This month, I want to tell you about Buehler Vineyards. I’ve written about them before and continue to enjoy the quality of wine being produced from the winery. Located 6 miles east of St. Helena above Conn Valley, the Buehler estate is 300 total acres with 65 under vine. The Buehler Family, along with wine maker David Cronin, continues to produce high quality, balanced wines at reasonable prices. Tours at the beautiful estate are by appointment only. Call (707) 963-2155. The following wines are now available at K&L: 2002 Buehler Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($29.99) The grapes are a combination of hillside fruit with grapes from the valley floor. The wine sees 18 months in oak, 20 % new, which adds just a taste of vanilla. A very rich and full bodied wine with great balance. It is approachable now, but I would recommend 2-3 years of aging. 2003 Buehler Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($21.99) This wine is ready to pop and pour. Full of bright black fruit and soft tannins, this wine sees 18 months of oak as well. 2003 Buehler Chardonnay ($9.99) A crisp, balanced wine with a nice creamy mouth feel, hints of mineral and floral on the nose with just enough acidity to make it great. This is the glass you want at the end of a hard day at work. See you in the City… —Mike Jordan
The 2002 Flora Springs Napa “Trilogy” ($49.99) is another winner in a long line of top California Bordeaux blends. The 2002 Trilogy is comprised of 50% cabernet sauvignon, 29% merlot, 13% cabernet franc, 4% malbec and 4% petit verdot. The majority of the fruit used in this wine comes from the Komes Ranch Estate vineyards, which surround the winery in Rutherford. The wine is vibrant, rich and dark. Flavors of red currants, blackberries and mocha are followed a full, lush and well-structured finish. A few more years in the bottle will help to round out the ripe, firm tannins. The 2002 Cabernets continue to impress us. The 2002 Vine Cliff Napa Cabernet Sauivignon ($34.99) is a blend of 86% cabernet sauvignon, 10% cabernet franc and 4% petite verdot. This wine really shows the fleshy, ripe fruit that is typical of many great 2002s. Hints of mocha, ripe cherry and black currants jump from the glass! Switching gears to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Taz Vineyards is a winery to watch. The 2004 Taz Santa Barbara Chardonnay ($12.99) is a well focused, rich-fruit driven wine. Eighty percent of this wine comes from a southwest-facing slope on the inland side of the Cat Canyon Vineyard in Los Alamos. Their current Pinot Noir is the 2003 Taz Santa Barbara Pinot Noir ($17.99). In blending this 2003 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir, the folks at Taz pulled together fruit from Santa Maria Valley and the Santa Rita Hills—two very different sites with contrasting signatures. The final product shows a blackberry burst in the wine with cola spice and juicy jammy berry notes, supported by a balancing act of tannins and structure. Another value in Santa Barbara Pinot Noir would be the 2004 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara Pinot Noir ($17.99). This wine is just easy to drink. Whether with fresh grilled salmon or left-over roast chicken or just in a glass by itself, the pretty plum and spring strawberry flavors of ABC’s Santa Barbara Pinot are simply delicious. —Trey Beffa
I can’t believe I haven’t written about Terra Valentine yet, considering how great these wines are and how much the entire Redwood City staff loves them. It’s been over a year since I desperately asked Trey if we could carry the 2001s and now with the rip-roaringly good 2002s just released, it’s a perfect time to introduce them now, and not just because it’s February! Terra Valentine is a family-owned, small-production winery that sits deep and high inside the spectacular Spring Mountain Appellation, truly one of the best regions for growing Cabernet in all of Napa Valley. Eighteen hundred feet above the drums of the winery divas below, this extraordinary 14-year-old, 35-acre vineyard produces wines of profound character and intensity, displaying amazing personality and a chiseled, age-worthy structure. The true masterpiece, however, is owner Angus Wurtele’s choice to price these stunners at absurdly reasonable levels. For such magnificent quality, you can easily pay a lot more (and trust me, you mostly do!). In fact, I performed a little experiment a couple weeks ago when I had glass of 2002 Terra Valentine Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon ($26.99) next to that of an ultra-prestigious winery whose focus one might say is its famous white label. There I was, sitting on the patio sipping Terra Valentine next to a $100+ dollar bottle thinking to myself, “In all fairness I can’t say that T.V. is better (or worse) than this luxury brand next to it. Wow!” The kicker was that it had all the depth and elegance of greatness, but none of the price tag. As if that wasn’t enough, the 2001 Terra Valentine “Wurtele Vineyard” Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($44.99) is something else!! Winemaker Sam Baxter selects fruit from two exceptional, volcanic-soil blocks within this killer vineyard to make a truly special wine that turns up the muscle and concentration, demonstrating astonishing fruit and refinement that’ll make your mind salivate. I’m going to be blunt about this. There is no California Cabernet under $50 that will make it flinch. Not one. If you find one, you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me, because I want to buy it. Enjoy! —Martin Reyes
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