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The Freewheel line with a couple of English friends.

It takes a lot of beer to keep the wine business running smoothly. Here in Redwood City, we are very fortunate to have a great English style ale producer right in our backyard: Freewheel Brewing Company. The staff of K&L are fictures at our local pub, and it is a rare moment when one of us isn't there having a pint and a bite of their excellent food. We are also lucky enough to be the first place to offer their bottled beer for sale. If you have never had it, the Freewheel Brewing "FSB" Freewheel Special Bitter, California (500ml) is the benchmark in fresh, balanced, smashable ale. We will do our best to keep some in stock for you, the customer too!

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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 or follow us on Facebook.  


Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

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Entries in Joseph Swan (2)


Domestic Pinot Noir Tasting Saturday 11/3 in All K&L Stores!


This Saturday, November 3rd, we will be hosting our annual Fall Domestic Pinot Noir Tasting in all three K&L stores. These tastings are from noon to 3pm in San Francisco, 1 to 4pm in Redwood City and 3 to 5:30pm in Hollywood. For more details on the tasting taking place at the store near you, visit the event link on K&L Local Events.

The lineup will vary slightly in each store, but here are details about the wines being featured in San Francisco, to give you a sense of what to expect...

2011 Kalinda "Cuvee Reserve" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir  $24.99 The 2011 Kalinda "Cuvée Reserve" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is a wine we found at one of the best up-and coming wineries in the Willamette Valley. We've carried their wines before and were very excited to see what they were all about. We were certainly impressed, to say the least, with their attention to detail and quality. They pulled out two separate blends for us to potentially bottle under one of our house labels. Surprisingly, Mike and I actually agreed on which we liked best: a blend of Yamhill-Carlton and Ribbon Ridge AVA fruit consisting of five clones that was aged in 25% new French oak.

2011 Brooks Willamette Valley Pinot Noir  $21.99 This bottling from Brooks has been a mainstay of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir for us since the 2005 vintage. The 2011 has arrived, and it's ready to go! Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar wrote of the similarly styled 2010 vintage: "Bright ruby-red. Black raspberry, cherry-cola and peppery spices on the nose and in the mouth. Juicy and precise, with good energy and a gently chewy texture. Finishes on a refreshingly bitter note, with good punch and lingering spiciness."

2009 Cristom "Louise Vineyard" Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir $44.99 93 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is classic Oregon Pinot Noir at its most svelte and stylish. Fresh and clean upon entry, it showcases its raspberry and cherry fruit in a delicate wrap of leaf and bark. The tannins are in perfect proportion; the finish is complex and intriguing."

2009 Brick House "Les Dijonnais" Estate Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir $49.99 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Pinot Noir Les Dijonnais has a similar aromatic and flavor profile. Spicy, elegant, and nicely proportioned, this suave effort offers a drinking window extending from 2012 to 2021. Doug Tunnell has put in over 20 years of farming at Brick House in the Ribbon Ridge AVA. His vineyards are Demeter-certified biodynamic and he is a non-interventionist in the cellar."

2010 Anthill Farms Anderson Valley Pinot Noir $39.99 Brand new vintage in stock!

2010 Peay Vineyards "Estate" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $41.99 91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light, bright red. Expressive, seductively perfumed nose evokes wild red fruits, potpourri and Asian spices, with a subtle smoky note in the background. Sweet, palate-caressing strawberry and raspberry flavors show impressive intensity and a weightless quality. The red berry and floral notes carry through on the bright, racy finish."

2010 Larry Hyde and Sons Carneros Pinot Noir $59.99  91 points Wine Spectator: "Supple, graceful and polished, with pure ripe wild berry and blueberry fruit that's elegant and refined. Long on the finish. Succeeds where other Carneros Pinots didn't in 2010. Drink now through 2020."

2009 Joseph Swan "Trenton Estate" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $54.99 93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright ruby. Heady, high-pitched aromas of black raspberry, potpourri, Asian spices and minerals, complicated by a smoky topnote. Juicy, sharply focused red and dark berry flavors show excellent depth and vivacity, picking up candied rose and spicecake qualities with air. Seamless, sappy and sweet on the extremely long, red fruit-dominated finish."

2010 Sea Smoke "Southing" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir $69.99 One of the Central Coast's cult Pinots. The fruit comes entirely from the Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills, aged for 16 months in 55% new French oak barrels. It's complex and heady, with notes of violets and wild mushrooms, cola, spice and red fruit. Fine tannins and juicy acidity, this is big, even for the vintage, and will age well. 

2010 DuMol Russian River Valley Pinot Noir  $67.99 This 2010 Russian River Pinot Noir from DuMol is a blend of 34% Dutton Ranch, 16% Gunsalus, 12% DuMOL Estate, 10% Abbott, 8% Hansel, 8% Joy Rd, 6% Greywacke, and 6% Sonoma Stage. The clusters were hand-harvested and sorted in the vineyard and again sorted at the winery before native yeast fermentation. The wine then spent 11 months in 35% new French oak.

Cost to Taste: $20.00
Walk in only. Final lineup and pricing subject to change.

Contact your local store for more details!



What We're Drinking

Last week's "What We're Drinking" post garnered some many responses from our staff that I couldn't fit them all. So here are the rest. I'm sure no one will mind. By the looks of it, many of them are likely still recovering!


Bryan Brick, Redwood City's Beer and Domestic wine buyer had: "a triple B-Day kegger with the amazing trinity of Coniston Bluebird Bitter, Lost Abbey Carnevale Dry Hopped Saison and De Ranke XX Bitter. It was a ruling B-Day jam! All the beers went great with the sun and the 30 pounds of meat (leg of lamb, pork butt, brisket and spare ribs) I smoked."


Steve Bearden, San Francisco's Bordeaux specialist drank 1996 Haut Pontet at my place in the Russian River Valley, outdoors under the Redwoods.  The wine was much better that it should have been.  Lots of dark, round fruit, good acidity and a touch of tannin.  Fairly substantial with no hard edges, a bit of smoke and mineral.  It went well with grilled chicken."


Chiara Shannon, K&L's Personal Sommelier has been celebrating her 30th birthday since June 7th, and has drank some incredible wines along the way:

At Heaven’s Dog Restaurant: 2007 Scholium Project Naucratis "Lost Slough Vineyard" Verdelho and 2007 Moric Blaufränkisch.

At Terroir Wine Merchant: A little red Anjou and the 2006 Philippe Pacalet Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru "Bel Air."

In SF, with friends, with cake: 2009 Saracco Moscato d'Asti, the 2009 Tierra de Luna Torrontes-Chardonnay Mendoza, the 2005 Vincent Girardin Bourgogne Rouge "Emotion de Terroirs", the 2006 Red Lion California Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2008 Antech "Cuvee Eugenie" Cremant de Limoux.

In LA, with family for Asado Dominguero feast: Ariston Aspasie "Brut Prestige" Champagne (1.5L), the 2009 Gurrutxaga Bizkaiko Txakolina Rosé, the 2009 Valleclaro Rosé Valles de Benavente, the 2008 La Montagnetta Il Ciaret Freisa Chiaretto, the 2008 La Madrid Bonarda Mendoza, the 1998 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Côtes du Rhône (1.5L) x2 and the 1970 Graham’s (1.5L).

Back in SF (at home with husband, after catching a matinee performance of "Brooklyn Heights," with slow-braised short ribs): Fleury "Carte Rouge" Brut Champagne and the 1980 Lopez de Heredia "Viña Tondonia" Gran Reserva Rioja.



San Francisco's Mike Barber was also celebrating his 30th, last weekend, which he did in Sonoma County and at Lake Mansion on Clear Lake.

We hopped two wineries, Joseph Swan and Acorn (I love the '06 Medley from acorn, a field blend Zin with 10 different kinds of Muscat. This is an only-in-California kind of wine and very delicious). Then we went to the Lagunitas and Mendocino Brewing Company breweries. (My buddy bought me a 2-liter growler of my favorite at Lagunitas: "Little Sumpin' Wild," a special release spicy and golden ale of theirs.)

Also consumed (with 13 friends to help me): 1 bottle Embajador Reposado Mezcal, 2 bottles Buffalo Trace K&L exclusive, 1 bottle Wild Turkey rye, 1 bottle Citadelle gin (all fantastic bottles for the money), 2 bottles stoli vodka, and 10 cases of really cheap beer (Hamms!)


Gary Westby, K&L's Champagne and Sherry buyer left the Champagne and Sherry behind this weekend. Instead, "I had the 1999 André Brunel "Les Cailloux" Châteauneuf-du-Pape this Saturday night with venison sausage. It was the second to last bottle of a half case that I bought on pre-arrival years and years ago. It has turned silky now that it is 11 years old, but the nose is still full of tar, game and black fruit. It went great with the venison sausage! It was a big wine, but maintained its balance and had enough grace notes for the food. I bought more of the 1998 the year before (like 18 bottles!) and would be pleased to trade what I have left of that more famous vintage for the 1999!


Michael Jordan, K&L San Francisco's Domestic wine buyer busted a few bottles out of the cellar. He had the: 1980 BV Latour (1.5L) He described that as, "Amazing and vibrant wine. Full of fresh blue fruit and amazing structure. The wine still had time to age. With a mushroom risotto. I also drank the 1998 Antinori Solaia, which came out of the gate a little rough. Two hours into dinner the wine came out of its shell and showed its beauty and finesse with great with House-made egg pappardelle with veal, pork and porcini mushroom Bolognese, rosemary and Parmigiano-Reggiano.


Christie Cartwright from K&L Hollywood: I drank a magnum of 2006 Seasmoke Southing at the Gold Rush Steakhouse (at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo) this past Father's Day with some family/friends. It was showing very nicely and was juicy enough to stand up to my filet mignon and baked potato with all the fixins! Yummy.