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Pierre Breton comes from a family of vignerons in the Loire Valley—Cabernet Franc therefore runs through his veins in more ways than one. The family cellar is full of ancient bottles, a testament to the longevity of the great reds from Bourgueil and Chinon sourced from top vineyard sites and produced according to traditional methods. Les Perrières, Pierre’s greatest red, is from a sloping plot of clay and stones over tuffeau chalk, soils known to give the appellation’s most structured, complex, and long lived wines. Biodynamic practices in the vineyard include plowing the soils instead of using herbicides, and administering herbal extracts to boost the vine’s immune function. In the cellar, Pierre opts for spontaneous fermentations, long aging in neutral oak, and bottling without filtration and minimal sulfur. This philosophy results in one of France’s great terroir-driven reds: deep, rich, and earthy, Breton’s Perrières represents Loire Cabernet at its finest.
Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch