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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.

For the complete calendar, including lineups and additional details related to our events, visit our K&L Local Events on or follow us on Facebook.  


Visit our events page on Facebook or the K&L Spirits Journal for more information.

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The Mayor – Live From Tuscany: Part VI

The sangiovese grapes at Baricci are still hanging on the vine late into the 2015 harvest season. Dark, plump, juicy vessels of unbridled flavor and complexity that should result in an intensely flavored wine capable of aging more than a decade in the cellar. The word at Baricci is the same word that Greg has been hearing all week in Tuscany: this has been one of the best growing seasons in memory. The proof is hanging there right in front of your face; the fleshiness of the grapes speaks volumes.

The Baricci vineyard sits on the southeastern slope of the famed Montosoli vineyard site, one of (if not the most) famous in Montalcino. Nello Baricci's grandson, Francesco Buffi, is helping run the estate now. He's one of the guys responsible for the incredible 2010 Baricco Rosso di Montalcino, which the AIS (Association of Italian Sommeliers) voted one of the best wines in all of Italy a few years back. I think I drank about twenty bottles of that wine on my own, so I can't wait to see what the 2010 Brunello brings when it finally arrives. If you didn't know, Baricci is yet another of our exclusive direct imports here at K&L—a property Greg has been working with for more than a decade.

Frederico Buffi and his son Tommy (hopefully part of the next generation of Baricci winemakers) were also on hand to welcome Greg back to Montalcino. The boys spent the late afternoon touring the vineyards and tasting the fruit right from the vine.

To celebrate the occasion, they dug deep into the reserves and pulled out a bottle of the 1971 vintage—the first Brunello made at Baricci. More than forty years later, the wines are as good as they've ever been.

-David Driscoll


The Mayor – Live From Tuscany: Part V

Ahh.....Montalcino. The legendary Tuscan city on the hill, surrounded by the castle walls of la fortezza—medieval era stones that surround the populace once known for its top quality leather goods and tanneries around the 13th century. In later years, as the leather trade went into an economic decline, Montalcino's importance stemmed from its location on the road between Rome and France, becoming an important stop along the way for merchants and travelers. It wasn't until the 1900s, however, that Montalcino would become a powerhouse in the wine trade, growing from a mere eleven producers in the 1960s to more than two hundred today. Instead of animal hides, today it's all about sangiovese vineyards—lush plantings of that fleshy, dark-fruited grape known primarily by Americans as Chianti, rather than the more rich and robust Brunello di Montalcino. Looking to secure more stocks from the 2010 vintage (being called the best harvest of this generation), Greg St. Clair was in town yesterday to check in on his municipality, while tasting the first samples from the 2015 harvest.

I know Greg was extremely excited to meet with Gaetano Salvioni and taste his Albatreti wines. A recent discovery, Greg recently referred to Salvioni's Brunellos as absolutely incredible. His email said, "The moment I put my nose in this wine I knew it was extraordinary, effortless, graceful, and classic, everything you’d want in a Brunello and more. I’ve been travelling to Montalcino for more than twenty years and have tasted a veritable ocean of Brunello, but until recently I'd never even heard of this producer. His first vintage was the 2009 and we hadn’t seen it in the market at all. I re-tasted another bottle just to make sure I didn’t get mis-poured, and the second time I was even more impressed."

Salvioni makes 5300 bottles of Brunello per year—not cases, but bottles. That's a paltry amount compared to most producers. He ages the wine for twelve months in barrels not bigger than five hectaliters, then switches over to two years in botte—a really big barrel that gives less wood influence. His vineyards are about thirty years old and just southwest of the town of Montalcino in a rocky outcrop in some of the highest elevations in Montalcino. Greg said, "The nose on this wine is scintillating, so pure it is hard to put into words to, yet it seems like waves of aromas of wild cherry, Tuscan brush, leather, rosemary and Middle Eastern spices. On the palate the wine is so graceful, respectful and calm it reminded me of Gaetano himself."

After leaving Albatreti, it was over to one of our most iconic and popular exclusive import properties—Poggiarellino. Ever since I started working at K&L I've been buying, drinking, and cellaring selections from Poggiarellino: the wines of Anna and Lodovico Ginotti that are so chewy, old school, and bursting with pure sangiovese flavor. And look who else happened to be in Montalcino this afternoon! Why, it's none other that Redwood City store manager Sarah Covey, taking some much deserved time off in Italy before the holiday retail rush begins to set it. It looks like vacation happened to correspond with a little work time in this case.

The Poggiarellino gang is one of those old school, old world Italian families that makes wine the old fashioned way, just as they were taught by previous generations. The wines are down-to-earth, simple, and humble, just like Ginotti family in charge of tending to the vineyards. I'm dying to get out there and visit the property myself.

After a long morning of serious wine tasting, you know what's in order, don't you? Tuscan ragu with a bottle of Baricci, baby. 

-David Driscoll


The Mayor – Live From Tuscany: Part IV

The tower of Galatrona, once part of an ancient Roman fiefdom, is now all that's left of the ancient ruins on the Petrolo estate located deep in the woods of Chianti—an area that's been farmed with vineyards and olives groves for as long as anyone can remember (or at least dating back to 1716 when Cosimo III de Medici, the Great Duke of Tuscany, declared it one of the best olive oil regions in the land). The estate was purchased by the Bazzocchi family in the 1940s and today it's run by Luca Sanjust, a third-generation winemaker who took over from his mother Lucia Bazzocchi Sanjust.

From atop the tower you can see out over the stunning Tuscan landscape: the rolling hills and rows of vineyards—thirty-one hectares for Petrolo in total. The estate is a beloved vacation spot for renowned guests such as British Prime Minister David Cameron and famed chef Jamie Oliver, and it's not hard to understand why.

What's interesting about Petrolo is that they make a special 100% merlot-based wine—aptly called the Galatrona—after Luca located a very specific three hectare location on the property; an excellent soil on the lower part of the hill that produced grapes of such flavor, Luca decided to hold them back from the rest of the estate's production and vinify the wine as its own cru. In 1994, the first vintage of Galatrona was released and it's been one of Petrolo's most coveted expressions ever since.

Greg happened to be at Petrolo just after harvest time and was able to taste the prized Galatrona fruit as it was finishing fermentation. He sent me an email, writing, "100 points? Absolutely superb!!" Apparently, 2015 is going to be an incredible vintage for Petrolo and the rest of Tuscany. 

After checking out the recent harvest at Petrolo, Greg headed over to Sette Ponti to meet further with Antonio Moretti. The Moretti's have owned the estate since the 1950s when they purchased the property from the princesses Margherita and Maria Cristina di Savoia Aosta, but the history of winemaking on site dates back hundreds of years. 

No serious negotiations or talk of business can occur in Italy without first dining at a beautiful outside area, attentively adorned with a classically-rustic charm. I'm pretty sure that's mandated by law, but I might be wrong.

Fresh mozerella from Naples ("Out of this world!!!" Greg told me in his correspondence), cured meats, tons of great wine. Sigh....

Moretti busted out the Fuedo Maccari Nero d'Avola from his Sicilian property, which Greg thought was an outstanding value. Antonio had a cigar, of course.

And at the end of a long day, Greg sent me this photo of the sunset with this message attached:

"I'm sitting outside under the sunset at Il Borro and I can smell the fermenting grapes from this morning's Merlot. 2015 is shaping up to be something special. Everyone is saying it's the best vintage ever, even better than 2010. I hope that's true!"

So do we, Greg!

-David Driscoll