Philippe Alliet Chinon Vieilles Vignes 2015
This exquisite Chinon is made from the oldest vines of the Domaine – averaging 60 years. It is a blend from varying plots of gravel and sandy soil vineyards in the small village of Cravant-Les-Coteaux by the Vienne River. The wine develops very well on the nose with notes of blackcurrant, red fruits, a subtle saltiness and some earthy flavours. The taste is complex; firm tannins, dark fruits and duration on the palate. It pairs well with a braised beef dish, white meats or a platter of charcuterie. It is ready to drink if decanted for 30 minutes before service and could age another five to seven years.
Across the range, the grapes are totally de-stemmed in an effort to reduce the vegetal characteristics often associated with Loire Valley reds and only indigenous yeasts are used in the cellar. Each year, this domaine raises the bar for what is possible with Cabernet Franc in Chinon. They effortlessly display the privileged terroir and winemaking excellence that their family possesses, while also maintaining a deliciousness that allows the wines to be enjoyed young or after decades of aging. This is a true top-flight, and benchmark estate.
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
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, Cabernet Franc also produces outstanding single varietal wines across the wine-producing world. Sommelier 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.