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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 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 tastings (49)

Friday
May032013

Champagne Friday: Lanson Opens Their Wine Library!

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

On Wednesday Scott Beckerley and I were invited to lunch at Spruce Restaurant in San Francisco by Enguerrand Bajiot, the managing director of Lanson Americas. The occasion was the launch of their Lanson Vintage collection- a magnum only program that offers the Champagne fan the unique opportunity to buy disgorged-to-order bottles straight from their deep cellars in Reims. The bottles that we tasted were so fresh that our Lanson sales rep, the charming and knowledgeable Jennifer Guptill had to drive to Sacramento to get them out of customs! They had all been disgorged in April and come by air directly from the cellars of Lanson.

Just cleared from customs!All of these wines have been made available to K&L and to you on a special order basis and they are extremely limited- only six magnums of each vintage. They don’t disgorge it until you order it… Provenance does not get any more perfect than this. It will take two or three months to get the bottles as they need time to label them and then ship them from France, and of course they must clear customs! I would recommend not ordering these if you need them for a specific occasion as they are currently 20 feet underground half way around the world and still on their lees.

Lanson was founded in 1760, making it one of the oldest Champagne houses and Bruno Paillard who now owns the group has a huge amount of respect for that history. Cellar master Jean Paul Gandon has been working at Lanson since 1972, and managed the vineyards before taking over the cellar in 1982. No cellar master of any big house has been running a house for as long.

Didier Elena and Gary.The wines showed spectacularly and had the sparkle and freshness that one rarely experiences in old Champagne, except for in the caves where they were born. Part of this has to do with the magnum format but the majority of the reason for the excellent vigor of these wines is Lansons non-malolactic policy and the excellent estate vineyards they had up until 1991. All of the wines that predate 1991 in this offering are entirely estate grown- only the 1996 and 2002 use any purchased fruit. All of the vintage wines are approximately 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay and fermented in stainless steel without malolactic.

We started off our lunch with the 2002 Lanson Gold Label Vintage Brut Champagne ($74.99), the only wine in 750ml of the lunch and the only one currently in stock. This Champagne is composed of 53% Pinot Noir and 47% Chardonnay entirely from grand cru sites. Because Lanson never allows the wines to go through malo, this is a spectacularly fresh 11 year old that has lots of flowery Chardonnay character as the savory Pinot Noir side has yet to fully develop. This will be a spectacular bottle for the future if you can resist its ample charms right now. Chef Mark Sullivan had prepared a fabulous Big Eye Tuna crudo with avocado and olive oil to pair with the 2002 Lanson and it brought out the Pinot Noir character that had been hiding in the wine. It was a fabulous wine, and Lanson’s patience with their vintage program has given the Champagne lover a big reward.

Tuna crudo.For the next course, we had the 1996 Lanson Vintage Collection Brut Champagne 1.5L ($499- disgorged to order, due in August). I first tasted this wine at Lanson in Reims in 2002 when this was a current release. This Champagne is also composed of 53% Pinot Noir and 47% Chardonnay and also all Grand Cru. They use four Mountain of Reims villages for the Pinot and Chouilly, Cramant and Avize for the Chardonnay. It is dosed at only three grams per liter of sugar, but labeled as brut- not extra brut. The producers in Champagne call 1996 the 10/10 vintage, because it was so unusually ripe (10% potential alcohol) but also still very high in acid (10 grams per liter of total acidity) and the Lanson is a great example of the vintage. I am positive that I would guess this was 10 years younger in a blind tasting! I found this 1996 completely fresh and transparent. This is electric, high toned, Champagne that almost seems like a blanc de blancs! Chef Sullivan paired this with roasted diver scallops, brassicas and caramelized shellfish nage. It was an inspired pairing, as the rich, buttery scallops needed a wine that could cut them, and this 1996 is like a razor!

Scallop course.

Our main course arrived and we were treated to two vintages side by side, both from magnum! The 1988 Lanson Vintage Collection Brut Champagne 1.5L ($749) is a spectacular bottle, from one of my very favorite vintages for drinking right now. This is one of the last “classic” Champagne vintages with a nice, long, even growing season. This wine only showed the slightest tinge of gold in its straw color after 25 years. The nose is developing the white truffle aromas that only time can bring, framed by the savory Pinot Noir character that this house is rightly famous for. This Champagne had a little nutella and smoke on the deep powerful palate. The finish is vibrant and chalk- this wine still has time in hand! Chef Sullivan’s  pan roasted salmon brought out the youthful side of this wine, and it would have been very hard to guess that it was a quarter of a century old! I just drank the 1988 Krug on Sunday, and I have to say, this Lanson is fresher. A showstopper!

Also with the salmon, the 1983 Lanson Vintage Collection Brut Champagne 1.5L ($849) was a huge treat. The color of this Champagne was amazing- white gold with even a touch of green- from looking it would be easy to guess that it was a 2007! This toasty Champagne has great aromas of chestnuts and buttery chanterelles. On the palate it is full and rich with a surprising amount of viscosity. Flavors of exotic pear and ripe apple fruit resolve into a clean, dry, mineral laden finish with this 30 year old bottle of Champagne.

Salmon course.

Before the dessert the real treat of the lunch was served, the 1976 Lanson Vintage Collection Brut Champagne 1.5L ($999). This was a wine that I had tasted once before- more than 10 years ago when I visited Lanson in Reims. Amazingly, this freshly disgorged bottle tasted far younger than the old disgorgement that I had back then! This vintage was the hottest of the 20th century and a rare (at the time!) August harvest in Champagne. The wine had a light gold color and a super bright nose of wild raspberries- it was so generous that it was hard to believe! On the palate it had tense Pinot Noir fruit that reminded me of Volnay.

This is definitely a bottle for the connoisseur! They saved the best for last with this one, and I won’t ever forget having tasted it.

A toast to you,

-Gary

 

Thursday
Apr252013

BDX Files: The A-Team Pouring 2010 Smith-Haut-Lafitte at the Wine Spectator Grand Tasting!

K&L founder Clyde Beffa (left) with Bordeaux expert Ralph Sands at the 2013 Wine Spectator Grand Tasting.

K&L represented at the Wine Spectator Grand Tasting last night pouring the knockout 2010 Smith Haut Lafite Rouge. Don't miss your chance to order this wine! Pre-arrivals are still on offer but availability is dwindling fast!

2010 Smith-Haut-Lafitte Rouge, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival) $149

98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

This is an extraordinary performance once again from the Cathiard family, the proprietors of Smith-Haut-Lafitte. They think the 2010 is even better than the 2009. (I disagree, but only slightly.) This wine has laser-like definition in its an remarkable nose of a subtle charcoal fire interwoven with spring flowers, creme de cassis, blueberry liqueur and spicy wood. Full-bodied, stunningly concentrated, long, rich and moderately tannic, this wine is set for an exceptionally long life of 30-40 years but can be drunk in 5-7. (98+) (2/ 2013)

96 points Wine Enthusiast

*Cellar Selection* A beautifully ripe wine with great black fruits that burst through the classic tannins. In its richness and in its structure, it combines the best of the vintage. Dark, complex, fruity and very rich, a magnificent wine for long-term aging. (3/ 2013)

96 points Wine Spectator

Gorgeous, with alluring black tea and warm ganache notes that unfurl slowly, while the core of intense steeped plum, anise, blackberry compote and black currant confiture sits patiently in reserve. The beautiful loam-, tobacco- and tar-filled finish displays major heft, but also remarkable polish and grace. Should age very slowly. Best from 2018 through 2035. (3/ 2013)

95 points James Suckling

Aromas of blueberries, blackberries and plums follow through to a full body, with velvety tannins and a fruity finish. Lots of mushroom and fruit undertones. Very polished. Such finesse yet structure to this young wine. (2/ 2013)

18/20 Jancis Robinson

That fine combination of pure dark fruit and savoury graphite that is so Bordeaux. On the palate it is much more fluid than most that have this much structure. Even with all that structure there is a lightness of touch and a freshness on the finish. Real finesse and subtlety. 18/20 points. (11/ 2012)

Purchase through KLWines.com or contact Ralph for assistance!

 

Ralph Sands

Bordeaux Expert

Senior Wine Specialist

K&L Wine Merchants

Redwood City and San Francisco Ca.

1-800 247-5987 Ext# 2723

Direct Line 650-556-2723

Email- Ralph@klwines.com

Company Website- klwines.com

Thursday
Apr182013

BDX Files: The First of 2012 Futures! Plus Bordeaux Tastings this Saturday at all K&L Locations

K&L Founder Clyde Beffa (left) with K&L resident Bordeaux expert Ralph Sands tasting Bordeaux in the Redwood City tasting bar.

By: Ralph Sands | K&L Bordeaux Expert

I’m freshly back from Bordeaux and should be over my jet lag by Saturday, when we are hosting Bordeaux Tastings in all three stores, with yours truly in Redwood City from 1pm-4pm. The lineup and details are listed below, but first I would love to tell you about the 2012 vintage.

As of this morning we are offering the first wines from the 2012 vintage to be released on a futures/pre arrival basis, the wines will arrive in 2015.

Personally I am quite happy with the price reductions for these wine as they are down from the 2011 vintage and I like the charming vintage of 2012s more than 2011s.

 2012 Ch. Lynch Bages…$99.99

2012 Ch. Rausan-Segla…$59.99

2012 Ch. Mouton Rothschild…$379.99

Link to wines on KLWines.com 

My direct line for any questions on these wines or other wines from 2012 is below. Cheers!

-Ralph

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Saturday April 20th

Bordeaux Tasting in all three stores! 

A continued exploration of the 2009 and 2010 vintages.

Cost to taste: $20

All tastings are from noon to 3pm in San Francisco, 1 to 4pm in Redwood City and 3 to 5:30pm in Hollywood. 

Yours Truly will be pouring the following from 1-4pm in Redwood City. Expect similiar lineups in SF and Hollywood

The Lineup…..

 2011 Clos des Lune Bordeaux Blanc

2009 Ch. Corbin- Montagne-St-Emilion

2009 Ch. Fleur Cardinal- St-Emilion

2009 Ch. Cambon La Pelouse- Haut Medoc

2009 Ch. La Lagune- Ludon Haut Medoc

2009 Ch. Siran- Margaux

2009 Ch. Gloria- St-Julien

2009 Clos du Marquis- St-Julien

1988 Ch. Pape Clement- Pessac/Graves

 

For desert 2009 Ch. Guiraud- Sauternes

Details on K&L Local Events

 

Hope to see you there!

Cheers and Go Giants!

-Ralph

 

Ralph Sands

Bordeaux Expert

Senior Wine Specialist

K&L Wine Merchants

Redwood City and San Francisco Ca.

1-800 247-5987 Ext# 2723

Direct Line 650-556-2723

Email- Ralph@klwines.com

Company Website- klwines.com