All tastings are from noon to 3 p.m. in San Francisco and 1 to 4 p.m. in Redwood City. For further information about other special monthly tastings and dinners, please see our website at www.klwines.com and click on the “local events” bar. Saturday, June 3: Bordeaux. Clyde, Ralph, Steve and Alexandre take us on a further exploration into the 2003 vintage. Come on by to taste the latest and greatest Bordeaux. Don’t forget to ask any of your questions about the latest pre-arrival 2005s! Ten wines to be poured, including eight red, one white and one Sauternes. Tasting price TBA Saturday, June 10: California Zinfandels. Trey, Martin and MJ pick their favorite Zinfandels from California. A little bit of ZAP in the summer! Most of the wines featured will be from boutique producers. Ten wines to be poured. Tasting price TBA. Bring your toothbrush! Saturday, June 17: Champagne! Gary, Scott and Alexandre compare notes and pick out the newest arrivals from our ever-expanding selection of fine, sparkling wines. Come by and taste small estate Champagnes including new producers that we have just acquired. Ten wines to be poured. Tasting price TBA. Saturday, June 24: Wines from Chile and Argentina. Anne and Kirk pick wines from our increasingly popular line of wines from Argentina and Chile. The finest Malbecs, Cabernets and other varietals from two countries renowned for both quality and value. Wines for every day and for the cellar. Twelve wines to be poured. Tasting price TBA. —Scott Beckerley
In late April I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days at Handley Cellars in the Anderson Valley. Along with several other people from the restaurant industry, we spent two nights in the lovely ranch house. Throughout the visit, we toured the vineyards and spent a few hours with the winery staff blending different lots of pinot noir. Our hosts were wonderful people, and they spent many hours talking about the wines and serving us delicious meals. My thanks go out to Mrs. Handley, Kristen, Andrea and all the great staff. The winery was established in 1982 by Milla Handle. A former assistant to both Jed Steele and Dick Arrowood, she has been a leader in bringing the Anderson Valley to the forefront of Pinot Noir and Gewürztraminer production. The wines from this cool growing region show great balance and structure with reasonable alcohol levels. If you’re ever up in the area, stop by the winery’s tasting room. They have a variety of wines to sample, many which are sold exclusively at the tasting room. We currently have three wines from Handley: 2003 Handley Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($26.99) This wine offers the characteristic Anderson Valley aromas and flavors of cherry and spice, with accents of violets, anise and a touch of vanilla. The rich earthy flavors of ratatouille will perfectly complement this Pinot Noir. 2004 Handley Mendocino Pinot Noir ($16.99) This 2004 Mendocino Pinot Noir offers aromas of strawberries and violets and a hint of coffee. Subtle oak adds depth and complexity to bright Bing cherry flavors. 2003 Handley Anderson Valley Chardonnay ($15.99) This Chardonnay is elegant and complex, with subtle floral and mineral aromas. It will never overwhelm the palate. Its delicate texture is balanced by fresh pear and apple flavors. —Mike Jordan
This month readers we are going deep. Deep into the heart of the Languedoc and more precisely to the Coteaux du Languedoc vineyards surrounding the town of Pezenas. Here, in one of the warmest areas of the Languedoc, sanguine reds are often found that characteristically exude unabashed black fruits and vibrant violet undertones. The best wines are not only bold, they are also beautiful, as they mange to retain a modicum of acidity and finesse. Enter Christophe Blanc, the young vigneron at Château de Montpezat whose wines fall under this two-fold description. Christophe manages approximately 65 acres of vineyard up and behind the village of Pezenas. The family-owned vineyards, most of which were planted in the 1970s, are devoted to merlot, carignan, syrah, grenache and mourvèdre, and lie on a belt of predominantly schistous soil. In fact, vines are planted all the way up to the forest edge, where many palombieres (small thatched hunting blinds) are used by bird hunters. In fact, these blinds are the inspiration for the 2003 Château de Montpezat Coteaux du Languedoc, “Palombieres” ($13.99). This is truly a great opportunity to try a terrific example of what the South of France has to offer! Composed of 80% grenache and 20% mourvèdre, the “Palombieres” offers bold flavors of blackberries, pepper and spice, with hints of toast, earth and kirsch. This Languedociene red is complete and expressive, with complex structured flavors. Crack open a bottle and, depending on how ambitious you are, enjoy with grilled sausage or spit roasted leg of lamb! —Mulan Chan
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