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Staff Favorites - Jeff Garneau
Jeff Garneau | Send Email | Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
Jeff has been a member of the sales staff in our Redwood City store for the past four years. His first introduction to wine was as a waiter in an upscale Italian restaurant in Hanover, NH more years ago than he likes to admit. He slowly made his way west to wine country, working his way across the US as a graduate student in geography, a public sector researcher in regional economic development, and briefly, in the wake of the Anderson-Enron scandal, a records management coordinator for one of the remaining Big Five accounting firms. Finally, surrendering to the inevitable, he accepted a position in the wine business here at K&L. His goals for the next four years include drinking more wines from Italy and France and trying to limit the number of open bottles on the dinner table on any given night to fewer than six.
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2002 Bowmore 11 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Single Refill Sherry Hogshead Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 7-16-2014
You stumble at the foot of the stairs, eyes struggling to adjust in the dim interior of the nightclub. Somewhere a piano plays an old jazz standard. You are certain you have heard it before but you can’t recall where or when. Soft voices murmur in the darkness, the words themselves indistinct. Suddenly a cigarette flares nearby, illuminating a face of porcelain etched in shadow. Smoke winds upward, disappearing into the gloom. Silk whispers against soft flesh as she raises a hand, gesturing to the chair opposite. You move to sit. The night is full of mystery and possibility. Who knows what might happen? Each year as I taste through the latest single malt offerings from Scotland painstakingly selected by our K&L Spirits team, one bottle in particular will inevitably speak to me. I never really know which one it will be. This year I was shocked to discover it was the 2002 Bowmore 11 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Single Refill Sherry Hogshead Single Malt Whisky. Although I enjoy peated whiskies, I am usually more of a Speyside fan. Yet this Bowmore had that extra something – something indefinable, ineffable – something that makes you take a step back, set down your notebook, and just – stop – for a moment. Incredibly soft and silky with a weight you want to savor forever on the tongue. And smoke. Not the raw choking smoke of mistakenly sitting downwind of the campfire. Something deliciously subtle. A memory of old peat fires, permeating the roof beams of a favorite pub. A stolen kiss, the flavor of tobacco on soft lips. A suggestion, a hint, a grace note. Remarkable. Transcendent.
2013 Margerum "K&L Cuvee" Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 6-30-2014
You tend to see two main styles of Sauvignon Blanc in California. They are either lighter in style, very dry and crisp with tart citrus notes, or fuller-bodied, with more texture and weight (often due to barrel aging), showing more tropical fruit. The 2013 Margerum "K&L Cuvee" Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc somehow seems to combine the best of both. There is real richness here with exotic melon and mango notes. At the same the wine has a taut, linear style with a marked acidity and an admirable tension unusual in a California Sauvignon Blanc. Really superb, and the perfect wine for those who like having their cake and eating it too.
2013 Clendenen Santa Maria Valley Mondeuse Rosé
Review Date: 6-30-2014
Each year here at K&L the advent of warmer weather yields a brand new crop of rosé wines from all over the world. Rosés are the perfect summer wine – dry (for the most part), lighter in body, yet robust in character and flavor. I try to taste as broadly as possible in the early days yet, inevitably, one or two become my favorites and we end up drinking our way through a case or two over the summer. The early favorite this year was, rather unexpectedly, the 2013 Clendenen Santa Maria Valley Mondeuse Rosé. A bit obscure, Mondeuse is found primarily in the Savoy region of France. Jim Clendenden, of Au Bon Climat, maintains a few rows of the grape in the Bien Nacido vineyard. In some years, he adds a small amount to Pinot Noir for his Santa Barbara County bottling. The same grape makes for a bright, tangy rosé, very dry and crisp in style, with tart red fruits and a refreshing minerality. Delicious.
2011 Thierry & Pascale Matrot Bourgogne Blanc
Review Date: 6-18-2014
An unbeatable bargain in a white Burgundy. Richly textured. Lightly nutty. Very satisfying. Eminently drinkable. One of the best values in the store and a "must try" for Chardonnay fans.
Daniel Ginsburg "Grande Reserve Sous Bois" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 6-2-2014
In any given week here at K&L, we taste dozens, sometimes hundreds of wines, and we try to do so in a comprehensive, consistent, and competent manner. However, just like our customers we are wine consumers as well, and sometimes, in the privacy and comfort of our own homes, professional detachment goes out the window. I was fortunate to enjoy the other night a bottle of the Daniel Ginsburg "Grande Reserve Sous Bois" Brut Champagne. My immediate reaction upon tasting it was “Wow! That is a manly goddamn Champagne!” I don’t know whether it is the high proportion of Pinot Noir, the partial barrel aging, the extended time on the lees, or some combination of all three, but this is a bruiser of a wine -– dense, powerful, broad shouldered –- and yet it manages to combine incredible richness with remarkable focus and clarity. Absolutely delicious, and a terrific value.
2010 Lambuena Crianza Ribera del Duero
Review Date: 5-30-2014
The extension of our Direct Import program to Spain is one of the most exciting things to happen to our Spanish wine selection in years. For the first time we are able to offer small production wines of extraordinary quality at unbelievable prices. Some of the first wines to arrive from the Ribera del Duero region come from Bodegas Lambuena. The best of these in my opinion is the 2010 Lambuena Crianza, a supremely balanced wine that combines a bright, lively character with ample ripeness of fruit. It is a rich, dark, oak-inflected wine that is sure to please a wide range of palates. The 2010 vintage is of such quality that while the wine can be enjoyed now, it will more than reward another 3 to 5 years in the cellar. Currently one of the best $20 reds we have to offer, irrespective of varietal or region of origin.
2013 Abbaye Saint Hilaire Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé
Review Date: 5-29-2014
Every spring, the return of clear, blue skies and long, sunny afternoons heralds the start of rosé season. Rosé is the perfect wine to enjoy with a summer meal when you want something more substantial than a white and it’s just too hot for red. One of the world’s classic rosé wines comes from Provence in southern France. There are a number of different appellations but all produce blends made from Cinsault, Mourvedre, Grenache, and Syrah, among other varietals. One of my favorites is the 2013 Abbaye Saint Hilaire Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé. This is a prestige cuvee made exclusively from their oldest vines, none younger than 25 years old. It is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, and Syrah, and has that particular combination of ripeness and freshness that I associate with the best of the Provençal rosés. Tons of red fruits here – fresh-picked wild raspberry and strawberry notes. Delightfully refreshing and the perfect companion for a lazy summer afternoon.
2010 Quinta de Arcoso "Padrao dos Povos" Tras-os-Montes
Review Date: 5-1-2014
We field more and more inquiries every day about the availability of red wines from Portugal. These can be tough to find. If you do find one, it is more likely to be international in style and with no true distinctiveness. From the rugged, isolated hill country in the extreme northeast of Portugal, the 2010 Quinta de Arcoso "Padrao dos Povos" is the real deal. Foot-trodden and tank-aged using traditional methods, this blend of Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela and Touriga Franca is medium bodied with bright red fruits and a lively minerality that reflects the largely granitic character of the region's (admittedly poor) soils. Superb regional character and typicity for a mere $15.99.
2011 Domaine Ballorin & F Marsannay "Les Echezots"
Review Date: 5-1-2014
Our first vintage of the wines of Gilles Ballorin, an extraordinarily talented young winemaker with a passion for Burgundy and an obsession with quality. The 2011 Domaine Ballorin & F. Marsannay Les Echezots offers surprising weight for the vintage. Open-knit, approachable but with remarkable purity and focus. Sappy and fresh with a lively minerality and an intriguing spiciness.
2012 Hanzell "Sebella" Sonoma Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 5-1-2014
One of the most impressive California Chardonnays I have enjoyed in a very long time. The perfect wine for those seeking an alternative to the popular "oaky/buttery" style which characterizes so much domestic Chardonnay. Aging in neutral oak adds texture but not flavor, perfectly complementing the citrus and mineral-driven character of the fruit. What a joy to drink!
1986 Haut-Bailly, Graves
Review Date: 4-30-2014
The wines of the '86 vintage were forbiddingly tannic in their youth and very slow to evolve. Closing in on 30 years past the vintage they are really coming into their own. The 1986 Haut Bailly, Pessac-Leognan is certainly a strong candidate for one of the most charming wines of the vintage. The wine has all the hallmarks of a nicely aged claret - fully garnet color, bottle notes of cedar and saddle leather, and a fine coating of tannins on the finish that is the legacy of this long-lived vintage. In addition, however, it also offers a remarkable sweetness of fruit - red currant and cherry. The wine is possessed of a lovely ripeness and a suppleness of texture that became even more evident with additional aeration.
2011 Truchard Carneros Pinot Noir
Review Date: 3-29-2014
One of the most successful wines from the difficult 2011 vintage I have yet tasted. Very pretty with bright cranberry and rhubarb notes. Very well done.
2012 Carlos Diaz "Estrela" Ribeira Sacra
Review Date: 3-29-2014
Kudos to the buyer of our Spanish wines, Joe Manekin, for launching a direct import program. So far his hard work has yielded a great lineup of delicious, affordable wines. The 2012 Carlos Diaz "Estrela" Ribeira Sacra is one of the latest. Mostly Mencia, unoaked, and just amazingly good for under $20. A little earthy, a little floral, a little spicy. Bright and lively with good grip. What a find!
2012 Domaine Cherrier Père & Fils Sancerre
Review Date: 2-19-2014
I love Sauvignon Blanc. It is grown all over the world in every type of climate and every type of soil, and it reveals a different side of itself in every case. For me though, the epitome of great Sauvignon Blanc will always be Sancerre from the Loire Valley of France. This 2012 Domaine Cherrier Pere et Fils Sancerre is a perfect example of why I feel that way. It offers ripe, tangy gooseberry and tart, fresh grapefruit notes. It is lively and fresh,and intensely mineral in expression with hints of fresh herbs like tarragon and savory. And due to direct purchase we are able to offer this wine at $10 to $15 less than one would typically pay for most Sancerres. A tremendous value and a superb wine. Try it with your favorite goat cheese (I like the California Crottin from Redwood Hill Farm) and a fresh baguette.
2007 York Creek "MXB" Spring Mountain District Red Blend
Review Date: 1-23-2014
For those California wine fans looking for an all-purpose house red, look no further than this 2007 York Creek Vineyards MXB. This old style field blend incorporates five different varietals, with Zinfandel taking the lead. True to the warm 2007 vintage, the wine offers sweet, ripe red and black fruits yet remains bright and lively in character. The extra time in bottle means the oak is very nicely integrated, adding just a bit of spice on the nose and palate. Although it could be enjoyed on its own, this might just be the perfect BBQ wine. I can't wait to try it with our local Fred Steak. As good as this wine is, the price seals the deal. Incredible value for a mere $15.99.
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