Excellent Value from Minervois: Chateau St-Jacques d'Albas

The other day I tucked into a Syrah-dominated bottle of Minervois made by Chateau St-Jacques d’Albas, and was reminded exactly why I love Minervois. The bottle, from the 2015 vintage, was all juicy black fruits with structure and a sexy smokiness at an excellent price. And this is what good Minervois can do: knock your Tuesday night out of the park. I’m always on the hunt for an imminently drinkable companion to everyday life that will be more delicious than precious. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and place for precious wines, but I love a wine that punches way above its weight class. And Chateau St-Jacques delivers.

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California Goat Cheese Salad—for Sancerre!

In a few days, Cinnamon and I are going to the Loire Valley for the first time, spending the whole trip relaxing in one place: Sancerre. I have been so excited about this trip that I couldn’t wait to get a little taste in advance, and started searching around online for recipes to go with the iconic Sauvignon Blanc from the region. I settled on the salade au crottin de Chavignol as inspiration, and read a number of recipes online. Naturally, I picked the wine first—and went with the 2017 Domaine La Clef du Recit, a recommendation from our Loire Valley buyer Keith Mabry.  

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Italian Whites Will Be Your Summer VIPs

With its Mediterranean climate and 4722 miles of coastline, Italy is a mecca for white wines. From north to south, there’s a vibrant seafood-based cuisine, and a litany of whites to accompany it. And now that we’re in peak summer, it’s a great time to branch out beyond Pinot Grigio (though we have a killer Pinot Grigio on this list, too!).

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The French Riviera in a Glass from Château de Bellet

Just 5 minutes from the beautiful French Riviera’s main drag, tucked between sea and mountains and summer tourists, lies this under-the-radar region that produces great Provençal wines you’ll hardly ever see Stateside. Luckily, we have Keith, who journeys far and wide to bring us such gems. In fact, you can’t find wines from Château de Bellet anywhere in the U.S. besides K&L, so we’re proud to have these special bottles on our shelves.

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The Santa Cruz Mountains with Rhys, Mount Eden and Ridge Vineyards

One thing I’ve learned at K&L is that if you’re going to get into a discussion about wine, expect it to be thorough. Last Tuesday, Ryan Woodhouse scheduled an after-hours staff tasting on the Santa Cruz Mountains and invited Assistant Winemaker at Rhys Vineyards, Sean Castorani, Winemaker and Owner of Mount Eden Vineyards, Jeffrey Patterson and Head of Viticulture at Ridge Vineyards, David Gates, to discuss their wines and this unique growing region. 

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Megan Greene
Introducing Champagne Nicolas Maillart

It takes a lot longer than I would like to get Champagne from France, across the Atlantic and back up the Pacific coast. I think that the Champagnes from Nicolas Maillart have been well worth the wait. Those of you who are in the Champagne Club may have already tried his fantastic Extra Brut, but there is a lot to say about these- our latest addition to our direct import Champagne portfolio.

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Gary Westby
A Special Treat from Jean-Jacques Lamoureux

One of the most exciting wines that I tasted on my last trip to Champagne was from Les Riceys, just three miles from the boarder that separates Champagne from Burgundy. I was with Vivien Lamoureux and his adorable dog, Noughat, in the families 17th century cellar underneath their home. He told me he had an exciting surprise for me and pulled out his first release of his Jean-Jacques Lamoureux Pinot Blanc Champagne. Now it has arrived in California.

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Gary Westby
The Inimitable Champagnes of Ariston Aspasie

We have been importing Champagne Aspasie for 18 years now; it was our first direct import Champagne. Many of you reading this have met the Paul Vincent and Caroline Ariston at our tent event tastings and some of you have even visited them in the picturesque village of Brouillet where they live, grow their vines and make their inimitable Champagne.

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Gary Westby
A Very Special Visit from Mr. Florent Fresse of Mouton Rothschild

Today, our staff was treated to a special visit from Mr. Florent Fresse, the export manager for Chateau Mouton Rothschild. The excitement for this visit has been building for weeks, and the seminar that he put on for us did not disappoint. He brought with him two vintages of Mouton, as well as one Petit Mouton, a Chateau d'Armailhac, a Chateau Clerc Milon, and the rare white from Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Aile d'Argent.

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Gary Westby