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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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Food-Pairing Friday: Winter Citrus

Photo courtesy of Todd and Diane at

It's another gray morning here in Southern California. And even though the sun was out part of this week, the frequent showers, and the sky's steely shroud are beginning to wear a bit on me. I'm sure my friends in Oregon and all the East Coasters getting pummeled yet again by snow have very little sympathy for my Vitamin D-deprived whine, so I'll keep it brief and get straight to the remedy: winter citrus.

The extra rain here in L.A. has been good for a few things. It's helped pull us out of years of drought, and it's been great for the citrus trees that grow up and down the coast. My favorites are the tangerines. About the size of a Hacky Sack, these easy-to-peel fruits have skins the color of a crossing guard's jacket and juice that appears to be lit from within, tangerines have the power to turn they grayest of days into orange-colored bliss. Tangerines are sweet, with a tang that can be a subtle whisper or like little pin-pricks on your tongue, depending on the variety. To find the best ones, if you don't have a tree in your yard, go to the nearest farmers' market to taste the many options. The fruits make a fantastic energy-filled afternoon snack, complement the anise flavor of fennel perfectly in a crunchy salad, and they play nicely with spice, too.

But I think our friends Todd and Diane over at White on Rice Couple put their homegrown tangerines to the best weekend welcoming use in their Double Tangerine Cocktail, which uses fresh tangerine juice, fresh lemon juice, ginger simple syrup and Cognac. I would tweak the recipe a bit and sub the ginger simple syrup with regular simple syrup so that I could use the Domaine de Canton Ginger & Cognac Liqueur (750ml $31.99), which has plenty of ginger heat along with the subtle nuances of a top-notch Cognac.  If you'd rather invest in an unflavored Cognac, I recommend the Ferrand Reserve Grande Champage 1er Cru du Cognac (375ml $28.99), with its notes of apricot, dried flowers and licorice.    

Have a great weekend.

Leah Greenstein

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Reader Comments (1)

thanks! and hopefully soon we can bring you a big box full of sweet tangerines!
January 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWhite On Rice Couple

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