This month I would like to share with you two of my favorite French regional wines here at K&L. First, the AOC of Faugéres is a tiny 1800 ha, to the north of Béziers in the foothills of the Cévennes, composed of an outcrop of pure schist that is known for its pungent, intense and concentrated wines. Though plantings are in decline, this is an area in which the carignan can reveal its subtlety, finesse and haunting perfume. The 2003 Château de la Liquière Vieilles Vignes Faugères ($15.99) is a lovely example of what happens when a talented wine maker meets old vines (50 to 100 years old) and great terroir. The old-vine carignan and grenache planted on poor schistous soils yield just a few, intensely flavored grapes that translate into a wine redolent of violets, red and black fruits and notes of garrigue, that intoxicating scent of wild herbs, warm earth and roasted meats. Despite the heat of 2003, the wine is amazingly fresh and balanced on the palate with a fine minerality, elegant tannins and a very long finish. This wine can be cellared mid-term but it so delicious now you’ll soon want to enjoy some with all manner of hearty fare. I would also like to recommend a second wine which hails from the Savoie region of France directly across from the swiss border. The 2004 Chignin Domaine Quenard ($10.99) is composed of a little know varietal known as jacquere, and although somewhat esoteric in nomenclature, I am certain that it is not so in taste or likeability. Having cracked crab? Open a bottle of this delicate Savioe blanc and watch your tastebuds sing! Or, as a bright, and refreshing counterpoint to rich raclette or fondue, this jaunty little wine will seal the deal as a natural food wine pairing. Fresh, zingy green apples, creamy pear and gorgeous acidity make trying this little white a no brainer! —Thornton Jacobs
Happy New Year Rhône heads! Those of you who have read my article on page 2 already know of my optimistic resolutions to stretch more, read more and eat and drink orangically whenever possible. Fortunately for us, many appellations in the Southern Rhône exhibit a dry micro climate and windy conditions, making it easier for vignerons to produce their wines along organic, nearly organic (or in this case biodynamic) lines, as they do not have to deal with conditions such as rot and mildew nearly as often. Below are two beautiful examples! 2003 Montirius Vacqueyras ($22.99) Montirius is the family estate of Christine and Eric Saurel, fifth generation growers whose vineyards grace the prestigious Plateau des Garrigues above the village of Vacqueyras in the southern Rhône valley. Their vineyards are tended biodynamically, a strict form of sustainable viticulture. This 2003 Vacqueyras is a grenache-based red that is hands down one of the best Vacqueyras I have tasted from the 2003 vintage. Black currant ripeness is matched by rich black olive flavors. Good acidity to boot makes this southern Rhône one long, cool beauty. 2003 Montirius Gigondas ($29.99) The Montirius Gigondas is another grenache-based beauty that displays ample flesh, yet maintains a degree of elegance and restraint not that easy to come by in most 2003 Southern Rhones. In fact, La Revue du Vin de France (July/August 2005) gives the 2003 Gigondas from Montirius four stars out of five, a truly impressive accolade from what I believe is one of the best reference points for rating French wines. Enjoy now with one hour of decanting and over the next six years. —Mulan Chan
2004 Gravitas “St. Arnaud Vineyard” Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand ($15.99) This wine shows great intensity with a bouquet full of melon, passion fruit, white grapefruit, citrus, wet stone and minerals. These elements follow on the palate with great balancing acidity and superb length that is precise and pure. 2000 Petaluma Cabernet-Merlot Coonawarra South Australia ($19.99) Here’s a chance to try a classic Coonawarra blend for HALF PRICE, that was given 91 points from Wine & Spirits. This wine, made of equal parts cabernet sauvignon and merlot, offers aromas of mint, currant, dark cherry, tobacco leaf and minerals. On the palate, the wine has good acidity with gravelly fine dusty tannins that lend structure to the components above and lead to a fine finish. 2004 Water Wheel “Memsie” Bendigo Victoria ($9.99) This one got 90 points from the Wine Spectator AND Robert Parker. The dark purple color leads to juicy black and blueberry fruit with notes of earth and licorice. A GREAT bargain. 2004 Sylvan Springs “Hard Yards” Shiraz Vale South Australia ($14.99) This wine is lovely. It shows supple silky peppery cassis and blackberry fruit with some earthy notes. The palate reveals fine balance with good acidity and excellent length. Another fine value. Happy New Year! —Jimmy C
Bid on this...we're pleased to be conducting fine wine auctions in addition to our retail selection of thousands of the world's best wines.
Bid, buy, sell, and browse the hundreds of auction lots live on K&L Auctions.
Back in the 1970's we went by the name "K&L Liquors" and our dedication to bringing you the finest spirits remains the same.
View our Spirits Journal to find out what our buyers are getting into next...