Stay Connected
What We're Drinking



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!

Recent Videos

Tasting with Oliver Krug

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 or follow us on Facebook.  


Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

See all K&L Local Events


Entries in Pinot Noir (80)


K&L Electronic Newsletter 6th Edition: Sonoma All Summer

K&L Wine News July 15 2013: Sonoma: Land, Legacy, & Lots of Wine

K&L Wine News

July 2013

Electronic Newsletter Sixth Edition

Sonoma: Land, Legacy & Lots of Wine!

From California classics to modern twists on European traditions, Sonoma's rich winemaking heritage, diverse landscape, and warm, welcoming vibe continues to win the hearts of wine lovers seeking variety, history, and value all wrapped into one delicious bottle after another. Inside we report on recent vintages, producers to watch, and top picks for the summer.  

Click the image or follow the link at the end of the page to read more:


Champagne Friday: To the Winner Goes the Spoils


By: Chiara Shannon| Champagne Lover and Director of the K&L Personal Sommelier Service

K&L staff members have great fortune to taste a lot of wine and compare notes with leading experts in the the business on a routine basis. We participate in weekly staff tastings hosted by our respective buyers, and rare is the day when assorted wines aren't opened in the tasting room for the purpose of staff education. Seriously! Listen in on a conversation between two K&L staff members discussing a wine, beer, or spirit at any given time, and you will come away reaffirmed that you are shopping at the right place, assisted by folks who know their stuff. I am constantly humbled by the depths of knowledge and experience of the collective K&L palate.

Which is why I am inspired to write this week's Champagne Friday. You see, in the latest round of the K&L Staff Blind Tasting Competition (although tasting roulette is more like it), I miraculously won. The prize? My all time favorite Champagne, Amaury Coutelas "Cuvee 1809" Brut Champagne ($59.99) Here are my notes from my first tasting of this marvelous Champagne:

This is incredible Champagne, and very unique. Drawing on winemaking techniques of the 19th century, it was fermented in barrel (no malo), aged for 8+ years on the lees in bottles sealed with corks, manually disgorged, and finished with a cork and twine closure. Stylistically, you could say it's to Champagne what Lopez de Heredia is to white Rioja, but unlike 19thcentury Champagne, this modern revival is dry, with a very low dosage. It offers a stunning array of complex earthy and nutty aromas and flavors with biscuit, mineral, mushroom, and honey accents. The texture is luxuriously rich and layered, but naturally high acidity and the low dosage keep this Champagne fresh and invigorating, with a dry, crisp finish that goes on and on. If you like white wines from the Jura, traditional white Rioja, or are a Champagne fiend looking for something to blow your mind, here you go. Highly recommended.

In late January this year, I brought this Champagne with me to dinner at a well-known restaurant in Napa. I was stunned at the way it revealed layer upon layer of complexity throughout the evening, complementing each course from start to finish in different yet profound ways. It is hard to imagine having the patience to allow a Champagne to last through multiple courses, but this one has so much substance and depth that every sip is a new experience worth savoring for as long as possible. The standout pairing was the duck liver mousse course, but this Champagne held its own with both lamb and steak entrees as well!

As if that isn't praise enough, it is worth mentioning that this Champagne was also K&L Senior Bordeaux Specialist (and HUGE Giants fan) Ralph Sands' choice for toasting when the Giants won the World Series. Now that says something. 

The Challenge

This past Tuesday, the Redwood City managers generously offered to man the store and phones while the rest of the staff members enjoyed a prolonged, catered lunch together. Lawn (well, parking lot) games like ping pong were set up, hip-hop was blasting on the stereo, delicious food was abundant, and so were the wines, which is why when I learned that a ten wine blind tasting had been organized with a prize going to the winner, my first reaction was to mentally decline. Blind tasting is hard! It requires a lot of focus and can be intensely frustrating. Enjoying my ice cream doused with caramel after a huge lunch, I figured my palate was not in the best condition for such a challenge. The potential for embarrassment was high.  

My curiosity got the better of me, however, and eventually I wandered over to the tasting table. There were ten wines, brown bagged; eight in 750ml bottles and two in large format. The tasting sheet demanded five sets of criteria per wine: Vintage, Varietal Composition, Country, Region, and Producer. The rules were simple--No Peeking!--and one point would be awarded per correct answer for each criteria, leading to a total of five points per wine.

My strategy in casual blind tasting is to run through the lineup first, jotting down very short notes on aroma and flavor, but making no conclusions. Then I go through and consider each wine again, with the intention of making a swift decision with minimal mind-changing based on a combination of first and second impressions. I am a big believer in going with the gut; over-thinking a wine has only pushed me farther from accuracy in past tastings.

It was a doozy! In this case 'winning' meant a total of 19 points out of a possible 50 - nowhere near a perfect score (technically an F!) but a respectable effort nonetheless, considering the challenge we were up against. I will spare you the details of the tasting and my notes (including those parts that I got embarrassingly wrong) but in case you are curious, here is the 'answer' key to the challenge:  

Wine #1

Vintage: NV

Varietal: Pinot Meunier   

Country: France

Region: Champagne

Producer: Loriot


Wine #2

Vintage: 2009

Varietal: Gruner Veltliner

Country: Austria

Region: Kamptal

Producer: Allram


Wine #3

Vintage: 2011

Varietal: Grenache Blanc/Roussanne/Viognier

Country: France

Region: Costiere de Nimes

Producer: Gassier


Wine #4

Vintage: 2009

Varietal: Barbera

Country: Italy

Region: Asti

Producer: Chiarlo


Wine #5

Vintage: 1998

Varietal: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc

Country: France

Region: Bordeaux

Producer: Grandis



Wine #6

Vintage: 2007

Varietal: Graciano

Country: Spain

Region: Rioja

Producer: Vina Ijalba


Wine #7

Vintage: 2001

Varietal: Cabernet

Country: US

Region: Yountville/Napa

Producer: Grgich Hills


Wine #8

Vintage: 2005

Varietal: CS

Country: US

Region: Napa/Rutherford

Producer: Nickel & Nickel


Wine #9

Vintage: 1971 Mouton Cadet

Varietal: Merlot/Cab

Country: France    

Region: Bordeaux

Producer: Mouton Cadet


Wine #10

Vintage: 1972

Varietal:Cabernet Sauv

Country: US

Region: Napa Valley

Producer: Inglenook


The next challenge? Choosing the perfect occasion in which to open this gorgeous Champagne!

When will I open this? What will I pair it with? Who do I invite to share it with me? So many things to consider...

I would like to thank Champagne Buyer Gary Westby for donating this bottle for the prize, and our fearless managers for organizing a great event and tasting. Your efforts are appreciated!

A toast to you,




Pinot Days Tastings This Saturday at K&L Nor Cal Locations!

Join us this Saturday 6/29 for Pinot Days tastings at K&L Redwood City and San Francisco, and a special honorary Pinot Noir Tasting in Hollywood!

This Saturday June 29th it's all about Pinot Noir at K&L!

To kick off the annual Pinot Days San Francisco Festival taking place at Fort Mason in San Francisco Sunday June 30th, we're hosting special Pinot Days tastings in our Northern California locations and an honorary Pinot Noir tasting in Hollywood on Saturday.

During the three hour Pinot Days tasting at K&L SF and RWC, attendees will have the opportunity to taste wines from a selection of our favorite Pinot producers while rubbing elbows with the winery owners and winemakers who craft the wines. In addition, if you purchase $300 of four attending producers' Pinots from K&L, Pinot Days will provide you two complimentary tickets to the Grand Festival on Sunday (a $150 value!). Join us for this unique opportunity to taste and meet with winemakers in an intimate setting.

Purchase your advance tickets for the Nor Cal tastings now!


K&L San Francisco Pinot Days Tasting 

Featuring: Banshee, Freeman, Domaine Serene, & Siduri 

Saturday 6/29 from 12pm-3pm | $20

Advance Tix:


K&L Redwood City Pinot Days Tasting

Featuring: La Fenêtre, Testarossa, Big Basin, Bailiwick 

Saturday 6/29 from 1pm-4pm | $20

Advance Tix:


We will also be hosting a Pinot Noir Tasting at K&L Hollywood.  No advance purchase required - come stop by and taste!


Page 1 ... 2 3 4 5 6 ... 27 Next 3 Entries »