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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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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.

>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

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Entries in Syrah (19)

Tuesday
Jul032012

Monthly Wine News [July 2012] Monthly Newsletter & Highlighted Recommendations

We've posted the latest electronic copy of our printed newsletter in PDF format online at http://www.klwines.com/pdf-news.asp -- here are some of our highlighted recommendations this month: 2009 Bodegas Vinae Mureri

2009 Bodegas Vinae Mureri "Xiloca" Garnacha Vino de la tierra Ribera del Jiloca ($9.99)

K&L Notes: Located just outside of the Calatayud D.O. (famous for Las Rocas, amongst other inexpensive Garnachas), Xiloca actually reminds me of the incredible value these wines presented about 10 or so years ago: big, juicy, spicy, plump berry fruit, without the sense of overt fruitiness nor dumbed down to simplicity, which unfortunately has become very common in many Spanish (and French) Garnachas of late. Produced from vines averaging 80 years, yielding only 1/3 ton per acre (!), in arguably one of the world's best suited terroirs for Garnacha, this wine offers a whole lot for the money. Highly recommended. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish Wine Buyer)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2009 Xiloca is 100% Garnacha with a very fragrant perfume of earthy minerality and black cherries. This tasty, friendly, value-priced offering has ample fruit as well as a sense of elegance. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. Bodegas Vinae Mureri is located just a few miles outside of the demarcation line of the more prestigious DO of Calatayud in the province of Aragon, hence the Vino de la Tierra designation. Like Calatayud, the region is known for its high altitude, old-vine, low-yielding Garnacha vines." (06/2011)

2009 D'Alessandro Cortona Syrah (Elsewhere $16)2009 D'Alessandro Cortona Syrah (Elsewhere $16) ($11.99)

K&L Notes: The climate and soils in Cortona are unlike better known parts of Tuscany, such as Chianti to the northwest and Montepulciano and Montalcino to the southwest. So when Massimo d'Alessandro decided he wanted to make serious wine from his family's land in the 1980s, he planted 12 acres of vineyards to different varietals. What seemed most suited to his vineyards wasn't Sangiovese but Syrah, which now makes up 90% of the plantings. This comes from the vineyard's younger vines and is prized for its freshness and immediate drinkability. And in the hands of winemaker Luca Currado (Vietti), you know it's going to be good. 

90 points James Suckling: "This is very good value in Syrah. Interesting aromas of raspberries, pepper and dried meats, follow through to a full body, and silky tannins with a fresh finish. Polished and pretty. Made from Syrah. Best after 2012." (09/2011)

2009 Bouchard Ainé & Fils Bourgogne Rouge2009 Bouchard Ainé & Fils Bourgogne Rouge ($13.99)

K&L Notes: This delicious Pinot Noir comes the negociant firm of Bouchard Ainé, established in 1750 and now owned by Boisset, but run independently. It is evidence of the quality of the 2009 vintage. In the glass the wine is rich and complex, with a lovely note of rose petals on the nose and a satisfying mid-palate. This is a remarkable amount of wine for the money! As the British would say, it's more-ish, as in "More Please!". And the good news is that you can afford more given our attractive price. (Keith Wollenberg, K&L Burgundy Buyer)

2010 Ceretto Arneis 2010 Ceretto Arneis "Blangè" ($14.99)

K&L Notes: Forget for a moment that Piedmont is the home of one of the world's most noble grapes, Nebbiolo, and imagine a warm summer's day, sitting under magnificent trees and eating simple egg pappardelle with sage and butter. You don't really want a heavy red wine with your meal, you want something white and clean, so as not to bury the simple deliciousness of it. Enter Piedmont's white wine--Arneis--and this version from one of its most respected producers, Ceretto. Fruit-filled, with notes of pear and apple that would perfectly complement the sage in your pasta, it's made in a vivace style, with just a slight spritz that leaves it dancing on your palate, whisking away the buttery richness.

93 points Wine & Spirits: "Fresh scents of apple blossom honey and beeswax add to the almond richness of this arneis. It’s as smooth as a round riverstone, clean and fragrant. The finish is distinctly Piedmontese in its earthiness; to match braised chicken or a rich fish stew. " (12/2011)

2010 Morgan  

2010 Morgan "Twelve Clones" Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir ($25.99)

K&L Notes: Morgan's 'Twelve Clones' Pinot is composed of fruit from some of the Santa Lucia Highlands best sites, including Tondre Grapefield, Lucia Highlands, Garys', and Morgan's own organically farmed Double L Estate vineyard (55% of the final cuvée). The cool, long, and wetter than average 2010 growing season yielded fine results across the board, enabling Morgan to render craft an exceptional cuvee that shows off the lush fruit character of the region while maintaining balanced natural acidity and a moderate 13.9% alcohol. Aged for ten months 36% new French oak, this Pinot exhibits black raspberry, black cherry, plum, and hibiscus tea aromas and flavors, with accents of vanilla and clove. On the palate, hints of savory herbs fold into the baking spices and fruit flavors, for a complex, layered Pinot that can pair with a variety of foods. Try it with grilled salmon, smoked duck breast, or roast leg of lamb.

92 points Wine Spectator: "Well-crafted, tight and structured, with firm, gripping tannins keeping the zesty, tart wild berry, blackberry and date-nut bread flavors in check. Drink now through 2020." (06/2012)

 

2007 Bennett Lane

2007 Bennett Lane "Maximus" Napa Valley Red Blend ($29.99)

 94 points Wine Enthusiast: "Tastes dramatic and youthfully vital, with fat, fleshy flavors of blackberries, cassis, mocha and sweet cedar, as well as a mineral tang that grounds them. Very upscale and refined, a pure product of superior terroir and winemaking." (05/2011)

92 points Wine Spectator: "Enticingly complex, rich and layered, showing fresh, vibrant blackberry, wild berry, cedar and spice flavors, with a texture that's both supple and firm. Full-bodied, with a long, lingering finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2020." (07/2012)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2007 Maximus Red Feasting Wine (65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 10% Syrah, 6% Malbec and 3% Cabernet Franc) exhibits a dark ruby/purple color along with notions of cedar, licorice, black currants, chocolate and coffee. This medium to full-bodied 2007 should drink nicely for a decade or more. " (12/2010)

 

2007 Tenuta Vitanza Brunello di Montalcino  2007 Tenuta Vitanza Brunello di Montalcino "Tradizione" ($29.99)

 93 points James Suckling: "Rose petals and plums on the nose. Full body, with round and chewy tannins and a ripe finish. Tannic, yet polished texture. Give it two to three years of bottle age. This wine is clearly better in 2007 than 2006." (01/2012)

93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Thick and dark, with generous fruit, spice, leather and tobacco. This is a wine that does not hold back from an aromatic point of view. Mouthfeel is tight, firm and ends with polished tannins." (05/2012)

92 points Wine Spectator: "A sinewy, muscular red, hinting at mint and licorice, with a core of cherry and plum flavors. Stiff tannins corral everything on the moderately long finish. Best from 2014 through 2026. B.S." (06/2012)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2007 Brunello di Montalcino Tradizione saturates the palate with layers of dark red cherries, rose petals, spices and licorice. It shows gorgeous mid-palate pliancy and depth all the way through to the finish. The Vitanza wines always have an element of rusticity, but the 2007 Brunello is especially polished. This will always be a fairly full-bodied wine marked by firm, incisive tannins. The 2007 spent 36 months in Slavonian oak. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025." (04/2012)

 

 >> See All Recently Recommended Wines

 

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Want to see which wines are most popular with our customers? We constantly update our lists of bestselling wines, online at: http://www.klwines.com/bestsellers.asp

Wednesday
Jun012011

Behind the Wine: Courtney Kingston and Kingston Family Vineyards (Chile)

 Courtney Kingston with winemakers Bryan Kosuge and Evelyn Vidal in the Kingston Family's estate vineyards in the Casablanca Valley.

 

Kingston Family Vineyards is a family-owned operation in the Casablanca Valley of Chile that began as a cattle farm in the 1920s and today is one of Chile's pioneers in the production of artisanal wines from cool-climate sites.

This Friday, June 3, from 5pm-6:30pm, we are excited to welcome Courtney Kingston to the Redwood City tasting bar for a special tasting of current releases.  Courtney Kingston is a Portola Valley local that splits her time between Casablanca and the Peninsula while managing the family wine business - sounds like a sweet deal to us!

In anticipation of Friday's event, we asked Courtney to share some insight into her family's history in the Casablanca Valley, the challenges of making wine in Chile, and tips for tourists:

Q&A: Interview with Courtney Kingston

How did the Kingston family get into the wine business?  What is your role?

Our great-grandfather went to Chile back in the early 1900's, looking for gold.  He made a big bet on the Casablanca Valley.  When the gold didn't pan out, he inherited what today is our family's farm.  Five generations of Kingstons have lived on the farm for almost 100 years now.  We have a dairy farm and beef cattle grazing in the fields. In the mid-1990's, we planted our first grapevines up in the far western hills.

What makes the Kingston estate's terroir unique?

We are only about 12 miles as the crow flies to the ocean.  The influence of the Pacific and the cooling Humboldt current is ever-present in the almost daily morning/afternoon fog and the steady ocean breezes.  I split my time between California and Casablanca, and in many ways western Casablanca reminds me of California's south-central coast, similar to the Santa Rita Hills, but flipped south of the equator.

Describe the Kingston winemaking philosophy.

Our goal is to blend the best of the Old and New Worlds.  Our winemakers, like our family, are Chilean/American.  Byron Kosuge (from Napa) and Evelyn Vidal (our Chilean winemaker) work together to leverage Californian small-lot winemaking expertise to uncover the potential of our coastal vineyard in Chile.

What are some of the challenges of producing wine in Chile's Casablanca Valley? 

Our vineyard in western Casablanca is quite cool---almost 5-8 degrees cooler than some of our peers on the eastern side of the valley.  So spring frosts are a big issue for us.  We also typically farm at only 2-3 tons per acre, just to ripen our crop. 

From your perspective, what effect has the emergence of the global economy had on the wine business in Chile as a whole?

Because it's such a small country, Chile's wineries have always been export-oriented and focused on their role in the global economy.  With only 16 million people, Chileans alone can't drink all the wine it makes.  (Unlike our larger neighbor to the east--Argentina--with 40 million people, where they can and do drink a significant amount of their own production.)  I think Chile has done a great job on the world stage proving its wines are great values.  The challenge for Chile is to make sure that the world knows that 'value' does not mean 'cheap';  Chile makes excellent wines at all prices levels.  It's also important for people to know that Chile has many small, family-owned wineries, in addition to the larger brand names that have the widest distribution.

How has your experience in Chile influenced your attitude towards wine and wine consumption? What's your position on wine pairing and what do you like to pair your wines with? 

At Kingston, we went against conventional wisdom by planting pinot noir & syrah in Casablanca, a valley known for whites.  Our neighbors thought we were crazy (and some people probably still think we are) to try to ripen syrah so close to the ocean.  I think that experience---of being the underdog, of having to prove ourselves---has made me more open to new wines, new places.  I deeply respect the centuries of winemaking experience of our European peers, and I now couple that respect with a love for discovery of new wine regions around the world.

Many people think pairings are all about rules they are supposed to memorize (e.g. red wine with red meat).  I find the most exciting pairings are the unexpected.  At a James Beard Foundation dinner in New York this April, Amangani Resort Chef Rick Sordahl paired our Kingston Family 'Cariblanco' Sauvignon Blanc with a lamb tenderloin carpaccio.  Not conventional.  And it was amazing.

What advice do you have to offer wine lovers travelling in Chile?

I think the neatest thing about traveling to Chile is how much it has to offer in addition to wine.   If you'd like to spend your entire vacation exploring all the different wine regions you can definitely do that, but you can also combine your passion for wine with your love of the outdoors.  That's my favorite thing to do.  Wine lovers can spend an afternoon tasting wines on the terraza at Kingston in Casablanca (an hour's drive from Santiago), having skied the day before in the Andes or having just returned from a trip south to Patagonia.  Or if you're more into city living, you can explore the fish stands at the Mercado Central in Santiago and walk the winding streets of the old port city of Valparaiso.  There's so much to explore and discover.  The flight over to Mendoza, Argentina is only 45 minutes, and so you can also easily combine visits to both countries without stretching yourself too thin.

 *

TASTE

Tasting Kingston Family Vineyards with Courtney Kingston
Friday June 3
5pm-6:30pm @ K&L RWC
Cost of tasting: $5

Meet Courtney Kingston and taste through the following:
2009 Cariblanco Sauvignon Blanc $14.99
2008 Tobiano Pinot Noir $19.99
2007 Alazan Pinot Noir $29.99
2008 Lucero Syrah $17.99

and...

2006 Bayo Oscuro Syrah $26.99

Walk in only. Final lineup and cost subject to change.

Check out all K&L's upcoming events and tastings

**

SHOP Kingston Family Vineyards on KLWines.com

 

Tuesday
Mar082011

Behind the Wine: Mick Unti of Unti Vineyards

Mick Unti at the sorting table during harvest.

George Unti of Unti Vineyards *looks* like a farmer. He's got a purposeful gait, weathered features and the firm handshake of someone who digs in the dirt. In the winery, he comes across quiet, like someone who prefers the silence of the vineyard, at least at first. Once you get him going, you quickly realize that this unassuming man, who spent 39 years managing Safeway supermarkets, is also whip smart and incredibly personable. His son, Mick, who handles all of the marketing and a large chunk of the winemaking (with Sebastien Pochan) will be pouring the winery's lineup, including a tank-sample of the winery's highly-anticipated 2010 rosé, at K&L San Francisco this Thursday night from 5-6:30 p.m. ($5), follows in his father's footsteps: always quick to smile, and wonderfully enthusiastic when he talks about his vines and his wines. 

We recently caught up with Mick to ask him a few questions in anticipation for this week's tasting. This is what he had to say:

K&L: How did you get into the wine business?

Mick Unti: Went wine tasting in Hecker Pass region, near Gilroy, one day when it was too cloudy to go to Santa Cruz. Watched Thomas Kruse get off his tractor to pour us some wines and was infatuated with small wineries. Then worked in wine departments in Safeway while I was attending University of Washington. I last worked for Jess Jackson doing National Sales for Artisan and Estates in 1996 before starting Unti Vineyards with my dad, George.

K&L: What’s your winemaking philosophy?

MU: Grow varietals that are well-suited to your climate. Use farming methods that encourage healthy vines naturally (organic, biodynamic, etc.). Maintain moderate to low-yields. Have a very good understanding of the world’s best versions of these wines (that means blowing a bunch of money at K & L on European wines). Study the various methods used by artisan wineries, and if financially possible, apply some of those methods when making your wine. Learn from your own experience to make the wines that are true to your sites. Stay true to your own ideals regarding wine.

What are some of your favorite restaurants?

Delfina in SF, Farmhouse in Forestville, Boulevard in SF

What did you drink last night? (Or the last time you had a glass of wine that wasn’t your own?)

Cascina Ca Rossa 2007 Barbera d’Alba Mulassa, Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg 2009 Kabinett.

What’s your position on wine-pairing and what do you like to pair your wines with?

I’m not that formal. Our wines are made from grapes that are native to the Mediterranean. As such they are moderate-to-low in tannin, fruity and have nice acidity. As such, they are versatile. You can serve our wine with simply seasoned grilled meats or spicy ethnic dishes. Amazing how easy this process is when you drink balanced wines.

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

As Al Davis might say, “Just drink a wide variety, baby.”

If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would you invite and what would you serve them?

Do they have to be dead? If so, John Lennon, Bill King (sportscaster) and Esther Peaker (my grandmother) or Dick Unti (my uncle).  Awesome micro-brew Champagne (Pierre Gimonnet) with oysters, Comte de Vogue Musigny with grilled Hawaiian fish. I’m sure we’d break out a few other great wines. Siro Pacenti Brunello, JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenurhr, you get the idea.

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Don't live in San Francisco? Can't make the tasting? Set up your own Unti tasting at home with these three in-stock beauties:

2007 Unti Vineyards Dry Creek Grenache ($26.99) This has intense raspberry, blackberry, tar, pepper, licorice, and dried herbs aromas that are evocative of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Full of fruit on the palate, with an earthy, licorice-tinged undercurrent, this captures the Dry Creek landscape and still maintains the balance we've grown to expect from Unti. An ager.

2007 Unti Vineyards Dry Creek Zinfandel ($24.99) It's no coincidence that the Dry Creek Valley has become synonymous with Zinfandel, and of the region's and varietal's best characteristics are packed into this bottle. Briar fruit and black pepper aromas and flavors are accented by subtle floral tones. There's plenty of structure, and the wine is completely dry, with the signature ripeness of the vintage and the balancing acidity that marks all of Unti's wines.

2008 Unti Vineyards "Petite Frere" Dry Creek Rhône Blend ($16.99) Unti's version of a Côte du Rhône, this is Grenache-dominated blend with small amounts of Syrah and Mourvedre. Full of ripe Dry Creek fruit with firmer tannins than previous vintages, this is like some of the CdR's from France in 2007, blessed with juicy red fruit, but needing a little time to integrate.