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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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Tuesday
Mar212006

Loire, Alsace and Beyond: A Revolution!!!

I am declaring a sauvignon blanc revolution!!! The world-class grape is consistently overshadowed by that thing we call chardonnay, and I, for one, am not going to stand for it anymore!!! Here in the Loire Valley you can find some of the world’s best sauvignon blancs, from racey, sharp-edged wines to rich and succulent ones. If I was to pick one place (in the wine world, that is... let’s face it, Hawaii is pretty nice), to be surrounded by everything I needed, it would be here. Take, for instance, the region of Quincy, second in France to receive AOC status in 1936, just behind Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Quincy is only allowed to produce white wines. Growing in these soils of clay, sand and chalk come wines that are typically harvested a full week earlier than those in Sancerre, with softer acidity levels and a bit more richness. The 2002 Silice de Quincy, Quincy ($24.99) is a powerful, textured wine coming from 100-year-old vines that are farmed following the biodynamic model. Bright citrus fruits and stone are just the tip of the iceberg of the complexity this wine has. Jim Barr would say it is a must have and give it 27 kitties. You want something a little more quaffable? Then step into the 2004 Adèle Rouzé Quincy ($14.99), a fresh, zippy expression of the sauvignon grape. Filled with gooseberries and a wet mineral edge, this would be great with that fish you just caught (or pointed to and asked you fish monger to wrap up), which you then simply threw on a hot grill, with some of those herbs from the garden, along with early spring vegetables, also grilled, that are placed atop of a goat cheese crostini. Jim Barr would give this, I’m sure, at least 17 wagging dogs. I have to leave you know, I just made myself hungry. BUT, there are more Loire Valley wines out there that need our help. Don’t just stop at Quincy. What about the Menetou? They, too, could be a strong force in our revolution!!! —Eric Story

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