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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 California Greats! | Main | A Wine to Love »

Spotlight on Terra Valentine

I can’t believe I haven’t written about Terra Valentine yet, considering how great these wines are and how much the entire Redwood City staff loves them. It’s been over a year since I desperately asked Trey if we could carry the 2001s and now with the rip-roaringly good 2002s just released, it’s a perfect time to introduce them now, and not just because it’s February! Terra Valentine is a family-owned, small-production winery that sits deep and high inside the spectacular Spring Mountain Appellation, truly one of the best regions for growing Cabernet in all of Napa Valley. Eighteen hundred feet above the drums of the winery divas below, this extraordinary 14-year-old, 35-acre vineyard produces wines of profound character and intensity, displaying amazing personality and a chiseled, age-worthy structure. The true masterpiece, however, is owner Angus Wurtele’s choice to price these stunners at absurdly reasonable levels. For such magnificent quality, you can easily pay a lot more (and trust me, you mostly do!). In fact, I performed a little experiment a couple weeks ago when I had glass of 2002 Terra Valentine Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon ($26.99) next to that of an ultra-prestigious winery whose focus one might say is its famous white label. There I was, sitting on the patio sipping Terra Valentine next to a $100+ dollar bottle thinking to myself, “In all fairness I can’t say that T.V. is better (or worse) than this luxury brand next to it. Wow!” The kicker was that it had all the depth and elegance of greatness, but none of the price tag. As if that wasn’t enough, the 2001 Terra Valentine “Wurtele Vineyard” Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($44.99) is something else!! Winemaker Sam Baxter selects fruit from two exceptional, volcanic-soil blocks within this killer vineyard to make a truly special wine that turns up the muscle and concentration, demonstrating astonishing fruit and refinement that’ll make your mind salivate. I’m going to be blunt about this. There is no California Cabernet under $50 that will make it flinch. Not one. If you find one, you email me at and tell me, because I want to buy it. Enjoy! —Martin Reyes

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