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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: 2007 Unti Vineyards Dry Creek Grenache

You've heard the legend of the 2007 vintage, right? The dry spring, the moderate summer, the extra long hangtime through the fall. The wine pundits couldn't help but wax poetic about the sultry Cabs, the ripe Pinots. But where's the Grenache love? 

Well, we found it. Packed tight inside this bottle of 2007 Unti Dry Creek Valley Grenache ($26.99). Easily one of the best Grenache-dominant wines from California, it's starting to loosen up its petals a bit, but needs air or a little more time to fully bloom. Patience will reward you, kind drinker, with aromas of brambly fruit, white pepper, crushed fennel fronds and sage. On the palate, the fruit bounces like a rubber ball, ricocheting off underlying flavors of tar, bouquet garni and black pepper spice. There's a little sauvage hint from the 10% Mourvedre and extra structure and fruit from the addition of 10% Syrah, neither of which overpower the Grenache fruit or undermine it's juicy acidity. Personally, I'm going to pour a bottle of this in the decanter early on Sunday for my Labor Day weekend barbecue.

If you're not familiar with Unti already, it's a shame. This small, family-owned and operated winery in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley, produces some truly fabulous wines from their property, including this Grenache, as well as Zinfandel, a Rhone-style blend called Petite Frere, a white Rhone blend called Cuvee Blanc and Syrah, among others. Farmed under the watchful eye of George Unti and his son Mick, the wines are crafted with the help of Sebastien Pochan, a winemaker trained in the heart of the Languedoc. They make a powerful trio, and it shows. Their wines just keep getting better.

Leah Greenstein

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