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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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Entries in 2010s (2)

Wednesday
Apr222015

*NEW* 2010 Brunello Producer - Albatreti

Thank you Ryan for posting this for me...I’ll get my own login soon! - Greg St.Clair

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…and well…without being “More”. My colleague Mike “Guido” Parres and I tasted the wine simultaneously and both had the same reaction “WOW” who is this? We’ve been travelling to Montalcino together for more than 20 years and have tasted a veritable ocean of Brunello. We’d never even heard of this producer, the first vintage was the 2009 and we hadn’t seen it in the market at all. We re-tasted another bottle just to make sure we didn’t get mis-poured, and the second time we had a “Double Wow”!

So we went out to meet the producer, Gaetano Salvioni and found a self proclaimed “Hobbyist”. He makes 5300 bottles of Brunello, that’s not cases that’s bottles. He ages the wine for 12 months in barrels not bigger than 5HL then 2 years in botte, that’s a really big barrel. His vineyards are about 30 years old and just southwest of the town of Montalcino in a rocky outcrop in some of the highest elevations in Montalcino.

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.

Sangiovese’s long core of acidic structure gives this wine just incredible length and around this foundation the wild cherry flavors seem to wrap themselves around this center and then peel back into the flow of the wine.

On the palate the wine has real body, weight and a richness that is so texturally pleasing it’s hard to believe it seems so delicate at the same time. In the mouth the wine has so much flavor or so many flavors it would seem to be a Bulldozer but this wine’s great charm and character is its delicacy, it’s no Bulldozer it’s a Symphony.

The fruit is so well integrated into the wine it doesn’t seem to have layers or waves it is just one very complex flavor that includes wild cherry, leather, porcini, earth, oyster shells, smoke, rosemary, dried meats, spice and that wild Tuscan brush. Great balance as well, you can drink this wine now or age for another decade plus, it is a real steal!

 

2010 Albatreti Brunello di Montalcino (Pre-Arrival) $34.99

Ciao, Greg St.Clair K&L Italian Wine Buyer

 

 

Monday
Apr112011

From the Road: 2010 Bordeaux En Primeur

This is my first trip to Bordeaux with the K&L Bordeaux team, but our group is loaded with experience: Clyde Beffa Jr, K&L’s co-owner and main wine buyer, has been coming for 26 years, Ralph Sands from K&L Redwood City has been coming for 21 years, Trey Beffa from K&L Hollywood has been coming for 12 years and Alex Pross from K&L Redwood City has been coming for four. 

So far the trip seems to be about rare occurrences.  The weather here in Bordeaux is amazing.  The temperatures have been in the 70s, and it’s been sunny and clear. I have been asking everyone we meet if they remember April being this beautiful, and no one does. The Merlot vines have already seen bud break. One producer told me that it was a great start to 2011, with the season beginning gradually, so now growers are holding their breaths to see if late April frosts (like the ones in 1991) hurt the great start.

The warm weather also has an effect on the tasting of 2010s.  The UGC tasting at Branaire-Ducru was hot, and the wines were warm making the tannins comes across very astringent. A couple of producers mentioned that while they usually have to find a warmer place to taste the wines, this year they’ve been trying to find cooler locations. 

This (Friday, April 8th) is the start of our third day. So far we have been to the UGC tastings for Pessac-Léognan, Margaux, St-Julien and St-Estèphe, and today we are working our way through Pauillac. There is no question that the star of the vintage is Cabernet, with some producers claiming 20-30% loss of Merlot.  (The Merlot suffered from drought as well as coulure [uneven fruit set] and millerandage [uneven ripening].) The Cabernet, however, is incredibly powerful and concentrated, balanced by high acidity from a cool August and September.  One producer told me that this was the first time they had seen this kind of high acidity and perfect ripeness, although we have not tasted one wine that feels acidic. 

So, rare occurrence one: balmy, 70-degree days in Bordeaux in April. Rare occurrence two: high acidity and tannins plus ripe concentrated fruit. This second rarity makes for an exceptional vintage, but one that’s very different from 2009.  At Léoville-Barton they poured us both the 2009 and the 2010 Léoville- and Langoa-Barton side-by-side, which illustrated the differences perfectly.  The ‘09s were voluptuous and rich, concealing their obvious structure. The 2010s showed their tannic backbone, but it was balanced by rich, concentrated fruit.  These wines built for the long haul, not for early consumption.

Of course the question has been where the pricing for these wines come in relation to the ‘09s.  No one is saying anything yet, but I do think this concentrated vintage will give us plenty of value wines, as well as the great Third, Fourth and Fifth Growths even in the Firsts and Seconds are crazy expensive.  We can only wait and see.

Steve Greer