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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 Blason Pinot Grigio Isonzo (1L)
Review Date: 9-28-2013
Two things to know about this wine. ONE. While it is sadly true that there is an ocean of indifferent pinot grigio produced in Italy, this is NOT one of those wines. Do not let the low price fool you. This is serious wine. TWO. It comes in a liter bottle. Our friends at Blason offered us this special bottling after we told them of the popularity with our customers of Austrian Gruner Veltliner bottled in the liter format. So, for every three bottles you buy, you get the equivalent of an extra 750ml bottle for free! Buy three bottles today. You can sip a delightful glass of chilled 2012 Blason Pinot Grigio while you work out the math.
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.
2009 Martinat, Côtes de Bourg
Review Date: 8-31-2013
From the heart of the Côtes de Bourg on the Right Bank of the Gironde River comes the 2009 Chateau Martinat. The blend is 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Malbec. This is a big, full-bodied red wine, impossibly huge with surprising weight and a rich, velvety texture. Ripe, mouth filling fruit reminiscent of a freshly baked plum tart. Fresh, lively, and balanced with fine tannins. Drink now or over the next 5 years.
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.
2010 Alta Maria Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 5-2-2013
I have a regular customer who is always looking for great values in California Pinot Noir in the $15 to $25 range. I sent her home with one bottle of the 2010 Alta Maria Vineyards Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir and a week later she bought a case. Try it yourself and you will understand why. Intriguingly spicy nose with hints of nutmeg and allspice. Sweet black cherry and tart cranberry notes. Rich, ripe, and round, this is a generous but supremely balanced effort. Great wine. Great price. What's not to love?
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 Cameron Hughes "Lot #341" Santa Maria Valley Syrah
Review Date: 4-13-2013
No, I don't know who actually made this wine. Cameron Hughes seems to have a talent for finding and bottling great wines from top producers at unbelievable prices, but they are famously tight lipped about the wine's origins. I do know that this is really good cool climate California Syrah. A suggestion of tar on the nose. Ripe, fresh-picked blueberries and cracked black pepper on the palate. Lively acidity and fine tannins frame a perfectly balanced expression of this classic Rhone varietal. All for less than $20. You don't need to know who made it to enjoy it. And your wallet won't care.
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.
2010 Haut de Poujeaux, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 3-13-2013
Good news about Bordeaux. You CAN afford to drink it. OK. Maybe you aren't popping the cork on a bottle of vintage Chateau Lafite every night (and if you are, good for you), but the truth is there is a lot of wine made in Bordeaux, and in the best vintages like 2009 and 2010, there are some astonishingly good values in the $10 to $20 range. Like this 2010 Haut de Poujeaux, Haut Medoc. From the owners of Chateau Poujeaux in Moulis, this Cab/Merlot blend is a big, full-bodied wine, rich and round with superb structure. Plenty of ripe red fruits here, cherry and plum. I like this even better than the 2009. Approachable now but will more than reward another 3 to 5 years in the cellar.
2009 Larmande, St-Emilion
Review Date: 2-25-2013
Consistently one of the best values in a Saint Emilion Grands Crus Classé, Chateau Larmande lies just to the north of the town of Saint Emilion itself on a mixture of sand, limestone, and clay soils. The vineyards are planted to 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. 60% new oak is used each year. The 2009 vintage is classically-styled, rich and round with good weight and mouthfeel. Sweet red and black fruits here with firm, fine tannins. Will reward time in the cellar.
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.
2009 Mylord "Cuvée Milady" Bordeaux
Review Date: 2-25-2013
This AOC Bordeaux comes from the northern part of the Entre-Deux-Mers region. The vineyards – planted to 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc – are in the Dordogne River valley a few miles south of Saint Emilion. Soils are predominantly clay limestone. The 2009 vintage offers a rich, grapey nose with just a hint of oak spice. The wine is smooth in texture, round and open knit in style with ripe plum and cherry notes. A superb vintage and an excellent value in everyday Bordeaux.
2006 Sesta di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino Riserva
Review Date: 1-24-2013
Youthfully exuberant. Very fresh with tons of sweet, ripe red fruits. Very round with lovely weight and character. Still quite firm. Will need time to develop and evolve. Patience is required here.
1979 Glenfarclas K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 12-26-2012
An exceptional single cask bottling, this '79 Glenfarclas is a model of subtlety and finesse. Aged in a fourth fill sherry butt, the whiskey trades typical Glenfarclas overt sweetness for layered complexity. A honeyed nose offers notes of dried fruits, butterscotch, and vanilla. On the palate intriguing gingerbread spice and a wonderful black licorice note that reminded me of the old fashioned penny candy we used to buy when I was a kid. The creamy, rich texture makes this a whiskey to savor.
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.
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