted with the finest Tahitian vanilla. This is simply a sublime spirit that will stop you in your tracks. If meditation included an alcoholic beverage this would be my choice as it will put your mind into a restful focus. It may not be eveyone’s cup of tea, but then again, you might reconsider what you expect from tea. This is one very serious beverage.
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart

1991 Chateau de Vacquié 27 Year Old Unfiltered Haut-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-26-2019
Once I was indoctrinated into the cult of Armagnac, my eyes were opened to the many vintage dated bottlings. This 27 year-old builds on what I tasted from the 20 year old version but there is even more depth and structure here. While I might sip the 20 year old on a Spring evening, this bottling insists on a winter’s night in a library made of dark wood, filled with leather chairs, and surrounded by an endless supply of great literature. The spirit is deep in tone, hyper-complex, a touch smoky, with hints of vanilla, plum fruit, and an effortlessly silky finish.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

1998 Chateau de Vacquié 20 Year Old Unfiltered Haut-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-26-2019
I fell in love with Armagnac while on a trip through France. My travel partner and I were holed up in a hotel in Paris prior to the launch of our journey. After a proper Parisian supper my colleague ordered two glasses of Armagnac for us. While I have enjoyed cognac on occasion the Armagnac just floored me. It was so much more complex and expressive. I’ve been savoring these delicacies ever since. The aromas and palate are subtle here but there is great complexity and persistence. Also, 1998 holds a special place in my heart as that’s the year I got into the wine & spirits industry. I’ve never looked back.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

2017 Jacky Blot Domaine de la Taille Aux Loups "Remus" Montlouis Sur Loire
Review Date: 03-22-2019
I first heard the name Jacky Blot while on a buying trip through France. Everywhere we went along the Loire, the name Jacky Blot would pop up. But it wasn’t till I returned to the US that I finally got a chance to try his wines. I was immediately charmed by them and understood why there was so much buzz about this producer. This is easily the qualitative equivalent of a 1er Cru white Burgundy. I’d argue that the Jacky Blot style, which I consider atypical for Loire Valley Chenin, can easily substitute anywhere you’d serve a Chassagne or Puligny-Montrachet. They are now a staple in my wine collection and I’ve converted a number customers who now devotees. Time for you to get on board with this incredibly fascinating Loire Valley producer.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JG 90

2014 Liparita "V Block" Yountville Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 03-20-2019
As K&L buyers our days are dedicated to ferreting out great buying opportunities. I would have to say that this is the most stunning “wine buy” I’ve come across this year. We’re able to offer a $60 wine at 65% off! This is a real unicorn. When I tasted the wine I was impressed by the aromatics, the fruit, the structure, and the long finish. In every way this is a classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with all its wild dark berry fruit and palate coating dusty tannins. I visited the operation several years ago and I’ve sold a few vintages in the past so I was aware of the wine's overall high quality. What I didn’t realize was just how good this offer would be. It turns out that the winery was sitting on some back stock of this gem and that they were interested in moving it…quickly. So they made us an offer we could not refuse. This reminds me of my early days as a budding wine enthusiast when I could buy the 1990 Caymus Cabernet for $20. It’s like turning back the clock!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine l'Oiselet Vacqueyras
Review Date: 03-14-2019
Something about this wine really brought me back in time to remind me how much I enjoy Southern Rhone wines. I started drinking Chateauneuf-du-Pape as I came of age as a young man in the greater New York City area. However, I didn’t really know what it was. It came in a cool bottle, tasted good, and was fun to say. Fast forward to the start of my wine career when the 1998 vintage reached our shores. I was blown away by the overall quality and complexity of the wines. Most importantly, they just seemed to mesh with my palate. This caused an intrigue on my part which had me exploring every nook and cranny in the greater southern Rhone. I tasted through all the villages and quickly realized how wonderful the Vacqueyras wines were. Not only could they compete in quality, they also possessed an elegance and grace I’d not come across before. Best of all, the affordable prices of these wines made them hard to ignore. All that ran through my mind as I tasted this wine recently. I strongly suggest you check it out. Drink it or age it. It’ll go the distance.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$14.99
RP 88 - 90

2016 Scattered Peaks Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 03-06-2019
This is text book Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon being offered at a monumentally attractive price. The wine is simply gorgeous in the glass offering up ripe notes of black berries and a faint hint of cassis for added nuance. The flavors are all up front and quite generous. You kind of don’t need to overthink it. At $30, you can simply pull the cork, pour a full glass, and savor. The 2015 vintage was one of our best selling wines last year. Considering that 2016 is an even stronger vintage, I predict that history will repeat. Grab this while you can.
Price: $29.95 Add To Cart

2017 Tensley "Colson Canyon Vineyard" Santa Barbara County Syrah
Review Date: 03-06-2019
Joey Tensely and I both started in the wine business in the late 90's. Since then, he’s become a staple of the Central Coast wine scene, turning some of the areas best Syrah based wines. Accolades and critical reviews have been bestowed upon his wines in regular fashion. The praise has all been well earned. The Colson Canyon Syrah holds a dear place in his heart as he was able to acquire it in 2016 though he’s been making fruit from it since 2000. This wine is a real class act representing all I love about varietally correct Syrah. The wine has all the tell tale dark fruits, hints of baking spice, cocoa, and just a faint wiff of bacon. It’s silky smooth in your mouth but leaves a trail on your palate to savor for minutes. This is one more reason why Joey's wines always sell out.

2012 Glenelly 'Estate Reserve' Bordeaux Blend Stellenbosch
Review Date: 03-06-2019
This amazing red blend from South Africa is a dead ringer for a left bank Bordeaux but with a twist. Slightly evolved notes of Cabernet Sauvignon ooze from the glass with classic mineral, lead pencil, spice box, and dark red berries. Hints of blueberries come through revealing the heavy addition of Syrah (38%). The longer this wine sat in my glass, the more interesting it became. It’s clearly a wine of excellent pedigree made by a skilled wine-making team. It's medium to full weight, with ripe but firm tannins, and a long intriguing finish. I would highly recommend this wine to Cabernet and Bordeaux enthusiasts. At $19.99 it represents incredible value.
Price: Hidden View Price
JS 91 WS 90

2014 Wild Horse "Cheval Sauvage" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 02-21-2019
There has never been a better time in our history to drink Chardonnay from the USA. Winemakers have honed their craft and fine tuned their vineyards over many years resulting in the best Chardonnays in our nation’s history. We were pleasantly shocked when we got to taste and make an offer on this excellent white from the venerable Wild Horse winery. The fruit is sourced from top Santa Maria vineyards and aged 15 months in 100% French oak of which 45% is new. The wine has really come together with a few years in bottle. There is great complexity on both the nose and the palate. It’s quite the luxurious blend of ripe pears, spice, crème brulee, vanilla, and lemon zest. I’d pair this wine with pork roast and apple compote. This is one of the most spectacular white wine offers we’ll make this year. Purchase by the case.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WE 93

2015 Bodegas Norton "Privada" Family Blend Mendoza
Review Date: 02-20-2019
Argentina has firmly staked its reputation on producing stylish bold reds at seemingly impossibly low prices. The Privada bottling from Bodegas Norton is a perfect example of that. Sourced from their oldest vineyards, where the vines range in age from 50 – 90 years, this Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot blend can easily compete with wines twice its price. I love how it glides across the palate leaving a trail of red berries, cocoa powder, and just a touch of mint. I would strongly recommend this wine to anyone who’s looking for a full-bodied red without hard or edgy tannins.

2016 Sans Liege "The Offering" Santa Barbara County Rhône Blend
Review Date: 02-20-2019
Curt Schalchlin has produced the prototypical American Rhone-style blend. He’s managed to capture all that luscious California fruit that informs you where the wine is from while somehow keeping it deceptively light on its feet. Curt’s reputation precedes him as one who creates singularly-styled wines sourced from top quality vineyards throughout the central coast. “The Offering” is the perfect representation of his vision. Intriguing aromatics of dark ripe berries, roasted herbs, with spice box and cigar wrapper rise from the glass. On the palate the wine surprises you as it makes landfall on your tongue. There’s a wave of complexity and richness that skates across your palate while somehow maintaining impressive freshness and lift.
Price: Hidden View Price
WS 94

2016 Baron de Montfaucon Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 01-30-2019
I spent several days in the Rhone back in January of 2017. The big buzz at the time revolved around the mighty 2015s. However, most of the winemakers I spoke with whispered, “wait till you try the ’16s.” It was clear that the critics favored ’15 but the vignerons quietly preferred the ‘16s. The Montfaucon CdP illustrates the vintage differences perfectly. While the ’16s are clearly well-fruited and complex, they possess greater energy and freshness than their ’15 counterparts. At just below $40, this Grenache-dominant bottling provides you with textbook Chateauneuf style that can be enjoyed young but will be a show stopper with 7-10 years of age. It’s mouth watering and juicy with ample structure and a very long finish. This wine is easy to recommend.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 95 WS 93

2017 Domaine du Petit Clocher Anjou Blanc
Review Date: 01-17-2019
The buyers at K&L are constantly on the prowl for great value wines. The Petite Clocher is a perfect example of succeeding at that quest. Quite frankly, I was stunned by this little Chenin Blanc overachiever. Both the whites and the reds of Anjou provide exceptional values when compared to their peers along the Loire river. This beauty packs a ton of juicy peach and pear fruit framed by just enough acidity to keep it bright, fresh, and lively on the palate. I can see this being the perfect mid-week wine to accompany a host of lighter dishes; seafood or poultry. This is an immensely satisfying wine that simply defies the price. You’d be well served to put a six-pack in your pantry as your house go-to white; while supplies last.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2017 Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 01-10-2019
This is indeed a most complex and refreshing "best buy" wine! I was particularly impressed by this Kiwi white on account of its demure nature. At first whiff it seems somewhat reticent but with a little coaxing you start to notice that this wine packs quite a varied personality. While you get some of the tell-tale grapefruit and citrus notes, it’s the herbal, Thai basil notes that really caught my attention. Like music, I prefer wines that take a little paying attention to in order to find out their many hidden charms.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart
VN 91 WS 91

2016 Domaine des Escaravailles "La Ponce" Rasteau
Review Date: 01-08-2019
I first learned about this winery many years ago from a client of mine. He had the wine recommended to him by the sommelier at a well respected restaurant. I ordered a case for my client and he gave me a bottle to try. Considering that the market was saturated with southern Rhone wines, I could not initially understand why we needed another. However, once I tried the wine I immediately understood why this wine was such a stand out. With the steady hand of winemaker Philippe Cambie overseeing the process, Escaravailles produces distinctively delicious southern Rhone blends. This Grenache / Syrah combo offers up beautiful red fruits intermingled with hints of dark chocolate, licorice and spice. The wine possesses real power and will benefit from either a few winters in the cellar or an hour long wake in the decanter. This wine is sure to please either in its youth or with some age.

2016 Guy Farge "Harmonie" Cornas
Review Date: 01-08-2019
Cornas has traditionally been known as the rustic little brother to the more regal Cote-Rotie and Hermitage appellations. But much has changed over the years in how winemakers approach the rugged, steep slopes of Cornas. It’s an eye-opening experience to taste the new wave of wines being released from this famed, but sometimes overlooked appellation. The wines of Guy Farge capture this movement brilliantly. The first thing that strikes you with this wine is copious amounts of blue and black berries. Following closely behind you get spice notes along with the tell-tale sanguine aromatics that allude to meat; specifically ham and bacon. Bringing up the rear the wine delivers hints of blue flowers and a just a touch of black olives. This wine makes a strong argument why you should be drinking (buying) more Northern Rhone Syrah, specifically Cornas. Count me in.

2016 Chateau de L'Ou "Infiniment" Côtes Catalanes Rouge
Review Date: 12-04-2018
The Cotes Catalan is one of the more beautiful wine regions in France. The long rolling hills sit in the shadows of the mighty Pyrenees mountains that geographically split Spain from France in the west with the Mediterranean sea to the south east. The land here is created by the rise and fall of land masses. The resulting terroir is well suited for making profound wines at truly ridiculously low prices. Though this is pure Syrah, the wine strikes me as a blend of northern & southern Rhone wine. There’s plenty of fresh fruit, structure, and substance to make this a serious wine. But it’s sufficiently easy to drink making it something you can enjoy any night of the week.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JD 94 RP 90

2016 Allram Grüner Veltliner "Renner 1ÖTW" Kamptal
Review Date: 12-04-2018
A little over a decade ago, Gruner Veltliner became the darling of the wine world. Suddenly, wine lists at the best restaurants were dominated by Gruners at the expense of richer and rounder Chardonnay’s. Though the overall consumer demand for Gruner never quite caught up with the intellectual enthusiasm, we did get exposed to an amazing array of wines. Gruners tend to be both racy and complex; with notes of lime, citrus, white pepper, and a touch of fresh herbs. The acidity in the wine is palate cleansing which makes it a perfect companion to richer foods, even the classic schnitzel. However, it will pair just as well with patés and salumi platters and fresh water fish preparations. This is a classically styled wine worthy of your attention.

2012 Miguel Merino Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-28-2018
This is the first time I’ve tasted wines from Miguel Merino and I now consider myself a fan. Miguels wines seem to balance the tight rope between the two dominant styles or Rioja; classic and modern. The wines are well made with fruit that is clean, sleek, and focused like a modern Rioja. On the palate the elegance lends itself toward the classic style. Pure black and red cherry drives the aromatics along with hints of vanilla and coconut. There’s a Pinot Noir like sensibility to the wine. It’s silky and smooth with a long lingering finish. The wine harkens you back for another whiff and another taste. This wine is exactly what I'd expect of a Reserva level bottling and will be easy to recommend. Bravo Mr. Merino.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JS 91

2017 Averaen Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-23-2018
This small, independent Oregon Pinot Noir specialist is a spinoff from the wildly popular Banshee wines. They are producing high-quality, value-driven Pinot that’s just a pleasure to drink. Oregon Pinot Noir has come a long way over the last two decades and the proof is in the bottle. Over time the vines have gained age, which results in wines of greater complexity and richness. This is the kind of Pinot Noir you want to be serving with your holiday bird, salmon, and even some red meat dishes. The wine shows exceptional structure, focus, and juicy red fruit.
Price: $19.95 Add To Cart
VN 91

2016 Passopisciaro "Passorosso" Etna Rosso Sicilia
Review Date: 11-07-2018
The rosso wines of Etna have an unmistakable and alluring blend of herbs and smokiness. They tend to hint at other grapes you’re more familiar with (Grenache?) but ultimately stand on their own. I had the chance to visit the area in 2016 and was wildly impressed by the lay of the land. While there was much debate over who had the best terroir, I was struck by the overall variety of styles and enamored of the varietals. It’s quite an amazing experience to walk these vineyards while watching plumes of smoke ooze from the mountain top. That visual really creates a special feeling. So does this wine!

2017 Stolpman "Para Maria" Santa Barbara County Red Blend
Review Date: 11-07-2018
There may not be another reference point wine for Syrah & Petit Verdot blends but the talented team at Stolpman Vineyards pulls this one off with flying colors. The deep and sultry blue fruits of Syrah are given additional structure, depth, and complexity when combined with Petit Verdot. To offset the potential brooding nature of this wine, they employ the use of whole-cluster carbonic maceration. The net effect of this is to give the wine lifted aromatics and greater freshness on the palate. I’m really impressed how this one came together. I’ll be serving this at my house for the next several months or as long as we have stock. This is another exceptional achievement from team Stolpman.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
VN 92 - 95

2015 Xanadu "DJL" Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 10-31-2018
If you’re an enthusiast of Cabernet Sauvignon then you need to know the wines of Australia’s famed Margaret River. As much as Australia is known for some of its over-sized reds, the wines from Margaret River excel as examples of grace and charm. On the nose the wine gives forth textbook aromas of black currants and eucalyptus. The wine is medium-bodied and could even hold a light chill. This is a perfect wine to pair with herbed rack of lamb or hearty fall stews.

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