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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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Bergerac worthy of Cyrano

This month I would like share with you two wines from Bergerac. Like its famous neighbor, Bordeaux, red wines here rely on merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon while the white wines are typically comprised of semillon and sauvignon blanc (Perhaps more famously, Bergerac is also home to the famous Cyrano de Bergerac). The 2004 Château de Calabre Bergerac Rouge ($10.99) is a lovely example of a merlot-based red from the appellation that is both inexpensive and extremely versatile at the table. Comprised of 80% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon and 20% cabernet franc, and vinified in stainless steel, the Calabre exhibits hints of black cherry, blueberry and violets. This would be just the thing with meatloaf! In 1994 Englishman Charles Martin purchased the Château de la Colline and immediately began restoring and re-planting the vineyards with semillon, sauvignon blanc, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Carminé is the estate’s top red wine and is made from 95% merlot and 50% cabernet sauvignon aged in new oak barriques for 18 months. The 2001 Château de la Colline Bergerac Carminé ($17.99) is a rich and elegant southwestern red with crushed red raspberries and rich mocha notes. Enjoy with a gorgeous piece of filet mignon or braised beef shortribs. A bientot! —Mulan Chan

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