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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 Jennifer Colliau (3)


Top 10 Spirits To Start 2011

So you've got your tickets to Thursday's cocktail class with Jennifer Colliau, and you've already imagined what the Evite will look like for your first soiree of 2011, but is your bar stocked? K&L's spirits buyers, David Driscoll and David Othenin-Girard, have been working furiously over the past year to build an incredible spirits selection that includes exclusive whiskey bottlings, oak-aged Gin and a wide variety of specialty liquors, liqueurs and cordials to help you up your home mixology game. Visit our Spirits Journal for up-to-the-minute information on our newest booze. In the meantime, here are our picks for the Top 10 Spirits to start 2011. 

10. Firelit Blue Bottle Coffee Liqueur (750ml) A new release from the Bay Area's own St. George Spirits made with Blue Bottle coffee and Chardonnay-based brandy. Pure roasted coffee aromas and flavors that will make any pick-me-up cocktail sublime. And lets not even talk about White Russians.

9. Zubrowska Bison Grass Vodka from Poland (750ml $22.99) A stunningly smooth vodka particularly suited to citrus-based cocktails or the Polish favorite, Tatanka, an unfiltered apple juice. More characterful than your average clear spirit, but less overtly flavored than other vodka, this has notes of vanilla and chamomile.

8. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur (750ml $31.99) This liqueur, made with elderflower blossoms gathered in the Alpine countryside by an army of Frenchman on bikes, adds distinctive character to any cocktail. Simply elegant with Brut Champagne or sparkling wine, and heady in the Montparnasse with Laird's Apple Brandy, lemon juice and a splash of Sauvignon Blanc. 

7. Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 year old Rum (750ml $34.99) A top-notch, full-bodied Guatemalan Rum that's good for sipping or mixing, when the recipe calls for something dark and slightly spicy. 

6. Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon (750ml $19.99) A fantastic price! This sticky-toffee flavored Bourbon might make your Manhattans start singing New York New York with a Southern twang.

5. Ardbeg Uigedail Traditional Strength Islay Single Malt Whisky ($58.99) Pronounced Oog-a-dal, this smoky, tangy Whisky isn't something you'll want to mix into a cocktail, but something you'll want to sit and contemplate in front of the fire.

4. Rusty Blade "K&L Exclusive" Single Barrel Cask Strength Barrel-Aged Gin (750ml $59.99) A cask strength gin made and bottled just for K&L by Davorin Kuchan of Old World Spriits. Aged for 13 months, its still got some of the juniper and citrus character, but now those notes are framed by baking spices. Add a little water to proof it down for drinking straight, or add it to a cocktail that calls for an Old Tom gin.

3. One Barrel Rum from Belize (750ml $13.99) Aromatic, smooth, and with a hint of tropical hibiscus to it, this Rum is the perfect mixer and priced accordingly.

2. Lagavulin 16 year old Islay Single Malt Whisky (750ml $64.99) This special Islay malt sells for about $100 elsewhere, but is just $64.99 here at K&L. Dry upfront, with a sweet sherried character on the peaty finish. 

1. Rittenhouse Rye 100 Proof, Bottled in Bond (750ml $19.99) A Pennsylvania-style Rye that you'll find in any decent bartender's speedrack. 100-proof and wonderfully spicy, this makes a wicked Sazerac. 

Leah Greenstein


Craft Your Own Cocktails with Slanted Door's Jennifer Colliau

Jennifer Colliau of Small Hand FoodsHow are you doing on those New Year's resolutions? Need a little help? If, like me, you resolved to craft better cocktails at home this year (whether to save a little money or to be a better host), have we got a shortcut for you! K&L's Melissa Lavrinc Smith is teaming up with Jennifer Colliau of San Francisco's Slanted Door and pre-Prohibition cocktail ingredients company Small Hand Foods, for a little cocktail college this Thursday night at Urban Legend Cellars in Oakland. Jennifer will demonstrate how to make five classic cocktails with a modern twist, focusing on basic techniques, ingredients and, of course, a little dash of history. Tickets are $65 per person and available through Brown Paper Tickets

Thursdays class is just the first in a series of classes centered around food, wine, spirits and beer in the Bay Area scheduled for 2011. Future cocktail classes will center around Farmers' Market ingredients, pre-Prohibition cocktails and Absinthe. Stay tuned for more info.

What: Classic Cocktails with Jennifer Colliau

Where: Urban Legend Cellars, Oakland

When: Thursday, January 13 from 7-9:30 p.m.

Leah Greenstein


Crafty Cocktails and Japanese Whiskey

Photo of Jennifer Collaiu courtesy of Small Hand FoodsAfter a fantastic couple of days indulging in the city I have much to report, from cocktails at the Slanted Door to an open bar at our hotel, I experienced the full gamut of San Francisco tippling at my disposal.


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