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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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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!
2011 Jacques Bavard Bourgogne Blanc
Review Date: 1-29-2014
The new whites from Jacques Bavard are some of the best I have tasted from this 2011 vintage. The 2011 Jacques Bavard Bourgogne Blanc was a particular favorite. The fruit is all Puligny with the classic minerality and wonderful drive that defines the appellation. Pure. Expressive. And drinking beautifully right now.
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.
2009 Les Allées de Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 11-7-2013
Easily the best $20 Bordeaux in the store. Why? Well, the 2009 vintage was the best since 2005 for wines at the $10 to $20 price point. And Chateau Cantemerle is one of only five Haut Medoc properties that are designated "cru classe", in fact it is a fifth growth. Finally, the quality of the 2009 vintage was such that even second wines like the "Les Allees" really excel. Loads of dark fruit here, blackberry and cassis. Superb Cabernet character. I was shocked by how well this is drinking already. If you really want to get your money's worth, though, tuck this away in the cellar for a few years. You won't regret it.
2012 Rickshaw California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-31-2013
Our fourth vintage of the very popular Rickshaw Pinot Noir and certainly their best yet. Plenty of ripe red fruits here - cranberry and rhubarb, pomegranate and cherry. Nicely integrated oak adds a bit of spice and a hint of cocoa. A fine effort and a superb value.
2013 Lake Chalice "The Nest" Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand
Review Date: 10-16-2013
I must say I genuinely liked the 2012 vintage of this Lake Chalice "The Nest" Sauvignon Blanc. It showed good regional character and real varietal typicity. Classic NZ Sauvignon Blanc in fact at an excellent price. But this 2013 vintage! Wow! If the previous vintage was the warm up act then this is the star of the show. Gorgeous ripe gooseberry notes, sweet and tangy along with wonderfully savory notes of fresh herbs, tarragon and Thai basil. This is a bold, unapologetic wine that is an absolute delight to drink. Maybe the best $10 Sauvignon Blanc in the store right now and my new House White.
2005 Island Distillery (Ledaig) 7 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Exclusive Malts" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 10-8-2013
No, I don't know who made it so don't ask me. What I can tell you is this. This whiskey is the perfect reply to all those who think that "older is better". This is a brash, youthful, impetuous effort, still redolent with the grassy, floral notes of the malted grain. Wreathed in smoke, head bent intently over a battered Moleskine notebook, writing furiously...who is this guy? An anarchist? A poet? or the billionare founder-to-be of the next great Internet startup? Share a glass, and find out for yourself...
2009 La Fleur Calon, Montagne St-Emilion
Review Date: 8-31-2013
This well-priced Right Bank offering was the standout wine at a recent staff Bordeaux tasting. It just goes to show how good a vintage 2009 is for wines in the $10 to $20 range. Loads of rich fruit, ripe cherry and plum. Lively and fresh in character with fine tannins. Drink or hold.
2012 Napa Cellars Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 7-4-2013
You know what you like. You know what you want. You like Napa Chardonnay in a big, rich style and you're tired of paying $30 to $40 for it, when you can get it. This just released 2012 Napa Cellars Chardonnay offers all that and more. Notes of citrus and melon on the nose, ripe apple and pear on the palate. And, oh yeah, a sensuous, buttery character that's deftly seasoned with lightly spicy oak. All that for a mere $13.99, less than half the price of more famous brands. Buy it by the case. Enjoy it by the glass. No excuses. No apologies.
2009 Saarloos & Sons "His" Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 4-25-2013
When I walked into the Saarloos & Sons tasting room in Los Olivos a couple of months ago, I wasn't sure quite what to expect. Which, in hindsight, is just as well, since Keith and Brad Saarloos are pretty good at defying expectations, challenging preconceptions, and gleefully poking with a stick anything that smacks of convention and pretense. We tasted a lot of great wines, most of which I don’t remember well because Keith insisted I stop taking notes. At some point he also insisted I stop spitting, so tasting became drinking. So we drank and we talked. About wine, about grapes, about music, art, and life. It is worth noting at this point that Saarloos & Sons are farmers first and foremost. They grow grapes of exceptional quality, most of which they sell to other winemakers. A small amount they hold back every year to make their own wine. They sell exclusively direct to consumer, not through retail wine shops. But at the end of that evening they paid us the ultimate compliment. They offered us a couple of wines to make available to our K&L customers, the 2009 Saarloos & Sons "His" Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and the 2010 Saarloos & Sons "Hers" Santa Ynez Valley Grenache Blanc. I absolutely recommend a visit to their tasting room in Los Olivos to taste their full selection, but until your next trip we are honored to share these two wines with you. I enjoyed the Cabernet Sauvignon at dinner the other night with my nephew. We grilled a 2 lb “Fred Steak” from Schaub’s in Palo Alto, serving it with roasted baby Yukon potatoes and fresh local asparagus. The Cab was a perfect companion to the spicy, smoky meaty deliciousness that is Fred steak. A hint of violets and new wood on the nose. On the palate the wine has a rich, silky texture with notes of blackberry jam and cassis. Imagine the blackberry jam your grandmother used to make, heading out before dawn to her secret spot to pick fresh wild blackberries, then spending the rest of the day canning blackberry preserves. There is a sweetness of fruit, a ripeness perfectly offset by a liveliness and a freshness that keeps the wine in perfect balance. The finish is framed by fine tannins that lie lightly on the tongue, caressing the palate like a finely woven cotton blanket on a cool summer night. If there is a perfect California Cabernet Sauvignon, this is it. Expertly crafted, and a pure joy to drink.
2010 Brewer-Clifton "Mt. Carmel Vineyard" Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 3-27-2013
The Mount Carmel Vineyard's cool, windswept site and old vine fruit produces taut, powerful wines with great potential for aging. Strikingly mineral in expression, intense and concentrated. A bit of air reveals ripe stone and orchard fruits, and a hint of toast. Much potential here. Needs time.
2009 Arnauton, Fronsac
Review Date: 2-25-2013
Fronsac lies alongside Pomerol and Saint Emilion on the Right Bank, producing Merlot-based wines of good quality at good prices. A long, warmer than average autumn meant that much of the Merlot crop got quite ripe in 2009, resulting in some cases in full-bodied wines with a floral, almost exotic character. The 2009 Arnauton is one of these, richly textured with sweet, plummy fruit.
2009 Trébiac, Graves
Review Date: 2-25-2013
Our customers enjoyed both the 2000 and the 2005 vintage of this well-priced Graves red. The 2009 is another excellent example of the quality of the wines being produced within the appellation, one of the areas longest under vine in the entire region. The percentage of Merlot – at 80% – is unusually high for the appellation, and it shows in the intriguing spice cake and ripe plum notes. The decidedly mineral character of the wine is classic Graves, however, typical of the wines of the area.
Bruno Michel Premier Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 11-30-2012
I recently enjoyed my first Dungeness crab of the season and this was the champagne I chose to drink with it. 100% Chardonnay from Bruno Michel's oldest vines. Crisp, clean and very dry with a very light toast. Bright citrus and tart green apple notes. Focused, precise, with tremendous concentration and length, this is serious wine.
2007 Baricci Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 11-30-2012
I have been drinking Italian wine for over 30 years, and I don't think I realized until recently just how astonishingly good the wines of Nello Baricci are. This is Sangiovese in its purest form from the best plot - Montosoli - on the highest part of the hill of Montalcino. While I usually don't recommend drinking these wines before their tenth birthday, I was amazed at how well this 2007 Baricci Brunello di Montalcino is already drinking. Ripe red cherry fruit, spice and old leather. Drink now or anytime over the next ten years.
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