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2000 Labégorce, Margaux $39.99

A great value in Bordeaux! This bottle is mature enough to drink now, but has time in hand if you want to keep it in the cellar for the future. We love it for its laid back elegance and classic balance. A must try for your next nice steak dinner.

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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.  

 

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

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Friday
Mar142014

Nectar Rose: Playing With Higher Dosage in French 75's

The Moet & Chandon "Nectar Imperial" Rosé Champagne is one of only a few demi-sec rose's.

This past Tuesday, Cinnamon and I opened a bottle of Moet & Chandon "Nectar Imperial" Rosé Champagne ($59.99) to try it out. We rarely drink higher dosage Champagne, and I honestly have never opened a demi-sec rose at home. This very full bodied rose Champagne had sweetness on the level of a Lillet or a white Port, and on its own as the aperitif was too heavy for us. Tasting it on its own made me think- how would this work as part of a high quality Champagne cocktail? Could the high quality cane sugar that has spent months marrying with the wine act as a better sweetener than an added simple syrup or agave nectar? Would it be too much? Would it be too little? After we were done mixing, we were left with one of the best French 75’s I have ever had.

 

In September of 2012 I posted a piece on French 75’s here, just as I was starting to learn to relax and enjoy a Champagne cocktail. For many years I had been too uptight to drink any kind of Champagne cocktails, but have since been making up for lost time. I thought that a person who had a true passion for the best in Champagne would never drink a mixed Champagne concoction. Because of this silly belief I missed out on a lot of good drinks and good times. 

Here is our original recipe:

French 75

2 parts Ferrand 1840 Formula 90 proof Cognac

1 Part Fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 Part simple syrup

2 parts Champagne (Blanc de Blancs if you have one open)

Lots of fresh ice

Lemon rind for garnish

We use an ounce per part for ours- and that makes a pretty big aperitif.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the cognac, lemon juice and simple syrup. Shake thoroughly and pour into a rocks glass filled with more fresh ice. Top with Champagne, and stir if you like (I do!) finally garnishing with lemon rind.

Using the Moet & Chandon "Nectar Imperial" Rosé Champagne did indeed allow  us to use less simple syrup, and resulted in a more adult, complex and balanced drink. I think this is down to the extraordinary quality of the sugar in the dosage and the complete integration into the Champagne that it is treated to. I am sure that this would be improved further with the use of Hennessy "Black" Cognac ($29.99)- I was out and used some Armagnac instead. This was the final recipe:

Demi-Sec Rose French 75

2 oz. Armagnac

1 oz. Fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice (make sure to take a strip of zest off for garnish before juicing)

1 teaspoon simple syrup

3-4 oz. Moet & Chandon "Nectar Imperial" Rosé Champagne

Lots of fresh ice

Lemon rind for garnish

Follow the steps in the original recipe.

My favorite French 75 yet...

This great cocktail has made me want to experiment more with Champagne cocktails utilizing higher dosage Champagnes. I am planning on using Michel Loriot "Marie-Leopold" Sec Champagne ($34.99), Moet & Chandon "Ice Imperial" Champagne ($56.99) and the Baron Fuente Demi-Sec in future concotions… Check back for more!

A toast to you!

Gary Westby

Friday
Mar072014

Lunch with Dom Perignon's US Director

The 1976 Dom Pérignon Oenothéque is a wine I won't soon forget!

This past Monday, Cinnamon and I were honored to host Vincent Pages, director of Dom Perignon for the USA for lunch at our home. He was joined by his regional marketing director Julia Fitzroy and Lester Lopez of Moet Hennesy USA. I am sure many of you would recognize Lester from our tent events… He has poured at every one we have ever hosted in northern California!

This lunch was a great opportunity to learn more about this iconic brand while drinking a couple of great vintages. Cinnamon and I prepared Dijon rabbit for the occasion, and our guests treated us to the 2004 Moet & Chandon "Dom Pérignon" Brut Champagne for the aperitif and the other worldly 1976 Moët & Chandon "Dom Pérignon Oenothéque" Brut Champagne for the meal. Cinnamon and I also opened a nice bottle of 1970 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja so we could have some red, which my father had given me for Christmas- it was a very nice afternoon.

One of the questions I had for Mr. Pages was regarding the disappearance of “Moet and Chandon” from the label of Dom Perignon. I was curious about this, because legally a certain percentage of every harvest must be made as non-vintage by every house. Julia showed me that the label does indeed have the name of the grand old house still on it, but just in very small letter on the side of the shield... So small that I thought it was gone! Vincent explained that they felt that the Moet brands were becoming overshadowed by Dom Perignon, and that the change of focus on the label was a move to create more separation. Whichever part of the name you would like to use we here at K&L will be ready to talk to you about it!

The 2004 is my pick for best since 1996- and my favorite current release DP ever!

We enjoyed the 2004 Moet & Chandon "Dom Pérignon" Brut Champagne ($149.99) with some parmesan tuiles and some black truffle and cheddar popcorn. This is a tremendous return to form for Dom Perignon, and I have no doubt that it is the best quality blanc that they have released since 1996. Stylistically I find it the most appealing current release Dom Perignon I have ever had- it is clean, racy, elegant and full of chalky drive on the long finish. The signature DP yeast character is still there, but more of a feature than a focus in the wine, and I think that restraint, along with considerably less evident dosage than in the past made this a huge hit with me. Many regular readers of this blog have are aware that I am a huge proponent of the classic style of the 2004 vintage in general. Not since 1988 have we had a Champagne vintage in this old fashioned, balanced, fresh style… And not again since! While the DP could not be called a value bottle at $149.99, it sure does taste great!

Yes- it did go well with the rabbit- thanks for the picture Julia!

We poured the 1976 Moët & Chandon "Dom Pérignon Oenothéque" (n/a) just before sitting down to eat. The first thing I noticed about this tremendous 38 year old was the light golden color that still had a little bit of green in it. The bouquet was like the bread basket at Guy Savoy in Paris with the most perfect brioche and baguette aromas jumping from the glass. It was an aroma that I could never get tired of and solidly in the top class. The wine was even better in the mouth, with giant texture and richness. This vintage was the earliest and hottest in Champagne for generations and it wasn’t until 2003 that they saw another like it. But 1976, unlike 2003, had plenty of good Chardonnay to balance and freshen the wines. This DP was on the scale of Krug, but had lip smacking vivaciousness of a Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc half of its age on the finish. I was very, very impressed- this is sure to make my top 10 Champagne experiences of 2014!

The 1976 went very well with the rabbit, and the food brought out the savory, Burgundian style of the wine. It seemed to combine Batard-Montrachet earth with Corton like red currants, but the finish was still chalky and precise… 100% Champagne! Surprisingly, the last few sips of this wine went exceptionally well with the walnut cake that Cinnamon had baked, and brought out the exotic fruit nuances in the wine instead of obscuring the complexity like most dessert and Champagne combinations. The bottle was disgorged in 2005.

Cinnamon of K&L, Julia and Vincent from Dom Perignon and Lester from MHUSA.

The red was also a success. I thought it would be interesting to serve Rioja Alta to our guests as it, like Dom Perignon, makes important quantities of wine. The 1970 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja was as leathery, gentlemanly, subtle, elegant and complex as I had hoped. Structured like old Burgundy, it went very well with the rabbit as well. It was digestible and mellow and perfect for lunch.

I hope that I can squeeze a little bit of older Oenotheque out of Vincent for our auctions… I hope he will part with some. In the meantime, I need to pop open a bottle of the 1996 Moët & Chandon "Dom Pérignon Oenothéque" ($349) and see how that is showing these days. My work is never done!

A toast to you!

Gary Westby

 

Friday
Feb282014

Misunderstood Meunier

Updated on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 4:36PM by Registered CommenterGary Westby

Olivier Collard ferments his Meunier in large foudre.

Meunier is the most important grape variety in Champagne. It covers more than 1/3 of the vineyard land in Champagne while Pinot Noir covers slightly less than 1/3 and Chardonnay closer to ¼. Of those three grape varieties, it is the only one that is indigenous to the region. In the past it was often reffered to as Pinot Meunier, and was thought to be a relative of Pinot Noir, but it turns out that there is no relation. It is a native son.

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