A Summer BBQ for the Redwood City Team

This past Sunday evening, the K&L Redwood City team got together for our annual summer barbeque and bottle share party. We were using this occasion to bid farewell to our dear colleague Cameron Price, who is returning to Paris with his wife. In the past year, he has made a big impact around here, and we are all going to miss him a lot. So we toasted him, again and again with every type of wine imaginable. I was barely strong enough to wheel out our recycling bin the next morning!

It will be 20 years for me at K&L this coming February, and I think that we have the best team we have ever had here in Redwood City. At the party, we had a great crew from the operations team, the customer service team, and our sales floor team. We enjoy each others company a lot and often go out together, but it was really special to have everyone together for a big party.

Lots of delicious food hit the grill, from salmon to tri-tip, from chorizo to chicken sausage. Of course, lots of great wine got opened. In the blink of an eye, two sets of Bonvilles 2012 “Pur” range, the Avize, Oger, and Mesnil, were gone. These great Champagnes, dosed at just 2 grams per liter and loaded with linear minerality, hit the spot on the warm summer evening. The Jeroboam of Michel Arnould “Carte d’Or” managed to get around a couple of times with its dark cherry fruit and vibrant chalky finish, but it to quickly succumbed to the recycling bin.

Cameron Price, our guest of honor, brought an incredible bottle of Château-Chalon from Jura, along with the three-year-old comté to go with it. It was a fantastic pairing, and the nuttiness of both had a synergy that only the very best of pairings achieves. Tim Telli, our newest team member, grilled up incredible yogurt marinated chicken kebab and offered a profound 2015 Leroy Bourgogne Rouge that went with it perfectly. My big lesson for 2019 is that the best producers are making better Bourgogne than they made village wine when I first started in this business, and this deep, super earthy, savory Pinot proved that point again. Thomas Smith brought an elegant, subtle bottle of 2003 Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan that hit in all the right places with the tri-tip. I would have guessed anything but a hot vintage for this composed, cool current, and fine gravel Bordeaux. Stefanie Juelsgaard brought what I thought was the wine of the night, a perfect bottle of 1985 Joseph Phelps "Insignia," which was rich, but low in alcohol, totally fresh at 34 years old, and had an earthy, brambly complexity that is hard to find in any wine. Ralph Sands brought two cannons—the 1955 Troplong Mondot, St-Emilion, which was musty on the nose but dense and full of plummy fruit-even after 64 years, and a magnum of 1986 Raymond Lafon, Sauternes which combined honeyed richness with savonneux complexity.  Also for dessert, Heather Gowan brought us a bottle of 1990 Domaine des Aubuisières "Grande Annee" Vouvray Moelleux which combined super-ripe melon sweetness, Blenheim apricot botrytis, and Meyer lemon zing.

I missed out on the magnum of Lopez de Heredia "Viña Tondonia," the 2010 Cantina Terlano "Vorberg" Pinot Bianco Riserva Alto Adige and too many other goodies to list. You can’t get to every bottle. It was a great party—I am so happy to work with a team that likes wine, and each other so much!

-Gary Westby

Gary Westby