Many people ask me what I drink at home. Of course, the answer is wines from all over the world. There are some things I do not like, namely high alcohol, overblown, over-sized, palate-fatiguing wines. That is why I am the Burgundy guy here, after all. But, one kind of wine I regularly drink all summer drink is rosé! Now, lest you be confused, I am not talking about the White Zinfandels of old. Today’s French rosés are delightful, never heavy, extremely food-friendly, and easy to drink in the summer. One of my favorites is the Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne ($11.99). It is naturally fermented in the bottle from pinot noir and chardonnay, the traditional Burgundian grapes. On the palate it is very rich and fruity but just off-dry on the finish. The mousse is explosive, with a very creamy palate impression. Being the pinot noir lover I am, some of my favorites are, of course, rosés made from Burgundian pinot noir. These are anything but after-thoughts for the producers who make them. Instead, they are carefully crafted from grapes grown especially for rosé. They keep their delicate color due to the lack of skin contact. This means that you get the aromatics of a good Burgundy, accompanied by a delicacy and lightness that is truly refreshing. In fact, what you are tasting is what all Red Burgundy was, until the 20th Century. Two of my favorites are the 2004 Charles Audoin Marsannay Rosé, ($14.99), made from his younger vines, high on the hill in Marsannay. It has a wonderful pale “eye of the swan” color, a fragrant, unmistakably pinot noir nose and a dry, clean finish. And, the 2005 Château de Puligny Montrachet Rosé, ($16.99) is made from estate-grown fruit from the Château de Puligny, from Monthelie, Pommard, St. Aubin and Bourgogne. A true, slow-press rosé, it has strawberry notes in the nose and a classic texture. Here is your first look at the 2005 vintage, just in time for your summer drinking. Á Santé. —Keith Wollenberg
All tastings are from noon to 3 p.m. in San Francisco and 1 to 4 p.m. in Redwood City. For further information about other special monthly tastings and dinners, please see our website at www.klwines.com and click on the “local events” bar. Saturday, June 3: Bordeaux. Clyde, Ralph, Steve and Alexandre take us on a further exploration into the 2003 vintage. Come on by to taste the latest and greatest Bordeaux. Don’t forget to ask any of your questions about the latest pre-arrival 2005s! Ten wines to be poured, including eight red, one white and one Sauternes. Tasting price TBA Saturday, June 10: California Zinfandels. Trey, Martin and MJ pick their favorite Zinfandels from California. A little bit of ZAP in the summer! Most of the wines featured will be from boutique producers. Ten wines to be poured. Tasting price TBA. Bring your toothbrush! Saturday, June 17: Champagne! Gary, Scott and Alexandre compare notes and pick out the newest arrivals from our ever-expanding selection of fine, sparkling wines. Come by and taste small estate Champagnes including new producers that we have just acquired. Ten wines to be poured. Tasting price TBA. Saturday, June 24: Wines from Chile and Argentina. Anne and Kirk pick wines from our increasingly popular line of wines from Argentina and Chile. The finest Malbecs, Cabernets and other varietals from two countries renowned for both quality and value. Wines for every day and for the cellar. Twelve wines to be poured. Tasting price TBA. —Scott Beckerley
In late April I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days at Handley Cellars in the Anderson Valley. Along with several other people from the restaurant industry, we spent two nights in the lovely ranch house. Throughout the visit, we toured the vineyards and spent a few hours with the winery staff blending different lots of pinot noir. Our hosts were wonderful people, and they spent many hours talking about the wines and serving us delicious meals. My thanks go out to Mrs. Handley, Kristen, Andrea and all the great staff. The winery was established in 1982 by Milla Handle. A former assistant to both Jed Steele and Dick Arrowood, she has been a leader in bringing the Anderson Valley to the forefront of Pinot Noir and Gewürztraminer production. The wines from this cool growing region show great balance and structure with reasonable alcohol levels. If you’re ever up in the area, stop by the winery’s tasting room. They have a variety of wines to sample, many which are sold exclusively at the tasting room. We currently have three wines from Handley: 2003 Handley Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($26.99) This wine offers the characteristic Anderson Valley aromas and flavors of cherry and spice, with accents of violets, anise and a touch of vanilla. The rich earthy flavors of ratatouille will perfectly complement this Pinot Noir. 2004 Handley Mendocino Pinot Noir ($16.99) This 2004 Mendocino Pinot Noir offers aromas of strawberries and violets and a hint of coffee. Subtle oak adds depth and complexity to bright Bing cherry flavors. 2003 Handley Anderson Valley Chardonnay ($15.99) This Chardonnay is elegant and complex, with subtle floral and mineral aromas. It will never overwhelm the palate. Its delicate texture is balanced by fresh pear and apple flavors. —Mike Jordan
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