Monday, September 1, 2008


I am a big Cab Franc fan. I have had quite a few in the past decade, and know that it’s a variety done either very well or very bad. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of in-between. One of my favorite areas for Cab Franc is the Chinon appellation of the Loire Valley in France. Chinon is situated within the Touraine portion of the Loire, which is more noted as home to Vouvray (marvelous generator of Chenin Blanc). However, Chinon the most prestigious appellation for red wines in the Loire, is home to some extraordinary Cab Francs, ones with enormous sense of place.

The Domaine de Noire “Character” 2005 ($19.98) is a limited bottling done specifically for local wholesaler/importer Vintner Select. The color of this wine is deep purple, almost inky and the aromas of violet and blackberry almost spring from the glass. The nose is deceptive, leading one to believe that the taste will be dense and jammy, yet upon tasting, there is surprising amounts of chalk and flint across the palate. Fine minerality and firm, medium tannins mingle with fresh blackberry and blueberry notes, with hints of violet, earth and fresh herbs dancing throughout its lingering finish. It’s a delicious example of Loire red you should definitely try.

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