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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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« Wine Wednesday: Oh Mylord! | Main | Champagne Extravaganza Comes to Hollywood »

Cheese & Wine Pairing with Paige the Cheese Handler

If you've ever gotten into a conversation with someone on K&L's staff about cheese, you'd know we're more than a little nuts about it. Its complexity and diversity parallels wine, and its ability to showcase the place where its from makes it a natural interest for those of us passionate about terroir. That's why we decided to invite Paige Handler, the Cheese Handler, over to K&L Hollywood one afternoon to explore cheese and wine's natural affinity for one another, and to try our hand at coming up with some of our own pairings.

There are a couple of ways to attack pairing cheese and wine, according to Paige. The simplest way is to try and find wines that come from the same region as the cheese. A simple example would be serving Idiazabal, a lightly smoked sheep's milk cheese from the Basque region of Spain, with a Txakolina, also from the Basque region of Spain. You can also try matching characteristics - an herbaceous goat cheese would match an herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc nicely - or go for contrasting notes, such as a fatty, rich, tangy blue cheese with something sweet and high in acidity like Sauternes. We tried a total of four cheeses the day we filmed this, all sourced from Joan's on Third in Los Angeles, and paired them with wines off the shelf at K&L Hollywood, with the help of Steve Greer. Here's a sampling...

The wine Steve and Paige chose for the Monte Enebro, a soft, surface-ripened cheese from Avila, Spain was the 2009 Pascal Janvier "Cuvee Silex" ($21.99), a Chenin Blanc from Jasnieres, located on the Loir tributary of the Loire River. The melon and floral aromas, high acidity and clean finish of the wine were a great counterpoint the the Monte Enebro's spicy, lemon cream richness. A stellar paring. 

Still not sure about setting up your own pairings or just want to leave it in the hands of a pro? Paige curates educational cheese parties and private events and can hand-select wines from K&L to go with the cheeses she chooses just for you. Perfect for holiday parties, bridal showers or just because you like cheese. Visit the Cheese Handler website to learn  more. 

Leah Greenstein


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