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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 Santa Cruz Mountains (3)

Thursday
Aug292013

Burgundy: A 1996 Retrospective

At Mount Eden Vineyards, August 25, 2013.  A group of Burgundy enthusiasts brought wine from our cellars to have a look at 1996, both white and red.  Members also brought older wines for comparison, and some younger wines for fun.

What a beautiful vista of the Silicon Valley.  Thanks to Jeffrey and Ellie Patterson for hosting and cooking!

All wines were tasted blind, in flights, except for the Champagne. Notes were written before the revelation of which wine was which, of course. My incorrect guesses are included, as that is how my actual notes read.

Champagne – 2002 Joseph Perrier

 Rich and concentrated on the palate, with a fine bead. Nice length

Whites – Flight One

2011 Domaine Albert Grivault Meursault Perrieres 1er Cru Clos de la Perrieres

Lovely and rich, with a concentrated nose with notes of citrus and white flowers. Terrific weight and length. Surprisingly open for such a young wine. It is easy to see why this is considered a first among equals among the Meursault Premier Crus.

2007 Domaine Paul Pernot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Garenne

This was lovely, with minerality, focus and a slightly darker color and hints of oxidation on the nose and back palate at first. My first impression was lovely, but time to drink this up! Then after an hour, the color was lighter, the nose fresher and all trace of oxidation was gone. This was a classic example of reduction masking as oxidation. I wonder how many of the so-called premox bottles are actually reduced, and are thrown away before they have a chance to open up? This one fooled not only me, but a winemaker, a sommelier, two importers and a Burgundy Collector with 40 years of experience, at least for a time.  Lesson reinforced: If you think a white Burgundy oxidized, you have NOTHING to lose by being patient, except perhaps an additional glass or two to wash. 

(This is from the Clos de la Garenne, which consists of two small parcels contained, confusingly, between Champs Canet and Folatieres, not within Garenne.  It is extremely well-situated.  The Duc de Magenta (Jadot) , Paul Pernot, and Faiveley are the three land-holders I know of who farm this small vineyard, although Drouhin also bottles it, from grapes purchased from Pernot, who also sells grapes to Jadot, who I believe sells the largest amount of wine from this vineyard.)

2006 Domaine Duplessis Chablis 1er Cru Montée Tonnerre

Honeyed and light on the palate. Good focus and nice minerality, but a bit slighter than I would hope for from this vineyard, which is my favorite 1er Cru. It was also warmer than the rest of the flight, which was to its detriment, as it showed less of that Chablis drive at the higher temperature. Still, solid and focused and nice wine. From a fifth generation grower, farming organically.

2007 Domaine Roulot Bourgogne Blanc

Lovely and pretty, with nice concentration. Ready to drink, but no oxidation. Nice concentration and Meursault lemony notes for its appellation. As Clive Coates would say, "very good for what it is."  No trace of premature oxidation here.

 

Whites – Flight Two (with Mushroom Timbale)

1996 Domaine René & Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos

Very pretty, very lovely. Has had time to relax and open up, losing that stern reticence this site shows in its youth. Lovely nose, good focus. Not big but very tendu (tense and linear) on the finish.

1996 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Folatieres

Honeyed, with more pronounced secondary notes on the nose. Quite rich mid-palate. A lovely wine, but not quite as fresh on the palate initially as is promised as the nose. Actually better after 20 minutes in the glass, so no premox here. A lovely wine that really showed its breeding over time.

1996 Mount Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

Prominent orange peel notes on the palate as well as the nose. Bright fresh color, no signs of oxidation. Lovely and rich on the palate. Less complex than the other two, but stands in good company with them.  Bravo.

 

Reds – Flight One (with braised lamb shanks, fennel and artichoke hearts)

1996 Mount Eden Estate Pinot Noir

Bright, spicy, fresh, good fresh red fruit notes. Quite lovely and elegant.

1996 Clos Frantin Vosne-Romanée Malconsorts

Primary, with prominent acid in the middle. A great old Pinot, but I find myself wanting more weight, flesh and glycerine. Just a bit too linear, although very nice.

1996 Dehlinger Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Lovely black fruit. A very different profile. Concentrated, long. Alcohol seems a bit too high. Nice wine, but seems a bit one-noted here.

1999 Cronin "Peter Martin Ray Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir 

Substantial Brett mars the nose. Seems very acidic on the palate, due to an excess of volatility. Lots of life on the palate. If this were not flawed, it would have showed great material. A disappointment, particularly after how lovely this wine was on release, when I purchased it.

Reds – Flight Two (with cheese plate)

1996 J-F Mugnier Bonnes Mares Grand Cru

Pronounced minerality is evident. The focused spine here makes me wonder if this is a Corton? Shows some notes of iron, very nice wine, with lots of spine and a great focus.

1996 Georges Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras

Rich and spicy character. More red-fruited. Good minerality, very nice. Showing a prominent oak and mint note.

1996 Tollot-Beaut Corton Grand Cru

Lovely, rich, concentrated. Good mid-palate weight, although a linear wine, with a pronounced chalky note. Very nice! Corton?

1996 Meo-Camuzet Corton Grand Cru Rognets

Big, concentrated, substantially blacker fruit notes. Very lovely mid-palate, nice balance. A hint of oak evident, but a rich and lovely wine.  This could definitely use a bit more time in the cellar. The red of the evening for me.

-Keith Wollenberg

Tuesday
Jan292013

Behind the Wine: Big Basin Vineyards Tasting this Friday!

Join us in Redwood City this Friday, February 1st from 5pm-6:30pm, for a special tasting featuring the wines of local family owned and operated Santa Cruz Mountain producer Big Basin Vineyards. We've been a fan of these hand-crafted, expressive wines for some time, and are excited to invite you down to our tasting room to taste and meet the folks behind the wine. Even if you can't make the tasting, you can still go behind the scenes and check out this short video with winemaker and proprietor Bradley Brown, above.

Excited to taste the wines? We are! Here's a sneak peak at Friday's lineup:

2009 Big Basin Vineyards "Alfaro Family Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir ($39.99)

2009 Big Basin Vineyards "Lester Family Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir ($42.99)

2010 Big Basin Vineyards "Paderewski Vineyard " Paso Robles Rhone Blend $64.99

2010 Big Basin Vineyards "Homestead" Santa Cruz/Monterey Red Blend ($35.99)

2008 Big Basin Vineyards "Coastview Vineyard" Monterey Syrah ($47.99)

Cost to taste: $10  details 

More About Big Basin Vineyards 

A bird's eye view of the Big Basin Estate Vineyard.

Big Basin Vineyards is located at the geographic center of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. Their Estate Vineyard is Certified Organic, and is the only vineyard in the AVA planted entirely to Rhone varietals (Syrah, Grenache, Roussanne and Viognier).

Their second largest vineyard source, the Coastview Vineyard (below), is located 6 miles due south of Calera’s Mount Harlan at the same elevation (2,200 -2,400 ft), with nearly identical soils (decomposed granite and limestone). They also source fruit for their three single vineyard Pinots from the cool Corralitos region at the southern tip of the Santa Cruz Mountains, 3-4 miles from Monterey Bay. Lastly, they also source fruit for their single vineyard GSM blend from Epoch Estate’s Paderewski Vineyard (a Justin Smith project) on the Westside of Paso Robles.

Coastview Vineyard Big Basin specializes in Syrahs, Rhone inspired blends and single vineyard Pinot Noirs that have consistently garnered high praise from some of the most notable wine critics. In the August 2012 issue of Robert Parker Jr’s Wine Advocate, Antonio Galloni had this to say: “I tasted a bevy of gorgeous wines with proprietor Bradley Brown this year. These new and upcoming releases are impeccable and strongly suggest Brown is one of the up and coming stars of the region.” 

Rattlesnake Rock Vineyard.From Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: “From the famed Bordeaux influenced reds produced at Ridge and other nearby estates to the extraordinary, age worthy Chardonnays and Pinots of Mount Eden, to the younger wineries like Rhys, Varner and Big Basin, there is no doubt in my mind the Santa Cruz Mountains is the single most exciting place to visit in California. No other region offers the same mix of history, innovation and what appears to be virtually unlimited potential. To be sure, these hillside sites are capricious and hard to work with. But they are also capable of producing riveting, emotional, world-class wines." – Antonio Galloni

We hope to see you at Friday's tasting! And if you're ever in downtown Saratoga, be sure to stop in and visit Big Basin's tasting room, on Big Basin Way.  Cheers!

Wednesday
Sep142011

Tasting "Legendary" New Releases from Ridge Vineyards

 

In stock and available now on KLWines.com!

Sure, nobody does it like Ridge Vineyards. Their wines have been a cornerstone of our selection (when we can get them) over the years.

Perhaps the most universally well-liked CA winery amongst our staff, Ridge just received a heaping dose of love from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.

"I tasted a breathtaking array of wines during my recent visit with Paul Draper at Ridge," writes Antonio Galloni in the September 2011 issue,"...Heretical as it may sound, I think the wines Draper is making today will prove to be far superior to the wines of decades past, many of which are rightly considered legendary." 

Well, we popped open the wines at K&L Redwood City to taste for ourselves.

The verdict?

 

2009 Ridge Vineyards Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay ($34.99)

"The 09 Ridge Estate Chardonnay is rich, mouthfilling, gorgeous Chardonnay with great length. Leesey complexity and a profound mineral component balance the deep and concentrated fruit. The oak is present but not overpowering, given the richness and purity of the fruit, which is 100% estate, from vines planted in the 40's on the Monte Bello Vineyard. This production spent fifteen months in predominantly air-dried American aak barrels, only 10% of which were new (with the rest 1-4 years old). It registers as Meursault-like to me at this time. Though drinkable now, it has the stuffing to age, and these wines from Ridge do age beautifully. This bottle merits inclusion in any serious Chardonnay collection." -By: Chiara Shannon | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 13, 2011

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Chardonnay Estate is an impeccable, classy wine layered with bright citrus, flowers and just a touch of sweetness from the oak. Crushed rocks and lime peel add complexity on the textured, long finish. In 2009 none of the blocks were designated for the Monte Bello bottling, all of the fruit went into the Estate. This is a stunningly pure wine from Ridge. I came back to the 2009 Estate after having tasted all of the reds and the wine showed beautifully. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2019." (08/11) 


09 Ridge Vineyards "Lytton Springs" Dry Creek Zinfandel ($31.99)

At the annual Zinfandel Advocates and Producers Tasting (ZAP) back in January there was really one Zinfandel that stood out from all the rest and that was the 2009 Lytton Springs. There was so much wine in the bottle there that so many else at the same even couldn’t even hope to have. Fast forward nine months later and the wine has grown even more into itself with wonderful aromatics of gingerbread, spice cake, muddle blackberries and a waft of cigar smoke. This hits the mouth brimming with size, generous with its ample fruit and spice, but yet never feels excessive. It is sort of like a perfect steak, marbled and rich, needing almost nothing but a pinch of salt and pepper to make it sing. Long, dry and spicy with great balance, add a pinch of braised meat and this will do you well for decades to come. - Review By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 13, 2011

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Lytton Springs is the biggest and most structured of these 2009 Zinfandel-based reds, largely owing to the earthier soils and the presence 23% Petite Sirah. Black fruit, plums, tar, licorice and smoke are some of the notes that flow from this generous, inviting red. The Lytton Springs is fairly structured, and can definitely benefit from another year or two (perhaps more) in bottle. The blend is 74% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah and 5% Carignane. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2029." (08/11)


2009 Ridge Vineyards "Geyserville" Sonoma Zinfandel ($29.99)

Geyserville has consistently been my favorite bottling from Ridge over time. There is something that just hits my palate right about this wine; I think it is the perfect combination of fruit, spice, oak and texture for a Zinfandel based wine. A touch brighter and higher toned than the Lytton Springs bottling this has powerful aromas of black raspberry, nutmeg, cedar and toasted marshmallow. More purely fruited this year than in the recent past this has bursting flavors of blueberry, ash, black tea and a touch of dill from the American Oak used in the aging of the wine. Clean, ripe, focused and complete with a wonderful sappiness this is delicious now and will only get better over the next decade. - Review By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 13, 2011

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Geyserville is a gorgeous wine. It shows expressive inner perfume, sweet black cherries, menthol and minerals. This is an understated, exceptionally elegant red endowed with considerable finesse and fabulous overall balance. A round, sensual finish makes it impossible to resist a second taste. In 2009 the blend is 74% Zinfandel, 17% Carignane, 6% Petite Sirah, 2% Alicante Bouschet and 1% Mourvedre. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2029." (08/11) 

 

2008 Ridge Vineyards "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon ($37.99)

Sourced from the same vineyard that its big brother Monte Bello comes from, the Estate Cab from Ridge is one of best values in California Cabernet. The 2008 does not disappoint in the least, dark and brooding fruit is balanced against beautiful minerality and savory notes of leather and spice. A pleasure to drink now and will continue to be stunning for the next 10 years. - Review By: Kyle Kurani | K&L Staff Member (& Ridge Alum!) | Review Date: September 14, 2011

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is compelling. Where to start? An expressive bouquet redolent of sweet herbs, tobacco and incense leads to a gorgeous tapestry of dark red fruit. The Estate is drop-dead gorgeous, with the silkiest of tannins that frame an extraordinary finish. This has to be one of the most compelling values in California Cabernet. In 2008 the blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc..." (08/11) 


2008 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon($129.99)

Coming from an extraordinarily small vintage, the concentration and depth of this year's Monte Bello is astonishing. Drinking this over two days revealed layers upon layers of full, dark fruit, laced with sand stone, old leather, and minerality stemming from the limestone in the vineyard. A wine that will surely age with grace and style, something I can't wait to open with good friends and family in the next 10 to 20 years. - Review By: Kyle Kurani | K&L Staff Member (& Ridge Alum!) | Review Date: September 14, 2011

97+ points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2008 Monte Bello is striking. It is a decidedly muscular Monte Bello endowed with layers of dark fruit. Tobacco, mint, asphalt and crushed rocks develop in the glass, adding tons of complexity and finesse. A long, saline finish rounds things out beautifully. In 2008 the cold growing season stretched into October and the wine definitely has the feel of a cool vintage. The spring frost and the second year of drought conditions lowered yields significantly. Yields were just 1.25 tons per acre on average, but some of the older vineyards came in at less than 1 ton per acre. The balance of fruit, tannin and structure is simply extraordinary, but the wine needs time, most likely lots of it. In 2008 the blend is 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2038." (08/11)


Yes, we concur: "Legendary" sounds about right. 

***

What do you think? Stage your own Ridge tasting at home and share your tasting notes with us on KLWines.com>>My Wine List  

 Of course, you will need to grab these bottles before it's too late: 

2009 Ridge Vineyards Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay ($34.99)

09 Ridge Vineyards "Lytton Springs" Dry Creek Zinfandel ($31.99)

2009 Ridge Vineyards "Geyserville" Sonoma Zinfandel ($29.99)

2008 Ridge Vineyards "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon ($37.99)

2008 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon($129.99)