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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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Monday
Mar122007

A Rhone Good Time

Last month K&L had the pleasure of hosting several of its favorite Rhone-area producers for a packed tasting of their delicious wines at the San Francisco store. For me it was particularly special since I spent two glorious days tasting and touring with two of these vintners last summer in France. The tasting marked the first time I'd seen them in almost a year and was just a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon. My two pals - Jean Baptise Meunier (pictured second with an American friend) of Moulin de la Gardette in Gigondas and Rodolphe de Pins of Chateau de Montfaucon outside Chateauneuf du Pape (pictured third avec moi) - spent much of the tasting meeting new friends there to taste their wares and catching up with old acquaintances from the times they'd spent stateside learning about wine. It was a totally jovial gathering and more than a little packed in K&L's tasting room! "JB" and "Rudi" were joined at the event by a third vintner, the charming Cecile Chassagne, who produces a wonderfully approachable and fantastically priced Cotes du Rhone red under her own name along with a tasty Chateauneuf du Pape that at $20 a bottle is a great deal! Cecile is pictured above with me showing off one of her dynamite reds. Among my favorite wines of the day was JB's absolutely delicious 2004 Moulin de la Gardette "Cuvee Ventabren," which packs tons of the goodies we love so much in Rhone reds: provencal herbs, lavender, baking spices and lovely concentrated fruit. Yum! And Rudi's 2000 Chateau de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" - available in limited quantities in magnum - is a total delight: notes of caramelized oak, smoke, herbs and roses harmonize alongside terrifically suave tannins, making the Louis the perfect match for your herbed lamb roast this weekend. To Cecile, JB & Rudi: we hope you'll be back soon, and in the mean time keep sending us your wonderful wines! --- Courtney Cochran, aka Your Personal Sommelier, provides personalized wine services to adventurous wine collectors, purveyors and enthusiasts, making wine accessible and fun for those who think outside the mainstream wine box. Visit her site at www.CourtneyCochran.com

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