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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

More than “Decent” Champagne!

Yesterday, Mr. Jim Barr, one of K&L’s best wine guys, showed me an extraordinary piece of history. A customer had given him a wine list from a restaurant in Bremen Germany, circa 1935. The most interesting thing to me about this lovely old menu was the pricing, particularly the comparative pricing of the wines. While one could enjoy a bottle of 1911 Cheval Blanc (about 25-years old at the time) for 15 marks, and the legendary 1921 d’Yquem for 20 marks, even the least expensive non-vintage Champagne on the list was 25 marks. The contrast to present times is striking. Many of our customers will request a “decent” bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon in the $30 price range while almost all of our most exciting Champagnes are under $30! One of the most striking values we have in Champagne is the De Meric Grande Reserve Sous Bois Brut Champagne ($27.99). Composed of 75% pinot noir, 20% chardonnay and 5% meunier from Grand and Premier Cru vineyards, this wine was aged for four years on the lees before release. It is a combination of the 2000, 1999 and 1998 harvests, and half of the juice was fermented and aged in neutral barrels and foudres without malolactic fermentation. The other half of the juice was fermented and kept in stainless steel and allowed to go through malolactic. This Champagne has a great core of black cherry pinot noir fruit and ample yeasty, toasty flavor. The texture and length of this wine are exceptional as well, and it makes anytime that I am drinking it feel like a special occasion or when shared with just one special person over a great dinner at home. —Gary Westby

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