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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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Wednesday
Sep292010

Wine Wednesday: 2008 McKinlay Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Matt Kinne looking out over his vineyards.

"Decent wine needs to be affordable," says Matt Kinne, the bearded, soft-spoken sage of McKinlay Vineyards in the Willamette Valley. "Then wine will have a chance to surpass Budweiser as the national beverage."  Of course, it also has to be good. Kinne's 2008 McKinlay Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($16.99) is both. Made from entirely estate-grown fruit on jory and nekiah (igneous volcanic) soils at a combination of three small vineyards near his home. 

Of course, you've probably never heard of McKinlay since Matt prefers to stick close to home tending his vines (as well as some goats and pigs) rather than run around the country marketing his wine. And he only makes between 2,500 and 3,200 cases per year, split between the Willamette bottling and smaller lots of single-vineyard and Reserve wines that sell out very quickly. 

The 2008 vintage was exceptional in the Willamette Valley and this wine certainly belies its modest price. More elegant than most Pinot Noirs under $20, it leans toward brighter, almost filigreed raspberry fruit, with an undercurrent of sweet cherry and a vein of minerals flecked with spice. The tannins are soft and focused, and there is plenty of juicy acidity to help it pair with almost anything you can cook up, including Matt's wife Holly's delicious seafood chowder. Unfortuantely, supplies are limited, but the riper, more forward '09s (which I recently tasted out of barrel) will be blended, bottled and released soon.

Want to learn more about Matt Kinne and McKinlay Vineyards? Check back soon for a video interview.

Leah Greenstein

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Reader Comments (1)

Yes, this man IS Zak G. Or should be played by him.

I seriously do hope that wine surpasses Budweiser. I think the world would be a much more lovely place if that became true.
October 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke@Foodwoolf

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