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K&L Staff Recommendations
Wine & Spirits: "Tariquet’s flagship, this is classic Gascogne white, lemony-bright and shot through with crisp acidity. It’s simple and palate whetting, especially with a platter of plump, briny clams." (6/2014) Wine Spectator: "Dried golden raisin and baked apple flavors are accented by sage honey and spice. Hints of dried quince emerge on the finish. Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc and Gros Manseng." (10/2014)
Cotes de Gascogne is primarily known for the production of Armagnac; it wasn’t until the last 20 years or so that producers began to take table wine production seriously. Traditionally, these wines would have been distilled into Armagnac. Producers found that by fermenting at lower temperatures in stainless steel, they could develop and preserve more powerful aromatics. Though yields are high, costs have stayed low and the wines are consequently some of the best bargain whites in France. Domaine de Millet is first and foremost an Armagnac producer. They ... Read More »
Domaine de Millet was first an Armagnac producer, now in the winemaking game. They are a fifth generation winemaking and spirit producing family with the reins now in the hands of daughter Laurence. They make incredible values for everyday white wine drinking. The Moelleux is made from 100% Gros Manseng, a variety famous in Jurancon for making richly textured whites and a small component of their dessert wines. On its own here it provides a mellow sweetness similar to a Kabinett level Riesling or demi-sec Vouvray. Exotic fruits on the nose and pala... Read More »
From French Basque country comes this gorgeous red from Irouleguy! Composed of 70% Tannat, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in older bariques. Forthcoming nose hints at black fruit and rose hip tea. Medium to full-body. Notes of currant and red fruit in the mouth. A hint of licorice, a touch of smoke and well-integrated tannins on the finish. Enjoy with a tranche of Bayonne ham or Poulet Basque! (Certified Organic)
A blend of 97% Malbec with 3% Tannat, this Cahors is sourced from 30-50 year old vines planted in calcareous clay. The vineyard yields a modest and concentrated crop of grapes which are sorted before pressing and given an extended, temperature-controlled maceration to extract the best of what the fruit has to offer. The wine then spent 12 months in 50% new oak barrels before being bottled.
Don't know what Madiran is all about? This is the place to start. Composed of 80% Tannat, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, this is one of the most polished and accessible Madirans we have tasted in quite some time. Aromas of blackberry, wild thyme and crushed rock, it is full-bodied with velvety tannins. 13% abv.
One of the most overlooked spirits in the world is France's light and slightly-sweet aperitif - Pineau des Charantes. Made from sweetened grape must and a bit of young Cognac, the Raymond Ragnaud is perhaps the best expression of the style we carry. Imported directly for K&L by Charles Neal, the Ragnaud is best served slightly chilled either before a meal or after. A great substitute for sherry or port when the months turn warmer and you want something more refreshing.
Inventory: Redwood City
Domaine Berthoumieu is owned by Didier Barre, who took over for his father Louis in the mid-eighties. Inspired by Alain Brumont of Domaine Bouscasse/Chateau Montus fame (regarded as the founder of modern Madiran), Didier produced a style of Madiran that is meant to be more approachable when young, with riper fruit and less brutal tannins. His top red wine is the cuvée Charles de Batz, which was the original name of d'Artignan. It is composed of 90% Tannat with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from vines that are at least 50 years old. To make this wine more access... Read More »
Located 30 kilometers from Toulouse, in southwestern France, Château Laurou Fronton encompasses over 40 hectares of vineyards, half of which are planted with Négrette--the king of grapes in the AOC Fronton. Delicate and charming, it has subtle aromas of violets, red fruits and licorice. This is a very unique wine at an affordable price!
Inventory: San Francisco
The region of Marcillac, located in the Southwest part of France, is largely overlooked. The vines were devastated by phylloxera at the turn of the 20th century and the local mining began to dry up not shortly thereafter. The region had shrunk dramatically but is now poised for a comeback. The grape Mansois (also called Fer Servadou or Braucol) is planted on the local red soils called rougiers (a clay soil rich in iron). The story of Domaine des Costes Rouges begins when Claudine Vinas and her husband Eric took over her parents farm in the early 1990... Read More »
Puy-Servain's winemaker Daniel Hecquet used to work at the famed Château d'Yquem, so it's no surprise this affordable little wine, made entirely from Semillon, tastes a lot like a Sauternes. Fresh citrus, candied pears, hints of botrytis; palate marked by opulence. Plenty of complex flavors, nice weight and viscosity leading to a lively, fresh finish. 13.5% abv.
Inventory: San Francisco
The Côtes du Frontonnais winemaking region is located on the left bank of the Tarn River about 20 miles north of Toulouse. The area is generally flat, with occasional hills that create small slopes. The subsoil is composed of ice age deposits, topped by alluvial soil and rouget, a material very rich in iron that evokes parallels to the character of the wines. The typical climate of the region is similar to that of Bordeaux: warm and dry in the summer, and mild and wet in the winter. The grape that sets Fronton apart from other winemaking regions in Franc... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco