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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

2009 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 08-18-2017
Chateau Coufran lies just north of St-Estèphe in the village of Saint-Seurin-de-Cadourne. There are 76 hectares of vineyards planted entirely on gravel soils close beside the Gironde River. Atypically for a Left Bank property, the grape varieties planted are almost entirely Merlot (85%), earning Coufran the nickname “the Pomerol of the Médoc”. I had the good fortune to taste a barrel sample of the 2009 Coufran at the chateau in 2010. The owner, Eric Miailhe, confided at that time that he considered it the finest wine he had ever made. Now, five years after bottling, the wine truly shows the strength of the outstanding ’09 vintage – very fresh with lively acidity and very fine, but still firm tannins. There is plenty of sweet fruit here with notes of fresh picked blackberry and damson plum. A terrific value from one of the great vintages of the decade.

2016 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-30-2017
The 2016 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan would seem to be swimming against the current. In a vintage where most wines are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, it is instead Merlot (at 56% of the blend) that takes the lead here. Cabernet Sauvignon is the junior partner at 37.5% of the blend. Cabernet Franc makes up the remainder at 6.5%, though this grape did less well in 2016 and mostly went to the second labels. Very lively and fresh in keeping with the vintage. The tannins, too, here are quite firm. Overall this is reserved in style, quite powerful in its own way, but marked by restraint. Very fine indeed.

Cappelletti "Sfumato Rabarbaro" Amaro (750ml)
Review Date: 05-03-2017
This wonderful Amaro from Cappelletti is smoky and earthy, sweet and classically bitter. Try it on its own as a digestivo to end a hearty meal or get creative with some of your favorite cocktails. Personally, I am a huge Negroni fan. I have been looking for some time for an Amaro I could pair with Mezcal. As soon as I tasted the Sfumato Rabarbaro Amaro I knew I had found the secret ingredient for my Negroni Sfumato (I thought “Smoke & Mirrors” would be a fun title as well but the rest of the staff seem set on "Smoky Negron"). Try equal parts Sfumato Rabarbaro Amaro from Cappelletti, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, and your favorite mezcal. I used the Mezcalero "Los Nahuales" Special Edition Sierrudo-Cuishe Mezcal from Los Danzantes. Amazing!
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

Michel Arnould "Réserve" Grand Cru Brut Verzenay Champagne
Review Date: 02-28-2017
One of the remarkable things about our direct import program in Champagne and the many small grower producers with whom we work is the opportunity to taste wines from a specific region of Champagne, wines that reflect the particular terroir of one village or another. Upon first sip, I absolutely fell in love with the wines of Michel Arnould. In places like Verzenay and Bouzy in the Montaigne de Reims, Pinot Noir is king. These are big, bold, black fruited Champagnes that really deserve to be drunk out of a Burgundy glass and paired with a meal. The Michel Arnould Verzenay Reserve Brut Cham[pagne is a great introduction to the region, and a steal at this price.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique Assemblage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-25-2017
La Maison Le Brun de Neuville is one of the top producers in the Côte de Sézanne. This lesser known region of Champagne is sometimes dismissed as merely a southward extension of the Côte des Blancs, but to do so is to ignore the unique character and exceptional quality of these wines. The Le Brun de Neuville Authentique Assemblage is aged under cork for five years, a practice that requires manual disgorgement using a centuries old technique. The result is Champagne that is rich in style with an ultra-fine bead, opulent yet focused, creamy in texture yet very fresh and lively. Rarely available in the US. Don’t miss your chance to sample the best of this remarkable region.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2013 Fuenteseca Huerta Singular "El Maguey" Blanco Tequila (750ml)
Review Date: 02-03-2017
When David Driscoll, our spirits buyer, shouts “grab a glass, Jeff, I need you to taste something” as he heads for the tasting bar with an open bottle of booze in his hands, I waste no time in doing as he says. I have learned through good experience over the years that whatever he is pouring is going to be amazing. Today he surprised me with the new Fuenteseca Huerta Singular El Maguey Blanco Tequila. I have been an admirer of Enrique Fonseca ever since we started offering his anejos and extra-anejos. His masterful marriage of agave spirit and wood opened my eyes to the possibilities of the anejo style. And yet suddenly here I was with a glass of his Blanco in my hand. But this was no ordinary tequila. This was unlike any I had tasted before. I have had great blanco tequilas made from agave grown at higher altitudes that had impressive concentration and a sweet, fruity character. I have had blancos made from agave grown at lower altitudes that were wildly aromatic with a more savory quality. This new Fuenteseca Blanco seems to combine the best of both along with a slightly roasted note that somehow brings the whole thing together. There is more concentration and depth here, more sheer complexity, than I have ever tasted in a blanco-style tequila. If you believe that only wood-aged tequilas are worthy of sipping on their own, it’s only because you have yet to try the Fuenteseca Huerta Singular El Maguey Blanco Tequila.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

Luxardo Bianco Bitter Liqueur (750ml)
Review Date: 01-06-2017
Like many cocktail aficionados and lovers of all things Italian, our staff members here at K&L just can’t get enough of the amazing selection of Amaros that David Driscoll has been stocking our shelves with. One of the most exciting recent arrivals is this Bitter Bianco from Luxardo. This is the perfect Campari substitute for making a Negroni Bianco. We have been playing around with different recipes, but my current favorite is equal parts Luxardo Bitter Bianco, Bordiga White Vermouth, and Berry Bros & Rudd "No. 3" London Dry Gin. Shake with ice and serve up in a martini glass with a twist of orange.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

Siembra Valles "Ancestral" Blanco Tequila (750ml)
Review Date: 11-21-2016
Already got the final draft of your liquor "bucket list" completed? Well I hope you left room at the bottom because you are going to need to pencil in one more name - the new "Ancestral" Blanco Tequila from Siembra Valles. For true fans, this is not so much a tequila as a "proto-tequila", an honest and fearless exploration of the historical roots of the agave spirit. Painstakingly handcrafted, this is a unique and powerful expression offering bright citrus and savory spice notes interwoven with layers of earth and smoke. Truly one of a kind, with flavors so concentrated and pure that it's hard to go back from here. Once you've tasted this, where else can you go?
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

2000 Brane-Cantenac, Margaux
Review Date: 05-13-2016
2000. The millennial vintage. Cooler, wetter conditions earlier in the year eventually gave way to warm, sunny weather in August and September, allowing for good ripening of the grapes and a harvest under ideal conditions. Notwithstanding, at Brane Cantenac in order to produce the best possible wine for the vintage a much stricter selection than usual was made for the first wine (less than 30% of total production) and a higher proportion of Merlot was used (55%). A little more than 15 years later the results speak for themselves. The 2000 Brane Cantenac, Margaux is typical of the best wines of the vintage with generous ripe, sweet red and black fruits and admirable mid-palate weight. The wine offers a rich, sensuous texture with good underlying structure – lively acidity and firm, fine tannins. The wines from this 2000 vintage are beginning to diverge in terms of their development. Some are ripe and forward and ready to drink. Others can be enjoyed now but clearly have a long life ahead of them. Others still remain largely closed and will require additional cellaring before their full promise is revealed. Fortunately, the 2000 Brane Cantenac falls into the middle category. Though some signs of bottle age have begun to emerge, the wine is perhaps five to ten years away from the peak of maturity. Drink now or hold.

Mas Codina Cava Brut Reserva Penedès
Review Date: 02-29-2016
Everyone loves a good value in sparkling wine. We would all love to drink Champagne every night, but sometimes you want to spend a little less without compromising quality. For that reason, our buyers here at K&L strive to provide a broad range of alternatives at affordable prices. Over time certain of these have become so popular among our customers and staff that they have achieved an almost iconic status, the kind of wine people buy by the case – among others the Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne "Perle d'Aurore" Brut Rosé, the Deligeroy Cremant de Loire Brut, and the Mas Codina Cava Brut Reserva Penedès. This classic Spanish cava combines traditional grape varieties like Xarello and Macabeo with those more likely to be found in Champagne like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. 24 months on the lees adds richness and weight. At this price you can treat yourself whenever you like.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2013 Carbonnieux Blanc, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 01-29-2016
It's all too easy to forget that Bordeaux is famous for its white wine as well as red. The finest whites from Pessac-Léognan are world class blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, the most shockingly successful French marriage since Carla Bruni & Nicolas Sarkozy. The 2013 Chateau Carbonnieux Blanc, Pessac-Léognan is a superb example. One of only a handful of properties designated Cru Classé for both red and white wines, the Carbonnieux vineyards enjoy a favorable exposition and are usually among the first to be harvested each autumn. They made the most of a challenging vintage in 2013, producing a white wine of surprising ripeness. The nose is frankly tropical, with notes of guava and passionfruit. On the palate one finds tart white grapefruit notes, very fresh, crisp and precise. The blend is three quarters Sauvignon Blanc to one quarter Semillon. Aged for 10 months in barrel (30% new) with occasional lees stirring. This is the French archetype which provided the inspiration for wildly popular California Sauvignon Blancs such as Duckhorn or Spottswoode. You owe it to yourself to try the original.

San Venanzio Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut
Review Date: 11-10-2015
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 $12.99, 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: $13.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$11.99

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 Cart

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 Cart

Ariston Aspasie "Réserve" (formerly 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: $29.99 Add To Cart

2009 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac (1.5L)
Review Date: 02-14-2013
Tart berries and spice. Bright and lively. Superb weight and texture.

2010 Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 02-04-2013
One of the standouts of 2009 with its rich, dark fruit and silky texture. In 2010, it's more, more, more. More ripeness, more richly texture, with more obvious acidity and tannin. Big boned, structured, bright, fresh and very firm.

2009 Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 09-26-2012
A standout at both the château and the UGC. Exotic spice and very sweet red fruits. Fine-grained tannins.

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.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

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?

Launois "Cuvée Réservée" Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 12-09-2011
I am embarrassed to admit that before I met Gary Westby, our Champagne buyer, I was not a drinker of Champagne. I probably had had one or two bottles of mediocre, bulk-produced sparkling wine (not Champagne) and dismissed all sparkling wines on that basis. Then Gary introduced me to grower-producer Champagnes like the Launois "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne. The quality--the authenticity--of the wines was a revelation. And the great prices made possible through our direct import program made it impossible not to try as many as I could. If you want to learn about the Côte des Blancs--the home of the finest Chardonnay in Champagne--about Grand Cru sites like Mesnil and Oger, then this is a tutorial in a glass. Fine bead. Clean. Crisp. Wonderfully mineral in its expression, while still rich in texture. Try it on its own as an aperitif or, better yet, with our local Dungeness crab.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Ariston Aspasie "Brut Prestige" Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 09-23-2011
One of my favorites among our direct import Champagnes. The ONLY way to enjoy this wine more is to drink it out of magnum. Rich, ripe fruit, classic "toasty" brioche character. I took a bottle this weekend to a large party with many wonderful bottles of wine open for the sampling. My only regret is that I didn't bring TWO magnums; this was one of the first bottles emptied.
Price: $84.99 Add To Cart

Antech Blanquette de Limoux Brut Nature
Review Date: 09-23-2011
The Limoux area of the Languedoc in southern France is the oldest sparkling wine producing region in the world, predating even Champagne. Blanquette is made mostly from the local variety Mauzac, which adds a delightfully crisp, fresh apple quality. The remainder is Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. Antech's Brut Nature is produced with no added dosage, creating a wine that is super dry, crisp and clean, and bracingly refreshing. Delicious, and a terrific value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

La Petite Marquise Crémant de Loire Brut
Review Date: 05-20-2011
The region of Saumur in the Loire Valley of France is the largest producer of sparkling wines outside of Champagne. This blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc is an astonishing value at $11.99. Dry and crisp in style with a rich, creamy texture. Affordable by the case for a special event. Inexpensive enough to enjoy guilt-free any night of the week. Sante!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 02-09-2010
This may be the best deal in Champagne that K&L offers. 100% Chardonnay. 100% Grand Cru fruit from some of the best vineyards in the Côte des Blancs. Don't write this wine off because you didn't pay more for it! This is an outstanding Champagne at an unbelievable price. It will delight you with its rich, creamy texture. Ripe pear and chalky mineral notes give way to toasty, fresh baked apple tart on the mid palate. The wine finishes with a crisp, zingy citrus note of Meyer lemon. Enjoy this wine alone, as a refreshing aperitif or together with chilled, cracked Dungeness crab.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Michel Arnould "La Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-26-2009
Lovely toast on the nose. Classic pain grille, bright cherry, and hazelnut in the mouth. The ripeness of the fruit is offset by bracing acidity and an intense mineral character. A big, bold wine, this champagne will be the center of attention at any party.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart