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K&L Staff Recommendations
2015 Eric Cottat Sancerre $18.99
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Sancerre is deep, clear and aromatic on the nose, yet also discreet in its fruity and floral flavors: Full-bodied, dense and intense on the palate, this is a round and elegant Sancerre with grip, structure and a long and promising finish; it shows a stimulating, phenolic gooseberry grip and a lingering salinity. The 2015 tastes lovely already, but can be kept for a couple of years due to the substance and complexity it reveals. The best is yet to come. (SR)" (10/2016) K&L Notes: Francois and Jean-Marie Cherrier with father Pierre produce steely and citrus-dr... 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 »
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 Enthusiast: "Pure fruitiness holds the balance of this wine between crisp acidity and a tightly mineral texture. It comes from the producer's Bué vineyards, one of the top villages of Sancerre. The wine is crisp, made to be drunk young and fruity. (RV)" (12/2016) Wine Spectator: "Lively, with a bold jolt of gooseberry leading the way, followed by lemon zest and thyme notes. Flinty zip on the finish. (JM, Web-2016)" K&L Notes: 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 typ... 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.
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)
Wine Spectator: "A soft sparkler, featuring cherry, peach and strawberry notes, with a pillowy finish. (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 bubbles. The fr... 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.
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 that also carries good texture and finishing length. Very well balanced from start to finish, making for a 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. Fermentation is low and slow and done in 100% stainless-steel tank. The wine is then allowed to re... 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. The wines of this family domaine have been a staple here at K&L since the 1994 vintage when Franck and Betty Millet drove a long way (to Beaune!) on Easter Sunday to meet Clyde and crew to present the wines. We love these wines for their fres... 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. They have roughly 30 hectares of Cabernet Franc spread out through the Bourgueil and St-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 s... 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 »
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!
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.
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 »
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 »
The wines of this family domaine have been a staple here at K&L since the 1994 vintage, when Franck and Betty Millet drove from Sancerre to Beaune (a long way) to meet Clyde and crew to present the wines. The wines were great even in that tough vintage, and the rest is history. 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 ... Read More »
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.
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 »
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)
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: "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.
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 we... 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.
(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.
Indicative blend: 33% Cabernet Franc, 33% Cot, 33% Pinot d'Aunis
This wine is 100% cabernet franc. Sustainable practices are used in the vineyard, and the fruit is mechanically harvested and completely destemmed. Fermentation and ageing takes place in stainless steel temperature-controlled vats.
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.
Inventory: Redwood City
Chateau d’Epiré is an 11 hectare estate and this bottling is sourced from 30-55 year old vines in schist soils. From importer Kermit Lynch: "Despite the beauty and timelessness of the building structures, it is the vineyard for which the domaine is best known. The Savennières from Epiré is regarded as Grand Cru. The domaine works primarily three parcels: La Croix Picot, Le Parc, and Le Hu-Boyau. It is the latter that sits just above another famous vineyard, La Coulée de Serrant. The soils here are rich, and the microclimate is ideal. Southern and south-e... Read More »
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 »
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 »
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.
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.
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 »
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.
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 »
"A cabernet franc that showcases some of the higher tannic potential of the grape varietal but in a low-alcohol style that works perfectly for hotter weather and heavier dishes. Ruby in color this wine has a nose of red fruit including red plum, red currant and raspberry; there is also violet and a handful of fall green vegetable which lays underneath cedar and a dash of vanilla baking spice. On the palate grippy, earthy, medium-plus tannin shows on the attack ahead of the muted red fruit which emerges mid-palate towards a chalky finish. The wine is med... Read More »
This is an everyday Cabernet Franc from organic and biodynamic growers Pierre and Catherine Breton. (Their name, coincidentally, is also the local word for Cabernet Franc.) Made from their younger vines grown on gravelly soils, this is the perfect introduction to this producer's range--youthful, with bright cherry fruit, spicy black pepper and savory herbs. Delicious!
From the lesser known enclave of Cheverny comes this delightful red blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Gamay. Full of bright red fruit and supple sweet tannins this is a great crossover for fans of Beaujolais and Pinot Noir alike.
A partnership between Rodolphe and Ludivine Marteau, the fourth generation to make wine from their family's estate. Of their 29 acres, 20 are devoted to Sauvignon Blanc. With vines averaging 20 years and very detail-oriented farming, they harvest the best quality fruit possible. Tasting notes from the importer: "The nose offers an intense 'fruit basket' dominated by citrus scents with a note of blackcurrant bud. In the mouth, all is suppleness and elegance. The final spicy note emphasizes the freshness and the generous length of this Touraine Sauvignon."... 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 »
70% Folle Blanche, 30% Pinot Noir
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2015 Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec has a creamy, intense and elegant bouquet of ripe and concentrated fruits, along with delicate earthy and lemony flavors. Full-bodied, intense and powerful, with a dense texture and firm tannins, this is a very complex and firmly structured Chenin for the next decade. The sweetness is perfectly integrated and the acidity rather mild in the first moment. The finish though is enormously vital and mineral. (SR)" (10/2016) 94 points Wine Spectator: "Features a wide range of apple, green melon, ginger and green plum notes gliding throughout, with th ...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.