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In December, we drink Champagne at closing at K&L- and we prefer to drink it out of magnum when possible. The highlight this year was the Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne (1.5L) magnum ($74.99) that we had on Christmas eve. This single vineyard beauty comes from the Gouttes d’Or, a very steep east facing parcel in the little village of Brouillet. It was creamy, delicate and perfectly refreshing! We all say to cheers to you, and hope your holiday is filled with fun and friends!

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Tasting with Oliver Krug

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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 KLWines.com or follow us on Facebook.  

 

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

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Archives
Monday
Oct052015

Back-to-Back Home Runs from Brown

While it’s certainly efficient to get straight to the point (or points in the case of these K&L wine emails), every now and again it’s nice to have a bit of background about what you’re drinking and what exactly makes it special. Take for example the recent vintages of 2009 and 2010 Chateau Brown, two very different wines from the same producer, both with fantastic reviews that are bound to strike a chord with audiences everywhere. Brown has always been an underrated property in the Pessac-Leognan—a region of the Graves known for producing mineral-driven reds—so it’s no surprise that its wines from two incredible back-to-back vintages were well-received.  But when you’re talking about Bordeaux rouge—a wine that often tastes better later than sooner—what exactly does “92 points” mean? Does it mean the wine is so good you should drink it now? Or do those 92 points refer to the wine’s potential for aging? Maybe it’s a great wine for the cellar instead? When you summarize a wine’s inherent quality within a short, succinct series of digits, it’s tough to know exactly what those scores refer to: drink or hold? In the case of these 2009 and 2010 vintages from Chateau Brown, we think you’re in the clear either way. Both wines are so delicious after a few years in the bottle that you can enjoy those 92 points just about whenever you want to.

The red wines of 2009 from Bordeaux are generally characterized by a softness of ripe fruit and velvet texture, the products of a generous growing season. The Brown Rouge is no exception. This is French cabernet sauvignon-based wine that even a Calfornia cab drinker could wrap his or her head around. It’s drinkable right out of the bottle, but the lush fruit never covers the secondary flavors enveloped beneath it. It’s that $35 bottle of delicious steak-and-claret night red you might be looking for this weekend. 

2009 Brown Rouge $32.99 - A fabulous wine for the future, but packed with so much sweet fruit you'll be tempted to drink it now. There's a dark rich color to it, full of minerals and iron notes, but the wine is so soft on the finish that everything glides down almost too easily.

The 2010 Brown Rouge also holds true to the general characterization of the vintage: plenty of ripeness to be had, but with a bit more structure and gusto. While we at K&L might normally throw a wine like this into the cellar and wait for those tannins to soften just a bit, we popped a bottle this past weekend and found the wine utterly approachable now. Check out that serious steak-and-claret action from Champagne buyer Gary Westby’s house this past Sunday! I’m getting thirsty just writing this blog. 

2010 Brown Rouge $34.99 - Fruit-forward aromas turn to spices and warm stones. Full body, with chewy tannins and a juicy finish. Really delicious young wine. Hard not to drink now, but better in 2016.

The conclusion? Five years later, the 2009 and 2010 vintages are truly living up to the hype they originally received. The values we continue to find from Bordeaux week after week, month after month, seem born out of a Cabernet lover’s dream. We’re opening $35 bottles of over-achieving wines with incredible regularity around here—to our delight, of course, and hopefully to yours as well. The only question we’re struggling with now is: how much do we buy?

-David Driscoll

Friday
Oct022015

A Trio of Delicious White Burgundies

So you want to get into white Burgundy, but you don't want to spend an arm and a leg trying out the various styles and options (which is easy to do, trust me). Wouldn't it be nice to try something with a little age, something with a little richness, and something that displays the clean and vibrant minerality the regional wines are renowned for? If you're looking for a white Burgundy sample pack (or really just delicious white wine, period), then it's tough to do much better than the three selections below, each a penny under twenty dollars. The La Chablisienne, after seven years in the bottle, shows just a bit of nuttiness to all that juicy 2008 acidity. The Leflaive tastes like a baby Montrachet, made from fruit sourced from vineyards around Puligny and aged in French Oak for richness. The Fevre showcases stunning notes of piecing minerality and a crystalline delicacy. What more can you ask for from your white Burgundy for $20?

2008 La Chablisienne Chablis "Les Venerables" Vieilles Vignes $19.99 - A classic nose of iodine and sea water influences adds plenty of nuance to the green fruit nose that complements fresh, bright and intense flavors that possess both good volume and fine mid-palate fat before giving way to a long, saline and sappy finish that is bone dry. Good quality for its level.

2013 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc "Oncle Vincent" $19.99 - This delightfully rich white Burgundy is made as an homage to Olivier Leflaive's Uncle Vincent Leflaive, the founder of the famous Domaine Leflaive. It comes entirely from vineyards in the communes of Puligny-Montrachet and is fermented in small French oak barrels. It is satisfying and mineral-driven, as well as rich and buttery.  And it is a K&L West Coast exclusive. What's not to like? (From Olivier Leflaive: "Only grapes from the territory of Puligny-Montrachet, a village he loved so much, could pay tribute to my uncle Vincent. He has been a model for me and a valuable support during the creation of Maison Olivier Leflaive. When we talked about this project to our importers, they immediately expressed an amazing enthusiasm. This project is now concert and 'Oncle Vincent' will be available in different parts of the world, like all of our wines." This new Grand Burgundy white was born in the 2012 vintage. Its aromas express white fruits (pear, peach), with buttery notes. A lovely freshness on the palate, a creamy texture, well-structured and with a tension that makes it remarkable. The selection of the vines gives a more aristocratic touch to this white Burgundy wine, with minerality and great intensity. So Puligny, in fact!

2013 Maison William Fèvre Chablis "Champs Royaux" $19.99 - This is really delicious with sliced green apple, stone and melons. Medium to full body. Crisp finish. Focused. Drink now.

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Sep242015

Burgundy 101: Understanding Marsannay/Fixin

With the recent delivery of the latest Domaine Bart vintage (always one of the most anticipated arrivals from the perspective of our staff members), I thought it might be nice to understand some of the basics behind these wines and their origins. It makes drinking them all the more enjoyable in my opinion if you know just a few basic facts about Burgundy.

When we talk about Burgundy, we always talk about land. Where was the fruit grown? Where did it come from? How regarded is the vineyard in terms of its terroir? While there are indeed vineyards in the northern Cote de Nuits village of Marsannay, none of these sites are classified any higher than standard village level (yellow on the map above designates the village level property, anything in the grey must be labeled as simple Bourgogne). As you may or may not now, there are three main tiers of vineyard classification in Burgundy: grand cru, premier cru, and village AOC. Just because a vineyard is designated as village level doesn't mean it can't be known as its own parcel, however. When a village level vineyard is separated into its own wine regardless, it's known in French as a lieu-dit: simply a geographical area bearing a traditional name. So when we see wines from one of our favorite Marsannay producers Domaine Bart labeled as "Les Echezots" and "Les Longeroies", those are indeed single vineyard plots (known as lieux-dits), but under their Burgundian classification they're not necessarily any better than a standard village grade Marsannay. Of course, when there's no premier cru or grand cru property in town that means prices will be much more affordable, which is why we often look to Marsannay for some of the best deals in Burgundy. The region became a village level commune in 1987 and is known for its beautiful rosés and fresh, drinkable reds. We love Marsannay for its classic Burgundian character—lots of cranberry and tart cherry with foresty notes—and its simple charm. The Bart wines, for example, offer tremendous regional character for very reasonable prices.

The village of Fixin, which is just south of Marsannay, does have a few premier cru vineyard sites and, to use Domaine Bart again as an example, the new 2013 Fixin "Les Hervelets" is from one of those prized locations (highlighted in orange on the map above). Fixin wines can be a bit more structured and bold in their youth, but with decanting can open up quite nicely. Bart's "Les Hervelets" holdings actually stem from an older domaine once known as Claire-Daü that was split between Bart and Bruno Clair in 1985. Claire-Daü was once the premier producer in the region and the quality of its wines is much of the reason Marsannay gained village-level status. We like to think of wines like the Bart "Les Hervelets" as great short-term cellar candidates, wines that will improve greatly in the three to five year window as the tannins soften up a bit and the acidity unwinds. "Les Hervelets" is known for producing wines that are a bit softer and more feminine than other vineyards in the region.

-David Driscoll

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