After many months of anticipation I am excited to announce the arrival of the 2004 St. Josephs from Pierre Coursodon. The Coursodons are one of the most revered domaines in the appellation, and for very good reason. The wines are beautiful expressions of syrah and marsanne, with just the right amount of fruit, power and acidity. 2004 St. Joseph Blanc Pierre Coursodon ($25.99) This classic St. Joseph blanc represents all that is fresh, vibrant and inviting about the Rhone valley. Fresh cut flowers, white nectarine and orange blossom honey make this marsanne a brilliant way to start your Provencal meal, or pair with brandade or poached fish. Best from 2006-2008. 2004 St. Joseph Blanc Pierre Coursodon “Le Paradis Saint-Pierre” ($32.99) I am not normally fond of overt oak influence, especially in whites. After trying a bottle of 1998 Le Paradis last year, I’ve been humbled. Buttered apricots with a hint of roasted nuts and a rich waxy lanolin texture. All of this richesse over a solid framework of acidity and brightness. What an over achiever! Best between 2009-2013. 2004 St. Joseph Pierre Coursodon ($25.99) This classic cuvee is forward, fresh and charming, with notes of violets, blackcurrant, rosehips and a whiff of tobacco on the finish. Almost pinot-esque in character, this elegant syrah will absolutely sing with grilled Ahi tuna steaks topped with a dollop of tapenade. Best from 2006-2009. 2004 St. Joseph Pierre Coursodon “l’Olivaie” ($32.99) This prestige cuvee hails from 80+ year old vines. The 2004 vintage exhibits supple-textured ripe fruit, with whiffs of mineral, wet earth and smoke. This more powerful syrah will benefit from a couple years cellar time. However if you cannot wait, then decant for several hours and enjoy with heartier fare. Best from 2008-2013. —Mulan Chan
In what is the relatively young New Zealand wine industry, Tim and Judy Finn are pioneers. They planted their vineyards in 1978 in Nelson on the northern tip of the south island just northwest of Marlborough. The vines are planted on a gentle north-facing slope overlooking a branch of the Moutere Valley, which is one of the most sunny areas offering 2300 hours of sunlight per year with clear skies allowing rapid cooling at night. This is an estate that is driven by quality and character. Get these wines while you can. The 2004 Neudorf Sauvignon Blanc Nelson ($16.99) is blended from two different vineyards Moutueka, the cooler one giving bright lime and gooseberry and Brightwater showing more tropical and stone fruit characture. Small barrel fermetation gives texture and weight to the wine, which has fine acidity and length. The 2004 Neudorf Chardonnay Nelson ($22.99) shows smoky notes with citrus, minerals, honey and a hint of butterscotch. There is a Burgundian feel here with fine acid and a long finish. The 2004 Neudorf Pinot Noir Nelson ($23.99) sees mostly Dijon clones from the Moutere vineyard. There are notes of dark plum, black cherry and spice with the wine unfined and unfiltered. The 2004 Neudorf Pinot Noir “Moutere” Nelson ($39.99) is more structured with elements of dark strawberry, cherry, meats, a little smoky bacon fat and clove. There is superb concentration and length. Cheers! —Jimmy C
Greeting once again from the world’s smallest tasting bar, where it is perfectly clear that in the kingdom of wine, size just doesn’t matter! On a rainy Saturday in March, an all-time-record number of customers showed up for our monthly in-store Bordeaux tasting. Everyone was lured by multiple vintages from the great super-second growth Ch. Cos d’Estournel from St-Estèphe, and the chance to taste them, along side the newly hired assistant to the director of Cos. The Cos wines showed well indeed; the new assistant did not show up at all! Rumor has it that she decided to leave the company car at the Bordeaux airport and head to some of the finest resorts in the south of France. As always, the wines of Cos stood tall. Pagodes de Cos 2001 and 2002 (the second wine of Cos) both showed very well, the 2001 Pagodes de Cos ($26.99) was much more elegant, lightly spiced with berries and earth, perfect for drinking now, while the 2002 Pagodes de Cos ($22.99) was much darker, firmer and a couple of years away from its best drinking. With anxious eyes sneaking a peak at the famous 2000 Cos d’Estournel ($114.99) awaiting at the end of the tasting, people were blown away by the complexity and quality of the 2002 Cos d’Estournel (Inquire). The perfect example of why you should throw your vintage charts out with the trash. It tasted almost exactly as it did the first time I tasted the wine at the estate on April 3rd, 2003…a big attack and strike of spicy ripe grapes on the nose, almost thick, very rich and long in the mouth, hitting every area perfectly and finishing very long. This is a great wine, even tastes good now. *** 3 stars (the most I give a barrel sample), reflecting the fact that I believe it will truly be a classic wine of greatness. No joke, this could be the wine of the vintage bar none! The pressure was on the 2000 to perform and the reality is that its prime time is a long, long way down the road. Tightly wound dark fruit that is strong like a bull, unyielding at this young stage. The nose shows great promise. This is Englishmen’s claret. Stay away for at least 10 more years. As a special treat to our attendees, the director of Cos, Jean-Guillaume Prats, invited us to pour the most famous wine his father, Bruno Prats, ever made: 1982 Cos d’Estournel. Right out of the bottle it was delicious and fragrant, so beautifully developed, soft spice, cheese, and earth all perfectly integrated into the wine and the reason you age the great wines of Bordeaux. Our K&L wine dinners are without question some of the greatest culinary and wine deals you will ever experience, and many of our customers travel across the country to attend. Our good friend, the director of Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Mr. Gildas d’Ollone, was recently our guest of honor at the fine Cetrella Bistro in Half Moon Bay. The highlight wines from the five-course meal included the 2003 Ch. Bernadotte ($20.99). This Médoc estate has nice ripeness, elegance as well as firmness—a complete wine and great price. The 1995 and 1996 Pichon-Lalandes served out of magnums are truly great wines, but, much like 2000 Cos d’Estournel, they need time in the cellar, up to 10-plus years to be in their prime. This point was made even clearer when Clyde and I tasted the 1994 out of magnum. The wine is still vibrantly fresh, young and delicious. We both smiled at each other almost laughingly; it was fantastic. I hope you can join us at a tasting or dinner sometime in the upcoming future. Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions or advice on the wines of Bordeaux at ex 2723 or Ralph@klwines.com. Cheers and Go Giants! —Ralph Sands
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