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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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Entries in Bedrock Wine Co (3)


Thoughts From ZAP: Surprisingly Fresh!

"The 2011 Zins are much better than I thought they were going to be," reports K&L's Bryan Brick after this week's marathon Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) tasting in Alameda, CA.

By: Bryan Brick | K&L Domestic Wine Buyer

Yesterday marked one of the most physically difficult wine tastings in the business: The ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) tasting. Just think about tasting dozens of Zinfandels, some dry and others not so much, some with superb balance and some with blaring alcohol levels, and I think you’ll sympathize with the way my mouth feels today. The tasting was held at Rock Wall Winery in Alameda, a wonderful location for a tasting of this size and scope. This year the powers that be separated the trade portion of ZAP from the public tasting, which really helped myself and my co-worker Jim Boyce to get a lot done in a short period of time. With many fewer tasters, we were able to taste much more wine this year than in years past and speak more to the principals of the wineries about their respective wines. Plus, there were a lot fewer drunk people falling down and breaking glasses, or themselves--which was nice.

What I very quickly learned is that the 2011 Zins are much better than I thought they were going to be. Most of you know, or maybe have heard rumblings that 2011 is already a bit maligned. It was cold, sugar levels never hit the numbers that California has become accustomed to, yields were small if not downright scary, with people running numbers around 30-60% down from an average vintage. So I was a bit hesitant. That went away quickly when I started tasting the wines. I found the vintage to be energetic, drinkable and full of personality. ABV levels are down; flavor, balance and structure are up. The sad part is that there just isn’t going to be a lot of this wine to go around. But as these wines begin to roll out, I’d highly recommend adding some to your cellar or everyday drinking rotations.

Here are some highlights of our fave 2011s, as well as wines from other vintages, with brief descriptions from the tasting yesterday. I’ve added hyperlinks to the wines we currently have in stock. The others probably won’t be far behind.

2011 Ancient Peaks Zin: Top Value!2011 Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Zinfandel ($13.99) A refresher course, as we've had this wine in stock for a month or so, but it really held up in the context of all these Zins. It's truly one of the best values out there in the world of Zin.

2011 ANDIS “Estate” Amador County An intriguing new winery that is making a bigger style of Zin but with rarely seen balance from the area.

The 2012 Bedrock "Old Vine" Zin is from some of the oldest and most interesting vineyards in the Sonoma Valley.2012 Bedrock Wine Company "Old Vine" Sonoma Valley Zinfandel ($24.99) This wine is from some of the oldest and most interesting vineyards in Sonoma Valley. Tcomplex nature and concentration of that fruit shows through here in spades. Another tremendous value in Zin.

2012 Bedrock "Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Wine" Contra Costa Red Blend ($32.99) These vines are planted in river delta sands on their own roots and were planted in the 1890s. A field blend of Carignane, Mourvedre, Zinfandel, Palomino, Alicante and Mission, this was one of my personal faves of the tasting. Electric, vivacious fruit with zingy acid and great old vine spice this is not to be missed

2012 Bedrock "Lorenzo's Heirloom" Sonoma Valley Red Blend ($41.99) Just the fact that Bedrock has three wines on this list should tell you everything you need to know. This is  Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Cinsualt, Valdigue and a few “odds and ends.” Powerful, brooding, dark and spicy, this inky beast has all the elements to be a masterpiece in a decade or more.

2011 Bella “Hills and Benches” Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel A lovely interplay between the spicy/peppery side of Zin and the more confectionery/cocoa-driven side of the varietal.

2011 Bella “Lily Hill Estate” Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel The 2010 version of this wine was one of my top wines from last year’s tasting, so I was excited to taste the 2011. There is something about this site that adds a super charming floral lace to the wine. It’s something akin to lavender or lilac. Add a bunch of cocoa powder and dried blueberry and this is delicious.

2011 Dashe “Florence Vineyard” Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Maybe the biggest surprise of the tasting. Not because I don’t generally like the wines--I usually love them--but this just floored me with its energy, sexiness, bursting aromatics and strawberry fruit. I wanted to drink this by the bottle.

2009 D Cubed Howell Mountain Zinfandel ($32.99) This wine was out for a while but in no way does that diminish its deliciousness. In fact, the extra bottle time may add to it. Super tangy with tons of blueberry and crushed stone, this shows the tannic structure of Howell Mountain.

2012 Easton Amador County Zinfandel ($14.99) Another front runner for the value of the tasting. Pitchy red fruits with a touch more ripeness than usual and the mineral-driven undercurrent I’ve come to expect from this inexpensive stunner.

2010 Easton “E” Fiddletown Zinfandel Certainly the best “E” bottling I’ve seen from them. I loved the unflinching iron/bloody aspect of this Zin. A true old-school Gold Country Zin.

2011 Hendry “Blocks 7&22” Napa Valley Zinfandel This just garnered a huge score by a respected wine mag and I can see why. Like a melted wild berry cobbler with a scoop of chocolate ice cream, but somehow never coming off close to sweet.

2011 Mike & Molly Hendry “R.W. Moore Vineyard” Napa Valley Zinfandel We loved the 2010 last year at ZAP and this year may be even better. Deep and earthy with warm, sunny earth and perfectly ripe, briary black fruits. Some may know this as a vineyard that Biale works with but Mike Hendry farms the vineyard for them.

2011 Limerick Lane Russian River Valley Zinfandel ($29.99) We love what the Bilbro brothers have been doing since they purchased this winery a couple of years back. Now that we are in the 2011s, the wines are the first they’ve made from beginning to end. Big, boisterous Zins with more soul than James Brown.

2011 Limerick Lane “1910 Block” Russian River Valley Zinfandel From the oldest block planted at their estate, this Zin may have won the award for the most intense Zin of the day. Long, drawn out and powerful this is still a baby but it floored us. “Amazing” is one of the descriptors I wrote in my notes.

2011 Sobon Estate “Cougar Hill” Amador County Zinfandel ($13.99) Value city! Every year Sobon Estate rocks something that just wildly over-delivers on its asking price. This year it is the Cougar Hill with its unabashed ripeness, cherry cola fruit and a lifting sensation. I don’t remember the Coug being this good.

2011 Troon “Estate” Applegate Valley Zinfandel Maybe the most eye-opening wine of the day. This southern Oregon Zin held its own with classiness and elegance. From vines planted in 1972, this wine is all about balance. Very open and engaging


ZAPPED! & I'm not talking Scott Baio...

By: Bryan Brick | K&L Domestic Wine Buyer

Last week a chosen few K&L staffers met at the San Francisco store to head down to the annual ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) Zinfandel Festival taking place nearby. The journey to brave the wave of Zinfandel in all its bold glory consisted of a four city block walk, some bear traps, and a few unmentionables...We knew what we were getting into: an ocean of Zin, the good and the bad, but our mission to find the greats to share with you--our customers--kept us on track.

My philosophy at these sort of events is to not stray too far off the path of the known. You can get into deep water quickly with a bunch of 15+% ABV Zins that offer few redeeming qualities, so I generally choose to keep my cards close and my opinions closer with the exception of this little ditty about what I tasted there. A disclaimer: by no means did I taste even 25% of what was available for sampling (if anybody even got close to that they’d be wheeled out in the paddy wagon), but I did seek out and taste wines from a variety of producers and made sure to visit those in attendance that I believe to be leaders in the category.

The good news is that due to recent back-to-back difficult vintages (2010 and 2011), the wines from these vintages overall were surprisingly fresh. The longer, cooler growing seasons required lengthier hang-times for fruit to ripen and cooler average temperatures preserved acidity, lending them bright treble-y flavors along with great verve and life. Balance and restraint was a prevailing theme among many of the offerings; I didn’t nearly as many Zins higher than 15% ABV or that had excess residual sugar. Since heat wasn’t a disposable commodity in these vintages, you couldn’t get grapes to 25-28 degrees brix! The talk instead among producers was of their ridiculously low PH levels (3.3 anyone?) and dramatically reduced yields. Many producers reported being down 30% or more in case production.

It may be true that 2010 and 2011 were challenging vintages, but producers across the board did the most with what they had, and with great success. I tasted many delicious, crowd-pleasing Zins that didn't skip a beat in delivering the bold flavors and spicy intensity that has won Zinfandel its throngs of admirers. Many producers made some of the best wines I had tasted from them in years. Meanwhile, if you prefer higher acidity and restraint in their wines, be on the lookout: there are some truly outstanding, balanced, and terroir-driven Zins being released that I know you will love.

2011 Bedrock Wine Company "Saitone Ranch" Russian River Valley Zinfandel So, here is my personal list of the top Zinfandels I tasted at the event. As you will see, some of these are currently available while many have a while yet before being released. Prices range, but there are a handful on this list that in my opinion over-deliver for the price; these are the ones that excited me the most. I hope they excite you, too.

Oh, yeah - in no way is this list in any sort of order. Enjoy!

2011 Ridge Vineyards “Pagani Ranch” 

2011 Carlisle Dry Creek Valley

2011 Bucklin “Old Hill Ranch-Bambino”

2009 Bucklin “Old Hill Ranch-Ancient Vines”

2011 Bedrock “Saitone Ranch” (in stock $36.99) 

2010 Dashe Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2008 Green & Red “Tip Top Vineyard”

2010 Dashe Dry Creek Valley (in stock $22.99)

2011 Mauritson “Westphall Ridge”

2009 D Cubed Howell Mountain

2010 Easton “Estate”

2008 Noceto “Grandpere Vineyard”

2010 Bella “Lily Hill Vineyard”

2010 Kokomo Dry Creek Valley

NV Gamba Centurian



Sonoma Road Trip Stories, Part VI: Bedrock Wine Co.

Morgan Twain Peterson, Age 5. Photo courtesy of Bedrock Wine Co.

By: Kyle Kurani | K&L Staff Member

This was my favorite visit of our recent staff tasting trip to Sonoma. Morgan Twain-Peterson, the winemaker at Bedrock Wine Co., has been making wine since the age of five (seriously, being the son of Joel Peterson of Ravenswood fame has its perks). Morgan is a champion of old vine preservation and is one of the founding members of the Historic Vineyard Society. He has some of the most amazing heritage vineyard sites in Sonoma at his disposal, including Pagani Ranch and Monte Rosso, home to some of the oldest of the old vines in Sonoma. Ridge and Carlisle source from Pagani Ranch; Mondavi, Rosenblum, T-Vine, and many other producers have been proud to work with Monte Rosso fruit over the years. 

Sherman & Hooker's Shebang (Bedrock Wine Co.) "Cuvée V" Sonoma Valley Red Blend Morgan's wines are extremely hand-made. His motto is “It takes a village to raise a wine,” but you can taste the care and diligence that goes into each bottle. K&L customers might recognize Bedrock for its entry level Sherman & Hooker's "Shebang" Sonoma Valley Red Blend ($11.99), a non-vintage wine now in its fifth release and one of the best California wine values we offer, but all the Bedrock wines are worth seeking out. 

Morgan's productions are so low and his wines in such demand that they don't stick around long on the shelf and we rarely get the opportunity to taste them at K&L, so this visit was indeed special. We tried a dozen barrel samples in his cellar, and I felt like a broken record after every delicious, concentrated sip, badgering him with questions: How much of this did you produce? Will we be able to have it on the shelf at K&L? and so on. More often the answer was along the lines of three barrels, and he was afraid it would all sell out to his club members before we could have the chance to get our thirsty paws on it.

Nevertheless, persistence pays off, and we do have an assortment of amazing Bedrock wines in stock share with you. These are wines that bring me back to my family roots of drinking wine around the table with the people you care about; wines with soul and depth, from vineyards that have been almost forgotten by time and with an old-vine spirit that fancy winemaking cannot replicate. They are bold, yet complex wines, rich, yet superbly balanced. Just perfect for hearty fall and winter dishes.

To see our full offering and learn more about the wines we have in stock, use the search tool and search "bedrock" on   

In the mean time, here are two that really stand out to me:

2011 Bedrock Wine Company "Saitone Ranch" Russian River Zinfandel ($36.99)

Made from vines planted in 1896 and consists of mainly Zinfandel with small amounts of Petit Sirah, Alicante and the usual other mixed-blacks suspects making an appearance. This wine has the depth and concentration of 100 year old vines, paired with the buoyant acidity you get from the cool climate of Russian River. Rich fruit, blueberries and dark cherry, with spice and a touch of earth, make this wine a perfect pairing for anything off the grill, or braised dishes that have been cooking all day.

2011 Bedrock Wine Company "Bedrock Vineyard-Heritage Wine" Sonoma Valley Red Wine ($36.99)

Perhaps my favorite wine from Bedrock, this is from Morgan’s family vineyards and truly embodies Bedrock is all about. This wine is made from 22 different varietals--a field blend is something of an understatement--from vines that were planted 123 years ago. Morgan has gone through and identified every vine on the property by hand...labor of love or maniacal wine maker? The main component is Zinfandel, with the remaining 40% of the wine a blend of what has been planted in the vineyard for the past century. Peppery fruit is in the lead with this wine, followed by plums and cloves. It is a very dark and textured wine, chewy and dense; a wine to be enjoyed with food, not as an aperitif. This wine has so much history in each glass. If you are a fan of the tradition and history of wine, this is something to be tried and shared with friends.

I hope this brief description of Bedrock’s wines has been enough to pique your interest in a winery that I find completely fascinating. These wines are steeped in history and deliver flavor profiles that are harder and harder to come by in this modern winemaking era. Good honest wines, made by a fantastic wine maker with great respect for tradition and the land, are wines worth trying to be sure.