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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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Thursday
May242007

South America’s Surge in Fine Wine

In the most recent edition of The World Atlas of Wine, Jancis Robinson calls South America the most important wine-producing continent after Europe. It is a bold statement, but indeed a declaration proven by outside interest in the area. Consider all of the foreign investment in Argentina and Chile: France (Jacques and Francois Lurton, Cheval Blanc’s Pierre Lurton, Mouton Rothschild), Spain (Miguel Torres) and the United States (Beringer, Laurel Glen’s Patrick Campbell, Kendall Jackson) have all developed new projects and a variety of styles of wine. Argentina is the world’s fifth biggest wine producer (right behind the U.S.). Chilean wines continue to compete successfully, especially with Cabernets. Here are three values at K&L: 2005 Bodegas Correas Malbec Reserva ($10.99) This is serious wine! A nose of plum, licorice, cassis and roasted coffee beans leads to a palate full of dark plums. Somehow this wine tastes more like an internationally styled, young European wine than a new world one. If you like young Bordeaux and Spanish reds, give this a try. 2003 Veramonte Primus ($12.99) A blend of merlot, carmenere and cabernet sauvignon, Primus is Chilean through and through. A slightly herbaceous (not overly so) nose also shows some smoked meat, both characteristics that fade with time in the glass, giving way to bright cherry. On the palate, the wine is savory and structured. 2005 Kingston Family Vineyards Tobiano Pinot Noir, Casablanca ($13.99) From the cool, nearly coastal region of Casablanca, Tobiano is a project of Atherton, California’s own Courtney and Jim Kingston. With its bright, candied cherry notes, this wine reminds me of central coast Pinot Noir. Support homegrown talent and try this tasty Pinot! —Joe Manekin

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