We left off November’s Wine News with a marvelous lunch with Corinne De Bouard at Angélus featuring the 1998 and 1995 Angelus ($159.99). If we were not sky high yet from our great visit at Angélus, we certainly were when we left Petrus. Edward Moueix welcomed us to his home, walked us out into the vineyard and passionately told us that the 2005 harvest was completely done over a week ago when most were just starting to pick. With not a cloud in the 85 degree sky, he was very happy because he said in 36 hours it would be raining. He told us the intensely farmed, garden vineyard on the plateau was the key to the greatness, “we are not movie stars, we are farmers.” Just then a man came jogging down the path towards us excusing himself as he moved quickly past the group. He puts his hand on Edward’s shoulder and is telling him something, this man is visibly shaking. The man turns to our group and says, “I’m so sorry, my name is Christian and I had to tell my son that I just pulled samples of the one-week-old fermenting juice, and it’s phenomenal!” Still shaking from pure excitement he went on to say that he did not remember the 1947, but he made the ’82, ’89 and ’98 and that this juice from 2005 may be the best he has ever tasted, and we would be the first people besides himself in the world to taste it! Electricity was in the air, we floated back to the winery all pumped up! The one-week-old merlot juice was quite tasty. I’ve locked it in my memory because it’s most likely the last time I’ll taste it! The incredible brightness and elegance of the reds 2001,1998 and 1990 and white wines 2002 and 2001 made in the new cellar by the Bonnie Family at Malartic-Lagraviere are only surpassed by their gracious and generous hospitality. The same is always the case at Haut-Bailly, where this always classy wine, of dark red fruit and minerals, is at a new level of high quality under the direction of Veronique Sanders. The 2004 Haut-Bailly ($38.99) is superb! After a lovely glass of 2002 Smith-Haut-Lafitte Blanc as an aperitif with Daniel and Florence Cathiard in the kitchen of their home, it was time to have dinner, and 29 hours after Petrus, it was pouring rain. Luckily it lasted only 20 minutes, and the Cathiards pulled out the 1961 Rouge out of magnum. As we walked back to the hotel, Les Sources de Caudalie thru the vineyard hours later there was not a puddle or mud anywhere, no sign it had rained hard. Ch. Guiraud 2003, 2002, 2001 and some moldy grapes in the vineyard made for a memorable breakfast in Sauternes. Lunch was a fantastic visit to the Red Sands of Barsac and Ch.Climens. Bernice Lurton served us 1996 as aperitif and 1989, 1986, 1985 and 1969 with dessert, oh boy. I had 15 people asleep minutes later. The quiet farm and micro production estate of Sauternes’ best buy, Ch. Doisy Vedrines and its humble owner and winemaker Olivier Casteja, was a perfect place to end a perfect week. The 2002 Doisy Vedrines ($29.99) and 1999 were lovely. Special thanks to all the great customers who made the trek, all our gracious friends in Bordeaux, as well as Ceclie Levin and Magda Johnson who made it all happen. Cheers to all of you! —Ralph Sands
I hope all of you have a healthy and happy holiday season and a fine 2006. Can you believe 2006 already? Everything from about 1960-2005 is a big blur. And the year 2006 will be K&L’s 30th Anniversary-time flies when you are having fun. Winewise, I have two gems to serve with your holiday meals-in fact they are good to enjoy all of the time. From Marlborough New Zealand, try the zippy refreshing 2004 Griffin Sauvignon Blanc ($10.99). Lip-smacking delicious! For a delicious Pinot, try the 2003 Kalinda Pinot Noir ($14.99) from Oregon. Bright, fruity, and lush. Two plugs: K&L is the wine shop featured on the radio show “A Matter of Taste” airing on Sundays on 910AM (KNEW) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. David and Rachel Kane have a great show. You should listen in! As for the book I enjoyed “50 Simple Ways to Live a Longer Life” by Suzanne Bohan and Glenn Thompson (two faithful K&L customers). Chapter 32 is my favorite: the health benefits of wine! Have a great 2005 ending and a fabulous 2006. —Clyde Beffa Jr
On January 28 (Saturday), we will have an exciting Bordeaux tasting and dinner at the University Club in San Francisco. We will welcome the “Crus Bourgeois Exceptionnels” nine (I said 9) outstanding châteaux and their owners/winemakers. This new Bordeaux designation includes Ch. Poujeaux, Chasse Spleen, Les Ormes de Pez, Phelan Segur, Siran, Haut Marbuzet, Potensac, Labegorce Zede, and de Pez. We will taste the excellent 2003 vintage plus an older wine from each property. $110 per person inclusive. Mark your calendar for February 9 (Thursday) to experience 2004 Burgundies, as we start with a tasting of wines air-freighted in for this event. Then have dinner with both Veronique and Laurent Drouhin at John Bentley’s restaurant in Redwood City. The four-course dinner will include older vintage Burgundies from Drouhin and wine from Domaine Drouhin in Oregon. Cost is $100 per person, including tax and tip.
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