Stay Connected
What We're Drinking

 

 

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!

Recent Videos

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 KLWines.com 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

See all K&L Local Events

Archives
Thursday
Oct292015

République: An Experience to Remember

publique has become somewhat of an institution in Los Angeles since its opening in 2012. Despite this reputation, I had not dined at République until this past week.  I had been to the space numerous times for industry wine tasting and seminars, but somehow completely overlooked it for dinner.  I am pretty new to LA (approaching two years), so when I began looking for places to dine for my 4 year anniversary this month, République was at the top of my list. It fit all my requirements for a special occasion: incredible wine list, small plates to share, and a beautiful space.  So last night we splurged on the... UberPlus I believe they are calling it these days, and headed over to République to celebrate.  

 

I know what I am about to say is naive, being that République used to be home to such beloved places as the La Brea Bakery and Campanelli, but since I'm new to LA I hope you will cut me some slack when I say...HAVE YOU SEEN THIS PLACE? (of course you have) IT IS F**KING BEAUTIFUL!  Apparently, it was built by Charlie Chaplin in 1928 as a mixed-use space with various shops and office spaces, complete with tiled fountains, mezzanines, and courtyard.

 

I’ve been hearing about how incredible this place is, basically since the first week I moved here.  It has been hyped up to me by many of my friends and strangers alike for almost two years. There is always that fear that something won’t live up to its expectations, but the minute we walked through the door and sat down at a romantic little candle-lit table in the back, we knew it would exceed our expectations. There is a comforting feeling about the staff and the service that lets you know you will be taken care of.  

I will try not to go too far into detail, seeing as many of you have already had the pleasure of dinning here.  The team at Republique made this night so special for us. From the immediate congratulatory glasses of Krug to the moment we walked out the door, we couldn’t stop smiling.  Sommelier Adam Ohler paired our courses immaculately, starting with one of my favorite producers from the Loire Valley, Chateau de Breze’s bottling “Clos de la Rue.” This elegant white was paired with six of the most delicate, soft, and absurdly delicious East Coast oysters I’ve ever eaten. They were quite possibly the best oysters we’ve ever had, no doubt improved by the chilled glass of Chenin Blanc. The Clos de la Rue displayed notes of wet stones, honeysuckle, celery root and mouthwatering acidity coupled by a beautiful textural component that paired perfectly with oysters. Can’t find the “Clos de la Rue”? Try their other incredible bottlings, Clos David and Clos Midi.

 

We followed up the oysters with bone marrow and escargot that Adam paired with a Swiss cider that had lots of tang and just a touch of sweetness to pair with the caramelized, sweet components in the bone marrow, I don’t think I need to explain how good the bone marrow is, it's molten cow essence for god's sake. The escargot is served in a little shot glass filled with melted herb butter and topped with flakey puff pastry that is delicately wrapped around the escargo.  At Adam's suggestion, we ripped off the flaky pastry cap, nestled the escargot in its pillowy goodness, doused it in the butter, devoured it, and chased it with the remaining butter. Okay, he may not have told us to chase the remaining butter but it seemed appropriate at the time.

 

When deciding what main course to go with, we were intrigued by the options of duck and pig’s head, but Adam mentioned his favorite was the chicken.  A seemingly simple choice, but chicken cooked right can be magical.  Joe and I hadn’t had a great chicken since our year living in Germany; Germans really know how to cook a chicken. So we were intrigued and went with Adam’s suggestion.  The key to their chicken is that it is rotisserie cooked over a wood fire. At République they have a wood fire, a wood grill, and a wood oven, and they know how to use all of them. Our half chicken was moist with flakey skin and perfectly seasoned, accompanied by duck fat roasted potatoes and carrots.  If a restaurant can cook a great chicken, chances are everything else on the menu will be superb.  

 

With our chicken we had a bottle of 2013 Domaine André & Mireille Tissot Trousseau "Qvevri" Arbois Rouge $49.99 our first wine of the night from the Jura.  This Trousseau was aged in Qvevri, a traditional Georgian clay pot used for fermentation. The wine requires a bit of air and time to open up, but what’s waiting for you is incredible. Notes of cranberry, cherry and wild forest berries coupled with notes of iron, sanguine, forest floor, mushrooms and graphite all wrapped into a light-bodied wine with delicate structure and plush texture.  The combination of fruit and earth coupled with the chicken and duck fat roasted potatoes was bliss.

 

A cheese plate and an Apple Pie en Croute with vanilla ice cream, accompanied by our 2010 Domaine Dugois Vin de Paille Arbois $24.99, was the perfect end to the perfect evening. Vin de Paille is made by drying out grapes on straw mats for about 5 months until they shrivel, developing a highly concentrated sugar content. The result is a dessert wine with flavors of beeswax, fig, orange peel, dried apricot and nuts. With a bite of salty cheese and the ice cream dropped into the Apple en Croute, we sipped our Vin de Paille and savored the end of our experience at République.  


Thank you to Adam Ohler, Taylor Parsons and the entire team at République for providing us with an anniversary we will remember forever. Cheers!

 

Wednesday
Oct282015

Arthur Marc- A new discovery in Champagne!

Gregory and Patrice Marc in the heart of their Fleury-la-Riviere vineyards.

I just returned from my two week long trip to Champagne and Burgundy where I visited 38 properties and tasted over 536 different wines. It was a great trip, and both the 2014 & 2015 vintages are showing a lot of promise in both regions. One of the properties I visited was brand new to me; Champagne Arthur Marc in Fleury-La-Riviere.

Gregory and Patrice Marc are a father and son team with a tiny ten acre property in Fleury-La-Riviere. They represent the 11th and 12th generation of a family that has been working these vineyards since 1683. The village of Fleurie-La-Riviere might be the most beautiful village in all of Champagne, it is part of the valley of Brunay, which descends the hill from Hautvillers and goes down to Damery where it meets the Marne. In October, it looked like a river of green, red and yellow vines flowing into the mighty Marne.

In the winery the Marc family uses a traditional Coquard basket press and a combination of stainless steel and barrique. They never allow the wine to go through malolactic fermentation and sell no wine before it ages a minimum of three years. They have five years of stocks in their cellar and make approximately 40,000 bottles a year. They sell off everything except for the cuvee or first press as juice and their vineyards average 30 years old.

We are very proud to be working with this small, top quality property. The wines have excellent texture and poise and are made in an effortless, transparent style. Because of the incredible strength of the dollar and our direct purchase, we are able to offer the wines at great prices. I hope you will try them. Here is what we have:

Arthur Marc "Initiale Noir & Blanc" Brut Champagne $29.99: This Champagne is composed of even parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Marc estate in Fleury-la-Riviere in the heart of the Marne valley. The wine does not go through malolactic fermentation and is aged a minimum of three years on the lees. This elegant, restrained Champagne is dry and has the pin-point streamer of bubbles that fans of the expensive stuff love. The nose has the honest baguette toast of long ageing and the finish is citric and bracing. At the price, it is a no-brainer to try at least once! I served this as the aperitif to my Champagne team when we had our annual meeting.

Arthur Marc Grand Cuvee Brut Champagne $39.99: This is also half and half Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but this bottling is aged for a minimum of five years on the lees. The Grand Cuvee has the texture and complexity of a big house tete de cuvee and surprisingly also the restraint. I love the elegance of this wine- it manages to balance brioche richness with chalky raciness and do it effortlessly. If you like long finishing, subtle Champagne on the drier side, you will love this.

2014 Arthur Marc Fleury Rouge Coteaux Champenois $34.99: Still red wine made from Meunier in Champagne? Sadly, not all of you will get to taste this… I was only able to talk them out of three cases this time! This is the best red wine that I have had from Champagne. It is light bodied, but has impressive wild fruit and leather flavors and a long finish from the crackling acid that a cold climate like this brings. Unlike Pinot Noir from Champagne, this Meunier is ripe enough to avoid the strained tea like flavors I often find in reds from the region. This is a walk on the wild side!

A toast to you!

 

Gary Westby

Wednesday
Oct212015

Domaine Begude – Direct from the Source

Famed wine critic Jancis Robinson wrote recently about her trip to France's Limoux region:

Bargain Pinot Noir is thin on the ground. Indeed, cheap Pinots tend to be either thin or unappetisingly sweet and syrupy. But this Begude is a fine example from the pretty hills north of Limoux, the sparkling wine town in the far south west of the Languedoc described in Limoux's little bargains. James and Catherine Kinglake left Britain to try their hand as Languedoc vignerons in 2003 (see Pursuing a dream – as vignerons) to live in the house pictured above. I have followed their progress with interest over the years. Rather than make fizz, they have been producing varietal still wines, including some fine Chardonnay that is also good value.

Considering that we here at K&L have been importing the certified organic wines from Begude for some time now, you can bet we were thrilled with Jancis's little discovery. James and Catherine's bargain-priced pinot noir, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc are perennial customer favorites, as well as beloved weeknight warriors for our saucy staff, so we're excited about the expanded bandwidth. Jancis managed to sniff out these values herself and she adds an important note regarding the value of the Begude pinot noir:

These Limoux hills are highly suitable for Pinot Noir, as was proved many years ago at Domaine de l'Aigle at Roquetaillade, now part of the Gérard Bertrand empire. For reasons that make no sense to me, the red wine grapes sanctioned for the Limoux appellation are not Pinot Noir but a mix of Bordeaux and Rhône grapes, which is presumably why red Limoux is a rather minor player on the world wine stage – and why this delicious Pinot Noir has to be sold as an IGP Haute Vallée de l'Aude. And therefore only $12.99!!!

The secret is out! You can get delicious and delicate Limoux pinot noir for less than fifteen bucks. But this information stays between you, Jancis, and us!

2014 Domaine Begude Pinot Noir ($12.99) - Limoux reds are known mostly for Bordeaux and Rhone varietal blends, rather than pinot noir, but don't let esoteric piece of information stand in your way! The Domaine Begude pinot noir is one of the most popular bargain reds we sell here at K&L and the crisp, clean cherry flavors are the perfect complement to the oncoming Fall season.

16 points Jancis Robinson: "Pale cherry red. Pale rim. Obviously a delicate touch in the winemaking. Light vegy spectrum of Pinot scents and very refreshing too. There's a good core of just-ripe fruit underneath. This is already a good drink and has no surplus fat nor sweetness. Appetising dry finish. Very fine tannins. Good stuff! And, even if not a long-term bet, likely to be VGV. This is one of those beautifully balanced, lightweight Pinots that should be drunk young and could certainly be drunk cellar cool.(JR)" (08/2015)

2014 Domaine Begude Chardonnay "Le Bel Ange" ($11.99) - The creamy and rounder flavor profile of the Begude chardonnay makes it the perfect crossover for California drinkers in search of everyday value. While thoroughly French in style, the richness of the aromas and the rounder fruit flavors on the palate should please fans of any style. For the price, it's hard to do much better than this.

16 points Jancis Robinson: "Nutty and creamy nose with baked apple on the palate. Good length, good balance – it’d be hard to find a classic French Chardonnay with a better quality-to-price ratio. GV (RH)" (05/2015)

 2014 Domaine Begude Sauvignon Blanc Pays d'Oc ($11.99) - Domaine Begude is a small, family-owned property located high in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the Limoux region of the Languedoc. The long, cool growing season lends itself perfectly to the production of crisp and delicate wines, and this Sauvignon Blanc is no exception. More in the style of a Loire Valley Sancerre, with its fine, mineral-laden nose and fresh citrus fruits on the palate, this is the perfect accompaniment to grilled fish, oysters, or just by itself. Make this one your house white! Organically certified by Ecocert & NOP.

-David Driscoll