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K&L Staff Recommendations
2015 Eric Cottat Sancerre $18.99
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
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.
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 »
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 »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie Harmonie offers a very clear, elegant and pure bouquet of ripe pears with fresh citrus flavors. Full-flavored, juicy and full of minerals, this is a gorgeously pure and elegant but also sensual and stimulating Muscadet in perfect balance. The finish is pretty long, aromatic and structured, which is what makes this still primarily fruity wine highly attractive to be drunk young, although this Muscadet will gain even more complexity over the years." (10/2016) K&L Notes: Michel & Nathalie Delhommeau farm 28 hectares of vines plan... Read More »
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 is a perfect little Sauvignon Blanc. Tropical fruit, citrus and spice aromas and flavors, with vibrant acidity and minerality. Perfect for goat ... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Soft, delivering ginger, brioche and pear notes, with a friendly, open finish. Drink now. (Web Only-2013) (JM)" 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, Lo... Read More »
Vinous: "Light, bright orange. Zesty, sharply focused citrus fruit and strawberry scents are complemented by suggestions of succulent herbs and candied rose. Juicy and gently sweet, offering pliant red fruit flavors and a touch of bitter blood orange. Clings with good, spicy tenacity, leaving a subtle rose pastille note behind. (JR)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: Light and pale in color with fresh, crunchy strawberries on the nose and chalky minerals in the background. Fresh and light on the palate with a good focus of fruit throughout. This is a very well made rosé that deserves some ... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice and #85 of Top 100 of 2015* This rich, structured wine is packed with both firm tannins and rich red fruits. Still young, it has all the makings of a dense, balanced wine that will reflect the great fruit of the vintage. Age this smoky, full-bodied wine and drink from 2017. (RV)" (11/2015) Wine Spectator: "Fresh, with a bright core of black cherry and damson plum fruit flavors backed by light black olive and violet notes. Modest in scale but with very nice purity. Drink now through 2018. (JM, Web-2016)" K&L Notes: A rich ruby red with notes of violets and red berry fr... Read More »
From a 4.5 hectare plot of vines which average 30 years of age and planted in flint and clay soils. All hand harvested, vinified in 100% stainless steel tanks along with about a week of carbonic maceration. Bright fruits with spice and fresh palate feel. This is a fantastic wine for those mixed meat grill outs, a dream with salmon and a perfect pairing with an array of Asian foods.
Wine Spectator: "A soft sparkler, featuring cherry, peach and strawberry notes, with a pillowy finish. Drink now. (JM, Web—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 bubb... 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, 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 »
We love these wines for their freshness, charm and affordability, and this is easily our best value Sancerre in the store. From soils of clay and chalk in the village of Bue near the Domaine. The Millet keeps you coming back for more. It is vinified entirely in stainless steel to preserve the wonderful citrus and slightly grassy aromatics and gentle mineral finish.
Wine Enthusiast: "Based in Bué, one of the top villages of Sancerre, this producer has made a ripe, crisp and nervy wine that comes from chalk soil. Tangy with a mineral texture, it offers rich currant and lime flavors and full-throated final acidity. (RV)" (5/2016) K&L Notes: We love these wines for their freshness, charm and affordability, and this is easily our best value Sancerre in the store. From soils of clay and chalk in the village of Bue near the Domaine. The Millet keeps you coming back for more. It is vinified entirely in stainless steel to preserve the wonderful citrus an... 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 that keeps your palate fresh and alive. Although easy to drink, it has complexity and intrigue up and down the aromatic and palate. You'll want another after the first one has disappeared. (Eric Story, K&L Loire buyer)
This 100% Pinot Noir rosé comes from limestone-clay soil of their Sancerre vineyards, which are located two hours south of Paris on the fringes of the Loire Valle. This is a wonderfully food-friendly wine that can stand up to Santa Maria-style tri-tip, grilled sausages or spicy Vietnamese banh mi.
This is a straightforward refreshing version of Vouvray Chenin Blanc. With a gold color, this wine is dry and smooth. It displays very nice citrus and fruity notes like ripe peach and green pear as well as flower aromas such as sweet acacia. The wine is round and fruity, well balanced and ends super fresh. A killer value in 100% Chenin Blanc. Picked from 45-year-old vines and then vinified in stainless and aged in tank for 2-3 months. Fantastic with fish dishes with an exotic flair and, of course, the typical meat and cheese starter plates.
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.
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. 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 singular attention throughout the year. Vines of an average age of 25 years are planted in... Read More »
Made from Cabernet Franc grapes grown on a clay-limestone hillside, this fruity and aromatic wine drinks wonderfully, even when the wine is very young. The Cabernet France grapes are completely destemmed and vatted for 12-18 days, depending on the year. Fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. The result is is an elegant, round and easy-to-drink wine that smells of violets and tastes of heaven!
A lovely nose of apples, citrus, tropical fruits and dusty gravel. This is a bright and energetic wine which also carries good texture and finishing length. Very well balanced from start to finish which makes for a very well focused drink while retaining a higher quality level. Made from 35 year old vines planted in sandy clay soils. After harvest the fruit is allowed to rest on its skins for a bit longer in order to extract a bit more aromatic and palate complexity and then pressed off. Fermentation is low and slow and done in 100% stainless steel tank.... Read More »
Made from 20-year-old Pinot Noir planted in chalk and clay soils, vinified entirely in stainless steel, this is a super fresh and fun style of Pinot. It has everything you want in a Pinot--a touch of spice, pretty red and blue fruits, light tannin and a fresh, juicy finish.
Inventory: Redwood City
Wine Spectator: "This crackles nicely, with lime, fleur de sel and thyme notes rippling through. Lively finish. (JM, Web-2016)" K&L Notes: This Muscadet is very pure and bright, with an intense floral bouquet with overtones of spice and fruit. The richness, balance and freshness of this wine make it an excellent example of its appellation. It is enjoyable young, but will age well for several years. It is, however, unlikely you'll be able to save some--it's that good. Perfect accompaniment to fish and seafood dishes.
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)
(last of vintage) Noblaie's rosé is produced from younger Cabernet Franc vines, which are planted in the deeper soils at the base of the hillside vineyard. It has a clear and smooth pink color, deep, rich aromas of watermelon and cranberry and loads of lovely fresh red fruits on the palate.
Made from Sauvignon grapes from both Touraine and Anjou. The wine sees no oak and has a dry, lively nose of white flowers and blackcurrant. The palate is dry, with flavors of passion fruit, lychee and hints of talc along with zippy acidity. Great with fish or cheeses, this lively white wine will perk up any meal.
Inventory: San Francisco
It is a classic "partridge's eye" pale pink color, with delicate fruit aromas and flavors accented by notes of savory herb and earthy, peppery spice. Light, refreshing, and complex, this is the perfect partner to savory snacks, salads, fish dishes, cured meats, or picnic fare. Serve chilled. Jean-François is an up-and-coming winemaker in Touraine who we've become a big fan of over the past few years. The rosé is made by direct pressing followed by a traditional vinification of Pineau d'Aunis, the ancient Loire grape variety that grows on chalky clay soi... Read More »
Vinous: "Light, bright orange. Zesty, sharply focused citrus fruit and strawberry scents are complemented by suggestions of succulent herbs and candied rose. Juicy and gently sweet, offering pliant red fruit flavors and a touch of bitter blood orange. Clings with good, spicy tenacity, leaving a subtle rose pastille note behind. (JR)" (6/2016)
When an iconic winemaker dies, especially long before his time, oenophiles mourn. And they wonder. Will whomever takes over the estate ever be able to meet their expectations? In the case of Louis-Benjamin Dagueneau, who took over the family estate after his father Didier Dagueneau's tragic death in 2008, the answer is yes. Recognized by Wine & Spirits Magazine in their recent "30 Under 30" feature, the 28-year-old has "picked up the role masterfully and courageously," according to Olivier Jullien of Mas Jullien, a close family friend. "He manages to exp... Read More »
Pineau d'Aunis is a dark-skinned wine grape variety whose story began in the Loire Valley in the Middle Ages. Despite once being popular with royalty on both sides of the English Channel, the variety is now increasingly rare, and is limited to a role in the rosés and light reds of the central Loire. It is valued for the gently peppery spiciness it brings to the area's rosé wines, a role mirrored by the Carignan and Tibouren used to make the famous rosé wines of Provence. When the elements grant the Loire a vintage with warm weather more akin to that foun... Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Organic farming. Intense crimson. Peppery, crunchy dark-red fruit, just a little smoky. A fine texture - silky but dry. Gentle and fresh, subtle. (JH)" (3/2016) K&L Notes: This is produced all in stainless steel, solely from Cabernet Franc that is grown on a limestone slope. It has a rich ruby color and excellent structure. A nice fruity style of Chinon, this value-priced wine has a subtle peppery spice, ripe dark berries and a soft, chalky mineral character that really makes the fruity core come to life. There are rich tannins on the finish and a juicy freshness th... Read More »
Vines ranging in age from 15-50 years old planted high on the slopes of St-Andelain (the highest village in the Pouilly-Fume appellation) and only from vineyard plots that have an extremely high content of silex. The vines are cropped to produce much lower yields than most. The juice is then barrel fermented and aged in the famous Dagueneau cigar barrels. Since there is a much lower clay content in the soils this wine is typically much more austere in its youth and needs a fair amount of time to come into itself. This is often considered the domaine's to... Read More »
Bright and driven style of Gamay Rose. Perfectly dry finish with spiced red fruits and hints of stone fruit. This comes from the little known AOC of Côte Roannaise, which was established in 1994 and sits about 50 kilometers west of Lyon in the Loire Valley. The granitic soils of this southern appellation are well-suited to Gamay, and especially to the family-owned Domaine Robert Sérol, now being run by the fifth generation. The domaine's namesake, Robert, was the first in the family to bottle the wines, and he can be still found wandering the property to... Read More »
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Impressively saturated ruby-red color. Complex aromas of black raspberry, kirsch, Valrhona chocolate, smoke and gunflint. Tactile and quite concentrated; really dense with extract. Ripe acidity gives the deep flavors lovely clarity. A real fruit essence: the wine somewhat chewy tannins and alcohol are hidden by fruit. (ST)" (12/1998) K&L Notes: 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, unmarred by the intrusion of oak--which he hasn't used in production since 1986. He w... 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 village of Chavignol, located at the foot of the Sancerre appellation, is famous for its goat cheese, and there's nothing better to serve alongside a generous hunk than a crisp rosé from the same region. Enter Roger and Christophe Moreaux, vignerons from one of the oldest families in Sancerre, who make racy wines from Chavignol. Their "Les Lys" is made from Pinot Noir, with aromas of apricots, cherries, currants, and wild strawberries, all supported by vibrant acidity. This refreshing summer sipper is the perfect match to a goat cheese-strawberry sal... 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. The Domaine's masterp... Read More »
From one of the appellation's most outstanding producers, imported by the inimitable Kermit Lynch, who says: "Not only does he have the talent to make delicious and consistent wines, vintage to vintage, but he is also fortunate enough to have vineyard land that showcases many of the varied soil types of the appellation." The Grézeaux vineyard is rich in gravelly soils, with vines that average 65 years of age. The vineyard (like all of Baudry's sites) is farmed organically, harvested entirely by hand, de-stemmed and put into gravity-fed cuves where it is ... Read More »
Indicative blend: 33% Cabernet Franc, 33% Cot, 33% Pinot d'Aunis
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 »
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 »
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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "From a former rock-star sommelier of the Parisian wine scene, this slightly sweet cider is produced from the fruit of apple trees more than 50 years old. Tones of baked apple drizzled with honey beg to be paired with warm apple pie à la mode. Don’t let the sweetness fool you—there’s enough tannin and acid to please even dry-seeking palates. (AP)" (9/2015) 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 clo... Read More »
Vincent Gaudry is a traditionalist in Sancerre who has gained respect among his peers for dedication to authentic espression of Sancerre terroir. His was the first domaine in Sancerre to be certified biodynamic, and the naturally low-yielding vines endow the wines with richness and volume. Mélodie de Vieilles Vignes is sourced from vines up to 90 years old, and the concentration and complexity show driving minerality and savory flavors adorned with notes of grapefruit zest and cut grass.
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.
This 100-percent Cabernet Franc was farmed biodynamically and organically in one of the world's best growing spots for the grape. Vines range from 15 to 50 years in age and are planted in sandy clay and Turonian-era limestone. Extra attention is paid to select the very best fruit by hand, then fermentation takes place with native yeasts. After 8 months of aging in concrete vats, the wine is bottled without fining or filtering. This careful winemaking allows the purest expression of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc to shine through.
Vigneron by way of butcher, Pascal Janvier is one of those souls destined to make wine, despite himself. Fortunately, he wised up at age thirty and yielded to his inevitable fate. Today, Pascal and his wife Dominique farm a total of nine hectares in the department of the Sarthe in the Val du Loir, a tiny, stony hillside along the Loir River (a tributary of the Loire River), north of Vouvray that is also the most northerly--and coldest--of the regions of the Loire. The "Cuvée du Rosier" is 100% Pineau d'Aunis from 25-year-old vines planted to 1.6 ha of sa... Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "This shows the riper edge of the vintage, featuring intense yellow apple and quince flavors laced with a lively anise note. Delivers a rounded mouthfeel without giving up cut and focus. Well-embedded acidity ripples through the finish. Drink now through 2022. 3,000 cases made. (JM)" (11/2016)
Reuilly is an appellation in the eastern part of France's Loire Valley (sometimes referred to as 'poor man's Sancerre') that is starting to get some real attention. Reuilly is blessed to share the same Kimmeridgian clay and limestone terroir with neighboring Sancerre and Chablis to the north, which explains where these wines get their mineral drive and precision. As prices for the more coveted regions creep up, savvy connoisseurs are finding great value the lesser-known, nearby appellations like Reuilly. The region produces unique rosés from Pinot Gris, ... Read More »