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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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Tuesday
Dec202005

Biodynamic Wines for a Dynamic You

Happy New Year Rhône heads! Those of you who have read my article on page 2 already know of my optimistic resolutions to stretch more, read more and eat and drink orangically whenever possible. Fortunately for us, many appellations in the Southern Rhône exhibit a dry micro climate and windy conditions, making it easier for vignerons to produce their wines along organic, nearly organic (or in this case biodynamic) lines, as they do not have to deal with conditions such as rot and mildew nearly as often. Below are two beautiful examples! 2003 Montirius Vacqueyras ($22.99) Montirius is the family estate of Christine and Eric Saurel, fifth generation growers whose vineyards grace the prestigious Plateau des Garrigues above the village of Vacqueyras in the southern Rhône valley. Their vineyards are tended biodynamically, a strict form of sustainable viticulture. This 2003 Vacqueyras is a grenache-based red that is hands down one of the best Vacqueyras I have tasted from the 2003 vintage. Black currant ripeness is matched by rich black olive flavors. Good acidity to boot makes this southern Rhône one long, cool beauty. 2003 Montirius Gigondas ($29.99) The Montirius Gigondas is another grenache-based beauty that displays ample flesh, yet maintains a degree of elegance and restraint not that easy to come by in most 2003 Southern Rhones. In fact, La Revue du Vin de France (July/August 2005) gives the 2003 Gigondas from Montirius four stars out of five, a truly impressive accolade from what I believe is one of the best reference points for rating French wines. Enjoy now with one hour of decanting and over the next six years. —Mulan Chan

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