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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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Tasting with Oliver Krug

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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 Syrah (19)

Monday
Apr222013

Blasting Through Sonoma: Acorn Winery

 

Winemaker Bill Nachbaur of Acorn Winery.

By: Patrick Cu | K&L Staff Member

A Vist to Acorn Winery

This quaint, family owned winery is tucked away from view on the Old Redwood Highway in Healdsburg, making it easy to miss from the road. This was the last stop on our first day traversing through Sonoma, and we had to do a few loops around the area to find the entrance.

Owners Betsy and Bill Nachbaur warmly welcomed us into the tasting room upon our arrival and were gracious throughout our visit. They’ve been married for 42 years and have owned Alegria Vineyards, the location of Acorn Winery, since 1990. The site itself has had vines on it since the late 1800s and currently has over 60 varietals growing on it. Yowza! That caught us off guard, but it speaks of the willingness of the Nachbaurs to experiment with grapes on their soil and the blends in their wines. What sets them apart is their focus on estate-grown, sustainably farmed field blends. They originally sold all their grapes to other winemakers, but have since decided to save some for their own wines.

We tried a handful of reds they had on hand. Each wine was from 2009 and their estate Alegria Vineyards in the Russian River Valley.

We started with the 2009 Axiom Syrah (98% Syrah and 2% Viognier). Rich dark fruit notes immersed the palate, along with toasted mocha and a hint of savoriness. It was full bodied and fairly expressive.

The 2009 Cabernet Franc (96% Cab Franc, 2% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot) had aromas of cherries and light vanilla. There was nice spice accompanying the blackberry and oak flavors.

The 2009 Medley ($34.99) (Blend of 44% Syrah, 14% Cabernet Franc, 13% Sangiovese, 11% Cinsaut, 7% Viognier, 5% Muscats, 3% Zinfandel, and 3% other varietals) made for an enjoyable and easy drinking red wine. Taste-wise, there were lots of plum, currant, and some slight pepperiness to accompany a bed of chocolate and oak. This expression has been a mainstay at the San Francisco K&L store for the past few years. People often have come in seeking this blend.

The 2009 Sangiovese (98% Sangiovese from 7 different clones, 1% Canaiolo and 1% Mammolo) showcased a ton of raspberry on the nose and palate. Flavors of blueberry, vanilla, and a pleasant mineral note lingered into the finish.

The 2009 Alicante Bouschet (98% Alicante Bouschet, 1% Petit Bouschet, 1% Grenache) had an intriguingly aromatic nose of spice and earthiness. We were fairly keen on bringing this to the store as the varietal itself is not all too common in the States. Plus it was pretty tasty!

Also coming soon to K&L is more of the elegant 2007 Acorn "Alegria Vineyards Heritage Vines" Russian River Valley Zinfandel. Based in 82% Zinfandel, this includes 8% Alicante Bouschet, 8% Petite Sirah, and according to the folks at Acorn the remaining 2% of the field blend includes Carignane, Trousseau, Sangiovese, Petit Bouschet, Negrette, Syrah, Plavac Mali, Tannat, Muscat Noir, Peloursin, Beclan, Cinsaut, and Grenache. Decanting is recommended to draw out the aromatic and flavor complexities of bottle age.

Cheers!

-Patrick

 Acorn specializes in estate-grown, sustainably farmed field blends from their Alegria Vineyards.

 Acorn's gnarled 63 year-old Zinfandel vines!

Cabernet Franc vines at Acorn.

Tuesday
Mar122013

A Trip Down the Central Coast: Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez Roundup

A scene from the film Storm by Daniel Addelson, set in Santa Barbara wine country. This film will be screening at the Sonoma International Film Festival in April and premiered online today on Uncorked. By: Chiara Shannon | Head Sommelier - K&L Personal Sommelier Service 

A Trip Down the Central Coast: Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez Roundup

Whenever a team of K&L staffers make a company visit to wine country, we return bubbling over with excitement about great producers, various microclimates, interesting soil types, and--of course--great wines! Nothing compares to the experience of walking the vineyard with the grower or tasting barrel samples with the winemaker when it comes to understanding a wine's origins and the passion that goes into its production.

Over the next couple weeks, Uncorked will feature a series of blog posts about our domestic team's recent trip through the Central Coast. We were extremely impressed by the quality of wines being produced across the board, the diversity of varietals, and the direction many producers, big and small, are going towards balance, restraint, and authenticity. Stay tuned for stories and featured wines.

In the mean time, here's a short list of top picks from some of our favorite producers in the Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez area. These are in stock now, come highly recommended, and represent great values:

2010 Palmina "Honea Vineyard" Santa Ynez Valley Arneis $16.99

"I can't think of anyone who has done more to promote Italian varieties in California than Steve Clifton with his Palmina label. I admit I was intrigued with these offerings, and came away deeply impressed with most of what I tasted." (Robert Parker's Wine Advocate)

2011 Storm Santa Ynez Sauvignon Blanc $17.99

K&L Notes: Sourced from La Presa, Curtis, Kingsley, and McGinley vineyards, four distinct sites in Santa Ynez with varying soil types and microclimates, this 100% Sauvignon Blanc shows classic citrus, grapefruit and grassy notes in the nose, with mouthwatering acidity, a nice creamy texture on the midpalate, and citrusy flavors echoing in the finish. Storm's technique of predominantly stainless steel fermentation (84%) followed by six month on the lees yields a balanced and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc that is delicious on its own but highly versatile with food. 

Watch the Movie: K&L hosted the official online premiere of the film STORM about winemaker Ernst Storm scheduled to screen at the Sonoma International Film Festival in April. Be the first to watch it online now on Uncorked!

2011 Dragonette Cellars Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc $26.99

"Fleshy and smooth but energetic too, offering lively pear and orange zest flavors and notes of white flowers and anise. Shows smoky, spicy qualities on the finish, which clings with impressive tenacity." (Stephen Tanzer)

2010 Clos Pepe "Barrel Fermented" Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay $22.99

"The 2010 Chardonnay Barrel Fermented Clos Pepe Vineyard is a big, virile wine endowed with serious depth. Despite its richness, the 2010 has gorgeous underlying minerality lurking beneath the fruit. The 2010 is decidedly intense but also beautifully balanced." (Robert Parker's Wine Advocate)

"2010 marks our eleventh consecutive bottling (sixth under our own vineyard management) of this illustrious and coveted site in the appellation,” notes the winery. “Originally planted in 1991 by Ron Piazza (current owner), this was the first of our quintet of vineyards overseen by Francisco Ramirez and soil and energy consultant, Stan Kadota. Of the twenty acre parcel, six are devoted to chardonnay on a steep, wind-beaten slope of botella clay and limestone.”

2010 Brewer-Clifton "Mt. Carmel Vineyard" Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay $49.99

"An explosively perfumed bouquet displays scents of candied lime, lemongrass, anise, iodine and ginger. Deeply pitched but energetic, with precise, incisive citrus and orchard fruit flavors that pick up smoke and floral nuances with air. Shows a tangy, stony note on the finish, which emphatically repeats the lime and ginger notes. This is still a baby but shows terriffic potential." (Stephen Tanzer)

2010 Foxen "Tinaquaic Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay $34.99

K&L Notes: The Tinaquaic Vineyard was planted in 1989. It is dry-farmed, which helps create very concentrated fruit. The wine itself is concentrated as well, and it retains a wonderful acidity and backbone that is lightly touched with some new oak (20%). (Clyde "Trey" Beffa III, K&L Domestic buyer)

2009 Ojai Santa Barbara Chardonnay $21.99

"The 2009 Chardonnay possesses gorgeous depth. Rich layers of varietal fruit sit on a big frame. This is far from an easygoing Chardonnay. Rather it is a wine endowed with considerable depth and intensity. Rich varietal notes come to life on the layered finish. The Chardonnay is made from young vines from Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills. This is a gorgeous showing." (Robert Parker's Wine Advocate)

2009 Huber "Estate Grown" Sta Rita Hills Chardonnay  $24.99

K&L Notes: From one of the oldest vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. Huber's property benefits from the cooling fog, the sandy loam soils and the consistent afternoon ocean breezes that make for ripe, fresh Chardonnay grapes. Aged in barrel, this version (the Hubers also make an unoaked Chard) pops with aromas of vanilla and spice interlaced with tropical fruit. The palate has fantastic tension between fresh pear and lemon notes, with the richness of spice and cream, but because only a portion of the fruit underwent malolactic fermation and only 20% of the barrels were new, there's wonderful lift too. A must try.

2011 Qupé Santa Ynez Valley Marsanne $17.99*

*Special pricing for K&L Wine Club & Personal Sommelier Service Members

K&L Notes: Mostly Marsanne from the Ibarra-Young Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley, with 11% of the fruit coming from Edna Valley's Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard and a small proportion of Roussanne (21%) from the Bien Nacido Vineyard. All of the fruit was picked ripe, but at low sugar, with brighter acidity, which help keep this wine wonderfully fresh, highlighting its mineral streak. The wine still has the weight and richness of the varietals that balances out the acid structure, making this a white that's delightful and fresh now, but that will really start to shine in 10 years when it's secondary characteristics are able to poke through the veil of acidity.

2010 Cold Heaven "Le Bon Climat" Santa Barbara County Viognier $29.99

"Sexy, highly perfumed aromas of nectarine, orange pith, candied ginger, bee pollen and flowers. Sappy citrus and dried pit fruit flavors stain the palate, with slow-mounting spiciness adding back-end cut. Lively but powerful viognier, with excellent clarity and floral-driven persistence." (Stephen Tanzer)

2010 Alta Maria Vineyards Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir $23.99

"The 2010 Pinot Noir opens with an attractive, sweet bouquet. The fruit isn’t quite as radiant as the aromatics suggest, leading to an impression of compactness. Sweet red cherries and flowers linger on the perfumed finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015." (Robert Parker's Wine Advocate)

2010 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir $19.99

"Dark red. Musky, spice-accented aromas of redcurrant and cherry, with a note of cured meat in the background. A chewy, tangy midweight that offers tangy red fruit qualities and touch of bitter chocolate... finishing with good energy and tightly wound red fruit character." (Stephen Tanzer)

93 points! New score from Wine Enthusiast: "Made from grapes sourced from the old Addamo property in the cool Solomon Hills region, this wine shows an impressive core of cherry, cranberry and currant flavors. It’s racy and complex, and the mouth-watering acidity makes you crave lamb, tuna, steak and soft cheeses. It can be enjoyed now, and it should age for up to 10 years." (04/2013)

2010 La Fenêtre "Presqu'ile Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir $44.99*

*Special pricing for K&L Wine Club & Personal Sommelier Service Members

K&L Notes: Only 310 cases produced! This exceptional Pinot comes from a prime block in Presqu'ile Vineyard in the Solomon Hills district of Santa Maria, a highly coveted source for the dense, powerful, yet elegant fruit that Santa Maria is famous for. Planted in the late 1990s (then known as the Addamo vineyard) Presqu'ile is family-owned and meticulously cared for by the Murphy family, who maintain the vines in pristine condition. It is deep red in color, with ripe red and blackberry fruit aromas and flavors accented by earth notes and baking spices. 30% whole cluster pressing adds spicy complexity to the profile along with some grip on the finish. A pleasure to drink now, but with the balance to age 5-7 years or more.

2010 Talley Estate Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir $33.99

"Vivid red. Heady, exotic bouquet evokes candied red fruits, potpourri and spicecake, with a mineral topnote. Fresh, penetrating raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show impressive clarity and put on weight with air. Fine-grained tannins give shape to the finish, which leaves sweet red berry and rose pastille notes behind. This must be the best version of this bottling I've yet tasted from Talley." (Stephen Tanzer)

2011 Chanin Wine Company "Los Alamos Vineyard" Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir $47.99

K&L Notes: Winemaker Gavin Chanin is on a roll: Named one of the San Francisco Chronicle's Winemakers to Watch in 2012, one of Forbes magazine's Top 30 Under 30 in food and wine and an "exciting boutique producer" by Food & Wine magazine, and his wines clearly demonstrate why. Take the 2011 Los Alamos Pinot Noir, for instance. It comes from two sections of the vineyard and is aged for 11 months in 20% new French oak. While the vintage was challenging, the wine is vibrant and fresh, full of crushed red fruit and spice character. Drinkable now, but with enough backbone to age.

2010 Brewer-Clifton Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir $34.99

"Brewer-Clifton’s 2010 Pinot Noir opens up with striking, beguiling aromatics from the use of 100% whole clusters. It is an utterly impeccable, layered Pinot endowed with tons of clarity and finesse. The 2010 impresses for its energy and sheer brilliance. Simply put, the 2010 is a fabulous wine for the money. It remains one of the highest quality and easiest to find Santa Rita Hills Pinots." (Robert Parker's Wine Advocate)

2007 Palmina Santa Barbara County Nebbiolo $27.99

"The 2007 Nebbiolo is a blend of fruit sourced from Sisquoc Vineyard planted with the Michet clone (60%) and from Stolpman Vineyard planted with the Lampia clone (40%). It possesses striking dark fruit and plenty of varietal character, but with an extra degree of textural density from these Central Coast sites. It is one of the finest Italian-varietal wines I have tasted in California." (Robert Parker's Wine Advocate)

2010 Beckmen "Cuvée Le Bec" Santa Ynez Valley Rhône Blend $16.99 

" Ripe, smoke- and spice-accented black and blue fruits on the nose and in the mouth. Lush and open-knit but energetic as well, showing a suave floral quality on the long, sweet and gently tannic finish. An impressive example of this bottling, which has long been one of the Central Coast's best QPR wines." (Stephen Tanzer)   

2006 Ambullneo "Howling" Santa Maria Valley Syrah $29.99

K&L Notes: "Ripe, spicy, and delicious! If I were you I would decant this baby, run to the market, throw some ribs on the grill until they are beautifully charred, smokey, and falling off the bone, and kick your feet up with the decanter and ribs within arms reach." (Melissa Smith, K&L Staff Member)  

2009 Zaca Mesa "Black Bear Block" Santa Ynez Valley Syrah $59.99

"If the first duty of a wine is to be delicious, this tiny production bottling succeeds beyond all measure. The Black Bear Block is almost always Zaca Mesa's best Syrah among its many releases, and so it is again in 2009. Take one sip and you’re dazzled by the refined tannins, dryness and complexity of flavors: blackberry, cassis, plum sauce, mocha, bacon, smoky oak, white pepper, chamomile tea and licorice. What's harder to express is the sheer pleasure of the mouthfeel. This is an exciting Syrah, and may just be at the beginning of a long journey. Drink now and for many years as it slowly changes." (Wine Enthusiast)  

Cheers!

-Chiara

 

Interested in learning more about wines from the Central Coast? Design your own customized wine club through the K&L Personal Sommelier Service. 

 

 

Tuesday
Jan292013

Behind the Wine: Big Basin Vineyards Tasting this Friday!

Join us in Redwood City this Friday, February 1st from 5pm-6:30pm, for a special tasting featuring the wines of local family owned and operated Santa Cruz Mountain producer Big Basin Vineyards. We've been a fan of these hand-crafted, expressive wines for some time, and are excited to invite you down to our tasting room to taste and meet the folks behind the wine. Even if you can't make the tasting, you can still go behind the scenes and check out this short video with winemaker and proprietor Bradley Brown, above.

Excited to taste the wines? We are! Here's a sneak peak at Friday's lineup:

2009 Big Basin Vineyards "Alfaro Family Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir ($39.99)

2009 Big Basin Vineyards "Lester Family Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir ($42.99)

2010 Big Basin Vineyards "Paderewski Vineyard " Paso Robles Rhone Blend $64.99

2010 Big Basin Vineyards "Homestead" Santa Cruz/Monterey Red Blend ($35.99)

2008 Big Basin Vineyards "Coastview Vineyard" Monterey Syrah ($47.99)

Cost to taste: $10  details 

More About Big Basin Vineyards 

A bird's eye view of the Big Basin Estate Vineyard.

Big Basin Vineyards is located at the geographic center of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. Their Estate Vineyard is Certified Organic, and is the only vineyard in the AVA planted entirely to Rhone varietals (Syrah, Grenache, Roussanne and Viognier).

Their second largest vineyard source, the Coastview Vineyard (below), is located 6 miles due south of Calera’s Mount Harlan at the same elevation (2,200 -2,400 ft), with nearly identical soils (decomposed granite and limestone). They also source fruit for their three single vineyard Pinots from the cool Corralitos region at the southern tip of the Santa Cruz Mountains, 3-4 miles from Monterey Bay. Lastly, they also source fruit for their single vineyard GSM blend from Epoch Estate’s Paderewski Vineyard (a Justin Smith project) on the Westside of Paso Robles.

Coastview Vineyard Big Basin specializes in Syrahs, Rhone inspired blends and single vineyard Pinot Noirs that have consistently garnered high praise from some of the most notable wine critics. In the August 2012 issue of Robert Parker Jr’s Wine Advocate, Antonio Galloni had this to say: “I tasted a bevy of gorgeous wines with proprietor Bradley Brown this year. These new and upcoming releases are impeccable and strongly suggest Brown is one of the up and coming stars of the region.” 

Rattlesnake Rock Vineyard.From Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: “From the famed Bordeaux influenced reds produced at Ridge and other nearby estates to the extraordinary, age worthy Chardonnays and Pinots of Mount Eden, to the younger wineries like Rhys, Varner and Big Basin, there is no doubt in my mind the Santa Cruz Mountains is the single most exciting place to visit in California. No other region offers the same mix of history, innovation and what appears to be virtually unlimited potential. To be sure, these hillside sites are capricious and hard to work with. But they are also capable of producing riveting, emotional, world-class wines." – Antonio Galloni

We hope to see you at Friday's tasting! And if you're ever in downtown Saratoga, be sure to stop in and visit Big Basin's tasting room, on Big Basin Way.  Cheers!