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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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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 or follow us on Facebook.  


Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

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For Your Sweet Tooth: Hungarian Tokaji

Tokaji 1995 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Aszú Essencia

Forget about Sauternes. SGN, no thanks. Eiswein, BA and TbA? Now we're getting closer, but not on my dime, thank you very much. Yesterday, I tasted through a terrific line-up of wines with Ben Howkins from the Royal Tokaji Wine Company. Let's just say that the Russian tsars and assorted other monarchs of the day, who bought tokaji by the cart-load, knew their stuff. The combination of naturally high acidity, high residual sugar and moderate alcohol makes for a finely balanced elixir to finish a meal. While I do have a sweet tooth, I am generally not much of a dessert wine fan, mainly due to the excess of alcohol and lack of acid balance in many of them. After tasting through much of the current Royal Tokaji Wine Company line-up, though, I’m singing a different tune. The Royal Tokaji Company is a collaboration between wine writer/living legend Hugh Johnson, author and Port authority Ben Howkins and winemaker Peter Vinding-Diers. The wines (with the exception of the dry furmint) are a blend of late harvested, naturally botrytised furmint, harslevelu and muscat. Ben Howkins was on hand to guide customers and co-workers through the wines. 2006 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Furmint A typically creamy peach-and-apricot furmint nose leads to a fully dry wine, with yellow-pitted fruit flavors, good richness and mouth-watering acidity. Nice soft texture as well. Persistent. 2003 Royal Tokaji Wine Company 5 Puttonyos ($34.99) Orange and peach marmalade on the nose, with some honeyed botrytis notes. Candied orange flavors on the palate, more plush and lower acid than the terrific 2000 vintage of this wine (which I prefer, slightly, to this one) but the acidity is still apparent and remarkably in balance given the warm vintage conditions. 2000 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Betsek 6 Puttonyos ($76.99) Now we are getting to the individual vineyard bottlings, which are site-specific and contain higher amounts of residual sugar, due to the extra puttonyo, or container of trampled, late harvested grapes. Betsek is the largest of their vineyards, located on a lower portion of the hills composed of a top layer of black volcanic soil. More creamy and complex aromas lead to a rich, sweeter and higher acidity wine (remember, while the higher number of puttonyos leads to more residual sugar, the measurement of acidity often times goes up as well, so they don't necessarily seem a whole lot sweeter). The flavors bring to mind an intense, spicy, reduced grapefruit syrup. 1999 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Nyulászó ($96.99) One of my favorites of the line-up. According to Mr. Howkins, the Nyulászó vineyard contributes the most to the house style of the Royal Tokaji Wine Company. Another step up in aromatic intensity, with orange and toffee candy scents. Amazingly high acidity (I'd love to get the technical specs here, I'm going to guess at least 9g/liter) combined with ridiculous length and intensity. Apparently, this wine is often times a favorite among Burgundy fans. I can see why. 1999 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Stz. Tomás First Growth 6 Puttonyos ($99.99) This wine is a return to a gentler and rounder profile. Historically, grapes from this vineyard have the highest amount of residual sugar compared to the company's other sites. Delicious, intense stone fruit jam with a bit less acidity on the palate. 1996 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Mezes Mály 6 Puttonyos $$99.99 There is a prominent reddish glint in this amber-colored wine from what literally translates as the “honey pot” vineyard. Wow, what a nose on this one! Hugely intense, volcanic, spicy nose—almost like horseradish. Hints of red fruits emerge as well. The palate is accordingly spicy, a bit cider-y even. Hints of dried cranberry fruit. Extraordinarily well-chiseled and defined. Amazing intensity, acidity and length. This is one of the most memorable wines I have ever tasted. Awesome. 1995 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Aszú Essencia ($159.99) I was thinking that after the previous wine, it would take quite the wine to match the experience. Not that the Essencia was a downer, but man the Mezes Mály was a real game-changer. The Essencia is a blend of Nyulászó and Stz Tomás fruit with 180g/l residual sugar. It surprisingly shows the most savory aromas, a blend of brown sugar sweetness and a good bit more maturity as well. Less of the orange/peach/apricot marmalade characteristics. On the palate the flavors are also extraordinarily concentrated with high acidity as well. The texture is butter soft and luxurious. Really compelling stuff, but tough to describe. Even tougher after the extraordinary Mezes Mály. It was an incredible tasting, and a strong reminder of where my vinous sweet tooth resides: the hills of northeastern Hungary. Thanks to Mr. Ben Howkins, Wilson Daniels and our local distributor rep Greg Schuessler for sharing these amazing wines. —Joe Manekin

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