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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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Jamesse Champagne Glasses Are Here!

Champagne shows its best out of a great glass!

One of the highlights of Scott & I's trip to Champagne this April was visiting Mr. Gerhard Lehmann in Reims and getting to learn more about his fantastic glassware. For many years I have dreamed of carrying these glasses and sharing the experience of drinking out of them with you- the best Champagne lovers in the USA. These glasses were designed with Philippe Jamesse, the sommelier at Chateau Les Crayeres in Reims. For those of you have visited the restaurant, you already know how great of a glass Mr. Jamesse has designed. For those who haven’t, I am pleased to report that they are very reasonably priced so there is no reason not to try them.

Just yesterday, the Lehmann 'Jamesse Reference' Grand Champagne glass ($11.99) arrived at K&L. Cinnamon and I test drove them with the 2008 Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne ($74.99). I have owned a pair for a couple of years, a gift from the cellarmaster at Ruinart, Mr. Frederic Panaiotis. I featured them in a piece I did on glassware back in January of last year, calling them the Ruinart glass by Jamesse since I hadn’t yet made the Gerhard Lehman connection. The first time I drank out of them was at Les Crayeres… An experience that all Champagne lovers should have at least once!

These 450ml capacity, non-lead crystal glasses are a great shape for getting the most out of Champage. The tulip shape comes to a very fine point at the stem, giving the Champagne a chance to create a great streamer of bubbles. The glass is quite wide in the middle, and when filled up to this point the big surface area of Champagne gives off a lot of aroma, which is focused by the slightly smaller opening. That opening is still plenty large enough to allow one to smell the wine, and pours the Champagne in a broad enough stream to expose most of your tongue to it. All these features allow for a tasting experience very close to using a large red wine glass, without sacrificing the beauty of a lovely bead of persistent bubbles.

Since they are not leaded, these glasses won’t go milky in the dishwasher. And because they are $11.99, it is not the end of the world if you break one. I challenge you to try one and put them up against the best Champagne glasses you have- I know that you will be impressed. The only glasses that I have (and I have a LOT of different Champagne glasses) that I think are better are the mouth blown Riedel Sommeliers that sell for a LOT more than $11.99. I am buying a pair of the Lehmann 'Jamesse Prestige' Grand Champagne mouth blown wine glass ($37.50) right now to see how much better they are than the machine blown!

If you love Champagne, don’t miss trying these great glasses.


A toast to you!

Gary Westby

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