#NWTW Week 29: Cabernet Franc from the Loire

Flags - France

Following on from a very successful and well received week last time out with German Riesling, we’re keeping with European wine this week, and going for a French red.  And it’s probably not a French red that you’ll have tried much of before on its own.

Famous for making up a small but weighty part of red blends from Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc is grown to great effect as a single varietal (on its own, not part of a blend) up in the massive region of the Loire across central and western France.

Again, a bit of pre-warning needed here, as it’s not the easiest to get hold of.  This is another one where a lot of supermarkets probably won’t stock one.  Again, no offence to them intended, there are so many French reds out there, they’ve got to draw a line somewhere.  So back to the specialised wine shops…

Majestic Wine
Saumur Champigny, 2011, Château de Targé
£9.98

Morrison’s
None in range

Sainsbury’s
None in range

Spirited Wines
Couly-Dutheil ‘Baronnie Madaleine’, Chinon, 2011
£15.83

Vinmonopolet
Bonnaventure Chinon, 2010
NOK 215

Happy shopping

Cheers


21 thoughts on “#NWTW Week 29: Cabernet Franc from the Loire

  1. Are you sure Sainsbury’s don’t stock a Chinon? Last time I looked (albeit some months ago) they did – same one they’ve stocked for 20+ years. Worth checking.

  2. For your participants in the US Total Wine (a large wine retailer) does stock some excellent Cab Francs from Loire Valley. I just had a Cuvee Signee Chinon that I bought at Total Wine for $12.99. It was excellent. Much more to offer than its price would indicate. And only 12.5% alcohol, light and fruity for summer heat! Cheers.

  3. We are so thrilled to see several blogs we subscribe to starting to recognize Cab Franc as a stand alone varietal. This is what we produce, and we just spent a week on the Central Coast, and there really is not that many producers of this fantastic grape. We know it is susceptible to leaf roll, and not an easy grape to grow, but we are hoping it really does start to get a following.

  4. It came as a welcome break to crack open a bottle of red today, as I’ve been caning the bubbles a fair bit over the past two nights, celebrating the birth of my little girl Cecilia on Wednesday. The girl-boy ratio in Chez Stevens is tipped in their favour now at 3-2, so I may be in trouble!

    The great British tradition of ‘head wetting’ is alive and kicking and may last for a few weeks yet-what better excuse?

    I haven’t drank a lot of red from The Loire, and probably like most, would tend to stick to the classic Sauvignon Blanc and Chenins from this region, but there’s definitely a growing admiration for reds from within the wine press, particularly Cabernet Franc.

    Waitrose usually offer the best selection for minor grape varieties out of the 3 big supermarkets, so I went for the 2013 Croix de Chaintres Saumur-Champigny for £11.99. You’ve gotta love Waitrose for their fantastic and quite unique wines, but for the love of God please lay the shelves out better!! I love wine browsing the same as the next geek, but when you’re in a hurry with a heavily pregnant wife in the car park and have to read through pretty much every single damn label until you happen to come across your French red randomly positioned in the middle of the Barolo section, then something’s not right! After 10 minutes scanning I (eventually) found this bottle in the fine wine section?? Ideas above its station maybe?!

    The Saumur-Champigny AOC is known for its red wines showing light bodied, red berried characteristics, typical of its ‘tuffeau’ sandy terroir that holds water well if needed during a dry spell. The differences between this climate and Cabernet Franc’s other spiritual home of Bordeaux is huge, and it’s amazing that it thrives in two such differing environments.

    This wine is similarly light bodied and clear in appearance. The nose is very pleasantly pronounced with sweet red cherries and then a really deep eucalyptus character-quite amazing for a 1 year old wine. I was expecting more herbaceous than herbal but it definitely has that minty almost medicinal character.

    The acidity is tongue-tingling great but the palate lacks the body and weight I would hope to match and complement it. It’s young I know, but I struggle to appreciate a wine in this price bracket that doesn’t have the depth of character to compensate for its light body.

    Back to the Cava for me for the rest of the night!

    A light weight 6/10

  5. I was so pleased to be able to pop open a bottle of Chateau du Petit Thouars Cabernet Franc Reserve this week, it brought back memories of a fantastic week in the Loire Valley last summer.

    I have tried to find a source in the UK without any success so if you know any merchants looking for a new Cab Franc supplier then point them in this direction – it was €8 a bottle and that is basically giving the stuff away. The chateau is just outside of Chinon and will only be allowed to put Chinon on the label from the 2014 vintage as they have re-drawn the region, so it currently sits in the regional Touraine AOC.

    Chateau du Petit Thouars Reserve Rouge 2009, Touraine (€8.00)
    The Reserve is toasty and bursting with crunchy, bright red fruit; the crunch is in the form of raspberry and pomegranate and it has such a burst of refreshing acidity. There is lots of structured tannin but the acidity balances it out wonderfully. I would happily pay £15 for this. 9/10

  6. Sorry if repeating, but Sainsbury’s offer a fantastic Chinon for £6.99. Probably only in larger stores though, this is great all year round..

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