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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 Pinot Noir (80)


Sonoma Road Trip Stories, Part I: Copain Winery

Copain Winery

By: Sarah Covey | K&L Staff Member

A recent trip to Sonoma with Bryan Brick, Jim Boyce, and Kyle Kurani means many fun and educational Road Trip reports! I have a few stories to tell, and you will see my stories interspersed with Jim and Kyle's stories here for a while to come. As I put it in my thank you email to the people within K&L who made our trip possible: "The trip to Sonoma helped me personally to have a true understanding of the passion of the winemakers we visited as they spoke about what they do, to stand on the soil where their grapes are grown and to be able to see what they see in their visions for the future of their businesses. These kind of trips put faces on the bottles on our shelves, and help us develop a holistic understanding about the business we are in." We hope you enjoy reading our stories as much as we enjoyed creating them. Cheers!

Copain Winery, Healdsburg

Copain Winery was founded in the hills of the Russian River Valley in 1999 by Wells Guthrie. Tucked away atop a quiet hillside with a spectacular view, one feels an immediate sense of calm upon entering the property. Sitting on the terrace overlooking the valley on that warm summer morning, we were treated to a lovely tasting of Copain’s full portfolio, accompanied by delicious French and Italian cheeses.

First, some history: Mr. Guthrie worked as the Tastings Coordinator for Wine Spectator magazine for many years, and during his tenure there, he fell deeply in love with the wines of France- most specifically, the wines of the Rhône Valley. He decided to move to France to learn the art of winemaking from the people whose wines had inspired him. He worked as an apprentice to the famed winemaker Michel Chapoutier for two years, and was impressed not only by his experience with Chapoutier, but also by the general European attitude that wine is an essential part of life. He returned to California and apprenticed with other famous winemakers in Napa Valley before starting a winery which would reflect this same philosophy.

Wells Guthrie started his winery with an old friend, naming the winery Copain, which means “friend” in French, in tribute to their friendship. He chose to focus on pinot noir and chardonnay, and with his background in the Rhône, syrah also made perfect sense. Originally, Copain’s wines had much bigger fruit, but as time went on, Guthrie realized that the wines he was drinking at home- older French wines, lower in alcohol and higher in acidity- were the kinds of wines he wanted to produce for his clientele. Through the courageous act of changing his style to reflect this need, Copain has become even more successful than before. Sourcing fruit from a variety of vineyards, he worked with the landowners to plant the vines as he directed, and also dictated specific vineyard practices he wanted them to implement to get the results he was looking for, guaranteeing them that in return he would purchase all of the grapes if they did so. This practice continues today, Guthrie is able to create wines that show a distinct expression of the vineyard sites from which they come.

Tasting at Copain

Our tasting was hosted by Ezra Chomak, Copain’s gracious tasting room manager. We had the good fortune to try the full portfolio of Copain’s current offerings, which was a treat as we have just a few of the wines here at the store. We started with a couple of lovely 2010 Chardonnays, one from Anderson Valley AVA from the Tous Ensemble vineyard and another from the Brousseau vineyard in the Chalone AVA. The “Tous Ensemble” was all stainless steel with 10 months on the lees and no malo. It showed apple, pear, honeysuckle and brioche with a soft sweetness and medium acid. The Brousseau came from a 40 year old parcel with limestone and granite soil. It saw neutral oak for fermentation and ageing; its’ profile was of apple, bright pear, white flowers, butter, vanilla and toast. Combined with the brie on the plate in front of me, I could have been very happy to stop the day right there and just stay on that patio for the rest of our trip! Up next was a wacky, deliciously lip-smacking 2009 wine called “P2” from the Hein vineyard in Anderson Valley. It was 50% pinot noir and 50% pinot gris- a departure for Copain’s traditional Burgundian style. Cherry, smoke, earth, game, mineral, citrus, floral and somewhat ethereal, it was fresh, crisp, and had juicy acid. Incredibly food-friendly, quaffable and would be delicious with a slight chill on it.

Following these wines we tasted of a couple of Copain’s wines that we carry here at K&L, which was great for us to experience sitting on the terrace of the winery. First, the 2009 “Tous Ensemble” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. This wine, translated from the French as “all together” is a blend from several vineyard sites within the southern part of Anderson Valley. Red cherry, spice, mineral, earth, some game, raspberry, hints of smoke. Medium plus acid and medium plus but fine tannins. Delicious! It appears that the 2009 is sold out, but the 2010 "Tous Ensemble" is here! Next was the 2009 “Les Voisins” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, a wine which we sell out of almost immediately upon receiving it! “Les Voisins” means “the neighbors”, so logically these 3 vineyards are literally next door neighbors to one another. The vineyards are about 10 miles from the coast, in the Northwest corner of Anderson Valley, and as such, the sites are considerably cooler. Appropriately, the wine showed those cooler climate characteristics- red cherry, mineral, soft smoke, game, spice, strawberry, rose. It had medium plus acid, medium plus tannin, and was well-balanced and elegant.

Up next were a couple of wines from the Kiser vineyard sites. First was the 2009 “En Haut” (meaning above) Anderson Valley Pinot Noir and then the 2009 “En Bas” (meaning below) Anderson Valley Pinot Noir. Differences in the vineyard sites include: 1) the elevation- En Haut is at 800 feet and En Bas is at 650 feet and 2) the soils- En Haut is compressed sandstone, with almost no clay, while En Bas is clay and crumbly sandstone. Both sites produce distinctly different wines, classically styled, and with great potential to age.

2009 Copain "Les Voisins" Yorkville Highlands Syrah ($34.99)It was Syrah time, which I was admittedly very excited about. We started with a wine we carry- the 2009 “Les Voisins” Yorkville Highlands Syrah. Again, the wine is a blend of grapes from 3 neighboring vineyards, which have schist and granite soils, planted on the sloped mountainside of the rocky Yorkville Highlands in Mendocino County, which rise from 600 to 2500 feet in elevation. Guthrie employs whole cluster fermentation for 30% of the wine and does not use new wood for ageing. The wine was full of ripe blackberry, violet, and plum- quite floral for not co-fermenting with viognier, which is traditional in the Rhône for syrah. It also had a savory meaty character classic to Northern Rhône syrah. Amazingly, the wine was only 13.9% alcohol- so well-balanced that it fooled all 4 of us sitting at the table.

We tried two syrahs after that from the Brousseau vineyards in the Chalone AVA- the 2008 Brousseau Chalone Syrah and the 2010 Brousseau Chalone Syrah. The 2008 was blackberry, black plum, licorice, cedar, spice, rose petal, meat and an interesting cherry cola note. Refreshing at only 13.5% abv. The 2010 was much more high-toned, violet, plum, blackberry, black cherry, cassis and white pepper. It surprised us again at 13% abv. I had no idea that syrah could have this much depth and not be ridiculously high in alcohol. Eye-opening!

Ezra poured us a final wine to show us how far Guthrie’s wines had come- the 2009 James Berry Paso Robles Syrah. While loved for the character and expression of syrah from this area, Guthrie is choosing to focus further north in Anderson Valley and the Yorkville Highlands in the future. The James Berry was beautiful. The wine was another 100% syrah, this time from chalky limestone soil, a vineyard which lies 6.7 miles from the coast- so the range of temperatures between day and night is quite great. This means that the fruit gets ripe during the day but holds its acid at night, something very important for syrah. Strawberry, raspberry, cassis, mineral, violet and flowers, it felt much less like a classic syrah, but still very interesting, drinkable and delicious.

It was hard to drag us from the table, as we all wanted to just relax and enjoy a nice lunch, but many appointments beckoned. I have firm resolution to return, next time with a picnic and a loved one.

 ~Until Next Time,




Keith's Burgundy Hotline: 2009 Beaune 1er Cru for a Super Price

By: Keith Wollenberg | K&L Burgundy Buyer

Hello Burgundy Lovers,

As most of you know, 2009 was an extraordinary year in the Cote d’Or, with perfect growing conditions, lovely ripeness and a bright, fresh fruit character for the reds. One of the villages where the vintage was particularly charming was Beaune.  The best of the premier cru Beaunes are rich, concentrated and lovely on the palate.  They will age beautifully, but the fruit is rich enough to make them immediately enjoyable.  What I particularly like about my favorites from the southern end of Beaune (Vignes Franches, Clos des Mouches, Epenottes, etc.) is the bright red, almost crunchy fruit, accompanied by a rich mid-palate.  Well, I have one of these, at a great price, while it lasts.

We just made a terrific purchase, and I wanted to let you know about it. It’s a delightful wine that I enjoyed at home with a roast chicken, and then (with some agony) left 1/3 bottle for evaluation the second day and was again very impressed with the wine with some wild salmon.

But it got those kissing your sister sort of scores, with 89 points, so the importer could not sell it and gave us a very special price on the wine, which we are passing along to you. Don't miss this, as it is a terrific value from one of the best vintages in Burgundy. 

It’s not Clos des Mouches, but at about 1/3 the price, it’s pretty darned compelling! I bought some for myself, and am struggling to avoid drinking it all immediately, although I know it will be better in a few years…

2009 Domaine Moillard Beaune 1er Cru "Epenottes" $29.95

89 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

Here the nose is both elegant and fresh and seems to be composed of essence of red pinot fruit and discreet earth notes where the latter element progresses to the delicious, round, generous and fleshy middle weight flavors that culminate in a satisfying, detailed and reasonably persistent finish. Consistent with almost all of the offering in the range, this is fashioned in an distinctly understated style where the individual aspects are beautifully proportioned. This could easily be enjoyed now or cellared for 5 to 7 years first. (1/ 2012)

89 points Wine Spectator

Rich and spicy, this red fills the palate with cherry, raspberry and a touch of earth notes. The texture is smooth and it shows moderate length. Best from 2013 through 2018. (1/ 2011)

K&L Notes

This comes from the well-regarded vineyard on the border with Pommard Epenots, just below Clos des Mouches. It has weight and will age well, although the exuberant fruit will make you want to drink it sooner rather than later. Only a special purchase makes this retail price a possibility. (Keith Wollenberg, K&L Burgundy Buyer, 08/12)


Á Santé,


Keith Wollenberg
Wine Consultant/Burgundy Buyer
K&L Wine Merchants
650-556-2724 Direct Line
"In the universe of quality assessment, appreciating what is at the top is only possible by contrast with what is at the bottom" - Remington Norman


K&L Wine News: August 2012 Online Newsletter and Staff Picks

We've posted the latest electronic copy of our printed newsletter in PDF format online, available for view or dowload at -- here are some of our highlighted recommendations this month:

2011 Domaine Begude Pinot Noir Vin de Pays d'Oc Rosé ($12.99) This elegant and crisp Pinot Rosé hails from Domaine Begude, a small family -owned property located high in the foothills of the Pyrenees in the Limoux region of the Languedoc.

Chiara Shannon: What's not to love here? With fresh watermelon and strawberry aromas and flavors lifted by hints of tomato leaf and chalky minerals, this 100% Pinot Noir rose is fruity and refreshing without skimping on complexity. Served chilled, this is delightful on its own or accompanied by a fresh nicoise salad. It would also make a cleansing counter pairing to a more substantial dish, such as a provencal chicken or sausage stew with tomato and fresh rosemary.

2010 Eyrie Vineyards Estate Dundee Hills Pinot Gris ($13.99) 93 WE A blend of grapes from all four of their Dundee Hills vineyards, Eyrie's estate Pinot Gris was a trailblazer for the varietal in Oregon with its first bottling in 1970.

Bryan Brick: On a recent week long trip to Oregon scouting out wines with my counterpart in San Francisco Mike Jordan we found tons of great stuff. We met with something like 30 wineries and were impressed by pretty much everyone; however few of our visits rivaled the one we had with Jason Lett at Eyrie Vineyards...From what may be some of the oldest Pinot Gris vines in the Willamette Valley this Pinot Gris is head and shoulders above all that we tasted on our trip...more


2009 Bodegas Norton "Privada" Mendoza ($17.99) 93 WE | 91 RP | 91 WS Bodegas Norton is back in a big way with their Privada bottling from the very solid 2009 vintage made of nearly equal parts Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Joe Manekin: Though I'm not a "brand hater"...the larger guys need to continually prove themselves and earn a spot here. And this year, Norton really earned it. Their 2009 privada bottling is all pure, fresh, focused red fruits, with a satisfying texture and persistent finish. For the price, you could not ask for a tastier new world Malbec Cab blend.


 2010 Sarno Fiano di Avellino ($24.99) Tenuta Sarno's organically farmed vineyards are situated on 4.5 hectares and are planted on rich soil deposits of calcareous clay and limestone characteristic of the region- a phenomenon attributable to the great eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1944.

Chris Miller: Citrus, foral notes and minerals blossom on the mid-palate of this rich, textured white. The long , elegant fnish gives way to notes of honey and toasted hazelnuts. Hands down, one of the best Fiano d'Avellino I've ever tasted.

2002 Domaine Moillard Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru "Malconsorts" ($74.99) *Outstanding* 89-94 BH With Pascal Marchand consulting and a movement to biodynamic growing, the estate wines from this negociant are getting better and better. 

Susan Thornett: We don't often get beautiful, direct-from-France, well-aged Burgundies so it is a real pleasure to have this 02 Malconsorts available to sell. It needs some time to open in a decanter as it is still a little young. Lots of forest-floor and rich mushroomy goodness on the nose, the structure is quite firm and well balanced, do enjoy this one with food!



Want to see which wines are most popular with our customers? We constantly update our lists of bestselling wines, online at:  


We offer five excellent wine clubs and a new exclusive Personal Sommelier Service, that allow you to sample outstanding wines from all over the world. Due to our bulk purchase power and longstanding relationships, the quality and value offered by these clubs are tremendous. Unlike winery clubs where you typically taste the same wines year after year, our clubs offer phenomenal variety that is strictly selected by our panel of buyers. See for yourself.