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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

Archives
Wednesday
Sep102014

Sherry Experiment: Part Two - Korean Food

 

Rey Fernando de Castilla Fino En Rama & Banchan at Kobawoo House

This week, our very own Joe Manekin of Redwood City graced us with his presence in Los Angeles.  In honor of his visit we decided to drink sherry! For a small corkage fee we were allowed to bring our sherry to Kobawoo, a Korean joint specializing in Bossam.  I was lucky enough to sit with not only Joe, but also Keith Mabry of the Hollywood store, Amy Atwood of Amy Atwood Selections and Alex Russan, importer of Alexander Jules sherry. The five of us set out to continue the sherry pairing experiment.  Korean food and sherry don’t seem like an obvious pairing, but we took on the challenge with a resounding, “Well, not sure if this is going to work but let’s see what happens.”

It worked. Reeeally well. Surprisingly well. We found another amazing pairing, Sherry and Banchan. Here’s the idea behind it:

Joe Manekin digging into our Jangban Guksoo (acorn noodle dish)Sherry is often drank alongside charcuterie plates which have items such as chorizo, jamón Serrano, green olives, and marinated peppers; all items created out of necessity of preservation. Thanks to Mr. Mabry, the original idea was to try sherry with Banchan, the side dishes that are served at the beginning of the meal. This includes things like kimchi, originally created as a method to preserve vegetables,  and various other items that are pickled, fermented, or cured.  The idea was genius. While Spanish charcuterie and Korean banchan couldn’t be more different, the basic idea of preserving food with these methods manages to create a perfect pairing for dry sherry.   Banchan also creates a similar atmosphere important to sherry and Spanish culture.  It is a few small plates to be shared, Korean tapas you could say.

The sherry:

Rey Fernando de Castilla Fino En Rama Jerez (375ml $21.99Rey Fernando de Castilla is an exceptional, small independent sherry house owned by a Norwegian who focuses on bottling high quality sherries.  His bottling of En Rama Fino is no exception.  En rama sherry is sherry that has been bottled straight from the barrel, unfined and unfiltered.  It’s often advised to drink en rama as quickly as possible to enjoy all of its fresh qualities.  But we decided to drink this en rama which was bottled last October, and is almost a year old at this point.  The incredible thing is it was still fresh and vibrant, but started to lose some of its pungency and was beginning to build some richness. I think this en rama could evolve quite nicely with age, and develop some interesting flavors.

Alex sporting his hand bottled Bodega Sánchez Romate FinoIn addition to the Rey Fernando en rama fino sherry, we also drank a very special bottle of Alex’s favorite barrel of fino from the solera at Bodega Sánchez Romate, hand bottled (himself) en rama. But it doesn’t stop there, Alex was gracious enough to bring a pretty rare bottle of manzanilla from Bodega Argüeso, needless to say, we had a lot of phenomenal sherry.  They all went went seamlessly with our Korean food.  There was no thought or effort, no grasping at strings to make the paring work somehow, someway; it just worked.  And not only with the Banchan, but also with our Jangban Guksoo, a dish made of acorn noodles and some red chili salad, Haemul Pajun, a seafood pancake which is sort of like the Korean version of a Spanish Tortilla but with seafood and a bit of pancake batter, and our Bossam which came with thinly sliced boiled pork, lettuce, daikon radish and a fermented fish paste.   The umami flavors in each of these Korean dishes complement sherry perfectly.  Spiciness is mellowed by the sherry, items that are fermented, cured, or pickled ( which existed in every dish ) provided a great component for the finos to mingle with.  Maybe there’s a scientific reason all these flavors went so well with our sherry or maybe it’s simply because I was surrounded by good company and lovers of sherry.  Try it out for yourself and decide. Regardless, sherry at the Kobawoo House was an unforgettable experience for me. 

Olivia Ragni

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

 

 

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