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K&L Staff Recommendations
This is a straightforward, refreshing version of Chenin Blanc from Vouvray. 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 floral aromas such as sweet acacia. The wine is round and fruity, well-balanced, and ends super fresh. A killer value! 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. (Eric Story, Loire Buyer)
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Free-Run Steen Chenin Blanc has a focused, clinical bouquet with pineapple and lemon zest, hints of passion fruit developing just behind. The palate is very well balanced with a fine line of acidity: plenty of tropical fruit on display here but neatly delineated on the tense and citric finish that linger in the mouth. Quite simply, this represents unbeatable value. (NM)" (10/2014) K&L Notes: Winemaker's Notes: "We source our Chenin Blanc from selected vineyards in the Agter-Paarl region. The vineyards are all unirrigated and bush-vine (untrellised) that prod... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "White golden in color, the 2011 Vouvray Sec Tendre starts with slightly greenish walnut and lees aromas that lead to a rather dulcet, light to medium-bodied, versatile, mineral-structured Chenin with a delicate though somewhat dry finish. (SR)" (10/2014) Wine Spectator: "High-toned, with green almond and green plum notes, showing a hint of chamomile on the slightly off-dry finish. (Web Only—2013)" K&L Notes: With just a touch of sweetness on the entry, Domaine du Viking's "Tendre" is impeccably balanced; showing round fruit up front, but sliding into the classic minerality and earthy f... 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.
Vigneron by way of butcher, Pascal Janvier is one of those souls destined to make wine, despite himself. Fortunately, he wisened 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. 'Cuvée du Silex' is a six hectare parcel of 35-40 year-old vines that contains all three ... Read More »
With their old vines, quality organic viticulture, and modern winemaking, Domaine Guiberteau has quickly become a leading estate in the Loire's Saumur. The family has grown grapes in Saumur for more than 100 years, and for much of that time they provided the fruits of their labor to the local winemaking co-op. Current proprietor Romain Guiberteau is the third generation of vigneron since the family officially founded their own label, and their vines were planted by his father and grandfather just after World War II. According to importer Becky Wasserman,... Read More »
Grapes for this perennial summertime value were sourced from Clarksburg, in California's Central Valley. Seriously quaffable but not to be underestimated—five of the past seven vintages won 90-point approval from Wine Advocate. The winery's tasting notes on the brand-new 2014: "The newest release of our intriguing blend delights the nose with a charming bouquet of enticing aromas of fresh Meyer lemon, fuzzy peach, ripe honeydew melon and yellow plum, mingled with touches of citrus blossom and white tea. The clean, vibrant palate enters with juicy pomelo,... Read More »
Established in 1890, the Domaine Sylvain Gaudron is now run by the third generation of the Gaudron family. It is comprised of 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.
Antonio Galloni: "Bright yellow. Peach and nectarine on the nose. The palate offers nicely firm citrus flavors paired with a slightly honeyed sweetness. Sappy and juicy, finishing with pleasing persistence. This Chenin Blanc is actually from the Clos du Midi, but that is not mentioned on the label. (JP)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: Château de Brézé has a long and storied history, first being mentioned in texts in 1068, lauded by King René of Anjou in the 15th century and served at all the royal courts. In 1957, when the AOC of Saumur Champigny was established, the owner of Château de Brézé r... Read More »
A mineral intensive, rich, old vine Chenin Blanc with both concentration and elegance. We have been working with Ginny's beautiful Botanica wines for a few years now and the purity and depth of this Chenin continues to impress year after year. Ryan Woodhouse (K&L South African Wine Buyer)
A petulant child might pout over dinner, refusing to eat and then throw a temper tantrum at bedtime, causing no end of anxiety, sleeplessness and stress to her parents. A Pétillant wine, however, is considerably nicer at mealtime, and drinking this beauty from the husband-and-wife team of Didier and Catherine Champalou could be your next new stress reliever! Floral on the nose, dry and clean as a whistle on the palate, this 100% chenin blanc sparkler is less austere and less effervescent than Champagne, but every bit as fun to drink and versatile with fo... Read More »
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 impressively energetic sparkling wine packs a more precise punch than plenty of non-vintage Champagnes." (5/2010) Wine & Spirits: "Golden in color and in its toasted lees flavors, this wine freshens up with honey and crisp apple notes. A spicy sparkler to ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "They do three bottlings; this is the second and therefore a bit richer than the first. Fermented in concrete and old vats." (1/2015)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
From the importer: "For a young man from the north of France, Xavier Weisskopf has an impressive track record in the world of wine. He went to school in Chablis, where his winemaking ambitions took flight and led to the wine school in Beaune. After earning a degree in viticulture and enology, he went to work for Château de Saint Cosme in Gigondas. It doesn't hurt that he cuts an impressive profile as a tall, handsome young man with the skills and the determination to make wines exactly as he sees fit. This determination, along with his love for the Cheni... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Thinus Krüger, CEO / President / Winemaker / Grape crusher / Sole employee of FRAM, brings us these remarkable "wines of exploration." I recently tasted these with Pascal Schildt, the small, specialist South African importer who brings us these wines, and I was truly blown away by the quality, purity, and depth of the entire range! Ryan Woodhouse (K&L S.Africa Wine Buyer) Winemaker's Notes: "The very special area that these grapes come from is actually closer to Clanwilliam than to Citrusdal, but the part about the mountain is very true. Situated in dee... 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.
The Kloof Street Chenin Blanc is sourced from three particularly fine vineyards in Swartland: one with 33 year old vines planted in the stony Shale and Schist soils of Riebeek Kasteel Mountain, and two vineyards of 40+ year old dry-farmed bush vines in the decomposed granite of Paardeberg Mountain. These vineyards render modest yields and the juice is fermented on their native yeast in a combination of stainless steel (85%) and neutral oak (15%). From the winery: "Pale straw in colour, this wine has a nose of sun ripened pears and wet granite. The palate... Read More »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Golden yellow. Broad aromas of muskmelon, quince jelly and almond. Powerful and a touch broad-shouldered, finishing with a supple structure and pleasant length. The high alcohol (14%) and hint of residual sugar make this an unusual display of Chenin Blanc." (12/2014) K&L Notes: Vines planted in primarily schist soils but with a bit of quartz and just a touch off sand as well. Quite an explosive wine. Full of ripe crunchy apple along with layer after layer of honeyed tea and roasted nuts. A definite candidate for the cellar. Or, even just having a glass a day over a w... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 White Blend is comprised of 76% Chenin Blanc, 16% Clairette Blanche and 8% Viognier, the first two whole bunch pressed and aged for 11 months in used oak and one 2,000-liter foudre. It has a slightly muted bouquet at first, with dried pineapple, apricot and a touch of wax resin that becomes more pronounced with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with a lovely, waxy opening. Chris and Andrea have fashioned a Chenin that is a more textural experience than one offering conspicuous flavors. It has great precision toward the finish with touches of ...Read More »
Taste Notes from Cellar Tracker: "Nose with ripe apples, some spice notes, some minerality, and a light perfume note. Dry palate, ripe apples, some spices, good minerality, good acidity, and a rather firm aftertaste. This wine comes across as less spicy and somewhat less fruity than the 2013 Ciel Rouge, so I'd say this is the firmer of the two Michel Autran wines tasted at the same occasion. As I understand it, the vineyard name is Les Enfers, and it was dubbed tranquil because it is non-sparkling, in order to create an oxymoron - "the calm hells"."
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Vouvray La Craie (chalk in French) is a clear and crisp 100% Chenin blanc under screwcap with aromas of green apples and limes on the nose and a clear and juicy, slight creamy palate. The finish is somewhat rustic but this is a good, light to medium-bodied wine to be served with seafood at lunchtime. (SR)" (10/2014) Wine Spectator: "On the soft side, with ginger, piecrust, persimmon and apple notes, backed by a lightly earthy echo on the finish. (Web-2013)" K&L Notes: This is 100% Chenin Blanc from hillside parcels ranging from 15-25 years old just outside the actual village o... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Savennières Les Petites Gorgees ("pg de Damien“) is a full-bodied, aromatic, ripe and elegant Chenin Blanc that is rich and salty and nicely balanced, displaying attractive honey aromas as well as refreshing lime flavors in the delicate finish. It is a clear, fruity-mineral, well-balanced and accessible wine for early consumption, but it can also age for several years. (SR)" (10/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright yellow. Smoky aromas of hazelnut, linseed oil and crushed white pepper on the nose. Fresh, clean and tightly wound, with firm acid structure giving focus to t ...Read More »
Maison Huet has been a leading force in the Vouvray appellation for quite sometime now, and today is regarded as one of the premier producers of Chenin Blanc in the Loire Valley, if not the world. 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 that have been farmed biodynamically since 1990. These wines are stunning and are worth being in your cellar. In addition to its famous vineyard-designated wines, Huet also produces this delightful sparkling Pétill... Read More »
93 points Wine Spectator: "*Top 100 Wines of 2007* Shows very flattering ginger and peach aromas, but tightens up quickly on the palate thanks to its nervy acidity, which keeps the quince, persimmon and marzipan notes in reserve. Superlong finish. Best from 2008 through 2018." (3/2007)92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2005 Vouvray Demi-Sec Clos du Bourg offers fresh orange, quince, and grapefruit zest on the nose, a fine, bitter-sweet inner-mouth florality, and concentration of quince, honey, toasted almond, and citrus, with strongly chalky, stony mineral underpinnings. A glossy, polished feel accentuates the s ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This dry, crisp, medium-bodied, light straw-colored 100% Chenin Blanc offers up aromas of flowers, white currants, lemon zest, and a hint of melons accompanied by an unmistakable minerality. Drink it over the next 1-2 years." (8/2010)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Are you "over" over-alcoholic, over-priced, over-oaked wines? Then you must get to know the wines of Pascal Janvier. His Coteaux du Loir Blanc is 100% Chenin Blanc, from 15 year-old vines planted to predominantly clay soils. It is crisp and vivacious, with lots of fruit upfront and a fleshy core that leads to a long mineral-kissed finish.
In 2008, the famed Loire Valley vigneron Jo Pithon, his wife Isabelle, Isabelle's son Joseph Paillé and his wife Wendy, joined together to start Pithon-Paillé--a négociant not unlike those in the Rhône Valley or Burgundy. This botrytis-affected Chenon Blanc comes from 20- to 30-year-old vineyards in four villages at the center of the Layon Valley. Intense scents and flavors of pears and quince, this vibrant, earthy wine goes wonderfully with funky cheeses.
The Bretons have been farming their eleven hectares biodynamically since 1994. Pierre is the primary cellar master, but the wines under the "Dilettante" label are the pet projects of Catherine. This Vouvray sec is grown on 40 year-old vines, and treated with exquisite care: hand harvested, native yeast, low sulfur, low yields. From the winery: "Dry white wine, fresh and ripe from a ground of clay with flints. The happy medium of the minerality of the terroir, the acidity of the wine and the grape's ripeness."
From the winery: "Our Chenin Blanc was 100% whole cluster pressed and fermented in stainless steel and French barrels. Beautifully balanced, the wine is medium bodied, with a delightful and racy acidity and great finish. Delicious as an aperitif, this Chenin Blanc also goes very nicely with everything from melon and prosciutto to chicken salad, Thai curries and spicy Mexican dishes."
From the importer: "In 2008, the famed Loire Valley vigneron Jo Pithon, his wife Isabelle, Isabelle's son Joseph Paillé and his wife Wendy, joined together to start Pithon-Paillé--a négociant not unlike those in the Rhône Valley or Burgundy. This wine comes from the slate soils of Savennières in Anjou, all farmed organically, aged for 10 months in one- to three-year-old barrels. Delicious, minerally and bright now for fish, salads, poultry and pork dishes, but can also develop incredible secondary characteristics with some age."
A dry Chenin, with mineral notes. "Founded in 1920, Domaine Richou is a modest place off a country road deep in the Anjou Noire, so called because of the preponderance of schists in the geological makeup of this section (the strata of schists passes under the Loire, running southeast to geologically connect the Savennières appellation to the Aubance watershed)," the importer of this wine notes. "The domaine acquired a three acre parcel in Savennières in late 2010, on the plateau just behind the Roche aux Moines vineyard. Replanted in 2008, this parcel pr... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
Certified made from organically grown grapes, from a small winery run by Nicolas Bertin & Geneviève Delatte, who aim to practice minimal input, "natural" winemaking.
88-91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Golden yellow. Aromas of tobacco, ripe yellow peach and brioche. A multilayered wine with its own distinctly “orange” character, the broad-shouldered apricot flavor is accented by tea leaf and lime. Concentrated, warm and deep, finishing with an unmistakable extract sweetness and a supple texture. This was my favorite of the six Chenin Blancs I tasted at the estate, but question marks remain in my mind." (12/2014) K&L Notes: Coulée de Serrant is a small AOC located within Savennières and is only about 17 acres in size. Originally planted by Cistercian monks back in 1... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
91 points Wine Spectator: "This seems up front, with lightly browned butter, fig, creamed peach and ginger flavors, but there's latent acidity driving through the finish, with lingering bitter almond and clove notes as well. Flattering now, but will hold. Drink now through 2014. 580 cases made. (JM)" (9/2010) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Deeply golden, the Joly 2007 Savennieres - Roche-aux-Moines Clos de la Bergerie smells of heliotrope and faded lily, toasted nuts, ocean breeze, and spirituous evocations of quince. Dried citrus fruits and their bitter rinds dominate on the palate with a fascinating array of mi ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Antonio Galloni: "Golden yellow. Discreet nose displays honeydew melon, dark spices and tarragon. On the palate there's good breadth, depth and length, with very soft acidity barely providing shape. Sweet papaya notes linger on the finish." (12/2014)
Inventory: San Francisco
Les Rouannières, perhaps the finest, firmest, slowest-to-evolve and longest-lasting of all Papin's moelleux, is from very meagre, superficial soil whose base is the volcanic rock spilite. The soil is so superficial it cannot be plowed: it would erode and disappear. So instead, the Papins plant grass, which serves to keep the soil from eroding, competes with the vine thus keeping yields low and provoking the vine to send its roots down into the bedrock, and, when it is turned, mulches the soil with organic matter. The effect of proximity to the Layon, the... Read More »
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Straw-gold. Exotic aromas of passion fruit, mango, honey and jasmine, plus a touch of spicecake. Sappy, palate-staining pit and tropical fruit flavors are impressively deep but also lively, with strong minerality lending lift and adding precision. Juicy and intensely floral on the finish, with the honey and mango notes echoing." (May/Jun 10) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "White truffle, white pepper, and chalk dust in the nose of the Huet 2008 Vouvray Demi-Sec Le Mont set the stage for ano... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
This Chenin Blanc comes from the chalky soils of Saint Louand in the western part of the Chinon appellation. The color of yellow topaz, its nose is reminiscent of peeling an orange while sitting on wet rocks by the sea. Citrusy and minerally on the palate, this dry Chenin is crisp and fresh and persistent, and it is a natural with rich shellfish like langoustines or Santa Barbara spot prawns.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Matthieu and Sylvanie Bouchet took over Matthieu's family domaine in 1990, building on his father's legacy for biodynamic growing and harmonious wines. Their 100-year-old vines are planted in clay and limestone soils and are harvested manually, fermented in cononical oak tanks and aged for a year in 10-year-old oak barrels. Full-bodied, with rich flavors, good minerality and wet stone.
Jancis Robinson: "As with their Genêts, this has a fabulous nose. Orange peel, lemon rind, apple - really broad, yet precise. Excellent range and good length too. (RH) (17+/20 points)" (9/2013) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Golden yellow. Cantaloupe, hazelnut and tobacco plus a whiff of botrytis on the nose. An almost oily core of ripe tropical fruits is supported by the herbal phenolic structure of chenin blanc. Gooseberry lingers under a lactic veil on the finish. (JP)" (12/2014) Wine Spectator: "Offers a mix of bright white peach, ginger, persimmon, almond and melon flavors that weave through the finely beaded finish. ...Read More »
Peruse any of the best wine lists in Los Angeles, and chances are you'll find something from up-and-comer Jeff Fischer's Habit wines. A "garagiste" winemaker, Jeff's wines can be found at Spago, Providence and AOC, among other top restaurants. "He's been able to achieve a balance in his wines in that they definitely speak to the area that they're from, but they're not overblown, fruity wines," Caroline Styne of AOC told the Los Angeles Times. The 495 cases of Habit Chenin Blanc comes from the Jurassic Park Vineyard, which boasts sandy loam soils perfet f... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Peach, musk melon, and almond extract aromas to the Huet 2009 Vouvray Moelleux Le Haut-Lieu lead into a caramel-tinged palate on which nut paste and peach preserves are pitted against a bright but as yet somewhat detached sense of fresh citricity. Despite the sense of citricity and an impressive degree of sheer density, the 50-some grams of residual sugar here come off as decidedly efficacious. This really needs time to knit, but certainly displays an impressive degree of energy and persistence, albeit of a pronouncedly sweet sort. A sense of increasing ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
94 points Wine Spectator: "Plump, ripe and full, featuring a slightly exotic edge to the guava, mango and creamed peach flavors, before a racier side of green plum, honeysuckle and plantain moves in behind. Still youthfully raw, with the fruit bouncing rather than gliding for now. The finish is long, revealing an echo of green almond that bodes well for cellaring. Best from 2015 through 2026" (2/2013) 90-91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I tasted a 2009 Coteaux du Layon Clos de Sainte Catherine that was to a much greater extent than with Baumard’s other as yet un-bottled cuvees a mere approximation to the likely final ...Read More »