Seven vintages ago we started importing wines from Ermacora, a small family winery (pronounced er-MA-ko-ra. It took me two years to get it right). They were always much better known within Italy where they’d been awarded multiple Gambero Rosso awards. We began to slowly build the brand here, year after year our sales staff suggesting these wines until now Ermacora is one of K&L's most sought after label. The brothers Ermacora (Dario & Luciano) live amongst the vines at their small winery in the Colli Orientali del Friuli, just a few miles from the Slovenian border. Although they have all the most modern technology, their motto states: “Do little, in order to do better.” True farmers at heart, they believe wine is made in the vineyard. I visited with them in Ipplis, the tiny village where they live, this past April to taste their 2004 vintage. I had just been to Vinitaly and was stunned by the quality of almost everything I tasted from 2004—red, white, Trentino, Sicily, Tuscany, Piedmont, Friuli, everywhere it seemed to be an amazing vintage. Ermacora didn’t disappoint. Ermacora’s wines are unoaked and very concentrated, so much so that the wines need 6-9 months after release to really blossom and show all of their potential. This year’s wines were so fantastic I asked Dario if we could delay the arrival so they could show their complete array of potential. In Italy it is the exact opposite; all the restaurants and their customers want the wine the first day it is available, mostly from a historical perspective where there was little refrigeration, and at the end of the vintage the wine was….well not as good. Dario was very pleased that his wines would be arriving here in their best condition! 2004 Ermacora Tocai Friulano ($14.99) 2 Glasses Gambero Rosso. If there was any one varietal that showed better in Friuli in this glorious vintage it is the often misunderstood Tocai Friulano. The wonderful balance, coupled with a depth of concentration you don’t see in Tocai is followed by hints of tarragon and layers of mineral that give way to a richness that is balanced with delicate acidity and scintillating aromas of bitter almonds, apple and ripe pear highlighted by a very long finish. The perfect accompaniment to fish or crab. 2004 Ermacora Pinot Grigio ($14.99), winner of 2 Glasses Gambero Rosso, is simply sensational. Perfect balance of acidity and tremendous aromatics, loaded with pear, apple, citrus and tropical fruits in an elegant, concentrated and superbly balanced wine! 2004 Ermacora Pinot Bianco ($14.99) 2 Blue Glasses Gambero Rosso. This is the wine Ermacora is known for most in Italy. It has tremendous focus and concentration, rich and creamy, with custard like flavors and hints of apples and bergamot. It is majestic on the palate, with balance, complexity and character. Age this wine for 2-3 years and you won’t believe the incredible wine it will evolve into. Perfect for halibut, swordfish or cocktailing! —Greg St.Clair
2004 is an excellent vintage for white Burgundy. The more I taste, the better I like it. This month the 2004 Vincent Girardin wines have arrived. Vincent is a 5th generation grower in Santenay but has also established a thriving negociant business, known for his excellent whites. The 2004 Girardin St-Aubin Murgers “Dent de Chien,” 1er Cru ($29.99) is from the vineyard next to Puligny-Montrachet “Champ Gain,” 1er Cru and has minerality, focus and length. The 2004 Girardin Meursault “Les Tillets” ($36.99) comes from one of my favorite village vineyards in Meursault, which shows a pretty citric note and classic Meursault richness. The 2004 Girardin Puligny-Montrachet “Les Enseignères” ($46.99) is from the vineyard directly below Bâtard and shares the topsoil of that Grand Cru, so it is very rich and concentrated. The 2004 Girardin Chassagne-Montrachet “Les Truffieres,” 1er Cru ($49.99) has lime notes and a bright quality that is very appealing. The 2004 Girardin Puligny-Montrachet “Les Pucelles,” 1er Cru ($79.99) is always a favorite, located next to Bâtard and Bienvenues-Bâtard, but selling for much less. Similarly well situated is the next vineyard up the hill, which makes the 2004 Girardin Puligny-Montrachet “Les Caillerets,” 1er Cru ($81.99) alongside Montrachet itself, and generally acknowledged as the best of the Puligny 1er Crus. We also have tiny quantities of the 2004 Girardin Corton-Charlemagne ($83.99), 2004 Girardin Chevalier-Montrachet ($179.95) and 2004 Girardin Montrachet ($330.00). Á Santé. —Keith Wollenberg
March 25 we will be hosting an event in S.F. featuring at least ten artisan growers from France, all from under the loving umbrella that is Louis/Dressner Selections. Confirmed so far are Marc Ollivier from Pépière, Cathérine Roussell from Clos Roche Blanche, François Pinon, Isaure de Pontbriand of Domaine Closel, Eric Nicolas of Bellivière, Jean-Paul Brun from Beaujolais, Claude Maréchal from Burgundy, Franck Peillot of the Jura, André Iché of Chateau Oupia in the South and more. For info go to www.klwines.com. Now on to the wines… Recent arrivals include a much better supply of the wildly popular Sancerre of Gerard Boulay in Chavignol. The 2004 Gerard Boulay Sancerre Chavignol ($18.99), a hand-harvested, tank-fermented stunner that is brilliant and racy with intensity and length to match,. The flavors unfold like improvisational Jazz. There are small amounts of 2004 Gerard Boulay Sancerre Chavignol Rouge ($18.99), which is luscious, supple and, dare I say, a great find for pinot noir. There are also limited quantities of 2004 Gerard Boulay Sancerre Chavignol Clos du Beaujeu ($24.99), the old-vine cuvee, vinified in neutral wood, and to me one of the great wines of the region. If you tasted or bought the 2002 you will know what I mean. Then, and please act fast if you want them, we have direct from the domaine some Clos du Beaujeu ’96, ’97, ’99 and a bit more 2002. I asked for these specifically to show to you how this wine improves with age, so please only a bottle or two per person so we can all enjoy these gems. Also, finally in stock again is the 2004 La Tour St. Martin Menetou Salon Blanc ($14.99), which is fresh, vibrant and bright with great cut and minerality and a zesty tanginess that invites another sip. There is hardly a better sauvignon in the store right now for this price. The 2004 La Tour St. Martin Menetou Salon Rouge ($14.99) is elegant with delicate flavors of earth and tea leaves, hints of sweet plums and woodruff. Drink over the next 7-8 years. Live in the Light! —Jeff Vierra
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