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Saber Madness at K&L!

We have been chopping off the tops of Champagne bottles as fast as we can drink them- who needs a stopper when you are ready to commit to finishing the bottle! One of our favorites was this magnum ($84.99) of Franck Bonville Brut Rosé that Mellyn expertly decapitated on Christmas Eve. It also comes in regular 750ml ($39.99) and half bottles ($21.99). Olivier Bonville adds 8% Pinot Noir Rouge from Ambonnay superstar Paul Dethune to his top class assembelage of grand cru, estate Chardonnay to create this fabulous rose. This is one of the most elegant, bright, refreshing rose Champagnes that we carry, yet it does not lack red cherry Pinot Noir authority. We can’t get enough- bring another to the block!

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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.  


Free Spirits Tastings at K&L! Now that we have our license for spirits tastings in Redwood City and San Francisco, we’re excited to host regular free spirits tastings in those locations.  Check the Spirits Journal for an updated tasting schedule.

All tastings will feature different products from the Spirits Department and take place on Wednesdays in Redwood City and San Francisco. Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

See all K&L Local Events


2002 Ruinart "Dom Ruinart" Brut Rosé Champagne

There are only 198- strike that- 197- bottles of this rose for the entire US market.

The Dom Ruinart Rose might be the best tete de cuvee that American connoisseurs don’t know about. While no brand is more famous in France, it is only recently that Ruinart has had good distribution in the USA. Steadily, their non-vintage blanc de blancs and rose have gained more appreciation from Champagne lovers here, and even their excellent Ruinart "Dom Ruinart" Brut Blanc de Blancs is getting good traction. It is doubtful that the Dom Ruinart rose will be a household word anytime soon- the entire US only received 198 bottles, and I just drank one of them.

This Champagne is composed of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir, all from Grand Cru sites. The Chardonnay is sourced both from the Cote des Blancs and the Mountain or Reims, and it is this Mountain of Reims Chardonnay that gives the subtle exoticism that is the signature of the house style. The Pinot Noir in the blend is vinified red, and sourced from north facing vineyards in Sillery and Verzenay, giving the Champagne plenty of authority without sacrificing its energy. Ruinart is a proponent of stainless steel fermentation, and in the case of this rose, very long sur-lee ageing, perhaps the longest in the category of tete de cuvee roses. The 2002 was just released.

We enjoyed the 2002 Ruinart "Dom Ruinart" Brut Rosé Champagne ($299) with banh mi sandwiches and pork buns. We used door dash for the first time, and it was very luxurious for us to drink tete de cuvee and not even have to pick up our take-out! The food was from Spice Kit in Palo Alto, and very good. The steamed pork buns were the biggest hit with the Champagne- it is something special to have rich Kurobuta pork with top quality rose from Champagne! 

My first Jamesse glasses were a gift from Fred Panaiotis, chef de cave of Ruinart.

The Dom Ruinart Rose is beautiful to look at in the Lehmann "Jamesse Reference" Grand Champagne glass, and has a pale pink color and the kind of streamers that you only get with very long ageing on the lees. When we first opened the bottle it was very yeasty and leesy, so much so that it put me off. The bouquet developed really nicely over the course of the meal, offering up chalk and Rainier cherry fruit as well as toast. In the mouth, this wine is so elegant and subtle that it wouldn’t be hard to miss its depth in a quick tasting. Like Cristal and Salon, it is a treat for the jaded palate, with lots of depth to offer, but no obvious, showy flash. It is ethereal, weightless and haunting stuff- and I would guess that the Sillery rouge has a lot to do with its delicacy. The Dom Ruinart Rose is the most elegant Champagne that I have drunk this year, and will no doubt prove to be one of my top Champagne experiences this year.

If you have an occasion to spoil yourself with a very special bottle, this would be a great choice.

A toast to you!

Gary Westby


1998 Señor de Lesmos Gran Reserva Rioja: Affordable Luxury

Grilling the beef after decanting the Rioja!


I love drinking Gran Reserva Rioja. I can’t think of a category that offers such great value- sometimes the prices are so low that they leave me scratching my head. Can you imagine telling your banker that you are going to make a wine, and then wait 16 years before selling it? And then the punch line- it is going to retail for $29.99! It doesn’t seem to make economic sense, but what a great opportunity for those of us who love mature wine!

Cinnamon and I enjoyed a bottle of the 1998 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Gran Reserva Rioja ($29.99) this weekend, and it was nothing short of inspiring. It comes from some of the best plots on this family owned 65 acres vineyard, all of which are farmed without chemicals. The entire property is in Rioja Alavesa, with some higher altitude parcels in El Villar. The vines are planted on chalky clay with a little iron. The Gran Reserva is composed of 85% Tempranillo and 15% Mazuelo and sees thirty months in barrels that are on a 7 year rotation- so less than 15% new oak.

We paired it with the prime tri tip in the picture above, the famous “Fred Steak” from Schwab’s in Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. This marinated-until-it’s-black cut is ideal with full bodied wines… It is what Cinnamon served me the very first time I came to her place for dinner, and I brought Rioja (and Ridge Zin!) then, so we usually do one or the other each time we enjoy a Fred Steak. On this occasion, Cinnamon also prepared a big batch or roasted beets with Bijou goat cheese, and we had left over paella for our starch from the night before. It was quite the feast!

I love grilling on my little Lodge cast iron hibachi, and it reliably makes great tasting food. Fred steaks call for a lot of vigilance however- the dark marinade makes it hard to see when the steak is giving up its juice. I stood over it with a glass 2002 De Meric "Cuvée Rene Millesime" Brut Champagne, to make sure it didn’t get over cooked. In the meantime, the Lesmos had been airing in the decanter for about an hour.

This tried and true pairing came through again. The Lesmos had a gorgeous vanilla cake nose from the long elevage in American oak, without the dill pickle elements that one sometimes finds from this type of cooperage. It also had lots of ripe, brambly black fruit aromatically, and on the palate. The bouquet was made all the more lovely and complex by savory, leathery elements that were also present in the mouth. The texture was broad, but the finish was focused.  This wine had it all, and I plan on buying a case this week… It is fresh enough to last for many years to come, but totally ready to drink at 16 years old. What more could you want for $29.99? This is luxury I can afford!

A toast to you!

Gary Westby 


Sherry Experiment: Part One

My infatuation with sherry started a little over 4 years ago, at the ripe age of 21 when I was working in the service industry in Philadelphia. The owner/sommelier of the restaurant devoted one particular staff training session to sherry and only sherry.  I was sceptical at first, remembering sherry as a cooking ingredient rather than a drink.  After an introduction to the vast variety of sherry, some information about the solera system and a taste of oceanic Manzanilla, I was hooked. Last October, while I was living in Germany, my infatuation only grew stronger when my boyfriend and I took a trip to Andalucia.  Vibrant, lively, quaint little Jerez was our favorite stop on our tour of the region.

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