Here’s an opportunity to experience a diverse selection of reds from Loire luminaries Catherine & Pierre Breton. These wines, all Cabernet Franc, run the gamut from “drink immediately” to “cellar for a decade.” Think of it as a wide-angle snapshot of the domaine, in wine form. This is what you’ll find in the carton:
• The Bretons describe the Avis de Vin Fort as a “rosé the color of a red.” It’s light and irresistibly juicy, bottled in April after the fall harvest. • With a bit more body, La Dilettante is a delicate, aromatic red in the “drink now!” vein. • I always think of Trinch! as a classic bistro red, ready to wash down a plate of steak frites any night of the week. • Nuits d’Ivresse, bottled without any added sulfur dioxide, is the wildest red in the lineup—tannic, explosive, and out on the edge. • Les Beaux Monts is the suave urbanite to Nuit d’Ivresse’s mountain man. Sourced from the village of Beaumont, located within the Chinon AOC, it is utterly delicious, with a perfect balance of fruit and earth. • With Les Perrières, we’ve definitely saved the best for last. It is the longest-lived of all the Breton reds, and one of the world’s best Cabernet Francs. The 2014 is stellar, with a rich, gorgeous nose and serious, piney grip. Forget about this for a few years, if you can. There are plenty of other delicious bottles here to keep you occupied while you wait.
Catherine and Pierre Breton are real life bon vivants vignerons of lore. They are passionate about what they do, enjoy sharing it with others, and entertain with a generosity and charm. That they make great wine with such integrity makes our appreciation of them complete. The Bretons farm 11 hectares just east of Bourgueil in the village of Restigné. They produce Chinon, Bourgueil, and a bit of Vouvray, creating honest wines for both early consumption and aging. The Bretons received organic certification in 1991 and recently began the three-year process of seeking biodynamic certification. They’ve become international icons for the natural wine movement in an area where the climate and soil can make organic viticulture difficult.
The defining feature of the Loire Valley, not surprisingly, is the Loire River. As the longest river in France, spanning more than 600 miles, this river connects seemingly disparate wine regions. Why else would Sancerre, with its Kimmeridgian limestone terroir be connected to Muscadet, an appellation that is 250 miles away?
Secondary in relevance to the historical, climatic, environmental, and cultural importance of the river are the wines and châteaux of the Jardin de la France. The kings and nobility of France built many hundreds of châteaux in the Loire but wine preceded the arrival of the noblesse and has since out-lived them as well.
Diversity abounds in the Loire. The aforementioned Kimmderidgian limestone of Sancerre is also found in Chablis. Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saumur boast the presence of tuffeau, a type of limestone unique to the Loire that has a yellowish tinge and a chalky texture. Savennières has schist, while Muscadet has volcanic, granite, and serpentinite based soils. In addition to geologic diversity, many, grape varieties are grown there too: Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne are most prevalent, but (to name a few) Pinot Gris, Grolleau, Pinot Noir, Pineau d’Aunis, and Folle Blanche are also planted. These myriad of viticultural influences leads to the high quality production of every type of wine: red, white, rosé, sparkling, and dessert.
Like the Rhône and Provence, some of Kermit’s first imports came from the Loire, most notably the wines of Charles Joguet and Château d’Epiré—two producers who are featured in Kermit’s book Adventures on the Wine Route and with whom we still work today.
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.
Hot in your area? Pick up in our shop or we’ll hold your wine until it’s a good time to ship.
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