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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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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.
2009 Le Bonnat, Graves
Review Date: 9-29-2012
A textbook example of all that is best about the extraordinary 2009 vintage. Sweet, ripe black fruits, black currant and cassis. Wonderful concentration and richness of texture here. Positively silky tannins. Bright and fresh in style with a lovely minerality. Well-priced, and a perfect candidate to drink now or over the next 3 to 5 years.
1999 Fugue de Nenin, Pomerol
Review Date: 9-26-2012
The 1999 vintage has always been charming, medium to full-bodied with lovely sweet, upfront fruit. This second wine from Chateau Nenin in Pomerol is very much in step with the vintage as a whole. Elegant and richly textured, it offers sweet, ripe cherry notes combined with soft tannins. Drinking beautifully now, it can be enjoyed for many years to come.
2008 Bodegas Puelles Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 8-30-2012
Part of the first wave of our new Spanish direct import program, this is a classic Crianza at a great price. Bright, tangy red fruits take the lead here - fresh berries and sour cherry. Barrel aging in a mix of used American and French oak adds texture and subtle spice notes. Light, floral notes on the nose lend intrigue. I drink a lot of French and Italian wines, but more and more lately I find myself turning to Spain and to Rioja. Salud!
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.
2009 Cap de Faugeres, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 7-26-2012
You may have heard a great deal of talk about how good the 2009 vintage was in Bordeaux and wondered how much was mere hype. Happily, it’s all true. The wines are exceptional at every price point. This is a superb vintage to pick out one or two favorite candidates under $20 to buy by the case and drink over the next 5 to 10 years. Here is your Right Bank selection – the 2009 Cap de Faugères, Côtes de Castillon. “Opulent” is the only word to describe it. Wonderfully ripe, sweet dark fruit with a rich texture, yet surprisingly fresh and lively with fine tannins. Typical of the best of the vintage but at a price you can afford to drink every day. 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc.
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.
Fleury "Carte Rouge" 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.
2006 Michel Loriot "Pinot Meunier Vieilles Vignes" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-30-2011
In the typical Champagne blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, it is Pinot Meunier that is the odd man out, the perennial third wheel. Many of the largest Champagne houses don't even include it in their blends. However, when yields are kept low, particularly in the case of older vines, it can produce wines of stunning complexity. The wines of Michel Loriot, one of our newest grower producers, are all 100% Pinot Meunier. This is his very best wine, wonderfully rich, dense and complex, with a signature spiciness that is the hallmark of great Pinot Meunier. A rare treat, and a tremendous value.
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.
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