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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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2011 Patient Cottat "Le Grand Caillou" Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 11-29-2012
I have been a fan of this wine now for several vintages, and it is still one of the best $10 whites we have available for sale. If you are a fan of Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc, if you enjoy Sancerre and Pouilly Fume, but don't want to spend $20 to $30, this is the wine for you. Dry, crisp, clean. Mineral-driven. Notes of fresh herbs and citrus. Great as an aperitif or enjoy with a fresh baguette and your favorite goat cheese.
1997 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 11-1-2012
The savvy claret drinker quickly learns two important facts about Bordeaux - (1) prices vary enormously by vintage, and (2) not every vintage ages at the same pace. An essential grasp of the above leads one directly to the 1997 vintage. These wines are well-priced and perfectly aged. A superb example newly arrived off the boat from Bordeaux is the 1997 Chateau Lanessan, Haut-Medoc, available at a mere $17.99. A hint of youthful purple lingers within a wine shaded almost fully to garnet red. Notes of aromatic cedar and piquant truffle emerge from the glass. On the palate the wine is medium to full bodied with a suprising richness of texture. Red fruits predominate - tart red currant and sweet cherry. There is a hint of herbaceousness that lends a savory spiciness to the wine without any unripeness or astringency. About an hour into a meal of ribeye steak, brussel sprouts, and faro the wine really started singing - a choral trio of savory, sweet, and spicy that had me leaping to my feet in sheer excitement and shouting "Bravo!" The perfect choice for Friday night steak and claret.
2001 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Especial Rioja
Review Date: 10-30-2012
Quite possibly the best value in a Spanish wine we sell. 2001 was the best vintage in Rioja since 1995, and we have not seen its equal since. The 2001 Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial from La Rioja Alta embodies the very best winemaking traditions in the region as well as the extraordinary character of this vintage. Bright, wild berry fruits nicely accented by notes of coconut and cinnamon, tobacco and leather. Enjoy this with grilled lamb or your favorite paella recipe.
2009 Ferrero Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 10-26-2012
The last of the 2009 Rosso di Montalcino as the 2010's are beggining to arrive. The Ferrero winery was established on the southern slopes of the hill of Montalcino on part of the original Banfi property. The wonderful ripeness of this 2009 Ferrero Rosso di Montalcino is owing partly to its position on the hill and partly to the extraordinary quality of the vintage. This is Sangiovese in its purest form - complex and elusive, offering a kaleidoscope of flavors and aromas - fruit and spice, leather and earth. Outstanding value.
2009 Bois-Martin, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 10-13-2012
One of my top picks under $20 for the vintage. Lightly spicy with hints of new wood on the nose. Ripe, concentrated black fruits – tart, fresh-picked blackberry and sweet cassis. Incredibly rich, silky texture. A touch of Graves minerality. Tannins firm but very fine. Everything that is great about this 2009 vintage can be found in a single bottle of this wine.
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.
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 Tour Maillet, Pomerol
Review Date: 7-9-2012
Weighing in at a substantial 15% alcohol, this full-bodied effort offers tons of ripe fruit. Very modern in style, with good underlying structure. All Merlot.
2009 Clement Pichon, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 7-9-2012
Another great 2009 value, this wine comes from a property found just north of the city of Bordeaux itself. Big and round in style, the ripe, sweet, dark fruit really makes an impression. Oak influence shows in a ready toastiness that is neither obvious nor overwhelming and should integrate nicely with just a few years in the cellar. A superb value that really makes the most of the vintage.
Fluteau Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 6-24-2012
Yes, this is a rosé Champagne, and yes, it is so deeply colored that its appearance in the glass will shock you. This is a saignée style bottling very typical of the southernmost part of Champagne, the Côte des Bar, or Aube. The extra skin contact adds both color and flavor, enabling the wine to express more clearly the character of the Pinot Noir grape. Ripe, red cherry fruits, lightly floral with just a hint of licorice, this excellent grower producer Champagne is a rare treat that can be enjoyed on its own or with food.
Kilchoman Machir Bay Islay Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 6-6-2012
While every whisky drinker has their favorite, cherished bottle of some obscure single malt produced by a now defunct distillery, what we all really crave of course is that great, affordable bottle we can drink with pleasure whenever we wish. I visited Scotland one summer many years ago and recall fondly a small local pub just outside of Edinburgh. The place was warmed in the winter by peat fires. In the heat of August no fires were lit, but after many years the peat smoke had permeated the very stones of the building, lending the atmosphere a subtle, smoky character. I was reminded of that pub the moment I put my nose in a glass of the newly released Kilchoman Machir Bay Islay Single Malt Whisky. Smoke, citrus, and honey on the nose. A rich texture on the palate, surprising in such a young whisky. At once both delicate and robust, subtle yet assertive, this is an Islay malt that you can happily drink every day, either straight up or over ice. If you have enjoyed Ardbeg or Bruichladdich or Caol Ila in the past, you owe it to yourself to try this new, very affordable Kilchoman bottling. You'll be glad you did.
2007 Viña Eguía Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 5-22-2012
An incredible value in a Reserva level Rioja! A perfect marriage between fruit and oak - ripe, red cherry notes complemented by vanilla and spice. Rich and round, smooth-textured, this is a delight to drink.
Fleury "Carte Rouge" 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?
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