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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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Springtime Sauvignon Blanc

Spring hits us this month, and it’s about time! I’m ready for some fresh sauvignon blanc on the patio, and I’ve found just the wines! The 2004 St. Supéry Napa Sauvignon Blanc ($13.99) is a great backyard quaff. Crisp and clean on the nose with notes of tangerine and sweet chalk, the wine has a touch of Asian pear filling out the palate of bright and crisp lime peel, lemon, sweet fresh hay and a smooth lemon curd touch. Absolutely refreshing. I stole the 2004 Morgan Monterey Sauvignon Blanc ($10.99) from Martin’s article on Monterey, and I’m not sorry! Creamy in texture with exotic fruits, Mexican papaya, white peaches and apricot. It’s lifted a bit with notes of citrus and a lively acidity and finished clean and crisp. Everything you want from an everyday SB, varietally correct, easy to pair and a crowd pleaser. If you really want to wake up your palate, try the 2004 De Sante Napa Sauvignon Blanc ($16.99). Leading of with a bright figgy/grassy noted nose, this zippy and lively sauvignon blanc is absolutely mothwatering! White grapefruit, guava, fresh grass, lemon blossom and a chalky/fine mineral edge combine to perfection. I love this wine. It’s a bit like a cross between New Zealand and classic Napa. If I were Jim Barr I would give this many cat faces. The 2001 Spring Ridge Santa Cruz Mountain Chardonnay ($12.99) breaks the SB rule for this article, but this wine is a steal so I’m putting it in anyway. The rich nutty/praline nose reminds me of the Burgundian notes found in expensive Chardonnay. A palate of exotic pear and Fuji apple mingles with hazelnut, orange rind and fine minerals. Rich and opulent, but not overbearing, the oak is fully integrated and simply complements its fantastic fruit, and the acidity forms a wonderful complement to the supple textures. —Shaun Green

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