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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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Thursday
Feb162006

March’s Italian Picks

2002 Blason “Venc” Friuli Isonzo Bianco ($14.99) Venc is the Friulian name for a branch of a willow used to hand-tie the grape vines. The Venc bianco is a blend of pinot bianco, tocai friulano and 5% sauvignon blanc, tank fermented and aged “sur lie” with some of the pinot bianco being barrel-fermented. This is one of those wonderful wines that work well as a cocktail white or with food. Love the floral aromatics on this baby and the palate of pear, hazelnut and a dash of vanilla. 2002 Blason “Vencjar” ($19.99) Bordeaux from Italy? Even better, Vencjar is a blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and merlot in equal parts. This is a big full-bodied red with soft tannins. Very user friendly with dark red fruit blended with walnut, leather, spice and a long richly textured finish. 2003 Baricci Rosso di Montalcino ($18.99) Great value is the first thing I think with regard to this wine 100% sangiovese. This is one of those Rossos that is a little more rustic. Lots of terroir from the “Montosoli.” Sweet earth mingles with rich and ripe fruit. It will take about an hour to let this vino to open up, and then watch how quickly this bottle empties. I’m thinking baked rigatoni with this. 2000 Baricci “Colombaio di Montosoli” Brunello di Montalcino ($36.99) Like its little sister up above this also has the classic “Montosoli” nose with lots of spice, cinnamon, cardamom and anise with a touch of leather, and brings that to the palate as well. This will need at least a couple hours of decanting and will drink over the next couple of years. Your next Sunday night dinner featuring a pork roast or even corn beef. Happy St. Paddy’s day. —Mike Parres

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