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One of the most serious English Sparkling producers. This historic estate has been in the Goring family since 1743. The tiny 16-acre vineyard is close-planted on a steep south-facing chalk escarpment described as 'similar to the Côte des Blancs' in Champagne. The fruit is picked very selectively with quality being the absolute focus. The grapes are pressed gently using a traditional Coquard press. After three years on the lees this wine, composed of 45% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay & 22% Pinot Meunier, is hand disgorged and balanced with a minimal dosage of just 4g/L. It has a fine counterbalance between toasty richness and power from the wines élevage in Burgundian French Oak barrels, with racy acidity, tension and a focused chalky minerality.

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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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Entries in Blanc de Blancs (11)

Friday
Dec212012

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!

-Gary

 

Friday
Sep212012

Champagne Friday: Special Louis Roederer Tasting Tuesday 9/25

Champagne Louis Roederer

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Champagne Friday on a Tuesday?

This Tuesday (September 25th) we are hosting Charles Fournier of Champagne Louis Roederer in Redwood City for a very special tasting. Charles is flying in from Reims, and will be able to answer any question that you might have about these world class wines. Champagne Louis Roederer only uses purchased fruit for their non-vintage wines, all the vintage wines are entirely estate, and each has vineyard land designated to it, and farmed specifically with the finished wine in mind. This is the opposite of other grand marques, who make selections for their Champagne much later in the game- usually after the alcoholic fermentation.

Charles will present the following wines:

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne $39.99

Louis Roederer "Carte Blanche" Extra Dry Champagne $44.99

2006 Louis Roederer Vintage Blanc de Blancs Champagne $74.99

2005 Louis Roederer Brut Champagne $64.99

2007 Louis Roederer Brut Rosé Champagne $64.99

The tasting will be from 5pm until 6:30 PM, but might end early if we run out of wine. I would recommend coming at 5pm. The cost will be $5. If you are a fan of Champagne, and can get away to make it to this event, I highly recommend it. Learning from the Champenois is a rare treat, especially from the big houses. If you are interested in learning more about the estate wines program at Champagne Louis Roederer, please check out my interview with Jean Baptiste Lecaillon from this spring:

 

I hope to see you here- and we can toast together then!

–Gary

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Check out more educational wine & spirits videos from the experts at K&L on YouTube!

 

Friday
Sep072012

Champagne Friday: Pierre Paillard Mother Vines

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Pierre Paillard Mother Vines

How often can a Champagne lover taste a great growers two best plots, both individually and then blended together- and all as finished wines? For this Champagne lover, I have only done it once, with the Pierre Paillard Acte 1 Blanc de Blancs, Acte 1 Blanc de Noirs and 2002 Grand Cru Brut Vintage. Some good friends of ours had come over for dinner on Sunday, and we had a little bit of each one with some appetizers that I had made. We stoppered up the three bottles and drank them again with sushi on Wednesday. The stoppers did an excellent job and I will open way more than necessary for many occasions to come! 

The Paillard family has 11 hectares total, all in the grand cru village of Bouzy. They choose to propagate their own massal selections for all of their plantations, and do not use any commercial clones. When Antoine & Quentin Paillard got involved with the family business, the first thing they decided to do was make two wines from the two “mother plots” that they propagate the new vines from. The idea is to make them every year as single varietal, single vineyard, and single harvest wines, numbered in series. The first releases are just now out, and are both based on 2007, and are serialized as “Acte 1”. The 2008 will be labled as “Acte 2” and so on from there.

The 0.8 acre Motellettes is the site for the Pierre Paillard "Acte 1" Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($49.99) and was planted to Chardonnay in 1961. Like other great mountain of Reims Chardonnays that I have had, this wine has a touch of white stone fruit flavor to balance out the chalky minerality and haunting texture. It is great Champagne, subtle, complex and worth coming back to in order to get to know. The wine is dosed at only 8 grams per liter and comes across as very dry. I served it with popcorn with grated parmesan, drizzled with white truffle oil and sprinkled with fleur de sel. This was a good pairing for it and brought out the creamy elements in the wine. With the sushi, it was the most flexible wine of the three and went great with the embarrassing rolls that I like to order.

Pierre Paillard "Acte 1" Grand Cru Blanc de NoirsThe Maillerettes plot for the Pierre Paillard "Acte 1" Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Champagne ($49.99) is also just 0.8 acres and was planted to Pinot Noir in 1970. It is very powerful, dry Pinot Champagne also at 8 grams per liter of dosage. I find it to have black cherry Pinot flavor married to a chalky cut that is all Champagne. This bottle really shined with potato chips topped with crème fraiche and smoked salmon, bringing out the savory elements of this top class Pinot Noir Champagne. With the sushi it went best with the fish, we had salmon again and hamachi. This is very, very serious, very great Champagne.

2002 Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut VintageBoth the Maillerettes and the Motellettes are blended together in equal proportions for the 2002 Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Vintage Champagne ($59.99 in 750); ($119 in magnum). The extra five years of ageing given to marry these exceptional plots makes for something very special. The great 2002 vintage is no doubt also beneficial to the end result: one of the greatest Champagnes in stock at K&L at any price. On Sunday I served this with a piece of simply prepared wild pacific salmon. My attempt to make a popcorn crust (and thus tie together the two previous courses as the vineyard sites are tied together) failed miserably- the popcorn refused to be chopped into anything I could use as a crust! I guess I need to stick to the wine business! Pairing Champagne from Bouzy with wild salmon is about as inventive as serving claret with steak, but classics are classics for a reason. With the sushi, I found the 2002 to be a great all around bottle, but it really had synergy with the spicy tuna roll and the avocado maki. It will also make a fine foie gras Champagne if you live in a state where it is still legal.

I hope that you will try these fantastic wines, as they are in the top class of what is available in Champagne. Many of you enjoyed the regular brut in the K&L Champagne Club, and I promise that these bottles are a worthy progression from there.

A toast to you!

–Gary

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Check out more educational wine & spirits videos from the experts at K&L on YouTube!