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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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Franck Bonville "Belles Voyes" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 8-17-2012
When most people talk about "value for money" they are thinking of a great $10 red. At $67.99 this is our best "value" in Champagne, easily the equal of wines selling for many hundreds of dollars. This wine was featured in our last staff Champagne tasting and elicited a collective moment of silence in sheer appreciation. If you think you can't appreciate a great Champagne, try tasting this alongside the Franck Bonville "Brut Selection" Blanc de Blancs Champagne at $32.99 - excellent in its own right - and you will see what I mean.
2008 La Parde de Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 7-16-2012
A small crop and a long, cool growing season at Chateau Haut-Bailly in 2008 produced balanced, concentrated wines with ripe fruit and lively acidity. The second wine, La Parde de Haut-Bailly includes a much higher percentage of Merlot than the grand vin--51% to its 30%--creating a softer, more immediately accessible wine. Smooth texture. Lovely mouthfeel and weight. Exceptional. One of the best wines I have tasted from this 2008 vintage. Should drink well over the next decade or more.
San Venanzio Prosecco Brut
Review Date: 6-24-2012
While the classic Italian Prosecco is "Extra Dry", with just a touch of sweetness on the finish, this charming sparkling wine from San Venanzio is made in a "Brut" style more familiar to American palates. At a mere 11.5% alcohol and at the very attractive, direct import price of $14.99, it's easy on both your palate and your wallet. Crisp, bone dry, refreshing. Low in alchohol. Low in price. An ideal aperitif you can enjoy every day.
Fleury Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 5-18-2012
This extraordinary 100% Pinot Noir sparkling wine comes to us from the Aube, the southernmost part of the Champagne region. In the early 1900s, when the boundaries of the Champagne appellation were being formally drawn, it seemed for a time that producers in the Aube would be excluded by their brother growers to the north. They took to the streets in protest and French troops had to be called in to quell the riots. Because we are buying these wines directly in France you can enjoy them today at a price that won't provoke civil unrest. Why would you drink anything else?
1997 Potensac, Médoc
Review Date: 4-17-2012
One of the very best properties in the Medoc, Chateau Potensac has been owned for many years by the Delon family of Leoville Las Cases in St. Julien. The quality of the wine can be attributed both to the superb character of the terroir at the Chateau and to the additional resources made available through its long association with a top second growth. The 1997 Potensac is one of the best I have tasted from this vintage. It is surprisingly youthful in character, displaying a deep purple to red color, a very floral nose with elements of new wood, and pleasingly ripe, sweet red and black fruits. Like most Medoc wines, it is a broad shouldered effort, very structured and firm. It needed a good hour in a decanter, and really started to shine about 2 hours into a meal of grilled ribeye steak with asparagus and roasted potatoes. At a price comfortably below that of the classified growths, this lovely wine should prove immensely satisfying to any lover of good claret.
1994 Gruaud-Larose, St-Julien
Review Date: 3-31-2012
A good vintage that was spoiled somewhat by rain at harvest, the wines are a little lighter in body than they might have been otherwise but in all other respects are quite good. This 1994 Gruaud Larose offers a savory nose of leather and tobacco, tangy red currant notes and an enticing hint of mint. The perfect claret to accompany a nice beef roast or a Friday night ribeye.
2009 La Lagune, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 3-6-2012
Deeply colored, aromatic, floral and spicy. Loads of dark, sweet fruit. Unbelievably bright and fresh. A superb effort.
1989 Meyney, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 2-29-2012
From a warm vintage with wonderfully ripe fruit. Classic black currant and cassis. Notes of black licorice and coffee. Beautifully made. Richly textured. Nicely mature but with many years ahead of it. Great value from one of the best vintages of the '80s if you are looking for something to drink tonight, or to set aside for the next time you feel the need to grill up a nice,dry-aged ribeye.
Launois "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 12-9-2011
I am embarrassed to admit that before I met Gary Westby, our Champagne buyer, I was not a drinker of Champagne. I probably had had one or two bottles of mediocre, bulk-produced sparkling wine (not Champagne) and dismissed all sparkling wines on that basis. Then Gary introduced me to grower-producer Champagnes like the Launois "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne. The quality--the authenticity--of the wines was a revelation. And the great prices made possible through our direct import program made it impossible not to try as many as I could. If you want to learn about the Côte des Blancs--the home of the finest Chardonnay in Champagne--about Grand Cru sites like Mesnil and Oger, then this is a tutorial in a glass. Fine bead. Clean. Crisp. Wonderfully mineral in its expression, while still rich in texture. Try it on its own as an aperitif or, better yet, with our local Dungeness crab.
2002 Bruno Michel "Cuvee Millésime" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-15-2011
2002 may very well be the finest all around vintage in Champagne since the trio of great vintages in the late 1980’s – 1988,1989,1990. Combining lively acidity with dense, powerfully concentrated fruit, the 2002 vintage invites comparisons with the fabled 1990 vintage. The 2002 Bruno Michel "Cuvee Millésime" Brut Champagne is a great example of the best of what the vintage has to offer. Tightly wound and complex yet richly textured, this wine is the epitome of restrained opulence. Lightly floral notes of acacia and wet stone give way to sweet, baked apple and cinnamon spice. A hint of brioche graces the very dry finish. While this wine can be enjoyed on its own (if you are in a particularly pensive mood), it will be at its best when paired with food. Try it with roast chicken or sole meunière, or, for a real treat, a bowl of lightly salted, freshly popped popcorn.
Ariston Aspasie "Brut Prestige" Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 9-23-2011
One of my favorites among our direct import Champagnes. The ONLY way to enjoy this wine more is to drink it out of magnum. Rich, ripe fruit, classic "toasty" brioche character. I took a bottle this weekend to a large party with many wonderful bottles of wine open for the sampling. My only regret is that I didn't bring TWO magnums; this was one of the first bottles emptied.
Antech "Brut Nature" Blanquette de Limoux
Review Date: 9-23-2011
The Limoux area of the Languedoc in southern France is the oldest sparkling wine producing region in the world, predating even Champagne. Blanquette is made mostly from the local variety Mauzac, which adds a delightfully crisp, fresh apple quality. The remainder is Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. Antech's Brut Nature is produced with no added dosage, creating a wine that is super dry, crisp and clean, and bracingly refreshing. Delicious, and a terrific value!
2001 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 7-7-2011
For lovers of Bordeaux looking for a guilt free, everyday claret. Drinking beautifully at 10 years of age. Value priced at under $20. Lovely ripe red fruits - tart currant and sweet cherry. Wonderfully savory. Enticingly spicy. Good concentration, persistence and length. Spot on.
Deligeroy Cremant de Loire Brut
Review Date: 5-20-2011
The region of Saumur in the Loire Valley of France is the largest producer of sparkling wines outside of Champagne. This blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc is an astonishing value at $11.99. Dry and crisp in style with a rich, creamy texture. Affordable by the case for a special event. Inexpensive enough to enjoy guilt-free any night of the week. Sante!
1988 Chasse-Spleen, Moulis
Review Date: 1-31-2011
One of the top wines from Moulis, which lies between Margaux and St. Julien. Fully mature, it offers aromatic cedar notes on the nose. On the palate dried currant and truffle notes. Savory, with lively acidity this is a classic claret at the peak of maturity. Enjoy with your favorite cut of lamb or beef. If there is a drop or two left in the decanter you can enjoy it with the cheese course. A Bordeaux lovers wine at a great price.
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