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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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What K&L Employees Bring to Holiday Parties

A few days ago Patrick Comiskey, who writes about wine for the LA Times (among other publications), published a piece about what sommeliers will bring to holiday parties. As the designated wine nerds in our respective clans, and since I figure you're probably more likely to invite one of us to your holiday party than Peter Birmingham (no offense to Peter, we just cover more territory with three retail stores),  I polled the K&L staff to find out what they're bringing to this year's holiday festivities,so you could drink like us even if we're not invited. Here's what they said:

Cindy Westby: I would bring one of the oh-so-fashionable slightly bitter aperitif wines. My favorite is the Vergano Americano Aperitif.

It is delicious on the rocks with a twist of lemon, fantastic in a negroni, and soothing as a digestif after a big meal!

Brian Keating: I would bring 6 bottles of Pliny the Elder, a magnum of F. Bonville Champagne and a couple of magnums of Montfaucon "Baron Louie" Côtes du Rhône. What party would refuse me with that cache in tow?

Melissa Lavrinc Smith: So far I've brought a magnum of Fleury to a private event at Tyler Florence's newest restaurant, Wayfare Tavern, and next week I will be bringing my now legendary eggnog [we're working on getting the recipe] that has been mixed with an blend of rum, brandy and bourbon that has been infused with Tahitian Vanilla beans, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and cracked nutmeg for a year. 

Clyde Beffa Jr: To K&L Redwood City's Holiday Party I brought:


1981 Cos d'Estournel (6L) Quite good, old school Bordeaux. It took a couple hours to open up on the palate.

1986 Bellegrave, Pauillac (3L) Another old school style Bordeaux.  Big Cabernet that was outstanding.

1983 Silver Oak " Bonny Vineyard" (3L) Tons of American oak on the nose.  Wine was sweet and lovely.

1988 Chasse Spleen (1.5L) Another gutsy Cabernet from a vintage that produced classic style Bordeaux wines. Fresh and lively—10 more years?

1995 Reserve de la Comtesse de Pichon-Lalande (1.5L) Rich and flavory. Delicious—age it more.

Steve Greer: We had a small little holiday party at Salt's Cure last Thursday. I took the Angelo Sassetti Brunello and it was my favorite of the night (out of 8 bottles). It was great with the pork loin and pork rib chop. By the way, if you live in L.A. go to Salt's Cure.

Chiara Shannon: In my experience, most people bring red wine to parties. So I always bring a magnum of something bubbly, chilled and ready to go like the Drusian Prosecco (1.5L) or the Fleury "Carte Rouge" (!.5L) depending on the formality of the occasion.

David Othenin-Girard: Rittenhouse 100-proof. Enough said.

Greg St. Clair: 2009 Pacherhof "Alte Reben" Silvaner Valle Iscaro.

Leah Greenstein: I like to bring things that are approachable but unusual and easily affordable if people like them, like the Jo Pithon "Les Bergeres" Anjou Blanc, which has fabulous aged Chenin notes and pretty almond and orange blossom qualities, which make it perfect for drinking while grazing on cheese and nuts. 

Eric Story: 2009 Domaine du Fresche Anjou Rouge and 2008 Schloss Saarstein Pinot Blanc.

What are you bringing to this year's holiday parties?

Leah Greenstein

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