Loire Reds & Rosé – Wine & Spirits Magazine

Loire Reds & Rosé


CABERNET FRANC

93 | Alain de la Treille | $25

2020 Chinon Cabernet Franc

Noël Bougrier and his son, Nicolas, manage this expansive estate of 247 acres across the Loire Valley. Lionel Métaireau makes the wines, including this textbook cabernet franc. The violet color might catch your eye before you even smell the slightly herbal, red-fruited aromas. “Chinon is like Bordeaux light,” one taster said, describing how the flavors dance from plum skin to cassis, to game, earth and tobacco, all with a delicacy that speaks of the village’s cool conditions. Kysela Père et Fils, Winchester, VA


92 | Domaine Xavier et Agnès Amirault | $43

2017 St-Nicolas de Bourgueil Le Fondis

The Amiraults' domaine has been Demeter-certified since 2013, including this vineyard planted in deep gravel over clay. There’s something warming about this wine’s fruit—Bing cherry and orange peel—that’s accentuated by spice flavors like clove and green peppercorn. It’s earthy and comforting, for a winter night cozied up under a blanket by a crackling fire. Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL


92 | Bernard Baudry | $33

2019 Chinon Les Grézeaux

From a vineyard in the alluvial gravels close to the Vienne river, this wine ages in cement vats before bottling. Musky at first, its arresting fruit and acidity will hold your attention long enough to notice the complexity, its savory varietal notes verging on pu-erh tea, framed by soft, pine-scented tannins. The powerful structure shows the heat of the vintage, but the flavors show some restraint. It starts to come together quickly, and should hold its aromas for years to come. It has an endearing cabernet franc foxiness, to bring to your Jersey uncle’s backyard, for his braccioli. Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA


91 | Bernard Baudry | $57

2017 Chinon La Croix Boissée

This Chinon has cabernet franc's frankness in spades, carrying a slightly stinky funk. But soon after the first sip, a rush of opulent red fruit flavors crash over your palate, that stinkiness faint in the background, adding pickling-spice interest. Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA


91 | Château de Bois-Brinçon | $27

2017 Anjou La Seigneurie Chemellier

If you don’t mind the cabernet franc stinkiness in the aromas, there’s plenty to enjoy in this wine’s graphite and crunchy strawberry leaf and cherry-jam flavors. That herbal character holds throughout the wine, a fruity cab franc with rustic spice. Schatzi Wines, Milan, NY


91 | Fabien Duveau | $50

2019 Saumur-Champigny Les Hauts Poyeux

This wine’s deep savor and olive flavors reminded The Modern’s Jonathan Eichholz of the Rhône. Indeed, the fruit has the softness of Gigondas, but the perfumed minerality and cabernet-franc spice speak clearly of the Loire, making this an intriguing expression of its place. Schatzi Wines, Milan, NY


91 | Langlois-Château | $34

2018 Saumur-Champigny Vieilles Vignes Rouge

Acidity brightens the cherry jam flavors in this wine, the tannins doing their part by amping up the fruit-skin flavors, coming together in a richness almost like a cherry pie filling. It's satisfying, spiced with clove and it feels like a dieter's trick—all the cherry pie flavor you love with none of the sweetness. Yum. Vintus, NY


90 | Domaine Xavier et Agnès Amirault | $52

2017 St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil Le Vau Renou

A blend from two estate parcels in St-Nicolas, one on chalk, the other on clay and flint, this is a rich cabernet franc in 2017, with flavors of black cherry perfumed by orange peel. The wine aged mostly in barrels (a quarter went into amphorae), and the soft mid-palate makes it pleasurable now, though the flavors may continue to clarify with more time in bottle. Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL


90 | Domaine de la Haute Olive | $22

2019 Chinon Le Chêne Vert

Sixth-generation grower Bruno Sourdais took over his family’s domaine in 1991. He farms organically, including this 2.5-acre parcel where he grew a powerful, black cherry–inflected Chinon in 2019, tinged with graphite. The strong tannins might seem less aggressive next to something braised, like saucy eggplant or beef. Schatzi Wines, Milan, NY


90 | Béatrice & Pascal Lambert | $30

2014 Chinon Les Puys

Previously labeled "Les Puits Danaé," most of this wine comes from Les Puys de Rochette in Chinon. This vintage is remarkably fresh for its age, to the point that the panel wondered if it would ever uncoil that spring of peak-season blueberries and blackberry gastrique. The flavors fall on the dark side of cabernet franc, but its acidity is unmistakable. Whatever the future has in store for this wine, it's tasty enough to enjoy now alongside citrus-marinated meats. Shiverick Imports, Los Angeles, CA


89 | Fabien Duveau | $29

2019 Saumur-Champigny Les Menais

This is straightforward, brightly red-fruited cabernet franc—red cherries ten ways, in tarts, gastrique, fresh, jam...it's lacking the savory edges the variety usually provides in Saumur, and that layered cherry feels more like one note repeated in four octaves rather than true complexity. Schatzi Wines, Milan, NY

PINOT NOIR

94 | J. de Villebois | $26

2019 Menetou-Salon Rouge

“Structurally, this is built for the long run,” said Jonathan Eichholz of NYC’s The Modern, struck by the high acidity in this pinot noir. Thierry Merlet makes this wine from fruit grown in Morogues and Humbligny. He gives it twelve hours on its skins before fermentation starts in stainless-steel tanks. Eichholz is right—it’ll take a cocktail shaker or a few days of air to open it up now, the flavors muted at first if not completely absent from the front. The finish is long, and a few hours of air reveal cherry and basil jam, crunchy pomegranate seed and firm raspberry flavors. At this price, it’s hard not to argue for a case, popping corks and tracking development over the next decade. Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL


92 | Fournier Père & Fils | $18

2020 Vin de France Pinot Noir

Delicate raspberry and jasmine-tea aromas lead into this light pinot. The fruit carries savory aspects of pips and stems, but it’s fruit first, elegantly avoiding overripeness. The wine feels more serious than its price tag. For elevated comfort food, like confit of chicken thigh and fresh vegetables in a pot pie. David Milligan Selections, Ridgefield, CT


91 | Fournier Père & Fils | $28

2019 Menetou-Salon Côtes de Morogues

This pinot smells seductive, lightly fruity and floral. It's rustic and has good length, the crushed raspberry fruit distancing itself from the coffee-ground bitterness of the tannins. This is pinot from a cool place, savory and magnetic. David Milligan Selections, Ridgefield, CT

ROSÉ

88 | J. de Villebois | $16

2020 Val de Loire Pinot Noir Rosé

This rosé is creamy, tense with orange-blossom scents and white-cherry flavor. It’s seductively delicate, and only gets richer as it opens. Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL

Corey Warren is the Tastings Coordinator for the New York office.

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