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Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne $34.99One of our best non-vintage Champagnes, this organically grown blend of half each Chardonnay and Meunier comes entirely from Bruno Michel's estate. It has been aged for six years on the lees and shows wonderful natural toasty quality as well as incredible vibrance! This was the big hit of our most recent staff Champagne tasting and we think you will love it too.

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Entries in recipes (10)

Friday
Jun222012

Champagne Friday: Negroni Sbagliato

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

As this is the first Friday of summer, I thought it would be the perfect time to share the recipe and for one of my favorite Champagne cocktails, the Negroni Sbagliato, or “Wrong Negroni”. I usually like to make Champagne cocktails with Champagne that has been sitting in the fridge with a stopper in it for a while, and I would encourage you to do the same. This drink is a little bit bitter, and an excellent aperitif.

Since the list of ingredients is very short (5 if you include the ice) the little details shown in today's videos are quite important in making it the best it can be.  I hope you will try it!

Here are the ingredients:

1 tall glass full of fresh ice

2 ounces red vermouth (I used Cocchi Vermouth Torino)

2 ounces Campari

3-4 ounces Champagne (I used J. Lassalle 1er Cru Brut Champagne)

1 Fresh Orange Twist

 

A toast to you,

-Gary

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

Friday
Jun152012

Champagne Friday: Champagne & Foie Gras… 15 days left!

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Champagne & Foie Gras… 15 days left!

Foie Gras is one of my favorite pairings with Champagne, and sadly here in California, we only have 15 days left to enjoy it. After that, it will be illegal to sell in this state and fans of the noble liver will have to travel to enjoy it. The incredible richness of foie gras is the perfect partner for the refreshing high acidity of Champagne. Traveling to the Champagne region, it is a pairing that every restaurant and host suggests, and I have been lucky enough to have it prepared and paired in many different ways over the years. In the today's video, I visit with Jean-Baptiste Su of Fabrique Délice artisanal charcuterie and later share my favorite preparation, which is very simple: thick slices on toasted brioche, with fresh cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of Fleur de Sel.

My favorite Champagnes with foie gras are rich and powerful wines. The indigenous grape Meunier, with its hint of exotic fruit has a particular affinity for it. Older Champagne, with its developed, often chanterelle like bouquet is also a spectacular partner for it. The best pairings I have ever had are when all three of these elements come together. If you have any old Rene Collard in your cellar, nothing tops it with foie gras!

Here are my favorite foie gras partners from our current stock:

Michel Loriot "Marie-Leopold" Sec Champagne ($34.99): This bottle is the best foie gras pairing if you like to serve the liver with compote. This is composed of 80% Meunier and 20% Chardonnay and aged for four years before being released.  The liqueur that is used for the dosage is made in house and based on pure cane sugar. It has a nose that reminds me of tarte tatin, a pastry smell that carries through onto the palate. It has such a nice, lazy bead and polished texture and the sweetness does not seem at all out of place.

 

Baron Fuente "Esprit" Brut Champagne ($39.99): This mature Champagne will go perfectly with seared foie gras. It is super well balanced and gets an astoundingly luxurious seven years of aging on the lees. It is very rare to find something so reasonably priced that is kept for so long. Composed of even parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier it is fermented in stainless steel. The "Esprit" has a very high quality sourdough toastiness arrived at honestly from the long aging on the lees. It is round and easy to drink, with flavors of hazelnuts contrasting its nice citrus zip.

Fleury "Cuveé Robert Fleury" Brut Champagne ($49.99): I have a bottle of this in my refrigerator right now to go with foie gras prepared exactly like I did it in the video. Like the Loriot above, this Champagne is a tribute to the old methods, and in this case also one of the ancient grape varieties of Champagne. It is a barrel-fermented blend of one-third each Chardonnay, Pinot Banc and Pinot Noir. Pinot Blanc is a real rarity in Champagne, and only exists in a few spots in the Aube.

 

Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne ($139.99): Eating foie gras and drinking Krug makes me feel like king for the day. This great house is the outspoken champion of Meunier among the grand marques. Based on 2004 with six years on the lees and reserve wines dating back to 1990, this decadent treat will go perfectly with all manner of preparations.

Cheers!

–Gary Westby

***

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

Friday
Feb112011

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