Kokkari Wine List Review

Kokkari Estiatorio

200 Jackson Street

San Francisco, CA

P: 415.981.0983

www.kokkari.com

Kokkari Wine List Review

We have eaten at this restaurant on several occasions.  Most notably, my wife put together a surprise birthday celebration for me at Kokkari when I turned 40.  We sat in the main room near the kitchen at a long table that was able to accommodate 24+ people.  It was a great evening of eating and drinking.  Besides some great wines off Kokkari’s list, my father-in-law brought along a double magnum of 1985 Sterling Vineyards, Three Palms Vineyard (55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon). The food and atmosphere are excellent, and the wine list is creative and diverse with reasonable mark-ups.

We recommend you start your evening with the 2009 Bedrock, Cuvee Caritas, Sonoma County White Wine for $40 or the 2009 Kinston Family, Casablanca Valley, Sauvignon Blanc for $32 and follow it up with the 2008 Freeman, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir for $55 or the 2006 Bridesmaid, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon for $48.

As with all VinoServant reviews, you will see the price at the restaurant followed by the mark-up over retail (2007 Schramsberg, Blanc de Noirs, North Coast | $75 | 2.5x | This translates into a retail price of $30).

VINOSERVANT’S TOP WINE VALUES AT KOKKARI

Sparkling Wines

 7 selections that range in price from $52 to $150

2007 Schramsberg, Blanc de Noirs, North Coast | $75 | 2.5x

White Wines

40 Selections that range in price from $32 to $100

2009 Elk Cove Vineyards, Williamette Valley, Pinot Blanc | $38 | 2.2x

2010 Abrente, Albarino, Napa Valley | $40 | 1.7x

2009 Bedrock, Cuvee Caritas, Sonoma County, White Wine | $40 | 1.3x | TOP PICK

2010 Starlite, Sonoma County, Viognier | $60 | 1.3x | TOP PICK

2010 Robert Sinskey, Carneros, Pinot Gris | $62 | 2.2x

 

2009 Kingston Family, Casablanca Valley, Sauvignon Blanc | $32 | 1.9x | TOP PICK

2010 Astrolabe, Marlborough, Sauvignon Blanc | $45 | 2.4x

2010 Duckhorn, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc | $56 | 2.1x

2010 Merry Edwards, Russian River Valley, Sauvignon Blanc | $58 | 1.6x | TOP PICK

 

2008 Chehalem, Ian’s Reserve, Dundee Hills Chardonnay | $62 | 1.9x | TOP PICK

2008 Ramey, Russian River Valley, Chardonnay | $68 | 1.9x

 

Red Wines

 84 Selections that range in price from $35 to $110

 

2009 Garnet, Carneros, Pinot Noir | $36 | 2.2x

2009 Schug, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir | $45 | 1.9x

2008 Freeman Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir | $55 | 1.3x | TOP PICK

2009 Willakenzie, Pierre Leon, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir | $68 | 1.6x | TOP PICK

2009 Emeritus, Hallberg Ranch, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir | $68 | 1.5x | TOP PICK

2009 St. Innocent, Zenith Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills, Pinot Noir | $75 | 2.3x

2009 Shea Wine Cellars, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir | $80 | 1.9x | TOP PICK

2008 Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir | $95 | 2.1x

 

2008 Abadia Retuerta, Rivola, Sardon Del Duero | $30 | 2.3x

2010 Pago de Los Capellanes, Joven, Ribera Del Duero | $36 | 2.2x

2009 Kingston Family, Lucero, Casablanca Valley, Syrah | $38 | 2.0x | TOP PICK

2009 Mas de Gourgonnier, Les Baux de Provence, Grenache | $45 | 2.2x

2008 Andrew Rich, Coup d’Etat Red, Columbia Valley, Grenache | $45 | 1.9x | TOP PICK

2009 Pierre Gaillard, Crozes Hermitage | $60 | 2.0x

2007 Yalumba, Hand-Picked, Barossa Valley, Shiraz – Viognier | $62 | 2.5x

2009 Phillippe Faury, Vielles Vignes, Saint Joseph | $65 | 1.8x | TOP PICK

2005 Chateau Pesquie, Artemia, Ventoux, Grenache & Syrah | $78 | 1.7x | TOP PICK

2009 Psi, Ribera Del Duero | $78 | 1.9x

2008 Brunier, Telegramme, Chateauneuf-du-Pape | $82 | 2.0x

2009 Gramercy Cellars, Walla Walla Valley, Syrah | $90 | 2.0x

2009 Leviathan, California, Syrah | $90 | 1.9x

2006 Finca, Villacreces, Ribera Del Duero | $94 | 2.3x

 

2010 Owen Roe, Abbott’s Table, Sangiovese | $45 | 1.9x | TOP PICK

2008 Agricola Querciabella, Chianti Classico | $60 | 2.0x

2007 Cogno, Bordini, Barbaresco | $78 | 2.2x

2003 Villa Le Prata, Brunello di Montalcino | $86 | 1.7x | TOP PICK

 

2006 Starlite, Alexander Valley, Zinfandel | $52 | 1.2x | TOP PICK

2008 Peter Franus, Brandlin, Mount Veeder, Zinfandel | $75 | 2.1x

 

2009 Andrew Will, Columbia Valley, Cabernet Franc | $60 | 2.2x

2006 Robert Sinskey, Vandal Vineyard, Carneros Cabernet Franc | $68 | 1.8x | TOP PICK

 

2008 Seven Hills Columbia Valley Merlot | $48 | 2.4x

2008 Shafer, Napa Valley, Merlot | $92 | 2.1x

 

2006 Bridesmaid, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $48 | 1.2x | TOP PICK

2004 La Jota, Howell Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon | $58 | 1.2x | TOP PICK

2005 Rosati Family Winery, Mendocino County, Cabernet Sauvignon | $60 | 2.0x

2006 Chateau Larruau, Margaux | $75 | 2.3x

2009 Paul Hobbs, Cross Barn, Cabernet Sauvignon | $75 | 2.1x

2008 Pahlmeyer, Jayson, Cabernet Sauvignon | $82 | 1.6x | TOP PICK

2006 Long Meadow Ranch, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $84 | 1.5x | TOP PICK

2008 Gramercy, Columbia Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $90 | 1.8x | TOP PICK

 

Sparkling Wines

7 selections that range in price from $52 to $150

2007 Schramsberg, Blanc de Noirs, North Coast

Retail Price: $30 at K&L Wine Merchants

Ratings: Wine Advocate 89 & Wine Spectator 89

  • $72 at EPIC Roasthouse | 2.4x
  • $75 at Kokkari | 2.5x

89+ points Wine Advocate: Composed of 74% Pinot Noir and 26% Chardonnay, the 2007 Blanc de Noirs exhibits more structure and body as well as a firmer, more muscular style. The Pinot Noir component takes away some of the charm and finesse of the Blancs de Blanc, but it adds more weight. This sparkler should drink well for several years. (12/10)

89 points Wine Spectator: Rich and full-bodied, displaying delicate raspberry aromas paired with spice and lemon, with supple flavors of baked apple, cherry and brown spices. Drink now through 2014. (11/10)

White Wines

40 Selections that range in price from $32 to $100

2009 Elk Cove Vineyards, Williamette Valley, Pinot Blanc

Retail Price: $17 via Wine-Searcher

Rating: See comments below

  • $38 at Kokkari | 2.2x
  • $38 at The Village Pub | 2.2x

Winemaker’s Notes: The Willamette Valley has a suitable climate for this delicate grape variety—enough sunlight and warmth for ripening and cooler night temperatures to retain varietal character. To preserve the freshness, it is whole-cluster pressed, and then fermented at very cool temperatures in small stainless steel tanks, which accentuates aromatics and enhances the richness and viscosity. The fruit is hand-harvested from select hillside vineyards in the northern Willamette Valley.

2010 Abrente, Albarino, Napa Valley

Retail Price: $23 at K&L Wines

Rating: Stephen Tanzer 89

  • $40 at Kokkari | 1.7x

89 points Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar: “Pale yellow. Orange zest, pungent herbs, green almond and white flowers on the nose. The palate offers lively citrus and orchard fruit flavors given spine by tangy acidity. The clean finish features lingering spiciness and a repeating orange note.

2009 Bedrock, Cuvee Caritas, White Wine, Sonoma County

Retail Price: $30 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: See comments below

  • $40 at Kokkari | 1.3x | TOP PICK

Winemaker’s Notes: The 2009 Cuvee Caritas Proprietary White is a blend dominated by Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Interestingly, the Semillon comes from the famed Monte Rosso Vineyard and is put through malolactic fermentation. The Sauvignon Blanc had its malo blocked. It offers up wonderful honeyed melon, orange rind, tropical fruit and lanolin notes. The oak is hiding in the background, and the wine possesses good acidity, beautiful purity and zesty acids that provide a laser-like precision. Drink this beauty over the next few years although I suspect it may last a decade or more. Ravenwood’s renowned Joel Peterson must be proud of what his son, Morgan, has achieved with the Bedrock Wine Company in such a short period of time. These wines continue to provide super-impressive quality at realistic prices. Moreover, they tend to be creative blends that should invite more and more California winemakers to go down this path rather than sticking to single varietals.

2010 Starlite, Sonoma County, Viognier

Retail Price: $47 @ the Winery

Rating: See comments below

  • $60 at Kokkari | 1.3x | TOP PICK

Winemaker’s Notes: The vibrant aroma blends orange blossoms, apricots and honeysuckle with hints of citrus. On the palate the summer-ripe fruit flavors combine with intriguing mineral elements. The result is an audacious full-bodied wine with a long and crisp finish.

2010 Robert Sinskey, Carneros, Pinot Gris

Retail Price: $28 @ the Winery

Rating: See comments below

  • $62 at Kokkari | 2.2x

Winemaker’s Notes: Brilliant platinum blonde color and clean, true aromas of melon, ginger-spiced pear and apple blossom exemplify purity. Upon a sip, aromas expand into vibrant flavors, bright and youthful, with a delicate touch of floral perfume and almonds. The wine snaps with citrus-like crispness rarely seen in a New World white, contrasted with a richness that makes for one satisfyingly mouth-watering wine. It is ready for the table now, and will surprise when resurrected from the cellar several years down the road.

2009 Kingston Family, Casablanca Valley, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $17 at K&L Wines

Rating: Wine Spectator 87

  • $32 at Kokkari | 1.9x | TOP PICK

87 points Wine Spectator: This is light, but shows good cut, offering lime, chalk and sweet pea notes that zip through the bright finish. Drink now. 555 cases made. –JM

Description from K&L: This Sauvignon Blanc is unique in that it is bottled late (in November, several months after most other producers in Chile bottle their SB) as well as released late (in April following the vintage year). This combined with ageing in extremely small, 250 liter stainless drums, creates a somewhat richer sauvignon blanc. Ripe guayabana fruit aromas, as well as a clean citric and mineral component, lead to a pure, soft palate of citrus and melon fruit, with the barest hint of tropical flavors as well. Always a treat, and worth the longer wait to be sure!

2010 Astrolabe, Marlborough, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $20 at K&L Wines

Rating: Wine Spectator 85

  • $45 at Kokkari | 2.4x

85 points Wine Spectator: Green apple, grapefruit and lemon flavors are juicy, with a hint of citrus pith on the finish. Plenty of acidity. Drink now. 30,000 cases made. –MW

2010 Duckhorn, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $27 at K&L Wines

Rating:  See comments below 

  • $49 at Harris’ Restaurant | 1.8x | TOP PICK
  • $50 at Waterfront Restaurant | 1.8x
  • $54 at Alexander’s Steakhouse Cupertino | 2.0x
  • $56 at Kokkari | 2.1x
  • $60 at EPIC Roasthouse | 2.2x

Description from K&L: Duckhorn’s 2010 Sauvignon Blanc reflects the winery’s passion for Bordeaux style blends, integrating 25% Semillon, fermenting a small amount of the wine in barrel, and aging sur lie. The result is a Napa Valley SB with a New World-meets-Old World charm. Tropical fruit aromas and flavors are supported by accents of flint, lees and spice. It’s round on the mid-palate, but with refreshing acidity, too. Try it with a fig or date salad with goat cheese and mizuna.

2010 Merry Edwards, Russian River Valley, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $30 at the Winery, Wine.com $45 – SOLD OUT & $40 at Sherry-Lehman

Rating: See comments below

  • $58 at Kokkari | 1.6x | TOP PICK
  • $68 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.9x

Winemaker’s Notes: This wine “struts its stuff’ in a sophisticated and stylish fashion. The aroma is floral and mouth­watering, layered with ripe melon, peach and subtle mineral highlights. In the mouth, it is rich and seamlessly well balanced, kicking in a hint of grapefruit, cirrus and pear on the lingering finish.

2006 Kate’s Vineyard, Sedna, Napa Valley Chardonnay

Retail Price: $25 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: See comments below

  • $52 at Kokkari | 2.1x

Description from K&L: This tiny production Chardonnay was whole cluster pressed, fermented in French Oak with wild and inoculated ferments, underwent malolactic fermentation, and aged sur lies for 1 year. The wine has flavors of ripe comice pear, with hints of lemon zest and toasted nuts. It is well-balanced, round and succulent. 912 cases were produced.

 2008 Chehalem, Ian’s Reserve, Dundee Hills Chardonnay

Retail Price: $33 at K&L Wines

Rating: Wine Advocate 91

  • $62 at Kokkari | 1.9x | TOP PICK

91 points Wine Advocate: Recommended, but no tasting note given. Chehalem invests considerable effort into its white wine program. While these wines are not the focus of this report, they merit mentioning because every one of them is a very good to outstanding value.

2008 Ramey, Russian River Valley, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $35 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: Wine Advocate 86

  • $68 at Kokkari | 1.9x

86 points Wine Advocate: As for the generic wines, the 2008 Chardonnay Carneros reveals straightforward notes of citrus and spicy oak in a medium-bodied format. It does not possesses the focus, clarity or complexity of his Russian River and Sonoma Coast bottlings.

Red Wine

84 Selections that range in price from $35 to $110

2009 Garnet, Carneros, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $15 at K&L Wines

Rating: Wine Spectator 88

  • $36 at Kokkari | 2.2x

88 points Wine Spectator: Fresh, vibrant and snappy, offering crisp dark berry fruit, with spice, mineral and cedar flavors. Full-bodied and persistent. Drink now through 2015. 10,000 cases made. –JL

2009 Schug, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $24 at Wine.com

Rating: See comments below

  • $45 at Kokkari | 1.9x

Winemaker’s Notes: Bright ruby color with aromas of cherry skin, dried cranberries smoky undertones. The palate shows more cherry and dried fruit flavors with earthy notes. Clean with a nice solid backbone completed by a racy acidity. Lots of cranberry flavors hint of strawberry. Balanced, tight, lean fruit, an ideal accompaniment to grilled fish and fowl or barbecued meats. Alcohol 13.5%.

 2008 Freeman Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $41 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: Wine Spectator 88

  • $55 at Kokkari | 1.3x | TOP PICK

88 points Wine Spectator: This complex red shows subtle, full-bodied flavors of dried herb and berry, sage, mineral and cedar, with notes of red and black licorice. Turns drier on the finish, making it less interesting. Best to cellar short-term. Best from 2012 through 2017. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 1,592 cases made. –JL

2009 Willakenzie, Pierre Leon, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $43 at Wine.com

Rating: See comments below

  • $68 at Kokkari | 1.6x | TOP PICK

Winemaker’s Notes: Deep cranberry red in color, with sweet black fruit and carnation on the nose. The palate showcases red plum, red currant and red cherry, as well as unmistakable earth, nutmeg, star anise, and kirsch notes. It is a seductively plump style of Pinot Noir, with structure that builds in the mouth, yet eases gently into a smooth wood spice finish. This wine delightfully surprises with ripe fruit, which is typical of the vintage, and well-balanced acidity. Its elegant profile and balance lead us to believe this wine will age well for 7 to 10 years. Pair with Chateaubriand, or pork tenderloin with plum sauce. Alcohol 14.4%.

2009 Emeritus, Hallberg Ranch, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $44 @ the Winery

Rating: See comments below

  • $68 at Kokkari | 1.5x | TOP PICK
  • $72 at Boulevard | 1.6x
  • $74 at Alexander’s Steakhouse Cupertino | 1.7x | TOP PICK

Winemaker’s Notes: The cold 2009 spring caused the vines to set a smaller–than–normal crop, but the subsequent cool growing season was ideal for Pinot Noir. We saw flavors develop slowly, in balance with tannins and sugar, resulting in more medium–bodied wines than the 2008s, with less alcohol than any of our previous wines. The wine has great depth, dark crimson color, and notable intensity —reminiscent of our 2007s. Overall, we are pleased with the deep colors, variety of flavors, great balance, elegant style, and rarity of the wines. It is rich without being heavy, and embodies what I am looking for in a Pinot: power and finesse. Dare I say iron fist in a velvet glove.

2009 St. Innocent, Zenith Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $33 at K&L Wines

Rating: Wine Advocate 91

  • $75 at Kokkari | 2.3x

91 points Wine Advocate: “The 2009 Pinot Noir Zenith Vineyard displays darker fruit. Asian spices, incense, plum, and black raspberry aromas set the stage for a structured (for the vintage), potentially complex, spicy, smooth-textured offering that will evolve for 1-2 years and provide optimum drinking from 2012 to 2021. As usual, owner/winemaker Mark Vlossak has turned out a first-class collection of new releases.

2009 Shea Wine Cellars, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $41 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: Wine Spectator 94

  • $80 at Kokkari | 1.9x | TOP PICK

94 points Wine Spectator: Supple, rich and complex, layering its dark berry, black cherry, pink grapefruit and exotic spice flavors on a velvety frame. The finish lingering effortlessly. Drink now through 2019. 3,555 cases made. –HS

2008 Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $45 at wine.com

Ratings: See comments below 

  • $94 at EPIC Roasthouse | 2.1x
  • $95 at Kokkari | 2.1x
  • $114 at Alexander’s Steakhouse Cupertino | 2.5x
  • $114 at Spruce | 2.5x

Winemaker’s Notes: With excellent weight, a succulent texture and beautifully balanced acidity, this Pinot Noir reflects the depth and diversity of great Anderson Valley winegrowing. The nose offers a sophisticated medley of aromas, including cranberry, anise, chocolate-covered cherry, toasty oak, truffles and wildflowers. On the palate, it is ripe, round

 

2008 Abadia Retuerta, Rivola, Sardon Del Duero

Retail Price: $13 at Artisan Wine Depot

Rating: Wine Advocate 88

  • $30 at Kokkari | 2.3x

 88 points Wine Advocate: The 2008 Rivola is a blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon displaying aromas of spice box, incense, violets, and black cherry. Savory and sweetly-fruited on the palate, it is an excellent value meant for drinking over the next 4-5 years.

2010 Pago de Los Capellanes, Joven, Ribera Del Duero

Retail Price: $16 at K&L Wines

Rating: See comments below

  • $36 at Kokkari | 2.2x

Winemaker’s Notes: This is as good a vintage of this young (“joven”) wine as I have ever tasted. Dark fruit aromas show serious depth, and then follow through to the palate, which shows good freshness and minerality. Aged for 5 months in French oak.

2009 Kingston Family, Lucero, Casablanca Valley, Syrah

Retail Price: $19 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Ratings: Wine Advocate 89

  • $38 at Kokkari | 2.0x | TOP PICK

89 points Wine Advocate: The 2009 Lucero Syrah was native yeast fermented and was aged for 14 months in just 15% new barrels. It exhibits an inviting nose of cedar, bacon, game, and blueberry. This is followed by a ripe, sweetly-fruited, plush Syrah. It can be approached now but should drink well for another 6 years.

2009 Mas de Gourgonnier, Les Baux de Provence, Grenache

Retail Price: $20 at Wine.com

Rating: See comments below

  • $45 at Kokkari | 2.2x

Winemaker’s Notes: A saturated black ruby in the glass. Aromas suggest Provencal lavender, thyme and rosemary, with plums and black raspberries enlivened with a pinch of white pepper. The mouth delivers spiced cherries and plums, with hints of ginger and bass notes of dark chocolate. Deliciously complex—a winter warmer and a bottle that demands great food and great company. The bottle shape is a traditional Provencal style that the Cartier family has preserved; it looks great on the table. A blend of 42% Grenache, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah and 15% Carignan; all tank made. Long and full of flavor yet still very fresh—a sexy, very pleasurable rouge. Alcohol 12.5%.

2008 Andrew Rich, Coup d’Etat Red, Columbia Valley, Grenache

Retail Price: $24 at Artisan Wine Depot

Rating: See comments below

  • $45 at Kokkari | 1.9x | TOP PICK

Winemaker’s Notes: 50% grenache, 36% mourvedre and 14% syrah) Bright, dark red. Aromas of currant, pepper, wild herbs and flowers come across as more perfumed than the 2007 version. Silky but bright and nicely delineated thanks to well-integrated acidity, which gives a perfumed character to the violet, pepper and berry flavors. More red fruits than black. Finishes firmly tannic but not hard or dry, with very good length and a light touch.

2009 Pierre Gaillard, Crozes Hermitage

Retail Price: $30 at Artisan Wine Depot

Rating: See comments below

  • $60 at Kokkari | 2.0x

Winemaker’s Notes: Savory, lushly layered and wonderfully balanced—this is one of the more expressive, character-rich Crozes we’ve ever had and certainly goes to show that this promising appellation has more than come into its own.  What a delicious discovery!  The nose is a riot of aromas, with black cherries and blueberries mixed with chocolate notes and hints of floral lavender.  Saturated and dripping with ripe fruits yet all the while effortlessly balanced; red and black berries blend with cinnamon and a hint of Côte Rôtie bacon fat on the silky mouth.  Bottled unfiltered.

2007 Yalumba, Hand-Picked, Barossa Valley, Shiraz – Viognier

Retail Price: $25 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: Wine Spectator 91

  • $62 at Kokkari | 2.5x

91 Wine Spectator: Broad, round and generous with its spicy, peppery overtones around a plush core of blueberry and currant fruit, with nicely rounded tannins. Lingers easily, with fine balance. Best from 2013 through 2019. 300 cases imported. –HS

2009 Phillippe Faury, Vielles Vignes, Saint Joseph

Retail Price: $35 at K&L Wines

Rating: See comments below

  • $65 at Kokkari | 1.8x | TOP PICK

Description from K&L: Along the steep, narrow valley that traces the northern Rhône, the appellations of Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu and Saint-Joseph take their place among the great wines of France, and Domaine Faury is one of the region’s most artisanal producers. When Philippe Faury took over the domaine in 1979, the family was selling wine, peaches and cherries, and the bulk of their clientele was local. Over the years, Philippe expanded their holdings to over eleven hectares, and expanded sales to an international client base. In addition, he has shared his savoir faire with his son, Lionel. Since 2006, Lionel has taken over the reins at Domaine Faury, though father and son still work side by side. There’s a real attention to detail here, and nothing is done in haste. Every method used encourages the grape towards greatness with the ultimate respect for its fragility. Pigeage, the punching of the cap, is not carried out with tools, but gently by foot – not just poetic but also pragmatic. Unlike many other vignerons in the region, the Faurys have a strong aversion to new oak. This intense spicy 100% Syrah comes from vines planted between 1937 and 1976! 13% abv.

2005 Chateau Pesquie, Artemia, Ventoux, Grenache & Syrah

Retail Price: $45 at Wally’s Wine & Spirits

Rating: Wine Spectator 87

  • $78 at Kokkari | 1.7x | TOP PICK

87 points Wine Spectator: Quite toasty, with a burly edge to the cocoa, chestnut and coffee notes, all backed by fleshy dark currant, bittersweet cocoa and game notes. A sauvage streak runs through the finish. For fans of the style. Equal parts Grenache and Syrah. Drink now through 2009. 300 cases imported. –JM

2009 Psi, Ribera del Duero

Retail Price: $40 at K&L Wines

Rating: See comments below

  • $78 at Kokkari | 1.9x

Description from K&L: A new project from Peter Sisseck (of Pingus fame). The first thing you should know about this wine is that it is not Pingus: no new oak is used, the wines are made in a less extracted, less showy style, and the goal is to produce a terroir-driven expression of organically and biodynamically cultivated Tinto Fino (Tempranillo). Working together with winemakers who have old vine plots at about 800 meters in altitude, Sisseck is allowing the wine to undergo alcoholic fermentation in concrete, followed by malolactic and aging in 1- to 2-year-old French oak. As a result, the wine is deeply, intensely dark fruited, with a bit of wood at this early stage, but lots of transparency as well. Also, some minerals assert themselves on the palate.. It will be interesting to see how Psi progresses; I suspect that these wines will only get better with more time.

2008 Brunier, Telegramme, Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Retail Price: $39 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: Wine Spectator 89

  • $82 at Kokkari | 2.0x

89 points Wine Spectator: Ripe and round, with nice mouthfeel to the lush red and black cherry compote, fig sauce and anise notes. The long, violet- and mineral-filled finish has a lightly firm edge. Drink now through 2015. 4,900 cases made. –JM

2009 Gramercy Cellars, Walla Walla Valley, Syrah

Retail Price: $45 @ the Winery

Rating: Wine Spectator 94 & Wine Advocate 92

  • $90 at Kokkari | 2.0x

94 points Wine Spectator: Supple, slinky and opulent, with black olive, oatmeal and mace overtones to the tightly knit blackberry and plum fruit, getting spicier as the finish persists. Drink now through 2019.

92 points Wine Advocate: The 2009 Syrah Walla Walla Valley was sourced mostly from the Les Collines Vineyard. A brooding bouquet offers up notes of smoked meat, game, lavender, pepper, plum, and blueberry. On the palate it reveals a sense of elegance, excellent grip and volume, and enough stuffing to evolve for 2-3 years. It will provide optimum drinking from 2013 to 2024.

2009 Leviathan, California, Syrah

Retail Price: $48 at SF Wine Trading Company

Rating: See comments below

  • $90 at Kokkari | 1.9x

Winemaker’s Notes: 28% Syrah, 26% Merlot 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Cabernet Franc. Ever the brave oceanic beast, our 2009 Leviathan has been lurking in the tumultuous waters of Sirenum scopuli. Aromas of espresso, cracked peppercorn and shiso leaves exude from the glass. Succulent red currants, cassis and dark cherries lure one in, and delivers a smooth, decadent finish with hints of raw cacao, cigar box, pavement and rustic bramble pie. This new creation has found true varietal balance, encompassing all of our favorite oenological aspects: ruby-cyan hues, mouthwatering acidity, ample but rounded tannins, and a truly insatiable nature. Don’t let this guileful creature slip away – acquiesce and delight in a glass… or a bottle now!

Description from K&L: If you’re a fan of California cult wines, then you’re probably familiar with the name Andy Erickson, who followed Heidi Peterson as winemaker at Screaming Eagle and has gone on to start or consult on a series of successfull labels including Favia, Ovid, Dancing Hares, Jonata and, of course, Leviathan. This formidable blend of 28% Syrah, 26% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 21% Cabernet Franc comes from the same exceptional sources as Erickson’s Favia wines, fit together like a puzzle. Ground pepper and coffee aromas are in the foreground, slowly revealing briar fruit, cherries, cedar, chocolate and cinnamon scents that are echoed on the palate. Full-bodied with round tannins and solid acidity, this powerful wine is already satisfying.

2006 Finca, Villacreces, Ribera Del Duero

Retail Price: $40 at Wine.com

Rating: Wine Advocate 94

  • $94 at Kokkari | 2.3x

94 points Wine Advocate: The purple-colored 2006 Tinto is made up of 86% Tempranillo and the balance Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot aged for 16 months in French oak. The nose displays a brooding aromatic array of Asian spices, damp earth, mineral, blackberry, and violets. Dense and stacked on the palate, the wine is still a bit tightly wound and will benefit from 4-6 years of additional cellaring. Incipiently complex and exceptionally lengthy, it should be at its best from 2025 to 2031.

Winemaker’s Notes: Inky purple, it has an expressive bouquet of mocha/espresso, pain grille, graphite, wild blueberry, and blackberry liqueur. This is followed by a full-bodied, full-flavored, plush wine with layers of spicy black fruits, impeccable balance, and a long, pure finish. The tannins are well concealed but this superb effort should evolve for 4-6 years and drink well through 2027. Alcohol 14.0%.

2010 Owen Roe, Abbott’s Table, Sangiovese

Retail Price: $24 at Wine.com

Rating: See comments below

  • $45 at Kokkari | 1.9x | TOP PICK

Winemaker’s Notes: 48% Sangiovese, 15% Blaufrankisch, 14% Zinfandel, 14% Malbec, 7% Syrah, 2% Merlot. Always a favorite, this vintage is just as unique as all the ones before it! The 2010 Abbot’s Table is rich and plush, with rich, darkfruit flavors of blueberry, wild cherries, plum and black currants and is interlaced with notes of tobacco, cinnamon and savory spices. Alcohol 14.2%.

2008 Agricola Querciabella, Chianti Classico

Retail Price: $30 at Sherry-Lehman

Rating: Wine Spectator 88

  • $60 at Kokkari | 2.0x

88 points Wine Spectator: A juicy, rich wine, offering lots of fruit. Full and velvety, with sliced plum and chocolate flavors. A big Chianti Classico. Needs a little time to mellow. Best after 2010. 11,665 cases made. –JS

2007 Cogno, Bordini, Barbaresco

Retail Price: $36 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: Wine Advocate 92

  • $78 at Kokkari | 2.2x

92 points Wine Advocate: The 2007 Barbaresco Bordini is a big, fleshy wine that captures the essence of the vintage in its open, radiant personality. It is a gorgeous wine endowed with tons of depth and textural richness. Tobacco, cedar and crushed flowers are some of the notes that linger on the finish. This isn’t likely to be a long-term ager, but it should offer fabulous drinking over the next few years. It is an immensely pleasing Barbaresco. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017

2003 Villa Le Prata, Brunello di Montalcino

Retail Price: $49 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: Wine Spectator 91

  • $86 at Kokkari | 1.7x | TOP PICK

91 points Wine Spectator: This is concentrated, with impressive berry, plum and raspberry aromas that follow through to a full body, with an impressive concentration of fruit and pretty vanilla and cedar undertones. Very long and pretty. Impressive for the vintage. Best after 2010. 330 cases made. –JS

 

2006 Starlite, Alexander Valley, Zinfandel

Retail Price: $43 at Wine.com – SOLD OUT

Rating: Wine Enthusiast 92

  • $52 at Kokkari | 1.2x | TOP PICK

92 points Wine Enthusiast: Expensive, but worth it if you’re a fan of rich, opulent Zinfandel. Shows Alexander Valley soft tannins and an herbal, sage and oregano edge to the enormously ripe blackberry, cherry and currant flavors, spiced with a great burst of black pepper. Notable for balance and elegance despite the power. The consulting winemaker was Merry Edwards.

Winemaker’s Notes: This lovely garnet-colored Zinfandel offers a beguiling aroma of ripe plums, chocolate, black cherries and raspberries with a hint of cloves. Accents of vanillin spice, subtle oak, cocoa bean and hints of white pepper add complexity in texture and dimension. It is a luscious mouthful with silky-fine tannins and great follow-through on the palate. Alcohol 15.0%. 

2008 Peter Franus, Brandlin, Mount Veeder, Zinfandel

Retail Price: $35 at Napa Valley Winery Exchange

Rating: See comments below

  • $75 at Kokkari | 2.1x

Winemaker’s Notes: As for the wine. Fermentation temperatures were kept slightly lower than those for Bordeaux reds to accentuate the zesty and forward fruit character of Zinfandel. Aging exclusively in Burgundian French oak barrels added complexity as well as refinement to the wine. Dark ruby in color, the classic Brandlin aromas identify the unique character of the vineyard–crushed stone, bright berry notes, lavender, white pepper, clove, ginger, anise, bay and a touch of earthiness. The 2009 is a little less “weighty” than the 2008, making it perhaps a little more refreshing. For those somewhat apprehensive about Zinfandel, our style typically surprises.

 

2009 Andrew Will, Columbia Valley, Cabernet Franc

Retail Price: $27 at K&L Wines

Rating: See comments below

  • $60 at Kokkari | 2.2x 

Description from K&L: Another solid wine from one of Washington’s iconic wineries, the 2009 is 91% Cabernet Franc (from the Two Blondes vineyard, Ciel du Cheval, and Champoux Vineyards ) and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon (Discovery Vineyard). Aged in 50% new French oak, it really shows off the aromatic component of Cabernet Franc. Busting at the seams with raspberry and cherry fruit, with just a hint of pretty floral herbaceousness, juicy acidity and a hint of minerality, this is yet another testament to the strength of Bordeaux varietals from Washington State.

2006 Robert Sinskey ,Vandal Vineyard, Carneros Cabernet Franc

Retail Price: $38 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: See comments below

  • $66 at Boulevard | 1.7x
  • $68 at Kokkari | 1.8x | TOP PICK

Description from K&L: Sinskey’s organic and Biodynamic Vandal Vineyard gives Cabernet Franc color that holds light like a deep-hued ruby. Tempting aromas of a bramble thicket, heavy with ripe berries on a hot summer afternoon, join spicy notes of licorice and vanilla in begging a sip. A taste brings black and red berries spiked with spices and sweet herbs. Ideal with lamb.


2008 Seven Hills Columbia Valley Merlot

Retail Price: $20 at Artisan Wine Depot

Ratings: Wine Advocate 90

  • $48 at Kokkari | 2.4x

90 points Wine Advocate: The 2008 Merlot Seven Hills Vineyard aged for 20 months in 40% new French oak. Spice box, tobacco leaf, violets, herbs, and black currants compose the nose of this smooth-textured, easy-going, well-balanced Merlot. It is likely to evolve for 1-2 years but can be approached now.

Winemaker’s Notes: A Merlot crafted from diverse vineyard micro-climates within the Columbia Valley. We’ve blended in Cabernet Franc to heighten aromatics. This wine shows bountiful fruit character, balanced and delightful.” -Casey McClellan, Winemaker

2008 Shafer, Napa Valley, Merlot

Retail Price: $44 at K&L Wines

Rating: Wine Spectator 92 | Drink now to 2016

  • $66 at Waterfront Restaurant | 1.5x | TOP PICK
  • $80 at EPIC Roasthouse | 1.8x | TOP PICK
  • $85 at Harris’ Restaurant | 1.9x
  • $92 at Kokkari | 2.1x
  • $95 at Boulevard | 2.2x

92 points Wine Spectator: Elegant and focused, with black cherry and toasty oak aromas that lead to supple red currant, spice and herb notes. Finishes with firm but ripe tannins. Drink now through 2016. Alcohol 15.3%.

Winemaker’s Notes: The lengthy spring and summer offered seemingly endless stretches of warm, sunny days and cool nights. A gentle heat spell warmed up our vineyards in early September at exactly the right time to usher in the harvest of gorgeous fruit.

2008 Merlot has a lively, perfumy nose that begins the moment the bottle is opened – delicious aromas of red cherry, raspberry, red plum, cherry kirsch. In the mouth are rich, juicy, palate-enveloping flavors of pure red and black fruit, red licorice, and hints of mint and toasted almonds. The tannins are round and smooth and part of the long, pleasing finish. Alcohol 15.3%.


2006 Bridesmaid, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $39 @ the Winery

Ratings: Wine Advocate 88

  • $48 at Kokkari | 1.2x | TOP PICK

88 points Wine Advocate: The 2006 Proprietary Red exhibits soft, slightly herbaceous, red, blue, and black fruits intermixed with notions of licorice and underbrush. Consume it over the next 4-5 years.

Winemaker’s Notes: This Cabernet Sauvignon 40%, Merlot 39%, Cab Franc 12%, Petit Verdot 8% and Malbec 1% blend was aged in French oak for over 24 months. The alluring bouquet of blackberry, dark chocolate, bing cherry, cassis and cinnamon climb from the dense color in the glass to your nose. The flavor follows true to the aromas. Incredible concentration of ripe fruit with a seamless finish. Bold yet elegant, this Bordeaux styled blend is both approachable and cellar-worthy!

2004 La Jota, Howell Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $50 at NapaCabs.com

Ratings: See comments below

  • $58 at Kokkari | 1.2x | TOP PICK

Description from http://www.napacabs.com: Aromas of mocha, blackberry and toast compliment the palate of clove, cinnamon, boysenberry and toast. A fine balance of oak to fruit and a wonderfully long finish tie all of these characteristics together in a wine that speaks of all that is Howell Mountain yet is approachable now

2005 Rosati Family Winery, Mendocino County, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $30 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: See comments below

  • $60 at Kokkari | 2.0x
  • $72 at Alexander’s Steakhouse Cupertino | 2.4x

Winemaker’s Notes: This medium bodied wine with ruby clarity is lush with lively dark fruit. It was aged 18 months in French Oak. Aromas of blackberries and spice fill the bouquet. It is an earthy wine with hints of chocolate. The smooth tannins create a wine that is elegant, balanced and approachable. For years to this wine will age gracefully.

2006 Chateau Larruau, Margaux

Retail Price: $33 via Wine-Searcher

Ratings: See comments below

  • $72 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.2x
  • $75 at Kokkari | 2.3x

One of the most underrated Chateaux in all of Bordeaux. Most of the vineyards owned by Chateau Larruau surround those of 1st Growth Chateau Margaux. Robert Parker declares the wines “intensely concentrated” and says that one of his “personal goals is to taste more wines from Bernard Chateau,” the owner and winemaker of Larruau.

2009 Paul Hobbs, Cross Barn, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $35 at JJ Buckley

Rating: Wine Advocate 91

  • $75 at Kokkari | 2.1x

91 points Wine Advocate: The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Crossbarn is a gorgeous, fruit-driven wine bursting with dark red fruit, new leather, spices and licorice. Expressive aromatics are woven throughout in this beautifully delineated, entry-level Cabernet. The final blend includes 8% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Hobbs uses a touch of American oak for this Crossbarn label. The main vineyards are State Lane and Mast, both in Yountville. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017.

2008 Pahlmeyer, Jayson, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $50 at Wine.com

Rating: Wine Spectator 89

  • $82 at Kokkari | 1.6x | TOP PICK

89 points Wine Spectator: This delicate, subtle style combines ripe black cherry, wild berry and plum flavors with touches of anise and black licorice. Full-bodied, with a graceful finish. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Drink now through 2018. 3,000 cases made.

Winemaker’s Notes: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec. The 2008 Jayson Red exhibits blackberry, blueberry and bright raspberry notes, enhanced by layers fresh black olive, mocha chocolate and anise. Dense and chewy, the finish lingers. Alcohol 15.2% – Erin Green.

2006 Long Meadow Ranch, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $55 @ the Winery

Rating: See comments below

  • $84 at Kokkari | 1.5x | TOP PICK

Winemaker’s Notes: Unmistakably Cabernet Sauvignon from “up the hill” at Long Meadow Ranch. The lovely, earthy aromas remind me of the ranch on a warm autumn afternoon. There is plenty of vibrant, forward fruit (plum, black cherry, dried cranberries, blackberry cobbler) to provide a counterpoint and additional layers of interest. The pleasing entry is both structured and broad and yields to an integrated, balanced mid-palate in which all the flavors deepen and blend. The finish is characterized by lingering sweet fruit and a seamless, mouthwatering texture. This LMR Cabernet Sauvignon will surely complement a broad range of everyday and special dishes. Try it with roasted game, lamb or beef. Enjoy! – Ashley Heisey

2008 Gramercy, Columbia Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $50 at Varmax Liquor Pantry

Rating: Wine Spectator 91

  • $90 at Kokkari | 1.8x | TOP PICK

91 points Wine Spectator: Silky, refined and elegant, this is bursting with cherry, sage and cream flavors that linger on the polished finish. Drink now through 2016. 1,028 cases made. –HS

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Comments
2 Responses to “Kokkari Wine List Review”
  1. I agree, Kokkari is a great restaurant with a fantastic wine list. I haven’t yet gotten to the magnum stage, but I think that would be a great place to start. Another good option for parties in the ~12 range is the “chef’s table” — it’s right next to the kitchen and has a fantastic energy.

    • Josh Moser says:

      Why don’t you send this review to your employees so that they get the “Right Bottle at the Right Price” instead of the “Wrong Bottle at an Awful Price.” Next time you go let me know what you end up drinking.

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