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K&L Staff Recommendations
2014 Eric Cottat Sancerre $18.99
Francois and Jean-Marie Cherrier with father Pierre produce steely and citrus-driven Sancerre from fine parcels of Sauvignon Blanc planted in Sancerre's silex (flint) and chalky soils. Yields are kept low and harvest is done strictly by hand before fermenting in 100% stainless steel. Vibrantly aromatic and mineral-driven, this is quintessential Sancerre. (Eric Story, Loire Buyer)
This Chardonnay is produced by the three brothers Couillaud at the Château de la Ragotière, a few minutes from the Atlantic near the mouth of the Loire River, where the maritime climate is ideal for producing whites that are refreshing and bright. The Couillauds age most of this wine on its lees until bottling to add weight and texture with around 10% being barrel-fermented in French oak for the faintest touch of toastiness. Saveur magazine wrote about a previous vintage: "This value-priced Chardonnay tastes crisp and bright. It comes from the western Lo... Read More »
One of K&L's very finest buys from France. This is a reserve cuvée, made from Millet's chalkiest limestone soils. There is a long maceration at very low temperatures to extract as much flavor and character as possible. The resulting wine is intensely charged with stone fruit and minerality, with bright citrus notes. However, due to the amazingly warm vintage, it's quite soft, with layers of rich fruit.
Wine Spectator: "Soft, delivering ginger, brioche and pear notes, with a friendly, open finish. Drink now. (Web Only—2013)" K&L Notes: A pale yellow wine with tiny bubbles, this Cremant de Loire Brut is rounded and delicate with a fine, nervy, complex nose and the freshness of Chenin Blanc, floral Chardonnay and fruity Cabernet Franc from 20- to 30-year-old vines. With its lively attack, it evolves gracefully across the palate with nice aromatic persistence in the mouth and lingering notes of fresh peaches and pear. A great opener to a memorable night! 12.5% abv. (Eric Story, Loire B... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "A soft sparkler, featuring cherry, peach and strawberry notes, with a pillowy finish. Drink now. (Web Only—2013)" K&L Notes: A wine with tiny, long-lasting bubbles, Deligeroy's Cremant de Loire Rosé is a lovely gleaming pink, enticing with a delicate, nervy nose and aromas of fresh red fruit. It's lively on the attack and has lovely aromatic intensity and brightness. Well-balanced in the mouth, this sparkler is enhanced by a fresh but subtle finish. The wine is stored for at least 12 months on racks in freestone cellars before disgorging to make incomparably fine bub... Read More »
The 2013 Franck Millet "Vieilles Vignes" Sancerre Blanc is a vineyard selection of older vines, roughly 40 years old and bottled specifically for us. It shows nice concentration throughout along with the precision and drive of the limestone rich soils. Done entirely in stainless steel to retain its freshness and verve but, also was allowed some extra lees contact to add more middle complexity. Drink now and over the next 3-5 years. Pair it with an earthy cheese such as a drier style of goat and also fantastic with an assortment of fresh ocean going critt... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Light and bright with plenty of fruit and a lsoft texture, this lemon-flavored wine has crisp acidity and a ready-to-drink freshness." (11/2015) K&L Notes: Sancerre at half the price! The Fournier family, with roots as deep as their vines in this region, seem to be related to just about everyone in some way. They've been farming and producing wines in Sancerre for generations. We are pleased to have been offered this wine, yet again, at such a great price. Soft, subtle mineral notes are wrapped up in aromatics of melon and citrus. Clean, bright and refreshing, this i... Read More »
This Sauvignon Blanc from Touraine displays an intense, classic nose of cut grass, pepper and, believe it or not, pineapples and lemons, with plenty of minerality. Very crisp and refreshing, like a cross between a classic Touraine and a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, at an astonishingly low price! Perfect with seafood. Grown in an area located between the Loire River and the Cher River and sandwiched between the towns of Tours and Blois, the wine shows the classic characteristics of the rich clay soils that are fortified with flint and limestone. Very brig... Read More »
Invigorating and fresh, with lemony citrus aromas and flavors accented by delicate white flowers. The palate is full and fresh, with balanced acidity and minerality on the finish. This a style of wine which keeps your palate fresh and alive. Although easy to drink, it has complexity and intrigue up and down the aromatic and palate. You'll be wanting another after the first one has disappeared. (Eric Story, Loire Buyer)
Translated to mean "the son of the fat sheep," this delicious Muscadet is made by Claude Branger, a committed grower who farms his 61 acres in the heart of the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appellation completely sustainably, with an attention to detail that translates to wines of superior quality. He harvests by hand, and bottles without fining or filtration. This is his entry-level Muscadet and a glorious value for the price. It is dry and fresh, with tangy lemony citrus aromas and flavors, delicate creaminess on the mid-palate, and a minerally finish. You w... Read More »
From a classic producer in the Loire Valley (est. 1893), this Chenin Blanc hums with acidity while showing stone fruit notes on the medium-bodied palate. The finish is just a touch sweet, though its electric acidity provides a delicious yin-yang effect. Pair with creamy cheeses for palate nirvana.
Light in color, as is typical for Sancerre Rosé, this has lively aromas of small red fruits with soft underlying minerals and just a hint of rich citrus. Light and playful on the palate with some Mirabelle, cherry and watermelon. Although a light and fresh style of rosé, this has nice weight and texture to it on the finish and it's very easy and fun to drink while grilling and chilling with friends. 100% Pinot Noir. (Eric Story, K&L Loire Valley Wine Buyer)
This is a fresh, low-alcohol, and affordable rosé for your warm summer days. "Les Ligeriens" is a blend of Gamay and Grolleau from the Anjou AOC and is aged in stainless steel to maintain the purity of the fruit. Strawberry-scented with flavors of cherry and cranberry that pop on a crisp, refreshing palate. Drink it as an aperitif or with your favorite foods off the grill. (Eric Story, Loire)
A sommelier by training, in 1992 Eric took over his family's estate and orchards. His goal was to revolutionize the cider industry and bring it into restaurants, high-end retail and export markets. A close friend of his, Didier Dagueneau, the icon wine-maker in Pouilly-sur-Loire encouraged him down the path of producing ciders from apples and pears that are like no others. Ciders that make one draw comparisons to fine vintage wine. The core of Bordelet's estate is the 1.5 hectares of antique varietal apple and pear trees that are 40-50 years old. He pla... Read More »
This is a fresh, snappy berry-driven rosé with delicate floral notes. It's bright and crisp, delicious with or without food. Domaine les Pins has been family run for five generations. They are a small artisanal producer that oversees every stage of the production from start to finish themselves. They have roughly 30 hectares of Cabernet Franc spread out through the Bourgueil and Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil regions. They practice sustainable farming, and each and every vine gets special attention throughout the year. Vines of an average age of 25 years are... Read More »
There is perhaps no better match for a dozen oysters than minerally Sancerre from one of the best producers in the region. This release is always a cut above textbook Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc, with bright acidity, smoke, citrus and grassiness. Hippolyte Reverdy's family has been making wine in the charming village of Verdigny, a commune of Sancerre in the eastern Loire, for many generations--perhaps as far back as 1600. Traditional in nature, the farm was planted to multiple crops, and the Reverdys raised goats and made small quantities of wine from ... Read More »
This Sancerre has a pale yellow color with hints of flashing green. Aromatically, it possesses a nice fruity component of crispy white peaches, melon, yellow plums and the typical presence of place notes of flinty minerals. On the palate, it has a richness and persistence which is nicely balanced with fruit texture, mineral and acidity. The excellent length gets even better as the bottle breathes. If you can get your hands on a round of Crottin de Chavignol, call it a day. Or, try this with pan roasted shellfish with just a touch of butter and a squeeze ... Read More »
The Domaine's masterpiece, the Clos de l'Echo, lies within this calcareous clay soil and is the stuff of legend. This walled vineyard and it's castle earned it's nomenclature from the echo sent back by the castle walls. Once owned by the great French satirist Francois Rabelais and his family, the vineyard was purchased in 1952 by the Couly-Dutheil family and replanted the following year. The Clos de l'Echo is a wine of grand proportion, complex, structured, and very ageworthy. This 2002 is a legendary wine in the making, with great concentration and perf... Read More »
91 points Wine & Spirits: "Delicate scents of heather and elegant citrus notes carry a kiss of sweetness through this wine. The flavors are all withheld, the finish quiet and pretty, focused on mineral and floral notes. This should develop well over the next several years." (4/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The cherry-colored regular 2012 Chinon Cabernet Franc has a lovely clear and fresh acerbic cherry aroma mixed with raspberries. It is a light to medium-bodied, fruit-driven, silky textured, refreshing red wine with a brisk acidity, ideal for a summer lunch at high noon or with some snacks in the afternoo ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "A concentrated wine, its pear and lemon character segueing into a tight, wound-up structure, very dry, very crisp." (6/2011)
A tad bit more richness than its counterparts. Nice citrus fruit with exotic lemongrass and textural length.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Pale yellow in color the 2013 Muscadet Gneiss de Bel Abord is a bright, fresh, crisp and salty wine with attractive white fleshed and quite long lasting fruit aromas. Medium-bodied, it is the mineral and fruity taste that makes it a precise ambassador of its terroir. Drink between 2017 and 2024. (SR)" (10/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "This tight, taut and crisp wine needs some time to bring out its true fruity character. Behind the texture, ripe green plums and fresh apples are cut with lime juice. The wine is still young and could benefit from a few more months. Drink from late ...Read More »
The estate wine comes from plantings which are embedded in a mix of silex, chalk and clay. This is a vibrant and zesty Sauvignon Blanch with a touch of flinty smoke and citrus. I would consider this a step above a "Classic Sancerre" due to the higher concentration of silex. It is very clean with loads of energy and bright freshness throughout. Domaine Vacheron, currently run by two cousins, Jean-Laurent & Jean-Dominique, sits along the eastern edge of the Sancerre appellation. It was certified organic back in 2003 and now has been integrated into biodyna... Read More »
From the importer: "Les Hautes Noëlles fun loving rouge! To enjoy slightly chilled with grilled meats, fish, and heartier (think duck) salads. Gamay imparts fresh, crunchy red fruits, while the Grolleau Noir lends a touch of pepper and spice. The traditional vinification and addition of Cabernet Franc provides just the right amount of structure on the finish. A great wine to say hé ho! Gamay & Grolleau Noir are vinified via carbonic maceration. Cabernet Franc is destemmed and follows a traditional fermentation with 5 days maceration in stainless steel ta... Read More »
A blend of 80% Gamay and 20% Pinot Noir. The complexity of the Pinot Noir shows up front with lots of spicy red fruits with a backing of mineral. On the palate the gamy shows its juicy fun side and adds to the juicy texture. I really like the blend of these two grapes and think they play perfectly together. Really fun and cheery everyday style of Rosé. Côteaux du Giennois is a fairly new AOC, established in 1997, and is situated just north of Pouilly Fumé. Only three varieties are allowed to be grown under the AOC designate: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir a... Read More »
In the small commune of Bué, just outside of Sancerre, François Crochet and his wife farm 10.5 hectares of prime vineyards that boast all three of the main Sancerre soil type: chalk, flint, and gravelly marl. François' reputation as a producer of first class, hand-crafted Sancerrre is on the rise, and as a boutique producer with such a small production, we are lucky to get what we have. All the fruit is hand-harvested. Lithe and focused, this displays classic Sancerre lemony citrus and mineral aromas and flavors, with great energy and drive on the palate... Read More »
From 100% estate biodynamically farmed vines, this is a very promising wine. Known primarily for making some of the greatest white wines in the Loire region, Chidaine has been farming these vineyards for several years. Good dark concentration of fruit where neither varietal dominates, but rather complements the others. The faintly mineral nose shows notes of pepper melded with the red fruit and leads into a wine with medium tannins, good concentration and length. Not a heavy wine, it has plenty of character, and bright acidity, which makes it a classic f... Read More »
100% Cabernet Franc from Chinon, Philippe Pichard-Jourdan has farmed biodynamically since 2000. This rosé is aromatic and marked by notes of fresh wild strawberry with a clay-like minerality.
François Chidaine is a biodynamic producer in the Loire Valley specializing in Chenin Blanc. Rated 94+ John Gilman: "François Chidaine’s Clos de Breuil bottling is always a bit exotic in a lineup of other Montlouis cuvées, as this vineyard’s flint soils (like Pouilly-Fumé) give the wine a very unique personality. The 2014 is another absolutely stellar wine, delivering a complex and vibrant nose of quince, apple, orange zest, gorgeously refined silex soil tones, a hint of rhubarb, citrus peel and a discreet topnote of the lanolin to come with bottle age. ... Read More »
Chidaine's estate-grown Vouvray is produced from parcels throughout the great vineyards of the Clos Baudoin property. Les Argiles is normally vinified dry. Notes of honey, citrus, pear and apple are present in the nose with just a hint of caramel. Full-bodied in the mouth, but fresh with lively acidity, this is world-class Chenin at an unbeatable price.
Jo Landron is one of the very top producers in Muscadet. He has been completely organic since 1999 and is now on the way to being certified Bio-Dynamic. He uses no chemicals of any kind in the vines, hand harvests, has natural yeast fermentations and plows all his vineyards. We are very pleased to be importing these wines directly from Jo, making these some of the greatest values in the store. This cuvee is vinified with a very short time on the lees, without chaptalization, making this a super fresh and lower alcohol wine perfect with fresh oysters or a... Read More »
Joël Taluau is a fabulous grower in St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, known for making some of the purest expressions of Cabernet Franc in the Loire. All his hand-harvested cuvees are based on vine age and soil composition, and the wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel with a light fining and no filtration before bottling. The Vieilles Vignes, from a single plot planted in 1934, has power, depth and grace; this, their flagship wine, will improve for the next 7-9 years but can be enjoyed now for those of you who like a mouthful of wine.
Wine Enthusiast: "This profound, off-dry sparkling pear cider from Normandy comes from biodynamically farmed, 300-year-old trees." (5/2014) K&L Notes: A sommelier by training, in 1992 Eric took over his family's estate and orchards. His goal was to revolutionize the cider industry and bring it into restaurants, high-end retail and export markets. A close friend of his, Didier Dagueneau, the icon wine-maker in Pouilly-sur-Loire encouraged him down the path of producing ciders from apples and pears that are like no others. Ciders that make one draw comparisons to fine vintage wine. The ... Read More »
Snappy and fresh aromatic of field herbs and scratch made bread. Nice subtle richness on the palate from the Chardonnay and the Folle Blanche adds a nice snap to the refreshing finish. A well thought out wine which can easily be used as a replacement for its more expensive cousin, Champagne.
We were first introduced to the wines of Eric Cottat a little a few years ago. They were brought to our attention by one of our long-time friends and winemakers in Sancerre, and we brought in a small amount as that was all we were allowed to take at the time. Eric is a one-man show and only produces a small amount of wines each vintage for family, friends, and close customers, and then sells the rest of his fruit off to other eager producers in the region. Last year I had the opportunity to pay Mr. Cottat a visit and quickly became enamored by how he goe... Read More »
It's unlikely you'll find a more elegant, refined pear cider than this one from famed biodynamic Loire Valley cider producer Eric Bordelet. The tiny little tear-dropped shaped fruit for this comes from a stand of 60-foot tall, 300-year-old pear trees. With a delicate bead and complex flavors that are unparralelled, this would make a stunning and surprising substitution for Champagne at your next party.
The Château du Hureau is located in the small town of Dampierre sur Loire, about four miles east of Saumur and 15 miles west of Chinon. The Château itself is an impressive sight, with its 18th-century Mansard roof and octagonal tower topped by a boar-headed weathercock, from which the domaine takes its name--a hureau is an old, solitary wild boar. Behind the Château sits the winery carved out of the limestone cliffs in the 13th century and overlooking the Loire river. For wine lovers, the cave is even more impressive than the Château, with numerous paths... Read More »
The Champalou family farms 22 acres in Vouvray, making the Cuvée des Fondraux from 45-year-old Chenin vines grown in the area's prized clay, limestone and flint soils. Like all of their wines, it is distinctive, with incredible balance and energy ... a true representation of the soil. A great value.
Joël Taluau is a fabulous grower in St. Nicolas de Bourgueil known for making some of the purest expressions of Cabernet Franc in the Loire, which are unmarred by the intrusion of oak. He was also the first producer in the appellation to begin domaine bottling. These days, Joel makes wines with the help of his son-in-law, Thierry Foltzenlogel. Their "Expression" comes from vines up to 35 years old, planted on a hillside with clay and limestone. The terroir is perfect for a youthful expression of Cabernet Franc that's immediately drinkable and fresh, with... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Maison Couly-Dutheil is undeniably one of the finest estates of Chinon with eighty acres of prime Chinon vineyards as well as seven hectares of Saumur and Saumur Champigny. The estate's Chinon holdings are impressive indeed as they spread over three distinct Chinon terroirs: Sand and gravel along the Vienne River which produce light and fruit driven wines, siliceous slopes and plateaus which impart a certain finesse and elegance to Chinon; and finally clay and limestone slopes which produce Chinon's most serious and profound wines. In the most successfu... Read More »
This affordable, semi-dry white comes from Domaine Sylvain Gaudron, a family-owned domaine in Vouvray. Made entirely from Chenin Blanc grown in the region's famed clay and limestone soils, this version is fresh and elegant, with delicious quince and apple aromas and flavors and is an ideal partner for spicy Morroccan tagines and Southeast Asian curries.
J.M. Jean-Maurice Raffault’s famed Chinon estate is now run by his son Rodolphe. The family has been vignerons in Chinon since 1693 and the estate now comprises 40 hectares spread over 6 communes. Raffault prefers to harvest his cabernet Franc as late as possible and then vinifies each parcel separately. The fermentation process can last up to a month and he incorporates a daily pump over for maximum extraction of flavor and color. Then the wines get to rest in Bordeaux casks inside his 54 degree limestone cellar while the magic happens.
Established in 1890, the Domaine Sylvain Gaudron is now run by the third generation of the Gaudron family. It comprises 59 acres spread out over 50 little plots. The soils are limestone-clay on a sub-layer of tuffeau. This is an incredibly affordable Vouvray that belies its meager price, delivering honeycomb, jasmine and quince aromas. In the mouth it's explosive, with crisp apple, Mirabelle plum, minerals and honeysuckle flavors. Zesty acidity and a clean finish make a tight package, perfect for seafood, salads and your favorite curry.
Maison Huet is a leading force in the Vouvray appellation. Founded in 1928, the estate now covers 35 hectares, which are divided up between three properties: Le Mont, Le Haut-Lieu and Le Clos du Bourg - all of which have been farmed in the biodynamic method since 1990. Stretching over 9 hectares, Le Haut-Lieu provides extremely deep limestone and brown clay soils. Due to the heavy soils the wines from this site tend to have a richer, rounder character, with deep nuances of stone fruit, and finish off with a mouthwatering, juicy finish.
96 points Wine Spectator: "Unctuous, concentrated and refined, this holds a large core of quince, creamed Anjou pear and white ginger notes in reserve for now, while heather, chamomile, orange blossom and white peach flavors take the lead. When the reserves stretch out and catch up with the floral accents, this will be a pure, precise stunner, with a long life. Best from 2018 through 2035." (8/2013) 94 points Wine & Spirits: "Glistening in golden hues, this chenin draws you in with its broad, luscious fruit then pounces with searingly fresh acidity and grape skin spice. Luxurious as a young wine, this integra ...Read More »
In the small commune of Bué, just outside of Sancerre, François Crochet and his wife farm 10.5 hectares of prime vineyards that boast all three of the main Sancerre soil type: chalk, flint, and gravelly marl. François' reputation as a producer of first class, hand-crafted Sancerrre is on the rise, and as a boutique producer with such a small production, we are lucky to get what we have. All the fruit is hand-harvested. "Le Chene Marchaund" is matured in barrel for 10-11 months, lending additional layers of depth and complexity to its focused, mineral-del... Read More »