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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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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 KLWines.com or follow us on Facebook.  

 

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

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

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Archives

Entries from April 1, 2010 - April 30, 2010

Friday
Apr162010

Winery to Watch: Quinta de Cabriz

This  “Winery to Watch” comes from one of the wine world’s up-and-coming regions—Portugal’s Dão DOC. Tucked among granitic mountains in north-central Portugal, the Dão’s location limits the Atlantic influence on the vineyards, but also protects them from the harsh continental climate to the east. Instead, the vineyards in the Dão benefit from altitude (most vineyards are at 200-900 meters above sea level), well-drained sandy soils, and a consistently hot and dry growing season that allows the grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. Rather than ride the international varietal wave to world renown, the Dão still focuses on making wines from indigenous varietals—the dominant red grape is Touriga Nacional, but there are smaller plantings of Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Jaen and Alfrocheiro Preto. The region is also gaining a repuation from white wines made from grapes like Branco, Cerceal, Encruzado and Verdhelo. With only about 5% of the DOC planted to vine right now, there’s plenty of potential, and Dão Sul, the owners of Quinta de Cabriz, are at the forefront of capturing and marketing that ability.

Established 20 years ago, Dão Sul is a four-person partnership devoted to making wines across the spectrum—from limited quantity reserve wines to more affordable everyday wines—without ever compromising on quality. Their winemaker, Carlos Lucas (Portugal’s “Winemaker of the Year” in 2007), works to ensure that the wines of Quinta de Cabriz showcase the Dão’s terroir in a modern, accessible style. You won’t need to “learn to appreicate” the wines of Quinta de Cabriz, they’re appealing now, and they’re priced for drinking often.

We currently have one wine left from this up-and-coming producer:

2008 Quinta de Cabriz Branco, Dão, Portugal ($11.99) This may very well be my white wine for the summer. Dominated by Encruzado— the Dão’s best white varietal—with 20% each Cerceal, Bical and Malvasia-Fina finishing the blend, this is a tropical breeze of a white that makes you want to go looking for your grass skirt and coconut bra. Aromas of papaya, guava and plantain lead to a palate kissed with stone fruit and leesy, creamy richness on the mid-palate that makes me think of peach pie with whipped cream. There’s plenty of acidity here to counter the wine’s richness. This would be a great match for halibut with dill and garlic, fish chowder or salt-roasted Santa Barbara spot prawns.

 

Wednesday
Apr142010

Winery to Watch: Château Cantemerle

Robert Parker recently called Château Cantemerle, “A property on the rebound,” in the Wine Advocate, and he couldn’t be more spot on. Finally recovering from the decades of neglect that preceded its purchased by a French insurance group in the early-1980s, Château Cantemerle produces exceptional Old World Bordeaux that have earned it the reputation as one of the best values in in the region.

This isn’t to say that everything made before the purchase of this 90-hectare Haut-Médoc estate is forgettable. There are some fabulous old Cantemerles—1949, 1961 and 1981, in particular—but the wines really started getting good in the late-1990s, according to K&L’s co-owner and Bordeaux buyer Clyde Beffa Jr. K&L has been visiting the property, which was designated a fifth growth in the 1855 Classification of the Médoc, since 1985, watching its evolution and enjoying its rustic, Old School, rough-and-ready wines all the while. Director Philippe Dambrine, who also works with Château Greysac, Château Haut Corbin and Château le Jurat, joined the Château a few years ago (see our interview with Philippe), and under his direction the wines have really begun to show elegance and finesse. In fact, Clyde says the 2006 Cantemerle ($29.99) is the best ever from them and, by the scores, it seems Robert Parker agrees (90-92 points). Spicy ripe fruit with fine middle richness, sweetness and mouthfeel. K&L’s Alex Brisoux describes it as having: “Sweet, spicy red fruit with cocoa and tobacco undertones, good structure and elegant, long finish. The best young Cantemerle I’ve ever tasted.”

The Château is planted to 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 5% each Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, varietals that appropriately struggle in the silca-gravel soils created by the erosion of the Pyrenees by the Garonne River centuries ago.

In addition to the 2004, 2005 and 2006 vintages we describe on page 22 and above, K&L also currently has Cantemerle’s second wine, the 2004 Les Alles de Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc ($19.99), in stock. Ready to drink now, this has the same personality as the grand vin, with hints of chocolate, pencil lead and cassis that fill the palate and the nose. We are also offering the delicious 2007 vintage ($28.99), which Ralph says is sweet and herbal with a long finish that’s even better than their 2005! Don’t miss them!



Wednesday
Apr142010

Winemaker Interview: Philippe Dambrine

Describe your winemaking philosophy?

Modern-Classic. A combination of technology, cultural roots and strong feeling.

What wines or winemakers helped influence your philosophy?

Emile Peynaud is my choice! I had the great opportunity to meet and talk with him for a full afternoon back in 1985. I asked him many questions about his own philosophy and he very kindly answered all of them. This was a new start for me, of which I still feel the boost.

How involved in grape-growing are you? Is there a particular vineyard site that wows you year after year?

Running the vineyard is the key. If you don’t understand the vines you won’t be able to make wine. There is always an amazing spot in the vineyard. Whatever the season, when you walk in it, you know that everything is going well.

How do you think your palate has evolved over the years? How do you think that’s influenced your wines?

My palate is much more selective than it used to be. This may have influenced my way of working. I hope for better results.

What kinds of food do you like to pair your wines with?

I like to play with the temperature of the wine. I can do a young second wine at low temperature with all kind of grilled fishes. Otherwise I drink top wines with my main course. I don’t spend much time with cheese and only with white wines … I love chocolate with old reds!

Any changes planned for coming vintages?

I would love to tell you that we found a way to speed up the aging of our vines.

Is there a style of wine you think appeals to critics that might not represent your favorite style? How do you deal with it?

There is a style of wine that seems to appeal to all kind of critics. I call it the “Spherical Wine Syndrome.” It is like having a big bowl in the mouth. It’s very impressive at first, but the second shot is pretty hard to swallow. Most of the critics are just tasting and spitting when they judge a wine. They obviously give the highest rating to this style of wine. Sometimes I dream to force one of them to finish his glass…

What do you drink when you are not drinking your own wine?

It’s like leaving home for a holiday. You have to change your habits and be more relaxed. That’s what I feel when I taste wines I don’t make.

Do you collect wine? What’s in your cellar?

Sorry but I’m a very poor wine collector. Being in the wine business give me so many opportunities to enjoy great wines from all over the world that I always forget to put wines away.

What do you see as some of the biggest challenges facing the wine industry today?

Education is the biggest challenge on our part. We are small individual growers who are facing a world wide market. It’s quite hard to explain our philosophy to consumers that have been recently introduced to wine drinking.