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With the James Bond movie Spectre being released today, no time could be better to drink Bollinger. The most suave spy in the world has been sipping on Bollinger since Moonraker in 1979. While we can’t all drive a fully loaded, customized machine gun having Aston Martin, we certainly can chill down a bottle of Bolli! The 2004 Bollinger "Grande Année" Brut Champagne ($109) is as good as Champagne gets; all barrel fermented and full of masculine, Pinot Noir power and high class elegance. We even have a few bottles of the limited 2009 Bollinger "James Bond 007" Brut Champagne ($195) in stock for the diehard fan of Bond & Champagne!

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Entries in sparkling wine (39)


Champagne Friday: Pinot Power

Patrick Arnould at his forklift during bottling

By: Gary Westby| K&L Champagne Buyer

Michel Arnould: Pinot Power Champagne

Champagne Michel Arnould is our top producers of dry, powerful Pinot based Champagnes. Located on the Mountain of Reims, Verzenay is one of the most exciting and unique terroirs in all of Champagne. The furthest north of all of the Grand Crus, it faces north away from the sun and still manages to produce some of the most powerful Pinot Noir in the region. Some of the locals say that a mysterious warm air current is the explanation for this ripening anomaly; others will say that it is impossible to explain, like the flight of the bumblebee. I love the distinct, hazelnut quality that this special village stamps on its wines, and I feel very lucky to have convinced Mr. Patrick Arnould to sell us some of his great wines.

Patrick is the fifth generation of Champagne Michel Arnould. They own 27 acres in the village of Verzenay, a quite sizable holding in this high rent area. It is planted to 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, which reflects the average plantation for the village. The black Pinot is king here. The Arnould’s have quite a few plots of vines that are very old and positioned in the golden band of the mid slope, where the sun exposure is best. They have a high proportion of old vines (40 to 50 years old) and all of the wines undergo complete malolactic fermentation in stainless steel and enamel vats.

If you have enjoyed the wines of Lallement, Bollinger and Krug in the past, I think you will very much enjoy Michel Arnould. Here is what we have from Arnould:

Michel Arnould Verzenay Brut Reserve Champagne $32.99 750ml/ $64.99 magnum: This is a blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay, entirely from estate vineyards in the grand cru of Verzenay. This is a great party Champagne, since it is full of flavor yet refreshing and moreish. The hazelnut Pinot character so unique to the village of Verzenay is pronounced in this wine, and many good tasters have mistaken it for barrel fermented (it is actually all stainless and enamel fermented) when presented the wine blinds. The texture is full and the bead is refined- a Champagne that you will be proud to serve to your guests, or perhaps not too proud to save for yourself!


Michel Arnould "Grand Cuvée" Brut Champagne $34.99: Exclusively from the 2002 harvest, although not labeled as such, this Champagne is composed of two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay. The color is gorgeous gold studded with tiny bubbles. The aroma is amazing. The Champagne has a graceful, delicate balance that Verzenay wines sometimes lack but with the signature hazelnut Pinot core. I found it to have creaminess to complement its racy cherry fruit on the palate, and an extraordinarily long, dry finish. It is dosed at 9 grams per liter: very dry! It will age very well.


Michel Arnould Verzenay Brut Rosé Champagne $34.99 750ml/ $74.99 magnum:  100% Pinot Noir Grand Cru, acquired by assembling different vintages and red Coteaux Champenoises coming from old vines. This lovely Rosé Champagne offers hints of raspberry, strawberry and redcurrant. Very refined on the palate where more berries and finally grenadine notes emerge.



Michel Arnould Verzenay Extra Brut Champagne $39.99: Although not labeled as a vintage, this is based entirely on 2005 juice. It is 100% pinot noir from Verzenay, the northernmost of all the Grand Crus in this northernmost of French wine regions. The whole village faces north, the wrong way, away from the sun, and yet miraculously ripens pinot noir, the most difficult Champagne variety to ripen perfectly. Some say it’s because of a meteor that in prehistoric times hit the area that is now the village, creating the faux de Verzenay, a forest where the trees bend and fold in on themselves like a dark wood in The Lord of the Rings. Pair this wine with salmon, smoked as an appetizer or even served as sashimi.

Happy Champagne Friday!



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Champagne Friday: Visiting Champagne Louis Roederer & Cellar Master Interview

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Champagne Louis Roederer Visit & Cellar Master Interview

I met with Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon the cellar master of Champagne Louis Roederer (makers of the celebrated Cristal) last month in Reims. I had been hearing from many growers in the area about the serious work this house was doing in their vineyards, but unaware of the scope of their projects.

The quality of this great house has long been established, but if you haven't tasted the wines in a while, get ready to be impressed. They have not been resting on their laurels and the Champagne is better than ever. I was very surprised to learn that the only wine with purchased fruit in it that we carry from Roederer is the excellent Brut Premier. Every other wine is estate- and starts off as a selection of vineyards- not tanks. It is better to let Jean-Baptiste tell the story in today's video.

We currently have a range of Roederer Champagnes in stock. Shop and learn more about them by clicking the links:

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne ($39.99)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV Brut Premier is a gorgeous wine that stands head and shoulders above the vast majority of wines in its price range. Apparently, it is quite possible to make great Champagne that doesn’t cost a small fortune. Ripe pears, smoke, spices, dried flowers and herbs are some of the many nuances that emerge from the glass. The Brut Premier shows lovely mid-palate depth and fabulous overall balance. Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon has done it again. This is a fabulous Brut Premier...Anticipated maturity: 2011-2015." (11/11)

2004 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne ($189.00)

97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 97 points Wine & Spirits, and 97 points and a *Cellar Selection* Wine Enthusiast: "Exceptionally rich and dense, an exceptional wine that reveals itself in layers, from the first fruit attack to the mineral texture and the way it gradually fills the mouth. Selected from old vines, there is a great flavor in this wine, with the promise of many years' aging." (12/12)

2004 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne Limited Edition Gift Box ($189.00)

2004 Louis Roederer Brut Champagne ($64.99)

2005 Louis Roederer Brut Champagne ($64.99)

2006 Louis Roederer Brut Rosé Champagne ($59.99)

2004 Louis Roederer Vintage Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($64.99)

2005 Louis Roederer Vintage Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($64.99)



Check out more educational wine and spirits videos from the experts at K&L on YouTube!


Spanish & Portuguese Wine News 5/10/12: 

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

Happy Thursday everyone,

This week the focus is on delightfully fresh, mouth watering, thirst quenching, "crispy" wines. One of my esteemed colleagues has earned the moniker "crispy" for her cheerful invitation to go out for a "crispy pint." And these wines are in the same vein. They invite you to open them with friends, enjoy the sunshine, and drink them to quench thirst. Little sips will not be sufficient with these; they are for guzzling down. 

Flama Roja Cava Brut Tarragona- $11.99  A bright and dry, yet creamier, rounder cava than the normal stuff.  Lower dosage than usual for cava.  Riper and more vinous style.   A K&L "alum" brings this one in  and I think you'll find it to be one of our best value sparklers. 

2010 Seculo Godello y Doña Blanca Bierzo - $11.99 Godello and Doña Blanca are perfectly suited to blending together, as this wine attests. I poured this wine for our Spanish tasting three weeks ago and it was well received.  Also noticed that one of my personal sommelier customers received this in a shipment, and then ordered a full case.  Careful, this white is delicious and addictive.   

2011 Bodegas Muga Rosado Rioja (1.5L) - $24.99  Muga rosé in magnum?  That's crazy talk.  Rest assured, though, we have these and even though we do not have a lot left, I thought that anyone on this list should know about it and grab some if they so choose.  This will disappear very soon. 

2011 Ameztoi "Rubentis" Rosé Getariako Txakolina - $19.99 Our most popular cult Spanish rosé is back.  Interestingly, I actually saw this wine in a local shop in Getaria (the beautiful town at the bottom of those sloped, seaward facing Getariako Txakolina D.O. vineyards).  Thanks to Americans' enthusiasm for this wine, what started as more of an export phenomenon appears to have found acceptance amongst some of the world's most serious gourmands in Getaria.  Try this with Cantabrian sea anchovies, canned Spanish "Bonito del Norte" tuna  or a tomato and garlic rubbed piece of toasted bread with olive oil and sea salt.


Un Saludo,



Joe Manekin

Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Wine Buyer

K&L Wine Merchants

Ph: 877.559.4637 ext. 2748