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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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Monday
Nov142005

Halfway There

Ahhhh, the holiday season, is, without question, the busiest time of the year for so many of us. Family, friends, shopping, cooking, entertaining and, of course, the dreaded wrapping. So, with that in mind I shall stay off my soap box and keep it simple and to the point. Walking through the store the other day and realizing what has suddenly been thrust upon us, I thought I would write about wines that I would either love to receive as a gift (hint, hint family and friends who read this) or wines that would help me get through these hectic times. I think I found a few that will fit the bill. 2002 Weingut Smelz Riesling “Stein am Rain” Federspiel ($17.99) A refreshing little bugger that is structurally packed full of minerality and zippy acidity, racing across your palate. You will be treated to the bright essence of citrus fruits spiked with exotic spices that melt into the back of your palate and a finish that is as crisp and bright as the cold winter air just outside your window. 2002 Emmerich Knoll Riesling Smaragd Loibenberg ($34.99) This is a powerhouse that is surrounded by grace and beauty. A wine that is full of ripe melons dusted with white pepper leading you into a ripe, juicy, forgiving palate of delicate minerality and intensity. This is one of those gems that you can drink tonight or rediscover in ten years’ time and truly understand why this is a wine of legend (plus maybe really understand the power behind the label on this beauty). Yes, I am purposely not describing the label; you have to see it to believe it! 2003 Nigl Riesling “Privat” ($49.99) Don’t let the 2003 vintage fool you; this is something special. While having 2003 characteristics, the wine-making skills and the old vines that help create this wine ensure a quality that shines, and I promise, you will not be disappointed. Ripe fruit, teaming with fleshy white peaches, (I'm not just saying this), Christmas spices, a subtle tinge of minerality and a balance that is focused and pure. —Eric Story

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