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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

February’s Picks from Italy

Big wines for a short month! Five generations and almost a hundred years ago, the Zannoni family arrived at La Fortuna back in 1907. The estate, wine cellar and business center, has been designed in such a way to preserve the originally beauty of the renovated Tuscan farmhouse and to respect traditions while adapting to the modern needs of winemaking. You can contact them at info@tenutalafortuna.it if you would like schedule a tasting or tour. 2003 La Fortuna Rosso di Montalcino ($17.99) 100% sangiovese, this “baby Brunello” is a steal at this price. Black cherries and plum with sweet tobacco mingle with a nice mineral component. This medium-bodied wine shows very good acidity. Think Mom’s best lasagna recipe. 2002 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino ($36.99) Not a misprint, Brunello under $40.00 with lush black cherry and ripe strawberries, vanilla and chocolate character and fine integrated tannins. This user-friendly Brunello drinks very well right now with a couple hours of decanting and will evolve over the next couple of years. Pork tenderloin’s a must with this sangiovese! 2003 La Fortuna IGT Sant’Antimo ($27.99) This Super Tuscan is a blend of 40% sangiovese and 60% cabernet sauvignon and sees 10 months in French oak barrels (Allier). Extremely elegant on the palate with blackberries, blueberries and a touch of coco powder, there is great length thanks to its fine-grained tannins and rich glycerine at the end. With perfect balance through the long finish, this is something special to share with your valentine. —Mike Parres

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