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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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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 food and wine pairing (16)

Friday
Jun152012

Champagne Friday: Champagne & Foie Gras… 15 days left!

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Champagne & Foie Gras… 15 days left!

Foie Gras is one of my favorite pairings with Champagne, and sadly here in California, we only have 15 days left to enjoy it. After that, it will be illegal to sell in this state and fans of the noble liver will have to travel to enjoy it. The incredible richness of foie gras is the perfect partner for the refreshing high acidity of Champagne. Traveling to the Champagne region, it is a pairing that every restaurant and host suggests, and I have been lucky enough to have it prepared and paired in many different ways over the years. In the today's video, I visit with Jean-Baptiste Su of Fabrique Délice artisanal charcuterie and later share my favorite preparation, which is very simple: thick slices on toasted brioche, with fresh cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of Fleur de Sel.

My favorite Champagnes with foie gras are rich and powerful wines. The indigenous grape Meunier, with its hint of exotic fruit has a particular affinity for it. Older Champagne, with its developed, often chanterelle like bouquet is also a spectacular partner for it. The best pairings I have ever had are when all three of these elements come together. If you have any old Rene Collard in your cellar, nothing tops it with foie gras!

Here are my favorite foie gras partners from our current stock:

Michel Loriot "Marie-Leopold" Sec Champagne ($34.99): This bottle is the best foie gras pairing if you like to serve the liver with compote. This is composed of 80% Meunier and 20% Chardonnay and aged for four years before being released.  The liqueur that is used for the dosage is made in house and based on pure cane sugar. It 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.

 

Baron Fuente "Esprit" Brut Champagne ($39.99): This mature Champagne will go perfectly with seared foie gras. It is super well balanced and gets an astoundingly luxurious seven years of aging on the lees. It is very rare to find something so reasonably priced that is kept for so long. Composed of even parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier it is fermented in stainless steel. The "Esprit" has a very high quality sourdough toastiness arrived at honestly from the long aging on the lees. It is round and easy to drink, with flavors of hazelnuts contrasting its nice citrus zip.

Fleury "Cuveé Robert Fleury" Brut Champagne ($49.99): I have a bottle of this in my refrigerator right now to go with foie gras prepared exactly like I did it in the video. Like the Loriot above, this Champagne is a tribute to the old methods, and in this case also one of the ancient grape varieties of Champagne. It is a barrel-fermented blend of one-third each Chardonnay, Pinot Banc and Pinot Noir. Pinot Blanc is a real rarity in Champagne, and only exists in a few spots in the Aube.

 

Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne ($139.99): Eating foie gras and drinking Krug makes me feel like king for the day. This great house is the outspoken champion of Meunier among the grand marques. Based on 2004 with six years on the lees and reserve wines dating back to 1990, this decadent treat will go perfectly with all manner of preparations.

Cheers!

–Gary Westby

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 Check out more educational wine and spirits videos from the experts at K&L on YouTube!

Thursday
May102012

Spanish & Portuguese Wine News 5/10/12: 

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

Happy Thursday everyone,

This week the focus is on delightfully fresh, mouth watering, thirst quenching, "crispy" wines. One of my esteemed colleagues has earned the moniker "crispy" for her cheerful invitation to go out for a "crispy pint." And these wines are in the same vein. They invite you to open them with friends, enjoy the sunshine, and drink them to quench thirst. Little sips will not be sufficient with these; they are for guzzling down. 

Flama Roja Cava Brut Tarragona- $11.99  A bright and dry, yet creamier, rounder cava than the normal stuff.  Lower dosage than usual for cava.  Riper and more vinous style.   A K&L "alum" brings this one in  and I think you'll find it to be one of our best value sparklers. 

2010 Seculo Godello y Doña Blanca Bierzo - $11.99 Godello and Doña Blanca are perfectly suited to blending together, as this wine attests. I poured this wine for our Spanish tasting three weeks ago and it was well received.  Also noticed that one of my personal sommelier customers received this in a shipment, and then ordered a full case.  Careful, this white is delicious and addictive.   

2011 Bodegas Muga Rosado Rioja (1.5L) - $24.99  Muga rosé in magnum?  That's crazy talk.  Rest assured, though, we have these and even though we do not have a lot left, I thought that anyone on this list should know about it and grab some if they so choose.  This will disappear very soon. 

2011 Ameztoi "Rubentis" Rosé Getariako Txakolina - $19.99 Our most popular cult Spanish rosé is back.  Interestingly, I actually saw this wine in a local shop in Getaria (the beautiful town at the bottom of those sloped, seaward facing Getariako Txakolina D.O. vineyards).  Thanks to Americans' enthusiasm for this wine, what started as more of an export phenomenon appears to have found acceptance amongst some of the world's most serious gourmands in Getaria.  Try this with Cantabrian sea anchovies, canned Spanish "Bonito del Norte" tuna  or a tomato and garlic rubbed piece of toasted bread with olive oil and sea salt.

 

Un Saludo,

-Joe

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Joe Manekin

Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Wine Buyer

K&L Wine Merchants

Ph: 877.559.4637 ext. 2748

joemanekin@klwines.com

 

Monday
Apr232012

On the Sherry Side of the Street: Bodegas Hidalgo - La Gitana

By: Chiara Shannon | Head Sommelier - K&L Personal Sommelier Service

 

A small but dedicated crowd attended last week's Sherry tasting in the Redwood City store. Together we explored a sampling of Sherries produced by the "king" of Sherry: Javier Hidalgo. Bodegas Hidalgo - La Gitana is one of the oldest producers in the Sherry district of Jerez (in production since 1792) as well as one of the few bodegas that remains 100% family-owned and managed, under a 6th generation direct descendant of the founder.

It didn't take long for any prejudices folks might have brought to the bar ("Aren't all Sherries sweet?", "Isn't Sherry more of a winter drink, like Port?") to evaporate once we kicked things off with the crisp salty tang of the La Gitana Manzanilla Sanlucar de Barrameda ($13.99), a classic bone dry Fino and one of world's most refreshing aperitifs. As we made our way up the age and complexity scale, progressing through nutty Amontillo, and perfumed Oloroso to end with a rich and smokey Palo Cortado VORS (Very Old Rare Sherry), it became clear that these Sherries represent some of the best values in wine money can buy, bar none.

Indeed, life's pretty good on the Sherry side of the street.

Here is what we tasted along with some of my impressions. You can shop and learn more about these Sherries by clicking the links below:

Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla Sanlucar de Barrameda (500ml) ($13.99)

Saline, nutty aromas and flavors with accents of savory herbs (celery salt). The palate is clean and fresh, with tangy acidity and floral/hay accents to nutty flavors. Pure, focused, refreshing, and long on the finish with salty aftertaste.  Try with: Marcona almonds, fresh seafood, Manchego cheese.


Hidalgo Pastrana Manzanilla Pasada Sanlucar de Barrameda ($26.99)

A single-vineyard Manzanilla, with extended ageing (twice as old as the regular La Gitana Manzanilla Fino) for a richer, fuller, more "old-fashioned" but still bone dry style. This has pronounced nutty and leesey aromas and flavors, a rich, creamy mouthfeel, full body matched by vibrant acidity, and subtle hints of honeyed wood spices on the finish.  A serious Manzanilla with a lot of substance. Enjoy with salted and/or smoked nuts, cured pork, savory dumplings, fried calamari.


Hidalgo "Napoleon" Amontillado Sanlucar de Barrameda (500ml) ($17.99)

Here we start to see a little sweetness introduced, but only in the aromas, with more complex caramel/toffee/toasted nut aromas followed by delicate sweet cream and candied notes on the palate. This smells sweeter than it is however, as high acidity provides intensity and focus, and cleanses the palate for a dry finish. Try a classic Amontillado like this with lobster bisque and you're in for a real treat.  This was named for--you guessed it -- Napoleon Bonaparte.


Hidalgo Oloroso "Faraon" Sanlucar de Barrameda (500ml) $18.99

Aromas of salted caramel and yeasty flor present, followed by smokey and mineral undertones. Oloroso is a more oxidized version of Amontillado, and in this Sherry the extra oxidation brings in layers of added complexity. More savory flavors counter to the slightly sweeter nut and honey profile for a Sherry that has a lot of that "umami" thing going on. Try it with sushi.  


Hidalgo Wellington Palo Cortado VORS (500ml) $79.99

Named for the Duke of Wellington, this is the sweetest in the lineup, but it is as racy and fresh as it is sweet. It offers a rich and complex nose of sweet baking dough, raisin, and cinnamon, salted caramel, and toasted nuts. It's intense, rich, and mouthfilling, with a distinctive smokiness to its profile. The layers of depth to this wine seems to go on and on. VORS stands for Very Old Rare Sherry, a designation that requires a minimum of average 30 years in age, but this Sherry comes from Hidalgo's original solera (late 1800s) and thus is much, much older than that. A fascinating wine to contemplate, and surely one to convert you to the Sherry side of things...if you haven't crossed over already.

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