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Just add duck crepinettes!

Buying ready to drink 1er cru Burgundy is not easy. For a couple of years I did the Old and Rare wine buying here at K&L and found it easy to find California Cabernet and even Bordeaux from collectors. But Burgundy… Forget it. They had to die, get a divorce or have doctors orders to part with the king of all Pinot Noir! This bottle of 2007 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Nuits St-Georges 1er cru Les Boudots ($99) comes direct from the property from our friends at Atherton, and like most of the 2007’s, drinks fabulously right now. This wine showed excellent sweet beet fruit, savory depth, and incredible finesse and length. The tannins are completely resolved, and went perfectly with duck crepinettes from the fatted calf in San Francisco. This is the kind of Burgundy that gets people hooked- you have been warned!!!! –Gary Westby

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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.  


Free Spirits Tastings at K&L! Now that we have our license for spirits tastings in Redwood City and San Francisco, we’re excited to host regular free spirits tastings in those locations.  Check the Spirits Journal for an updated tasting schedule.

All tastings will feature different products from the Spirits Department and take place on Wednesdays in Redwood City and San Francisco. 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


Exploring Loire - Cheverny


The Loire Valley’s vast geographical and climatic diversity makes it one of the most eclectic wine regions in the world. Unfortunately, it’s a region often underrated, underappreciated and under explored by the modern consumer. Some wine lovers get stuck at Sancerre or Vouvray, failing to explore the more than 80 different appellations that provide opportunities for every palate. It has long been one of my favorite regions and exploring its numerous unique appellations has been an adventure. This week we tasted wines from Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny, some of  the most obscure wines of the Loire Valley. While Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc tend to dominate in the Loire, the Cheverny often blends varieties like Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Côt (Malbec) for the reds, and Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Menu Pineau for the whites. The exception being Cour-Cheverny, which exclusively uses the ancient white grape of Romorantin. The region is tiny, with around 330 hectares of vines in Cheverny and a mere 48 hectares in Cour-Cheverny, meaning production is small and the amount reaching the US markets is even smaller. That’s why when I inevitably find a bottle I love, I buy more than one and save it for a few years to come. I hope these tasting notes will encourage you to adventure into the unknown and explore the lesser known appellations of the Loire Valley.

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TWR Tasting with Winemaker Anna Flowerday from NZ! All Stores!

This week we will be hosting a series of tastings in ALL of our stores with Winemaker Anna Flowerday from the AMAZING Te Whare Ra (TWR) vineyard in New Zealand.


Together with her husband Jason, this young couple farm every square inch of their fantastic vineyard by hand. The wines are small production often just a few hundred cases. They have become absolute Staff and Customer favorites here at K&L and they have quite the cult following among those who have tasted these delicious wines. Anna is super energetic and passionate about her wines and it is a pleasure to taste with her in the house. The tasting is just $5 and will be one of the best value tastings you ever attend!

Los Angeles / Hollywood: Wed Oct 8th 5-7pm

San Francisco: Thurs Oct 9th 5-6:30pm

Redwood City: Friday Oct 10th 5-6:30pm 

For those of you that have not seen any of TWR’s wines before here is the scoop: Te Whare Ra is a small organic certified and Biodynamic practicing estate in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley. The owners / winemakers Jason and Anna bought a section of old vines (planted in 1979) in 2003. After converting the estate over to their strict viticultural practices they have been focusing their efforts on making wines with a powerful sense of place, excellent textural presence and wonderful elegant poise. We are incredibly lucky to be working with these folks and I really hope people will come and try out their remarkable range of wines. They have all become true staff favorites at K&L and when you taste the wines you will know why!

Tasting Lineup:

2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough $18.99
2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Riesling “D” Marlborough $19.99
2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Riesling “M” Marlborough $19.99
2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Chardonnay Marlborough $24.99
2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough $26.99
2011 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Syrah Marlborough $26.99

Hope to see you all there! 


Ryan Woodhouse (K&L New Zealand, Australia & S. Africa Wine Buyer)



Champagne Friday this Friday: Champagne Ruinart in Redwood City!

This Friday, we celebrate Champagne Friday in Redwood City with Ruinart Champagne, the oldest house in Champagne! Rumor has it there will be truffled popcorn and French films playing on an Ipad to enhance your tasting experience!

Ruinart was founded in 1729, on the heels of a 1728 decision by the king of France that allowed wine to be traded in bottles and thus opened sparkling Champagne up to the world of trade. The wines are made from Premier and Grand Cru fruit, except for the Dom Ruinart, which is exclusively Grand Cru. Across the line these Champagnes are dosed very low- 9 grams or less per liter, and show an element of elegance and ease that is the mark of “the good stuff.” All of the wines go through complete malolactic fermentation and are vinified in stainless steel. Ruinart is one of the few Champagne houses that have their cellars in the original crayeres that were dug by the Romans in antiquity. These 90 foot deep caves stay at 50 degrees year round, and are arguably the best place on the planet to age wine.

Recently, Gary Westby had a chance to interview the cellarmaster of Ruinart for the K&L newsletter. Frederic is a real wine lover, and actually bought quite a number of bottles of California wine before leaving the store! If you are interested in reading it, we have reprinted it here:

Name: Frédéric Panaïotis

Winery: Ruinart

Number of years in business (both you and Ruinart)Ruinart since 1729, so 283 years. Myself, since 1988, so that’s 24 years. And almost 5 years “together”, as I joined Ruinart in May 2007.

How would you describe the Ruinart winemaking philosophy?

I would say that everything is made to preserve the essence and the purity of the fruit, which is mostly Chardonnay. Winemaking is clearly more reductive than oxidative, in order to retain as much fruit flavours as possible. As a result our champagnes tend to be racy, elegant and with a lot of aromatic freshness.

What wines or winemakers helped influence this philosophy?

I think the current style of Ruinart has been very much influenced by Jean-François Barot, who was cellarmaster at Ruinart between 1985. He really pushed to use more Chardonnay in or blends, went for a style with more finesse, culminating with the launch of the Ruinart Blanc de Blancs in may 2001. But let’s not forget that historically, because Ruinart is located in Reims, we have always relied on Montagne de Reims grapes, particularly from its Northern side. The Sillery grand cru particularly, as well as neighbouring villages Verzy, Verzenay, Mailly and Puisieulx, was the base of our very best cuvees. And today they are extremely important for our Dom Ruinart (and Dom Ruinart Rosé), adding a fantastic yet restrained power to the refined chardonnays from the Cote des Blancs.

How involved in grape-growing are you? Is there a particular village or vineyard site that wows you year after year?

I try to spend some time in the vineyards as often as possible during the growing season, but will of course look more closely when harvest is nearing. I have a young winemaker in my team, Amélie, who is currently working on new tools to better estimate the grapes’ potential and not rely only on Brix or acidity.

As far as vineyards are concerned, Sillery is definitely the Grand Cru that we cherish most at Ruinart. An interesting anecdote about this cru: even before the word “Champagne” appeared on our labels, Ruinart was selling a “Sillery Mousseux” (or sparkling Sillery)!

How do you think your palate has evolved over the years? How do you think that’s influenced your wines?

I am not sure my palate has evolved much, because the style of Ruinart wines should definitely not change much. But I guess that with more understanding in winemaking and with global warming we have slightly reduced the dosage levels over the year (typically now around 9 g/l for NVs, and anywhere between 5/7 g/l for the Dom Ruinart), crafting wines with more purity and a more precise finish. And that fits me well; I like all my wines with good freshness and racy minerality.

What kinds of food do you like to pair your Champagnes with?

Since Ruinart champagnes are mostly based on chardonnay, I like to pair them with rather delicate food, where freshness and purity will be found. So seafood comes to mind first. One my favourite match with our Ruinart Blanc de Blancs is the simple tartar of white fish (sea bass for example), marinated with a bit of citrus scented virgin olive oil, and topped with freshly grated ginger. A few crystals of rock salt and some Tilda pepper to finish this entrée and you have a heavenly combination! Personally, I also love Japanese cuisine (and not only sushi or sashimi), as I find its precision and subtle balance of flavours, combined with the use of fresh ingredients, a great source of tasty yet refined pairings.

Are their changes are planned for coming vintages? Any new cuvees on the horizon?

Well we are just releasing our new vintages for Dom Ruinart (from 1998 to 2002) and Dom Ruinart Rosé (1996 to 1998) so there won’t be any change for the coming year and next. The Dom Ruinart 2002 has been very well received, which is no surprise considering how great that vintage was.

And there are no new cuvees in the horizon, I am just starting to think about a special cuvee to celebrate Ruinart 300th anniversary…. in 2029!

Houses like Krug and Jacquesson now have lot numbers for their non vintages, and Louis Roederer is doing large scale experiments with organic grape growing. What do you think of these trends in Champagne?

You mean disgorgement dates for their wines?  Well this is something we are now doing on our vintage champagnes, as we think it is very valuable information for wines that can benefit from further ageing after disgorgement. I do not feel the same for our non vintage champagnes, which are better consumed shortly after release given their characteristics, and that we made in a very consistent style, year in, year out. However, if someone want or needs to know (to manage a stock for example), there is a code on the back label of each bottle and by simply contacting us via internet, we will gladly provide any technical data on the bottle.

For organic experimentation see my answer on the challenges to come.

What do you drink when you are not drinking your own wine?

I drink a lot of other champagnes, both for enjoyment and professionally as I am always curious to see what other producers make. And at home we drink wine pretty much every night, from various varieties, regions and countries. I like to experiment and learn, and tasting is an endless source of learning!

Do you collect wine personally? If so, what’s in your cellar?

I don’t really “collect”, because everything I have in my cellar is meant to be drunk one day. But I have nearly 2000 bottles from all over the world, though my favourite regions – beside Champagne- would be Burgundy (red & white), Northern Rhone (red & white) and Piemonte for the fantastic red wines. There are also a number of bottles of Pinot Noir from California and New Zealand, but they are difficult to purchase in France. And I shouldn’t forget Sauternes and Tokaj, which I am a fan of.

What do you see as some of the biggest challenges facing Champagne today?

Definitely the environmental issues. Which means first going for a very respectful viticulture while guaranteeing decent yields and healthy grapes, something the CIVC (the interprofessional body of Champagne) is pushing very hard for the whole region (and not just a few estates to show off). In my opinion it will probably be something mixing smartly the best of sustainable and biological viticulture. It also means reducing as much as possible our impact on the environment, mostly by reducing our CO2 emissions. Champagne has a very ambitious programme, aiming at reducing its CO2 emissions by 25% between 2003 and 2020, and dividing them by 4 in 2050. That is a formidable challenge, and one we cannot evade.

We hope to see you at the tasting- if not, I hope you put one of your own on tonight!

–Gary Westby, K&L