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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

Jim C’s View Down Under

2004 Highfield Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand ($13.99) This is a new offering in our portfolio of Kiwi sauvignon blancs, and a fine one indeed. Meticulous vineyard work and grape selection along with cold fermentation contribute to the perfumed nose of lime blossom, pink grapefruit, red bell pepper and minerals. 2004 Thorn Clarke Terra Barossa “Importers Reserve” Cabernet Sauvignon Barossa Valley South Australia ($10.99) It’s tough to find good cabernet at this price, but once again they deliver. The bouquet shows notes of plum, cherry, black current, earth and a hint of herbs. Aged in French oak, there are hints of spice along with the fruit character framed by supple tannins leading to a fine finish. 2003 d’Arenberg “Laughing Magpie” Shiraz-Viognier McLaren Vale South Australia ($19.99) A blend of shiraz co-fermented with 6% viognier. Showing aromas of honeysuckle, marmalade, blackberry, and a hint of pencil lead, on the palate this is full bodied with wonderful balance, fine dusty tannins and great length. This is a superb price. I’d recommend putting some aside to drink over the next 3-5 years. 2002 Penfolds Bin 389 Shiraz-Cabernet South Australia ($18.99) Know as Baby Grange or Poor Man’s Grange, this wine shows elements of pepper, earth, black cherry, cassis, current and notes of cedar, spice box and mocha. I had the 1986 of this wine not long ago and it was absolutely terrific. A great cellar candidate, too! —Jimmy C

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