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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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Kay, my wife, cooked a wonderful dinner  over the weekend for famed Bordeaux negociant and wine collector Pierre Lawton and his friend Kristel, Bordeaux National Sales Director for Southern Wine & Spirits Mark Levin and his wife Cecile Levin, and Mike Temple and his daughter, Anna. Mike has run Grape Expectations for last 35 years and was the one who introduced me to Bordeaux negociants back in 1985.

We started the evening with a delicious magnum of Krug Champagne - toasty, rich and much more interesting than the 750ml - served with Kay’s famous Pesto Torte.

With Kay’s Butternut Squash Soup, we enjoyed a magnum of Didier Daguenau’s 2004 Pouilly Fume-Pur Sang. It showed great richness, and was a sharp, focused wine with citric and guava notes - a good match for the rich winter soup.

We then tasted two wines blind with a Duck Confit salad.  Pierre said the two Bordeaux wines (I always serve Bordeaux) were both from excellent vintages and guessed 1985 because of the sweetness.  The wines were the 1997 Haut-Bailly and the 1997 Pichon-Lalande. Both were absolutely fabulous with the Haut-Bailly showing mineral notes and elegance while the Pichon was a bit heavier and richer.  SO GOOD with the duck confit. 

At a break between courses, Mark poured a 2002 Echezeau, Jean Tardy that was just starting to evolve.

 With the barbecued steak I served a magnum of 1966 Chateau Siran. It started a bit funky and sharp, but evolved into a sweet, somewhat rustic, deilicious mature Bordeax - superb.

After dinner, Kay served some chevre, Comte and Camembert accompanied by two more wines tasted blind.  Pierre said of the first: imust be a fabulous year-  the wine is heavenly sweet and lush.  He guessed Pauillac from 1982. It was Pauillac from 1983, actually, Pichon-Lalande at that, and an almost-perfect wine.

May Eliane (the estate's former owner) and I always preferred the 1983 Pichon to the 1982, but the 1982 is otherworldly these days. The 1983 is only 99 points.

The second wine served was a knockout - a powerful, broody, rich, thick Bordeaux.  Pierre said surely 1982 and from North Medoc. He was close; it was 1982 Leoville-Las Cases, a wine that will go another 20 years.

A little cheesecake and berries were the perfect finish to the meal, especially with 1995 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Long Gold Capsule Auslese.  7.5% alcohol and packed with fruit and spice, with a finish that went on for a minute.

Now, next week is diet week.

Clyde Beffa


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