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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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Entries in Los Angeles (9)


What We're Drinking

It was a busy drinking weekend for the staff at K&L. Here's just a smattering of what we imbibed and where.

Keith Wollenberg, K&L's Burgundy buyer just wound up a trip to Chablis on Saturday, and it sounds like the visit ended on a high note:

Saturday, June 19th at Hostellerie des Clos, Chablis

1996 Domaine René & Vincent Dauvissat Chablis 1er Cru "Vaillons" Initially very square on the palate, it opend up to show classic wet stone and oyster shell notes with crisp acidity and just a touch of honey. Still very youthful, and a terrific match with shellfish and then some seared white fish and baby spring vegetables.

2000 Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru "Clos des Chenes" Lovely and very "Pinot" in character, with a bit of minerality and very fine tannins. Open and lovely with Charolais beef rib steak in a Pinot Noir reduction. Terrific Volnay, perfumed aromatic and long on the palate.

Sunday, June 20th at home on the patio in California

2007 Domaine Ramonet Bourgogne Aligoté ($23.99) This wine's lovely acidity is counterbalanced by a bit of Cote d'Or richness and a hint of oak. A refreshing and rich white Burgundy that I drank to accompany a big tossed green salad with scampi grilled with pepper and lemon, while sitting in the sun trying to figure out what time of day it really was after 17 hours in transit by car and plane.


Trey Beffa, K&L's VP and domestic wine buyer in Los Angeles, had a fun-filled weekend starting with a closing bash at Grace in Los Angeles on Saturday night. (The restaurant will reopen next year downtown). He started with the 1996 Arnauld Ente 1er Cru Volnay "Les Santenots de Milieu" "The wine was okay, with ripe upfront fruit. Earthy in the back, but a bit simple. I've been opening a few '96 Burgundies lately and have not been happy. I might get rid of them all. I wish I bought more '99s.

1995 Clerico "Arte" "This wine was delicious, with sweet black fruit and a spicy, long finish. The Arte is a blend of Nebbiolo and Barbera that's barrel aged. All in all, Italy beat France on Friday.

On Sunday, it was Stella Artois and Don Julio Silver Tequila at the House of Blues with Ozzy Osbourne. It was pretty cool seeing him perform in a 1,000-person venue. More Advil needed this morning than on Sunday morning."


I had a pretty mellow weekend overall, heading to down to visit some friends in Orange County on Friday night with my hubby. I brought along a bottle of the 2008 Domaine Anne & Arnaud Goisot Bourgogne Côte d'Auxerre Rosé ($11.99), which matched nicely with the prosciutto-wrapped asparagus apetizers my friend served, as well as the sumptuous salmon with dried cranberries and pistachios. I could have drank this all night. 

For Father's Day we opened the bottle of 1991 Palmer, Margaux ($189.99) that we gave my dad for his birthday last week. We served it with grilled lamb chops dusted with herbs d'Provence, asparagus and baby red, purple and sweet potatoes. The wine was phenomenal, darkening in color with air. It started off with a a meaty, curranty nose, which gave way to plummy fruit, blackberries, smoke and graphite. The tannins were totally resolved and the wine was just seamless! Oh, and my dad liked it too.


David Othenin-Girard, L.A.'s spirits buyer, drank one of my favorite beers over the weekend, the Jolly Pumpkin "Bam Biere" Farmhouse Ale (750ml $9.99). David says, "This brew from the boys in Michigan tasted like tangerine soda. The sour element goes really citrusy, it's very easy to drink but full flavored. This is definitely for the adventurous. Loved it."


Keith Mabry, Assistant Manager at K&L Hollywood: 

Friday night was Oyster night.  A friend picked up oysters from Carlsbad Aquafarm at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market.  Local oysters from down near San Diego that are bright and plump with a slight grassy note.  After shucking them, he prepared them two ways.  We had raw oysters with a light squeeze of lemon and a slight dusting of fresh cracked pepper.  Then Oysters Rockefeller.  A sliver of fried bacon in the bottom of the shell, the oyster on top of that, a drizzle of hollandaise and fresh buttermilk bread crumbs then under the broiler for 3 minutes.  Pure heaven. I opened two wines that night.  First we drank the 2008 Domaine Gerard Tremblay Chablis "Vieilles Vignes" ($18.99), which was showing beautifully.  It had pear fruit and wonderful mineral notes.  This is the third time I have had this wine and I want to keep going back for more.  The second wine was the 2003 Brokenwood "ILR" Semillon from Hunter Valley ($37.99).  If you have never had aged Semillon from Hunter, you must try it.  It has a vibrant lemongrass quality and as they age they pick up richer nuances. This wine was still youthful and needed about 20 minutes to start showing its best stuff.  This is what the Aussies drink with their oysters and we should too.

I was at another friend’s house on Sunday for a HUGE start of summer rosé party.  We had about 25 different rosés, including bubbles.  Standouts include: 

2009 Adegas Cooperativos de Moncao "Muralhas" Rosé Vinho Verde ($11.99) Slightly bubbly, sweet fruit, like fresh cut cantaloupe with a soft breeze of raspberry.  Hot weather here we come! 

2009 Château Pradeaux Bandol Rosé ($29.99) One of the stars of summer.  A richly flavored wine of great complexity.  Still deftly balanced and not cloying.  Can’t wait to see how this develops over the year.

2008 Chateau Simone Palette Rosé  Dense texture and vibrant notes of anise, cinnamon, cherries and wet stones.  Longest finish and highest price.  A stunner in my book.

Bruno Michel "Les Rose" Brut Rosé Champagne ($49.99) Like drinking a Gevrey-Chambertin with bubbles.  Not your average Champagne, but fascinating.

Food was provided by the World Fare bustaurant.  Curried chicken and the braised short ribs were stars, but no one will ever forget the truffled macaroni and cheese balls.  Be on the lookout for one of the best food trucks I have yet visited in LA.

Hollywood's Chris Miller was also at the rosé party. Here's what he remembered: 

Went to a rosé party last night where there were dozens of still and sparkling rosés to try.  Despite my best efforts, probably only got to about 15 or so (remember, this is a party, not a "tasting." Spitting be damned!)  Two standouts were the very lovely Domaine de la Petite Marie Bourgueil Rosé ($15.99), which was spicy, balanced and super delicious.  And our own Ariston Aspasie Brut Rosé (32.99).  Super fruity, but lots of lip-smacking, refreshing acidity.  Both wines are steals at $14 and $33 respectively.  Then a shot of Averna, as there was no Fernet.  You know you're in L.A. and not SF when THAT'S the case.


Leah Greenstein


Getting to Know: Leah Greenstein

Name: Leah Greenstein

What’s your position at K&L and how long have you been with the company?

I’ve been K&L’s writer and editor since June 2007. I put together the newsletter every month, work on the blog, our Twitter account and write tasting notes and email blasts.

What did you do before K&L?

I managed Pizzeria Mozza—Mario Batali and Nancy’s Silverton’s restaurant here in L.A.

What do you do in your spare time?

I cook and write about food on my blog ( and occasionally freelance for print and online magazines. I also love to ride my bike on the beach, hike and geek out at the farmers’ market.

What was your “epiphany wine”?

I went to Sonoma State for undergrad and we spent a lot of time knocking over wineries on Saturdays instead of bar-hopping on Friday nights. And my favorite was always the Gewürztraminer at Kunde—I didn’t even like white wine back then, but it was fresh and bright and spicy. Oh, and they played Led Zeppelin in the tasting room.

Describe your perfect meal.

I love rustic Italian and French food, like the kind cooked by grandmas for generations, paired with fresh, balanced wines.

Do you think your palate’s changed?

Absolutely. I started off liking really fruit-forward, aggressively structured wines. Now I prefer lighter-bodied, higher-acid wines with more subtlety than punch.

What do you like to drink?

Neal’s (my fiancée) home brews, craft beer, wines from all over France, especially the Loire and the Rhône, aged Bordeaux, regional Italian wines and, more recently, gin cocktails.

What words of advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?

Don’t be afraid of us wine nerds. Sometimes we give the long answer to what seems like an easy question, but really we want you to have the best wine experience. Try new things and, most of all, don’t assume that just because the critics like it that you have to. I think everyone’s palate is different and everyone’s palate changes.

If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would you invite?

My two grandfathers and Catherine the Great because she was one badass broad. We’d drink Aviations and Châteauneuf-du-Pape from my birth year, which was said to be legendary for wine as well as for snow.



Getting to Know: Tom Martinez

Name: Tom Martinez

What’s your position at K&L and how long have you been with the company?

I am the General Manager of the Hollywood Store.  I started working at K&L in 1983.

What did you do before you started working here?

After college I worked in the financial services industry followed by a short time with a contractor.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am a big sports fan and enjoy watching and attending sporting events.  Restoring my ’65 Mustang has taken more of my spare money than spare time lately.

What’s your favorite movie?

Caddyshack and Pulp Fiction are my favorites.

What was your “epiphany wine”—the bottle or glass that got you interested in wine? Is there a current wine that you consider the equivalent?

I would have to say that the 1983 Pichon-Lalande was the first wine to really excite me.  

Describe your perfect meal (at a restaurant or prepared at home). What wine(s) would you pair with it?

My perfect meal would start with a glass of Champagne and a spinach salad with roasted walnuts. The next course would be a crab gnocchi served with A Lewis Chardonnay.  A blackened Rib Eye and grilled asparagus would be accompanied by an older Pichon-Lalande or Léoville-Barton. A fresh fruit tart would end the night with more Champagne.

How do you think your palate’s changed over the years?

I have definitely moved away from heavily oaked wines.  I find myself looking for more balanced wines with alcohol levels in check.

What do you like to drink?

I enjoy cocktails as much as a nice glass of wine.  And of course I don’t always vacation in Mexico but when I do, it is all Tequila and beer.

What words of advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?

Go to tastings and try as many wines and varietal as you can.  Learn what you like but be open to all flavor profiles.  Don’t over analyze each wine.  Keep it simple.

If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would you invite? What wine would you serve each of them?

If I could I would like to have dinner with my grandfather Albert Martinez, Mickey Mantle and the late Chip Hammack.   I know our conversations would include such topics as politics, women, baseball, the Lakers, jazz and money.  I think cocktails would be the libation of choice and the meal would be incidental as our conversation would be the highlight.