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K&L Staff Recommendations
2015 Eric Cottat Sancerre $18.99
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)
According to the importer: "This new Loire Valley project is a partnership with Rodolphe and Ludivine Marteau, who took over their family’s estate in 2010 (they are the 4th generation) The 29 hectare property is located on South bank of the river Cher, on siliceous-argilo (clay and flint) soils. Of the 29 hectares of estate vineyards owned by the Marteau family, 20 are planted to Sauvignon Blanc. These vines average 30 years in age and are meticulously tended by the family. Short-cane pruning, selective ploughing, spring debudding, deleafing, grass cover... 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 »
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 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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
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 »
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 »
La Noue is a 2.5 hectare vineyard plot from which Domaine Claude Riffault makes their red and rosé wine. The plot is divided into seven adjacent vineyards featuring Terres Blanches and Kimmeridgian marl soils with 100% Pinot Noir vines ranging from 8 to 56 years old. The rosé is allowed some light skin contact to gain color, complexity, and aromatic interest during its vinification.
A bright fresh rosé from the sandy limestone soils of Chinon. Expressive red fruit notes with soft hints of smoky mineral abound on the nose. Those same characters stretch across the palate in a refreshing and thirst quenching manner giving you a fantastic wine for those moments when you just need to stop, relax and rejuvenate.
Méthode Traditionnelle (same process as Champagne) 60% Chardonnay 40% Folle Blanche grown in soils consisting of chalk and flint on the south side of the Loir. This fun bubbly is fresh, vibrant yet delicate and textural. Subtle hints of brioche with a ultrathin spread of fruit which adds to the aromatic. There is a nice richness on the palate which comes from the Chardonnay and then finishes clean and mouthwatering thanks to the Folle Blanche. This is a super food friendly bubbly but will double down and be a fantastic stand around cocktail sipper as wel... Read More »
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.
Inventory: San Francisco
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.
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 »
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.
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) Gamay+Grolleau is a blend of two grape varieties usually used in the production of rosé wines in the Loire Valley in northern France. Grolleau Noir is only permitt... Read More »
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.
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 »
Yes, you are reading that correctly, a "40oz" of organic Muscadet. Drop the mic... Boom!
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.
A wonderfully refreshing rosé of Pinot Gris - pale salmon color, pretty aromas of peach and apricot with a hint of lychee; white and yellow fruits on the palate with a healthy dose of saline minerals. Good weight but very refreshing with crisp, tart acidity. A great aperitif or with charcuterie, white meats, Asian foods, fish in sauce. Lovely!
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 »
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.
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 »
Founded by Parisian transplant Alain Cailbourdin in 1981, the domaine consists of 11 hectares planted primarily in Sauvignon Blanc, with a minority percentage planted in Chasselas. Alain is part of a new breed of winemakers dedicated to producing a high quality wine and not just a high volume wine. His methods are traditional, yet his yields are low and the wines are concentrated and pure expressions of Sauvignon Blanc. He believes in using a minimum of sulfur dioxide during and after vinification. The Les Cris is a beautiful Pouilly-Fumé, offering th... Read More »
The low-alcohol Millet Sancerre Rouge is 100% Pinot Noir, partially barrel aged, and absolutely delicious. Aromas of cherries and purple flowers give way to a vibrant, crunchy red-fruited palate with just a enough tannins to balance out the juicy fruit.
Aged in amphora for seven months and then bottled. But, don't let that make you think that this is an "orange wine", it is not. Clos de l'Elu is an older property which was taken over in 2008 by Thomas Carsin and Gregoire du Bouexic. It is located in the small village of Saint Aubin de Luigne not too far from the city of Angers. Under the inspiration of growers such as Jo Pithon they have converted all of their holdings over to biodynamic farming and continue to acquire vineyards and convert as they grow. These wines are at the higher end of what the all... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Cigar-box aromas and a perfumed, fruity character give this wine a typical Cabernet Franc character. It is structured, with some firm tannins at the core, surrounded by ripe red fruits and fresh acidity. The wine is ready to drink. (RV)" (2/2016)
Wine Spectator: "Juicy quince, pear and green melon flavors move along with a fresh floral edged finish. Open-knit and inviting now. (JM)" (9/2015) K&L Notes: 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 flavo... 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.
Vinous: "Vivid orange-pink. Aromas of red currant, cherry pit and dried flowers are lifted by a suggestion of white pepper. Chewy and focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors that tighten up slowly on the back half. Finishes taut and spicy, displaying good focus and a refreshingly bitter edge. (JR)" (6/2016) K&L Notes: We love this refreshing pink from François Chidaine made from equal parts Pinot Noir and Grolleau. Floral on the nose, with scents of gooseberries and cherry that carry over to the mineral-driven palate. Complex but very drinkab... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
A single vineyard reserve bottling. The vines here are planted on a 50 million year old bed of silex and the ground is littered with ancient fossilized sea critters. This is a salty, oily and intense style of Sauvignon Blanc - arguably the benchmark for the region. Still quite young this will improve over the next five years or with 8 hours of decanting. 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 i... Read More »
Muscadet as a simple, neutral, quaffing white? Not this one! 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 Biodynamic. He uses no chemicals of any kind in the vines, hand harvests, has natural yeast fermentations and plows all his vineyards. 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 as an aperitif. According to Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "J... 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 »
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.
Sauvignon Blanc lovers take notice. While the small appellation of Quincy was the second appellation to be recognized by France, it's often overshadowed by its neighbor to the northeast, Sancerre. (Though up until the last half century or so, it was known for offering wines of better quality.) The sandy, silex topsoils over pink limestone are fabulous for Sauvignon Blanc, which was introduced to Quincy by Cistercian monks back in the 12th century. Pierre Ragon has been in charge of his family's 200-plus-year-old domaine since 1973, and his vines average ... Read More »
According to the importer: "Domaine Jean Tellier is a family business founded in the 1950s by Leon Millet. It found its true wine-growing vocation with Jean and Denise Tellier (Leon Millet’s daughter) who believed in the future of Menetou-Salon and worked to enhance their appellation’s reputation. A beautiful salmon pink color. Very fruity nose, of yellow peaches and strawberries. The mouth is supple and fresh, dominated by red fruits (strawberry and blackcurrant.) It evolves into a well rounded flavor thanks to a good balance between sugar and acidity. ... Read More »
From Joguet's best gravelly parcels, this is a dense wine for the appellation. Very ripe red fruits dominate the aroma, and already one perceives some typical animal notes in this full-bodied wine. A cuvée tres gourmand with lots of vinosity that could age.
92 points Wine Spectator: "Shows excellent cut from the start, with pear eau-de-vie and green almond notes guiding the salted butter, brioche, fig and green melon flavors. The mouthwatering acidity is deeply imbedded on the finish. Drink now through 2018. (JM)" (5/2013)
Inventory: San Francisco
Indicative blend: 33% Cabernet Franc, 33% Cot, 33% Pinot d'Aunis
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 »
Jancis Robinson: "Light but distinctive nose, honey and lemon character. Gentle, soothing sort of character, and genuinely dry (even at 12%). Very subtle, and pretty short, but a great lunchtime option, with a lovely savoury finish. (RH)" (10/2013) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright gold with a frothy mousse. Pear and white peach on the nose, with complicating floral and spice qualities and a hint of orange zest. At once fleshy and dry, offering tangy citrus and orchard fruit flavors and slow-building spiciness. The finish repeats the orange note and leaves a strong spicy quality behind. This impressi ...Read More »
Vinous: "Vivid gold with an aggressive bead. A complex bouquet of ripe apple, pear and quince, with honey and beeswax nuances. Distinctly chenin blanc in character, offering dried orchard fruit and bitter lemon qualities and a strong mineral undertone. A touch of marzipan adds depth to the dry, stony, precise finish. This will be very flexible with rich fish or poultry dishes. (JR)" (5/2010) Wine Spectator: "Alluring, with ginger, quince and maple hints allied to a soft, brioche-filled palate. The friendly, open-knit finish has an off-dry hint. (JM, Web-2010)" K&L Notes: Produced from Chidaine... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
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 »
Wine Spectator: "A light, unadorned style, with cherry pit, damson plum and violet notes, lined with subtle savory and white pepper hints. (Web Only—2015)" K&L Notes: A serious, shy man, Philippe Alliet is the proprietor of this small domaine in Cravant-les-Côteaux, location of some of the best Cabernet Franc vineyards in the Loire Valley. Considered by many to be on of the finest producers in Chinon, Alliet is part of a new generation of Loire winemakers dedicated to low yields, optimally ripe fruit, and fastidious vineyard management. Inspired by the greats of Bordeaux--a region he... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a ripe wine, with wood aging that has smoothed the fruit intensity while keeping the rich apple and pear flavors. An unmistakable tang of minerality comes from the youthful texture. With its dense character, it's a wine to age. Drink from 2017. (RV)" (5/2016) Jancis Robinson: "Barrel fermented. The oak gives more creaminess than oak flavour. Mealy/leesy breadth with assertive Sauvignon Blanc freshness and herbal intensity. The oak is subtle but the overall effect is concentrated, fresh and already complex. 17/20 points. Drink 2016-2020. (JH)" (1/2015)
Inventory: San Francisco