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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

2004 Griffin Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand ($10.99) Many of you enjoyed our Kirkham Peak sauvignon blanc from New Zealand until we ran out. Well, mourn no longer my friends, it’s back with a “new suit.” It’s a new name, but make no mistake, it still has lovely notes of pear, grapefruit, white melon, snap pea, red bell pepper and a dash of minerals. All these components are supported by juicy, refreshing acidity with excellent balance and length. 2004 Nautilus Pinot Gris Marlborough New Zealand ($15.99) This wine is a big favorite of mine. The bouquet offers floral notes with elements of pear and nectarine with a touch of spice. On the palate the wine is rich and round with good acidity and a long finish. One of the best Pinot Gris you will find from New Zealand. 2004 Majella “The Musician” Cabernet-Shiraz Coonawarra South Australia ($15.99) A blend of 70% cabernet sauvignon and 30% shiraz that has a perfumed nose of red current, blackberry, mulberry, a Grave-like tobacco leaf note and a hint of mineral. On the palate the wine has a whisper of oak, but is integrated along with fine-grained tannins. The emphasis is on a fruit forward wine at a fair price to showcase the unique character of Coonawarra. 2004 Excelsior Cabernet Sauvignon Robertson South Africa ($7.99) This is the third vintage we have brought in of this wine, and I think it is the most focused and balanced of the bunch. The nose is full of plum, black current, dark cherry, cassis and a hint of licorice. On the palate there is good balancing acidity with fine dusty tannins and a note of cocoa that lead to a fine refreshing finish. Buy a case to have around the house this holiday season. Happy Holidays! —Jimmy C

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