K&L Wine Merchants hosts regular wine tastings in both of its Bay Area locations. At the San Francisco store wine tasting are held each Saturday from Noon to 3 p.m. and on Thursday evenings. In Redwood City tastings are held on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. Wine tastings provide a wonderful opportunity to discover a new wine region or variety, or rediscover some old favorites—without having to commit to the purchase of an entire bottle! No need to reserve a space, just come on in and pull up a glass! 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-April 1st-International Old Vine Tasting. Our staff and buyers pool their talents to do a tasting that is out of the ordinary. We will feature wines grown from old vines (30 years plus) from California, France, Spain and other countries. We will pour both red and white but, will emphasize old vine reds. Twelve wines to be poured. Tasting price T.B.A. Saturday-April 8th-New Arrivals from Italy. Greg, Mike Parres and Jeff Garneau highlight the newest arrivals from Italy. Greg and Mike will be on hand to discuss the hot upcoming releases that they tasted during their February/March trip to Italy. Ten wines to be poured. Tasting price T.B.A. Saturday-April 15th-Wines from Alsace/Loire. Prepare for your Easter Sunday with the delicious wines of Alsace/Loire. Jeff Vierra and Eric Story pick their favorite red and white wines to make this holiday weekend all the more special. Ten wines to be poured. Tasting price T.B.A. Saturday-April 22nd-Bordeaux. Clyde, Ralph, Steve and Alexandre take us on a further exploration into the renowned 2003 vintage. Come on by to taste the latest and greatest Bordeaux. Steve and Ralph, just back from Bordeaux, will be on hand to discuss tasting notes from the 2005 vintage. Ten wines to be poured, including eight red, one white and one Sauterne. Tasting price T.B.A Saturday, April 29th-Cabernets from California Trey, Mike Jordan and Martin Reyes will finish the month with a tasting to parallel the April 22nd Bordeaux tasting. Not to be outdone, they will highlight California cabernets from the 2003 vintage. Will they measure up to France’s best? We will feature both boutique wineries and some well-known vineyards. Ten wines to be poured. Tasting price T.B.A.
We tasted wines 1) at the properties from April 3rd to April 7th 2) at the UGC tastings on April 4th, 5th, 6th. 3) at negociant offices and 4) at the big Joanne tasting on April 10th.We tasted many more wines than those listed below and will offer some of these wines below on a futures basis. As to the ratings below: ** to***Outstanding to Classic wines. Best of the vintage (that we tasted) * to *1/2 Very good to Excellent wines ½* Good wines-could be values Bordeaux Blanc, Graves, and Pessac-Leognan Blanc Pavillon Blanc de Margaux, Bordeaux **14.5 degrees alcohol and you can’t taste it. Pear aromas and creamy texture. Richer than the 2004. Tons of spice. Carbonnieux Blanc, Pessac-Léognan *Some oak and good palate entry. Nicely balanced. Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, Pessac-Léognan *1/2Very elegant wine with some flowers and citrus on the nose. Very fine length. Nice wine. Haut Brion Blanc, Pessac-Léognan *** Laville Haut Brion, Pessac-Léognan *** Latour Martillac, Pessac *Good richness and focused fruit. Grapefruit flavors. Nice. Malartic Lagraviere Blanc, Pessac-Léognan *A bit toasty with clean lemony fruit flavors and touch of oak. Fine concentration and some tropical notes. Good Marjosse Blanc, Entre deux MersCitric nose and flavor. Easy drinker. Pape Clement Blanc, Pessac *Finely balanced upfront. A bit hot at the end. Let it settle down. Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, Pessac-Léognan *Quite oaky and fat on the entry. Good acid at the back. Needs to settle down. 2005 S de Suduiraut, Bordeaux *+A wonderful spicy pear aroma that followed to the palate. Very rich wine with sweet tart flavors and lingering finish. Quite deep. 70% sauvignon blanc and 30% semillon. Graves Rouge, Pessac-Léognan Carbonnieux Rouge, Pessac-LéognanLighter style. Sweet and fruity. Easy drinker. Domaine de Chevalier Rouge, Pessac-Léognan *Toasty oak aromas. Sweet red fruits. Excellent wine. Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan *1/2Wonderful aromas and powerful at the back end. Tasted four times. A bit tannic at Joanne tasting. Latour Martillac, Pessac-LéognanGood entry-a bit dry on back end. Malartic Lagraviere, Pessac-Léognan *1/2Sweet, fresh, liberal dashes of oak. Good mid-palate sweetness. Should be a value. Pape-Clément, Pessac-Léognan *1/2+Toasty, bacony aromas and flavor. Pushed but in balance. Some people will love it. Smith-Haut-Lafitte Rouge, Pessac-LéognanToned down oak-very good balance and structure. Tasted four times. This will be a very fine in a few years. Médoc, Haut-Médoc Arnauld, Haut-MédocLight, elegant and soft on palate. Watch for it. Bernadotte, Haut-Médoc *48% cabernet sauvignon, 48% merlot and 3% cabernet franc. Black fruit. Mid weight. Shows a lot of spice on the nose. Nice elegant wine. Beaumont, Haut-Médoc ½*Toasty oak aromas and red fruit flavors. Elegant style. Easy drinker. Value? Camensac, Haut-MédocSweet for the property. Should be a value. Cantemerle, Haut-MédocRough and tannic. Try again. Chasse Spleen, Moulis * Good sweetness on palate. Deep and broad on palate. Clement Pichon, Haut-MédocGood blackberry fruit. A little dry. Citran, Haut-MédocVery extracted and tannic. La Lagune, Haut-Médoc *1/2Very sweet fruit-long on palate. Little oaky. Lingering. Jammy. Lovely on palate. Latour Carnet, Haut-Médoc *Toasty, oaky flavors. Nice nose. Good, fresh style. Vibrant. Texture fine. Maucaillou, MoulisGood upfront fruit on palate. Dries out in back. Sample? Poujeaux, MoulisSwwet fruit, lively on palate. Not big, but great balance. Lingers on palate. Senejac, Haut-Médoc ½*Nice flavor. Has sweetness on palate. Buy on arrival. Sociando Mallet, Haut-Médoc *1/2Substantial wine with tons of oak and fruit. Very fine quality. This is serious wine. St-Estèphe Calon Segur, St-Estèphe **Meaty aromas, toasty, elegant. Broad on palate and very good elegance. Superb wine in mid-weight range. Enjoy young. Pagodes de Cos, St-Estèphe *+50% cabernet sauvignon and 50% merlot. Deep color. Wonderful toasty oak aromas. Sweet, forward fruit on palate. One of the best Pagodes if not the best. Cos d’Estournel, St-Estèphe **1/2+78% cabernet sauvignon, 19% merlot and 3% cabernet franc. More cabernet than usual-even more than 2003 or 2004. They went for elegance and finesse here this year and boy did it work. Concentrated nose of berries and currants and toasty oak. Fabulous palate entry-layers and layers of fruit. Very polished wine of great breed-is it better than 2003? It surely will outlive that vintage. Delicious. Lafon Rochet, St-EstèpheTough on palate. A little too tannic. les Ormes de Pez, St-Estèphe *1/258% cabernet sauvignon, 36% merlot and 6% cabernet franc. Black cherry on the nose. Expressive, vibrant, supper mid-palate with a sweet lovely texture. 53 hectoliters per hectare and 13.3% alcohol, but the wine does not show the alcohol. More vibrant on palate. Good core of sweet fruit. Good value wine. Meyney, St-Estèphe *1/2+Sweet and lush-delicious. Elegant style. We love this wine. Ready sooner than most. Mouth-coating wine. Elegance personified. New school Meyney-buy it. Montrose, St-Estèphe **65% cabernet sauvignon, 31% merlot, 3.5% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot. Huge wine! Closed on the nose. Huge on the palate. Very concentrated with peppery spice-almost syrah-like. Masculine style wine, mouth-coating. Not very subtle. Age this for a long time. 20-year wine. Phelan Segur, St-Estèphe *+50% cabernet sauvignon and 50% merlot. Fabulous nose of boysenberries and toasty oak and chocolate. Sweet, lush, and very spicy. Quite concentrated. They are doing good things at this property these days. Tasted four times. Pauillac We went to Lafite on Tuesday April 4th: Carruades de Lafite, Pauillac *1/249% cabernet sauvignon, 45% merlot and 6% other. Elegant nose with sweet fruit palate entry. Black cherry flavors. Good grip on the palate. Could be a winner. Duhart Milon, Pauillac *1/271% cabernet sauvignon and 29% merlot. More closed on the nose-bigger wine than Carruades. Focused and no weediness here this year. Ralph and Steve loved it. Could be a value. Lafite-Rothschild, Pauillac **1/2+88% cabernet sauvignon, 11% merlot and .5% petit verdot. Concentrated nose of cassis, tobacco, and mineral aromas explode from the glass. Creamy texture. Layers of sweet, ripe fruit. Seductive upfront and broad on the mid-palate. Regal wine. Clerc-Milon, Pauillac *+48% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot, 10% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot. Lighter nose, with a lot of red fruit and crushed berries. Sweet mid palate. A little short. Pretty good wine. d'Armailhac, Pauillac *60% cabernet sauvignon, 29 merlot, 10% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot. Lots of red fruit. A little closed. Good entry on the palate, with a little orange zest. Nice mouthfeel. Holding back a little bit. Nice wine. Grand Puy Ducasse, PauillacClosed on nose. Big wine. Tannic but could be good. Grand Puy Lacoste, Pauillac *1/2?Lots of mineral on nose, but holding back. Reserved right now. Should be great, hard to taste. Haut Batailley, PauillacSoft and elegant-little orange zest. Lighter style. Latour5:10 PM on April 4th. As we walked into the Latour tasting room, little did we know that we would have saved the best for last on this day. We tasted 3 wines with Frederic Engerer, Latour’s director and he explained that they went for the gentle approach this year with their wines and not the extracted knock you over the head style. We walked away at 6:10 knowing we had tasted maybe the best wine of the vintage Pauillac, Pauillac *1/2This third wine was so good we would have been happy if it were Les Forts-Black cherry aromas and black fruit flavors-tremendous sweetness on palate entry and the fruit masks the ripe tannins. Sexy and delicious Les Forts de Latour, Pauillac **+This second wine is better than many of the first wines of its neighbors in the Médoc. Super intense aromas of crushed currants and berries-silky texture on the palate. Great structure and still on the open, forward elegant style. Latour ***87% Cab Sauvignon, 13% Merlot. 13.35 degrees alcohol and almost all cabernet-and you can not taste any hotness in the wine. Toasted oak aromas mixed with spices and red berry. Complex, layers of fruit and silky, velvety mouthfeel. So rich and structured yet on the elegant side. Here is your Iron fist in a velvet glove. Vibrant, fresh wine with everything in perfect balance. Can’t get better than this. Lynch-Bages, Pauillac **72% cabernet sauvignon, 15% merlot and 13% cabernet franc, 40 hectoliters per hectare. 13.3% alcohol. Shows high acidity and high tannins, but the fruit is so strong, the tannins don’t show. Strong mineral notes and blackberry aromas on the nose. An explosive palate that is sweet and fruity. Holding back on the mi palate. Powerful, bright, long-lingering finish, with some dryness at the end. This wine needs a little time. Mouton-Rothschild, Pauillac **60% of the crop made it into this wine. 100% new oak. 85% cabernet sauvignon, 14% merlot and 1% cabernet franc. Very perfumey nose. Red fruit, cranberry (cranberry flavors, too). This is a rather delicate wine. Mid weight. Nice texture. Lighter colored, with a creamy, silky, velvety mouthfeel. Not huge. Good wine. Pedesclaux, PauillacSolid wine. Not fancy. Pure and well done wine. Easy drinker. Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac **Very expressive nose. Sweet cedar oak aromas. Very broad. Round and soft on the palate. Elegant and smooth. Not a huge wine, but very nice. Pichon Baron, Pauillac **64% cabernet sauvignon, 3% cabernet franc, 33% merlot. 13.6 alcohol and low pH of 3.7-means high acid. You do not taste the alcohol because of massive fruit, acid and tannin content. Very spicy aromas of red fruits and cassis-some cranberry notes. Deep color and very sweet entry to palate. Some dry tannins at back but they are integrated. Tobacco notes. Rich, lingering finish. Pibran, Pauillac *65% cabernet sauvignon and 35% merlot. Cabernet did better here, and they used a lot in the final blend. Very expressive nose of black raspberry with cranberry undertones some orange zest on palate. A touch rustic, but should be a value. Pontet-Canet, Pauillac **+Wonderful wine. 70% cabernet sauvignon, 5% cabernet franc, 1% petit verdot and the rest merlot. 35 hectoliters per hectare. Deep blackish color. Irresistible nose with blackberry and black cherry aromas and some raspberry. Very concentrated wine. Tons of fruit, which mask all the tannins. Great concentration, precise and focused. This is going to be an absolute killer. Réserve de la Comtesse, Pauillac *40% merlot, 27% cabernet sauvignon, 13% cabernet franc and 11% petit verdot. Lighter style wine. Up-front red fruit. A little short. Tasted once. St-Julien Beychevelle, St-Julien ½*Very spicy aroma-peppery, beefy aromas. Tastes good but not exciting. Branaire Ducru, St-Julien *1/2Lovely sweet cranberry aromas that follow to the palate. Great upfront palate impression. Good richness. Could be a value. Gloria, St-Julien *1/2Deep blackberry fruit aromas that follow to the palate. A serious wine. Very good on palate-lingering finish. Lagrange, St-JulienLots of oak-dry finish. Hard to taste. Langoa Barton, St-Julien **Absolutely stunning wine. Deep color. Sweet red licorice and cranberry nose. Very very elegant. A lot of merlot. More feminine style. Léoville-Barton, St-Julien **1/2+ One of the best wines of the vintage. Monster wine. Went on and on forever. Black color. Tannic. Big, powerful red fruit. Broad and deep in the glass. Put away for a very long time. Super concentrated wine. High on everything-fruit and tannin and acid. Wet stones. Unbelievable concentration. Fabulous. Tasted four times. Léoville-Poyferre, St-Julien **Very spicy, peppery aromas. Nice mouth-feel. Long and balanced-Superb! St Pierre, St-Julien *Very elegant wine with very ripe. Port-like flavors. Excellent wine that pushes the envelope. Not my style-too toasty. Talbot, St-Julien **Lots of spice and tons of fruit. Elegant, but fine mouthful of wine. Very nice. Margaux Brane Cantenac, Margaux *+Elegant style and fruity upfront with violet undertones. Mid weight on palate. In balance and could be ready early. Cantenac Brown, Margaux ½*Quite nice with cinnamon nuances. A little rustic at the end. Depends on price. Dauzac, Margaux **Very fine wine here and could be a superb value. Smoky, toasty oak aromas with black cherry tones and Asian spices. Slightly new wave style. Tons of fruit on the palate. Soft and seductive. d’Issan, Margaux *1/2Lovely, elegant, soft, forward. Easy drink. Little short in back. At Barriere it was very fine and richer on palate. du Tertre, Margaux *+Lovely entry-tastes good-toasty oak. Refined and balanced. Tannins masked by fruit. Dufort Vivens, MargauxAnise and orange zest. Sample is hard to taste. Judgment reserved. Tropical and topical. d'Angludet, Margaux *1/247% merlot, 48% cabernet sauvignon and 5% petit verdot. Black licorice aromas and blackberry flavors. Very pure and focused fruit. Long finish. Excellent value? La Gurgue, Margaux ½*Very spicy wine with up front fruit. Good balance. Racy-value! Ferriere, Margaux *+Sweet, ripe blackberry fruit. Good weight. Some minerality on palate. Not overdone. Nice texture. Giscours, Margaux **Vibrant, deep purple. Tastes great at Joanne. Big wine and finely balanced. Tasted three times. This could be a super winner. Has balance and great structure. Kirwan, Margaux *+Reserved nose but some mineral notes. Starting to express itself. Should be very good. Lascombes, Margaux *1/2New wave, but in good balance. Touch extracted but flavor is fine. This will sell well. Not Clyde’s style. Malescot St Exupery, Margaux **+60% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot and 10% petit verdot. Very sweet and lush on the palate. Seamless wine-elegant with cinnamon notes and Asian spices. Even cloves underneath. Mouth coating-pure and balanced. Fabulous buy. Pavillon Rouge, Margaux **48% cabernet sauvignon, 48% merlot and 4% petit verdot. Another great second wine. Vibrant purple color and licorice aromas. Blackberry and black raspberry fruits on the palate. Sweet throughout. 14% alcohol and you can’t tell it. Margaux, Margaux ***One of the best of the vintage. 85% cabernet sauvignon. This wine is very masculine style for the Margaux appellation. Super concentrated with violets, currants, and raspberries. The most dense Margaux since 1982. Velvet on the finish. Not as sexy as Latour. Monbrison, MargauxBig wine-tons of fruit and tannin and oak. Very powerful-mouth coating wine. Palmer I can’t remember tasting a better Palmer on any of my previous 21 trips to taste the young wines of the vintage. The estates production of 10,000 cases of first wine-is quite low with only 32 hectoliters per hectare produced. Alter Ego de Palmer, Margaux *1/2+The second wine is 43% cabernet sauvignon and 57% merlot-more merlot than usual.-It has bittersweet chocolate aromas that follow to the palate. Blackberries covered with chocolate-silky texture. Elegant sweet entry with spices and ripe fruit flavors –long finish. Outstanding. Palmer, Margaux ***Otherworldly wine. 53% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot and 7% petit verdot. A bit more cab than is in the vineyard. Black purple color. Deep concentrated nose of toasted oak, black cherry and chocolate. Very sweet, forward ripe fruit entry with hints of framboise underneath. Fabulous structure and silky, velvety mouthfeel-you want to drink it right now. Tannins are round and covered by the massive fruit content. The finish lingers on the palate. Prieure Lichine, Margaux Tasted twice with conflicting notes. Reserve judgment. Rausan Segla, Margaux *1/2Very perfumey nose and delicious entry. Long and lingering finish. Super wine. St-Emilion Angélus, St-Emilion **Delicious wine. In perfect balance. Tons of blackberry fruit. Superb length and depth of flavor. Lovely wine. Chauvin, St-EmilionBlackberry fruit and cherry on nose and follows to palate. Toasty. Good richness. Destieux, St-EmilionBright cherry aromas and flavors. A bit over-extracted. Faugeres, St-EmilionSweet upfront and very tannic and dry on the back end. Extracted. Figeac, St-EmilionPretty tough wine to taste. Retry later. Fombrauge, St-Emilion *Well balanced, fruity, spicy. Feels good on palate. Nice wine. Fleur Cardinale, St-EmilionJammy, ripe and creamy. Blackberry jam. Good structure and finish. Grand Pontet, St-EmilionGood entry-dry at the back end. La Dominique, St-EmilionPretty good and one of their better efforts. Still a bit short. Quinault l’Enclos, St-EmilionA little rough at end and thin in middle. Peby Faugeres, St-EmilionWhisky like aromas and flavors-too much. Tertre Daugey, St-EmilionToo powerful and extracted. Pomerol and Lalande de Pomerol Beau Soleil, PomerolDecent wine. Good balance. La Clemence, PomerolTough and tannic. Very concentrated, but too much for me. La Conseillante, PomerolMore elegant style. Quite light and soft. Could be expensive. La Gay, PomerolSweet wine upfront-tannic on the back end. Huge wine. La Pointe, Pomerol *Elegant style. Slightly hollow-lots of people liked it. Petit Village, Pomerol *1/2Their best in long time. 75% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon and 5% cabernet franc, very high cabernet sauvignon content. Spicy, clove-like aromas with some allspice notes. A touch of chocolate on palate. Tons of fruit. Very bright and lively. A touch tough at back. Rouget, PomerolSweet and forward ripe fruit flavors. Lighter style-good balance. Easy drinker. Bright and fresh. La Fleur St Georges, Lalande de PomerolBlackberry fruit. Good concentration. Slightly short La Fleur de Bouard, Lalande de Pomerol *+Big wine. Tannin but good ripe blackberry fruit. Ager. Le Plus de Fleur de Bouard, Lalande de PomerolVery sweet nose, lots of oak. Good concentration. Slightly bitter. Cotes and Fronsac Vrai Canon Bouche, Canon FronsacSmoky, bacon, toasty, cranberry fruit. Les Troix Croix, FronsacOak flavor. Check on arrival. de Birot, 1er Cotes de BordeauxFresh, elegant. Ripe berries. Buy on arrival. Value. Reynon 1er Cotes de BordeauxToasty flavors, not much nose. Rustic style. Gigault “Cuvee Viva,” Cotes de Blaye *Ripe blackberries. Deep color-blackish. Fairly extracted. Framboise. Sweet core. Sauternes Doisy Daene, Sauternes *Lighter style. More lemony. Good balance. Easy to drink. Doisy Vedrines, Sauternes *1/2Lush mouthfeel and great balance. Not overdone. Very good. Guiraud, Sauternes *1/2Nice entry. Good richness. In balance. Very nice. La Tour Blanche, Sauternes **Great entry-fabulous richness. Balanced and complete. Honey and pineapple. Lafaurie Peyraguey, SauternesThicker style-very heavy and a bit ponderous. Too heavy for me. Raymond Lafon, Sauternes *1/2Lots of honey and some coconut with fine acidity. Very rich and well-balanced. Good 2005 Suduiraut, Sauternes **+Otherworldly and already delicious. 90% semillon and 10% sauvignon blanc. Coconut and honey and pineapple aromas-unctuous on the palate-tons of balancing acid to go with the fruit. creamy rich mid palate. a complete wine that is wonderful already.
So far the wines have been very easy to taste. There is so much sweet fruit on the palate that the high tannins and high acids are masked by the fruit. These wines will need cellaring for the most part-much more than the very ripe fruit low acid 2003s. It is interesting that some great chateaux known for their power hardness (Cos, Latour, Las Cases) have taken the softer style approach while more delicate wines such as Ch Margaux have gone full throttle. We will taste Haut Brion and Haut Bailly and Lascombes this a.m. We were not able to taste Cheval Blanc as they thought it was better if journalists tasted instead of retailers-not a problem as we went instead to Vieux Chateau Certan, which made a fabulous wine. We discovered a fine new property: Rochebelle in St-Emilion and bought some great older vintages. This property sits next to La Mondotte and Tertre Roteboeuf and Troplong Mondot-great terroir. In fact, the property was larger until a piece was sold and became La Mondotte. Superb value wines from Rochebelle! Some of my top wines so far are Latour, Margaux, Las Cases, Palmer and Leoville Barton. More to come! -Clyde Beffa
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