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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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Rhone Giant!

This month K&L is proud to offer a Domaine de Monpertuis wine for Rhône lovers in every price range. This venerable Southern Rhône estate has been in the hands of the Jeune family for several generations. Each successor has added bits and pieces so that the current owner, Paul Jeune, is now the proprietor of the 10 acres of vines that are scattered amongst 32 separate parcels throughout the confines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Jeune has the remarkable good fortune of having a majority of his vineyards planted to vines between 60 and 110 years of age. The multiplicity of parcels spread across Châteauneuf imparts a classic character to the wines of Monpertuis, absorbing the nuances of each soil type of the appellation. The heart and soul of the domaine lies within three primary parcels: La Croze, Le Clos de la Cerise and Monpertuis. Although Châteauneuf-du-Pape may be composed of 13 individual varietals, the Domaine de Monpertuis relies most heavily on the grenache grape. The 2003 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine de Monpertuis “Classique” ($31.99) is a more approachable, albeit powerful Châteauneuf from this warm vintage. Decant and serve with heartier fare. The 2003 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine de Monpertuis “Cuvee Tradition” ($62.99), produced solely from old vines at least 60 years old, is supported by at least 85% grenache. This is hands down one of THE BEST Châteauneufs I have tasted from this vintage. This wine is laden with a core of black fruit and chiseled mineral drive. Do not, I repeat do not, even think about touching this wine for at least 5 years, preferably 10. I promise you, your patience will be generously rewarded. This is an outstanding wine with enormous potential. As of 1995, the Domaine de Monpertuis has vinified a Côtes du Rhône and Vin de Pays du Gard. Both of these wines come from a recently acquired parcel known as vignoble de la Ramiere. The 2003 Côtes du Rhône “Vignoble de la Ramiere,” Domaine de Monpertuis ($13.99) is made almost exclusively from grenache. Both wines are lovely with cranberry, roasted sage and lavender. And both wines are Monpertuis reds to drink up while you wait for the big boys to grow up. —Mulan Chan

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