Just before the start of the 2006 holiday season, K&L in San Francisco will offer champagne lovers the opportunity to taste dozens of champagnes from boutique producers and meet the proprietors behind some of the finest “grower” champagne houses at a tasting event held Saturday, October 21, in a special tent adjacent to the San Francisco store, 638 Fourth Street (near Brannan). Tickets are $55 per person and can be purchased from www.klwines.com or by calling 1 (877) KLWINES.
Heartland is a new project for winemaker Ben Glaetzer who has created quite a stir in the wine industry with his work with Glaetzer, Mitolo and Amon Ra. The 2005 Heartland Viognier-Pinot Gris Langhorne Creek ($13.99) shows the great acidity and mid-palate richness of the 2005 vintage. The nose has lifted floral notes along with peach and pear and a hint of minerals. On the palate the wine is rich but focused. The 2004 Heartland Shiraz ($14.99) is lovely with bright plum, black current, pepper, chocolate, spice and a light iron note. The wine sees 12 months in French hogsheads, and on the palate there are fine tannins with a silky texture and fine length. The 2004 Heartland “Directors Cut” Shiraz Langhorne Creek, Limestone Coast ($28.99) was fermented and aged in 60% new Allier French oak and 40% new American oak for 14 months. This wine is dense with a dark purple color with great aromas of violets, cassis, black fruits, toffee, licorice and spice. These are terrific offerings and bargains. The 2003 Black Pearl “Oro” Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon Paarl South Africa ($16.99) is delicious! Made from low-yielding dry-land vines, the wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered and spends one year in French oak. The bouquet offers notes of blackberry, current, toffee and a hint of licorice. On the palate the wine is juicy with good texture and fine length. —Jimmy C
This month I’ve got a red and a white from the South of France, which are both serious overachievers! Both of these vinous beauties are great with any Mediterranean-inspired meal, or by themselves while your trying to figure out how to carve that 25-pound pumpkin. 2005 Costières de Nîmes Blanc Château Grande Cassagne ($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 back note. Open a bottle of the Grande Cassagne Blanc and prepare to be transported to the south of France! NV Chateau de Saint Cosme “Little James’ Basket Press” ($10.99) This tasty little gem is named after Louis and Cherry Barruol’s son James. Louis has coined this irreverant wine his “wine of freedom” as he is unencumbered by France’s strict appellation controlee in it's production. Composed of primarily grenache from select areas in the Southern Rhone and Languedoc-Roussillon, this juicy red boasts bright cherry aromatics, dried thyme and hints of roasted piquillo peppers. Great with anything off the grill! —Mulan Chan
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