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Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne $34.99One of our best non-vintage Champagnes, this organically grown blend of half each Chardonnay and Meunier comes entirely from Bruno Michel's estate. It has been aged for six years on the lees and shows wonderful natural toasty quality as well as incredible vibrance! This was the big hit of our most recent staff Champagne tasting and we think you will love it too.

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Tasting with Oliver Krug

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 KLWines.com or follow us on Facebook.  

 

Free Spirits Tastings at K&L! Now that we have our license for spirits tastings in Redwood City and San Francisco, we’re excited to host regular free spirits tastings in those locations.  Check the Spirits Journal for an updated tasting schedule.

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.

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

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Entries in Champagne (75)

Tuesday
Jan082013

Blind International Sparkling Wine Tasting Challenge: And the Winner Is...

 

#5) 2007 Huet "Cuvée Huet" Vouvray Petillant Sec ($29.99)

K&L Notes: Maison Huet has been a leading force in the Vouvray appellation for quite sometime now, and today is regarded as one of the premier producers of Chenin Blanc in the Loire Valley, if not the world. Founded in 1928, the estate now covers 35 hectares, which are divided up between three properties - Le Mont, Le Haut-Lieu and Le Clos du Bourg - all that have been farmed biodynamically since 1990. These wines are stunning and are worth being in your cellar. In addition to its famous vineyard-designated wines, Huet also produces this delightful sparkling Pétillant, a blend of fruit from the aforementioned 'big three' vineyards with other small parcels on the estate.

Last Friday, K&L customers and staff put their palates to the test and tasted through a blind lineup of a whopping thirteen sparkling wines from all over the world. This was the third installment in our series of Blind Tasting Challenges in Redwood City, events that have become very popular with our customers! K&L's Ryan Woodhouse carefully chilled, numbered, and wrapped each bottle in aluminum foil so the wines could be kept on ice without the covers getting soggy (clever thinking!). Tasters were presented with a blank, numbered tasting sheet on which to make notes and invited to guess country and region of origin for each wine. At the end, each taster had to submit a vote for his/her overall favorite wine before receiving the key to the tasting.

The winning wine, the 2007 Huet "Cuvee Huet" Vouvray Petillant Sec  (100% Chenin Blanc), beat out some serious contenders, including three Champagnes, two popular domestic producers, and some of our best-selling sparklers from other style categories such as Cremant de Limoux, Cava, and Prosecco. The Huet sure stood out in the lineup as distinctive, with its combination of sweet and savory aromas and flavors and obviously richer body as compared to the others - it's not your "typical" sparkler! Because of its unique profile, K&L staff admit to being suprised the Huet emerged as the most popular in the tasting, but then again, K&L attracts a pretty sophisticated and adventurous bunch of customers, so it's really no surprise at all!

Here is the complete lineup:

1. Silvano Follador "Dosaggio Zero" Prosecco, Italy ($24.99)

2. 2009 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs Brut Sparkling, Napa/Sonoma, CA ($28.99)

3. Quartz Reef "Methode Traditionelle", Central Otago, New Zealand ($21.99)

4. 2008 Can Mayol Loxarel "Refugi" Reserva Brut Nature, Penedes, Spain ($17.99)

5. 2007 Huet "Cuvee Huet" Vouvray Petillant Sec, Vouvray, Loire Valley, France (29.99)

6. Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne, France ($38.99)

7. 2008 Argyle Willamette Valley Brut, Oregon $24.99

8. Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne, France $38.99

9. Graham Beck Brut Sparkling Wine, Western Cape, South Africa ($14.99)

10. 2010 Antech "Cuvee Eugenie" Cremant de Limoux, Limoux, France ($13.99)

11. 2007 Marguet Pere et Fils Brut Rose Champagne, France ($49.99)

12. Jansz Brut Rose, Tasmania, Australia ($19.99)

13. Mas Codina Cava Brut Reserva Penedes, Spain ($12.99)

 

Stay tuned for the next Blind Tasting Challenge!

Friday
Jan042013

Champagne Friday: Top 10 Champagnes of 2012

Bernard Launois and the 1964 Pertois Blanc de Blancs Champagne (#3)

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Happy New Year and here's to the first of many Champagne Fridays in 2013! I think it's only fitting to start off the new year reflecting on some highlights from last year in the Champagne department. 2012 was so full of great bottles that it seems a pity to choose only ten to talk about, but since ten is the traditional number for lists like this, I am going to stick to it. Champagne is impossible to take out of its context, so I have not made any attempt to be empirical with this list. It is simply my top personal 10 Champagne experiences of the year, each great for a different reason.

Before we get started, I want to take moment to thank each and every one of you K&L Champagne-loving customer out there for your support in 2012, and look forward to helping you in 2013!

Gary's Top 10 Champagnes of 2012

A real birthday treat: the 1995 Launois Vintage Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Jeroboam!10. 1995 Launois Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Jeroboam: Why not start big? The K&L crew gathered for 'Friday Night Uncorked' at Quattro Restaurant on my birthday, and we brought this to enjoy with the menu of the evening. This Jeroboam was disgorged for the millennium and covered in references to 2000, which confuse the heck out of people looking for the 1995 on the label! This big bottle worked great for the dozen of us and easily got around for seconds. It was creamy, with great vanilla cake butter richness braced by electric Mesnil minerality. It showed perfectly at 17, and should be good for decades of birthdays to come!!! Many of the crew commented that this was the “wine of the night” even after enjoying magnums of 1986 and 1966 Pichon Lalande that were in top form!

Charles Heidsieck "Brut Reserve" Champagne 9. Charles Heidsieck "Brut Reserve" Champagne ($49.99):  My jaw almost dropped when I learned the story of the new Charles Heidsieck from Cecile Bonnefond, the CEO of both Charles and Piper. Instead of the normal package change / price increase rationalized by currency fluctuation or “increased international demand” this wine had been improved at great cost to the producer before the price went up! The new package contains a selection of half the vineyard sites of the old one, and older reserve wines. The result is non-vintage Champagne that is better than most big house vintage wines and a stronger value now at $49.99 than the old was at $34.99. When we drank this with Jim Pollock at the K&L party at my house it was one of the stars of the night, and reflecting back, of the whole year! This Champagne has depth, combining maturity and freshness, nutty intrigue and minerality! To learn more, check out my interview with Cecile posted in October. Enjoying the "new" Charles Heidsieck "Brut Reserve" Champagne with Jim Pollock and K&L staff.

Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Rosé Champagne 8. Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Rosé Champagne ($49.99):  My friend Henry Hiatt who manages the Fish Market in Palo Alto brought several dozen big Miyagi oysters from Fanny Bay in British Columbia and shucked them expertly for all of us. We had some Chablis and a few Blanc de Blancs with them and they worked well, just like one would expect. We were thirsty on Thanksgiving, and the only cold bottle of Champagne left was this rose… Which I did not think would work at all. What a surprise! This ultra dry rose, with its very high (70%) Chardonnay content was the best pairing of the night with the oysters. While we could taste the black cherry flavor of the Bouzy rouge, the wine interacted with the oysters like an extra brut- clean refreshment and mineral zing!

Franck Bonville Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne 7. Franck Bonville Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($39.99): Cinnamon and I drank this at home the night before flying down to Los Angeles for the annual Champagne tent events. This was our last chance to enjoy Champagne like regular citizens before the madness of the big tastings, and we took advantage of it! Cinnamon picked up sushi to go from our favorite spot, Akasaka in Menlo Park and we enjoyed the pairing immensely. The extra brut from Bonville is always the same wine as the concurrent vintage, but not declared as such. It is all Avize Chardonnay and although the current batch had over four years on the lees, it is still very austere on its own. With sushi it is magic. The sweetening effect the hamachi had on this bottle was striking, and its flexibility with the spicy and pickled flavors from the embarrassing rolls that I like to order amazed me. The unbelievably clean, precise chalkiness of this wine put the Avize terroir center stage!

Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne (1.5L) 6. Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne Magnum ($79.99/ $34.99 750): I opened this magnum as business petered off on Christmas eve for the staff here in the Redwood City store, and it made me a popular man at K&L. Carrying a magnum around to the various work stations put a smile on many faces here, and the wine inside the bottle kept those smiles. This wine is single vineyard, from the very steep Gouttes d’Or site in Brouillet, and has a very different style than the Chardonnay from the Cotes de Blancs. This is creamy, decadent wine, and great on its own in the final moments of the retail rush…or just about any time! I need to buy this for my cellar.

5. 1978 Veuve Clicquot "Cave Privée" Brut Rosé Champagne: Who could resist the charm of drinking Cave Privée in the Cave Privée? On April 30th I visited Clicquot in Reims and tasted with Pierre Cassenave from their winemaking team. All the wines; 1990 and 1980 Gold Label, 2004 La Grande Dame and 1989 Rose showed unbelievably well, but the star was this 1978. It was darker than the 1989 and had a giant Vosne-Romanee like nose of savory black cherry fruit. It was rich, textural wine and had me scribbling “the Richebourg of Champagne” and “one of my top Champagne experiences” in my notebook. I wonder if they will ever let any out of the Cave Privée for us? If you would like to see the Cave, check this out this video shared on Uncorked in May of last year.

The current release of Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne ($139) is in stock now.4. Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne

(last year's batch): Just three weeks ago I had the pleasure of tasting nearly every release from Krug over dinner with their new CEO. The best pairing of the night and my favorite wine was last years’ release of Grande Cuvee paired with the white truffle risotto. I love that a little patience and a good cellar is all one needs to steal the show from $800 wines, and boy did this bottle steal the show! This batch was based on the most unlikely harvest- 2003. It was brought into excellent balance by a big dollop of 1996 and reserves going all the way back to 1988. The wine was so full of truffles itself that I felt like the most decadent man on earth drinking it with the real Alba product. I learned my lesson from this bottle- put more non-vintage in the cellar; just a year can make such a difference! You can see the whole story in this video posted on Uncorked.

3.1964 Pertois Blanc de Blancs Champagne (photo at top): Who is Pertois you might ask? They are an important landholding family in the Cotes de Blancs, and this bottle came from Severine Launois’ mothers’ side of that family, and we drank it together at Launois. Many of the vineyard sites in this bottle are now part of the Launois estate. The 1964 vintage in Champagne was one of the greats of the 20th century, and this old disgorgement did not disappoint. This was a caramely, rich, full bodied, low mousse masterpiece that made me think of my few and precious experiences with Montrachet. This was one of only two wines that I could not spit out while on business this year… The other being my #1!

Bruno Michel "Rebelle" Extra Brut Champagne 2. Bruno Michel "Rebelle" Extra Brut Champagne ($39.99): Continuing the subject of drinking rather than tasting, this Champagne was a party for one. Cinnamon was staying up in the city with her friend Jenna on a Friday night, and I grabbed some sushi to go and headed home to dine with our cat, the Morsel. While she helped with the sushi, she did not have a single sip of the Champagne. I believe in the saying that one should be moderate in all things, so I got carried away and drank the whole bottle. Drinking Champagne buy yourself is a great thing- if you never have done it there is no better treat, and no better place than the home for having an extra glass or two. From my personal tasting diary: “This wine was a lot richer than I remember and I suspect the base must be from the extroverted 2006 harvest. The balance was so perfect it hardly seemed “Extra” Brut like, rather just vibrant, nervy, electrically mineral sud-Eprenay stuff. It went best with the Akasaka Roll which has eel and avocado on the outside and tempura shrimp on the inside- and very well with everything else. I got carried away by its ample charm and finished the bottle. I woke refreshed and ready for a busy December Saturday- and it turned out to be one of my best days at work all year. I guess there is something to be said for drinking organic after all!” This bottle deserves its spot on the top 10- try it out and see if you can resist finishing the whole thing…

The Bruno Michel "Rebelle" paired perfectly with the Akasaka Roll, prepared with eel and avocado on the outside and tempura shrimp on the inside.

1.  1976 Franck Bonville "Millesime" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne: My best bottle of Champagne of the year was enjoyed in its birth cellar in Avize. We tasted it blind, and I blew my guess by nearly a generation because of the extraordinary freshness of the wine. I thought it was a 1990! Olivier Bonville was generous enough to crack this for me on the same day that I had the 1964 Pertois… What a day, what a job- I was on cloud nine. This wine still had a green flash running through it and was fresh as a bottle could be. It smelled of white flowers and fresh baked bread, and had excellent mouth filling palate weight. The finish went on for so long that I can almost still taste it. What a bottle!

I hope that you too had some great bottles in 2012 and more to come in 2013. A toast to you!

-Gary

Thursday
Jan032013

Blind Tasting Series: International Sparkling Friday 1/4 & New Direct Imports Tasting Saturday 1/5

Caves at Schramsberg, Napa Valley Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all enjoyed some great bubbles during the holidays (I can assure you I did!). After drinking all that fizz, do you think you can distinguish grower/producer Champagnes from the Grandes Marques? How about Cava from Prosecco? Can you pick out that Loire sparkler, or identify one from New Zealand? Well, now is your chance to find out...and enjoy some fabulous sparklers along the way. Friday Night Tastings in Redwood City are back, and we're kicking off the year with the next installment of our popular Blind Tastings Series with a special Blind International Sparkling Tasting Challenge! So far the Blind Tasting Series has been great fun and we have seen some huge upsets and perhaps unlikley winners. I hope you can join us.

Blind International Sparkling Tasting Challenge

Friday, January 4th @ K&L RWC

5pm-6:30pm | $10  K&L Local Events

We will be pouring a flight of 12 fantastic bubblies from all over the globe and invite you to try to identify the country, region, and price, and to vote on your favorite. The "key" will be revealed after tasting, and the most popular wine will be announced on Uncorked soon after.

Te Whare Ra is our first Direct Import from New Zealand

Tasting Saturday, January 5th: Direct Import Wines from the Southern Hemisphere | 1pm-4pm

Our first Saturday tasting of the year will be feature a fantastic line up of Direct Import wines from new ventures in the southern Hemisphere. As of last year we have been seeking out new winemakers and properties in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa that have not previously been available within the USA. The idea is to bring the very best small producers direct to you, our customers.

Our new Direct Import from South Africa Waterkloof Estate

So far the project has been a great success and this tasting will feature wines from: Te Whare Ra (Marlborough, New Zealand), Amelia Park (Margaret River, Australia), Hewitson (Barossa, Australia) and Waterkloof (Stellenbosch, South Africa). This is a great oppourtunity to taste some of the most exciting wines coming from these countries and almost all are exclusive to us at K&L!

There will be 12 wines and the cost is $20. The tasting runs from 1pm-4pm. Visit K&L Local Events for more details.

I hope you can make it.

Cheers!

Ryan