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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

Slow Cooked

That is the food I want this time of year. There are plenty of wines that pair wonderfully with these foods. A few of my favorites are: 2004 Vina Y Tia De Lozar, Ribera del Duero ($10.99) A charmer! Dark, ripe fruit immediately jumps out of glass at you. It is backed with more subtle hints of its oak, cedar, smoke and spice. On the palate the wine is similar to the nose; it greets you with dark, pure almost juicy fruits then fleshy soft tannins and behind the fruit and tannins the unmistakable savory earthiness of tempranillo. Think braised short-ribs! 2004 Bodegas Arrocal, Ribera del Duero ($12.99) This is bigger, more complex wine. The fruit is multidimensional; dark juicy berries and crunchy red fruits all tossed together. The palate is round, plush and long, the perfect showcase for all those fruit tones. Almost hidden behind the fruit are hints of oak and spicy earth that linger on the finish. Stylish, clean and modern, this is a heck of a deal. Great with Persian herb stew! 2004 Bodegas Quinta de la Quietud “Corral de Campanas,” Toro $21.99) Dark, vibrant and bold, looking at this wine you would think it was a monster, an opaque violet bruiser. The nose offers dense dark fruits and berries that slowly revealed tarry earth and exotic spices. The big surprise is the palate: structured and long with ripe supple tannins, reminding me of a forward right bank wine. Decant and enjoy this seriously indulgent wine. —Kirk Walker

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