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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.

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Entries in Trip Reports (21)

Saturday
Mar302013

Spanish & Portuguese Wine News: Back from Spain, Lessons Learned + Wines to Drink Tonight

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Spanish & Portuguese Wine Buyer

Pardon the interruption, folks, but it's been a long time without any email chatter. So here we go.....

We (Keith Mabry and I) just returned from Spain and a very good, productive time was had by all. There were many takeaways on this trip, but here are just a few:

- Prepare for snow storms in Rioja! Pack warm clothes if you go anytime between October and May.

- For an awesome cultural and culinary experience, go to San Sebastian in March and drive to one of the local sagardotegias (cider houses) in the neighboring villages. Eat Bacalao omelette and chuleton (ribeye steak); drink sidra. Try to speak Eusker and you will become an instant hit with the locals.

- Jerez gets lots of rain in winter and spring. Locals willl say it never rains as much as when you are there- just nod your head and smile while sipping some Palo Cortado.

- If you cannot make it down to Jerez but find yourself in or near Logroño craving Sherry, hook up with Miguel Merino who happens to be a big Sherry fan. He'll take care of you.

That was just a taste of many observations and lessons learned. It was a fantastic trip, with plenty of new products to likely look forward to later in the year. New direct import Sherry and perfectly cellared, older Rioja vintages from an amazing restaurant cellar are just a few of these things.

For now, though, let's talk about wine we have in stock, ready to go, for your drinking pleasure.

 

2008 Luis Pato Vinho Tinto Beiras - $12.99

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1124644

A fun one from Portugal: grippy and slightly rustic, with balanced fruit and alcohol, Pato's everyday red is delicious and we're excited to have it back in stock.

 

2010 "Rufo" do Vale D. Maria Douro - $12.99

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1125226

And another Portuguese red. I'm usually less of a fan of the big, saturated, polished dark fruit of the Douro, but in typical fashion, in a solid line-up such as that of Mr. Van Zeller, I prefer the cheapest wine!

 

2011 Primitivo Quiles "Cono 4" Monastrell Alicante - $11.99

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1112484

Last call for this delicious wine as we gear up for another amazing Mourvedre value from the same importer (hint: enter keyword text "escudo de plata")

 

Un saludo,

Joe

 

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Joe Manekin

Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Wine Buyer

K&L Wine Merchants

Ph: 877.559.4637 ext. 2748

joemanekin@klwines.com

 

 

Wednesday
Mar202013

Blasting Through Sonoma: Iron Horse Vineyards

Iron Vineyards in Green Valley, Sonoma County.

A team of K&L staff from the San Francisco store recently headed up north for a jam-packed jaunt through Sonoma. Intensive tastings at twelve wineries in two days is exciting, but it is hard work! Stay tuned for pics and posts over the next couple weeks as we chronicle their visit on Uncorked...

Iron Horse Vineyards

By: Scott Beckerley | K&L Staff Member

Our first stop on our whirlwind visit to Sonoma was Iron Horse Vineyards, located in the foggy Green Valley AVA of Sonoma County. We we were greeted and introduced to the winery by the lovely and engaging Barrie Sterling. Shortly thereafter, her father, Laurence Sterling, took us on a tour of the winery and vineyards. 

Iron Horse's first release was in 1980 and the vineyards sit on sandy loam soil in the Green Valley, which has a cooler climate perfectly suited to the needs of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They use precision viticulture in determing where to plant vines and what vines to plant taking into account factors of irrigation zones, sun protection and rate of steepness of the land. For example, Pinot clones are situated according to sand content and irrigation runs according to this principal. Certain vineyard blocks are more suited to sparkling than to still wines. The winery is very happy with the Martini B clone, the Dijon clones and the Chard-Clone 4. Pressing of the grapes is done gently by the weight of the fruit. Riddling is done by hand and by machine for the sparkling wines.

2008 Iron Horse Sonoma County Classic Vintage Brut ($29.99) We tasted a number of the sparkling and still wines. Among the sparkling, we sampled the 2008 Classic Cuvee, a blend of 72% Pinot Noir and 28% Chardonnay. It had a pear, vanilla and apple nose which opened up with some bread dough notes. The palate was clean, with pear, stone fruit and cream notes. This was followed by the 2008 2008 Iron Horse "Wedding Cuvée" Green Valley Brut ($24.99)Russian Cuvee, the same blend, which revealed a light creamy nose with tropical scents and nectarine on the palate. It had a long, clean finish and fine, small bubbles. Then came the most well-known of the group, the 2008 Wedding Cuvee. This sparkler is a blend of 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay with a big, rich nose. Strawberries and cherries on the palate with a clean finish containing some minerality.

After that came the 2007 “I am Giving” Ocean Reserve, composed of 100% Chardonnay, had a clean nose with hints of brioche. On the first sip, it is mineral driven and it opens up to citrus lemon flavors with bright nectarine fruit. Four dollars from every bottle goes to the National Geographic Foundation!

Lastly, the 2003 Brut LD, an even blend of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir, had a bigger nose of toasted nuts and more evident oak than the other bottlings. On the palate, yeast and brioche notes with a lemon/lime and tangerine finish.

Iron Horse winemaking facility.

Riddling in action at Iron Horse.

Four dollars from every bottle of Iron Horse sold goes to the National Geographic Foundation!

After the flight of sparklings it was onto the still wines, the first of which was the 2009 Un-Oaked Chardonnay. Loads of tropical fruit here with pineapple and orange fruit. It was medium in weight with some acidity on the finish. No malolactic fermentation. A perfect alternative to heavy, buttery Chardonnay!The 2010 Native Yeast Chardonnay showed more classic "California" style with its oaky nose and crisp apple fruit. Richer on the palate with yellow apple, honey and light oak notes.

Scott's Favorite: 2011 Iron Horse Green Valley of RRV Pinot Noir ($39.99) Now, for the reds...the 2011 Estate Pinot Noir had a lovely nose of ripe cherries, spice and herbs. Just a hint of earth. Initially, soft on the palate but, it ended with spicy fruit and a bright finish. This was followed by the 2010 Thomas Road Pinot Noir, which showed bright cherry fruit, tobacco and spice, and a long, pretty, big finish which fleshed out nicely. This was made from the Martini 13 clone. Our last red was the 2011 Russian River Pinot Noir, all raspberry, oak and earth. More delicate and bright in 2011, with fresh raspberry and cherry fruit and tobacco nuances. Excellent! My favorite. Now that spring is here, it was time for the 2011 Rose de Pinot Noir, a little beauty with a raspberry nose. Lively and bright, with clean minerality and acidity.

What a way to start the day!

-Scott

 

Friday
Jan182013

Champagne Friday: Les Crayeres

Chateau Les Crayeres

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Top Destinations in Champagne #1: Chateau Les Crayeres

For more than a decade, I have been helping K&L's Champagne loving customers visit the region of Champagne with advice on restaurants, hotels and producers to visit. One place that I always recommend is Chateau Les Crayeres in Reims- it is the pinnacle of luxury in the region. The property consists of the Relais and Chateau hotel, “Le Parc” which is the high end restaurant, and “Le Jardin” which is the brasserie. Les Crayeres is an immediate neighbor of Veuve Clicquot, Pommery, Demoissele and Ruinart and sits on top of a network of underground galleries which contain all of those houses stocks- millions and millions of bottles of Champagne!

I have been lucky enough to visit this property many times and each experience has been unforgettable. The first time was on business with Trey Beffa, the night before we left Champagne and headed to Bordeaux. It was Sunday, and we had a four hour lunch with the Aristons before checking in, so we ran around Reims until my foot bled trying to make room for our dinner at Le Parc. It worked, and we had a great meal and a very memorable bottle of 1993 Domaine Marquis d'Angerville Volnay that evening. My best experiences have been staying there with Cinnamon, drinking Laurent-Perrier "Grand Siècle" Champagne in the room and old Rene Collard and Chateau Phélan-Ségur, St-Estèphe in the dining room. The service and the food are top notch, the Champagne list is perhaps the best in the world and the hotel has been called by many the best in the whole world.

Gary pouring Laurent-Perrier "Grand Siècle" in the room at Les Crayeres.

My favorite bite that I have eaten at any restaurant in France I ate here, it was a deep fried foie gras ball that you had to take down in one mouthful. The pairing with 1990 Rene Collard was simply off of the charts.  Great pate and foie gras in particular are fantastic partners with old vintage Meunier. If you can’t find any (it is not easy to come by outside of Le Parc) you can settle for old Krug! The cheese cart is like no other, and while it is very difficult to save room, you won’t want to miss the excellent selections which are all ripened to perfection. They are even open minded enough to offer some English Stilton, and if it is there it will blow your mind. I thought it was even better than the piece that I bought from Neal's Yard Dairy under London Bridge!

As wonderful as Le Parc is, the brasserie Le Jardin is not to be missed, and if you had time for only one meal, I would recommend going here. It is the hottest table in Reims, and always filled with producers. The ballotine of foie gras is fantastic as is the rest of the menu. The casual atmosphere is great after a day of appointments. Cinnamon and I had a wonderful time with the Aristons here the last time she came to Champagne with me.

As for the hotel, you have to see it to believe it. While it is expensive, it is no more so than a very good hotel in San Francisco and a lot less than a nice hotel in Paris or New York. The rooms are decorated in classic French style. The place was entirely redesigned by interior architect Pierre-Yves Rochon and has every comfort you could imagine.

Gary and Cinnamon dining at Le Parc

You can check out more about Les Crayeres here: http://www.lescrayeres.com/#/index/

If you ever plan to visit the region, please drop me a line at garywestby@klwines.com and I will send you a list of other recommendations in the region.

A toast to you!

-Gary