Staff Favorites - Jeff Garneau

Jeff Garneau
Jeff Garneau  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
Jeff has been a member of the sales staff in our Redwood City store for the past four years. His first introduction to wine was as a waiter in an upscale Italian restaurant in Hanover, NH more years ago than he likes to admit. He slowly made his way west to wine country, working his way across the US as a graduate student in geography, a public sector researcher in regional economic development, and briefly, in the wake of the Anderson-Enron scandal, a records management coordinator for one of the remaining Big Five accounting firms. Finally, surrendering to the inevitable, he accepted a position in the wine business here at K&L. His goals for the next four years include drinking more wines from Italy and France and trying to limit the number of open bottles on the dinner table on any given night to fewer than six.


Reviews

  
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2013 Von Strasser "Rudy" Paicines Pinot Noir
Review Date: 05-29-2015
Rudy Von Strasser, of Napa Cab fame, has ventured south to San Benito County to source fruit for this value-priced Pinot Noir. Round and richly textured, even opulent in style, the 2013 Von Strasser Rudy Paicines Pinot Noir offers plenty of ripe red fruits yet retains a very sensible 14.2% alcohol. A crowd pleaser, ideal for summer, and a terrific deal at under $20.
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Ellero "Pisa Terrace" Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 05-29-2015
My list of "outstanding Pinot Noirs from New Zealand offered at unbelievable prices" just keeps getting longer and longer. At the moment we have perhaps a dozen wines in the $20 to $30 range, all of exceptional quality. This 2012 Pisa Terrace bottling from Ellero comes from one of the most coveted vineyards in Central Otago. A melange of spice notes coupled with ripe red and black fruits define this supremely balanced wine. Deliciously sweet yet fresh and lively. Accessible yet with good underlying structure. Perfection in a glass.

2013 Franck Millet "Insolite" Sancerre
Review Date: 05-29-2015
This is the most serious of the Sancerres we import directly from France. Wines of comparable quality typically sell for $30 or more. Dense, tightly wound, and quite reserved in style with excellent concentration and length. Lightly floral on the nose with fresh grapefruit and gooseberry notes. Intensely mineral in expression. This can be enjoyed now or over the next 3 to 5 years.
Price: $21.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 S.C. Pannell "Tinto" Old Vine Grenache-Touriga National McLaren Vale South Australia
Review Date: 05-29-2015
A runaway hit at a recent K&L staff tasting, this inspired blend of Grenache and Touriga Nacional may be the ultimate summer BBQ wine. Crafted by Stephen Pannell, one of Australia's most gifted winemakers, this is no soft and simple fruit bomb. This is a masterpiece of ripe red fruits and complex spice notes that invites you back to sip again and again as it reveals more of its secrets. A terrific value, implausibly priced at a mere $14.99.
Price: $14.99 Add To Waiting List
JH 93

2013 Don Cataldo Rosato Salento Puglia
Review Date: 05-29-2015
Baroque architecture, whitewashed hill towns, sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches. I am not going to claim you will find all of these things in a bottle of the 2013 Don Cataldo Rosato Salento Puglia, but if you can find a sunny spot to sip this dry, refreshing southern Italian rosé, you can close your eyes and imagine you are in Taranto or Brindisi. 95% Negroamaro. 5% Malvasia Nera. 100% Delicious.
Price: $9.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Elephant Hill Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 05-28-2015
This is classic Central Otago Pinot Noir that is true to the regional style yet incredibly user friendly. Generous black fruits, big and round in the mouth with lovely weight. Accessible and open knit, ready to go with the pop of a cork. This 2012 vintage bottling offers plenty of sweet, ripe fruit, and at a very reasonable price. Terrific value!
Price: $24.99 Add To Waiting List
RC 93 SK 93

2009 d'Escurac, Medoc
Review Date: 05-28-2015
The 2009 Chateau d'Escurac, Medoc is a seductive pleasure, a superb example of the best of what this vintage has to offer. Super rich with a positively silky texture. Loads of sweet, dark fruit lightly seasoned with spicy oak. Would age effortlessly for a handful of years in the cellar, but SO easy to drink now.
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List

2013 Von Strasser "Rudy" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 04-30-2015
Is there a better value in California Cabernet than this second label bottling from Rudy Von Strasser? A wine that we encountered unexpectedly while tasting at the winery a few years back. Hard to believe we are now on our sixth vintage. And still available for only $20. If you haven't tried this wine yet, then grab a bottle of the 2013 at once. Maybe the best vintage yet.
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List

2010 Andre Bonhomme Vire Clesse Vieille Vignes
Review Date: 04-02-2015
2010 white Burgundy for $23?! Wonderfully rich. Intensely mineral. Structured. Serious. A terrific value. A Mâconnais treasure. Why would you drink anything else?
Price: $22.99 Add To Waiting List

Paul Giraud VSOP Cognac 750ml
Review Date: 04-02-2015
I admit I don't drink a lot of spirits. I am mostly a wine and beer guy. Well, mostly wine, really. So it doesn't surprise me that the distilled spirits I am most drawn to are those that begin their lives as wine - especially Armagnac and Cognac. From that perspective, the Paul Giraud VSOP Cognac is a revelation. Such incredible purity, you can really taste the quality of its vinous origins. It manages to combine surprising freshness with remarkable richness. This is as honest a cognac as they come, and at an unbeatable price.
Price: $39.99 Add To Waiting List

2013 Bishop's Peak San Luis Obispo Pinot Noir
Review Date: 03-31-2015
I am a big fan of the Talley Vineyards wines. Their single vineyard bottlings from Rincon and Rosemary's vineyards are benchmarks for great Central Coast Pinot Noir. While these wines justifiably command premium prices, we have also been stocking their slightly more affordable second label Bishop's Peak wines for several years now. It is frankly tough to find great California Pinot Noir for less than $20, but the Bishop's Peak 2013 bottling really over-delivers. Plenty of ripe red and black fruits and intriguing spice notes. Rich and round in the mouth with lovely weight. Complex and multidimensional. Great Pinot Noir character at a terrific price.
Top Value!
Price: $17.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico
Review Date: 03-31-2015
It should tell you something that the only Chianti K&L imports directly from Italy are the wines of Rocca di Montegrossi. From the heart of the Chianti Classico zone in Gaiole, Marco Ricasoli meticulously produces some of the finest wines to be found between Florence and Siena. The 2012 Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico is a classic blend of 90% Sangiovese and 5% each of Canaiolo and Colorino, aged 12 months in French oak for a polished, elegant style.
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List

2013 Akitu "A2" Pinot Noir Central Otago (White Label)
Review Date: 03-31-2015
I couldn't be more excited about the new Akitu wines from central Otago in NZ. The A2 is the less expensive, "entry level" Pinot Noir, but DO NOT be fooled by the price. This is serious wine. Classic Central Otago character. Loads of dark fruit with plenty of weight. Lovely concentration and depth. I took a bottle of this wine home shortly after it arrived on our shelves. I frankly underestimated it until about an hour in the decanter when it suddenly opened up like bright sunshine breaking through the clouds on a rainy day. I am not certain but it is entirely possible I heard a faint sound of distant trumpets. If you are a fan of NZ Pinot Noir you can't afford NOT to try the Akitu A2 given the price. And if you have yet to discover the wines of Central Otago, this is the perfect opportunity to see what you have been missing. Oh, and yeah, almost forgot - the label is totally cool.
Price: $21.99 Add To Waiting List

2013 Elephant Hill Sauvignon Blanc Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 03-31-2015
You're flying first class with this 2013 Hawke's Bay Sauvignon Blanc from Elephant Hill. Plenty of extra room to stretch your legs or recline your seat. Settle in for a comfortable trip with generous, ripe fruit - classic gooseberry accented with exotic, tropical fruit notes. Bright and fresh, yet luxuriously appointed with a rich, smooth texture. From first sip to final glass, you'll appreciate the extraordinary value of this classic NZ Sauvignon Blanc. First class quality. Economy class pricing.
Top Value!
Price: $16.99 Add To Waiting List
AG 90

2013 Meurgey-Croses Mâcon-Uchizy
Review Date: 02-28-2015
A brand new addition to K&L's collection of great white Burgundy values. 100% Chardonnay from Uchizy in the Maconnais. Very floral on the nose with hints of acacia. Round and richly textured with plenty of weight in the mouth but with a firm, mineral core. Lovely ripe fruit leaning more towards stone fruits - peach and nectarine. Drank this alongside the 2013 Les Heritiers de Comte Lafon "Les Maranches" Macon-Uchizy $32.99. At half the price, the 2013 Meurgey-Croses compares very favorably. Flavor profile is identical, and the Meurgey-Croses is the more immediately accessible of the two. A real value.
Price: $14.99 Add To Waiting List

2012 Il Valentiano Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 02-28-2015
100% Sangiovese in the classic style from Montalcino. Medium to full-bodied, silky in texture, showing all the ripeness of the 2012 vintage. Bright, sweet, morello cherry notes with a slightly bitter "amaro" finish. For those looking for a traditional Tuscan red at a great price.
Price: $14.99 Add To Waiting List

2009 Peyrabon, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 02-20-2015
Delighted to see that the 2009 Peyrabon, Haut-Médoc ($19.99) is now back in stock. Bordeaux veterans will recall this Haut-Médoc bargain is happily situated on the border with Pauillac near Château Bernadotte. The strength of the exceptional '09 vintage really shines through here. The wine is remarkably fresh, with textbook blackberry and cassis notes and fine tannins. While it may be difficult to resist drinking this wine immediately, it will only continue to improve over the next 3 to 5 years.
Price: $18.99 Add To Waiting List

2009 Duluc de Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien
Review Date: 02-20-2015
I have a vague memory of some famous British wine critic opining that the "sole purpose of a second wine is to improve the quality of the Grand Vin; one is never supposed to actually drink it". Fair point, but it would be a shame to miss out on second wines in a vintage like 2009. The quality of the vintage is such that they really shine, offering exceptional value for money. The 2009 Duluc de Branaire Ducru perfectly mirrors the vintage as a whole, offering fresh, ripe fruit, smooth, silky texture, and fine tannins. Branaire Ducru remains one of the great values in St Julien, the second wine even more so.
Price: $31.99 Add To Waiting List

2011 Gigault "Cuvée 'Viva" Premières Côtes de Blaye
Review Date: 02-20-2015
One of the great Right Bank values from the Cotes de Blaye. Always a wine to look for. Difficult to follow the outstanding '09 and the unparalleled '10, but the 2011 Gigault Cuvee Viva makes the most of a challenging vintage, offering rich, upfront fruit. Soft, ripe, and juicy, this wine is already drinking well and should continue to do so over the next few years.
Price: Hidden View Price
JS 91

2011 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
Review Date: 02-18-2015
Tasted blind in a recent K&L weekly staff tasting along with the 2000 Pontet Canet. Thank god Clyde decided to taste us blind on this 2011 Pontet Canet or I likely would have allowed my feelings about the vintage as a whole to color my perceptions. The class and breed of the exceptional terroir at Pontet Canet along with the incredible work done by the Tesseron family over the past twenty years really shines through here in a wine made under very challenging conditions. Youthful character, remarkably sweet fruit, and firm but not astringent tannins. And what length! Quite possibly the wine of the vintage.
Top Value!

Ariston Aspasie "Prestige Vielles Vignes" Champagne
Review Date: 02-10-2015
The wines of Paul-Vincent Ariston were the first from Champagne to be imported directly by K&L some 15 years ago now, and the Ariston Aspasie Prestige Vielles Vignes is still one of the best values on our shelves. The current cuvee, though not vintage dated, is composed entirely of fruit from the exceptional 2008 vintage (certainly the best vintage in Champagne since 1996, and perhaps even surpassing that much-heralded year). A blend of all three principal varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier) from 65 year old vines, the old vine character really shines through here, yielding a wine of surpassing concentration and depth. This is one to savor, or perhaps to cellar for a few years. You can congratulate yourself on your foresight in the years to come.
Price: $39.99 Add To Waiting List

Wine Club

$34.99

2013 Haut-Bergey Blanc, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 02-03-2015
Just 2 hectares of the nearly 30 hectare estate of Haut Bergey are planted to white wine grapes, roughly 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. This limited production Bordeaux Blanc is fermented in stainless steel tanks then spends 12 months in barrel, about 30% new. On the nose, exotic, tropical notes of guava and melon. Bright, tangy fruit on the palate, mango and cara cara orange. Ripe and round in the mouth with good weight. Mineral in character with a firm finish. Delicious now and an excellent value in a classic white Bordeaux.

2004 Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 02-03-2015
2004 is one of those often overlooked vintages. Not in the top rank for the decade but solidly good, with quite a few well-priced wines of superb quality. The 2004 Chateau Haut Bergey from Pessac-Leognan is certainly one of these. It possesses lovely weight and richness with plenty of ripe red and black fruits, cherry and plum. There is an intriguing note of green tobacco, at once both comfortingly familiar and beguilingly exotic.
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 90

1995 Calon-Ségur, St Estèphe
Review Date: 01-27-2015
It's hard to believe this vintage is now 20 years old. '95 and '96 were the two top vintages of the decade and as they reach their twentieth birthday no doubt many of the wines will receive renewed scrutiny. 20 to 30 years old is prime maturity for most Bordeaux wines and many will be reaching their peak over the next decade. That being said, the 1995 Calon Segur, St-Estephe still seems very youthful with still firm tannins and just a hint of aged character emerging. The oak is nicely integrated at this point with lovely spice notes. Plenty of sweet, ripe fruit and classic Cabernet character of blackberry and cassis. As my colleague Ralph Sands notes, all the reasons we drink Bordeaux can be found in this bottle. I love this wine.

Tozai "Typhoon" Futsu Sake 720ml
Review Date: 12-31-2014
Our best value futsu-shu. Soft, round and fruity. Delicious either chilled or gently warmed.
Price: $9.99 Add To Waiting List

Ichishima Tokubetsu Honjozo Sake 720ml
Review Date: 12-31-2014
Hands down, one of the best values in our sake selection, and an excellent example of the Niigata style. So pure, so clean. Quite dry. It would do well paired with traditional sushi or any type of fresh seafood. I enjoyed it with our local Dungeness crab, and it really showed off the sweetness of the meat. Superb.
Price: $26.99 Add To Waiting List

Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-31-2014
The current disgorgement of the Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne is perhaps a little firmer, a little less open knit than previous bottlings. But the tradeoff is more focus, more purity, and more length. Quite dry, but with remarkable sweetness of fruit and a light toast that adds depth and character. The ideal New Year's Eve companion - complex enough to be interesting but not so serious as to dominate the conversation.
Price: $34.99 Add To Waiting List

Dewatsuru Kimoto Junmai Sake 720ml
Review Date: 12-29-2014
This exceptional Junmai (no added alcohol and a seimaibuai of 65%) is made in the original, or "kimoto" style. It is more painstaking, labor-intensive, and time-consuming than using more modern techniques, but the result is a creamier, more complex, more savory style of sake that pairs well with robust dishes like fried foods, grilled meats, or aged cheeses. This semi-dry sake is nutty and creamy with hints of oyster mushroom and roasted chestnut. If you have never tried the kimoto or yamahai style, this is a superb introduction.
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List

2010 Bodegas Puelles Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 11-29-2014
Kudos to Joe Manekin, our Spanish buyer, for the work he has done to develop our Spanish direct import program. It has yielded astonishing results in just a few short years with some truly amazing wines available to our customers at incredible prices. Case in point? The 2010 Bodegas Puelles Crianza Rioja at a mere $12.99. 100% Tempranillo lightly accented with oak. (Bodegas Puelles neatly bridges the traditional vs modern divide in Rioja and uses a 50/50 mix of American and French oak.) This 2010 vintage is by far the best we have offered, and really over delivers at this price point. A great introduction to the wines of Spain or to the Rioja region, and a superb value.
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 90

2013 Rickshaw California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-29-2014
Good California Pinot Noir under $20 is increasingly rare. Finding good California Pinot Noir for under $15 is like winning the lottery. And this 2013 Rickshaw California Pinot Noir is just the ticket. Ripe, sweet, almost candied red fruits – bright cherry and raspberry with just a hint of spice. Unbeatable quality at this price.
Price: $14.99 Add To Waiting List

Ariston Aspasie Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 11-29-2014
Always my favorite rosé champagne here at K&L. Drank it with Thanksgiving dinner this year. Quite dry with a pronounced red fruit character - crisp red apple and tart cherry. For die hard Pinot fans - 50/50 Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Price: $34.99 Add To Waiting List

2005 Valandraud, St-Emilion
Review Date: 11-06-2014
The flagship wine of garagiste Jean-Luc Thunevin, this 2005 Chateau Valandraud, St-Emilion is a superb example of both the vintage and the "modern" style of Bordeaux winemaking. It offers loads of dense, dark fruit, black fig and damson plum, with a bit of spicecake thrown in for good measure. Rich, almost silky in texture, finishing with fine tannins. A very well made wine, generous in every way but with excellent balance. Needs another five to ten years in the cellar but will more than reward the patient connoisseur.

2012 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-02-2014
If you have not had this wine recently this is the perfect vintage to renew your acquaintance with this unparalleled Napa value. Since 2009 Phelps has shifted entirely to estate grown fruit, reducing their overall production and improving quality. They now consider their estate wine something of a "second wine to Insignia" at one third of the price. This 2012 vintage is stunning, with loads of dark fruit and fine tannins. If you are a fan of Napa Cabernet, this is a "must try." Do not miss out.
Top Value!
Price: $59.99 Add To Waiting List

2014 Lake Chalice "The Nest" Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand
Review Date: 10-02-2014
Our third vintage of this NZ classic and still one of our best values in a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc. The slightly cooler 2014 vintage produced a more aromatic wine with tart gooseberry notes, a more pronounced mineral character, and a peppery finish.
Price: $10.99 Add To Waiting List

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-02-2014
I think the Ariston Aspasie Carte Blanche Brut was one of the first grower-producer Champagnes I ever purchased from K&L. It remains to this day our best value in Champagne, and a superb introduction to the grower producer (RM) Champagnes. If your usual Champagne experience is Veuve Clicquot or Moet & Chandon, you owe it to yourself to try the Carte Blanche from Paul-Vincent Ariston. With roughly equal parts of the three classic Champagne grapes, and a retail price comfortably south of $30, this is a no-brainer. Open a bottle for no reason in the middle of the week. You'll feel like royalty.
Price: $27.99 Add To Waiting List

2013 Margerum "K&L Blend" Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 06-30-2014
You tend to see two main styles of Sauvignon Blanc in California. They are either lighter in style, very dry and crisp with tart citrus notes, or fuller-bodied, with more texture and weight (often due to barrel aging), showing more tropical fruit. The 2013 Margerum "K&L Cuvee" Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc somehow seems to combine the best of both. There is real richness here with exotic melon and mango notes. At the same the wine has a taut, linear style with a marked acidity and an admirable tension unusual in a California Sauvignon Blanc. Really superb, and the perfect wine for those who like having their cake and eating it too.
Price: $18.99 Add To Waiting List

Wine Club

$14.99

2010 Lambuena Crianza Ribera del Duero
Review Date: 05-30-2014
The extension of our Direct Import program to Spain is one of the most exciting things to happen to our Spanish wine selection in years. For the first time we are able to offer small production wines of extraordinary quality at unbelievable prices. Some of the first wines to arrive from the Ribera del Duero region come from Bodegas Lambuena. The best of these in my opinion is the 2010 Lambuena Crianza, a supremely balanced wine that combines a bright, lively character with ample ripeness of fruit. It is a rich, dark, oak-inflected wine that is sure to please a wide range of palates. The 2010 vintage is of such quality that while the wine can be enjoyed now, it will more than reward another 3 to 5 years in the cellar. Currently one of the best $20 reds we have to offer, irrespective of varietal or region of origin.
Price: Hidden View Price

2010 Quinta de Arcoso "Padrao dos Povos" Tras-os-Montes
Review Date: 05-01-2014
We field more and more inquiries every day about the availability of red wines from Portugal. These can be tough to find. If you do find one, it is more likely to be international in style and with no true distinctiveness. From the rugged, isolated hill country in the extreme northeast of Portugal, the 2010 Quinta de Arcoso "Padrao dos Povos" is the real deal. Foot-trodden and tank-aged using traditional methods, this blend of Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela and Touriga Franca is medium bodied with bright red fruits and a lively minerality that reflects the largely granitic character of the region's (admittedly poor) soils. Superb regional character and typicity for a mere $15.99.
Price: $15.99 Add To Waiting List

1986 Haut-Bailly, Graves
Review Date: 04-30-2014
The wines of the '86 vintage were forbiddingly tannic in their youth and very slow to evolve. Closing in on 30 years past the vintage they are really coming into their own. The 1986 Haut Bailly, Pessac-Leognan is certainly a strong candidate for one of the most charming wines of the vintage. The wine has all the hallmarks of a nicely aged claret - fully garnet color, bottle notes of cedar and saddle leather, and a fine coating of tannins on the finish that is the legacy of this long-lived vintage. In addition, however, it also offers a remarkable sweetness of fruit - red currant and cherry. The wine is possessed of a lovely ripeness and a suppleness of texture that became even more evident with additional aeration.
Price: $119.99 Add To Waiting List
WS 91

2009 Les Allées de Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 11-07-2013
Easily the best $20 Bordeaux in the store. Why? Well, the 2009 vintage was the best since 2005 for wines at the $10 to $20 price point. And Chateau Cantemerle is one of only five Haut Medoc properties that are designated "cru classe", in fact it is a fifth growth. Finally, the quality of the 2009 vintage was such that even second wines like the "Les Allees" really excel. Loads of dark fruit here, blackberry and cassis. Superb Cabernet character. I was shocked by how well this is drinking already. If you really want to get your money's worth, though, tuck this away in the cellar for a few years. You won't regret it.
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List
JS 90

2009 Caronne Ste-Gemme, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 07-06-2013
Chateau Caronne Ste Gemme is located in the commune of Saint Laurent, due west of Saint Julien-Beychevelle, and is a near neighbor of Chateau Lagrange and Gruaud Larose. Francois Nony, whose family has owned the property for over a century, currently manages 40 hectares of vineyards planted on gravel soils. The wine spends 12 months in oak with about 25% of the barrels new. The extraordinary 2009 vintage produced a big, deeply colored wine with a rich, silky texture and very fine tannins. The wine is still youthful with tart, fresh blackberry and ripe, red cherry notes. Already more expressive than when tasted one year ago, it can be enjoyed now or over the next 1 to 5 years. A superb effort for this property and my top pick for best Bordeaux under $20 for the vintage.
Price: $22.99 Add To Waiting List
WS 90

2009 Saarloos & Sons "His" Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 04-25-2013
When I walked into the Saarloos & Sons tasting room in Los Olivos a couple of months ago, I wasn't sure quite what to expect. Which, in hindsight, is just as well, since Keith and Brad Saarloos are pretty good at defying expectations, challenging preconceptions, and gleefully poking with a stick anything that smacks of convention and pretense. We tasted a lot of great wines, most of which I don’t remember well because Keith insisted I stop taking notes. At some point he also insisted I stop spitting, so tasting became drinking. So we drank and we talked. About wine, about grapes, about music, art, and life. It is worth noting at this point that Saarloos & Sons are farmers first and foremost. They grow grapes of exceptional quality, most of which they sell to other winemakers. A small amount they hold back every year to make their own wine. They sell exclusively direct to consumer, not through retail wine shops. But at the end of that evening they paid us the ultimate compliment. They offered us a couple of wines to make available to our K&L customers, the 2009 Saarloos & Sons "His" Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, and the 2010 Saarloos & Sons "Hers" Santa Ynez Valley Grenache Blanc. I absolutely recommend a visit to their tasting room in Los Olivos to taste their full selection, but until your next trip we are honored to share these two wines with you. I enjoyed the Cabernet Sauvignon at dinner the other night with my nephew. We grilled a 2 lb “Fred Steak” from Schaub’s in Palo Alto, serving it with roasted baby Yukon potatoes and fresh local asparagus. The Cab was a perfect companion to the spicy, smoky meaty deliciousness that is Fred steak. A hint of violets and new wood on the nose. On the palate the wine has a rich, silky texture with notes of blackberry jam and cassis. Imagine the blackberry jam your grandmother used to make, heading out before dawn to her secret spot to pick fresh wild blackberries, then spending the rest of the day canning blackberry preserves. There is a sweetness of fruit, a ripeness perfectly offset by a liveliness and a freshness that keeps the wine in perfect balance. The finish is framed by fine tannins that lie lightly on the tongue, caressing the palate like a finely woven cotton blanket on a cool summer night. If there is a perfect California Cabernet Sauvignon, this is it. Expertly crafted, and a pure joy to drink.
Price: $39.99 Add To Waiting List

2009 Arnauton, Fronsac
Review Date: 02-25-2013
Fronsac lies alongside Pomerol and Saint Emilion on the Right Bank, producing Merlot-based wines of good quality at good prices. A long, warmer than average autumn meant that much of the Merlot crop got quite ripe in 2009, resulting in some cases in full-bodied wines with a floral, almost exotic character. The 2009 Arnauton is one of these, richly textured with sweet, plummy fruit.
Price: $18.99 Add To Waiting List
JS 91

1999 Fugue de Nenin, Pomerol
Review Date: 09-26-2012
The 1999 vintage has always been charming, medium to full-bodied with lovely sweet, upfront fruit. This second wine from Chateau Nenin in Pomerol is very much in step with the vintage as a whole. Elegant and richly textured, it offers sweet, ripe cherry notes combined with soft tannins. Drinking beautifully now, it can be enjoyed for many years to come.
Price: Hidden View Price

Franck Bonville "Belles Voyes" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 08-17-2012
When most people talk about "value for money" they are thinking of a great $10 red. At $67.99 this is our best "value" in Champagne, easily the equal of wines selling for many hundreds of dollars. This wine was featured in our last staff Champagne tasting and elicited a collective moment of silence in sheer appreciation. If you think you can't appreciate a great Champagne, try tasting this alongside the Franck Bonville "Brut Selection" Blanc de Blancs Champagne at $32.99 - excellent in its own right - and you will see what I mean.

Fluteau Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 06-24-2012
Yes, this is a rosé Champagne, and yes, it is so deeply colored that its appearance in the glass will shock you. This is a saignée style bottling very typical of the southernmost part of Champagne, the Côte des Bar, or Aube. The extra skin contact adds both color and flavor, enabling the wine to express more clearly the character of the Pinot Noir grape. Ripe, red cherry fruits, lightly floral with just a hint of licorice, this excellent grower producer Champagne is a rare treat that can be enjoyed on its own or with food.
Price: $34.99 Add To Waiting List

San Venanzio Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore Brut
Review Date: 06-24-2012
While the classic Italian Prosecco is "Extra Dry", with just a touch of sweetness on the finish, this charming sparkling wine from San Venanzio is made in a "Brut" style more familiar to American palates. At a mere 11.5% alcohol and at the very attractive, direct import price of $14.99, it's easy on both your palate and your wallet. Crisp, bone dry, refreshing. Low in alchohol. Low in price. An ideal aperitif you can enjoy every day.
Price: $12.99 Add To Waiting List

Fleury Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-18-2012
This extraordinary 100% Pinot Noir sparkling wine comes to us from the Aube, the southernmost part of the Champagne region. In the early 1900s, when the boundaries of the Champagne appellation were being formally drawn, it seemed for a time that producers in the Aube would be excluded by their brother growers to the north. They took to the streets in protest and French troops had to be called in to quell the riots. Because we are buying these wines directly in France you can enjoy them today at a price that won't provoke civil unrest. Why would you drink anything else?
Price: $39.99 Add To Waiting List

2009 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 04-28-2012
Long time customers of K&L will recognize this producer. We have carried many different vintages over the years. I was privileged to taste the 2009 out of barrel when we visited the chateau a couple of years ago. The proprietor, Eric Miailhe, confided that he considered it the finest wine he had ever made, possibly the finest he would ever make at this property. This is a big wine! Tons of sweet fruit backed by fine tannins. Needs perhaps five years to pull itself together and can then be enjoyed for many years to come. 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.

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