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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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Top California Chardonnay

Simply put, these are top of the line California Chardonnay's that are rapidly outselling all their rivals. Read what the press has to say and you'll see why... just don't wait too long.

2005 Beringer Private Reserve Napa Chardonnay ($29.98)

93 points Robert Parker: "A big offering, the full-bodied 2005 Chardonnay Private Reserve reveals notions of hazelnuts intermixed with honeyed pineapple, poached pears, and toasty oak. Well-made with good acidity, beautiful richness, and a vibrant, long finish, it should drink well for 4-5 years." (12/06) 92 points and "Highly Recommended" by the Wine Spectator: "Smoky, toasty oak aromas show riper, richer fruit flavors on the palate, with a medley of ripe fig, melon, apricot and spice nuances. The flavors turn delicate and complex on the finish. Drink now through 2010." From Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar "Bright, pale yellow. Sexy aromas of tropical fruits, truffle and smoky oak. Big, rich, full and ripe, with hints of exotic fruits and musky lees. In an opulent style but with good shape. Sexy chardonnay with considerable early appeal." (May/June 2007) This is possibly the most complex and interesting Private Reserve chardonnay bottling from Beringer in years. Full of layered, smoky, fig and dried apricot fruit this is suprizingly concentrated on the mid-palate leading to a deep, lengthy finish that shows off carmelized oak notes along with a refreshing citrus note. Well worth the "Reserve" tag. (Bryan Brick, K&L)

2003 Newton "Unfiltered" Napa Chardonnay ($39.99)

95 points Robert Parker: "Consistently one of California’s finest, longest-lived Chardonnays is Newton’s Unfiltered Chardonnay, and the 2002 is drinking spectacularly well. Moreover, it is capable of lasting another 4-5 years. However, the light green/gold-colored 2003 Unfiltered Chardonnay plays it closer to the vest. It displays hints of marmalade, caramel, liquid rocks, and honeysuckle, good background acidity, more obvious structure and backwardness than the previous two vintages, excellent weight, and a long finish. This beautiful Chardonnay is reminiscent of a top premier cru from Chassagne-Montrachet. Enjoy it over the next 5-7 years." (12/05) 92 Points and two stars from Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine: "More than once in the past, Newton's unfiltered Chardonnay has won accolades here, and this newest rendition keeps the winery's string of successes in tact. As usual a very big, very rich wine that pulls no punches as regards ripeness and size, it is a deep and uncannily well-fruited opus with more than enough center to support its liberal oak. It comes with the usual glitch of being a bit too hot, but when richness like this is the reward, a little heat is easy to take." (March 2006)

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