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The Freewheel line with a couple of English friends.

It takes a lot of beer to keep the wine business running smoothly. Here in Redwood City, we are very fortunate to have a great English style ale producer right in our backyard: Freewheel Brewing Company. The staff of K&L are fictures at our local pub, and it is a rare moment when one of us isn't there having a pint and a bite of their excellent food. We are also lucky enough to be the first place to offer their bottled beer for sale. If you have never had it, the Freewheel Brewing "FSB" Freewheel Special Bitter, California (500ml) is the benchmark in fresh, balanced, smashable ale. We will do our best to keep some in stock for you, the customer too!

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We LOVE our Steak & Claret!

Steak and Bordeaux is part of the weekly diet!

This is the 2nd time that a great bottle of Labegorce Margaux has inspired me to write a piece for the blog- last December I wrote about the now sold out 1991. I expect that I might be moved to write again when I crack the magnum of 1997 that I just bought as well! This old-school property in Margaux has history going back to the middle ages, with references as early as 1332 in the history books. In the original 1868 edition of the Cock’s & Feret catalog of Bordeaux it was described as one of the best situated and beautiful properties in the appellation.

They make a little over 100,000 bottles a year here from 74 acres of vineyard which average about 25 years old. The vineyard is planted to 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petite Verdot which they still ferment in old concrete tanks before ageing the wines for 12-15 months in oak of which 35% is new. This old fashioned method delivers great old fashioned Bordeaux; even in a “flashy” year like 2000.

The 2000 vintage did not look like it would be flashy at all in the spring, with terrible outbreaks of mildew due to soggy conditions all over the region. Many producers refer to it as the “miracle vintage” because of the golden fall that saved the harvest. These turnarounds always excite producers, and our team was leery of the glowing initial reports before traveling to taste the en-premieurs. What is in the bottle has proven that the 2000’s are extraordinary- especially in the Medoc. I am pleased that Clyde can still find values in this vintage even now.

Cinnamon prepared some dry aged New York steaks from our local Willow’s Market in our trusty cast iron pan to go with the claret. She served it with rice and stir fried vegetables- including some amazing Bok Choy from Clyde Beffa’s incredible Half Moon Bay garden. Having steak and claret is part of our weekly diet, and a treat that I look forward every weekend! Everything was extra good this week- especially the wine.

We decanted the 2000 Labégorce, Margaux ($39.99) about and hour ahead of dinner. This is an important first step with this 14 year old, as it needs a little time to open up after its decade plus in the bottle. The bouquet is very generous with this wine and I found everything from earthy, animal savor to cool cassis on the nose. In the mouth the wine was seamless with perfect medium body, a gift from the time in the bottle that can’t be replicated by wine making tricks. With the tannins resolving nicely, the acidity still bright and the fruit still sweet, this wine was ideal with the rich and flavorful dry aged New York steaks we paired it with. I have to admit to drinking a little bit more than my share of this one. Sorry Cinnamon!

With the big names of Bordeaux still charging a king’s ransom, many of our customers are turned off by Bordeaux. The 2000 Labégorce is a great example of why this category still has a lot to offer in special wines that one can still afford. If you like Bordeaux, and like a good steak, don’t miss this one!

Gary Westby

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