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One of the most serious English Sparkling producers. This historic estate has been in the Goring family since 1743. The tiny 16-acre vineyard is close-planted on a steep south-facing chalk escarpment described as 'similar to the Côte des Blancs' in Champagne. The fruit is picked very selectively with quality being the absolute focus. The grapes are pressed gently using a traditional Coquard press. After three years on the lees this wine, composed of 45% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay & 22% Pinot Meunier, is hand disgorged and balanced with a minimal dosage of just 4g/L. It has a fine counterbalance between toasty richness and power from the wines élevage in Burgundian French Oak barrels, with racy acidity, tension and a focused chalky minerality.

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Entries in Pinot Noir (78)

Monday
Jun032013

Behind the Wine: Claiborne & Churchill

Claiborne & Churchill is a small, family owned and operated winery in the heart of the Edna Valley that specializes in Alsatian-style Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris, as well as handcrafted Pinot Noir from several nearby vineyards. Small lots of other wines, including a Dry Muscat, Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sparkling Brut Rose, and dessert-style wines are also produced.

By: Sarah Covey | K&L Staff Member

Claiborne & Churchill

Founded in 1983 by Claiborne (Clay) Thompson and Fredericka Churchill, former teachers at the University of Michigan (Clay specialized in Old Norse Languages and Literatures and Fredericka taught German), the winery focuses on Alsatian varietals in the first straw bale winery in California. Grapes are purchased from premium growers around the cool Edna Valley, with 2/3 of the production being dry Riesling and dry Gewürztraminer.

At Claiborne & Churchill, traditional European winemaking techniques prevail, including extensive use of barrel-fermentation and barrel-aging (even with Riesling and Gewürztraminer), minimal manipulation of juice and wine, "natural" or spontaneous fermentation using indigenous yeast, and limited use of SO2, all in the belief that the winemaker's task is to bring out the flavor and character that is latent in the grape.

San Luis Obispo native Colby Parker- Garcia came on board in 2004 as Claiborne & Churchill’s winemaker, learning from Clay all of the techniques required for the success of the unique varietals which are the winery’s signature.

2011 Claiborne & Churchill Central Coast Dry Muscat ($24.99)

A lovely expression of Dry Muscat! All the pretty varietal characteristics- orange blossom, citrus, spice, cardamom, apricot- with perfectly balanced medium plus acidity and a clean, bright finish. No flab or syrupy fattiness here. Just 13.5% alcohol- perfect for warm spring & summer evenings on the terrace, with perhaps a little grilled shrimp or chicken satay! Delicious! 

2010 Claiborne & Churchill Edna Valley Pinot Noir ($24.99)

The Pinot Noir referred to as "The Classic", a perfect expression of Pinot Noir varietal correctness. Red cherry, red currant, strawberry, spice with medium plus acidity & medium tannin. So easy to drink, you may just want to get this wine in large quantity for spring and summer entertaining. Grilled salmon or pork tenderloin, anyone? FABULOUS!

2010 Claiborne & Churchill "Runestone Barrel Select" Edna Valley Pinot Noir ($39.99)

If the Claiborne & Churchill Edna Valley Pinot Noir is "The Classic", then Runestone is definitely the sexy older sister! A barrel selection from the 2010 vintage blended by winemaker Coby Parker-Garcia, this wine gorgeous. Red cherry, sandalwood, red roses, spice, with medium plus acidity & medium plus tannin. Drink now with decanting and food (hello Salmon or Pork!) or tuck away to be delighted even more in 5 years! As mysterious & complex as the ancient Norse runes afterwhich it was named! 

New releases of additional Claiborne & Churchill wines will be coming soon to our shelves. Stay tuned...

We hope you enjoy these wines are much as we do!

Cheers,

Sarah

 Claiborne & Churchill's winery is a "new structure, a noteworthy example of environmental architecture, is a "straw bale building," the first of its kind in California. With sixteen-inch thick walls made of bales of rice straw, the winery is so well insulated that it maintains a constant cellar temperature, without the need for mechanical cooling or heating." (from the winery)

Want to learn more about Claiborne & Churchill? Click here.

Friday
May242013

Champagne Friday: Previewing 2004 Dom Perignon Brut Champagne

2004 Dom Perignon Brut ChampagneBy: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

I was lucky enough to get a pre-release bottle of 2004 Dom Perignon to taste this week, even though the wine will not be available for sale until late this fall. I have been very happy with this vintage in Champagne (which has run almost completely under the radar in the press) ever since tasting it as vin clair (the still wine that is destined to become Champagne before it is bottled) in the spring of 2005. This cool, even vintage produced a healthy yield, three times that of the short 2003 and had more than normal sun shine despite a very wet August. The harvest was late in September, and great weather in the final three weeks produced nice quality.

When Champagne lovers ask me about what vintage they should think about collecting, I always bring up 2004 first. While many other vintages such as 2002, 2006 and 2007 have produced fabulous wines, they have all been crazy in one way or another. Because of climate change, the only two harvests that could be counted as typical, “classic” Champagne vintages in the last 25 years are 1988 and 2004. Of course, many vintages in the past 25 years have been great; 1989, 1990, 1996, 2002 and almost certainly 2008 and 2012. All of these vintages have a story, and all of them are odd. Even vintages with plenty of water and slow ripening, which over the last 200 years would be considered typical and classic, are an endangered species.

The character of the 2004’s is very transparent, revealing of terroir (especially in single vineyard wines), long and light on its feet. The wines do not have the weight and authority of the 2002’s or the crazy concentration of the 1996’s. What they have is deft, elegant balance and I believe that they will, like the 1988’s, prove to be great. The Dom is a great indicator and example of the strength of this vintage. I can’t remember liking a vintage of Dom when it was first released as much as this since the 1990, or finding one of such good potential since the 1996.

I wanted to make the most out of this chance to drink the 2004 as a preview and decided to prepare a special dinner for Cinnamon and I. I picked up an ounce of Osetra and we started out enjoying the bottle with blini and creme fraiche. For the main course I cooked some local wild king salmon on an alder plank on the grill after giving it a light brine. I topped it with some fleur de sel, pepper and paddlefish roe.

The 2004 is certainly the driest non-Oenotheque release I have ever tasted from DP and the white gold color has a real flash of green to it. On the nose, the signature Dom Perignon yeastiness is front and center framed by some delicate Chardonnay fruit. The Osetra blini brought out the nuttiness of the Pinot Noir very nicely on the palate. It was too bad that there was only one ounce! One of the things that I learned from the DP seminar that I wrote about in April was that the wine is always close to 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay, and this 2004 certainly tasted that way. When we had the salmon, which was very rich, the Dom showed more of its cutting, mineral driven Chardonnay side.

This elegant bottle of Champagne went down very easily, and showed the strength of Moet’s massive vineyard resources and incredible store of knowledge. These wines age very well, and the 2004 has the balance to go the distance. I was very impressed! It should be on the shelf sometime late this fall.

-Gary Westby

Friday
May242013

Keith's Burgundy Hotline: Meo-Camuzet Wines Arrive!

By: Keith Wollenberg | K&L Burgundy Buyer

Hello Burgundy Lovers,

Our handful of 2010 Meo Camuzet wines have rolled in, but will not be here long, needless to say.  Once again, our allocation is so tiny that there is simply no way to allocate them, so I am just making certain you Burgundy Lovers are the first to hear about them, and then it is first come, first served.  

These wines are her in redwood City and are live on the web at www.klwines.com Or, call us at 800-247-5987 to place an order.

 

2010 Meo-Camuzet Bourgogne Rouge $30.99

Allen Meadows - Burghound: "Outstanding! A very fresh, pure and expressive nose offers up notes of straw, citrus and white orchard fruit aromas before merging into detailed and energetic middle weight flavors. This very dry and agreeably crisp effort delivers good length and the energy makes it a solidly attractive drink that would make a good choice for a house white"    


2010 Méo-Camuzet Frère et Soeur Fixin $54.99

Allen Meadows - Burghound: "A very fresh nose of mostly dark berry fruit, earth and violet aromas leads to nicely detailed middle weight flavors that are not only delicious but evidence very little in the way of rusticity. This forward effort isn't especially complex but it is correct."    K&L Notes: Méo stresses that for his négoce wines that he does everything as though these were domaine wines, which is to say all of the vineyard work and harvesting plus of course the vinification and élevage duties. 


2010 Méo-Camuzet Frère et Soeur Chambolle-Musigny : $79.95

89-92 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "exuberantly fresh and expressive nose speaks of pretty red berry fruit that is discreetly interwoven with herbal and floral nuances. The detailed and intensely mineral-driven flavors possess excellent precision and like the straight villages cuvée, this is very Chambolle in character. Here though there is a bit more overall depth and length and I particularly like the sense of balance coupled with plenty of underlying tension." (1/2012)  87-90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Good full red. Raspberry, flowers, minerals and mint on the nose. Sweet and harmonious if still a bit youthfully tight.  ... Read More » 


2010 Méo-Camuzet Frère et Soeur Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru "Les Cras" $149.95

89-92 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "An exuberantly fresh and expressive nose speaks of pretty red berry fruit that is discreetly interwoven with herbal and floral nuances. The detailed and intensely mineral-driven flavors possess excellent precision and like the straight villages cuvée, this is very Chambolle in character. Here though there is a bit more overall depth and length and I particularly like the sense of balance coupled with plenty of underlying tension." (1/2012)  89-92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Medium red. High-toned aromas of raspberry and orange-zest. Dense, sappy and dry, with cherry and saline flavors. N  ... Read More » 


2010 Domaine Meo-Camuzet Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru "Aux Murgers" : $159.95

91-93 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "Outstanding! A soft touch of wood frames a notably ripe nose of black pinot fruit that exhibits gentle spice and earth notes. There is an overtly muscular character to the robust and powerful medium-bodied flavors that possess plenty of dry extract that confers a velvety quality to the otherwise chewy, firm and built to age finish." (1/2012)  90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Nuits St. Georges Aux Murgers wafts from the glass with sweet floral notes and exotic spices. This is a more ethereal, feminine style of Nuits that impresses for its grace and subtle, feminine personality. I e  ... Read More »  Limit of 1 per customer


2010 Domaine Meo-Camuzet Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru "Boudots" : $164.99

92-94 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "Outstanding! This is also intensely floral with a mix of spice and earth nuances adding breadth to the otherwise pure and perfumed nose of red currant, plum and cassis aromas. There is excellent richness and volume to the concentrated and mouth coating medium weight plus flavors that are shaped by buried tannins on the very firm, balanced and hugely long finish. Unlike the Chaumes however, this will very likely match or even exceed its 2005 counterpart. Note however that plenty of patience will be a requisite." (1/2012)  90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Nuits St. Georges Les Boudo  ... Read More » 


2010 Domaine Méo-Camuzet Clos Vougeot Grand Cru $259.95

92-95 points Allen Meadows - Burghound: "This is slightly riper with hints of menthol to the densely fruited nose of cassis, plum and black berry liqueur aromas. There is a high degree of phenolic maturity to the structural elements that shape the very rich, mouth coating and hugely long finish. While this is not quite as youthfully austere as it usually is, it's still going to require close to 20 years of cellar time so this is by no means forward. Once again, the quality is exceptional and this is another wine that could match, or even surpass, its 2005 counterpart." (1/2012)  92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2010 Clos de V  ... Read More »  Limit of 1 per customer


 

Mr. Keith WOLLENBERG

Directeur Commercial Bourgogne

K&L Wine Merchants

http://www.klwines.com

+1-650-556-2724 Direct Line

Keithw@klwines.com

 

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