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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

Spotlight on Holiday Zinfandels!!

The warm fuzzy feeling I get right about this time of the year can only mean one thing... I’ve been drinking some great Zinfandels recently! Yes, the most joyous, generous, luscious elixir of our Golden State, with its heady perfumes and decadent flavors is just perfect for December. You better believe I have some great choices up my sleeve: If there can be such a thing as grace and elegance within power, the 2002 Storybook Mountain “Mayacamas Range” Napa Zinfandel ($25.99) achieves it. Deep in the heart of Cabernet country, legendary owner/winemaker Jerry Seps has been quietly making world-class Zinfandel for over 20 years. This refined effort shows the beautiful and classy side of the powerful grape. True, premium, dinner-friendly Zinfandel is so hard to come by nowadays, but you’ll find exactly that here! Not too hot or too ripe, it’s just right for a fairytale romantic evening for two. 2002 Storrs “Rusty Ridge” Santa Clara Zinfandel ($24.99) Santa Clara Zinfandel, yes indeed! This wine’s made up of a couple old vineyards perched on two ridges of rust-colored, iron-rich volcanic soils that add a touch of personality, as you’d expect. Dry farming and meticulous attention produced a wine of amazing concentration and varietal identity. One of the rare, but incredible Zinfandels made entirely from Bay Area fruit. 2003 Scott Harvey “Old Vine” Amador Zinfandel ($19.99) Old-vine Zins achieve some of their greatest expressions and concentration in Amador County, and this wine’s a fine example. The tarry, spicy deep black fruit comes out strong and persuasive. The nose reminds me of those Christmasy sweet baking aromas of nutmeg and clove that warm the heart and soften the worries of the day. In fact, this one just begs for a fireplace, the clink of glassware and the hum of joyous holiday parties! Enjoy! —Martin Reyes

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