The Touraine region of the Loire Valley, and specifically the village of Chinon, represents the Cabernet Franc grape’s spiritual home and is undeniably where this noble cépage reaches its greatest expression. Often a pleasant bistro wine to be drunk chilled from a carafe, Chinon from certain sites, in the hands of the right vigneron, is a wine of substantial magnitude, densely structured and capable of standing toe to toe with any of France’s most celebrated reds.
Today, we spotlight the most serious Chinon cuvée from three of Touraine’s historic winemaking families. Each is crafted from organic grapes grown in chalky tuffeau soils, a terroir known to give rise to the appellation’s finest and longest-lived wines. While these dignified Cabernet Francs will mightily reward those who choose to cellar them, there is nothing wrong with diving in early to appreciate the caliber of Chinon’s greats today.
2012 Chinon “Saint Louans” • C. & P. Breton $49.00
Known for pioneering biodynamic farming and natural winemaking in the Loire Valley, power couple Catherine and Pierre Breton also have deep roots in the region with a family history of producing legendary wines from top vineyard sites. Pierre’s side of the family has long owned land in Chinon and neighboring Bourgueil, and he has been known to uncork dusty bottles from the 1960s and 70s of stunning freshness and complexity. This Saint Louans, from a sloping parcel of clay and limestone, seems destined to go down the same path: delicious already with aromas of pepper, earth, and rich black fruit, it has a chalky tannin that will allow it to age beautifully.
2013 Chinon “La Croix Boissée” • Bernard Baudry $44.00
Bernard Baudry and his son Matthieu have earned a reputation not only as one of Chinon’s most traditional producers, but as one of the appellation’s most talented and consistent. With holdings scattered about the AOC, they cover a range of styles, and La Croix Boissée is always their darkest, chewiest, most full-bodied red. From a south-facing slope of sandy clay over white tuffeau, the wine was aged for two years in barrel and bottled unfiltered. Cabernet Franc rarely achieves such a mouth-filling intensity.
2013 Chinon “Clos de la Dioterie” • Charles Joguet $54.00
The Joguet name is synonymous with terroir-driven winemaking in Chinon, as founder Charles spearheaded a parcel-by-parcel approach to vinification, highlighting the effects of soil type and vine age. La Dioterie is a plot on tuffeau that enjoys a long, slow ripening thanks to its cooler, northern exposure. It is consistently the domaine’s most powerful wine: vines up to 85 years old give a thick and concentrated red with a track record of long aging. Saturated with ripe fruit and grippy tannins, it needs hearty, rustic cuisine such as game to show its best today.
Greats of Chinon: 3-pack Sampler
SPECIAL SAMPLER PRICE
(a 15% discount)
SPECIAL SAMPLER PRICE $125.00