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With the James Bond movie Spectre being released today, no time could be better to drink Bollinger. The most suave spy in the world has been sipping on Bollinger since Moonraker in 1979. While we can’t all drive a fully loaded, customized machine gun having Aston Martin, we certainly can chill down a bottle of Bolli! The 2004 Bollinger "Grande Année" Brut Champagne ($109) is as good as Champagne gets; all barrel fermented and full of masculine, Pinot Noir power and high class elegance. We even have a few bottles of the limited 2009 Bollinger "James Bond 007" Brut Champagne ($195) in stock for the diehard fan of Bond & Champagne!

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For the complete calendar, including lineups and additional details related to our events, visit our K&L Local Events on or follow us on Facebook.  


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Entries in direct imports (31)


Spanish & Portuguese Wine News 6/19/12: Rioja DI's Have Landed, Miguel Merino Comes to Town

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Spanish & Portuguese Wine Buyer

Hola, Iberiophiles,

It's been a few weeks of silencio on the emails, so now that the honeymoon is over (I mean that literally as I'm just returning from Kaua'i), let's get down to business and continue to put together a strong foundation built upon ongoing communication. Communication about about delicious, honestly made Spanish and Portuguese wines. Baby, together we can do this. 

OK, enough of the bad jokes.  Lots of new wine and events.

1.) Our Direct imports have landed  More terrific, unusually terroir expressive, soulful Riojas have come in from Puelles (Abalos, Rioja Alta) and Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos (Laguardia, Rioja Alavesa).  These wines are spectacular, traditionally styled Riojas.  Some of the best values out there (that's why we asked them to sell us wine directly, and thankfully they shook my hand and agreed to do so). 

Bodegas Puelles: Jesús and Felix Puelles farm nearly 30 hectares spread across various plots in the village of Abalos, a part of Rioja Alta rich in winemaking history (one of the Puelles vineyards still has an example of a 14th century lagar for foot trodding grapes and decanting the juice right in the vineyard).  Distinctive for the fact that these are wines all from Abalos fruit (single village wine is still a rarity in Rioja) and with brightness and a wonderfully chalky mineral bite, Bodegas Puelles has a lineage of grape growers dating back a few hundred years; the farming know-how shows in the quality of these wines.

2008 Bodegas Puelles Crianza Rioja ($15.99)

2004 Bodegas Puelles Reserva Rioja ($19.99)

Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos: Where to start?  You can learn more about them on our website (search: 'lesmos') and in an upcoming July newsletter article. For now let me simply say that these are breathtaking, traditional, artisanal wines made by Angel Escudero de Gravalos with some help from his family. Delicious wines that truly speak to the place of their origin. They also come primarily from one village, Laguardia, though there is some fruit from vineyards in Villalba as well (both villages are in Rioja Alavesa). Very little known, even in Rioja, I suspect that this will change as people become more familiar with these spectacular wines.  These are some of the best value reds in our entire inventory right now.

2005 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Crianza Rioja ($12.99)

2004 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Reserva Rioja  ($19.99)

2.) Miguel Merino is Here! By way of reminder we have a very special guest here this week, Sr. Miguel Merino.  In-store tastings are walk-in and open to the public. For a nominal fee you will meet this very interesting man and taste the entire range of Miguel Merino wines we carry in our stores. 

If you live in the Bay Area, please note that we have a handful of spots open for a very special dinner we are having with Miguel at Contigo, a superb Catalan restaurant in Noe Valley (SF). Due to the intimate nature of the dinner (15 person limit), the promotion has been very light, and I'm probably going to under-sell this, but... know that if you attend you will drink some damn fine, single village Rioja, including a few older vintages and Miguel's wonderful company. See below for details and info on how to order tickets.

In-store tasting with Miguel Merino in Redwood City, Tuesday June 19th (5-6:30pm)

Event listing on

Invite friends & share:!/events/473883769295261/

Come and taste our full line-up of Miguel Merino wines with the owner himself.  Learn about the various terroirs of Briones, the origin of Merino's graciano plants, Miguel's very thorough, three tiered selection process, where to find the best foie gras tapa in Haro, amongst many other topics to be sure.


Very intimate wine dinner with Miguel Merino at Contigo in SF, Wednesday June 20th at 8:30pm

Join Miguel and me and enjoy his wines with Brett Emerson's wonderful Catalan inspired cuisine at Contigo in Noe Valley.  We will be pouring the following wines (as well as a few special surprises): 

2008 Miguel Merino "Viñas Jovenes" Crianza Rioja

2009 Miguel Merino Mazuelo de Quinta Cruz Rioja

2005 Miguel Merino Reserva Rioja

2004 Miguel Merino Gran Reserva Rioja

2008 Miguel Merino "Unnum" Rioja

Only 15 spots are available, first come, first served.  We have reserved the outdoor (heated) patio, which is perfect for this amount of people.  There will be five courses served. Cost is $100 (wine, gratuity and tax all included).  Purchase your ticket using the link below or email me with questions,

Purchase Tickets: 


3.)  Actually, there is no 'three'

There was going to be more, but I think that is plenty for now.  Will try to catch you early next week for a round-up of more new stuff and tasting events to look forward to.

Un saludo,




Joe Manekin

Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Wine Buyer

K&L Wine Merchants

Ph: 877.559.4637 ext. 2748


Champagne Friday: Michel Loriot


By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Michel Loriot and his family cultivate 17.5 acres in the village of Festigny in the western part of the valley of the Marne. He produces 60,000 bottles per year from this estate which is planted 85% to Meunier, 16% to Chardonnay and 4% to Pinot Noir. His family has been cultivating here for five generations and made their first wine in 1931.

Michel is so well respected in the area that he was elected as the president of the Independent Vignerons of Champagne. Although Michel has invested extensively in the latest, most expensive computer cotrolled diaganol Coquard presses, he has chosen to stay with enamel lined iron for his fermentations. He blocks the malolactic for freshness, and ages his wines for a long time- 3 years on the lees for his entry level, with 50% reserve wines from the two previous harvests.

His wines have great natural richness and texture, and are very clean. I cannot overstate the value that these wines represent! 

Michel Loriot "Cuvee Reserve" Brut Champagne ($29.99; $65.99 magnum

"This is medium- to full-bodied Champagne and makes great drinking on its own as well as being fantastic with patés of all sorts."




Michel Loriot "Marie-Leopold" Sec Champagne ($34.99)

"This has a nose that reminds me of tarte tatin, a pastry smell that carries through onto the palate. It has such a nice, lazy bead and polished texture and the sweetness does not seem at all out of place. This is a must for every Champagne lover--don't knock it because it is sweet!"



2005 Michel Loriot Vintage Brut Champagne ($44.99)

"This Loriot is medium bodied and fine and the nutty palate gives way to a fresh, lifted finish. Michel Loriot makes great wine, and this 2005 vintage is another great example. I find it to be the most effortless, elegant Meunier based Champagne that I have ever tasted, and a real contrast to the powerful style of his great Meunier Old Vine."



Browse our complete Champagne offering on and check out more educational wine and spirits videos from the experts at K&L on YouTube!



{Terra Ignota}: Te Whare Ra - K&L's First Direct Import from the Land of the Long White Cloud


Te Whare Ra, is a small, organic, family-run winery in the Wairau Valley of Marlborough.

Te Whare Ra (pronounced “Tea Far-ee Ra”, from Maori meaning “The House in the Sun”) is one of the premier boutique wineries in Marlborough and has some of the oldest vines in the area dating back to the 70’s. Since 2003, it has been owned and operated by Jason and Anna Flowerday. Both are winemakers by trade; Jason is a local to Marlborough and Anna is from McClaren Vale in Australia. The two were destined to have a winery of their own, and Te Whare Ra (TWR) is a culmination of their passion and dedication to quality.

Jason and Anna Flowerday

During some time in Marlborough last year my wife and I stumbled upon TWR. We were looking for small boutique wineries and personally gravitate toward organic/Biodynamic producers. We pulled into the front of the winery but everything looked closed. We rang the bell and Anna answered the door. We chatted a while and she explained that their first pick for the 2011 vintage was happening the next day and they had closed the tasting room to prepare the winery for harvest. Thankfully she offered to pour us some wines anyway and I was immediately stunned by the quality of all the wines.  After the tasting she took us for a wander through the winery and crushpad. Jason joined us and we talked about their viticulture, winemaking style and general philosophy. 

View of the Crush Pad and Individual Berry Sorting at Te Whare Ra

I was amazed by the small scale of production and extreme hands-on, detail-oriented winemaking they employ. The vineyards are farmed meticulously using organic and biodynamic methods. They even have their own cows for manure and other Bio preps. They are members of Organic Winegrowers NZ and are soon to be Bio-Gro certified. Most of the fruit is hand-picked and sorted. The Pinot is then de-stemmed and resorted by the individual berry! Fermentation is done in one-ton open fermenters for gentle extraction and finesse.

Jason Hand Plunging the Pinot Noir

Seeing and hearing all this made perfect sense after tasting the wines. Jason and Anna’s careful hand crafting and obsessive attention to detail define these wines; they are truly distinctive, expressing quality, purity, a dynamic sense of place, and a great thread of textural complexity and detail that shows though in every wine. We exchanged contact info, picked up a couple bottles to give to our Kiwi hosts and left vowing to tell any that would listen about how special these wines were. On returning to the US and getting my position with K&L I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for K&L's first serious collaboration with a single boutique producer from New Zealand through our Direct Import program. 

This is just was just the beginning as we continue to expand our offerings that already include: Oakridge, Dalwhinnie, Te Mata Estate and Waterkloof. You can also look forward to many more Direct Imports in the future!


Here is what we have in stock now, ready for you to try. Click on the links to learn more:

 2011 Te Whare Ra “D” Riesling Marlborough (Dry)* ($18.99)

Elegantly floral with a complex palate of concentrated citrus, with Kaffir lime and grapefruit. Zesty acid keeps the mineral laden finish snappy. 1,026 cases made.

 2012 Te Whare Ra Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough* ($18.99)

Combining tropical passion fruit and lychee notes with cooler qualities of elderflower, citrus and gooseberry from the Awatere fruit. Great mid-palate texture and fresh, yet restrained, acidity on the finish. More concentrated than the 2011 vintage due to low yields and meticulous fruit selection.

 2011 Te Whare Ra Chardonnay Marlborough* ($24.99)

Very Burgundian in weight and texture. The palate is packed with orchard and stone fruits. Beautiful texture and richness with perfect balance. Oak is well integrated with rich toasty notes of creamy hazelnuts and fresh ground grains leading into spicy elegant finish.

91+ RP: "The 2011 Chardonnay is scented of white peaches, lemon curd and baking bread with hints of almonds, gingersnaps and orange blossom. Medium to full bodied, there's just a suggestion of oak complimenting the stone fruit and toasty flavors with refreshing acidity, a silken texture and a nice long finish. Drink this one now to 2016."

 2011 Te Whare Ra Gewürztraminer Marlborough* ($18.99)

Crushed rocks and flowers! Overtly floral, but with serious mineral qualities. A big, rich and textural Gewürtz. Exotic Asian spice and tropical fruit dominate the palate. 510 cases made.

 2011 Te Whare Ra Pinot Noir Marlborough* ($24.99)

Beautiful strawberry and boysenberry fruit on the nose. In the mouth soft red and dark fruits. The typical bright, crunchy Marlborough acidity is balanced with rich savory undertones and depth from the old vines. 450 cases made.

After tasting each wine many times it still amazes me how this marriage of winemakers can excel with every grape variety that graces their estate. These are truly special wines. I hope you will try them!

The Flowerdays


- Ryan Woodhouse, NZ / Aussie Specialist



 Terra Ignota is Latin for "Unknown Land". It was the name for the South Pacific region during intial mapping and exploration of Australia and New Zealand. As we are going to be exploring new and exciting wines from this region, we think this is a fitting title for our blog series on wines from this part of the world. Stay tuned for more!

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