Domaine de Noire Chinon Soif de Tendresse Rouge 2009
Cabernet Franc from Loire, France
This wine has an almost Alice in Wonderland-like enchantment about it; with its lip-smacking, bountiful red fruit and spice, it might as well come with a "Drink Me" label around its neck. Aromas remind of wildflowers and white pepper, with touches of earth and small red berries. The mouth is vibrant and fresh, with juicy persistence and lively notes of baking spices. Very, very appealing, and a knock-out in terms of price/quality.
The Wine Advocate - "The Noire 2009 Soif de Tendresse – latest installment of a March-bottled, earlier-drinking, fruit forward cuvee inaugurated in 2007 – is full of ripe cassis, elderberry, and nut oils, with a polished feel and juicy exuberance, its long, lip-smacking finish subtly tinged with piquant toasted nuts, pungent herbs, invigorating salinity, and otherwise crystalline mineral notes. This 13% alcohol (by vintage standards, virtually light) Chinon will prove a delightful value as well as excellent introduction to its appellation over the next 12-18 months. President of the Chinon growers’ syndicat and long-time (though no longer) regisseur at next-door Chateau de la Grille, Jean-Max Manceau continues to turn out exceptionally fine wines from his own small estate. He echoed the sentiments of many red wine growers (not only of Franc or on the Loire) in noting that the trick in 2009 was to achieve fermentative extraction via “infusion” rather than the slightest degree of force. "
Domaine de Noire Winery
Domaine de Noire owner Jean-Max Manceau is a man about the Loire Valley—not only is he president of the Chinon AOC, but he also sits at the head of a commission that aims to keep the practices of Loire growers and winemakers true to the region’s traditions.
Manceau and his wife Odile care for just over 20 acres of vineyards in Chinon, a region that sits at the crossroads of the Loire and Vienne rivers. It's hard not to be infected by their combined enthusiasm for Cabernet Franc—these are very dedicated artisans (albeit hobbyists—Manceau runs a larger property as his "job") who seek above all to capture the purest expression of this native varietal.
The domaine draws its name from a legendary neighboring vineyard, "Clos de Noire." This high-altitude plot is renowned in the Loire for its alabaster soils, rich in minerals and chalk. It's the same sort of porous rock one can find in Champagne, and more immediately, in the walls and towers of the Loire's breathtaking chateaus.
Manceau's Cabernet Franc vines, on average 60 to 70 years old, share similar soils as "Clos de Noire." This great terroir, a combination of gravel and chalk, is ideal for Cabernet Franc. Manceau's "Cuvée Elegance," a 100% Cabernet Franc wine, is both full-bodied and fresh, with characteristic notes of violets and flint in the nose. Manceau also crafts a rare, 100% Cabernet Franc rosé, vinified completely in tank. View all Domaine de Noire Wines
About LoireChenin Blanc, Muscadet and Sauvignon Blanc. For reds, Cabernet Franc takes center stage but the region also has plantings of Pinot Noir and Gamay. The AC of Cremant de Loire is popular – these are the sparkling wines of the Loire, usually made with Chenin Blanc.
Notable FactsAs for which grapes you find in which regions… Starting on the Atlantic Coast and moving east - Muscadet hails from the region of the same name, within the larger Nantes district, right on the Atlantic coast. The wines are dry, citrusy and pleasant, but rarely powerful or intensely aromatic. Just inland from Nantes is Anjou-Samur, home to Savennières, an excellent source of dry Chenin Blanc. To the east is Touraine, where you'll find the popular white region of Vouvray - Chenin Blanc shines in Vouvray, which can be dry, off-dry or sweet – the majority of those found in the states are a lovely and food-friendly off-dry. In the same district, Cabernet Franc makes delicious, delicate and elegant reds from Bourguil and Chinon. Finally, in the Upper Loire area, Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé turn out Sauvignon Blancs of razor sharp acidity and minerality.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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