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2000 Labégorce, Margaux $39.99

A great value in Bordeaux! This bottle is mature enough to drink now, but has time in hand if you want to keep it in the cellar for the future. We love it for its laid back elegance and classic balance. A must try for your next nice steak dinner.

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Entries in Santa Barbara County (3)

Wednesday
Mar132013

Behind the Wine: Ernst Storm & Storm Wines

Winemaker Ernst Storm in a scene from the film STORM by Daniel Addelson which premiered this week online on Uncorked.

South African transplant to California's Central Coast, Ernst Storm handcrafts small amounts of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in a style that combines old world sensibilities with new world technique. We were really impressed when we tasted recent releases from his own label, Storm, in our Los Angeles store and believe this talented young winemaker's star is only just beginning to rise. So, when filmmaker (and K&L customer) Daniel Addelson approached us about hosting the official online premiere of his film 'Storm' based on Ernst's life and passion as a winemaker, we were honored to oblige. You can watch the film here and read on to go behind the scenes in our winemaker interview with Ernst, below.

Behind the Wine: Meet Winemaker Ernst Storm

K&L: Please tell us a little about your background. Where are you from and how did you end up in the wine business in Santa Barbara County?  

ES:  I grew up in South Africa and spent the last of my teenage years in a town called Hermanus which is in the Western Cape. Known as the appellation of Walker Bay, this region has a cool maritime climate where Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay ripen perfectly.

This small production Sauvignon Blanc is balanced and refreshing, a great value at $17.99. It "pairs really well with a summer afternoon in the sun overlooking the ocean eating butter lettuce, shallots, and avocado salad with a light lemon vinaigrette dressing," suggests Storm, but is also lovely on its own. Try a bottle tonight! Better act fast, supply is limited.After graduation, I spent a year working in Britain and Europe trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. In the back of my mind, I knew that I wanted to find a way to be creative and work with nature. My brother, Hannes, was studying wine at the time and it just felt right to pursue winemaking. I completed my studies at the Elsenburg Agricultural School outside the town of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape. After completing the third year, I worked as winemaker at a winery called Amani in South Africa under the guidance of Rod Easthope, a New Zealand winemaker. I also consulted on a few small projects with my brother, who is the winemaker at Hamilton Russell Vineyards in the Walker Bay Appellation.

I  wanted to experience a Northern Hemisphere harvest and took a job in the Sierra Foothills. I spent two years working in this warmer climate—learning a lot about how to deal with higher pH wines and how to keep these wines stable. Having come from a cool climate region, I longed to make more balanced wines from Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. I went searching again. After visiting Santa Barabara County and having lunch with Jim Clendenen, I fell in love with the area. The Mediterranean climate shared many similarities with that of the Western Cape. I worked at Firestone for three years, which proved to be a great learning experience. At Firestone I worked with bigger lots and did plenty of experimentation with Sauvignon Blanc and other varietals. After several years, I became involved in the winemaking at Curtis Winery, where the focus is Rhone Varietals. I have been with them since 2008.

Where do you make wine and how many different wines do you make?

At Curtis Winery I work with fruit grown on the Estate at the North-Western end of the Santa Ynez Valley AVA. The focus is Estate driven Rhone varietal wines that include Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, Viognier, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. We also do a Red, White and Rose blend of these varietals that are very accessible and food friendly. Soon we will be adding Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay from our Estate.

Under my label Storm, I produced only Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc with the focus on wines that have personality of both vintage and site.  For the 2012 vintage I will have two Pinots and two Sauvignon Blancs in bottle.

What wines, experiences, or individuals helped influence this philosophy?

I think South African winemakers were more influenced by European winemaking at the time. Growing up in the Walker Bay area and drinking a lot more balanced delicate wines made me realise that those were the type of wines I wanted to make. Working in different regions and being exposed to different climates and ideas helped me formulate a philosophy.  Finding vineyards where you can pick fruit for each varietal at a point where flavours, tannin ripeness and acids are all in balance at a decent potential alcohol was and is still important.

I will lie if I say great Burgundian wines have not had a big influence on my stylistic approach.  Wines that tell a story and are able to evolve has always been the focal point.  Working in Santa Barbara County it is possible to not only do this with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but also Sauvignon Blanc and Rhone Varietals if it grown in the right spot and picked at the right time.   

Grapes at harvest, a scene from the film Storm by Daniel Addelson. Describe the vineyards you work with to make the wines under your own label, Storm Wines.  How involved are you in the viticultural side of the production process?

For my Santa Ynez Valley Sauvignon Blanc the vineyards were chosen to represent four different corners of the Valley, each with a distinct climate and soil. Each vineyard brings a different element to the blend, which at the end broadens the spectrum of the wine and is a good representation of Santa Ynez Valley. 

My Santa Maria Pinot Noir comes from Presqu’ile Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley. This is a newer planting with naturally low yielding vines planted on well drained soils. This makes farming easy and little intervention is needed. I get a lot more involved closer to harvest to dial in yields and watering. This vineyard is showing early on that it has great potential to make very site specific wines that speak volumes of the climate and soils. Tasting the 2012 out of barrels I know it is Presqu’ile and Santa Maria. It is red fruit driven with lots of spice and texture.

My Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir at John Sebastiano Vineyard is planted in two blocks. Dialing in the yield is a little more challenging here and we work hard to get it just right. The fruit from this vineyard is darker and more powerful, so making the right picking decision is crucial.

Eighty percent of my fruit is farmed by the same farming company, which make it easy. They have a good understanding of what the needs are and the style of wines I make. We dial yields, leaf removal and watering in keeping the final wine in mind. All the vineyards are farmed sustainably and I have a lot of trust in my growers. I work with the same rows and blocks every year which keep things consistent.

"I used to be obsessed with finding flavours and certain nuances in wine," Storm explains. "Dissecting it, braking it down to all its parts. Looking for faults. As I grew, I learnt to look more for texture and harmony. This has helped me to make decisions in the vineyard and the winery with the final wine in mind."(Image courtesy of Daniel Addelson)

How dramatic is vintage variation in Santa Barbara? How was 2012 compared to 2011, 2010?

Being a little further South it feels like we miss some of the rain that can sometimes hit during harvest in areas like Sonoma and Napa. So we are lucky in that regard. Compared to other regions outside of California we do have it pretty good.  But things have changed in recent years. We have seen frost, heat spikes and cool weather at the end of harvest which have made things a little more challenging though. So, whether this is climate change or just a cycle, it has definitely forced  people to scramble and go outside of their comfort zone.

In my opinion  2012 was perfect for the folks that are into making more restrained balanced wines. We had moderately warm days, little rain and never did the night temperature go very  high. The resulting fruit had great balance and ripe flavours at lower sugars.  It was a perfect year for balance and finesse. Compared to 2011 where  yields were reduced due to frost and heat spikes that lasted for five days it was a dream. In 2010 we also saw some heat spikes early on  that effected the early ripening varietals like Pinot.

What do the terms “old world” and “new world” mean to you in terms of winemaking practices and style?  Where do think your wines fit into the spectrum?

When trying to make Pinot Noir in a style that is pure and more delicate it is important to embrace as many old World techniques as possible. Letting the fruit speak without adding water, filtration, fining or manipulation is key to portraying vintage and site. I try to keep things simple without cosmetics when it comes to making red wines.

With white wine a combination of Old and New World techniques works really well in order to make the wines I want to make. When combining the right yeast choice, fermentation temperature  and lees interaction you can achieve both freshness and texture. I think it is important to constantly be searching for a balance between the two.

How do you think your palate has evolved over the years? How do you think that has influenced your winemaking?

I used to be obsessed with finding flavours and certain nuances in wine. Dissecting it, braking it down to all its parts. Looking for faults. As I grew, I learnt to look more for texture and harmony. This has helped me to make decisions in the vineyard and the winery with the final wine in mind.  

What are your thoughts on food and wine pairing? Do you have any favourite or recommended pairings with your wines?

Pairing should always start with your personal preferences as to wine and food. Once you start playing around in the kitchen trying to match the texture and the richness of your wine with dishes you love,  it becomes a fun experience.

My Sauvignon Blanc pairs really well with a summer afternoon in the sun overlooking the ocean eating butter lettuce, shallots, and avocado salad with a light lemon vinaigrette dressing.  Food or no food…

I like pairing the 2009 Pinot Noir to duck because of the gaminess. I think there is something similar in both the wine and the duck that come together seamlessly.

With some of the richer Rhone wines there is nothing like making a big red oak fire and grilling up a tri-tip and keeping it simple with rustic flavours.  The surrounding environment, the fire, the people has just as much to do with how everything is going to come together.

"It is no secret that most critics like riper, more extracted, softer wines with less acid," Storm points out. "If you put yourself out there you have to be able to take criticism, it is just part of the game. I try to remind myself that it is one person's opinion. The important thing is to stay true to yourself and not to follow trends when making wine. Searching for likeminded critics, wine buyers and customers on the street is very important to keep focus." (Image courtesy of Daniel Addelson)

What do you project for upcoming vintages in comparison to the past? Any changes or new developments on the horizon?

Well, it seems like mother nature has changed things up on us in the last decade. So whether this is Global Warming or just a cycle we are going through, only the future will tell. I try to take each vintage as it comes, making the best of the weather, yields etc. 

It seems like the average consumer is getting more educated, which means they are starting to explore and develop their own personal preferences more. They are starting to really get into the story behind the wine, not only what they taste and smell. As winery owners it will be important to tie this all in and to make wines that really represent the story.

In each region there are a growing number of growers and winemakers that are returning to the simple, trying to make more personality driven wines from carefully chosen sites.  Here in Santa Barbara County things have changed a lot in the last five years with new and exciting  projects coming up giving certain varietals and sites exposure. I think this will continue to happen with varietals like Chenin Blanc and other lesser known varietals getting into the limelight. Old planting that were neglected are getting love and the potential is being exploited.

Is there a style of wine that you think appeals to critics that might not represent your favorite style? How do you handle this?

It is no secret that most critics like riper, more extracted, softer wines with less acid.  If you put yourself out there you have to be able to take criticism, it is just part of the game. I try to remind myself that it is one person's opinion. The important thing is to stay true to yourself and not to follow trends when making wine. Searching for likeminded critics, wine buyers and customers on the street is very important to keep focus.

What do you drink when you are not drinking your own wine?

I enjoy drinking wines made by my friends, where I know the story and methodology behind them.  Burgundy is also high on the list with South African wines from the cooler regions. I definitely go through phases where I buy a case or two of something and drink just that for weeks, then switch to something else.

Do you collect wine? If so, what’s in your cellar?

I buy I fair amount of wine, but most of it doesn't sit around too long. There are a few bottles of Burgundy and some local Pinots stashed away though. 

What do you see as some of the biggest challenges facing the local Santa Barbara and greater California wine industry today?

With more and more brands popping up locally there is more competition out there. That and the fact that consumers and wine buyers have the option of buying really good imported wines at great prices only make it harder to sell wine and make your margins. Staying on top of your marketing and aligning your brand with the right brokers and distributors is getting more and more important in the industry today.

Related Links

STORM by Daniel Addelson will be screening in the 2013 Sonoma Film Festival. Click to watch the online premiere now on Uncorked!Shop Storm Wines on KLWines.com

Check out other K&L Top Picks from the Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez Regions

Visit Storm Wines Website

 

 

Tuesday
Mar122013

STORM ~ Exclusive Online Film Premiere Today on Uncorked!

Welcome to the Online Premiere of STORM 

K&L is excited to host the official online premiere of Storm, a film about winemaker Ernst Storm made by Daniel Addelson. This film will be screening in the upcoming 16th Annual Sonoma International Film Festival, taking place April 10-14 in venues all over the town of Sonoma. We love the quaint charm and culinary delights of this historic wine country town, and while we can't think of a better destination for wine-loving film fans to support the arts while enjoying great wine and food, we know not everyone can make it to every festival...so we brought the film and wine to you. Cheers!

 

Storm is a look into the life of winemaker, Ernst Storm. It is an intimate portrait not only of the winemaking process and the beautiful landscapes of wine country, but more importantly it is an exploration of personal passion and what it means to pursue a fulfilling existence. Speaking poetically and candidly, Ernst shares his fears, his successes, and his musings on the balance of nature and artistic expression.

-Daniel Addelson, Filmmaker

2011 Ernst Storm Sauvignon Blanc ($17.99) 

K&L Notes: South African transplant to California's Central Coast, Ernst Storm handcrafts small amounts of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in a style that combines old world sensibilities with new world technique. Sourced from La Presa, Curtis, Kingsley, and McGinley vineyards, four distinct sites in Santa Ynez with varying soil types and microclimates, this 100% Sauvignon Blanc shows classic citrus, grapefruit and grassy notes in the nose, with mouthwatering acidity, a nice creamy texture on the midpalate, and citrusy flavors echoing in the finish. Storm's technique of predominantly stainless steel fermentation (84%) followed by six months aging on the lees yields a balanced and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc that is delicious on its own but highly versatile with food. This is a winemaker to watch. 

View More K&L Top Picks from Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez...

~~~

STORM Filmmaker Daniel Addelson

The Making of STORM We asked filmmaker (and K&L customer!) Daniel Addelson to provide some background on the making of the film and answer a few questions for us. Here is what he had to say:

DA: The intention was never to make a commercial for Storm Wines. I told this to Ernst from the start and he agreed. Our objective was to focus on something bigger, something universal - an artistic pursuit, an all consuming passion and the feelings that go with it. I kept on him for months, and finally everything came together, and we carved out some time to get started. I saw a seed of the story in Ernst's passion for wine, and I was intrigued by the way he talked about the process. I could tell something was different. A few barrel tastings later, and we decided to make it happen.

K&L: Why did you reach out to K&L for the online premiere of Storm? Do you shop at K&L?

DA: I have been shopping at K&L for years, and I am always impressed by the value and selection. I can spend the same amount I would at a grocery store and get a really amazing bottle of wine. The staff is also incredibly knowledgeable so it's easy to find something I like. I thought Storm would be a great place to premiere Storm because the film highlights many of the same things that K&L values in its inventory. Handpicked, quality wines that are affordable.

Why did you choose the Sonoma film festival to premiere Storm? Do you have plans to enter the film in other film festivals?

Sonoma was an easy choice for the premiere of Storm, as it is one of the original wine country film festivals. We'll be doing a tasting of Storm after the screening, so be sure to come by and see the film on the big screen. You can find the schedule here: www.sonomafilmfest.org. Hopefully there will be more screenings to come.

Are you a wine lover? What is your experience/relationship to wine?

I am definitely a wine lover. My relationship with wine is that when I have it, I drink it. I'm not very good about keeping bottles, but who is? About half of the bottles I drink are Storm. Living in California it's hard not to drink good wine all the time, because there is so much of it.

Any favorite wines or styles?

I am a big fan of Rhone varietals, and with those, the smokier and dirtier tasting the better. Then sometimes I want something that makes me think a little harder - light reds with subtleties. I tend to drink California and Oregon wines because I know more about them.

Wine is often compared to art. In the process of making Storm, did you come to see any parallels between the craft of winemaking and your own craft as a filmmaker that were surprising? Inspiring?

When made with love, wine is as much an art as painting or sculpture or film making for that matter. In my work, I am always drawn to stories of people who are passionate. The way Ernst speaks of the process was inspiring, and I knew I wanted to share his view with the world. I hope that people watching the film can see the universality in his spirit.

Making wine is a lot like making a movie. You plant little seeds of stories, and hope that they grow into something beautiful. Letting the environment and characters speak for themselves is the easiest way to do that.

Any concluding thoughts…?

Thanks for sharing, and I hope that your customers enjoy the film. The rest of my documentary work can be seen at www.danaddelson.com

What are you working on next?

I am currently developing a feature length documentary called, Grit about how children succeed. For more info, check out www.gritmovie.com

Official Selection :: 2013 Sonoma International Film Festival 

 

 

Tuesday
Mar122013

A Trip Down the Central Coast: Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez Roundup

A scene from the film Storm by Daniel Addelson, set in Santa Barbara wine country. This film will be screening at the Sonoma International Film Festival in April and premiered online today on Uncorked. By: Chiara Shannon | Head Sommelier - K&L Personal Sommelier Service 

A Trip Down the Central Coast: Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez Roundup

Whenever a team of K&L staffers make a company visit to wine country, we return bubbling over with excitement about great producers, various microclimates, interesting soil types, and--of course--great wines! Nothing compares to the experience of walking the vineyard with the grower or tasting barrel samples with the winemaker when it comes to understanding a wine's origins and the passion that goes into its production.

Over the next couple weeks, Uncorked will feature a series of blog posts about our domestic team's recent trip through the Central Coast. We were extremely impressed by the quality of wines being produced across the board, the diversity of varietals, and the direction many producers, big and small, are going towards balance, restraint, and authenticity. Stay tuned for stories and featured wines.

In the mean time, here's a short list of top picks from some of our favorite producers in the Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez area. These are in stock now, come highly recommended, and represent great values:

2010 Palmina "Honea Vineyard" Santa Ynez Valley Arneis $16.99

"I can't think of anyone who has done more to promote Italian varieties in California than Steve Clifton with his Palmina label. I admit I was intrigued with these offerings, and came away deeply impressed with most of what I tasted." (Robert Parker's Wine Advocate)

2011 Storm Santa Ynez Sauvignon Blanc $17.99

K&L Notes: Sourced from La Presa, Curtis, Kingsley, and McGinley vineyards, four distinct sites in Santa Ynez with varying soil types and microclimates, this 100% Sauvignon Blanc shows classic citrus, grapefruit and grassy notes in the nose, with mouthwatering acidity, a nice creamy texture on the midpalate, and citrusy flavors echoing in the finish. Storm's technique of predominantly stainless steel fermentation (84%) followed by six month on the lees yields a balanced and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc that is delicious on its own but highly versatile with food. 

Watch the Movie: K&L hosted the official online premiere of the film STORM about winemaker Ernst Storm scheduled to screen at the Sonoma International Film Festival in April. Be the first to watch it online now on Uncorked!

2011 Dragonette Cellars Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc $26.99

"Fleshy and smooth but energetic too, offering lively pear and orange zest flavors and notes of white flowers and anise. Shows smoky, spicy qualities on the finish, which clings with impressive tenacity." (Stephen Tanzer)

2010 Clos Pepe "Barrel Fermented" Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay $22.99

"The 2010 Chardonnay Barrel Fermented Clos Pepe Vineyard is a big, virile wine endowed with serious depth. Despite its richness, the 2010 has gorgeous underlying minerality lurking beneath the fruit. The 2010 is decidedly intense but also beautifully balanced." (Robert Parker's Wine Advocate)

"2010 marks our eleventh consecutive bottling (sixth under our own vineyard management) of this illustrious and coveted site in the appellation,” notes the winery. “Originally planted in 1991 by Ron Piazza (current owner), this was the first of our quintet of vineyards overseen by Francisco Ramirez and soil and energy consultant, Stan Kadota. Of the twenty acre parcel, six are devoted to chardonnay on a steep, wind-beaten slope of botella clay and limestone.”

2010 Brewer-Clifton "Mt. Carmel Vineyard" Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay $49.99

"An explosively perfumed bouquet displays scents of candied lime, lemongrass, anise, iodine and ginger. Deeply pitched but energetic, with precise, incisive citrus and orchard fruit flavors that pick up smoke and floral nuances with air. Shows a tangy, stony note on the finish, which emphatically repeats the lime and ginger notes. This is still a baby but shows terriffic potential." (Stephen Tanzer)

2010 Foxen "Tinaquaic Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay $34.99

K&L Notes: The Tinaquaic Vineyard was planted in 1989. It is dry-farmed, which helps create very concentrated fruit. The wine itself is concentrated as well, and it retains a wonderful acidity and backbone that is lightly touched with some new oak (20%). (Clyde "Trey" Beffa III, K&L Domestic buyer)

2009 Ojai Santa Barbara Chardonnay $21.99

"The 2009 Chardonnay possesses gorgeous depth. Rich layers of varietal fruit sit on a big frame. This is far from an easygoing Chardonnay. Rather it is a wine endowed with considerable depth and intensity. Rich varietal notes come to life on the layered finish. The Chardonnay is made from young vines from Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills. This is a gorgeous showing." (Robert Parker's Wine Advocate)

2009 Huber "Estate Grown" Sta Rita Hills Chardonnay  $24.99

K&L Notes: From one of the oldest vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. Huber's property benefits from the cooling fog, the sandy loam soils and the consistent afternoon ocean breezes that make for ripe, fresh Chardonnay grapes. Aged in barrel, this version (the Hubers also make an unoaked Chard) pops with aromas of vanilla and spice interlaced with tropical fruit. The palate has fantastic tension between fresh pear and lemon notes, with the richness of spice and cream, but because only a portion of the fruit underwent malolactic fermation and only 20% of the barrels were new, there's wonderful lift too. A must try.

2011 Qupé Santa Ynez Valley Marsanne $17.99*

*Special pricing for K&L Wine Club & Personal Sommelier Service Members

K&L Notes: Mostly Marsanne from the Ibarra-Young Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley, with 11% of the fruit coming from Edna Valley's Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard and a small proportion of Roussanne (21%) from the Bien Nacido Vineyard. All of the fruit was picked ripe, but at low sugar, with brighter acidity, which help keep this wine wonderfully fresh, highlighting its mineral streak. The wine still has the weight and richness of the varietals that balances out the acid structure, making this a white that's delightful and fresh now, but that will really start to shine in 10 years when it's secondary characteristics are able to poke through the veil of acidity.

2010 Cold Heaven "Le Bon Climat" Santa Barbara County Viognier $29.99

"Sexy, highly perfumed aromas of nectarine, orange pith, candied ginger, bee pollen and flowers. Sappy citrus and dried pit fruit flavors stain the palate, with slow-mounting spiciness adding back-end cut. Lively but powerful viognier, with excellent clarity and floral-driven persistence." (Stephen Tanzer)

2010 Alta Maria Vineyards Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir $23.99

"The 2010 Pinot Noir opens with an attractive, sweet bouquet. The fruit isn’t quite as radiant as the aromatics suggest, leading to an impression of compactness. Sweet red cherries and flowers linger on the perfumed finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015." (Robert Parker's Wine Advocate)

2010 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir $19.99

"Dark red. Musky, spice-accented aromas of redcurrant and cherry, with a note of cured meat in the background. A chewy, tangy midweight that offers tangy red fruit qualities and touch of bitter chocolate... finishing with good energy and tightly wound red fruit character." (Stephen Tanzer)

93 points! New score from Wine Enthusiast: "Made from grapes sourced from the old Addamo property in the cool Solomon Hills region, this wine shows an impressive core of cherry, cranberry and currant flavors. It’s racy and complex, and the mouth-watering acidity makes you crave lamb, tuna, steak and soft cheeses. It can be enjoyed now, and it should age for up to 10 years." (04/2013)

2010 La Fenêtre "Presqu'ile Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir $44.99*

*Special pricing for K&L Wine Club & Personal Sommelier Service Members

K&L Notes: Only 310 cases produced! This exceptional Pinot comes from a prime block in Presqu'ile Vineyard in the Solomon Hills district of Santa Maria, a highly coveted source for the dense, powerful, yet elegant fruit that Santa Maria is famous for. Planted in the late 1990s (then known as the Addamo vineyard) Presqu'ile is family-owned and meticulously cared for by the Murphy family, who maintain the vines in pristine condition. It is deep red in color, with ripe red and blackberry fruit aromas and flavors accented by earth notes and baking spices. 30% whole cluster pressing adds spicy complexity to the profile along with some grip on the finish. A pleasure to drink now, but with the balance to age 5-7 years or more.

2010 Talley Estate Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir $33.99

"Vivid red. Heady, exotic bouquet evokes candied red fruits, potpourri and spicecake, with a mineral topnote. Fresh, penetrating raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show impressive clarity and put on weight with air. Fine-grained tannins give shape to the finish, which leaves sweet red berry and rose pastille notes behind. This must be the best version of this bottling I've yet tasted from Talley." (Stephen Tanzer)

2011 Chanin Wine Company "Los Alamos Vineyard" Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir $47.99

K&L Notes: Winemaker Gavin Chanin is on a roll: Named one of the San Francisco Chronicle's Winemakers to Watch in 2012, one of Forbes magazine's Top 30 Under 30 in food and wine and an "exciting boutique producer" by Food & Wine magazine, and his wines clearly demonstrate why. Take the 2011 Los Alamos Pinot Noir, for instance. It comes from two sections of the vineyard and is aged for 11 months in 20% new French oak. While the vintage was challenging, the wine is vibrant and fresh, full of crushed red fruit and spice character. Drinkable now, but with enough backbone to age.

2010 Brewer-Clifton Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir $34.99

"Brewer-Clifton’s 2010 Pinot Noir opens up with striking, beguiling aromatics from the use of 100% whole clusters. It is an utterly impeccable, layered Pinot endowed with tons of clarity and finesse. The 2010 impresses for its energy and sheer brilliance. Simply put, the 2010 is a fabulous wine for the money. It remains one of the highest quality and easiest to find Santa Rita Hills Pinots." (Robert Parker's Wine Advocate)

2007 Palmina Santa Barbara County Nebbiolo $27.99

"The 2007 Nebbiolo is a blend of fruit sourced from Sisquoc Vineyard planted with the Michet clone (60%) and from Stolpman Vineyard planted with the Lampia clone (40%). It possesses striking dark fruit and plenty of varietal character, but with an extra degree of textural density from these Central Coast sites. It is one of the finest Italian-varietal wines I have tasted in California." (Robert Parker's Wine Advocate)

2010 Beckmen "Cuvée Le Bec" Santa Ynez Valley Rhône Blend $16.99 

" Ripe, smoke- and spice-accented black and blue fruits on the nose and in the mouth. Lush and open-knit but energetic as well, showing a suave floral quality on the long, sweet and gently tannic finish. An impressive example of this bottling, which has long been one of the Central Coast's best QPR wines." (Stephen Tanzer)   

2006 Ambullneo "Howling" Santa Maria Valley Syrah $29.99

K&L Notes: "Ripe, spicy, and delicious! If I were you I would decant this baby, run to the market, throw some ribs on the grill until they are beautifully charred, smokey, and falling off the bone, and kick your feet up with the decanter and ribs within arms reach." (Melissa Smith, K&L Staff Member)  

2009 Zaca Mesa "Black Bear Block" Santa Ynez Valley Syrah $59.99

"If the first duty of a wine is to be delicious, this tiny production bottling succeeds beyond all measure. The Black Bear Block is almost always Zaca Mesa's best Syrah among its many releases, and so it is again in 2009. Take one sip and you’re dazzled by the refined tannins, dryness and complexity of flavors: blackberry, cassis, plum sauce, mocha, bacon, smoky oak, white pepper, chamomile tea and licorice. What's harder to express is the sheer pleasure of the mouthfeel. This is an exciting Syrah, and may just be at the beginning of a long journey. Drink now and for many years as it slowly changes." (Wine Enthusiast)  

Cheers!

-Chiara

 

Interested in learning more about wines from the Central Coast? Design your own customized wine club through the K&L Personal Sommelier Service.