We are going to push the envelope a bit this month as we have just received some wines that don’t necessarily fit comfortably into our perceptions of German wine, but damn are they tasty! From the Nahe we have a weisser burgunder (pinot blanc) from Paul Anheuser that is simple, fresh and lip smacking. Try the 2004 Paul Anheuser Weisser Burgunder Classic ($10.99) with a salad of lump crab meat lightly tossed with peas, tarragon and fennel for refreshing and invigorating lunch. Keep a stock of this delicious bottle for unexpected guests and those nights when you just need a glass of wine. Fingers crossed, I have submitted this to Jim Barr and his crack staff and hope to get at least 63 cat heads and possibly a house wine designation from the master. Speaking of Jim Barr this next wine is as quirky as he is, though I believe it can hear a little better… In the Rheingau there are some plantings of red grapes, mostly pinot noir and some bits of st. laurent, which Mr. Molitor crafts into this expressive, cheery red. The 2003 Molitor St. Laurent Qba Trocken ($11.99) reminds me a bit of pineau d’aunis, another individualistic wine with its spicy nose of pepper, crushed black raspberries and hints of smoked sweet meats. Like most northern reds it is bright and focused, elegant and subtle, not a blockbuster, a wine best enjoyed with a fork in your hand. I suggest Asian-inspired meat dishes such as Kalbi Kui, Korean short ribs with sweet chili paste, garlic and soy. —Jeff Vierra, lover of Marginal Things
Ahhh, February, without a doubt one of my favorite months of the year, and it has nothing to do with that Valentine’s Day stuff. It’s cold, windy and rainy/snowy, some would say miserable. Not me. It makes me feel alive! It truly brings the kid back into my soul, when I used to jump into puddles just for the fun it or build a snow fort with an arsenal of snowballs to ambush your friends from, since you just called them to come over. The beautiful thing is that I still do this, although I get tired within ten minutes and have to go back inside. BUT THE SPARK IS STILL THERE BABY!!! At least now I can go inside and drink adult beverages, instead of some juice box, start a fire, pour some soul warming wine, cook good food all while making fun of my friends and how old THEY are getting. Let the spark ignite something this winter, even if it only lasts ten minutes, and then enjoy good wine with good people! 2003 Buchegger Grüner Veltliner Pfarrweingarten ($19.99) How can you say no to a wine coming from the Pfarrweingarten, or preist’s vineyard? A richer, tropical wine that reminds me of fresh mango, not yet fully ripened, drizzled with a beautiful, unfiltered Spanish olive oil and then dusted with a small cracking of white pepper. 2004 Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Steinsetz ($21.99) This 2004 Grüner, planted in alpine pebbles that were transported by the primeval Danube and then covered by black and loamy soil, loess and gravel, gives birth to a wine that exudes full-bodied minerality with spikes of peppery acidity that are held together by a creamy core of fruit. 2003 Heidi Schrock St. Laurent Kraxner ($39.99) Are you ready for one of the finest reds in all the land? This is, without question, one of the best expressions of the St. Laurent varietal that I have ever had! Only two words can described this wine: power and grace. A silky caress of sweet tobacco and rich fruits compacted by a core iron depth and mineral salinity that leaves you sitting if you were standing and standing if you were sitting. —Eric Story
That is the food I want this time of year. There are plenty of wines that pair wonderfully with these foods. A few of my favorites are: 2004 Vina Y Tia De Lozar, Ribera del Duero ($10.99) A charmer! Dark, ripe fruit immediately jumps out of glass at you. It is backed with more subtle hints of its oak, cedar, smoke and spice. On the palate the wine is similar to the nose; it greets you with dark, pure almost juicy fruits then fleshy soft tannins and behind the fruit and tannins the unmistakable savory earthiness of tempranillo. Think braised short-ribs! 2004 Bodegas Arrocal, Ribera del Duero ($12.99) This is bigger, more complex wine. The fruit is multidimensional; dark juicy berries and crunchy red fruits all tossed together. The palate is round, plush and long, the perfect showcase for all those fruit tones. Almost hidden behind the fruit are hints of oak and spicy earth that linger on the finish. Stylish, clean and modern, this is a heck of a deal. Great with Persian herb stew! 2004 Bodegas Quinta de la Quietud “Corral de Campanas,” Toro $21.99) Dark, vibrant and bold, looking at this wine you would think it was a monster, an opaque violet bruiser. The nose offers dense dark fruits and berries that slowly revealed tarry earth and exotic spices. The big surprise is the palate: structured and long with ripe supple tannins, reminding me of a forward right bank wine. Decant and enjoy this seriously indulgent wine. —Kirk Walker
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