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Loire Cabernet Franc

by Jane Augustine

Buy this collection 3 bottles

Domaine de la Chanteleuserie's vineyards

Buy this collection 3 bottles

Buy this collection 3 bottles

Domaine de la Chanteleuserie's vineyards
Domaine de la Chanteleuserie's vineyards

If you like your red wines nervy and spirited, the triangle of villages at the heart of the Loire Valley––Saumur, Bourgueil, and Chinon––may be your wine mecca. We’ve been hooked on this corner of the world for decades, and in large part for the distinctly tangy, exuberant Cabernet Francs from Saumur and Touraine. Neither the climate nor the landscape here is extreme; in fact, both are quite doux, as the French would say—“rather gentle.” The maritime air that drifts off the Atlantic deep into the region is balmy, and the hillsides atop which the vineyards grow are marginally steep, if at all. Looking to feel inspired in the kitchen? The local cuisine is light (by French standards!) and therefore perfect for springtime. Think freshwater fish in beurre blanc and seasonal vegetables like artichoke, asparagus, and spring peas with mint. It may seem predictable, but the greatest, simplest pairing for any of these chilled reds is a crispy roast chicken with a heaping side of lamb’s lettuce in vinaigrette. The selections below are as food-friendly as French wines come.

This Bourgueil marries the qualities of a juicy Beaujolais with the form and strength of a young Bordeaux. It’s a classical style, but the fun factor is there. Loaded with cassis and cracked white pepper, it will pair with a vibrant and spicy arugula salad, or pork tenderloin with rosemary and prune.

One thing that sets apart the more sultry, velvety Saumur Champignys from their counterparts in Bourgueil and Chinon is that the soils contain a bit more of that soft and porous tuffeau so typical of the region. I swear you can sense this difference in Thierry Germain’s flawless wines—in particular, his easy-drinking Cuvée Domaine, which is fruit-driven and elegant, silky and irresistible—as if one sip could last forever.

2019 Chinon “Clos du Chêne Vert”

Charles Joguet

France |  Loire

Discount Eligible $75.00

Chinons from Joguet are known for their firm minerality, but this one is quite charming as well, with plummy black fruit, myrtle, and notes of warm licorice. A monopole parcel with a long potential for aging, the Chêne Vert is a knockout in its youth, brimming with pleasure and immediate reward, but I can only imagine what the future holds in store.

More from the June 2024 Newsletter