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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 direct imports (31)


Spanish & Portuguese Wine News 5/29/12: Miguel Merino is Coming to Town! 

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Spanish & Portuguese Wine Buyer

Greetings Iberiophiles,

Very exciting news:  On Tuesday June 19th and Wednesday June 20th, we will be hosting Mr. Miguel Merino, of the eponymously named bodega in Briones, La Rioja, Spain.  Many of you may know that Miguel Merino represents our first official foray into directly imported wines from Spain.  If you have tried these wines, then you should know that they are absolutely a reflection of the man:  gregarious and loads of fun, yet well informed and just old school enough to know that you are certainly dealing with The Real Deal.  Whether you want to enhance your knowledge of Rioja, discuss the minutiae of converting a 15th century farmhouse into a functioning bodega, or simply would like to sample some first rate wines with one of the friendliest and most entertaining folks I've ever met in the business, you really ought to come  to one (or both) of these events.  We will be hosting an in-store tasting in Redwood City and a very small, intimate dinner at Contigo in San Francisco.  Details below:

In-store tasting with Miguel Merino in Redwood City, Tuesday June 19th (5-6:30pm) Come and taste our full line-up of Miguel Merino wines with the owner himself.  Learn about the various terroirs of Briones, the origin of Merino's graciano plants, Miguel's very thorough, three tiered selection process, where to find the best foie gras tapa in Haro, amongst many other topics to be sure. $5 to taste.  invite friends!

Very intimate wine dinner with Miguel Merino at Contigo in SF, Wednesday June 20th at 8:30pm Join Miguel and me and enjoy his wines with Brett Emerson's wonderful Catalan inspired cuisine at Contigo in Noe Valley.  We will be pouring the following wines (as well as a few special surprises): 

2008 Miguel Merino "Viñas Jovenes" Crianza Rioja

2009 Miguel Merino Mazuelo de Quinta Cruz Rioja

2005 Miguel Merino Reserva Rioja

2004 Miguel Merino Gran Reserva Rioja

2008 Miguel Merino "Unnum" Rioja

When I say intimate, I do mean intimate. Only 15 spots are available, first come, first served. We have reserved the outdoor (heated) patio, which is perfect for this amount of people.  There will be five courses served.  Please respond to this email if you are interested, or feel free to call us at 650.364-8544 to order your ticket.  Cost is $100 (wine, gratuity and tax all included)

Un saludo,



Joe Manekin

Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Wine Buyer

K&L Wine Merchants

Ph: 877.559.4637 ext. 2748


Champagne Friday: Visiting Marguet Pere & Fils, Ambonnay

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Champagne Marguet Pere & Fils, Ambonnay

A visit with the intelligent, diligent and thoughtful grower and winemaker Benoit Marguet is always illuminating. In this video he discusses his custom-made egg shaped foudres. Benoit, like all of the great vignerons is obsessed with every detail of his vines and wines.

His estate vineyards, centered in Ambonnay are all organically farmed and plowed by horse. He uses a very high percentage of wood fermentation for the wines, both in the large foudres in the video above and in small barriques, which he buys used so as not to get to much wood flavor. His wines are uniformly dry, precise and fine, with exceptional transparency and a strong sense of place.

Currently we have on hand:

Marguet Pere et Fils "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Champagne ($34.99) It is very rare to see an all Grand Cru Champagne at this price, but with our direct buy (from Mr. Benoit Marguet) we are able to offer a spectacular value with this wine. 




Marguet Pere et Fils Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne ($39.99) One of the most fun wines we carry. It's light without being unsubstantial, and has a clean refreshing personality. The mousse is exceptional, with tight fine streamers normally only seen in much more expensive bottlings.




2006 Marguet Pere et Fils Grand Cru Brut Champagne ($49.99) Composed exclusively of Grand Cru Mountain of Reims fruit, this is rich and toasty brut displays magic equilibrium. It is surprising how dry the wine finishes for the amount of decadent flavor on the mid palate.




2007 Marguet Pere et Fils Brut Rosé Champagne ($49.99) Unlike most rosé Champagnes, this is neither a saignée method whereby dark grapes are kept on the skins for a short time, after which the juice is bled off, nor made by the addition of still red wine, but rather by a combination of the two! The 2007 is one of the best rosés we have regardless of price. It is, unfortunately, extremely limited!



 Check out more of my Champagne videos on YouTube!


Spanish & Portuguese Wine News 5/2/12: Back from Spain!

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Spanish & Portuguese Wine Buyer

Greetings everyone,

Let's go with the classic 1, 2, 3 bullet point format for today:

1.) Back from Spain!

My K&L Hollywood colleague Keith Mabry and I just returned from our trip to Spain (primarily spent in Rioja, with a little time in Penedes) and we are very much looking forward to some new wines coming in as a result.  New direct imports to expect some time in the next few months include:

- An often overlooked, historic bodega in Rioja (dates back to the 14th c) with a lovely traditional range of wines. 

- A new bodega who produces terrific, expressive, judiciously oaked wine in Rioja (and, interestingly, also distributes wines from Paul Pernot, Michel Lafarge, and other Burgundy producers in Spain)

- A killer 1999 gran reserva from Bodegas Puelles (don't worry, we will surely email you when it arrives in a few months)

- Two fantastic, smaller cava producers from Penedes.  More details on those later as we finalize our orders.

For any of you planning trips to Spain, I encourage you to contact me for suggestions on places to stay, eat, and of course winery visit recommendations.

2.) Miguel Merino:  He's once again carrying a bag

"Carrying a bag" is industry speak for working "on the street," which is slang for selling wine wholesale to retail and restaurant accounts.  If you know the Merino story, you know that he used to carry a bag selling Riojas for $2 a bottle at a time when 1st growth Bordeaux probably cost $30 per bottle.  Well, we convinced him to dust off his old wine bag, head back to the States and tell his story (as well as the story of his delicious Rioja wines made all from Briones fruit in Rioja Alta).  We will likely have an in-store tasting in Redwood City on Tuesday June 19th and a dinner in San Francisco on Wednesday June 20th. Final dates still TBD, but please mark your calendars as both of these events should be lots of fun (especially dinner).  Miguel tells great stories and the best stories invariably are told over good food and drink.  Hope that you can join us.

3.) On third party reviews and TWA's new Spain critic

While all things third party and 100 point scale are typically verboten on my email list (not to criticize, just that I prefer this to be a more personal, subjective format) I do think it's worth a quick mention that I read the recent Wine Advocate Catalunya round-up from new Spanish critic Neal Martin, and found it quite interesting.  Neal's take on wines, the evident seriousness with which he approaches his work, the journalistic and academic rigor he seems to apply should all be good things for Spanish wine.  His more conservative scoring may not turn farmers into ferrari drivers, but his intellectual curiosity, wit and writing will certainly result in some more lively reading.

Alright, that's it for this week.  We'll be selling stuff again next week.

Un saludo,



Joe Manekin

Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Wine Buyer

K&L Wine Merchants

Ph: 877.559.4637 ext. 2748

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