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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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Recession Guide: Diversify Your Wine Portfolio To Drink Well During Hard Times

It seems perfectly logical in today's troubled economic times to try and cut back on expenses. With the market going haywire and retirement funds being lost and later regained, customers visiting our Redwood City store more frequently come in looking for California cabernets and chardonnays around the safer $10 mark. Fortunately there are dozens of great domestic options in our store (and at our SF and Hollywood locations) at that price. The 2005 Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon ($10.99), for example, is a delicious everyday wine that was even deemed a "Top Value" by his majesty Robert Parker. While I genuinely enjoy the Avalon it is, however, not a replacement for something truly remarkable like the 2004 Mount Eden Saratoga Cuvee ($24.99), a Santa Cruz mountain cabernet that I absolutely adore, but cannot afford to drink on a daily basis. When I want a really nice cabernet, but instead have to settle for an everyday bottle, it can be a little disappointing. I know exactly what I want, but I am forced by my empty wallet to sacrifice depth for drinkable. My advice to anyone in this situation is to adjust your expectations and look to the foreign market. Instead of searching for cheaper options of your favorite grape, why not try a different varietal? There are literally dozens of wines made from unfamiliar grapes grown in other parts of the world that are generally not very expensive and it isn't because they aren't good; they're just not as heavily in demand. Consider the concept of supply and demand: if everyone is drinking California cabernet, then the price of the bottle is not necessarily going to reflect the quality of the wine. Many of the indigenous grapes of Italy, on the other hand, are rarely expensive and generally far exceed my expectations. Spanish tempranillo from the Rioja region can be just as rich and rewarding as a great glass of cabernet, and many times even more so. For the savvy drinker who commands knowledge of the world market, there is never a reason to sacrifice quality, even in times of great economic despair. All it takes is a little bravery and an open mind to find an expressive and outstanding bottle of wine at the right price. In order to provide a bit of guidance, I have prepared the following list of lesser-known varietals along with a description and some examples that you can easily find in our store. Muscadet: Produced in France's Loire Valley, this wine made from the melon de Bourgogne grape is an easy alternative to chardonnay and can be round and creamy with peach or pear flavors, or steely and mineral with herbal notes. A great wine just for sipping or as the ultimate pairing to shellfish dishes, Muscadet can also age incredibly and take on amazing complexity. Even better is the fact that it usually costs only $10 to $15 for the good stuff. We currently carry some fine examples from Jo Landron's La Louvetrie and La Pépière. Tempranillo: For the red wine aficionado who prefers a touch of oak, a robust smokiness and soft red fruit, Spain's Rioja region annually offers the best bang for the buck. Tempranillo from this area can be very expensive, but generally there are superb bottles for less than $20. The wines can age for more than 30 years, or be opened immediately for young drinking, depending on how you like it. We currently have the 2007 Señorio de P. Peciña Joven ($14.99), the 2001 Bodegas LAN ($15.99), and the 2005 Ramon Bilbao ($11.990, which should all impress the heck out of you. Barbera: Before sangiovese took over as the most widely-planted grape in Italy, barbera was king. As I learned it, barbera is the fun and fruity table wine that Italians drink while they wait for their Barolo and Barbaresco (very tannic wines made from the nebbiolo grape) to age in the cellar. Sometimes it can be full of bright red raspberries and cherries, other times darker and fleshier with blackberry fruit. The wine is generally low in tannins, which makes for an easy glass to go with that bowl of spaghetti that you opted for instead of dinner at Chez Panisse. Try our directly imported bottle from Corsini (14.99) and make sure you pair it with food. Malbec: Not so much the secret these days, Malbec has really taken off as one of the most accessible (and affordable) varietals on the market. Although it is grown in many parts of France where it is known as côt, today's real bargains tend to be coming from South America, primarily Argentina. These wines are super smooth, silky and full of ripe fruit, which caters to just about anyone. Find me a person who doesn't like any of the following: 2007 Altos Las Hormigas ($10.99), 2007 Elsa Malbec ($7.99), or the 2005 Belasco de Baquedano "Llama ($11.99)." Grüner Veltliner: I'm not even a bit embarrassed about the fact that I had never tasted an Austrian grüner veltliner before starting here at K&L; I'm merely relieved that I didn't go longer without having done so. At this point, I probably drink more GrüVe than any other white varietal because it is 1) dry, crisp and clean 2) capable of amazing complexity with herbaceous qualities and white pepper notes and 3) a wine that pairs well with almost anything, but can be enjoyed on its own. Der Pollerhof ($11.99), a long-time customer favorite, comes in a liter-sized bottle and lingers with tasty tart grapefruit flavors on the finish. Grenache: The best part about grenache is that it is relatively inexpensive no matter where it comes from. France's Rhône River Valley makes grenache-based blends that are consistently some of the world's best values, while Spain's garnacha wines are plump and juicy, almost exploding with ripe red fruit. Italy's cannonau wines are full of violet aromas and plummy fruit that are rustic enough for a leg of lamb or for the cellar. Do yourself a favor a try one from all three locales. Rhône: 2006 Lirac Domaine Mayran ($12.99); Spain: 2006 Las Rocas de San Alejandro ($9.99) and from Italy: 2005 Sella & Mosca Cannonau Riserva $11.99). While I have listed a few varietals whose superior expression can be enjoyed for a relatively low cost there are numerous others that could be added to this list. Maybe your neighbor hasn't heard of any of these wines, but that's the reason you can still find them in stores without the hefty price tag. An economic downturn does not require sacrifice, as much as it requires ingenuity. Necessity is the mother of invention, or in this case, diversification. —David Driscoll

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