Loire red review: Touraine, with notes on 22 wines

This is the second part in my series on the red wines from the Loire. From this tasting, there’s no doubting that Touraine reds are exciting right now. There were some lovely wines here. These notes are all from full bottle samples, tracked over a couple of days in most cases, and tasted in small flights. Three grape varieties here: Malbec (Côt), which I love; Gamay, which I also love; and Cabernet Franc, which I also love. The blends work well.

La Grange Tiphaine Côt Vieilles Vignes 2018 Touraine-Amboise, Loire, France
13.5% alcohol. Biodynamically farmed Malbec. This deeply coloured wine is floral on the nose with sweet black cherry and blackberry fruit as well as a hint of nice reduction. The palate is vivid, inky and fresh with nice structure and acidity under the vivid black fruits. Sleek, ripe, but really fresh, showing immense concentration, freshness and purpose. A lovely wine. 94/100 (UK agent Dynamic Vines)

La Grange Tiphaine Clef de Sol 2019 Touraine, Loire, France
13.5% alcohol. A blend of Côt and Cabernet Franc, biodynamically farmed. Clay and silica soils over limestone. Intensely coloured, this has an inviting nose of spice, charcoal and vivid black fruits, with some floral overtones. The palate is concentrated and fresh, with firm tannins and sleek black fruits, with some gravelly grip and a really nice acid line. There’s amazing depth to this wine with a primary, spicy vibrancy. Quite brilliant. 94/100 (UK agent Dynamic Vines)

François Plouzereau Domaine de la Garrelière Le Rouge des Cornus Cabernet Franc 2019 Touraine, Loire
13.5% alcohol. From a domaine in the south of the region, biodynamic since 1993, with chalk/clay soils, vinified naturally in a concrete tank. This is concentrated and deeply coloured, with floral blackcurrant and pepper and cured meat on the nose. The palate is fresh, concentrated and shows good acidity and some structure. There’s a brightness and fruitiness here, with some juiciness, but also some grip. This is primary and utterly delicious, with a bit of savoury grunt in the background, but with the focus on bright concentrated fruit. 94/100

Domaine des Corbillières Touraine Angeline 2017 Loire, France
13% alcohol. This is from sand and clay soils, and it’s Côt/Malbec from vines 18, 27 and 43 years old. Beautiful aromatics on the nose: floral, expressive with black cherries and fine spices. On the palate it has lovely fresh, supple fruit with some fine spices. So pure and floral with some green hints. Not lots of volume, but supreme freshness and drinkability. Finishes with a bit of gravel. 93/100

Thomas Frissant La Touche 1ere Vendange Côt 2019 Touraine-Amboise, Loire, France
14% alcohol. Inky dark in the glass, this is an aromatic expression of Malbec with sweet black cherries and blackberries. There’s a gravelly chalky undercurrent to the fruit, which is ripe, lush and nicely textured. Such a well balanced wine, with both richness and freshness, finishing a little grippy. Not lacking in ripeness, but not straying into jamminess. 93/100

Clos Roussely (Vincent Roussely) Malbec-Cabernet 2019 Touraine Chenonceaux, Loire, France
12.5% alcohol. Beautifully packaged. Deeply coloured, this has a sleek, ripe nose of sweet blackberry and black cherry fruit with a very subtle mineral, gravelly edge. Some rain on wet pavement. The palate is ripe and sleek, with sweet black fruits, but also fine-grained tannins and a touch of chalk and gravel. It’s such a fabulously drinkable, likeable wine, but with some seriousness too. Polished but still authentic. 93/100

Lionel Gosseaume Climat No 3 2018 Touraine, Loire, France
13.5% alcohol. This is an old vine selection of Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Beautifully packaged. It’s a deeply coloured wine with some floral black fruits, a bit of chalkiness and a touch of spice. It’s focused and vivid with freshness and lovely fruit quality, with some chalk and gravel notes and a spicy flourish at the end. There’s a real freshness here, allied to richness and depth of fruit. Finishes nicely grippy and dry. This is a more serious style of red wine. 92/100

Lionel Gosseaume Touraine Rouge 4700 KM 2018 Loire, France
14% alcohol. This is a blend of Gamay and Malbec. Expressive nose with floral cherry fruit, with some herbs. The palate is fresh and juicy, but also has a bit of grainy grip under the sweet cherry and berry fruit, with a hint of iodine and pepper. This is a bright, pure, supple red with real drinkability and a touch of seriousness. 91/100

Domaine de la Rochette Famille Leclair Gamay 2020 Touraine, Loire, France
13% alcohol. This is pure, primary and really fresh with lovely juicy cherry and redcurrant fruit. There’s some plushness to the sweet fruit, but it’s really nicely hemmed in by some green hints and keen acidity, with a bit of sour cherry on the finish. This is pure, has good concentration, tastes like Gamay, and is utterly delicious. 91/100

Xavier Frissant L’Orée des Frênes 2017 Touraine Amboise, Loire, France
13% alcohol. This is 100% Côt. Gravel and graphite edge to the floral cherry and blackberry nose. The palate is fresh and quite structured, with a stony, chalky undercurrent to the supple black cherry fruit. It’s very fresh and expressive, and quite elegant, with well integrated green notes. Masses of drinkability. 91/100

Domaine de Brossette Touraine 2018 Loire, France
13.5% alcohol. This is a 50/50 blend of Gamay and Cabernet Franc, certified organic. It’s from Thierry Delaunay, and it is made with semi-carbonic maceration. Sweetly aromatic on the nose with cherry and plum fruit, as well as some fine spicy green hints. Enticing. The palate is supple and fresh with some gravelly grip under the sweet cherry, raspberry and plum notes. There’s real drinkability here as well as sweet fruit, but also a grainy, chalky savouriness providing a lovely foil. 91/100

Domaine Joel Delaunay L’Esprit des Dames Touraine Chenonceaux 2017 Loire, France
12.5% alcohol. Thierry Delaunay farms 40 hectares of vines, with 3 ha in organics and 37 in HVE (sustainable). This is a 50/50 blend of Malbec and Cabernet Franc, from flinty clay soils. Mechanically harvested, and fermented and matured in stainless steel with some microoxygenation. It’s dark and gravelly with supple black cherry and blackcurrant fruit. This is sleek but fresh with some nice green notes well integrated into the supple fruit. This has massive drinkability, but also some seriousness. Impressive. 90/100

Clos Roussely (Vincent Roussely) Canaille Gamay Rouge 2019 Touraine, Loire, France
12.5% alcohol. This is fresh and supple with a nice stony edge, some subtle reductive notes, and juicy bright red cherry and redcurrant fruit, with some fine herbal hints. There’s a lovely vibrance and a savoury stoniness here. So light and juicy, but with hints of seriousness and some green fringes. It taste like Gamay, for sure, in its brightest incarnation. 90/100

Domaine de la Chaise Touraine Chenonceaux 2019 Loire, France
14.5% alcohol. 65% Côt, 35% Cabernet Franc from 40 year old vines planted on flinty clay soils over limestone. Machine harvested, macerated for a month. For a Loire red, this is very ripe. It has a chalky, gravelly edge that’s quite typical, but also some lushness to the sweet blackcurrant and cherry fruit (it’s actually 14.9% alcohol). Smooth, sleek and generous with some of that floral Malbec character and the grainy, gravelly Cabernet Franc providing support. Assured and delicious, and packs a punch with its sweet fruit. 90/100

Domaine de la Renaudie Cuvée Albert Denis 2018 Touraine, France
12.5% alcohol. This is Côt (Malbec). Vivid, fresh and aromatic on the nose: some green hints, with floral black cherries and some dark pepper and gravel notes. The palate is bright, brambly and fresh, with a touch of blackcurrant as well as a stony savouriness. It’s so supple and drinkable with good acidity and some nice green notes that integrate well. Finishes all grainy and taut. Such a lovely, drinkable wine, but with nice edges. Medium weight with drinkability and joy. I lovely this beautifully fresh wine. 90/100

Domaine de la Rochette Famille Leclair 2018 Touraine Chenonceaux, Loire, France
13% alcohol. This is a blend of Côt and Cabernet Franc. It’s focused, dark and gravelly, with some firmness to the blackcurrant and cherry fruit, with some chalky undercurrents and bright acidity. There’s just a touch of green, which works really well with the fruit. A really nice wine with real personality and focus. Grippy on the finish. 90/100

Domaine Pré Baron Touraine Gamay 2019 Loire, France
13% alcohol. Carbonic maceration. Supple, fresh and grainy with a nice stony, mineral edge to the red cherry and raspberry fruit. This has a slight liqeuer-like sweet cherry character, and it has a delicate structure. So drinkable and supple. 89/100 (UK agent Boutinot, UK retail c £9)

Raphaël Midoir Touraine Malbec 2019 Loire, France
13.5% alcohol. Mechanically harvested grapes from a clay/limestone soil, 40 year old Malbec vines. No added sulfites, vinified in stainless steel. This is fruity and lively with black and red cherries and some spices on the nose. It has a hint of bubblegum. Fresh and fruity and charming on the palate with nice purity to the cherry and raspberry fruit. It has a bit of crunch. Very fruity and perfumed. Easy to appreciate, but with hints of seriousness. 89/100

Domaine au Monier Terres de l’Aumonier Cuvée Louis 2019 Touraine, Loire, France
12.5% alcohol. This is a blend of Côt and Cabernet Franc, organically farmed. This is fresh and quite intense with gravelly black cherry fruit and some blackcurrant. This is supple with a bit of grip, and some green notes in the background. Juicy with some structure. 88/100

Bonnigal-Bodet Malbec Touraine Ambroise ‘Les Séminées’ 2017 Loire, France
12.5% alcohol. This is ambitiously (and nicely) packaged in a heavy bottle. It’s rich, spicy and has a strongly savoury, tarry edge to the sweet black fruits. Quite dense with dark fruit, some gravel and ash notes, and a sweetness to the acid line (it flirts with some volatility, but gets away with it). I find the finish a bit dry and sour, but despite this there’s lots to like about this wine. 88/100

Domaine de la Renuadie (Patricia & Bruno Denis) Touraine Chenonceaux 2018 Loire, France
12.5% alcohol. Lively cherry and berry fruit aromatics with a hint of aniseed. Pure, fruity palate with cherries, raspberries and strawberries, showing some juiciness as well as some softer fruit on the mid-palate. Fine and drinkable with nice crunch to the fruit. 88/100

Domaine Roc de Châteauvieux Touraine Gamay 2019 Loire, France
13.5% alcohol. This is a juicy, supple, expressive Gamay with notes of tar, dried herbs and wet pavements, as well as appealing red cherried and berries, with some fruity floral notes. Vivid and delightful, it really works. 88/100

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