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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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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.
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.
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.
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.
2004 Peyrabon, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 10-31-2013
This value priced Haut Médoc comes from a property that literally sits astride the border with Pauillac (seven contiguous hectares actually fall within the Pauillac appellation with the wine sold as La Fleur Peyrabon, Pauillac). This is, quite frankly, astonishingly good. The wine is just beginning to show hints of some bottle age. While still deeply colored, youthful purple is beginning to give way to garnet at the rim. There is a hint of cedar on the nose. On the palate loads of ripe dark fruit - bright, tart blackberry and sweet black plum. Well-integrated oak adds complexity and spice. Smooth-textured, rich and round with fine tannins. Ready to drink. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc.
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...
2010 Cantina Terlan "Vorberg" Pinot Bianco Riserva
Review Date: 6-27-2013
Occasionally you may be fortunate enough to taste a wine of such focus and intensity, such extraordinary purity, that you cannot help but wonder briefly if you are worthy enough to drink it. And the answer is, of course, yes, albeit with the appropriate degree of awe and reverence. The 2010 Cantina Terlan Vorberg Pinot Bianco Riserva is one such wine. Intensely mineral in expression, lightly spicy, with depths you could lose yourself in. An unparalleled effort from a superb vintage.
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.
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.
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.
Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-30-2012
The current disgorgement of the Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne is perhaps a little firmer, a little less open knit than previous bottlings. But the tradeoff is more focus, more purity, and more length. Drink in place of an afterwork cocktail. Open a bottle for friends for no reason. I try to always keep a bottle in the fridge. Just in case.
Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 9-29-2012
For longtime fans of Moet White Star or Veuve Cliquot this is the perfect introduction to grower producer Champagnes. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier from Pierry south of Epernay, the Bruno Michel "Cuvee Blanche" offers lightly toasty, classic "brioche" character, a creamy texture, and crisp, ripe apple notes supported by a firm mineral backbone. This is superb Champagne at a great price.
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