From their perch in a vineyard overlooking the Loire River, the ancient Cabernet Franc vines that go into Thierry Germain’s Les Mémoires sit deeply rooted in the Loire valley’s signature limestone tuffeau. My tasting note included the phrase “rapturous raspberry fruit,” which now looks a bit silly in the harsh light of my computer screen, but really does describe the vividness of my impression. And not only raspberries, but blood orange, fine tannins, and incredible minerality. The stone that once built a château now fills bottles.
From another tuffeau terroir, Baudry’s Cabernet Franc is a completely different beast. If the Roches Neuves is rapturous, the Baudry is more earth-bound, more pagan. Its visions enter through your nose and set your mouth to watering and your stomach to rumbling. There’s an animal note to the Croix Boissée—Baudry’s most age-worthy cuvée—along with more body, more weight, and hearty tannins opposite the rich, dark fruit of the vintage.
The phrase “pencil lead” is often listed among the typical aromas of Cabernet Franc, and here’s a classic example of that. One sniff and you’ll be transported back to grade school, a razor-sharp Ticonderoga No. 2 in hand. The 2013 “Les Perrières” is delicious now and already developing the alluring secondary notes of a mature wine. Savory and earthy notes are side by side with youthful fruit. Youthfulness and maturity together, like the fresh-faced, young teacher you had a crush on in the third grade.
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