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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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We host regular weekly and Saturday wine tastings in each K&L location.

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Entries in Spain (42)

Tuesday
Jul132010

Drink This: Txakoli 

Ever since I was a kid—a displaced New Yorker living in suburban Southern California and fantasizing about "real" pizza, bagels and greasy Chinese food—I've planned my trips around food. So when I learned, while traveling through Barcelona about a decade ago, munching on patatas bravas, pan con tomate and every other kind of montadito placed in front of me, that the food in San Sebastián was supposed to be some of the best in the world, I scrapped my upcoming trip to Valencia and headed north.

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Friday
Mar262010

Getting to Know: Joe Manekin

Name: Joe Manekin

What's your position at K&L and how long have you been with the company?

I am the Spanish, Portuguese and South American wine buyer.  I've been working here for two and a half years.

What did you do before K&L?

Before K&L I worked for a medium-sized wine wholesaler in Washington, DC.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to blog (www.oldworldoldschool.blogspot.com).  Also I enjoy gardening, cooking, drinking (but of course!), recording and listening to music.

What's your favorite movie?

I’ll always go for a good music documentary or period piece.  Rockers!— a classic late-’70s Jamaican flick) is one of my favorites.

What was your "epiphany wine?"

I think I had my wine epiphany quite young (to protect my parents I won’t say quite how young. It was a bottle of 1986 Chalone Pinot Blanc—full-bodied but bright, palate-coating and memorable. More recently, a bottle of 1981 Martinsancho Verdejo that legendary Spanish winemaker Angel Rodriguez Vidal opened for me a year ago was phenomenal.

Describe your perfect meal. What wines would you pair with it?

’79 Salon (a birthyear wine I’d love to try) and potato latkes with crème fraiche and caviar to start.  Grass fed New York strip steak grilled rare and sautéed Lacinato kale paired with ’79 Palmer (another one I need to try). Also, some Lopez de Heredia Gran Reservas from the ’60s. Finally, a decanter of Puffeney Vin Jaune served with top-notch Comte and bread from Tartine (best bread in the world) to close things out.

How do you think your palate's change over the years?

Like many palates before me, I have moved away from richer, fruitier, oakier front- to mid-palate wines in favor of higher acid, more tensely-finishing wines.  In other words, you can keep the cult Cab, but pass the Poulsard my way!

What do you like to drink?

Geek beers and geek wines.  Anything from Cantillon. Lopez de Heredia, all flavors. Muscadet. Sherry. Our wonderful DI Champagnes, especially Marguet and Tarlant! So-called “natural wines.” Orange wines like Radikon. I could go on, but at the risk of subjecting myself to abuse at the office I’ll leave it at that. Non-alcoholic drink of choice: good Gyokuro green tea.

What words of advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?

Always consider context. If you find your tastes jiving with one of us in particular, work mainly with that person. Also, whether you want to know the various soil types of the Loire Valley or simply want a tasty dry white wine to bring to a party, let us know and we’ll take care of you.

If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would you invite? What would you serve them?

Jean-Michel Basquiat - 1981 Lopez de Heredia Viña Bosconia Gran Reserva to celebrate his breakthrough year; Frederic Chopin - 1996 Royal Tokaji Wine Company Mezes Mály 6 Puttonyos (Hungary is sort of close to Poland); medieval philosopher Maimonedes - 1787 Château d’Yquem. We’d discuss the morality of forging super rare, older bottles and whether or not our bottle was a genuine one or of magical, non-existent provenance.

Thursday
Jul032008

Winemaker Interview: María José López de Heredia

Editor’s Note: As promised, here is the full interview with winemaker María José López de Heredia from R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia continued from K&L’s July newsletter... Winemaker: María José López de Heredia from R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Number of years in business: 131 years How would you describe your winemaking philosophy? For us Tradition and Conviction are life-long attitudes. In our Bodega, the winemaking process is family know-how transmitted through the generations. It is present in our everyday work, rooted in the tradition and based on our deep conviction of the validity and modernity of our methods. We mention tradition, not as an idea meaning immobility, opposition to change, but as a dynamic and aesthetic concept in maintaining principles and criteria that remain eternal. However, we are perfectly aware of the rhythm of change. That’s why, our openness to change, flexibility, our non-conformism and self-criticism are the elements that allow us to face the future. The heritage from our ancestors is what makes our idiosyncracies into both positives qualities and attitudes. Our current and future promises can be encapsulated in two ideas that have always epitomized López de Heredia: - Professionality, as a quality of offering the consumer a distinctive product, of supreme quality, as artisan winemakers. - Ethic, promoting the happiness of all those who belong to our House; contributing to the enjoyment of our friends and customers; and giving to Society the best of our hopes and dreams. What wines or winemakers helped influence your philosophy? My father and my grandfather.The elegant wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux. How involved in grape-growing are you? Is there a particular vineyard site that wows you year after year? Very much. We all are as a family. We describe ourselves not as winemakers but as "vine-makers." Viña Tondonia amazes me every year because it makes me think how clever my great-grandfather was to find it. But he found all our vineyards: Viña Bosconia, Viña Cubillo and Viña Gravonia as well. All of them are very special terroirs. How do you think your palate has evolved over the years? How do you think that’s influenced your wines? As I have aged, my palate has evolved towards more elegant and sophisticated wines. I have always tried to make the style I like, of course. What kinds of food do you like to pair your wines with? Wine is always a complement to food. Our wines are, of course conditioned by their origin: Rioja and the style of food we cook in this area: Mediterranean, vegetables, meats...etc. That doesn't mean they cannot match any other food. They adapt well with food from many regions and countries. What changes are planned for coming vintages? Any new (top secret) varietals, blends or propriety wines on the horizon? In our House we are proud of not changing, since we are very faithful to our own style. Therefore no new varietals or different wines; our greatest endeavour is to improve our own style of winemaking. Is there a style of wine that you think appeals to critics that might not represent your favorite style? How do you deal with it? I like the idea of a wide range of wines throughout the world. I suggest that everyone should have their own opinion and not follow others opinions that much. What do you think when you are not drinking your own wine? I was taught to distinguish among objective, subjective and affective tasting. If I taste objectively I think of virtues or defects. When I drink subjectively I decide what I like and what I don't. When I taste affectively I think of enjoyment. Do you collect wine? If so, what’s in your cellar? Yes. Plenty of wines: Sherries, whites, rosés from all around the world. Not forgetting Champagne or Port. I have just bought some wines from Etienne de Montille in Burgundy. I exchange many wines with my wine friends from all over the world. I like to try everything. A friend told me today they are going to give me to taste the best Japanese wine being produced in that country. What do you see as some of the biggest challenges facing the wine industry today? In Spain we have to pay attention to the lack of culture of wine consumption. Health issues. Personality in the wines is another challenge. For us, as artisan vine growers and winemakers finding people that have the know-how to work as we do it now will be a big challenge, sadly, very soon.

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