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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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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.

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Entries in wine glasses (4)

Friday
Jan112013

Champagne Friday: Glassware

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Champagne Friday: Glassware

Glassware for Champagne is a controversial subject and there are almost as many favorite choices as there are Champagne lovers. In the video segment I go through my own collection of Champagne glasses and talk about the differences and add my own opinions to the subject.

My strongest opinion is to keep your Champagne glasses, no matter what they are in rotation and use. Some of my worst Champagne experiences have come from drinking out of folks' “special occasion” flutes, only to find that they hadn’t been used in years and were full of hard-to-see dust that ruined the flavor of the wines. 

One of the glasses in the video segment is available at K&L, the Riedel Vinum Prestige Champagne flute, but you’ll have to log in to your account on our website to see the price…it is to low and they asked us not to publicize it!

A toast to you,

Gary

Friday
May132011

Do glasses really matter?

I’m going to come out with it, we were all skeptics going into this tasting. I especially was because just a week earlier a good friend of mine had asked me about the importance of proper wines glasses, and I essentially told her to buy something nice but multifunctional in a Bordeaux style, tumbler, and flute. And while those will be fine for everyday use, I am now retracting my response that those are all that you need, especially if you are drinking exceptional wines and spirits on a regular basis (as I’m sure you are).

Through Wine Warehouse, Riedel conducted a wine tasting highlighting six of their glasses versus a standard restaurant wine glass, nicknamed the “Joker” glass. Through a series of four wines and two spirits we were to swirl, sniff, taste and then rotate through the series (ie the first wine then went into the Joker for comparison and so on). Me and nine of my cohorts sat and tried our best to follow directions.

 Riedel Tasting Setup

The first wine to taste was a 2007 Georg Breuer Rheingau Riesling out of the Vinum Extreme Sauvignon Blanc/Riesling glass. Riedel’s commitment to form and function was apparent immediately in the weight and size of the glass as well as the laser cut lip that results in the finest and thinnest rim. In the Riedel glass the Riesling came across voluptuous and nuanced with white peaches and granite instantly apparent on the nose. Tasting it the wine was at once sweet then followed by a balancing acidity and incredible texture. Pouring some of the wine into the “Joker” glass you had to burry your nose in it to get anything. When the wine hit our mouths it became flabby and unbalanced as a result of going straight to the side of the tongue where the concentration of the “tart” taste buds are. It sincerely does not taste like the same wine. Okay, I can see where we’re going with this, but I’m not convinced.

Next up was a 2008 Fernand & Laurent Pillot Chassagne –Montrachet out of a Chardonay “O” tumbler. According to our Riedel spokesman oaked Chardonnay are best drunk out of a wide mouthed glass, and unoaked Chardonnay are best drunk out of a closed mouth glass. While he explained that there is no need for concern about transferring heat with the tumbler style glass because, A: the natural tendency is to set down a tumbler, and B: you are only holding the glass with three fingers. Ha! Not with my little hands. And it felt like I was staring into a fish bowl. Again we repeated the swirl, sniff, and sip. The wine was beautiful, nuanced, and classic Montrachet. In the “Joker” glass it was completely muted and bitter. You could feel the wine being delivered directly under the tongue. To switch things up we pored the Riesling into the Montrachet glass and the Montrachet into the Riesling glass. The results were astounding. The Montrachet now became all about the minerality and the Riesling became soft and without peaks of flavor.

RWC Manager Jason evaluating the wineOnto the Reds. The Riedel Pinot Noir XL, a wide bowl with a curved out rim, was filled with an unbelievable 2007 Alex Gambal Chambolle-Musigny “Les Charmes”. This started out at the tip of the tongue with ripe cranberry followed by a chain of flavors, violets, smoke, a touch of oak, and distinctive minerality. Simply, a stunning wine. In the “Joker” the wine was absolutely ruined. It was stemmy, bitter, and you really had to work to detect anything on the nose. It was absolutely shocking that this was the same wine I’d moments ago fallen in love with.

The last wine was a 2006 Monbousquet, the relative of Chateau Pavie, in the Bordeaux Vinum Extreme, a line designed specifically for New World Wines. Primarily Merlot from the Right Bank, the fruit and oak were perfectly married with deep dark red fruit, pencil shavings, and “unresolved tannins.” In the “Joker” It was all tannin and alcohol, nothing else. What a disappointment.

 Dale Payne from Wine Warehouse

We finished with a surprise spirits tasting. Come on, really? These fancy glasses are supposed to make my fancy hooch taste that much better? I’ve tasted these spirits on several occasions, and out of really good glasses. But the Le Reviseur XO Petite Champagne Cognac ABSOLUTELY sung in this cognac glass! For me the jury has always been out about Cognacs and Armagnacs. Yes, they were good, and I could appreciate and recognize a great one, but really, were they worth all of the money? This tasting, out of this glass, proved that they were worth the hype. Next we tried a 10 year Benromach from Speyside. The whiskey bloomed out of the single malt glass and coated the palate with a caramel richness mingled with smoke. Both spirits in the “Joker” glass were hotter, higher in acid, and completely different! I was so excited about this particular revelation I called my husband, told him to get our best Single Malt and Armagnac out of the bar and be ready to have his mind blown. I set it up the same way, one Cognac glass, one Single Malt glass, and the closest thing to a restaurant glass that I could find. He was honest. He told me he thought I was crazy, that this was something only a wine geek could pick up on. But, wait for it, he said that “I was completely right!” Score! Now to convince him that we’ll need an entire new set of glassware.

 Conclusively I’ve learned that it is nearly impossible to give a full assessment of a wine or spirit out of an improper glass, it is also nearly impossible to fully appreciate the wine or spirit out of an improper glass. And now I would readily give up every other bottle of indulgent wine or spirit in order to afford and properly enjoy them in the correct glasses and to take my time truly savoring every nuance that they have to offer. I implore you to try this for yourself, find a varietal or spirit that you are truly in love with and buy its matching glass. Compare it to the glass that you’ve been using at home and draw your own conclusions. As for me I’ve gotten my hands on the ones that I will be using for special bottles, and might even consider bringing them to restaurants with me…

Monday
Nov292010

Hanukkah Gifts for the Wine Lover

Holiday shopping is rarely easy, especially when you throw Hanukkah into the mix. Last year, it seemed the Festival of Lights came hot on the tail of Thanksgiving. But this year, it's so close to Turkey Day that you could have practically browned the bird over a Menorah flame. So without further ado (seriously, there are only two shopping days before the first candle gets lit), here are some of our Hanukkah gift picks for your favorite wine lover:

Glassware: Wine, of course, is the best gift for your favorite wine lover, but recommending buying wine is as obvious as suggesting an umbrella on a rainy day. That said, the right glassware can improve the everyday drinking experience. More than just a vessel, the size and shape of a glass can enhance or accentuate different characteristics in different wines. Riedel is, perhaps, the best known wine glass maker here in the US, and they have an incredibly diverse portfolio of glasses for every varietal and aesthetic. I'm also a big fan of the Schott Zwiesel lines, which are fortified with titanium instead of lead, making them a great bargain for style and durability. We also recently started carrying the lead-free, mouthblown glasses from Zalto of Austria. These glasses are elegant and lightweight, the angles based on the tilt angles of the earth and believed by the Romans to maintain freshness and improve taste.

Wine Clubs: Hannukah might be eight nights, but a subscription to a K&L Wine Club is a gift that can keep giving. Know someone just getting into wine? Try the Best Buy Club. An Italophile? Try the Italian Wine Club. Champagne? Red Wine? Premium wines? We've got you covered. And if your favorite wine lover has made their particular tastes abundantly clear ("I only drink Pinot." "I'm a Rhone slut." try the Personal Sommelier Service and set the price, number of bottles, regions and varietals.

Is your favorite wine lover a little impatient? The Vinturi "Aerator" ($35.99) is a time machine for wine, quicker than a decanter and definitely faster than stuffing wine into the cellar to age. Perfect for unwinding young, tannic wines that are hard to stay away from, and a quick way to smooth the edges on some of our favorite, affordable Bordeaux.

If the Vinturi is the perfect gift for the wine lover in search ofinstant gratification, the Durand Corkscrew ($124.99) is what you should buy for the person who's stocked their cellar and sat on wines like they were the goose with the golden egg. Even perfectly stored, old wine corks can be unbelievably stubborn. The Durand is a handmade wine opener that combines an Ah-So opener and a worm to gently remove a fragile cork from the bottle rather than sending it for a swim.

For more gift ideas, check out K&L's Holiday Gift Guide, which should be arriving in-home any day now, search our site or call toll free 877-KLWINES. Happy Hanukkah!

Leah Greenstein