2000 Franck Bonville Brut Millesime Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($29.99) This little marvel from the village of Avize has a great richness that still retains the cleanliness of the 1996 vintage. To be honest, I love the 1996 and have it in my cellar. I hold the 2000 in the same esteem but, for different reasons. The Bonville family has been making Champagne for over 100 years and purchased their 15 hectares of land parcel by parcel beginning in the late 19th century... Avize is one of the top 17 villages in Champagne given the highest rating of 100% for producing quality sparkling wines. Like the 1996, the 2000 is very cellar worthy but, it is more drinkable now. Four years of ageing on the lees. An outstanding nose of pears, almonds and flowers. On the palate, lots of richness and complexity with just enough acid to make it extremely balanced. Ripe pear and golden apple flavors greet the palate with just the slightest bit of honeyed apples on the finish. A marvelous Champagne to have with Brie or simply by itself. One- hundred-percent chardonnay and 100% delicious! N/V Ariston Brut Rosé Champagne ($28.99) In contrast to the Franck Bonville, we have the Ariston Rosé. Fans of fine rosé Champagne should stop in their tracks right now and read this. A blend of 50% pinot noir and 50% pinot meunier from estate vineyards in Brouillet. Lovely, pale pink colour in the glass. Bing cherry nose with fragrant rose petal accents. Rich and well-rounded with cherry fruit, tangerines, minerals and vanilla. Marvelously creamy with a small bead and a fine frothiness. One of our greatest rosé Champagnes for under $30.00 that returns to thrill us for the New Year. A perfect foil for anything from white fish to slowly cooked pork roasts or a fruit tart. Or, like the Franck-Bonville, elegant on its own. Champagne time is anytime! —Scott Beckerley
We here at K&L feel very proud to represent one of the best producers of Blanc de Blancs in all of Champagne, Launois, from the village of Mesnil. Mesnil is the southern most of all the grand cru villages in the Cotes de Blancs, and the chardonnay grown here is perhaps the most sought after in all of Champagne for its finesse and age worthiness. In addition to being blessed with great soil, the Launois family is obsessed with quality on every level. They harvest after most of their neighbors are done in order to get perfect ripeness in the grapes, and this allows them to add less dosage (sugar) while still maintaining perfect balance in the Champagne. Not content to purchase the commercially available clones of chardonnay, Launois has its own nursery were they are propagating their own best cuttings for replantings. It took me a year and a half of begging to get them to export the wine— they were already selling it all and did not see any reason to expand into the U.S. Please taste them if you have not already. Currently in stock we have the Launois “Cuvee Reserve” Brut Blanc de Blancs ($25.99), which is like polished white Burgundy with a touch of pine nut and minerals on the nose. The flavors are broad and rich. This is serious wine, with small bubbles and a refreshing finish. Also we have the 1998 Launois Brut Blanc de Blancs ($29.99). This wine has extraordinary concentration and a wonderful tension between ripe chardonnay fruit and scintillating Mesnil minerality. The bead is wonderful; scores of perfect miniscule bubbles jet from the bottom of the flute when you pour this Champagne. Get out the brown paper bags and compare to Salon, Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, etc. Feel free to contact me at 1-800-247-5987 ex 2728. A toast to you! —Gary Westby
Temporary immortality is my goal. And now it is possible—with the advent of the internet. Key words are the way to go, so I’ll be slipping a few throughout this column in the hopes that I will pop up on the internet when someone types in the word. Thanks for your patience in this matter. Narwahl. Punch drunk. Newsprint. Château Palmer is, for my money, one of the most compelling properties in Bordeaux. This Margaux is ranked as a third growth according to the 1855 classification, but make no mistake: Palmer makes wine of first growth quality, and seems to embody the characteristics of each Bordeaux commune. The wines are powerful, they are supple; they show great aromatics in their youth, yet possess great aging potential. Palmer is the yin/yang property—a melting pot for all that is fine in this wine region, yet maintains a distinctive personality. Sawhorse. Umame. Gymnasium. 1978 was a watershed year for Palmer. The wine seemed to have more “meat on its bones” than many other properties in this vintage, and a flatter aging curve as well. The wine is at the perfect stage of drinkibility, beautifully balanced, all spice, herbs and sweet black fruits. Scripture. Gastronome. Plesiosaur. The 1981 Palmer, on the other hand, is all subtlety and elegance. Herbal and slightly ‘dusty,’ the wine manages to retain a core of sweet fruit and is quite lovely in a more classic style. Perfect with pandemonium, notoriety, monophonic. Which brings us to the 1995 Palmer—plump and ripe, full-bodied and forward—this is a Broadway musical in a bottle. The merlot gives this offering a softness that is so engaging you can’t help but love it. Gorgeous now, and will age gracefully for a number of years. Weathervane. Compensatory. Aluminum. A New Pigeon Flies Into the Coop Welcome to Molly Zucker, our newest employee. She is wonderfully sensitive, incessantly cheery and quite possibly the worst food shopper. We are lucky to have snacks in the break room during the holidays, and thanks to Molly you can make a sandwich from: 100 pounds of processed cheese; eight gallons of mayo, six of mustard (Gulden’s, so it’s not so bad), plenty of hydrogenated peanut butter and Wonder bread and enough whipped butter to service the IHOP chain for at least a year. We shall never go hungry, nor healthy! Welcome to K&L Molly! —Joe Zugelder
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