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Château de Brézé has a long and storied history, first being mentioned in texts in 1068, lauded by King René of Anjou in the 15th century and served at all the royal courts. In 1957, when the AOC of Saumur Champigny was established, the owner of Château de Brézé refused to be part of the appellation, saying that his estate's vineyards were the best and deserved an appellation all their own. And he was probably right. Unfortunately, the wines from those exceptional vineyards were terrible. Lucky for us, the winery sold in 2009 to Le Comte de Colbert, who recruited Arnaud Lambert from nearby Domaine de Saint Just to make the wine. He changed the vineyards over to organic farming and began producing truly stellar wines worthy of their source. The 2012 Château de Brézé Clos David is all estate-grown Chenin Blanc raised in stainless steel to preserve freshness. It has the slightly-oxidized note of a great White Burgundy and a lovely richness that allows it to pair with a variety of foods.

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We host regular weekly and Saturday wine tastings in each K&L location.

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>>Upcoming Special Events, Dinners, and Tastings

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A Trio of Delicious White Burgundies

So you want to get into white Burgundy, but you don't want to spend an arm and a leg trying out the various styles and options (which is easy to do, trust me). Wouldn't it be nice to try something with a little age, something with a little richness, and something that displays the clean and vibrant minerality the regional wines are renowned for? If you're looking for a white Burgundy sample pack (or really just delicious white wine, period), then it's tough to do much better than the three selections below, each a penny under twenty dollars. The La Chablisienne, after seven years in the bottle, shows just a bit of nuttiness to all that juicy 2008 acidity. The Leflaive tastes like a baby Montrachet, made from fruit sourced from vineyards around Puligny and aged in French Oak for richness. The Fevre showcases stunning notes of piecing minerality and a crystalline delicacy. What more can you ask for from your white Burgundy for $20?

2008 La Chablisienne Chablis "Les Venerables" Vieilles Vignes $19.99 - A classic nose of iodine and sea water influences adds plenty of nuance to the green fruit nose that complements fresh, bright and intense flavors that possess both good volume and fine mid-palate fat before giving way to a long, saline and sappy finish that is bone dry. Good quality for its level.

2013 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc "Oncle Vincent" $19.99 - This delightfully rich white Burgundy is made as an homage to Olivier Leflaive's Uncle Vincent Leflaive, the founder of the famous Domaine Leflaive. It comes entirely from vineyards in the communes of Puligny-Montrachet and is fermented in small French oak barrels. It is satisfying and mineral-driven, as well as rich and buttery.  And it is a K&L West Coast exclusive. What's not to like? (From Olivier Leflaive: "Only grapes from the territory of Puligny-Montrachet, a village he loved so much, could pay tribute to my uncle Vincent. He has been a model for me and a valuable support during the creation of Maison Olivier Leflaive. When we talked about this project to our importers, they immediately expressed an amazing enthusiasm. This project is now concert and 'Oncle Vincent' will be available in different parts of the world, like all of our wines." This new Grand Burgundy white was born in the 2012 vintage. Its aromas express white fruits (pear, peach), with buttery notes. A lovely freshness on the palate, a creamy texture, well-structured and with a tension that makes it remarkable. The selection of the vines gives a more aristocratic touch to this white Burgundy wine, with minerality and great intensity. So Puligny, in fact!

2013 Maison William Fèvre Chablis "Champs Royaux" $19.99 - This is really delicious with sliced green apple, stone and melons. Medium to full body. Crisp finish. Focused. Drink now.

-David Driscoll


Burgundy 101: Understanding Marsannay/Fixin

With the recent delivery of the latest Domaine Bart vintage (always one of the most anticipated arrivals from the perspective of our staff members), I thought it might be nice to understand some of the basics behind these wines and their origins. It makes drinking them all the more enjoyable in my opinion if you know just a few basic facts about Burgundy.

When we talk about Burgundy, we always talk about land. Where was the fruit grown? Where did it come from? How regarded is the vineyard in terms of its terroir? While there are indeed vineyards in the northern Cote de Nuits village of Marsannay, none of these sites are classified any higher than standard village level (yellow on the map above designates the village level property, anything in the grey must be labeled as simple Bourgogne). As you may or may not now, there are three main tiers of vineyard classification in Burgundy: grand cru, premier cru, and village AOC. Just because a vineyard is designated as village level doesn't mean it can't be known as its own parcel, however. When a village level vineyard is separated into its own wine regardless, it's known in French as a lieu-dit: simply a geographical area bearing a traditional name. So when we see wines from one of our favorite Marsannay producers Domaine Bart labeled as "Les Echezots" and "Les Longeroies", those are indeed single vineyard plots (known as lieux-dits), but under their Burgundian classification they're not necessarily any better than a standard village grade Marsannay. Of course, when there's no premier cru or grand cru property in town that means prices will be much more affordable, which is why we often look to Marsannay for some of the best deals in Burgundy. The region became a village level commune in 1987 and is known for its beautiful rosés and fresh, drinkable reds. We love Marsannay for its classic Burgundian character—lots of cranberry and tart cherry with foresty notes—and its simple charm. The Bart wines, for example, offer tremendous regional character for very reasonable prices.

The village of Fixin, which is just south of Marsannay, does have a few premier cru vineyard sites and, to use Domaine Bart again as an example, the new 2013 Fixin "Les Hervelets" is from one of those prized locations (highlighted in orange on the map above). Fixin wines can be a bit more structured and bold in their youth, but with decanting can open up quite nicely. Bart's "Les Hervelets" holdings actually stem from an older domaine once known as Claire-Daü that was split between Bart and Bruno Clair in 1985. Claire-Daü was once the premier producer in the region and the quality of its wines is much of the reason Marsannay gained village-level status. We like to think of wines like the Bart "Les Hervelets" as great short-term cellar candidates, wines that will improve greatly in the three to five year window as the tannins soften up a bit and the acidity unwinds. "Les Hervelets" is known for producing wines that are a bit softer and more feminine than other vineyards in the region.

-David Driscoll


The Mayor – Live From Tuscany: Part IX

It's not often you get to do falconry on a K&L trip abroad (or maybe it is because I also got to do it in Scotland a few years back), but today Greg was hunting for food the old fashioned way. My favorite part is that both he and the falcon have the same facial expression. I can't wait to see what kind of Tuscan game hare they caught for dinner!

-David Driscoll