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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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Entries in Ribera del Duero (8)


Spanish & Portuguese Wine News: Tales from Ribera, Part III

RiberaConnect at the Consejo

The fun continues as Uncorked follows K&L staff member Sarah Covey in her adventures touring and tasting in Ribera del Duero...

Our first appointment of the day took us to the Consejo building in Roa, where the technical director of the Consejo, Agustin Alonso Gonzalez, gave us a wonderful lecture on the history of Ribera Del Duero as a region, with facts and figures about the D.O. Afterwards we met with 15 producers seeking representation in the United States. The wineries were allowed to show one wine, and many chose to feature their Crianza from 2009. 2009 was a great vintage in Ribera, and this allowed us to have a very clear picture of the vintage as well as a variety of winemaking styles. A delightful rooftop lunch followed, with many delicacies from the region, but queso was a large feature, as the region is also well-known for their sheep and goat cheeses. Hooray for cheese! I only got through about half of the table...

Our first winery appointment was at Bodegas Rodero, in Pedrosa de Duero, Burgos. Carmelo Rodero and his daughter, winemaker Beatriz Rodero, run an operation of innovation. Carmelo invented a piece of equipment that allows their platform above the stainless steel tanks to rotate around the tops of the tanks for easier access. He is very concerned about the ease and well-being of work for his employees. He also stores his barrels in barrel rooms with dim lighting and plays a loop of Benedictine chants for the wines, as he believes that a relaxed environment will help the wines age more gracefully!

From there we went to Vizcarra. JC Vizcarra runs another family operation in another part of Burgos- Mambrilla de Castrejon. His wines are all organic and biodynamic, believing that by treating the land and wines as holistically as possible, you will end up with the best possible products. In his town, people used to store their wines in underground cellars, accessible at street level by gated doorways. Most are now abandoned, but the entire town has these ghostly entrances along the road.

Bodegas Hermanos Perez Pascuas- Vina Pedrosa in was our last stop for the day. After a brief tour of their production area and cellars we learned that one of the past vintages of Vina Pedrosa had been used in the Christmas mass at the Vatican! Pretty neat in terms of putting Ribera Del Duero on the map. The winery then tasted us on their new releases, threw us a huge BBQ, complete with a singing chef, grilled baby lamb, and multiple older vintages of their wines. We met all three of the original brothers Perez, in their 80+ year old glory. The full moon over the vines completed the night. We giggled all the way back to the hotel.

Amazingly, that was just the first official day. Stay tuned for more!

In the mean time,  consider unwinding with a plate of aged sheep's cheese and a bottle of the 2009 Vizcarra Ramos Roble, in stock now for only $17.99!

2009 Vizcarra Ramos Roble Ribera del Duero ($17.99)

90 points Robert Parker: "The 2009 Roble was aged for 7 months in seasoned French and American oak. Purple-colored, it gives up a first-class perfume of mineral, Asian spices, violets, and lightly roasted black fruits. This is followed by a succulent, full-flavored, voluminous wine with excellent balance and a long, fruit-filled finish. It is an outstanding value that over-delivers in a big way as well as a sneak preview of just how good the top wines from Ribera del Duero will be when released 2-3 years from now."





Sarah C. Covey

Wine Sales Professional

K&L Wine Merchants - Redwood City



Spanish & Portuguese Wine News: Tales from Ribera, Part Two

Roman Aqueduct, Segovia

K&L staff member Sarah Covey is on location in Ribera del Duero! Follow her adventures on Uncorked!

Ribera Del Duero is broken down into 4 main provinces of Castilla y Leon: Burgos, Segovia, Soria and Valladolid. Our first stop after the Madrid airport was Segovia. Segovia is a tiny town with multiple churches, monuments, and most importantly- the town's famous specialty: Cochinillo. After wandering the town, we hit up the restaurant where we had our little cochinillo- which I quickly learned meant roasted suckling pig. 

Jose Maria Restaurant

There was nothing that could quite prepare me for the sight of my little roasted piggies for lunch, but thankfully there was an appetizer of deep fried piggies which preceded it, accompanied by my first Ribera Del Duero wine in country: the Pago de Carraovejas 2011. Not officially classified as a Cosecha, or Joven, wine because it had not been in bottle long enough, it was made by the owners of the restaurant specifically for use in the restaurant. Delicious and just what our jet-lagged selves were needing!

Then, with much fanfare, they brought out the little roasted piggies, which had been roaming around Segovia not 2 days before...


The cochinillo were then ceremoniously whacked over their little noggins and down their spines with a ceramic plate, and then the plate was thrown onto the floor to break so as to prove to us at the table that there was no steel in the plate- the piggies were just that crispy and juicy. Quite a show!

From Segovia we drove to our home base for the week- Penafiel, where we have been staying in the hotel owned and operated by the famous Ribera winemaker Alejandro Fernandez of Tinto Pesquera. His family runs the hotel in addition to other parts of his winemaking business. The hotel is a beautiful interpretation of the classic architecture of the town and the more modern Spanish architecture, with stylistic accents which are similar to the Tinto Pesquera bottle labels.




The view from our hotel of the Castille de Penafiel is an incredible backdrop to ponder our experiences in the region...


Next up: our first days with wineries in the region. Stay tuned! In the mean time, give this classic Ribera del Duero from Tinto Pesquera a try, in stock now at K&L:

91 ST: "Deep, bright violet. Blackberry, cherry-vanilla and licorice on the oak-spiced nose. Deep, sweet and pliant, but with very good juicy character and spicy lift to its dark fruit preserve and licorice flavors. Finishes velvety and long, with fine-grained tannins, a repeating notes of licorice and impressive clarity."






Sarah C. Covey

Wine Sales Professional

K&L Wine Merchants - Redwood City

Need wine advice? Check out my wine reviews on


Spanish & Portuguese Wine News: Tales from Ribera, Part One

K&L staff member Sarah Covey is on location and blogging LIVE from Ribera del Duero! Follow her in her adventures on as she keeps us updated on Uncorked!

Saturday morning, I watched the sun rise over San Francisco. Sunday morning, I watched the sun rise over Madrid. Enjoying a cafe con leche in the balmy morning light, myself and three international wine professionals waited for the rest of our colleagues to arrive from the United States. 18 of us from all over the country were invited by the "Drink Ribera. Drink Spain" campaign to participate in a week long passport trip to Ribera Del Duero. 

Ribera Del Duero is located in Spain's northern plateau, about 2 hours north of Madrid. Officially, the Denominacion de Origen (D.O.) of Ribera Del Duero was founded in 1982, by a group of wine producers and growers who were committed to the promotion of standards of quality for their wines. Historically, wine has been made in Ribera since the Roman times, falling in and out of practice with Spain's complicated history, but only in the last 30 years has there been an explosion in the incredible quality of the region's wines. Today, Ribera Del Duero provides a benchmark for Spanish wines in the global market. 

95% of the wine in Ribera is made from Tempranillo, known locally as Tinto Fino or Tinto del Pais. The clone of Tinto Fino used here is specific to Ribera, and the wines are deeply expressive of this place. This is not your Tempranillo from Rioja or from Southern Spain! The Duero River Valley provides soil as diverse as those in Burgundy, with each little village producing incredibly varied expressions of this one grape. There are 8,356 growers and 270 wineries here, producing a mere 1/2 million litres of wine a year. Ribera is at high elevation (2,500 to 2,800 feet), and though the climate is very extreme- snow in the winter and blistering heat in the summer- it is perfect for quality winemaking.

Tinto Fino

The Consejo Regulador de la Denominacion de Origen Ribera Del Duero is the govering body that oversees all aspects of the viticultural and winemaking process for all of the wines in the DO. They dictate where the grapes originate, the varieties and percentages used, vineyard practices (including pruning, density, and yields), winemaking procedures, alcohol levels and labeling. Though this sounds terribly restrictive, it provides a fantastic structure in which producers are able to create truly outstanding wines. 

The Consejo Building

The schedule for the week is pretty incredible. We've got a lecture from the Consejo to start, 30 wineries to meet who would like to be represented in the United States, 11 wineries to visit which vary in history, winemaking and style, and many, many tapas to sample along the way. 

Salud & stay tuned!