A small group from K&L spent part of April in Bordeaux tasting and evaluating the wines from the amazing 2005 vintage. We discovered quality and consistency everywhere, but one property stood out, the tiny estate of Château Rochebelle in St-Emilion. These vineyards near Troplong Mondott have some of the best terrior in the appellation. In fact, the parcel the owners sold some years back is the source for the expensive luxury brand La Mondotte. Find out why Robert Parker says, “This is an estate shrewd buyers will monitor closely.” Château direct, too! 1989 Rochebelle, St-Emilion ($49.99) This sensuous, mature beauty has a medium color and dusty plum aromas. The plush cherry vanilla flavors are sweet, round and seductive with very resolved tannin on the finish. Loaded with satiny fruit and tons of character, this Grand Cru from one of the best vintages of the ’80s is drinking perfectly right now. 1990 Rochebelle, St-Emilion ($49.99) This is slightly lighter in color than the ’89 but spicier and my favorite of the bunch. Here we have subtle herbs, very sweet fruit, mineral and bright spice all in perfect harmony. This amazingly elegant wine shows fantastic terrior and has the type of transparency usually found only in Grand Cru Burgundy from great vintages. It’s impossible not to taste the limestone the cellars are chiseled out of in each sip. 1999 Rochebelle, St-Emilion 1.5L ($89.99) This dark, ripe and fruity wine shows plenty of oak and very ripe tannin in a plump, full-bodied style. With its substantial mid-palate and no hard edges, this is the flashiest and sweetest wine tasted here and would be perfect for an informal gathering or BBQ tonight. 2005 Rochebelle, St-Emilion ($44.99 Pre-Arrival) Those of you who have not yet purchased this are in danger of missing one of the great bargains from this spectacular vintage. This is almost black in color and exudes an essence of intense, perfectly ripe grapes. The middle here is deep with the oak completely buried under masses of creamy fruit. Despite the powerful tannic grip on the finish, there is exquisite balance, wonderful freshness and a sense of purity here. 1996 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac ($59.99) This 5th Growth is a big, powerful wine from a classic vintage. Spice, currants, mineral, oak and tannin blend together in the burly mid palate. An hour of decanting will soften this dark, full-bodied gem but a decade of further cellaring will also be rewarded. 92+ points from Robert Parker. —Steve Bearden
Well after one year of bureaucratic delays, it looks like we should be opening our Hollywood store in a month or two. We are hoping for an October 15 or sooner opening, but we can’t predict that date yet. Check our website for more information. And the address, you ask?? How about Sunset and Vine? To be exact 1400 Vine Street just a block or so south of Sunset, directly across the street from the ArcLight Cinema. Plenty of parking and easy access from many great L.A. neighborhoods. We are very excited about this new store as are our managers, Chip Hammack and Tom Martinez. —Clyde Beffa Jr
Reserve your space for Monday October 23. We will have Anthony Barton, Jean Guillaume Prats, Jean Michel Cazes as well as Jean Charles Cazes with us. We will feature 2004 Bordeaux from these properties as well as 2000 Langoa-Barton, 2000 Ormes de Pez, 2001 Marbuzet, 1995 Lynch Bages, Léoville-Barton and Cos d’Estournel. We will start with Gosset Champagne and finish with 1997 Suduiraut. The event will take place in the Grand Ballroom of The Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco. Reception at 6:30 and dinner at 7:30. Limited to 120 people. Coat and tie attire. $200 per person.
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