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The Freewheel line with a couple of English friends.

It takes a lot of beer to keep the wine business running smoothly. Here in Redwood City, we are very fortunate to have a great English style ale producer right in our backyard: Freewheel Brewing Company. The staff of K&L are fictures at our local pub, and it is a rare moment when one of us isn't there having a pint and a bite of their excellent food. We are also lucky enough to be the first place to offer their bottled beer for sale. If you have never had it, the Freewheel Brewing "FSB" Freewheel Special Bitter, California (500ml) is the benchmark in fresh, balanced, smashable ale. We will do our best to keep some in stock for you, the customer too!

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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 or follow us on Facebook.  


Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

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The Fab 5 Getting Primed for Bordeaux at Olivio’s…(4 drinkers, 1 driver)

Intro by Ralph Sands {old man of the Sea at K&L} ….For many years my friend and Chef Gary Maffia has been one of the Bay Area's hidden culinary treasures. His first restaurant “The Barberosa” known for its classic French food was a romantic destination and a fixture in Redwood City/Menlo Park for decades. Olivio’s located at 1316 El Camino Real in Belmont Ca. has a décor that reflects his Italian heritage and his Italian food is just a natural for him; but his Paris training and passion are shining as brightly as ever. For special menu requests be sure to contact Gary directly at 650-596-0878. Below is a note from one of my good customers, Mr. Keith Goldstein who was on my “Taste the Greats of Bordeaux Tour” last September. He is a gourmand who has dined at some of the world's most famous addresses. This note was posted 3-31-06 on the Mark Squires, Wine Bulletin Board on Robert Cheers! Ralph Sands Last night, Steve, Gary and I trudged down the Peninsula to have dinner with our good pal Ralph Sands, the irrepressible Bordeaux specialist at K&L. Ralph is off to Bordeaux on Sunday to taste the 05s; he has the most punishing schedule of tasting over there – but one that I am sure most of us would happily suffer through. What a lucky sod Ralph is – after a week in Bordeaux, he is off to Loire and southern Rhone (tip for BDX lovers –get to know Ralph). Ralph hit a home run again with his restaurant choice – Olivio’s on El Camino in Belmont (yes, really!). Steve and I had dinner on Monday at The French Laundry, so the bar was set pretty high. Well, I will not claim that owner/chef Gary Maffia’s food compared to The Laundry, but I will tell you that it was effin’ delicious and that we had a much more enjoyable time at Olivio’s. Gary (who was trained in France) pulled out all the stops – sourcing wild pheasant, wild venison, fresh morels (in March!), the tenderest of sweetbreads, black truffles and foie gras up the yin yang. It is a down-home, modest place with great atmosphere. Gary treated us like we were at his house; Stan the waiter who tended bar at Le Central in SF for 20 years also had some real stories to tell. A couple of real characters. Onto the wines: 1996 Pavillon Rouge: dead tasty with a big nose of graphite, leather and blackberries. Minerally with lots of fruit; deep and long. Most impressive. 1982 Leoville Barton: We should have decanted this a lot earlier because it was showing very little. Closed, thin and short tonight. Grabbed a sip at the end of the night and it was beginning to open. 1982 Lynch Bages:Gorgeous. Not a big nose, but beautifully balanced with marvelous tannins and soft fruit. Spicy; a classic cab and an excellent Lynch Bages. 1978 Leoville Las Cases: So fresh, fruity, vibrant and still young. Ralph thought this was the best bottle of 78 LLC he had drunk. A glorious nose but frankly not too much going on. 1966 Leoville Las Cases:The older sister of the 78. A nice, fresh bottle with cedar and leather notes but not really a whole lot left there either. 1966 Pichon Lalande: An initial chlorine nose happily blew off quickly. Real gravelly and minerality but a bit flat with a short finish. 1999 Harlan:This gang of Francophiles had to admit that this was delicious and compelling. Remarkably sweet cassis, chocolate, soft and silky. Could use a bit more grip but gave lots of pleasure. 2001 Zind Pinot Gris Clos St. Urbain Rangen SGN:Great acidity should make this improve immensely for a looong time. I think we drank it way too young, but it is a heck of a wine. Fab aromas of melon, pineapple, honey and butterscotch. Not sure, but I think this was an extremely low production – anybody know? The menu prepared with a lot of love and passion by Gary Maffia: Champignon pate with fresh mozzarella and an onion marmalade. Scallop with foie gras torchon on a bed of spinach finished with a splash of Pernod. A twofer risotto: one with sweetbreads, truffles, foie gras and pistachios. And one with pheasant, chanterelles and parmesan. Ravioli with pheasant and truffles served in a sage veal stock with fresh chopped basil. Wild venison au poivre. Cheese plate. Grand marnier soufflé with a fresh berry sorbet. $100 a head. Corkage was a bit less then the Laundry - $10 a bottle! The appropriate generous tip was left. I understand K&L will be sending daily blogs on their trip next week. Footnote: (As wine is of course a subjective form of art, I have to add that while Keith's comments are pretty right on, I was wildly excited about the way the Bordeaux wines showed. 1982 Leoville Barton was perfect, the wine has always had a soft supple texture and is not in the style the estate consistently produces today. The spicy Cabernet from the '82 Lynch Bages was just dead on perfect, as was a bottle of 1978 Lynch that I enjoyed tremendously just last week. Both the Las Cases wines were perfect bottles, reflecting the masculine and linear style of perfect claret. So in short, I was thrilled. The wines showed so clean after breathing with great freshness, elegance and finesse. Exactly why you cellar and drink the wines of Bordeaux)

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April’s Picks

Greg and I just got back from our visit to Italy, and I’m still waiting for my notes and luggage to catch up with me. In future articles (in this corner of the Italian page) you will be able to read about our GREAT finds this year! 2004 Ermacora Merlot ($14.99) This Merlot is just delicious, ripe chocolaty dark fruits, soft and fleshy in the mouth with smooth, fine grain tannins, dense but easy on the palate. A pleasure to drink, more Pomerol in style than Californian. Lamb and this wine were meant for each other! 2004 Ermacora Pinot Grigio ($14.99) 2 Glasses Gambero Rosso. Simply sensational! Perfect balance of acidity and tremendous aromatics, loaded with pear, apple, citrus and tropical fruit in an elegant, concentrated and superbly balanced wine. This wine will work well for your springtime entertaining. 2004 Ermacora Tocai Friulano ($14.99) 2 Glasses Gambero Rosso. If there was any one varietal that showed better in Friui in the glorious vintage, it is the often misunderstood Tocai Friulano. The wonderful balance, coupled with a depth of concentration you don’t see often in Tocai is followed by hints of tarragon and layers of mineral. Balanced with delicate acidity and scintillating aromas of bitter almonds, apple and ripe pear highlighted by a very long finish, this is the perfect accompaniment to fish or crab. 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. Salute! —Mike Parres

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A First Look at the 2004 Vintage in Burgundy

As I write this, I am getting ready to depart for Burgundy for my annual trip to evaluate the vintage. As you read it, I have just returned from that trip. Such are the time lags of writing for the newsletter a full month in advance. But, in the last month, I have had the chance to taste about one hundred 2004 red Burgundies, and I want to give you a report on what I have seen. It is not a vintage that is easy to generalize about. The thing I like the most about the 2004s is their sense of place. It is a vintage where the terroir shows through extremely clearly. For those of us who love Burgundy, that is a very good thing to see. The vintage started out a difficult one, and the skill of the grower was critical. A cool damp spring resulted in problems with powdery mildew, so controlling it quickly was critical. One grower lost all of their fruit in the lower portion of Clos Vougeot, where the dampness can be a problem, due to a well-known neighbor, who refused to intervene at all, and had terrible powdery mildew that escaped to affect others’ vines. A cool summer led to many worried growers. But fair weather and the North wind in September performed a miracle, ripened the fruit, and led to a good vintage. Some of the wines are very much like the 2000s, with supple fruit and charming forward character. Others are more like the classic 2001s, with higher acidity and more structure. Even within a single producer’s portfolio, the character of the wines is not uniform, so dealing with a merchant you know, like K&L, is an important thing to do in this vintage. But overall, I like the vintage a great deal, and the recent improvement in the dollar should result in some lower prices than we saw for the 2003 vintage. I’ll have more to report next month, and a complete version of our vintage report will be available online and in the stores by the end of the month. Á Santé. —Keith Wollenberg

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