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Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne $34.99One of our best non-vintage Champagnes, this organically grown blend of half each Chardonnay and Meunier comes entirely from Bruno Michel's estate. It has been aged for six years on the lees and shows wonderful natural toasty quality as well as incredible vibrance! This was the big hit of our most recent staff Champagne tasting and we think you will love it too.

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We host regular weekly and Saturday wine tastings in each K&L location.

For the complete calendar, including lineups and additional details related to our events, visit our K&L Local Events on or follow us on Facebook.  


Free Spirits Tastings at K&L! Now that we have our license for spirits tastings in Redwood City and San Francisco, we’re excited to host regular free spirits tastings in those locations.  Check the Spirits Journal for an updated tasting schedule.

All tastings will feature different products from the Spirits Department and take place on Wednesdays in Redwood City and San Francisco. Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

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DI Retrospective: 2009 Jacques Bavard Monthelie Rouge

Never drink out of a beaker- unless it is reserved for Burgundy!

Burgundy lovers often say that five years from vintage is the perfect time to drink a good quality village wine. Since the great 2009’s are now just hitting their 5th birthday, I thought I would check in on the 2009 Jacques Bavard Monthelie Rouge and see if that rule of thumb is correct. Cinnamon and I went deep on this wine- when it was first released in February of 2012; I started out with a case of 750’s, Cinnamon bought another six, then I went back to the well for a case of magnums. Here is my staff review from the release:

“I just bought a case of this for my cellar. Now the problem will be keeping my hands off of it! This Monthelie shows just a little too well right now- last night Cinnamon and I had it with Wind Dancer Farms lamb chops. I decanted the wine an hour and a half ahead, and it was nothing short of spectacular. This is Burgundy with the '09 richness, but it sacrifices nothing in terms of its cut and refreshment. There is no other $25 Pinot that comes close... And very few $50 bottles that could equal it! It is my aspiration to drink my last bottle in 2024. I am confident the wine will be great then- but will I have any left?”

Here are Keith’s notes from the time:

“This exciting Pinot Noir comes from the picturesque village of Monthelie, located next to the more famous village of Volnay.  It is from a tiny negociant in Puligny-Montrachet named Jacques Bavard.  He comes from a long line of wine-growers, and is dedicated to working with organic and biodynamic growers. I found him thanks to a tip from a friend in Chassagne-Montrachet on my June trip, and was most impressed with the purity of his wines.This comes from 30-year-old vines, and underwent a long cold soak to extract more aromatic elements. It has lovely cherry fruit, and that wonderful note of wild strawberries (Fraises des Bois in French). When combined with the sappy opulence of the 2009 vintage, this is an irresistible wine.  It's a fresh, bright and wonderful Pinot Noir, at a modest price, thanks to our direct import.”

In the few years that we have been working directly with Mr. Bavard, it has become a phenomenon in the Burgundy section. The wines, especially the whites, get snapped up very quickly by those who have had past vintages. We are sold out of the 750’s of the 2011 Maison Jacques Bavard Monthelie Rouge already, and just have a few magnums left at $59.95. Luckily, we will be getting a little bit more of the 2011 750ml’s in a week or so, and you can get on the waiting list for those here.

Roast chicken & potatoes- a Westby house favorite with Burgundy!

For this bottle I prepared one of Cinnamon and my favorite dishes for Burgundy, roast chicken and roast potatoes. I also roasted some cauliflower with hot peppers and capers to mix things up. Our chicken, which was so lean and slender that it looked more like a racing breed than a roasting breed came from Bel Campo in Palo Alto. It turned out to be one of the best chickens we have had, and all I did was spatchcock it, rub it down with salt, pepper and olive oil and roast it on a rack above the potatoes! I think they might have given it a little brine, because the breast was very tender and savory and the thigh fully cooked- a trick even after spatchcocking the bird.

The Morsel cat loves chicken. Luckily she leaves our Burgundy alone!

I decanted the Monthelie and hour and a half ahead of time. Lots of Burgundy lovers don’t like the idea of decanting, but I am a believer. In this case, I am very confident that I was right to do it, since the wine started off shy and opened as the meal progressed. The Bavard had more than enough dark fruit and even some dried cherry elements to go with its firm structure.  I loved the catnip and coffee hints I found in the wine as the bottle dwindled, as well as the high acid, focused finish. We needed some zing with the schmaltzy roast potatoes!

I think this wine is still young, and won’t touch another for another year. It gives me a lot of confidence in this producers wine, and I hope to collect many more vintages for my cellar. It amazes me what $25 and a little patience can deliver to the wine lover. All you need is a little faith in your palate and a place to put the bottles.

A toast to you!

Gary Westby


2002 Ruinart "Dom Ruinart" Brut Rosé Champagne

There are only 198- strike that- 197- bottles of this rose for the entire US market.

The Dom Ruinart Rose might be the best tete de cuvee that American connoisseurs don’t know about. While no brand is more famous in France, it is only recently that Ruinart has had good distribution in the USA. Steadily, their non-vintage blanc de blancs and rose have gained more appreciation from Champagne lovers here, and even their excellent Ruinart "Dom Ruinart" Brut Blanc de Blancs is getting good traction. It is doubtful that the Dom Ruinart rose will be a household word anytime soon- the entire US only received 198 bottles, and I just drank one of them.

This Champagne is composed of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir, all from Grand Cru sites. The Chardonnay is sourced both from the Cote des Blancs and the Mountain or Reims, and it is this Mountain of Reims Chardonnay that gives the subtle exoticism that is the signature of the house style. The Pinot Noir in the blend is vinified red, and sourced from north facing vineyards in Sillery and Verzenay, giving the Champagne plenty of authority without sacrificing its energy. Ruinart is a proponent of stainless steel fermentation, and in the case of this rose, very long sur-lee ageing, perhaps the longest in the category of tete de cuvee roses. The 2002 was just released.

We enjoyed the 2002 Ruinart "Dom Ruinart" Brut Rosé Champagne ($299) with banh mi sandwiches and pork buns. We used door dash for the first time, and it was very luxurious for us to drink tete de cuvee and not even have to pick up our take-out! The food was from Spice Kit in Palo Alto, and very good. The steamed pork buns were the biggest hit with the Champagne- it is something special to have rich Kurobuta pork with top quality rose from Champagne! 

My first Jamesse glasses were a gift from Fred Panaiotis, chef de cave of Ruinart.

The Dom Ruinart Rose is beautiful to look at in the Lehmann "Jamesse Reference" Grand Champagne glass, and has a pale pink color and the kind of streamers that you only get with very long ageing on the lees. When we first opened the bottle it was very yeasty and leesy, so much so that it put me off. The bouquet developed really nicely over the course of the meal, offering up chalk and Rainier cherry fruit as well as toast. In the mouth, this wine is so elegant and subtle that it wouldn’t be hard to miss its depth in a quick tasting. Like Cristal and Salon, it is a treat for the jaded palate, with lots of depth to offer, but no obvious, showy flash. It is ethereal, weightless and haunting stuff- and I would guess that the Sillery rouge has a lot to do with its delicacy. The Dom Ruinart Rose is the most elegant Champagne that I have drunk this year, and will no doubt prove to be one of my top Champagne experiences this year.

If you have an occasion to spoil yourself with a very special bottle, this would be a great choice.

A toast to you!

Gary Westby


1998 Señor de Lesmos Gran Reserva Rioja: Affordable Luxury

Grilling the beef after decanting the Rioja!


I love drinking Gran Reserva Rioja. I can’t think of a category that offers such great value- sometimes the prices are so low that they leave me scratching my head. Can you imagine telling your banker that you are going to make a wine, and then wait 16 years before selling it? And then the punch line- it is going to retail for $29.99! It doesn’t seem to make economic sense, but what a great opportunity for those of us who love mature wine!

Cinnamon and I enjoyed a bottle of the 1998 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Gran Reserva Rioja ($29.99) this weekend, and it was nothing short of inspiring. It comes from some of the best plots on this family owned 65 acres vineyard, all of which are farmed without chemicals. The entire property is in Rioja Alavesa, with some higher altitude parcels in El Villar. The vines are planted on chalky clay with a little iron. The Gran Reserva is composed of 85% Tempranillo and 15% Mazuelo and sees thirty months in barrels that are on a 7 year rotation- so less than 15% new oak.

We paired it with the prime tri tip in the picture above, the famous “Fred Steak” from Schwab’s in Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. This marinated-until-it’s-black cut is ideal with full bodied wines… It is what Cinnamon served me the very first time I came to her place for dinner, and I brought Rioja (and Ridge Zin!) then, so we usually do one or the other each time we enjoy a Fred Steak. On this occasion, Cinnamon also prepared a big batch or roasted beets with Bijou goat cheese, and we had left over paella for our starch from the night before. It was quite the feast!

I love grilling on my little Lodge cast iron hibachi, and it reliably makes great tasting food. Fred steaks call for a lot of vigilance however- the dark marinade makes it hard to see when the steak is giving up its juice. I stood over it with a glass 2002 De Meric "Cuvée Rene Millesime" Brut Champagne, to make sure it didn’t get over cooked. In the meantime, the Lesmos had been airing in the decanter for about an hour.

This tried and true pairing came through again. The Lesmos had a gorgeous vanilla cake nose from the long elevage in American oak, without the dill pickle elements that one sometimes finds from this type of cooperage. It also had lots of ripe, brambly black fruit aromatically, and on the palate. The bouquet was made all the more lovely and complex by savory, leathery elements that were also present in the mouth. The texture was broad, but the finish was focused.  This wine had it all, and I plan on buying a case this week… It is fresh enough to last for many years to come, but totally ready to drink at 16 years old. What more could you want for $29.99? This is luxury I can afford!

A toast to you!

Gary Westby 

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