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Staff Favorites - Andrew Tobin

Andrew Tobin

Reviews

2018 Oakridge "Henk Vineyard" Chardonnay Yarra Valley Victoria
Review Date: 09-23-2020
What a world we live in where Australia produces wine of this caliber? Had it not been for the slight guava and melon notes on the mid-palate you could have convinced me this was Burgundy, and at $25? This is a special bottle! The nose is so flinty I almost think there's a pirate nearby. Underneath that we have citrus, melon, and a slight popcorn note. Palate is where I fall in love, full of bright fruit, guava, and pineapple. Minerality is everything on the finish, and it's so clean that you have to come back for more! This is amazing now and in a couple years will be unbelievable!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2018 Mendel Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza
Review Date: 09-18-2020
Argentina has to really be the poster child for quality for the money in wine. We all know them for Malbec production and when they branch out into other Bordeaux varietals it tends to go well! This is a really interesting Cab because unlike its cousins to the north it isn't big and juicy, it opens up with a greener nose met by red fruit, oregano, a bit of green vegetable. The palate is bold but not aggressive boasting notes of clove, cassis, tomato, salt, Italian spice, and rich tannin. Again, if you want amazing wine and you don't want to spend as much as those guys up North are asking, look no further!
Price: $20.99 Add To Cart

2018 Coriole "Estate" Sangiovese McLaren Vale South Australia
Review Date: 09-08-2020
It's hard to find good Sangiovese outside of Italy, or at least, it's hard to find Italian style Sangiovese outside of Italy, and so those who do it are really aiming for their own voice. You wouldn't drink a California Cab and expect Bordeaux — it's something different. That's exactly what you get when you approach this lovely McLaren Vale Sangio. The nose is all bramble fruit, bright and lively it hits with notes of strawberry, red licorice, orange zest, pepper, and thyme. The palate is more savory, with a clear influence of oak, pepper, salt, cooked meat, and again, that orange note. Let's start giving non-Italian Sangiovese a chance — you really might like it!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2018 Coriole "Dancing Fig" Rhône Blend McLaren Vale South Australia
Review Date: 09-08-2020
Dancing Fig indeed, the nose on this one is loaded with dark, dense purple and black fruit, not jammy by any means, just fresh and sweet smelling fig with a smidgen of chocolate and potpourri. The palate is heaven, not complicated by any means, just fresh fig and blueberries, a hint of chocolate and perfumed flower, and pure joy. This might be one of the more dangerous bottles of wine on the shelf because it will not last long at your house!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2018 Coriole "Estate" Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia
Review Date: 09-08-2020
I don't think I need to tell anyone that Shiraz is great. It's what put the continent of Australia on the wine map for most people, and although they grow just about everything, Shiraz is still home base for me. Dark blue fruit open the nose up, surrounded by a bit of pepper, old violet, cedar, and leather. The palate is rich and luscious; again, those blue fruits take the reins, followed by the savory spice, flowers, and oak tannin. This gets back to the reason why we love Shiraz: it's easy to drink, complex, and nowhere near as expensive as its French sibling!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2018 Coriole "Sparta" Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia
Review Date: 09-08-2020
Like opening a fresh bag of Australia brand licorice, the nose hits you with dried and confectioner strawberry, banana, dried plantain, and of course, licorice. The palate is even more interesting, with a savory entrance of oregano, roast beef, and pepper. The fruit comes back in with hints of stewed dark berries, fig, and a finish of fresh thyme. This is a fun one and frankly might be a little too dangerous if you're looking for a slow sipper!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2018 Raúl Pérez "Ultreia St-Jacques" Mencía Bierzo
Review Date: 08-29-2020
I don't quite understand how Bierzo has existed so under the radar for so long in our market. Talk about a region that has insane value for the money—wine that has more complexity and intrigue than it has any right to, and frankly something that could easily be compared to northern Rhone wines. The nose opens with light candied fruit but quickly morphs into more serious dried and forest berries, anise, licorice, and peppered meat. The palate is bright up front, and then moves into a dark, dense forest note with the finish becoming gamier and a little bit more forest-esque. If you like GSMs and want to try something a little less tannic and more approachable, while holding on to all that amazing complexity, I don't know how you could pass this one up!
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

ArteNOM Seleccion 1579 Blanco Tequila (750ml)
Review Date: 08-24-2020
NOM 1579 is widely hailed as one of the best Tequila distilleries in Mexico. ArteNOM has been kind enough to source a special batch from them to share with the world and I for one, am thrilled they did! The nose is soft with hints of lime, fresh pineapple, black pepper and green herbs all wrapped up in a tangy cream. Oh man does the palate come through after with a huge savory herbaceous punch right up front that rounds into sweet vanilla cream notes. Minerality completely defines the finish with a nice wet stone pull that finishes clean and lean. The quality of the tequila that ArteNOM sources at this price range is amazing, this is definitely one of the best Blanco's on the shelf!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2019 Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon Mâcon-Villages
Review Date: 08-23-2020
Chardonnay honestly never ceases to amaze me. Is there a white grape that can be more varied? Where many other varietals have and either/or option in regards to style Chardonnay seems to have a fader switch that offers more variation than almost anything else! This one is fun and frankly you could be forgiven for thinking it's an old world styled California Chard. Notes of stuffed jalapeno stood out immediately with the underpinning of oak giving it a softer attack. Pear followed with hints of green apple intermingled with fresh herbs. The palate is all rich green apple, Asian pear, basil and a marble like minerality that is clean and balancing. In a world of expensive white Burgundy finding something for this price that is this interesting is a real treat!
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2017 Luca "Paraje Altamira" Malbec Uco Valley
Review Date: 08-16-2020
Can you say fresh berry patch! What a nose; doused in fresh berries, a bit of a leafy green note, and some fresh purple flower, this nose takes me right back to summertime when blackberries are ripe and fresh at the farmers market, with a hint of baking spice muddled in the air. The palate is bright and vibrant up front and fades from the fresh berry fruit into a nice bakers chocolate/coffee finish with medium tannin and a long, dark finish. This is a versatile one that I could easily drink on a summer's night but also bring up to a cabin in the winter for something a little more fresh; and at $20 it's a big thumbs up!

2018 Kumeu River "Kumeu Village" Chardonnay Kumeu
Review Date: 07-14-2020
New Zealand has been really showing the world that you can make great Chardonnay at $20 that will still take itself seriously. In a time where prices on California have been soaring Australia has stepped up for the New World. Meyer lemon peel, Asian pear, and a touch of meringue greet you on the nose with a background of popcorn kernel and fresh basil. The minerality on the palate helps keep it nice and even while it rounds out with notes of apple skin, pear, basil, kohlrabi, and cream. If this is what $20 gets you in Australia, California might want to watch out!

2017 Arboleda Chardonnay Aconcagua Costa
Review Date: 06-02-2020
As I write this we are all in a strange and unprecedented time in our lives. Kirk Walker our Spain, Portugal, and South America buyer has been keeping us afloat with wine samples to end the days after we've raced to fill all the orders we've become inundated with. My excitement was peaked today when he opened us a bottle of the new Arboleda Chardonnay as I am a huge fan of cool climate Chard and even more so of Chilean wine. We open the nose with a familiar, almost California-esque oak note which quickly gives way to a more old-world influenced orchard pear, apple, and flint note, almost as though they set out to make Mersault with new world production supplies. The palate leans even further to the old world influence with flint and a hint of smoke surrounded by fresh, ripe pear and apple, Meyer lemon , and a lovely frothed egg white texture. This is a steal of a bottle at $18, we'll all be drinking this for the summer!

Bardstown Bourbon Company "Fusion Series #2" Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 02-10-2020
Bardstown's Fusion Series 1 was one of my favorite bottles of bourbon we carried while it lasted. I went through 2 or 3 of them easily and the rest of the staff in SF was equally fond. When the series 2 came in I eagerly bought a bottle as I wanted to see what their evolution as distillers and blenders was going to be like. A little tight when I first opened it. I let the bottle sit for a few day (yes, whiskey too can benefit from being let breathe). Upon second approach the bottle was much more aromatic with notes of baking spice, cherry and apricot, roasted almond and hazelnut. This has to be one of the softest palates of any bourbon at nearly 100 proof. The mouth explodes up front with fruit and spice and sits soft and round on the mid palate with the roasted nut, and toffee. the finish is full of burnt caramel, bakers chocolate, and tons of wood spice. Very different from the original offering you can really see what and extra year of maturation does to their own distillate and makes me excited for what they have to come!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

Wilderness Trail (Yellow Label) Bottled In Bond Sweet Mash Wheated Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 02-09-2020
I've read about Wilderness Trail for a long time now hearing great things from Bourbon insiders and up until recently it was only available in Kentucky so I hadn't been able to get my hands on it. Now that they have officially been incorporated into the Bourbon Trail and expanded to California I of course had to snatch up a bottle and boy was I in for a treat! There aren't terribly many sweet mash producers these days but Wilderness Trails founders specialize in yeast so they cultivate strains that allow for consistent and delicious whiskey. The nose is sweet and full of vanilla, nougat, and caramel. The palate is bold, round and sweet with a nice baking spice note and a bit of a bitterness on the finish that helps cut down on the sweeter wheat notes and balances the drink! Get them while you can, once people discover this one it'll be gone before you know it!
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

Rare Perfection 14 Year Old Canadian Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 01-31-2020
On occasion we get in a whiskey with some interesting backstory and a unique production style that falls a little bit short of the goal line. When the Rare Perfection whiskies came in I was pulled in by the story enough to pick up a bottle of each and excitedly opened the 14 that night. I must admit, whatever I expected from this bottle it completely over delivered! A 100 proof bottle that drinks with the grace of a 45 and the complexity of a 120 it is doused in sweet vanilla, toasted coconut, maple, pecan, and brown sugar. The palate is rich and soft and when I brought it to the staff to taste as part of a line up I put together it was many of theirs top choice! I can't imagine these will last long once word is out so definitely don't hesitate!
Price: $159.99 Add To Cart

2017 Artadi Viñas de Gain
Review Date: 01-21-2020
When our buyer Kirk Walker tells you to try something new on the shelf, you should probably just do it. Don't ask the price, just give it a shot, it's always worth your time, and such was the scenario when I approached this Artadi. Rioja without being Rioja the wine has a nice little sweet citrus lift right off the bat that settles towards those classic dusty, fresh leather notes with mulled spiced which reminds me of Christmas markets in France with their large vats of mulled wine to help ward off the cold. The palate is rich and robust with beautifully soft tannin, savory pepper and leather, and a soft elegant finish that is as laden with floral notes as it is with savory spice and sweet fruit. When I found out the price of this sucker I was even more shocked, make sure to add this to your list of Spanish wines to try!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2018 Te Mata "Bullnose" Syrah Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 01-21-2020
We are fortunate in our ability here at K&L to experience great wines on a regular basis, it's both informative and exciting because you get introduced to bottles you wouldn't normally look at on your own. Syrah from regions other than France don't pop up in my life as often as I would like, and there is nothing more exciting than when you get handed a random glass of something and fall in love before knowing anything about it. Bullnose is such a bright and focused bottle of wine, it jumps out of the glass with dark fruit, purple flowers, anise, clove, black pepper with a hint of menthol and praline.The palate is luscious and decadent. The fruit is more pointed than on the nose so the wine doesn't feel overly opulent, rather more balanced and lively. Blackberry, baking spice, pepper, savory soy and violet. Our Syrah fans need to try this bottle, and if you aren't a Syrah drinker, well you're going to want to start!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2016 Pedro Martinez Alesanco Garnacha Rioja
Review Date: 01-07-2020
Deep, dark, brooding, confident, these are all words that come to mind upon first approach to this lovely little number. I adore Grenacha for so many reasons not the least of which is it's unbelievable complexity for the price tags. Upon first whiff the wine is loaded with purple and black fruits, baking spice, sweet tobacco, and new leather. The palate is wonderfully medium bodied with some bright black fruited acid that gives was to black olives, pepper, a dusty overtone, with a bit of mushroom. Rioja is one of the great wine regions of the world for a reason, and here is all the evidence you'll ever need of that!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Knob Creek 12 Year Old Small Batch 100 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 01-06-2020
Knob Creek has always been a great choice if you're at a bar with a moderate whiskey selection, spicy, nutty, easy-going, what's not to love? Never anything to blow you away, but a perfect little sipper...until this powerhouse was released. I picked up a bottle out of pure curiosity as it had a hefty age statement for bourbon at this price point and I think I finally understand Knob Creek. Dripping in rich spice and caramel, the mouth is round and luscious, there is a note of cherry wrapped up in the middle right between the spice and the nutty finish. I'm amazed that more people haven't jumped on this bottle!
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

2017 Clos de Luz "Massal 1945" Carménère Rapel Valley
Review Date: 01-03-2020
If this isn't the perfect storm of underappreciated wine that deserves everyone's attention than I don't know what is. It's a rare day that I don't bring up Carmenere with a customer or two looking for a bottle to try, and South America in general is not given the respect it deserves. Nowhere else int eh world does wine of this caliber come at this price. Opening with black and purple fruit, the nose is rich, full of violet, a slight meatiness of dry-aged steak, and delicate spice. Medium bodied, the palate is dark and concentrate with some salinity, fruit up front that quickly turns towards bitter baker chocolate, char, and elegant spice. This is a wine that should be on your radar!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2009 Hugel "Schoelhammer" Riesling Grand Cru Alsace
Review Date: 12-18-2019
Wines like this really make the job that we're so privileged to do special. I will admit I am a massive fan of Riesling so a bottle like this makes me rubber neck every time I walk by. The nose is subtle but divine with hints of ginger, pear, golden apple and a touch of petroleum. The palate is lean and complex, the flavors start off with bright orchard fruit, quickly moved towards baking spice and ginger, and the the minerality grabs on and takes you for a ride. If ever there was an example of why Alsace is one of the great wine regions of the world this is it. You will savor every sip and find something new hiding behind every drink you take.

2007 Fine Pot Distilled Jamaican (Monymusk) 11 Year Old "Thompson Bros." K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Jamaican Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 12-13-2019
This is one serious bottle of Rum. I can't tell you how long it spent aging in the tropics but I can certainly tell you that it spent some time in Scotland, and it shows! The nose is powerful and full with just a hint of the Jamaican funk we love so much but the palate, the palate really has something to say! Almost more like a single malt, this Rum makes me think less of rum funk and more of the Islay brine. Rum drinkers delight, you have another bottle that is a must for your collection and to all our Scotch drinkers out there, this will be a rum to turn your head!
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Terroir al Limit "Torroja" Priorat
Review Date: 11-26-2019
For those of you in the know Priorat needs no introduction, but for the uninitiated this is a gem of a region that never seems to get the attention that its cousin to the northwest, Rioja, gets. This blend of Garnacha Tinta, with just a splash of Cinsault, has a nose full of strawberry and licorice candy, cracked black pepper, dust, and a note of redwood bark. Nostalgic, warm, and welcoming, this wine is so inviting! The palate is rustic. A bright hit of red fruit fades quickly into the pepper, and smoked wood notes come through with hints of cured meat. A savory finish. Medium-bodied reds like this are always so much more approachable and equipped for a wide variety of circumstances, it amazes me they aren't the most popular wines in the world!

2015 Galia "Clos Santuy" Tierra de Castilla y León
Review Date: 11-22-2019
Every winemaker has a voice, a little something in all of their wines that, if you pay close attention, is there almost like a signature on a piece of art. Mr. Bougnaud has this in spades with this savory umami, soy quality that is just so enticing. Unmarred by unnecessary oak, the wine is beautifully balanced, bold, and velvety; with rich, dark blackberry, plum skin, and a hint of chocolate. The wine has seemingly no end, evolving to a warm and winter spiced note on the back palate with a touch of leather and tobacco. I have heard Tinto Fino compared to Barolo before and I now understand why. What a bottle!
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Galia "Villages" Tierra de Castilla y León
Review Date: 11-22-2019
Well, I have to admit I'm perplexed, the wine is amazing, but not at all what I was expecting upon first approach. The nose is spiced, beautifully so with rich dark fruit, muddled baking spice, and an enticing hint of an ever-so-savory something. The palate on the other hand is much bolder, live with velvety tannin, dark graphite, a hint of fruit, and a savory soy finish that lingers and softens into a warm inviting back palate, daring you to come back and explore further. Unique, but not unfamiliar, the Galia Villages is a must have for Spanish wine lovers!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Golden Devil K&L Exclusive Dark Navy Strength Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 11-18-2019
This will definitely be finding a way into my liquor cabinet at home after tasting it. Exactly what you want from a good high proof dark rum, rich, spiced, ever so slightly tropical with just a hint of funk on the end this is delicious, and for the price needs to be in everyone's holiday selection. Whether for cocktails or for something higher proof to sip on, this bottle punches way above its price range!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

1995 Caperdonich 24 Year Old "Chieftain's" K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Unchillfiltered Speyside Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-15-2019
Ghost distilleries are becoming a bit of a cult fascination in the last few years, so much so that even Johnnie Walker is cashing in on the idea with their Ghost & Rare line. With several famous distilleries being forced to close their doors in the late 70's and early 80's and we are seeing some of the last juice ever produced by these wonderful houses. Now the price is something to balk at until you consider the age and rarity of this whiskey, you won't be able to find it again. the nose is fruity with hints of orange peel, peach, cherries, and hazelnut chocolate. The palate bursts with chocolate, spice, candied orange peel and a int of coffee at the end. For collectors this is priceless, and as we approach the holiday season those looking for a gift that will be unforgettable for the whiskey drinker in your life, this is a sure winner!
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Marqués de Murrieta "Finca Ygay" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 09-24-2019
This is tangible proof that you can spend $25 on a bottle of wine and get something of brilliant quality and complexity. This vintage is full of Black pepper, fresh turned earth, mushroom and dark fruit with a hint of black olive and the dusty, oaked finish of great Rioja. Murrieta has always been one of the best producers for the money, and he has come through once again with a heavy hitter. Give this a try and see for yourself!

2008 Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-12-2019
As a staff we had a chance to taste with our Laurent-Perrier rep not long ago, but at the time they didn't have an '08 for us to try. Given how spectacular the year was an how the other wines were showing I couldn't wait to get my hands on a sample and was not disappointed! A 50/50 split of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and made of entirely Grand Cru fruit the wine shows beautifully with notes of lemon meringue, grapefruit and vanilla. The palate is just the right balance of acid with hints of graham cracker, bright citrus, and a wonderfully long finish. Wine like this will only get better with age so make sure you get some before it's gone!
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

Laurent-Perrier "Grand Siècle" Iteration #24 Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-06-2019
The first of the new line of numbered Grand Siecle to be introduced by Laurent-Perrier. It's a lovely multi-vintage blend that displays notes of clotted cream, stone fruit, and honeysuckle. Not enough good can be said about the Grand Siecle, and given the wines they are competing with they are truly holding their own!

2008 Lanson "Gold Label" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-06-2019
53% Pinot Noir and 47% Chardonnay this toasty champagne is a real winner! The nose is buttery with hints of butterscotch and lemon zest. The palate is round with enough acid to cut through the richness and balance out the wine. 2008 is written all over this one with that characteristic balance of acid and robust mouth feel!

2007 Foursquare Rum Distillery 12 Year Old "Ex-Bourbon Cask" Exceptional Cask Selection Mark X Single Blended Barbados Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 06-24-2019
Foursquare is one of the legends of the rum world, producing some of the richest and most interesting rums in modern production. The 2007 is absolutely no exception. I picked up a bottle for myself recently and was floored the moment I poured myself a glass. Lovely notes of stone fruit, toffee, anise, and apple jump out. The palate is warm and round, the toffee turns towards a salted caramel hint with notes of guava, cinnamon, treacle and to my palate a rich coffee finish. If you are a whiskey drinker looking to get into rum, this is a no-brainer, and to our rum drinkers out there, this is a must have!
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique Assemblage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-07-2019
Here at K&L we are fortunate to have several direct imports from some really fantastic producers. Le Brun is a rather large co-op that we bring in, and that means we get some amazing wine for unbelievable value! The Authentique is a make up for 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir with a wonderfully nutty round nose, notes of ginger and baking spice that translates beautifully to the palate with a hint of stone fruit.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Alexandre Le Brun "Tradition" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-07-2019
Alexandre Le Brun grows some spectacular fruit, and something around 70% goes to Bollinger, and keeps the best for himself. The vines are averaging 40 years of age now, maturing beautifully and producing amazing fruit. The Tradition is rich and toasty on the nose, with notes of pastry cream, almond, and sweet nut butter. the palate though comes through with wonderful acidity, tart apple, and under-ripe berries. This is a classic and elegant champagne that is as perfect for celebration as it is for winding down and relaxing at the end of an evening.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Fallet-Dart "Grande Sélection" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-07-2019
The Faillet family have been known wine growers since the early 17th century, but it wasn't until the marriage of Gaston Faillet and Genevieve Dart in 1970 that the house of Faillet-Dart was formed. the Grande Selection is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir, and the and even split of Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier to round it out. The nose is toasty with notes of white florals, browned butter, and apples. The palate is rich with notes of under ripe stone fruit, apples, and a round marzipan finish.
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-07-2019
The Baron-Fuente family has been working in the vineyards of champagne long before the region started producing sparkling wine. The years of experience have lead to the production of some amazing wine at every price point, and the Grande Reserve is no exception. A blend of 60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay, and 10% Pinot Noir, makes for a warm and round nose with notes of honey, sweet dough, and hazelnut. On the palate though it is bright, with a biting acidity, and notes of soft cherry. This is a beautiful bottle for any occasion!

2016 Auteur "Green Acres Vineyard" Carneros Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 04-02-2019
The grapes in this wine have been cloned from the original Wente plantings in 1969, so there is a fair bit of California history that goes into this bottle, and you can really taste it! A perfectly balanced Chardonnay, the nose is even, with notes of bright green apple, round oak, butter, lemon grass, and a curious herbaceous quality. the palate is the perfect example of a California Chardonnay with a bright acidic start, that mellows out into rounder notes of browned butter, lemon, green apple, fresh herbs, and a soft vanilla.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart