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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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Tasting with Oliver Krug

Upcoming Events

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 KLWines.com 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

See all K&L Local Events

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Sunday
Sep072014

Eden in the Santa Cruz Mountains

A view to remember

The most picturesque and romantic place we visited on our trip to the northern Central Coast easily had to be Mount Eden Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains. That's not to say it was easy to get there. Everyone we spoke to beforehand warned us about the 2.2 mile dirt road leading up a steep slope. Upon arrival, I was floored by the view. The vineyards sit atop a mountain that overlooks the entirety of Santa Clara Valley. It almost seemed like an oasis after the slog of a drive needed to get there. But in reality, this trek would deter only those with meager enthusiasm for wine tasting. The Mount Eden and Domaine Eden wines are worth every moment of your time.


The wines from both Mt. Eden and Domaine Eden are as beautiful as they have ever been.
Winemaker and part owner Jeffrey Patterson has been at the helm since the 1980s. He and his wife Ellie were hired to bring cohesion and continuity to the vineyard after the likes of Merry Edwards and Richard Graff passed through as previous winemakers. The site itself was bought by Martin Ray in 1943 under the advice of California wine pioneer Paul Masson. The focus has been on bottling premium Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon ever since, though an occasional Cabernet Franc Ros
é is also made. 

A somewhat recently acquired plot of land nearby allowed Patterson to increase production. The land used to belong to Cinnabar, and Patterson decided to bottle the newly made wine there under the name Domaine Eden. This was to differentiate the original site from the new one, and to allow Domaine Eden to have a more modern, soft, and fruit-forward profile than the Mount Eden wines. The Mount Eden wines have more depth, nuance, and are generally much better for aging.

From top to bottom their Mount Eden Estate wines exude class and high quality. The oak treatment is never heavy handed, and the Cabernet Sauvignon, in particular, is highly capable of being cellared and improving over time. We tried the soon-to-be released 2010 vintage, and fortunately still have some of the 2009 Mount Eden "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon ($59.99) in the store. Both are real treats, and I can only imagine how great they will be in 5-10 years time. 

Tastings at Mount Eden Vineyards are by appointment only, so make sure to schedule one before making the drive! And if driving is too much of a hassle, stop by the store for some bottles to try.

We have a nice selection of the wines in stock: 

2012 Mount Eden "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir ($59.99)

2010 Mount Eden "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay ($59.99)

2011 Mount Eden "Wolff Vineyard" Edna Valley Chardonnay ($18.99)

2012 Domaine Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir ($34.90)

2011 Domaine Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay ($26.99)

2010 Domaine Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon ($32.99)

Patrick Cu

Friday
Sep052014

Marguet: Progressive Champagne in Ambonnay

Scott Beckerley, Benoit Marguet, the 2 horse team and I in the Crayeres parcel in Ambonnay.

Happy Champagne Friday! Tonight, I will be in the tasting bar in Redwood City pouring the Champagne of Benoit Marguet. These wines just arrived, and I am very excited to present the new vintage, vintage rose as well as new blends of the non-vintage wines. I will be pouring from 5pm-6:30pm and the cost will be $10.

Benoit Marguet is the most ambitiously progressive grower and producer that I am acquainted with. He pushes hard to do everything in the most natural and careful way, and is often impatient with others who are slow to change. We have been importing his wines for 11 years now and his methods and his wines have changed dramatically in that time. One constant has been excellent quality. The first batch we received in June of 2003 were expressive, traditional, big Mountain of Reims wines, including the spectacular 1996, which I wish I had more of in my cellar. The current releases are much lower in dosage, higher in natural ripeness, and more extended- both in length and in complexity.

 

Most of Benoit's production is now fermented in barrel.

Benoit has been working organically for many years now, and is now certified in nearly all of his estate. The family had a complicated transition as is often the case in the region, so he also keeps some contracts with other organic growers to bolster his own supplies. He is now working as a small negociant, but still working mostly with estate fruit. He is one of the few producers to have full time staff for working the vineyards with horses- most of this work is done under contract.

Benoit's excellent 2008 Vintage, which just arrived at K&L, pictured in Ambonnay.

Each year, Benoit’s vin clair ranks at or near the top of my notes in every vintage. His wines are on a rapid trajectory upward, and the current batch that arrived last month are the best we have ever had. I’ll be pouring the following in Redwood City tonight:

Marguet Père et Fils Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne $39.99: This Champagne is a blend of nearly all estate Pinot Noir from Ambonnay with a little bit of Cumieres Meunier that was grown by super star organic producer Vincent Laval. It is based on the 2010 harvest and has had just under three years of aging on the lees and is dosed quite low at 6.5 grams per liter. It has a big, open nose of fresh baguette toast and black cherry Pinot Noir. In the mouth it is full-bodied and flavory... This is a  rare bottling for us to get, and we might not be able to get more for a little while.

Marguet Père et Fils "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Champagne (1.5L) $66.99: This blend has slightly more Pinot Noir than Chardonnay in it, and manages to be quite powerful while still keeping a dry, focused, mineral finish. Take advantage of the “Insiders Advantage” price on this… We are almost out at this special deal.

2008 Marguet Père et Fils "Amboniacus" Brut Champagne $54.99: This is composed of 62% Pinot Noir and 38% Chardonnay, and dosed at extra brut level- only four grams per liter. This bottling has a lot in common with Meursault from Lafon, broad scale, infinite detail, and laser like focus. This is young right now, but has so much electricity that I will need to bury it deep to keep my hands off of it!

Marguet Pere et Fils Brut Rosé Champagne $39.99: The current batch of this rose is based on 2010 and composed of 58% Chardonnay and 42% Pinot Noir with about 7% of the total as Ambonnay Rouge. It has 13% reserve wines going back to 2004. This expressive, spicy rose is dry, long and full of complexity. This will wow the most experienced of Champagne fans.

2009 Marguet Père et Fils "Amboniacus" Brut Rosé Champagne $59.99: This is composed of 84% Chardonnay and 16% Pinot Noir and is dosed at just 4.6 grams per liter of dosage. The ripeness of the 2009 vintage show through on the big, expressive cherry basket of a nose, and the pure chalk of Ambonnay come through on the mineral driven finish. This is great for now, or for decades to come.

A toast to you, and hopefully with you!

Gary Westby

 

 

Tuesday
Sep022014

The New Talbott

Dan Karlsen and Mark Cutino of Talbott Vineyards

Things have changed at the well-known Talbott winery. You have probably tasted their wines and know the label, but the truth is that the most recognizable name in the Santa Lucia Highlands had been in financial decline for a while. Even though the family owned one of the most legendary vineyards in the appellation, their wines had developed a reputation for being over oaked and over done, with confusing labels and no sense of style, appellation, or direction. For years bad bookkeeping and a bad reputation kept this winery from consistently gaining market share.

Enter Dan Karlsen, Talbott's new winemaker, whose job today was to present us the new Talbott: a winery dedicated to the finest estate wines their esteemed "Sleepy Hollow" vineyard could produce.  If it's been a while since you tried a Talbott Chardonnay, you should give them a second glance.  Everything has changed, and their new wines are bright and nuanced--quintessential cool weather wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands.

Karlsen, whose resumé includes winemaking for such legendary brands as Chalone, Joseph Swan, Domaine Carneros and Dehlinger, is dedicated to showcasing the potential of his appellation and revitalizing the Talbott name. As GM and winemaker, he has been given complete authority to take Talbott in a different and better direction. All of their wines are now estate and labeled as such, with the ‘Talbott’ name proudly displayed on every bottle. They no longer sell any fruit from the sought after Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, instead using all of its fruit for their own wines. Staunchly opposed to the problems inherent with cork, he bottles all Talbott wines with screwtops. New and better presses, new and better tanks, new and better vineyard practices, everything at Talbott is new and better! Long time fans of Talbott need not despair: he still believes in the lush and vibrant fruit Talbott has always been known for. These new wines, however, are not afraid of the natural acid and crisp edge of the cooler Santa Lucia Highlands, and he does not want to hide the balance and finesse of these estate wines behind too much new oak.

While we enjoyed the spicy and bright new style of their single vineyard Pinots, I still think it's the Chardonnays that set this winery apart. Their 2012 "Kali Hart" Chardonnay ($15.99), named after the owner's daughter, is now all estate and mostly stainless steel with a little barrel contact. It is refreshingly lean and delicious, with bright pear and lychee flavors and a long lasting finesse that is almost unrivaled in the $15 domestic Chardonnay category. Their 2013 "Logan" Chardonnay ($16.99) is one of the best deals out there: 100% Sleepy Hollow Vineyard fruit for less than $20, with more fig and vanilla spice under its acidic backbone.  The 2012 "Estate" ($32.99) is the king of them all, the best that the vineyard has to offer, with lush apple, white flower, lychee and almond flavors that leave a long impression on the palate. These are serious white wines from a serious vineyard--exactly what this property always deserved.  An allegory for domestic Chardonnay in general--they have moved from a flabby and outdated expression of this popular grape to a style that better expresses the full potential of their vineyard and their AVA.  If you love Chardonnay, you owe it to yourself to give these wines another try and fall in love all over again.

 Mike Barber

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