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What We're Drinking



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.  


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Entries in Lopez de Heredia (8)


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.


Winemaker Interview: María José López de Heredia

Editor’s Note: As promised, here is the full interview with winemaker María José López de Heredia from R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia continued from K&L’s July newsletter... Winemaker: María José López de Heredia from R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Number of years in business: 131 years How would you describe your winemaking philosophy? For us Tradition and Conviction are life-long attitudes. In our Bodega, the winemaking process is family know-how transmitted through the generations. It is present in our everyday work, rooted in the tradition and based on our deep conviction of the validity and modernity of our methods. We mention tradition, not as an idea meaning immobility, opposition to change, but as a dynamic and aesthetic concept in maintaining principles and criteria that remain eternal. However, we are perfectly aware of the rhythm of change. That’s why, our openness to change, flexibility, our non-conformism and self-criticism are the elements that allow us to face the future. The heritage from our ancestors is what makes our idiosyncracies into both positives qualities and attitudes. Our current and future promises can be encapsulated in two ideas that have always epitomized López de Heredia: - Professionality, as a quality of offering the consumer a distinctive product, of supreme quality, as artisan winemakers. - Ethic, promoting the happiness of all those who belong to our House; contributing to the enjoyment of our friends and customers; and giving to Society the best of our hopes and dreams. What wines or winemakers helped influence your philosophy? My father and my grandfather.The elegant wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux. How involved in grape-growing are you? Is there a particular vineyard site that wows you year after year? Very much. We all are as a family. We describe ourselves not as winemakers but as "vine-makers." Viña Tondonia amazes me every year because it makes me think how clever my great-grandfather was to find it. But he found all our vineyards: Viña Bosconia, Viña Cubillo and Viña Gravonia as well. All of them are very special terroirs. How do you think your palate has evolved over the years? How do you think that’s influenced your wines? As I have aged, my palate has evolved towards more elegant and sophisticated wines. I have always tried to make the style I like, of course. What kinds of food do you like to pair your wines with? Wine is always a complement to food. Our wines are, of course conditioned by their origin: Rioja and the style of food we cook in this area: Mediterranean, vegetables, meats...etc. That doesn't mean they cannot match any other food. They adapt well with food from many regions and countries. What changes are planned for coming vintages? Any new (top secret) varietals, blends or propriety wines on the horizon? In our House we are proud of not changing, since we are very faithful to our own style. Therefore no new varietals or different wines; our greatest endeavour is to improve our own style of winemaking. Is there a style of wine that you think appeals to critics that might not represent your favorite style? How do you deal with it? I like the idea of a wide range of wines throughout the world. I suggest that everyone should have their own opinion and not follow others opinions that much. What do you think when you are not drinking your own wine? I was taught to distinguish among objective, subjective and affective tasting. If I taste objectively I think of virtues or defects. When I drink subjectively I decide what I like and what I don't. When I taste affectively I think of enjoyment. Do you collect wine? If so, what’s in your cellar? Yes. Plenty of wines: Sherries, whites, rosés from all around the world. Not forgetting Champagne or Port. I have just bought some wines from Etienne de Montille in Burgundy. I exchange many wines with my wine friends from all over the world. I like to try everything. A friend told me today they are going to give me to taste the best Japanese wine being produced in that country. What do you see as some of the biggest challenges facing the wine industry today? In Spain we have to pay attention to the lack of culture of wine consumption. Health issues. Personality in the wines is another challenge. For us, as artisan vine growers and winemakers finding people that have the know-how to work as we do it now will be a big challenge, sadly, very soon.

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