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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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Entries in Burgundy (39)

Wednesday
Apr042012

Keith's Burgundy Hotline: Domaine Benoit Ente - One of Burgundy's Absolute Best Producers

By: Keith Wollenberg | K&L Burgundy Buyer

 

Hello Burgundy Lovers,

I do not use the description Top Producer lightly.  And if you know me, you know I am seldom prone to hyperbole about how good growers are.  But mark my words, Domaine Benoit Ente is making some of the purest, most focused white wines in all of Burgundy.  He is less well-known than his brother Arnaud Ente, but I actually prefer his wines, as they are less worked for richness and more representative of the place they come from, in my experience.

If you are looking for life, vibrancy and a clear attention to terroir, this is the place to find them!  I spent an enjoyable time sitting in Benoit’s kitchen and talking cover crops, specifics of soil types in various vineyards, and what he was looking for in his wines.  This is a guy who lights up when you talk vineyard with him.

I have followed his wines for multiple vintages now, and would suggest to you that if you miss his 2009s you will be sorry.  He has no Grands Cru vineyards, although his Folatieres is better than many Grands Cru I have tasted, and his village wine better than many Premier Crus.   We managed to secure a few cases of each, which is no small feat given how little comes into California.

They will be here in less than a week, but are being offered now.  You snooze, you lose, on these wines.  ‘Nuff said.

The Wines:  

2009 Domaine Benoit Ente Bourgogne Blanc (Pre-Arrival) $29.99 

The 2009 Bourgogne is a striking wine endowed with gorgeous textural finesse and elegance. It shows attractive fleshiness and fine balance at this level. I especially like the brightness and freshness on the finish. The fruit is sourced predominantly from Puligny (85%) with the remainder coming from Meursault.(Parker's Wine Advocate, 09/11) Allen Meadows writes: "A pungent nose of straw, melon and pear gives way to very fresh and attractively intense flavors that exude a discreet minerality on the dry, clean and focused finish." (Burghound, 02/11) 


2009 Domaine Benoit Ente Chassagne-Montrachet "Les Houlieres" (Pre-Arrival) $59.95

91 Points Galloni in Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Chassagne-Montrachet is all class and elegance. Rich and expressive on the palate, the Chassagne shows gorgeous persistence and depth to match an understated, refined personality. The wine keeps getting bigger in the glass, showing tons of villages character and energy. It is a fabulous bottle at the villages level." (WA, 09/11) 


2009 Domaine Benoit Ente Puligny-Montrachet (Pre-Arrival)   $59.95 

92 points Galloni in Parker: "The 2009 Puligny-Montrachet is simply fabulous. Flowers, mint and pears are some of the notes that emerge from the glass. This shows quite a bit of intensity, but in a more refined and subtle style than the Chassagne. There is considerable detail and nuance in this impeccably crafted, vibrant Puligny. This is another classy effort that over achieves its supposed pedigree. " Allen Meadows calls this "Outstanding", writing: "The vestiges of post-bottling reduction do not significantly diminish the appeal of the acacia blossom... Read More » 


2009 Domaine Benoit Ente Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Champ Gain" (Pre-Arrival)   : $99.95

93 Points Galloni in Parker: "The 2009 Puligny-Montrachet Champs Gain is a relatively large-scaled, textured wine. This is total seduction. The Champs Gain impresses for its pliant, mid-palate juiciness, yet there is more than enough minerality to provide freshness and verve. is a striking, wonderfully complete wine." (WA, 09/11) 91 and Outstanding! from Burghound: "An expressive and attractively complex nose speaks of white peach, pear, fennel and floral aromas though there is also a hint of SO2 lurking in the background. There is more volume and a bit ... Read More » 


2009 Domaine Benoit Ente Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Folatieres" "En la Richarde" (Pre-Arrival)   $134.99

This comes from a tiny piece of Folatieres, located almost touching Cheavliers Montrachet. Benoit feels htis is his finest vineyard, with the most aging potential and prices it accordingly. Allen Meadows scores it 92, calls it Outstanding!, and writes: "This offers the most elegant nose in the range with an exquisite aromatic profile of stone, acacia blossom, pear and lemon rind that precedes the energetic and imposingly full-bodied flavors that brim with dry extract on the lingering and mouth coating finish. This elegant wine of finesse is not quite as complex as the Referts but it is notably finer and much more mineral-inflected as well. A choice." (Burghound, 02/11)  Galloni scores this 93  in Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres En La Richard is the most dense and substantial of these 2009s from Benoit Ente. It possesses gorgeous textural richness, considerable depth and fabulous overall balance. The aromas and flavors come together beautifully in this complete, harmonious white. The finish impresses for its depth and purity." (WA, 09/11)


-Keith

 

Mr. Keith WOLLENBERG

Directeur Commercial Bourgogne

K&L Wine Merchants

http://www.klwines.com

+1-650-556-2724 Direct Line

Keithw@klwines.com

 

 

 

Friday
Nov112011

Keith's Burgundy Hotline: Dungeness Crab, Chablis, the world is good.

By: Keith Wollenberg | K&L Burgundy Buyer

Hello Burgundy Lovers,

Another container just landed, with some wines I have been waiting impatiently for.  They are a range of superb Chablis from Jean-Claude Bessin.  He has not had a West Coast Importer, until I talked him into selling us a few cases.  Before he would sell me any wine he wanted to know who I worked with in Chablis, about our stores, what I knew about Chablis, etc. etc.  It was a challenging and rewarding visit.

Our supplies are limited, and these should go quickly, once people taste the wines.  You know I am not prone to hyperbole, but tasting in his cellar last summer was a highpoint of my trip. These are wines of Raveneau or Dauvissat quality.  He works by hand, with no machine harvesting, no herbicides, no pesticides and  use of cover crops. 

Let me make 2 bold predictions:

1)      You WILL NOT be sorry to have these brilliant wines in  your cellar and on hand when crab season starts.

2)      You WILL be sorry later if you miss these wines.  I bought some bottles for my own cellar before I sent out this email.  ‘Nuff said.

Here is what Jean-Claude has to say about his domaine (From an interview in our November newsletter, translated from the French by yours truly)

 

How would you describe your winemaking philosophy?

“The Art of the Vines”:  To be guided by nature.

“The art of Winemaking”: Simplicity.

 

What wines or winemakers helped influence your philosophy?

No one particular wine or winemaker.  We apply all the traditional methods, which we adapt and change according to our sensibilities, staying in tune with nature.

 

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

I am 100% involved in grape-growing, as wine is made in the vineyard.  Each of my vineyard sites reveals its secrets over the years as I work with it in successive vintages.

 

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

The purity of our wines has always been a priority.  When I was younger, I liked wines which were perfumed, with richness and roundness, but today I prefer elegance, finesse and personality in wine.  I leave it to you to taste my wines and tell me how this change has influenced my winemaking!

 

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

Sashimi of Scallops, Wild Sea Bass ...

 

What changes are planned for coming vintages? Any new (top secret) varietals, blends or proprietary wines on the horizon?

We intend no grand changes, just to continue to work with, and listen to, each vineyard site.

 

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

No comment.

 

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

All the good wines!

 

Do you collect wine? If so, what’s in your cellar?

Burgundies, of course, but also the wines of the Loire Valley, Rhone Valley and other regions.

 

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

I will not venture an opinion on this subject.  I consider myself a craftsman, and feel that the greatest challenge facing small growers (such as I am) is to remain artisanal.

 

These wines are in stock in all locations, and available on  the web  or by phone, while they last. 

 

2009 Domaine Jean-Claude Bessin Chablis "Vieilles Vignes"   $19.99

100% Hand-harvested, all wild yeast fermentations, and a full 18 months of élevage. Reserved with lots of concentration. Made from 45-55 year old vines. Nice minerality, with a bit of floral notes on the nose. Very nice weight on the mid-palate from the old-vine concentration. (Keith Wollenberg, K&L Burgundy Buyer, 03/11) Allen Meadows writes: "A pretty nose of modest Chablis character also features notes of pear, white peach and apricot that lead to rich, generous and relatively full-bodied flavors that possess a seductive texture on the delicious... Read More » 


2009 Domaine Jean-Claude Bessin Chablis 1er Cu "Montmains" $24.99

Very lovely character, with clean, focused fruit and nice minerality threaded behind it. This is very good. It sees some (not much) neutral wood in its élevage. (Keith Wollenberg, K&L Burgundy Buyer, 03/11) Allen Meadows scores this 90 points and writes:"A fresh, elegant and floral nose is nuanced by hints of stone, spice and green fruit that merges into middle weight flavors that possess good richness but also good detail, all wrapped in a delicious, balanced and solidly complex finish." (Burghound, 10/11) 


2009 Domaine Jean-Claude Bessin Chablis 1er Cu "La Fôret"    $26.99

This I thought was truly terrific Chablis, with very, very pretty fruit and wonderful concentration on the palate. Absolutely singing at this juncture. Notes of honey combine beautifully with the minerality here. Has that characteristic of the acidity that makes you r mouth water, quite literally. As Jean-Claude told me: "This terroir typically has lots of freshness and tension, from the limestone rocks in the soil here." " (Keith Wollenberg, K&L Burgundy Buyer, 03/11) Allen Meadows calls this "Outstanding", scores it 91, and writes:"This is a bit f... Read More » 


2009 Domaine Jean-Claude Bessin Chablis 1er Cu "Fourchaume"   $26.99

From several parcels, in the heart of Fourchaume and one in Homme Mort. Open and pretty in character, with lovely floral notes and a rather round character on the palate for a young Chablis. (Keith Wollenberg, K&L Burgundy Buyer, 03/11) Allen Meadows Scores it 91 and writes: "(from a 2 ha parcel in Fourchaume with a small portion in L'Homme Mort). This also displays white orchard fruit aromas with hints of exoticism but here there is more of a floral influence that slides gracefully into rich and big-bodied flavors that possess fine depth and length, ... Read More » 


2009 Domaine Jean-Claude Bessin Chablis 1er Cu "Fourchaume" "La Pièce au Comte"   $31.99

This is Jean-Claude's oldest vines, aged 58-78 years old. It is very, very elegant on the palate with more extract and focus. It also shows terrific poise and energy. Lots of little tine white flowers on the nose, with pronounced minerality and a more powerful finish. Terrific! (Keith Wollenberg, K&L Burgundy Buyer, 03/11) Allen Meadows calls this Outstanding!, scores it 92 and writes: "(Bessin explains that this is essentially the old vines Fourchaume). This appears to have better integration of the wood than is typical at this early stage with a s... Read More » 


2009 Domaine Jean-Claude Bessin Chablis Grand Cru "Valmur"   $49.95

Ok, folks, hold your hats. This is the most concentrated, high-energy 2009 I tasted on my March trip. It comes from the Domaine's oldest vines (more than 80 years, but no one knows how old they actually are!) Lots of energy, lots of tension, more size than any of the 1er Crus, terrific concentration. In a word, superb! (Keith Wollenberg, K&L Burgundy Buyer) Allen Meadows scores this 93, awards a "Sweet Spot" and notes: "A visible if discreet touch of wood allows free rein to the green fruit and spiced pear aromas that complement the rich, serious and... Read More » 

 

A Santé, and enjoy Dungeness crab season, if you are in the right part of the country. 

-Keith

 

Mr. Keith WOLLENBERG

Directeur Commercial Bourgogne

K&L Wine Merchants

http://www.klwines.com

+1-650-556-2724 Direct Line

Keithw@klwines.com

 

Tuesday
Nov082011

Personal Sommelier Online: It's Dunce Day! Fun November Holidays and Wines to Match

November 8, 2011

November.

The month of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, of All Saints Day, All Souls Day and Dia de los Muertos. Of Veterans Day. At K&L, November is also Burgundy month, when our shelves are stacked high with recent arrivals from France. Nevertheless, despite all this activity and potential, most food and wine discussions in November revolve around turkey.

It gets old.

So, if you’re tired of talking turkey (like me) or simply appreciate any excuse to drink Burgundy (also like me), here are some of my favorite lesser-known November holidays to celebrate this month, with Burgundies to match.

 

November 8th: Dunce Day

Although the conical dunce cap is today symbolic of stupidity, Dunce Day is meant to celebrate learning, in the name of the influential and controversial Franciscan theologian Johannes Duns Scotus, who believed that the cone-shaped hats increased learning potential. While that cap may not have aided Duns’ cause much, the Stelvin closure (screwcap) continues to win serious believers the world over. Even in traditional winemaking locales such as Burgundy, producers are finding that this style of closure seals in and preserves freshness most effectively for wines meant to be enjoyed young, like the 2010 Domaine des Nembrets Denis Barraud Mâcon “Source de Plaisirs”* ($12.99). With its citrusy and Golden Delicious apple-scented nose, creamy mouthfeel, mineral layers and acidity, you would be a dunce to ignore this one. 

November 17th: Take a Hike Day

It is easy to forget what Pinot Noir actually smells and tastes like, given that so many Pinots these days are bombarded by new wood. Well, those wines can take a hike while we get back to the roots of Pinot Noir, celebrating pure varietal expressions like the 2009 Domaine Anne & Arnaud Goisot Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre Pinot Noir* ($12.99) on what might be one of the last hikeable days of the year (at least in Northern California). Grab a bottle of this clean, fragrant, unoaked Pinot Noir from the northerly region of the Côtes d’Auxerre, pack a hearty picnic lunch and head to the woods. Hike not an option? Don’t worry: You can still observe this holiday in the comfort of your dining room. 

 

November 23rd: National Cashew Day

The only requirement on National Cashew Day is to eat cashews. And don’t we love how a handful of these fatty nuts can be the most profound complement to a glass of Corton-Charlemagne! The buttery flavors and creamy texture of the roasted and salted cashew enhance the taste sensation of this powerful, layered expression of Chardonnay. Splurge on the 2009 Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru* ($89.95), which is surprisingly approachable, or give the 2009 Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Blanc “Clos Berthet”* ($36.99) a try. Sourced from the only Premier Cru monopole for white wine in the area, the “Clos Berthet” will floor you with its power and density at half the price of the Corton.

November 28th: Make Your Own Head Day 

It’s not as weird as you think. Initiated by teachers to inspire creativity and imagination in school children, who on this day are asked to draw a new head for themselves. Why not give your wine collection a facelift and design your own customized wine club through the K&L Personal Sommelier Service? Learn more about the options and benefits and get started by visiting KLWines.com/Sommelier.asp.

 

Happy November & Cheers,

Chiara

 

Chiara Shannon

Head Sommelier - Personal Sommelier Service

K&L Wine Merchants

Tel: (800) 247-5987

Email: chiarashannon@klwines.com

KLWines.com

 

"It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one's present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason."

-Latin saying

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