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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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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 staff picks (4)

Friday
Apr272012

Champagne Friday: Tasting with Gary

K&L Champagne Buyer Gary Westby offers a peek inside a typical Champagne staff tasting. Of course, Champagne tastings at K&L are hardly typical! This lineup includes two particularly unusual rosé Champagnes -- the 2007 Marguet Pere et Fils Brut Rose ($49.99) and the Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Rosé Champagne ($49.99) -- made with a small amount still red wine added to the blend. A must-try for any serious connoissuer, these exceptional beauties are extremely limited in quantity...

2007 Marguet Pere et Fils Brut Rose ($49.99) Unlike most rosé Champagnes this is neither a saignée method whereby dark grapes are kept on the skins for a short time, after which the juice is bled off, not by the addition of still red wine, but by a combination of the two!

 


Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Rosé Champagne ($49.99)Composed of 70% Chardonnay, 23% Pinot Noir vinified white, and 7% Pinot Noir vinified red, this Grand Cru Rose Champagne is pretty special stuff...a food Champagne with endless possibilities.

 

Friday
Dec302011

Top 10 Sparkling Staff Picks and Happy New Year Wishes from K&L

It's still a little early to officially ring in the New Year, but we want to take a second to thank you for your business these past 12 months. We'd also like to extend our wishes for a fun and safe weekend. We look forward to helping you in 2012.

To kick off the festivities for this New Year's weekend, here are the K&L Staff's Top 10 Sparklers of 2011 - just in case you need some last minute sparkling inspiration!

Cheers & Happy New Year,

-The Staff at K&L

 Any Special Occasion Champagne

1. Launois "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (34.99) With its impressive old-fashioned bottle shape, this spectacular Champagne from Mesnil is one of the most sought after in France. 100% Chardonnay and all Grand Cru from the villages of Mesnil, Oger, Cramant and Avize - a roll call of the finest crus for Chardonnay in all of Champagne, it is also and Veritas-certified for sustainable agriculture. http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1002121

Chiara Shannon, K&L Head Sommelier, Redwood City: "This Blanc de Blancs, made from 100% Grand Cru Chardonnay, enjoys cult status in France. The vintage-inspired bottle shape is eye-catching, but what’s inside the bottle is truly brilliant. From Mesnil, the southernmost Grand Cru in Champagne (home to Salon and Krug’s Clos de Mesnil), it has a crisp, mineral-driven nose, with subtle lees and butter undertones and a hint of fennel. The flavors deepen on the palate, expanding to coat the mouth, ending with a long, refreshing finish. It steals the show as an apéritif, accompanied by light, salty snacks, but possesses the depth and complexity to pair with richer foods as well. It is a favorite of mine. I love to give it out as Christmas gifts but always "accidentally" overbuy so I have at least one for myself on New Years!"

2. Philippe Gonet Brut Rosé Champagne ($39.99) Champagne Philippe Gonet is a big favorite at K&L, and this 100% rosé made entirely from estate grown Pinot Noir grown in Vertus, Champagne's southernmost Premier Cru is a fantastic addition to their line.  http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1020658

Illya Haase, K&L Hollywood: "The time has come for me to choose my New Years Eve Champagne...it's Philippe Gonet Brut Rosé! This, my friends, is made entirely from estate grown Pinot Noir. And, did I mention Premier Cru grapes! WHAT?! All this for $39.99? It's a steal. Happy New Year!"

Kirk Walker, K&L San Francisco: "This is classic Gonet, very elegant; with a new twist 100% Pinot! Intense red berry fruit with a floral hint and just a touch of savory to tie it all together. Elegant and intense, that is just what I want in a bottle of Rosé Champagne!"

 

3. 2004 Ariston Aspasie Vintage Brut Champagne ($39.99) The most focused and elegant from the Aristons, any Champagne lover will be very impressed with the 2004 Vintage Brut, composed of 1/3 Pinot Noir, 1/3 Chardonnay and 1/3 Pinot Meunier from estate vines of 30 years of age. Full bodied without being heavy, it's pretty darn perfect. http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1073429

Jim Barr, K&L Redwood City: "Lush yeasty, nutty, creamy tones erupt from the glass, while in the mouth you will be treated to an amazingly complex, full flavored, viscous, well-structured Champagne that shows a brioche, sour dough bread quality, yet with excellent acidity. This is an absolutely wonderful Champagne that should not be missed and will be our house Champagne for however long it is around, according to the The Bean. 12.5% ABV"

 Jacques Moreira, K&L Hollywood: "It's all about those 6 years of aging on the lees. Rich, delicious notes of brioche, pain grille, hazelnut, baked apple, caramelized baked apple, and yet, delicate and incredible classy... Need I say more?"

4. 2006 Michel Loriot "Pinot Meunier Vieilles Vignes" Brut Champagne ($49.99) One of the best single-vineyard Champagnes we carry at K&L, from the l'Arpent vineyard, which is slightly less than one acre in the village of Festigny. The vines were planted in 1942 and come from an old massal selection of Meunier. This is Michel Loriot's top wine; he produces only 3,000 or 4,000 bottles in vintages that he considers good enough. Otherwise this juice goes into the other blends. The exotic spice on the nose leads to a surprisingly creamy flavor. It is very full-bodied and powerful Champagne, yet finishes with excellent minerality. http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1073606

Jeff Garneau, K&L Redwood City: "In the typical Champagne blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, it is Pinot Meunier that is the odd man out, the perennial third wheel. Many of the largest Champagne houses don't even include it in their blends. However, when yields are kept low, particularly in the case of older vines, it can produce wines of stunning complexity. The wines of Michel Loriot, one of our newest grower producers, are all 100% Pinot Meunier. This is his very best wine, wonderfully rich, dense and complex, with a signature spiciness that is the hallmark of great Pinot Meunier. A rare treat, and a tremendous value." 

 Kyle Kurani, K&L Redwood City: "Mr. Loriot has continued to impress all of us here at K&L with his stunning Champagne. His old vine Meunier is astonishingly rich and complex but that richness is so perfectly balanced with notes of citrus and mineral that round this wine out to be something very special indeed. Depth, complexity and freshness all wrapped up in one beautiful glass of bubbles."

Perfect Host/Hostess Gift

5. Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne 375 ml (15.99) Made of 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Meunier, these are the freshest half bottle around, direct from the Aristons in the small commune of Brouillet in Champagne! Clean and powerful, incredibly balanced and sophisticated Champagne, in irresistible half-sized bottles. http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=998468

Susan Thornett, K&L San Francisco: "Could this perfect half-bottle of Champagne be the perfect holiday morning gift?"

Sarah Covey, K&L Redwood City: "A teeny-tiny version of the Aspasie classic Carte Blanche? Get me a picnic basket or a seat by the fire! I'm in! A miniature version of the well-balanced, delicious Champagne that we sell by the, well, boatload as it were. Get it now- this is all that is left!"

High Rollin'

6.  1998 Krug Brut Champagne ($219.99) 96 points and a "Collectibles" designate, Wine Spectator: "Shows gorgeous lemon, peach, toast, leather and spices. The attack is rich and forceful, backed by a racy structure that keeps this pure and drives the finish. Perhaps not as expansive on the aftertaste to match the attack, but long nonetheless, with spice and mineral notes lingering. Still needs time. Best from 2012 through 2035." (12/09)http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1048657

Scott Beckerley, K&L San Francisco: "As a warning, I am just going to let you know that I am pretty biased towards the Champagnes of Krug. I had the extreme pleasure of pouring the 1998 vintage Krug last Saturday (12/10). While it is still L'enfant, it is still a wonderful wine. Lemon curd, peaches, nectarines and apricots on the nose. On the palate, more stone fruits with a hint of golden apple and loads of spice and minerality. This wine will surely go for another 20 years. If you collect Krug, enjoy (or keep) this vintage and hold onto your 1996 vintage Krug."

Fun Party Bubbles

7. Conte di Santa Chiara Prosecco ($8.99) A great choice for winter entertaining, this value sparkler of the Veneto is tasty, refreshing, dry but not at all austere. Everything you are looking for in a Prosecco at a very affordable price. http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1068482

Sarah Covey, K&L Redwood City: "Bright, light and easy drinking! Want a twist on Kir Royales for your party? Use the Conte Di Santa Chiara Prosecco with the Mathilde Cassis Liqueur and your party will be bright and sparkly too! In addition to being fun on its own, a truly delicious Prosecco for New Year's Mimosas and Bellinis! Let the good times roll!"

Illya Haase, K&L Hollywood: "This is the perfect party Prosecco! I poured this at one of our local events. It was a hit! I kept the price to myself until they tried it. Every single person was shocked that something so good could be so affordable!! Bring some to your next party and watch it disappear."

8. 2009 Antech "Cuvee Eugenie" Cremant de Limoux ($13.99) From La Maison Antech located in the southern French region of the Languedoc comes this beautiful example of Cremant de Limoux, composed of 50% Chardonnay, 40% Chenin Blanc and 10% Mauzac. It is produced along the lines of methode Champenoise and spends twelve months on the lees before being disgorged. At less than half the price of a bottle of champagne, the cuvee Eugenie is the perfect choice for your house sparkling wine or to feature at parties where quality and good taste matter. http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1080974

Ryan Woodhouse, K&L Redwood City: "Great Bubbly! Antech is one of our staples for delicious sparklers...The wine has a crisp acid but enough fruit and weight to feel richer and more textural than expected for this budget. 12 months on the lees gives some of that bready nuance, but this is really a fresh and fruity party wine. Stock up for your next gathering and let the bubbles flow!"

9. 2008 Taltarni "Taché" Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine Victoria ($16.99) A bubbly blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier predominantly from Victoria, with a little fruit from South Australia and Tasmania. "Taché" is French for "stained" and that's how this rosé gets its color--a staining splash of red wine is added to the bottle at disgorgement. Creamy strawberry aromas and flavors, with hints of toasty brioche and red fruit on the palate. http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1076815

Adam Parry, K&L Hollywood: "Simply fantastic bubbles. Using all the champagne varietals to make this exquisite rosé. Try this for the upcoming New Year Eve parties."

Maybe Next Year...

10. Tarlant QV Discobitch Champagne ($49.99) A blend of 1/3 Chardonnay, 1/3 Pinot Meunier and 1/3 Pinot Noir made from Tarlant Cuvée Louis reserve wine, this is named for the French electro-pop band Discobitch and only a very, very limited amount is released each year... http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1046337

Chiara Shannon, K&L Head Sommelier, Redwood City: "I love this Champagne. Not only does its somewhat naughty, sequin-embellished label inspire an instant party mood, but it's damn good stuff - rich, intense and mouthfilling, with creamy layers and a wonderful toasty finish. One of my favorite K&L direct import grower-producer houses Champagne Tarlant has produced a small amount of Discobitch since 2009 as a tribute to the French electro-pop group of the same name whose hit single "C'Est Beau La Bourgeoisie" rocked the charts that year France. It's been my New Years, birthday, and any other festive celebration go-to ever since. Extremely limited in supply, and, sadly, just sold out. Luckily, you can add yourself to the K&L waiting list and be among the first to know when our next shipment arrives in 2012!"

Thursday
Sep082011

Wine of the Week: 2009 Ataraxia Sauvignon Blanc Western Cape, South Africa ($18.99)

Relax with a bottle of this stunning South African Sauvignon Blanc, the 2009 Ataraxia Western Cape ($18.99) - in stock now at KLWines.com'Ataraxia' (Greek for 'tranquility'), is a term used by Pyrrho and Epicurus for a "lucid state, characterized by freedom from worry or any other preoccupation."* The next time you find yourself seeking a wine to complement your moment of relaxation - be it watching the sun set at the beach, walking through the garden, sunning by the pool, or cocktails on the dock, you will find this invigorating and complex Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa - the 2009 Ataraxia Sauvignon Blanc ($14.99) - to be a worthy sipping companion. No pungent herbaceous notes here; this wine smells of meyer lemons and apples, with accents of flint and white pepper. The palate is round and deep, with juicy acids that lead to a persistent and mouthwatering finish. Fans of Sancerre take note. 

"Situated on 125 acres of some of the most stunning elevations in Walker Bay, these vineyards are planted in billion year old granite and weathered shale soils exposed to the cooling breezes of the nearby South Atlantic. The result is a Sauvignon Blanc of terrific purity and finesse, with subtle flavors of grapefruit, lemon zest, melon and fleshy gooseberry interwoven upon the palate, finishing with a fine thread of green tea and minerality." -John Majeski, K&L Staff Member

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, Mar/Apr 11

90 points Wine Spectator, Sept 11

***

More From Down Under: K&L San Francsico-based John Majeski specializes in wines from South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Check out John's latest wine reviews as well as hundreds of recent reviews by other K&L staff members on the K&L Staff Review Page.    

 

 

*Source for definition of 'ataraxia': Wikipedia