3005 El Camino, Redwood City, CA 94061 Phone, to place orders: (800) 247-5987 Wine Club extension: 2766 Fax (650) 364-4687 [email protected]
January 2017 Dear K&L Wine Club Members, As I sit down in December to write the last newsletter of the year for me and the first newsletter of the year for our members, I always look back upon the year. This helps me think forward, for the upcoming year. 2016 was a big year for me. I got married, we had a baby and I traveled to France multiple times looking for great wines for our club members. I was able to ink deals on wines that I felt lucky to be able to present to you and was even able to include some unique, fun and esoteric offerings which I hope were as delicious as they were enlightening. I’d like to thank all of you returning wine club members for your continued patronage, and welcome aboard all of you new members. I look forward to hearing your opinions as we spend the year together, exploring the wonders of the world of wine. The Signature Red Club starts the new year off with the 2013 Clos du Val “The Three Graces” Napa Valley Proprietary Red, a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend from one of my favorite Napa Valley producers. Clos du Val is in the midst of a renaissance and the quality of their wines has never been better. Teamed up with the Clos du Val is the 2014 Moulin de la Gardette “Cuvée Ventabren” Gigondas. This winery has been a staple for us. It’s one of our direct-import wineries and every year they produce one of the best Gigondas wines I have the privilege to taste. The 2014 is outstanding. Its perfect harmony of fruit, minerality and terroir should put a smile on the Rhône wine lover in all of us. When I think of our Premium Club, I think “cool.” For this club I get to consider red, white, sparkling and dessert wines from any place in the world. The only requirement is that they taste great. Any wine buyer will tell you that having the freedom to choose based solely on quality is a wonderful thing. This month we start with the 2014 Les Terrasses de Tour Saint Christophe St. Emilion. This is the second label of Château Tour Saint Christophe, and it is a terrific red Bordeaux, a wonderful snapshot to the quality of the underrated 2014 Bordeaux vintage. Paired up with the Bordeaux is the Sean Thackrey “La Pleiade II,” a funky white blend from one of California’s most eclectic winemakers. This mystery blend is flat-out delicious and can pair with almost all cuisines. The Best Buy Club gives us the challenge of finding the best buys in the world. We’ve hit the jackpot this month! First, a great little red wine from my favorite place to visit in all of Europe: Portugal. The 2015 Herdade do Rocim Touriga Nacional Alentejano is a great introduction to the amazing quality of inexpensive red wines coming out of Portugal. This wine is loaded with beautiful red fruit while being perfectly balanced and layered. Our second wine is the 2015 Lafage Côté Est Côtes Catalanes, a rustic white blend from the Languedoc-Roussillon. Domaine Lafage is one of our most popular producers and this wine is another example of the incredible quality-to-price-ratio they are able to achieve. You Italiano Club members get to enjoy your favorite meat sauces and pizzas this month, with two red wines. We start off with the 2012 Tormaresca Masseria Maime Negroamaro Salento, made by the famed Antinori family. This label is their project in Puglia and it looks to be the next great thing from the Antinori family. The second part of our dynamic duo is the 2015 Talosa Rosso di Montalcino, which is a fancy way of saying Sangiovese that didn’t become Brunello di Montalcino. If you love Sangiovese then you will love a Rosso di Montalcino that highlights young Sangiovese. Enjoy this month’s wines! Alex Pross Wine Club Director, K&L Wine Merchants
Signature Red Collection Wine Club 2013 Clos du Val “The Three Graces” Napa Valley Proprietary Red As you travel along the Silverado Trail passing winery after winery, it’s easy to forget which are relatively new to the scene and which have long and hallowed histories. Clos du Val winery is one of the latter, with a rich history of fashioning outstanding wines from their Stag’s Leap District facility. The new management team at Clos du Val recognizes the incredible history of this estate while understanding the wisdom of refreshing it. The results have been outstanding—the recent Cabernet Sauvignons and this red blend (The Three Graces) have wowed me. Clos du Val is not only making wines that harken back to their historic beginnings; they may eventually eclipse the achievements of those early days. Clos du Val’s Ted Henry (Winemaker), Steve Tamburelli (CEO) & The 2013 Clos du Val “The Three Jon-Mark Chappellet (Vineyard manager). Graces” Napa Valley Proprietary Red is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Syrah, 7% Pinot Noir, 2% Petite Syrah and 2% Petit Verdot aged for 18 months in French oak of which 25% is new. Sourced from several vineyards in the Napa Valley including Stag’s Leap, Carneros and Yountville, this juicy red is an ideal wine to share with company. The aromas are a breath of fresh air with dark cherries, blackberry kirsch and wet underbrush. The palate is a silky-smooth combination of fresh berry fruit, notes of baker’s chocolate and a slight touch of mocha and oak. At 14.1% alcohol this wine is more elegant than hedonistic, more reminiscent of an old-world blend than your typical Napa Valley meritage. This wine should pair marvelously well with meat dishes, pasta and of course pizza. Your re-order price for each of these wines as a club member is: $24.99 per bottle.
2014 Moulin de la Gardette “Cuvée Ventabren” Gigondas In the foothills of the Dentille de Montmirail, a gorgeous mountain lined with limestone monoliths, lies the beautiful village of Gigondas. Long thought of as the cheaper cousin to nearby neighbor Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the region has truly come into its own in the last two decades. That “cheaper cousin” image has begun to disappear as Gigondas wines have come into more demand and prices have risen alongside Châteauneufs. Gigondas does differ from Châteauneuf in some pretty distinct ways. Grenache remains dominant, but the soils are quite different. Gigondas doesn’t have the giant pebbles that give Châteauneuf its distinct look. The Gigondas soil is primarily red clay and fractured limestone (known as scree). Gigondas is also more influenced by mountain terrain, with its higher altitude vineyards providing a more cooling effect. Finally, almost every vineyard is surrounded by the garrigue of the region, a mix of brush, wild herbs and flowers. This scrub forest imparts some aromatic punch to the wines. One of the stalwarts of the region is Jon-Baptiste Meunier (JB for short). He makes great, classic wines and we have been working with him since the mid-1990s. Our long relationship gives us the opportunity to bring you his wines at a much lower price than comparable importers sell them for. page 2
JB works 25 different parcels of vineyards with an average vine age of around 65 years. He farms Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and a little Cinsault. The Cuvée Ventabren is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre from his oldest vines—they range from 80 to 100 years of age. All fermentation is done in cement tanks and the wine is aged for 18 months in large oak foudres. The wine is loaded with brambly black fruit, spice notes and that ever present garrigue. Possessing a beautiful full body texture and an ample finish, this wine resonates beautifully and has all the hallmarks of a great southern Rhône wine. It is approachable now but has plenty of stuffing for short-term or long-term cellaring. Serve it with roast meats, braises and stews. When you taste it, you’ll know why we keep coming back for JB’s wines. —Keith Mabry, K&L Buyer - Rhone Valley/French Regional/Loire Valley Your re-order price for each of these wines as a club member is: $24.99 per bottle.
Premium Wine Club 2014 Les Terrasses de Tour Saint Christophe St. Emilion The town of St. Emilion is as good as they come. Walking around it you feel as if you’re in a small Italian or Greek hamlet. Yes, it is centered on wine but it feels calm and the beauty is undeniable. As you drive away from St. Emilion you first pass small, historic vineyards and Châteaux. Then you hit rolling hills and countryside where vineyards are spread apart. This is where you find the estate of Tour Saint Christophe. Our first visit was this year. We had tasted the last few vintages and recognized this as an up-and-coming property. As we tasted through their 2015 En Primeur offerings and the almost ready to ship 2014s, everything we had read and hoped about this property was affirmed and we knew this was the beginning of a long partnership. The fortunes of Bordeaux have changed many times over the years. One of the more recent developments is the utility of making second and even third wines. These are usually sourced from the same vineyards that produce the Domaine’s grand vin, but usually fall a bit short of the quality needed for the grand vin, either because the vines are newly planted or the particular varietal didn’t fare as well as another. When a Domaine replants part of an aging vineyard, by the third or fourth year they will often get good quality fruit from Peter Kwok, owner of Tour St. Christophe. it, but not good enough for the grand vin. A second or third wine is a vehicle to use that juice and make enough money to reinvest— which will help the owners make even better wine. The other situation is a vintage where a particular varietal was challenged. A wetter vintage may have challenged Cabernet Sauvignon, a hotter vintage challenges Merlot. In this situation the varietal may not quite make the grand vin but is still excellent juice that often sells for a fraction of the price of the grand vin. The 2014 Les Terrasses de Tour Saint Christophe St. Emilion is a great little value, made by Château Tour Saint Christophe. It is a wonderful Merlot-based wine with a sexy nose of dark black fruit, spice and oak nuances. This rich and complex wine drinks like a $50+ Bordeaux. When you think of Merlot and the heights it can reach, you must invariably think St. Emilion and their rolling hills where Merlot flourishes. I would pair this with a rich cut of red meat such as a tomahawk steak or filet mignon. Your re-order price for this wine as a club member is: $14.99 per bottle. page 3
Sean Thackrey “La Pleïade II” California White Blend If you don’t know the story of Sean Thackrey and have never heard of his wines, are you in for a treat! Sean Thackrey has been making interesting wines for decades and is something of a maverick. He’s been part of the food and wine scene in the San Francisco Bay Area since the 1980s, and his unique winemaking has broken ground and influenced many practices. Sean often draws from historic or even ancient winemaking techniques from around the world. At his small Bolinas winery, he tinkers and incorporates practices he has learned. Sean is self-taught and prides himself on touching every grape that goes into his wines personally. He relies on his intuition and senses to craft his exciting wines. The Sean Thackrey “La Pleiade II” California White Blend is a blend of multiple vintages and multiple varietals which are not disclosed. The wine feels a bit like a White Rhône blend, crossed with a Spanish Albarino. It has notes of apple and pear and green fruits, with pithy notes and nutty hints. There’s a great texture to the wine, making it an ideal match with cheese and nuts and with classical, traditional dishes such as roast chicken. If you want a wine from off the beaten path, or just a delicious and interesting wine, this is for you! Stephen Tanzer gave this 90 points. Sean Thackrey. Your re-order price for this wine as a club member is: $14.99 per bottle.
Best Buy Wine Club 2015 Herdade de Rocim Touriga Nacional Alentejano The estate of Herdade do Rocim is in the Lower Alentejo region in the southern half of Portugal, between Vidigueira and Cuba. The estate is 100 hectares, 60 of which are planted to vines. Alentejo is sparsely populated and, in contrast to the rest of Portugal, has many large estates. The climate is continental, with hot summers and cold winters. The fairly reliable weather combined with the large plots of available land, helps lead to wines of good quality at affordable prices. Wines from Alentejo are becoming popular as consumers realize the great opportunities available here, and quality is improving exponentially. It’s the new world inside the old world, with highly professional wineries using a scientific approach while respecting their terroir. The Rocim estate was purchased in 2000 by Movicortes group, a Portuguese company that specializes in agricultural machinery but has its roots in farming and vineyards. Catarina Vieira, daughter of the late Jose Ribeiro Vieira, founder of the Movicortes group, has been coordinating the development of the estate. Catarina believes that Alentejo has the unique conditions required to produce world-class wines. With respect for the terrior and the Catarina Vieira. natural resources, Herdade do Rocim produces a freshness and page 4
minerality in its white wines and an elegance and complexity in its reds. In school, Catarina studied Agronomy in Italy and Oenology in Portugal. Her love for nature was instilled in her from a young age. Her grandfather on her mother’s side was a wine producer and merchant at Cortes, and her grandfather on her father’s side was in agriculture and also owned several vineyards in Alentejo. The family has invested greatly in this estate, completely regenerating the vineyards and building a state-of-the-winery. They planted higher quality varietals, including international grapes such as Syrah and Cabernet, and replanted the indigenous and local varietals. They have also recently started to produce olive oil from 90-year-old trees. Catarina and her team strive to create wines that are elegant, complex and strong. She is inspired by her love and respect for her grandparents, her father and her family, her connection with nature, and a true and unwavering passion for wine. Catarina continues to push the limits in what was believed to be possible in Alentejo. The 2015 Herdade de Rocim Touriga Nacional Alentejano is a perfect example of everything the Viera family is working towards, coming together. An insane value, this wine made from the Touriga Nacional grape (often used to make Port dessert wines). It has alluring aromas of blackberry kirsch, white pepper and licorice notes while the palate is dry with dark fruits and spice throughout. You can pair this delicious wine with any food you would pair with a Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon. Your re-order price for this wine as a club member is: $9.99 per bottle.
2015 Lafage Côté Est Côtes Catalanes If you’re a longtime K&L shopper or even a new one, you have probably heard of Domaine Lafage. For the past few years wines from this Domaine have been among our most popular sellers, and there’s nothing to indicate that this will change any time soon. Lafage consistently fashions insanely great wine values on a yearly basis, so you’ll likely continue to see great offerings from them. Jean-Marc and Eliane Lafage farm 160 hectares of vines located just south of the capital of French Catalonia, Perpignan. Some of their vineyards are situated a few kilometers from the Mediterranean, and others are in the foothills of the Pyrenees. This range of sites allows them to make refreshing whites and concentrated reds and, this being the Roussillon, some fortified wines as well. Benefiting from a warm, dry climate, the estate is farmed organically. They grow primarily Grenache (Blanc, Gris and Noir), Jean-Marc and Elaine Lafage at Domaine Lafage. Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Marsanne, Roussanne and Chardonnay. A significant proportion of the vines are well over 50 years old. The soil as you near the coast is weathered, alluvial gravel while in the higher elevation sites it is predominantly schist. They harvest by hand and the winemaking is surprisingly uncomplicated with stainless steel for the fresher whites but mostly concrete tanks for the rest, with some use of French oak demi-muids. The 2015 Domaine Lafage Côté Est Côtes Catalanes is a blend of 50% Grenache Blanc, 30% Chardonnay and 20% Roussane that spent four months in stainless steel tanks on the lees. The resulting wine has pretty floral aromas with a bright, energetic palate that displays citrus, peach and honeyed notes. It has great balance as well as complexity. It is hard to believe this wine is only $9.99! Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate gave it 90 points. Your re-order price for this wine as a club member is: $9.99 per bottle. page 5
Club Italiano Notes by Greg St. Clair, K&L’s Italian wine buyer. 2012 Tormaresca Masseria Maìme Negroamaro Salento Puglia used to be one of Italy’s least known regions, but its hundreds of miles of coastline, turquoise-blue waters, sun-bleached beaches, balmy weather, burgeoning wine culture and low prices all added up to a 2013 Wine Enthusiast magazine award as a Wine Travel Destination. Wine-wise Puglia is rather mysterious, with indigenous varieties adding an extra layer of complexity. Primitivo/ Zinfandel has some obvious recognition, but to most folks, Bombino Nero, Fiano Minutolo, Susamaniello, Uva di Troia, Malvasia Nera and another 20 or so Puglian grapes are just vowel fests. This month we’re going to see one of those more obscure varietals: Negroamaro. The winery of Masseria Maime. The Antinori Family created the Tormaresca label in 1998. It has two main wineries: Bocca di Lupo in the Castel del Monte and the Masseria Maime (think of it as the Maime Manor) along the Adriatic coast in Salento about 20 kilometers south of Brindisi. When I first tasted the 2012 Tormaresca Masseria Maime Negroamaro I was shocked at its elegance. Negroamaro can be a powerfully tannic variety at times; it frequently gets called “rustic.” Negroamaro grown in Salento’s limestone soils can produce wines of elegance if you manage the fermentation properly. The Tormaresca winemaking team fermented the grapes for 18 days using very delicate pump-overs looking for gentle extraction. Then they put the wine into a mix of French and Hungarian oak to age for one year. The nose is full of wild cherry, sage, earth and leather while on the palate you notice it is a structured wine, but elegantly balanced long and spicy. I think this wine is an excellent introduction to the Negroamaro grape. It takes you right to the top! Your re-order price for this wine as a club member is: $24.99 per bottle.
2015 Talosa Rosso di Montepulciano I visited the Fattoria della Talosa winery in September 2015, it was a glorious day and as luck would have it, 2015 turned out to be a stupendous vintage. The winery’s cellars are underneath the Medieval and Renaissance city of Montepulciano. The cellars have a unique history of their own and if you’re ever in town you should visit—it’s quite the tour! The Jacorossi family bought the estate and cellars in 1972 and have been producing good wines ever since. They own 77 hectares and farm their grapes biodynamically. The winery is on the slopes down outside of the city, sitting at about 1100 feet. All of the grapes are hand harvested and fermented at the winery, then transferred for aging to the cellars under the
The cellars of Fattoria della Talosa.
city. The 2015 Talosa Rosso di Montepulciano is absolutely delicious. It is a blend, with 85% being Sangiovese and 15% being a blend of Merlot and Canaiolo. The Sangiovese and Merlot are from the estate’s young vines, but the Canaiolo is from a 35-year-old vineyard. The grapes are fermented first in stainless steel and then transferred to second- and third-passage tonneaux, where they are aged for six to nine months. The 2015 vintage is absolutely spectacular. It is producing high-quality wines all over Italy (in fact most of Europe) and the Talosa Rosso di Montepulciano is no exception. The nose is classic, earth, leather and spice, the hallmark aromatics for Montepulciano wines. In 2015 an extra boost of ripe, wild cherry really accents the nose. On the palate the wine shows classic Sangiovese length and has a textural boost that fleshes out on your tongue. The flavors are bold, with cherry, leather and spice. This isn’t a little wine; it has structure enough to improve over the next five years. Decant this an hour ahead of time and you’ll see the future! Your re-order price for this wine as a club member is: $14.99 per bottle.
Re-order Form As a member of a K&L Wine Club, you have the opportunity to order previous offerings from any of our clubs. The following pages contain a “backlist” of each club. Please note the prices for each wine. The phone number to place orders is 800-247-5987. The order desk is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you have any wine club-related issues, call us at x2766 and we will help you resolve them. We have a voice-mail system, and if we can’t take your call immediately we will return it as soon as possible. In addition, you can email us at [email protected] All wine can be purchased by the single bottle. Prices are shown after each wine listed. Tax (in California) and shipping will be added to each order. For a complete, up-to-date inventory listing, visit us online at: www.klwines.com
Signature Red Club Previous Offerings ____ Bottle(s) 2014 Loring Wine Company “Clos Pepe” Sta Rita Hills Pinot Noir @ $24.99 per bottle. From one of the Central Coast’s most renowned vineyards for world-class Pinot Noir, , this is a beautiful red wine with aromas of strawberries, spice and darker berry fruits. The palate is balanced and nuanced, with berry fruit and spice throughout. The wine has crisp minerality and good structure. This is a serious Pinot Noir that echoes its Burgundian forebears as much as its California roots. 92 points Wine Spectator, 92 points Robert Parker, 92 points Wine Enthusiast.
____ Bottle(s) 2014 Loring Wine Company “Kessler-Haak” Sta Rita Hills Pinot Noir @ $24.99 per bottle. The inaugural release of this wine. Rich, deeply fruited, full-bodied, high-octane California Pinot Noir. Hard to resist, from the first sip. Loaded with dark blackberry, deep raspberry and strawberry notes, this supple, seamless wine is a sexy Pinot Noir that oozes hedonism in all the right ways. If you crave a deep, rich Pinot Noir then look no further.
____ Bottle(s) 2014 Donkey & Goat “Five Thirteen” El Dorado County Red Wine Blend @ $24.99/bottle The 2014 Donkey & Goat is a lovely ruby red color in the glass. The wine slowly unfurls and displays a beautiful nose of young red cherries, white pepper, beef blood and notes of dried herbs. The palate is a delightfully balanced mix of red fruits, tomatoes, spice and earth notes all nicely framed by racy acidity and soft tannins. This is the quintessential food wine and could be paired with lamb, pork, veal or grilled eggplant. It is very elegant and delicate, with a nose and complexity that bring all components together in a very enjoyable package. I would suggest serving page 7
this wine with the slightest chill, at or a bit below cellar temperature. Vinous gave this 92 points.
____ Bottle(s) 2014 Buehler Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon @ $19.99 per bottle The 2014 Buehler Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a large-scale offering that boasts aromas of black fruits, spice, mocha and a hint of baker’s chocolate. The palate is packed with flavors of black cherry, cola, black plums, exotic spice and a touch of milk chocolate on the seamless finish. This is the quintessential California Cabernet Sauvignon. Pair this with rich red meats or other foods that scream for a big Cab.
____ Bottle(s) 2013 Silver Ghost Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon @ $24.99 per bottle This is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon with the remaining 25% a mix of Petit Verdot and Merlot. The grapes are sourced from vineyards in Rutherford, Pope Valley and Calistoga from vines averaging 20 years of age. The wine is aged for 24 months in French oak of which 50% is new. The wine is dark red in color with aromas of black cherry, blueberry and cassis. Flavors include black cherry, blackberry, smoked herbs and coffee notes. The wine has phenomenal purity and an opulent texture, with well-integrated tannins and oak accents. This is a sleek, lush wine, hard to resist. Pair this marvel with a New York steak and you will not be disappointed!
____ Bottle(s) 2013 Carpe Diem Anderson Valley Pinot Noir @ $24.99 per bottle The 2013 Carpe Diem Anderson Valley Pinot Noir comes entirely from vineyards in Anderson Valley and is aged for nine months in barrel. The wine has a relatively low alcohol level of 13.7% which plays into the bright, zippy palate of cherries, strawberries and exotic spice notes. The beautiful fruit shows great delineation and complexity while the wine feels energetic and lively on the palate. This wine will pair well with roast chicken and fresh salmon.
____ Bottle(s) 2013 Elvio Cogno Barbera “Bricco Merli” d’Alba @ $24.99 per bottle This is a fascinating red wine. It has spice, leather and scorched-earth aromas with fresh berry notes. The palate is loaded with black cherry, plum and roasted meat flavors. The acidity is there as are tannins which give the wine energy and body. All of these contribute to making this a great food wine. Because of their relatively high acidity, most Italian red wines (this one included) magically open up and soften when they are paired with food. Pair this with grilled meats, flatbread pizza or a pasta dish with a red sauce. Wine Enthusiast and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate both gave this 90 points, and James Suckling gave it 91 points.
____ Bottle(s) 2013 Mas d’En Compte Red Priorat, Spain @ $24.99 per bottle A blend of Garnatxa Negra, Carinyena and Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 14 months in 30% new French oak and 70% in foudres. Packed with dark berry and dark cherry fruit and chocolate notes, this rich, full-bodied red gives California Cabernet Sauvignon a run for its money. Pair this beauty with rich red meats or charcuterie, or just enjoy it on its own.
____ Bottle(s) 2013 Mas Alta Artigas Priorat @ $24.99 per bottle The 2012 Mas Alta Artigas Priorat had a 94-point score from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and a 91-point score from Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar so not only was it more expensive; it also sold out very, very quickly. With this wine, the 2013 Mas Alta Artigas Priorat, we had the advantage of making the deal before the press had come out. The wine offers gorgeous aromas of licorice, smoke, and black fruits while on the palate it reveals a deep core of blackcurrant, black raspberry and lavender with great purity, sweet tannin and surprising minerality. This wine is an outstanding deal. Pair this stunner with rich red meats or hearty pasta with red sauce.
____ Bottle(s) 2012 Domaine de Fontbonau Côtes-du-Rhône @ SPECIAL PRICE $19.99 per bottle In many ways the Domaine Fontbonau Côtes du Rhône is more like a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, thanks to the age of the vines and the vinification process. The wine is full-bodied and rich, with deep fruit flavors such as blackberry and plum with spice and subtle hints of oak and minerals. The wine is layered and complex with a long, smooth finish that lingers on the palate for a long, long time. Pair this lovely wine with grilled pork chops, lamb chops or roast chicken.
Premium Wine Club Previous Offerings ____ Bottle(s) 2014 La Chablisienne “La Sereine” Chablis @ $14.99 per bottle This 2014 La Chablisienne “La Sereine” Chablis represented the greatest value of all the wines we tasted on our visit to this excellent co-operative. Loaded with pretty melon notes along with citrus and wet stone accents, this page 8
energetic and bright offering showcases the beautiful 2014 White Burgundy vintage where everything seems to be in perfect harmony. Fruit, acid, oak, tannins and sugars all meld together to create a seamless and perfectly balanced Chablis that can pair perfectly with fish, green salads or cheeses, or be enjoyed as an apéritif.
____ Bottle(s) 2013 Yves Duport “Origin’L Reserve” Bugey Brut RD @ $14.99 per bottle This is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Aligoté coming from Yves Duport’s certified organic vineyards, which are planted on primarily limestone soils. It spent almost three years on the lees and was disgorged just a few months ago for our Club members. Not quite Champagne but real close, the wine has a wonderful mousse and a decisive mid-palate. Golden apples and Anjou pears, a touch of ginger and some nutmeg spices emerge on the nose. The wine finishes clean and crisp with a hint of chalky minerality. A wonderful apéritif, it is extremely food friendly as well. When I’m looking to up my game from a basic sparkler but still don’t want to spend Champagne money, this is my go-to wine. —Keith Mabry, K&L Rhône & Regional French wine buyer
____ Bottle(s) 2015 Benoit Badoz Chardonnay Côtes Jura @ $15.99 per bottle The 2015 Benoit Badoz Chardonnay is similar to a Mâcon-Villages with notes of Anjou pear, Meyer lemon rind and jasmine petals. It is sleek and inviting, with supple and mineral-driven undertones. This wine would be great with assorted seafood dishes. My own preference leans toward smoked salmon or herb-crusted grilled shrimp. Even better, serve it with a hunk of Comté cheese. I would choose a Comté that’s been aged for 12 to 15 months. Whatever you do, delight in the fact that you are tasting a beautiful Chardonnay from one of the most interesting emerging regions of France. —Keith Mabry, K&L buyer of Rhône and French Regional wines
____ Bottle(s) 2014 Conundrum “25th Anniversary” California White @ $14.99 per bottle This is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscat Canelli and Viognier sourced from Napa, Monterey, Santa Barbara, San Benito and Tulare counties. Yes, a fascinating wine! Wild aromas of peach, jasmine and lemon curd spring from the glass while on the palate the wine displays flavors of apricot, pear, citrus and lemon meringue pie. A touch of oak adds spice and structure while the pretty acidity and racy minerality nicely mingle with a tinge of sweetness. A perfect foil for spicy Asian cuisine and sushi, this pleasing white can be enjoyed with roast chicken as well. Wine Spectator gave it 90 points.
____ Bottle(s) 2013 Capcanes “Costers del Gravet” Montsant Spain @ $14.99 per bottle The 2013 Capcanes “Costers del Gravet” Montsant is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Garnacha and 20% Carignan aged for 12 months in French oak barrels. The wine is a dark ruby red in the glass with aromas of mocha, licorice and cranberry. On the palate the wine displays flavors of cherry cola, black cherry, spice and crushed flowers with firm tannins and good acidity. This is a delicious wine. I would pair this stunner with flatbread pizza, grilled chicken or a nice cut of dry-aged beef.
____ Bottle(s) 2014 Herencia Altes “Benufet” Garnacha Blanca Spain @ $14.99 per bottle The Spanish wine industry has a lot going for it right now. The wines are very affordable for the quality you get— that’s obviously the most important thing. But along with incredible value there’s an amazing amount of diversity across white, red and sparkling wine varietals. Wineries have incredibly old vines planted as well as young vines, and make wines at every price level. So as you drink more Spanish wines at the affordable level, if you’re intrigued you can then trade up to pricier, higher quality wines. A great mid-tier offering is this 2014 Herencia Altes “Benufet” Granacha Blanca, a step up from the entry-level offerings of Garnacha Blanca. This is 95% Garnatxa Blanca (the Catalonian name for the grape) with 5% Viognier. The wine has aromas of white flower and honeysuckle with a fresh, bright and zippy palate of honeydew melon, Asian pear, white flowers and jasmine. Great with fresh fruit, salads or seafood, this offers a delightful alternative for anyone who’s feeling bored with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
____ Bottle(s) 2015 Rafael Palacios “Bolo” Galicia Spain @ $14.99 per bottle A beautiful white wine. The vines are 10 to 40 years of age and the vineyard is farmed organically. Aromas are of white flowers, wet stone and hints of citrus while the palate is a complex unfolding tapestry of citrus, lychee, spice, minerals and hints of iodine. This layered wine has great energy and verve, and a depth rarely seen from a Godellobased wine. Pair this with shellfish, seafood or a burrata and tomato salad.
____ Bottle(s) 2012 Arnaldo Caprai Montefalco Rosso @ $14.99 per bottle The 2012 Arnaldo Caprai Montefalco Rosso is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sangrantino and 15% Merlot aged for 12 months in 70% Slavonian oak barrels and 30% French oak barriques. The wine has dried berry aromas, hints page 9
of black licorice and spice notes mingled with chewy tannins and graphite and berry flavors. Long, rich and fullbodied, this is perfect with barbecue, rich stews and chicken molé. James Suckling gave this wine 91 points.
____ Bottle(s) 2014 Emmolo Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc @ $14.99 per bottle. The 2014 Emmolo Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from two family vineyards, Rutherford and Oak Knoll. The fruit from Rutherford vineyard helps to provide fresh citrus characteristics while the Oak Knoll provides crisp minerality. The grapes are lightly pressed and then fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in both stainless steel and older French oak barrels. The resulting wine has fresh floral aromas with hints of citrus and a touch of salinity while the palate displays beautiful grapefruit, tangerine, and honeysuckle notes with bright acidity and hints of wet stone. This is a great Sauvignon Blanc. Pair this beauty with sea bass, fresh salmon or a zippy salad.
Best Buy Wine Club Previous Offerings ____ Bottle(s) 2014 Comte Louis de Clermont-Tonnerre (Alain Corcia) Ventoux Vieilles Vignes @ $9.99 per bottle Négociant Alain Corcia is very hands-on. He makes each wine in its home region and chooses not to blend across appellations, the better to reflect each wine’s terroir. Ventoux has much in common with Côtes du Rhônes but isn’t as famous, so the prices are mostly much lower. This new 2014 is loaded with zesty red fruit flavors of strawberry and cherry. The Ventoux has a medium-plus body with zesty acidity that makes it an ideal wine for food pairing. The complex nose is loaded with tons of spice notes and great aromas of pipe tobacco and garrigue. In cooler weather, nice hearty dishes of braised beef, Texas chili or pork en verde would pair really well. Or, throw some burgers on the grill and go to town.—Keith Mabry, K&L Rhône & Regional French wine buyer
____ Bottle(s) 2014 La Chablisienne Bourgogne Chardonnay @ $9.99 per bottle The 2014 La Chablisienne Bourgogne Chardonnay blew me away. It was all there: minerality, fruit and acidity, in perfect harmony and balance. It starts off with a subtle whiff of wet stone and iodine, then slowly opens up to lemon curd and hints of zesty green fruits. Zippy acidity and subtle tannin notes lead to a fresh, bright finish. A classic white with pretty citrus notes and minerality, this drinks so easily. You can pair it with almost all type of food requiring a crisp, clean white wine.
____ Bottle(s) 2014 Grand Bateau Red, Bordeaux @ $9.99 per bottle The 2014 Grand Bateau Rouge oozes red berry fruit, subtle spice notes with hints of mocha and baker’s chocolate, all nicely melded in a seamless package. A great introduction to Bordeaux, this great little red can pair with simple food such as pizza, or with grilled or broiled red meats.
____ Bottle(s) 2014 Château Fontana Bordeaux @ $9.99 per bottle The 2014 Château Fontana Bordeaux is a delicious little Bordeaux made from 60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc from vineyards in Gensac, in the heart of the highest slopes of the Gironde, 15 kilometers from St. Emilion. It is a rich and hearty red with aromas of milk chocolate, spice and red fruits. On the palate the wine displays black fruits and spice notes with a long, silky mocha-tinged finish. A killer value, this ist surpasses most house reds in the same price range.
____ Bottle(s) 2014 Kalinda Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay @ $9.99 per bottle The 2014 Kalinda Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay is a soft yellow color in the glass with aromas of dry hay, sweet lemon and floral notes. The palate is perfectly balanced with pear, apple and hazelnut flavors nicely mingled against good acidity and firm tannins. Excellent structure and great length along with just the right touch of oak make this a great daily drinker and an incredibly versatile wine that can be enjoyed as an apéritif or with food.
____ Bottle(s) 2014 Prieuré Saint Hippolyte Languedoc Rouge @ SPECIAL PRICE $8.99 per bottle This small, relatively unknown area of the Languedoc is mostly known for Rosé. Ninety-five percent of the wine made in Fontès is Rosé. If some of the best Rosé comes from this area’s Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre or Cinsault (all Rhône varietals) then it stands to reason that those grapes must also provide the raw material to make pretty damn good red wine. That is exactly what the people at Prieuré Saint Hippolyte knew. We have absolutely loved their Rosé—it has been our biggest selling Rosé for the last few years—and this red is equally good. The 2014 Prieuré Saint Hippolyte Languedoc Rouge is a blend of 75% Syrah and 25% Grenache with aromas of freshly picked blackberries, wild black plums and spicy black pepper notes. The palate is a nice medley of blackberry, plum, and Asian spice notes all framed against supple tannins and racy acidity. There is a touch of minerality on the palate. The page 10
finish is smooth and lingering with a nice snap on the end. I think this 2014 is a step ahead of the 2013. Pair this with lamb, pork or a nice flank steak fresh from the grill. —Clyde Beffa
____ Bottle(s) Red 7 Non-Vintage Proprietary Red North Coast @ $9.99 per bottle This is a blend of multiple vintages. It is 58% Pinot Noir, 18% Barbera, 12% Syrah, 5% Zinfandel, 4% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Sirah. It’s reminiscent of many old-style field blends. Aromas of red raspberry, cherry, lavender and spice spring from the glass. The juicy palate displays red cherry, blackberry and spice flavors with a silky smooth finish. This delicious red wine can pair marvelously with your typical backyard barbecue and picnic fare.
____ Bottle(s) 2014 Firestone Vineyards Santa Ynez Riesling @ $9.99 per bottle This is 85% Riesling with 15% Gewürztraminer blended in. It has a low alcohol level, 12.5%. This juicy, tasty white has aromas of jasmine and honey with flavors of citrus, peach, mandarin orange and wet stone. Zippy and bright with ever so slight a tinge of sweetness, this white is perfect for enjoying on the deck, with a plate of cheeses and meats or on its own when you just want an easy, quaffable white wine.
____ Bottle(s) 2013 Sostener Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir @ $9.99 per bottle This wine, made by Eric Laumann, is a huge success. Loaded with cherry fruit and strawberry accents, it’s a delicious, easy-drinking, affordable Pinot Noir that can easily become your go-to everyday drinker. With excellent balance, soft tannins and pretty fruit throughout this wine can pair nicely with grilled salmon or roast chicken.
Club Italiano Previous Offerings
Notes by Greg St. Clair, K&L’s Italian wine buyer.
____ Bottle(s) 2013 Garlider Gruner Veltliner @ $17.99 per bottle Christian Kerschbaumer’s Garlider Estate is in Feldthurns,in the Isarco river valley. He is a “Biologic” producer. It is a natural process and he wants the vines and the soil to do the talking. In his wines you really can feel the sun shining on the vines, and the stones giving a distinct character. This Grüner Veltliner is amazing. The aromas burst from the glass, full of white pepper and hints of alpine flowers. On the palate the wine has a density and weight, and supple richness that warms your mouth. The finish is stunning, powerful and long. This wine can easily age another six to eight years but it is so tasty now it’s hard to imagine waiting. Grüner Veltliner is one of the most versatile wines. It can accompany fish, poultry, pasta, pork or veal. This wine has a vino-lock, a glass plug in the end, my favorite closure. Don’t use a corkscrew!
2013 Prunotto Barbera d’Alba “Pian Romualdo” @ $21.99 per bottle The 2013 Prunotto Barbera d’Alba “Piano Romualdo” comes from the commune Monforte d’Alba, which is littered with the most famous of Barolo vineyards. The wine is 100% Barbera and aged in traditional Slavonian oak barrels of 77 hectoliters. (That’s a big barrel. The standard wine barrels of Napa or Bordeaux are called barriques. You could fit the contents of over 34 barriques into one 77-hectoliter barrel.) The Pian Romualdo is aged for one year in wood and is then bottled. The results are a classic expression of Barbera. The nose has hints of woodsy aromatics, dried flowers and bits of spice. On the palate the wine is long and elegant, with a good rich center showing layers of dark fruit. A persistent and vibrant finish makes this wine an ideal accompaniment to hearty pasta dishes or hard cheeses.
____ Bottle(s) 2011 Ferrero Brunello di Montalcino @ $29.99 per bottle The 2011 Ferrero Brunello gets stainless steel, temperature-controlled fermentation and is then aged for two years in large barrels. The barrels are 30 hectoliters and 21 hectoliters, made from French Allier oak. The wine ages in the bottle for another two years before release. The 2011 vintage finished with a hot flash: A Scirocco (hot, dry wind) blew out of Africa and ripened the grapes rapidly in the last phases of development. The wine is richly textured yet still fresh and balanced. It is a wonderful wine to drink right now. Try it with a steak off the grill!
____ Bottle(s) 2013 Ca’Viola Barbera d’Alba Brichet @ $16.99 per bottle This 2013 Ca’Viola Barbera d’Alba Brichet is classic Barbera. The nose is full of spice, leather and brambly fruit. On the palate the wine has a crunchy cranberry-like flavor, an archetypal acidic structure that leads to lots of earth, spice and a bit of grip in the finish. An ideal wine for rich pasta dishes or roasted chicken.
____ Bottle(s) 2009 Vie Cave Malbec @ $24.99 per bottle This is one of the few examples of Malbec in Italy, and is perhaps more reflective of Argentinian Malbec than French. Its full, fruit-driven aromas burst from your glass. On the palate the tannin structure is completely balanced, page 11
and the wine shows a long finish. A perfect accompaniment to grilled meats, or pasta with meat-laden sauce.
____ Bottle(s) 2008 Fattoria Rodano Monna Claudia @ $26.99 per bottle A Super Tuscan blend of 50% Sangiovese aged in traditional large Slavonian oak barrels for two years, and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in French barrique for two years. The result is a powerful, structured wine with lots of earth, spice, plummy fruit and length. I would heartily recommend decanting this wine an hour or two before you wish to drink it. The results are amazing!
____ Bottle(s) 2012 Arnaldo Caprai Montefalco Rosso @ $14.99 per bottle The 2012 Arnaldo Caprai Montefalco Rosso is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sangrantino and 15% Merlot aged for 12 months in 70% Slavonian oak barrels and 30% French oak barriques. The wine has dried berry aromas, hints of black licorice and spice notes mingled with chewy tannins and graphite and berry flavors. Long, rich and fullbodied, this is perfect with barbecue, rich stews and chicken molé. James Suckling gave this wine 91 points.
Champagne Club Previous Offerings
Notes by Gary Westby, K&L’s Champagne Buyer.
Charles Ellner “Premier Cru” Brut Champagne @ $34.99 per bottle From Epernay we have the Charles Ellner “Premier Cru” Brut Champagne which is sourced exclusively from estate vineyards in the 1er Cru villages of Dizy, Rilly le Montagne, Sermiers and Champillon. All of these sites are between Epernay and Reims, in the grand valley of the Marne or the petite mountain of Reims. This Champagne is composed of 70% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir, does not go through malolactic fermentation and is aged for six long years on the lees in the Ellner property’s two miles of cellars. The base wine is 2008, and about 20% reserve wines are added to the blend. This has the toasty quality and fine bead that one would expect for a Champagne aged for this long, but is also very vivacious and fresh.
Drappier “Carte Blanche” Brut Champagne $34.99 per bottle From the tiny village of Urville, in the middle of the Aube department. The Drappier family have been growing grapes in the Aube since 1808, and are the most influential and important house in this large sub-region of Champagne. Along with our team in Los Angeles, I tasted this wine blind in a lineup of potential candidates for K&L purchase. This cuvee won out handily against its competition. This Champagne is 75% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay and 5% Meunier and is aged in their 12th century cellars in Urville for over three years on the lees. This has the dark fruit power that one would expect from such a large percentage of Pinot Noir, but it was its elegant texture and effortless, detailed finish that made it shine above all the rest in our blind tasting. This too is an ideal apéritif Champagne. A toast to you! —Gary Westby
____ Bottle(s) 2009 Egrot Brut Grand Cru Champagne @ $34.99 per bottle This 100% Ay Grand Cru Champagne is composed of two-thirds Pinot Noir and one third Chardonnay, all from her estate. The village of Ay is renowned for the powerful Pinot Noir that comes from its pure chalk, precipitously steep south-facing slopes. Although this Champagne has no dosage whatsoever, it is still full and rich due to the exposure of the vineyards and the ripe 2009 vintage. It has a great nose of baguette toast, cream and some of that famous Ay chalk. The finish is long, clean and very dry, but not too strict.
____ Bottle(s) Jean-Jacques Lamoureux Brut Rosé Champagne @ $34.99 per bottle This is 100% Pinot Noir. All of the skins are kept in contact with all of the juice for about two days for maximum color and flavor. A full-bodied Rosé, perfect for a first course of smoked salmon, or a main course of grilled salmon.
____ Bottle(s) 2008 Michel Loriot Apollonis Vintage Extra Brut @ $34.99 per bottle Composed of 60% Meunier and 40% Chardonnay and aged for over six years on the lees. The nutty, subtle toast and shimmering minerality of this great bottle made a perfect pairing with sashimi. Having tasted the Loriot wines back to 1959, I highly recommend cellaring as many bottles of this as you can for the future, if you like it today!