November Newsletter: Pinot & Pineau, Beaujolais Nouveau, Due Out 11/12: New Edition of Adventures, Annual Champagne Sale

The November newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…


by Dixon Brooke

Champagne is one of the easiest things to forget when it comes to planning a personal cellar. It shouldn’t be forgotten, but almost always is. An aged bottle of vintage Champagne will become one of the most treasured bottles from your collection, especially since it will probably be used to celebrate a special occasion.

There is something in our annual Champagne sale for everyone, and we make it easy for you to stock up for all of your end-of-year party needs with authentic, estate-grown and -bottled Champagnes. But I want to bring special attention to the rare bottlings listed here, as these are, in my judgment, the most exciting part of this offer. If for no other reason, you almost never see Champagne this good sold at this deep a discount. Our November discount, before the holiday season, has become a KLWM tradition. At these prices, put away some great bottles that will improve tremendously with time. And why not stock up on our non-vintage Champagne for lesser occasions? There are many pretenders to the throne, but there is no substitute for Champagne.




by Clark Z. Terry

The arrival of the Durban Beaumes-de-Venise Rouge is an annual source of excitement for me. The 2005 vintage was my first exposure to the wine, and I have managed to slowly drink a case over the past six years.

The 2012 Rouge promises the same prolonged pleasure that the 2005 did. It is rare to find a wine where the velvety texture, structure, and earthy Grenache fruit are in such perfect balance.

Certainly it begs the question: Is Kermit crazy to sell this for only $18? Luckily, the domaine offers it to us at an irresistable price.

$18.00 per bottle  $194.40 per case

2013 Harvest Report, Part 2: Bordeaux

We saw last week that the 2013 vintage has much potential in the south of France. We have also heard word from several of our producers in Bordeaux and it is with a sigh of relief that I can say the same: it’s looking good for 2013! With the exception of certain districts that fell victim to destructive hail, most of the Bordelais experienced a successful growing season with typical weather, though perhaps slightly cooler than the run of recent warm years. The vignerons we have heard from are happy with the quality of fruit they have picked and, unlike in the South, yields are for the most part in the normal range.

For Daniel and Valérie Alibrand, the harvest time is especially crucial as ideal conditions are necessary to produce the luscious nectar that is Domaine de l’Alliance’s Sauternes. With the potential for so many things to go wrong, it is a joy to hear Daniel’s preliminary assessment:

We began the harvest on Wednesday, September 25. We harvested the first round of Sauternes and had a great surprise: two barriques instead of the one we usually fill! Botrytis is everywhere. We are very satisfied so far: pretty fruit and good acidity. We’ll see…as they say, it’s not over ‘till it’s over. This year we had to constantly adapt, but that is the charm of our profession. Otherwise we would have chosen the factory.

Alliance_400Harvest at Domaine de l’Alliance

Hervé Dubourdieu, proprietor of Château Graville-Lacoste and Château Ducasse, shares Daniel’s faith in the vintage:

We picked for the dry whites one week late relative to last year. Our harvest dates are fairly typical for this decade. Conditions were good for ripening. I think we will have slightly higher acidity levels than last year. Yields are rather generous for us!

Xavier Piton of Château Belles-Graves had equally reassuring words:

The results are very encouraging, after lots of worrying. Yields are higher than expected, and above all ripeness is at the desired level, already showing a beautiful color and aromas of crushed strawberry, raspberry, and currants. Our authentic Pomerol Merlot!

Xavier’s thirst-inspiring words can only leave us to imagine the quality of 2013 Belles-Graves Lalande-de-Pomerol. While there is still a long way to go, we can at the very least be optimistic given his preliminary reports and the encouraging words of others from the regions. Although there is much to rejoice in for us, Xavier nonetheless stresses the importance of solidarity with his fellow vignerons: “Special thoughts to our colleagues in Entre-Deux-Mers and Bergerac, who were hit by hailstorms.”

To be continued…

2013 Harvest Report, Part 1: The South

As autumn rolls around, many of us begin to notice the leaves beginning to turn rust red and the weather taking its annual turn for the worse. In wine country all over the Northern Hemisphere, however, one thought dominates: harvest, the critical period in which a year’s worth of work is validated or erased; the climax of the grape-growing season. As our wine-growing friends abroad are now picking the final clusters from their respective vineyards, the quality of vintage 2013 is slowly coming into focus. Today’s harvest report will focus on the south of France: the Rhône, Languedoc, and Provence.

Vendanges 2013 Domaine Tempier400

 Harvest at Domaine Tempier

The growing season began with uncertainty as a cool, rainy spring slowed maturation considerably. These unusual conditions persisted through the beginning of summer, posing some concerns in the vineyard. “Frequent rainfall through mid-June allowed mildew to develop and we had to be very vigilant,” states Daniel Ravier, vigneron at Domaine Tempier. Fortunately, the summer heat finally kicked in and alleviated many a vigneron’s stress. Pierre Ravaille at Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup was especially relieved at the favorable conditions: “Sun and heat arrived in mid-June and summer was hot. The vines matured well without any water shortage.” Despite a late start, results seem positive across the board. Harvest took place without any major obstacles and initial assessments confirm a relatively good year, in spite of below average yields. Reynald Delille at Domaine de Terrebrune expresses his satisfaction as the harvest wraps up: “We are presently bringing in very nice Mourvèdre for the reds: good ripeness, small, dense clusters, and great quality of the skins. A very good year is shaping up, unfortunately with 15% less quantity.” Not too far north, in the southern Rhône, the verdict is a similar one. According to Henri Leydier at Domaine de Durban, “This vintage is unusual not for its quality, which should be quite good, but for its quantity: Grenache, the main variety in Côtes du Rhône, suffered coulure at flowering like never before. The result is a production cut in two! As we all know, a vigneron depends on weather and climate.”

Harvest 2013_Ermitage_320

 Harvest at Domaine de Durban

While it is too early to say how 2013 will compare to other recent years, first impressions foresee a favorable outcome. While quantity may be lower than usual in the South, we can eagerly await to taste the first 2013s with positive expectations. In the meantime, we’ll let those yeasts get to work and leave our vigneron friends to operate their magic in the cellars.

To be continued…

Vendanges 2013 Domaine Tempier2_400

 Domaine Tempier


October Newsletter: Coming this fall: New edition of Adventures On The Wine Route!

The October newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…


by Dixon Brooke


Petite Arvine is a white mountain grape that thrives on the high-altitude slopes that form the border between the Valle d’Aosta, Switzerland, and France. My favorite thing about it is the explosive fruit on the palate: once you dive in, it is like you are biting into a ripe peach, and this sensation coats and fills your mouth. The decomposed granite subsoil makes its presence felt on the finish.

$28.00 per bottle $302.40 per case


It is tough to beat Punta Crena’s Pigato as the ultimate wine to drink with anything and everything Italian. Tommaso Ruffino is incredibly gifted with the grape, and he coaxes the maximum out of the family vineyards: all his wines are high on the deliciousness scale, show great varietal character, and are incredibly consistent. Pigato in Liguria gives aromatic, elegant, fresh dry whites that are excellent with seafood and pretty much everything else.

$24.00 per bottle $259.20 per case


by Dixon Brooke


Each year I spend several days with Lionel Faury, tasting nearly every barrel and cuve of his entire production, and then putting together custom blends for you. He has continued to make classic vins de terroir just as his father, Philippe, did so well. We always separate the Saint Joseph into two bottlings: the tannic, meaty Vieilles Vignes (from Joseph Panel’s old vineyards), and this bottling from the Faury holdings around La Ribaudy. It is an intensely aromatic, bright, granite-infused Syrah, an archetypal example of the far north of Saint Joseph. Delicious now, it will age and improve for five years or more.

$30.00 per bottle $324.00 per case

2011 LIRAC ROUGE “le classique”


Interestingly, this Lirac is grown on a plateau of reddish river stones that look almost identical to the stones at Sang des Cailloux, above. However, the wines are very different. Must be something underneath all those stones . . . Lirac, like Vacqueyras, is its own cru, although its vineyards are situated on the opposite side of the Rhône River. You have to work hard here to get noticed, and proprietor Marine Roussel has certainly been keen to that task. Organically produced and raised in cement tank, the Joncier Lirac delivers a lot of wine at this price point: rich, layered, complex, earthy, and meaty. Marine is every bit the lady, but she makes a very masculine wine, prime for barbecue season.

$24.00 per bottle $259.20 per case

September Newsletter: Consider the Glass, 2011 Maume P-A, New Quintarelli, Southwestern Gems

The September newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…



by Katya Karagadayeva

Despite the challenges that 2012 posed in Beaujolais—there was frost, there was hail, and there was rain—the talent of our producers and a late ripening season blessed us with another spectacular, elegant vintage. One problem—there is very little of it to go around!


We are excited to introduce a new wine from our beloved Fleurie producer, Domaine Chignard, and to add another grand cru to our Beaujolais collection. Juliénas, located in the far north of the region, is known for wines with backbone, and the Beauvernay is no exception. It comes from a granite hillside vineyard with sixty-year-old vines and exhibits a beautiful aroma and finesse—a true Chignard classic. Fans of Chignard’s Fleurie must not miss this new arrival.

$24.00 per bottle $259.20 per case



by Steve Waters

If ever there was an up-and-coming producer everyone should check out, Christophe Buisson has earned my vote. He is a perfectionist who makes Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with purity and finesse, mining the stony, limestone slopes of Saint-Romain. Kermit told me that he noticed the potential of Saint-Romain back in the late seventies. He recalls urging Jean-François Coche to acquire some vines there.

If you haven’t tasted Christophe’s pleasure-filled wines, these new arrivals are going to convince you: he’s a producer worth following and his prices are more than reasonable . . . for the moment.


This is a single-vineyard Chardonnay that would probably be classified as a premier cru over the hill in Meursault or Chassagne-Montrachet. Freshness and a distinct minerality draw your nose into the glass, and the broad flavors and rich texture will linger in your mouth for minutes. I clocked it!

$40.00 per bottle $432.00 per case


From the same vineyard as above but an opportunity to see how Pinot Noir tastes from the limestone and clay soils of Sous le Château. Brimming with expressive fruit, here is a great example of what Christophe can create in a young red. I once overheard Aubert de Villaine call a Pinot Noir sexy, so I’ll do the same for this lovely beast.

$39.00 per bottle $421.20 per case

The Resurgence of the Languedoc

 In our retail shop, any salesperson will be quick to point to the Languedoc section for some of the best values in the store. Having long been the source of the vast majority of France’s bulk wine, the Languedoc nonetheless produces wines of quality that are consequently undervalued. We are not ones to complain: nothing makes us happier than a juicy, sunny, southern blend at a great price.

However, this abundance of well-priced, everyday wines means that the Languedoc’s true potential as a producer of serious wines is often overlooked. Recently, the region has experienced a revival in which some of the area’s best terroirs are being recognized by ambitious young winemakers. Indeed, the Languedoc—an enormous region encompassing a range of diverse terrains—is home to an array of very favorable grape-growing areas, from the limestone slopes around Pic Saint Loup through the schist hillsides of Faugères, all the way south to the rugged landscape of Corbières and Fitou.

The negativity that still plagues the Languedoc’s reputation revolves around the densely planted vineyards in the flatlands, generally located closer to the Mediterranean. With irrigation and copious use of fertilizers and other chemical products, yields can easily double or triple those from the poorer soils in the hills farther from the coast, permitting co-ops to churn out colossal quantities of characterless bulk wine. However, the hillsides farther inland are home to some highly desirable terroirs for the production of vibrant, structured wines, and they are not going unnoticed by the keen eyes of certain winemakers. In fact, some old vineyards—having been abandoned by their former owners in search of easier sites to work—are being re-purchased with the intent of fully realizing the potential of the land.


Terrasses du Larzac                                          © Anthony Lynch

The Terrasses du Larzac is a prime example of this new trend. A vast area to the north of Clermont l’Hérault, this relatively new sub-AOC of the Coteaux du Languedoc benefits from the cooler temperatures of the steep schist slopes of the Cévennes mountains. Grapes here ripen slower and retain more acidity than in the hotter plains to the south, giving the wines a distinct, lively freshness. Jean-Baptiste Granier, founder of Les Vignes Oubliées, was quick to note this: realizing the potential of some of these higher-altitude terroirs, he purchased several parcels to vinify himself rather than allowing this exceptional fruit to be mixed into the local co-op’s blend. At just 29 years old, Jean-Baptiste has now produced several vintages under his own label and the results speak for themselves, putting to evidence the Languedoc’s potential for serious, age-worthy wines.

Farther south, Maxime Magnon has been pursuing a similar project in the steep slopes of the Hautes-Corbières. A native Burgundian, Maxime ambitiously scoured France for good vineyards to purchase before coming across several abandoned parcels of old vines in these scraggly, garrigue-infested hills. “Nobody wanted to work these parcels,” Maxime explains, “so I bought them.” In vineyards too steep for tractors, it takes true dedication to set out everyday and put in hours of labor by hand. Maxime’s wines perfectly reflect his hard work, with his unique approach creating wines that are filled with luscious fruit while backed with a firm mineral structure.


Maxime Magnon’s vineyards                        © Anthony Lynch

Jean-Baptiste and Maxime are just two examples of many new growers who are revolutionizing wine in France’s most productive region. This new wave of enthusiasm has resulted in an array of fascinating examples that put the Languedoc’s diversity of terroirs in the spotlight. What’s best is that these wines rival some of the greats from other regions in quality, but come nowhere near in price. For the moment, it seems there’s nothing to do but sit back with a full glass of Languedoc wine and enjoy it, before the rest of the world catches on.

To experience the best of what the Languedoc has to offer, mention this blog and

receive 15% off on these six bottles:











Offer valid through September 14,  2013.


August Newsletter: Introducing: Albert Boxler & André Perret, 2011 Antoine Jobard Pre-Arrival, Tour de Loire

The August newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…


by Chris Santini


In August on Corsica, the only people out and about under the crushing heat of the sun in the afternoons are the tourists. True Corsicans find shade and a cold Sciaccarellu rosé. Whether on a terrace beneath the chestnut trees, or in a stone casetta in the maquis once used to shelter shepherds and bandits, an August afternoon is meant for rest and refreshment, two things Corsicans excel at. This is all rock and stone meets tangy fruit and crisp deliciousness. Its low alcohol won’t leave your head spinning in the heat.

$26.00 per bottle $280.80 per case

The vineyards of Jean-Charles Abbatucci     © Gail Skoff


by Julia Issleib

With its rather cool climate, the Loire may not be the first region on one’s mind when looking for a wine for the hot summer months. Yet it should be! I believe that most wines are at their best when enjoyed in a climate exactly opposite to that of their region of origin.

The wines of the Loire Valley, like the scenery on the river’s banks, offer remarkable diversity. With so many different terroirs, styles, and grape varieties, there is something for everyone. After all, with quality wines in all “four colors”—red, rosé, white, and sparkling—at affordable prices, how can you not love the Loire?


Régis Minet does it again: his 2012 is the quintessence of a quaffable Sauvignon Blanc, as pleasant and balanced as they come. Just the right amount of delicate white peach, citrus, and white flowers combined with a beautiful lip-smacking minerality that leaves you wanting more. Actually, I’ve already used too many words on this wine—it needs to be downed, not discussed. Instead of wondering if the nose shows hints of linden tree or verbena, you’ll be reaching for a second glass.

$23.00 per bottle $248.40 per case


What is it with rosé and girls? We just can’t help it, it’s our color! I’m not sure if it reminds us of the pink dresses, shoes, and hairclips of our childhood, or of the first salmon-colored lipstick, nail polish, and bikini of adolescence. That said, this Chinon rosé is not just a pretty face: it has a strong personality and things to say. Its iodine, peppery character stands up to spicy food, marinated grilled meat, and tasty cheese without a problem. And just like any strong personality, you should give it some time to open up and show the more delicate notes of roses, yellow raspberry, and orange peel that will win you over for good.

$20.00 per bottle $216.00 per case

How to Chill Wine: A Professional’s Guide to Cooling Fermented Grape Beverages

Thirst is an affliction that can strike at any moment. The desire to satisfy this vicious desire can be overwhelming, especially in the summertime when the sun’s rays tempt us beyond reason to sit down and enjoy a cool glass of wine. Consequently, I have compiled a list of proven methods to properly chill your wine in virtually any situation. It is not an all-inclusive list; however, I hope it will inspire you to be creative and resourceful so that you may make the most of every bottle, even in the most unlikely of places.

In the mountains

Nothing compares to taking a whiff of fresh mountain air. Pair this with a glass of fresh mountain wine, and you are in heaven. André and Michel Quenard’s Chignin epitomizes the idea of Alpine refreshment. Its crystalline purity parallels that of fluffy white snow, and its delicate aromas will prompt you to slow down to take in the surrounding beauty.


From Savoie to the Sierras  (Lake Tahoe)      © Anthony Lynch

In a fountain

Provence is known for its old roman fountains as well as its fresh rosé, and the two happen to go quite well together.


Try at your closest fountain (Aix-en-Provence)      © Gail Skoff

At the beach

The ocean provides countless opportunities to bring your wine to the ideal temperature. Marcel Lapierre’s Raisins Gaulois tastes great at the beach, as it is light-bodied with a fruity deliciousness that pairs perfectly with a day of relaxation in the sun.


Gone for a swim (Ocean Beach, SF)                       © Sam Imel

In…a sink


Desperate times call for desperate measures     © Anthony Lynch

July Newsletter: Staff Selections, Pique-Nique Packs, 2011 Domaine Tempier P-A

The June newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…


by Steve Waters, Retail Manager

It’s so refreshing when clients come into our store describing an experience with another vendor and state unequivocally, “You just don’t get the same high level of customer service that you get here.” Can I get an Amen, please!?! We’re old-school at the retail shop and pride ourselves on providing you with a personalized, hands-on shopping experience. When we ask, “Can we help you find anything?” we really mean it.

Our staff is an eclectic mix of wine biz and restaurant veterans, foodies, a former bookseller, a stock market broker, an Armenian refugee, musicians, and a chip off ol’ Kermit’s block. We’re united in the passionate pursuit of good food and wine and are more than happy to share our knowledge with you. So come into the wine shop or call us on the phone, seek out a salesperson, and make them your own. Perhaps these staff selections will help make it easier for you to see what makes us tick.


Left to right: Anthony Lynch, Jennifer Oakes, Nile Mitchell, Mark Congero, 
Bryant Vallejo, Michael Butler, Steve Waters, Molly Surbridge





by Jennifer Oakes

Insects and foul weather can threaten to spoil a picnic, but with the right liquid fortification, even those annoyances fall by the wayside. Whether your picnic day out is beside the oyster shack, grilling something meaty at the park, or merely spent lounging in the backyard, we’ve put together a versatile assortment to cover your summertime al fresco needs.

Try something sparkly to get the party started, Beaujolais for easy-drinking comfort, Chablis or Muscadet for those day trips to the beach, and of course a summertime rosé. You’ll also need a smoky red to go with your grill’s bounty, and why not throw in a fantastic Fié Gris, the ultimate fish taco wine, or an Edelzwicker, because it’s a full liter! We’ve got two sampler options, one for absolutely everybody who shows up and one for people you like just a little bit more. The only guests you won’t need to please are the ants.


per bottle

2012 Bardolino “Chiaretto” • Corte Gardoni


2012 Edelzwicker • Meyer-Fonné


Clairette de Die • Achard-Vincent


2011 Beaujolais • Domaine Dupeuble


2011 Muscadet • Domanie Michel Brégeon


2010 Bronzinelle • Chateau Saint Martin de la Garrigue


Normally $106.80

Special Sampler Price $80

(a 25% discount)


per bottle

2012 Bandol Rosé • Domaine du Gros ’Noré


2011 Chablis • Roland Lavantureux


2010 Fié Gris • Éric Chevalier


NV Grande Réserve Brut 1er Cru • Veuve Fourny & Fils


2011 Île de Beauté Rouge • Domaine de Gioielli


2011 Morgon “Vieilles Vignes” • Jean-Paul Thévenet


Normally $193.95

Special Sampler Price $145

(a 25% discount)

June Newsletter: Rosé Time!, Exploring the Store, P-A Les Pallières, P-A Brunello

The June newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…


by Katya Karagadayeva

I recently came across an interview in which Kermit talks about comparing wines to old friends. Makes sense, right? Just like people, each wine has his or her different personality, and for every situation in life there is a perfect match. In Russia we have a saying that goes something like “Don’t possess a hundred rubles, but possess a hundred friends.” I would like to introduce you to six friends of mine.


If Grangia is already your go-to white, you will love her sister. Pretty in raspberry-pink, easygoing, pleasant. Her upbeat personality gets your attention at a first interaction and has you coming back for more. Don’t call her if you want to discuss politics over a steak, but enjoy her unpretentious company in any other situation.

$9.95 per bottle  $107.46 per case


Everyone needs a powerful friend, a friend with connections. A true aristocrat: his predecessors rubbed shoulders with French kings and were admired by Ernest Hemingway. He is a man of grand stature, his manners are perfect, but his fiery spirit shines through. And he is one of those lucky few who only benefit from aging.

$18.00 per bottle  $194.40 per case


His shirt might be a delicate salmon hue, but there is a true strength underneath. A former boxer with thick, soil-encrusted hands, he is well built and resilient. There is so much generosity, flavor, soulfulness—but also true finesse. Have you seen photos of Alain Pascal, the winemaker of Domaine du Gros ’Noré? Look him up—you’ll know immediately what I mean.

$30.00 per bottle  $324.00 per case


by Mark Congero

Recent events have got me thinking about my childhood—living with my mom on Long Island. Summer was the best season for food, and two annual excursions signaled that summer was upon us.

First, we would take a drive upstate with the goal to hit as many roadside stands and farms as we could. I remember on more than one occasion getting a tummy ache after eating way too much on the way home: fresh string beans with their crisp, off-the-plant snap, sweet corn ready to peel and eat, beefsteak tomatoes, beautiful plump cherries and blueberries. If I had been a good helper and co-pilot, on the way home we would stop at my favorite Chinese restaurant and I’d order lobster Cantonese, the delicious end to a perfect day.

Later in the summer we would drive out to Montauk to go fishing. There was never a time that I didn’t catch my fill of delicious fluke or flounder. My mom would panfry the fish with butter and lemon and serve coleslaw on the side. I’ve never really thought about it much, but those are important memories I will cherish forever. Summer is family time and fun time, hopefully.

We have a lovely mix of summer wines for you to enjoy. I will also add a few favorite summer recipes to the box. Remember, it’s only June, so you may want to buy a couple samplers to get you through the summer, and at 30% off there is no reason not to!

per bottle

2011 Langhe Arneis • Tintero


2011 Chardonnay • Éric Chevalier


2011 Coteaux du Loir Blanc • Pascal Janvier


2011 Gentil d’Alsace • Meyer-Fonné


2011 E Prove Blanc • Domaine Maestracci


2012 Languedoc Rosé • Château de Lascaux


2011 Bardolino “Pràdicà” • Corte Gardoni


2009 Montagne-Saint-Émilion • Château Tour Bayard


2009 Languedoc Rouge “Podio Alto” • Domaine du Poujol


2011 Bourgueil “Cuvée Trinch!” • C. & P. Breton


2010 Moulin-à-Vent • Domaine Diochon


2011 Côtes du Rhône “Il Fait Soif” • Maxime Laurent


Normally $232.25

Special Sampler Price $163

A 30% discount