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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 Champagne (75)

Friday
Jun222012

Champagne Friday: Negroni Sbagliato

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

As this is the first Friday of summer, I thought it would be the perfect time to share the recipe and for one of my favorite Champagne cocktails, the Negroni Sbagliato, or “Wrong Negroni”. I usually like to make Champagne cocktails with Champagne that has been sitting in the fridge with a stopper in it for a while, and I would encourage you to do the same. This drink is a little bit bitter, and an excellent aperitif.

Since the list of ingredients is very short (5 if you include the ice) the little details shown in today's videos are quite important in making it the best it can be.  I hope you will try it!

Here are the ingredients:

1 tall glass full of fresh ice

2 ounces red vermouth (I used Cocchi Vermouth Torino)

2 ounces Campari

3-4 ounces Champagne (I used J. Lassalle 1er Cru Brut Champagne)

1 Fresh Orange Twist

 

A toast to you,

-Gary

Check out more educational wine & spirits videos from the experts at K&L on YouTube!

Friday
Jun152012

Champagne Friday: Champagne & Foie Gras… 15 days left!

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Champagne & Foie Gras… 15 days left!

Foie Gras is one of my favorite pairings with Champagne, and sadly here in California, we only have 15 days left to enjoy it. After that, it will be illegal to sell in this state and fans of the noble liver will have to travel to enjoy it. The incredible richness of foie gras is the perfect partner for the refreshing high acidity of Champagne. Traveling to the Champagne region, it is a pairing that every restaurant and host suggests, and I have been lucky enough to have it prepared and paired in many different ways over the years. In the today's video, I visit with Jean-Baptiste Su of Fabrique Délice artisanal charcuterie and later share my favorite preparation, which is very simple: thick slices on toasted brioche, with fresh cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of Fleur de Sel.

My favorite Champagnes with foie gras are rich and powerful wines. The indigenous grape Meunier, with its hint of exotic fruit has a particular affinity for it. Older Champagne, with its developed, often chanterelle like bouquet is also a spectacular partner for it. The best pairings I have ever had are when all three of these elements come together. If you have any old Rene Collard in your cellar, nothing tops it with foie gras!

Here are my favorite foie gras partners from our current stock:

Michel Loriot "Marie-Leopold" Sec Champagne ($34.99): This bottle is the best foie gras pairing if you like to serve the liver with compote. This is composed of 80% Meunier and 20% Chardonnay and aged for four years before being released.  The liqueur that is used for the dosage is made in house and based on pure cane sugar. It has a nose that reminds me of tarte tatin, a pastry smell that carries through onto the palate. It has such a nice, lazy bead and polished texture and the sweetness does not seem at all out of place.

 

Baron Fuente "Esprit" Brut Champagne ($39.99): This mature Champagne will go perfectly with seared foie gras. It is super well balanced and gets an astoundingly luxurious seven years of aging on the lees. It is very rare to find something so reasonably priced that is kept for so long. Composed of even parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier it is fermented in stainless steel. The "Esprit" has a very high quality sourdough toastiness arrived at honestly from the long aging on the lees. It is round and easy to drink, with flavors of hazelnuts contrasting its nice citrus zip.

Fleury "Cuveé Robert Fleury" Brut Champagne ($49.99): I have a bottle of this in my refrigerator right now to go with foie gras prepared exactly like I did it in the video. Like the Loriot above, this Champagne is a tribute to the old methods, and in this case also one of the ancient grape varieties of Champagne. It is a barrel-fermented blend of one-third each Chardonnay, Pinot Banc and Pinot Noir. Pinot Blanc is a real rarity in Champagne, and only exists in a few spots in the Aube.

 

Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne ($139.99): Eating foie gras and drinking Krug makes me feel like king for the day. This great house is the outspoken champion of Meunier among the grand marques. Based on 2004 with six years on the lees and reserve wines dating back to 1990, this decadent treat will go perfectly with all manner of preparations.

Cheers!

–Gary Westby

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 Check out more educational wine and spirits videos from the experts at K&L on YouTube!

Friday
Jun082012

Champagne Friday: Michel Loriot

 

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Michel Loriot and his family cultivate 17.5 acres in the village of Festigny in the western part of the valley of the Marne. He produces 60,000 bottles per year from this estate which is planted 85% to Meunier, 16% to Chardonnay and 4% to Pinot Noir. His family has been cultivating here for five generations and made their first wine in 1931.

Michel is so well respected in the area that he was elected as the president of the Independent Vignerons of Champagne. Although Michel has invested extensively in the latest, most expensive computer cotrolled diaganol Coquard presses, he has chosen to stay with enamel lined iron for his fermentations. He blocks the malolactic for freshness, and ages his wines for a long time- 3 years on the lees for his entry level, with 50% reserve wines from the two previous harvests.

His wines have great natural richness and texture, and are very clean. I cannot overstate the value that these wines represent! 

Michel Loriot "Cuvee Reserve" Brut Champagne ($29.99; $65.99 magnum

"This is medium- to full-bodied Champagne and makes great drinking on its own as well as being fantastic with patés of all sorts."

 

 

 

Michel Loriot "Marie-Leopold" Sec Champagne ($34.99)

"This has a nose that reminds me of tarte tatin, a pastry smell that carries through onto the palate. It has such a nice, lazy bead and polished texture and the sweetness does not seem at all out of place. This is a must for every Champagne lover--don't knock it because it is sweet!"

 

 

2005 Michel Loriot Vintage Brut Champagne ($44.99)

"This Loriot is medium bodied and fine and the nutty palate gives way to a fresh, lifted finish. Michel Loriot makes great wine, and this 2005 vintage is another great example. I find it to be the most effortless, elegant Meunier based Champagne that I have ever tasted, and a real contrast to the powerful style of his great Meunier Old Vine."

 

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Browse our complete Champagne offering on KLWines.com and check out more educational wine and spirits videos from the experts at K&L on YouTube!