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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.
Stretching east along the steep banks of the Loire River, Touraine is a major part of the Middle Loire. Soil variations of clay, sand, tuffeau and gravel throughout its subregions support both white and red varieties. Chinon and Bourgueil remain the source of Loire’s finest Cabernet Franc; various styles of the most outstanding Chenin blanc come from Vouvray and Montlouis.
The subtler and more delicate of the Cabernets, Cabernet Franc is a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. While both are important grapes in modern day, high quality Bordeaux, interestingly, Cabernet Franc most likely originated from the Basque region of France sometime during the middle 1600’s. Today Cabernet Franc produces outstanding single varietal wines across the wine producing world, with some of its most classic examples from France’s Loire Valley, in the regions of Chinon, Bourgueil and Saumur-Champigny. Outside of France, Cabernet Franc performs quite well in parts of California, New York and Virginia. It is also a great blending grape.
In the Glass
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.
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.