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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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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 Napa Valley (7)

Monday
Oct152012

Introducing the Champions of the Blind Chardonnay & Cabernet Tasting Challenge!

The candidates were chosen, running mates too. Opinion polls are silent, votes are in and counted. Two unlikely winners have emerged...


By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L NZ & Aussie Wine Specialist

In the world of wine, if Cab is King, Chardonnay must be his Queen. When putting together the recent flights of blind tastings we tried to include a variety of styles and price points from all over the globe to represent the truly international dominance of these grapes. We had some obscure dark horses and some out and out favorites. But when the old brown bag comes into the picture the playing field is leveled and reputations dashed.

We started with ten Chardonnays the Blind Chardonnay Tasting last Friday night in Redwood City, followed by eleven Cabernets on Saturday afternoon. Attendants to each tasting were asked to taste through the blind lineup and cast a single vote for their favorite wine. After voting, they received the wine legend.  

Queue a lot of swirling, slurping and head scratching! Some people confidently scribbled down notes, country, region even producer, while others professed themselves completely baffled, taking only random stabs at price point and nation.

When all was said and done I was pleasantly surprised by the results, as were many of the participants.

Your 2012 blind Chardonnay Tasting Champion (drum roll please….)

2010 Craggy Range “Kidnapper's Vineyard” Chardonnay, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand $16.99

And your King of Cabernet :

2009 Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, Western Australia $29.99

Back to back wins for NZ and Oz!

 

These two wines triumphed over some prestigious Napa wines, Premier Cru Burgundy and everything the rest of the world could muster, with some challengers at three times the price! Scroll down to check out the complete lineups for both tastings at the end of this article and you will see that the competition was serious.

Here is some info on our winners:

 

2011 Craggy Range "Kidnapper's Vineyard Chardonnay, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand ($16.99)

Craggy Range is one of New Zealand's leading producers that focuses on highly prestigious single vineyard wines that illustrate remarkble micro-climates around these spectacular islands. The Kidnapper's Vineyard is situated in Hawkes Bay, right up against the pacific ocean, on the east coast of New Zealand’s north island. The vineyard is named after the nearby Cape Kidnapper's, a headland that takes it's name from a dramatic abduction of one of Captain Cook's crew by indigenous Māori in 1792.

The vines grow literally a stones throw from the surf. This situe has a notable impact on the wines aromatics and flavor as this coastal proximity has imparted a distinct saline quality upon the wine. Most importantly the vineyard is cooled by brisk sea breezes keeping this wine bright and crisp with a nice zippy acidity. The grapes have a long hang time and this slow ripening allows excellent flavor develoment.

 
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In the winemaking process the Kidnapper's Chardonnay is lightly whole bunch pressed into neutral oak tanks for fermentation. 10% goes to new French Oak Puncheons (double size barrels that impart much less flavor). This chablis-like style of production compliments the vineyards cool, crisp, mineral and saline flavor profile. The restraint, balance and complexity of this wine really surpasses it's very modest price point. Here is a link to Craggy Range’s website for more info about this spectacular vineyard site and the winemaking process. Craggy Range's Kidnapper's Vineyard.

 

King of Cabs: 2009 Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, Western Australia $29.99

 The Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon is a truly historic wine. Vasse Felix was the first winery established in the now renowned Margaret River region of Western Australia. Planting vines in 1967 Vasse Felix has made this estate Cabernet every vintage since 1972 and continues as a leading family owned estate today. The fruit for this wine comes from the Wilyabrup sub-region known for producing world class cabernet. Vasse's neighbors include Cullen Estate and Moss Wood who make prolific Cab based wines themselves. You can see from the map below again the ocean plays a huge role in tempering the climate in Margaret River. This region gets pretty warm during the summer months but the frigid southern ocean is a constant factor cooling the winds and allowing greater flavor development and acid retention in the grapes.

 

 

View Larger Map

The 2009 Vasse Felix Cab shows archetypal Margaret River Cabernet characters. Concentrated black and blue fruits (think fresh blackberries and blueberries combined) with aromatic minty and subtle eucalyptus hints. With air the wine shows some thyme and cedar notes with dusty soil qualities. The wine is concentrated and powerful but without being over saturated or extracted. It has impeccable balance and a fine but persistent tannin structure.

Vasse Felix's Wilyabrup Vineyard

We hope you get a chance to try some of these winning wines, available now in our stores and on KLWines.com. Our blind tasting series has been a great success with lots of positive feedback from our customers, which means you can look forward to more blind tastings in the future! We invite you to come on down and attend the next one, or perhaps be inspired to stage a blind tasting of your own at home! You can follow us on Uncorked for updates and on Facebook and K&L Local Events for future listings and details.  

Cheers,

-Ryan

Blind Chardonnay Line Up:

1: 2010 Château de la Charrière Bourgogne Blanc Dom. Yves Girardin, Burgundy, France $14.99

2: 2010 Craggy Range “Kidnappers Vineyard” Chardonnay, Hawkes bay, New Zealand $16.99

3: 2011 “Heggies” Chardonnay, Eden Valley, Australia $19.99

4: 2009 Dom. Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru "Champs Gain" Burgundy, France $59.99

5: 2010 Clos Pepe “Barrel Fermented” Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills, California $22.99

6: 2009 Brick House "Cascadia" Ribbon Ridge Chardonnay, Ribbon Ridge AVA, Oregon $32.99

7: 2010 Te Whare Ra Chardonnay, Marlborough, New Zealand $24.99

8: 2010 Cakebread Chardonnay, Napa Valley, California $34.99

9: 2008 Monteviejo "Lindaflor" Chardonnay Valle de Uco Mendoza $19.99 (was $30)

10: 2010 Daniel De Wet "Limestone Hill" Chardonnay Robertson, South Africa $15.99

 

Blind Cabernet Line Up:

1: 2009 Sapaio "Volpolo"Bolgheri, Italy $32.99

2: 2009 La Croix de Beaucaillou, St-Julien, Bordeaux, France $49.99

3: 2009 Fabre Montmayou Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, Mendoza, Argentina  $15.99

4: 2009 Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, Western Australia $29.99

5: 2010 Reyneke "Capstone" Red Bordeaux Blend, Stellenbosch, South Africa   $24.99

6: 2008 Attila Gere Cabernet Sauvignon, Villany, Hungary $21.99

7: 2001 Jean Leon Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva, Penedes, Spain $39.99

8: 2008 Seven Hills Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington, USA $21.99

9: 2009 Kathryn Kennedy "Small Lot Cabernet", Santa Cruz Mountains, CA, USA $32.99

10: 2010 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, CA, USA $69.99

11: 2009 Amici Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, CA, USA $37.99 

 

 

 

Thursday
Jun072012

Brick's Picks: "Need to Know" Cabs from Washington and California 

Last Saturday, K&L Domestic Wine Buyer Bryan Brick took Redwood City's annual domestic Cabernet tasting in a new direction, eschewing the expected in order to highlight his personal top picks in domestic Cabernet right now. His lineup brings together Cabernets that are "big" in more ways than just oak and points.  

It's tough to pin Mr. Brick down for a chat, but we caught up with him right before the tasting (fortunately with the camara rolling!). Watch as Bryan shares the inside scoop on what makes these wines unique, and why you need to know about them. 

To learn more about the wines featured in Bryan's lineup, order online to try at home, or browse our selection of Domestic Cabernets, click on the links below. Many of these are small production wines that are limited in quantity and availabilty, so don't delay!

The Lineup:

2009 Guardian “The Wanted” Columbia Valley Red Wine ($39.99)

2009 Mark Ryan Winery “Dead Horse-Ciel du Cheval Vineyard” Red Mountain ($49.99)

2009 Von Strasser Winery “Rudy” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.99) 

"This is Von Strasser's second label, and it may be one of the most complete, Bordeaux-like Napa Valley Cabs for $20 that we've tasted this year. That's not too surprising, since ownder Rudy Von Strasser's first gig out of UC Davis's enology program was an internship at Lafite Rothschild, and the property the fruit comes from is one of the most remarkable sites on Diamond Mountain. But don't let the wine's mountain origins, or the very ripe 2009 vintage fool you into thinking it's a bruiser. The 2009 Rudy is exceptionally balanced, with good tension between the acid, tannins and fruit. It's 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, with 17% Merlot and 4% each Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah in supporting rolls. Drink now and over the next five years.

2007 York Creek Vineyards Spring Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($29.99) "Recently I was sitting at my desk thinking about some of the wines I’ve had from what I believe to be truly great wineries in the fine state of California. One wine kept popping into my head which was the Estate Cab from York Creek. The saddest part is that I hadn’t carried the wine for a couple of years due to lack of distribution. So I picked up the phone and made a call, long story short James Beard Award winner, beer icon and an all around great man Fritz Maytag was at my desk a couple of weeks later showing me the lineup from his estate high upon Spring Mountain. There were a lot of great wines that day, some of which you will probably see at K&L in the not so distant future, but the wine that really resonated with the staff and me was the 2007 York Creek Vineyards Spring Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. This is just tremendous wine at a truly ridiculously price, I used to sell this wine happily at $59.99 in past years. Deep set foresty aromas of pine needle, mushroom, muddled mint and redwood encapsulate a rich core of blackcurrant fruit and fennel on the nose. Instantly drinkable, but asking politely for some air, this cab is layered with meshed flavors of sandalwood, cassis, olive flesh and bay leaf. I truly believe that this wine is something club members should be re-ordering by the case and our non-club members may want to think about doing so as well. I bet many of you will thank me later."

2009 Ridge Vineyards “Estate” Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon ($38.99)

2008 Mount Eden Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon ($49.99)

2007 Heitz Cellar “Bella Oaks” Napa Cabernet Sauvignon ($59.99)

2009 Larkmead Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($71.99)

2001 Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($79.99)

2009 Arnot-Roberts “Bugay Vineyard” Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon ($89.99) "We're really excited to finally have a line on the exceptional wines from Arnot-Roberts, the joint venture between childhood friends Duncan Arnot-Meyers and Nathan Roberts. The "Bugay Vineyard" Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a cool, low-yielding vineyard in the Mayacama Range known for its rocky volcanic soils. Structured and refined, this age-worthy beauty has a real sense of place that will win over Bordeaux and California wine fans alike."

 

 

 

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

Tuesday
May292012

Wine with a Cause: JT Snow's THIRST Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

On Saturday May 26th, K&L Redwood City had the pleasure of hosting a tasting of the 2008 Thirst Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Former SF Giant J.T. Snow and winemaker Katie Hamilton Shaffer were on hand to explain the charity that this wine supports and all the facts about the wine.

2008 Thirst Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($44.99) K&L is proud to carry "Thirst", a new line from Toolbox Wine Co. A portion of proceeds of sales of the 2008 "Thirst" Napa Cabernet will be donated to the Jack and J.T. Snow Fund to support Wolfram Syndrome research at Washington University in St. Louis. Composed of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9 % Petit Verdot, 2 % Petit Sirah, and 1 % Zinfandel, this rich, juicy Cabernet offers aromas of ripe blackberry and plum, with hints of toasty vanilla, dark chocolate and baking spices. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied with layers of fruit and spice framed by fine tannins and and lifted acidity. "For 13 years I gave back to baseball," remarks former SF Giants first baseman J.T. Snow, "today I am giving back beyond the field. In 2010 my niece Raquel was diagnosed with a rare disease - Wolfram syndrome...Please join us by raising a glass, thank you for your support."