When I set out to write up the three reds below, I was ready to proclaim how well Loire Valley Cabernet Franc lends itself to vegetarian cooking. I was going to share with you that the Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saumur Champigny all paired beautifully with a trio of toasts I whipped up: one topped with mashed winter squash and ricotta, the second with sautéed kale and cannellini beans, and the third covered in mushrooms sautéed in butter and herbs. I was about to say how this compatibility makes sense because the Loire Valley is known as le Jardin de la France, and it is fitting that the region’s wines naturally complement all kinds of produce and foraged treasures. All these things are true! But then I had a glass of Thierry Germain’s Clos de l’Échelier alongside seared tuna with a sesame seed crust, and I will only say this: if I reach the heights of this pairing in my kitchen again in 2021, I will consider myself very lucky.
All of the 2018s from Baudry I have opened so far have been outstanding, and this cuvée lives up to that high bar. Notes of black fruit and a hint of forest emerge from this succulent, long-lasting rouge. The structure here is impressive, but when the wine is this good now, why wait?!
This cuvée is the Bretons’ argument that serious, age-worthy wine from a top-notch terroir can be made without adding sulfur—an incredibly difficult and scientific feat, which they have masterfully achieved here. The profile is slightly brighter and more red-fruited than the dark-fruited Chinon, but a sneaky, smooth tannin reaffirms its staying power.
This red comes from one of Thierry’s grand cru parcels, a centuries-old, walled-in clos that he fell in love with years before he was able to acquire it. Somehow Thierry manages in most years to craft an epic rouge from these grapes that is incredibly pretty right out of the gate, and will have a long, mesmerizing life ahead. I highly recommend buying a few bottles for now and several more for later.
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