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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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« 2003 Dom Perignon Rose #2: The Koons Package | Main | Champagne from a Styrofoam Cup »

Champagne XL: 2003 Dom Perignon Rose

DP Rose and smoked salmon- what a luxury!

The Dom Pérignon Rosé is the best wine in the Moet portfolio and I have been fortunate enough to have many great experiences with many vintages. I was very surprised when I learned that they would release a 2003, since as many of you know, it was one of the most difficult vintages in a generation. The summer was so hot that the harvest was the earliest since 1852. Unlike other scorchers like 1976, the big houses had hardly any Chardonnay to freshen up the wine as two thirds of the crop was destroyed in a spring frost.

 The 2003 vintage was undeniably great for one thing in Champagne: red wine. It is very rare to get the kind of heat this far north to make good, rich, red wine, but in 2003 the sun shown bright. To me, it is the high quality of the red wine in this vintage of DP rose that makes it so intriguing, and worth your time to try.

Cinnamon and I paired our bottle with some chunky, rich, peppered smoked salmon from the Mountain View Farmers Market. This oily, flavorful fish on top of olive oil basted crostini brought out the best in the 2003. I would recommend a dish like this with this wine as it is a huge wine and likes the food. This is rose Champagne XL, with breadth and weight on the scale of Burgundy, but flavors that are all Champagne: clean dark fruit, transparent toast, and a yeastiness that DP fans will find familiar and love. The bead is effusive and the texture rich and thick with a finish that is round and fruit driven rather than mineral.

How will it keep? We drank ours in an hour!

How will it age? The cellar master, Richard Geoffroy says it will go the distance. While I usually like higher acid vintages for the long haul, low acid vintages like 1959 have kept perfectly. I will be pleased to find out in a few decades! This is a unique and bold DP rose, and certainly worth your attention. We have a little in stock here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!- Gary Westby

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