The René Collard Cuvee Ultime Ultra Brut ($39.99) is the 52nd and last harvest from one of Champagne's true greats. Mr. Collard made his first Champagne in 1943, in the middle of the war. The Ultime is 100% 1995, although not labeled as a vintage. During that time Mr. Collard's methods have not changed; he has never used chemicals in the vineyard, never allowed the wines to undergo malolactic fermentation and never used stainless steel. The juice was fermented in a combination of one-third enamel vats and two-thirds large oval barrels. All of the vines are very, very old and a combination of 10% chardonnay and 90% meunier. Sadly Mr. Collard's health has put future availability into question. If you are a fan of Champagne and have not tasted his wine, please do not miss this opportunity. The Champagne is not for everyone. It is vinous and complex, stalwartly dry (there has been no dosage at all added) and doughy at the same time. I think it is one of the best in our stock, and to fans of Krug and Bollinger I would give extra encouragement to sample this wine. Our stock is dwindling. On another subject, my email list needs some maintenance. Many of you have written me to get notification on rare Champagnes, news from the region and closeout announcements. If you have not heard from me in a while I might not have your current email address. Please send me your current information at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please don’t hesitate to join if you have not already! A toast to you! —Gary Westby
Saturday September 9 is the date. Come and join co-owner James Sichel and K&L for a great dinner featuring the wines of Château d’Angludet. Wines from 1983, 1988, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2003 will be poured. This dinner will be held at Spago Restaurant in Palo Alto. Reception at 6:30 and dinner at 7:15. Casual elegance is the dress code. $150 per person. Following is the menu: 2 passed appetizers-with Launois Brut Reserve 1st Course: Seared Sonoma duck breast with Chinese spices and summer peach glaze-with 1999 and 2001 Angludet 2nd Course: Duo of Colorado lamb with black olive sauce, shelling beans and gremolata-with 2000 Angludet- 3rd Course: Roasted New Zealand loin of Venison with sun choke puree and wild huckleberries -with 1988 and 1983 Angludet 4th Course: Roblechon and Brie with grilled black mission figs and toasted walnut bread-with 2003 and 2005 Angludet
I would like to start with Ch. Léoville-Poyferre, St.-Julien, which was created from the division of the largest property (Lord Léovilles) in the Médoc at the time, early 1800s. You might know its more famous siblings: Léoville-Las-Cases and Léoville-Barton. They might be more famous but Léoville-Poyferre definitely has the quality that goes with its second growth title. 1993 Ch. Léoville-Poyferre, St-Julien 1.5L ($89.99) is one of the best steals we have in the store. The nose offers bright cherry as well as tobacco. There is certain dustiness to this wine, but what you remember is the elegance and length, and the acidity just carries this wine for ever. Speaking of Léovilles, let’s move to Léoville-Barton’s second wine: The 1998 Reserve de Léoville-Barton, St-Julien 1.5L ($64.99) is just perfect to pair with a nice fillet mignon, no sauce please. With no hard tannins, elegant red fruit, notes of pencil lead and still very youthful, it is waiting for you to grill that piece of beef with just salt and pepper. Voila! Perfect match. The 1996 Benjamin de Pontet, Pauillac ($21.99) is another fine example of a beautiful second wine (Pontet Canet’s). Opened for one hour, it reveals sweet berries and a nice mineral finish. This is a smart buy for consumption over the next five years. If you still don’t know what to get from the outstanding 2003 vintage, may I suggest the 2003 Duhart-Milon, Pauillac ($36.99). This estate has stepped up to the plate and delivered. Sweet dark berries, smoke, oak, One of their best ever. Cellar for 5-20 years. —Alexandre Brisoux
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