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Entries in 2009 Bordeaux (10)

Thursday
Apr082010

Trey's Blog: Day 7 Bordeaux En Primeur

Friday, April 1st: The Right Bank

The K&L Team at Ausone

9 a.m. – Ausone

I have only been to Ausone a few times. It is hard not to be “star stuck” when you are here, though. We tasted several wines. My favorites included:

’09 Moulin Saint Georges: Perfume aromas, fleshy ripe nose, very expressive for being so young; I thought this wine was delicious.

’09 Ausone: – Concentrated flavors of red fruits, minerals, cedar and earth; this wine showed a bit tight, maybe due to the weather. It was not my favorite of the trip but I think I may be in the minority on this one.

9:45 a.m. – Moueix Tasting in Libourne

A fair number of wines were poured here. Highlights for me included the La Serre, Latour Pomerol, Bourgneuf and La Fleur Pétrus. They were all solid wines but nothing really jumped up and knocked me out. I was a bit disappointed in the Trotanoy—for me is was not easy to taste at this stage.

11 a.m. – Pétrus

’09 Pétrus: I think this will end up being my favorite wine of the trip. It was loaded with fresh crushed berries, spice, licorice, a velvety texture, pure ripe fruit and had a fresh, lively finish; an amazing balance between power and finesse.

The Vineyards at Lafleur

11:30 a.m. – Lafleur

The Lafleur tasting included the 2009 Grand Village, which they also make. It is reasonably priced and really a good value. 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. This wine was fresh, clean and showed clean, mineral-driven fruit.

’09 Lafleur: Big, tight and intense, this wine is deep and powerful and showed firm tannins. I think the middle was a bit closed. Tough to taste so young.

Tasting and lunch at Ch. Le Gay

12 p.m. – Tasting and lunch at Le Gay

Our tasting included some really excellent wines before a light lunch.

’09 La Graviere: Spicy, sweet nose, fleshy fruit, very ripe mid palate and a velvety soft texture; could almost drink this wine now.

’09 Violette, Pomerol: Dark cherry fruit, sweet aromas, chewy dark chocolate texture and a lush, lush finish. Very good balance for such an extracted wine; I liked this.

’09 Le Gay, Pomerol: Loads of coffee, cola and sweet black cherries, spice, velvety texture and a long ripe finish, This is one for me to buy.

2 p.m. – Clos l’Eglise

A quick tasting of several wines, including Haut Bergey, Barde Haut, Branon and Clos l’Eglise. The two that stood out for me were the Haut Bergey and the Clos l’Eglise.  

2:30pm – Angélus

What I thought would be a quick tasting ended up being a room full of all the wines that Hubert de Boüard is involved in. We didn’t have time to taste all of them, so I focused on the wines that I knew we would buy. My favorites included:

’09 La Fleur de Boüard: Flashy, new wave style. This wine was intense, juicy and extracted without being out of balance. This is a wine I will buy if the price is reasonable.

’09 Angélus: Big and dense with a thick mid palate, chewy tannins and a firm structure. Seemed a bit disjointed, but that could be the sample.

3 p.m. – Pomerol UGC tasting at Gazin

We had a few standouts here, including a second tasting of the Petit Village, which again showed excellent. It is easily the best one I have tasted out of barrel. I was also impressed with the Gazin and La Croix de Gay. Both are solid efforts. The other real standout, next to the Petit Village, was the Clinet. One to buy if the price is reasonable!

St-Emilion

4 p.m. – St-Emilion UGC tasting a Beauséjour-Becot

I think all of us were extremely impressed with the quality of the wines from St- Emilion. In recent vintages these wines have not been our favorites, as we found them to be a bit over-extracted and harsh. I think the combination of the vintage and, maybe, the owners not trying to do too much with the wines, helped make some of the more successful wines of 2009. Our highlights from here included the killer Troplong Mondot, Larcis Ducasse, Beauséjour-Becot and Canon. These were some of my favorite wines of the day.

5 p.m. – Canon-La Gaffelière

The last big tasting of the day is always difficult. Still the ’09 d’Aigulilhe showed well along with the La Mondotte. Both are in that flashy extracted style but I thought they showed well.

K&L Team with Helene and Michael Affatato at La Gatte

7 p.m. – Tasting and dinner at Château La Gatte

Sure we were at Pétrus, Ausone and Angélus today, but the most fun we had was at Château La Gatte with owners Hélène and Michael Affatato. We did some barrel tastings and had a terrific meal of grilled duck. The evening was very enjoyable and relaxed, just what we needed! We currently have their Blanc and Rosé in stock. Both are screaming deals at around $10.

Trey Beffa

Tuesday
Apr062010

Trey's Blog: Day Six in Bordeaux

Wednesday, March 31st

9 a.m. – Château d’Angludet

An early start this morning. We meet James Sichel to taste through about 25 samples before the d’Angludet wines. We tasted 2003 through 2006 as well as the 2009. All of the wines showed well, but the 2009 really showed the quality of the vintage. Its flavors were similar to the older vintages, but the fruit was ripe, clean and fresh. Like many 2009s the purity of fruit and balance was on another level.

The 2009 Malescot-St-Exupery

10 a.m. – Châteaux Malescot-St-Exupéry

We had already heard the buzz about this wine before we arrived. The Wine Spectator scored it very high, and many others have mentioned this wine as an outstanding effort. For us, the 2009 lived up to the hype. It is a blend of 55% Cabernet, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Merlot. It showed a plush, rich, velvety texture, was thick and rich in the mouth and balanced by racy acidity, ripe ultra sweet-tannins and a spicy mineral driven finish. Killer wine!

10:30 a.m. – UGC Margaux

Here we tasted about 25 or so wines from the appellation. There were some outstanding wines, and then there were some wines that were just good. Overall the quality was high. We had our doubts as we heard from many that the Cabernet did better than the Merlot in 2009. But it seems that the wines from Margaux, even with high percentages of Merlot, showed great. Our favorites included the Cantenac Brown, Dufort-Vivens, Lascombes, Marquis de Terme and Rauzan-Segla. 

Noon – Camensac tasting and lunch

Along with the 2009 Camensac and the 2009 Chasse-Spleen, we tasted a vertical of Camensac starting with the 1999 and finishing with the 2008. The tasting was very interesting. For me, the best wines were the 2009, 2005 and the 2000, but that is probably obvious. The surprises were that the 1999 and the 2001 were both drinking very well. The 1999 had the most developed flavors and aromas. While the ’01 is probably a better wine, the 1999 would be the wine I would choose to drink now.

At lunch we were served the 2001 Camensac again. It was served blind and none of our wine professionals guessed it. The difference was that this bottle was decanted for about an hour beforehand. It was delicious and showed way more fruit than the earlier bottle. The next blind wine turned out to be the 1989 Chasse-Spleen. Both Ralph and Alex got this wine. It was very mature in the nose and showed very ripe, sweet fruit with hints of leather and tar. It was definitely from a hot vintage. The last wine served blind was not guessed by anyone. It was 1971 Chasse-Spleen. It was the third 1971 we tasted this trip—a new record! It was still alive and showed surprisingly well.

3 p.m. – UGC Graves/Pessac

It was a long drive from Camensac down to Pessac, and both the drive and the tasting proved to be among the toughest. The wines in this region showed more rough tannins than in the Médoc. That said, the weather was not good, and many people said that the low pressure was firming up the wines, which are very sensitive when they are this young. There were however a few wines that shined! These included the Smith Haut Lafitte (it may be their best wine ever), Marlartic-Lagravière, Carbonnieux and Haut-Bailly.

5 p.m. – Tasting at a négociants office

7 p.m. Dinner and tasting at Château Lascombes

We finally hit the wall! We were definitely on the quiet side at this dinner. Not even the the 1959 Lascombes out of Magnum could liven us up. We went back to our hotel early (10:30 p.m.). We’ve got the Right Bank tomorrow!

Trey Beffa

Wednesday
Mar312010

Trey's Blog: Days Three & Four in Bordeaux

Sunday, March 28th

The easiest day of the trip – the K&L/Alias/Joanne cup is today and guess who backed out. Me. After living in LA for 3 years I don’t handle wet, cold and windy weather very well.

Alex, Kerri, Sanford, Jeff and myself did muster up the energy for a lunch at noon at L’Avenal—our home away from home. We lucked out as Jean Michael-Cazes and Jean Charles Cazes were in the private room in the back with a large group. They opened a 6L of 1985 Lynch-Bages and sent us a couple glasses. Wine was outstanding. If I had some bottles I would open them up and enjoy them now. I think the wine is at its peak.

Foie Gras and Chocolate at Cordeillan-BagesDinner was at Cordeillan-Bages, a Michelin two-star restaurant.  The meal was outstanding. We ordered the three-course menu, which means that we ended up with about 12 courses if you include all the amouse bouche and desserts. My favorite dish was the foie gras and chocolate served at the start of the meal. Jeff G’s favorite dish was the turbot with a tube d’algue et esperge! Pigeon was the main and we had four dessert courses. The meal was great— lots of foam, which isn’t our group’s thing but it worked.

Wines included 1997 Malartic-Lagravière Blanc, 2001 Belgrave, 2000 Siran and a bottle of 1990 Climens.

 

Monday, March 29th

Now the real work begins. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the 2009s will be the best vintage I will have tasted out of barrel. The only other vintage that could come close would be 1995, and I missed that vintage. The wines have an amazing combination of ripe fruit, balance, finesse, power and length. The tannins are ripe, sweet and integrated.

8:30 a.m. – Breakfast with Jean Michel-Cazes of Lynch-Bages

No wine. Perrier to settle the stomach

9:15 a.m. – Lynch-Bages

The 2009 Lynch shows excellent. Super rich, lead pencil, clean and focused. This is one of the best Lynch-Bages I have tasted out of barrel.

10 a.m. – Léoville-Las Cases

Wow! If this is an example of what is to come, we are in for a treat. The 2009 Léoville-Las Cases is intense, concentrated, layered, dark and focused. This will be one of the best of the vintage for sure!

Jeff G, Clyde, Trey, Alex and Ralph at Duhart-Milon

10:30 a.m. – Duhart-Milon

I have never been to this Château, but Lafite was under construction so we tasted here.

We tasted ’09 Carruades, Duhart and Lafite. The ’09 Lafite was loaded with cola, mocha, minerals, sweet raspberry, spice, mint and big firm but ripe tannins. This is one of the best Lafites I have tasted young and this is usually a difficult wine for me to taste.

11 a.m. – Calon-Ségur

Never my favorite wine, but the Calon-Ségur showed racy acidity, red raspberry fruit, sandlewood and good freshness. This wine shows well!

Jeff, Alfred, Clyde, Melanie, Trey, Alex and Ralph at Pontet-Canet

11:30 a.m. – Pontet-Canet

The ’09 Pontet-Canet will be one to buy. Super sweet, ripe and fleshy, this wine is forward and ripe. This will be a wine that will show well upon release and should drink well for awhile.

12 p.m. – Montrose

We tasted four great offerings. The first two were from Tronqouy-Lalande, an unheralded winery making very affordable wines that deliver great quality for your dollar. The star of this tasting, however, was the 2009 Montrose, which may very well be the star of the St- Estèphe appellation. The wine showed powerful fruit balanced by good acidity, all with a streak of mineral and earth. Tasting this wine I thought of the famed 2000 and 1990 vintages of Montrose. (Notes by Alex Pross)

12:30 p.m. – Château Cos d’Estournel and Lunch

This was our first chance to taste in Cos’s new tasting room, which was very elegant and classy, the wine was even better. The 2009 Cos d’Estournel was spectacular, with powerful fruit and sweet elegant oak that had exotic spice notes including toffee and spice cake. Any fan of Cos will be thrilled to add this offering to their cellar. (Notes by Alex Pross)

After the tasting we had a nice light lunch with Mr. Prats. He poured the 1985 Cos d’Estournel, which was drinking very well. Soft, round, forward and lush, this is another wine that I would be drinking now if I had it in my cellar.

2:30 p.m. – Coufran

If you need any further proof of how great 2009 is shaping up, one only had to taste both the 2009 Verdignan and Coufran wines to see how evident this was. Both wines will sell for less than $20 and are sumptuous, full-bodied offerings. I can’t think of a better way to spend $20 on a wine than these. (Notes by Alex Pross)

Alex, Jeff and Ralph at Pichon-Lalande

4 p.m. – Pichon-Lalande

Wines tated here included the Bernadotte, Reserve de Comtesse, Pichon-Lalande, de Pez and Haut-Beausejour. The Pichon-Lalande showed spicy black licorice, red currants, lush, silky tannins, bright fruit and a long finish. This will be one to buy for sure.

5 p.m. – Latour

All the talk in Bordeaux has been that this and another first growth (Mouton) are the wines of the vintage. While we have not tasted Mouton yet, it would be hard to disagree with the Latour comments. It is a powerful wine that shows amazing finesse and a silky texture. 

6 p.m. – Champagne Break

7:30 p.m. – Dinner with Frederic Engerer at Château Latour

We have had some great wines on our trips to Bordeaux, wines that stand out each trip, wines that you can’t forget, wines that overshadow everything else and, many times, will be the one thing you can remember years later. Many of them have been from Château Latour. We had a pleasant dinner that started with a bottle of 1985 Salon. Our palates were fresh and ready to go. But Frederic likes to play with our minds, so he serves the wines blind and enjoys making us guess. Alex came very close on the first round. Our hint was that they were consecutive vintages.  He guessed 1970 and 1971 Latour. Close. They were 1970 and 1971 Les Forts de Latour. Tonight the ’71 was showing better than the ’70. It was fresh, powerful and rich. Both were very much alive but the ’70 showed a tad flat. Round two was 1970 and 1971 Latour. Wow! The ’70 is a great wine that is still fresh and vibrant. The ’71 is very much alive. The fact that we were drinking this wine at Latour I think played a big role. This wine never left the town of Paulliac. Ship this wine to the west coast and put it in a cellar for a years and who knows.

1945 LatourThe final wine was guessed by my father. 1945 Latour! A big-time treat, this wine was amazing. It was so sweet and fresh that it was a shock to me that it was ’45. Most of us guessed ’61. It was a very nice surprise and one we will not forget.

Trey Beffa