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Just add duck crepinettes!

Buying ready to drink 1er cru Burgundy is not easy. For a couple of years I did the Old and Rare wine buying here at K&L and found it easy to find California Cabernet and even Bordeaux from collectors. But Burgundy… Forget it. They had to die, get a divorce or have doctors orders to part with the king of all Pinot Noir! This bottle of 2007 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Nuits St-Georges 1er cru Les Boudots ($99) comes direct from the property from our friends at Atherton, and like most of the 2007’s, drinks fabulously right now. This wine showed excellent sweet beet fruit, savory depth, and incredible finesse and length. The tannins are completely resolved, and went perfectly with duck crepinettes from the fatted calf in San Francisco. This is the kind of Burgundy that gets people hooked- you have been warned!!!! –Gary Westby

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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.

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Champagne from a Styrofoam Cup

Sometimes Styrofoam is all there is.When customers ask me if it is OK to fly with Champagne, I always respond that I never fly without it. Now that all liquids must be checked, the bottles go into the luggage area, which is far cooler than the often times hot cabins of airplanes and fully pressurized. This week I flew down to Los Angeles to present the staff Champagne tasting at our Hollywood store and meet with our biggest distributor in Cerritos. Since I was bringing a few samples with me for the staff, I figured I would through in a bottle for my dinner as well.

I went out to my cellar and grabbed a bottle of the Franck Bonville Brut Rose Champagne from last year as I had just got news from Olivier Bonville that we will get a little for the end of the year. As soon as I got to my basic hotel in Cerritos, I put it on ice and started to look for something to drink it out of. The room was equipped with Styrofoam coffee cups, the thin, lined kind. I thought I could do better so I went down to check- but the only thing they had were thicker, milk shake style Styrofoam cups. I didn’t give up.

I ordered sushi at “Sushi Ya” just around the corner from the hotel, and when I went to pick it up, I asked them if they had a little plastic cup… No luck, I got another thick styro! It was time to make do. When I got back, I decided to try both styles and experiment. The thinner, lined styro was much better, and the Champagne surprised me with its resilience in such a poor container. It shouldn’t have surprised me so much.

A few years ago, Cinnamon and I hosted some gentleman from a consulting firm looking into drinking vessels impact on sensual experience with beverages, and we put on a tasting for them. We laid out Riedel glasses; the Sommelier Burgundy, Sommelier Vintage Champagne and Vinum Chianti/ Zinfandel, as well as plastic solo cups, coffee mugs and curled lip Libby-style glasses. We served them Champagne, Burgundy and Zinfandel in the different vessels, and were very surprised with the results.

Our gorgeous bottle of Volnay was not worth drinking out of anything besides the Burgundy glass. It was tight and closed out of the Zin glass and not much more than red, wet and acidic out of anything else. The Zin was better out of different vessels, and although the Somm Burgundy glasses made it seem a little hot, it was only the plastic solo cup that really ruined the experience. The Champagne was the champion, with the CO2 doing a lot of the work that a glass would normally do, delivering aroma to the drinker.

Drinking the Bonville rose out of the Styrofoam cup, paired with tasty sushi, was a great way to make the best out of a night on the road. While the wine might have lost a beat or two aromatically, it tasted better than straight out of the bottle. I was happy that I brought it and found that the Ambonnay Bing cherry Pinot had great synergy with the salmon and tuna nigiri. Next time, I’ll try to remember my Riedel O’s, but if I forget I won’t despair!

A toast to you- from a Styrofoam cup!

Gary Westby

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