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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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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.  


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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Entries from December 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012


Spanish & Portuguese Wine News: Thanks & Happy New Year!

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Spanish & Portuguese Wine Buyer

Greetings all,  

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for what has far and away been the most enjoyable and successful year for us to date. Sales success, for sure, but also lots of success in expanding our Direct Import selections, gaining first hand knowledge in the regions where our wines are made, and hearing from all of you.

It was a pleasure to host Miguel Merino in our Redwood City tasting bar in August. Many of you have travelled to Spain and reported back on visits to folks like Miguel Merino and Angel at Bodegas Casa Juan. To state things concisely, everything we do here is a direct result of your support. Thank you.  

In 2013, we have a lot to look forward to. New direct imports. We're working on a DI Getariako Txakoli (hopefully just $15). Ribera del Duero as well. I'm still exploring ways to expand our fortified selections, particularly as it relates to sherry (do we have enough enthusiasts to allow us to purchase our own barrel....?)

There is lots of impeccably stored mature Rioja in Spain, sitting patiently in perfect cellar conditions; perhaps we should bring some in?

Of course, our suppliers will continue to deliver loads of wine for us to taste through, select and offer to you all. So, lots of exciting work for the new year. In the meantime, I wish you all the best for your New Year celebrations and in the year ahead.  

Happy New Year,



Joe Manekin

Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Wine Buyer

K&L Wine Merchants

Ph: 877.559.4637

ext. 2748



What the F is this? #1

We've all been there. You're walking through the wine store and it's full of bottles with labels that you don't recognize. So many obscure French words with no information about what grape the wine is actually made from. It's enough to glaze your vision over completely. They all start to blend together. Heck, it happens to me and I work at K&L! I'm paid to know this stuff, but there is still a large amount of wine in this store that I know nothing about. That's why I'm starting a new series called "What the F is this?" that will consist of me buying these bottles, drinking them, passing out on the couch, then waking up the next morning to tell you about them.

I decided to start with Loire Valley reds. In my opinion, no other section is as overlooked by wine enthusiasts, mainly because they have little knowledge about the region. Many casual drinkers know about the whites - Sancerre, Vouvray, and Muscadet. Chinon? Not so much. Cote Roannaise? Even I'm in the dark when it comes to this region. Let's find out a bit more. Luckily, our Loire buyer Eric Story has provided us with some good notes:

The little known AC of Côte Roannaise was established in 1994 and sits about 50 kilometers west of Lyon in the Loire Valley. The granitic soils of this southern appellation are well suited to Gamay.

Interesting. So we're dealing with a fairly new appellation here. That's why I've probably never heard of it.

And the wine maker for this 2011 Cote Roannaise offering?

The family-owned Domaine Robert Sérol is now being run by the fifth generation. The domaine's namesake, Robert, was the first in the family to bottle the wines, and he can be still found wandering the property today, though it is his son Stéphane who has been managing their 20 hectares since 2000. The Vieilles Vignes comes from six different parcels and undergoes whole cluster, semi-carbonic fermentation, which results in a wine comparable to some of the best Cru Beaujolais. Floral and mineral, with tangy cherry and plum fruit, spice accents and a forest floor underpinning, this supple red is balanced and lovely. A great ambassador for this emerging region.

My tasting experience was as follows. I paired this with spiced lentils and arugula hoping for a lighter-styled bistro wine. That's exactly what I got. Supple red fruit, juicy, but not overly fruity. The tannins are silky soft, but it's not a polished wine. It tastes natural and old world, despite its utter drinkability. Lighter in body, but still plenty of texture on the palate. A solid, solid wine. At 12%, I was able to drink half the bottle with ease, yet still wake up early for a six mile run. No ill effects from over-intoxication. Another bonus!

If you like pinot noir or any Cru Beaujolais, this is a fantastic and inexpensive substitute. The 2011 Robert Sérol "Les Vieilles Vignes" Côte Roannaise Rouge will run you $13.99. At that price, there's nothing in the Burgundy department that can match it. California pinot noir definitely can't match the quality for under $20.

In summary, if you're looking for a solid bistro style food wine without the earthy or tannic flavors that some rustic French wines tend to have, this is for you. This is straight drankin' wine. Simple, delicious, and honest.

That's it for this episode!

-David Driscoll


Champagne Friday: Franck Bonville "Belles Voyes"

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

One of the Greats- Regardless of Price!

Franck Bonville "Belles Voyes" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne The Saturday after having dinner with Krug’s CEO, Cinnamon and I decided to stay home and have some excellent Dungeness Crab from The Fish Market in Palo Alto. We kept it simple, with Littleneck clams in garlic, aligote and butter as a starter, and shallot bread and arugula salad with the crustacean. Since we were still in the mood for good Champagne, we opened one of the wines I have long regarded as one of our best at any price, the Franck Bonville "Belles Voyes" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($67.99). With the Clos de Mesnil so fresh in our minds, this was a great opportunity for us to compare.

The Belles Voyes is a very nicely situated vineyard in the mid-slope of the Grand Cru of Oger. The Bonville’s share it with many other growers, including Launois, who use it in their vintage. Their plot is only one and three quarters acres and was planted either in the late 20’s or early 30’s, no one really remembers. You can see it here on the Larmat Atlas of Champagne:

Larmat Atlas of Champagne

The vineyard gets its name from the excellent view that one has of the village of Oger from its slopes. Making a single vineyard wine out of this site was the idea of Olivier Bonville, who wanted to make a wine in the style of his grandfather after taking over the winery from his father Gilles. To this end, he took this old, massal selected plot and made a barrel aged tete de cuvee from one marc, or single press load of Chardonnay. This adds up to just 3000 bottles. Luckily for us, Olivier’s father didn’t think a “high priced”, barrel aged, single vineyard Champagne would be of interest to their customers, so when I offered to by nearly all of it the first time Olivier showed it to me, he let me!

Over the years, our allocation of this wine has dropped, but luckily we always get more than anyone else. The current batch is based on 2004 and is simply magnificent. You can check out more about this wine and my own impressions of it in today's video segment.

It is a very rich blanc de blancs that still finishes with the persistent length and chalkiness of the top Champagne in the world. It has layer upon layer of white fruit and subtle brioche, and will grow in your memory after having drunk it. I hope that you grab a bottle and treat yourself to one of our best.

A toast to you!