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
This month I have two Rhone selections that I believe are sure to please. The next time you are in the Rhone Valley and traveling on the D975, I strongly suggest that you make a stop at Roaix, a charming village within the Côtes du Rhône appellation that is often times overlooked. This totally picturesque village offers up some lovely views as well as a more quiet Côtes du Rhône experience, as most folks have no idea where or what a “roaix” is. If you don’t have any immediate travel plans then I recommend that you pick up a bottle of the 2004 Domaine Auzières Côtes du Rhône-Villages Roaix (ORGANIC) ($12.99). Cool, bright and silky is how I would describe this red beauty from Roaix... with enough matiere to handle heartier Provencal fare, but pretty enough to sip on its own. This is truly a wine to “go deep” on, and at this price you’ll save a few pennies too. Perhaps for your next trip to Roaix! Now here is a gentle reminder: One cannot live on red wine alone. How about a nice white like the 2004 Château Grande Cassagne Costières de Nîmes Blanc ($9.99)? Grenache blanc and roussanne are behind this crisp and rich white from the South of France. The very floral nose will set you squarely in the Southern Rhone, at a village market, say, where lavender and white flowers mingle with green olives and citrus. All these, and more, you can taste in this excellent value wine. A tingle of oak on the finish adds complexity and remains a backnote. Open a bottle of the Grande Cassage Blanc and prepare to be transported to the South of France! —Mulan Chan
Bid on this...we're pleased to be conducting fine wine auctions in addition to our retail selection of thousands of the world's best wines.
Bid, buy, sell, and browse the hundreds of auction lots live on K&L Auctions.
Back in the 1970's we went by the name "K&L Liquors" and our dedication to bringing you the finest spirits remains the same.
View our Spirits Journal to find out what our buyers are getting into next...