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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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Friday
Dec132013

Mature Claret, Great Value!

Decanting is a must with mature claret!

Last night, Cinnamon and I enjoyed a bottle of the 1991 Labégorce, Margaux ($29.99) and it reminded us of how much value Bordeaux still has to offer when you get away from the hype of the top Chateaus. This gravely, 74 acre vineyard is planted to 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petite Verdot. They work very traditionally, with the first fermentation in concrete and only 35% new oak for 12-15 months of elevage afterwards. They make 8500 cases a year.

If you are looking for an antidote to over-sized cabernet sauvignon, look no further. This old school, mature Bordeaux is just the wine for those of us who value maturity, complexity and restraint over youthful fruit, monolithic flavors and power.

Steak and Claret- A classic pairing for a reason!

Cinnamon and I enjoyed this with a rib-eye that I prepared on our little hibachi over mesquite, and it was wonderful. The 1991 vintage is a very rare one to find, as so much of the crop was destroyed by frost. Luckily, Labegorce is near the water, and the harvest was saved. This herbal, light bodied claret will thrill wine lovers who want something that is the opposite of "cult" wine!

This wine is drinking perfectly now, and should keep until its 25th or 30th birthday without a problem in your good cellar. I am going to buy a case for myself to drink over the next few years. If you love mature claret that goes perfectly with steak, you should do the same! –Gary Westby

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