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Saber Madness at K&L!

We have been chopping off the tops of Champagne bottles as fast as we can drink them- who needs a stopper when you are ready to commit to finishing the bottle! One of our favorites was this magnum ($84.99) of Franck Bonville Brut Rosé that Mellyn expertly decapitated on Christmas Eve. It also comes in regular 750ml ($39.99) and half bottles ($21.99). Olivier Bonville adds 8% Pinot Noir Rouge from Ambonnay superstar Paul Dethune to his top class assembelage of grand cru, estate Chardonnay to create this fabulous rose. This is one of the most elegant, bright, refreshing rose Champagnes that we carry, yet it does not lack red cherry Pinot Noir authority. We can’t get enough- bring another to the block!

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Upcoming Events

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 KLWines.com or follow us on Facebook.  

 

Free Spirits Tastings at K&L! Now that we have our license for spirits tastings in Redwood City and San Francisco, we’re excited to host regular free spirits tastings in those locations.  Check the Spirits Journal for an updated tasting schedule.

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.

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

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Entries in New Zealand (19)

Thursday
Apr162015

Sauv Blanc Day 2015 - April 24th! (Kiwi Style)

Yep it's that time of year again when we celebrate the wondrous grape of Sauvignon Blanc! April 24th is officially World Sauvignon Blanc Day! #sauvblanc

This grape is so crisp, fresh and easy to love...as things start warming up this Spring / Summer I certainly plan on keeping my fridge stocked with plenty of Savvy to keep thirst at bay!

Being the New Zealand Wine Buyer at K&L I am obviously partial to the world class Savvy that NZ produces. After exploding on the world stage in the 1980s, New Zealand has truly cemented its place amongst the world’s leading producers of Sauvignon Blanc. One thing I like to highlight is the variety of styles that come from NZ...the country is often incorrectly stereotyped as a producer of "gooseberry / grassy styles" when in reality, there are many diverse and eclectic styles coming from the plethora of sub-regions and experimental winemakers that call NZ home. It is very hard to "pigeon hole" NZ savvy these days when styles include, wild fermented, barrel fermented, additions of Semillon, Sauvignon Gris...not to mention many wines coming from beyond the region of Marlborough that has for a long time dominated the category; Central Otago, Hawke’s Bay and more offer different flavors and textures to enjoy.

If you love Sauv Blanc (as much as I do!) and are interested in checking out these incredibly diverse wines...I have a treat for you! On Saturday April 25th, the New Zealand Winegrowers Association is hosting a great event at the fantastic Farallon Restaurant in San Francisco. The tasting includes at least two dozen wineries pouring their Savvy and a tantalizing array of hors d'oeuvres from the chefs at Farallon! This is a 3 hour walk-around tasting where you are free to explore as many wines as you wish. Tickets are available here...and more information about the event here on the NZWG website.

Many of these delicious wines are available in-store and online at www.klwines.com.

Here are a couple of my favorite picks that will be on my short list this summer:

2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough

2013 Elephant Hill Sauvignon Blanc Hawke's Bay

2014 Cognizant Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough

2014 Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc Waihopai Valley Marlborough

2013 Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough 

2014 Craggy Range "Te Muna Road" Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough

Wishing you all a cool, crisp and refreshing Sauv Blanc Day!

Cheers - Ryan Woodhouse (K&L NZ Wine Buyer)

Thursday
Mar052015

Akitu's Remarkable Pinot Noirs

I recently read about a new producer in New Zealand’s Central Otago region named Akitu. They are 100% dedicated to producing Pinot Noir off one tiny vineyard site high on the slopes of Mt. Barker close to the bucolic town of Wanaka. I immediately reached out to owner Andrew Donaldson to taste and explore the possibilities of working with his wines. The samples soon arrived and before I could even open them I was already quite taken by the slick package and label design…now I am not one for judging a book (or a bottle of wine for that matter) by it’s cover, but credit where credit is due…these look smart.

Thankfully once opened things only got better. The 2013 Akitu “A1” Pinot Noir is one of the most profound bottles I have tasted in quite some time. The wine is defined by precision, tension, coiled power and subtle intensity. It speaks very strongly of its schist soil origins. The wine is incredibly pure and dynamic on the palate. It is not overly fleshy or extracted but linear and perfectly poised. You can feel the terroir as much as taste it. This wine is about energy and vibrancy. Sure it delivers fantastic Pinot Noir varietal fruit flavors, ripe berries, exotic spice, earth…but this wine is so much more than that, it’s hard to describe, it’s something that needs to be experienced. I also believe we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg with this wine and that the best is yet to come as the tight, compact layers of flavor and texture unfold. 

“Akitu” (meaning “summit” in Māori) comes from a unique site. The vines are planted on a perfect north facing slope, 1600ft up on the on the north west aspect Mt. Barker. In a place like Central Otago that is inherently quite remote…these vines are further defined by their loneliness.  This is not an area bustling with vineyards like the hillsides of Bannockburn or along the shores of Lake Dunstan…these are a few acres of vines perched on lone mountain within a windswept alpine valley over shadowed by the snowcapped mountains of the Southern Alps. When I see someone toiling over a site like this, a tricky, labor intensive, on the edge of grape growing site...I am drawn to the wines, because there must be some reason why that person is persisting, they must truly believe they have something special. Founder Andrew Donaldson only started labeling his own wine in 2012 after selling off fruit for 10 years while he waited for his vines to mature and truly speak of their terroir (something we rarely see in this day and age). 

When Andrew was ready to start putting his own name to these wines he recruited heralded wine maker and kiwi native PJ Charteris to help tease the best expression from his land. PJ has a very serious resume of former winemaking positions including time with Adelsheim, Flowers Estate, Penfolds and most recently served as icon Brokenwood’s Head Winemaker in Australia’s Hunter Valley for 12 years, during which time he was awarded Winemaker of the Year!  This combination of special site and talented winemaker is working wonders for Akitu. The wines are really shining.

Beyond the black label “tête de cuvée” A1 Pinot, we also have Akitu’s white label “A2” bottling. The 2013 Akitu "A2" Pinot Noir offers exceptional value and quality for money. Most Pinot lovers will know that due to the fickle nature of this seductive varietal it is very difficult to find great Pinot Noir for close to $20...it is also almost unheard of to produce noteworthy Central Otago Pinot Noir for this price. The yields are painfully low, farming is very labor intensive…thankfully our direct relationship with Hawkesbury Estate / Atiku has allowed K&L to bring you this wine for a seriously economical price point. This wine is deliberately styled in a more forward, open style bursting with ripe berry fruits, hard ground spices like nutmeg and clove from the whole bunch inclusion, crushed rocks and wild Thyme. The palate has plenty of soft accessible fruit up front, but it is also very long and drawn out on the palate by the wines lovely fresh acidity and fine powdery tannins. A delicate kiss of oak helps polish this gem but does not detract from its purity. All the fruit is still hand-picked from the estate and crafted in the same way and the premier label. Whilst this wine does not provide the lucid insight into this incredible terroir that is afforded by Akitu's "A1" Pinot Noir...it does provide the imbiber instant gratification and a fantastically expressive bottle of classy Pinot Noir at an incredibly reasonable price. This fantastic into in to Akitu’s wines was recently awarded a Pure Elite Gold Medal at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards (NZ’s biggest and most prestigious wine competition).

I entreat you to check out these new additions to our selection and I hope you find them as compelling as I do.

Cheers, 

Ryan Woodhouse - K&L New Zealand Wine Buyer

Monday
Oct062014

TWR Tasting with Winemaker Anna Flowerday from NZ! All Stores!

This week we will be hosting a series of tastings in ALL of our stores with Winemaker Anna Flowerday from the AMAZING Te Whare Ra (TWR) vineyard in New Zealand.

 

Together with her husband Jason, this young couple farm every square inch of their fantastic vineyard by hand. The wines are small production often just a few hundred cases. They have become absolute Staff and Customer favorites here at K&L and they have quite the cult following among those who have tasted these delicious wines. Anna is super energetic and passionate about her wines and it is a pleasure to taste with her in the house. The tasting is just $5 and will be one of the best value tastings you ever attend!

Los Angeles / Hollywood: Wed Oct 8th 5-7pm

San Francisco: Thurs Oct 9th 5-6:30pm

Redwood City: Friday Oct 10th 5-6:30pm 

For those of you that have not seen any of TWR’s wines before here is the scoop: Te Whare Ra is a small organic certified and Biodynamic practicing estate in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley. The owners / winemakers Jason and Anna bought a section of old vines (planted in 1979) in 2003. After converting the estate over to their strict viticultural practices they have been focusing their efforts on making wines with a powerful sense of place, excellent textural presence and wonderful elegant poise. We are incredibly lucky to be working with these folks and I really hope people will come and try out their remarkable range of wines. They have all become true staff favorites at K&L and when you taste the wines you will know why!

Tasting Lineup:

2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough $18.99
2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Riesling “D” Marlborough $19.99
2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Riesling “M” Marlborough $19.99
2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Chardonnay Marlborough $24.99
2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough $26.99
2011 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Syrah Marlborough $26.99

Hope to see you all there! 

Cheers!

Ryan Woodhouse (K&L New Zealand, Australia & S. Africa Wine Buyer)