La Croix de Chaintres, Domaine Filliatreau, Chaintres, Saumur-Champigny AOC, Loire, France, 2011, 13% abv.

Saumur-Champigny makes some great red wines from Cabernet Sauvignon and Pineau d’Aunis, but this wine is produced from the more prevalent Cabernet Franc grape.

Cabernet Franc is a parent to Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and even Merlot, so it’s not surprising to realize it shares a lot of similarities with them – a tendency to herbaceousness, solid acidity and crunchy red fruit.

It loves the yellow tuffeau (limestone) soils the Loire is famous for.  They are porous and allow the vines to root very deeply, finding water and nutrients in this region that is heavily affected by the Atlantic maritime weather patterns.

Gosh, this is solid wine. I picked it up in England in July 2013. It’s clear and bright, medium ruby and has legs. On the nose it’s clean and youthful with medium plus intensity and aromas of pomegranate, red currants, red plum and raspberry with vine and freshly cut grass. There’s an aura of salty tang about it as well.

The palate is dry with medium plus acidity, medium ripe tannins with light grip and average body. Flavours include crunchy red fruit – raspberry, currant, plum, pomegranate – and some very welcome fresh herbaceous grass.  There’s a wonderful minerality and a strong finish.

WSET Very Good wine – refreshing and juicy, it’s got great, ripe and concentrated fruit that’s well-balanced with the acidity and tannins.  Pity I can’t buy this in BC. Drink now; not suitable for too much ageing although there is enough acidity and tannins to support the fruit for 2-3 more years at most.

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