The Traveller was restless. He had traversed the countryside in an attempt to find the perfect place: to plant vineyards, to find contentment, to live. He passed by myriad wondrous hues of green, admired the vast yellow carpets of flowering blooms that seemed to reflect the sun back into the sky. He rested in shady nooks of stone, drank at percolating brooks unknown, squinting at the broken mirror as he quenched his thirst. He found beauty but not perfection. Each night the Traveller rested his face to the stars. They seem perfect, he mused. These stars gave hope to the Traveller that he would find what he was seeking. He slept with his dreams tracing the night sky. Each day was filled with the many small things that make up a life, but the Traveller was focused on his quest. He tasted the wares of the wine properties that dotted the hillsides like wildflowers, and noted the irony that no wine was completely perfect. Maybe his dream was folly. Was perfection only a way to gauge the imperfect, existing only in the abstract and nowhere else? A cloudy darkness descended. Despite no compass of stars to illuminate, the Traveller found a smooth, leafy bed and closed his eyes… The morning was as brilliantly clear as the peal of a church bell on a winter morn. The Traveller ambled to his feet, the mist of dreams disappearing from his eyes. But these eyes he could not believe. It was perfect. This land- the vineyard, the birds and animals. The fruit trees and the brook. The untilled pasture. All perfect! “Lovely, isn’t it?” The Traveller turned to the voice, and the woman that belonged to it. “Yes, it is,” said the Traveller. “I would like to offer whatever you wish for it. I would like to make it mine.” “Well, you can make it yours, and stay as long as you like. I’ve been here only a short while, but I know I’ll stay forever. But it is not for sale,” she said with laughter in her eyes. “Do you wish to stay?” “Yes, I would like that very much.” The Traveller turned away and waved his hat in an arc. “What do you call this piece of land?” The woman smiled. “Heaven, of course.” Until you get there, enjoy the beauty of the now. And nothing is perfect. Goodbye Patrice. —Joe Zugelder
Our Burgundy buyer, Keith Wollenberg, has recently scored big time with two wine gems. First, he nailed the beautiful 2004 Domaine Renaud Mâcon Solutré ($10.99), which has a pronounced nose of minerality and pippin apples with hints of dried rose petals. Along with its lush, viscous mouthfeel, you will be treated to a wine that is well defined and structured leading to a long, clean, crisp finish. One of my favorite house whites the last five years has been the none vintage Plaisir des Princes Chardonnay ($6.99). It is a declassified Mâcon from a single vintage (not declared on the label). This version is the best to date and one of my favorite wines in the store. It has this lovely minerality of a vineyard designated Mâcon: viscosity, depth, and of course personality. This is Mâcon in spades, and as Keith says, “If is walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck but sells for peanuts, who cares what they call it?” Mulan discovered a sparkling wine from Southern France that will rival anything twice its price. The non-vintage Jean-Louis Denois “Tradition” ($14.99) is a southern French sparkler that will knock your socks off. A lovely nose of fresh lemon zest, with a touch of nuttiness and yeastiness, leads to a palate impression that is dry, clean, yet mouthwatering and crisp. This is remarkable stuff that will rival the real thing that sells for much, much more. Those of you who are still grieving the sold-out 2004 Kirkham Peak Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand will be elated to know that our newly arrived 2004 Griffin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($10.99) is the same wine. This wine is loaded with ripe grapefruit to lime peel qualities, both on the nose and across its clean, crisp, mouthwatering set of flavors. On the finish there is a hint of white peach to go along with an excellent acid structure. According to Eby, this is the perfect wine to go with cracked crab. If you have any questions please email us at email@example.com. Have a wonderful holiday season! —Jim, Anderson, and Eby
First, an update on the January German/Austria tasting with Terry Theise and friends: We are absolutely having it, and it will be great and life changing. At the time of this writing I can tell you it’s on Saturday, January 21 at Coco 500 (near our SF store). Cost yet to be determined. Log onto www.klwines.com for details. See you there!! Now on to new business... As you read this there should be a ship called the Carada docking here in the bay carrying some great Rheingau Rieslings from our dear friend August Kesseler in Assmannshausen. Mr. Kesseler runs along with superstar cellar master Max Himstedt one of the top estates in the Rheingau for Riesling and possibly THE top estate in Germany for Pinot Noir. Assmannshausen is located just around the bend from Rüdesheim at the northwestern end of the Rheingau, a village long reputed for its red wines. The estate is about 20 hectares with vines in the Höllenberg in Assmannshausen and in Rüdesheim the Berg Schlossberg, Berg Roseneck, and Bischofsberg totaling about 50% riesling and 45% spätburgunder. Yields are kept low, on average about 45 hl/ha and the style here is in one word sleek. The Rieslings are racy and bright, on the drier side and in 2004 posses a clarity and precision not often found in the Rheingau. We are bringing in a smattering of his ’04s and just a tiny bit of the high end pinots for those of you like me who are in love with them. Here’s the line up: 2004 August Kesseler Estate Riesling ($11.99) my vote for best value German wine this year, you just don’t get this much wine for the price anymore. This comes across as positively Nahe or even Mosel as it is so clean and refreshing with subtle undercurrents of minerals and fresh pears. 2004 Berg Roseneck Spätlese ($19.99) here is the yin to Mr. Leitz’s yang, both great Roseneck Spätlesen but such different expressions, this has laser like focus and firm mineral structure, very compact and revved up compared to the grandness of Leitz’s textural masterwork, this is what makes these wines fun. This next wine was created for the foods August found in his travels around the world though he does hint that it was SF that inspired this wine with our diverse modern cuisine. The 2004 530.3 Spätlese ($25.99), from Schlossberg and Roseneck, is so named for the navigation marker on the Rhine that sits just below this portion of Schlossberg. Made in a slightly drier style to complement more types of cuisine, especially Asian influenced dishes. Firm, powerful and full of minerals. There are also small quantities of a gorgeous 2004 Bischofsberg Spätlese Gold Capsule ($25.99) and the Pinots 2003 Spätburgunder ($22.99), 2002 and 2003 Höllenberg Spätburgunder ($57.99). Live in the Light! —Jeff Vierra
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