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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 FFrederic Mabileau (1)

Thursday
Mar252010

Winery to Watch: Frédéric Mabileau 

Have you gotten over the picture of Frédéric Mabileau in pigeage? This is a man who is truly invested in his wine—body and soul.

All joking aside, Frédéric Mabileau is one of our favorite Loire Valley producers because he is passionate about what he does. His 27 hectares in Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil are planted mostly to Cabernet Franc and are in the process of becoming certified organic by ECOCERT, a slow, arduous changeover Mabileau started just a few years ago. His tender care of the fruit in the vineyard continues through harvest, when Maibleau picks grapes by hand to ensure that only the best fruit is made into wine.

But why we really love the wines of Frédéric Mabileau, and are so eager to share them with you, is that they are wonderful representations of what the Loire Valley has to offer—fresh, food-friendly wines that are easy on the wallet and proof that you don’t have to sacrifice quality or taste in these hard economic times.

We currently carry three of Mabileau’s wines. The 2007 Frédéric Mabileau Bourgueil “Racines” ($19.99) is a great crossover style Cabernet Franc that comes from a single parcel planted in clay and limestone soils that are, on average, 60 years old. It is aged for eight months in barrique, which gives it more texture and spice than your average Bourgueil without being over the top. Its dark black and blue fruit on the palate is complemented by round, well-integrated tannins.

My personal favorite was the 2006 Frédéric Mabileau St-Nicolas-de-Bourgeuil “Les Rouillères” ($16.99), which has a cherry-scented perfume that sends me spiralling into memories of early summer picnics and cool ocean breezes. It also has a delicately interwoven floral component and juicy acidity that make it the perfect accompaniment to grilled fish, charcuterie or, my favorite Sunday supper, roasted chicken with panzanella. Keep your eyes peeled for a new vintage.

Lest we forget during these waning days of summer, we also have the vibrant 2008 Frédéric Mabileau “Osez” Rosé ($8.99), which is made with Cabernet Franc and has lovely citrus and peach aromas and flavors with a hint of red berry on the finish. A must-have for September sunsets.