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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.

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Entries in New York Times (3)


Wine of the Week: 2009 Antichi Vinai Petra Lava Rosato

Why does mid-winter need to feel like banishment to Siberia? Sure shoveling is tedious, and the sub-zero temperatures along the East Coast are causing ice crystals to form on the end of your perpetually running nose, but there are warm fires to snuggle near and children laughing as they make angels in the snow. Winter's chill is a state of mind that can be thawed, if just a bit, by a shift in thinking.

Now I know you're thinking that I'm delusional, or that I'm gloating because the weather here in Southern California is, well, let's just say "mild." But honestly, my sunny disposition comes not from the bright blue skies outside my window, but from the eloquent petals of prose proffered by Eric Asimov in his Monday New York Times post about winter rosés, A Rosé Can Bloom in Winter, Too.

Like most wine drinkers, I consume more hearty reds when the weather is cold. But I don't eat braised short ribs or rich red sauce pastas every night. I like to roast chickens and root vegetables, and enjoy a dried cherry and gruyere-stuffed pork chop every now and then, neither of which require a red wine that feels like a cozy chenille blanket. I like wines with bright fruit, minerality, herbaceousness, delicate tannins and plenty of acidity no matter what the season, and the pale garnet of a substantial rosé in the middle of a snow flurry can be like a SAD lamp for your palate.

So, in the spirit of Asimov's post, I'm ditching the last of my holiday gluttony-inspired Digestivo posts for a Wine of the Week that doesn't need a backyard barbecue to show it's stuff. The 2009 Antichi Vinai Petra Lava Rosato ($19.99) is anything but a frivolous, pool-side sipper. A blend of what the Sicilians call I Nerelli--Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio--grown on the northern slope of Mt. Etna, this rosé is intense and structured. Its aromas lean toward cranberry and cherry, with hints of hibiscus, all of which carry over to a full palate balanced by juicy acidity and earthy volcanic minerality. I'm going to drink this with the aforementioned stuffed pork chop tonight, and buy an extra bottle for Sunday's fresh, farmers' market roast chicken.

Leah Greenstein


Food-Pairing Friday: Catalan Chickpea Stew

Chickpeas. Garbanzo beans. Ceci. Whatever you call these millenia-old, nutty-tasting, protein-rich legumes, they're a must for any serious eater's pantry. Dusted with ground cumin and coriander and a little salt, and then roasted until they have a satisfying crunch, chickpeas make a savory movie-watching snack. Pure and blend them with lemon juice, olive oil, tahini (hulled sesame seed), garlic and salt, and you have a creamy hummus to dip pita crisps in or to slather on sandwiches. Pulverize them into flour and make Farinata, the traditional Ligurian chickpea cake, which could easily obliterate the four o’clock crash. But the best part about chickpeas, I think, is that they are substantial enough for a meatless main course that will please almost any omnivore.

If you’re looking for a dish to cook for Meatless Monday, are a vegetarian, or are just looking to cook healthier meals, the Catalan Chickpea stew from New York Times "Recipes for Health" columnist Martha Rose Shulman’s new book is a great place to start (recipe below). Simple to make, and even better if it’s prepared a day or two in advance, the stew has a deep, tomato-y flavor and is fantastic with a small amount of chorizo or spicy chicken sausage thrown in like a garnish.

The dish presents a wide variety of fun wine-pairing options, too. Cava, the Spanish sparkling wine that traditionally comes from Penedes in northeastern Spain where this dish originates, plays up the lightness of the stew and ties all the lingering flavors into a neat little bow. The Gran Sarao Brut Cava Penedes ($9.99) is one of our favorites, with its Granny Smith apple-like fruit, crisp impression and easy-on-the-wallet price tag. If you’re not a fan of bubbles, try a white Rioja like the 2009 Bodegas Muga Blanco Rioja ($16.99) or the 2003 Marques de Murrieta "Capellania" Blanco Rioja ($14.99), both of which are predominantly made from Viura, and have citrus zest qualities that complement the flavors of the dish, plenty of acidity to stand up to the tomatoes. The slightly oxidized quality of the Capellania matches the earthiness of the chickpeas, and is a great introduction to the style, being a bit rounder and riper because of the hot 2003 vintage. If you prefer to play up the heartiness of the stew, try matching it with an old school Rioja, preferably one with some age on it, like those from perennial staff favorite Lopez de Heredia, or a bottle of 2000 Señorio de P. Peciña Reserva Rioja ($29.99), which drinks like a wine four times the price. High-toned cherry notes, sweet tobacco, earth and perfectly integrated tannins framed by boisterous acidity make the stew taste almost sultry and decadent, and would play particularly well in the spicy-sausage spiked version.

Catalan Chickpea Stew

From The Very Best of “Recipes for Health” by Martha Rose Shulman

Yield: 6 servings

1 lb dry chickpeas soaked 6 hours-overnight in 2 quarts of water

1 bay leaf


1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

½ tsp dried thyme

Ground black pepper

1 dried cayenne chile or ¼-½  tsp red pepper flakes

Drain the chickpea and put them in a large pot with enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Add the bay leaf and bring to a gentle boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for an hour, occasionally skimming off any foam. Add salt to taste and simmer another hour or until tender. Drain through a sieve set over a bowl to reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid. Remove the bay leaf and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy pot and add the onion, cooking over medium heat until it begins to soften. Add bell pepper. Cook peppers and onions, stirring often, until both are tender. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and juice, thyme, salt and black pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often, about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes cook down slightly. Add the chickpeas, cooking liquid and cayenne or chile flakes. Return to a simmer and stir. Reduce heat to very low, cover, and cook gently for 30 minutes to an our until the beans are tender and the broth is fragrant.

Leah Greenstein


Winery to Watch: Guímaro 

If you’ve never heard of Sober, a teeny town carved into the slate and granite cliffs above the River Sil in the Ribeira Sacra DO, in the Spanish province of Galacia, you’re not alone. With a population placed somewhere between nine and 2,900, few people in Galicia are even aware of its existence. But despite its diminutive size, 35-year-old grower, winemaker and Sober-native Pedro Rodríguez Pérez is making a big impact on the wine world. He farms his family’s seven hectares—divided among 15 separate plots tottering on slopes that plunge toward the river like the Hahnenkamm—of Mencía, Godello, Caino Tinto and Treixadura by hand. And he makes wines under the Guímaro label that the New York Times has called, “light-bodied, juicy…with a welcome earthy touch.”

Grapes have been grown in Ribeira Sacra for more than 2,000 years. They were first planted by the Romans as they traipsed across Europe, and were later cultivated by intrepid monks and locals. And it’s no wonder. The region’s hot days, remarkably cool nights and stony soils are ideal for viticulture. But working this land is backbreaking, literally, with growers having to haul their harvest up the steep slopes on their backs, and few young people over the last century felt compelled to continue. Vineyards were abandoned. Terraces crumbled.

Fortunately, the budding interest in Spanish wines beyond Rioja over the past 15 years has led to a surge of interest in the vineyards and wines of Ribeira Sacra. An inspired Rodríguez Pérez returned to Sober after law school to rebuild his family’s terraced vineyards. His mission: to make distinctive wines that spoke of the remote, stony hillsides he calls home.

“There are two kinds of winemakers,” he told Eric Asimov of the New York Times, “those who want to make money and those who want to make wine.” Rodríguez Pérez makes wine. And Guímaro is, without a doubt, a winery to watch.

We currently carry two of the four Guímaro wines. The 2008 Guímaro Mencía Ribeira Sacra ($14.99) is a great place to start if you’ve never had Mencía. It is lighter and softer than the better known iterations grown in Bierzo to the east, with snappy cool-climate acidity, bright red and black fruit and a slate-y mineral vein that runs through from nose to palate. The 2008 is raised entirely in tank, which keeps the wine refreshingly vibrant and food-friendly.

We also have the 2007 Guímaro “B1P” Mencía Ribeira Sacra ($39.99), a sultry yet serious wine that might just woo Rhône wine drinkers away from France. This whole cluster Mencía is fermented in open top foudres, and impresses immediately with its smoky, peppered plum nose. Denser than the the entry level version of the wine, the B1P has hints of herbs and even more concentrated minerality to complement its black fruit.

Leah Greenstein