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The Freewheel line with a couple of English friends.

It takes a lot of beer to keep the wine business running smoothly. Here in Redwood City, we are very fortunate to have a great English style ale producer right in our backyard: Freewheel Brewing Company. The staff of K&L are fictures at our local pub, and it is a rare moment when one of us isn't there having a pint and a bite of their excellent food. We are also lucky enough to be the first place to offer their bottled beer for sale. If you have never had it, the Freewheel Brewing "FSB" Freewheel Special Bitter, California (500ml) is the benchmark in fresh, balanced, smashable ale. We will do our best to keep some in stock for you, the customer too!

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Champagne For One- Gosset Blanc des Blancs Brut Champagne

The newest wine from the oldest house in Champagne

I enjoy drinking Champagne on my own. It is always a little bit better with company, and luckily on this occasion, my company didn’t drink much. Actually, she didn’t drink anything. My cat, the Morsel, doesn’t drink anything besides water, and occasionally a little bit of cream. She does keep me in good company, especially when I am pairing the Champagne with my favorite (and hers) partner: sushi. On this occasion Cinnamon had gone up north to visit her mom, so I dined at the coffee table, and treated myself to a spectacular bottle of Champagne.

Sushi? Morsel says: Yes Please!!!!

Gosset is the oldest house in Champagne, pre-dating the commercial sale of bubbling Champagne by more than a century. They have records going back to 1584 of trading in wine- 192 years more time in the wine business than the USA has been a country. In the 16th century wine from the village of Ay, where Gosset is located was, along with the wines of Beaune in Burgundy, the favorite of the royal court of France.

The Gosset Blanc des Blancs Brut Champagne ($89.99) is the very newest cuvee to be released from this, the oldest of houses. They launched the wine in 2012, and I was lucky enough to taste it at the property in April of that year before it arrived in the USA. It is composed of Chardonnay from 11 villages including Trepail & Viller-Marmery on the east facing slopes of the Mountain of Reims, Tours-sur-Marne in the Grand Valley of the Marne and the entire Cote des Blancs. It is a blend of three vintages and is aged for four years on the lees before release.

 Like all of their wines, this Champagne does not undergo malolactic fermentation. Stopping the malolactic in a Blanc des Blancs Champagne is very, very rare, as Chardonnay is by far the highest acid grape variety in the region. The only other major producer in Champagne that I can think of that blocks malo in all Chardonnay Champagne is Salon. This conservation of acid makes for a very zippy, focused bottle. I think that the genius of Gosset is to give the Trepail and Villers fruit a leading roll, as these terroir’s show a softer, fruitier side of the grape than the pure chalk laser beams of Mesnil and Oger. That being said, at only 7 grams per liter of dosage, and no malo, this is one dry bottle of Champagne!

Sushi and Champagne Again? It is part of my diet!!!!

The dry focus of this Gosset made it a perfect partner for the sushi that I ordered from my friends at Akasaka in Menlo Park. The wine is very light and elegant, but even with rich salmon nigiri has plenty of flavor…  It is a classy beverage, and I found it to be understated, subtle, and intriguing. I love Champagne that is hard to describe but easy to drink, and the Gosset Blanc des Blancs is a great example of wine that is easier to enjoy than to describe. The texture and bead are perfection, with plenty of tiny streamers to delight. I loved the subtle apricot aroma and flavor that contrasted the baguette like toast in this wine, but the best feature was the finish- long, detailed and chalky.

If you have a special occasion coming, this is a treat that you will love. It is a great bottle of Champagne.

A toast to you!

Gary Westby


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