If you have stopped by the either of our stores in the last few years you will recognize this as one of our staff favorites, and the 2004 Domaine de la Croix Senaillet Saint Veran ($14.99) is once again at the top of our list. Saint Veran, if you are unfamiliar, is an appellation that is literally a stone’s throw away from Pouilly Fuissé and several of the more esteemed Macon villages. The soils have both clay and chalk, and you can see them both of these components expressed in the fantastic 2004 vintage. The long cool and wet summer finally broke in August allowing for the grapes to ripen. The grapes were not super ripe like the 2003 vintage so they speak more of the terroir, the clay rich soils giving the wine body and richness while the chalky soils give the wine cut and minerality. This wine once again speaks to wine lovers, both old world and new world. The nose is bright and citrusy with floral and yellow fruit tones. The palate has ripe almost tropical fruit tones with just a hint of nuttiness and a kiss of vanilla spice. This wine is a summer multi-tasker: poolside sipper, aperitif, or lighter BBQ quencher, not to mention its utility at the dinner table. If you haven’t given this one a try yet, now is the time. Or if it is a favorite of yours, stock up. This jewel will drink nicely over the next couple of years. —Kirk Walker
As of late May, we have been very fortunate to obtain a producer of considerable quality and value. Champagne Fleury is well known for their use of pinot noir, the varietal that makes up their line of Champagnes. Fleury is located in Courteron in Aube. Because the vineyards are so close to Chablis, they produce a more Burgundian style of Champagne. That is to say, a very dry style with extremely low dosage despite the fact that their wines are pinot based. As an added bonus, the Fleury Champagnes are completely biodynamic, the strictest form of organic viticulture. At 100% pinot Noir, the Fleury “Carte Rouge” Brut ($29.99) is truly unique. A wonderful nose of lemon crème, coconut and lime. In the mouth, dried cherries, citrus fruits, vanilla and crème fraiche. Though the delicate fruit and creamy texture give away the pinot based aspect of this wine, there is a note of lemon on the finish that gives it a classic touch. Very well-suited for pate, rich seafood such as lobster or crusty bread and Brie. Like the Brut, the Fleury Brut Rosé ($34.99) is also 100% pinot noir with the base wine coming solely from the 1999 vintage. A wonderful creamy texture with small bubbles that rival those of Champagne Launois. Once opened, the Rosé shows a nose of dark cherries, wet stones, vanilla, nutmeg and the slightest hint of red currants. On the palate, a combination of cherry and strawberry fruit with a cleanliness enhanced by a bit of minerality. Rich and tasty, yet complex and delicate. Fine finish with just a whiff of oak. This is wonderful Champagne to start a meal with a salad of romaine, mandarin oranges and toasted pecans. Or, have it with a main course of poultry or game bird. Both of these Champagnes are also available in half bottles, perfect for picnics in the summer. The Brut is available in a magnum for larger parties and dinners. Happy summer sipping! —Scott Beckerley
I get a chance to try so many wines from the smaller producers in California that I thought I would focus my article every month on the excellent producers that K&L Wine Merchants have in stock. The following are a couple great wines that are now available: 2003 Boodeaux Vineyards Suisun Valley Syrah ($13.99) Owner Scott Becker (Boodeaux is his 130 pound Rhodesian Ridgeback) grew up in the Napa Valley and had been a home winemaker for years. After his retirement from San Quentin in 1997, Scott decided to try winemaking professionally. The 2003 Suisun Syrah is very elegant with a hint of spice and sweetness. There is just a hint of gaminess reminiscent of a great French syrah. About 200 cases produced 2003 Travieso Dry Creek “El Rey” Cabernet Sauvignon ($36.99) 2003 Travieso “Companero Ciego” Lodi Syrah ($24.99) Travieso was started in 2003 by two friends, Mats Hagstrom and Ray Sliter, who are the vineyard manager and winemaker respectively. All the wines are very limited and come from fruit contracted by the acre. Both varietals have great balance and enough acidity to go very well with food. The bottles can’t be missed in the store. They are massive. The label is beautiful and looks as if many hours were taken to get them perfect. Like the labels, time was taken to make the wine perfect as well. The cabernet is silky and balanced with great structure. Pure Cabernet. 100 cases released. The Syrah is a dark, almost black wine in color with black fruit, tar and earthiness. The blend is 95% syrah and 5% viognier, with the viognier adding great aromatics. Fifty cases released. See you in the City… —Mike Jordan
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