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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 Spain (42)

Wednesday
May202015

Rey Fernando de Castilla: A Palo Cortado to Remember

 

Palo Cortado pairs with a variety of foods; in this case it happened to pair great with Italian food.

Rey Fernando de Castilla is a sherry bodega with passion for providing wines of the highest quality. Started by an important family in Jerez, the Andrada-Vanderwilde family, that has been involved in the wine industry here for over 200 years.  This family took over some very old sherry and brandy cellars to focus on Brandy production in the 1960s.  It wasn’t until 1999 that a Norwegian who had fallen in love with Sherry, Jan Pettersen, purchased the bodega, and shifted the company's focus to Sherry. He expanded the bodega’s sherry production with the purchase of many old soleras from the neighboring and esteemed almacenista Jose Bustamante, turning Rey Fernando de Castilla into one of the best independent sherry houses. While most of Pettersen’s wines qualify for the age dated VOS or VORS status, he does not believe in this system. Instead, his line of high-end sherry is called the “Antique Collection.”  He has an Antique Fino (a bottling I highly recommend trying) that’s an average of 8-9 years old and resembles the traditional style richer finos that existed back in the early 1980’s when Petterson first came to the Sherry triangle.  The Antique collection is always bottled unfined and often minimally filtered and see extended aging in the cellar showing incredible maturity, expression and skill.


I recently had the pleasure of drinking a bottle of the Antique Palo Cortado that my boyfriend bought me for my birthday...he knows me so well!  Palo Cortado, the unicorn of Sherry styles, is always a mystery.  Maybe that is why it is the rarest of Sherry styles, and perhaps the most celebrated. There are a couple of things we can surmise about a Palo Cortado, it was once aged biologically, like a fino, and for some reason or another refortified and sent to spend the rest of it life aging oxidatively. For what reason, why or how this decision is made, is often unknown and unregulated.  In fact the Consejo Regulador says it only to be “the existence of certain very specific characteristic,” but that characteristic is never mentioned.  Another commonly offered definition is that it has the aromas of an Amontillado and the palate of an Oloroso.  However it has come about, I’m happy it did, especially this one. The Rey Fernando de Castilla Palo Cortado $59.99 is over 30 years of average age with both tremendous aromatics and flavors.  Aromas of cocoa, roasted chestnuts, tiramisu, and nutmeg beam from the glass. The palate is bright at first, showing it’s years aged under flor with a beautifully tangy acidity, lemon rind and burnt orange peel.  The palate turns to flavors of almonds, mocha and espresso on the finish.  Potentially, the finest example of Palo Cortado that exists. Sherry lovers, if you haven't tried this bottle yet, what are you waiting for?

Friday
Aug022013

Spanish & Portuguese Wine News 8/2/2013: Not fresh meaning 'Meh' but fresh meaning FRESH! 

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

Greetings and Happy Friday Everyone,  

August is here, which in most parts of the country means long, hot days and hopefully a comfortable cooldown at night. In the Bay Area, of course, along with other coastal spots in the Golden State, it means that while we may luck out with some occasional warm days, our real summer is just one more month away!

Depending on your mood, your food, and yes, the weather, what you drink could be white, pink, bubbly or red. My only requirement this time of year (OK, all year 'round, but especially in August) is that the wine be fresh.  Based around Alicante, near Spain's middle Mediterranean coast, Rafa Bernabe is making some of the most energetic, alive, complete, and completely gluggable wines in Spain. Organic cultivation, check. Minimal intervention in the cellar, check. Interesting vineyards with old, indigenous vines, some of which I had never heard of prior to tasting (Merseguera or Fourcayat anyone?), check. While these wines have quietly been on our shelves for the past few weeks, they are very limited, affordable at $25 each, and not likely to last too long once word gets out about their quality. Year to date, this is my Spanish wine revelation.  

2012 Vinedos Culturales "La Viña de Simon" Alicante - $24.99 http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1135866  

2012 Vinedos Culturales "Viñedos Culturales "Musikanto" Rosado - $24.99 http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1135867  

2012 Viñedos Culturales "Ramblis Arco" Alicante - $24.99 http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1135868  

2012 Viñedos Culturales "Ramblis" Monastrell Alicante - $24.99 http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1135870  

 

Un saludo,

Joe

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Joe Manekin

Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Wine Buyer

K&L Wine Merchants

Ph: 877.559.4637 ext. 2748

joemanekin@klwines.com

Wednesday
Jul172013

Spanish & Portuguese Wine News: 

By: Joe Manekin | Spanish & Portuguese Wine Buyer

Greetings all,

Here it is, the email I've been waiting to send all year. We've waited, we've diligently peppered our suppliers' inboxes with special order requests, and now we finally get to enjoy the fruit of our labor with...EN RAMA-RAMA!

A Fino or Manzanilla bottled "en rama" is a minimally processed, freshly bottled Fino or Manzanilla, one that perfectly exhibits the traits we love in these wines: marked salinity, bracing citric qualities, "almendrado" or almondy flavors, and an unmatched complexity and intensity of flavor due to an extended, careful ageing under flor. If you've traveled to Jerez, Sanlucar, El Puerto, or even Sevilla or Cádiz, and want to relive your Sherry experience, there is no better style than Fino and Manzanilla en rama. And, if you simply want an introduction to the beauty of Sherry, I would also argue that there is nothing better than en rama bottlings.

I encourage you to try some or all of these, identify your favorites and buy what you want before they disappear until the next wave of en rama bottlings hit (which will likely not be until spring 2014).

2006 Alvear Fino en Rama (500ml) - $14.99

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1116560

Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Fino En Rama Jerez de la Frontera - $20.99

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1089840

Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla en Rama - $29.99

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1136254

Valdespino "Deliciosa" Manzanilla en Rama (375ml) - $14.99

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1133801

Finally, a brief note on when to drink these. Many people (including folks at some of these bodegas) encourage consumption within 4-6 months of the bottling date. Others, myself and Equipo Navazos included, respectfully disagree. I have found these wines can continue to develop complexity, soften and deepen in flavor with bottle age (2006 Alvear is a great example of this). It simply depends on the bottling and on your taste. Drink now for a delicious, citric driven salt bomb and/or stash a few away for what may turn into an equally stunning, very different expression.

Saludos,

Joe

 

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Joe Manekin

Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Wine Buyer

K&L Wine Merchants

Ph: 877.559.4637 ext. 2748

joemanekin@klwines.com