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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 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
Oct152015

The King of the Off-Vintage

When you look at the biggest selling Bordeaux wines in the history of K&L—the bottles that customers came back to buy again, and again, and again—few of those coveted cuvées came from the most heralded of vintages. While we’ve sold countless bottles from the now legendary 2000 and 2005 harvests, and we continue to find great bargains from the back-to-back home runs of 2009 and 2010, it’s our success in the so-called "off-vintages" that sets K&L apart from other Bordeaux retailers. Any wine buyer can look at a score sheet, pick the best wines off that list, and place an order from a distributor. But only a veteran of the trade can make top selections based on a wine’s inherent quality, especially from vintages that don’t have nearly as much press.

We know K&L co-owner Clyde Beffa around these parts as “the king of Bordeaux”, but he’s known in the Mèdoc as “the king of the off-vintage” because of his reputation for (literally) sniffing out values where others did not. He's like a seasoned stock broker who trades in claret instead of shares. Two of the top-selling wines in the history of the store are the 1997 Langoa-Barton and Potensac—two over-achievers from an underrated year (just ask the 5,000+ K&L customers who are still pulling these gems from their cellar). Lately he's been setting his sights on the 2012 Bordeaux vintage—a harvest that seems to be ripe with classically-styled, under-the-radar gems, if not opulent fruit. If you're a stickler for the Robert Parker vintage report, try these modestly-priced 2012 selections and see what you think. Our staff was completely taken aback by both wines at a recent tasting event.

2012 Clos Saint Emilion Philippe, St-Emilion $12.99 - From the negociant: "A modern, fruity, luscious, fleshy, supple wine, with a vivid, elegant palate and loads of ripe fruit, silky tannins, and a long elegant finish. Taste over grilled steaks, game, or hard cheeses. Located between Libourne and Saint Emilion, not far from Ch. Laroze. The family Philippe has owned it for 4 generations and Jean-Claude and Nicole Philippe now run it. The wine became Grand Cru in 1995."

2012 Bel-Air, Pomerol $24.99 - Bel Air is an estate in the Pomerol region that has long been an insider's favorite for value-oriented quality. The 2012 is a total sleeper of the vintage, one that will be completely overshadowed by the incredible 2009 and 2010 vintages preceeding it. The wine shows delicate blackberry fruit with toasted oak and soft tannins that intregrate beautifully on the finish. This is a great bargain.

-David Driscoll

Monday
Oct052015

Back-to-Back Home Runs from Brown

While it’s certainly efficient to get straight to the point (or points in the case of these K&L wine emails), every now and again it’s nice to have a bit of background about what you’re drinking and what exactly makes it special. Take for example the recent vintages of 2009 and 2010 Chateau Brown, two very different wines from the same producer, both with fantastic reviews that are bound to strike a chord with audiences everywhere. Brown has always been an underrated property in the Pessac-Leognan—a region of the Graves known for producing mineral-driven reds—so it’s no surprise that its wines from two incredible back-to-back vintages were well-received.  But when you’re talking about Bordeaux rouge—a wine that often tastes better later than sooner—what exactly does “92 points” mean? Does it mean the wine is so good you should drink it now? Or do those 92 points refer to the wine’s potential for aging? Maybe it’s a great wine for the cellar instead? When you summarize a wine’s inherent quality within a short, succinct series of digits, it’s tough to know exactly what those scores refer to: drink or hold? In the case of these 2009 and 2010 vintages from Chateau Brown, we think you’re in the clear either way. Both wines are so delicious after a few years in the bottle that you can enjoy those 92 points just about whenever you want to.

The red wines of 2009 from Bordeaux are generally characterized by a softness of ripe fruit and velvet texture, the products of a generous growing season. The Brown Rouge is no exception. This is French cabernet sauvignon-based wine that even a Calfornia cab drinker could wrap his or her head around. It’s drinkable right out of the bottle, but the lush fruit never covers the secondary flavors enveloped beneath it. It’s that $35 bottle of delicious steak-and-claret night red you might be looking for this weekend. 

2009 Brown Rouge $32.99 - A fabulous wine for the future, but packed with so much sweet fruit you'll be tempted to drink it now. There's a dark rich color to it, full of minerals and iron notes, but the wine is so soft on the finish that everything glides down almost too easily.

The 2010 Brown Rouge also holds true to the general characterization of the vintage: plenty of ripeness to be had, but with a bit more structure and gusto. While we at K&L might normally throw a wine like this into the cellar and wait for those tannins to soften just a bit, we popped a bottle this past weekend and found the wine utterly approachable now. Check out that serious steak-and-claret action from Champagne buyer Gary Westby’s house this past Sunday! I’m getting thirsty just writing this blog. 

2010 Brown Rouge $34.99 - Fruit-forward aromas turn to spices and warm stones. Full body, with chewy tannins and a juicy finish. Really delicious young wine. Hard not to drink now, but better in 2016.

The conclusion? Five years later, the 2009 and 2010 vintages are truly living up to the hype they originally received. The values we continue to find from Bordeaux week after week, month after month, seem born out of a Cabernet lover’s dream. We’re opening $35 bottles of over-achieving wines with incredible regularity around here—to our delight, of course, and hopefully to yours as well. The only question we’re struggling with now is: how much do we buy?

-David Driscoll

Friday
Oct022015

A Trio of Delicious White Burgundies

So you want to get into white Burgundy, but you don't want to spend an arm and a leg trying out the various styles and options (which is easy to do, trust me). Wouldn't it be nice to try something with a little age, something with a little richness, and something that displays the clean and vibrant minerality the regional wines are renowned for? If you're looking for a white Burgundy sample pack (or really just delicious white wine, period), then it's tough to do much better than the three selections below, each a penny under twenty dollars. The La Chablisienne, after seven years in the bottle, shows just a bit of nuttiness to all that juicy 2008 acidity. The Leflaive tastes like a baby Montrachet, made from fruit sourced from vineyards around Puligny and aged in French Oak for richness. The Fevre showcases stunning notes of piecing minerality and a crystalline delicacy. What more can you ask for from your white Burgundy for $20?

2008 La Chablisienne Chablis "Les Venerables" Vieilles Vignes $19.99 - A classic nose of iodine and sea water influences adds plenty of nuance to the green fruit nose that complements fresh, bright and intense flavors that possess both good volume and fine mid-palate fat before giving way to a long, saline and sappy finish that is bone dry. Good quality for its level.

2013 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc "Oncle Vincent" $19.99 - This delightfully rich white Burgundy is made as an homage to Olivier Leflaive's Uncle Vincent Leflaive, the founder of the famous Domaine Leflaive. It comes entirely from vineyards in the communes of Puligny-Montrachet and is fermented in small French oak barrels. It is satisfying and mineral-driven, as well as rich and buttery.  And it is a K&L West Coast exclusive. What's not to like? (From Olivier Leflaive: "Only grapes from the territory of Puligny-Montrachet, a village he loved so much, could pay tribute to my uncle Vincent. He has been a model for me and a valuable support during the creation of Maison Olivier Leflaive. When we talked about this project to our importers, they immediately expressed an amazing enthusiasm. This project is now concert and 'Oncle Vincent' will be available in different parts of the world, like all of our wines." This new Grand Burgundy white was born in the 2012 vintage. Its aromas express white fruits (pear, peach), with buttery notes. A lovely freshness on the palate, a creamy texture, well-structured and with a tension that makes it remarkable. The selection of the vines gives a more aristocratic touch to this white Burgundy wine, with minerality and great intensity. So Puligny, in fact!

2013 Maison William Fèvre Chablis "Champs Royaux" $19.99 - This is really delicious with sliced green apple, stone and melons. Medium to full body. Crisp finish. Focused. Drink now.

-David Driscoll