Stay Connected
What We're Drinking

 

Saber Madness at K&L!

We have been chopping off the tops of Champagne bottles as fast as we can drink them- who needs a stopper when you are ready to commit to finishing the bottle! One of our favorites was this magnum ($84.99) of Franck Bonville Brut Rosé that Mellyn expertly decapitated on Christmas Eve. It also comes in regular 750ml ($39.99) and half bottles ($21.99). Olivier Bonville adds 8% Pinot Noir Rouge from Ambonnay superstar Paul Dethune to his top class assembelage of grand cru, estate Chardonnay to create this fabulous rose. This is one of the most elegant, bright, refreshing rose Champagnes that we carry, yet it does not lack red cherry Pinot Noir authority. We can’t get enough- bring another to the block!

Recent Videos

Tasting with Oliver Krug

Upcoming Events

We host regular weekly and Saturday wine tastings in each K&L location.

For the complete calendar, including lineups and additional details related to our events, visit our K&L Local Events on KLWines.com or follow us on Facebook.  

 

Free Spirits Tastings at K&L! Now that we have our license for spirits tastings in Redwood City and San Francisco, we’re excited to host regular free spirits tastings in those locations.  Check the Spirits Journal for an updated tasting schedule.

All tastings will feature different products from the Spirits Department and take place on Wednesdays in Redwood City and San Francisco. Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

See all K&L Local Events

Archives

Entries in Sherry (20)

Wednesday
May202015

Rey Fernando de Castilla: A Palo Cortado to Remember

 

Palo Cortado pairs with a variety of foods; in this case it happened to pair great with Italian food.

Rey Fernando de Castilla is a sherry bodega with passion for providing wines of the highest quality. Started by an important family in Jerez, the Andrada-Vanderwilde family, that has been involved in the wine industry here for over 200 years.  This family took over some very old sherry and brandy cellars to focus on Brandy production in the 1960s.  It wasn’t until 1999 that a Norwegian who had fallen in love with Sherry, Jan Pettersen, purchased the bodega, and shifted the company's focus to Sherry. He expanded the bodega’s sherry production with the purchase of many old soleras from the neighboring and esteemed almacenista Jose Bustamante, turning Rey Fernando de Castilla into one of the best independent sherry houses. While most of Pettersen’s wines qualify for the age dated VOS or VORS status, he does not believe in this system. Instead, his line of high-end sherry is called the “Antique Collection.”  He has an Antique Fino (a bottling I highly recommend trying) that’s an average of 8-9 years old and resembles the traditional style richer finos that existed back in the early 1980’s when Petterson first came to the Sherry triangle.  The Antique collection is always bottled unfined and often minimally filtered and see extended aging in the cellar showing incredible maturity, expression and skill.


I recently had the pleasure of drinking a bottle of the Antique Palo Cortado that my boyfriend bought me for my birthday...he knows me so well!  Palo Cortado, the unicorn of Sherry styles, is always a mystery.  Maybe that is why it is the rarest of Sherry styles, and perhaps the most celebrated. There are a couple of things we can surmise about a Palo Cortado, it was once aged biologically, like a fino, and for some reason or another refortified and sent to spend the rest of it life aging oxidatively. For what reason, why or how this decision is made, is often unknown and unregulated.  In fact the Consejo Regulador says it only to be “the existence of certain very specific characteristic,” but that characteristic is never mentioned.  Another commonly offered definition is that it has the aromas of an Amontillado and the palate of an Oloroso.  However it has come about, I’m happy it did, especially this one. The Rey Fernando de Castilla Palo Cortado $59.99 is over 30 years of average age with both tremendous aromatics and flavors.  Aromas of cocoa, roasted chestnuts, tiramisu, and nutmeg beam from the glass. The palate is bright at first, showing it’s years aged under flor with a beautifully tangy acidity, lemon rind and burnt orange peel.  The palate turns to flavors of almonds, mocha and espresso on the finish.  Potentially, the finest example of Palo Cortado that exists. Sherry lovers, if you haven't tried this bottle yet, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday
Mar252015

"Sherry" style wines from Córdoba

Gabriel Gómez walking through his 8 hectare estate. -Image from Jose Pastor Selections

Perched in the Sierra Morena Mountains, about an hour north of Córdoba, sits Bodega Gomez Nevado on the hillsides of a town called Villaviciosa de Córdoba. While the family’s winemaking history goes back to the 1700’s, the bodega has been making sherry-style wines since 1870 and became the first winegrower in Spain to have their vineyards certified organic in 1988.  With the Bodega situated more than 200km from Jerez, their vineyards do not fall under any of the three D.O. permitted to make Sherry, thus can not benefit from using the term Sherry.  And to be fair, it is different from sherry; the soils are different, the grapes are different, the climate and the winemaking certainly differ.  In the Sierra Morena you won’t find palomino dominating the vineyards, nor will you find the chalky, white albariza soil it grows best in.  Rather you will find a grape called Airén, with Pedro Ximenez as the runner up, heavily planted in clay and slate soils.  The grapes and the soil combined with the harsh continental mediterranean climate means their wines usually get to 15-16% abv without fortification.  Bodega Gomez Nevado takes pride in never having to fortify their wines.  The result is a richer style “sherry” then we are used to in Jerez. The Gomez Navado 'Palido' which means pale, is their "fino” style wine. The grapes are harvested from 40+ year old Airen, Pedro Ximenez and Palomino vines sitting 300-500 meters in elevation, with Airén making up 60% of the blend. The first press juice is fermented dry and aged in a solera system for an average of 5 years before it’s bottled ‘en rama’ meaning it comes straight from the barrel, with very minimal fining or filtration. The first thing that struck me about the Gomez Nevado Palido En Rama Sierra Morena (375ml) is its color, much more walnut in color than the pale finos of Jerez.  The nose is beautiful with notes of roasted hazelnuts and chestnuts, white flowers, rosemary, and a hint of sea salt.  As to be expected it is rich and full-bodied but it still has that bright tang from the flor, only its a more roasted tang rather than salty.  The flavors are much different than traditional finos, full of umami with flavors of extra virgin olive oil, asparagus and raw mushrooms.  A unique wine indeed. It seems they need their own word to describe these wines; while sherry in style, they are certainly different.  


I always stress having food with Sherry or sherry-style wines, because they offer so many potential pairings, especially with those classically hard to pair umami foods.  Considering this wine is from Andalucía, I decided to make Gazpacho de Andaluz, a classic in the region, to go with the Palido.  The key to this simple and delicious tomato based Gazpacho is having exceptional Sherry Vinegar.  I suggest the Sanchez Romate Vinagre de Jerez Reserva (375ml) $14.99 that we get from Alexander Jules. Some Sherry Vinegars tend to be too sweet and thick, almost like balsamic, whereas the Sanchez Romate had beautiful acid and intense flavor.  The richness of the Palido complimented the acidity of the Gazpacho perfectly, while the acidity brightened up the wine. Seafood also pairs really well with the fino style so I added some sweet big shrimp on the side. Both quite brilliant pairings. I’m always looking for local products to work with sherry styles so I couldn’t resist buying some fresh Armenian cheese from the little Armenian shop on my block to see how it paired. Of course the name of the cheese eludes me, but it reminded me of a cross between a feta and a ricotta salata and it went great with the Palido. LA residents, definitely something to try!!

 

-Olivia Ragni

Friday
Mar062015

A Tale of Two Amantillados

 

Herederos de Argüeso was established in 1822 by León de Argüeso in Sanlucar de Barrameda only two years after his move to the city. He quickly prospered as a grocer and used his money to purchase the cellar of San Jose in the barrio bajo containing some very old soleras. Today, a team of bodegas belonging to Argüeso are situated in the same area, on the same street and have some stunning buildings that hold soleras with the original coffered ceilings from the 16th century convent that used to lie there. The barrio bajo is said to be unique due to its position that traps the humidity and salty sea air into the neighborhood thanks to the barrier created by the higher barrio alto. All of the Argüeso wines have a beautiful salinic and tangy character to them which can be attributed to the barrio bajo and proximity to the sea. León de Argüeso did not marry or have children, so he left his fortunes to his niece and nephew, thus the names Herederos (heirs) de Argüeso. The coolest part of it all.. the original solera systems León purchased (which were already fairly old) are still in production today, and said to be up to 250 years old. The wines of Argüeso are difficult to get on the export markets.


I know what you’re thinking, 'why would you tell me that story about this fantastic producer if I can’t even get their sherry?'.....That’s exactly how Joe Manekin, our sherry buyer, and Alexander Russan of Alexander Jules felt, so they sought out to remedy this problem.


K&L and Alexander Jules (a local Sherry importer and bottler) teamed up to get Argüeso to California. Together they went to Sanlucar and were tasked with the difficult, and simply agonizing chore of tasting 27 barrels of very old and rare (VORS) Argüeso Amontillado in order to determine which bota was their favorite. Very old and rare indeed, this 27 barrel solera is an average of 50-60 years old!! Ultimately Joe and Alex chose two bota (barrels), bottling each as single barrel Amontillados. There is a very limited amount of this stuff considering you are only legally allowed to remove a bit less than 10% of the wine from each bota. After days and days of tasting and eating copious amounts of jamon, they finally returned with two gorgeous and rare Amontillados:


The Alexander Jules Amontillado "Singular" K&L Single Barrel 4/27 Sanlucar de Barrameda, which is the more feminine expression of the two with notes of fresh ground espresso, cocoa and dark chocolate, white flowers and old books. The palate certainly shows its fino roots with fresh, high-toned brightness, apple skins and tons of salinity. Finishing with roasted hazelnuts, toffee, apricots and a full yet elegant round body. On the other hand, the Alexander Jules Amontillado "Singular" K&L Single Barrel 19/27 Sanlucar de Barrameda is more masculine with an intense nose of smoked almonds, deep dark roasted coffee, salted caramel, dried figs and prunes. The palate is bit chubbier and meatier with even more intense notes of salinity, espresso beans, toffee and caramel.


There were only about 65 bottlings of each the 4/27 and the 19/17 and there are very few bottles left to be had. A rare chance to taste not only Argüeso but single barrel bottlings of a very old solera.


For more information on the collaboration visit Joe’s original post about his trip.

-Olivia Ragni