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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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Spotlight on Palmina Wines

On a recent trip down to Santa Barbara, Trey and I stopped to visit Palmina, a small producer of Italian varietal wines. Located in an unassuming Lompoc warehouse complex affectionately called the “wine ghetto” (at once the most critical and least glamorous wine-making settings in Santa Barbara), Palmina is making truly spectacular things happen. The husband-and-wife team of Steve and Chrystal Clifton (yes, from Brewer-Clifton fame) are absolutely fantastic winemakers, besides being incredibly friendly and down-to-earth people. Their contagious passion for Italy and its soul-stirring wine and food inspires anyone who sets foot in their facility. A great visit, made better by both wonderful people and extraordinary wines. A few of their best, perfect for holiday dinner season: 2004 Palmina “Sisquoc Vineyard” Santa Maria Sauvignon Blanc ($14.99) is aromatically electrifying and astonishing in its pedigree. A rare breed of domestic premium Sauvignon Blanc, and probably my favorite one this year. In fact, it was so good I couldn’t wait until KL carried it; I bought some bottles at the winery to take home! 2004 Palmina “Botasea” Rosato ($16.99) is a clear winner in the rosé category. A 50/50 blend of sangiovese and barbera, bone dry on the palate, with a fresh strength that shows best at the dinner table. Try it with roasted cornish hen with acorn squash. That rocks! 2004 Palmina “Zotovich Vineyards” Dolcetto ($19.99) A surprisingly structured wine with earthy, subtle charm, this one took off with the cheese and sausage in the Clifton’s tasting room. Definitely a welcome dinner companion at my home anytime! 2004 Palmina Barbera ($24.99) This one is perfect for Thanksgiving!! A superbly made Barbera, showing true hallmarks of the variety with an abundance of bright, plummy fruit and tremendous lively acidity. Unquestionably delicious and versatile by any standard, it will dance well with all the dishes of the coming holiday season. Enjoy! —Martin Reyes

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