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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 Sauvignon Blanc (23)

Thursday
Nov082012

Spanish & Portuguese Wine News 11/8/2012: Upcoming SF Tasting & Vega de Ribes

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Spanish & Portuguese Wine Buyer

Greetings all,

First order of business is to remind everyone in and around San Francisco of our participation in a Rioja tasting this Friday November 9th at 18 Reasons, in collaboration with Bi Rite Market and Vibrant Rioja. What better way to spend International Tempranillo Day than in a great event space, with tasty snacks from Bi Rite Catering paired with great Rioja? We will be pouring Merino, Peciña, Remelluri, Riojanas and Abel Mendoza, a terrific new producer from José Pastor. We are there from 6-8pm. $15. For more info, or to purchase an advanced ticket, go here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/278465 

Second, we continue to get LOTS of new stuff in these days. Way too much to mention everything, so as usual we'll focus on just a few things, and let your in-store and/or web browsing take care of everything else. This week it's all about Enric Bartra's Vega de Ribes, a winery dating back to the 15th century in the Garraf sub-section of Penedes, just a few kilometers from the Mediterranean and close to everyone's favorite Catalan beach town, Sitges. The winery collaborates with Rafael Sala to make delicious sparkling wine from indigenous grape varieties under the Ancestral label. From pure, ripe and lovely, minimally sulphured sauvignon blanc, to chestnut fermented and aged xarel-lo and no added tirage or dosage chestnut fermented xarel-lo sparkling wine (all of which are organic) Vega de Ribes, Clar de Castanyer and Ancestral are making some of the best whites and sparklers in Spain right now.

2011 Vega de Ribes Sauvignon Blanc Penedes - $14.99

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1114664

2010 Clar de Castanyer Xarel-lo Penedes

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1114790

2008 Vega de Ribes Ancestral Xarel-lo Brut Penedes - $21.99

Need to add a special note for this wine.  Until recently, I have yet to find truly artisanal, no dosage added cava even approaching this level of quality (now we have this in stock and our own DI, Loxarel, coming soon...) I think that even the all Champagne all the time crowd (yes even you, Champagne Westby!) will have to admit...this wine is pretty darn good.

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1114675

2008 Vega de Ribes Ancestral Malvasia de Sitges Brut Penedes - $21.99

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1114676

 

Finally, for those of you patiently waiting for our Rioja DI's, they should be here in 2-3 weeks. If you're wondering about any of these wineries below, please add them to your wait list text items and feel free to ask for help if you do not know how to do this.

Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos ('06 crianza, '05 reserva, 1.5's, 98 gran reserva, '11 carbonic "cosecha" wine)

Bodegas Puelles ('99 gran reserva)

Bodegas de la Real Divisa Marques de Legarda ('08 crianza and '01 gran reserva)

 

Thanks for reading, have a great rest of the week!

 

Joe

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Joe Manekin

Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Wine Buyer

K&L Wine Merchants

Ph: 877.559.4637 ext. 2748

joemanekin@klwines.com

Tuesday
Oct232012

A Quick Mid-Harvest Visit To Some Napa Stalwarts

 

Heitz Cabernet Grapes looking perfect

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member

For all that is good and bad about visiting and tasting in Napa these days, there are still many producers worth checking out. My family was recently visiting from England and I thought I would take the opportunity to show them around the valley during harvest--when all the action happens--and visit a few of my perennial favorites. Here are a couple of highlights and shots from the trip.

I kind of blew it right from the beginning in terms of saving the best for last...the first place we visited was the old property at Heitz Cellars. Kaj was kind enough to give us a great look around and popped a bottle of 2005 Martha’s Vineyard, it turned out (unsurprisingly) to be my favorite wine of the trip!

and these beautiful old upright FoudresHeitz wines mature in French oak Barriques

We started with the 2010 Heitz Cellar Sauvignon Blanc, which is really a delicate, restrained style with great drive and freshness with to much fat fruit. This is a wonderfully mineral laden wine with great persistence on the palate. Excellent drinking with oysters.

An old photograph of the Heitz estate and the historic stone winery

Then, as I said, we went right to the top with the 2005 Martha's. Wow - what a wine! So attractive and expressive now but you can just tell it's got another decade(+) in the tank. The quality that struck me most about this wine is that it's 100% Napa Cab, and a wonderful expression of exactly that; it’s not pretending to be Bordeaux. There's the power of the fruit and ripeness of tannin at the forefront. Then the wonderful warm dusty notes, and some minty, herbal edges. Fantastic wine, and very thoughtfully made, as evidenced by such an elongated drinking window. The 2007 Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard Cab has been given the extra special honor of the colored label reserved for only the very best vintages of this stunning wine.

Stunning views from up on Howell Mtn

Next after grabing some picnic supplies we headed up Howell Mountain to Ladera Vineyards. This was my first visit to the property after years of enjoying their wines. The winery is one of the oldest bonded wineries in Napa. The original structure is now just a shell within which the modern winery exists. This beautiful restored stone building set into the rugged terrain of the mountain is spectacular. Again we started with their rare 2010 Ladera Howell Mountain Sauvignon Blanc. Perhaps just a touch more generous than the Heitz, but with a firm bright acidity and tons of rocky minerality under the citrus fruit. A "go-to" domestic SB for sure.

The beautifully restored winery from 1886The modern all gravity winery inside

Next we rolled through their excellent range of estate cabs. Most of the fruit is grown on Howell Mountain but they also have property on the cooler Mount Veeder which interlaces the big burly dark fruit and concentration of Howell Mountain with some touches of tobacco leaf and cedar from the cooler Veeder fruit. These are wines of balance, power, and integrity that make me happy.  They prove that not all Napa Cab has gone over to the big, jammy, soft, manipulated style.

Back now to the valley floor and the Silverado Trail side of St. Helena to Duckhorn Vineyards. I was excited about this visit after a nice stop at Goldeneye in Anderson Valley the previous week. In my opinion, Duckhorn wines are the real deal when it comes to Napa. They make quintessential Napa wines. The world is now so Cab centric and yet their offerings of Merlot are some of the best examples of Bordeaux varietal reds you’ll find anywhere. We toured the facility and saw everything in full swing. The fruit looked great and plentiful!

Winemakers and cellar crews in California have now been working around the clock for months bringing in what many think will be one of the best vintages in years, if not decades. Having left that game myself, I would like to applaud those people surviving the ravages of harvest and 14-16-18 hour days to bring us great wines year after year! Cheers to you all!

The Famous Three Palms Vineyard

Anyway, the barrel rooms at Duckhorn are stacked neatly away, holding their precious treasures. It was great to have a good look around at this top-notch facility. We were treated to a very comprehensive seated tasting of many reserve and single vineyard wines. There was not one bad wine on the table. We started with another beautiful Napa SB,(2011 Duckhorn Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc), this one with some notable barrel character and a dash of Semillion giving it a very Bordeaux Blanc like sensibility. My other favorites included the Cab Franc and the Carneros Merlot. Sadly these do not get into distribution.

Upon tasting the 2009 Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot, I was once again wowed by how good and consistent this Merlot really is. Duckhorn's "workhorse" Merlot, it combines fruit from their many great sites sources and is consistently one of my top Napa wines every vintage. Sure, the 2008 Duckhorn “Discussion” is the premier Bordeaux-style blend and a great wine, and the 2009 Duckhorn “Three Palms Vineyard” Merlot is the flashy, prestigious, sought after release (its concentration, richness, power and purity are also very impressive). However, I can’t help feeling enamored with the regular old Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot. It's an everyman's wine with the pedigree and class to cellar for decades, and delivers on every level at a very reasonable price point. For me, it is benchmark for the varietal and region.

2 miles of caves, 2 million bottles all under Spring Mtn at SchramsbergThe next day after some perusing of the shops in Calistoga and St. Helena, we headed up to Schramsberg on Spring Mountain. I had been told that the Cave tour was not to be missed so I thought this would be a good way to finish off the trip. The history surrounding this property is enthralling as is the atmosphere. You begin by entering the two miles of underground caves, much of which were hand-dug with pick and shovel by Chinese workers in the 1870s, after completing Transcontinental Rail Road. Inside the caves, the walls are lined with millions of hand-stacked bottles ageing on their lees. Schramsberg still riddles their wines by hand. Riddling is an incredibly laborious process of rotating and tilting the bottles over many weeks to move the yeast into the neck of the bottle for disgorgement.

Schramsberg's A-frame riddling racks deep underground in the caves.In the underground caves, everything is covered by a thick dust and mossy webs, a perfect pre-Halloween treat! The tasting deep in the caves was excellent and the wines showed fantastically. The 2009 Schramsberg Brut Blanc de Blanc first was very fresh and zippy with bright acid and vivacious energy on the palate. The Brut Rose, good as always, was showing nice purity and weight in the mouth. If you like domestic sparklers this is the one for Thanksgiving, a very food friendly and versatile wine. The J.Schram (Blanc de Blanc) and Reserve (Pinot Noir) bottlings were a real treat. Both are very big rich wines with a minimum five years on the lees, sleeping deep beneath the Spring Mountain hillside. I sometimes find wines with this amount of lees contact bit much, preferring two to three years on lees over the late-disgorged versions. However, I must say that both of these wines showed excellent balance and brightness of character and I’m sure would be excellent cellaring candidates should you be lucky enough to get your hands on some. We normally get small allocations of both around the holidays so keep a look out or wait-list them if you are interested.

Tasting in the caves at Schramsberg

If you haven’t tried any of the wines we tasted on this trip, I highly recommend you do! This is not the glitzy, glam, “Disney Napa” that some people talk about. These are all wines of history and true substance. Every one of these properties deserves a few spots in the cellar or an outing to the dinner table. Enjoy!

Cheers,

-Ryan

Thursday
Jun212012

{Terra Ignota} Get Kiwi Savvy on Sauvignon Blanc Day!

Te Whare Ra, Marlborough NZBy Jim Chanteloup | K&L NZ Wine Buyer

"Sauvignon Blanc is a strange grape. It evokes strong reactions. Those who love it, love it with a passion. Those who find its flavours less than subtle, tend to be less than subtle in their criticism of it." -Jancis Robinson

Can you tell the difference between Marlborough and Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc? Tasted blind, you might not be able to guess that latter was also from New Zealand. Under the right conditions, Sauvignon Blanc is a superb example of terroir, and nowhere is this trait more obvious than in New Zealand itself, where Sauvignon Blanc is king. While the region of Marlborough has become synonymous with the benchmark Kiwi style, you will find quite a different expression in New Zealand's more under-the-radar winegrowing regions, depending on factors of microclimate and soil-type.  

If you are curious about learning more about the varietal traits of Sauvignon Blanc, or have ambitions to one day become a Master of Wine like Jancis Robinson, do yourself a favor and get "Kiwi Savvy" by checking out the stylistic difference from Marlborough, Martinborough and Nelson with these wines recommended below. All three represent great character from their respective regions within New Zealand.

2011 Craggy Range "Te Muna Road" Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough ($18.99)

The limestone soils of Craggy Range's Te Muna Road vineyard in Martinborough lend minerality and elegance to this sophisticated single-vineyard Sauvignon Blanc from one of New Zealand's most esteemed producers. Fermented in 100% stainless steel and aged briefly for three months in used French oak, the 2011 exhibits classic Te Muna chalky minerality, which underscores inherently crisp citrus and green apple aromas and flavors accent by note of fresh cut hay and flowering herbs. Tangy acidity and a fleshy midpalate lead toward a focused finish. Enjoy this dry, refreshing, classic Martinborough SB with fresh seafood!

2011 Te Whare Ra Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand ($18.99)

Te Whare Ra is a small, organic, family-run winery in Marlborough's Wairau Valley that we loved so much that we decided to import them directly! That means more bang for your buck. Their Sauvignon Blanc combines tropical passion fruit and lychee notes with cooler qualities of elderflower, citrus and gooseberry from the Awatere fruit. Great mid-palate texture and fresh, yet restrained, acidity on the finish.

2011 Neudorf Sauvignon Blanc Nelson ($16.99)

Neudorf Sauvignons are dry, with concentration and length reflecting low cropping rates, and a degree of mid palate texture and creaminess from a portion of (neutral) barrel ferment. This is intense and highly aromatic, with zesty blackcurrants, pineapple guava and lime aroma and flavors, and a touch of  flinty minerality. A textured entry leads to a palate that is smooth and round in the mouth, with a full creamy finish.

Ok, now that you're officially "Kiwi Savvy," it's time to raise a glass and join todays global tasting on Sauvignon Blanc Day!

Cheers,

-JC

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June 21, 2012: Sauvignon Blanc Day Global Tasting

Taste with K&L and Sauvignon Blanc fans worldwide on Twitter! Pop open a bottle of your favorite Sauv Blanc, or buy a bottle of something new to try. Pour some wine and join the conversation on Twitter by tagging posts about your wine selections with #SauvBlanc. 

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Terra Ignota is Latin for "Unknown Land". It was the name for the South Pacific region during intial mapping and exploration of Australia and New Zealand. As we are going to be exploring new and exciting wines from this region, we think this is a fitting title for our blog series on wines from this part of the world. Stay tuned for more!

 

Shop the Blanc: Check out our complete selection of over 200 Sauvignon Blancs in stock now on KLWines.com!

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