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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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« March into Spring with Champagne! | Main | Berg, Private Eye »

All Bouzy Rosé from De Meric, for Spring

One of my favorite names in the wine world is Bouzy, a grand cru village on the south-facing side of the mountain of Reims, in the very heart of the pinot noir country of Champagne. This village is famous for making the red wine that colors the best rosés in all of Champagne. Usually, producers only use a small amount (7%-12%) of this rare and expensive ingredient in their very best luxury rosé cuvees. The De Meric Grande Sous Bois Bouzy Rosé Brut ($34.99) is an exception to this, and is made from 100% Bouzy pinot noir. There are two distinct methods for creating a rosé Champagne, the first involves blending fully red wine with white until the desired flavor and color is reached. De Meric produced this rosé by using the distinctly more risky method of maceration, where all of the skins are allowed to be in contact with all of the juice, creating the rosé all at once. When using the blending method, one selects a small amount of very healthy grapes (a little botrytis is common in Champagne, but one does not taste it, because the grapes are pressed so quickly and the skins are discarded) to make the red wine. One needs healthy, perfect grapes when making a maceration wine. De Meric did just that, making only 1400 bottles of this fantastic Champagne. It is all from the 2003 harvest (though not labeled as vintage), and was 100% fermented in small old oak barrels. The 2003 harvest was the earliest and warmest since 1852, and provided perfect conditions for this kind of Champagne. The color, atypical for a maceration rosé, is very delicately pink, what the French call oeil de perdrix (eye of the partridge). It has a very extroverted maraschino cherry aroma, but comes across much more elegant and restrained on the palate then one would assume. This is probably the most fun of any bottle we have ever imported directly. Sadly, when it is gone, it is gone. Our allocation, while generous given the very limited production, is still very small at 21 cases. I hope that you will try it and enjoy it as much as I have, but please don’t fall in love; it is unlikely we will ever see it again. —Gary Westby

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