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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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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.
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.
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...
1989 Chasse-Spleen, Moulis
Review Date: 9-28-2013
A few years back when we traveled to Bordeaux to taste the 2009 vintage out of barrel, we were served the 1989 Chasse Spleen at lunch at the Chateau. Given the opportunity to taste it again, I jumped at the chance. At nearly 25 years of age the wine is near its peak. The nose speaks of a mature Bordeaux - cedar and tobacco, leather and prunes. On the palate the ripeness of the '89 vintage shines through - loads of dark fruit - tart blackcurrant and fig jam. Tannins are quite fine with a bit of firmness remaining. Delicious last night with a grilled ribeye steak, roasted fingerling potatoes and brussel sprouts.
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.
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