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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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Thursday
Oct132005

Bearden’s Bordeaux: Direct from the Châteaux

1992 Pichon-Lalande 1.5L, Pauillac ($89.99) This mature wine has complex aromas of plum, cedar, coffee roast, wood smoke and flowers. The mid palate is round and silky with flavors of red cherry, cigar box and herb. The finish is mild but persistant and even shows a slight touch of ruby grapefruit. This was a huge hit at a recent Bordeaux tasting. Not to be missed. 1993 Pichon-Lalande 1.5L, Pauillac ($134.99) 4 stars Decanter: “Good solid nose. Tannic fruit on the palate. Good, big and sound ... Very deep red; closed nose, with a hint of smoky oak; fairly soft and approachable, reasonable concentration and grip, good acidity, no unripeness; quite good length.” (12/97) With more structure and richness than the 1992, this is a deeply colored, smooth, silky, classic Pichon-Lalande. There is lots of dark fruit and mineral in the plush mid palate which flowes into a very elegant finish showing licorice and olive. This is a classic to decant now or age further for a special occasion. 1994 Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan ($44.99) This is a stunning example of Haut-Bailly’s habit of putting on extra fat and richness after at least five years of bottle age. Super elegant yet rich, this has gobs of ripe fruit, earth, mineral and oak in a sweet, complex and seamless package. Awesome old-school Bordeaux! 2002 Léoville-Las-Cases, St-Julien ($83.99) 95 points Parker: “The wine exhibits pure black currant, licorice-infused fruit, huge body, a viscous mid-palate, and a long, heady finish... This is certainly one of the half dozen or so candidates for wine of the vintage.” —Steve Bearden

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