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Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne $34.99One of our best non-vintage Champagnes, this organically grown blend of half each Chardonnay and Meunier comes entirely from Bruno Michel's estate. It has been aged for six years on the lees and shows wonderful natural toasty quality as well as incredible vibrance! This was the big hit of our most recent staff Champagne tasting and we think you will love it 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.  

 

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

Archives
Wednesday
Sep172014

Spending Time with the Garys

"Buy the ticket, take the ride." --Hunter S. Thompson We didn't know what we were getting into at the end of our day with the Garys. Gary Pisoni invited us for a quick ride in his 1969 Jeep. What we thought was going to be a nice liesurly cruise became a record-setting ring around the vineyard. Hats flying off, phones flung in the air and three guys in the back seat wondering what they had got themselves into. It was an experience that none of us will ever forget, and I guess that 's the point. The hat and phone were found in the end and we went safely onto our next appointment.

Gary Franscioni's Roar wines were a real treat. Grown in SLH, made on Potrero Hill in San Francisco. The wines are very limited. New wines in March.

An amazing lunch at Pisoni Vineyards. Thank you Margarette Pisoni.

Many say that wine is best consumed with good food and good people. Both were in abundance at our lunch at Pisoni Vineyard. Margarette had sat out a wonderful spread for us all. Homemade lamb and pork sausages, a wonderful salad and one of the best pasta with red sauce most of us had tasted in a long time. Locally grown lamb chops and a nice selection of cheese was a perfect ending to a great meal. The foods went great with all the wines served.

Our hosts checking the wines before serving.

Once meant to be a winery, the caves are now the Pisoni party pad. What a table!

We were sorry not to be able to break bread on this amazing table inside what would have been the Pisoni winery if local officials would have approved it. It was such a beautiful day so we enjoyed our meal outside.

 

Lucia and Pisoni wines.

2012 Pisoni Vineyard 'Lucia', Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir $ 74.99

2012 Lucia Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir ($42.99)

2012 Lucia "Soberanes Vineyard" Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay ($49.99)

2012 Lucia Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay ($44.99)

2013 Lucia "Lucy" Santa Lucia Highlands Rosé of Pinot Noir ($16.99)


2013 Luli Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir ($19.99)

2013 Luli Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay ($19.99)

2012 Luli Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah ($19.99)

 

The next generation at Pisoni. Mark Pisoni (left), Vineyard Manager for all Pisoni and Franchioni properties and Jeff Pisoni(right), winemaker for Pisoni, Lucia and Luli labels.

Monday
Sep152014

Big Basin Vineyard

Most of the K&L crew tasting with our host, Matt Ryan

It is difficult to hop from winery to winery e in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but those willing to brave steep dirt roads, 2,500 foot elevation climbs and winding mountainous terrain will find themselves in a fascinating appellation filled with high quality wines. The soil types here are some of the most diverse in California, with the San Andreas fault cutting right through the middle of the mountain appellation (you can see the fault rift right below Ridge’s Monte Bello Vineyard). The grinding of the tectonic plates is what created this area and gives Santa Cruz’s steep mountain vineyard slopes a rocky soil diversity filled with decomposed granite, limestone, schist and shale. The soil produces grapes of unique spice and intensity, and the vineyards’ high elevation keeps the grapes cool. It's the perfect recipe for world class viticulture, and this AVA has some of the most renowned Cabernet, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir around.  Thanks to Big Basin vineyards, Santa Cruz is also home to some of California's best Syrah.

As we were driving through this AVA (our cars covered in dust, our tires squeeling around tight turns and on large rocks, our traction slipping as we climbed steep mountain roads) I couldn't help but think about the insanity/tenacity of the people who first planted vines here about 150 years ago. Lincoln's homestead act of 1862 gave settlers the ability to own land in the west if they cultivated it for use. This inspired French pioneers to haul everything they needed up to the tops of these mountains, painstakingly clear away sloped fields of ancient trees, and plant the first vines of Santa Cruz.  Big Basin’s vineyard is a six-acre lot surrounded by redwoods and thick forest right next to Big Basin State Park.  First cleared and planted in the late 1800s, it was purchased by owner Bradley Brown in 1998 and planted entirely to Rhone varietals. 

A fantastic lineup of wines from Big Basin Vineyards

Thankfully, we didn't have to drive all the way down into Big Basin to taste these wines. They have a great tasting room in downtown Saratoga, along with several other wineries, and I suggest stopping by their room as a great start to your Santa Cruz Mountains tasting experience. While the Pinots they make from various vineyards are bright and delicious, including the Big Basin Vineyards "Alfaro Family Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir ($44.99),  their real success is their Syrahs. Brad learned winemaking from Alban, and he took budwood from Alban to plant his vineyard: the only one in Santa Cruz planted 100% to Rhone varietals.  Their 2010 "Old Corral Block" Estate Syrah ($49.99) is dark and brooding, dominating the palate with dark earth and pepper.  This is real deal, big, structured Syrah with loads of tobacco, blackberry and beef stew flavors. The 2010 "Rattlesnake Ridge Block" Estate Syrah  is my personal favorite and a little more user friendly: with those gamey and peppery flavors softened by lush flavors of cassis and cherry.  Their 2009 "Frenchie's Ranch" Syrah is probably one of the best Syrahs in the country: a four barrel vineyard selection packed with dense cassis, strawberry, cedar, pepper and leather, with a big finish of mole and chili. Sadly, you can't get it from us; this wine is tasting room only!

The 2011 Big Basin Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon ($38.99) is a one-time bottling and worth a taste.

Michael Barber

Saturday
Sep132014

1985 Chateau Montelena "Estate" at Friday Night Uncorked

This bottle lived up to high expectations! Thanks for the treat dad!

Last night my dad Jim took me out for a giant treat- Friday Night Uncorked at Quattro Restaurant in the Four Seasons Silicon Valley. He pulled out a bottle of 1985 Chateau Montelena "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon to share with me.  Every Friday night at Quattro, they invite diners to bring their own wine to dinner without a corkage fee, and also offer great discounts on bottles on their extensive list. My dad and I walked over, as it is only a few blocks from my house.

Terroir & Tonic- I can't resist having one of these every time I go to Quattro!

We started the evening off with a “Terroir and Tonic”- a gin and tonic made with the incomparable St. George Terroir Mt. Tam Gin ($30.99 per bottle at K&L) which has exotic, sage like flavors to go with a nice bright hit of juniper. For an amuse bouche they were kind enough to send some “duck bacon” on toast with blue cheese, which my dad commented would have been excellent with a Meunier based Champagne. The gin seemed to work just fine with it!

The Creste Di Gallo All'amatriciana- A surprising match with Cabernet!

Our pasta course was their fantastic Creste Di Gallo All'amatriciana, a spicy tomato and meat sauce on pasta shaped like roosters crowns. This worked surprisingly well with the Cabernet, and was a great choice by Emily, one of their top servers. It seemed to bring out the freshness in this 29 year old, and even made it taste a little Italian!

Does bone-in rib-eye go with Cabernet? I thought I would experiment...

For the main course, I was predictable and took the 16oz. bone in Piedmontese rib-eye steak. This was cooked to a perfect medium rare, and I was proud to get a little bit more than half of it down. The bottle got better and better with air, and by the time the main courses arrived it was singing. This 1985 still has strong, high toned black currant fruit and a very full body. It developed some very nice dark chocolate flavors and had surprisingly vibrant, powerful acidity. Both my dad and I were shocked that a vintage with such a reputation for opulence would have such great acidic backbone- but this was a different era! Back in the good old days, a wine could be rich, but also dry- and they all had a job to do; work with food!

This was a great pairing, and a great meal. Old vintages of Montelena Estate are well worth seeking out! Maybe I will see you down at Quattro on a Friday drinking a great bottle of your own!

 

Gary Westby