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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

Cult Blanc de Blancs from Mesnil

We here at K&L feel very proud to represent one of the best producers of Blanc de Blancs in all of Champagne, Launois, from the village of Mesnil. Mesnil is the southern most of all the grand cru villages in the Cotes de Blancs, and the chardonnay grown here is perhaps the most sought after in all of Champagne for its finesse and age worthiness. In addition to being blessed with great soil, the Launois family is obsessed with quality on every level. They harvest after most of their neighbors are done in order to get perfect ripeness in the grapes, and this allows them to add less dosage (sugar) while still maintaining perfect balance in the Champagne. Not content to purchase the commercially available clones of chardonnay, Launois has its own nursery were they are propagating their own best cuttings for replantings. It took me a year and a half of begging to get them to export the wine— they were already selling it all and did not see any reason to expand into the U.S. Please taste them if you have not already. Currently in stock we have the Launois “Cuvee Reserve” Brut Blanc de Blancs ($25.99), which is like polished white Burgundy with a touch of pine nut and minerals on the nose. The flavors are broad and rich. This is serious wine, with small bubbles and a refreshing finish. Also we have the 1998 Launois Brut Blanc de Blancs ($29.99). This wine has extraordinary concentration and a wonderful tension between ripe chardonnay fruit and scintillating Mesnil minerality. The bead is wonderful; scores of perfect miniscule bubbles jet from the bottom of the flute when you pour this Champagne. Get out the brown paper bags and compare to Salon, Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, etc. Feel free to contact me at 1-800-247-5987 ex 2728. A toast to you! —Gary Westby

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