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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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We host regular weekly and Saturday wine tastings in each K&L location.

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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 Hocus Pocus (2)

Thursday
Feb242011

Winery to Watch: Black Sheep Finds (Hocus Pocus)

Peter Hunken and Amy Christine, the proprietors of Black Sheep Finds and the winemakers behind Hocus Pocus among other wines.Wine doesn’t have to be stodgy. Or expensive. And this month’s Winery to Watch, Black Sheep Finds, proves that over and again, with every new release. Started by former Stolpman assistant winemaker and hopeless Cubs fan Peter Hunken and his now-wife Amy Christine, a MW candidate, sommelier at L.A.’s AOC and a rep for the Burgundy and Bordeaux importer Veritas, who are both as approachable as they are knowledgeable. They make wines at the famous Central Coast industrial park amusingly referred to as the Lompoc Wine Ghetto, and have gained a loyal following among K&L’s staff because they make wines that are fresh, bright and food-friendly, with plenty of juicy California fruit.

"Peter and Amy have gained a loyal following even among K&L’s staff because they make wines that are fresh, bright and food-friendly, with plenty of juicy California fruit."

Of the five wines under the Black Sheep Finds umbrella, you can always find the Hocus Pocus Santa Barbara County Syrah (2008 $17.99), which Amy once told me actually sprang from a mispronunciation of the Holus Bolus Santa Ynez Valley Syrah (2008 $22.99) that Peter makes with Sashi Moorman (Stolpman, Evening Land, Piedrasassi), Chad Melville (Melville, Samsara) and Jim Knight (Jelly Roll) on our shelves. The Hocus Pocus blends Syrah from a number of different vineyards in Santa Barbara County. It is aged for 14 months in one-year-old barrels and is easy to drink with tannins so soft that it glides like a skater across your palate. I love this on a Tuesday night with griled lamb chops dusted with lavender salt or a bison steak. The Holus Bolus comes from four vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley and has a wonderful cool-climate character, with aromas of fresh-baked blueberry pie and hints of graphite, violets and spice that carry from the nose to the palate. Great as a cocktail wine or with food. I think this would be fabulous with the braciole my husband keeps begging me to make.

Leah Greenstein

Wednesday
Jun302010

'Cuing Up: Wines for the 4th of July

I'm always looking for an excuse to invite friends over for a cookout, and there's no better one than living a bike-ride's distance from the beach on the Fourth of July. I'm also fortunate to know there are a wealth of wines, at every price point, to go with anything you can throw at the 'cue--from Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip to American Bison sliders (try them with carmelized onions and smoked tomato compote), or, if you live around the Chesapeake, steamed Maryland Blue Crabs doused with Old Bay. Here are some of our favorite domestic wines--we are celebrating American Independence after all--to make any Fourth crackle like a Roman candle.

If you're leaning toward the crab and Old Bay scenario, you need a sparkler of a wine, not necessarily something bubbly, and definitely or weighed down by butter notes or oak. The 2008 Dry Creek Vineyard Clarksburg Chenin Blanc ($9.99) blends lemon, apricot and nectarine notes with acidity that sings like the high notes in the National Anthem. Now, if you've steered clear of Chenin Blanc because you think it's sweet, hear me out: THIS IS DRY. There is nothing sweet about this wine, unless you're using the word as a slangy compliment.

If you're 4th is likely to be a "session" celebration, then it's probably a good idea to have some lighter-style beers on hand. The Maui Brewing Company "Bikini Blonde Lager" ($1.83 each) comes in convenient cans that can get tucked in a bag and cooled in the river or lake while you're getting your grill on. If you want something hoppier but that won't put you to sleep, try the Russian River Brewing "Blind Pig" IPA (500ml $4.30) or the aptly named Anchor Brewing "Liberty Ale" ($1.49).

Whole Rainbow Trout stuffed with lemon and rosemary come out fantastic on the grill, and the 2008 Chehalem "Inox" Willamette Valley Chardonnay ($15.99), with its Adriatic fig, lime and saturn peach-like fruit, and completely crisp palate feel, your fish will sing like that silly wall-mounted fish that appears in too many summer cabins. This would also go quite well with grilled veggies!

2007 Kunin "Westside" Paso Robles Zinfandel ($21.99) Paso Robles may not exactly be the "heart" of Santa Maria-style barbecue country, but it's definitely a ventricular valve. So it comes as no surprise that Seth Kunin's "Westside" Zin (actually, all of Kunin's reds) pairs perfectly with the garlicky, smoky meat, the fresh salsa and the pinquito beans. The Westside comes from the Cushman and Rancho Santa Margarita vieyards and is aged for 10 months in a combination of French and American oak, and it is spicy and rich, with plenty of bright red fruit and actual acidity (believe it) that will stand up to those thick slabs of tri-tip.

If you've never had a bottle of Ridge's classic "Geyserville," then you've been missing out on a quintessential California wine, as American as football or apple pie, but possibly better than both. The 2008 "Geyserville" ($29.99) is comprised of Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah and Mataro. It has a complexity that few varietal wines can offer, with briar fruits, tangy cranberry, spicy white pepper and an undercurrent of black olives on the nose that evolve into mocha, licorice and black raspberry in the mouth. Try will pair with the aforementioned Bison sliders, ribs, ribeyes, pork tenderloin or any number of other savory treats you lay in its path. If you're having a big party, try a BIG bottle, like the 2004 vintage in magnum ($74.99) or three-liter ($189.00).

I love Zuni- Cafe style roasted chicken (I do mine on a cast iron vertical roaster on the grill) and tomatoey panzanella with a juicy Syrah--it's actual my go-to Sunday supper--and I don't like to spend a lot on the wine that goes with it. Fortunately, some of my favorite Central Coast winemakers turn out lovely, balanced Syrahs that don't overpower the simply prepared bird or my wallet. The 2007 and 2008 Hocus Pocus Santa Barbara County Syrahs ($17.99) are a case in point, as is Wells Guthrie's "I-can't-believe-it's-entry-level" 2007 Copain "Tous Ensemble" Mendocino County Syrah ($17.99), which has brambly fruit, hints of smoke and a touch of dark chocolate to boot.

The 2008 Charles Smith "The Velvet Devil" Washington Merlot ($11.99), from Food & Wine Magazine's 2009 Winemaker of the year, could, single-handedly, change the way you've come to think about Merlot because it's anything but over-priced or over-produced. Juicy, plummy, from a state named for our inimitable first president and a good match for burgers and sausages.

Whatever you drink: Happy 4th of July! Be safe and have fun!

Leah Greenstein