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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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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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Archives
Friday
Jun192015

Classic Low Pressure Blanc de Blancs

The diversity of Champagne is one of its greatest strengths. Although many folks have a hard time seeing past the bubbles to appreciate the variety underneath, Champagne fans are truly blessed with a wide range of styles and flavors to choose from. The Mumm "Mumm de Cramant" Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne ($59.99) stands out as one of the great examples of a unique style.

Mumm has been making this wine since 1882, and at first it wasn’t sold and used instead only as gifts. The “folded” edge of the label is homage to this history, and used to be a sign that the bottle and gift card were delivered personally by the giver. This Champagne is made at 4.5 atmospheres of pressure (about 65 psi) rather than the regular six (about 90 psi)- a style that used to be referred to as Cremant- in fact this wine was called “Cremant de Cramant” in the past. Now the term Cremant is used to describe sparkling wines made in France outside of the Champagne region that use traditional bottle fermentation and is not allowed for Champagne.

It is entirely Chardonnay from the grand cru village of Cramant at the north end of the Cotes des Blancs and this village gives the wine both great ripeness and fabulous chalky minerality. Although the dosage of the Mumm de Cramant is quite low at six grams per liter, this wine is loaded with fleshy white fruit from the top notch terroir. The back end it balanced by succulent acidity and great chalky presence, making this a very fine aperitif.

Cinnamon and I enjoyed this on its own before dinner, and loved the completeness, richness and refreshing character of the wine. If you have never had the Mumm de Cramant, it is worth checking out!

Gary Westby

Friday
Jun122015

At it's best just as it sells out...

 Always a favorite, the Aspasie Blanc de Blancs was firing on all cylinders last night.

It is hard for Californian’s to imagine Chardonnay as a variety for ageing. Our big Chard dogs tend to die young here in the Golden State, with the most overweight styles not even capable of lasting a few years in a good cellar. On the contrary in Champagne, Chardonnay is renowned for being the longest lived variety, and a high percentage in a blend is a sign of long term ambition. The greatest of them often aren’t released for more than a decade- Krug just released there 2003 Clos du Mesnil, Salon is current with their 2002, and Charles Heidsieck is still on their 1995 Blanc des Millénaires.

This has everything to do with acidity and alcohol. The most common number one see on the K&L shelves is 14.9%, and I can promise that nearly all of those would test out at over 15% as we are allowed to fudge by more than a percent legally in California. By contrast, a super ripe vintage in Champagne might reach close to 10% potential alcohol at harvest. This alcohol all comes from the sugar in the grapes, and as the sugar goes up, acid tends to go down. Acidity is a great preservative, and the higher acid in Champagne will allow it to keep a very long time.

I have long been an advocate of cellaring Champagne, and short term keeping can yield dramatic results. The bottle of Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne ($34.99- due in August) I opened last night was an excellent example of that. It came from a batch that arrived at the beginning of January, and had rested for just six months in my cellar. While fabulous from the moment it arrived, with the extra time the cool white fruit, warm baguette toast, Chassagne-Montrachet like earth and pure Champenoise chalk had all come into perfect harmony. I couldn’t imagine enjoying a bottle more.

This is worth getting on the waiting list for. Last year we did a little three bottle vertical with the winemaker, Paul Vincent Ariston and the oldest had gained weight and complexity and sacrificed nothing in freshness. It is a rare thing in today’s wine market to find a bottle that delivers so much for $35.

I would also encourage any of my readers to try this with their favorite non-vintage Champagne. I can’t think of any that wouldn’t benefit- even the pure Meunier bottles just get better- but the Blanc de Blancs are particularly magic with a bit of time.

A toast to you!

Gary Westby

Friday
May292015

2004 Dom Perignon Rose- Magic Champagne

 

We just received our small allocation of the 2004 Dom Pérignon Brut Rosé Champagne ($329), which will be arriving in the middle of June and is available for pre-order now. Just like with the 2002 vintage, I think this wine will go very quickly, and is very unlikely to be a regular in-stock item like the less sought after 2003 vintage has been. If you know you want some- don’t wait!

I had a chance to drink a preview bottle, and the Champagne is spectacular. The red wines used to make this rose are the best I have ever tasted in Champagne, and composed of Pinot Noir from the Grand Cru’s of Bouzy and Ay as well as the 1er cru of Hautvillers, the location where the Dom’s abbey is situated even today. The exact blend is proprietary, but chef de cave Richard Geoffroy explained to me that the spirit is about half and half Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for all Dom Perignon. Given that they do a short 8-10 day maceration on the red wines to reduce tannin, the percentage of red wine is very high- Jancis Robinson reports 27%- as the color is solid wild salmon pink.

Cinnamon and I drank our preview bottle with an excellent leek and mushroom tart that she made. The combination of morel and brown mushrooms worked perfectly with this wine, which has always made an excellent partner to savory food… You can check out past pairings of the 2002 (with mushroom risotto) and 2003 (with smoked salmon) on the blog. I find the magic in this rose aromatically; Christmas spices, dark cherry fruit, fresh baked pie crust and a hint of chalk. This open aroma gives way to flavors that are so elegant, laid back and subtle that it would be impossible to tire of drinking it. All the virtues of the classic 2004 vintage are here; finesse and ease as well as bright acidity and near infinite minerality on the finish.

I think this wine will make an excellent cellar candidate, but it will be hard to keep away from in the near term. After 11 years of ageing before release, this wine is spectacular right now. It might not be at its peak, but I enjoyed every drop!

 

A toast to you!

Gary Westby