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One of the most serious English Sparkling producers. This historic estate has been in the Goring family since 1743. The tiny 16-acre vineyard is close-planted on a steep south-facing chalk escarpment described as 'similar to the Côte des Blancs' in Champagne. The fruit is picked very selectively with quality being the absolute focus. The grapes are pressed gently using a traditional Coquard press. After three years on the lees this wine, composed of 45% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay & 22% Pinot Meunier, is hand disgorged and balanced with a minimal dosage of just 4g/L. It has a fine counterbalance between toasty richness and power from the wines élevage in Burgundian French Oak barrels, with racy acidity, tension and a focused chalky minerality.

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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
Saturday
Mar152014

Kilchoman: The True Craft Distilery 

We just got back from what I think is the only major producer in Scotland that can truly call itself a craft distillery. From its very inception in 2005 by Anthony Willis, all the pieces of the puzzle have fit together perfectly to create some amazing whisky on a legitimately small scale. Anthony came from a career in the world of independent bottlers. He's had good whiskey from just about everywhere and knows exactly what he wants to create. He was smart enough to hire John McLellan from Bunnahabhain to do the distilling and between these two men they have created some of the most exciting Single Malt I have ever had. And they are getting better at it.

Kilchoman is a farm-to-still operation on a small and personal level. Situated on Rockside Farm which supplies the barley for their 100%-Islay expression (they also buy barley from nearby Port Ellen for their standard releases), all the barley is hand-malted on the Kilchoman distillery floor the old fashioned way and that lends a sense of place to the dram. The whiskey is made from just the one property and it tastes like Islay. Both their ultra small productions like the 100% Islay and their "larger" run products have been great and are continuing to improve.

Most notably, Kilchomans' 2007 Vintage release recently won the Islay Whisky of the Year award from the Whisky Advocate. I am so happy to see a small distillery who takes so much pride in what they do get the recognition that they deserve. And they are small – the smallest on the island with just 120,000 of liters a year of production, compared to the second smallest in Ardbeg who pumps out close to 1.5 million liters a year. Their distillate is authentically made and hand crafted to a quality that puts itself into a league of its own. All of their releases have been so good, and like anybody who is so so dedicated to their craft they are continuing to improve. 

Practice makes perfect as they say and the folks from Kilchoman, tucked into the hillside of Rockside farm, are getting better and better at what they do. On our visit this morning Anthony spoke excitedly about two things; how they were becoming more practiced at making whiskey, leading to better quality and more of it (great for us thirsty fans) and how excited he was that his single malt was being so widely accepted. He spoke about seeing the smiles on his customers faces and how he took pride in making quality spirit for the passionate enthusiast. All I could think about was our K&L customers, because that is who we cater, too: people who care about what they are drinking. 

Good Scotch, made by well intentioned, talented people who want to cater to discerning customers. That is the perfect combination for success as far as I am concerned, and I cannot tell you how glad we are at K&L to have such passionate customers to bring these to. There are two new offerings due in later this year, and two single casks that we chose exclusively for K&L sitting on the shelf right now. I'm so excited!!

-Kyle Kurani
Friday
Mar142014

Nectar Rose: Playing With Higher Dosage in French 75's

The Moet & Chandon "Nectar Imperial" Rosé Champagne is one of only a few demi-sec rose's.

This past Tuesday, Cinnamon and I opened a bottle of Moet & Chandon "Nectar Imperial" Rosé Champagne ($59.99) to try it out. We rarely drink higher dosage Champagne, and I honestly have never opened a demi-sec rose at home. This very full bodied rose Champagne had sweetness on the level of a Lillet or a white Port, and on its own as the aperitif was too heavy for us. Tasting it on its own made me think- how would this work as part of a high quality Champagne cocktail? Could the high quality cane sugar that has spent months marrying with the wine act as a better sweetener than an added simple syrup or agave nectar? Would it be too much? Would it be too little? After we were done mixing, we were left with one of the best French 75’s I have ever had.

 

In September of 2012 I posted a piece on French 75’s here, just as I was starting to learn to relax and enjoy a Champagne cocktail. For many years I had been too uptight to drink any kind of Champagne cocktails, but have since been making up for lost time. I thought that a person who had a true passion for the best in Champagne would never drink a mixed Champagne concoction. Because of this silly belief I missed out on a lot of good drinks and good times. 

Here is our original recipe:

French 75

2 parts Ferrand 1840 Formula 90 proof Cognac

1 Part Fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 Part simple syrup

2 parts Champagne (Blanc de Blancs if you have one open)

Lots of fresh ice

Lemon rind for garnish

We use an ounce per part for ours- and that makes a pretty big aperitif.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the cognac, lemon juice and simple syrup. Shake thoroughly and pour into a rocks glass filled with more fresh ice. Top with Champagne, and stir if you like (I do!) finally garnishing with lemon rind.

Using the Moet & Chandon "Nectar Imperial" Rosé Champagne did indeed allow  us to use less simple syrup, and resulted in a more adult, complex and balanced drink. I think this is down to the extraordinary quality of the sugar in the dosage and the complete integration into the Champagne that it is treated to. I am sure that this would be improved further with the use of Hennessy "Black" Cognac ($29.99)- I was out and used some Armagnac instead. This was the final recipe:

Demi-Sec Rose French 75

2 oz. Armagnac

1 oz. Fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice (make sure to take a strip of zest off for garnish before juicing)

1 teaspoon simple syrup

3-4 oz. Moet & Chandon "Nectar Imperial" Rosé Champagne

Lots of fresh ice

Lemon rind for garnish

Follow the steps in the original recipe.

My favorite French 75 yet...

This great cocktail has made me want to experiment more with Champagne cocktails utilizing higher dosage Champagnes. I am planning on using Michel Loriot "Marie-Leopold" Sec Champagne ($34.99), Moet & Chandon "Ice Imperial" Champagne ($56.99) and the Baron Fuente Demi-Sec in future concotions… Check back for more!

A toast to you!

Gary Westby

Friday
Mar072014

Lunch with Dom Perignon's US Director

The 1976 Dom Pérignon Oenothéque is a wine I won't soon forget!

This past Monday, Cinnamon and I were honored to host Vincent Pages, director of Dom Perignon for the USA for lunch at our home. He was joined by his regional marketing director Julia Fitzroy and Lester Lopez of Moet Hennesy USA. I am sure many of you would recognize Lester from our tent events… He has poured at every one we have ever hosted in northern California!

This lunch was a great opportunity to learn more about this iconic brand while drinking a couple of great vintages. Cinnamon and I prepared Dijon rabbit for the occasion, and our guests treated us to the 2004 Moet & Chandon "Dom Pérignon" Brut Champagne for the aperitif and the other worldly 1976 Moët & Chandon "Dom Pérignon Oenothéque" Brut Champagne for the meal. Cinnamon and I also opened a nice bottle of 1970 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja so we could have some red, which my father had given me for Christmas- it was a very nice afternoon.

One of the questions I had for Mr. Pages was regarding the disappearance of “Moet and Chandon” from the label of Dom Perignon. I was curious about this, because legally a certain percentage of every harvest must be made as non-vintage by every house. Julia showed me that the label does indeed have the name of the grand old house still on it, but just in very small letter on the side of the shield... So small that I thought it was gone! Vincent explained that they felt that the Moet brands were becoming overshadowed by Dom Perignon, and that the change of focus on the label was a move to create more separation. Whichever part of the name you would like to use we here at K&L will be ready to talk to you about it!

The 2004 is my pick for best since 1996- and my favorite current release DP ever!

We enjoyed the 2004 Moet & Chandon "Dom Pérignon" Brut Champagne ($149.99) with some parmesan tuiles and some black truffle and cheddar popcorn. This is a tremendous return to form for Dom Perignon, and I have no doubt that it is the best quality blanc that they have released since 1996. Stylistically I find it the most appealing current release Dom Perignon I have ever had- it is clean, racy, elegant and full of chalky drive on the long finish. The signature DP yeast character is still there, but more of a feature than a focus in the wine, and I think that restraint, along with considerably less evident dosage than in the past made this a huge hit with me. Many regular readers of this blog have are aware that I am a huge proponent of the classic style of the 2004 vintage in general. Not since 1988 have we had a Champagne vintage in this old fashioned, balanced, fresh style… And not again since! While the DP could not be called a value bottle at $149.99, it sure does taste great!

Yes- it did go well with the rabbit- thanks for the picture Julia!

We poured the 1976 Moët & Chandon "Dom Pérignon Oenothéque" (n/a) just before sitting down to eat. The first thing I noticed about this tremendous 38 year old was the light golden color that still had a little bit of green in it. The bouquet was like the bread basket at Guy Savoy in Paris with the most perfect brioche and baguette aromas jumping from the glass. It was an aroma that I could never get tired of and solidly in the top class. The wine was even better in the mouth, with giant texture and richness. This vintage was the earliest and hottest in Champagne for generations and it wasn’t until 2003 that they saw another like it. But 1976, unlike 2003, had plenty of good Chardonnay to balance and freshen the wines. This DP was on the scale of Krug, but had lip smacking vivaciousness of a Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc half of its age on the finish. I was very, very impressed- this is sure to make my top 10 Champagne experiences of 2014!

The 1976 went very well with the rabbit, and the food brought out the savory, Burgundian style of the wine. It seemed to combine Batard-Montrachet earth with Corton like red currants, but the finish was still chalky and precise… 100% Champagne! Surprisingly, the last few sips of this wine went exceptionally well with the walnut cake that Cinnamon had baked, and brought out the exotic fruit nuances in the wine instead of obscuring the complexity like most dessert and Champagne combinations. The bottle was disgorged in 2005.

Cinnamon of K&L, Julia and Vincent from Dom Perignon and Lester from MHUSA.

The red was also a success. I thought it would be interesting to serve Rioja Alta to our guests as it, like Dom Perignon, makes important quantities of wine. The 1970 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja was as leathery, gentlemanly, subtle, elegant and complex as I had hoped. Structured like old Burgundy, it went very well with the rabbit as well. It was digestible and mellow and perfect for lunch.

I hope that I can squeeze a little bit of older Oenotheque out of Vincent for our auctions… I hope he will part with some. In the meantime, I need to pop open a bottle of the 1996 Moët & Chandon "Dom Pérignon Oenothéque" ($349) and see how that is showing these days. My work is never done!

A toast to you!

Gary Westby

 

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