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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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Jim C’s View Down Under

2005 Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough New Zealand ($7.99) and the 2004 Vasse Felix “Adams Road” Chardonnay, Margaret River Western Australia ($13.99) These are two screaming deals! The Matua, now with bolder color and in a Bordeaux bottle, serves up a bouquet of lime, cantaloupe and fresh cut red peppers. On the palate there is good acidity to support the more tropical mango-papaya fruit that lead to a refreshing clean finish. The Adams Road chardonnay is 50% tank fermented. The nose offers aromas of light toast, pear, pineapple, honey, hazelnut and cinnamon spice. The wine has superb acidity bringing all these components together. 2004 Boekenhoutskloof Porcupine Ridge Syrah, Coastal Region South Africa ($10.99) The 2004 shows smoky, meaty notes with lovely ripe boysenberry fruit and a hint of lavender in the aromatics. In the mouth, the wine is full bodied and juicy with soft lush tannins and a fine finish. 2004 Hewitson “Miss Harry” GSM, McLaren Vale South Australia ($17.99) Dean Hewitson brings another super edition of Miss Harry with his 2004 blend of 44% grenache, 43% shiraz and 13% mourvèdre sourced from 50 and 80 year old vines. The bouquet sings with notes of black raspberry, cassis, white pepper, smoked meats and a hint of mocha. On the palate there is fine balance and length, with more structure and weight than last years 91-point wine. The 2003 d’Arenberg “Footbolt” Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia ($13.99) shows how good the vintage was in McLaren Vale. This wine is richer and shows more depth than the fine 2002, with notes of dark plum, blackberry, blueberry, chocolate and earth. Very well balanced with fine length and polish for the money. —Jimmy C

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