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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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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 or follow us on Facebook.  


Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

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Entries in Soccer (4)


World Cup Match-Up: Greece 

"Wine gives strength to wary men." 

--The Iliad, Homer

Poor Greece. Just days after their historic first-ever goal and first-ever victory in the World Cup--they beat Nigeria 2-1 last Thursday--they've been routed out of the tournament by Argentina. Fortunately for the Greeks they've got a wine renaissance to go home and "wallow" in.

History (Distilled)

Greece's viticultural and winemaking history stretches way back to the 7th century BCE, making the Greeks the original oenophiles (the word, not surprisingly, is Greek).  We know this from shards of unearthed amphorae with etchings of vines, from the epic and comedic poetry of Homer and Hesius, and the mythology surrounding Dionysus, the god of wine. The Greeks were known to foot-tread their grapes, and add additives like sea water and aromatic herbs, and store them in large amphorae sealed with pitch or cork. Early Greek colonization spread the vine all around the Mediterranean, and Mycenaen pottery shards found abroad seem to point to the Greece exporting wine to Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Cyprus, Sicily and Southern Italy. But Ancient Greece's wine trade crumbled in the Byzantine era, when the Emperor Alexius I Comenius granted Venice trading facilities in Constantinople (and other ports) tax-free. And it was all but stamped out when Byzantium fell to the teetotaling Ottoman Turks. It wasn't until the 1960s that Greeks began investing in viticulture again, but the financial and technological outlay since then put Greece on its current path, which is an all out wine renaissance.


The third most moutainous country in Europe. It can get awfully cold in Greece.It's All Greek to Me

With more than 300 indigenous varietals, each with its own difficult-to-pronounce combination of consonants, it's easy to forget that "there's more to Greece than beaches and islands," says K&L's Greek wine buyer Eric Story. "From vineyards nestled along the coastline, to high altitude vineyards blanketed by winter snow, Greece has just about every terroir and microclimate available."

There are nine winemaking regions in Greece, though some, like Thrace, have little to no known commercial winemaking enterprise. But three regions, Macedonia, the Peloponnese and the Aegean Islands are home to some of the most innovative and exciting wines coming out of Greece today. Here's a very brief synopsis of each.


One of the oldest winemaking regions in Greece, Macedonia is quite distinct from its island counterparts, with microclimates and terrain that vary from the alpine west to the rolling plains of north and central Macedonia to the sandy beaches of the southern coast. If you want to try one (incredibly affordable) wine that exemplifies the region, grab a bottle of the If you're trying to The 2000 Hatzimichalis Xinomavro ($13.99). As opposed to many of the reds from the region, which combine Xinomavro with international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah (2008 Kir-Yanni "Paranga" - $19.99), this is unabashedly Xinomavro. A light ruby color, it's reminiscent of a Langhe Nebbiolo with its cookie spice nose, high-tone cherry fruit and ample, but integrated, tannins thanks to 10 years in bottle. The 2007 Domaine Porto Carras Limnio ($16.99), from one of the biggest and most visually stunning contemporary wineries in Greece, Porto Carras, uses just a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon to add color and texture to the native Limnio. Notes of leather, black fruit and cocoa powder add complexity, and its ripe tannins and plush mouthfeel make it very appealing, especially when paired with souvlaki.

Run to your local fishmonger for some sea bream or fresh sardines before you crack Macedonian white wines like the 2008 Domaine Porto Carras Malagouzia ($21.99) and the 2008 Kir-Yanni "Petra" Roditis ($17.99), which are fresh and crisp and decidedly Greek. The Malagouzia is rounder on the palate, with more stone fruit than the Petra, which is a little more linear and lemony. Fresh hummus and pitas off the grill would be good with both too.


Try saying Agiorghitiko five times fast and you'll see why many prefer to use its English name Saint George. This red varietal, along with the white grape Moschofilero, dominates the wines of the Peloponnese, where native grapes like Roditis mingle with international varietals like Chardonnay, Viognier and Cabernet Sauvignon. Many of the pioneering winemakers here were trained in Burgundy, including George Skouras, who owns the 2009 Wine & Spirits Magazine Winery of the Year, Domaine Skouras. That winery's 2008 Skouras Red ($9.99) is 95% Agiorgitiko fermented entirely in stainless steel. Its forward cherry, plum and blackberry fruit, along with floral undertones make it similar to Beaujolais (it also undergoes 30% carbonic maceration), and its anise and savory herb elements will complement garlicky grilled lamb with tangy yogurt and mint. Its white counterpart, the 2008 Skouras White ($9.99) combines 70% Roditis and 30% Moschofilero, from rocky clay and sand soils respectively, for a vibrant, elegant wine that’s more like Grace Kelly than its meager price would lead you to believe. Wonderfully floral and herbal, this wine calls for grilled octopus with just a squeeze of lemon and sea salt to highlight its texture and complexity.

Aegean Islands

We could easily devote an entire post to the Aegean Islands (included long, poetic tangents where we dream of relaxing on beaches with towering whitewashed buildings and domed blue roofs in the distance), which includes Rhodes, Crete and Santorini, but it shouldn't be left out of this post. Wines from the best known of the three, Santorni, must contain at least 75% Assyrtiko to be labeled with that appellation, a difficult-to-master white variety marked by high acidity and sweet honeysuckle and citrus notes. The 2009 Sigalas Assyrtiko ($21.99) will transport you with its tart apple and pineapple flavors, hints of licorice and slightly honeyed finish. If fava beans are still available where you live, toss some with cherry tomatoes, eggplant, feta and olive oil and sea salt for the perfect summer lunch.

For our entire selection of Greek wine visit

Leah Greenstein


World Cup Match-Up: Greece Beats Nigeria

Earlier today Greece scored its first-ever World Cup goal. Then it scored another, securing what would also, ultimately, be their first-ever World Cup victory over Nigeria, 2-1.

While we have a much more in-depth post on Greek wines scheduled, you should join in celebrating their victory this weekend with a bottle of bubbly, and not just any bubbly, but Domaine Tselepos Amalia Brut ($23.99).

Originally from Cyrpus, Domaine Tselepos owner Yiannis Tselepos was trained in oenology at the famed University of Dijon in France, graduating in 1978. He worked around Burgundy for the next couple of years, picking up knowledge that would turn him into a pioneer of the Greek wine renaissance when he returned home.  He settled in the Peloponnese where he has been making wine ever since.

This sparkler is made in the traditional method (methode champenois) entirely from Moschofilero from a single vineyard with redding clay soils. It has a uniquely floral nose that is distinctly Moschofilero, with hints of honey and crisp yellow plum on the nose and palate and freshly-baked bread. Refreshing, clean and very festive, it's a great tipple even if you're not watching soccer.


World Cup Match-Up: Uruguay

While South Africa battles it out against Mexico today in the World Cup, the wine world's powerhouse, France, goes up against the tiny South American country of Uruguay. Two-time World Cup winners, the Uruguayans are considered the underdogs in today's game. But when it comes to wine I think they've got the French beat on one account: Tannat.

Uruguay's winegrowing history is relatively short - having been introduced by the Basques in the late 1800s - though according to the Oxford Companion to Wine their per person wine consumption is rivaled in South America only by the Argentines. In the past 20 years, Uruguayan viticulture has vastly improved as less successful hybrid grapes have been switched over to international varieties including Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and, of course, the aforementioned Tannat, which is sometimes called Harriague.

Tannat is a thick-skinned red grape variety that can out-Nebbiolo Nebbiolo in the mouth-puckering tannin category. Its heretofore best known iterations have been southwest France's Madirans and Irouleguys, and since most people are familiar with neither of these, get the point. Uruguayan Tannat is different, though. In the unoaked, low-alcohol and extremely affordable 2008 Don Pascual "Pueblo del Sol" Tannat ($7.99) pictured at left, the variety comes across fresh and juicy, with raspberry and strawberry fruit notes so pure you can almost feel the tiny hairs on the berries tickling your tongue. This is an incredibly easy-drinking, everyday wine that will make you root for the underdogs today, if you weren't already.

The 2007 Don Pascual "Roble" Tannat ($16.99) is a much more serious wine - think Camus compared to the Pueblo Sol's Tao of Pooh - with deep Mission fig notes, hints of tar, espresso bean and Flavor King pluot. It has a richer tannin profile, but it doesn't overwhelm the wine, and the acidity is still fresh and food friendly.

Finally, we have the 2007 Bodega Bouza Tannat ($16.99), which isn't as brooding as the Roble but is more substantive than the Pueblo Sol. Pomegranate and boysenberry fruit dominate, with hints of vanilla from its time in French and American oak. Fotunately the oak treatment didn't add to the wine's tannic structure, instead it smoothed out the Tannat's rougher edges, giving this a lovely, sultry texture. Save this baby for the steaks you grill when Uruguay plays South Africa on June 16th.

Leah Greenstein