As a young girl I grew up on fairy tales with knights, princesses and castles. In Touraine, Loire Valley, France these are not things of fairy tales. Rather, these are part of its illustrious history. Known as the “Garden of France,” Touraine is filled with castles and chateaux constructed by kings and queens. No wonder it is one of France’s most popular tourist destinations. I cannot wait for the day I can travel in person to Touraine; till then we are once again joining our French Winophiles group to explore two regions of Touraine: Chinon and Vouvray.
I am a huge lover of Loire Valley expressions of Cabernet Franc. Therefore, I chose to focus my May article for French Winophiles on Chinon and its glorious Cabernet Franc.
Cabernet Franc: A black skinned French grape that is the child of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc; it is grown all over the world and best known as the third blending grape in Bordeaux; it is gaining popularity as a single variety throughout the world but has been praised for centuries as a single varietal in the Loire Valley, and especially Chinon; it is typically crafted in light to medium body wines with slight vegetal characteristics; the cooler climates of Chinon allow the grape a herbal characteristic with a pleasing touch of minerality. It is my favorite expression of this lovely grape.
Loire Valley Wines explains: “Fine old Cabernet Franc wines can, in the words of one Loire Valley winemaker, be reminiscent of the aromas of a forest after a rainstorm. Young Cabernet Franc is an ideal red wine for summer. It is sufficiently fruity that it can be refreshing when served slightly chilled, yet it has enough structure to stand up to the flavors of a barbecue. Older, bigger wines are delicious with roasted meats and are probably the ideal accompaniment to the traditional roast leg of lamb with flageolet beans.”
The Cabernet Franc I selected:
De Ladoucette Marc Bredif, Chinon, 2014: This wine was crafted of 100% Cabernet Franc and poured a dazzling ruby into the glass; vibrant notes of cherries, strawberries and red raspberries are met with candied violets, white pepper, savory herbal notes and a touch of dry dirt funk; it was fresh and clean on the palate with good structure, round acidity and integrated tannins in a medium body with a medium dry finish. A lovely expression of Chinon!
I chose to pair the Marc Bredif, Chinon 2014 with Chicken and Artichoke Pan Sauce on top of whole wheat orzo pasta. It was a hearty and rustic meal that paired beautifully with the savory herbal notes and funk of the Chinon Cabernet Franc. I was really pleased with the pairing and the meal.
About Ladoucette via Masons, Marquette, and Domaines web site:
The largest and most famous Pouilly-Fumé vineyards have been in the hands of the Comte Lafond and Ladoucette families since 1787 when the Comte Lafond purchased the estate from the illegitimate daughter of the French king, Louis XV. The estate is now owned by Baron Patrick de Ladoucette, a descendant of the Comte Lafond, and Pouilly Fumé has earned a reputation as one of the world’s great white wines. After taking over Ladoucette in 1972, the Baron extended his activities to Sancerre, Chablis, Vouvray and Chinon. Today, the Baron produces outstanding Loire Valley wines under the de Ladoucette, Marc Bredif, La Poussie, Regnard and Baron Patrick labels. Many of the wines, including the Pouilly Fumé de Ladoucette, Baron de L and Comte Lafond, are considered to be the finest examples of their type.
Let’s see what the rest of my French Winophile friends have discovered in Touraine:
The Wine Culturist: “From the Loire to the Ends of the Earth: Cabernet Franc Untamed”
Culinary Adventures with Camilla “Cod in a Mushroom Cream Sauce with Dom Pichot Vouvray”
L’Occasion “Vouvray During WW2: A Wine Worth Fighting For”
foodwineclick “Easy Spring Dinner with Pommes Gratin and Chinon”
Enofylz Wine Blog “A Taste of Montlouis Pétillant Originel”
Confessions of a Culinary Diva “Chicken and Chinon”
Make sure to join in our live Twitter Chat this morning using hashtag #Winophiles at 10 CST
Upcoming Winophile Events:
June 18th – Upper Loire – Cheverny, Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume/Pouilly-Sur-Loire
July 16th – Medoc, Haute Medoc
August 20th – St. Emilion/St. Emilion Satelites
September 17th – Graves and Entre-Deux-Mers
My Song Selection: I am drawn to wines with savory herbal notes and don’t mind a bit of funk at all. In fact, I often really enjoy it. Do you enjoy a little funk in the glass?
Get your own bottle of De Ladoucette Marc Bredif 2014 Chinon and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!