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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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Trey’s Picks: Pinot is Perfect for January!

The first thing I should do is apologize for writing up the 2002 Phelps Insignia last month. I did not know the Wine Spectator was going to give it wine of the year. And boom, we had no wine to sell. The way Pinot Noir is selling lately I might have the same problem this month. I will try to buy enough to last us till the end of January, but who knows these days. The 2002 Willakenzie Pierre Leon Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($31.99) is one of the staff’s favorite Pinots in the store. Pierre Lion is a selection of different estate grown Pinot Noir clones, including several Dijon clones. The ’02 Pierre Leon is balanced, fresh and lively in the mouth. The fruit is integrated and juicy. This wine is delicious now and will be excellent to enjoy over the next five years. 91 points from the Wine Spectator doesn’t hurt either. Probably one of the best values in the store, in any category, is the 2000 Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir ($14.99). Originally planted in 1969 by David Bruce, the vineyard is entirely Estate owned and operated. For those of you who are looking for a Pinot Noir that is delicate and fresh, this is your wine. It is filled with bright, ripe cherry flavors, and hints of spice and strawberries that linger on the finish. This is a classic example of a wine that is not over-manipulated or extracted. Enjoy it over the next few years. Perfect with your delicate dishes such as salmon or chicken! The last wine I will write up this month is the 2003 Domaine Serene “Yamhill Cuvée” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($29.99). This is the wine I am worried about. The wholesaler is almost out, but I just had to write it up. 2003 in Oregon was a year of record heat. This warm weather can be tasted in most of the 2003s. The 2003 Yamhill Cuvée is loaded with ripe and spicy aromas of dark cherry plum, candied strawberry, sandalwood, beetroot, cola, anise, candle wax and allspice. The Yamhill is a blend of different estate vineyards. This is a wine to enjoy over the next 5 years! —Trey Beffa

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