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Clos Roche Blanche Touraine Cabernet Franc 2003
"Alluring aromas of cassis, licorice and black cherry are balanced against notes of tobacco and black olive, wrapped in a silky, textural tension that makes this wine feel lithe and poised. A perfect bistro red."
-Wines & Spirits 90 Points
The soil is poor, mainly clay with flint over a limestone subsoil. The varietals grown are Gamay, Cot (or Auxerrois, the grape of Cahors) and Sauvignon Blanc. Roussel and Barouillet keep yields low by maintaining old vines, using organic fertilizers in moderation and growing grass between and plowing under the rows.
They converted the vineyards to organic farming over the past three years and the 1995 vintage bears the official "organic agriculture" accreditation. The vines are treated with copper and sulfur solutions, and plant decoctions (a mix of nettles and other herbs) used in bio-dynamic viticulture.
Neither Catherine nor Dider has studied oenology or viticulture. They both learned their trade in the vineyards and the cellar, searching for methods and techniques to make wines of exceptional character in an appellation of modest reputation.
The subtler and more delicate of the Cabernets, Cabernet Franc is the proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon and shares many of the structural elements of Bordeaux’s cornerstone variety. In Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc is often planted as an insurance policy against its later-ripening offspring, as it is more likely to thrive in a difficult harvest. But don’t mistake Cabernet Franc for merely a supporting player—this grape variety produces outstanding wines on its own or as the dominant component of a blend. It produces perhaps its most alluring wines in France’s Loire Valley, in the regions of Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saumur-Champigny, where brighter, riper wines can be achieved. Outside of France, Cabernet Franc has performed quite well in parts of California, New York, and Virginia.
In the Glass
Paler, lighter, crisper, softer, and much more aromatic than its progeny, Cabernet Franc typically tastes of red raspberries, cherries, and herbs, with a stunning perfume of violets, tobacco, and spice.
Mouthwatering acidity makes Cabernet Franc an incredibly food-friendly wine, helping to cut through the richness of fatty meat dishes. It especially shines in tandem with lamb, and its affinity for the spice cabinet allows it to pair perfectly with Chinese dishes prepared with Szechuan pepper and five-spice.
Under-ripe Cabernet Franc can be leafy and green with harsh tannins and mouth-searing acidity, so it is best to avoid highly spiced curries and fiery chili dishes.