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The Freewheel line with a couple of English friends.

It takes a lot of beer to keep the wine business running smoothly. Here in Redwood City, we are very fortunate to have a great English style ale producer right in our backyard: Freewheel Brewing Company. The staff of K&L are fictures at our local pub, and it is a rare moment when one of us isn't there having a pint and a bite of their excellent food. We are also lucky enough to be the first place to offer their bottled beer for sale. If you have never had it, the Freewheel Brewing "FSB" Freewheel Special Bitter, California (500ml) is the benchmark in fresh, balanced, smashable ale. We will do our best to keep some in stock for you, the customer too!

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« Premier Napa Valley - Day Two | Main | Montelena Tasting »

Premier Napa Valley Wine Auction: Part I

Friday February 24th, Napa Valley The weather is absolutely gorgeous up here. Chip Hammack, Martin Reyes and I are roughing it up in Napa. Today is the start of the Premier Napa Valley Wine Auction. Premier Napa Valley is a mid-winter barrel auction for the trade. This is one of the two auctions put together by the Napa Valley Vintners Association (The other, the Napa Valley Wine Auction, is held in the summer). It’s amazing how many people are in town. Retailers, wholesalers and restaurateurs are here from all over the county. The auction itself is actually on Saturday, but many of the wineries have open houses, tasting events and parties on the days leading up to the auction. The three of us got a head start yesterday. Our first appointment was a lunch at Redd restaurant, with Bob Roux of Caymus. Redd is the new hot spot in the Valley. Located in the restaurant heavy town of Yountville, Redd is sleek and modern and is run by Chef Richard Reddington. We were joined by some nice folks from New York, which brought the total for lunch to 10. We were lucky enough to enjoy a nice glass of Sancerre to start and then worked our way to the 1991 Caymus Special Select, which was served out of a 3 Liter. The 1991 Special Select blew us away. Its aromas were reminiscent of a Right Bank Bordeaux. The wine was developed but still fresh and loaded with fruit. After lunch our next appointment was at Opus One. We had a nice little private tasting, which included 1993, 1997 and the current 2002 vintage. The 2002 was showing great! If you purchased some from us recently, hold on to it. Our next appointment was a quick tasting at Flora Springs, which was highlighted by the 2002 25th Anniversary Cabernet. Since we hadn’t eaten for several hours, we decided to have an early 7 p.m. dinner at Bouchon in Napa, one of my favorite restaurants in Napa. Bouchon is a classic French Bistro. We went light, with a first course of Fois Gras followed by a delicious steak and frites. I brought a magnum of ‘75 Poujeaux , which showed great and paired with the steak nicely. It was an easy first day. Lots more to do tomorrow…More to come! —Trey Beffa Addendum: If the weather stays this nice Trey and I are going to scrap plans for opening a store in L.A., and we’re going to open a Martini Bar/Health Spa called BeffHams here in Yountville. We’ve been in talks with Thomas Keller to do the food. The concept revolves around a kind of gorging and purging scenario (very big these days in Hollywood). From what we’ve seen so far, we think it could really work. We also have plans to expand to a miniature golf/wine tasting contest. We think it would be an ideal way for Anne to study for her MW exam. —Chip Hammack

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