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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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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.
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.
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.
2010 Domaine du Roumané Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 5-18-2012
The southern Rhone Valley has enjoyed an unprecedented run of great vintages over the past decade. Great news for the bargain hunter since they have produced a bounty of affordable, everyday red wines in the $10 to $15 range. The 2010 Domaine du Roumane Cotes du Rhone is a great example. A blend of Grenache & Syrah with loads of spice and generous fruit. I look to pair these wines with anything slow cooked - roasted, braised, or stewed. They are also excellent with smoky flavors, BBQ, etc.
2009 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 4-28-2012
Long time customers of K&L will recognize this producer. We have carried many different vintages over the years. I was privileged to taste the 2009 out of barrel when we visited the chateau a couple of years ago. The proprietor, Eric Miailhe, confided that he considered it the finest wine he had ever made, possibly the finest he would ever make at this property. This is a big wine! Tons of sweet fruit backed by fine tannins. Needs perhaps five years to pull itself together and can then be enjoyed for many years to come. 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.
2008 Bois-Malot, Bordeaux Supérieur
Review Date: 4-28-2012
From the commune of Saint-Loubès in the Entre-Deux-Mers region, just 15km from the city of Bordeaux. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. Having settled down considerably since its release one year ago, this wine now offers exceptional value. Plenty of ripeness here with bright, tangy red fruits and rich, soft texture. Drink now, or over the next one to three years.
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.
Marguet Pere et Fils "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 3-31-2012
I have enjoyed the wines of Benoit Marguet in the past but I think this may be his finest effort yet. An incomparably rich style with toasty, brioche character. Gorgeously ripe fruit that puts one in mind of a freshly baked apple tart still warm from the oven. A hedonist's delight, and, like all of our direct import Champagnes, shockingly well-priced.
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