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Saber Madness at K&L!

We have been chopping off the tops of Champagne bottles as fast as we can drink them- who needs a stopper when you are ready to commit to finishing the bottle! One of our favorites was this magnum ($84.99) of Franck Bonville Brut Rosé that Mellyn expertly decapitated on Christmas Eve. It also comes in regular 750ml ($39.99) and half bottles ($21.99). Olivier Bonville adds 8% Pinot Noir Rouge from Ambonnay superstar Paul Dethune to his top class assembelage of grand cru, estate Chardonnay to create this fabulous rose. This is one of the most elegant, bright, refreshing rose Champagnes that we carry, yet it does not lack red cherry Pinot Noir authority. We can’t get enough- bring another to the block!

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Tasting with Oliver Krug

Upcoming Events

We host regular weekly and Saturday wine tastings in each K&L location.

For the complete calendar, including lineups and additional details related to our events, visit our K&L Local Events on KLWines.com or follow us on Facebook.  

 

Free Spirits Tastings at K&L! Now that we have our license for spirits tastings in Redwood City and San Francisco, we’re excited to host regular free spirits tastings in those locations.  Check the Spirits Journal for an updated tasting schedule.

All tastings will feature different products from the Spirits Department and take place on Wednesdays in Redwood City and San Francisco. Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

See all K&L Local Events

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Friday
Apr172015

Paillard Rose and Grilled Trout!

The potential for Champagne and food pairing is nearly limitless. That being said, sometimes I am struck by particularly synergistic pairings. Last week, Cinnamon bought a McFarland’s Spring Trout and prepared some mesquite for our Lodge Hibachi and I brought home a bottle of the Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Rosé Champagne ($57.99). It turned out to be one of my top wine and food experiences so far this year.

The Paillard rose is very special Champagne. It is made entirely from estate fruit from the grand cru of Bouzy, which is the most famous village in all of Champagne for the red wine that is used in rose production. In Bouzy, Pinot Noir is the king, but the Paillard family has been plated more Chardonnay than any of their neighbors- it makes up about 40% of their vineyard. This rose is composed of 70% Chardonnay, and this gives the Champagne its dry, refined character as well as its fine minerality. Pinot Noir that is vinified without skin contact, and thus without any color represents 23% of the blend. The color and rose flavor comes from 7% Pinot Noir that is made into “Bouzy Rouge” and added to the blend. This Bouzy Rouge is very special wine indeed.

The courtyard of the Paillard family home and winery is in fact a walled vineyard or clos. This tiny parcel of less than one acre cannot be accessed by any farm equipment, so all the work is done by hand. It is this magic piece of grand cru that gives this rose its completely unique ability to have near red Burgundy power when called upon by food, yet show restrained elegance and only subtle haunting fruit on its own. It is unusual to find wines that have this chameleon attribute, and more unusual when all the different guises are so incredibly good.

When I returned home from work, I headed to our little hibachi to cook the fish. Cinnamon has fired a half load of lump mesquite in our coal chimney, and this turned out to be the perfect amount. After I had heated the grill top and given it a little oil, I put the fish which had been rubbed with Dijon salt and pepper on skin side down. A little less heat allowed us to keep the fish on the grill for nearly 10 minutes, adding smoky intrigue to the almost salmon flavor. I separated the fillet from its skin (leaving the skin on the grill) with our fish spatula and flipped it over, back onto the skin. This skin ended up being unbelievably delicious after crisping and picking up the mesquite flavors.

Cinnamon also prepared some top of the season artichokes and mayonnaise for our meal, and I grilled up some good sourdough for our starch. Artichokes are famous wine wreckers, and while I wouldn’t say that the rose went with them, it did not have the trouble that most wines do sharing a table with them. The meal turned out very nicely. After a bite of bread, the Champagne was as dry and subtle as any you could imagine, and was only haunted by the most subtle of black cherry fruit. With the trout, the power of the Bouzy rouge showed itself; this is authoritative and loaded with savory bass notes.

Cinnamon was moved to say that this was her favorite Champagne in a long time, and I am sure this bottle will end up on my list of top experiences for 2015. Looking back, I see that it made my list in 2012 with oysters… It is nothing if not flexible! If you haven’t yet tried this, it is a must for rose fans and anyone that loves a great pairing!

A toast to you!

Gary Westby

 

Thursday
Apr162015

Sauv Blanc Day 2015 - April 24th! (Kiwi Style)

Yep it's that time of year again when we celebrate the wondrous grape of Sauvignon Blanc! April 24th is officially World Sauvignon Blanc Day! #sauvblanc

This grape is so crisp, fresh and easy to love...as things start warming up this Spring / Summer I certainly plan on keeping my fridge stocked with plenty of Savvy to keep thirst at bay!

Being the New Zealand Wine Buyer at K&L I am obviously partial to the world class Savvy that NZ produces. After exploding on the world stage in the 1980s, New Zealand has truly cemented its place amongst the world’s leading producers of Sauvignon Blanc. One thing I like to highlight is the variety of styles that come from NZ...the country is often incorrectly stereotyped as a producer of "gooseberry / grassy styles" when in reality, there are many diverse and eclectic styles coming from the plethora of sub-regions and experimental winemakers that call NZ home. It is very hard to "pigeon hole" NZ savvy these days when styles include, wild fermented, barrel fermented, additions of Semillon, Sauvignon Gris...not to mention many wines coming from beyond the region of Marlborough that has for a long time dominated the category; Central Otago, Hawke’s Bay and more offer different flavors and textures to enjoy.

If you love Sauv Blanc (as much as I do!) and are interested in checking out these incredibly diverse wines...I have a treat for you! On Saturday April 25th, the New Zealand Winegrowers Association is hosting a great event at the fantastic Farallon Restaurant in San Francisco. The tasting includes at least two dozen wineries pouring their Savvy and a tantalizing array of hors d'oeuvres from the chefs at Farallon! This is a 3 hour walk-around tasting where you are free to explore as many wines as you wish. Tickets are available here...and more information about the event here on the NZWG website.

Many of these delicious wines are available in-store and online at www.klwines.com.

Here are a couple of my favorite picks that will be on my short list this summer:

2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough

2013 Elephant Hill Sauvignon Blanc Hawke's Bay

2014 Cognizant Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough

2014 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc Waihopai Valley Marlborough

2013 Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 

2014 Craggy Range "Te Muna Road" Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough

Wishing you all a cool, crisp and refreshing Sauv Blanc Day!

Cheers - Ryan Woodhouse (K&L NZ Wine Buyer)

Saturday
Apr112015

A Great Dinner at Quattro!

We are very lucky to live just three blocks away from a great restaurant. Luckier still, every Friday night they invite wine lovers to bring their own wine to dinner without a corkage fee and also offer significant discounts on their wine list. Quattro at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley is very busy during the week with business travelers visiting from all over the world, but come Friday, it is a local wine lover’s scene. Last night Cinnamon and I grabbed a bottle of the 2000 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien ($179.99) and headed over for a great meal.

When we saw that they foie gras torchon on the menu, we had to get it. Foie gras has been contraband in California for several years, but recently they legalized it… And this was the first we had of the newly freed up liver. It was served with brioche and a very inventive powdered form of white truffle that had a striking resemblance to another banned substance, not only in appearance but certainly also in price!  The hamachi cruda with wasabi foam came highly recommended by our server Emily, and she was spot on with the advice. These appetizers called for a great wine, so we took advantage of the great Friday Night Uncorked discount and ordered a bottle of the Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne ($46.99 here at K&L) to go with them.

If you haven’t tried the Roederer lately, you should. I feel this is the very best non-vintage from a big house, and this particular bottle made me feel like I was there in the region with its powerful Pinot personality and its vibrant, chalky back end cut. This wine had the delicacy and finesse to bring out the best in the hamachi, yet plenty of power to cut the decadent foie gras. We were off to a good start!

 

For the main course, Cinnamon got the richer than rich carbonara, which had an unbroken egg yolk that she mixed in herself…  This stuff sure was decadent! Like a broken record, I ordered the 160z, bone in, Piemontese ribeye, which never fails to deliver. It was Friday night, and I love my steak and claret!!! The Barton, which had been sitting in the decanter for about an hour at this point, was beautifully open and aromatic, with fantastic leather and earthy components on its Cabernet driven, currant loaded nose. In the mouth it was as rich and full as one would expect from a big deal wine from a big deal vintage, with more dark fruit and high class earth. The finish was long, lifted and fresh… The 750ml bottle seemed small, even though it was just the two of us. It is, after all, just a short walk home!

-Gary Westby