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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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« Bienvenidos a Alimentaria! | Main | Premier Napa Valley Wine Auction: Part I »

Premier Napa Valley - Day Two

The weather was even nicer yesterday than Thursday. When your in the Napa Valley and the temperature is in the mid 70's it is hard to have a bad day. Our first appointment is at Twomey with Tim Duncan. The winery used to be Stonegate Winery and was purchase by Silver Oak in 2000. Here we taste the current releases. 01 Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – Soft and fleshy – A wine made to enjoy early 01 Silver Oak Napa Cabernet Sauvignon – Shows well today. In stock 02 Twomey - lush, thick and sweet wine – loaded with mocha, vanilla bean and blackberries Our second stop for the day was Corison winery. Corison put on an exciting open house vertical tasting (if that makes any sense). Probably one of the best tastings I have attended in Napa, the older vintages from Corison showed great. It is nice to have an opportunity to taste wines from Napa that develop and age this well. Flight 1 = all Corison Napa Cabernets 1989 - well developed, still fresh, bright, fruit was a bit hard to find but still alive 1990 - Great nose, complex, alive balanced and sweet. This wine combines bottle age aromas and well developed fruit. Perfect time to drink! 1991 - mushroom and earth forest floor, wet stone , my least favorite 1992 - rich, ripe and fresh. Great balance and depth of fruit Excellent! Best wine of the tasting. 1993 - big rich fruit, blackberries and mocha Less aromas than others but great fruit! 1994 - Minty, spicy and toasty. Rich and chewy in mouth. Still young- Excellent! Flight 2= all Corison “Kronos” Cabernet 1996- Minty spicy nose. Red fruits, bing cherry long finish. Still firm and shows some tannin. 1997 - Fresh, bright vanilla bean and mocha. Lush rich mid-palate- Excellent! 1998 - Definitely lighter and more earthy. OK at best. Well made for a tough vintage. 1999 - Big and burly for corison. Firm with big ripe tannins Good 2000 - Very nice wine, drinking great now. A big step ahead of 98. Drink tonight 2001 - Big like 99 but with more fruit. Still young. Needs time. Excellent After the Corison tasting it was time for lunch. A bit tired of sit down fancy meals, we headed for Taylor’s Refresher for a Burger, a favorite stop for many. It was my first trip to Taylor’s and I have to say it was a good burger. Although not quite at the “In and Out” level, it was still delicious. There is nothing like a wine tasting after a cheeseburger. Shafer Vineyards was our next stop. Here we tasted all the new releases, set to be in stock the first week of March. They are the 2004 Chardonnay, the 2003 Firebreak and the 03 Cabernet. Along with the new releases Shafer was also pouring older vintages of Hillside Select. These vintages included 1986, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1999 and the 2002. The 2002 was probably the favorite. It is big, dense, thick and intense in its fruit .Everything you would expect from Hillside Select. The 1995 showed well while the 86 was past its peak . The rest were a bit on the tannic side, as well and being a bit simple. Our next stops were two appellation tastings. The first was the St. Helena appellation tasting and the second was the Spring Mountain tasting. There were lots of wineries at each tasting. Overall the quality from Spring Mountain was extremely high. Our favorites included Terra Valentine, Spring Mountain Vineyards, Keenan, Schweiger and Stony Hill. Our final stop of the day was at the new Paraduxx Winery, which is owned by Duckhorn. This stop was nice because we were greeted with a glass of Schramsberg Sparkling Wine at the door. After the Sparkling Wine we tasted a flight of older vintages, all served from large format bottles. Our favorites were the 1997 Estate Grown Merlot and the 1993 Three Palms Merlot. The 1983 Three Palms Merlot was the oldest wine of the day, and it showed quite well; still alive but getting a bit tired, kind of like us at this point. Along with a ton of current releases from Duckhorn, we also had a chance to taste wines from Goldeneye and Paraduxx. The winery was quite sleek and even had a DJ for the event. – Trey Beffa Day 2 was all about tastings and experiencing the different terroirs of Napa. From the mountains to the prairies to the oceans to the seas we drove all around tasting the various vinous offerings Napa was willing to put in front of our palates. There was no greater contrast than the vertical at Corison versus the vertical at Shafer. Shafer was all rustic dense hillside black fruits and Corison was lifted elegant valley floor fresh cherry fruit. Both wonderful in there own ways. The Spring Mountain tasting was very nice. It was held in the old house that was featured in the night time soap Falcon Crest. Being an LA boy, I kept asking, “Is this real?” Speaking of LA, I was doing most of the driving this day and I got accused of being an LA driver, whatever that means. All I did was slow down when I saw a tanning salon. Sheesh, some people – Chip Hammack

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