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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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Entries in Jeff (1)

Monday
Mar292010

Trey's Blog: Day One in Bordeaux

Cafe L'Avinal in BagesToday was the day. Ralph, Alex Pross, Jeff Garneau and I met at the airport in Paris and took the quick flight down to Bordeaux. After renting our highly sought after Espace from EuroCar, we drove up to the Médoc. First destination: Château Pichon Baron—our home for the next two nights. Actually this was our second stop, the first was the supermarket in Pauillac to load up on water and beer (too keep the palate fresh).

This trip has an easier start than others I can remember. We don’t even meet the rest of the gang until tomorrow (Saturday, March 27th) at 11 a.m. at Companie Medocaine where we’ll taste 40 or so samples, officially making it the latest start we have had here. But the rest of the group has to drive from Limoux to meet us.

We had an early dinner at L’Avenal, which is located in the tiny town of Bages not far from Pichon-Baron. The restaurant opens at 7 p.m., but doesn’t start serving dinner until 7:30. We met Nancy Rugus, the US representative for Companie Medocaine at the restaurant. Jean Michel Cazes (Lynch-Bages) just happened to stop by for a drink with a friend, so he joined us for a glass of Champagne. We started of with the Bollinger Special Cuvée, which hit the spot.

After we sat down at our table, we all resisted temptation. The Foie Gras was calling our name, but we knew the opportunity to indulge would pop up again, probably sooner then we would expect it. It was a salad verte to start for most of us followed by and entrecôte and frites. We ordered a bottle of 2007 Villa Bel-Air Blanc from Graves to start. It was actually very nice. The ’07 whites are showing well. The Villa Bel-Air showed great acid with a creamy mid-palate and texture. For our main courses we enjoyed a bottle of 1999 Léoville-Barton, which was drinking very well. It showed some earthy “forest floor” notes, hints of licorice and black cherry fruit, and it still has a firm edge to it. It was en excellent pairing with the entrecôte. Since we were all feeling no pain by this point, and we were in France, we had to order cheese. The Barton was gone so we found a bottle of 2002 Poujeaux on the list for a reasonable price. We had some doubters in the group, but the wine was terrific. (Ralph was not one of those doubters. He is very familiar with Poujeaux and believes the 2002s are underestimated, especially when you factor in price.) After dinner it was back to Pichon-Baron. It was a long day, but that didn’t stop us from having a beer back at the Château. But it’s off to bed now, even with an easy first day ahead of us.

Trey Beffa