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One of the most serious English Sparkling producers. This historic estate has been in the Goring family since 1743. The tiny 16-acre vineyard is close-planted on a steep south-facing chalk escarpment described as 'similar to the Côte des Blancs' in Champagne. The fruit is picked very selectively with quality being the absolute focus. The grapes are pressed gently using a traditional Coquard press. After three years on the lees this wine, composed of 45% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay & 22% Pinot Meunier, is hand disgorged and balanced with a minimal dosage of just 4g/L. It has a fine counterbalance between toasty richness and power from the wines élevage in Burgundian French Oak barrels, with racy acidity, tension and a focused chalky minerality.

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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 Steve Greer (2)

Thursday
Feb102011

2008 Vintage UGC Recap

The 2008 Vintage UGC Tasting in the Grand Ballroom at San Francisco's Palace Hote.The annual Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGC) tasting rolled into San Francisco on Friday, January 21st, and since the trade tasting wasn’t coming to Los Angeles this year, I took the day off and flew up to San Francisco to taste the 2008 vintage. After the trade tasting K&L sponsored the consumer tasting. The event was held in the luxe Grand Ballroom at the Palace Hotel, which was more than enough room to handle the more than 350 consumers who came to the tasting. After speaking with some of the customers myself, and getting more feedback from Ralph Sand’s customers, the consensus seemed to be the tasters were blown away by the wines. The 2008 vintage took a beating early on as it was the third consecutive vintage that was good to very good. In a decade that already saw four great vintages, “good” seemingly has become a disappointment. But these wines are far from disappointing.

The wines of 2007 and 2008 are very different, but according to Bill Blatch’s famed vintage report, the weather in both vintages was very similar, with monthly temperatures and rainfall nearly identical. The “2007 and 2008 are more like father and son vintages rather than twin vintages,” writes Blatch, with the weather in 2007 causing the vines to produce less fruit in 2008. The already low yields were further lowered by frost damage, poor flowering, mildew, green harvest and dehydration, which resulted in the lowest yields since 1991. But this “paid untold dividends on the quality of the harvest,” Blatch adds. Low yields, along with dry weather conditions in September and October, allowed the surviving grapes to fully ripen while retaining higher acidity due to cool nights.

I really enjoyed the wines on the whole. They showed fantastically fresh acidity and more tannic structure than I was expecting, along with nice dark fruit. I really liked the wines from Margaux, St-Julien the best, but I also enjoyed the wines of St-Emilion and Pomerol. The whites were elegant with bright acidity and fat fruit. I also thought the Sauternes showed the great acidity of the vintage, with sweet fruit. (Apparently the yields for the sweet wines were even lower than the reds, so jump on them when you have the chance.)

When I asked Steve Bearden, from our San Francisco store, what he thought of the vintage, this is what he wrote:

I thought the vintage was impressive.  Most wines seemed to have rich mid-palates, decent length and ripe tannins.  The Left Bank wines showed stronger tannins than the Right Bank, but they were very sweet. Were the St-Juliens a touch more elegant than usual?  Kind of seemed so. I also thought the reds from Graves showed a bit more weight than they have in other vintages. St-Emilion continues to come on strong, and I thought many of those wines were quite complete within their respective styles.

A few standouts for me were:

Larrivet-Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (Waiting List Only, PA $27.99) I always like this property.

Angélus, St-Emilion (PA $169.99)

Canon-La-Gaffelière, St-Emilion (PA $54.99)

Malescot-St-Exupéry, Margaux (PA $49.99) The Margaux as an appellation showed well.

Beychevelle, St-Julien (Not currently available.)

Beaumont, Haut-Médoc ($12.99) Always an amazing value.

I also reached out to David Rickenbaker, who also works at K&L San Francisco. He wrote:

As a vintage 2008 seems to be elegant and surprisingly drinkable. Two of my favorites were the Beychevelle, St-Julien, which I noted displayed red fruits, tobacco and earthy flavors with loads of finesse on the long finish. And I also really liked the Lascombes, Margaux (Wait List Only, PA $49.99), which was more tannic than the Beychevelle and had darker fruits, licorice and spice box notes. It could easily be put down for 15-plus years in the cellar.

A handful of 2008 Bordeaux are already in stock, and there are more arriving all the time. Shop our site for the newest arrivals, or get a jump on the wines from your favorite châteaux by buing Pre-Arrival 2008s. You will also be able to find more staff reviews of specific 2008s in the upcoming March issue of K&L’s newsletter

Steve Greer

Monday
Mar222010

Getting to Know: Steve Greer

Name: Steve Greer

What’s your position at K&L and how long have you been with the company?

I am a salesperson at our Hollywood store and acting as the Hollywood store’s Bordeaux liaison to the buyers.

What did you do before you started working here?

I had left wholesale to return to the restaurant side of things, which only lasted a few years. My body and mind didn’t agree with the lifestyle as it did when I was younger.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Hiking, reading, movies and watching sports, especially Formula 1 racing, which just started again.

What’s your favorite movie?

Children of Men by Alfonso Cuaron is still my favorite movie of the last few years. But I still watch The Royal Tenenbaums by Wes Anderson monthly; it’s hilarious.

What was your “epiphany wine”—the bottle or glass that got you interested in wine? Is there a current wine that you consider the equivalent?

I was working at a wine-focused restaurant in 1992 and a customer gave me a glass of 1982 Haut-Brion. Done. After that I remember the 1990 Châteauneuf-du-Papes and the 1994 California Pinot Noirs, which pushed me towards wine sales and I found my first wholesale job in 1998.

Describe your perfect meal (at a restaurant or prepared at home). What wine(s) would you pair with it?

Easy. Close friends and family at my home preparing my favorite meal to cook: roasted leg of lamb with root vegetables, greens, wild rice, drop biscuits and banana cream pie for dessert.  A case of Bordeaux with dinner, a bottle of Armagnac, some cigars, cards and Pigs (the game) after.

How do you think your palate’s changed over the years?

I was definitely caught up in the rich, extracted wines in the early part of this decade but now I am back to looking for structured wines that are layered with more mineral, spice and earth flavors. For whites I love racy, acid-driven wines with lots of mineralality.

What do you like to drink?

I have been drinking lots of Grenache-based wines from the Southern Rhône and Spain, but also a lot more beer lately from Belgium and the US breweries Dogfish and Avery.

What words of advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?

Never ever feel intimidated by wine or afraid to ask questions. This is just wine and there is plenty to explore at all price levels and types—at least you’re drinking wine, which is good for you.

If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would you invite? What wine would you serve each of them?

I am going to be selfish. I’d love to see both of my grandfathers who passed before I knew them, and my grandmother Helen, who I still miss. I imagine there would be more Bourbon than wine.