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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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Wine Wednesday: 2009 Monçao Coop "Trajarinho" Vinho Verde

Last Wednesday's wine struck up a little ire in one of our readers, not because he wasn't a fan, but because he felt, with the state of the economy, that $35 Brunello was out of touch, expensive. While I stand by the fact that $35 is a helluva deal for good Brunello, which can cost upwards of $50 or $75 bottle, it's definitely not suited to every budget. But at just $8.99, this Wednesday's wine is both affordable and fantastic!

The 2009 Adega Cooperativo Regional de Monçao "Trajarinho" Vinho Verde ($8.99) is the summer sipper for K&L staff. Remarkably complex for the price, the wine is an unoaked blend of 60% Alvarinho and 40% of the aromatic varietal Trajadura. It has the fresh effervescence you'd expect from Vinho Verde, like flat lemon-lime Pop Rocks, with a streak of minerals, sweet jasmine, kiwi and racy acidity. It makes a great aperitif, but also stands up to a wide assortment of eats, from fresh summer salads to grilled sardines. Personally, I'm going to try it next with White on Rice Couple's Citrus Tequila Shrimp Skewers and a gaggle of friends in my backyard.

The wine comes from the regional cooperative of Monçao, which was established in 1958 at the behest of 25 winemakers. Today, according to importer Luis Moya of Vinos Unico, it has more than 1,700 members farming more than 1,200 hectares and is the single largest producer of Alvarinho in Monçao. But what makes the Adega cooperative special is their commitment to growing the best quality fruit, rather than being a clearinghouse for local growers to offload their crop. That shows in all of their wines, including the delicious and incredibly popular Muralhas de Monçao, which we also carry.

Leah Greenstein

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