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K&L Staff Recommendations
2014 Eric Cottat Sancerre $18.99
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 »
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 »
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)
100% Gamay from the heart of the Loire. A lovely pale pink color with hints of strawberry cream and spice on the nose. A very bright and cheerful style of rose with a nice crisp finish that is fantastically refreshing and easy to drink. I am seeing a lot of empty bottles of this going into my recycling bin over the next few months. (Eric Story, K&L Loire wines buyer)
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. (Eric Story, Loire Buyer)
This is a fresh, snappy berry-driven rose 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 which oversees every stage of the production from start to finish themselves. They have roughly 30 hectares of Cabernet Franc spread out through the Bourgueil and Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil regions. They practice sustainable farming and each and every vine get singular attention throughout the year. Vines of an average age of 25 years are... 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. However, due to the amazingly warm vintage, it's quite soft, with layers of rich fruit.
Wine Spectator: "Soft, delivering ginger, brioche and pear notes, with a friendly, open finish. Drink now. (Web Only—2013)" 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, Loire B... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "A soft sparkler, featuring cherry, peach and strawberry notes, with a pillowy finish. Drink now. (Web Only—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 bub... Read More »
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 preserve the wonderful citrus and slightly grassy aromatics and gentle mineral finish.
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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "This full and ripe wine is dominated by fresh apples. A lively, mineral texture and good depth of flavor shows through in the weight of the wine. It’s a style that can age for a few more months, so drink from the end of 2015." (6/2015) K&L Notes: 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... Read More »
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)
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)
Third-generation family domaine owned by Franck and Betty Millet in the village of Bué. This rosé of 100-percent Pinot Noir is a blend of pressed juice and saignee juice, and matches beautifully with Asian food. From the winery: "Nice light rosé, salmon-coloured with a pleasant fruity aroma. Sancerre Rosé is a well-constituted wine due to its semi-tannic structure."
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 throughout. I swear to you that you can actually taste the glow of the summertime sun right in this bottle. Absolutely stellar while enjoying a burger right off ... Read More »
Always a favorite value-priced Chinon, perfect for everyday drinking. The color of polished garnets, it has bright red and black fruit aromas and flavors, a hint of a violet and pepper, and a vein of spice threaded carefully through from start to finish. Perfect with charcuterie, cool weather braises or grilled lamb chops with gremolata.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a solid, firm and ripe wine. With its dry structure and still youthful tannins, it has weight and the potential to age. The smoky aromas and fragrant berry fruits are bursting out of the glass, giving a ripe wine that should be drunk after 2016." (3/2015) K&L Notes: A rich ruby red with notes of violets and red berry fruits, this Cabernet Franc is nicely layered on the palate with brightness running throughout and just a touch of smoke mixed in with some purple fruits. Soft waves of mineral with a nice soft tannin make this a true delight to drink. Domaine le... Read More »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale yellow. Subtly aromatic bouquet of lemongrass, white flowers and woodsmoke. Dry, focused and pure, with the citrus and orchard fruit flavors highlighted by dusty minerals. The finish is refreshingly spicy and very persistent, calling for a dozen oysters. As this wine represents two-thirds of the estate's total production, it is a tribute to the quality aspirations of the family." (9/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "The ripe and fruity style typical of Vacheron wines is evident here. Citrus flavors are given a rich fillip by yellow fruits and a rounded, full texture. Touches of ...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 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.
Inventory: San Francisco
Reuilly is an appellation in the eastern part of France's Loire Valley (sometimes referred to as 'poor man's Sancerre') that is starting to get some real attention, with the wines of talented vigneron Denis Jamain leading the charge. Reuilly is blessed to share the same Kimmeridgian clay and limestone terroir with neighboring Sancerre and Chablis to the north, which explains where these wines get their mineral drive and precision. As prices for the more coveted regions creep up, saavy connoisseurs are finding great value the lesser-known, nearby appellat... Read More »
Fresh Chinon rosé made by the saignée method, sourced from Joguet's sustainably-farmed vineyards. According to importer Kermit Lynch: "Fresh strawberries come to life in this lovely incarnation of Cabernet Franc. Bring a bottle of Joguet to your next picnic and you’ll see how it makes everything taste better."
Pascal Jolivet’s domaine covers 49.5 acres in Sancerre, with vineyards close to the villages of Bué, Verdigny and St Gemme. 8.6 acres are planted to Pinot Noir. The vineyards have chalky clay soils. The Sancerre Rose is a blend of direct press and "saignée" method (bleeding off of a portion of the juice from recently-crushed skins) rosé wine. The juice is produced from macerated Pinot Noir grapes that have not been sorted by hand or de-stemmed. The philosophy of the estate is to let nature take its course as much as possible.
95-97 points Antonio Galloni: "Fairly pale gold-tinged color. Captivating aromas of lemon custard, quince, brown spices, smoke and wet stone. Highly concentrated and on the dry side, with a powerful spice character contributing to an impression of power. Conveys a tactile sense of high dry extract and finishes with chewy tannins and lingering notes of bitter orange peel and lemon curd. This very deep, multilayered wine finishes with exceptional length. A serious step up in concentration from the 2012 Clos Windsbuhl, this is an especially powerful and ripe Rangen because the yields wer ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Brothers Yvon and Pascal Tabordet took over the family winery in 1981. Located in Sancerre, they soon branched out across the Loire river to Pouilly Fumé, where they now tend 12 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc vines planted on calcareous clay soils which are intermixed with flint. The wine is slowly fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks with no malolactic fermentation.
A tad bit more richness than its counterparts. Nice citrus fruit with exotic lemongrass and textural length.
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 »
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 »
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.
Jancis Robinson: "Very marked, uncompromising acidity. Bone-dry wine that needs a lot of time to unfurl. Smoky. Pungent." (11/2014)
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
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. Everything is hand-harvested, cuvées are based on vine age and soil composition, and the wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel before being bottled without filtration.
While Didier Dagueneau, the "wild man of Pouilly" is no longer with us (sadly, he died in a plane crash in 2008) his legacy lives on at the domaine be built, which is now run by his son, Louis-Benjamin. This is the winery's entry level bottling, a pure expression of Sauvignon Blanc packed with chalky minerality and citrusy deliciousness. It is made from younger vines planted in Kimmeridgian and clay limestone farmed biodynamically.
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
White Sancerre is justly famous, winning fans with its stony, racy, Sauvignon Blanc self. Red Sancerre is not as well known, though many wine insiders appreciate the more feminine side of Pinot Noir made here, showing deft balance between fruit and structure, ripeness and acidity. Pink Sancerre is more obscure yet, and that is a shame, because when made as it is by the father and son team of Lucien and Gilles Crochet, it manages what so little rosés can: subtlety. This pink is consistently one of our summertime favorites. Made entirely from Pinot Noir, t... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2011 Chinon Vieilles Vignes is the top wine of Alliet; no other wine of this estate has a comparable finesse, elegance and balance. You might call it unspectacular, but to unite these three merits is much rarer than often frivolously claimed. Indeed, this seems to be an unspectacular wine since its spectacle only starts after you have finished the bottle and started to think to order another one for a business lunch. This authentic, spicy, joyful, black currant flavored, unpretentious 100% Cabernet Franc has everything a wine requires. And thus is no ...Read More »
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.
Snappy and fresh aromatic of field herbs and scratch made bread. Nice subtle richness on the palate from the Chardonnay and the Folle Blanche adds a nice snap to the refreshing finish. A well thought out wine which can easily be used as a replacement for its more expensive cousin, Champagne.
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 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.
An average vine age of fifty years old and from the outstanding vintage of 2009 - especially good for Cab Franc. Ripe fruit with good depth and concentration throughout. Ripe tannins and fantastic length. Drinking nice now but, can be cellared for many more years. Over all, pretty wine with a darker core. (Eric Story, Loire Buyer)
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "From selected, sunny parcels of vines, it’s powered by its citrus and pear fruits along with an intensely mineral texture and supreme concentration. It’s a Sancerre to keep, still young and gawky, best drunk from 2016." (10/2014)90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Greenish yellow. Steely aromas of quince, woodsmoke and wet stone. Focused and impressively deep, with lemongrass, lime and mineral flavors vying with vanillin oak for dominance. Finishes with a strong floral lift. This is a serious wine from old vines in Saint Satur on Kimmeridgian soils similar to those in Chablis. It will need ...Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Offers a racy feel, with graphite framing the black cherry, tobacco and sage notes, melding pleasantly through the finish. (Web Only—2013)" K&L Notes: Yet another fantastic example of what happens when you have a winemaker who cares about the land, the vines, the region and the ancient craft which they were born to do. Frédéric Mabileau has just 27 hectares under vine across the appellations of St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Bourgueil, Saumur and Anjou in the Loire Valley, all farmed organically since 2007. Frederic works mostly with his passion varietal, Cabernet Franc w... Read More »
Marc Ollivier of Domaine de la Pépière makes some of the finest Muscadet on the market. The Clisson vineyard is in the southern portion of the appellation. The vines range between 50 and 110 years old, and the wine spends two whole years sur lie.
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 »
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 plan... Read More »
Light and pale in color with fresh crunchy strawberries on the nose and chalky minerals in the back ground. Fresh and light on the palate with a good focus of fruit throughout. This is a very well made rosé and deserves some more time in the bottle or, even a couple of hours in a decanter. Will go well with pretty much any style or type of food you can throw at it. (Eric Story, Loire Buyer)