An evening of fine wines, bubbles and food! More than 50 wineries will pour their latest releases and local chefs will showcase the culinary bounty of the county. K&L is the exclusive retail sponsor for this fantastic event to be held Monday, May 8 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St. at 3rd in San Francisco. Cost is $45 per person. Tickets can be purchased by at www.YBCA.org or by calling 415.978.ARTS (2787).
This area of Champagne is famous for being one of the most extensively harvested for Champagne production. It is also home to some of the best pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes grown in Champagne. For April, I am pleased to present two red grape-based Champagnes. Many of you are familiar with the Philippe Gonet Brut Reserve ($27.99), a masterful blend of 60% pinot noir, 30% chardonnay and 10% pinot meunier. I have a soft spot for this producer because the vintner and his associates are some of the best people in the business. It takes more than an amiable personality to make a good wine, however! All grapes for the Brut Reserve are estate grown, Gonet fruit. The current release is a particular blend from the 2000 (30%) and 2001 vintages (70%). The 2000 stock is from reserve wine. A flavorful, slightly toasty character with a nose of vanilla, fresh-baked bread and citrus fruit. Nectarine fruit in the mouth, with subtle vanilla and a leaner character than the nose suggests. Perfection with lobster soup! Wine number two is somewhat of an oddity. In the case of the Michel Dervin Brut ($24.99), this is not a bad thing! A blend of 60% pinot meunier, 35% pinot noir and 5% chardonnay, this one’s unusual due to the high percentage of meunier used. Those of you who have come to our Champagne tastings know that pinot meunier lends an almost caramel/cognac aspect to Champagne. This results in a nose of brioche, crème caramel and delicate red fruits. In the mouth, there is a distinct toastiness with roasted nuts, dried cherry notes and a hint of lemon curd. An excellent choice for those who like toasty and yeasty Champagnes. The price makes it a MUST have! —Scott Beckerley
After an all-to-long absence the Champagnes of Michel Dervin are back. These are exciting and unique Champagnes from a little-known and very tiny village called Cuchery. They are made by Michel Dervin, who is also the wine maker for Domaine J. Laurens in Limoux. The Michel Dervin Brut Champagne ($24.99) has a wonderful brioche and subtle fruit nose. The flavors are quite concentrated and complex. The Champagne has a great toastiness balanced by lightness on its refreshing and long finish. The cuvee is a blend of 85% 2002 and 15% 2001 vintages. It is made out of 95% estate fruit from small plots in the villages of Cuchery, Damery, Reuil and Chapelle Monthadon in the picturesque valley of the Marne. The 1999 Michel Dervin Brut ($29.99) is a step up in length and balance. With more pinot noir and chardonnay in the blend (70% pinot noir, 30% meunier), this wine has more intense aromas. The flavors are big, broad and very unique. For lovers of a rich style this wine will not let you down. If you have never had a valley of the Marne meunier-based Champagne, these two are a great place to start. Please feel free to contact me at 1 (800) 247-5987 ex 728, or at firstname.lastname@example.org with any of your champagne (or sherry!) needs. Please also drop me a line if you would like to be on my list of Champagne customers. A toast to you! —Gary Westby
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