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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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K&L High West Whiskey Dinner at Alembic 

High West's David Perkins during his presentation....Well, our first ever American whiskey dinner came off without a hitch, and I have to say it seemed like a big success.  I think everyone really enjoyed themselves and the small size of the dinner allowed for David Perkins to engage and talk with everyone on a very intimate level.  David did a great job telling us about his whiskey, and whiskey in general, with an engaging and entertaining power point presentation (the only one I've seen where everyone gets to drink whiskey while listening).  Most of the reason the event went so beautifully is because Daniel Hyatt and his Alembic staff are a serious group of professionals dedicated to making the finest drinks and serving the finest foods.  I don't think anyone was prepared for the quality and elegance of the menu.

To start, we all enjoyed a cocktail of the High West Rendezvous mixed with dry vermouth, apple cider, Benedictine, and a little rice wine vinegar.  Stunning and perfect considering the ingredients involved.  The real achievement, however, was how well the whiskey tasted with the food. The first course included crispy ocean trout with turnips, gnocchi, and caramelized onion dashi along side the Rendezvous rye.  The fish was tender and delicious and the sweetness of the onion really sang with the caramel notes in the whiskey.  When the 16 year old rye was served, we were treated to tamarind glazed sweetbreads with tart apple, cranberry beans, and horseradish.  I couldn't believe how well it really worked with the spicy and intense whiskey.  For the third and final pairing, we had foie gras terrine with huckleberry, caramel corn, cashew, and upland cress served with mini toasts.  Like Daniel said before we ate it, "It's like a fancy peanut butter and jelly sandwich."  It was heavenly with the 21 year old.  It was also my first time eating foie, which is embarrassing when you work at K&L (where it seems that at least one person is eating foie gras every week!).

It seemed like this was the place to be Wednesday night with tickets sold out long in advance.  The word must have been out, however, because mid-way through the night John Hansell and the Malt Advocate crew stopped by to say hello and have a drink.  I was so surprised and flattered that they came to give their support.  I can only hope that our next dinner coming up in a few weeks is as successful.  If you're interested in tasting some world class bourbons, learning a bit about how bourbon is made, as well as learning about mixology and cocktails, then you should join us November 4th in Redwood City when Bourbon & Branch founder Todd Smith hosts our next event at Martin's West Gastropub. Buy your tickets now, I'm sure this event will sell out quickly.

Here are some pictures from a very enjoyable evening.  I hope to see you all next we do this!

David Driscoll