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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

Upcoming Events

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 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

See all K&L Local Events


Entries in tastings (48)


Iberian Wine News 10/4/2011: 

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member
Spanish & Portuguese Wine News 10/4/2011

Plenty of new stuff this week.
1.) Great wines from Michael Sullivan/Beaune Imports
At the risk of leaving out any number of our terrific suppliers, I do not intend to regularly feature any one importer's wines, but this week warrants an exception.  Beaune Imports, whom you may recognize as the importer of many top French properties including:  Clos Rougeard, Didier Dagueneau, Francois Chidaine, Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Domaine de Montille and others, has recently expanded his Spanish selections.  We have enjoyed Sullivan's Spanish wines over the years, but Michael has dug a bit deeper this time and added some very cool wines.
Francois Chidaine "Tres P" Tempranillo y Monastrell Bullas - $15.99
Rich, sauvage, exotic, yet balanced.  For the braised meat!
2010 Adega Vella Mencia Ribeira Sacra - $15.99
Bright and snappy, precise red fruits.  Yes.
2010 Diego de Lemos Mencia Ribeira Sacra - $21.99
Deeper bass tones, quite mineral, impressive depth of flavor, all without any oak and at 12.5% abv. 
2.) Madeira
Need a fairly dry madeira to cook with?  I recently made one of the tastiest soups I have ever cooked:  onions, garlic, bacon, black lentils, san marzano tomatoes, water, smoked paprika, parsley, kale and a few healthy glugs of Barbeito 3 Year Old Seco.  So simple, but so good.  I also was reminded that, as an aperitif served at cellar temperature, this madeira is delicious.  Staff really enjoyed this one; even Jim Barr (not always the biggest fan of the fortifieds) liked it.  This is my fortified wine of the moment.
Barbeito 3 Year Old Seco Madeira - $17.99
3.) DI update
We tasted the Miguel Merino wines and I was very happy with how the Redwood City staff received them.  Lots of good feedback.  And, to my relief, I would agree that the wines were showing well - still recovering from their journey but certainly ready to go now if need be (personally I would wait another few weeks to let them settle in).  Especially tasty were the 2005 Miguel Merino Reserva and the 2008 Miguel Merino Viñas Jovenes.  Even the staunchest of Rioja traditionalists will appreciate the textures and purity of fruit in these - as Miguel describes them - updated classics.
2008 Miguel Merino "Viñas Jovenes" Rioja
2005 Miguel Merino Reserva Rioja - $29.99
4.) Tasting events
Friday October 7th 
Vibrant Rioja tasting (featuring a few of the new DI's!) in San Francisco store (5-6:30pm). $5
Vibrant Rioja tasting (featuring a few of the new DI's!) in Hollywood store (5:30-7pm). $5
Bodegas Ontañon (great up-and-coming Rioja property!) tasting in Redwood City store (5-6:30pm). $5
Friday October 14th
Sherry focused tasting  in Redwood City (5-6:30pm).  From quaffers to collectibles. We will be pouring Remelluri's terrific Rioja as well. Price TBD.
Sunday October 16th
For the SoCal people and folks who may happen to be in Los Angeles this weekend. Vibrant Rioja walkaround tasting at Campanile (4-6pm).  $25 to taste at least 25 wines, including some top producers and our new direct imports from Miguel Merino and Bodegas Puelles. Tickets available online:
Thursday October 20th
Vibrant Rioja tasting in Redwood City store (5-6:30pm). $5
Have a great week everyone.
Joe Manekin
Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Wine Buyer
K&L Wine Merchants
Ph: 877.559.4637 ext. 2748


Wine of the Week: 2008 Henry of Pelham Cabernet Franc Ice Wine ($29.99)

Dessert Accomplished! At a sweet low price, 2008 Henry of Pelham Cabernet Franc Ice Wine (200ml) (Previously $40) is in stock NOW on 

Do you love dessert wines and are curious to try more exotic styles?  Join us from 5-6pm in RWC for Stickies: Unique Dessert Wines from Around the World or pick up a few bottles from the list below and stage a sticky tasting of your own at home!

Only in this part of Canada are conditions just right for the production of this oddball but very sumptuously delicious Cabernet Franc-based Ice Wine. The 2008 Henry of Pelham Cabernet Franc Ice Wine (200 ml $29.99) is intense by definition, with vibrant fruit aromas and flavors, exhibiting strawberry and raspberry above all others. Terrific with fruit based desserts and soft cheeses, it is also wonderful in sparkling wine for a new take on a Kir Royale.


What: Stickies: Unique Dessert Wines from Around the World

When: Friday, July 22 5pm-6:30pm

Where: K&L RWC

Cost of Tasting: $10

Samos Vin Doux Muscat (375ml $9.99)

The Royal Tokaji Wine Company Red Label 5 Puttonyos (500ml $34.99)

Hétszölö Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos (500ml $49.99)

Henry of Pelham Cabernet Franc Ice Wine (200ml  $29.99)


2009 Fahrenheit 19 Ice Wine (375 ml) $25.99

Domaine Mas de Lavail Maury (375ml $22.99)

Château Pierre-Bise Les Rouannières Coteaux du Layon Beaulieu (500ml $25.99)

2007 Beck-Hartweg Gewürztraminer Selections de Grains Nobles (500ml $49.99)



Behind the Wine: The Ancient Peaks Family

Ancient Peaks is one of the featured wineries in the Paso Robles Wine Alliance Tastings coming up at K&L SF and RWC this week on Thursday 7/14 and Friday 7/15 respectively. 

Go to our event pages on Facebook and for more details!

    Above, Amanda Wittstrom-Higgins is pictured with the rest of the Ancient Peaks "family", which is actually three families: the Filipponis, Rossis, and Wittstroms.

Ancient Peaks is a small family-owned estate winery that produces wine from a single site, the Margarita Vineyard, which was first planted to vines by the Franciscan missionaries in 1774. Situated in the Santa Lucia Mountain Range near the San Luis Obispo border, 14 miles from the ocean, the Margarita Vineyard is the most southerly site within the Paso Robles appellation, where it enjoys a cooler climate and longer growing season than its neighbors to the north. The climate factor, combined with the unique and varying soil types of the Margarita Vineyard, result in the ability of Ancient Peaks to stand out in Paso as producers of terroir-drive wines wines with great balance and finesse.   

In this interview below, Amanda Wittstrom-Higgins of the Ancient Peaks family shares with us a little Ancient Peaks, as well as details regarding the unique terroir of the Margarita Vineyard and wine pairing advice. Read on: 

Q&A with Amada Wittstrom-Higgins of Ancient Peaks

How did Ancient Peaks get started? What is your role?

Amanda Wittstrom-Higgins (above). "We're a fairly small family winery, so we all wear a lot of hats." Image courtesy of Ancient Peaks.The winery is owned by three families-the Filipponis, Rossis, and Wittstroms. We are longtime friends, and we had owned Santa Margarita Ranch and Margarita Vineyard for more than five years prior to launching Ancient Peaks. We initially sold all of the fruit from Margarita Vineyard, and we could taste what other winemakers were accomplishing with it. It was pretty obvious that this was a special vineyard, and that is what inspired us to become vintners as well as winegrowers. We knew that we could cherry-pick our favorite blocks, take the fruit from ground to glass, and make some really distinctive wines with a strong sense of place.

My main role is to manage the national distribution and direct sales of Ancient Peaks wines. I also oversee our marketing initiatives, which include advertising, media relations and special events, as well as the Ancient Peaks tasting room. We're a fairly small family winery, so we all wear a lot of hats. 

Describe the Ancient Peaks winemaking philosophy.

For us, it comes down to three core winemaking values: ensuring that the unique character of the vineyard is vividly expressed in the wine; preserving and honoring true varietal character in each wine; and achieving natural quality without a reliance on heavy-handed winemaking techniques. 

"Our winemaker, Mike Sinor, takes great care to nurture the vineyard's pure fruit character throughout the winemaking process," says Amanda. "All of these things help us capture that strong sense of place and varietal character in the wines." Image courtesy of Ancient Peaks.Each of these values goes hand in hand. Because we grow our own fruit, we are able to control all facets of the winegrowing process, and that includes being dedicated to sustainable farming practices. Margarita Vineyard is also quite diverse, with five different soil zones and numerous microclimates. This enables us to mix and match different blocks to build natural dimension and complexity into the wine. Also, our winemaker, Mike Sinor, takes great care to nurture the vineyard's pure fruit character throughout the winemaking process. All of these things help us capture that strong sense of place and varietal character in the wines.

Where is the Margarita Vineyard situated and what makes the terroir unique?

Margarita Vineyard is tucked into the Santa Lucia Mountain Range outside the town of Santa Margarita, approximately 22 miles south of the City of Paso Robles and just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

When you come out to the vineyard, you immediately see why we chose the name Ancient Peaks for our winery. The mountain range towers over the vines along the western flank of the ranch. These mountains were created by the collision of the coastal plates, which also blessed us with a rare diversity of soils. There are five distinct soil zones at Margarita Vineyard-ancient sea bed, sedimentary, shale, volcanic and granitic. Each soil type brings its own nuance to the resulting wines. The most dramatic soil is found in a block that we call Oyster Ridge, where large white oyster fossils are literally spilling out of the ground.

Climate is another major factor that shapes our wines. The vineyard sits atop the Cuesta Grade, which is the natural border between the cooler conditions in San Luis Obispo to the south and the heart of Paso Robles to the north. We're right on the fogline. 

Margarita Vineyard encompasses five distinct geologic zones with varying soil types composed of the following profiles: granitic, volcanic, sedimentary, shale, and ancient sea bed. The most unique soil profile is found along the Oyster Ridge block, where the calcium-rich soil is full of petrified oyster shells (above). Image courtesy of Ancient Peaks. In the summer, it's not uncommon to see thick fog swirling along the top of the peaks, and that cooling effect extends the growing season, bringing added depth and balance to the fruit.

What are some of the challenges of producing wine in Paso Robles? Are there any special practices you employ at Ancient Peaks to overcome them?

If you travel around the entire Paso Robles AVA, you will discover a range of growing conditions. Margarita Vineyard occupies one of the coolest growing environments in the AVA. So our primary challenge is ensuring that our fruit gets sufficiently ripe-which is something you rarely hear in Paso Robles!

With later-ripening varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, we sometimes find ourselves on what we call "the edge of ripeness." That's actually right where we like to be, because it typically yields fruit with fine balance and varietal character.

During later harvests, however, it can be a bit stressful, especially if bad weather is looming. For this reason, in cooler years, we often take proactive measures, such as reducing crop loads and manipulating the vine canopies, all in an effort to make sure that the fruit that's left has the best chance to get sufficiently ripe. We are very meticulous in the vineyard, but sometimes we just have to go with our gut when it comes to deciding when to pick.

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

Amanda suggest The 2009 Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon ($12.99) with an herb-rubbed filet mignon. This incredible deal in California Cabernet is in stock now on KLWines.comI think it's more about "guidelines" than "rules." Yes, there are some tried-and-true combinations with certain dishes and specific varietals. But that shouldn't stop you from being adventurous and creative, either. We make a few blends that are non-traditional in composition. They break the rules. So there can't be any rules when it comes to pairing them with food, either.

I'm probably most partial to pairing our wines with a variety of beef dishes, since we are cattle ranchers as well as winemakers. A couple of favorites are Ancient Peaks Cabernet Sauvignon with herb-rubbed filet mignon, and Ancient Peaks Zinfandel with classic Santa Maria-style tri-tip.

What advice do you have to offer people interested in learning more about Ancient Peaks and the wines of Paso Robles?

Come on down! The best way to learn more about Paso Robles is to hit the road and visit the wineries, and taste why our wines are getting so much recognition. You'll also discover that Paso Robles can't be easily generalized or categorized. The terrain is diverse, and the local winemaking community is creative and unafraid to take chances. Most of our wineries are family owned, too. It may sound like a cliché, but it's also true, and it's a big part of the welcoming culture of our wine country.

Our tasting room is in Santa Margarita, a small historic town between Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo, right off Highway 101. Here, you can taste all of our current releases, including our limited-edition White Label bottlings. We also offer vineyard and ranch tours by appointment on the first and third Saturdays of the month-there's no better way to learn about our wines than to experience Margarita Vineyard and see the soils that make it so special.



What: Paso Robles Wine Alliance Tastings at K&L

When: 5pm-6:30pm Thursday 7/14 in San Francisco and Friday 7/15 in Redwood City

Where: K&L SF and K&L RWC

Details:  on facebook  on



Buy Ancient Peaks Wines now on