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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 Riesling (14)


{Terra Ignota}: Te Whare Ra - K&L's First Direct Import from the Land of the Long White Cloud


Te Whare Ra, is a small, organic, family-run winery in the Wairau Valley of Marlborough.

Te Whare Ra (pronounced “Tea Far-ee Ra”, from Maori meaning “The House in the Sun”) is one of the premier boutique wineries in Marlborough and has some of the oldest vines in the area dating back to the 70’s. Since 2003, it has been owned and operated by Jason and Anna Flowerday. Both are winemakers by trade; Jason is a local to Marlborough and Anna is from McClaren Vale in Australia. The two were destined to have a winery of their own, and Te Whare Ra (TWR) is a culmination of their passion and dedication to quality.

Jason and Anna Flowerday

During some time in Marlborough last year my wife and I stumbled upon TWR. We were looking for small boutique wineries and personally gravitate toward organic/Biodynamic producers. We pulled into the front of the winery but everything looked closed. We rang the bell and Anna answered the door. We chatted a while and she explained that their first pick for the 2011 vintage was happening the next day and they had closed the tasting room to prepare the winery for harvest. Thankfully she offered to pour us some wines anyway and I was immediately stunned by the quality of all the wines.  After the tasting she took us for a wander through the winery and crushpad. Jason joined us and we talked about their viticulture, winemaking style and general philosophy. 

View of the Crush Pad and Individual Berry Sorting at Te Whare Ra

I was amazed by the small scale of production and extreme hands-on, detail-oriented winemaking they employ. The vineyards are farmed meticulously using organic and biodynamic methods. They even have their own cows for manure and other Bio preps. They are members of Organic Winegrowers NZ and are soon to be Bio-Gro certified. Most of the fruit is hand-picked and sorted. The Pinot is then de-stemmed and resorted by the individual berry! Fermentation is done in one-ton open fermenters for gentle extraction and finesse.

Jason Hand Plunging the Pinot Noir

Seeing and hearing all this made perfect sense after tasting the wines. Jason and Anna’s careful hand crafting and obsessive attention to detail define these wines; they are truly distinctive, expressing quality, purity, a dynamic sense of place, and a great thread of textural complexity and detail that shows though in every wine. We exchanged contact info, picked up a couple bottles to give to our Kiwi hosts and left vowing to tell any that would listen about how special these wines were. On returning to the US and getting my position with K&L I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for K&L's first serious collaboration with a single boutique producer from New Zealand through our Direct Import program. 

This is just was just the beginning as we continue to expand our offerings that already include: Oakridge, Dalwhinnie, Te Mata Estate and Waterkloof. You can also look forward to many more Direct Imports in the future!


Here is what we have in stock now, ready for you to try. Click on the links to learn more:

 2011 Te Whare Ra “D” Riesling Marlborough (Dry)* ($18.99)

Elegantly floral with a complex palate of concentrated citrus, with Kaffir lime and grapefruit. Zesty acid keeps the mineral laden finish snappy. 1,026 cases made.

 2012 Te Whare Ra Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough* ($18.99)

Combining tropical passion fruit and lychee notes with cooler qualities of elderflower, citrus and gooseberry from the Awatere fruit. Great mid-palate texture and fresh, yet restrained, acidity on the finish. More concentrated than the 2011 vintage due to low yields and meticulous fruit selection.

 2011 Te Whare Ra Chardonnay Marlborough* ($24.99)

Very Burgundian in weight and texture. The palate is packed with orchard and stone fruits. Beautiful texture and richness with perfect balance. Oak is well integrated with rich toasty notes of creamy hazelnuts and fresh ground grains leading into spicy elegant finish.

91+ RP: "The 2011 Chardonnay is scented of white peaches, lemon curd and baking bread with hints of almonds, gingersnaps and orange blossom. Medium to full bodied, there's just a suggestion of oak complimenting the stone fruit and toasty flavors with refreshing acidity, a silken texture and a nice long finish. Drink this one now to 2016."

 2011 Te Whare Ra Gewürztraminer Marlborough* ($18.99)

Crushed rocks and flowers! Overtly floral, but with serious mineral qualities. A big, rich and textural Gewürtz. Exotic Asian spice and tropical fruit dominate the palate. 510 cases made.

 2011 Te Whare Ra Pinot Noir Marlborough* ($24.99)

Beautiful strawberry and boysenberry fruit on the nose. In the mouth soft red and dark fruits. The typical bright, crunchy Marlborough acidity is balanced with rich savory undertones and depth from the old vines. 450 cases made.

After tasting each wine many times it still amazes me how this marriage of winemakers can excel with every grape variety that graces their estate. These are truly special wines. I hope you will try them!

The Flowerdays


- Ryan Woodhouse, NZ / Aussie Specialist



 Terra Ignota is Latin for "Unknown Land". It was the name for the South Pacific region during intial mapping and exploration of Australia and New Zealand. As we are going to be exploring new and exciting wines from this region, we think this is a fitting title for our blog series on wines from this part of the world. Stay tuned for more!


Do glasses really matter?

I’m going to come out with it, we were all skeptics going into this tasting. I especially was because just a week earlier a good friend of mine had asked me about the importance of proper wines glasses, and I essentially told her to buy something nice but multifunctional in a Bordeaux style, tumbler, and flute. And while those will be fine for everyday use, I am now retracting my response that those are all that you need, especially if you are drinking exceptional wines and spirits on a regular basis (as I’m sure you are).

Through Wine Warehouse, Riedel conducted a wine tasting highlighting six of their glasses versus a standard restaurant wine glass, nicknamed the “Joker” glass. Through a series of four wines and two spirits we were to swirl, sniff, taste and then rotate through the series (ie the first wine then went into the Joker for comparison and so on). Me and nine of my cohorts sat and tried our best to follow directions.

 Riedel Tasting Setup

The first wine to taste was a 2007 Georg Breuer Rheingau Riesling out of the Vinum Extreme Sauvignon Blanc/Riesling glass. Riedel’s commitment to form and function was apparent immediately in the weight and size of the glass as well as the laser cut lip that results in the finest and thinnest rim. In the Riedel glass the Riesling came across voluptuous and nuanced with white peaches and granite instantly apparent on the nose. Tasting it the wine was at once sweet then followed by a balancing acidity and incredible texture. Pouring some of the wine into the “Joker” glass you had to burry your nose in it to get anything. When the wine hit our mouths it became flabby and unbalanced as a result of going straight to the side of the tongue where the concentration of the “tart” taste buds are. It sincerely does not taste like the same wine. Okay, I can see where we’re going with this, but I’m not convinced.

Next up was a 2008 Fernand & Laurent Pillot Chassagne –Montrachet out of a Chardonay “O” tumbler. According to our Riedel spokesman oaked Chardonnay are best drunk out of a wide mouthed glass, and unoaked Chardonnay are best drunk out of a closed mouth glass. While he explained that there is no need for concern about transferring heat with the tumbler style glass because, A: the natural tendency is to set down a tumbler, and B: you are only holding the glass with three fingers. Ha! Not with my little hands. And it felt like I was staring into a fish bowl. Again we repeated the swirl, sniff, and sip. The wine was beautiful, nuanced, and classic Montrachet. In the “Joker” glass it was completely muted and bitter. You could feel the wine being delivered directly under the tongue. To switch things up we pored the Riesling into the Montrachet glass and the Montrachet into the Riesling glass. The results were astounding. The Montrachet now became all about the minerality and the Riesling became soft and without peaks of flavor.

RWC Manager Jason evaluating the wineOnto the Reds. The Riedel Pinot Noir XL, a wide bowl with a curved out rim, was filled with an unbelievable 2007 Alex Gambal Chambolle-Musigny “Les Charmes”. This started out at the tip of the tongue with ripe cranberry followed by a chain of flavors, violets, smoke, a touch of oak, and distinctive minerality. Simply, a stunning wine. In the “Joker” the wine was absolutely ruined. It was stemmy, bitter, and you really had to work to detect anything on the nose. It was absolutely shocking that this was the same wine I’d moments ago fallen in love with.

The last wine was a 2006 Monbousquet, the relative of Chateau Pavie, in the Bordeaux Vinum Extreme, a line designed specifically for New World Wines. Primarily Merlot from the Right Bank, the fruit and oak were perfectly married with deep dark red fruit, pencil shavings, and “unresolved tannins.” In the “Joker” It was all tannin and alcohol, nothing else. What a disappointment.

 Dale Payne from Wine Warehouse

We finished with a surprise spirits tasting. Come on, really? These fancy glasses are supposed to make my fancy hooch taste that much better? I’ve tasted these spirits on several occasions, and out of really good glasses. But the Le Reviseur XO Petite Champagne Cognac ABSOLUTELY sung in this cognac glass! For me the jury has always been out about Cognacs and Armagnacs. Yes, they were good, and I could appreciate and recognize a great one, but really, were they worth all of the money? This tasting, out of this glass, proved that they were worth the hype. Next we tried a 10 year Benromach from Speyside. The whiskey bloomed out of the single malt glass and coated the palate with a caramel richness mingled with smoke. Both spirits in the “Joker” glass were hotter, higher in acid, and completely different! I was so excited about this particular revelation I called my husband, told him to get our best Single Malt and Armagnac out of the bar and be ready to have his mind blown. I set it up the same way, one Cognac glass, one Single Malt glass, and the closest thing to a restaurant glass that I could find. He was honest. He told me he thought I was crazy, that this was something only a wine geek could pick up on. But, wait for it, he said that “I was completely right!” Score! Now to convince him that we’ll need an entire new set of glassware.

 Conclusively I’ve learned that it is nearly impossible to give a full assessment of a wine or spirit out of an improper glass, it is also nearly impossible to fully appreciate the wine or spirit out of an improper glass. And now I would readily give up every other bottle of indulgent wine or spirit in order to afford and properly enjoy them in the correct glasses and to take my time truly savoring every nuance that they have to offer. I implore you to try this for yourself, find a varietal or spirit that you are truly in love with and buy its matching glass. Compare it to the glass that you’ve been using at home and draw your own conclusions. As for me I’ve gotten my hands on the ones that I will be using for special bottles, and might even consider bringing them to restaurants with me…


Behind the Wine: Harry Peterson-Nedry of Chehalem

There's a rustic old house on Chehalem's Corral Creek Vineyard, just north of 99W in Newberg, Oregon, tucked behind the crush pad and perched on the edge of Riesling and Pinot Gris vines, where I stayed on my visit to the Pacific Northwest last fall. It's the house where owner and winemaker Harry Peterson-Nedry has lived for the last 13 years, though now it's also home to harvest interns from as far away as New Zealand through crush, and it's full of its owner's warmth and hospitality, a wide collection of wine glasses and a big, long wood dining table perfect for big meals and tasting parties.

I was a fan of Chehalem's wines (pronounced shu-hay-lem) long before I visited the winery, always impressed with the sheer verve and complexity from the range, from their entry-level Pinot Noir on up through the single vineyard wines. But it wasn't until I met Harry, a quick-to-smile North Carolina native who still speaks with a gentle southern twang, that I realized the wines were not just Oregonian in style, but very Harry, too--thoughtful and generous, but not in your face.

Watch our video interview with Harry Peterson-Nedry, then read on to learn more about the man, the winery and which wines we currently have in stock.

A special thank you to my friend Karen Petersen, who helped me film this and a number of other videos while I was in Oregon.

Harry is one of the linchpins of Oregon wine, planting the 55-acre Ridgecrest Vineyard back in 1980, the first vineyard developed in the newly-designated Ribbon Ridge AVA. Partnering with Bill and Cathy Stoller in 1990, he started Chehalem and began expanding his vineyard holdings not long after, adding Corral Creek and Bill and Cathy's 175-acre Stoller Vineyards in the Dundee Hills to the portfolio. The different soils and microclimates at each vineyard create Pinot Noirs with distinctive characterisitics--from the big, briary, black-fruited style of the Willakenzie soils found at Ridgecrest to the softer, rounder red-fruited wines from the Jory and Nekia soils at Stoller to the brighter, red-fruited, more tannic wines from the Laurelwood soils at Corral Creek. 

But Pinot Noir isn't Chehalem's only game. In fact, Harry has represented Oregon in the International Pinot Gris Symposium in Germany, is one of the founders of the Oregon Chardonnay Alliance (ORCA) and is a passionate advocate for Oregon Riesling. He says he gets bored easily, which is why you'll also find Pinot Blanc, Grüner Veltliner and Gamay Noir wines from Chehalem properties, to keep it interesting. (The winery's 2007 "Cerise" a Burgundian passetoutgrains blend of Gamay Noir and Pinot Noir,which is sold out here, was easy-drinking and fun, filled with tangy cranberry and sweet strawberry aromas and flavors.) As a consumer, one of the best things about Chehalem's wines is that they are affordable AND good, allowing you to try a wide variety from the winery without breaking the bank.


K&L currently has the following Chehalem wines in stock:

2008 Chehalem "3 Vineyards" Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (375ml $14.99; 750ml $24.99) From the region's defining vintage so far, this has lovely aromas of ripe red and black fruit, forest floor, bacon and violet, and a polished, fresh palate with plenty of secondary notes underneath, if you can hold onto it long enough to let it evolve.

2009 Chehalem "3 Vineyards" Willamette Valley Pinot Gris ($16.99) No innocuous, flavorless white wine, this. Chehalem's Pinot Gris has honeysuckle, mango and passion fruit character galore, built on a bed of slate-y minerality. Juicy, bold and broad.

2009 Chehalem "Reserve" Willamette Valley Dry Riesling ($19.99) The great unsung varietal of the Pacific Northwest, this dry Riesling has lovely lemon marmalade qualities with surprising hints of Ranier cherry to complement the stone fruit and spice. Great acidity and weight. As one of my favorite varietals when aged, I'm looking forward to seeing how this evolves.

2008 Chehalem "Inox" Willamette Valley Chardonnay ($15.99) A figgy, flinty, crisp Chardonnay that easily demonstrates the varietal's potential in the Northwest, now that earlier-ripening Dijon clones have made their way there. I'd easily drink this in place of Chablis.

2007 Chehalem "Ian's Reserve" Stoller Vineyards Dundee Hills Chardonnay ($29.99) A more unctuous, pear and apple-flavored style of Chardonnay, spiked with baking spice and creamy at the core, the Ian's still has the acid backbone that so many wines in this style lack. 

2009 Chehalem "Wind Ridge Vineyard" Ribbon Ridge Grüner Veltliner ($18.99) Staving off boredom for Harry is awfully tasty for the rest of us. This is the second vintage of Grüner from Chehalem and it's spicy, dry, minerally and fun. I love all the white pepper and ginger notes, which complement quince and muskmelon character like a pillbox hat complements a Chanel suit.


Read our Q&A with Harry Peterson-Nedry from last March.

Visit the winery's website.

Visit the winery's tasting room in downtown Newberg, Oregon. 

Leah Greenstein