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In the Loire Valley’s great appellations of Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saumur-Champigny, the Cabernet Franc grape is capable of producing some of France’s finest reds. From the best vineyard sites, these wines can rival top Bordeaux in age-worthiness, and the price of entry is a mere fraction compared to that of a classified growth. Les Varennes du Grand Clos is a slope of siliceous clay and limestone that has proven its ability to yield complex Chinons that stand the test of time—old bottles from decades past are still in their prime. Farming is organic, and the wine ages for over a year in barrel before bottling. The trademark of Les Varennes is its finesse: while structure is certainly not lacking, there is a harmony to fruit, acid, and tannins that allows us to pull the cork today. Its earthy flavors pair perfectly with rustic French cuisine; try a beef stew or wild mushrooms for a guaranteed match.
|Vineyard:||Planted in 1962 to 1976, 4.61 ha|
|Soil:||Siliceous chalk & clay|
|Aging:||Wine ages in oak fûts for 15-16 months, depending on the vintage, after racking, the finished wine rests assembled in cuve for two months before bottling|
For the wines that I buy I insist that the winemaker leave them whole, intact. I go into the cellars now and select specific barrels or cuvées, and I request that they be bottled without stripping them with filters or other devices. This means that many of our wines will arrive with a smudge of sediment and will throw a more important deposit as time goes by, It also means the wine will taste better.