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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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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 Chile (3)

Wednesday
Jun012011

Behind the Wine: Courtney Kingston and Kingston Family Vineyards (Chile)

 Courtney Kingston with winemakers Bryan Kosuge and Evelyn Vidal in the Kingston Family's estate vineyards in the Casablanca Valley.

 

Kingston Family Vineyards is a family-owned operation in the Casablanca Valley of Chile that began as a cattle farm in the 1920s and today is one of Chile's pioneers in the production of artisanal wines from cool-climate sites.

This Friday, June 3, from 5pm-6:30pm, we are excited to welcome Courtney Kingston to the Redwood City tasting bar for a special tasting of current releases.  Courtney Kingston is a Portola Valley local that splits her time between Casablanca and the Peninsula while managing the family wine business - sounds like a sweet deal to us!

In anticipation of Friday's event, we asked Courtney to share some insight into her family's history in the Casablanca Valley, the challenges of making wine in Chile, and tips for tourists:

Q&A: Interview with Courtney Kingston

How did the Kingston family get into the wine business?  What is your role?

Our great-grandfather went to Chile back in the early 1900's, looking for gold.  He made a big bet on the Casablanca Valley.  When the gold didn't pan out, he inherited what today is our family's farm.  Five generations of Kingstons have lived on the farm for almost 100 years now.  We have a dairy farm and beef cattle grazing in the fields. In the mid-1990's, we planted our first grapevines up in the far western hills.

What makes the Kingston estate's terroir unique?

We are only about 12 miles as the crow flies to the ocean.  The influence of the Pacific and the cooling Humboldt current is ever-present in the almost daily morning/afternoon fog and the steady ocean breezes.  I split my time between California and Casablanca, and in many ways western Casablanca reminds me of California's south-central coast, similar to the Santa Rita Hills, but flipped south of the equator.

Describe the Kingston winemaking philosophy.

Our goal is to blend the best of the Old and New Worlds.  Our winemakers, like our family, are Chilean/American.  Byron Kosuge (from Napa) and Evelyn Vidal (our Chilean winemaker) work together to leverage Californian small-lot winemaking expertise to uncover the potential of our coastal vineyard in Chile.

What are some of the challenges of producing wine in Chile's Casablanca Valley? 

Our vineyard in western Casablanca is quite cool---almost 5-8 degrees cooler than some of our peers on the eastern side of the valley.  So spring frosts are a big issue for us.  We also typically farm at only 2-3 tons per acre, just to ripen our crop. 

From your perspective, what effect has the emergence of the global economy had on the wine business in Chile as a whole?

Because it's such a small country, Chile's wineries have always been export-oriented and focused on their role in the global economy.  With only 16 million people, Chileans alone can't drink all the wine it makes.  (Unlike our larger neighbor to the east--Argentina--with 40 million people, where they can and do drink a significant amount of their own production.)  I think Chile has done a great job on the world stage proving its wines are great values.  The challenge for Chile is to make sure that the world knows that 'value' does not mean 'cheap';  Chile makes excellent wines at all prices levels.  It's also important for people to know that Chile has many small, family-owned wineries, in addition to the larger brand names that have the widest distribution.

How has your experience in Chile influenced your attitude towards wine and wine consumption? What's your position on wine pairing and what do you like to pair your wines with? 

At Kingston, we went against conventional wisdom by planting pinot noir & syrah in Casablanca, a valley known for whites.  Our neighbors thought we were crazy (and some people probably still think we are) to try to ripen syrah so close to the ocean.  I think that experience---of being the underdog, of having to prove ourselves---has made me more open to new wines, new places.  I deeply respect the centuries of winemaking experience of our European peers, and I now couple that respect with a love for discovery of new wine regions around the world.

Many people think pairings are all about rules they are supposed to memorize (e.g. red wine with red meat).  I find the most exciting pairings are the unexpected.  At a James Beard Foundation dinner in New York this April, Amangani Resort Chef Rick Sordahl paired our Kingston Family 'Cariblanco' Sauvignon Blanc with a lamb tenderloin carpaccio.  Not conventional.  And it was amazing.

What advice do you have to offer wine lovers travelling in Chile?

I think the neatest thing about traveling to Chile is how much it has to offer in addition to wine.   If you'd like to spend your entire vacation exploring all the different wine regions you can definitely do that, but you can also combine your passion for wine with your love of the outdoors.  That's my favorite thing to do.  Wine lovers can spend an afternoon tasting wines on the terraza at Kingston in Casablanca (an hour's drive from Santiago), having skied the day before in the Andes or having just returned from a trip south to Patagonia.  Or if you're more into city living, you can explore the fish stands at the Mercado Central in Santiago and walk the winding streets of the old port city of Valparaiso.  There's so much to explore and discover.  The flight over to Mendoza, Argentina is only 45 minutes, and so you can also easily combine visits to both countries without stretching yourself too thin.

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TASTE

Tasting Kingston Family Vineyards with Courtney Kingston
Friday June 3
5pm-6:30pm @ K&L RWC
Cost of tasting: $5

Meet Courtney Kingston and taste through the following:
2009 Cariblanco Sauvignon Blanc $14.99
2008 Tobiano Pinot Noir $19.99
2007 Alazan Pinot Noir $29.99
2008 Lucero Syrah $17.99

and...

2006 Bayo Oscuro Syrah $26.99

Walk in only. Final lineup and cost subject to change.

Check out all K&L's upcoming events and tastings

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SHOP Kingston Family Vineyards on KLWines.com

 

Thursday
Jul082010

More than Malbec

K&L Personal Sommelier Service Online Newsletter - July 2010 Edition

South American Adventures: Interested in discovering new styles of wine from South America? Whether you're on a mission to learn or simply want to develop your palate and discover something new, get started today by creating a customized wine club through the K&L Personal Sommelier Service.

Photo courtesy of winesofargentina.org

More than Malbec?

Yes. There is more than just Malbec produced Argentina.

Although I don't blame you for asking. Over the last decade, Malbec has risen to the top of the list of celebrity brand exports from Argentina, surpassing Evita, Tango and the Gaucho. From $2 guzzlers to fancy high-end bottles that merit cellar space, North Americans love Argentine Malbec.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of great Malbec produced in Argentina. But just because it’s been your tried-and-true inexpensive Cab alternative for so long doesn’t mean it’s the best or only option. There is a lot more to Argentine wine than Malbec, and a lot more to South America than Argentina - exciting stuff you just might love more. 

2008 La Madrid Bonarda Mendoza ($14.99) I’ll let you in on a secret: real Argentines don’t tango, they cumbia, and when they enjoy their tinto with friends and family at a traditional asado dominguero, it’s most likely Bonarda, perhaps poured from a recycled glass bottle refilled from a barrel at the corner market and not a flashy, brand-name Malbec wrapped in tissue. Whether Argentine Bonarda is a descendent of the Piedmontese variety of the same name, or is actually California’s Charbono grape (a majority of sources favor the Californian theory), there is no disputing the fact that the 2008 La Madrid Bonarda is honest, unpretentious, food-friendly table wine. Loaded with black fruit and plum flavors, with subtle earthiness and baking spice notes, this medium-bodied red is a perfect wine for dominguero, complementing the variety of sausage and grilled beef preparations in addition to the numerous other foods involved, from savory emapanadas to desserts slathered with dulce de leche.

2008 In’Ka Carmenere Colchagua ($12.99) Carmenere is to Chile what Malbec is to Argentina: an immigrant varietal from Bordeaux that is better suited to the growing conditions of South American soils than in its French homeland. If you are looking for a tasty example of the Chilean version, this is well worth a try. Deep purple in color, this is a Carmenere with some heft. The nose shows characteristic earthiness, but these aromas are supported by rich black fruit and anise accents, as opposed to the ash and roasted jalapeño so often associated with mass-market Carmenere. The palate is lush and plummy, with medium tannins and good grip. Vanilla and mocha spice add complexity to the finish. This is a hearty wine that would work well with anything grilled—a great alternative to a bolder style of Malbec.

2007 Don Pascual Tannat “Roble” Juanico Uruguay ($16.99) Don Pascual Harriague, an immigrant from France, was the first to introduce Tannat to Uruguayan soils in 1870, and this family-run domaine continues to lead the pack in quality Tannat production today. Despite its purple-hued, Madiran-esque robe, this is fruity, generous, modern Tannat, worlds apart from its tannic, inaccessible French counterpart. A big brother to the light and fruity “Pueblo del Sol,” the Roble sees 12 months in barrel and exhibits a wide array of aromas and flavors, from black plum, cassis and fig to espresso bean and graphite. Here we have a great example of what Tannat produced in the cool, maritime climate of Juanico can be: a world-class red wine that is balanced and complex, showing more robust fruit character and smoother tannins than the French iteration, but still substantial enough to hold its own at table.

Chiara Shannon

Head Sommelier

Personal Sommelier Service | Tastings

Want more? For additional recommendations for other exciting South American wines, write to Sommelier@klwines.com

 

Friday
Mar262010

Getting to Know: Joe Manekin

Name: Joe Manekin

What's your position at K&L and how long have you been with the company?

I am the Spanish, Portuguese and South American wine buyer.  I've been working here for two and a half years.

What did you do before K&L?

Before K&L I worked for a medium-sized wine wholesaler in Washington, DC.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to blog (www.oldworldoldschool.blogspot.com).  Also I enjoy gardening, cooking, drinking (but of course!), recording and listening to music.

What's your favorite movie?

I’ll always go for a good music documentary or period piece.  Rockers!— a classic late-’70s Jamaican flick) is one of my favorites.

What was your "epiphany wine?"

I think I had my wine epiphany quite young (to protect my parents I won’t say quite how young. It was a bottle of 1986 Chalone Pinot Blanc—full-bodied but bright, palate-coating and memorable. More recently, a bottle of 1981 Martinsancho Verdejo that legendary Spanish winemaker Angel Rodriguez Vidal opened for me a year ago was phenomenal.

Describe your perfect meal. What wines would you pair with it?

’79 Salon (a birthyear wine I’d love to try) and potato latkes with crème fraiche and caviar to start.  Grass fed New York strip steak grilled rare and sautéed Lacinato kale paired with ’79 Palmer (another one I need to try). Also, some Lopez de Heredia Gran Reservas from the ’60s. Finally, a decanter of Puffeney Vin Jaune served with top-notch Comte and bread from Tartine (best bread in the world) to close things out.

How do you think your palate's change over the years?

Like many palates before me, I have moved away from richer, fruitier, oakier front- to mid-palate wines in favor of higher acid, more tensely-finishing wines.  In other words, you can keep the cult Cab, but pass the Poulsard my way!

What do you like to drink?

Geek beers and geek wines.  Anything from Cantillon. Lopez de Heredia, all flavors. Muscadet. Sherry. Our wonderful DI Champagnes, especially Marguet and Tarlant! So-called “natural wines.” Orange wines like Radikon. I could go on, but at the risk of subjecting myself to abuse at the office I’ll leave it at that. Non-alcoholic drink of choice: good Gyokuro green tea.

What words of advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?

Always consider context. If you find your tastes jiving with one of us in particular, work mainly with that person. Also, whether you want to know the various soil types of the Loire Valley or simply want a tasty dry white wine to bring to a party, let us know and we’ll take care of you.

If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would you invite? What would you serve them?

Jean-Michel Basquiat - 1981 Lopez de Heredia Viña Bosconia Gran Reserva to celebrate his breakthrough year; Frederic Chopin - 1996 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Mezes Mály 6 Puttonyos (Hungary is sort of close to Poland); medieval philosopher Maimonedes - 1787 Château d’Yquem. We’d discuss the morality of forging super rare, older bottles and whether or not our bottle was a genuine one or of magical, non-existent provenance.