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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
Jan242006

A Wine to Love

Olivet Lane vineyard is an incredibly desirable source of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fruit in the Russian River appellation of Sonoma. The grapes are higly sought after by wineries such as Williams Selyem and Merry Edwards, but the way to buy is directly from the owners of the vineyard under their own Olivet Lane label. Pellegrini Family owns this vineyard, and under the astute direction of Robert Pellegrini these wines are truly world class. Both wines are wonderful values and have proven themselves with our staff and our customers. Give each a try and see for yourself how you can buy cult level wines at great prices. The 2002 Olivet Lane Pinot Noir ($19.99) is wonderfully opulent with nice dark cherry fruit filling the palate, accented by delicate notes of sweet spices, blackberry, integrated oak and a long plush finish. Good tannins provide structure, but the velvety texture of the wine smoothes these out into a wine that is hard to resist right now. This is luxury in a bottle, and at a price we all can afford. This is truly new world-style Pinot Noir at its best and avoids the ultra-extraction crutch that hides the true character of Pinot while exhibiting the unctuous ripeness that the Russian River appelation uniquely adds to the world of Pinot styles. The 2003 Olivet Lane Chardonnay ($14.99) also shows how great the Russian River can be for the prodction of world-class Chardonnay, with a wonderful offering of ripe pear to apple fruit with notes of stone, cinnamon and a touch of vanillin oak. With all this ripe fruit, you might expect a lack of acidity or structure, but it comes through here in this great food wine. This is a Chardonnay to please everyone! Consistent year after year, this has been a favorite of our customers (and staff) consistently. —Shaun Green

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