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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 March Chardonnay Picks | Main | Springtime Sauvignon Blanc »

Spotlight on Monterey Masters!

Monterey County and its sub-appellations hold an increasingly prominent place in California’s wine history. Currently, Monterey is re-affirming itself as a world-class winemaking region for grapes like chardonnay, pinot noir and other warm-climate haters. Santa Lucia, without a doubt, is the premium growing region in Monterey, and one of the best producers there is Morgan Winery. Founded in 1982, Morgan’s quest for shocking Chardonnays and perfect Pinots has produced wines that are heads, shoulders and torso above much of the surrounding wineries. The 2004 Morgan “Metallico” Chardonnay ($16.99) is a laser of a wine, made in stainless steel, no ML, yet clean, bright, crisp fruit with superb minerality and focus. The richly dressed 2004 Morgan “Twelve Clones” Pinot Noir ($24.99) jumps out of the glass with sumptuous aromatics and rounded vanilla and cherry notes. Double L, short for Double Luck, named for the owner’s twin daughters, is an organically grown vineyard that is probably one of the best pinot/chardonnay vineyards in the Central Coast. Each effort, the 2003 Morgan “Double L” Pinot Noir ($46.99) and the 2004 Morgan “Double L” Chardonnay ($27.99), reflects the exquisite purity, power and refinement that come from meticulously cared for, pesticide-free vines planted at the right place with the right grapes. Farther south, we run into Graff Family Vineyards, the family that started it all in Monterey. What, you say? Never heard of them before? The family only co-founded Chalone! Now, the same winemaker whose deft hand makes world-class pinot noir is making wine from the old family estate. The 2003 Graff Family Chalone Pinot Blanc ($15.99) shows the classy, elegant and supple side of this lovely grape while the 2003 Graff Family Chalone Mourvèdre ($15.99) shows the softer, sexier side of this otherwise powerful, husky grape. In fact, it’s one of those rare bottles that appeals to the entire spectrum of wine appreciators, from beginners all the way up to our own store manager! I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Incredible! Take a bow, Monterey. You have superstars in your midst. Enjoy! —Martin Reyes

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