Paradise Ridge Vineyards at Acqua e Farina
Okay, in September we featured a new (for us) winery at a familiar restaurant, and in October we switched it around with a familiar winery at a new (for us) restaurant, so for November we're flipping it back. This time, we will feature Paradise Ridge at Acqua e Farina in Hayward. While we have never featured Paradise Ridge at one of our dinners, they were a featured winery on our 2014 Sonoma Sojourn, where their Rockpile Cabernet Franc was a favorite. The current vintage of that wine, and much more, will be paired with a delicious five-course meal by Roberto Marquez.

A reminder: our twenty-first year special is still in effect: We are therefore reaching out to our members with children, grandchildren or nieces/nephews of age to bring them to a dinner this year and are offering $11.50 off per person ($21  per couple, get it?) to a dinner.

Click here to download the menu and order form
French Champagne at Faz
As is our wont, for our December dinner we will feature sparkling wines. However, not just any sparkling wines, but Champagne. Gary Westby, the Champagne buyer for K&L, goes to Champagne each year and brings back fabulous small-lot Champagnes from throughout the region. He selected several for our dinner. There are some notes on each below. Faz Executive Chef Robert Rodriguez has come up with a great menu which you will find on the attached menu/reservation form.
December is also when we award prizes to our members based on the number of Diablo Points earned. All members are eligible, and if you bring in a few new members between now and December 3, you could be the winners of some wonderful wine.
A reminder: our twenty-first year special is still in effect: We are therefore reaching out to our members with children, grandchildren or nieces/nephews of age to bring them to a dinner this year and are offering $11.50 off per person ($21  per couple, get it?) to a dinner.

Tasting Notes from K&L's Gary Westby

Bruno Michel Premier Cru Blanc de Blanc: This gem of a blanc de blancs is in fact a single-vineyard wine from the "Les Brousses" parcel in the Premier Cru village of Pierry, immediately to the south of Epernay. The vineyard is a massal selection (not made from cloned vines) that was planted in 1964. It is composed of the 2006 and 2007 vintages and given full barrel fermentation in old oak. Like many of the talented Mr. Bruno "the mayor" Michel's Champagnes, this wine manages to combine friendly breadth and creamy yumminess with top-notch minerality and length... What a wine!
Louise Brison L’ Impertinente Brut Rose: This all estate, all Pinot Noir Champagne is made by macerating all of the skins with all of the juice. It comes from organic vineyards and is all barrel fermented.
Baron Fuente Esprit Brut: This super well-balanced bottle of Champagne gets an astoundingly luxurious seven years of aging on the lees. It is very rare to find something so reasonably priced that is kept for so long. Composed of even parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier it is fermented in stainless steel. Baron Fuente is a negociant that owns almost 90 acres of vines and purchases another 90 acres "sur pied," meaning that they pick the grapes, but this bottling comes exclusively from the estate. The Esprit has a very high-quality sourdough toastiness arrived at honestly from the long aging on the lees. It is round and easy to drink, with flavors of hazelnuts contrasting its nice citrus zip. The perfect thing to serve for an elegant aperitif at an important dinner party!
Arthur Marc Initiale Noir & Blanc Brut: This Champagne is composed of even parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Marc estate in Fleury-la-Riviere in the heart of the Marne valley. The wine does not go through malolactic fermentation and is aged a minimum of three years on the lees. This elegant, restrained Champagne is dry and has the pin-point streamer of bubbles that fans of the expensive stuff love. The nose has the honest baguette toast of long ageing and the finish is citric and bracing. At the price, it is a no-brainer to try at least once!
2008 Louise Brison Vintage Brut: Values like this don't come along very often - even at K&L! The 2008 vintage has been the most anticipated since 1996, and Champagne Louise Brison has delivered a wine that lives up to the hype. This Champagne is composed of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir, exclusively from estate grown, organic vineyards in the Aube department. This wine shows the electric, refreshing character of this great vintage now, and will age for decades if you choose to keep it. Don't miss out on this unbelievable value!
Amaury Coutelas Cuvee Louis Victor Brut: I think the most exciting work the Coutelas are doing is with fractional blending. They have a 7500 liter Foudre that they first filled in 2007, and every year they pull 2500 bottles (one quarter) for a bottling that they call the Louis Victor. I have been following these blends as vin-clair for many years now, and I have to say that the Krug like richness that they are achieving from this novel method is astounding. This is Champagne that anyone with enough interest to be reading this should try… Especially given the very fair price that the Coutelas offer this wine for! This bottling is a blend of 2007 through 2011 vintages with three years of ageing on the lees. It is a brassy gold color and has a generous nose of fresh forest aromas and brioche toast. In the mouth it has a round, rich, seamless texture and an amazing array of flavors… It is easily one of the most complex Champagnes that we have on the shelf. The truly amazing thing to me is the focus of the wine. It stays completely refreshing, vibrant and mineral on the long finish, which makes the 750ml format seem to small! With only 2500 bottles being produced a year, this is a very limited item. We only received ten cases on the past shipment, but I am angling to get more for the next one!
Michel Loirot Marie Leopold Sec: Our selection of sweet Champagne is so small as to be almost non-existent. This is due to the fact that most producers do not take the sweeter parts of their range seriously, and most often they use these blends as a clearing house for their worst Champagne, figuring that the sweetness will cover up the flaws in the base wine. This is not the case here. Mr. Loriot created this wine as a tribute to Leopold Loriot, who installed the first wine press in the family's house in 1903 and began making wines at their estate. In this era, almost all Champagne was made with more dosage, and the 20 grams per liter is about what Leopold might have used in the beginning. It is also named after Marie, the latest generation of Loriots to be involved in the family business and Michel's daughter, who joined the company recently after obtaining her oenology degree. This is composed of 80% Meunier and 20% Chardonnay and aged for four years before being released. The liqueur that is used for the dosage is made in house and based on pure cane sugar. It has a nose that reminds me of tarte tatin, a pastry smell that carries through onto the palate. It has such a nice, lazy bead and polished texture and the sweetness does not seem at all out of place. This is a must for every Champagne lover--don't knock it because it is sweet!

Click here to download the menu and order form