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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

Spanish Food Wines

The Spanish dish that I most closely associate with wine is paella. When we recently tried the 2004 Bodegas Mustiguillo Mestizaje ($13.99), I immediately imagined myself in the countryside enjoying this wine while waiting for and then eating paella. Fifty percent of this wine is bobal, a grape that Bodega Mustiguillo seems to single-handedly put into the category of fine wine grapes (The remaining proportion is cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah and grenache). Dark cherries, and a lot of them, on the nose and the palate. Spiced and accentuated with oak, flowers and minerals. Medium bodied, supple and elegant, it has soft tannins and a fresh long finish. Also try it alongside roast chicken, pork, veal or simply jamon y quesa. The next two wines’ structure and size makes them cry out for meat! Roasted, broiled, braised and grilled. The 2001 Cillar de Silos, Ribera del Duero Crianza ($24.99) has a delicious Graves-like note of minerality to it. This is not a shy wine, with plenty of ripe, dark fruits and toasty oak on the nose. On the palate it is big, with concentrated red and dark fruits, chewy tannins, spicy oak and a considerable finish. Drink tonight with about an hour of decanting or cellar for a few more years. The 2001 Bodegas Balbas, Ribera del Duero Crianza ($21.99) has more of a Crus Bourgeois Exceptionnels character, think Poujeaux with American oak. Dark cherries, berries, earth and sweet oak dominate the nose. On the palate this has more dark fruits that are accented with a pleasant tobacco earthy spice. Medium to full-bodied with good structure, there is a seamless quality to this wine that makes it a pleasure to drink. —Kirk Walker

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