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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

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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.

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Entries in Champagne (75)

Friday
Jun142013

Champagne Friday: Collecting Champagne Capsules

By: Jim Westby (Gary's Dad!)

Champagne Friday: Collecting Champagne Capsules

Champagne drinkers receive an attractive memento with every bottle they open—the metal capsule that covers the cork. These usually feature bright colors, strong design, and the maker's brand identity. They aren't easy to throw away, and I'm sure that many of you have some capsules in your drawer that contains corkscrews, foil cutters, decanting funnels, miscellaneous corks, or other wine paraphernalia.

Maybe you have 10 or 20 capsules in that drawer, and in this case you have a collection even if you don't realize it. In France you would be called a "placomusophile", perhaps a compelling reason to conceal the fact that you collect these things.

There is plenty of material to collect. Capsules have been used for over 150 years and there are now more than 10,000 Champagne brands. Most brands have several capsule designs in current use, and old houses may have used hundreds of different ones in the past. These designs may themselves vary not only by color, but also by typographic style and sizing of the elements.

To make sense of this, you need the standard reference book for Champagne capsule collectors, "Repertoire des Placques de Muselets du Champagne," by Claude Lambert (generally called simply "Lambert"). It includes over 5,000 capsule photos and lists tens of thousands of different capsules, but is only available in France in French. Don't miss the chance to buy a copy if you are in the Champagne region or Paris. The book gives prices you might expect to pay for capsules were you to buy them in a specialty shop in France. Most are listed at 1 or 2 Euros, but old, rare examples can fetch up to several hundred Euros.

Here are some suggestions for Champagnes with interesting capsules that will start or add to a collection:

Loriot capsules feature the Loriot family's namesake bird, the oriole. Vivid colors and a strong, simple design make them exceptionally attractive.

Michel Loriot "Cuvee Reserve" Brut Champagne ($29.99) This all-estate grown Champagne is 100% Pinot Meunier from the village of Festigny. Unlike many "reserve" designation Champagnes, this lives up to its name with half of the wine coming from old reserves. It is quite round, with a wonderful pie crust and spice nose, with some hints of exotic fruit in the flavor. This is medium- to full-bodied Champagne and makes great drinking on its own as well as being fantastic with patés of all sorts. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne buyer)

2006 Michel Loriot "Pinot Meunier Vieilles Vignes" Brut Champagne ($49.99) Rated *Outstanding Plus* by the Underground Wine Letter. This stunning, single-vineyard Champagne is one of the best we carry at K&L. It comes from the l'Arpent vineyard, which is slightly less than one acre in the village of Festigny. The vines were planted in 1942 and come from an old massal selection of Meunier. Michel Loriot makes only 3,000 or 4,000 bottles of this, his top wine, in vintages that he considers good enough. Otherwise this juice goes into the other blends. This light gold color wine has the kind of streamers that I could watch all day, they seem slowed in their travel up from the bottom of the glass by the richness of the wine. The exotic spice on the nose leads to a surprisingly creamy flavor. The Meunier Vieilles Vignes is very full-bodied and powerful Champagne, yet finishes with great minerality. The Loriots like to serve it with parmesan, a cheese that is very much like it in flavor and bite! When I tasted this with the Loriots, Michel decanted it 1/2 hour ahead of time! This has a great finish, and is another must try for any real fan of Champagne. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne buyer)

Krug has dated the capsules of their vintage bottlings since 1988. Nobody is going to forget a bottle of vintage Krug, but having the dated capsule should bring back fond memories. Maybe somebody will give me the 2000 Krug for my birthday so I can add it's capsule to my collection. 

2000 Krug Brut Champagne ($219) When toast and raciness meet, you have a great bottle of vintage Champagne. This has been my favorite vintage release from Krug for current drinking since the 1989, and it has the legs to age for decades. The wine has a bright, white gold color and a nose that is open and full of buttered sourdough aromas. The initial palate impression is tense, but this is one of those rare wines with a "peacocks tail" finish... The impression grows after you swallow it. It has a near endless finish, and seems dryer than past releases. After checking the new code on the back, this bottle was disgorged in spring of 2010, giving it about 9 years on the lees. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne Buyer)

The Barnaut capsule has an impressionistic image of the church at Bouzy and the vineyards surrounding it that are the source of the wine. Bright and very pretty, it tells the story of the terrior of Barnaut Champagne very well.

Barnaut Blanc de Noirs Bouzy Grand Cru Brut Champagne ($42.99/$39.99 Wine Club) 90 points Tanzer: "(all Bouzy pinot noir): Vivid gold. Ripe pear and nectarine on the nose, but complicated by floral and musky herb nuances. A pliant, smooth texture, with deep, hefty orchard and pit fruit flavors and slow-building smokiness. The persistent finish repeats the pear note and leaves notes of redcurrant and floral honey behind. This Champagne would stand up to rich, buttery dishes or even strong cheeses." (12/ 2010)

Finally, let me tell you a way to get your capsules out of that drawer and displayed so that you can enjoy them. All you need is some 3/4 inch x 6 wood screws, glue, and a piece of foam core display board (from a craft or framing store). I use a drop of "super glue" on the inside of the capsule. The bond is strong enough that you can mount the capsule on wood, but it does leave residue if the screw is pulled off. Ordinary white glue leaves no residue, but it's only strong enough to hold a screw turned into soft material such as foam core board.

  

    Display with capsules glued to wood screws and mounted on foam core board. -Jim Westby

 

 

Friday
Jun072013

Champagne Friday: Krug House with Olivier Krug 

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Krug House with Olivier Krug

Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne - click for more reviews and to browse our Krug offering on KLWines.com.

I won’t forget the day that Cinnamon and I spent with Olivier Krug this Wednesday. Of all the tastings and wine lunches that I have been to in my 13 years doing the Champagne buying at K&L, this was the best experience I have had outside of traveling to Champagne. The folks from Krug rented a spectacular house in Portola Valley that opened up to the outside completely, decorated with seven pallets of art, memorabilia and photographs of and from the domain.

Olivier Krug personally guided us through a tasting of his current releases, starting with the 2000 Krug "Clos du Mesnil" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($799) which showed not only the buttery, vinous richness of the house but also the laser like precision of the terroir of Mesnil. In the video below, Olivier explains the vision of his great, great, great grandfather, Joseph Krug as well as the story of this most-famous of all Champagne vineyards:

Krug Brut Rosé Champagne: the most consistently great rose Champagne in the world.We then moved on to the Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne ($149), which shows the true potential of wine blended not just across vine varieties and villages but also time. This is great wine, and a value even at this high price. We also tasted the Krug Brut Rosé Champagne ($279) which showed at its ethereal best, and reminded me of the first encounter with it at the Maison in 2001. The 2000 Krug Brut Champagne ($219) was just turning the corner and showed not only nougat richness but also chalky drive- this is a wine one could drink now or for decades to come. We were then treated to both the fat, golden, spicy 1989 Krug "Collection" Brut Champagne ($499) and the extremely rare (we are only getting 8 bottles) 1985 Krug "Collection" Brut Champagne ($799- special order, due in fall) which is as close to perfect as I have had. This wine is concentrated, not just with vinous power and truffle like allure, but also with mineral drive. What a stunner!

Krug Vintage lineup from Krug House.

At the lunch, which was prepared by Meadowood star chef Christopher Kostow we were treated to unavailable wines brought by the guests of Olivier- the driven and young 1996, the layered, balanced and infinitely long 1988, and the plump, rich, clean 1990.  With the perfect California weather, the gorgeous surroundings and the once-in-a-lifetime wines, it was very, very difficult to leave- especially to go back to work.

Olivier Krug and Cinnamon Westby.

Krug House menu.

If you have been thinking of treating yourself… Krug would be a great splurge- it always delivers.

A toast to you!

–Gary Westby

Tuesday
Jun042013

Champagne Tastings this Saturday June 8th in all K&L stores!

 

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Hello Champagne Fans,

This Saturday, June 8th, we will be pouring Champagne in all three stores. I will pour in Redwood City (from 1-4pm), Scotty will pour in SF (from noon to 3pm) and Mari will pour in LA (from 3 to 5:30pm) and we hope you can come. It is a casual walk-in event and no reservations are necessary. The cost is $20.

To give you a sneak peek of what to In Redwood City, I will pour:

Bruno Michel "Rebelle" Extra Brut Champagne $39.99

Michel Loriot "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Champagne $29.99 ($65.99 mag/ $16.99 half)

2004 Michel Loriot Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne $49.99

Michel Loriot "Marie-Leopold" Sec Champagne $34.99

Fleury "Cuveé Robert Fleury" Brut Champagne $49.99

2002 Fleury "Cuveé Robert Fleury" Brut Champagne $59.99

Fleury Brut Rosé Champagne $49.99

Scotty is doing the same list, but he will have the 1998 Fleury Vintage rather than the 2002 Robert Fleury. You can reach out to Mari at the Hollywood for details on the Hollywood lis: marikeilman@klwines.com

For more information about these tastings including links to maps and directions as well as listings of other upcoming events, please visit our Local Events page on KLWines.com.

You can invite friends to join and share this event on facebook, too.

I hope to see you on Saturday!

Best,

Gary

 

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