Over the last year I have conducted or attended a dozen or so tastings of 2003 Bordeaux, and from where I stand there is no question that this is an outstanding and user-friendly vintage. As these wines evolve and become more complete they exhibit added complexity and nuance to complement their lush fruity personalities. 2003 Nenin, Pomerol ($36.99) The wine making team from Léoville-Las-Cases produced one of the stars of Pomerol in 2003. This is crisp and structured for the vintage with black cherry and dark berries. Silky, ripe and elegant with beautiful length. 2003 La Couspaude, St-Emilion ($39.99) This full bodied, flashy wine is finally settling down, absorbing its lavish oak treatment and showing tons of personality. The cherry and strawberry aromas are flowery and surprisingly delicate for such a rich body. Earthy, dense and fleshy, this is super fruity, charming and very easy to drink. 2003 Clos Marsalette, Pesac-Léognan ($418.99) Only 1200 cases of Stephan Von Neipperg’s newest endeavor were produced. This is a soft, approachable bargain showing tobacco, spice notes and gobs of plush, dark fruit. Value priced and ready to drink! Hauts de Pontet, Pauillac ($21.99) Located across the street from Mouton-Rothschild, Pontet Canet has been on a roll, and their 2nd wine is always one of the great bargains in Bordeaux. Lots of classic Pauillac character here with hints of iron, mineral and dark currants. The deep, fruity mid-palate leads to a long, firm finish showing very fine tannin. 90 points from the Wine Spectator and a fantastic value. 2003 Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac ($45.99) This very consistent château seems to fly under the radar even while they produce great wines vintage after vintage. Lovers of Lynch Bages will love this big, muscular classic for its firm structure, sweet black fruit and hints of licorice, pencil lead and its long, complex finish. This is anything but your typical 2003 fruit bomb! 92 points from the Wine Spectator. —Steve Bearden
These are not going to be the run-of-the-mill “party wines” bought by the case for your office Thanksgiving party. These wines are, however, suitable for that special event where you can savor every drop with some fantastic home cooking. One of our favorite châteaux at K&L is Pichon-Lalande, which I’m sure comes as no surprise to most of our loyal customers. Their second wine is no less than outstanding as well. The 2002 Reserve de la Comtesse ($24.99) is a beautiful wine displaying a peaked red berry tone on the nose and a lasting yet integrated acidity. This has great brightness of fruit. We also have the 1995 Reserve de la Comtesse 1.5L ($119.00) , which displays similar bright berry tones but much more of a rich, iron-like base. This is pure elegance wrapped around a tightly coiled spring of structure. Another of our faves is Cos. The 1993 Cos d’Estournel, St-Estèphe ($79.99) , from a vintage panned by critics, is a beautiful wine today with its powerful cigar-y core, savory minded fruit and surprising youthfulness. The 1996 Cos d’Estournel, St-Estèphe ($104.99) is still a baby, maybe a wine for the holidays of 2010. Compact and struggling to fight its way out of the glass now, this wine hollers cabernet sauvignon. Weighty black currant is slathered atop the firm tannin still present here. If you have someone to impress at the dinner table the Léoville-Las-Cases, St-Julien ($149.95) would be happily received by any wine snob. Black plum, cola spice and boysenberry are all on display here, but what is really exciting is the creamy mouth-filling texture that betrays its age. This blew me away, talk about layered flavors—it’s all here. Oh and for the pumpkin pie (my personal favorite), the 2002 de Fargues, Sauternes ($69.99) . The interplay of cashew and nutmeg along with its creamy richness will be a perfect foil for the earthy pumpkin encased in a buttery, flaky crust. —Bryan Brick
Hopefully our Hollywood store will be open before this newsletter becomes out of date. If so we have over $7M of great inventory from which you can choose. The containers have been many and often, and we are stocked to the rafters with French, Italian, Spanish, Aussie, Kiwi and California wines. Our old and rare wine inventory has never been bigger or better. We have wines for all tastes, food pairings and pocketbooks. Just ask one of our experienced colleagues in any store or on the phone. If you know what you want, use the easy and fast way through the web. Have a great holiday season! —Clyde Beffa Jr
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