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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

Two Perfect Sparklers for Valentine’s Day

While you are looking for the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day, consider the following two Champagnes for enjoying a romantic dinner or for presenting as a memorable gift. For those of you on a budget (hey, you’re giving diamonds as well), the Launois “Cuvee Reserve” Brut Blanc de Blancs ($25.99) is a perfect choice. This bubbly comes from Mesnil, the home of Krug’s Clos de Mesnil and the world-renowned house of Salon. So, obviously, quality is the trademark of this southernmost Grand Cru village. The Launois is made entirely of chardonnay with 90% of the juice from the 2000 vintage and 10% from the 1998 reserve. Stainless steel vinification makes for clean fruit with a hint of minerality. A nose of pastry dough and wet stones. Rich pear fruit with a touch of key lime are the principal flavors with a finish of crème brulee and toasted almonds. Four years ageing on the lees brings richness and length. The Franck Bonville Cuvee Les Belles Voyes ($59.99) is a top of the line bubbly from Olivier Bonville. The Belles Voyes vineyard is in Oger and is miniscule, at 1 3/4 acres. Like the Launois, this wine is all chardonnay (in this case, from the 1997 harvest). All fermentation and ageing is done in old oak casks. A wonderful nose of vanilla and subtle yeast. Flavors of golden pears, cream, brioche and pine nuts. Creamy and full-bodied with a slight, elegant hint of toasted oak on the finish. One of the most lush and rich Champagnes that we currently have in stock A great effort of winemaking, and tough competition for wines selling at three times the price! —Scott Beckerley

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