2003 Etoiles de Mondorion, St-Emilion ($14.99) This is the very limited, 500 cases, second wine of Mondorion. And all of the care and attention that they put into there first wine is also seen here: hand harvesting, complete destemming, fermentation in temperature regulated concrete vats and aging in French oak barrels. A blend of 90% merlot and 10% cabernet franc, the nose is bold and dark with red and black fruits, toast and earth. The palate is moderately rich and balanced. The round dark fruit is bolstered by ripe tannins and accented with a hint of earth on the finish. A terrific deal. 2000 Mondorion, St-Emilion ($19.99) New life has been breathed into this estate since it was purchased in 1999. With a new vision for the future, you couldn’t ask for a better inaugural vintage. It undergoes everything as in the case of the above wine but sees 40% new French oak, and the varietal composition is somewhat different: 76% merlot and 24% cabernet franc. It is really the big brother to the Etoiles. Deeper and darker in color and character, it has more berries and oaky spice. Definitely made in a new world style but still rooted in the old world with its unmistakable terroir shining through on the finish. Drink or hold on to it for another few years. Only 3500 cases made. 2000 Trebiac, Graves ($13.99) An old favorite is back! A wonderful ambassador for the wines of Graves, the Trebiac is about structure and minerality. Its relatively high percentage of merlot (40%) fattens the middle giving it a lushness that keeps the wine from becoming austere. This is a dinner wine and needs 30 to 40 minutes in a decanter to open it up and show off its red fruits and gravelly minerality, both of which are enhanced by its acidity. With good length, the wine opens up and reveals even more of its classic earthiness. 2000 Bellerose Figeac Reserve, St-Emilion ($27.99) This is a full-throttle, modern St-Emilion. The grapes for this cuvee come from near the Pomerol border, with is deep sandy iron-rich subsoil. They green harvest, hand pick, de-stem, cold soak, ferment in temperature controlled concrete vats, then age in French oak barrels. 60% merlot with the remaining a blend of cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon. Dark red fruits and berries on the nose peppered with oaky spice and earthy minerality, the wine has good structure. The ripe round fruit is wrapped around a core of dark chocolate and earthy spice. Drink it tonight with about 45 minutes decanting or hold on to it for another 5 years. —Kirk Walker
Yes, Virginia I am still hanging around K&L, though I don’t get to write much in the newsletter. So many writers, so much great wine and not much space in our 24-page Wine News. Perhaps we will enlarge the newsletter in 2006 (and we’re looking at doing just that). Lots of new things in store for K&L and our great customers in 2006. For starters, a store in the Los Angeles area, an updated website with lots of new goodies (I can’t explain them because I am high tech challenged. I’m still getting used to the fax machine), and some great new sales associates. Also more wine locker space is on the drawing board as is an enlarged RWC tasting room and store remodel! And what about all the great wines that will become available in 2006? We’re looking at a possibly stunning Bordeaux vintage (2005) as well as great buys from all over the world. And what am I recommending these days, winewise? Two fabulous sauvignon blancs from Bordeaux are high on the list. 2003 Chateau Reynon ($10.99) and 2002 Clos Floridene ($17.99) are brilliant wines from Denis Dubourdieu. And both are must trys. Old wine winners include the stunning 1986 Château Cos d’ Estournel ($139.99) and the recent value-packed 1.5L formats from Château Pichon-Lalande (1992 $89.99 and 1993 $134.99-right from the château). Dessert wines are a must for the holidays. 2002 Château Climens ($54.99) and Rieussec ($39.99) are almost as good as their 100-point older brothers. In addition, the 1955 Rivesaltes ($59.99) is a spectacular wine value. Have a great holiday season! —Clyde Beffa Jr
On December 1, we will have a Château Montelena dinner at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay with winemaker Bo Barrett. We will taste fabulous Montelena Estate Cabernets including 1994, 1995, 1997 and more with an outstanding five-course dinner. Come to the beautiful Ritz, fully decorated for the holidays. $225 per person. Spend the night and play golf or enjoy the spa. What a holiday treat. Special room rates available. Very limited availability.
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