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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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Entries in Nebbiolo (7)


Food & Wine Pairings: Short Ribs & Nebbiolo

By: Gary Westby | K&L Wine Buyer

Nebbiolo Dinner

With fall here, Cinnamon decided to make our short ribs from the ½ steer that we bought from Fred Manas and Manas Ranch. That inspired me to brush up on the wines of Piemonte- specifically the great Nebbiolos from this rightly famous wine region. As you will see in today's video, Greg St. Clair, K&L's Italian Wine Buyer recommended a great pair of Langhe Nebbiolos to go with this extremely rich dish.

Because of the heady power and slow developing nature of these wines, the steps that you take at home with these bottles to improve your experience make all the difference. The size of these wines lends themselves to drinking a bit cool- just over cellar temperature. They also need a lot of time to open up, so decant well in advance of drinking. I put our two wines into carafes 2 ½ hours ahead of time, and the Ruggeri didn't show at 100% until the second half of the bottle! Glassware also makes a big difference. The Burgundy/Pinot Noir glass is the way to go for these wines.

2010 Ruggeri Corsini Nebbiolo Langhe ($17.99)The 2010 Ruggeri Corsini Langhe Nebbiolo ($17.99; K&L Direct Import) was poured first- which was a mistake. This is Nebbiolo at its purest, with aromas of meat, tar and roses. It took a long time to open up- we decanted it way ahead, but it was only after 3 hours that it really started to show. This is incisive wine and a perfect partner to short ribs. The high acidity and tannin in this bottle will be great with all manner of braised meats, but certainly not a bottle to have by itself in front of the TV. The light color is very deceiving- this is a powerhouse. At the end of the meal the understated class of this wine showed through… It was delicious!

The 2006 Aldo Conterno  "Il Favot" Langhe Nebbiolo ($26.99; K&L Direct Import) took me completely by surprise. This dark, almost thick red shows a lot more oak and extraction than wines that I generally enjoy, but it fit the fruit so well that I loved it. I just bought a case for the cellar! Taming the Nebbiolo beast with a few modern winemaking techniques is not such a bad thing- this wine was still all Piemonte, and very identifiably Nebbiolo, as a matter of fact, this journeyman Italian taster would have guessed Barolo rather than Langhe due to the high level of polish and care that went into this wine. The Conterno managed to have sweet black berry fruit to balance out the meaty tannin and finished long and fine.

Italian wine must be enjoyed with food in order to fully appreciate it. The short rib recipe that we paired with these Nebbiolo’s comes from Cinnamon’s mom, Margaret. It was adapted from a Sunset magazine article. It really makes a big difference to use homemade beef stock, luckily, our ½ cow came with plenty of bones!

Margaret's Short Ribs Recipe (Adapted from Sunset Magazine)


4#s boned, fat-trimmed beef short ribs (I always just use bone in and remove the fat after cooking)

1 orange (With vegetable peeler, pare orange part of peel from orange and sliver it)

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped

About 1 cup beef stock

1 cup dry red wine

½ cup port or cream sherry (I use port)

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

2TBS soy sauce

1tsp dried thyme or 2 tsp fresh thyme (I use fresh)

3 or 4 very thin slices (quarter size) peeled fresh ginger

½ tsp Chinese five spice

1# mushrooms

2TBS butter or olive oil

2TBS cornstarch

Salt and Pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh chives


  1. Rinse meat and place in a 5-6qt slow cooker
  2. Cut mushrooms in half lengthwise and place in a 10-12inch frying pan; add butter

 Enjoy the Nebbiolo!



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


Auction Spotlight: 2001 Conterno Fantino "Sori Ginestra" Barolo

2001 Conterno Fantino "Sori Ginestra" Barolo. These are the actual bottles, not stock photos.It's hard to imagine that Barolo, like much of Italy, didn't have a particularly stellar reputation 30 years ago. But that all changed in 1987 when the Wine Spectator put the 1982 bottle of this wine, Conterno Fantino's "Sori Ginestra" Barolo on the cover of their esteemed magazine. The 1982 was the first vintage produced by Claudio Conterno and Guido Fantino, and the wine came from what's become an acclaimed southfacing vineyard site in Monforte, Sori Ginestra, notable for its sand and clay-like marl soils with lots of silt that are perectly suited to the delicate Nebbiolo grape. The pair of bottles in this acution lot are in excellent condition, sourced from a Bay Area collector who kept them properly stored in a temperature-controlled cellar since purchase.

These bottles come from the 2001 vintage, which the Wine Spectator describes as having produced, "Aromatic, structured and firm reds with racy character." The wine is, also according to the Wine Spectator, the "Greatest wine ever from here and the wine of the vintage." This 99-point wine was $99 upon release and sells for upwards of $150 a bottle these days.  It also received a 95-point review from Antonio Galloni at Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. Still a youngin'--this wine has more than a generation or two of life left. 

Place your bid on this 2-bottle lot of 2001 Conterno Fantino "Sori Ginestra" Barolo...

This auction ends March 13, 2011 at 5 p.m. 


Food-Pairing Friday: Valentine's Day Edition

A server carrying out the rack of lamb with lavender salt and halibut in parchment at my wedding last April. Photo by Cameron Ingalls.

I met my husband on Craigslist. I wasn't looking for a husband, actually, or a boyfriend. I was just looking for a place to live in Los Angeles. All I wanted was a nice apartment that was walking distance to things, had wood floors and lots of light, and a roommate that cleaned up after his or herself and didn't mind that I, fresh off of selling my place in Tahoe, came fully furnished. Neal's ad was straightforward and funny, noting, "Baseball starts soon, which means pretty soon there'll be a Sox game on the tube consistently. Yankee fans beware! I'm looking for a respectful, friendly, responsible roommate. Someone who understands how to respect common areas, which includes cleaning them or for paying for them to be cleaned on a regular basis. Showers (unfortunately) don't know how to clean themselves yet..."

I went to see the apartment the same day I read the ad, and the two of us ended up sitting and talking for hours over a glass of super jammy Zinfandel, which I politely sipped. When I left I had a set of keys and a strange feeling. Were there even windows in the bedroom?

That was April 2007. Neal and were married in April 2010, and he didn't even mind that we missed some of the first Red Sox games of the year. For our first Valentine's Day as a married couple, I thought I'd whip up something from our wedding, which was held up on a ranch just north of San Luis Obispo and catered by the fabulous Dawn and Seth at Pacific Harvest Catering. They made so many tasty things to eat, from savory chicken livers to handmade tortellini en brodo to lava rock salt-cured prawns, that it's been hard to decide what to make. I finally settled on the rack of lamb with lavender salt, which at the wedding we paired with braised artichokes, new potatoes and Copain's 2007 "Tous Ensemble" Syrah, but I might do with Romanesco cauliflower, cauliflower puree and farro risotto (recipe for the lamb below). 

If my pockets weren't so shallow, I would, without a doubt, pair our dinner with the 1998 Chapoutier "Le Meal" Hermitage ($184.99), which comes from one of my favorite Rhône Valley producers, from a vineyard that was said to be among Thomas Jefferson's favorites. The wine's red fruit and meaty qualities would complement the gamier tones in the meat, while the granitic stoniness and violet-scented threads would add another dimension to the dish. While that's not in my budget, the 2001 Travaglini "Gattinara" Riserva ($54.99) is, for a special occasion wine. The wine's substantial structure, sweet tobacco and rose petal nuances blend with tangy blackberry flavors on the palate, flush with lovely acidity. The extra decade in bottle should have softened the edges on this notoriously grippy grape, but it should still stand up to the lamb well. Still, there's a part of me that wants to bring a little Central Coast to the party, and the options there are even more budget-friendly. I think the 2007 Barrel 27 "Right Hand Man" Central Coast Syrah ($16.99), with just a little decanting, would pick up the lavender notes in the dish, while still providing the meatier tones, with more powerful fruit. Wow, my mouth is watering. I can hardly wait until Monday.

Are you cooking for your sweetheart this Valentine's Day? What are you making and what will you pair it with?

Rack of Lamb with Lavender Salt

Recipe courtesy of Pacific Harvest Catering, Atascadero

2 rack of lamb

1 tbsp culinary lavender

1 tbsp lavender salt

1 tbsp lavender honey

Rub the ingredients over the lamb and marinate [at least 4 hours]. Sear the lamb in olive oil until it's a nice, deep brown. Then, roast at 350 degrees until it's medium-rare (120-125 degrees internal temperature--I would pull it out of the oven at about 115 and let it rest), or until it reaches desired doneness.

Leah Greenstein