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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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Main | Pierre Paillard Dinner! -by Alex Schroeder »
Tuesday
Mar212017

2010 Roederer Blanc de Blancs- Exotic Beauty

Champagne, Ice & Water... All you need is 15 minutes!

Keeping up with the latest releases of vintage Champagne is one of the better parts of the job for me at K&L. Even though I was leaving for Champagne the next day, I had one more thing to taste before I left… And what a treat it was, the 2010 Roederer Blanc de Blancs Brut. I love to preach the advantages of an ice bucket, the quickest, safest and best way to get Champagne cold. By putting the bottle in first, filling it with ice and then with water, you will be ready to go in 15 short minutes. This is much faster than trying to put Champagne in the freezer, which also often has disastrous consequences, as alcohol freezes at a much lower temperature than water.

Blanc de Blancs Champagne has an incredible affinity for raw fish!

I have been working hard at perfecting my sashimi bowls for a number of years now, and I love the way they work with Champagne, particularly Blanc de Blancs. As the best local fish places specialize in western cuts of fish, like Ahi tuna steaks, it makes cutting sashimi slices difficult. I have been leaning towards making spicy tuna poke for most of the fish part of the bowl, and cutting sahimi where my steaks will let me.

This time I made them with big chunks of ahi, homemade mayonnaise, sriracha and a little bit of high quality ponzu sauce. Sigonas, our local produce market, had a great deal on local chanterelle mushrooms, so I decided to use these instead of a Japanese variety. I cooked them in Champagne, and I finished them with a little black truffle butter. The meaty, savory mushrooms were a great contrast to the clean, fresh fish. The only other ingredients needed were some sushi rice and a nice avocado sliced and tossed in some lemon juice. I served the bowls with a side of ponzu marinated cucumber, and homemade kimchi from K&L’s own Phil in key accounts.

The 2010 Roederer Blanc de Blancs Brut was surprisingly exotic, with plenty of white fruit, and even some candied ginger on the very open nose. It was also very toasty and generous, with plenty of the yeasty, baguette quality that so many Champagne lovers can’t get enough of. The color, as my father  (he took all the photos for this piece) pointed out, was silvery and the wine had the minerality and steely cut to match. This vintage is composed of all estate grown, grand cru fruit from Avize and Mesnil. It is given slightly less liquer de tirage at bottling and so has slightly lower pressure than most Champagne. One can usually expect Champagne to be six atmospheres, while this is between 4.5 and 5… But I can’t say I noticed less bubbles. In fact, this had the precise, tiny bead that one would expect from the people who bring us Cristal!

Don’t let this great bottle slip by you just because it isn’t from a famous vintage. I found it to be very intriguing and delicious Champagne, and a worthy follow up to the 2008 and 2009. It drinks very well now, but I expect it should keep until 2030 without any problem at all.

A toast to you!

Gary Westby 

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