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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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« 2003 Bordeaux: Perfect for the American Palate! | Main | April In France-Let the Hype Begin! »
Tuesday
Mar212006

Bordeaux for April and Beyond

Tax time is here, and not many of us are in the mood to take a chance when it comes to spending money. But we still crave good wine, so what should we do? By sticking to the most consistent producers we get great value without feeling like we have to gamble with our tax return. 2002 Pagodes de Cos, St-Estèphe ($22.99) Cos d’Estournel is one of the best and most consistent wines of St-Estèphe, and their 2nd wine is always a delicious value. This shows a bright, smokey herbal nose and lots of firm, ripe berry fruit with supple texture. Decant this rich and versatile bargain tonight or cellar some for several more years. 2002 La Fleur de Bouard, Lalande de Pomerol ($25.99) Run by the folks at Château Angelus, this property always seems to craft incredibly tasty wines that are easy to drink as soon as they are released. This silky wine displays lots of rich, ripe fruit and toasty oak in a flashy style that remains elegant and balanced. This wine is always a crowd favorite at my monthly tastings consistently beating out Bordeaux that costs twice as much. 2002 l’Eglise Clinet, Pomerol ($74.99) At a recent event in San Francisco the 2001 vintage of this wine was my choice for best of the 60 Bordeaux poured, beating out several First Growths and two super expensive Right Bank “garage” wines. Despite boasting some of the oldest vines in Pomerol, microscopic production (only 12,000 bottles) allows this château to fly under the radar. Yet it has one of the most consistent track records in all of Bordeaux. Super refined and complex, showing silky raspberries and mineral. This satin-textured wine is truly profound. 1998 Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac ($57.99) Our favorite Bordeaux hits the mark year after year, even in difficult vintages. The big firm cabernet shows in the aromatics with complex herb, cedar and smoke that leap from the glass. The high percentage of merlot shines on the palate giving this round, silky wine a lushness you won’t often find in 1998 Médocs. Pichon-Lalande is the closest thing to a slam dunk regardless of the vintage, and this is a shining example. Enjoy now or age 15 more years. —Steve Bearden

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