Bernard Baudry Chinon 2017
#44 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019
This cuvée comes from their highest vineyard, which rests on a plateau of gravel, sand, and limestone, and it is arguably their best entry point into the charm of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, lithe and less dense than the bottlings from their clay-and-limestone terroirs. Spontaneous fermentation and unfiltered bottling lead to a delicate, peppery wine with notes of blackberries, currants, and leather. Matthieu Baudry says the reds of Chinon are best enjoyed with food, and this particular bottling is versatile enough to accompany a wide range of plats, from lentil soup to charcuterie to roast chicken.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2017 Chinon is sourced predominantly (80%) from the plateau (80%) and 20% from young vines on the slopes, so from limestone soils with sand and clay on the top. Fermented and aged in concrete vats, the wine has a dark color and opens with a deep and concentrated bouquet of perfectly ripe dark berries and floral aromas. This is a very intense yet pure and refreshing Cabernet Franc with perfectly ripe but also clear and refreshing fruit and a silky texture. The finish is nervous and fresh, well structured and firm. This is an excellent Cab Franc.
Bernard Baudry is unquestionably one of Chinon’s most outstanding producers. Not only does he have the talent to make delicious and consistent wines, vintage to vintage, but he is also fortunate to have vineyard land that showcases the varied soil types of the appellation. After completing his viticultural studies in Beaune, Bernard returned to the Loire Valley and purchased his first two hectares of land in Cravant-les-Coteaux, a village from which almost half of the production of A.O.C. Chinon is sourced. Over the years, the domaine has grown to 25 hectares and Bernard’s son, Matthieu, has joined the family domaine. The Baudrys are staunch traditionalists, and you would have a hard time finding a Chinon more classic than theirs.
An important red wine appellation in the Touraine district of the Loire, Chinon produces fanciful, light-bodied reds from the Cabernet Franc grape. Chinon also makes charming rosés from the same grape as well as white wines from Chenin blanc. But the reds give the area its fame. Often scented with fresh herbs, black tea and violets, Chinon reds show a lovely combination of fruit and acidity. However, styles have become more concentrated and ripe in recent years from improvements in vineyard management. Modern methods include planting grass between vineyard rows, using higher trellises and deleafing to increase sunlight to berries and therefore improve ripening. Even still, red Chinon is intended to be a light to medium bodied, refreshing wine to be enjoyed in its youth.
Fuller-bodied Chinons come from vineyard sites on the clay and tuffeau limestone slopes, usually from the southern exposed slopes of Cravant-les-Coteaux, and the plateau above Beaumont. Lighter styled wines come from the sand and gravel vineyards near the Loire or Vienne Rivers with the most refined examples coming from the area around Panzoult
Cabernet Franc, a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon, is the subtler and more delicate of the Cabernets. Today Cabernet Franc produces outstanding single varietal wines across the wine-producing world. Somm Secret—One of California's best-kept secrets is the Happy Canyon appellation of Santa Barbara. Here Cabernet Franc shines as a single varietal wine or in blends, expressing sumptuous fruit, savory aromas and polished tannins.