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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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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.

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Entries in sparkling wine (38)

Friday
Feb222013

Champagne Friday: Dosage

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Dosage or: Why do they call sweet Champagne dry?

When it comes to selecting a dry or sweet Champagne, the labeling is very confusing. This is because of a historical demand for drier and drier styles over the past two hundred years. When sparkling Champagne was first introduced, it was very, very sweet. That style is now called doux and is extremely rare, with over 50 grams per liter of sugar. While we currently do not have any doux at K&L (demand is almost non-existent today) we did carry an excellent one, the 1995 Fleury Doux Champagne a number of years ago, and poured it at the inaugural tent tastings.

Veuve Clicquot Demi Sec Champagne In the 1800s, demand for drier Champagne increased. The Champenoise obliged by introducing demi-sec, or half-dry, which is still quite sweet but not as sweet as doux, with 35-50 grams of sugar per liter. Demand today is weak for sweet Champagne in this style, but we do carry a few, including the Veuve Clicquot Demi Sec ($49.99), the Piper Heidsieck Cuvee Sublime ($39.99), and the Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial ($49.99).

Michel Loriot "Marie-Leopold" Sec Champagne Demand for even drier styles continued, so sec (dry) Champagne was introduced, but it is important to note that this style is still pretty sweet, just less than demi-sec at 17-35 grams of sugar per liter. I can hardly think of an instance of more confusing terminology in the world of wine. It is labeled dry, but it is a sweet style. While many Champenoise are of the opinion that sweet Champagnes are only produced today, as one producer who will remain annonomus once remarked, “for old people to drink with cake," we do have one of the few exceptions in stock. The Michel Loriot “Cuvee Marie-Leopold” Sec ($34.99) is a not just serious Champagne, but in my opinion one of the finest values to be found in all of Champagne. It was created by Michel for the 100th anniversary of his house. It gets a full four years of aging on the lees and 20 grams per liter of a specially made dosage using pure cane sugar is added to it at disgorgement. If you think you sweeter Champagne is not for you, this could very well change your mind. It comes with my highest recommendation.

Louis Roederer "Carte Blanche" Extra Dry Champagne Moving on to the 20th century, demand for still drier Champagne continued, but the Champenois were running out of words! So they introduced extra sec, or extra dry, which is gently sweet, but at 12-20 grams per liter of sugar still sweeter than brut. The most famous wine in this style is the now discontinued Moet & Chandon White Star, which we still get requests for all the time. We carry the very well balanced and extraordinarily well-made Louis Roederer “Carte Blanche” Extra Dry ($44.99) as a representative of this style. This wine, like the Loriot above is blended specially for the slightly higher dosage and is an excellent partner to paté at the start of the meal or macaroons at the end of it.

In the teens Perrier Jouet premiered brut (they could hardly call it 'extra extra dry'!) for their customers desiring even drier Champagne. Currently the law states that brut Champagne must be dosed at less than 12 grams per liter of sugar. It amuses me that the producers in Champagne simply ran out of vocabulary to describe what has become the dominant style for the region. Out of the 224 Champagnes we have in stock at K&L at the time of writing this post, 204 of them are brut!

Marguet "Valentine Brut Nature" Champagne is only $29.99 with Wine Club Discount!Bringing us up to the present in the 21st century, many sommeliers and Champagne fans are looking for even more precision in their wines. Thus, More and more extra brut is being produced today, an austerely dry style at 0 to 6 grams of sugar per liter. To give you a sense of current demand, these wines account for more than five times the sales of any other category besides brut at K&L. They make excellent partners to seafood, especially sushi. If the wine has less than 3 grams per liter of residual sugar, and no extra dosage has been added, they may also call the Champagne brut nature, pas dose, or dosage zero. My current favorite in this style is the Marguet “Valentine Brut Nature” ($34.99) which has just 1 gram of residual sugar per liter. Pick up some sushi to go and enjoy this bright, zippy wine with it!

I would like to thank Eric de Brissis of Champagne Baron Fuente for helping me out with the current rules for dosage, as they just recently changed. Also keep in mind that the European Union gives the producers three grams per liter of leeway for residual (not added!) sugar. Some producers say that this is far to loose of a range, especially since it would be hard to test for.

Here is the CIVC’s official chart on the dosage of Champagne:

Doux- 50 grams per liter of sugar or more

Demi-Sec- between 32 and 50 grams per liter of sugar

Sec (Dry)- between 17 and 32 grams per liter of sugar

Extra Dry- between 12 and 17 grams per liter of sugar

Brut- less than 12 grams per liter of sugar

Extra Brut- between 0 and 6 grams per liter of sugar

 

A toast to you!

-Gary

Friday
Feb152013

Champagne Friday: Top Value in Vintage Champagne

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Happy belated Valentine's Day! Valentine's Day and other festive occasions can provide those of us with something special to celebrate the perfect excuse to splurge on a 'special' bottle of wine, but what about the rest of the year? 

If you're like me and most folks out there, you probably can't afford (or choose not to) open pricey bottles every night. Pricing on Champagnes from the famous houses start around $50 per bottle--and that's for the entry level bottlings--and rise skyward from there. If this is out of reach for you on an everyday basis, you're not alone. Fortunately, my mission as Champagne buyer for K&L has been to focus our Direct Import program on Champagnes from the small grower-producers, where real value lies. These are true artisan Champagnes, and thanks to our direct import, we are able to offer many incredible values in $30 price range.

 The 2004 Baron Fuente "Grand Millésimé" Brut Champagne ($34.99) is hands down our best value in vintage Champagne. There is so much more class and breeding here than what you get for spending the same or more for one of the famous house's large production entry level Bruts. Made with fruit from the very northerly Aisne department of Champagne, this blend of 45% Chardonnay, 40% Meunier and 15% Pinot Noir is fresh yet rich in the mouth, with depth of flavor balanced by crisp acidity and mineral drive on the finish.

Believe me, you rarely see vintage Champagne of this quality for this price. It is showing fine development now--try it with a classic pairing of oysters or caviar--but it has the stuffing to age, too.

I hope you give it a try!

Cheers,

-Gary

Tuesday
Jan082013

Blind International Sparkling Wine Tasting Challenge: And the Winner Is...

 

#5) 2007 Huet "Cuvée Huet" Vouvray Petillant Sec ($29.99)

K&L Notes: Maison Huet has been a leading force in the Vouvray appellation for quite sometime now, and today is regarded as one of the premier producers of Chenin Blanc in the Loire Valley, if not the world. Founded in 1928, the estate now covers 35 hectares, which are divided up between three properties - Le Mont, Le Haut-Lieu and Le Clos du Bourg - all that have been farmed biodynamically since 1990. These wines are stunning and are worth being in your cellar. In addition to its famous vineyard-designated wines, Huet also produces this delightful sparkling Pétillant, a blend of fruit from the aforementioned 'big three' vineyards with other small parcels on the estate.

Last Friday, K&L customers and staff put their palates to the test and tasted through a blind lineup of a whopping thirteen sparkling wines from all over the world. This was the third installment in our series of Blind Tasting Challenges in Redwood City, events that have become very popular with our customers! K&L's Ryan Woodhouse carefully chilled, numbered, and wrapped each bottle in aluminum foil so the wines could be kept on ice without the covers getting soggy (clever thinking!). Tasters were presented with a blank, numbered tasting sheet on which to make notes and invited to guess country and region of origin for each wine. At the end, each taster had to submit a vote for his/her overall favorite wine before receiving the key to the tasting.

The winning wine, the 2007 Huet "Cuvee Huet" Vouvray Petillant Sec  (100% Chenin Blanc), beat out some serious contenders, including three Champagnes, two popular domestic producers, and some of our best-selling sparklers from other style categories such as Cremant de Limoux, Cava, and Prosecco. The Huet sure stood out in the lineup as distinctive, with its combination of sweet and savory aromas and flavors and obviously richer body as compared to the others - it's not your "typical" sparkler! Because of its unique profile, K&L staff admit to being suprised the Huet emerged as the most popular in the tasting, but then again, K&L attracts a pretty sophisticated and adventurous bunch of customers, so it's really no surprise at all!

Here is the complete lineup:

1. Silvano Follador "Dosaggio Zero" Prosecco, Italy ($24.99)

2. 2009 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs Brut Sparkling, Napa/Sonoma, CA ($28.99)

3. Quartz Reef "Methode Traditionelle", Central Otago, New Zealand ($21.99)

4. 2008 Can Mayol Loxarel "Refugi" Reserva Brut Nature, Penedes, Spain ($17.99)

5. 2007 Huet "Cuvee Huet" Vouvray Petillant Sec, Vouvray, Loire Valley, France (29.99)

6. Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne, France ($38.99)

7. 2008 Argyle Willamette Valley Brut, Oregon $24.99

8. Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne, France $38.99

9. Graham Beck Brut Sparkling Wine, Western Cape, South Africa ($14.99)

10. 2010 Antech "Cuvee Eugenie" Cremant de Limoux, Limoux, France ($13.99)

11. 2007 Marguet Pere et Fils Brut Rose Champagne, France ($49.99)

12. Jansz Brut Rose, Tasmania, Australia ($19.99)

13. Mas Codina Cava Brut Reserva Penedes, Spain ($12.99)

 

Stay tuned for the next Blind Tasting Challenge!

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