March 10, 2007

2005 Charles Joguet "Cuvee Terroir" Chinon, Loire Valley, France

Chinon is located in the center of the Loire Valley. The main grape varietal grown there is Cabernet Franc, which is also called Breton. Some Cabernet Sauvignon is also grown, but it is minimal and the focus is clearly on Cab Franc. I was inspired to try this wine by brooklynguy and his reviews of Loire Valley reds. I have to admit, I have very limited experience with Loire reds and his writings made me want to learn more. We've reviewed here several of the Loire Sauvignon Blancs and will be reviewing a Muscadet soon, wines that typically appeal to us very, very much. It is now time to step away from the Burgundian Pinot Noir and put away the New World Syrah. This is a good thing, too, as the Loire reds tend to be undervalued. You can find some exceptional wines for half or one third of what you would pay for a mid-level Burgundy... it is always good to have options.

The vineyards of Chinon are the same soil types as the other areas of the Loire Valley. In the flatter lowlands they are gravelly and rocky and along the gentle hillsides they are more limestoney and with a higher clay content. This wine comes from grapes grown in a vineyard that is along one of these hillsides. This is important to point out because, as we have explained before, it is a traditional French winemaking style to bring out the qualities of the earth in which the grapes for the wine were grown. This is a big reason we love French wine, and wine made in a French style, so much. We love tasting the terroir of the wine. This Chinon definitely came through on this count, and it is named "Cuvee Terroir" so we can't be too surprised. The nose, which is bright and sharp at first, offers up with intense raspberry and cranberry with hints of wet clay, just like the vineyards the wine came from. The clay smell is a distinct scent, and it really adds to the complexity of the nose. There was also some hints of pepper and coffee, but the earthy clay quality was the standout. The palate was incredibly smooth and velvety. The wine actually looks velvety in the glass as it is intensely dark and deep purple looking. As you swirl it it seemed to hug the sides of the glass a little bit longer than it should. It looks very concentrated. It tastes very concentrated. The flavors in the mouth are dark berry, strawberry and almost a chicory coffee type taste... like a smoky coffee flavor. The wine tastes amazing. The structure is great, with soft tannins rounding out a medium bodied wine. The finish is longish and not unpleasant. Really, a terrific value wine and definitely worth more than I paid for it. I highly recommend experimenting and trying the Cabernet Franc wines of Chinon.

cost - $14.99

winecommando rating (1-10) - 8.5

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The wine department at Whole Foods recommended this as "the only red wine to have with Maine lobster." I don't know if I agree that there aren't any others, but this was perfect for our Thanksgiving lobster.